Image Source: townetworks.com
The meeting ended at exactly three pm and Ngozi yawned
tiredly and stood up from her seat. Who would have thought? She thought to
herself, that Bola’s legendary cousin, Ade, was a staff of this firm. Shaking
her head at the reality in the saying ‘small world’ she walked towards the
Managing Director of Pattersons and holding out her hand, she gave him a firm
handshake.
“Wonderful presentation, Ngozi…right?” He said, smiling and
revealing thirty-two perfect white teeth.
“Thank you so much Mr. Ken.” She said smiling shyly.
“Call me Ken.” He insisted.
“Oh…sorry, Ken.”
“We would be working together for the next two to three
months you know…” He said suggestively.
Ngozi gulped and blushed, nodding in reply. She still stood
there, her sweaty palms were still in Ken’s grip when the finance manager of
her company walked up to meet them.
“I see you’ve met our most beautiful, hardworking and
diligent Business manager.” The finance manager, Ayo, said to Ken.
“Yes, she is indeed…” Ken said sounding mesmerized.
“She’s got the world at her feet, an excellent education,
top position at the company, a wonderful and supportive fiancé…” Ayo started.
“Well…let’s not get into that…” Ngozi cut in quickly.
Ayo immediately got the clue, he coughed uncomfortably and
excused himself.
“I am so sorry about that…I’m very big with words you know.”
Ayo said quietly.
“Well…thank you for being such wonderful clients, we look
forward to working with you.” Ken said smiling and finally releasing Ngozi’s
palm from his grip.
Ngozi nodded and sped out of the boardroom, pausing to catch
her breath outside the boardroom. She was confused at the giddy feeling that
she felt in her tummy and placing her hand to her abdomen she rubbed it.
“Hmmm…how is Nduka?” A voice said behind her.
Ngozi startled and turned sharply to stare at Ade whose
hands were folded and who was staring at her with hawk-like eyes.
“What do you mean by that question?” Ngozi asked.
“I just asked…I mean…he’s your boyfriend right? Or is it,
fiancé?”
“Hey…do not pride yourself with the fact that we’ve met
prior to today to ask me useless questions. My company is paying your firm big
time for services so, you should learn to speak to me with respect.” Ngozi
warned.
“What do you mean by that? I just asked how your boyfriend
is that’s all.” Ade said appalled at Ngozi’s attitude.
“His welfare is none of your business.” Ngozi snapped at
her.
It was at the tip of Ade’s tongue to tell Ngozi about her
dream but something held her back, they were in an office and she didn’t want
to get into a spat with Ngozi right infront of the boardroom. Ade suddenly didn’t
understand where the hatred for Ngozi sprung from but her heart boiled in
contempt for Ngozi, she didn’t know if her dream contributed to it but
something told her to stay far away from Ngozi.
 Ngozi was turning to
leave when Ken came out of the boardroom and called out to her.
“Ngozi…I didn’t get your business card.” Ken said.
Ngozi quickly ransacked her bag and retrieved a small
scented card which she handed to Ken. He took it, sniffed it lightly and placed
it into his pocket, Ade rolled her eyes at them. As soon as Ngozi left, Ken
turned to Ade and said.
“Now…let’s talk about your disgraceful presentation today.”
*****
Image Source: miyandamaimbo.com
Henrietta was still day-dreaming when Ngozi got back to the
office, startled at her boss’s voice, she immediately pretended to be busy and
hurried to a pile of files which she started rearranging.
“What are you doing with those files?” Ngozi snapped at her.
“I’m sorry madam…I was …err.” Henrietta stammered.
“Please get out of there, the files do not belong to this
unit. Take them to the Human resources unit immediately and while you are at
it, I need a hot cup of coffee.” She ordered.
“Yes madam.” Henrietta said as she struggled to pick up the
mountain of files before her.
“While you are at it, I need you to check the menu at the
staff kitchen, ask the caterer for the menu. I need to eat lunch before four o’clock.”
Ngozi said as she stared at her watch. “It’s fifteen minutes to four, and I need
to be done with my lunch at four.” Ngozi said as she walked into her office and
slammed the door.
Henrietta was still recovering from her boss’s sudden
appearance when her phone rang, loud. She hurried to her desk where she had
kept it and almost screamed in surprise at the caller ID, it was Jonathan, she
was about to pick the call when Ngozi’s door opened again.
“Do not pick that call, no calls are allowed during office hours.
You have work to do so…move it!” Ngozi commanded.
It took the grace of God for Henrietta not to throw a hard
object at her boss and turn back home but instead she kept the phone on her
table and listened to it ring while she picked up the files from the ground and
carried it to the Human Resources department.
“From Ngozi huh?” One of the staff at Human Resources said
to her with kind eyes.
“Yes ma.” Henrietta replied.
She had just reached the department and was dropping the
files on the table at the far side of the office only to turn-around to see
about ten pairs of eyes staring at her.
“Don’t let her break you.” Another staff was saying.
Henrietta nodded quietly and turned to go, as she left the
office she overheard their conversations.
“Hmmm…after that they’ll say that Justina was transferred
mtcheww.”
“Yes ooo…na so dem talk. The girl had to run for her dear
life ooo…that Ngozi is no good boss. I heard that Justina had to start sleeping
with Oga at the top all because she wanted to be free from Ngozi’s shackles. I
wish this new girl luck….it’s not going to be easy.” Another staff said.
Henrietta walked away from the unit with tears in her eyes, ‘for
so long she had been waiting for Jonathan’s call and finally, now that he did,
she was stopped from picking the call’ she thought. She got coffee, then
proceeded to the staff lunch room to ask for the menu from the caterer who told
her that there was no meal left. Henrietta went back upstairs to her unit where
she knocked at Ngozi’s door.
