The Dean’s Office (Part 6)

Read Part 5 of the Dean’s Office

Dr. Smith hid a bottle of whisky in one of the cabinets in his office. This morning, he took some ice cubes from the freezer compartment of his tabletop fridge and put them in a mug. He preferred to drink from a mug to prevent any nosey colleague or student who may budge into the office from detecting the content. He poured the whisky, sat on the chair and placed his long legs on the table. He swirled the drink in the mug before gulping it down. He knew it was only 7:30 am and drinking on an empty stomach was not healthy but he couldn’t help it.

Shirley – the thoughts of that woman never seem to leave him. What started as a joke in the dean’s office is now gnarling at his whole being. He now yearns for her as he had never done before. This feeling is new to him. He hasn’t felt anything this strong for any woman. In the past, he deceived women to get what he ‘wanted’ but the feeling he is developing for his co-worker is new. It’s not only about her looks or the manner that she carries herself – there is something about her that he cannot point out. He wants her in a way that scares him and would not mind doing anything to get her. He does not doubt that he is in love with her. Someone’s wife.

Dr. Smith’s phone rang and interrupted his thoughts and speaking of the object of his fantasy,

“Hello, Shirley. I was thinking about you,” he said

“I hope they were good thoughts,”

“It depends on what you mean by good thoughts. Anyway, have you made any decision about my proposal? Is that why you’re calling?”

“I am calling to remind you that it’s your turn to facilitate tomorrow’s seminar for the graduate students,” she said.

“I know. I have it in my diary,”

“Great. Do you want to have dinner with me sometime next week? Will Monday be ok?”

Dr. Smith couldn’t believe his luck. He wasn’t expecting that. Was he hearing clearly? It’s a joke. Oh, Finally! Shirley is coming around.

“Wow! Of course. Of course,” he said

“So 5 pm, next week Monday, at the University’s Lodge. They have a new restaurant that serves only local dishes,”

“Yes, I know about it,”

“I have a surprise for you as well. Remember to look and smell nice,” Shirley laughed teasingly before hanging up.

“Whoop! Whoop!”

Dr. Francis Smith got up to do the victory dance. He couldn’t believe his luck.

***************

Sundays are used to be special. That was the only day in the week the family drove together in the same car – Shirley would be in the passenger seat, the children at the back and I will be driving them to church. The conversations were light and the gospel tunes played on the radio always serenaded the atmosphere while we made the half-hour journey.

I still haven’t gotten over what Shirley did to me the other day. The atmosphere was conducive for us to have gotten intimate till she came up with that lame excuse. She neither apologised nor said anything about the incident when she returned from work.

“That is my current favourite track,” Shirley said, reaching forward to increase the volume of the radio.

Ye obua mi, ye obua mi,” she sang along to Joe Mettle’s new tune with her eyes closed.

“Have you heard that song before?” she asked.

I kept my focus on the road and ignored her question. She caught the drift and kept mute with her question still hanging in the air. I clutched the steering wheel as I made the sharp turn. I am sure my jaws and knuckles were equally clenched. I stepped on the brakes abruptly when the church’s security team directed me to park. I got out of the car, waited for the children and escorted them to the Sunday School. When I returned, I didn’t bother looking for Shirley. On a regular Sunday, I would have preferred sitting right by her and during the sermon, I would hold her hand. Sometimes I passed comments about how nice her hair was or how pretty she looked. It was such a beautiful feeling but this Sunday is different. I’ve been hurt by her actions and I prefer to sit as far away from her as possible. If she wants to pretend everything is fine between us, that is ok. She should continue living in her dream. She has called for war and that is exactly what I am going to give her.

…….to be continued.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 5)

Read Part 4 of The Dean’s Office.

“Can you believe that? He proposed we start a relationship and if it works, I could leave Jimmy and get married to him,”

“What won’t I hear in this world?” Adwoa, my best friend asked.

“He is really attractive but his boldness scares me,” I said.

“I always hear that people with high IQs have some form of mental illness and this may be a classic case,” Adwoa said, in between laughs.

“Don’t say that,” I reprimanded but couldn’t stop laughing at her assumptions.

