Rosie knocks now and comes into my office.
“Tee, I hate to disturb you. But Wame is here with the new swatches.” Suddenly she’s sounding like the perfect PA.
Karl the Fraud stands up, so tall and tempting in his well-fitting jacket. Insanely, I am sad that he’s leaving. My office will feel empty without his strong, male presence.
“Thank you for your time, Ms Pilane,” he says. “Will you think about my proposal? Contact me if you want to go ahead. Any time, night or day. I would love to work with you.”
I wish he would remove his shades. Just for this one final moment we’re together.
“Miss,” I correct him. Despite everything, I need him to know I am single.
Rosie says, “Just give me a minute, Karl. I’ll fetch Ebony for you.”
Ebony? Who the hell is Ebony? And why does Rosie need to fetch her?
Two minutes later I find out. I also find out what that strangely familiar, strangely out-of-place smell is.
Rosie comes back with a shiny black Labrador dog – a seeing-eye guide dog – with its special harness and its reflector jacket.
Karl bends down to pat his dog. “Good girl, Ebony! Let’s get back to the elevator. Lead on, girl!”
And Ebony the guide-dog leads him out of my office and out of my life.
I have to sit down. My brain feels like it is seizing up. Like a stuck sewing machine with its thread twisted around the bobbin.
“He’s … he’s blind!” I say to Rosie. “Karl’s blind. There’s no way he is Polelo’s spy. Everything he said was true. And genuine. The charity, the vulnerable kiddies. Everything!”
Rosie shakes her head at me. “I tried to tell you, Tee. I tried to explain. But you were too busy having a hissy fit to listen.”
I fumble through my in-tray, looking for Karl’s business card. And yes, his name and number are printed there on one side. On the other side are his details in Braille.
“Or,” says Rosie. “Or I could just run after him and bring him back right now?”
I nod. “Did I ever tell you that you were the best PA ever?”
But she is already running down the corridor towards the elevator.
Wame pops her head round my office door. “Are you ready for me, Tee? I got the aubergine velvet you wanted. Shall I bring in the swatches.”
“Sorry, Wame, I’m a bit busy right now. Something really vital has come up. Can you ask Rosie to re-schedule our meeting?”
And while I wait and hope that Karl will come back to me, I’m already planning for the Fashion with Compassion project that he and I will create together. Perhaps each of my models can walk onto the runway with one of his children? I can design special outfits for them. That will be a lovely challenge. I’ve never designed for kiddies before. And with six weeks to go, I will be working all hours. 24/7! But that’s fine.
Like Ralph Lauren said, I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.
Tell us: It seems Tee has fallen in love already. Do you think you can fall in love at first meeting?