Mystery Cookies 7

Previous Episode : Episode 6.

Once they were outside, Catherine showed the note to Lariba. Lariba’s eyes widened with surprise and she finally smiled.

“Go for it. Let’s find out who that secret admirer is.” she said.

“Are you serious? You’re telling me to go on a blind date with someone who’s been stalking me for God knows how long? No please.”

“Why not? You can only find out who it is if you go.” Lariba said.

“And what if it’s a bad person I don’t know at all?”

“It can’t be. Why are you being cynical about it?” Lariba asked.

“I don’t know but I have a bad feeling about this.”

“That’s because you’re overthinking. Just show up. Find out who it is. If you’re uncomfortable with the person, get up and leave.” Lariba suggested.

“What if it’s a shady place. I’m not even familiar with the suggested restaurant. “TINKLES” Where’s it even located?” Catherine asked with a frown on her face.

“Easy. There’s only one person we can ask.” Lariba said and smiled.

“Who?” Catherine asked.

“Just give it a proper thought. It’s not difficult.” Lariba smiled some more.

“Wait. Agyeiwaa!” Catherine exclaimed.

Lariba nodded and giggled.

They went back into the office and found Agyeiwaa finishing the cookies. They asked her about “TINKLES”.

“Wait. That’s the new place I was talking about this morning. It’s a very cozy and relaxed place.” she told them.

“Where is it located? That’s what I want to know.” Catherine asked.

“Are you planning a romantic getaway? Because that place is really romantic. It’s a small place that…” Agyeiwaa kept going on till Lariba cut in.

“Agyeiwaa!” Lariba scolded.

“Ok fine.” Agyeiwaa said and gave directions to the place.

“But wait. You guys aren’t planning on going without me, right?” she asked.

Catherine didn’t respond. She walked back to her seat and got drowned in her thoughts. “Should I or should I not go?” she kept asking herself.

Lariba watched with amusement as Catherine pondered over the issue and spent the whole day convincing her to meet up with her secret admirer.

Catherine got home that night to meet a visitor in the living room. She had a worried look on her face and responded halfheartedly when Catherine greeted. She was about leaving.

“Who was that?” Catherine asked when her dad returned from seeing her off.

“That was Stella, Auntie Petra’s help. She’s worried about her whereabouts. She still hasn’t been home or contacted her and she was hoping to get good news from me when she came.” he answered.

Catherine sighed. “This is becoming worrying. I think we should report it to the police.”

Vitalis also sighed and nodded.

Catherine slowly dragged herself up the stairs to her office the next day. She was deep in thoughts about Auntie Petra’s disappearance and the upcoming date with her secret admirer.

“Jacinta, we’ve always been cool. I don’t even get why you’re doing this.” she heard Lariba’s voice.

She stopped in her tracks.

“I’m really sorry things had to turn out this way. Mark wasn’t being honest with me like I said” she heard Jacinta’s say.

“Here we go again” Catherine said softly and approached them.

She greeted them and walked into the office to ponder on the issues bothering her. A few minutes later, Agyeiwaa burst into the office beaming with smiles.

“Catherine, do you see what I see? Looks like they are making peace out there.” she says as she drops her bag and brings out a bag of doughnuts.

“Yeah, I saw them on my way in. It’s about time they sorted out their issues. We need our group back.” Catherine smiled.

“I really hope things go well. We can all do lunch this afternoon.” Agyeiwaa suggested.

“Is there ever a time where you don’t think about food? Ei Agyeiwaa!” Catherine said and laughed.

Lariba and Jacinta walked into the office and headed over to Catherine’s desk. Agyeiwaa joined them and plopped onto her desk and munched on a doughnut.

“So Jacinta approached me this morning and…..” Lariba started when Comfort Aning entered the office.

“Why are you all gathered over there. What’s going on here?” she asked.

Four pairs of eyes stared at her in alarm. She looked at the wall clock and back at them, sizing them up.

“And you, why are you eating in the office? Follow me!” she pointed at Agyeiwaa.

Agyeiwaa followed her into the office.

“Court of Law” Catherine exclaimed and they burst out laughing.

“Okay, looks like we’ll have our conversation during lunch break. I’m not in the mood to be dragged this morning.” Catherine suggested and they nodded.

Agyeiwaa came out about five minutes later, laughing. She told them how Comfort Aning ranted about how they have been taking her granted in the office and have no regard for her. She then added “she dismissed me by saying I should get out of her office and do as I please because I’m learning from Catherine”

“She shouldn’t start with me this morning because I will really stand up to her and I mean it.” Catherine said sternly.

