There was so much noise outside. Reina was resisting the security officers and she was screaming at the top of her voice. I became uncomfortable and so I stepped out to the incident. She was struggling with them in front of the elevator.
“This is an office, Reina. It’s not like you are being arrested, just co-operate with the security guys and you’ll be outside in no time.”
Reina snarled. “You think you are funny, right? I was here before you, and I know how it is here. You won’t survive here.”
“Why all these noise?” Dare yelled furiously popping his head from his office door. “Why is Ms. Martins making so much noise?” he asked.
Reina straightened her ruffled hair. “Ms. Williams had me kicked out of her office.” She replied.
Dare stared at us. “Both of you in my office, NOW!” he ordered.
Reina and I sat before Dare like two high school girls before the principal. Dare kept quiet waiting for one of us to speak. I was never going to be the first to speak and Reina made it very easy.
“You know I am not one to start troubles.” She started. I rolled my eyes. “She threatened to throw me out of her office. I thought it was all a joke until she made good of them.”
Dare took his gaze to me excepting me to speak. “She was found in my office. I can’t believe I didn’t call the cops”
“You had me dragged out of the office and erm…um” she bumbled over a few words and then hissed. “She humiliated me, Dare.”
Dare relaxed in his seat. “When you told me that you were going to look around, you never said it included sneaking into people’s offices. I can’t blame Darlene for being hard on you.”
“That is my office, Dare. You said it will always be mine.”
‘Never believe a man’s promise while in bed’. I stared at Dare waiting for his response. “That office belongs to Darlene. You no longer work here, remember?”
“I think I have embarrassed myself enough. See you at home, Dare.” She said, and grabbed her bag. “Have a nice day, Darlene.”
Reina Martins smiled at me. “Ever since I lost my son, I have been going through a lot. I’ll see my psychiatrist on my way home.”
“I am so sorry, Reina.” I said as I sprung to my feet.
Her face had fallen. I couldn’t tell who she was again. She had gone from arrogant to humble and now I felt like the bad person.
“Never mind, Darlene. That office brings back memories, I guess it got me all fired up in the wrong direction.” She added, reaching for the door.
I held her back feeling very confused. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.
“This is an office.” Dare sounded.
Reina smiled. “Duty calls. We’ll see some other time.”
“How about lunch?” I offered.
Reina nodded in agreement. “I’ll pick you up for lunch.” She said, and walked out. I closed my eyes and leaned against the door.
“I don’t understand you, Darlene.” Dare started. “You are going out with Reina for lunch. You don’t even know her, she just tripped you with our late son and you are getting all Mother Theresa over it.”
I stared at him. At this moment, I didn’t know who confused me more. Dare seemed indifferent about Reina, and Reina just performed a world class play which I have fallen for and I am not sure that I want to believe Dare over a grieving mother.
“There could be no harm.” I replied.
He smiled and grabbed his grey jackets. “Of course not, I have a meeting now. When I get back, I’ll send for you.” He replied and walked out.
“‘ When I get back, I’ll send for you’ Who does he think he is?” I mimicked, and returned to my office.
I was eager for lunch. I was so delighted when the clocked ticked 1pm. I rushed downstairs. Reina leaned in front of a Porsche car. She was dressed in a cream top, brown leather shorts and a black tip toe heels, her hair was now made and loosely around her shoulder. To cap up her impressive show-off, she wore dark sunshades. For the first time, I felt out-classed. REINA MARTINS IS SMASHING! There was this smile lurking around her lips as she approached me. She looked nothing like a lawyer, more of a model.
“Hi Darlene,” she said, taking off the sunglasses.
I smiled back. “Hi Reina.”
We headed for ‘Harbour Point’ . Craig David’s ‘officially yours’ pulsed slowly beneath the stereo as Reina drove. I stole glances at her as she maintained a steady smile. Rather too calm for this current situation, she smiled back. I was relieved as soon as we got to
Harbour’s Point. We took our seat near the ocean.
“Isn’t it lovely from here?” she heaved a sigh of relief as she removed her sunglasses.
The waiter approached us. “I think it’s a nice view.” I replied, cautiously.
“Martinis please,” she said to the waiter. “What would you have Darlene?”
I was having a tough time picking my drink, so I opted for Lemon.
“Are you really going to drink Lemon?” she asked. “Please bring two glasses of Martinis.” Reina said, dismissing the waiter.
I smiled. “I don’t take alcohol.”
“Really? What part of this earth are you from?” she asked. Seeing that my countenance was still stern, she continued. “I’ll have him get you the Lemon.”
I nodded. “Thank you.” Reina didn’t look to me like the lady who wanted me out of the office earlier, and she also didn’t appear like one who had lost her son. I was beginning to think that coming out with her was a mistake.
“You might think that it was a mistake for you to be here with me because I haven’t been wailing about my kid, but all I want is a calm atmosphere before we talk.” She said, flipping her hair back. “Sometimes, it just gets into my mouth.” She said, and laughed.
