Gbemi woke up that Monday morning with a strange feeling. She knew it had to do with work but couldn’t say exactly what it was. She worked as the personal assistant to the managing director of Fando Oil, an oil and gas company in Lagos. She had been working there for the past six months and had never for once resented her work not even on her most stressed out days. She was committed to a fault and although there were a few things she really loved, her job was one of them. She sensed something huge coming her way but couldn’t place a finger on what exactly it was.
It was 4:55am, her 5:00am alarm had not even rang yet her eyes were wide open. She stretched her hand for the dangling switch beside her bed and turned on the light which illuminated her neatly arranged, pink floral themed room. Her 6 x 4” bed was located at a corner. To its right, a few meters away was a table and chair which doubled as both her work desk anytime she brought work from the office and her sewing table where she cut fabric and drew up her designs. Her sewing machine was just beside it, she sewed most of her traditional attire and a few of her official dresses which were hung neatly in the inbuilt wardrobe some meters away from the foot of the bed and on one of the doors of the wardrobe was a full-length mirror she loved looking at before stepping out. She made sure she always looked good. She also sewed for people whenever she had the time. Sewing was one her passions, other were cooking, graphic designing and reading. She wasn’t really a social person and liked to keep to herself but Favour, her best friend always knew how to bring out her social side.
Favour had come visiting, she spent the weekend and was due to return to Ibadan where she lived that morning. She slept in the second of the two rooms in Gbemi’s two bedroom flat. Gbemi remembered she had to leave the house earlier in order to drop Favour at the park and at the same time avoid the terrible Lagos traffic. She sat up in bed to pray, reached out for her Bible and devotional which was in the bedside drawer. She spent the next forty-five minutes having her quite time.
‘Gbemi, are you ready?’ Favour shouted from the sitting room as she dragged her black portable traveling bag with her. Favour was the loud type, a total contrast to Gbemi who was much more reserved. You know what they say ‘unlike poles attract’
She didn’t get a response from Favour who was dressing up and playing music loudly from her laptop.
‘This girl is going to be late for work at the rate at which she is going’ Favour said to herself as she left her box in the sitting room and walked passed the dining to Gbemi’s room.
Without knocking, Favour barged into the room ‘Babe how far you na?’
‘Good morning to you too, my night was good, thanks for asking’ Gbemi replied as she applied her lipstick without looking at Favour
‘Who good morning help? Aren’t you checking the time or do you have another means of transportation I don’t know about aside the road’
‘Ehn now, shey you don’t know ni I got a jet yesterday’ Gbemi said sarcastically as she shut down her laptop and packed it into her laptop bag. ‘Oya I’m ready, let somebody hear word’ she smiled and added ‘you look good by the way’
‘Duh I always do’ Favour gave a naughty grin
‘You are just a proud somebody. Let’s go before you start shouting again. It’s 6:10, we’ll make it in time jo’ she said as she sprayed her Escada perfume behind her ears.
‘Shey you will not give me perfume ni?’
‘Did you ask? You think I don’t know you used it when we went out yesterday. Just take and let somebody hear word, she gave her and added ‘just two puffs o, don’t come and finish it for me’
‘Is not your fault’ Favour tried playing on Gbemi’s psychology ‘is me that is asking you’ she was about to spray a fourth time when Gbemi snatched it from her.
‘Finish it, you hear?’
‘Whatever’ she waved her hand and stepped out of the room as Gbemi followed her behind carrying her handbag and laptop bag one on each shoulder
They said a short word of prayer in the sitting room and left.
Just as they stepped into the passage that joins Gbemi’s flat with her neighbor’s, the main door of her neighbor’s flat was opened. Gbemi had seen him a couple of times since she moved in some five months ago. She knew close to nothing about him but greeted him anytime their paths crossed. She was still locking the door when she heard Favour talking to the well suited up young handsome man.
‘Hi, my name is Favour. I’m Gbemi’s really good friend’ she smiled
‘Oh nice to meet you’ he stretched his hand for a handshake ‘I’m Gbenga’ then looked at Gbemi and said ‘I never knew your name’ as he shook her. ‘It’s really nice to meet you’ he said smiling. Without missing words, he added ‘I’m looking forward to knowing more than just your name’
Gbemi smiled but Favour knew her too much to be deceived by her fake grin
‘I’m sure she will too’ Favour spoke for her. ‘We have to get going, it was nice meeting you Gbenga’. She looked at Gbemi ‘shall we?’
‘Bye Mr Gbenga’ she gave a
wave and led the way while Favour followed behind.
‘Alright, bye. Have a great day’ he waved back and watched them leave.
