It was with great difficulty that he restrained himself from covering the distance between them to pull her in his arms. ‘Katherine, I am so glad you’re back. ‘ He said instead.
‘Oh.’ She waved off with a palm. ‘I will be sincere with you boss, I am not happy am back.’ She kept a straight as she halted in front of him.
‘Oh no! ‘ He groaned. ‘When you called the day before yesterday saying you are not resuming till today. I nearly burst into tears because… emmm…’ He exhaled deeply.
She narrowed her brows momentarily at him, then looked past him to her desk. ‘What is this? ‘ She walked towards the desk. ‘Who disarrayed my desk? ‘
Kelvin turned knowing the kind of expression he was going to see on her face. ‘This is what I was…’
‘With all due apologies Sir, which secretary actually disorganized my desk in this way.’ She directed her gaze to him.
‘Abiola. ‘ His voice became sober. ‘She was excited to take your place but I should have known better. I had to raise my voice and threatened her before she kept her hands to herself and concentrated on a job I did all by myself. God knows how I survived. ‘
She laughed in remembrance. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised. ‘
It was his turn to narrow his brows at her. ‘Why?’
‘Never mind Sir. ‘ She pitied him. ‘I am sorry about the inconvenience.’
He nodded as he lifted and positioned her stationery case. ‘How did things go for the four days?’
‘ I… ‘ A smile spread across her lips. ‘I had a great time and Mr Franklin taught me a lot and took me everywhere. Thanks for making me go.’
‘Sure. Welcome back.’ He head for his office with a happiness he himself couldn’t explain.
She looked at the empty wrapper of bubble on desk but she still retained her smile as she set to work. She missed him and her office. It was good to be back nonetheless.
Her body was on the bed, very very cold. Though her eyes was closed, her face and lemon colored gown was smeared with blood and her braided hair with beads was matted with blood. A towel looking reddish brown cushioned the side of her neck where there was a gash, from which blood had gushed earlier.
Though motionless, her face had peace smothered on it.
Her immediate extended family except the children were seated around the pink and lemon colored spacious bedroom.
Her father, knelt beside her bed with her left cold small palm in the middle of his warm own, silent tears were rolling down his cheek.
Her mother, Basirat was seated on the rugged floor wailing and also shaking both legs, her while her elder sister, Shakirat Ayomide had tears of remembrance in her eyes. Her sister -in- law flanked her other side, she made to wipe her nose but she shook her head.
‘Binta… Oh my darling Binta. ‘ She sobbed. ‘How am I… I supposed to know I was planning and forcing your dreams to be cut short… Oh lord! My father! You should warned me.’ She glanced at the lifeless body. ‘Binta forgive me please… please… Binta please… I… I am sorry …’ She sobbed and coughed.
‘I am very sorry for not respecting your wish. Oh God please forgive me please… ‘ She tightly shut her eyes as her voice trailed off.
My darling please forgive me, I never knew this was coming, I would have done everything to prevent it. You’ve been so much of an inspiration to me Binta… I would never forgive myself for having a hand in your last minutes on earth pains. I love you so much… you know darling, you know. Habeeb shoulders sagged as he sobbed. ‘Oh Binta, my darling Binta. ‘ He eventually muttered as the first set of tears rolled down his cheeks.
Kafayat Yerima sat as the farthest corner of the room staring at the body of her niece expecting a miracle, a movement of whatever form and as seconds tickled away she felt nauseated.
The family doctor faced the wall, it was a terrible kind of death to him, since she was only a child, a wonderful one. She was always curious and asked questions. She had told him she would be a medical doctor and a writer. His hand touched his face and was not surprised it was wet. He had been called to save her but it was a fast death and gory too, she had died before he arrived.
Her grandma, Aisha stared blankly at the child she held ten minutes after birth. Her tears flowed, three losses in the family within a year was practically unbearable.
Yerima knelt beside his brother -in- law and placed an arm around his shoulder knowing words were useless. Oh Lord have mercy.He prayed in his mind. He was the only one in the room whose face was not stained with tears but he was bleeding inside.
Kafayat hurried out to throw up but everyone was too weak to follow her.
In everybody mind, at the remote part, there was a chilling fear, that was a probability, too frightening to say it aloud.
Maybe… just maybe the spirit of death had decided to pitch its tent in their family.
Katherine gasped, covered her mouth and read through the alert on her phone again.
The account department had made a mistake, surely they had. She picked the phone on the table and dialled a short code.
After speaking with the secretary, she referred her to the account director.
‘You are a good person Katherine, most people won’t bother to confirm before enjoying themselves. If a hundred and fifty thousand is what you got, then you needn’t panic. Mr Franklin personal called and asked about your salary, he instructed that should be your pay for this month. ‘
‘That is almost double my salary! ‘ She protested wide eyed.
‘Enjoy yourself girl.’ He chuckled before hanging up.
Katherine stared into space blankly not knowing if she should laugh or cry.
‘Hello hello, hello hello, hello hello pick up da phone. Hello big brother.’ Camilla Sigismund drawled sweetly with a voice laced with happiness.
Kelvin chuckled, same introduction as always. ‘How’re you doing darling baby sis? ‘ He closed the book he had been reading.
