Femi was on a long call with his mother when Idara walked in with a bowl of basmati fried rice and salad from Monalisa’s place. She carefully placed them before him. She noticed that he was staring at her.
“Mom, I will be in America for Christmas so that you can let me breathe,” he exhaled annoyingly and went on. When he finally hung up the call, he called Idara who was done setting his food.
“You don’t look so bright these days Miss Idara,” he commented as he spooned rice into his mouth, chewing carefully.
“Nothing, Mr. Femi,” Idara replied calmly. His countenance was cheerful but she didn’t want to indulge him.
Slowly, he wiped his hands with a serviette and turned to her, staring at her with admiration. “You know you’re a beautiful girl so don’t act in a manner that will make me yell at my beautiful assistant,” he said. He had a light smile on his face.
“I am fine, Mr. Femi,” she said again. Idara couldn’t find the nerve to explain to Femi that she was still hurt from the way he behaved towards her the last time. She carefully swallowed her words. Idara was just about to ask him if she should schedule his meeting with Harlibutton after lunch when his phone rang. He sighed and then said lightly, “Excuse me.”
“Yes mom?” he said quickly, chewing the rice slowly. He put the phone on speaker mode, placed it beside him and continued eating.
“Zoe called me and was complaining that you hardly pick your calls. You don’t reply to her messages and you don’t return her calls…”
“Femi, Kilo n sele o? You know that this girl is beautiful. Other men shouldn’t take her from you please.”
“Mom, hold on.”
“I can hear you.”
“Did I propose to Zoe? Did I promise to love her?”
“Pa enu e mo!”
“Mom… mom please this isn’t the olden days where mothers marry wives for their sons. I am not into this thing you and the Zoe girl are trying to do.”
“Every year will eventually turn to the olden days, Femi. Listen, I sent you pictures of her going to a beach with her friends in Miami. Did you see how her skin glowed? And those fine straight legs…”
“Mom, I have people coming in to see me now. I will talk to you later,” he said and hung up the call.
Idara suddenly burst into hearty laughter. She had been trying not to laugh but the conversation was extremely hilarious. She laughed, twisting her head to one side.
Femi couldn’t breathe. He had never heard Idara laugh before. It was a new aspect of her, like a temper. And it was even more intriguing. He chuckled.
“My mom is a drama queen,” he smiled at her. Idara noticed that he seemed to be searching her face. “You didn’t wear makeup on your face today?” he finally asked.
Idara looked at him. She was surprised that he noticed that she didn’t apply anything on her face.
“I woke up late Mr. Femi and I had to hurry. I didn’t have the time to apply makeup on my face,” she said with a smile.
“Oh, I think your face is cuter without the lipstick and all that,” he said.
His phone rang again and he looked at it. It was Tanna. “Hello?” he said calmly. This time, the phone wasn’t on speaker.
“Boss, she is here now,” she said.
“Okay, I will send my assistant to come to pick her,” he said hurriedly and hung up. “Err,” he muttered while checking his time, “you will go to Tanna’s place and take someone to Four Points,” he said.
“Now, Mr. Femi?”
“Yes. Now. You’re going with my G-wagon. Get the keys from Fayose.”
Idara nodded and hurriedly left for Mr. Fayose’s office.
As she drove hastily to Tanna’s place, she couldn’t help but think about how happy her boss was today. He even openly told her that she was beautiful and she wondered what could have come over him.
When she got to Tanna’s place, a young girl in ripped jeans and a cropped pink blouse walked to the car. One side of her hand was tattooed with the dark image of a scorpion. Her gold luscious hair fell all the way down to her waist.
Idara wondered if this was the person her boss sent her to pick. She was knocking on the side mirror of the car, so Idara immediately wound it down. The lady was extremely beautiful.
“May I help you?” Idara asked.
“Tanna and I saw you from the top floor. Femi sent you right? This is another of his cars?” the lady asked. Idara nodded.
“You’re the one I am picking?” Idara asked.
“Yes please,” the girl said.
“Okay then,” she said and unlocked the car doors for her. When the lady hopped into the backseat, Idara looked visibly disappointed.
“Please come to the front seat,” she said nicely to the lady.
“No, I am fine here. Femi likes me here,” the beautiful replied bluntly. She took out her iPhone 11 and started taking selfies while laughing.
Idara realized through her several phone calls that she was Femi’s girlfriend. She was surprised that her boss would go out with a girl who looked so spoiled. She had always imagined his girlfriend to be simple, classy and decent.
“Hey, Femi called me and apologized o. He is taking me to Four Points to make it up to me today. See, I might end up getting married to this man like play, like play,” the girl said. She kept laughing in a manner that irritated Idara.
When they got to Four Points, she ordered Idara to come to open the door for her.
“The door is open,” Idara replied.
“I know the doors are open. Come down and open this door for me.”
“I can’t do that, please. Get down from the car. I have meetings to attend,” Idara replied.
The girl sighed, opened the car door and paused.
“I am simply taking it lightly because today is my first time meeting with you. The next time you try this, you might lose this job.”
Idara shook her head, bitter and hurt by her words. The lady walked away with an air of satisfaction. Idara couldn’t help giving her a stern look as she walked to the entrance of the hotel. She thought of how she could have handled this situation if she was still in Uyo.
She sighed then called Femi to inform him that she had dropped the girl at the hotel.
“I know. You can go back to the office and represent me in all the meetings,” he said and hung up the call.
As Idara drove back to the office, she wondered how the day had turned sour so quickly. She wanted to speak with Toke but her friend’s number wasn’t going through. As she drove into the office, her phone rang. It was Time.
“Hey bestie,” Toke said.
“I have been trying to reach you,” Idara replied.
“Oh my dear, you won’t believe that the contract Total gave to our company will last till January.”
“Meaning that I won’t even be going to Ibadan to see my parents at Christmas.”
“Yes o. Tomorrow is the 29th of November. Our work started just a few days ago and it will run for 2 months.”
“And you know Femi never told us before we left.”
“Don’t mind that one. I just hope he will let me go for Christmas. I heard him telling his mom over the phone that he will be spending Christmas with her in Atlanta or so.”
“Yes, he spends Christmas outside Nigeria all the time.”
“I really want to go home and see my mom and sister. Buy them phones so that we can FaceTime when I’m back in Lagos.”
“How is work?” Toke asked, feeling excited and ready to hear all that her friend had been doing.
“The day was going well until Femi asked me to go pick one useless girl that insulted me today.”
Toke laughed. “Femi has a girlfriend?”
“I just found out today that he does. A very rude girl.”
Toke laughed again. “Sorry about that. You know you’re his assistant so you’re going to see a lot because you’re the closest staff to him now.”
The two women talked for a while over the phone until Femi’s call came in. Idara abruptly hung up the call to attend to his call.
“Hello, Mr. Femi?” she said with a shaky tone. She was anxiously waiting for him to scold her for speaking rudely to his girlfriend.
“There is a meeting at the Lagos Oriental Hotel. I would like you to attend it right now,” he said.