In the car…
‘Why were you so cold towards the guy?’
‘How was I cold?’ Gbemi asked with little interest in the topic as she drove out of the car park.
‘With this unwelcoming attitude, I only wonder how you want to get a man in your life’
‘And who told you I need a man in my life? My life is fine the way it is’
‘I’ve told you times without number to stop talking like that. I’m not asking you to jump on the next available dude that walks into your life but we both know you aren’t getting any younger. My husband has tried introducing his friends to you but you were never interested’
‘Favour, the fact that you and Emmanuel are happily married doesn’t mean that is the path everyone is meant to take’.
She sighed, ‘If I say I’m not tired of going round and round on this matter, I’d be lying. I just pray you’ll snap out of whatever is wrong with you’
‘And I’ve told you time without number that I am fine. Thanks for your concern’.
‘Fine’ Gbemi snapped
There was silence, Gbemi knew Favour was just being a concerned friend and so she fought with the Holy Spirit who kept telling her to apologise. After 5 long quiet and awkward minutes, Gbemi broke the silence
‘I’m sorry for snapping at you. I know you care and I really appreciate it, I just don’t want to talk about this again’
‘No problem, case closed’
‘Thanks for coming over to spend the weekend and thank your husband for me too’
‘Well it’s not as if I like seeing your face, I just needed a change of environment’ Favour teased
‘Yeah right, be deceiving yourself’ Gbemi brought the car to a halt as she got to the park. ‘Thank you for always been there’, they hugged each other.
‘You are always welcome dear’ Favour came down and picked her box from the boot.
Gbemi waited for her to enter the bus before leaving. ‘Call me when you get to Ibadan’ she shouted and waved as she started the car to leave.
As Gbemi drove to work, she couldn’t but ponder on what Favour had said. She knew she was right but she just wasn’t willing to give it a try. She had her reasons which she had never shared with anyone.
She turned on the radio to take her mind off it.
‘Baby you know I love you and can’t leave without you’ a male voice from the radio said. ‘I love you too dear’ a female voice replied.
Gbemi rolled her eyes in disgust and slipped in a gospel music CD and listened as the first track ‘Carry Go’ by Jaymikee. In another 20 minutes, she was at work. She got down from the car, carrying her bags and walked quickly into the cream-colored duplex. She had about 5 minutes before work officially began at 8am.
She still had that strange feeling she woke up with, she sensed something unusual was coming her way. She greeted the lady at the reception as she signed in and climbed upstairs to her office which led into the MD’s office. She got to her desk, placed her bags on the table and said a word of prayer before setting up. As she was doing that the intercom rang, she picked it. It was her bos
‘Miss Johnson, please come to my office’ Mr Kalejaye said. He was a workaholic, he got to work earlier than everyone and left last. Gbemi always wondered what time he spent with his family. He came to work on weekends and didn’t go to church on Sundays. There was almost nothing fun or social about him.
Gbemi did a quick mental check to ensure there was no pending task and to know if her boss had any appointment that morning. She immediately got up walked toward the door of his office.
She knocked and waited for his response.
She did ‘Good morning sir’
‘How are you? Miss Johnson’ he said without looking up from his laptop
‘I’m fine thank you sir’
‘Clear my schedule for next week and book me a return ticket to South Africa. The African Member Countries of OPEC will be having a conference and I have to be there’
‘ok sir, I will do that right away’
‘You’ll be booking for two’ he said still focused on his laptop.
‘Oh Ok, Mr Bamidele will be joining you?’ she asked wondering if the Project Manager, who had once joined him on his last business trip will be joining him this time around.
‘No. You’ll be going with me’ he looked at her for the first time that day and then continued his work. When he noticed he didn’t get a response from her, he asked ‘or do you have a problem with that?’ This time around he removed his glasses and waited for a response from her.
‘No…no sir’ she stammered. She was obviously scared about traveling out of the country alone with him. She had heard rumours of him being a womanizer. She already projected that they would lodge in the same hotel for close to a week. She was really concerned and didn’t realize she was standing speechless in front her boss’ office. His masculine voice jerked her back to reality.
‘You may go’
She left his office wondering what on earth she was going to do. ‘Was this the reason for the strange feeling I woke up with this morning?’ she thought as she walked slowly to her desk. It was bad enough that she didn’t see a need for a man in her life now she was going to be ‘trapped’ with a womanizer who doubled as her boss.
She sat on her chair, bowed her head and said a short prayer, ‘Lord please you just have to help me’
Thanks for reading
To be continued…
What happens next? Watch Out For Gbemi Part 2 next week Sunday. Don’t miss it.