I didn’t know if I was to laugh with her, because it didn’t seem funny. Or maybe I just totally lacked a sense of humour like Dora and Jake had said. I did manage a smirk. I finally got my lemon. Reina and I were about to have our conversation.
“Dare killed my son.” She said, bluntly.
I had to act to surprised. It would have seemed out of place if I was aware of her son’s death before now. “How do you mean?” I asked.
“Dare never liked our son. He was very mean to the little boy.”
I had to stop her there. “Reina, why would he hate his own son?”
She sighed. “Dare is a troubled man. I stood by him because of love, after his parents got separated; he took out his anger on everyone including that balloon, Toni. You can ask her.”
“I take exceptions to my friends being called names.” I said, cutting her off again.
I smiled. “I am sorry.” She adjusted her hair. “Tobi came to us under very weird circumstances, I gave birth to him in Paris because Dare didn’t want the news out.” She paused to sip her drink. “When I decided to return to Nigeria, he kicked against it, but I refused and with his father’s help, I was able to return to the country with our kid.”
Her face was now stern and I guessed that we had gotten to the real discussion. “Tobi died because Dare refused to pick his son from school. I was just learning to drive and then my teacher said I couldn’t go on the express yet. Dare claimed to be too tired of the boy and made me do it.”
“If Dare had done so much harm to you, why not let go? You seem to me a desperate woman for his love.” I said, bluntly.
She stared at me carefully and smiled. She adjusted my hair from my face. “You remind me of the passion I had for Dare.” She then straightened up. “As funny as it might sound, Dare is mine.”
Reina sounded like a possessive house wife. ‘Why would she call Dare hers?’ “I don’t understand you. Why would you want to be with him so badly?”
She sighed. “He is my bad habit. I can never let go.”
“Reina, I don’t see where this discussion is going. What do you want from me?” I asked.
She smiled. “You are as smart as I thought. Probably, even smarter,” she said, searching through her hand bag. My face was now stern. Woman to woman, I could match Reina. She could be sophisticated and classy, but my simplicity would pass for the ultimate form of sophistication.
She dropped a paper before me and a pen. “I’d like you to hand in your resignation from Ade-Cole Law Firm.”
She stared at me. I looked at the empty A4 paper and held the pen.
“Go on. I will be nice to hand it to Dare. Your father has a firm of his, it’s even bigger than Ade-Cole, and you will do fine there.” She said.
I smiled, looked at the sky and then faced her sternly. “When last did you see your psychiatrist? Your health problem has worsened.”
She laughed. “I am very sane, Darlene. I am doing this for your good. You need to get out of Ade-Cole while you have the time.”
“If I get your point, you want me out of Ade-Cole because you believe that it’s safe for me, who am I to be scared off? You?”
She smiled. “I am the least of your problems. Dare will be your nightmare.”
I hit the table furiously. “That’s it Reina! I have had enough of this Dare talk. He is my boss and that’s as far as our relationship goes. If you have a problem with Dare, you both should deal with it, but don’t drag me into your mess.” I stopped to catch my breath and stare at the other customers who had turned their attention to Reina and I.
“You love scenes, don’t you?” she asked, rubbing edge of her glass.
I gulped the rest of the lemon. “Thanks for the lemon.” I said, and left.
I was lucky to see a taxi as soon as I stepped out of Harbour’s Point. “Ade-Cole, please.” I said, shutting the door.
“That would cost you like 1000 Naira.” He said peering into the mirror.
I widened my eye balls. “Ade-Cole is like 30 minutes from here.”
“You could wait for buses.” He said, stopping the taxi.
I honestly didn’t have a problem paying the money but should everything have to be expensive? To my surprise, I opened the door and stepped out to the pavements. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all, because Reina pulled up.
“Get in Darlene.” She ordered
I chose to ignore her, and look away. She pulled over and walked up to me. “Darlene, let me give you a ride.” She offered.
“I’ll be fine.” I replied, looking ahead.
Cars horned violently. Staffs were returning to their respective offices from lunch, and I had to do the same. Dare had sent me a message.
“Don’t be stubborn. I brought you out here; let me drop you back at work. I promise not to say a word to you on the way back.”
I hesitated and looked at my wrist watch. “I don’t ooze evil. Just get in, let me get you back to work. If you exceed your lunch time, you might be getting into trouble with the Ade-Cole part of Dare.” She cautioned.
I followed her to the car and we returned to Ade-Cole firm. She did keep to her word and didn’t even utter a word.
“Thank you.” I said, as soon as I highlighted from her car. She didn’t reply, she just smiled and drove off.
I stared at her car as she drove out of the firm. ‘Why did I have to meet this lady?’ I thought.
“You and Reina went out?” Toni asked, as she approached me.
I raised one eyebrow. “Dare has a really loud mouth.”
“Dare? I just saw you get out of her car. It didn’t take so long for Reina’s charms to have an effect on you, did it?”
I shot at Mrs. Small. “Toni, I decided to hang out with Reina; I am not a kid, alright. Please, let me be.” I replied and returned into the firm. Mrs. Small caught up with me at the elevator door.
