The weeks and months moved by rapidly, blending together as the master framework that the president set up so long ago began to take a definite shape. The strain on Emeka was incredible and it was not uncommon for his team to be forced to work late into the night or even on weekends. The results they were seeing as a result of their tireless efforts were nothing short of phenomenal.
Emeka and his top advisors, Cassie, Chika, and Michael grew closer than ever because they had to spend hours and hours together. They almost had no choice but to grow fond of each other. Unfortunately, the closer they grew to each other, the further they grew from their respective families. Chika’s husband was in an uproar and was trying to force her to quit because he felt that she was neglecting her responsibilities as a wife and a mother. Michael was losing touch with his sons who were in that critical adolescent stage that required the firm hand of guidance from a male figure.
The president himself felt like a stranger in his own home; instead of getting home and being greeted by his three young children and sitting down to a hot meal, he was forced to endure cold cuts. His children were sleeping when he came home at night and sleeping when he went out in the morning. He was missing the most beautiful moments with Phoebe; her first steps, her first words, and her first understanding.
Emeka was raising two energetic boys over the phone and slowly, almost imperceptibly, his influence was waning in their lives. Hadija was supportive but Emeka knew that the strain was beginning to take its toll on the amazing woman the he loved so dearly.
The only person that seemed to be unperturbed by the whole situation was Cassie, the one advantage of being a single woman was that there was no man to answer to in times like this. John, now her boyfriend, took that serendipitous meeting at Phoebe’s party and turned it into a love affair that would make the most devout nun blush. They were dating full time now and John seemed to be more smitten with Cassie than he had a right to be.
“Cassie,” Emeka called from the doorway of her office. “Have you finished the projections from Johnson Acquisition? We need to tackle the board in an hour.”
“Emeka, are you worried? I have never seen you break a sweat before, do you need a back rub?” she asked with a warm smile.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t mind.”’
“Ahh, come here you big baby, let me help you with that but make sure you don’t tell Hadija; I’m not sure she would be too pleased.” Cassie said fondly.
“My lips are sealed.”
Emeka crossed the threshold that he had been teetering on and closed the door behind him. As Cassie stood to vacate her seat for him, his eyes slipped to the soft yellow skin of her upper thighs that her dress temporarily exposed.
“Have a seat Mr. President, let your lowly servant cater to you.”
“Servant yes, lowly no.” He replied with a chuckle while removing his grey jacket and plopping down in ergonomic chair.
“Whatever you say.” She replied as she began to knead his tense shoulders with her dexterous hands.
“Mmmm.” Emeka purred in pleasure. “If this is what John has been keeping to himself, then I will just have to steal you from him.”
“Humph, these types of massages are not given out lightly; John has never experienced it before. As for the stealing,I don’t want your wife to steal my life after you steal my body.”
“Hadija does not have a violent bone in her body.” Emeka replied with a laugh.
“So says the man who wants to have an affair.” She replied while rolling her eyes.
“So what kind of people do you give these massages to?” He asked, quickly changing the topic.
“Those that deserve them.”
“So I deserve it?”
“More than you know Mr. President.” She said while allowing her breast to caress the back of his neck.
Uh oh, I’m in trouble now he thought.
“Glad to see somebody around here appreciates me.” Emeka replied, covering one of her hands kneading his shoulder with his own.
“I’m sure you already know that.” She whispered softly in his ear.
Ah man, this is turning me on, let’s go there
“Yea, but it’s good to hear it, especially from you.”
“I’m sure you hear it all the time.”
“Yea, but not from individuals as capable as you,” he murmured while leaning back in the chair to come in contact with her soft body.
“Flattery will get you everywhere Mr. President” she replied as she inclined into his movement.
So she is thinking the same thing as me huh?
“I would rather get there by action.”
“Every woman loves a man of action.”
“Action without hesitation.” He said, spinning around suddenly so that he was facing her in the chair.
It’s time to go for broke.
He looked into her eyes; eyes full of lust, confusion, and longing but before he could do what he knew he shouldn’t be doing, a knock sounded at the door. It was saving him and frustrating him at the same time. The seduction was broken and he scrambled to his feet to save face and slide out of the compromising position that he had placed himself.
“Yes, come in.” Cassie said without missing a beat.
“Miss, the files you requested on the Johnson acquisition.” Her assistant said as she shuffled inside with a thick manila folder.
“Thank you, drop it here on my desk.”
“Always working I see.” Emeka said as the assistant left without a backwards glance. “I guess it’s time to go and face the board.“
“I guess so.” She replied stoically.
They marched together to the large boardroom like nothing had happened between them; business as usual. They met Michael and Chika on the way to the meeting and all four of them entered to confront their bosses; only Cassie and Emeka aware of the electricity that threatened to consume them.
When Emeka arrived at his house that night, dark and quiet as usually, his children were already asleep and Hadija was exhausted from her day. He sat at the kitchen table and ate leftovers that he quickly warmed. His thoughts kept replaying the scene in Cassie’s office and who knew that he was becoming lost in her seduction.
As the week progressed, he tried his best to avoid her but it was impossible to avoid someone that you worked so closely with. At best, he made sure that he always met her when there was at least another person present. That way, a “mistake” was unlikely to happen. Even with these precautions, their eyes constantly consummated their desires. Her light brown ones were a pool of unfulfilled desire and his were a calmly smoldering lake of fire, ready to devour the first creature that crossed their shores.
Over the weekend, the first one that he has been able to spend with his family in a long time, he realizes just how bad the situation at home has become. His little princess barely knows him and cries and thrashes in his arms whenever he picks her up. His boys go through the perfunctory process of respect that is his due as their father but the former light banter is gone.
“Hadija, what is happening? My children treat me like a stranger and Phoebe does not even like me, let alone love me. What have I done to deserve this?”
“Emeka, my love, you have given your heart to your company and your family cannot compete.”
“But I do it all for you and my children.” He cried remorsefully.
“I know but they are children, how can you expect them to understand? All they know is that they only see their father on Sundays and even then he is not there.”
“Is that how you feel too?”
“My husband has not touched me in months and sex is the farthest thing from his mind. I sometimes wonder if you have found another woman or are no longer attracted to me, then I have to remind myself that you are in love with your work above all else.”
“Hadija, my love, how can you say such a thing? You know better than anyone else that I would sacrifice any and everything if it meant the survival of this family.”
“I know.” She said in a small voice picking at the edge of the green blouse she wore.
Emeka looked at his beautiful wife sitting next to him, even the distance between them when they sat down on the couch was growing; she was becoming a stranger as well. He looked at his children and felt a pang of sorrow; was it his destiny to raise children that did not know him?
“Let’s go to the US.”
“What?” Hadija said startled.
“Let’s go on that vacation that I have been promising for too long.”
“When?” She asked with a smile that chased the years from her face.
“Give me two weeks so that I can give them a heads up at the office and delegate the major issues.”
“O baby!” She shouted as she wrapped her arms around her husband.
“Kids, daddy is taking us on vacation to the US.”
“Really?!” James shouted.
“When?” Michael shot back.
“Two weeks.” Emeka replied.
“Thank you daddy.” The boys said in unison as they jumped into his arms.
I will get my family back if it’s the last thing I do