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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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You’re The Boss!

“Aisha – Aisha I need the FCT collaboration file now please…” the disembodied voice calls out on the intercom.

I muffle a sigh.

He’s running me ragged today – I’ve been on my feet since 8 am and now it’s almost 2 pm. I’ve only just gotten the chance to rest my feet a bit. Still, I force myself to swallow my indignation, take a deep breath and put on my friendliest saccharine tone as I answer. “Right away, sir.”

I get up and walk over to the other end of the large area toward the room where sensitive files are kept. I will have to show my ID card and go through two security check procedures before getting to the said file but…well, orders are orders. After rifling through the files, I finally find what I am looking for and hurry back to the boss’ office.

I’m his Personal Assistant/Secretary, with my desk situated in front of his office door. We communicate…or rather, he barks his orders all day long via intercom. I knock on the door and enter with the file. He is having some sort of meeting with some government bigwigs and I have been given strict orders not to disturb.

He looks up at me with his startling grey eyes. Did I mention he’s British? He’s not bad looking for an ‘oyinbo’, not too pale like some of them, with his skin having a warm glow to it rather than the pinkish hue of the easily sunburned. He also has a nice clipped accent, like that latest James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, with an equally deep voice.

But I digress.

As I hand him the file, his brow furrows, which is not a good sign. “No…no, not this one… the water treatment project file…didn’t I mention that?”

I look at him dumbly, trying not to burst into tears. I take the file without a word and he resumes his discussion with the people, in effect dismissing me.

By the time I find the file he asked for, he doesn’t need it. Then he announces that we have an impromptu ‘late lunch’ meeting with some senator in the Hilton, and I am to attend and ‘maybe next time, you should consider wearing lower heels because you’re actually starting to limp.’ I swallow all this, bitterly understanding why some people commit murder.

We arrive at the Hilton – him looking dashing and debonair, and I looking like the harassed secretary I am. All through the meeting I try to keep up with them, my pen flying over the page as I take minutes in silence. They chuckle and do the whole ‘man’ thing while I, the forced onlooker, am compelled to smile. I spy a luscious looking tray of prawns at the buffet table and with each passing minute, the contents of the tray reduce. I bite my lip, hoping that somebody will give me a break so I can eat already. My boss looks at me some time later and says without a hint of irony, “Oh, you must be hungry Aisha. Why don’t you go and grab something to eat?”

By the time I get to the tray, the prawns are gone and my mood has officially gone from grey to black. Then the senator decides to fix his beady little eyes on me and his face breaks open in a greasy, suggestive smile.

“So…I didn’t know that NGOs hired such pretty young ladies nowadays…that’s good, that’s very good,” he says, his attempt to sound and look suave coming out rather crude.

I paste a smile on my face and look down on my almost empty plate in an attempt to ignore him.

He doesn’t take the hint. “Hmmm…I am sure your oga here wouldn’t mind if I steal you away to…work for me in my office. Would you mind that very much, Mr. Callister?”

Now I am truly disgusted and my body is covered in goose pimples. I glance up and my eyes meet my boss’s – he’s trying to hide his amusement. I, on the other hand, am not amused.

“Well, I’m sure the choice rests with Aisha, but I should be quite putout to see her go. She really is quite indispensible.” His indifference belies his words.

Oh, indispensible, am I? Maybe in the sense of a modern day slave. Isn’t slavery illegal where he comes from anyway?

The ‘meeting’ finally ends by 4 pm and we head back to the office, where I will have to type up notes and organize his and my itinerary before I can even think of closing up for the day. 6 pm never seemed so far away. At 5.30, the intercom buzzes again.

Rats!

singles 10“Aisha? I need you to rush to Mr. Olayinka’s office now and drop off these documents for him to sign…then on your way back, please be a dear and pick up my dry cleaning at Moe’s. Take the car, Luka will drive you.”

I want to throw myself on the floor and weep. This will take me at least an hour. I seriously consider quitting this job at the moment. A lot of people think I have it easy – working in an NGO does have its perks and my salary is good, but there are days like today. I exhale and head to the elevator regretting the impulse purchase of my Salvatore Ferragamo heels, because at this point, I am really limping.

I get back at 6.45, just as I thought I would. There are still a few people around trying to finish up their work, some of whom call out greetings to me as I pass. I go into his office. He is concentrating on something on his laptop and the blue-green light spills over his face, casting an ethereal glow over his blond hair. I clear my throat and he says, without looking up, “Just drop the stuff on the armoire and you can go home now.”

I do as told, murmur a polite good night and head off home.

By the time I get home, it’s already past 7 pm and I am dead tired. I go straight to my bathroom to shower and change before coming out to fix a quick dinner. Thank goodness for frozen stew and 10 minute pasta. I sit on my sofa and put on the TV, eating slowly and feeling the fatigue seep into my bones.

