Nike looked at the notice again. Toju had brought it in. She had since moved out of the home she had shared with Lanre and was now living with Toju, her bestfriend, pending when she was able to settle into her life again. Her mother had asked her to come stay over but she didn’t want to be reminded of the loss of her son with their constant weeping and continuous expressions of how disappointed they were in Lanre. Toju lived alone. She had moved out of her husband’s house when she had caught him cheating some years ago.
“Who’s it from? No one really knows I’m staying with you except my family.” Nike said.
Toju handed the white envelope over to Nike. It was an official envelope from Mybridge Properties Limited.
“What does he want now?” Nike sighed.
“Who?” Toju asked.
“This is from the company. Our company.”
“Oh I see. Open it then…”
“Yeah…” Nike pulled open the overlap of the envelope which was sealed. She took out the letter and unfolded it.
Special Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting for removal of Mrs. Olanike Akingbile from the Board of Directors of Mybridge Properties Limited.
Notice is hereby given that the company shall hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on the 5th day of November 2014 by 10a.m at its registered address to discuss the following businesses:
2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Last meeting
3. Removal of Mrs. Olanike Akingbile from the Board of Directors
4. Any other Business
Nike read out the content of the letter.
“Removal ke? Why?” Toju asked, looking puzzled. “Your ex is a real idiot, babe. How can he do this? After everything? Can he even do this? You set up that company with him didn’t you?”
Nike stared into space. She was shocked beyond words. Toju took the envelope from her and read through it herself. There was another sheet of letter head inside the envelope. She opened it and read through.
“What’s that?” Nike asked.
“Reasons why they are removing you from the board.”
“And what reason would that be?” She laughed.
“Incompetence. You have been absent from three consecutive board meetings and by the provisions of the articles of the company you can be removed bla bla…” Toju shook her head.
“Isn’t this supposed to be by vote or something? And why are they still referring to you as Mrs. Akingbile?” Toju asked.
“I haven’t changed my name.”
“And you are a majority shareholder right?”
“I think so…I held 30% and he had 60 leaving 10 unallotted. We were going to allot them to the boys but then he said we shouldn’t. Then his friend and business partner wanted 48% in exchange for services he was rendering to the company. I gave up 27 of mine because Lanre had to still have controlling shares and he is….i mean was…my husband and head of the family.”
Toju looked puzzled.
“Em…so you have 3% now?”
“Let me call my lawyer friend to advise us on what we can do.”
Nike stopped her as she reached for her phone.
“What?” Toju eyeballed her. Nike was crying already.
“I am tired. I am tired of fighting. I am tired of everything. I am just exhausted. I don’t think I have the strength to fight him. The only thing I want is for my child to come back to Nigeria. He is refusing to sign the consent forms.” Nike cried.
“Why are you acting like a mumu? This man is cheating you on every side! He cheated in the marriage, practically frustrated you out of your own home…now taking your company from you gradually and he caused Lekan’s death as far as I am concerned….”
Nike raised her hand midway in the air, meaning for Toju to stop.
“I’m sorry.” Toju said. She knew Nike never wanted to mention Lekan’s name or talk about his death. The other evening, she had seen Nike holding an old photo that she had taken with Lekan. Toju remembered that photo. She had taken the shot at Nike’s brother’s wedding.
“Its okay.” She responded.
“Do I call the lawyer?”
“No. They are right. I can’t keep up with any duties as a director. I don’t think I can stand attending meetings and looking at his face. Too many bad feelings right there, you know.”
“But your shares nko?”
“Well…I’ll retain my shares. It’s 3%. I’m fine being a minority.”
Toju smiled, looking at her friend.
“You’re a good woman sha. I wish I was like you but my blood is too hot.” Toju said.
“I know…aren’t you still getting twelve million annually from Sule’s company?” Sule was Toju's ex husband.
“Yes ofcourse.” Toju said.
Lolade had just finished with the model she was working on. She smiled as the photographer started to take shots. One of the top tier fashion designers; Mimy of Mimmienne’s Couture had hired her to do the makeup for her models for the Lagos Fashion Week. Lanre had helped get the connection though. Mimy was his business partner’s wife.
“Are all the models ready now?” one of Mimy’s workers yelled. Lolade had brought one of her staff to work with her. He was her best hand. They weren’t done yet. They still had one more model to go.
“Almost, please.” Lolade said.
She had begun wiping off the oil on the last model’s face when she begun to feel the tightening in her stomach. She knew she couldn’t continue so she asked her staff to finish up.
She hurried to the rest room and threw up in the sink. She felt absolutely uncomfortable. Maybe this was her first sign of morning sickness. She rinsed her mouth and then went into the toilet to urinate.
Then she saw it.
She hadn’t exactly taken a pregnancy test. She had still not peed on the stick she bought at the pharmacy the other day and she had continued to postpone her visit to the doctor for a proper HCG blood test because she’d been busy with a lot of weddings.
She was not pregnant. She was only late. By a month and two weeks. And now her period had come knocking.
Lanre read through the letter that Joseph, the company secretary had just handed to him. He was reading the letter for the third time. He looked up at Joseph, confused and speechless.
“When did this come in?” Lanre asked.
“This morning.” Joseph responded.
“So what is the implication of this…?”
“Well, it makes everything easier. The better for her though. She decided to resign as a director instead of being removed. We still have two directors which is the minimum so that works fine. If you are bringing in a third person make it someone you can have some level of influence over though. They do not have to hold shares since the articles don’t insist on that.” He said.
