An Unexpected Surprise

Velma stood there in the restaurant’s waiting area for her date when she spotted Tadeas. He was alone. Her eyes traveled over his tall frame. He looked very sharp in his suit over the black tee shirt.

He spotted her and after a slight hesitation, he went over to her. It was the first time since they worked together that he saw her outside of the office. She looked so different. Usually, she was dressed in blouses and skirts or skirt suits, sometimes pant suits but now she was wearing a dress with fine straps and it was knee length. She had a jacket draped over her right shoulder.

“Hello, Mr. Gray,” she said when he reached her.

“Hello,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Her chin lifted just a fraction higher. “Why not, Mr. Gray? Is it because this is a fancy restaurant, not the kind you would expect to see me in?”

His face flushed. “No, that’s not what I meant,” he muttered tightly. “And I wish you wouldn’t keep addressing me as Mr. Gray.”

“It’s your name, isn’t it?”

“Everyone else calls me Tadeas. Why can’t you?”

“No reason, I guess. If you prefer me to call you by your first name, I will do so.”

“I would prefer it, yes. It’s less formal and I will no longer feel like the oddity in the department.”

“That’s interesting. Somehow, I always got the impression that you didn’t care about what other people thought.”

“I don’t but I don’t like being the only person in the department whom you address so formally. I’m sure everyone else finds it strange.”

“I’m sorry if I have offended you. That wasn’t my intention at all. I will drop the Mr. because I don’t want to seem too formal and distant with you compared to rest of the employees.”

“I thought perhaps it was because of who my father is.”

“No, this has nothing to do with him any more than hiring you did.”

“I want you to know that I don’t expect any special treatment because of him.”

“Good, because you’re not going to get it.”

He bristled at her bluntness. “You don’t like me, do you?”

“What makes you think that?”

“I don’t know. Whenever we interact, I get the feeling that you don’t particularly like me.”

“I can say the same thing about you, Mr–Tadeas.”

“What do you mean?” he asked warily.

“I don’t think you like me. It’s obvious in your manner towards me. I bet you wish you hadn’t run into me this evening.”

“As I said, I didn’t expect to see you.”

“So, are you here alone or are you meeting someone?”

“I’m meeting someone. Something came up and she asked me to meet her here.”

“Is this the date you had to break last night because I asked you to work late?”


“So, it all worked out, then.”



He still couldn’t get over how different she looked. “Are you waiting for someone?”

“Yes. Oh. He just walked in.” She waved at someone behind him.

A few minutes later a tall, muscular African man joined them. He smiled at her before leaning over to kiss her on the cheek. Then, he turned to Tadeas. “Hello.”

Velma introduced them. “Akello, this is Tadeas. We work together. Tadeas, this is Akello, a very good friend of mine.” The two men shook hands and exchanged greetings.

“Will you be joining us?” Akello asked Tadeas.

“No. I’m waiting for my date.”

“I hope you don’t have to wait much longer,” Velma said.

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“I’m sure she’ll be here shortly.”

“Enjoy your dinner,” she said.”

“Thank you. You too.”

“It was a pleasure meeting you,” Akello told him.

“Likewise.” He watched them go. Was Akello really just a good friend? He felt a tap on his back and turned around. It was Briony.

“Hi,” she said. “I hope I didn’t have you waiting long.”

“No. I arrived about ten minutes ago. It’s good to see you.”

She smiled. “It’s good to see you too. You look very handsome.”

“Thank you. And you look lovely. Shall we go in?” he extended his arm. They went over to the hostess who showed them to their table. As he held out Briony’s chair, he glanced around the restaurant until he spotted Velma and her date.

Velma glanced up from her menu and their eyes met. He stood there staring at her until Akello said something to her and she looked away. Nonplussed, Tadeas sat down opposite Briony.

The waitress went over and handed them menus. “Would you like to order now or take a few moments?”

“We’ll take a few moments,” Tadeas told her.

“What about drinks? Would you like to order them now?”

“Sure. What will you like to drink?” he asked Briony.

“I’ll have the Paper Moon,” she said with a laugh.

“And I’ll have the Rocking Horse.”

“This is a really nice place,” Briony remarked after the waitress left.

“Yes, it is,” he agreed. He studied the menu.

For starters, they had the Bang Bang chicken, peanut chili sauce and sesame and for the main, he had the The Ivy shepherd’s pie, classic or with Mayfield cheese while she had the Cauliflower Masala, saffron pilau rice, kachumber salsa vg. As they ate, they talked about different things.

“What time did you end up working until yesterday?” she asked.

“Until 9. I was tired but I got the ad layout done and my boss was very impressed with it.”

“That’s great. And you met the deadline.”

“Yes. My boss is actually here having dinner with a friend.”


“Yes. I bumped into her before her date showed up.”

“I think I saw them leaving just as I walked in. Do you and she get along well?”

“We don’t particularly like each other.”

“That’s a shame.”

“We can’t like everyone.”

“I guess not. Oh, well. Have you any plans for tomorrow?”

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“How would you like to go horse-riding?”

“I’d love to. It has been a while since I’ve ridden a horse. I used to do it all the time when I was living at home. We had the countryside to explore.”

She smiled. “Great. I’ll call you in the morning and we can arrange things. Now, what shall I have for dessert?”

While she looked at the menu, he glanced surreptitiously over his shoulder. His boss was laughing at something Akello had said. And it looked like she was having the Sticky toffee pudding. “I think I’ll try the pudding,” he said as he turned away.

“And I’ll try the Pear and frangipane tart.”

Perhaps it was because his boss was there but he wasn’t enjoying his dinner with Briony. He was relieved when he saw them leave and began to relax a little but he couldn’t help wondering if they were more than friends, especially when he saw Akello touch her on her lower back as they walked away. Why on earth should it matter to him whether or not they were friends? His boss’s private life was none of his business anymore than his was hers.

Pushing all thoughts of Velma Moore out of his mind, he concentrated on enjoying Briony’s company as well as the pudding. Tomorrow they were going horse-riding and there wasn’t any chance that he was going to run into his boss there.

Sources: Typing Adventure; The Ivy

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