“Come in.” Ngozi said.
“Ma…I have done everything you told me to do…” Henrietta
started as she closed the door.
“Don’t talk into my coffee…if I need a sweetener. I’ll ask
you to get one, I do not need your spittle to do the job for me. Drop the cup
before speaking to me.” Ngozi barked.
Henrietta nodded and quietly walked towards Ngozi’s table
and placed the cup on it.
“The caterer said that food is finished.” Henrietta said.
“Oh really… so what did you have for lunch?” Ngozi asked.
“Afang soup ma.”
“Hmmm…are you Calabar?”
“No ma…I’m…”
“Oh shut up! You are not a calabar girl then why are you
eating Afang?”
“I love the food.” Henrietta said.
“By shortening my lunch right? If you decided to skip lunch,
I might as well have had something to eat after a long meeting at Pattersons.
Another thing is, if you had asked the caterer to save up food for me, perhaps I
would have had something left for me in the kitchen.”
“But…ma…”
“I’m going to give you my ATM card to get food for me from a
fast food. I need the food before four pm and failure to deliver would attract
a deduction from your salary. Trust me when I say, that I would talk to Human
Resources about you and your pay would be split in half if you do not take me
seriously. Now, go to the fast food and get me beans with plantain, extra stew,
fried fish and a pack of fruit juice.”
Henrietta stared at her wrist watch and knew that there was
no way in the world that she would return to the office before four pm because
it was already three minutes to four. Ngosi threw her ATM card at Henrietta and
quickly called out the password. Nodding her head like a lizard, she dashed out
of Ngozi’s office hoping to make it back in the nick of time.
*****
Emeka’s nose was on fire, it had been ages since he perceived
any food that smelt as good as this and he was so happy that his stomach was
empty.
“Dinner is served.” Nkechi said as she walked into his
sister’s living room and held out her hands to him to help him up.
Emeka had been having good dreams about Nkechi, dreams that
made him want to possess her completely yet, something held him back, it was
the fact that he loved Ade with every fibre of his being. Aside from the fact
that Nkechi looked a mess in the morning, the last time they spent the night in
each other’s arms, she had one skill that Ade lacked. She was a terrific cook
and she didn’t have a temper like Ade’s.
“Emmy, don’t tell me that the aroma of this food didn’t drag
you up from the sofa.” His sister said as she came out of the kitchen, holding
a small plate of baby food in her hand.
“It wasn’t ooo…I was playing with my adorable niece Mimi so I
didn’t notice.” Emeka lied, turning to stare at his baby niece who was using a
huge crayon to destroy her colour book.
“Hmmm…one thing I know about you is your strong love for
food so stop lying.” His sister said as she stooped down to lift up her
protesting child into her arms. “If you don’t stop struggling, I’ll spank your
small bum.” She warned her child who immediately stopped wriggling.
“So…can I eat now? I’m starving.” Emeka said as he ignored
Nkechi’s outstretched arms and walked to the dining table where two bowls of
pounded yam and egusi soup waited for him.
“Nkechi pounds really well, can you believe that there are
no lumps in her pounded yam? And her egusi soup is the best I’ve ever tasted.”
His sister praised.
“Chinyere…I have heard ooo…can I eat my food in peace now? I
will stop coming here ooo, since you’re bent on setting me up every time.”
Emeka warned as he washed his hands and proceeded to eat the food.
Nkechi sat down on the dining chair next to his and stared
at him with love-filled eyes. Emeka ignored her.
“You know we really want you to get married as quickly as
possible. Mama is tired of having to explain to the village elders why you do
not want to settle down. Remember that papa married at twenty-five and how old
are you again? Thirty-one, right? And mama suspects that Uncle Ejike’s hand is
in your not wanting to get married, she has been hearing about his frequent
visits to the dibia. You are an only son ooo and an easy prey, remember that
your lands are many and our relations eyes are on your property. You need a
family soon and…” Chinyere continued.
“I will leave this food ooo…if you keep talking like this. I
will wash my hands off this food and go home. Which kain wahala be dis na? I
came to eat and not to listen to life’s lessons.”
“Oya sorry…I’ll change the topic.” His sister, Chinyere said
and still holding her baby and the baby food she walked to the dining table and
sat on one of the chairs. “How is your so-called girl-friend, have you both
made-up?”
“Not yet but hopefully soon, when she comes around.” Emeka
said disinterestedly.
“I’d like you to really think of marrying an Igbo wife…Emmy…you
are an only son and we cannot afford to have a woman from another tribe marry
our only brother and son.”
“Is she an alien? Isn’t she Nigerian? And besides, have I expressed
interest to marry her?”
Nkechi smiled at his last rhetorical question and silently
listened to the conversation between brother and sister.
“You keep saying this all the time but you are always with
her. Don’t you know that the more time you spend with a woman deepens your
affection for her? Give our Igbo girls a chance na…biko.” Chinyere pleaded.
“I will.” Emeka said, while tearing a piece of meat apart
with his teeth.
“That’s so good to hear…what of…” His sister started.
“I’ll choose the girl myself and I am not going to give you
a chance to do your match-making business anymore.”
“Okay…but you will sha consider Nkechi…she is a pretty woman
ooo…look at her… and she’ll bear you fine boys. Her lineage is filled with male
children, her mother had six boys but four survived.” Chinyere said.
“What killed the two boys?Kwashiorkor? ” Emeka asked, still
licking his fingers.
“No they were still births.” Nkechi finally said.

Emeka shrugged and continued with his meal, he knew he was
not going to hear the last of this marriage topic till he leaves his sister’s
house.

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