Suddenly, the door to Comfort Aning’s office opened and they all sat up and got to work, Catherine excluded. She swiveled around in her chair and scrolled on her phone, ignoring her. Comfort Aning sized her up and shook her head in disbelief. She walked out of the office.

“Mark and I had something going on. Things were really smooth between us until he started acting up and before I knew it, he had started hanging out with Lariba. I was really disappointed and hurt and when I confronted him about it, he dismissed my feelings and told me he was just having fun and didn’t take whatever we had seriously. I was furious and bitter about it, thus my misbehavior towards Lariba” Jacinta explained.

Catherine and Agyeiwaa listened intently. They were on their way to Auntie Korkor’s joint to eat kenkey in Catherine’s car. Jacinta and Lariba were at the backseat and Agyeiwaa was seated by Catherine in front.

“Mark had no right to treat Jacinta that way and honestly, if I had any idea of this situation, I would have paid him no mind when he approached me.” Lariba added.

“So what’s the next move? What’s up with Mark now?” Agyeiwaa asked.

“We’re going through a rough patch now and it feels like I’ve driven a wedge between Jacinta and him.” Lariba responded.

“Hey, you don’t have to feel that way. It wasn’t your fault that he acted that way. I’ve gotten over him now and it’s okay with me if you want to be with him. Sincerely!” Jacinta said.

Lariba felt embarrassed and looked away as Jacinta placed her hands on hers. Agyeiwaa looked on with sympathy. Catherine was observing from the head mirror.

“Lariba, it’s okay. You don’t have to beat yourself about this. It wasn’t your fault.” she tried to cheer her up.

Catherine suddenly pulled up at their destination and they all alighted.
About forty minutes later, they were back in the office, having a conversation with the guys about an upcoming match between Chelsea and Manchester United.

“But Kwame, I shock give you oo. Fine boy like you wey you dey support Chelsea dierr why?” Eugene teased.

“Sia, Chelsea no be team?” Kwame fired back.

“But seriously though, Chelsea is a better team.” Jacinta said.

“Tell them.” Kwame said and smiled confidently.

“Apuu. If Chelsea wins the match, I’ll quit this job. I swear walahi” Eugene said beating his chest.

Agyeiwaa giggled. “You guys make too much noise with your teams.” she said.

“See that Arsenal fan too. When proper teams are arguing, don’t contribute.” Eugene said while looking Agyeiwaa’s way and they all burst into laughter.

Catherine, who wasn’t a fan of football sat scrolling on her phone and giggled occasionally at their comments. Lariba belonged to Liverpool and so had no interest in the conversation. She approached Catherine.

“Have you made up your mind about the date on Friday?” she asked.

“I honestly don’t feel like going but I have to find out who this secret admirer is, so yes.” she said without enthusiasm.

“Yaaay!” Lariba squealed. “So have you picked a dress?”

“Which dress? I’m going in my work clothes. Don’t forget that I have a presentation at 2 pm on that day.”

“Oh yeah, about that. How’s it going with the preparation?”

“I honestly want to get it over and done with. I’m prepared though.”

“That’s the spirit. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

“Thanks. And Lariba, honestly I think Jacinta was sincere back then. You shouldn’t blame yourself. It’s okay.”

Lariba sighed and said nothing.

“How are things between you and Mark?”

“I’m really disappointed in him. I haven’t spoken to him in a while, although he still apologizes every day.”

“I just want you to know that whatever decision you take, we’ll stick by you. I have this feeling you still like him. Listen, no one will judge you if you decide to go back to him. You…..” Catherine trailed off when she sensed how uncomfortable Lariba was getting.

“Agyeiwaa go be loyal to her boyfriend pass. Ardent supporter of Arsenal dierr nothing go fi break her heart.” Kwame’s voice rang clearly and everyone in the office burst into laughter, including Lariba.

Friday came. Catherine thanked her stars when her father finally released her from his pep talk and drove out of the compound to work. She kept thinking of the date she had to go on at noon and so many questions flooded her mind? Is it really worth it? Who could it be? Why has the person finally decided to meet after keeping her in suspense for weeks?

She finally pulled up into the compound of Bliss Ghana Limited, parked her car and alighted.

“Madam, today you look sharp oo.” Owusu praised Catherine as she stepped out of her car. She had on a black jumpsuit and strap heels and her long hair had been pulled back into a neat ponytail, something she hadn’t done in months.

“Thank you, Owusu.” she responded and smiled as she made her way to the elevator.

