With The Gang

With The Gang by Muyiwa Fadare – #14

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It was almost 1.00am, Tokunbo’s brain felt like it was on overdrive. They had been at it ever since they got to Joelyn’s house. She had offered him coffee but he refused, he hated the stuff with a passion. He always wondered how Kevwe could stand the black bitter drink.

He had to say he was really impressed with Joelyn and her home. Located in one of the elite areas of Abuja, with a little flower and vegetable garden to the side, the main house stood grand. A three bedroom apartment beautifully and exquisitely furnished. She offered him a glass of fruit juice and left him to change. In minutes she was back, totally transformed. This was a woman he was used to seeing in suits, mainly trousers suits and here she was in jeans and a top. Who thought she did gardening.

 

“Wipe that look off your face and let’s get to work” Ms. Joelyn said as she noticed him stare at her. It was sort of a relief to Tokunbo that at least her attitude was still the same although he thought he had caught a smile. He picked his office bag and followed her to the dining table where they laid out their files and got to work.

They had finally finished with the briefs and were exchanging ideas on arguments to offer in court, possible counter arguments form their opponents and how they could come out on top. Once again the quality coming from Joelyn impressed him. It seemed to be a thing with the senior Lawyers at Coker & Smith.

“All these egoistic idiots” Joelyn said all of a sudden. Tokunbo turned towards her, lost. She had caught him unawares. “The funniest thing is, all this will end with one person giving the other contract or land or one godfather somewhere will tell them to shut the case down. The boss gets paid and we go back to our various assignments” Joelyn ended with disgust. Tokunbo had never hear Joelyn complain before but he had also never been in her house before either. He let her vent.

“This is why the boss didn’t want to take up the case, he knows how it will all play out” she said and emptied the rest of her coffee in her mouth.

“Well that’s politics and I guess we have to pay the bills some way” Tokunbo said trying to contribute to the conversation.

“You single?” Joelyn asked looking at him. Tokunbo felt uncomfortable, this woman had a terrible way of picking topics to discuss.

“No, I have a girlfriend” Tokunbo said.

“That’s what he said” Joelyn said absent minded.

“Who said?” Tokunbo asked.

“It is a saying, it mea… Oh never mind. Let’s get back to work” Joelyn said and passed another sheet of paper to him to go through. Tokunbo’s phone rang.

Tokunbo groaned under his breath. He had sent Justin a text informing him of the new development and that he should notify everyone so he didn’t understand why any of them would call now. Joelyn looked at him and stood up.

“I might as well go get a refill” she said indicating to her cup of coffee. He smiled apologetically and removed his phone from his pocket.

“Hey baby” he said almost whispering. He wanted to shoot himself. He had forgot to tell Teju about working overnight and from the boss’s house.

“Hey you” she said sweetly. “Guess you and your MADAM are still working. I just wanted to say hi.”

“Errm yeah” Tokunbo said “baby how come you are still awake its almost….” He looked at his watch, wow time had flown “…. Its past 12.00”

“Yeah, was just watching a movie, ALONE, wondering who’s boyfriend leaves them to go work” she said sarcastically.

“Haba now we spoke about this now” Tokunbo said fresh guilt pouring over him.

“Yeah yeah, don’t mind me. Just sulking” Teju said. “How’s the work? I’m surprised she hasn’t pounced on you to drop the call”

Tokunbo scratched his head, “Yeah, about that. I’m actually at …”

“Tokunbo there is a Red bull in the fridge, would that help?” Joelyn shouted from the kitchen.

“….. At her place” Tokunbo finished his statement.

“Like seriously?” Teju’s voice seemed to go up a notch.

“Baby” Tokunbo started.

“It is fine Tokunbo, good night” Teju said and hung up.

……………………………………….

“Hey bro, good morning” Matthew greeted as he walked into the kichen. Justin was standing in front of the gas cooker frying some eggs.

“Elder!!!” Justin hailed back, “good morning bro. You slept in today oh”.