I must have nodded off because when I open my eyes and look at the clock, it’s already 9 pm. I think I’ll turn in early. I haven’t heard from my boyfriend yet and it’s just as well; I‘ve had too rotten a day. Besides, things between us are . . . complicated and I am not sure that I want to continue in this relationship. There are too many factors working against us and sometimes I don’t think it’s worth the hassle. But every time I think of breaking up with him, I just can’t. I think I love him too much.

As I get up to go to my room, I hear knocking on the door – four distinct raps. Only one person knocks that way. Mark.  I’m torn between wanting to see him and whine about my day, and wanting to tell him to go away.  I sigh as I go to open the door. We look at each other briefly and he smiles.

“So…how was your day at work?”

I narrow my eyes at him. “You should know, Mark, you were there and you made me miserable.”

Eyes as grey as storm clouds crinkle at the edges as my boss – and boyfriend – Mark Callister chuckles and shrugs his shoulders. “That’s what happens when you date your boss.”

“Then maybe I should break up with you right now,” I hiss as a wave of irritation floods me.

He puts one hand in his pocket, the other holding on to something and raises his eyebrows in challenge. “Oh? Then go ahead and break up with me.”

We stare at each other for about a minute. Damn him, he knows I won’t break up with him and vice versa. We’ve been through this before, and each time, we end at an impasse. I end the uneasy silence. “You didn’t have to be a slave driver today, you know…you almost killed me. And you knew I wanted those prawns at the Hilton. You did that on purpose.” I hear the petulance in my tone as he laughs aloud.

“Oh, don’t be such a baby, Ai. You know we’re not supposed to date, it’s against company policy. So I have to try my best to ensure that people at the office don’t suspect – at least for now. Besides…I stopped by that place you like and got you prawns. Consider it my ‘I’m sorry’ gift, a penance of sorts.”

There it is, that stupid warm feeling in the pit of my stomach again. No, it’s not about the prawns, it’s about the fact that this man can make me love and hate him in equal measure. He tilts his head to the side before opening his arms. I smile and walk into his embrace, holding him tightly as I inhale his perfume, one I had given him as a gift.

“So…” I murmur into his chest, my voice muffled, “you expect me to forgive you?”

“Always. Besides, you know you’re my weakness,” he mutters as he tips his head down toward mine to give me a kiss.

Sigh.

And tomorrow is yet another day at work . . . with the boss.

Written by Sifa Asani Gowon

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26 Comments

  1. toyinalabi

     /  September 30, 2013

    Nice piece. Welldone

    Reply
  2. Tosin

     /  September 30, 2013

    Hmmmmm office romance….especially wen u dating ur Boss n still av to pretend….eeyaa I pity d Babe oooo…

    Reply
  3. nkiru

     /  September 30, 2013

    Sifa I like ur works. They r really really really nice to read. This one is a pure girly girly book. Me loving it soooo much. Can’t wait for when she misses her period n by den Mr Callister must have been called back to UK even b4 she finds out. OMG dat will b a wonderful day for Aisha.

    Reply
  4. Well written and captivating story……

    Reply
  5. emeka

     /  September 30, 2013

    this is cool

    Reply
  6. This is just really really good.

    Reply
  7. What a story! I love this Walter.

    Reply
  8. chika

     /  September 30, 2013

    You always have a twist coming…nice

    Reply
  9. john

     /  September 30, 2013

    Nice

    Reply
  10. Michael

     /  September 30, 2013

    Nice one!

    Reply
  11. Grace oruitemeka

     /  September 30, 2013

    She luvz him 2much 2 brk up wit him or she cnt bcos he’s white? #justSayin#
    Buono Sifa!!

    Reply
    • Well….later in the week, I’ll put up Mark Callister’s perspective and then you can see for yourself whether their relationship is race or love motivated! 😉

      Reply
  12. Didn’t I say I love this writer?

    Reply
  13. So awesome. Great use of suspense and imagery. Sounds like it really happened.

    Reply
  14. nik

     /  September 30, 2013

    walty, if you put more of sifa’s gist i will move to her blog, hehehehe .
    sifa you are realy good. well done

    Reply
  15. Gold

     /  September 30, 2013

    A nicely written piece…kudos

    Reply
  16. Walter, you rock! You really do! And people- please (after coming here, of course) do stop by my blog http://www.sifushka.blogspot.com sometime. I shall be putting up more of Aisha and Mark’s story before the end of the week. God bless y’all!

    Reply
  17. kachi

     /  October 1, 2013

    Oh My!! Awesome piece. Very awesome. Quite a classic! Turn this to a muvee scene and u’ld be winning an oscar for best screenplay!

    Reply
  18. Beautiful writing….i really enjoyed it

    Reply
  19. Adeline Kasper

     /  October 1, 2013

    Beautiful!

    Reply
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