Adwoa and I have known each other since Senior High School. We were in the same house and dormitory but while I read Business, Adwoa was a Visual Arts student. We met again at the University and somehow found ourselves in the same Hall. Even though we’ve been best friends, Adwoa and I are as different as night and day. I have always been studious while Adwoa knew how to create the right balance – she studied when she had to and partied hard as well. She has been the life of every party and somehow managed to pull me along to most of the events she was invited to.

“We need to meet for lunch one of these days,” I heard Adwoa say.

“Yes. We need to.”

“I could come over to campus. We could go to the staff cafeteria. Who knows? We may bump into the sexy Dr. Smith who has been eyeing my m-a-r-r-i-e-d friend,” she said bursting into laughter once again.

“Don’t be like that, Adwoa,” I said feigning sadness and hoping Adwoa could catch the tone over the phone and stop teasing, “I could introduce you both. Two single crazy people.”

“I wouldn’t mind that at all. Let’s meet for lunch and make sure to introduce me to that hunk of yours,” Adwoa said.

“Sure. We’ll talk later,” I said and hanged up.

***************

“Oh Jimmy, you shouldn’t have gone through this length just to surprise me,” I said.

“It’s been a while since we did anything like this. You’ve been busy,” Jimmy said.

“I know and there was no need for you to remind me,”

“Ok. Haven’t you been busy? Anyway, let’s not spoil the moment with this argument – I only decided to surprise you with this brunch basket and what do we have here?” Jimmy asked as we walked around to the other side of the table to shift the cover of the cane basket to reveal its content.

“There are crepes, toasted bread, vegetable salad, ham, baguette, freshly squeezed orange and pineapple fruit juices, grapes, spicy chicken wings and what again do we have? Red velvet cake. Wow. I know you’re going to love this cake. There is enough to feed you and your colleagues. You don’t have to go out for lunch today,” Jimmy said.

“This is really beautiful and thoughtful. I truly appreciate it,” I said.

“Are you going to try any of the items in the basket or you are going to stand there and cry?”

He took the disposable knife and cut a thin slice of cake onto a plate and put it in front of me. He then walked quickly to the door to fasten the latch. Jimmy came around the desk to where I sat, bent over and gave me a kiss – gently at first. He held my hands and pulled me up towards him and kissed me again. He pulled me tighter into his arms and looked into my eyes.

“I miss you. I miss my wife. I miss this and I miss us,” he said almost breathlessly. He continued kissing me while his fingers frantically went behind me to locate the zip of my skirt. Realising what he had in mind, I quickly held the zip to prevent him from bringing it down.

“No Jimmy. Not here. Not in the office. My office. Anyone could walk in on us,” I said.

“But I have locked the door,” Jimmy said.

“But the dean has spare keys?”

Jimmy pulled back and stared at me bewildered.

“The dean has spare keys?” he repeated. “Does he go round opening the doors to offices of members of his staff? Are you even listening to yourself? Shirley. Too many excuses. You are either tired, not in the mood or giving lame excuses,”

“You don’t have to shout,”

“Yeah. I know. I won’t shout but I am so tired of your excuses,” Jimmy said while picking up his phone and car keys from my desk. He walked straight to the door, pulled the latch, looked at me once more and said,

“But the Dean has spare keys. Oh! Shirley,” and with those words, he walked out of the door.

I sat down in my chair, looked at the basket of goodies Jimmy had brought and started sobbing. No weeping was more of what I was doing.

“What was I thinking?”

…….to be continued.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 4)

Read Part 3 of the Dean’s Office.

“Those guys at the back. Yes – one is in a red shirt, the other is in a blue-checkered shirt and the third is in ermm – that should be black or is it a deep blue short sleeved shirt. Don’t look back. I’m talking to the three of you. What’s funny?” I asked.

“Madam, please it’s nothing,” the one in the blue-checkered shirt responded.

“Since the three of you are excited to be in my class this morning, I’m certain you have an answer to my question,” I said. “Explain the concept and features of Value-Base Management.”

After a little bit of hesitation, the one in the black short sleeves stood up.

“Madam, please, Value-Based Management (VBM) for short, is the management philosophy and approach that enables and supports maximum value creation in organisations, typically the maximum of shareholder value. VBM encompasses the processes for creating, managing and …”

“Awesome. That’s wonderful. I think this young man deserves a clap. What is your name?” I asked.

“Madam, please I am Nana,” he responded.

I could still hear some murmurings and giggles from his friends.

“I cherish students who take time to go through the course outline and read ahead of the class. Nana that is five (5) additional marks for class participation,”

“Thank you, madam,” he responded. He whispered something to his friends which drew more laughter from them.

“Some of you would never touch the course outline till it’s revision week and I am waiting to mark your exam scripts,” I said, attracting laughter from the entire class.

“You’re laughing. Don’t forget I’ve also been a student once and I’ve been lecturing for close to six years. I know what you do with my course outline and as Nana rightly described, Value-Based Management or VBM for short is a management philosophy…”

********************************

The Dean’s Office

“Do you not respond to calls or call back when you miss calls,” Francis enquired.

“Hello, Francis. What a nice way to acknowledge my presence.” I responded.

“Did your phone display my attempt at reaching you?” Francis continued.

“Who calls a married woman at 11 pm? Were you expecting me to respond? Besides, I did not save your number on my phone the other day. Let’s just assume I did not know it was you,”

“I take it that you do not answer calls from numbers you do not know. What if it’s an emergency?”

“What if my husband had answered the call? What would you have said it was? An emergency from a colleague at work? At 11 pm? Congratulations Dr. Smith. That was smart,” I said, beginning to lose my cool.

With that, I walked away leaving Francis on the corridor. I took the shortest route back to my office before causing a scene. Immediately I sat, I heard a knock on my door.

“Come in,” I said.

“It was not my intention to call so late but I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get thoughts of you out of my head. I find you attractive,” Francis began immediately he entered my office.

“Dr. Smith, what exactly do you want from me? ” I said with all the calmness I could gather.

“I would love to get to know you better if you would give me the chance,”

“Know me better? In what sense?”

“Is it possible for us to be fffriends? Which could lead into a relationship? Possibly?” he asked.

“Wow! Wow! That is enough. Can you leave my office?”

“We can start by getting to know each other better. I promise to behave myself till you decide whether you want to leave your husband and be with me or not,”

“This is the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard my entire life. Dr. Smith, please leave my office and I mean it this time,” I said, while I stood up to prepare to escort him out. The audacity. This man is too bold.

“I can’t seem to get you out of my mind. Just think about my proposal and give me a call when you have a response,” Dr. Smith said before leaving my office.

…….to be continued.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 3)

Read Part 2 of the Dean’s Office

“Your phone is ringing,” I heard Jimmy from the bathroom.

“Please, who is it?” I shouted back.

“The number is not saved on your phone but Truecaller says it’s F. Smith,”

“Why would he be calling me this late?” I asked, more to myself than to Jimmy.

“Who is that?” Jimmy shouted, “Should I answer?”

I quickly dashed to the bedroom and almost snatched the phone from Jimmy’s hands. He looked up surprised.

“No, you do not need to answer that,” I said, almost out of breath.

The call went off before I could decide on whether to answer or not and when I looked up, Jimmy still had the surprised look on his face.

“Did you have to snatch the phone like that? Who was that and why was he/she calling you this late?”

“It’s nobody you know and I am not really sure of the identity of the caller. Truecaller does not always get the id right,” I answered as I regulated the temperature of the air condition, turned off the bedside lamp, went under the covers and prepared to go to sleep.

“Ok,” Jimmy said, not sounding convinced. I heard the ruffling of the sheets and felt him draw a little closer to me. He raised himself a little and kissed me gently. I felt his hand on my thigh too.

“Not tonight, dear. I feel so exhausted and I have a long day tomorrow,” I said.

“It’s been long since we got intimate,”

“I am sorry but I will make it up to you. I promise,”

I gave him a peck on the forehead and turned to face the wall.

Ha! Francis. That man is shady. Calling me at 23:00 GMT. I wonder what he wants. The last time in my office, he said he only passed by to see my pretty face and to take my phone number. How weird? Even though I acted annoyed, I felt flattered. That man has the guts and is not afraid to show it. I can still remember the smell of his perfume.

