Thirty minutes later, Linda was standing right in front of Maxwell's door when she heard voices coming out of the room. She gently turned the door knob but it was locked. She stood there and listened in for a while before she decided to crank the handle of the knob to forcefully try to open the door leading to Maxwell's room. Before she could get a firm grip of the handle, the door knob was turned from the inside, the door was opened and Linda stood facing Maxwell and Alberta with their son firmly strapped on Alberta's back.
"Hello", Linda greeted with a smile on her face and started to wave at the baby.
"Hi", Alberta responded. With her usual stern and suspicious look before she finally turned to look at Maxwell for an explanation.
"Hi Sweetheart", Maxwell said
"Please wait for me while I see Alberta off", Maxwell added.
"Let me say hi at least", Linda interjected. Linda stretched out her hand and forcefully grabbed Alberta's hand. "My name is Linda", she started. "I have heard a lot about you and I am thrilled to finally get the chance to meet you in person", Linda added, still holding on to Alberta's hand.
"Who are you?", Alberta asked with disgust and firmly placed the strap of her hand bag on her shoulder. "I am Maxwell's friend and I normally come here to help his grandmother out when she needs assistance with housekeeping", Linda answered.
"Oh I see", Alberta replied. "I wish I stay and chat but I have a lot of important things to do and as you can see, I am saddled with junior here", Alberta replied, pointing to her son. "You are very pretty", Alberta said, touching Linda's petty coat. "And I like your make-up too", Alberta added. "Who makes you up?", Alberta asked.
"I make up by myself", Linda added with blushes on her face. "And thank you so much for the compliment", Linda added. "You are equally very pretty and I would kill to have your type of hair, Linda said, trying to touch Alberta's hair.
"Maybe one day we can meet and give each other beauty tips to enhance our beauty", Alberta suggested. "That would be awesome!", Linda responded.
"Ladies!", Maxwell cut in
"This line of conversation is unhealthy for me so let us cut through it for now but the two of you can talk all the girly you want when you hook up later”, Maxwell suggested.
"Don't mind Maxwell he is just being jealous", Alberta said and gave Linda a very genuine smile. "You can take my number from Maxwell and give me a call when you are free so we can link up and share ideas", Alberta said and signaled for Linda to step aside so could exit the door. "One more thing before you go", Linda started. "You have a very amazing young man there", Linda said pointing to Alberta's son. "He is so gentle and graceful just like his father but I know you are doing an amazing job at raising him", Linda complimented. "Oh, thank you so much sweetheart", Alberta responded. "It has been nice talking to you and meeting you", Alberta added. "No, the pleasure is all mine!", Linda insisted and saw Alberta and Maxwell off to the door before returning to Maxwell's room to wait for him...
"What was that all about?", Maxwell asked looking shocked by the way Alberta reacted when she met Linda.
"What was all what about?", Alberta asked, pretending not to know what Maxwell was talking about.
"You being and acting all nice as if it is your natural character, that's what", Maxwell said.
"Seriously?", Alberta replied. "Please don't get me worked up to the point you don't want to see", Alberta added. "Maxwell, what is it you want?", Alberta asked.
"What is that supposed to mean?", Maxwell queried.
"Okay, okay, okay, I get it now", Alberta started as the two of them walked down the walkway to the main gate. "You have always wanted to marry a girl of your class and from what I just witnessed, you think I am not good enough to fit into that class of yours right?", Alberta suggested. "To the extent that she even comes her to help your grandmother for your family members to see that she is the wife material...wow!", Alberta added. "This was not how I was before you met me", Alberta said. "Upon all my naughtiness; which is as a result of the undying love I have for you, I have a good woman inside of me too and you know it", Alberta said.
"And who said this has got anything to do with class or any of those your unwarranted distinction attributes?", Maxwell asked.
"It has a lot to do with it!", Alberta barked back.
"Alberta, please don't let us engage in these conspiracy theories of who or what type of woman I want to marry", Maxwell started. "Just try and get home and take care of our little man", Maxwell said. "I would send you some money when the month ends", Maxwell added. "The absent father as always", Alberta started. "I wonder what this little boy is going to think of you when he starts growing up", Alberta added. "Leave that for me to worry about", Maxwell said and inched closer to the baby. "Hey little man, always remember that I love you more than anything in this world regardless of what mummy or anyone else says", Maxwell said to the baby while holding his litte hand. "Don't listen to him!", Alberta said immediately. "Mummy loves you more than anyone that is why you are living with me and not with him", Alberta said while she stood aside for Maxwell to open the gate for her.
