‘Katherine, news just reach me that ten thousand naira is missing from the managing director’s office and that you are also the last person to enter his office. What can you say about that? ‘ Kelvin sipped from his mug of water.
‘What I can say about being the last person to enter his office, that I don’t know of.’ She met his gaze. ‘All I know is that he asked me to drop a file in his office, so I dropped it on the desk and left. ‘
‘How about the ten thousand? ‘ Kelvin focused his striking eyes on her.
Katherine gave a short laugh. ‘How am I suppose to know if I walked in, dropped the file on his desk and left?’ She raised a hand in front of her emphatically, ‘If I did that, how am I supposed to know if there was a million naira or whatever in his office. ‘ She couldn’t help the sarcasm in her voice.
His voice was calm. ‘You can confide in me, you can tell me about it. This act can mar all I cherish about you. I beg you to confide in me before it is too late.’
He entwined his palms on his desk.
‘This is ridiculous!’ Katherine shook her head, partly in disbelief and partly trying to keep calm. ‘Katherine Sylvester is not desperate, even if I am, ten thousand cannot calm my desperation talk more of solving it.’
Kelvin shrugged. ‘I don’t think you understand the extent of allegation Katherine, you’re the chief suspect. ‘
Katherine closed her momentarily before exhaling. ‘With all due respect Sir, I can’t sit through this conversation anymore,’ She stood I’ll implore you to go ahead to do whatever is in the company constitution for such offense. Excuse me.’ She left.
He glared at the closed door not believing what he just heard. Was she void of emotions? How could she be so calm? She had even encouraged him to take drastic measure.
He massaged his brows knowing he was in a fix. Everyone was watching, most unhappy about his decision that uplifted her despite the fact none had dare confront him.
Something propelled him to glance at the wall in which the framed photograph of his father hung, following was that of Jesus with opened arms.
He closed his eyes and asked for guidance from the all Knowing Being. He didn’t want to tamper with anybody’s emotion.
She was writing on a note pad when he came in from his office to hers. She didn’t look up though she sensed his presence.
He stood at the back of one of the chairs. ‘Katherine, I am sorry about accusing you yesterday, the MD just called me that he found the money.’
She nodded halting her pen momentarily.
‘Aren’t you going to say anything? ‘
Katherine shook her head and continued writing once more.
How unnerving and powerless she did made him feel, no one had left him ever confused.
He strode out, she had been his secretary for 3months since Precious became an execretary and left for her office. He had never been able to read her expression correctly.
He knew there was something about her but the more he tried to find out, the more withdrawn she became.
The MD called wanting to speak to the director general exactly 2 weeks after she was accused of theft and three hours after she had gone to his office to drop a report.
Now he was calling like he had done the other day .
She transferred the call but didn’t drop the phone.
There had been another theft and she was a suspect.
When the call ended, she gave a humorless laughter. Then for ten minutes, she tapped her feet as she waited for her boss to take his decision. By the time he summoned her to his office, she was furious.
Katherine entered his office.
‘Kat… ‘ He was interrupted.
‘I know what you are going to say, there have been yet another theft and I am a suspect. ‘ She narrowed her brows.
He glared at her.
‘I am sick and tired of all these. I have never being so humiliated and insulted all my life! What have I done so wrong? Who have I offended that I can’t even get a breathing space? I sincerely can’t take this anymore.’ She expressed breathlessly. ‘I can’t work in a place where I can’t have peace of mind, where everybody including my boss doesn’t trust me.’ She exhaled. ‘You can call the police, torture me or whatever but I won’t sit through another interrogation. ‘
He had sat back and watched her, seen a rare part of her. She had let go and he had seen the sparkles in her eyes though it was of anger . ‘When you rage, there a unique beauty that radiates on your face. ‘
Caught unawares, she paled like she had been burnt. For a moment she was lost before she scrambled out of the office without excusing herself.
Was it tears he had seen? He sighed before he allowed his chair rock in deep thoughts . He was going to get to bottom of the whole mystery before he lose one of his best secretary so far.
Katherine slammed the rest room door close and burst into tears. ‘God… Why can’t I have peace? Why.. ‘ She sobbed and her whole body shook. She sneezed twice and her nose began to weep.
Kelvin came out to head for the MD ‘s office but Katherine was no where in sight.
He felt a slight headache as he approached the elevator.
When he came in, Katherine head was on her desk.
He knew nothing he would say would make the situation better besides he didn’t know what mood she was in and was not a specialist in mood management. So he head for his office with a suspect in mind and a plan.
For the rest of that Friday, she couldn’t eat nor do anything, she just wept till she was sore and drifted to sleep.
Thanks goodness the next day was a work free day because she had woke up from the edge of the bed with frontal headache, cracked voice and swollen eyes.
The conference room was the smallest
they had in the company, despite the fact
that the DG, Executive director, head of
every departments, MD, Execretary and
five other secretaries were present with
Katherine inclusive , there still few seat
unoccupied. They were seated around
polished hexagonal table.
‘Precious could you please exchange seat
with Katherine? ‘ He smiled at Precious.
