Mr. Kachi and I were seated in a five star restaurant. We were awaiting some important prospective clients to join us. Mr. Emenike was supposed to meet up with them but something came up and so Mr. Kachi had to go in his place. Being Mr. Kachi's acting PA, I had to go along with him.
The restaurant was a massive edifice. It was oppressively magnificent with fancy chandeliers hanging from the roof at strategic parts of the restaurant. Soft music sifted through the air giving the place a very Serene and calm aura. Different aromas of African dishes filled the atmosphere, making it extremely hard not to salivate.
We were sat at the VIP section of the restaurant. The segregation was unbelievable; a VIP section in an already seemingly expensive restaurant. The VIP section was on the top floor of the restaurant, excluded from the view of other guests. It was very spacious and admirably neat, not a thing was out of place.
Not that I would've noticed if something was.
"I'm sorry for the delay" A middle aged man approached our table with two young men in tow.
"No problem, sir" Mr. Kachi Rose from his seat and offered the man his hand.
I rose from my seat as well, as a sign of respect. It would also be weird if I just sat down there while everyone was on their feet.
The man who I guessed was Mr. Okafor and our prospective client took Mr. Kachi's outstretched hand. "Are you the CEO of Emenike Shipping Limited?"
Mr. Okafor stood a couple inches shorter than Mr. Kachi and he was dressed in a white traditional attire. A long thick red bead hung around his neck and left hand that complement the white attire. He was dark skinned and had a long scar that started from his forehead and stopping just above his right eye socket, demarcating his scanty eyebrows. Whatever struck him across the face missed his right eye by an inch.
"No, sir" Mr. Kachi replied. "The CEO had an emergency, so I'm standing in for him. I'm the CFO, Mr. Kachi"
Mr. Okafor muttered something under his breath that I didn't quite catch.
The meeting hadn't even begun but I could already tell that Mr. Okafor would be a hard man to please just by watching how he carried himself.
We all took a seat around the six seater rectangular table, leaving one seat unoccupied. I was seated next to Mr. Kachi on one side while Mr. Okafor was seated opposite us with the two able bodied men in suits. One of them placed beside Mr. Okafor and the other at the head of the table.
"We know that you're looking for a shipping company that can --" Mr. Kachi started.
The meeting drawled on and since it began I had not written one thing on my notepad. They just kept going on and on about business talk, and as much as I wanted to be mentally present the aroma of the delicious dishes wafting through the air kept distracting me.
"Looking at the reviews from a few of your clients, you people deliver the goods very late" Mr. Okafor said in a very thick Igbo accent.
"Yes but these past few weeks, we have been very articulate with delivery time. We just recently changed the ports our ships arrive in" Mr. Kachi replied.
"Nna, I'm want to build a big mall, very massive. I want that mall to be the biggest one in all of Anambra state, Nigeria if possible..." He gesticulated with his hands. "And I want to import all my materials from abroad. I don't want a company that will delay me in shipments because my architects are working on a schedule". His accent changed words with 'R' to 'L' and vice versa.
"Whatever schedule you are working on, we can deliver as well. I promise you that you can trust us to get your materials to you in time" Mr. Kachi assured them.
Mr. Okafor was quiet for a few minutes as if taking into consideration what had been said. The air was thick with anticipation on our side, it looked like Mr. Okafor wasn't as convinced about us as we wanted him to be.
Mr. Okafor cleared his throat. "You know what, I'll get back to you"
His tone wasn't reassuring at all. We could as well kiss the contract goodbye from here. I felt a push to say something, anything that would convince the man to work with us. They were about standing to their feet when I pushed forward from my seat and voiced out.
"Sir... You said you want to build a massive mall, the biggest in Anambra right?" I didn't know where I was going with this but I had to try.
Just try to sound like you know what you're saying and look confident. I said in my mind
He looked at me for a minute as if just noticing my presence and settled back down. "Yes?"
The look on Mr. Kachi's face was clear and loud, it screamed 'What do you think you're doing?'. The truth was I had no idea exactly but I didn't pay him any mind as I turned to Mr. Okachi and began my 'out of the blue' speech.
"Good. What better way to do that than to have the best shipping company in the whole of the Eastern region bring in your materials. Not only does it tell well on our part for having such a huge contract but it also tells well on your side too. It would set a good precedent that you give patronage to your fellow Nigerian and Igbo people and not only foreign establishments." I said with a bold tone.
I was basically just thinking on the spot and throwing big words that I thought would make me sound more convincing. He hadn't stopped or cut me off so I guess I had grabbed his attention and he was willing to hear the rest of my speech.
"I know we've had our shortcomings as a company but who hasn't. We have proved to be on top our game and picked up our slack with these few weeks that have gone by. My boss here will work tirelessly alongside you just so you can get the best services from us" I gestured to Mr. Kachi beside me.
"We would also have our best logistics engineer tracking your materials immediately they leave the foreign ports. All you need to do is give us this contract along with your schedule and your term and conditions in order for us to work something out" I said with finality.
The silence that ensued was heart wrenching. I couldn't tell if I had won them over or not because their faces revealed nothing. They were as blank as an unused cardboard. My heart was beating loudly that I feared that they could hear the palpitations.
Mr. Okafor suddenly burst out laughing and then wagged his finger in my direction. "You ehnnn... Very smart girl"
I breathed a sigh of relief before joining in his laughter and soon after, we were all laughing.
