Idara looked at Femi Omari as she followed Fayose. Everything about Femi was hard, mean and serious. His body looked like that of an athlete. He was too handsome to be this hard on people, Idara thought.
“I don’t want to set eyes on my new assistant for 3 days. She needs training – intensive training,” he added. Next, he turned his chair around so that he backed them.
“Right away, Mr. Femi,” Mr. Fayose said as he adjusted his glasses and led Idara to his office.
“The boss eats lunch at a restaurant called Monalisa’s place at Ikoyi. This is their order number and flier too. He doesn’t eat chicken, beef, turkey, eba, semovita, and any food that has a lot of starch in it. He eats veggies and manages fish, fruits and boiled eggs. He loves wine, vodka, and yogurt only from Pinkies. He doesn’t drink milk.”
Idara gasped at Mr. Fayose, “But why doesn’t he eat meat and chicken?”
“That’s not our business,” Mr. Fayose said meanly, almost sounding like his boss. Idara let out a deep breath.
“So, where is his house?” she asked.
“You have no business with Femi Omari’s house. Your business ends here in this office.”
He walked to his seat and settled there. “Get a pen and paper, I am listing things he doesn’t like.”
Idara hastily searched her handbag, searched for a pen and jotter. She tore out a sheet from the jotter and stared at Fayose’s face while he mentioned the things Femi won’t condone from her. It was a long day of lecturers and Idara was glad when Mr. Fayose announced that the class was over. When she got home, she could not stop thinking about some of the things Mr. Fayose told her about her new boss.
“He doesn’t eat fish, meat or even chicken. What kind of a human being is that?” Idara thought curiously as she removed her blouse and placed it on the bed. She was tired. It had been a hectic day of roaming around the company’s premises, being shown the different types of machines, and getting introduced to the different people she would be meeting with every Wednesday morning.
“He is that way because it is healthy,” Toke replied.
Idara shrugged helplessly. “I am tired, Toke.” She fell on the bed.
“Tired? You haven’t even started your full-time work yet.”
“I know, but I am already tired. Working with a man who doesn’t eat meals that give him strength yet is so heartless gives me heartburn.”
Toke laughed. “You’ve only been in this company for 2 days. You haven’t even seen half of MD’s true color and you’re complaining.”
Idara closed her eyes. “When did you say we are going to the club again?”
“You won’t believe I will be working weekends. My timetable says half-day though.”
“Half day? We can still club.”
A temporary wave of relief washed over Idara as she sat up and pulled off her brassieres.
“What are we eating for dinner?” Idara asked as she pulled her hair backward and braided it into a ponytail.
“Maybe noodles and geisha,” Toke said. She waited on the bed until Idara set out to the kitchen.
The next morning, Idara and Toke were at the office at exactly 6:22 a.m. Idara rushed to Femi’s office and carefully placed a bottle of Hermès 24 Faubourg before his chair. She rushed out and waited for him by the entrance of the office. When she saw everyone running into corners of their offices, she knew that he had arrived. She inhaled and exhaled, and when she saw him, she hurriedly took his briefcase and rushed into the office; displaying every file in the box on the table. She booted his system, rushed to the coffee dispenser and made a full cup of coffee for him. She put a few drops of stevia in the coffee and carefully placed it before him. He stirred the coffee and when he tasted it, he looked up at her with irritation on his face.
“What the fuck is this?” he asked.
Idara paused for a while, trying to remember if it was not the coffee dispenser she had got the coffee from.
“Coffee….your coffee…” she stammered.
“What else did you add in here?” he asked.
“It’s black coffee, so I added liquid stevia to it because without liquid stevia, it’s absolutely bitter and not nice at all,” Idara said thoughtfully.
“Are you really alright? At your age, you don’t know that you should respectfully ask if I needed a sweetener in my coffee or not? If you do this to a diabetic patient in America, you could be sued.”
He stood to his feet and quickstepped to his office bathroom and wiped his mouth with a towel, pouring away the coffee down a washing bowl.
“I am really sorry, Mr. Femi. I never knew you don’t take sweeteners. I wouldn’t try it again,” she said calmly.
“Listen, the reason you see a sweetener there is because I usually have guests who take their coffee with them. Don’t you ever add sweeteners to my coffee anymore.”
“Okay Mr. Femi,” Idara said, swallowing many times and standing upright before him. He walked to his chair and sprayed a few drops of perfume on his body. The scent engulfing his entire office.
“Has Chevron approved the contract?” he asked.
“Yes, the mail was sent to us this morning.”
“Did you print it?”
“Yes,” she said. She hurriedly walked back to the table, searching through the files. She found it and stretched it out to him. He collected it abruptly and read through for a moment, then he nodded and signed the document.
He had just received a contract worth 3 billion naira from a prestigious oil company and he wasn’t excited about it. He didn’t even call for a celebration meeting or smile.
She was getting used to working with him. In fact, she was beginning to understand the kind of person he was.
2 weeks later, her mini-apartment and official car were ready. She packed her luggage from Toke’s house and headed to her new house in Victoria Island. It was the first time she was going to live alone. Her house was very close to the office.
Toke walked around the house, admiring the furniture and the interiors.
“This is so beautiful,” she said. Idara couldn’t have agreed more. In her wildest imagination, she could be we have thought that she would live in a house like this. The house had a deep cream color that sharply contrasted the crimson of its furniture. There was a large plasma television set in the middle of the living room. The tiles were neatly polished and had a light brown tint around their edges. “This is heaven,” Idara whispered to herself and she struggled to take in the entire beauty of her surroundings all at once. That night, Idara settled in her new bathtub, running water up to the nape of her neck. She held her breath and dived into the water, excited that she could do this in her own personal house. Toke’s apartment didn’t have a bathtub; just a shower tap.