“He asked for Two Hundred Thousand Naira.” Tony replied.
Feyisetan raised her eye brows in surprise. She opened her mouth to blurt out something but she ended up murmuring and stammering.
“Same reaction I had. And to think he still owes me some money, He really has got some nerve.” Tony said.
“Why don’t we get some area boys involved so they can treat his f---- up?” Feyisetan finally said.
Tony sipped from her glass of water and ran her hands over her head.
“Jimi is smart. He already told me not to try anything funny. I don’t even know what to do. He’s threatening to leak the clip to Toba and to my office also.”
“How did you even get to be in a relationship with such a low life?”
Tony laughed. She clasped her hands together and opened them out.
“Let’s meet up with him and try to negotiate. You’re a lawyer.” Feyi said.
“What’s the guaranty that he will delete it totally or that he won’t use it against me in the future? Maybe on my wedding day he will just release the clip. God! How did I ever get myself into this mess? If only I had just stayed away from him. This is the work of the devil!”
“You didn’t know it was the work of the devil when you were doing everything in the bedroom with him eh? Anyway, let’s try to call and see if we can come to a compromise of some sort.”
“I really hope so. This devil just means me. He’s just out to get me. First, it’s pregnancy scare, then fibroids, then Toba issues, then work wahala. Now Sex tape.”
“Or we can just make money from this your sex tape like Kim Kardashian.” Feyi laughed.
Tony hissed and pulled out her phone from her bag. “Not funny.”
“Is it ringing?” Feyisetan asked.
“Yeah…” Tony replied.
The call continued to connect for a couple of times with no response. Tony sighed and just as she was about to drop the phone, she received a text message.
“He says I think he is stupid and that he knows I want to record his voice. And he says I need to make the money Three Hundred Thousand and to pay it to an account number not later than Thursday noon.” Tony said, reading from her phone.
Feyisetan rolled her eyes.
“I really think we should involve a guy. A guy knows how to handle these situations better.” She said.
Tony shook her head.
“No. It’s my reputation at stake here. Jimi could be an idiot when he wants to. This is really my fault.”
“So how do we even get him to consider negotiating?”
Feyisetan walked over to the couch where Tony was seated and took the phone from her. She punched in a couple of words in a text message.
“What are you doing?” Tony asked.
“I’m asking him to grow a liver and talk to me if he is man enough. It’s bad enough he’s trying to extort money from a woman. He’s going to deal with the police if he doesn’t consider the offer to talk.” She snorted.
The phone beeped. It was a response from him.
“He told me to get lost.” Feyisetan laughed.
“This isn’t funny.” Tony started to take repeated quick breaths.
“Babe, calm down. He will call back or text.”
Tony hissed and picked up her stuff. She walked towards the door.
“Things are bad enough for me already. Let’s not complicate it further. Now he’s probably pissed off.” She squirmed.
The phone started to ring. Tony hurried back and threw the phone to Feyisetan.
“He’s calling! Talk to him!” She squealed.
Feyi answered the call and took in a deep breath.
“Hello.” She started.
He was silent for a while.
“This is Feyisetan. I sent you the text. You’re such a coward. Don’t tell me you’re scared that there is a police man here or that I’m recording this conversation.” She snorted.
“Hello Feyi. Look, I am not here to play any games. There is nothing to talk about. Either Tony sends it or I circulate it.” Jimi said.
“How about the money you owe her?”
He was silent.
“How about the ring she owes me?” He said.
Feyi laughed. Tony was dismayed.
“Good then. We will just return the ring to you in lieu of the ridiculous sum you are asking for. Or you can wait for us to sell the ring and send you the money.”
“I want Three Hundred Thousand Naira. And my ring. I don’t have time for this.”
“Jimi, what do you stand to gain by leaking this video? What’s the worst that will happen really? Tony is a strong girl. She will always bounce back. You may even make her famous and she will start cashing in…”
“Obviously you are not ready to talk. Good bye. Don’t call me without paying the money to my account.” He said.
“One Hundred and Fifty Thousand is what we are going to send to you. I know you’re broke. The ball is in your court.”
“This is not up for negotiation.”
“I will hang up. Release the videos if you want. She already resigned from her office so there’s no point. Toba is not a problem. She already told him about you.”
“Two Hundred. And my ring.”
Tony nodded vigorously, gesturing at Feyi to quit before he went any higher.