Mr. Okafor cleared his throat. "You really got me there with all you said. I will consult my contractors and architects and get back to your company"
This time he sounded assuring that we were getting this contract and it was only a matter of time.
"Thank you so much, sir" Mr. Kachi and I echoed.
The trio rose to their feet and Mr. Kachi stepped in and stopped them.
"An entree of dishes has been ordered, sir. Won't you stay and have lunch?" Mr. Kachi asked as he stood to his feet.
"No, thank you. We have somewhere we need to be urgently" Mr. Okafor declined.
We all exchanged firm handshakes with each other before they departed.
Mr. Kachi turned to me. " Wow. Where did that come from? You literally just saved the company right now"
I chuckled. "I honestly don't know. I just knew that I had to do something"
"Well, it was good of you to act on your instincts like that" he said, absolutely amazed.
I was literally on cloud nine at the moment and I couldn't wipe the proud smile off my face.
I can't wait to tell Noah how my day went.
"We might as well eat now, since we're the only ones left" he announced.
I nodded in agreement.
God knows how hard I had been holding myself from drooling with all the tantalizing aromas that filled the place.
He signalled one of the waiters present and told them to bring the ordered meals but only for two people.
"So... Why don't you tell me more about yourself while we wait" Mr. Kachi said after the waiter walked away.
"Uhm. I'm not really an interesting person" I said
"I find that hard to believe" he countered
I chuckled. "Why? Do I look like an interesting person?"
"Well, I'm not. I'm your normal, boring type of person"
"Okay, let's start easy. Are you an only child? And what are your likes and dislikes?" He said
"I'm not an only child, I have a younger sister. I like a lot of things and I dislike liars, pretenders and manipulators" I had to catch myself there because I noticed I was describing the one person I would like to forget forever.
I think Mr. Kachi noticed the change in tone as I listed out my 'dislikes'. He quickly changed the topic.
"What's your favorite color?"
"Yellow" I said
"Why yellow?" He said curiously.
"I don't know... Uhm, to me yellow represents warmth, positivity and brightness. At least, that was I feel whenever I see the color" I replied
"What about you?" I asked.
I didn't want it to seem like he was the only one asking the questions because it would make me look less concerned.
"Black, dark blue... Basically any dark color. I think those are cool" he replied
"Wow. We are polar opposites" I said
Two waiters walked up to us with steaming hot dishes of Jollof rice, fried rice, salad and chicken.
"Thank you" I said as they placed the food on the table.
"Let's dig in" Mr. Kachi said and I didn't need to be told twice.
"--And she literally told the girl off in my presence" Mr. Kachi narrated
After lunch in the fancy restaurant, we headed back to the office to get some work done. We closed work thirty minutes earlier than everyone else after the day we had. He offered to drop me off at home and so we were currently on our way to my apartment.
I laughed out loud. "That must have been so embarrassing"
"I swear... Extremely embarrassing. I felt bad for the girl though" he chuckled
He was telling me a story of how his mother caught him with a girl in his room when he was younger. The story actually began when we heard a similar one on the radio.
My phone rang in the middle of the conversation. It was Noah.
"Sorry" I held a finger up cutting him off.
He nodded in understanding and focused on driving.
"Hi" I said
"Hey babe" Noah replied. "Guess where I am right now?"
"Just guess" he said excitedly
"You know that I'm terrible at guessing" I replied.
"Fine" he chuckled. "I'm at your office or I'm almost there"
Oh. My. God.
"Are you serious?"
"Yes, I'm dead serious. I know that I said I was going to make it up to you and I really wanted to do something really big but I couldn't wait till then to see you. So I'm on a really short break and I thought I could just come and see you for a brief moment before I head back" he said excitedly.
The excitement in his voice killed me. The gesture was really beautiful and thoughtful and I just had to ruin by not being there. This one was on me.
"Oh my God, Noah. I'm not at the office, I left like twenty minutes ago. I'm sorry" I told him. "I had a long day and my boss let me off early today. I'm actually on way to my apartment with him, right now. He offered to drop me off"
A long pause followed after I spoke. I could still hear his breathing through the phone, so I knew he was still there.
"I'm so sorry. This is on me now" I said apologetically
"It's fine" he finally said.
"Are you sure? This is so annoying, I don't get why are our timing is wrong" I said
"Don't sweat it. It's fine, we'll see some other time" he let out a tired sigh. "I'll just head back to the hospital"
My heart clenched at his response. "I feel so bad right now"
"No no, don't. I should've called before coming, I just wanted to surprise you" he sounded a little bit dejected.
Jesus Christ. If I wasn't in my boss's car right now, I would literally start crying.
"I'll let you know when I get off work. Gotta go" he said
The tone of the beep came through and I slowly brought the phone down from my ear. My mood was entirely destroyed.
"Boyfriend?" Mr. Kachi said
"Yeah" I replied
"Is it everything alright? If you don't mind me asking" he glanced at me for a brief moment before returning his gaze to the road.
"Yeah. Everything's fine"
He was my boss not my friend. Even though we were trying to be more cordial with each other, I wasn't going to start talking to him about my personal problems.
The ride was silent from that point on, I wasn't in any mood to talk which I think he realized and respected. The voice of the radio presenter covered up the silence in the car but my mind was far away from what was going on in the car anymore.
So guys, someone asked for my updating schedule and my answer was I didn't really have one. Although, I want to try to post chapters with a one day interval in order to get comments on what y'all want to see next.
So, I guess I'll be seeing you guys the day after tomorrow. By the Grace of God.
Anyways, please remember to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE.