“Do you mind if I sit?”
“Please have a seat,” She gestured at the vacant chair in front of her desk.
“Can I take you out to dinner this weekend?” Soji asked nervously.
“Yes, I’ll be free.” She replied with a smile.
“How does Saturday sound? 6pm?”
“Okay, that’d be nice.”
Soji flashed a dazzling smile before he walked out of her office. Sherri had sworn to herself to never get romantically involved with a colleague, but Soji was a cool guy. She had never caught him gossiping like her other male colleagues. He is always punctual and keeps to himself most of the time. Plus, he is also good looking.
On Saturday evening, Soji picked her up and drove her to a new Chinese restaurant in Maryland. He drove into the parking lot, parked the car and walked round to open the door for her. They walked the short distance to the restaurant and he held the door open for her.
He’s such a gentleman! She thought.
When they got to their table, Soji pulled out a chair and waited for her to sit before he did.
“Waiter!” Soji yelled.
Sherri grimaced when several heads turned in their direction. A waiter in a gray and white uniform came over to their table.
“Good evening, ma’am and sir, what would you like to have?”
“What’s the most expensive wine you have? Bring it.” Soji said, perusing the menu, “I’d like the seafood platter please.”
“What do you want for appetizers?” The waiter asked.
“Appetizers?” Soji chuckled, “Don’t bring appetizers.”
“What would you like to have, ma’am?”
“Give her the sweet and sour chicken with fried rice.” Soji cut her off.
Sherri eyed him, “But I’d like to have….”
“The sweet and sour chicken will be nice, babe.” Soji insisted, waving the waiter off.
Sherri tried to stay calm, she felt a hint of frustration brewing inside her, she had never gone on a date where someone else ordered for her.
Soon, their meals arrived, a large seafood platter for him and medium sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice for her. She picked at her food while he devoured his food as if he hadn’t eaten for days. She was appalled because she didn’t expect to see this part of him. Soji opened the wine, poured himself a glass and downed it. Then he poured some into her glass and refilled his.
“Babe, tell me about yourself,” he said, licking off his fingers.
“I’m from a family of…”
“Maybe I should go first.” He cut her off and started to talk about his family.
Sherri was grateful when Adenike, the head of HR, approached their table.
“Hi,” Sherri replied.
“I came to dinner with my husband, and I saw you two across the room. Are you on a date?”
“No!” Soji cried.
“Yes,” Sherri said.
Adenike looked from Soji to Sherri and smiled, “Enjoy your date, bye.”
Adenike walked away from their table.
Sherri had had enough of Soji and just wanted to go home.
“Can you take me home, please?”
“Why? We just got here.” Soji frowned.
“I don’t feel well. Please, take me home.”
“Where’s that waiter? Come here!” Soji yelled.
The waiter came over to their table.
“Can we have our bill?”
The waiter handed him a printed itemized receipt.
Soji slid out his debit card, “Babe, where’s your card? Let’s play the credit card game.”
“It’s a game where people, mostly friends, brings out their credit or debit card and shuffles it. Then the waiter pulls out a card which is used to pay the bills.”
“Wow.” Sherri eyed him, “And you want us to play it now?”
“Yes, bring out your card.”
Sherri slipped out her debit card from her purse and placed it on the table. Soji picked it up and shuffled the cards. Then he closed his fists and asked the waiter to choose one. Sherri wasn’t surprised when the waiter chose her debit card. However, she was shocked when she saw the debit alert.
“N50,000?” She cried, snatching up the food receipt. The wine was N25 000, the seafood platter was N15,000, while her meal was the least amount on the ticket.
“Their meals are worth that price.” Soji grinned at her.
Sherri was too upset to reply, but the biggest shocker came on Monday morning. She received an email from HR informing her of the company’s dating policies; employees were not allowed to have a romantic relationship as long as they are on the company’s payroll.
Soji also got the email because he came into her office.
“Hi Sherri, can you believe the nonsense HR sent to me?” Soji huffed, “What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t understand.” Sherri glared at him, “There’s no we. We only went on one date.”
“No, babe, we don’t have to stop seeing each other because of company policy. Did you read it till the end? There’s a part that says one of us could resign and the other could stay. I want you to be my woman, Sherri. If you quit your job, we can continue to see each other.”
Sherri stormed to the door and opened it, “Get out!”
“Get out! I regret going on that stupid date with you!”
Soji threw her a dirty look before he sauntered out of her office. Sherri was so upset, but she couldn’t help laughing at how ridiculous the situation was. First, it was the silly credit card game, and now he wants her to quit her job? Lesson learnt, next time, she won’t have any expectations, she won’t ‘judge the book by it’s cover’ because, there will never be another ‘Soji’ experience, if she can help it.