“Fine. Pick up your stinky shameless ring from the security man at Tony’s place.” Feyi said. “How do we know that you have deleted all copies of the clip?”
“I guess you just have to trust me.” He said.
“I see you’re not ready to collect the money which in my opinion you totally do not deserve.”
“I will prepare an agreement. He will sign it. We will meet at an open space and I will give him the cheque and the ring.” Tony said.
“She finally speaks.” Jimi laughed. “I’m not doing cheques. I want it transferred to the account I gave you. I will delete the video from my phone in your presence.”
“And you will sign the agreement that no copy of that rubbish will be circulated or else you will pay me a very ridiculous sum you will not be able to forget in a hurry.” Tony breathed furiously.
“Yes Madam.” He said and ended the call.
Things were sort of looking better. It had been about a week since she had finalized the blackmail business with Jimi. The very sight of him disgusted her and she would not have minded puking her disappointment and resentment in his face. He had come to their meeting point alone wearing Ray Bans she had bought him for Valentine’s day the year before. In the situation, Tony felt like the client, bereft of any legal prowess whatsoever. Feyisetan was the legal counsel, chaperoning the entire event.
Feyisetan had handed the ring over to him first and made sure he signed the agreement. Then she gave the small duffel bag which had his money in cash. He first fussed, complaining about how dangerous it was and how he did not want robbers to come after him. He insisted on internet transfer and Tony immediately reached for her iPad and retrieved her GTBank token from her wallet. Again, her legal representative refused and told Jimi to either take the bag or take a walk. He showed them his gallery and his cleared deleted items and also ended the chat history which contained messages sending the video clip to Tony. After their little business, Feyisetan sipped a little more of her diet coke and poured the rest of it with the ice cubes on Jimi’s brilliant white shirt.
Tony hadn’t heard from him after that day.
It was still within lunch break. Tony had decided to skip lunch at the cafeteria because she was having dinner with Toba later in the evening. Yvonne had come over to her table to start gist as usual. She was obviously getting stressed out with the wedding plans and her pregnancy classes and work. She told Tony that she would be handing in her two weeks’ notice at the end of the week as she would be quitting work shortly before the wedding.
They heard the door of Gbolahan Adisa’s office creak open. He stood by the door and snapped his fingers, looking at Tony and signaling for her to join in him in his office. She sighed and looked away, ignoring him. Yvonne questioned her with her eyes and Tony responded that a snapping of fingers was not her name. He signaled a second time with yet again no response from her. In fact, she hissed silently.
“Tony Lewis!” He said impatiently. The pitch of his voice was audibly high evincing his growing level of upset.
“Yes?” She responded.
“Did you not see that I called for you?”
She shook her head.
“No. I did not hear you call my name. I only saw you snap your fingers and I was wondering who that was for.”
He wanted to speak but hesitated.
“You are becoming very insubordinate.” He blurted.
She laughed. Yvonne cleared her throat and started to take her leave although it was obvious that she still very much wanted to see the development of the conversation.
“I’m insubordinate because I did not respond to you snapping your fingers? If you must know that is extremely rude and impolite, sir.” Tony stressed.
“The legal team at Bridgeworth Ltd just sent an email asking for the updated version of the Deed of Sublease for the property at Ikeja. Can you give me one reason why this hasn’t gone out yet?”
She uttered a small laugh.
“If I recall properly, you were the same person who said that I should not send any document out of the office without your approval.” She said.
“And why haven’t I seen the document?”
“I have been through with it for a while now. You just never requested for it.”
“Get out of my office right now.” He yelled. He yelled so loud that she jumped to her feet. She headed for the door and walked to her seat.
Her head was getting heavier by the minute. She knew there and then that her exit from the company was not going to be long anymore. With everything that was going on, feeling cheated and cornered by her boss after all her years of work and commitment, Gbolahan Adisa’s attitude and everything else put together, Tony Lewis knew that her days were numbered at Dealdrige Ltd.
She had barely settled into her couch to start eating off her meal which she had stopped to buy from KFC on her way home after work when she got the text message. Toba had cancelled their date earlier. He said there was an emergency meeting with a business partner which he needed to attend.
She stared at her phone for a few more seconds before she blinked. Suddenly, the headache from work returned with double enormity.
The text was from Jimi and he was asking for more money. He wanted Five Hundred Thousand not later the weekend.
