My new office mate is a real pain! I murmured underneath my breath as Mrs Small ate her burger lousily. Do you care for some honey? She asked. No, thanks, I replied staring at my plate. We had to go to the firm’s cafeteria to grab our lunch. Mrs Toni (aka Mrs Small) had offered to take me. There is nothing small about Mrs Toni, she is extremely large, and she would rather be called the opposite of her name, so Mrs Small. I gulped my Red Bull drink and had to wait for Mrs Small.
It is an honour to work for Dare, she said as we took the stairs. This is the hundredth time you are mentioning that Toni, I said, obviously bored. I am so sorry girl, but Dare is the cutest boss ever. I sighed. How long have you been working for him? I asked, trying to get into the discussion. I have been at Ade Cole Firm for about three years, she replied. A mean smile lurked round my lips. Seriously, why don’t you have an office of yours? Or have you been incompetent for three years? I asked. No dear, she replied smiling. You are the incompetent one, she added. What do you mean? I asked. I have had about thirty people share that office with me until Dare felt that they deserved a place of their own, I own that office, others come and go, I stay, she replied and walked into the office leaving my speechless.
You are going with me to attend a case at the city mall by four pm tomorrow, Mrs Small said as she cleared her desk for the day. Is that my first assignment? I asked. No dear, more like a tutorial, you are going to watch me work tomorrow, she replied. Do I have to go? I asked. It is not like you have a choice, it is part of what you are here for, she replied. I sank into my seat. I watched her drag her briefcase as she reached for the door. Make sure to be on time tomorrow Ms Williams, she added and left.
The traffic in the city is usually crazy at this time, I protested as Mr Ade-Cole arranged his desk. That is why you work here, you are not to protest about the traffic or anything else, he replied. I have to get home early so as to able to accompany Mrs Small to the City Mall tomorrow, I replied. He let out a mean laughter. It is not like you have a choice Ms Williams, whether you like it or not, you are going to the City Mall, that is, if you want to continue working here, he replied. I yanked the documents from his hands and hurried out of the building.
Dare Ade-Cole ordered me to run some errands before I left the office. Taxi! I yelled as I emerged from the front door. No one was ready to take me to Broad Way; the traffic on the way is always alarming at this time. I returned into the office and straight to my boss’s office. There is no taxi going to Broad Way now Sir, I said. That is none of my business, you have a duty to fulfil and you have got to do that. He replied angrily. You will have to provide me a means to get there or better still, you drive me there, I replied. He leaned back in his chair and smiled.
I was taken to Broad Way by Dare’s
driver. He didn’t say a word as he called his driver to take me there.
You must have really got on Dare’s nerves yesterday, Mrs Small said as I walked in. What did he say? I asked. She shrugged. Anyways, good morning, I said. I don’t think the morning will be so good after you get to your desk, she replied. I hurried to my desk and found a large note tagged “QUERY”. No way! I said and reached for the door with the note in my hand. I won’t confront him if I were you, Mrs Small advised. He is going to hear me, I replied and walked out.
What does this mean? I asked as I walked into Dare’s office. The last time I checked, you have a first class degree, and a first class product will know the meaning of a query, he replied. What did I do to deserve the query? I asked. Unprofessional conduct and disrespect to your boss is an offence in this firm, he replied. I have only spent one day in this firm and I am already receiving a query, I guess I will be fired at the end of the week, I said, aggressively. I doubt if you would last a week with this attitude of yours, he replied. I am not scared, I said. I know, he replied, opening the door. I walked out angrily.
Not a word, I said as I walked into my office. Mrs Small smiled. I think you should just chill young lady, Dare could get very offended, she advised. He already nauseates me, I replied. She sighed and leaned over my shoulders. This attitude will take you nowhere in this firm, Ade-Cole Firm is built on a lot of reputation and integrity and Dare would not let you jeopardize his family’s long standing empire. I get it, I replied with a grin.
I waited anxiously for four pm. At last, it came! Mrs Small and I left in her car to the City Mall. The case was a divorce case. The husband isn’t willing to give his wife what she demands. I watched Mrs Small argue that Mrs Ex’s demands were outrageous and shouldn’t be granted. After sessions of debates and arguments, the judge ruled in favour of Mr Ex and his wife didn’t get all what she wanted, but she did get a decent share from the divorce. Mrs Small had won a case.
Congratulations! I said as we headed for the car. Thanks dear, you know these cases could be really unrealistic, she replied. Why? I asked. I see no reason why a woman should be interested in breaking a marriage when she should actually think of making it, she replied. And, not forgetting that today is Val’s day, she added quickly. Who gets divorced on Valentine’s Day? I murmured. I had totally forgotten about Val’s day, I said to Mrs Small. Why is that honey? She asked. Don’t you have a boyfriend? She added as she opened the doors to the car. Mrs Small’s questions reminded me of Paul. Val’s day was always enterprising with Paul. We would take a walk into the night and stare at the stars. He loved doing that and I thought that it was girly, but Paul was a devote romantic. Do you have any boyfriends? Mrs Small asked as she sat in the car. I smiled, but didn’t respond. I won’t push it, she replied. I would like us to drive to the central market; I need to get some groceries for the house, she said. It is fine by me, I replied.
Mrs Small headed for the grocery section as I took a look round the boutiques. We agreed to meet at the car in thirty minutes. Nice Heels here, the sellers called out to me. I smiled as I headed for one of the stores. I love heels! After bargaining, I ended up getting a LV heel for around ten thousand naira. I had to hurry to the car; I had three minutes to go.
Darlene! Someone called out. I turned round to face my past.
…to be ccontinued