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“Tola!” I call as soon as I get home. “You won’t believe what happened at the gym today.”
She comes out of the kitchen, an insulator in hand. “What happened?” She asks.
From the aroma I perceive, I deduce she is making stew. “I saw Yanju.” I reply.
“This Yanju guy again. What happened this time?” She enters the bedroom and starts packing her overnight bag for her job at the radio station.
“He owns the gym that I registered with after trying so hard to avoid him.” I reply, still unable to believe it.
Tola’s eyes widen but then her expression changes. “It doesn’t mean he would be there every time now. It is not his only job. He owns the law firm.” She says and shoves a large book in her bag.
“Yeah I know. That’s not the bad part.” I continue.
“What is the bad part?” She asks.
“He owns the perfume store I work at too.” I reply.
“Omega? No!” She exclaims disbelievingly. “I thought it was for an older person.” She wondered out loud.
“I thought so too.”
“But he is so young to be that accomplished now. Haba. He has a law firm, a gym and now Omega. Hmmhmm. I don’t believe it one bit. Omega isn’t just something someone owns and I hear it is strictly for a family.” She shakes her head and pulls out her phone. “How did you figure it out?”
“He more or less told me.” I say.
“Hmmhmm.” She replies noncommittally.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I’m googling him.” She says as she types ‘Yanju+ Omega’
“Oh my God!.” I gasp and cover my mouth trying unsuccessfully to stifle the bouts of giggling trying to come up my throat. I can’t believe she is googling him.
“What? I’m investigating.” She tells me and then exclaims! “What?!”
“What?” I ask. She has piqued my curiousity. I move closer to her, peer at her phone and gasp as I read.
Yanju ONI-Peters is the surviving son of veteran Attorney, Barrister Olanrewaju ONI-Peters and his wife, the renowned pediatrician, Omokunmi ONI-Peters. Yanju ONI-Peters whose full name is Adeyanju Nathan Oni-Peters is also an attorney like his father and is quite accomplished in the world of business takeovers and constructive fraud. He owns the fast rising law firm, Litigare in Surulere, Lagos, which represents top most businesses and people in Africa. Omega mall located at Kay Adefila road, off Bemil in Lekki, Lagos is owned and completely run by the family. There are other branches in Abuja and Port harcourt. Yanju is engaged to Oyin Bela, the daughter of Politician, Sir Kunle Odubela and his wife, Justice Olga Odubela. Below is a written version of the interview Business Fox had with him…
Tola is still avidly reading but I have lost interest. “Wow. This is unbelievable. He is of the ONI-Peters. Wow. He is a big deal.” She is saying truly wowed. Admittedly, I am a bit wowed too but I paste a bored expression on my face. I’m not in the mood to be fussing over him. Some women have standards.
I tell Tola I have to sleep early so I can wake up early to make my tiny braids at Orekelewa salon the next day which is sunday. Then, I carry my purse and retire to the bedroom. I sleep with my make up on, fully dressed, I don’t have the zeal to do anything but sleep.
It is Monday morning. Tola and I are both preparing for work though I am going for casual. I am wearing my blue forever 21 jean which fits me like a glove and my white, brown and black Versace line backer polo. Tola has managed to arrange my braids into a complicated and beautiful style that makes me look like a modernized Egyptian. Tola finally agreed to share her perfume with me after I promised to get her something unbelievable-haha!- for her birthday. Not that I don’t have mine but somehow it reminds me of Jeff. I’m still a coward in that area.
“Simi, if you get back before me, make rice o!” Tola is saying as she applies her ruby woo like classic lipstick and dusts on some Zaron pressed powder.
“Alright.” I grunt.
“Okay, dear! See you in the evening.” She blows me a kiss and leaves. Soon I hear her car leave and everything is silent. I hurry with the rest of my make up and soon I am on my way to work too. I’m excited that I don’t get left at home like some housewife anymore. Soon, I will be totally -both financially and emotionally- independent and move back to my house. I feel I’m in a better place than I was few weeks ago. I’m getting my life together. Everything is going well for me except the slight ish with Yanju. I don’t care about that though. From what I gathered from Chidinma, the other sales clerk, he rarely comes around. It is expected of course, he owns a law firm. That should be more important to him. Besides, Mrs Bolaji is doing a good enough job. Nothing can weigh me down. But obviously I can weigh something down cause I get a flat. “Shit!” Not today. Not this moment.
