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MARRIED Episode 4 Even as Andy alighted from
the car about an hour later, he was still boiling
with anger. Jessica had guts, he could give her
that. No woman had ever confronted him hands
down the way Jessica constantly did. She had
the talent of getting him angry whenever she felt like. The frustrating thing was that he
somehow felt that she was right. Self-
centered, he muttered to himself with a grim
face, his mouth tightening angrily. As he
matched into the massive building, he did not
notice the intense surprise on the faces of the security men; neither did he hear their
greetings. He entered the office like a soldier
instead of the calmly measured steps he was
used to. The surprised looks he got from his
employees made him aware of his
environment. He returned their gaze with a stern glare and they all started pouring
greetings and congratulations on his just
concluded wedding at his departing back,
before returning to their duties. Andy felt the
eyes of his staff on him as he entered his
office. Again, Jessica had been right; coming to work was a stupid thing to do. However right
she was, he told himself that he ought to be at
work, if not, his workers would run the
company to the edge of bankruptcy. He
hadn’t even sat down when the door opened.
He was not surprised when he saw Tunji, his wedding best man, his assistant, as well as his
best friend; standing at the entrance with a
bewildered look. “Hey man” Andy called.
“What is the meaning of this Andy?” Tunji
asked, closing the door. “The meaning of
what?” Andy sat down, feigning ignorance. “What are you doing here? You ought to be
with your wife, this is your honeymoon man,
the company is not running anywhere” “My
wife and I decided to use this time wisely
instead of wasting it on a leisure beach.”
“Exactly! And that is why you came in glaring like an angry lion?” Andy ignored that, since
he could not come up with anything good
enough to cover up his mood. “You know the
challenges we have been confronted with by
our competitors, staying back would just be
useless” Tunji was glaring at him. “So you could not trust me enough to know that I would
handle the company properly till you are
back?” “Come off it man, I trust you; still it is
scientifically proven that two heads are better
than one. My being here gives us more
chances. I don’t want to have another lengthy meeting with displeased
shareholders” he powered his desktop and
centered his attention on it. Tunji shook his
head. “If I were a woman, I surely would not
envy Jessica.” With that, Tunji left, leaving
Andy with another measured level of anger. Once again, he had to admit that his coming to
the company was pointless. ***** Jessica
walked barefooted on the soothing beach sand
that same evening as the breeze blew at her
packed hair. She wanted to remove the bond
and have the breeze blow her hair into wild disarray but she quenched the feeling. She had
long ago stopped leaving her hair; even when
she retouched and set her hair, she always
combed out the curls and secured the hair with
a firm bond. She had stopped everything that
could make her look attractive long time ago. She wore oversized clothes, packed her head
tightly upwards and used almost no jewelry at
all except the occasional s--d she had resorted
to. Men had made her life a living hell and she
had resorted to living her life alone until Andy
asked her for a contract wedding. Why Andy had decided to pick her, of all the women, in
the world still remained a mystery. Even at
that, the thought that she could be bought with
money, no matter the amount would have
made her laugh but here she was, in an
agreement to stick with a rich handsome workaholic for the sum of 20 million naira.
Tears stung her eyes but she blinked them
away. She had stopped crying a long time ago,
she wasn ’t about to start now. “Hey lady”
she heard a guy call and she turned. He walked
up to her. “I am not lying when I say you are the most beautiful woman I have ever set my
eyes on”. Jessica very nearly rolled her eyes.
From the physical outlook of the guy, he looked
like someone within her age bracket. He
looked very slim but handsome, nonetheless.
“Should I say thank you?” she asked. He smiled. “I am Jack. You look vaguely
familiar”She took his hand. “Jessica”
“Cool. J.J; Jessica and Jack. We are a perfect
match” he murmured grinning. “You dream a
lot” She responded. “Every reality started
with a dream in mind” “Not every dream sees the limelight” She returned. He sighed.
