Kammara Onochie had her life going exactly in the direction she wanted it—love, career and a solid sense of self, all in their right places.
Eyes poring over the words on the Advanced Management Accounting manual in front of her, her pen swept swiftly across the half-filled notepad as she took notes. With the lecturer absent, she intended to put in an hour and half study before heading home.
She’d settled for accounting when she couldn’t get into the actuarial science department at the time she was seeking admission into the University of Lagos. While it wasn’t her original career choice, it now paid the bills, earned her a fair amount of respect when she introduced herself as an accountant and was going to secure her the managerial position she had her heart set on when she passed the ICAN exams and was inducted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
She would have preferred an induction into the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria after writing their exams, if Capital Investment, the financial management company she worked for, had agreed to her request of a year’s study leave with pay. But the human resources manager, in his usual blunt manner, had told her she would be losing her job if she insisted on a study leave, even without pay.
It was blatant discrimination as senior staff members openly enjoyed that privilege. But when you had a vision, and understood your set goals, you chose your battles carefully and swallowed whatever else you considered maltreatment.
She turned a page on the manual, was about to do the same to her notepad when an odd prickling sensation shivered down her back at the same time as the muscles of her neck stiffened.
Unnerved by the sense of being watched, and a little irritated at it, Kammara turned her head and wasn’t surprised to find Damian Adili’s gaze locked on her. He was three tables away and his eyes were piercing with an intense expression.
He raised two fingers in a peace-sign greeting, his mouth curling with a friendly smile. “Hey. Reading?”
The hand gesture and the stupid question added to the sight of him in overly-fitted clothing showing off ridiculously bulging muscles, aggravated Kammara even more.
“Yes, reading,” she said, rolled her shoulders to push off lingering unease and returned her attention to her books.
She didn’t like Damian Adili, hadn’t from the first weekend he joined their lecture centre six weeks ago. He worked as an accounting officer at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, was good looking despite the heavy-weight-lifting muscles and was friendly enough.
Friendly if you eliminated the fact that he acted self-important most of the time, made sexist remarks he called jokes and sometimes watched her in the unnerving way she just caught him doing.
“I was reading too but something distracted me.”
Kammara gritted her teeth. Now he wanted to chat.
“What are you reading?”
His chair scraped against the tiles, a book snapped close and his footsteps padded in her direction.
“Cost-volume-profit analysis.” She didn’t raise her head and with her tone aloof, she hoped a cold shoulder would deter him.
But of course it didn’t.
“It’s a tough one, isn’t it? I was reading it at the office, but just couldn’t understand it.” He lodged himself on the chair beside her. “Maybe you can explain it to me.”
He’d overused his perfume and he was leaning too close. Both actions annoyed and threatened to suffocate her.
Kammara lifted her head to pin a cold stare on him. “I’m sorry, Damian, but I’ve no wish to chat. I only stayed back to read and would appreciate the privacy to do so.”
“Oops, I’m sorry I interrupted you. I wasn’t concentrating and figured you weren’t too since you were looking at me.”
“I wasn’t looking at you. I sensed an uneasy stare, turned and found your gaze on me. But all of that is pointless argument, so if you will go back to your seat, I’ll get back to my study.”
“I’m good here,” he said with a lazy shrug and a wink.
“Suit yourself. Just don’t talk to me.”
He shook his head, drew a zipping line across his lips.
Asshole! Kammara cursed, then recalled the Advanced Taxation manual she’d been forced to loan him the weekend before after he’d persistently begged for it.
“By the way, are you done with the manual I gave you?”
He grinned. “You’re talking to me. Women usually say one thing and mean another, don’t they?”
Her temper sparked, but she wasn’t going to debate women and stupid generalisations with him. “Are you done with the manual, Damian?”
“You like to act tough, don’t you, Kammy?” he said, and chuckled as if the question was a joke. “Yeah, I’ve made my own copy. It was voluminous, but I got it done and had the booklet bound.”
“May I have it back now you’re done?”
“Sorry, I forgot it at home.”
He didn’t look sorry. He looked smug and amused.
“Bring it tomorrow.”
“I will try to remember. Anyway, since you have broken your rule and we’re chatting, how about we go grab a drink somewhere?”
“No, thank you.” Kammara gathered her books and shoved them into her backpack. Since he’d ruined her plan to read, she was getting out of there.
“Because I said no.”
“Or is it because of your boyfriend? He doesn’t have to know, you know.”
“I said no because I’m not interested in having a drink with you, Damian. If you will excuse me, I’m heading home.”
The apology surprised her, and so did his contrite expression. “As long as we understand each other, it’s all right. Please, don’t forget the manual tomorrow.”
“I won’t. I apologise again and request that you stay. You planned to study and should do it.” He slung his backpack over his shoulder. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Kammy.”
“So it is.” Like a lightning flash, his rueful smile vanished and was replaced by a smirk. “See you tomorrow, Kammara.”
Annoying jerk! She couldn’t wait for lectures here to end, so she’d never have to see him again.
Her phone rang and with a sigh she pulled it out of the side pocket of her backpack. Then her heart gave a delicious jump at the caller id.
Relaxing back on her chair, she said in a low, seductive voice. “Hey, you.”
“Hey, beautiful. Are you done for the day?”
“I was planning to read awhile before heading home.”
“Good plan, but you will allow me to ruin it, won’t you?”
“When you talk in my ear in that deep, alluring voice, I’m almost tempted to allow you ruin my life.”
He laughed. And the rolling sound sent a tingle all the way to her toes. “I don’t want to ruin your life, only make it better. I’m hoping that begins with dinner this evening.”
“You made plans for us to have dinner? That’s a lovely surprise.”
“I know it’s short notice, but I hoped it will be. Jumbo is outside waiting to drive you home. He will wait for you to dress up and then drive you over.”
“Wow, you did go all out with this. Where are we going?”
“You will see. So it’s yes?”
“Definitely yes since Jumbo is here already. Also yes because you’ve got me intrigued by this secret venue.”
“Great. See you soon. I love you.”
“I love you.”
Anticipation buzzing, she slipped the phone back in her backpack and raced out of the lecture hall.
While the Police are investigating the death of a serial rapist, Kammara struggles with the trauma of being violated… JUST DESERTS… Coming Soon!