“Or better still, you can tell me all about it over dinner?” He said.
Over dinner ke? What was bringing that one? Why couldn’t we just talk to Florence about it? Why did we have to go to dinner? Was this a test of our professionalism? Who was going to pay for it? Because it definitely wasn’t going to be me or any of my team members.
I looked at my colleagues, as if waiting for them to say something to dissuade him but they were silent. The intern looked away and Chima avoided eye contact with me. Only for me to turn to Salewa and see her smiling. I frowned at her, wondering what was amusing her. She nudged me to give him a reply as the other people in the room looked around.
He must have noticed my dilemma so he said,
“Look it’s not such a big deal. I’m free between 7 and 8pm and since I want to be kept in the loop about everything, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to discuss it over dinner. Right Florence?” Fola turned to Florence as if asking for approval.
“Yes, sure. Fola is always busy so it’s probably the only time he can fit it in. Besides, I’m too busy with other things so I may not give my all to this today.” Florence said.
Huh? Which kain yeye explanation be this? How is this your company’s biggest project and you’re too busy to talk about it? Is it madness abi drugs? Later they will say it’s us that didn’t do our best. Mschewww.
“The plan wasn’t for all of us to go to dinner with you. The plan was to have…” I tried to explain before Fola interrupted.
“Who’s the project manager amongst you?”
“She is.” Chima pointed at me.
So now he could talk? Rubbish.
Fola turned to me and said,
“Great then. Bring all your advert plans along with you to HSE Gourmet, 7pm. Do you know where that is?”
I was speechless. What was happening? How did we go from a work meeting in a group to a dinner meeting between this man and myself ? What is all this?
“She’ll find it.” Salewa quickly answered.
“Alright then, have a nice day.” Fola said as he stood up and left the office.
What just happened? Because I was lost. It all happened in a flash.
I excused myself too and everyone followed me, leaving only Florence in the office.
Salewa and I got into my car and we headed headed back to the office, while the intern rode with Chima.
“This Fola is a smooth operator o.” Salewa said.
“What is this one saying?”
“See how he has used scope to ask you out.”
“Be pretending as if you don’t like it.” Salewa teased.
“I don’t like it one bit. You think I want to spend my entire evening talking to that arrogant guy? If he was asking me out as you claim sef, why did he have to impose it on me? What kind of man does that?”
“The kind of man that knows how to deal with you and your wahala. See me I like the guy already o, brother-in-law goals mehn!”
“All this one is for your pocket. Me I’m not going anywhere.”
“When you’re not mad. If you don’t go, I’ll make sure you lose your job. You’ll just see mail and they will tell you it was management decision. I will see how you will keep up with your Lekki big girl lifestyle.” Salewa hissed.
“Which kain wahala be this? Somebody will be on her own, problem will just come and meet her.” I kissed my teeth.
“My friend stop lamenting up and down and make the best out of tonight. You’re going to seal a business deal, so you better behave yourself and don’t fall hand.”
When we got back to the office, I went to report all that happened to Demola, hoping he would see things from my point of view and oppose the dinner.
“I don’t know why he didn’t just finish up in the office. I think it’s unprofessional.” I ended my story.
“Well what can we do? He’s the one with the money.” Demola shrugged.
“But we can’t just let him…”
“Uno just go to the meeting and let me know how it goes tomorrow.” He said.
I heaved a sigh.
I sulked and went back to work. I looked through my presentation one more time, determined to make sure it was perfect. When I was satisfied with it, I went on to other things. I had a couple of campaigns I was working on simultaneously. I didn’t even realise how far gone the day was till Salewa rapped my desk. I rose my head to find out what she needed.
“It’s 3:30 o.” She said.
“Okay?…” I wasn’t sure where she was going with that notification.
“Are you not going to go and get ready for your date?”
“Salewa, it is not a date.”I corrected her. “It’s a meeting.”
“Call it whatever you like.” She rolled her eyes. “But you need to go home and prepare.”
“Which preparation again? I’m going from here.”
She had an expression of shock and disappointment on her face.
“People will think that as the married one, I should be the one talking like this. What in God’s name is wrong with you please? How will you go like this? See your make up already running, no more lipstick on your lips, you’re all sweaty and I’m sure under your arm stinks. You want to go a business dinner like this? Who are you trying to disgrace?” Salewa sized me up from head to toe.
“What does my dressing have to do with anything?” I asked her.
“I don’t know why you just like being difficult. Abeg pack up, let’s go to your house and get you ready.” Salewa said.
I was mad at her and refused to make a move. I faced my computer and continued doing my work. She’d either have to drag me or better still, carry me from there because I wasn’t going to move an inch. She tried to speak to me again but she must have noticed that my mind was made up so she didn’t say a word. Instead, she started pressing her phone. Me I thought she had given up and I had won only for me to see her standing on her feet. Before I knew it, she was beside me. She slammed my laptop shut, picked up my bag from the table and pulled me so hard that I almost fell on my butt. By now, all eyes were on us, wondering what was going on.
“What is wrong with you? What do you think you’re doing?” I half screamed. By now I was boiling.
“If you don’t want me to call people to help me get you out of here, you better stand up and follow me. Because I don’t understand why you’re acting like a child right now.” She was raising her voice.
“Me? Acting like a child? How?” I genuinely wanted to know how refusing to go home and get a makeover for an ordinary meeting translated to me acting like a child.