“One cannot win with you right? What are you
doing dressed like this on the beach? You
should be in shorts” he commented, changing
the subject. “What are you doing talking to me
then? There are lots of women in shorts here” “Well, it is very easy to notice an outstanding wedding wears at $99
woman” “Why don’t I believe you?” “Do
you ever smile?” Jessica noted rather sadly
that she had heard that question twice in one
day. Andy had asked her that same question
but she hadn’t given him an answer. She was about to give an answer when she heard a
voice behind her. “Hey sweetheart”. Jessica
blanched. She did not have to turn to know that
the voice definitely belonged to Andy. His
voice was far different from every other
guy’s. She swallowed and turned. He had a smile on his face but she sensed the anger
beneath. “I have been looking for you” he
said to her but his gaze was fixed on Jack, who,
for some weird reasons, had become rigid
upon seeing Andy. “I came for a walk on the
beach” Jessica responded sweetly as he stunningly placed his arm around her waist.
The strength of his arm at her slim waist made
her freeze in time as scorching heat seeped
from his palm into her body. It took all of her
resolve not to jump out of his hold. “I knew I
had seen you before!” Jack suddenly declared, breaking into her thoughts. “Your
wedding was aired by almost all the TV
stations” Jack’s eyes were on arm Andy put
around Jessica’s waist until he forced them
upwards with a frozen smile. “Congrats” he
murmured. “Thanks” Andy said stiffly. If eyes could kill, Jack would be dead and buried.
This struck Jessica as awkward as she
swallowed the bile that formed in her throat.
The silence that followed was so
uncomfortable and Jessica decided to put an
end to the awkwardness. “Drew” she called, turning to him and placing her slender palm on
his chest the way only a woman could. “It is
good you came. Why don’t you walk with
me?” Andrew felt the slim softness which she
placed against his chest and his blood hummed
in his veins. He didn’t know why seeing Jessica standing with ‘whatever his name
was’ got him furious. Surely he was just
getting used to the farce marriage act!
However, when Jessica declared him the
winner of the invisible war, Andy felt a great
sense of victory that stunned him. He looked into her eyes and couldn’t look away. She
was dressed in an unappealing way but the
shabby dress looked to him like a challenge. It
made him want to see what she was hiding
underneath; besides, he had had much more
than a glimpse on their wedding day. But the idea vanished immediately it came and he
mentally made a strict note of never allowing
his mind to go astray. He kissed her forehead,
shocking her the more. He could practically
feel it in the stiff way she held herself. “As
your ladyship pleases” he gave a slight bow which had her grinning stiffly. The reason why
he smiled back like a fool was definitely just to
spite the guy who was still looking at them,
invading their privacy. “It was nice meeting
you” she murmured to Jack. She would have
mentioned his name but she decided against it. Andy’s arm around her waist was disturbing.
Both of them walked for a long time without
speaking. The place Andy had kissed her on
her forehead, still throbbed, making her think
about things that she definitely shouldn’t be
thinking. “That was an excellent drama you displayed back there. You could make it in the
movie industry” Jessica said, quenching the
unnerving silence. “Uhn?” Andy could not
understand what she was saying . Maybe
because he was too busy thinking about the
soft flesh beneath his hand. He never knew she had such a small waist! “I don’t suppose you
were genuinely jealous, or were you?” her
tone held a slight tinge of laughter. “Who is
that guy?” “You met him too, right? You
know him just as much as I do” she said with
faint amusement. “We are far from prying eyes so you can remove your hand from my
waist now” Andy extracted his hand
instantly, like her body suddenly caught fire.
He had forgotten his hand around her. It had
felt too d--n right to have his arm around her
waist. What on earth was wrong with him? When last had it been since he had a woman?
That was definitely the problem! He swallowed
hard as he stared at the beach, wanting to dive
inside for a swim. He ran his hand through the
tiny waves of his hair in frustration and they
walked together in strained silence until they got back to the beach house. Keeping his gaze
properly schooled to cool indifference, he
marched into his room without looking back. To
be continued