AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR - VOLUME ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
Bolu Adetayo sat at his office desk, pondering on the new case they had discussed at the morning meeting. It was right up his alley, and he knew that it was just the kind of case he needed to boost his confidence again. But when the Principal Partner, Mr Folarin C. Williams, opened it up for who would take first and second chair, he'd lost his nerve, and Dele had snapped up first chair again. Bolu had been assigned to second chair, and would be working closely with Dele on the case.
Dele walked into Bolu's office and pulled up a seat. Now that he was Senior Partner, he didn't bother to exercise the courtesy of knocking and waiting for a reply. Bolu looked up and greeted him.
"I want to talk about the case. I have an idea for how we can win it, and I want to make sure we're on the same page," Dele said, crossing one leg over the other.
"Sure. What is your idea?" Bolu asked, restraining himself from expressing the fact that he too had a sure strategy to win the case. He had to follow Dele's lead, even though he felt more competent and qualified, having dealt with a similar case just last year, before Dele showed up at the Firm.
As Dele began to talk, Bolu's office line rang. The intercom showed that it was from the Principal's office. "Excuse me, I have to get this."
"Uh um, uh um," Bolu hummed into the phone. "Yes, Sir. I'm coming now."
"Sorry, I've been called into Mr Williams' office. Can I come to you after?" Bolu asked.
"Please do," Dele said, as he stood up to leave.
Bolu was a little nervous about being called in to see Mr Williams. He couldn't discern if it was for a positive or negative reason that he had been called in. He tried to think of what he might have done to warrant such a call.
Mr Williams' Personal Assistant directed him to sit and wait, while she went to Mr Williams to alert him of Bolu's presence. "You can go in now," she said, after returning from the Principal's office.
"Good morning, Sir," Bolu greeted, and waited for Mr Williams to direct him to sit down."
"Sit down," Mr Williams said, pointing to one of the two seats in front of him, while still focused on the document on his desk.
After a couple more minutes passed, and a brief phone call, he looked up at Bolu. "How are you?" he asked.
"I'm fine, thank you, Sir," Bolu replied, trying to appear more confident than he really was.
"And your health. Are you fully recovered from your accident six months ago?"
"Yes, Sir, I am. Thanks for your concern," Bolu answered.
"Well, that's the issue really. It is my concern. It is my business. I can't help but notice that some things are not as they were with you," Mr Williams said, holding Bolu's gaze.
"I understand, Sir," Bolu said, feeling rather hot on his seat. "It's just been quite emotional for me. And I appreciate the support you have give me to get back on my feet."
"Ummm," Mr Williams muttered. "Well, I've known you for five years now. I know what you're capable of, and I can't help but be concerned if I see that you're no longer applying yourself like before. You know, many men are knocked down time and again, but it is only those worth something that will stand up and keep fighting."
Bolu was silent. He wondered where this was leading to. Was he about to get fired?
"What I'm trying to say is, this is your chance to show what you are made of. If you give up now, you won't get anywhere in this business or this world. Do you know how many times I fell on my face trying to get this Firm off the ground? But I am standing today, I am running this firm, and I can't let a quitter be the weak link that will bring it down. Do you hear what I am saying?"
"I hear you, Sir. I'll do better, Sir."
"Like this morning's meeting... I fully intended to give you the first chair on the case. I know you were expecting the promotion, before the accident, and I'm sorry things worked out the way they did. But everything happens for a reason," Mr Williams said. "If there's any fight left in you, I want you to bring it. There are more promotions to come."
"Thank you, Sir. I really appreciate this talk. I have not, and I will not give up," Bolu said.
Mr Williams nodded. "You may go. Good luck on the case, Counsel."
"Yes, Sir. Thank you," Bolu said, as he got up and left his Boss' office, feeling like he had just been given a second chance. He needed to muster the courage to keep fighting. Mr Williams was so very right. He silently thanked God for his insightful Boss.
It was four O'Clock and Daniel Akunne had not yet called, like he said he would. Lola was starting to get impatient. She had sent him a text message at noon to confirm that she would be available today to look at the properties he had in Lagos.
It had been a slow day at work, with only one customer, who came in the morning to make an enquiry, but decided their charges were too high. She'd managed to make headway with the Catologue, and was applying some finishing touches, when her phone rang. It was Bolu.
"Hi, darling," she said cheerfully.
"Hey, babe. I just wanted to let you know I've got a big case I'm working on, and I'll home late tonight," Bolu said.
"Oh, no problem dear! I'm happy for you. Should I keep dinner?"
"Umm, no don't bother yourself. I'll manage with some take-out today. How's work?"
"Slow..." Lola responded.