"Ignore what mummy just said because you would always be daddy's little man anytime, anywhere and any day.", Maxwell said as Alberta made her way onto the landing leading to the street. "Please take good care of each other", Maxwell added before shutting the gate firmly behind him and started to make his way into the house and into his room to meet Linda
Linda was sitting in the swivel chair in Maxwell's room when Maxwell opened the door.
"What was that all about?", Maxwell asked immediately he entered the room and had Linda's attention. Just like in Alberta's situation, he was looking surprised by the way Linda reacted when she met Alberta.
"What was all what about?", Linda asked, pretending not to know what Maxwell was talking about.
"You being and acting all nice toward Alberta after swearing heaven and earth that she was a monster after I had told you about her, that's what", Maxwell said. "You barely know her but on meeting her for the very first time, you appeared all chatty and touchy", Maxwell added.
Linda appeared shocked by Maxwell's queries.
"I am sorry if you didn't like the way I spoke to her", Linda started. "I didn't know she was here and I didn't know what to say when I saw her coming out of your room; the room in which we just made love in less than 24 hours ago", Linda remarked.
"What is that supposed to mean?", Maxwell interjected.
"I am sorry if I appear to be nagging right now but I have my concerns too", Linda revealed.
"Which are?" Maxwell asked
"First off, this is a lady who has your child and there is no telling the kind of emotional attachment you still have going on for each other", Linda started. "Secondly...Secondly...Secondly..."
"What is it, Linda?", Maxwell asked trying to sound reassuring. "Maxwell I am scared", Linda said appearing very vulnerable. "What are you scared of?", Maxwell asked
"Judging from all the things I have heard her do when you are involved, it makes me scared that now that she has seen my face and it would be little wonder that she would also probably know that something is likely going on between the two of us, she can make me a target of hate or even worse", Linda revealed. "That makes me really scared”, Linda added. "Is that why you were trying to be extra nice towards her?", Maxwell queried. "Was it that obvious?", Linda asked. "I was taken aback by your reaction, honestly", Maxwell remarked.
"She would send her thugs after you and they would disfigure your face with their hefty punches", Maxwell teased. "Maxwell stop it!", Linda yelled. "You are scaring me", Linda added. "Weren't you the same person who was offering to give Alberta free beauty tips?", Maxwell enquired after he had laughed out loudly for a while.
"It was all part of being nice so she shouldn't flatter herself", Linda said. "Moreover, I was jealous too and I felt intimidated by her presence around you", Linda added. "You should have told her you were my girlfriend", Maxwell suggested. "Are you serious?", Linda asked. "She would have torn me up like the way a lioness tears up her prey", Linda added. "Did you see the look on her face when I introduced myself?", Linda asked. "I was also so scared that the two of you were going to brawl it out here so I didn't even take notice", Maxwell teased. "I can give you her phone number if you want so you can continue your beauty therapy chats on phone", Maxwell continued to tease as he started mentioning Alberta's phone number out loud.
"I can see that you are really enjoying yourself", Linda said. "Wait till you are in my shoes and you would understand", Linda added.
"Enough of this line of conversation", Linda said
"What shirt are you going to wear to Passione Global?", Linda asked. "I want to iron it for you while you take your bath in preparation for your big day", Linda said. Maxwell went into his wardrobe and pulled out a new shirt and handed it over to Linda. Maxwell grabbed his phone and called Raphael to get the team ready so they could meet up at the bus station.
After three and a half hours of deliberations and negotiations, the contract was finally fine-tuned and both parties; Maxwell and his team on one side and Passione Global on the other side had come to an agreement. The deal was signed and the terms and conditions were read out to all the people gathered in the room. Both parties signed a nondisclosure agreement and salaries were structured in a way that suited all the parties involved. Edwina, the beautiful receptionist was tasked to take the new team to their office and she was asked to get them to acclimatize themselves with the other teams that had already been contracted by Passione Global. As the team followed Edwina through the plush offices of their new company, they sized her up from behind and passed silent comments among each other.
"Maxwell, per the fact that you already have a son, it automatically means that you already have a wife which disqualifies you from having a go at this beautiful lady here", Raphael whispered into Maxwell's left ear. Rudolph and Frank were also slugging it out over who deserved a shot at getting to date Edwina. Edwina knew that she was pretty and she equally knew that men naturally fell over each other just to get her number but she took a particular liking for Maxwell; unknown to him and unknown to her that Maxwell's life was riddled with many issues.
Edwina took them round the offices of the other teams; six in number with Maxwell's group making the seventh, before ushering the boys into an already furnished office on the second floor.
"All the new teams start from this office and manage to work their way up, literally speaking", Edwina started. "That is how come Kaprisky, better known as team two is on the seventh floor", Edwina revealed. "Your movement would be solely based on your input so you have to hit the ground running", Edwina added. "You have all you need on the laptops on your desks which are not password protected for now", Edwina said. "I suggest you get to know how work is done around here and strategically plan on how you intend to complete the tasks that ate going to be assigned to you", Edwina explained. "It is a competition out here so don't think that any other team is your friend, you can be friends after work", Edwina reiterated.