She smiled back and left her seat to sit
Silence returned to the table. Each
oblivious to the reason for the gathering.
‘I welcome you all to this meeting that is
the first of its kind and would be the last
too. ‘ He had allowed a minute to prevail
before he began.
Kelvin scanned their faces. ‘The matter at
hand is that of the incident of the missing
money and the accusations. This issue will
be settled once and for all. ‘ He paused
momentarily. ‘First, I blamed the MD for
keeping such amount of money in his
office but I realise that there are some
transactions he does do for the company
besides, I don’t see a reason why we all
can’t keep a thing in the privacy of our
offices and still meet it there.’
Most of the tops present nodded.
Somehow she had prepared herself for
the worst, she suspected the reason for
the meeting when her boss inform her to
inform the cleaning department and listed
those who she was to tell are to
participate. Serenity… calmness…
peace… silence…quietness. She kept
repeating those words in her mind to
keep her emotions in check even as she
‘I don’t want such situation at all in my
company. ‘ He frowned as he directed his
gaze to Yemisi. ‘Yemisi, what do you know
about the cases of the missing money?’
She blanched as they all directed their
attention to her.
‘I …I don’t know anything about it Sir.’
‘What relationship did you have with
Patrick, our former account director? ‘
Kelvin asked more calmly.
‘The AD-secretary relationship. ‘ She
answered calmly recovering quickly.
‘What again? ‘
‘Nothing more Sir.’
‘Are you sure nothing more? ‘
‘Yes Sir.’ She nodded before the reply.
The conference room was becoming like a
court session and that got everyone alert.
‘Good, but am sure you can give
confession.’ He beamed infectiously.
‘Confessions? ‘ Yemisi went wide eyed.
‘What confession? ‘ Her brows narrowed
‘The missing money, the relationship you
have with Patrick Sunday. ‘ He
expantiated as he placed his palms
together on the table.
Katherine looked from her boss to Yemisi.
She didn’t think Yemisi would go so far…
so far to implicate her.
‘With all due respect Sir, I don’t
understand what you are talking about.’
With a smile lingering on his lips, he held
her gaze briefly. ‘I like you because you
are a good game player. Unfortunately,
you play the game as it comes without
knowing the rules of the game.’ He
glanced around. ‘Those that are good
game players can bare me witness that
your skills and experience in a game
might be insignificant in another. ‘
Most nodded including Precious.
‘I am afraid girl, your method of playing is
not going to help you one bit.’
‘Please Sir, I don’t know what you’re
talking about.’ Yemisi was almost close to
‘I can also bet you wouldn’t until the
torturing by the members of the police
force begin.’ His voice was icy.
That made some of the persons at the
table to exchange glances.
‘Yeh-police! ‘ She opened palms to plea.
‘Please Sir, I swear… I haven’t done
Some of the ladies present were touched
but who dared to challenge the DG.
‘I hate lies Yemisi! You understand me I –
hate -lies! ‘ He was on his feet angrily.
‘You alone know what is good for you, one
more lie from that mouth of yours and
you will be receiving it hot. On your feet!
All of them were flabbergasted, before
them was a part of their boss they never
knew existed. Yemisi hurried to her feet
‘You have been sleeping with Patrick.’
‘No… no Sir.’ She glanced at him and the
threat his face held made her rethink.
Some mouths opened and closed.
‘For how long? ‘
She blanched like someone who was
about to suffer cardiac arrest. ‘Emmm… I
Katherine just watched the drama unfold
with a blank expression.
‘Why did you have an objection when I
told you to address the termination of
appointment letter and Why the rudeness
to Katherine? ‘
‘Objection? I agreed… with… ermm…’
Her cold palm touched her neck
nervously. ‘I saw Katherine as a threat, I
didn’t like her .’ She blurted.
Precious rolled her eyes before shaking
He glanced at Katherine but the
expression on her face remained. ‘What
threat?should be my next question but I
already know the answer. Since you are
sleeping together, maybe the need to
plan a meeting venue…is that the reason
Patrick calls almost three times on daily
Yemisi was so shocked that she became
tongue tied. She just stared.
Everyone stared at her expecting answers.
‘Yemisi, did you get my question? ‘
‘Yes…Yes Sir.’ She stammered swinging her hands like one who has just dipped hands into a bowl containing pepper. ‘Emmm…I… I… ‘
‘Seems you are on the spot, I am going to help you. ‘ He smiled. ‘Is it because he want to know what is going on, who is promoted, how to get back at his enemies or both of your enemies?
Yemisi shook her head quickly. ‘No… no… no.’
Most of them were surprised at the unveil of the secret, the secretaries who could fit in the shoes of Yemisi in the sleeping part were grateful they were not victims. The boss they were lusting after, they never knew he could be so ruthless in asking questions.
‘I can play a couple of recorded.phone conversations.’
‘It is true.’
‘Which is true? ‘
‘Everything is true.’
