I still could not come to terms with the ease in which I got the job-of-life as Tina would humorously say. A onetime meeting at the office with some delegates from the parent-company which was shrouded in secrecy had led to this moment and I chuckled at the thought that life at best was a random picker. Unfastening the weak seat belt after takeoff, I sat fingering my phone for no reason, restless and ecstatic. My whole life was about to change because of a random idea passed at the Post-Annual meeting in the small boardroom over cups of cold coffee with the mystery addition.
A stocky man in his late forties had fixed his bulgy yellowish eyes on me as I joked about the possibility of introducing an e-Pension solution for Nigerians without the hassle of Pension companies, their irregularities and fraudulent practices – a direct monitoring of retirement account and investment option for savers. He had asked how and I had briefly told of the app or SmS-Service that could be integrated with the eCommerce solution already being introduced to our existing customers and the potential influx of new customers that would expand operations and profit margin. He had barely nodded after that and sipped on his lifeless coffee.
And then last month, an email from the Zenith group to confirm availability for a position I didn’t apply for. Details were forwarded after I got in contact with sender email and got to know that the mystery representative was in fact Head, Human Resources of the Zenith Group – Mr Sule Danladi.
The window seat was exactly what I wanted and the elderly statesman who had just changed his seat smiled at me openly revealing his good set of teeth.
“Not your first time flying” he said, starting up a tête-à-tête. I briefly considered telling a bogus lie but decided to keep it truthful.
“Yes” I smiled noticing his expensive cufflinks, Hugo Boss wristwatch and evenly brushed thin grey hair.
“You are so comfortable, it shows” the attractive old man with witty eyes, white sprouting beards and amazingly long manicured fingernails said in low tunes as if we were conspiring against the stern-faced hostess who started towards us in an overly pressed uniform.
“Except you that is” I joked and he laughed heartily.
“Yes, Yes, except me of course” he said holding out his hand.
“Abel, Abel Fatasho” he waited.
“Debbie Black” I replied taking his surprisingly soft hand.
“I find that hard to believe” he said taking a long look at my flawless light skin.
“I have an oxymoron for a name” I beamed and we shared a private laugh.
“I bet you have my dear” he said as we settled in for a talk.
Armed with a bottle of water from the trolley pushed by a pair, we went ahead to discuss the state of the nation and the killings perpetuated by the Boko Haram and the insensitive way the government was handling.
“It is really a shame a country like ours keeps her arms folded while her children are butchered like livestock” I said heatedly taking another mouthful, thoroughly enjoying the theories he was spinning with history I had no knowledge of.
“The government has priority and its modus operandi is only available to the caucus” he said baiting me and I went overboard debating the express duty of the State, the foremost responsibility of any government and why the lives of the citizenry superseded policies and politics – a favorite of the Nigerian office holder; my hands following every word and crossing all the T’s.
“You are one enlightened lady and I am suddenly in need of a Personal Assistant” he said with a full smile as the voice of the pilot came on, telling everyone to fasten their seat belt and wishing everyone a good stay in the Federal Capital City.
We were landing.
“I would love to but I resume tomorrow. New job” I said with a bright proud smile fastening my seat belt. Minutes later, we were filing out.
“My loss” Mr Fatasho continued as we walked to the carousel to claim my luggage, a simple joke at the checkout and then out to the reception.
“This way Miss” he said as a clean suited man stepped out of the crowd outside the building and promptly carried the briefcase from the old man’s capable hands.
“Oh, but I have a hotel reservation and I am sure the driver is already here” I said as I scanned the small crowd. I didn’t see a white cardboard with my name on it a’la VIP. It was late; any delay would mean taking a taxi to the Hilton and it was necessary I got his contact. Men like this could not be googled.
“I will take you to your accommodation. I’d hate to leave you here and not listen to your logical rants on the affairs of your country” he smiled sweetly indicating that the broad shouldered man unburden me.
“Well, thank you Monsieur” I said coyly and took few steps before a black salon with midnight windows stopped in front of us at the pickup zone.
“After you” he said, holding the door open for me. I said a little prayer, holding on to the pepper spray in my bag and opening my eyes wide as I entered the chilled car.
“A gentleman too” I said sweetly, putting myself at ease and flirting with the old man. I knew he was big fish and it was absolutely necessary to hook him like a skilled fisherman. This was Abuja after all and the quality of your contact was the key to unlocking treasures meant for those who knew their onions.
“But of course I am” he said and soon we were driving out of the airport.
“The Hilton” he said he informed the broad shoulders and I wondered temporarily if I had mentioned my hotel to him. The rest of the drive had him on the phone and I looked out of the black sedan, taking in the cool radiantly lit carriageway.
The female receptionist smiled broadly as we walked into the lobby and approached the desk, recognition hitting her eyes.
“Priscilla! How are you? Fix her a room on my account, will you?” he said in a hurry with a wink and soon waved me goodbye as he walked to the elevator and within minutes was out of sight with the broad shoulders who had dropped my luggage.
The plump cheerful girl tasked with settling me in simply called a bellboy who magically appeared from nowhere.
“Right this way Ma’am” she said and I followed to the elevator that whisked Mr. Abel up the floors few minutes ago. She stopped on the fourth floor, room 414 and opened the door, stepping inside and promptly switching on the TV as if I asked her. I bit my tongue. ‘She is just nice Debbie’ I told myself telling the bellboy to drop the luggage anywhere and hurrying them out in my head hoping that thoughts were permeable as propounded.