Oh, sleep! Where are you?

*************************************

The Dean’s Office

Waking up early to attend lectures as early as 7:30 am is not fun, especially when the taps are not running. We either have to carry our buckets to the ladies part of the hall to fetch water or go for the lecture without taking our baths. Boys do not complain much when they have to go through this ritual, on Tuesdays, when Dr. Osei is taking Corporate Finance.

“That woman is fine. Her! I swear,” Nana said, while we made our way from the ladies side of the hall to the bathroom.

“She pretends to be strict but I know underneath that show she puts up, she is all soft like wool,” Kojo responded

“She is so pretty and could easily pass for one of our mates in Level 200,” Percy added, when they had all started to take their baths.

“It’s her natural hair for me,” Keli commented.

“I think she is the whole package that is why I am putting in extra effort to not only pass her exam but to make it onto her honours’ list. You know she takes the two best students in her class for dinner each semester,” Nana said dreamily.

“I hear she is married with about five kids or so. Make sure you are not entertaining any thoughts,” Percy reminded Nana.

“That is not my problem. I could be her side guy or even a servant in her house so I could gaze at her beauty every single day,” Nana said while rubbing his hand on his belly and licking his lips at the same time.

His friends burst out laughing.

“Isn’t she the reason you all picked your buckets, walked several kilometres to fetch water just to look fresh? If it was a male lecturer, would you all have gone to these lengths?” Nana asked.

This drew more laughter from the friends.

“Masa (Master), it’s true that the woman is fine but we all don’t have a crush on her like you. Yours is not even a crush, you have fallen for her,” Kojo said in between laughs.

“But Charlie guys! Through fair of foul means, I need to make it onto that list. I will not only make it onto that list but will go further to be her side guy. In fact, who will come make we bet?” Nana asked.

…….to be continued.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 2)

Read part 1 of the Dean’s Office.

Our home hasn’t been the most peaceful in recent times. It started when Shirley took that senior lecturing role at the University. The money she earns is not bad but we miss her presence at home – the kids and me. It was not as if we were doing terribly -financially- before she took that role. We were comfortably living on my salary and no one complained but you know women,

“Oh Jimmy, I need to progress further in my career. I can’t live on your earnings alone. I need to support the house too,” she said.

I knew a lot of lecturers who had very flexible work schedules and spent most of their waking moments consulting for firms but not Shirley. She is always the first to leave the house and the last to return at night. Her excuses were numerous,

“Oh. You know the Accra traffic – I needed to beat it,”

“The children can be a nuisance at times and my office is the most conducive for the articles I am reviewing,”

The children. They keep asking of their mother who is extremely busy beating all the traffic in Accra. I missed those days when she had no job in any formal setting. During that period, we had no business thinking of employing any helps for the house.

Now my advice for men who are doing extremely well – don’t let the women work, especially when the kids are still young. If she pretends to be angry, let her be. She will get over it in no time. Don’t fall for the, “Oh! I need to support the house” mantra.

“Jimmy, things will get better in no time,” Shirley reassures me whenever I start complaining about the limited time she spends with the family. As to when the situation would improve, I have no idea.

You know what? Now I need a drink.

*******************

This morning, I couldn’t help but reminisce over how drastically my life has changed. From an unemployed graduate and a mother of three, who solely relied on her husband’s income while spending every waking moment writing applications, praying over them and sending them out without any response. This happened until one of my former roommates encouraged me to apply for a scholarship which I did. Jimmy, my husband, had been the only stumbling block but I managed to push him aside.

The journey has not been easy thus, when I sit in my brand new Mazda CX -30, driving around campus, I know I deserve every bit of goodness that is coming my way. I could sometimes feel the stares of not only the students but members of faculty who probably do not understand what I have been through and I am determined to rise through the ranks. Being a professor wouldn’t be enough. Professor Emerita? Possibly.

A knock on my door jostled me out of my daydream.

“Come in,” I said.

“Dr. Osei, please my name is Bernice. I am having issues with the topic I chose for my long essay. I cannot seem to find any articles to review,” she said.

