What a relief! Katherine almost screamed as she stepped past the huge gate. She let out a heave of relief. She should have known and took a cab from home irregardless of the cost. She was sure that was nothing compared to the embarrassment she got on her way to work.
The embarrassment, unnecessary politeness and invitation to bus chat. To top it, two guys had offered to pay her bus fare and asked for a phone number she didn’t even have.
She turned in the direction of the voice.
‘Katherine you’re actually the one, I thought I was seeing things!’
‘Good morning Sir.’ She smiled at Mr Sayo understanding his surprise, ‘I meant to tell you on Thursday but you were in a meeting. I am now an appointed secretary. ‘
‘Hey,’ He beamed. ‘Congratulations child, you look so beautiful. ‘
‘Thank you Sir. ‘ She appreciated.
‘I’ll send up a congratulatory gift to you later in day.’
Katherine nodded with a smile and made to continue her strides when she took a glance at the security office.
An usual number of them were standing in front and it was just few minutes before seven but then she stared and agaped mouth began to close and look away in embarrassment.
The security guy who had asked Mr Sayo about her on the day she sought employment, Abbey approached her hastily as if walking normally was going to make him change his mind.
He had wooed her once and admired her silently after being politely turned down. ‘Emmm….Katherine.’ He easily caught up with her. ‘I don’t know what you think of me but I… I want to advise you.’
She honored him and halt to listen.
‘I don’t think you need the cleaning nor the secretaring job, the form of the most beautiful girl in Nigeria is on sale, you should get one for yourself. I can give you half of the money of the form.’ He met her gaze. ‘You don’t need the wand of a fairy god mother for everything to fall in place. You are qualified.’
She grinned. ‘I really appreciate you looking out for me Abbey but you know what am going to say.’
‘I know.’ He nodded. ‘Your beauty beyond all have set my eyes on even in screen.’ That said, he left more hastily than he had come.
Katherine watched the departing figure momentarily before heading to her destination.
She sneezed and then remembered a superstitious belief that sneezing can be prompted when one name is being mentioned or discussed about. She reached for a hanky with a smile knowing she was going to be the major source of gossip.
‘Good morning Sir.’ She smiled charmingly on her feet as Kelvin strode in white shirt and black pant trousers almost looking like a sailor with black shoes. He held a brief case which he always refuse help with.
‘Good morning, hope we have a Precious today. ‘ He beamed.
‘Sure.’ She returned affirmatively.
He glanced around. ‘Where is SI’s newest secre…? ‘
She emerged from the lobby in an animal print blazer over black sleeveless blouse and pencil skirt with cream 3inches high shoes. She had her name tag on just below Where the customized signature of the company was. Her hair was half parted in a slant,wrapped around and pinned with matching color of hair clips, curled strand graced a side of her face.
‘Oh -my- God! ‘ Precious exclaimed before glancing at Kelvin. Was he seeing what was before her?
‘Good morning Sir, good morning Precious. ‘ She smiled revealing dimples on her cheeks.
‘Good morning Katherine.’ He had been mesmerized at the transformation but was quick to recover. Position and Authority was all about control and he did have it in abundance. ‘Ready to take new challenges?’
‘Welcome on board then, you look splendid. ‘ That said, he held for his office.
‘Thank you.’ She called after him.
‘Wow! ‘ Precious looked her over from head to toes taking in every detail of her physical appearance. ‘You look so… so amazing! Tell me how many admirers did you get on your way here. ‘
Katherine rolled her eyes before shaking her head.
‘Wait! ‘ She covered the distance between them. ‘Is that your natural hair? ‘ She touched it slightly. ‘Ha, no wonder you’ve been covering your hair! ‘
‘Precious leave me alone jare. ‘ She said dismissively before rounded the desk to sit.
‘It’s unfair na, what people like us are looking for.’ Precious continued unperturbed.
‘Precious! ‘ She chided.
Precious halt and glared at her. What it now wrong to admire?
Katherine couldn’t help but chuckle at her expression.
Katherine was reading the guide book Precious had gotten for her from the company’s library when Kelvin entered from his office.
‘How has it been? ‘
‘Smooth. ‘ She looked up from the book.
‘And Precious? ‘
‘Just left for lunch.’
‘What are you still waiting for? ‘
‘I will pass.’
‘Alright.’ He walked away.
A couple of minutes Later, one of the security officers delivered a can coke and mince pie courtesy of Mr Sayo.
After thanking him profusely, she placed it in her bag.
Ten minutes Later, Prrcious came back with a nylon. ‘Katherine, you should have come to the cafeteria, the admin director bought this for all the secretaries. ‘ She placed the nylon in front of her. ‘I got this for you. ‘
‘That is so considerate of you, thank you.’ She smiled up at her.