“Darlene, don’t do this to yourself. Reina doesn’t play around, if she wants something, she gets it.” She cautioned with fear in her eyes.
I rolled my eyes. “Am I dealing with Nikita? I understand your concern Toni, but the truth is, there is so much worry for nothing.” I pressed the elevator door open and stepped in.
“There you are Darlene, meet me in my office.” Dare said, from popping his head from his door.”
I dropped my bag in my office and left for Dare’s.
“Please have your seat.” He said.
I obliged and waited for his next utterance. He adjusted his tie and stood up from his swivel chair. He leaned across the table, and smiled. “Relax Darlene, I don’t bite.” He said, and sighed.
“What do you want?” I asked.
He smiled and fetched a file from his table. “I’d like you to check out this document.” He stretched out the file to me. I opened the file. “The case is up in two weeks. If you ask me, the man is guilty and he deserves to rot in hell, but life as we know it, is about the lawyers.” He paused to catch his breath.
I was flattered. The file in my hand was for one of the city’s biggest business men, Chidi Obi. “So, we are in his defense. This man is a rogue.” I said.
“I know that.” Dare nodded. “It’s your job to make him look clean.”
I shook my head in disagreement. “I don’t think I want to do this.”
“Moral aside, Darlene. First Rule.” He said, biting an apple.
I dropped the file on the table. “Have you agreed to take up the case?”
“This is a first class case, the whole world wants to see this Chidi Obi behind bars, and we can stop it.”
I rose to my feet. “I am sorry, Dare. If I have to start my career by making the innocent suffer, I’d rather not.”
“Darlene, this is a First class case. There’s a lot involved, and at stake. Save your morals.” He said.
I sighed. “I won’t compromise, and if you are displeased, I’ll hand in my resignation first thing in the morning.”
“You are a disappointment.” He said and hurled the apple into the trash can.
Heat flushed across my face. ‘Maybe Reina was right after all about Dare, he might be my worst nightmare.’ I inhaled deeply and approached the door.
“You can still change your mind, Darlene.” He said, not even looking at me.
I smiled. “NO!”
“Have it your way. Leave now!”
As I opened the door, Femi Ade-Cole and some other Ade-Cole top board members stood before me. “We are proud to have you here, Ms. Williams.” He said. Dare patted me on the shoulders.
“Congratulations,” he said with a smile. The other board members were now clapping.
I was on a test! Passed!
“Nice to have you here, I can see that you also have a strong moral up bringing in our world.” Mr. Femi Ade-Cole said.
I grinned. Dare dismissed everybody except me from his office.
“What were you thinking, Dare? Anyone could have failed this test.”
He smiled. “But you didn’t. You put your morals first.”
“To be honest with you, this is no appropriate test for a lawyer; it’s more like a test for a wife.” I retorted. “Any lawyer can take this case; it’s a matter of winning. I am not happy with it.”
He frowned. “My firm, my rules!”
“It happens that I have a problem with your methods.”
He sighed. “Do you always have to reply me? Sometimes, I just like you quiet and obedient. You don’t always have to revolt.”
“If you want a mute, buy a puppet. You can always control it.” I replied.
He stared at me. “Are you always like this?” he asked. I didn’t reply. “Anyways, congratulations on your first case, it’s in two weeks. All the contacts you need are in that file and you will have to meet with your client tonight at Priddy’s place after work.”
I picked up the file and left for the door.
“Darlene,” Dare called softly. “For the record, you are good.” He said.
I smiled and left.
“Well done Darlene.” Bola said as I approached my door.
I nodded. “Thanks Bola.”
I stared at my office and wondered if I was going to lose it anytime soon to Reina, it didn’t seem likely at the moment. I made a call to my new client. He was taking his former business partner, and oil magnate, Chidi Obi to court. Chidi Obi owns several Oil rigs in the eastern part of Nigeria but he had settled in the south west. Chidi Obi used to be close friends with Tunji Davis, but now Tunji Davis, my client had taken Chidi Obi to court.
I arrived at Priddy’s Place
“Mr. Davis is at the bar.” The security officer said.
I walked over to the bar. “Mr. Davis?”
“Darlene Williams.” He replied, with so much excitement.
I stared at Mr. Davis carefully, I didn’t seem to know him, he even looked younger than who I expected to see, and he acted all familiar. “I am Darlene Williams.” I replied, stretching out my hands.
He stared at my hand. “You really want to shake my hands? Gimme a hug babes!” he said, and hugged me tightly.
“Am sorry, maybe I am meeting the wrong person” I said, releasing myself from the hug.
He smiled. “My Dad sent me here, he will join us shortly. My Dad is Tunji Davis; I was the one who referred you to him. It’s funny you don’t remember me.” He said, taking off his glasses. “Maybe this will help. Can you place the face now?” he asked, almost laughing.
“I am sorry, no.”
He sighed. “Okay, how’s Jake? You guy still hang out well, right?” he asked, putting back his glasses.
“Who are you?” I asked, firmly.
He swallowed. “I am Dotun Davis. We went to high school together.” He said, with a smile.
My eyes popped out. I was standing before my first crush!
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