“That is why I keep repeating that you students need to start the literature review before settling on a topic. What if no one has written on that subject? Are you going to spend your remaining three months in school creating something new?” I asked.

Another knock interrupted our conversation and before I could respond to it, Dr. Francis Smith, looking all manly, walks into my office without an invitation.

“Erm,” I said looking at the student.

“Bernice,” she offered.

“Yes. Bernice. Kindly write the topic you have chosen here. Add your phone number and email address and I will get in touch with some ideas, ok?”

“Thank you, Madam. Eh. Dr. Osei,” she responded and hurriedly run out of the office.

“Great. And how can I be of help to you, Dr. Smith?” I asked while finally focusing all of my attention on him. Dr. Smith looked exceptionally handsome in his neatly sewn multi-coloured African print shirt with navy-blue pants that fitted him so well. The sleeves were short enough to show his proportionately built muscles. With my desk separating the two of us, he bent over a little which gave me a glimpse of his hairy chest. I could smell his perfume too.

“Ahem,” I cleared my throat rather loudly, “do you mind taking a seat, Dr. Smith.”

He did, rather reluctantly.

“You showed me how to get to your office but forgot to add your phone number,”

“So you came all the way here for my phone number?” I asked in disbelief.

“And to see your pretty face as well,” he added with a smile.

“Excuse me?” I replied. Not sure if I heard him correctly.

…….to be continued.

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The Dean’s Office (Part 1)

I know movies can be dramatic and are designed to entertain us.

“This scene is unrealistic,”

“That is too much of a coincidence,”

“The world is too large for these two to keep meeting,”

These are some of the commentary my brain runs when I sit to watch movies.

I had never set my eyes on him until the dean introduced us during one of the faculty meetings. He was tall, fair and properly dressed in a coffee brown Italian, slim-fit suit, a white shirt underneath and brown shoes to match. He seemed to have good taste in fashion.

“Dr. Osei, meet Francis Smith(PhD). He is the newest addition to the Business School. He will lecture in Finance,” the dean said.

“Pleased to meet you, Dr. Smith,” I said with my hands lifted to meet his in a firm handshake.

The two of us sat across the dean to discuss the course structure. We were still going to lecture for ten weeks, conduct interim assessments, give the students one project work to be executed in a group and finally examine them at the end of semester.

“I am glad you will be working together to make this semester a successful one,” the dean said. “But Francis, keep it strictly professional. She is definitely not your type and she is married.”

The dean said while sharing a hearty laugh with Dr. Smith.

I couldn’t tell how far their friendship went but I was simply not interested in where this joke was headed.

I packed my notebook into my bag and quickly made my way to the door of the dean’s office.

“Let’s just say I haven’t grown out of my boyish desires,” I heard Dr. Smith respond with another loud laughter which rang through the office and was followed by another handshake.

This Francis guy or Dr. Smith was good looking and God knows he looked great in that suit. Many women would definitely kill to date him but who really is Dr. Francis Smith?

*******************

My sense of style cannot be described as classy or chic or trendy. I dress to feel comfortable and on regular days, I wear my African print dresses and my natural hair is always pulled up in a bun.

Today, I am dressed in a crisp white long sleeves with a navy blue body con skirt and a three-inch high heel. This is how I dress whenever I needed to represent the Business School at meetings off-campus. The dean offered me his spot at a high level meeting with some government officials and I had to look, act and speak the part. No wonder most of the participants wanted to interact with me right after the meeting.

I needed to grab some breakfast from the Senior Staff Cafeteria before heading over to the dean’s to debrief.

“There you are,”

A voice behind me made me turn and it belonged to no other than Dr. Smith. What do they say about coincidences again?

“Hi,”

“I haven’t set my eyes on you since we had that meeting at the dean’s office. We’re supposed to work together, you know,”

His eyes moved from my face, down to my little cleavage and they rested on my skirt before making their way to my eyes again.

“You could have have simply asked the dean for that information,” I said.

“You know, why don’t we sit at the table in the corner and have a little chat. The waitress could serve us,” he said.

“Second floor, Lecture Theatre 5, Room 7. You can find me there,” I said quickly while picking my meal and leaving the cafeteria.

…..to be continued

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