The dark content of the coffee spilled (poured) over, partially ruining the incorporation documents which her boss had instructed that she deliver to the client to execute. Her colleagues had gossiped in the office that the client was a new one—a very wealthy one and Oga’s current Human Bank. The woman was the daughter of one of the old Lagos Money clans and had been married to an equally rich ‘oyel’ money.
As Lolade looked helplessly at the ruined documents, she wished she had rebuked the offer from the client’s admin staff to have coffee, croissants and cookies. At least, it was Wednesday and she was supposed to be observing her routine fasting. She remembered her pastor’s message on avoiding temptations that week. Only if she had known that it would come disguised in the smell of good coffee and enticing pastry. Technically speaking, she assured herself, she wasn’t exactly breaking the fast. Coffee and cookies were not really meals. She reached for the paper towel beside the saucer and dabbed the documents but the brown map had made its mark---literally on the forms and even the letter heads. Series of thoughts started to run through her mind. She picked her phone to dial her colleague at the office to hurriedly forward a soft copy of at least the Consent letters so she could print it at the client’s office. Mariam did not pick the call. She was probably lost reading blogs again with the office computer. Once, the HR manager had caught her but somehow, they had settled their scores behind closed doors. Perhaps it was because Mariam knew that Aunty HR was having an affair with the Head of Chambers who was very married.
The door of the Visitor’s lounge creaked open. Lolade’s heart skipped a bit. What would she say? Madam, I am very sorry…I did not mean to drink the coffee and eat the croissants? All she could think about was her job which she had only just assumed two months ago. The job was important to her. Highly important, because she knew what she was leaving behind and the future she was now planning.
Before she looked up to set eyes on the Nike Ajayi-Cresley (the client), her heart did a million back-flips and yoga. Tears were beginning to well-up in her eyes. Why had she brought the documents out of the envelop? Why had she accepted to drink coffee? She tried to send a whatsapp or bbm to Maria again but that would seem rude as the client was already with her.
“Nike is ready for you. Please come with me.” A tall, slender, light skinned lady said. Lolade looked at the girl’s I.D. She was a personal assistant. She nodded and heaved a sigh not of relief because it seemed as though she was walking into the room of doom.
“Are you okay?” The P.A asked. She too had noticed Lolade’s uneasiness.
Lolade nodded again.
The P.A smiled.
“Don’t worry, Nike is nice. She could be binshy sometimes though but not to outsiders.”
Lolade nodded one more time. Cool that oga and omo-ise were on first name basis.
“You seem to nod a lot.” P.A smiled.
“Leave me and my nodding. How it’s doing me is not how it’s doing you.” Lolade did not say out loud.
Instead, she replied with another nod.
The office was magnificent! The décor was highly and tastefully done with a theme of wood and steel. If she hadn’t known better, she would have assumed it was a man’s office. The TV was on CNN and the shelves were glazed with a myriad of awards. There was no one in the executive chair. She turned to look at the P.A but babe had left. Then she heard a door from the side open with a female voice saying
“Take a seat.”
Lolade turned to face the client.
Her breath ceased. Her voice followed suit as she stared at the client who was all too familiar. How come she hadn’t known that it was her. Oh true. She had changed her surname from Akingbile.
She really hoped that Nike Ajayi-Cresley (Mrs. Akingbile) would not recognize her but that was equivalent to building castles in the sky.
The woman smiled with all the class she could muster as she looked at Lolade.
“So you are Tunde’s staff.” She said.
Tunde was her boss at the lawfirm where she worked.
Lolade was silent… No. She was confused and convulsing on the inside.
“Hmmm.” Nike said as she walked to her seat.
“You had the guts to come here.” She said.
Lolade shut her eyes, visibly seeing her new dreams crumbling as her unwelcomed past came visiting again.
Nike was the wife of Lanre Akingbile.
Lanre Akingbile had been her special friend.
Nike had caught Lanre and Lolade in on their matrimonial bed, having sex….the weird kind that Nike would not approve of but that Lanre wanted.
*Before our eyes
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