‘How more can I be, how more…? She paused considering. ‘Let me give you an insight to how am doing. I am in my bedroom, with legs crossed under me, beside me is a tray containing cookies and my favorite juice. Before me is the TV and my favorite soap opera is on. And you? ‘
‘Ooops! That is enough to make me envious but no, I am seated on a vinyl chair facing the pool, I have my favorite fruit wine and mouth-watering popcorns in a saucer. ‘ He glanced at the sky. ‘Above me is nature show of beautiful colours and Oh… ‘ He inhaled and exhaled deeply. ‘I am been caressed by cool sit-here-forever-kind of breeze. ‘
Camilla laughed. ‘I give it to you. What really matters is that we are both enjoying ourselves. ‘
‘How is the united nations Cam? ‘
‘We are so united this period, how is SIC? ‘
‘The company is doing great.’
‘There is this guy in my soap that swore he would never date and it seemed so natural to remember you. Please disappoint me, is there a lady now? ‘
Yes! His mind had screamed to his surprise but he caught himself. ‘For now baby sis no one but I give my word before the next time we talk, the coin will be tossed to the other side.’ He smiled.
‘Beautiful! That is so cool to hear, that has spared you from the 1001 dating tips for men I had planned to read to you so thank the Almighty.’
Had he actually been so convincing that Camilla had let him go for once. ‘Mighty God thank you. ‘ He said heartily.
Camilla chuckled and stretched out her legs. ‘Whatever you do, no matter how tight your schedule may be…’
‘Don’t forget to rest.’ He completed with a smile.
‘So you still remember Kayla’s words on marble.
‘Of course I do not when she ends with that everytime she calls. ‘
‘Take care of you babe and be careful with the guys, remember am a ear you can talk to when confuse.’
‘Sure thing. Bye big bro. ‘
‘Bye.’ His brows narrowed as he dropped the phone, he had convinced his sister in spite of himself. He had never dated not because he had personal problem nor was he gynophobic.
When he was younger he dated his books and when he grew older he got scared by what he saw and heard about his love ones, his immediate younger sister had suffered two broken relationship and it had left her with hatred for the opposite sex while his best friend had suffered three broken relationship and had swore to had nothing to do with the opposite sex.
He had been there, seen their pains, how they suffered and listened to their wails.
He had not written what should epitomize his kind of woman as most people do but seeing Katherine five days a week had made him realise what he really needed.
KELVIN was seated at the balcony, a bare leg up on a side table unwrapping various birthday present from all member and non member of staff, including those that came from the production company.
Curiosity had prompted him to open hers first, right in the office and a wide grin had formed on his face and had remained even through out the three hours the company was locked down for his celebration.
Katherine had given him a Timex branded, square faced, black leather quartz wrist watch with silver stainless buckle with double loop. Alongside an authentic brown leather sandals and a beautiful card.
He had discarded the one he had on and strapped the watch, he would have done same for the sandals that made his feet glow saved he was in an English attire.
He had watched her dance so well with Precious at the far end of the conference.
He did dance too surprising all of his employees.
He began to hum as he remembered the quotes she had written in the card to commend him. The eulogy made his day.
Every seat in the conference room was occupied even the production manager and his secretary were on seat.
Mr Gbenjo, the PM began to speak two minutes after they had settled. ‘This is the administrative company and the power point of SIC. I am here to listen to your opinion about our baby product.’
The room was still after he left speaking.
Katherine had something to say but she was not going to rush on, her superiors were present and were not speaking yet. She began a seconds time in her mind.
…five, six, seven, eight, nine….She exhaled and waited before her right hand was raised above her head.
‘Yes Katherine. ‘ He acknowledged with a smile.
Katherine stood. ‘I want to talk about a part of production that is sometimes disregarded yet its importance cannot be over emphasized. ‘
All attention were focused on her.
‘For this cause many companies have gone under. Even when they trouble shoot, they are not able to discover what went wrong. Nigerians are people who take to advertisement in such a way that when a promise of heaven on earth is made, they expect it to be so and even more.
Manufacturers get to a point that when they have high consumers, they tend to make a tiny reduction in the quality or quantity or both so they could produce more and increase their profit margin. They forget that every now and then, a local or international substitute for the product get into the market usually at cheaper price, with unique packaging and probably addition or additions as the case maybe.’
Kelvin glanced around to see the expression at the heads present before concentrating once more on his secretary .
‘On the other hand, their love ones are call their attention to the new product. ‘ She beamed.
‘We also tend to get so attached to a product that has worked for us. Even as others call their attention to a substitute, their loyalty holds them back, they have their doubt, they are reluctant to stop using that product until a perfect excuse come. A perfect excuse of reduction in quality and quantity.’ She said the latter emphatically. ‘
‘We all can testify that a consumer lost might be difficult to regain or never be regained.’
The account director nodded his head remembering some of the products he had stopped using and the PM did same too.
Precious didn’t miss all her gestures as she was turned in between being flabbergasted and mesmerized. Before her was a colleague that never cease to amaze her.
The secretary to the PM wrote on a notepad and some of the marketers did same.
‘To our product, we should keep every promise made in our various advert to our potential consumers, bearing in mind the damage the littlest dubious trick can wreck. Thank you. ‘ She concluded and sat.
No one moved, when she became convinced she had blundered, heads began to nod and an applaus broke out until everyone was clapping.
‘Let’s keep it up for her once more. ‘Mr Gbenjo said all in smiles. ‘Powerful contribution Katherine. ‘
‘Thank you sir.’ She said before she exhaled and lowered her head.
He asked for other contributions and when there was none, he concluded, thanked Katherine once more before he left with Kelvin.