Nora didn’t know whether to curse herself for sleeping with Bode, or cursing Alex for sending the text at that time, when Lisa Udeh had passed the information to her since 10.00 am. Alex had claimed she had been busy at work and had not had time to send the text on the spot.
She reported to the company office as instructed, the following day, and went in for a chat with Joan Okeke. The woman hadn’t smiled once, or said a pleasant word to her like as though Lisa had referred her. As Nora had walked in, Joan had sized her up, raised her eyes haughtily as she looked at Nora’s certificates, and later told her to wait at the reception. Nora knew that if Alex had been taking the job, she would have gone out of her way to make her feel very welcome. Too bad Joan was a woman, Nora thought, as she remembered her escapade with Bode.
The secretary asked her to go home, and that they would contact her before the end of the week. As she left the department, she walked down to Lisa Udeh’s office.
“Good afternoon ma,” Nora grinned, walking into Lisa’s office.
Lisa smiled and stood up to hug her.
“So how did it go?” she asked.
“Well, well,” Nora sighed. “It was good. She just wanted to know if I had any experience even if I had already stated on my CV that I have no experience.”
Lisa laughed, shaking her head.
“Joan is such a character. She was probably just trying to show her bossy side. She’s actually a really nice lady.”
“I should get going now, Aunty Lisa. My mom needs me to help buy some things from the market. Thanks so much for your assistance.”
“You’re welcome, dear. Send my regards to your mother. Do you have money to take a cab?”
Lisa counted five thousand Naira from a bundle in her drawer, and handed it over to Nora.
She walked out of the company office, and called a bike to take her to Agege. She laughed, as she put the five thousand Naira in her handbag, then hopped on the bike.
Lisa walked into Joan’s office during lunch break, and asked her impression of Nora. She had told Nora that Joan was bossy, but she knew she had just said that to stop Nora from getting worried.
“That girl isn’t what I want exactly, Lisa.” Joan said, scrolling through her iPad.
“Why? She’s a smart girl. Did she do something wrong?”
“I just don’t really agree with her. She seems too desperate to get to the top, and she doesn’t care if she hurts her team members. She doesn’t have any idea of team work, and beyond office walls, Lisa, I think Alex should be really careful with that girl.”
“She’s Alex’s best friend. They have been really close for a very long time now, and the girl’s from a poor home. She just wants to succeed. Is there anything wrong in wanting to succeed?”
Joan shook her head.
“Trust me, Lisa. I owe you one but I can’t employ that lady here.”
Almost as soon as Nora stepped into the house, Joan’s secretary had sent her a text, telling her they were sorry and they couldn’t employ her.
Alex parked her Honda by the side of the street, and walked into Nora’s house. Immediately she closed from work, she came down. She couldn’t believe Nora didn’t get the job. No one was home except Vivian and Nora.
“Babe I saw your message. Did they say why?” Alex hugged Nora.
“No. They just said they’re sorry and they wish me luck in my future endeavors. This bad luck thing is just following me everywhere I go, I guess.” Nora hissed.
“Come on, Nora. It’s just a temporary setback.”
“Easy for you to say, banker girl like you.” Nora laughed.
“The bank job is stressful o. It’s not as easy as I thought, but what’s the big deal. It won’t kill me.”
Vivian brought a bottle of Coke and handed it to Alex.
“Thanks Viv. How have you been?”
“Same thing. Trying to get admission into the University.”
Nora’s phone beeped. It was Bode. She excused herself and went to take the call in her bedroom.
“Don’t you want this job anymore? You never returned my calls.” He said angrily.
“I..I’m sorry. Some things came up urgently that I had to attend to.” Nora said.
“Your letter is ready. Pick it up tomorrow. You start on Monday with your orientation and one week training.”
He spoke as though he was not the same man she had slept with.
“Thanks a lot.” She smiled, and went back to the living room. Alex had taken off her blazer and Vivian had already put it on. She shook her head because she knew Vivian would not give it back. Vivian was good at the puppy-eyed-baby-sister gimmick. She had obtained shoes from Nora, which Nora had obtained from Alex.
“So, I got a job with a company in Lekki. I’m to start Monday.” She grinned.
Alex rushed forward and hugged her.
“Let’s go out. We are washing this.” She laughed.
By Monday morning, 7.30 am, Nora was already in the office. She resumed with the front desk receptionist. Soon, she got her employment letter. The pay was not too small. N 130,000.00 per month.
