The feel of the cool and chilly breeze from the LG air conditioner which was right above her work space awakened the drowsiness in her. It probably did not help that she had just downed a full plate of coconut rice and smoked turkey wings at the cafeteria on the fifth floor. Something beeped. She looked at her computer screen. It was an email from Mrs. Pius. She guessed what the content would be without even clicking on the webmail notification. Mrs. Pius was her boss’ favorite client. It was very obvious that the woman had a stinky attitude and treated staff with absolute disrespect but as long as she continued to need the services of Dealridge Ltd for her many property transactions which were very valuable because she was the wife of a top senator representing a state from the East, all staff knew that it was expedient to tolerate that bad attitude and relish it as a luxury spa treatment in the hands of a professional masseuse.
Tony had worked with Dealridge for a few years. She started precisely on her twenty third birthday. She had just returned from the United Kingdom the week before when the email came in on the eve of the 17th of August, asking her to resume work the following day. She didn’t know if it was a blessing or an annoyance. She had applied to the company in the previous month and they had Skyped her for an interview. They said they would revert but she didn’t hear anything from them since then. She had made plans with her boyfriend, Jimi to check into a hotel somewhere in Victoria Island and to kick start a fun weekend for her birthday. One of the problems she and Jimi had was the distance in their relationship because she had decided to go pursue her dreams of a master’s degree in commercial law. Perhaps he was secretly envious, she couldn’t exactly tell. He was twenty nine at the time and was earning a miserly salary less than what her father gave her as upkeep. She loved him. He was a great and good guy, and he had his good looks. She was a sucker for looks. Perhaps that even came higher on her future husband list; Looks before Funds.
A lot had happened in four years since then. First, she had been promoted twice and now, she had an eye on becoming Lead Legal Counsel at the company. She was five years at the bar already and she knew the ropes of everything she needed to know at the company and in real estate and property development. She had gotten a lot of poach offers from rival companies, but there was one attribute that stood out for her.
Loyalty. Loyalty had made her stick to Jimi even when it was clear he didn’t really have a plan for his future…or their future. Loyalty had made her stand by her boss and help him grow Dealridge to greater heights despite better offers. Loyalty had made her ignore a scholarship offer for a Ph.D in Canada because she wanted to stay in Nigeria and make the relationship with Jimi work.
But she was starting to run out of loyalty pills. She deserved an award for being the most supportive girlfriend ever. While all of her friends were either sharing stories of their children’s mischiefs and naughtiness, she was still trying to get Jimi Sanni to pop the almighty question and propose to her. It had been six years of their relationship. Jimi was in his mid-thirties now and still kept the same job where he earned N75, 000. 00 monthly. That wasn’t what irked her. She was loyal after all. Rather, it was his sense of bothersome entitlement. He felt that it was the right thing for her to do by supporting him financially, because as far as he was concerned, she knew that the rent was high and she knew that he needed a functional car. And of course, Tony did not want her friends or family to look down on her man. So she tried to support him with N50, 000. 00 from her monthly remuneration of over N300, 000. 00.
The sound of her intercom buzzed her back to reality.
“Hello, Yvonne.” She answered. Yvonne, the front desk admin had transferred a call to her desk.
“Hi, Tony. It’s Mrs. Pius on the line for you.” Yvonne said.
“Oooo God. Why now? I haven’t even read her email…” She clutched the phone to her ear and tried to read the content of the email on her HP screen. She reached for the mouse and clicked on the mail.
Hello Miss Lewis,
I have reviewed the Property Development Agreement you sent last night. I am comfortable with majority of the clauses but my manager thinks that there are too many freebies we are giving to the other party. The financing of the project for instance and the lump sum they are requesting.
Treat urgently. I have copied your boss in this mail.
Tony shook her head and sighed. Why did the woman feel the need to always threaten her by actually letting her know that Mr. Wright was copied in the mail?
“Hello Miss Lewis, how are you? Did you get my email? I sent it about an hour ago and I am yet to get a response from you. Is Mr. Wright in the office?” Mrs. Pius blurted out all at once.
Tony sighed again, trying to pick which of the numerous questions to answer from the buffet of interrogations.
“Good afternoon Mrs. Pius. Yes I have received your email and I am reviewing the agreement a third time. I will send a reviewed draft to you shortly.” She responded as calmly as she could.
“I think it’s better if you emailed it directly to my manager. Better still; why not speak with him so that you both can go over whatever reservations he has? I have to be out of the country for my daughter’s graduation tomorrow so I need this sorted out before I return next week Monday. I will text his phone number to you. Give him a call. His name is Daniel.”
Again, Madam said in a mouthful and ended the call before Tony could respond.
She saw the notification again on her screen. It was a new email from Mrs. Pius providing the contact info of her manager.
That was Mr. Wright’s voice. She turned her chair to face him. He was holding his MacBook and his tan colored leather man-bag. She could tell he was about to leave. She looked at the clock. It was almost 6p.m.
“You don’t have plans for tonight, right? Daniel is coming over. I was just informed that the documents need to be signed by tomorrow morning because the property owner is travelling to Germany. He’s on Buhari’s entourage for that summit.”
Tony opened her eyes wide. He wasn’t even asking if she had plans. He had answered that himself.
“Tonight? Tomorrow?” She stuttered.
“What? You can’t? You have somewhere you need to be? ”He said, raising a well arched rough brow.
She wanted to make Lead Legal Counsel.
“I can handle it…sir.” She said.
“Good. Dan will be here in roughly thirty minutes. You guys can work together and if it’s getting late, take the party to the office guest house.” He walked towards her. “Get the key from Yvonne. And Tony, you have to be careful okay? Strictly business. Dan is…”
“Dan is what?”
They both turned to face the young man who had walked in. She assumed that was Mr. Dan. He was tall, lanky but with a strong build and she could literally see the six million pack abs from his Barba Napoli shirt. He had good looks! Her weakness! How was she supposed to cope in a guest room all alone with this walking god? He smiled. He had dimples!
Mr. Wright laughed and shook his head as they man- hugged.
“Dan is early.” He said.
“It had better be early you were going to say.” Dan laughed.
“Yea, I was already on the Island when Madam told me I needed to be on a work…date.” He turned to look at Tony. She suddenly became uneasy in her seat. She did not like the effect Dan was having on her. For goodness sake she hadn’t even started working with him and she was all melted ice cream already.
“I think I like this work date.” He laughed.
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