“It’s okay. Let me think about it. I’ll get back.”
“Okay. Just hurry up with that so we can do the necessary filing together at the CAC because until that’s done, she is still a director on paper.”
“Thank you, Joseph.” Lanre said.
He looked at the slender and short man as he got off the chair and headed for the door. He wondered at Joseph’s enthusiasm though in getting Nike off the board. He wasn’t sure if he had personal issues against his ex wife or if the man was just doing his job.
As Joseph shut the door, he took the letter and looked at it again. Was Nike up to something? How come she gave in so easily? Was she trying to get back at him in another dimension? A part of him felt the obvious guilt and he felt bad for what he was putting her through. He didn’t mean to be mean to her. But he didn’t want her to bring Lade back to Nigeria and he had to get her to abort the mission because he was afraid.
Lanre was afraid and he admitted this to himself for once.
He couldn’t bear to look at Lade’s face on a daily basis. He knew it would remind him of how he had failed as a father and a husband to Nike. He didn't have to remove her as a director from the company. she hadn't shown up at the board meetings because she had been grieving.
He knew it would haunt him of how he had reneged on all the promises he had made to her many years ago at the church altar where he had sworn to love her and protect her. Those promises he had made at the hospital bed when she had birthed Lekan through a Caesarian section and she had to be given blood because she had lost so much. He had sworn to never leave her and to always be a role model to their children. She had told him how her father had always been away on business trips and how she didn’t want her children to experience the same kind of childhood. But he hadn’t been able to fulfill that. He had to work…not because he had to but because he wanted to make a name for himself…different from his father’s brand. His father had wanted him to work at their energy company but he had preferred real estate. He had even tried to persuade his father to incorporate a subsidiary that would handle real estate section and he would gladly work within the family that way but his father had disagreed with the idea, called the market saturated, and insisted that Lanre would not be able to sustain for long.
He started to realize after Lekan’s death that he had spent all his time attacking his father and his past while neglecting his son and his future.
Nike did not deserve all he did to her. No, she was not a perfect woman or a perfect wife. She was far from that but he had no reason to hurt her the way he did. Maybe it was revenge and built up resentment.
He remembered the first time he had asked Nike to fulfill one of his strange sexual fantasies. Nike had called him vile and beastly. She had threatened to report him to his family if he ever brought up such disgust in their home again. And Lanre had not been able to understand why his wife would not want to have a three some. It wasn’t as though he shared any feelings with the other woman. It was only fun…and meaningless.
He pulled out his drawer and searched for the last wrap of his stuff. He grabbed his lighter and lit the end of it then he begun to inhale deeply. He shut his eyes as he anticipated the absence from his realities. Temporarily. He smoked some more.
The idea popped in his head. He wanted to have a three some again. He didn’t know how Lolade would feel about it but she was usually open to anything. He remembered she was pregnant. He had promised to marry her, especially as he was no longer married to Nike. But a part of him didn’t want to jump right into another marriage. He wanted a breather…for a while, to get his life back in track. Especially with the tragedy that had befallen him.
He left the office by 5.30pm. He didn’t care if his staff smelt the strength of the weed on him. He got into the car and asked the driver to take him home. They were to stop over at Victoria Island. He had a delivery to pick up.
The delivery was cute. She was tall, light skinned and protruded the right assets in the right places. She smiled and giggled a lot. She was a little younger than Lolade…definitely under twenty one. The girl sat with him in the back seat and he rubbed his palms on her thigh. His phone rang. It was Lolade.
“Hey baby. I was just going to call you. How is the runway thing going?” Lanre said.
“I’m okay. I’m coming home. I have to see you. I’m so sad right now.” Lolade said.
“Oh Sweets. Everything is going to be aaaaaaaalllright! Alright all the time. Okay?” Lanre laughed.
“Baby are you okay?” Lolade said.
“Uh—huh. I am. Come home fast and let me make you happy, okay?”
“Um…okay. I’m on my way.” She replied.
After thirty minutes since they got to the house, Lolade was still not back. He was tired of waiting for her and was thinking to kick off before she came.
“My girlfriend would be joining us. You know that right?” Lanre said to the other girl as he smoked his pot. His eyes were getting glassy and red.
She nodded, giggling. She hardly spoke. Her beauty did all the speaking for her.
“Can I smoke? Do you have gin?” She finally said something.
Lanre laughed and passed his wrap to her then he stood up to get her a drink.
Lolade locked the CR-V and walked to the front door. She opened the door with her key and grabbed a bottle of cold water from the fridge. She reached for the shelf where she kept drugs and took the sachet of pain killers. Her period always came with a special kind of cramps. She swallowed the tablets and climbed the stairs to go to the bedroom.
“Lanny!” She called. She knew he was home. She had seen his car and his driver who had greeted her in a rather odd kind of way. She wondered why he told her to come home quick. What was he up to? Or was he going to propose? Maybe that was why he had been sounding funny.
She opened the door of their bedroom and the gory sight left her mouth and the door ajar.
Lanre saw her and smiled, stretching out his hand and beckoning her to join in the whorism.
“She’s here now. Sorry we started without you. I was….you know…Come over.” He said. She saw the unfinished and burnt remnants of the wraps they had smoked and the bottles of gin and vodka.
The flash back came instantly.
The flash back of when Mrs. Nike Akingbile had been in her position, standing by the door, mouth ajar, seeing the gory details of Lanre’s sexual fantasies with another woman. That woman had been her. And now, she begun to feel what Mrs. Nike Akingbile felt.
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*Episode 6 Before Our Eyes