It takes about an hour to get someone to fix it. I cant leave my car because it is illegally parked and I don’t want Ambode’s goons to deflate the remaining tyres.Then it takes another thirty minutes to get the tyre fixed. I can’t leave my car with the guy cause I don’t know him. I am terribly late when I get to the mall and I am already thinking of how to appease Mrs Bolaji. I park my car and walk towards the store. I see Yanju at the front as I enter. He is on the phone. He nods to me, a curt smile passes over his face before he refocuses on his conversation, his voice sharp as he speaks into the phone. I watch his hand come up to the window and press, the lean of his body against the glass stretching his suit tight across broad shoulders and tight ass, the drop of his head a masculine, sexual gesture. I watch him and feel a pull of longing. Seriously, engaged men shouldn’t be this hot. Even if they would be, It should be clearer. They should have engaged signs like toilets. Taken. Not taken. There should be no ambiguity about these things.
“Simi! Mrs Bolaji is angry. She is in her office.” Chidinma says as she reaches me wrenching me out of my reverie. She follows my gaze. “He is hot. Isn’t he?” I don’t reply. Instead, I walk towards Mrs Bolaji’s office. It is tucked away at the back of the store. It is where she interviewed me few weeks ago. I am still undecided. I know I’m going to tell her what actually happened but it is stressing me out just thinking of how I disappointed her with my tardiness. I stand in front of her door and think for a moment. Just then, her door opens and she comes out. She raises her eyebrow at my upraised fist which I was about to knock with. I look at at it and drop it. “I’m so-” I start to apologize but she cuts me off. “We will discuss it later after the boss has left.” She throws at me from the corner of her mouth and walks past me to Yanju up front. I sigh as I hear her greet Yanju. “Good morning, sir.”
“Hey, Mrs Bolaji. I told you to stop referring to me that way.” He says as he shakes her hand. “Anyways, I’m unhappy with the sales in this store for the past few months.” He was saying as they pass by me to her office. Soon, I can hear them no more. I sigh again. It’s too early to be having work troubles, Simi.
About thirty minutes later, Mrs Bolaji walks out of her office without Yanju.
“I’m sorry. I had a flat, ma.” I say, really trying to look sorry.
“After I made you look so good in front of the boss. He called me on Saturday and I told him about this exceptional person I just hired. He came to assess you himself but you just disappointed us. You were almost an hour late!”
“I’m sorry ma.”
“He wants to see you.” She nods towards her office as she cuts me off.
I walk stiffly towards the office. For the second time today, I’m lurking around her office. OK, let’s get it over with. I approach the door, trying to ignore the fact that my heart is suddenly galloping with nerves. I take a deep breath, raise my hand, and knock gently. A few minutes, I hear his deep voice bidding me in. He is on the phone again. He is listening to whoever is on the line and watching me, eyes speculative, as I stand in the middle of the huge room wondering what to do with myself, feeling extraordinarily self-conscious and out of place.
I stand there for almost fifteen minutes before he disconnects and face me. “Simi, are you taking this job lightly?” He asks.
What kind of question is this?
“No-ooo.” I stammer out. Suddenly, he is making me nervous. He is no more Yanju but the boss.
“Sit.” He says, nodding towards the chair in front of him.
I take my seat. “I’m sorry. I had a flat tyre.” I apologize and explain.
“Okay. Don’t let this repeat itself. Sales are pretty low here. I’m putting everyone on a tight leash, even the manager, so I’m sure she would be touchy. I don’t want you to be a target.” He says.
“It won’t repeat itself again.” I say. Blood is pulsating around my head. My legs are trembling under the table. I don’t know what is wrong with me.
“Good.” He packs some papers from the desk and shoves them into his Salvatore ferragamo work bag and leaves the store.
I can’t deal with these emotions.
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