The cozy room and well laid bed beckoned me to sleep but I resisted while Priscilla did her little parade and showed me around. I bit my tongue again to keep myself from telling her to leave my room already.
“You can take a seat here on Wednesday evenings to watch the live band” she said as she opened the balcony and stood there. I waited with hands at akimbo and watched as she came to herself, apologizing profusely. The duo left shortly after and I went ahead to take a long soak, all the while wondering if Sandra was going to consider coming to Abuja. She had not replied any of my messages nor my calls. She was taking my move personal but I missed her already.
An hour later, I was naked under the warm covers with berries being crushed heavily under the power of my jaw, my hair wrapped up in white towel. The room was cold enough to preserve dead cold blooded animals and a movie with a familiar Ghanaian face was showing. I stretched to pick my phone from the bedside and Sandra call came in on contact.
“Hey babe” I answered, reducing the volume of the shrieking actress on TV.
“Don’t babe me and stop smiling witch” she said and we both burst out laughing.
“You no try at all” she said and I apologized again.
“So how Abuja na?”
“Abj is fine o. I dey crush awon berries for Hilton” I said tempting her. It worked.
“You are in Hilton? Debbie, you are wicked! I am coming tomorrow” she said and I knew she was serious. I laughed some more.
“It was supposed to be a surprise but you weren’t in a good mood last night” I said reminding her of her premature outburst and dramatic exit.
“Ehen, you no say I nor dey like surprises. Oya, arrange me ticket” she said.
“Time?” I said going to my bookmarks to book a ticket.
“First flight jor. Before dem move you” she said, now in high spirits.
“Done” I said and send the link to her.
“Let me go and pack” she said happily and I could see her flying around her 2 bedroom flat packing shoes she wasn’t going to wear and less clothes that she actually needed. Thankfully I had packed more than enough blouses for her.
A good start I thought changing the shrieking scene playing out before me.
‘That little devil! The devil of a woman! May she be damned! May she rot in hell! May her life end up like my engagement’ the hot air leaving my angry bloated lungs as I climbed up the stairs instead of taking the elevator to my office that morning had me cursing the weekend and the little witch that had caused me three years of courtship with Ele – three years of mind blowing sex! It definitely could not get any better than I was getting but thanks to long-limbed witch, I had lost something really good. How could Ele believe I had anything to do with the girl who was all legs and perky creamy breasts? Okay, now that I thought about it, I understood why she would.
Breaking my knees just because some random lady showed up was not wisdom and so I found the next elevator to the penthouse. The damned woman – whoever she was – was fit to grace the cover of magazines and I dreamt of meeting her again. ‘Only the good gracious God knew what I’d do with her’ I gave an evil grin at the thought. Her long flawless legs had climbed to perfect oval hips, a flat stomach and luscious rounded breasts that opened to her scantily covered chest. Her breasts stood so firm I wanted to be the one to cause them to fall. Women ought to stop wearing short LBDs and V-shaped necks! I cursed again under my breath as the door opened to the west wing of the penthouse and I marched past a confused Rita – my secretary who was married to a childhood friend Marcus. She followed me in and smiled politely, almost too weak.
“Good morning” she said with familiarity, holding her pad in a mini skirt that displayed her curved legs. Didn’t Marcus mind having his wife’s leg on display in such an unattractive manner?
“Good morning Rita” I replied without taking my eyes off my screen that was already blinking with activity and discarding my necktie. Rolling up my sleeves to work, a reminder popped on my screen.
“Ahhha! It is today” I said looking up at Rita who was still standing with legs curved so painfully I dismissed her with a nod. She couldn’t even remind me of a scheduled meeting! I could not wait to leave this wing and go east. The new head was going to be saddled with looking at legs that frightened him ……or not. I had to find a way to unburden her without getting the eye from Marcus.
I stood up to the adjoining room to change into a clean shirt and a better tie. Putting a call to Ele, she let it ring a couple of times. She still wasn’t taking my calls. I smiled. I was giving her two more days to come around or I’d move to Patty. Or Perhaps I’d go to Port Harcourt next weekend to beg some more and go find out who the beautiful enemy was. The thought had me knotting my tie in a better mood and five minutes later I left the office to the meeting room for the hand over in high spirits.
There were only two vacant seat left as I approached top table and saw father already seated in his usual white jumper and grey cap tilted to the side. Mr Sule was seated with a pensive face while the other five top management staff sat seemingly waiting for the day to start.
“Good morning Dad” I said taking the seat on his left.
“I am surprised you decided to show up before time today” he replied, a light grin outlining his cleaned chin.
“Well, I am learning to grow up as advised. Taking Jaja’s place is big business” I said with a self-satisfied smile. The smile on my father’s face was very familiar, the kind he gave when he was about pulling a fast one. Just then, the glass double panel door pushed open and there stood the devil I was looking for.
The lady from the Secilles outlined in a dark suit that did more to my gradually rising member than my sense of reasoning.
A sweet smile breaking my tensed mouth, Ele forgotten in an instant. Right here was all I needed to keep me occupied for a long time and I was going to enjoy making her pay.