No Valentine’s | 3

Stacy sat staring at the office iMac showing her designs. It was already past five o’clock. The illustrations she had worked on were ready to send to her boss but in her typical perfectionism nature, she wanted to crosscheck them again before attaching to the email and hitting the send button.

She sipped the coffee placed on the table as her eyes zoomed in on the designs for the millionth time. Often, she fiddled with her long kinky hair, subconsciously making coils with her index finger.

Lawrence texted her [Hey Babe, still at the office?]

“Shit!” she said. It had slipped her mind that they would be having a date night that evening, ahead of their picnic the next day.

[Yes. Kinda tied up right now]. She texted back.

Another text from Lawrence came in, [Okay. Uhm, you’ll make it for the date, right?]

Stacy texted for a while on her phone then deleted the response. She texted again and deleted that too. Then she placed the phone on her desk. Attached the designs to the mail and hit send.

She switched off the computer and started packing her bag, ready to leave. Amos walked up to her.

“Hey Stacy, are you leaving already?” He asked.

She was searching for her keys in the side drawer and didn’t look up to Amos when she answered, “Sema, got some work for me?”

“Actually, yes. How did you figure that out?” A cheeky smile formed on Amos’ face.

“Well, it’s rather obvious. You are only this polite when you need a favour. Sema.”

”Remember the Tic Tac designs we did? The client suggested some changes and it’s due in a week but I’m taking leave from kesho. Do you mind amending them for me while I’m away?” Amos asked.

“Where are you visiting this time?”

“Mombasa.”

“I thought you’d be more creative than that.” Stacy forced a laugh. She had stopped searching for her keys and was looking at Amos.

“Well, you know what they say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Haha.”

“And that’s how you spend all your leave days throughout the year in Mombasa, sad.” She nodded her head to disapprove. “Sawa, I’ll redo the designs for you,” Stacy said.

“Thanks,” Amos responded cheerfully.

“Don’t thank me yet. You owe me coconuts and a gift from Mombasa.” She stared him squarely in the eyes as if to say, I mean it.

“Consider it done.”

As soon as Amos walked away, Stacy picked up her phone and called Lawrence.

‘Hello.”

“Hey, Babe.”

‘Heey.” Lawrence responded, sounding excited.

“You sound happy.”

“I should be. I’m meeting you in a short while, ama?”

“Actually, that’s why I called….” A deep silence ensued before she continued. “Uhm…I don’t know how to put this. I will be working lat-“

“Again?” Lawrence interrupted her before she could finish her sentence.

“You know how it is with this advertising agency, right?” Her tone changed. She was pleading with him now.

“You know what, fine. You are too busy for a date night. I should start living with that now.”

“I’m not self-employed like you Lawrence. I work for a boss, okay?”

“So, does that mean kesho’s picnic is canceled now that you are not self-employed?” Lawrence said with a tinge of irritation in his voice.

A deep pause punctuated their conversation again.

“No,” Stacy said.

“Okay, see you then. Let me know in advance if anything changes.”

“Sawa.” Stacy hanged up on him. Seconds later, she wished she hadn’t.

Lawrence was getting used to this. Stacy had canceled on many of their previous plans before, such that he had drastically lowered his expectations. He had resigned to the fact that she would always be too busy for him. And if Stacy had to choose between her work and him, he would lose out.

He hated that fact.

After the call, Stacy started on the job Amos had delegated to her. She tried not to feel pity or remorse for making the decision to choose a work assignment that was due in a week, over a date night with her boyfriend.

For some reason, she felt misunderstood. She wanted success and a chance to scale the cooperate ladder at her workplace and no matter what, she would get it even if it meant choosing her work over Lawrence.

The sad thing in her ambition was the fact that Lawrence was clueless about it.

There was no doubt, her work would always compete with her relationship, and one would have to win. The choice was hers to make.

 

*** 

NEXT: No Valentine’s | 4

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