Feyisetan’s number was switched off. That was the first person she could think of calling. Where was she supposed to get the money from? She had just invested a lot of her savings in stocks and had made down payment for half a plot of land somewhere in Ikorodu. She started to perspire despite the air conditioning in the room being at its highest. She thought he had deleted the video. She sighed. A part of her knew that she could not trust Jimi.
The phone started to ring. It was him. She continued to stare at it. She let it continue to ring. She did not know where to start negotiating from. She was tired and exhausted. After about six missed calls, he sent another text threatening her further. She switched off the phone and headed to the kitchen. She grabbed herself a glass, filled it with water, and swallowed sleeping pills.
By the time she opened her eyes to get up for work, the time was 9.15am. She screamed and jumped out of bed. She was still in her work clothes from the day before. She searched for her phone and switched it on. There were a number of messages from Feyisetan, Sharon, Yvonne, Toba and Jimi. She hurried with her oral hygiene and took a quick shower, got into random work clothes and dashed out of her apartment. She got to work at about an hour after. Walking in, Yvonne welcomed her with a puzzled look. It was obvious that there was some trouble.
“I overslept!” She whispered to her. Yvonne shook her head.
“Mr. Wright and Mr. Gbolahan have been looking for you. It seems serious.” She said.
Sharon greeted her and after expressing her concerns, informed her that Mr. Gbolahan wanted her in his office.
She knocked on his door and after three times, he asked her to come in as though he was counting the number of her knocks. He asked for a number of files and the progress of some other work, all the while avoiding the big elephant in the room. She wanted to apologize for getting to work late but she couldn’t bring herself to owing him an explanation. She would go and see Mr. Wright instead and apologize to him.
“Would that be all?” She said when he went silent.
“Yes. But before I forget, this is for you.” He handed her a white envelope. She received it with a puzzled look on her face.
“Me?” She said rhetorically. Her name was boldly printed on the envelope.
“Please shut the door behind you.” He said.
She nodded and walked out angrily. She hadn’t met such a jerk as the man!
She opened the envelope and unfolded the sheet bearing the company letter head.
It was a query from him for insubordination and it was co-signed by Rukewe Human Resources.
“Is everything okay?” Sharon asked.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She yelled. She started to call attention of some other staff. She hissed and marched on to Mr. Wright’s office. His secretary confirmed he was around.
“Good morning sir.” She said, trying to contain her anger.
Mr. Wright looked at her and nodded.
“Tony.” He said.
“Sir, firstly, I’m sorry I got in late this morning. I had a—a domestic issue yesterday and I had to take some sedative medication. I’m so sorry.” She said.
He nodded again.
“Why are you here?” He asked.
“Mr. Gbolahan…he’s getting on my last nerve sir and I don’t know how long I can keep up with him. He issued me a query because I did not send a document which he clearly asked me not to send out! Sir…”
He let her finish, all the while not taking his eyes off her.
“May I speak now, Miss Lewis?” He finally spoke.
She nodded, trying to contain herself.
“I am very much aware of this query. Of late, I don’t know what has been going on with you. It seems as though your mind is…far off. I don’t know. That was why we had to bring in someone to supervise you directly because I just did not think you are ready for such responsibility as head of legal of this company. Tony, it is one thing to be good at your job but you are just not…I don’t know if you are being distracted by something else.”
She stared at him blankly.
“You…you knew about this Sir?” She said slowly.
She sighed again, shaking her head and trying to control the tears forming in her eyes.
“Thank you sir.” She said and walked out of his office.
She took in several more breaths before she hit the dial button and waited for her to answer the call. Her fingers shook and for a minute, she hoped the phone would not fall.
“Hello.” She answered.
“Good Morning Madam.” Tony said. “This is Tony Lewis from Dealdridge Ltd Ma.”
“Oh my dear, how have you been? I’ve been really busy but Dan has been dealing with Mr. Wright. I’m sure you’re calling because you haven’t heard from me in a while.” Mrs. Pius replied.
“Um..yes ma. Actually, I was calling regarding the discussion we had in Abuja. About the job offer ma.” She tried to say confidently in her mild stutters. She was sitting in her car with her windows wound up.
“Oh. Okay dear. Yes that’s alright. I can fit you in on the 18th of this month? I am heading to the airport on my way to South Africa for a few days.”
“Yes ma. That’s fine ma.” She said, trying to contain her excitement.
By the close of business, she dropped her well written two weeks’ notice on Rukewe’s table and ensured that she passed the message to Mr. Gbolahan and Mr. Wright.