Kome pressed the big, cuddly teddy bear against her breasts, exhaled lustily and blinked her eyes open. Her brown eyes focused on the teddy bear and she beamed adoringly at it.
“Morning, Ted.” She murmured, her voice soft and still sleepy. “Had a good night?”
The dark brown eyes of the woolly bear stared steadily back at her.
“I did.” Kome leaned down her head and gave it a peck on its plastic nose. Then she exhaled again. “It would have been a more satisfying night if your hairy arms were bigger, and real.”
She gave the bear another peck and pushed out of the big, comfy bed. “It’s thank-God-it’s-Friday, Ted, think anything unique would happen today?”
She tossed off her frill nightwear and sent a narrowed eye at the teddy bear. “Nothing special about thank-God-it’s-Friday, huh?” She gave her head a shake and bounced off to her closet. Which was a full room of its own. “You wouldn’t be so snooty if you were human, and mostly alone on Friday nights. Uh-uh, my dear fellow, you wouldn’t be so Ted-is-above-it if you had no one to hit the clubs with, jiggle a little and cuddle the rest of the night away.”
She pulled out a Ralph Lauren dress suit. When people dressed down on Fridays, she preferred to remain formal. It was one of the many odd things about her, and she loved her many oddities.
“What do you think of this suit?” She framed it against her body and turned to Ted. “More to the point, what do you think Theodore would think about this suit?”
Ted, the big, lifeless, woolly bear stared at her without a word.
Kome pursed her lips and looked down at the colour of beige hanging down her front and stopping at her knees. “Beige is too close a colour to magnolia, right? Maybe he will think I have no imagination at all repeating colours.” She narrowed her eyes and pondered the matter. “Then again, he’s a man and they’re mostly colour blind—unless they are artistic in nature.” She inhaled and un-pursed her lips. “Would he notice me today and maybe say something, Ted? Something other than ‘you look amazing as usual, Kome’? That’d be nice.” Her voice, her eyes, turned wistful. “That’d be wonderful.”
That’d be wishing for the moon, her head, the over-logical unromantic membrane, told her.
Kome let out a sigh and walked to the bed to dump the suit. It was wistful thinking pining for a man who’d never find the courage to ask her out. Who’d think they were worlds apart even if he found the courage. The snag about life was that when everyone thought you had everything, you actually have nothing. You have nothing when the one thing you’ve always secretly dreamed of, stood right in front of you and you just can’t snap it up and own it.
Six-feet-one, two hundred and sixty pounds full-bodied man.
She’d known his measurements from a game she’d seen on his page when she’d accepted his friend request on Facebook seven months ago. That was right after they’d collided in the elevator and he’d helped her pick all her odds and ends for her first day of resumption as the new Managing Director of DAC Consulting.
He’d been so apologetic. So sympathetic at her fall back against the ground floor wall. So gentle when reassuring her he’d been the one in the wrong—though she’d been the one too nervous to see where she was going. And he’d been this tall, huge, cocoa-brown dark-skinned man, with a baby-face that was smooth, wide and attractive. And a personality that was gentle, unassuming and completely endearing.
He’d been a real life teddy bear. So big, so chubby, so cuddly—and she’d fallen for that look.
She’d always longed for big, chubby and cuddly in a man. Her mother had been big, chubby and cuddly, and she had loved her, believed in her and protected her. Then she had gone from her before her tenth birthday and though she had had her father and then her step-mum, who’d been the closest thing to another mum, she’d lost her big, chubby, cuddly hero and she’d, from then on, pined for one again.
She’d met a lot of big guys, and ladies, in her growing years from ten to twenty-eight, but she’d never met one who had the nicest shy smile, the smoothest deep voice and the kindest, gentle eyes like she’d seen on Theodora Malik’s face that odd Monday morning in January.
She’d found big, chubby and cuddly again. But she was too beautiful, too rich, too unattainable for him to really talk to her. Yes, people looked at you and thought you had everything but the truth was that she had nothing, if she didn’t have Theodore Malik.
Kome stepped out of the adjoining bathroom back into her bedroom and ditched the towel. She’d never had the rich-spoilt-girl upbringing that people liked to believe every girl from an affluent home did. Her father believed in hard work and in earning your place. Her mother had taught her to sweep their house and wash the dishes, despite the house workers that milled about the place, before her death. And her step-mum was a regular disciplinarian, who never spared the rod—which was her tough words and a good many weeks of grounding—when it came to her three children and her two step-children.
So money and opportunities may have been a-plenty, but she’d worked hard to earn every penny and every chance accorded her. Like having to head DAC Consulting, which was the smallest unit of all her father’s massive conglomerate.
Make-up on, Kome walked to the bed, slipped on the dress and its jacket and walked back to the long-length mirror to view herself.
She looked like any regular woman gifted with a pretty face, Kome thought as her head canted to one side in her perusal. Maybe she’d be more appealing to a man like Theodore of she possessed more skin on her flesh. If only she wasn’t stick-slim like her father was and had snagged some curves from her mother.