"I would be rooting for your team and I hope to see what you have to bring to this company sooner rather than later", Edwina said. "Call any of the departments responsible if you need any form of assistance", Edwina said and pointed to a directory on the table. "And you have to come up with a group name", Edwina said. "Be sure to make it catchy", Edwina added before she asked to be excused.
Maxwell got all the boys to huddle up.
"This is the chance for us to prove what we have to offer as a team", Maxwell started. "We can do this because we have bright minds and brilliant ideas", Maxwell said.
"Let us work hard so we can play hard", Rudolph added.
"Let us not mix business with pleasure and by pleasure I mean the beautiful Edwina", Raphael added. "She is a beautiful distraction", Rudolph added. "Who knows, she might even be a mole", Raphael added and they all broke out in laughter.
"We are forgetting one very important thing", Frank cut in.
"Let us bow down our heads in prayer and commit all of this before our heavenly father because it is his doing", Frank added. All heads were bowed and there was a chorus of the popular 'Lord's prayer' before they sat down to begin their new venture.
That night when Maxwell left the office on his way home, he chanced upon Linda heading towards his house. "I was just going by your place to check if your grandmother needed any form of assistance", Linda said when Maxwell walked up to her. "That is a lie", Maxwell replied. "Okay, no need to argue over this, you got me", Linda said. "I have missed you and wanted to know if you were back and how your first day at work went", Linda revealed. "I knew it!", Maxwell said. "My day was splendid and we are looking to make headway soon", Maxwell said.
Linda was quiet all the way to Maxwell's gate. "What is the problem?", Maxwell asked when he finally noticed that Linda was acting unusually. "There is this thing that has been on my mind for some time now", Linda started.
"What is it this time?", Maxwell asked.
"Did you and Alberta officially break up before you went out with Nancy?", Linda asked. "Again, have you told Alberta that the two of you are not going to get married even though you have a child together?" "If you have, is Alberta cool with the idea and since you plan on taking your son away from her, do you think she will be willing to go down without a fight?", Linda enquired.
"I honestly might not have answers to all these questions but eventually, I believe everything will fall in its rightful place", Maxwell started. "I hope you know what you are doing because from the look of things, I don't think this is going to be an easy battle", Linda continued. "One more question", Linda said. "Ask", Maxwell confidently responded. "Ever since the birth of your son, have you been intimate with Alberta; I mean have the two of you made love afterwards?", Linda asked.
There was a long silence.
"No", Maxwell replied. "Not even once?", Linda pushed. "Even if we did, it would have been a long time ago and I was careful not to repeat any irresponsible act", Maxwell said. "I hope you are not offended by my curiosity", Linda said. "I am not", Maxwell said looking suspiciously at Linda before opening the gate to usher her into the house.
Three months had gone by while Maxwell and his team were at Passione Global. They named their team "The Dream Team". Through hard work and innovation, they had managed to move to the third floor, a step higher than where they began. The team on the third floor had been relegated to the second floor for consistent poor output. Edwina was delighted to break the news of the relocation to the dream team. Maxwell was so delighted. He had a lot to be thankful for. His family were on the road to recovery, he had resigned from a poorly-paid job and was now working at a place where he felt his salary was enough to cater for all he needed to do, he had managed to enroll his son in a good nursery school, he had won the heart of Linda and now his team had just been promoted. That night he proposed that the boys all go out to have fun after work which was unanimously agreed upon. That night, he called Linda to meet them up in town and she did dressed beautifully in a red gown bought for her by Maxwell. "I wanted to make tonight memorable so I wore this dress", Linda whispered into Maxwell's ear when he ushered her to her seat. Immediately Linda was seated, Maxwell's phone rang. It was a call from Alberta. Maxwell then remembered that he had forgotten to send Alberta some money like he promised a day before. "Hello, Alberta", Maxwell said after he had excused himself to answer the call. "I would send you the money first thing tomorrow morning when I get to town", Maxwell added to cut the conversation short because he knew Alberta was going to rant over the phone. He also broke the news of their promotion to her. "Congratulations", Alberta said. After a few exchange of words, Alberta cut in.
"Maxwell we need to talk, I think I am two months pregnant", Alberta revealed.
IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR MAXWELL?
MORE SOON AND I MEAN LITERALLY. MY NAME HAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE EDWIN OKO LAMPTEY. THIS HAS BEEN ANOTHER EPISODE OF "EVEN IF I DON'T FIND PEACE. STAY TUNED.
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