“No koko today?” Owusu asked

“No, I’m fine.” Catherine responded.

“Wow!” Kwame exclaimed when she walked into the office.

Everyone turned to look at the one standing in the doorway that made Kwame pass that comment and they all understood when they saw Catherine.

“Dressed to kill. You’re definitely nailing that look and I’m sure you’ll blow the presentation today.” Eugene commented.

Lariba giggled as Agyeiwaa grabbed her iPhone to take photos of Catherine.

“Are you dressed up for the lunch date or for the presentation?” Lariba asked as Catherine took her seat.

“Well, you could say both. I’m actually looking forward to meeting the mystery person behind the cookies.” Catherine replied.

“Oh wow. Someone had a sudden change of heart.” Lariba said.

Just then Nii Teiko walked into the office and smirked when he saw Catherine before moving to Eugene’s desk.

“Is it just me or Nii Teiko suddenly looks suspicious. Could he be the one behind the note and those cookies?” Catherine asked.

“Forget about that guy. You and I know how unserious he is. It can’t be him.” Lariba answered.

Catherine giggled.

“It could be Curtis, you know.” Lariba suggested.

Catherine smiled at the sound of his name.

“I doubt. I’m just waiting for noon to uncover this mystery person. This suspense is killing me.” she said.

The morning flew by quickly and before long, it was half past eleven. Catherine emerged from the washroom after touching up her makeup to find Lariba squealing in excitement.

“Cathy, guess what? I was right about Curtis. It seems he’s the one behind this whole thing.” she said in between breaths.

Catherine stared at her in disbelief. “And you know this how?” she asked.

“Well, I decided to let everything go and pay Mark a visit.” Lariba started to explain.

“Oh yeah” Catherine cut in and smiled.

“When I got there, Curtis wasn’t in the office so I asked Mark his whereabouts and he told me Curtis had left a few minutes earlier to get lunch.” Lariba finished.

“Okay, I see where you’re going.” Catherine said and beamed with a smile. “Now I’m convinced. Let’s do this.”

She slapped Lariba a high five, grabbed her bag in excitement and flew out of the office. Within twenty minutes, she pulled into the car park of TINKLES and realized there was no space to park her car.

“Which kind of restaurant is this that I’m not finding any space to park” she muttered to herself and drove out of the compound. She parked under a tree nearby and walked back into the compound and then into the restaurant.

Once she entered, she started looking round to see if she would find her secret admirer. A voice behind her startled her.

“You must be Catherine” the voice said.

She turned and found one of the waiters staring at her.

“Yes” she replied and forced a smile.

“A table has been reserved for you. Kindly have a seat. The one who reserved the table for you will be here shortly.” the waiter said and directed her to a table in one of the corners of the restaurant.

“Okay. Thank you.” Catherine replied and eased into the environment.

She walked to the table and sat down.

“What would you start with?” the waiter asked.

“Oh I’d like to wait for the one who reserved this table. Actually, it’s a secret admirer and I’m yet to meet him.” she smiled.

“Oh that’s sweet. I’m around then so in case you feel like ordering anything, kindly let me know.” he said.

“Sure.” Catherine said and relaxed into her seat while admiring the ambience and decor of the restaurant.

After waiting for about 15 minutes with no sign of her secret admirer, she started getting restless and anxious. Ten more minutes later, she started getting upset. She checked the time on her watch and realized she was going to get late for the presentation.

“Is this some sort of joke?” she said to herself as she reached into her bag for her phone. She was going to call Lariba to hold the fort for her while she drove back to her workplace.

She fumbled into her bag and realized her phone wasn’t in the bag. She began to panic and emptied the contents of her bag onto the table. There was no sign of her phone. She quickly shoved the items back into her bag and got up to leave.

“Leaving so soon?” the waiter she met earlier crossed her path when she got to the door.

“Obviously, I’ve been stood up and I can’t keep sitting here making a fool out of myself when I have other important things to do.” Catherine replied and stomped out of the restaurant.

Once she was in her car, she heaved a long sigh of relief and tried to start her car. A voice from the back seat of of the car startled her and she dropped the keys.

“Don’t be afraid. Just listen to me and you’ll be fine.” the voice, which Catherine identified as a male’s said to her.

She froze and began to panic as the person’s hands wrapped around her neck.

“Who are you and what do you want from me?” Catherine stammered.

“Great questions. You’ll soon find out.” came the response and before she could ask any other question, she blacked out.

By Amanda or MandieTalks or Cediwaa. She is a Ghanaian author

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