“You can say that again,” Dakore said and moved over to the telephone in the room. “He is really a big pain in the ass.” She heaved a low sigh and shrugged. “I don’t know why I feel my boss is unique in his own way."
Nneka gave her a sarcastic look. “Hmmn! Don’t tell me you are already falling for your boss.”
“How can I fall for my boss? I won’t lie, he is very handsome but I don’t have feelings for him. I just started working for him.”
“Meaning you can fall in love with him at any time.”
Dakore slapped her lightly on the arm. “What is wrong with you? We are two different people and falling in love with him will be a huge mistake.”
As she rubbed where Dakore hit her, she asked. “Why would you say so?”
“There is no doubt about what I want to say. He looks like a player. A Yoruba demon.”
She laughed again. “A player can still change when he eventually meet the right woman for him.”
“That is his business. I’m done talking about him, let’s change the topic. First of all, what can I offer you?”
“Don’t bother.” Nneka replied and uplifted on her feet. “I have to start going.”
“So soon?” She stared at her surprised.
“I will spend more time when next I visit you and your mom. I hope you won’t change your mind about the cocktail party.” She walked to the door and Dakore followed her.
“I won’t. I need the money more than you.”
She laughed softly. “You can say that again. I always pray for your mom.”
Dakore smiled gleefully, opened her arms and hugged her gently. “I really appreciate you. Thank you."
Nneka released herself and looked at her face. “I know it has not been easy for you but God will open new doors for you.”
She stared at her with a concerned expression on her face. “Have you heard anything from your brother?”
“I have not.” Dakore’s voice was sad. “I am not even thinking about the house or the money anymore. I am worried about him. I just hope he is okay wherever he is.”
“Your brother is smart and old enough to take good care of himself.”
“What I won’t accept is if my mother dies. I will not forgive him.”
“She will not die and he will surely come back.”
“Since you like praying, you better pray hard for him to come back otherwise, I…”
Nneka covered Dakore’s mouth with her right hand. “Don’t say what you will regret later.”
She gently pushed her hand away. “There is nothing to regret. He will be the one filled with regret. When I see him, may God help me to control myself on that day.”
“It is well, just take it easy. Focus on your new job and your mother.”
“I have heard you.” Dakore escorted her outside the hotel, waited for her to take a taxi, and returned to her room. She showered and went to sleep.
The following morning, Dakore checked on her mother and went to her place of work. She was smartly dressed in a white and purple long-sleeved shirt, black pants and white sandals. The secretary, Jimoh told her what to do because they were having a meeting. Dakore met with the junior accountant, gave her money to buy the things she needed. She placed bottled water, nonalcoholic drinks and assorted biscuits on the table in the boardroom. Bruno joined them, they rose, saluted him and they all sat down. Dakore stood at his left side.
Bruno addressed some issues in the company before speaking up about Gabriel.
Bruno spoke. “I know most of you have heard about the sudden and unfortunate demise about Gabby. I am yet to locate his family. If you see his wife, let me know immediately. I really want to speak with her.” He looked at his left side and glanced at his staffs. “I have a new personal assistant. I tolerated a lot in the past and I won’t anymore. I saw how most of you treated Gabby because he was respectful, kind ad quiet. This time around, things will be different. Miss. Roberts will not be tossed around as you like. No one is allowed to send her any message whatsoever if it is not from me. She is here to work for me and me alone. If I don’t ask for you, do not ask for me except it is job related and you must go through her first before you see me.”
Caroline eyes were opened. She raised her hand.
“You can speak.”
“But sir, this has never happened before. Is this her idea?”
“It is my idea. I have tolerated enough garbage from some of you. I am not a fool. I know I am not as easy person to work for but that does not stop me from helping people and paying your salary and benefits at the right time.” He cleared his throat. “I know that some of you don’t like me and I don’t care. It doesn’t change anything about me.”
Austin Egbe lifted his hand and Bruno ordered him to talk.
“Sir, I could have an importune request or information to pass across to you based on the accounts of the company. Will I have to go through Miss. Roberts?”
“I will not repeat myself Mr. Egbe. I have told all of you what to do.”
Murmuring ensued among them.
“If you want to ask any question,” Bruno said in a loud voice. “You better ask now."
No one spoke.
“Good.” He rose and walked out of the room without looking at anyone’s faces. Dakore quickly collected Bruno’s refreshments, went to his office and knocked on the door. He was looking at his laptop.
“Come in.” He said.
She walked inside and used her leg to close the door. She kept the items inside his fridge. She was walking to the door when Bruno opened his mouth.
“Bingo, come here.”
Dakore took a deep breath and faced him. She knew one of these days she was going to stop him from calling her such name even if he would sack her.
“I didn’t want to embarrass you at the meeting. Did I ask you for refreshments?”
“Jimoh told me Gabby did that when he was here.”
“Just because you have his job doesn’t mean you should do exactly what he did. I didn’t employ you to remind me of him. You are lucky you got something different.”
“I’m sorry sir.”
“Just be you. I need you to be you.”
The telephone rang, he picked and the secretary informed him he had a visitor.
“Let him in.” Bruno glanced at Dakore. “I like what you are wearing, it looks expensive and I wonder how you got them but I don’t need an explanation. Your boyfriend must be doing a good job.”
Dakore’s mouth was about to open when a man dressed stylishly unlocked the door and walked in. He greeted Bruno and he introduced the man to Dakore.
“This is the person I told you about. He will get you some clothes. His name is Mr. Ashley.”
“Nice to meet you sir.” Dakore shook his hand.
“Nice to meet you too.” Mr. Ashley said and gazed at Bruno. “I am very sorry about Gabriel.”
Ashley returned his gaze to Dakore. “I will take your measurements and bring some nice clothes and shoes for you next week.”
“Do not take her measurement in my office.” Bruno told him.
He smiled. “Yes sir.”
Dakore and him left the office.
In the afternoon, after lunch, Dakore knocked and entered into Caroline’s office.
“Good afternoon ma.”
“Good afternoon Miss. Roberts.” She said with a smile.
“I am sorry I wasn’t able to check on you yesterday. I had to leave with the boss.”
“I understand.” She rose up and sauntered near her. “I know you have a major role to play in this company. You have to be diligent and observant. Do not allow anyone control you. You can come to my office anytime and I will attend to you.”
“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask me.”
Dakore smiled brightly. “Yes ma. Do you want me to do anything for you?”
“Why do you ask?”
“I thought that was why you asked me to come to your office yesterday.”
“Oh, that. Do not bother. I just wanted to advice you and I have done that already. You can go now.”
“Okay ma.” Dakore left the office and shut the door without making a loud noise.
Caroline frowned bitterly and relaxed her right hand on the waist.
Caroline frowned bitterly and relaxed her right hand on the waist.
“She must be very stupid for asking me such a stupid question.” She mimicked what Dakore said. “Do you want me to do anything for you? Nonsense! She should thank Bruno for that meeting otherwise I would have given her a knock on the head.” Caroline removed her hand from her waist and gently bit her index finger.
“How could Bruno belittle me in front of those people when he knows I visit his office anytime to talk even if it is not related to the job? He has changed my plans to use Dakore to know the people he associates with outside work.” She heaved a sigh. “I know what to do.”
During the week, Dakore did according to what Bruno told her. Uchenna wanted to take her to lunch on a Friday, but she refused and gave excuses that she didn’t have enough time. She promised to have lunch with her next week.
At weekend, Bruno travelled alone and took a flight to Abuja to spend his weekend with an international model. Dakore had time to spend with her mother. Bruno returned from his trip on Monday morning. The week went smoothly and Dakore answered Bruno respectfully even when he called her a bingo.
Dakore received numerous calls from different women requesting to speak with Bruno that he wasn’t picking their calls. As usual, she lied to them that he was in a meeting or had left the country.
Bruno's girlfriend called him and he gave her an excuse that he was busy and would call when he had the time. Even at that, she sent him erotic text messages and sexy photos of herself. The reply she got was a smiley emoji.
On Saturday morning, Bruno called Dakore not to bother come to his house. He would see her on Monday and Jimoh would send his next week schedule to her email address. She was happy she wasn’t going to see him at weekend and no one would call her a bingo. Dakore went to the hospital.
In the afternoon, Bruno drove to his parent’s house. Mrs. Mosun queried him for not checking up on her earlier, he apologized. His father had smoked and immediately washed his mouth when he heard the sound of his son’s car. He joined his wife and Bruno at the living room. Mother and son were arguing, he sat down and watched them.
“I know you took after your father,” Mrs. Mosun said to Bruno. “You are very stubborn!”
“I am not stubborn! I am only doing what is right. Am I a baby? Why didn’t you tell Bayomi not to leave, after all he is younger than me.”
“You are insulting me. You are telling me I cannot control my son, your brother. It is not your fault.” She stood and walked out of the sitting room and dashed towards the kitchen.
Bruno glared at his father. “Good afternoon dad.”
“Finally, you can see me. Anyways, good afternoon. I am aware you have gotten a personal assistant. Where is she?”
“She should be in her father’s house.”
“Didn’t I tell you to bring her here for inspection? I want to see her.”
“Dad, there is no need to see her and besides, she’s doing her job just the way I want. The only thing I don’t like about her is that she feels she know too much.”
“It’s everybody you do not like. I am very sure, I, your father, you do not like.”
“Dad!” Bruno smiled widely. “That is a joke, right? You know I don’t joke with my family.”
Mr. Kingston smiled back at him. “I am joking, but you can be very difficult. I still want to see her.”
“I will bring her when I am certain she would work for me for a long time. I do not need strangers in my father’s home.”
He lifted his eyebrows. “That’s a good point.” He sat upright and rubbed his hands. “See, I know you are not thinking of getting married."
Bruno rolled his eyeballs. His father raised his hand.
“Hey, I am not saying you should get married now. I just want to ask some questions and I need honest answers. If I get the truth from you, I would never talk about marriage with you again.”
Mrs. Kingston went closer to the kitchen door to ear-drop.
“I am listening dad.” Bruno said.
“I need a yes or a no answer.”
“Do you ever want to get married?”
Bruno munched his lips together and sighed deeply. “Yes.”
“Do you know when?”
“Do you want children?”
Have you ever fallen in love?”
“Is it when you fall in love, you will get married?”
“Are you happy with your life?”
“With the money I have, oh yes. I am very happy with my life. ” He smiled radiantly.
“Is your personal assistant pretty?”
Bruno gazed at him surprised. “How would I know?”
“She works for you.”
“You are not blind. Is she beautiful?”
“I think so. Yes. What does she have to do with our conversation?”
“Nothing, I just wanted to know. Can you marry a white woman?”
”White woman?” Bruno said in a dismissive tone. “I have dated white women before but I would love to marry from my country.”
Mr. Kingston stood. “I need to take a nap.” He started walking away.
“Is that all?”
He turned back. “Yes.” His father strolled away.
Mrs. Mosun came into the living room and sat beside Bruno. “You better don’t listen to your father. I really don’t understand why he was asking you such questions. I don’t ever want to see that your personal assistant in this house.”
“She was disrespectful to me when I spoke with her.”
Bruno gave her a look but kept his mouth shut.
“I know why your father asked if you ever want to get married to a white woman. I have a friend. When you were little, I used to take you to their house in London. Her daughter is grown up and she is a medical doctor. She would be on leave soon and she would visit us with her mother.”
“Don’t tell me you want me to marry Mrs. Winston’s daughter?”
His mom’s eyes broadened. “You remember her!”
“Don’t get excited.” Bruno rose on his feet. “I am not interested. I will marry the woman of my choice and Mrs. Winston's medical daughter is not the one. If she was the one I would have slept with her a long time ago.”
“What is the matter with you?!” She speedily stood on her feet and faced him. “I am not your father who believed the lies you told him. If you really want to get married, you would have done it a long time ago!”
Bruno turned away from her and started walking towards the door.
“Don’t you dare walk out on me!”
His eyes turned red and he looked back at his mother. “What do you want from me?! Haven’t I done enough to please you in the past? I did whatever you wanted me to do and now I am old enough to make my own choices! I told father the truth! I will get married someday and it must be to a woman I fall in love with.”
“What if I don’t like her? What if I believe she is not good enough for you?”
Bruno said nothing, turned away from her and marched out of the house without looking at her. If his future wife wasn’t good enough for his mother, she would be good enough for him. He would give her anything, pamper her, and make her his world.
To be continued….