‘Splendid! ‘ He exclaimed gleefully. ‘To the missing money, is there is a link between the two cases? ‘
‘You did the stealing? ‘
‘What! ‘ The MD exclaimed and looked at Katherine with so much apology placed in a facial expression.
‘Why did you return the first money? ‘
‘So that everyone will think the accused repented. ‘
‘And the second? ‘
‘To put her into trouble. ‘
‘Jesus Christ! Yemisi, what are you thinking? To put an innocent into trouble! ‘ The MD made to stand angrily.
‘Calm down MD, I am going to give you time to give her a piece of you. Don’t you want your money back? ‘
That seems to douse his anger as he settled back into his seat.
‘How about the thirty thousand? ‘
‘Sir… I… I… ‘She sobbed. ‘I gave it to Mr Patrick yesterday. ‘
‘Huh! ‘ He was surprised for the first time that day.
‘Madam what is your share in it? ‘ The executive director just a couple of years older than Kelvin said with a voice laced with sarcasm.
‘Fifteen thousand. ‘
‘The video camera in this conference room are on, hence, this meeting is recorded for future reference and punishment to those who have the guts to repeat this kind of thing. The technical department have been a wonderful help in trashing out this issue. ‘ His gaze swept over them. ‘This same way Yemisi was fished out is the same way those perpetuating evil will be fished out but then, the consequence will be grave. ‘ He stood. ‘Precious go out and usher the police in.
Yemisi burst into tears. ‘I am sorry Sir… please… I am sorry everyone…. please help me beg the boss.’
‘Channel your apology first to Katherine. For once, I permit you to spread the word around. ‘ He followed the three police officer as they led her away.
They began to leave one after the other.
The MD stood beside her seat. ‘The one thing I don’t appreciate in life is false accusation. I am sorry for doing that to you. ‘
‘Please am sorry. ‘ He apologized once more before leaving.
Precious placed a hand on her shoulder standing behind her. ‘Katherine, it’s better the truth has prevailed, it is better people have a different perceptive about you, it is better you’re not suffering for what you did not do. I trust everything to be fine once more. ‘
‘Thank you.’ She looked up and smiled.
Precious squeezed her shoulder lightly before leaving.
Katherine folded her arms and stared into space. Life …so unpredictable, and her life, why was is that when everything seem to be going on well, smooth, something comes up and blows everything into thin air, it just happen everytime. Was it her destiny? She exhaled.
Confession most time, it was very good so one can know what people think and feel about one, what extent they can go in hurting whom they despised. Hmmmm…Why can’t just some people respect others decision?
‘Excuse me.’ The security officer said for the second time.
She blinked back to reality and it appeared the conference room was bigger because everyone had left. She stood and head for the exit door.
She stepped out of the elevator and lurched. Her vision blurred and she held onto the rail.
She waited with eyes closed and took in deep breaths.
Ten minutes later,
Katherine knocked on the door.
‘Step in. ‘
Kelvin watched her approach still attending to the call on his mobile phone. ‘That was a huge step… when everything is set, I will come….’ He laughed and gestured for her seat. ‘Okay… of course. Bye.’
‘Yes Katherine. ‘ He sat up.
‘I have something to tell you Sir .’
‘Do I owe you an apology? ‘ He felt a tinge of guilt at the way she had paled.
‘No Sir. I am rather grateful for your expertise.’
‘What do you want to tell me? ‘ He narrowed his brows.
‘I don’t feel well, please can I can take the rest of the day off? ‘
He did see it, she appeared emaciated and her cornea had been stained red. ‘Is staying off going to make you better or you go to the clinic? ‘
‘No to your latter question. ‘
‘Okay then, give me your mobile number so I can call you later. ‘
‘I don’t have one Sir.’
He stared at her in disbelief but something about her facial expression told him she was serious besides he couldn’t remember seeing her with any.
He shrugged. ‘I really need to call for I don’t like what am seeing of you. I would have rather you see a doctor. ‘
Katherine shook her head.
‘I have to do something else then. ‘ He said thoughtfully before he opened one of the drawers and brought out a SIM card. ‘I haven’t used this nor give the number out.’ He picked the phone on the table, removed its SIM and replaced it without a glance at Katherine whose brows was narrowed with a worried frown.
‘Sir, you don’t have to do all that, giving me your permission is enough. ‘
He looked at the screen of the phone as it came on. ‘This is not going to be another conference session Katherine, I won’t take an objection. ‘
She pouted her lips even as she collected the phone and Kelvin almost asked her if she was the last child. He chuckled instead.
He saw her off to the door, ‘Do I ask one of the driver to take you home. ‘
She shook her head.
‘You’re being overly dramatic, in a way I contributed to whatever health challenge you are experiencing. After all, I accused you directly. ‘
‘You did what you should have done. ‘
He stepped ahead and opened the door. ‘I’ll talk to you later and I need you to know that never for once did my trust in you dwindled. ‘
‘Thank you.’ She said and smiled.
Kelvin closed the door after her and was glad he was able to get a smile from her.
When she got to the gate, Abbey had seen her countenance and knew she was under the weather. The news had spread fast.
He hailed a cab for her and paid despite her objection.