The Managing Director; Bankole Saheed, pressed down his glass from the owner's corner seat, and watched the young woman that just walked out of the office compound. It was 5.30 pm so he knew she was heading home. New face. He hadn’t seen her around before.
“Taju, have you seen that lady around here before?” He asked his driver who had just turned on the air-conditioner.
“Sir,” Taju looked towards his boss’s gaze.
“I have been seeing her for some time now.” He said.
“Tell her Bankole Saheed wants to see her.” Bankole said.
Nora saw the short and black man approach her. She knew he was coming to meet her, and she turned her gaze to the main road to stop a bike that would take her to the bus stop.
“Good afternoon aunty o.” Taju said, with his thick Yoruba accent.
Nora looked at him, eye balled him, then hissed. Taju greeted her again and she turned to face him.
“What is your problem, this guy?” She snapped.
“My boss wants to know you.” Taju said.
“And who on earth is your boss o?” Nora hissed again.
Taju pointed at the black Range rover that was parked feet from where they stood. Nora squinted to see the person at the owner’s corner but he his glass was rolled up.
“Who is he? How am I sure you people don’t want to use me for money rituals?”
“Na him be the MD for this company. You no sabi una MD? Oga Bankole Saheed.”
Nora quickened her steps as she walked towards Bankole Saheed’s car. He brought down the glass, and smiled.
“Good afternoon Sir. I’m sorry I had no idea it was you.” She smiled.
“No problem, my dear. I haven’t seen your face around here before. Did you just start working here?” He said in his powerful controlling voice.
“Yes I just started here not too long ago.”
“Sales sir. With Bode…Mr. Bode Martins, I mean.”
“What’s your name?”
“It’s Nora sir. Nora Obinna.”
“Why don’t you join me, let me give you a lift to…where are you headed?”
Nora smiled, clutching her handbag.
“I’m headed towards the bus stop, then Agege.”
Taju drove the car, and Bankole started to make conversation. He asked about her experience during her Master’s degree, and related how he had studied at London School of Economics. His last child had recently been admitted into Aston University, so he knew a little about Birmingham. Nora was fidgety at first, but she began to relax after some time.
He dropped her off at Agege, exactly in front of her house, and said goodbye. She was surprised. Wasn’t he going to ask for her phone number or give her his? She wanted to ask for his but she didn’t want to be too forward. Maybe the man didn’t have further intentions. Not every powerful man was like Bode.
Friday. It struck 5 o’clock and even if that was normal closing hour, no body left. Everyone wanted to be the serious and committed employee, to get a good appraisal. After minutes of BBM chatting and tweeting, Nora grabbed her bag and said bye to the other colleagues that chose to wait. She had planned to hang out with Alex after work but Alex said she was still busy at work so she decided to go home. Yet another boring Friday. Her TGIF BBM update was for nothing.
She had just stepped out of the bathroom, and entered the bedroom she shared with Vivian. They lived in a three bedroom flat. She and Vivian shared a room, Bright and Tony one, and Comfort stayed with their mother in the third room. Vivian was trying on some of her accessories.
“Don’t think of taking anything because I just got those.” She hissed, and began to mop her body with the large cream towel. Her phone rang out.
“Hello…” she said.
“Nora, how are you today?”
“I’m okay. I’m sorry please who is this?”
“Go outside and look by your left. You’ll see Taju. He’s going to bring you over to meet me at the Ikoyi club. Or are you busy? Do you have plans…maybe with a boyfriend?”
She laughed. It was Bankole Saheed. So he had intentions after all.
“I’ll be on my way.” She said.
When they got to the Ikoyi club, Bankole sent someone to bring her in, and then, sighting her, told her to sit on his leg. She hesitated at first.
“Are you shy? Come on, I know how you got into the company. It’s no news what Bode does, you know.”
She gasped, then shut her eyes. How long was this sexual vicious cycle going to continue. So now MD wanted his own piece of her?
“Sit.” He tapped his laps.
She sat on his leg, and looked around. Soon, Bode joined them at the table. She jumped in fear and surprise.
The two men laughed.
"Nora, Nora. The boldest of the lot." Bode said. Nora looked away, like she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her.
“Bode told me about your little threat, and it attracted me to you.” Bankole said, drinking his beer.
“Sir, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean what I said.” Nora stuttered.
“Bode is my nephew. I bet you didn’t know that.” Bankole laughed.
“Don’t worry about a thing. He wanted to make the office a living hell for you, but I told him not to, because I like you.”
Nora swallowed hard.
“I’m very sorry sir…”
“I’m going to take care of you, and you are going to take care of me. Is that a deal?” Bankole said.
She looked at Bode.
“But sir…does that mean…”
The two men laughed again. Now she felt like a piece of meat being passed around.
“Come on, that would be an abomination. Bode has released you to me. It was tough for him to agree at first, and now I see why.” He laughed, looking at her body.
Soon, Ugo, the girl she shared her office space with, was brought in by the same person that had brought Nora in. Ugo kissed Bode, and said a carefree hello to Nora, as though there was nothing strange going on.
It had been four months since she started seeing Bankole. It felt weird at first calling him Bankole, because she was just twenty three, and he was above fifty. He was old enough to be her father, or even to marry her mother. But familiarity they say, allows for a lot of ease. In those four months, he had fueled her bank account, and had even promised to give her an apartment in Ajah.
Her mother had been suspicious at first, like any mother would be, when she started seeing his car drop Nora home after work every day. Gradually, especially after Bankole gave Bright a job as his site inspector and even given him a title as detail man to handle petty running around, she began to appreciate Bankole and thank God for using him as an angel to help her family. She soon began sending prayers via text messages to bless his week. And the day Nora changed the TV and deep freezer in the house that was the day she swept every suspicion and pricky conscience out the door. As far as she was concerned, Bankole was a good helper.
Alex stepped out of her office, her phone to her ears, still speaking with Nora. Nora had called to tell her she was by the front of her office building. She looked around but she didn’t find Nora, then suddenly, she saw Nora climb out of a maroon Nissan Murano. She screamed in surprise as Nora walked towards her.
“Nora! You got a new car?” Alex said surprised.
“Yes I did. Saved up and bought this baby.” She smiled.
Alex hugged her friend and jumped inside the vehicle.
“Nora I’m so proud of you. Your mom must be so proud!” Alex beamed.
Nora rolled her eyes.
“Yeah yeah whatever. I just wanted to stop by and show you.”
Alex jabbed at her.
“Are you free this Saturday? Mom is hosting her annual indoor barbeque. Bring Vivian along. You know she always wanted to come with you every time.”
Nora forced a smile. She had always looked forward to attending Lisa Udeh’s annual barbeques, because she was sure to get food to take home, and at least ten thousand naira from Alex’s benevolent relatives.
“Too bad. I’m busy. I’ll try to fit your barbecue into my schedule sha.” She said dryly.
As she drove off, she turned by the round about to enter the street of the hotel where Bankole was waiting. She had to show her appreciation for the new gift of a car. She laughed as she remembered the look on Alex's face when she had seen the car. No doubt, her car was better than Alex's old Honda. For the first time, she began to feel like the Queen on the One pound coin.
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