"I thought you guys had 30 properties to decorate... No problem I hope?" Bolu asked.
"No, not to worry. I'm sure we'll start on it next week," she said, expressing more optimism than she felt. "I'll see you later."
"Ok, great. Yes, let me get back to work. I love you," Bolu said.
"I love you too." Lola hung up the call and sighed deeply, wondering when Danny would call.
As if by magic, it rang again. It was an unknown number. "Hello, Da-Vyne Interiors. How may I help you?" she responded in her usual professional tone.
"Umm... Always the professional. I like that."
"Excuse me, who's calling please?"
"I am Mr Daniel Akunne. I believe we met yesterday. Is this Lola?"
Lola smiled widely. Finally! "Yes, Sir, it is. Good afternoon. I was expecting your call earlier."
"I'm sorry I kept you waiting. It was quite a busy day for me. I actually just saw your text message. How is your day going?"
"It's been slow. It's not unusual, though," she replied. "I guess it's too late to see your properties today?"
"Well, I was hoping you would be able to come around now... if you're not too busy? One of the estates is in Lekki Phase 1, not too far from your office actually."
Ummm, Lola thought. She really wasn't doing much. And it was just after four. "Sure, what's the address?"
Lola took down the address on paper and noted the directions. She arranged to be there by 4:30pm. She tidied up her desk and packed her bag. She would be using the company car to the location. After checking that she had gotten everything she needed from her office, she took the car keys from where they hung, and left for the estate.
Danny was standing outside with a few contractors surveying his properties, when Lola drove into the estate. He watched her as she parked next to his 2010 Mecerdes Benz c300. She was wearing a fitted dress, which enhanced her figure, with black heels that made her long, slim legs look fantastic.
"How many apartments do you have here?" Lola asked when she had reached his side and they'd exchanged pleasantries.
"Twelve. Three identical apartment buildings with four duplexes each."
"Nice! For rent or for sale or both?"
"Well, I am going to the trouble of furnishing them..." Danny said, amused. "No, they're only for rent. Mainly for expatriates looking for luxury accommodation with minimum effort."
Lola brought out her camera and started taking photos. She already had some ideas from studying the layout. The rooms were spacious and well-lit, and pillars separated the living area from the dinning. There was also a lot of space under the stairs for a mini study or storage area.
"Do you have any colours in mind? Any favourite brands?" Lola asked, still snapping away.
"Nothing too bright, simple tones. As for brands, I'm keen on Italian furniture. No favorites," Danny replied. "Ready to go upstairs?"
"Yeah," Lola said, dropping her camera for a moment.
There were three ensuite bedrooms upstairs, a store room and medium sized living area. All the rooms shared the same balcony that ran around the apartment complex, with only a divide between the two duplexes above and the two below. The master room was clearly bigger, with a spacious bathroom that included both a shower and a tub.
"This is amazing!" Lola marvelled. "I wish I could live here. The neighborhood is perfect too. What are you expecting to get for the rent?"
Lola's jaw dropped when he told her the approximate amount. Okay, so it wasn't worth the dream, she thought. "Well, with a fully furnished property, I'm sure they will go like hot cakes!" She said.
After looking at all four duplexes of one apartment building, Danny took Lola to the pool area, which he also wanted furnished. By the time they were done, it was 5pm.
"Do you have time to see another property?" Danny asked. "It's a hotel actually. It's also in Lekki."
"Umm..." Lola hesitated.
"Oh, sorry. I guess you have someone waiting for you at home?" Danny prodded.
"Not quite. He's working late tonight," Lola volunteered. "If it'll be quick, I guess it wouldn't hurt."
"Sure, we can just use my car. We'll get there faster."
Lola stopped and studied him for a second, but his expression didn't give anything away. "No, I'll be fine with my car. Besides, it belongs to the office, I can't leave it here."
"It's perfectly safe, trust me," Danny said. But on second thought, "Or if you want, you can drop it at your office, and we can go together to check out the hotel, and I'll drop you back home."
The idea was tempting. Lola knew she had to be careful with this man. He could have ulterior motives... Then again, it could just be honest, and this is simply a business visit to a hotel! And a free, leisurely ride home. It beats taking the bus, which was the alternative.
"Is it such a hard decision?" Danny asked, amused as he watched her try to solve the puzzle in her mind.
"No," Lola said with a smile, snapping out of it. "We'll drop off the office car. I appreciate the lift home, thanks."
"Not a problem," he said.
Danny smiled as he got in his car, and waited for Lola to drive out of the compound, so he could follow her to her office to drop off the company car. He made a quick call to the hotel to alert them that he was on his way. This should be a fun evening, he grinned.
To be continued...
Photo credit: www.eharmony.com