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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Why did you turn down my lunch request on Saturday?” Dare asked as took his seat.
I rolled my eyes. “I was under no obligation to accept your invitation, was I?” I asked.
“No.” he replied. “How is your speech for the Annual Meeting coming?”
“I have something drafted up, but I will check with Toni later in the evening” I replied. Dare cleared his throat. “Is there any problem?” I asked.
“No, just make sure that the speech is fabulous” he replied, as he walked out.
It was lonely on the top floor. I could understand why the top floor used to be for Dare and his ex. They would have some cherished moments on the top floor. I couldn’t doubt the fact that Dare must have taken interest in me. Why else would he bring me to the top floor? He claims it is professional, but cheap tales will not buy me. I stared through the large window that provided me an amazing view into the city. ‘Looking might help ease the boredom’ I thought.

“How is the lady on the top floor doing?” Toni asked, barging in.
I was so excited to see her that I could not rebuke her for barging in. “Take me away from here” I said, hugging her. I did not like being away from Toni; it was boring. “I miss you Mrs Small”
“Oh please…”she stressed, releasing me from the embrace. “You have a beautiful office here. I can see you changed the wall papers, Reina liked it Turquoise”
“Toni, you know so much about Reina, why is that?” I asked.
She sighed and took her seat. “Reina attended the same high school as Dare and I”
“Wow! You were Dare’s school mate?” I asked, taking my seat.
She smiled and nodded her head in agreement. “We attended virtually all the same schools”. It sounded like ‘Jake and I’ to me. “Reina was in love with Dare since we were kids and she did not stop until she was finally his prom date. The whole school rocked when they won Prom King and Queen as a couple. They were a cute couple.”
“Why did they split?” I asked curiously.
“Reina had her excesses. I am not saying that Dare is a saint, but Reina always pushed him too far. She always wanted to be the captain of the relationship; she took decisions on Dare’s behalf, especially concerning this firm”
“Hold on Toni, I can’t believe that Dare would have allowed anyone ‘boss’ him.” I said, interrupting.

Toni scoffed. “Anything is possible when you are in love. He loved her but their break up was inevitable. She took swipes at every lady around Dare, including myself, and I guess she also got bored of him.” Toni paused and smiled. I raised my eyebrows in anticipation. “You are so into Dare right?” she asked.
“Oh, come on… why do you say so?”
Toni knelt before me and held my hands. “Don’t fall in love with him”. I immediately released myself from her grip. “He’ll make you suffer”. She then took her seat and smiled. “Did I act like a mother?” I shook my head.
“Are you also taking lessons from Chuck Norris?” I asked. “My step…umh…My sister also spits out some unbelievable jokes, and she is a Chuck Norris ardent. I am not in the least attracted to Dare, I am only interested in a few details about him, and maybe I could psychoanalyze him”
“If you want to analyze him, you can meet him in person. But, I think there is more to your interest in Dare, anyways he and Reina ended things maturely.” She said.
Mrs Small was taking a swipe at the way my relationship ended with Paul. “How did you know that they ended their relationship on good terms?” I asked with a grin.
“I think I was well informed with that relationship, maybe I skipped out on the bedroom details. Anyways, to your question, Reina still sends Dare monthly good will messages, and don’t ask me how I know that” she replied, standing up. “By the ways, how are things with you and Dora?”
“I think we are coming along well, she is very sweet, except on her dry days when she dishes out what she calls ‘jokes’.” I replied, pouring myself a cup of coffee. “Do you care?” I asked. Toni nodded in affirmative and I handed her a cup. “Here you go.”
“Thanks dear, is there any news on Paul yet?” she asked.
I had no answer to Toni’s question. Dora and I haven’t started our investigations yet. “There is no news yet. I am going to contract a detective on his case before the week runs out; hopefully I can find him alive.” I wiped the tears that were soon gathering in my eyes. “I’ll find him Toni.” I said, trying to assure myself.
“Don’t worry Darlene, I am sure that Paul won’t hurt himself.” She replied
She was right! If Paul should commit suicide, he won’t be hurting himself because he’d already be dead. The only person he could hurt directly would be me, as I will feel guilty about his death. “Toni, I need you to help me look at my speech for the annual meeting,” I said, trying to divert from my current sorrow.
“I’ll check it over lunch. Do you want to go with me to Chinese?” she asked, approaching the door.
I nodded my head in agreement. She winked at me and closed the door gently. Thoughts of Paul flowed through my mind as soon as Mrs Small left. There was a light tap on the door. “Please come in”
“How are you finding your new environment?” Dare asked.
I had to be professional about my duties and start ‘compromising the truth’ when necessary. “It’s been wonderful here,” I replied, with a large smile.
“You don’t have to tell a lie Darlene,” he said taking his seat. “By the way, you look beautiful when you smile,” he said. I smiled. “I was teasing,” he said, quickly.
I frowned.

“I like it when you frown, your attitude is enchanting” he replied, with a grin. I shook my head. “Do you mind joining me for lunch this afternoon?” he asked.
I smiled. “I am booked for lunch.” I replied, as I opened my laptop.
“You turned down my request on Saturday, and you are doing it again today, why?”
I shrugged. “I am booked today, just like I was on Saturday. I am having lunch with Mrs Small, I don’t know if she will appreciate a third party”
Dare laughed. “Third party?” he asked. I didn’t need to give him an answer. “I am no third party to Toni, not that I want to tag along, but she won’t refuse me”
I grinned. “I’ll have to check with her,” I replied, lifting the receiver of the intercom. Dare was all smiles as soon as I dropped the receiver. I don’t have to tell you how the conversation went. Toni said, ‘I’ll be honoured to have him with us, yaayyy!’ What a woman! Couldn’t she have guessed by the tone of my voice that I didn’t want Dare with us at lunch?
“So, do you want me?” he asked.
I drew a dry hiss. “Do I have a choice?” I asked. “Oh…yeah, you are also the boss!”
Dare stood up. “I will not come if you don’t want me there.” He then reached for the door. “See you later”
“Please join us.” I said, almost sounding desperate.

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