"Mr. Jenkins, we have arrived at the location." Gilbert my chauffeur, body guard and right hand man announces. I look out of my car window to the shabby rows of apartment buildings, in an equally poor neighbourhood. To be honest, I am a little relieved to see that Leo and Nia condition isn't bad to the point where their home is a one room flat, but even still. If I got my way, I would be moving them away from this dump soon enough.
This isn't a case of charity. Last night when I saw Leo, the relief on his face when he heard his daughter voice and how he rushed to her, not even aware of his surrounding but her, it had touched my heart, but when Leo looked up at me and I saw his face, I became instantly attracted and putting him on my radar. Right at that very moment he became my preference type, I felt intense need to have him and I am astound with myself, I cannot believe I was able to control myself around him.
The front door for building number three opens and to my delight it's Nia and Leo exiting the building, I watch father and daughter, Nia talking so animatedly and Leo listening attentively while carrying a mini pink luggage and Nia clutching a black teddy bear to her chest. I can deduct from this that Nia is probably spending the weekend somewhere and not at home. They get into a ford family car, Leo making sure Nia is well seated and strapped in a backseat, he cares so much about his daughter.
I was able to learn a bit about the Baxter's from Nia. She and Leo live together, her mummy lives in heaven, Nia is four years old and will turn five, three months from now. Leo's file in the office, says he is twenty-four, which makes him quite young to have a four year old daughter. Obviously because of Nia and the fact that her mother is not there to help, Leo has shouldered caring for her all by himself, which made him even more desirable to me.
"Gilbert, we can go now." I say after a short while has passed. I don't know what I am going to do about Leo Baxter, because I am perfectly sure he has never ever considered the thought of being with a man, but I won't let that minute fact deter me from having what I want.
It is a necessity for me to check over the affairs occurring in my mother's book club, once a month. I promised her on her death bed, I would look and manage her empire, which I had inherited from her and like my own organization, I had doubled and made my mother book club empire more than she ever dreamed it could be. Quick thinking had made me ask him to lunch, albeit using Nia as a shield to my true intentions.
I have a work date by eleven p.m. and I still had something's to look over at the book club, before heading to my main office at the headquarters of Kins Industries, my business organization.
Nia breezes into the room and manages to knock down a cup of water on her way towards me. "Sowi Da!" She stops and gasps when she hears the collision. I sigh "No running." Like she didn't hear me, she takes off running again, obviously to get the mop, which I'll take from her or else she'll make even more of a mess.
I set her breakfast for her on the table, four jam and peanut butter sandwiches, a tea cup of milk and a mini bottled water. Once she arrives I take the mop from her and send her off to eat. While I mop and she eats, she starts talking about last night, how much fun she had with Mr. Jenkins and she couldn't wait to tell her friends about him today.
Once we are done with breakfast, we head into Nia's room to pack a bag for her. Stefan one of her best friends is having a sleepover, he invited her and the rest of their friends and luckily enough for us parents, his would take the children to school on Monday, so I would be seeing my little fireball Monday evening.
I work six days a week, excluding Sunday's. Monday, Wednesday and Friday night, I work at the Book Club; Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, from nine in the morning till four in the afternoon I work as waiter in a posh restaurant called La Rose and I also work as a commis chef there on Wednesday and Thursday, from six in the morning to three in the afternoon. Yes a chef, I love cooking and being I have to make meals for myself and Nia, it helps that I cook non-stop for nine hours, twice a week under the watchful eyes of my sous chef.
Tuesday and Wednesday night suck for I and Nia because, if she's home, she sleeps over at Ms. Sherri's so most times than not she either sleeps over at Stefan's or Whitney's her two best friends. I am just glad their parents love Nia and also try and make my life easier, as the parents are just in their thirties.
I have an hour left before I have to be at work, so I have just about enough time to get Nia at Stefan's and make it to work on time. If I ever saw Mr. Jenkins again, I would thank him for giving my daughter wonderful memories and having made her comfortable in his office, while I had to work. I have the man's private number it seems, but that doesn't mean I could just call or text him again just to thank him, I bet he did think I am a pest and would regret his actions and then get me fired. Okay, hold up. I am overreacting.
I hug and plaster Nia's face with big wet sloppy kisses, which had her giggling and wiping her face with her hand before making a gross face at me. Lucy and Nina Hutchinson are Stephan's parent and I consider them my closest of friends and I know Niamera would have loved them too. I miss her every day, but I have come to terms with her death and is at peace with the fact that she is our daughter's guardian angel.