Salewa looked at me but she didn’t say a word. Instead, she reached for her bag, picked it up and started walking out of the office.
“You better meet me downstairs.”
I hissed in defiance. I wasn’t going to give in to her demand this time. She was almost at the door when she turned back to see that I hadn’t moved an inch. If she thought she was mad, I’d prove to her that her own madness was child’s play compared to mine.
Well, I was wrong because I forgot that it’s my own madness that is a joke and she did well to remind me. Before I could blink, Salewa was pulling me again and this time, she didn’t stop even though I was protesting. The whole office watched our little drama without saying a word. They knew not to interrupt us if they didn’t want Salewa’s wahala. This girl continued pulling me till we got to her car. Mr Taiwo rushed out of the car and opened the door for her. She pushed me inside and entered too.
“Start the car.” She instructed Mr. Taiwo immediately he got back into the car.
“To where ma?” He asked.
“Uno’s house. Go!”
He was about to start the car when I remembered my car.
“Wait wait, what about my car?” I asked no one in particular.
Mr Taiwo looked at us through his rear view mirror in confusion.
“Mr Taiwo, mo sọ pe gbe ọkọ ayọkẹlẹ yii!” She was shouting now.
Mr Taiwo started the car.
“Are you not hearing me? What will happen to my car?” I raised my voice this time.
“We’ll come back for it.” Salewa said as Mr Taiwo started the car and drove off.
Throughout the ride, I didn’t say a word. I was so mad at her for doing that. Why was she making such a big deal out of this? Why did we have to get physical and raise our voices because of Fola Wiltshire? What was it about that man that drama came with everything that involved him?
We got to my apartment in about 45 minutes and immediately I opened the door, Salewa marched straight to my room. Thankfully, Bena wasn’t home if not, I’d have had to deal with double the drama. I shook my head and followed behind. By the time I got there, she was already looking through my wardrobe. I sat on the bed and watched her, knowing that it would be futile to try and stop her.
She had a problem with every dress she pulled out. It was either too short or too long; too relaxed or too serious. She didn’t find anything she thought that fit and I was already jumping for joy inside me.
Shebi her body will come down if she didn’t see what she was looking for. Then I realised I was rejoicing too early, knowing her, she’d have no problem driving out to buy another dress. As I thought about it, I wondered why she didn’t do that in the first place. Would have been amazing to chop her money today.
I was so consumed with my thoughts that I didn’t notice that she had found what she was looking for till I heard her shriek,
“Perfect!” She said excitedly.
She turned to me and showed me the dress. It was a burnt orange bandage dress I even forgot I had. Before I could look at the dress well, Salewa was pulling me to the bathroom.
“You need to take a shower first please.”
“Ahan, won’t you bathe me? Abi am I not a child again?” I smirked.
She laughed and shook me playfully. She looked at me for a brief moment then pulled me into a tight embrace and whispered in my ear,
“I’m sorry for that public display of affection.”
I playfully pushed her away.
“Affection indeed, go joor.” I entered the bathroom and shut the door.
“You know it’s because I love you o.” She shouted to me.
“Abeg let me hear word jare.” I shouted back.
Salewa was an intense, strong willed woman and honestly her wahala was too much. But I knew she wouldn’t do anything if it wasn’t for my own good.
I held that thought.
For my own good? What was I saying? This wasn’t for my own good. Why would playing dress up for this man be for my own good?
I slapped my mouth lightly and looking in the mirror I said to my image in the mirror,
“It’s Salewa who thinks it’s for your good, not you.”
“Hurry up o!” Salewa screamed from outside.
I shook my head as I took off my clothes and got into the shower.
I came out of the shower to meet that Salewa had already laid out the chosen dress and found matching shoes and a purse for me.
“Oya oya, it’s already almost 6pm. Should I do your make up for you?” She was already bringing out my make up stuff from the drawer.
“Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.” I collected the brush she was already holding.
I wore my underwear and sat in front of the mirror.
“All this gra gra for only business dinner. If I’m now getting married nko?” I started drawing my brows.
“Ungrateful child. It’s because you’re seeing who to help you now, that’s why you’re talking like this.” Salewa sat on the bed.
It didn’t take long to finish my make up even though I had to draw my brows twice. I looked in the mirror in admiration of my beauty.
I eulogised myself in my head,
Omalicha nwa, enenbejiolu, ego vin, ego oyibo, asampete nwayi.
Phew, I looked amazing!
I quickly brought myself back from la la land and wore my dress as Salewa helped with my shoes. When I was done, Salewa helped me style my braids in a half up do. Then I spritzed some perfume on my dress as I looked at myself in the mirror. The colour of the dress suited my skin perfectly and the make up was just right, not too loud, not too little, just perfect.
“Won’t you say thank you?” Salewa reminded me.
“For what?” I feigned ignorance.
“For putting you together and saving you, and me of course, from shame and disgrace.”
“Say thank you joor.” She insisted.
“Okay, thank you. Daalu.”
“Better.” She beamed.
I texted Bena, telling her where I was off to as we left the house. The plan was that Salewa would take me back to the office, then I would pick up my car and head to HSE Gourmet.
We arrived the office minutes after 7pm and after wishing me good luck and warning me not to be rude, Salewa went home. I was about to drive out when I remembered something that could potentially make or mar this dinner.