Bode Martins walked into the office building, and as she saw him, she stood and smiled. He looked away, and in five minutes, asked the receptionist to ask her to come into his office.
“Good morning, Bode.” She said, taking a seat.
Bode looked from the paper work on his table, to her and shook his head.
“The thing that happened…is not to be mentioned to anyone. You are not to get all free with me, during office hours. I am your boss, and it stays that way. We resume being sexual partners when we leave the office. Is that understood?”
She was stoned. We resume being? So the sexual affair wasn’t over?
“I thought it was just that one time…” She stuttered.
He laughed his bespoke classy laughter again, and looked at her.
“Okay. I like you, and I want to keep you here. I make you happy, and you need to do same for us here at the company.”
“By warming your bed? How many other people’s beds am I going to warm this week, Sir?” She said sarcastically.
“Just mine. Ifeoma at Procurement already graces the MD’s.”
Nora was horrified. With all her 2.1 B.Sc and Merit M.Sc, she still had to resort to this like a common prostitute?
It wasn’t like she had a choice. Her only other option had flopped. Joan had said she didn’t want her.
She had escaped two attempts during the week and lied that she had been on her period and couldn’t come by the hotel. She knew Bode had been angry, but she had to come up with another lie to save her dignity. She had wanted to talk to someone, but the only person that came to mind was Alex.
Alex was a virgin. She didn’t want Alex preaching to her about fleeing sexual immorality and the likes. Alex was not and had never been in the shoes she had been born into. While she sat in her new office, the space she shared with two other girls and a young man in her Unit, she opened her wallet to take out some money to send the office cleaners on an errand to get her a recharge voucher. She found a one pound coin in it. An old bus pass was also folded neatly in one compartment of the wallet. She held the coin in her hand and flipped it. It landed on the tail; the Royal Coat of arms. She remembered the days when she had been much younger, and played games with her siblings and neighbours’ children. Whoever chose the head of a coin or crown cork would play the boss; and whoever chose the tail or underneath of the cork would play the servant. She usually fell in the tail category. She flipped the coin a second time and it landed on the tail again. She cursed. Why did she always have to fall in the tail category? She flipped it a third time, and it rolled on the floor. She picked it and the tail faced her. She threw the coin into her wallet in anger finally.
She was tired of being the tail and working to make the Queen and her monarch safe. Good Safety can only be achieved when there is wealth. Her father had worked, and had been laid off. Her mother worked for a government school, and for twenty years, she hadn’t risen to any height. In fact, her salary was always delayed, yet the kids of the people in government studied abroad, and Nora of all people knew that schooling abroad didn’t come cheap; yet they always said there was no money to pay government staff their salaries. She herself had been a worker all her life. She had worked to get a first class, but had been compensated with a 2.1. She had tried doing it the proper way in the UK, because she didn’t have a choice, but she was rewarded with a Merit, instead of a distinction. Alex had not been half as serious as she had been. She wondered what it was that Alex did, that she couldn’t do. In terms of femininity, she was more developed that Alex, yet the good and responsible men always approached Alex, while she was left with the married adulterers or play boys. She was tired. She wasn’t having any of it anymore. She was done fighting to achieve greatness.
She stood up and walked into Bode’s office. He was on the phone with his wife, she could tell, from the way he spoke.
“What’s the problem, Miss?” Bode said, hanging up.
“For what?” He looked at her.
“Our hotel affair. I missed you last week.” She smiled.
He was a man, and he gave the expected reaction by smiling and walking over to the other side of the table.
“I missed you too. You know you are one special girl. It’s lunch break. Why don’t we…you know…”
As she wore her clothes, after their escapade in the hotel room, she turned to face Bode.
“Just so you know, I got your wife’s phone number while you were in the bathroom. So, it’s your turn to play to my tune, or else, I’m going viral with this.”
Bode was shocked, and he missed a step.
“What? Are you threatening…threatening…me?” He stuttered.
Nora laughed, flipping her weave.
“You sound threatened already.” She said.
In all his time of adultery and sexual oppression of young female workers, Bode had never been threatened nor confronted.
“You don’t want to mess with me, young lady. I could terminate your appointment.”
“Bode, you cannot do anything. I will go online and post a blog like the other lady and the pastor. People will get to know. Even if you deny it or come out with a chubby reply, your name will be soiled already. Think of what that will do to your career.”
He was silent.
“What do you want?”
Nora smiled. She went over to him and kissed his face.
“First, no more sexual affairs. Second, you give me a monthly allowance of two hundred and fifty thousand Naira. I’ll think of the rest later.”
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