I am a big proponent of the bury head in the sand school of thought, so after calming my racing mind, I decided to ignore the problem and it would go away. So that's what I proceeded to do and for a while, it actually worked...till the next meeting.
I was in attendance at another meeting and I spent hours praying for RIO to suffer a mishap and be unable to attend. I was quite ashamed of myself for wishing such ill on another person, but desperate times... Alas, it wasn't to be. RIO appeared at the entrance of the Board Room looking as fit as a fiddle, clearly not having suffered any mishaps or heard any bad news. I forced my eyes to remain on the attendance note as he walked by. He took his seat adjacent to mine. You know how you feel when you can feel someone staring at you? I felt I had a bullseye stapled to my forehead throughout the meeting. The few times I dared meet the eyes of my visual assailant, RIO would make sure to meet my eyes, then look away lazily. My goodness, I felt so violated! This unease lasted for four hours.
As the meeting ended, I packed up my notes and made a beeline for the door, fleeing for my life. But I was not fast enough. RIO was fast on my heels and he cornered me at the door. Forming gentleman, he held the door open for me. As I walked through, he said in a low voice
"IB, why did you not call me like I told you to?"
My eyes were as wide as saucers. Such audacity!!!! In a room packed with the MD and other execs, who were all standing a hair's breath away, he had the nerve to accost me??? I couldn't believe he wanted to discuss the issue at that very moment. There was clearly no shame in RIO's game. I did not know the rules to this shameless game, so I was bound to lose. Shutting the door behind us, he commanded
'Give me your number"
Two things, I wasn't a typical Nigerian with 2 or 3 phones/sims for different reasons. I've had the same number since GSM became operational in Nigeria. Secondly and more importantly, I was scared to death! Of my reputation being tarnished, as anyone could come out of the Board Room and see me giving him my number. From what I perceive of these situations, they never bode well for the junior staff. I just wanted to get the heck away as fast as my legs could carry me. I also didn't think it was wise to give him a wrong number. Snap decision made. In panic mode, I gave him my number while he calmly wrote it down behind his folder, like it wasn't even a thing.
I rushed to my good friend, Nancy's office, where I broke down and told her what had been happening. She was equal amounts horrified and scared for me but also found it funny
"So that RIO too wants to chase babe? Hian! Isn't he afraid that he will contract "demotion" from you?" she remarked. Her comment was borne out of his snooty aloofness and his always thinking he was above anyone. RIO would never board a lift with a junior staff in it. In fact, he would never board a lift with anyone in it. The lifts were cleared, while the Otis attendant locked it so it won't stop on any floor for anyone to get in and contaminate RIO with their junior levelness. That's how much of a dick RIO was.
Together, Nancy and I came up with the plan to block his number. It went well with my head in the sand ethos. I practised with her phone and found out that the unwanted caller would be informed I was on another call. I was happy and went ahead to block the number. I didn't realise until much later that though I had blocked a number, it wasn't RIO's. How dumb was I right? I went to church, all light hearted, having performed my trickery, for mid-week service. I returned to find a slew of missed calls and one very authoritative text, talking about where was I, like the sender bought me phone. Hisssss. It never occurred to me that it was RIO till he rang me the next day.
"Where were you yesterday?"
Befuddled and a bit annoyed, I asked belligerently
"Who is this?"
"It is RIO. You still haven't stored my number"
"Good morning sir. I am sorry sir" My shaky voice managed to rasp out. I was, as they would say, "gentle".
"So what happened to you yesterday?" He continued conversationally, like we belonged to the same golf club.
" I...I..was in church sir"
"Church? What time did you finish from church?"
"After nine, sir"
At that moment, I was saved by 'service' issues. Go MTN!!!! At the same time, I was afraid that he would think I hung up on him. I quickly blocked the number, making sure no other call came in before I blocked the wrong number again. I sat back in my chair and released a breath I wasn't aware I was holding. So is this how someone would not have peace on her own phone again??? Mo gbe o!
To be continued.
***It is a pretty long tale. Most of which has been typed out and would be updated every other day, all things being equal. I promise not to misbehave like the last couple of times I've done serial stories. I can't type this one up in one post, so expect 4 to 6 (-/+ 1) instalments, in response to one comment asking how many installments there would be. Thanks for your interest and for reading. Love you guys!***