"Lelo you're up!" I groan and shoot Amanda a nasty glare. I hate when she calls me that, I don't see how I have anything to do with a sex product company. She just smirks at me, trying to rile me up, she calls me Lelo because apparently I am the main star in all of her fantasies, flattering but I'm not interested. Besides she's just twenty-two and I know for sure once she finds out I have a kid, she would ditch me without a second glance.
I walk towards the new arrivals, two men and one woman, dressed to the nines in clothes that would pay my rent for two years straight. They don't see me approach as they are engaged in a conversation at the bar.
"Good morning, I'm Leo, your waiter. Your reservation please?"
That's when they face me and I'm thrown because one of the men is no other than Mr. Jenkins who looks surprised, but there's something else to his look I can't just place. The other two look at Mr. Jenkins waiting for him to talk. "A surprise to see you here Leo, I have a reservation under the name Mr. Jenkins, table for four." I nod and smile at him, while his associates look at us bemused. I check my pad and lead them to their reserved table, there I hand each of them a menu and collect their drinking orders to get while they muse over what they would have.
I return to the table with their drinks, the man and the woman, hand me their menus, while both requesting for pasta and lamb ragù. Mr. Jenkins on the other hand had other ideas.
"Leo, you work here, you pick whatever it is I should have."
"Everything tastes great Mr. Jenkins." I don't want the pressure of picking something for him and he ends up not liking it, yes I rather play on the safe side.
"I told you, how I feel about you calling me that. I insist you pick for me." He smiles at me, his eyes telling me he is privy to a secret I should know about but don't. "God Hadley, pick something already. Denise and I have a plane to catch." The other man huffs, while the woman Denise just smiles at the men.
"I'll be back with your food shortly." I say promptly and leave their presence, rather than waste time arguing, I'll just get him what his associates picked.
Twenty minutes later, I serve them their food as efficiently as possible. Keeping my answers short as Mr. Jenkins tries to strike a conversation with me, it's not that I don't want to talk to him, but the other man is really making me feel uncomfortable, with how abrupt and curt he is with me.
I stand nearby where I can be seen, so when they are done, I would go over to hand Mr. Jenkins the bill. A short while after they are done eating, the man and Denise get up, shake Mr. Jenkins hand and leave. Mr. Jenkins then fully faces me and beckons for me to come over with his finger.
"Have a seat." I don't move, it's strictly against the rule to seat down with customers, even if the restaurant is not empty and many witnesses are around. "I'm sorry, I can't do that sir." I watch his face change a bit in annoyance and he sharply asks "How old do you think I am?" I am taken aback by the question, not expecting him to ask me that. I look at him fully trying to gauge his age and I answer "About thirty-four?" He frowns at me and I know I have offended him. "I am thirty. I'm not that older than you, so can you stop with all this formal bs." I immediately want to apologize but I bite my tongue, which I believe he knows because he starts smiling all over again.
"Where is the princess?"
"I don't make it a habit of taking Nia to work, yesterday was the first time. Mr. Jen-Hadley,"
He rolls his eyes at my smart retort and I smile now "She's at her friends place, she'll be sad to know I saw you, because she hero-worships you." He brightens up at what I say and I know he genuinely likes her, which pleases me a lot.
"What time do you get off work? Wait, how many jobs do you do?"
"I get off by four and I have three jobs."
"Do you have to work after you're done here?"
"No, I don't. After I'm done, I'm free till Monday evening, especially since Nia isn't coming home for the weekend, I haven't had this much free time in a while."
I say, I'm no longer nervous and I am talking to him comfortably. He smiles at me when I finish talking before he says. "I'll come back here by four. How about you spend your free weekend with me?" I want to laugh, this dude is crazy. "That's a nice offer Hadley, but we don't really know each other, this is our second meeting and we are as different as every thumb print." he just shrugs at me, still adamant about what he just said. "Leo, this is me trying to get to know you. Just accept it, it's a free weekend, that I guaranty you have a lot of fun and max relaxation. Just say yes."
"I'll think about it and get back at you, how about that?" I counter, he shakes his head at me. "You have my number, but decide before four, okay?" he says and winks at me. I hand him the bill and he pays without batting an eyelid, not only that he also gives me a hundred dollar tip. I look at him, knowing what he is trying to do, bribe me into saying yes. But hell, I can just accept his invitation, I had nothing to lose and despite how far apart and different we are, I actually want to be friends with this man.
"Yes, I've decided."
"Your answer is yes or yes, you've decided?"
"My answer is yes, I've got nothing to lose."
I shouldn't have said that, because now he's smiling and giving me that look again, of how he knows something I should know, but I don't know.
"Dear Leo, you couldn't be more wrong."