‘Next time you should join me.’ She slumped into her seat.
‘I won’t. ‘
Precious sat back on her seat. ‘Don’t tell me you there already. ‘ Her gaze was fixed where Katherine had a finger in between the book.
‘So fast, the opposite of me. ‘ She glanced at the table clock. ‘I will nap for fifteen minutes. ‘
‘Provided you don’t snore.’ Katherine stood to held for the rest room.
Precious shot a warning gaze at Katherine. ‘I will catch you.’ She closed her eyes.
‘Sir, it is like a puzzle to me that a cleaner could know so much.’ Precious was seated in the Kelvin’s office. ‘If am to be honest, I will say there is nothing she learnt from me instead I have learnt from her. When I speak, she just listen to me as if what am saying was new, watch me practise and when I give her opportunity, I get to raise my brows astonished for she does it perfectly. Severally I was compelled to ask her if she had ever done Secretariat studies or a school that does such.’
‘And what she did say? ‘
Precious chuckled. ‘Katherine said that she had never seen the four walls of a secretarial school talk more of entering one.’
Kelvin laughed. ‘So she is hilarious.’
‘Sometimes but she barely talks.’ Precious expressed. ‘The only problem I have with her is that she has never gone for lunch.’
‘You should buy for her then.’
‘She won’t accept, she had made that very clear.’
Kelvin shrugged not having a solution to that.
‘Sir, you were right when you told her she was well able.’ Precious beamed.
‘Well… ‘ He drummed his fingers on his desk momentarily. ‘That was a satisfactory report I suppose she can move on.’
‘I have something for you two for making things very easy for so far so good when you get back from the account department.’
‘Okay Sir.’ Precious said gleefully before excusing herself.
Kelvin stood crossed to the minifridge in the sitting wing of his office to pour himself an orange flavored yoghurt.
‘I… I need your prayers Katherine. ‘ They were in the elevator having collected their payslips.
‘Is there a problem? ‘ Katherine searched her expression.
‘My responsibility went to the sky last weekend. You know that early next month, the best secretary in SI will be appointed an execretary. I need the job and the extra cash.’ She had lost her mum at an early age, her father had suffered partial stroke a year back and couldn’t perform active service. He lost his job and Precious had to cater for him and her 3younger brothers and sister, being the first.
Katherine took her hand as they walked out of the elevator. ‘Do your best and may God crown that effort with good success.’
‘Amen.’ She claimed and then a smile spread over the frown that had etched her face.
‘What? ‘ She looked away from her face to adjust two potted plant.
‘The boss… he has something for us.’ She announced gleefully before pulling her towards his wing.
‘There! ‘ He placed the two paper bags containing 3litres of fruit juice and tin biscuits each on the center table.
‘Thank you very much. This is quite generous of you Sir.’
He glanced at her, almost directly behind Precious. He saw her reluctance.
Precious stepped on the rug to view the content of the paper bag. ‘Oooops! ‘ Her eyes gleamed in excitement. ‘ Thank you very much.’
‘You’re Welcome. ‘
Katherine followed her cue and stepped forward. ‘Thank you very much Sir.’
‘Welcome. ‘ He answered.
They each picked their paper bags and made to leave.
‘Katherine could your please stay back for a minute? ‘
In spite of the politeness, her spirit sank.
Precious left the office.
She turned towards his direction with lowered gaze.
‘I don’t force people to accept things I give out willingly. If you don’t want it, you can reject it instead of putting up an unreal act or going with the crowd. ‘ Having expressed himself, he felt pained. Why couldn’t she just let go and be free? Why was she different?
‘I’m… I’m sorry Sir.’ She felt the disappointment portrayed in his voice.
‘Do you want to return it? ‘
‘No Sir.’ She glanced at his face but he didn’t look angry. ‘I am sorry. ‘
‘It is okay Katherine.’ He felt moved to sit her and find out Why she was antisocial but he feared her rejection.
She excused herself. When she got out, She exhaled relieved.
Precious couldn’t help but jump in the elevator unable to contain her elation.what a dream come true!
‘Take it easy ma’am, you’re in the elevator. ‘ Katherine advised grinning.
‘Easy is not in my dictionary right now.’ She made to do an edo dance using the envelope in her hand to improvise handkerchief.
Katherine burst into laughter.
‘Congratulations girl. ‘
‘Thanks for your prayers and all.’ She reached out and gave her a bear hug.
Precious got out of the elevator first, jumped and twirled.
Kelvin slowed his pace and eventually halt so he won’t bump into her. ‘That’s the spirit girl! ‘
Precious froze. ‘Oh… emmm…Sir… I’m… ‘ She went wide eyed in embarrassment.
‘Congratulations. ‘ He walked away.
Katherine who had witnessed all, burst into stifled laughter.