Everyday, the routine went on and on. Working with Femi Omari was hectic. Most times, she stayed with him until 10p.m when everyone would have gone.
One day, immediately he got to the office, he dropped some dollars on his table, right before Idara.
“I hate to see people who do corporate jobs like this one in cheap shoes. Take that money and buy yourself a high-quality heels,” he said, moving his face to his laptop.
Idara’s cheeks flushed bright pink, either with humiliation or indignation. She wasn’t quite sure if he was really referring to her.
“Mr. Femi, I am not comfortable wearing very high heel shoes.”
“Miss Idara,” he called her name for the first time, “there are shoes that are comfortable, mostly block heel shoes. They are comfortable. My mom who is fifty years of age wears them comfortably to work. I don’t like the kind of cheap stilettos you wear to work, they are shaky heels. Take that money, and ask the driver to take you to Tiana’s place to shop for shoes.”
“Thank you, Mr. Femi,” she said.
“Learn how to drive, the driver won’t be working with us anymore next month. He will be going back to the HCT department where he belongs.”
“Okay Mr. Femi. Thank you,” she said calmly, took the money, and walked away. He stared at her as she slammed the door.
He never takes his eyes off her and he wondered how long it was going to take to get used to seeing her without his heart trembling. But whatever happens, he was never going to ask a staff of his company out.
When the driver arrived at Tiana’s shoe place, Idara gasped at the entire luxury shoe shop that had designers shoes and all.
“Hello, how may we help you?” the 5” 2 elegant, fair-skinned, chubby lady walked out stylishly from nowhere, wearing a long-inches blue high heel shoes.
“Good day Ma’am, Mr. Femi sent me here…”
“Oh Femi Omari? Oh great,” she smiled excitedly, glaring at her and wondering why Femi would send someone to shop. “Do you have anything in mind?” she asked.
“Yeah. Block heels. Wedge. And a few high heel shoes but not too high like yours,” Idara said, pointing at the lady’s feet.
Tiana laughed. “You see my height? You can’t catch me wearing something lower than this.” She giggled and walked away, showing her around the shoe collections while she picked the designs she wanted.
When Idara saw the prices on the shoes, she was flabbergasted. She had never owned a shoe worth fifteen thousand naira, and today, she was seeing shoes worth fifty thousand naira and it was striking because she’d already lost interest in buying them.
“These shoes are expensive,” she said with a frown on her face.
“Yes they are expensive shoes. Did Femi not tell you they are designers? He comes here to shop for his mom,” Tiana asked.
Idara shrugged. “I can find these shoes at Balogun market for 10k or less.”
Tiana laughed, rolling her eyes. “Hey, you’re too pretty to be patronizing some local market for designers shoes. Those are fake shoes.”
Idara swallowed hard.
“If anything happens to the shoes, we have a warrantee card in their boxes. It’s one full year warranty, and it’s exclusively for real designers like this one.”
“Okay. It’s just that this isn’t my money, I wouldn’t buy these shoes…”
“It’s fine,” Tiana smiled. “It seems you are Femi’s new babe?” She winked at Idara, her long lashes touching her face.
“I am his assistant,” she said boldly, looking into Tiana’s face to see if she could find disappointment written there.
“Oh. New assistant? There was this guy that used to work with him.”
“I am two months old. I started working in September.”
“Oh great. We are going to be having Black Friday sales this ending of November, so our shoe prices will be slashed into half,” Tiana said as she put the eight beautiful shoes into their different paper boxes. “I hope you will come shop?” Tiana asked hopefully as she folded the arms of her long sleeve polo top, exposing the dragon tattoo at the back of her palms.
Idara smiled. “I hope that one day, I will be able to afford these shoes on my own.”
“Look at this fine girl? Don’t you have a Sugar Daddy en?” Tiana asked, giggling and winking at Idara at the same time.
“Sugar Daddy for what?”
“For good money to shop Tiana’s shoes,” she said.
Idara gave a mean stare at her fair bleached skin that revealed green veins on her legs. And she thought to tell her to use all her designers shoes money to buy herself a good cream for fair skin women.
She counted out money for the shoes and handed to her quietly. “He gave me dollars,” she said.
“Wow, this Femi en,” Tiana laughed, counting the money. “I own you some balance.”
“Over three thousand.”
“Okay. Do you have anything worth that amount?”
“Emm…” Tiana said, looking around the shop, “Yes! I have a Victoria Secrets panty.”
“Just one single panty.”
“Hell no. Let me have my change,” Idara said hastily as she piled up in her arms, boxes of shoes. Tiana shook her head and handed her her balance in Nigerian Naira.
“Bye!” she waved at her excitedly.
The driver helped Idara place the boxes in the boot of the car.
“Hello? Toke, I got a pair of shoes for you at a shoe shop today,” Idara said over the phone.
“Ah, have you received your salary for the month of November? Because we have not been paid o.”
“No. Oga gave me money to shop for shoes.”
“Are you for real? Oga Femi?”
“What did you do for him please?”
“Hmm. I don’t know o. He said I should stop wearing those my cheap stiletto heels to the office. Then he gave me some money to shop.”
“Hmm. I hope the shoes you got for me is a boyfriend shoes? You know I don’t like all those feminine shoes.”
“Ah Toke, you have to learn how to feel and look like a woman. Before I forget, I hope you will teach me how to drive? Oga says my driver is returning to HCT department next week. So I have to learn how to drive.”
“Me that is leaving for Offshore by next tomorrow.”
“Oh God! Toke! And I was planning to come for weekend at your house, so that we can club. I miss clubbing really.”
“I am sorry. Before I forget, your sister Ini called. She has been worried that you don’t pick your calls.”
“She failed aptitude test again. She got me angry abeg. Does she know how much I spent to make sure she writes a successful JAMB? I am tired of that girl abeg. If I had money, I would have sent her to a private university. But let her keep staying at home.”
Toke laughed. “Ore mi, calm down. No kill yourself for these people abeg.”
“They are my family, my blood,” Idara said calmly.
The two women talked over the phone for a long time as the driver maneuvered his way and took a short cut to the office.
When the last meetings for the day was over, Femi ordered Idara to go buy him food at Monalisa’s place.
“The driver has gone back to HCT, Mr. Femi.”
“Nobody is available now to drive me to the restaurant.”
“You have an official car, why must someone drive you?”
“I don’t know how to drive,” she said flatly.
Femi walked to his seat and stood for a while.
“So, I should drive myself to Ikoyi and leave my paperwork undone because you decided not to learn driving? Why did I employ you?”
“I asked my friend to teach me how to drive, but she is….”
“A friend? Mr. Ibrahim was your driver for over a month. Why didn’t you ask him to teach you?”
“Because you were daft. Get the fuck out of my office!” he yelled at her.
Before she could break down and indulge in the tears that were threatening, Mr. Fayose walked in with a few Chinese men who smelt of garlic.
“You look worried Miss, everything okay?”
“Just a frustrating morning Mr. Fayose,” Idara said and walked away. Angry and bitter about the manner her boss Femi talked to her.
That evening, when Femi was done working, he told Mr. Fayose to give Idara a driver that would teach her how to drive.
Few days later and the “L” sign was perfectly fixed behind her car. She drove gently from her house to the office everyday until she got accustomed to it.