“Size-zero might be en-vogue, Ted, but that is only on the runways in America and Europe.” She sighed and sent a grimacing look at her ever-silent teddy bear. “Here in Africa, men may have started appreciating the fanciness of the slim willowy look, but they still want a woman well-equipped and perfectly curved.” She stepped back from the mirror and made a beeline for her closet to grab her handbag. “Eight is still the number for the right-figured woman, Ted. And that, my dear fellow, is not my number.”
She turned out the lights in her bedroom, stepped out and locked the door. Her father believed in securing things, and that had rubbed off on her. She pounded down the stairs, moving faster than she usually did on heels. That told her she was a little nervy and Kome knew it was because she was already worrying about not running into Theodore at the parking lot as she’d done yesterday.
She’d had to do many overtakes that could have bundled her out of the highway if her guardian angel wasn’t smiling down at her to achieve that chance meeting at the parking lot. And she’d have been rewarded too if that darned head of security hadn’t chosen that moment to confide in her about his niece who was looking for an IT placement. At least, she’d hoped she would have been rewarded, Kome thought with a sniff, and waved to her security guard before backing into the street.
Maybe she’d be rewarded today.
But she didn’t make the parking lot chance meeting. Kome secured the locks on the GLC and turned to walk into the Union Marble House building with her martyr look on her face. So much for getting rewarded.
She was turning right to the other row of elevators when her side-eye captured him. Her heart did its usual Theodore-is-here jump-about and then settled down again even as she changed curse and turned left to his side.
He was in blue jeans, a tucked-in striped shirt, red vest and a camel-hair blazer. And he was huggable!
“Kome!” He startled, spun his head around and stared at her with those dark brown gentle eyes. “Ah… morning. Kome. You’re here.”
“I am.” She smiled. She usually kept it soft and friendly, but today she beamed it. “Looks like the elevator is slow in coming down.” It could get stuck upstairs for all she cared.
“Might be. But you could use the private one.” Theodore gave a nod in the direction of the smaller, private elevator.
“Let’s leave that to the big guys on the ninth floor.” She found that elevator a little stifling anyway. “Ah, I think it’s coming down now. Must have heard my complaint and decided to behave.” She laughed. Not too enthusiastically, she hoped.
“It’s a wise elevator then.” Theodore smiled and then adjusted to allow her in first before entering into the elevator himself. “Thank God it’s Friday—don’t usually say it, or think about it, but I sure I’m glad the week is finally over today.”
“Big plans tomorrow?” Please say yes and invite me along, Kome silently, and crazily, prayed.
“Actually none.” He shifted to the side of the elevator and left a large room between them. “It’s just been a hectic week and I’m just gunning for it to be over. I probably will sleep all day tomorrow… which probably is not good for me. For my size, at any rate.” He added with a goofy laugh.
“I think your size is just fine, Theodore.” Kome said softly.
“You do?” Theodore’s eyes went round as he stared at her.
“We don’t all have to be straight-line, sticky-slim.” She smiled and took a sideways inch closer. “God made us all to have different colours, shapes and sizes for a reason.”
His mouth joined the eyes in going round and Kome decided his full lips would feel soft and warm just as the rest of him would feel when kissed.
“Of course, he did.” She took another sideways inch closer. The space between them became smaller. “And we all actually like different things. Some like lean and lithe, others like heavy on muscles and built and some others like…”
The ping sound of the elevator went off and it groaned to a stop and opened on the fourth floor. A young man in a company’s T-shirt and black jeans trousers entered and quickly offered greetings with a generous dip of his head.
The respectful salutation did nothing for Kome’s exasperated impatience as the elevator groaned and restarted its bump upwards. Will she ever have a moment alone with him without inconveniencing people intruding on them and ruining everything?
She was now standing close to him, thanks to her quickly sidestepping when the over-polite T-shirt young man entered the elevator. But their standing at the closest range they’ve ever had didn’t make a dime difference, not when they couldn’t continue with their conversation and he was now staring at her in what was obviously astonishment with his still round eyes.
She’d wanted to tell him that some liked big and chubby, and she’d probably would have told she was one of those who liked that type. She’d have found a way to, Kome thought and swallowed another impatient sigh when the elevator groaned to a stop on the fifth floor, picked two people this time and continued bumping upwards.
“I… ah… I guess this is my stop.” Theodore gave her a wobbly smile as the elevator shuddered to a stop on the seventh floor. “I… um…”
Please don’t step out without saying something like ‘want to have a drink this weekend, Kome?’, Kome desperately prayed and beamed her sweetest smile.
“Um, you have a good day, Kome.” Theodore stepped off the elevator. “And a good weekend.”
Her hope squashed, as it had done many times. “You two, Theodore.” Kome said softly.
The elevator dumped her on the eighth floor but there wasn’t a smile on her lips when she stepped out and made for her office.
She wasn’t going to get back her big, chubby, cuddly hero, not if Theodore Malik never says anything other than polite statements to her.
And he wasn’t going to say anything other than that, not when she was Kome Douglas, Managing Director, DAC Consulting and daughter of millionaire business man, Collins A. Douglas.
Wishes were lucky they weren’t horses, or she’d have ridden them to their death.