“Yeah, but heading to the office for a couple of hours.need to clear my desk so Monday will be hitch free” Matthew replied.

“But Elder no offence oh, no babe?” Justin turned with a puzzled look on his face. “All you do is work work work. Highest form of relaxation for you is barbecue or video games and that one sef na with us, hardly see you with friends talk more girlfriends. Abi you don’t dig girls?” He said the last part with an eye brow raised. Matthew laughed.

“No, I do man and I do have friends, not just an outgoing kind of person. I like girls but right now they don’t top my list, besides the type of ladies I like I don’t have the time to find” Matthew said as he made a cup of tea. Justin removed the fried egg from the pan and placed it on a plate with some bread.

“So what’s your type?” He asked as he got a bottle of coke from the fridge.

“Dude that’s not healthy” Matthew said pointing at the bottle, Justin just nodded totally ignoring Matthew and started eating waiting for a response. When Matthew didn’t say anything he probed further.

“As in, are you a boobs guy? An ass guy? Are you about her hair or pretty faces attract you? Must she be curvy or your into girls that wear glasses? That’s true sef, Pris wears glasses oh” Justin laughed as he saw the look on Matthew’s face.

“Pris is a good friend, that’s that” Matthew said. Justin raised his hand in surrender.

“I’m attracted to girls that challenge me not just in their beauty but intellectually” Matthew said.

Justin smiled “you are a beauty and brains kinda guy. Nice”.

“Not top model beauty oh but I would love to be comfortable taking selfies with her. I have noticed it is a common trend among girls. I personally hate taking pictures, selfies or any other kind” Matthew said.

“Elder you are strange” Justin said. Matthew smiled.

“So I have been told. I’m attracted to girls that make me feel money isn’t enough to impress them. It takes more.” Matthew said.

Oboy you go wait be that. For this Naija? Where you wan find them?” Justin asked surprise.

“This right here is my problem with guys” Matthew said. “She fine? She get ass? She sabi cook? Oboy na the babe be that. I keep hearing such over and over again. We guys always think of now, now then when we want to marry we will start looking for girls with good character”.

“Well no one wants nonsense as a wife now” Justin said.

“Then why settle for nonsense as a girlfriend?” Matthew asked promptly. Justin looked like a light bulb had gone on in his head. He never thought of it that way.

“I am just of the opinion that if I can’t get the kind of girl that pushes me to be better by being better herself instead of waiting for me to make all the money and then spend it all for me in the name of ‘I am his girlfriend’ then I’ll be single. I am nobody’s daddy” Matthew and added “and that is the most you will hear about my type of girl”. He smiled drained his cup and went to the sink to wash.

“Hmmm, him go wait” Justin said in his mind, but Matthew did say they where hard to find. He had always had the notion all guys were about looks, shape, can she cook, is she great in bed, bla bla bla. Generally that was the idea and unknowingly he had lived with the notion. Now Michelle had waltzed into his life and she got him all thinking.

This whole committed dating thing was becoming tedious for him, his relationship life was way less complex when it was just him as a free agent. He couldn’t remember when last he had called any of his flings. Michelle had called him earlier inviting him for dinner… AGAIN. Not like he didn’t like the attention and the petting and the free food but a brother needed some space. His phone rang.

“Not again” he said. He picked his phone expecting it to be Michelle again, she had this calling/texting a million times a day habit. He looked at the screen, it was a different caller ID. He smiled, it had been a while.

“Hey” he said cheerfully.

“Hello boo” a sweet voice said “just got into town and thought I needed a turn up this weekend. Who else better than Justin himself”.

Justin smiled. This weekend just got interesting.

……………………………………..

“So Sir you have not got back to me about that place I told you of oh” Kevwe said.

She stood behind the chair facing her boss Mr. Kalu as the other executives walked out. Mr. Kalu was gentleman in his early fifties. He and his wife had started up a small but clean restaurant some twenty years ago in Lagos. Like most Igbo men Kevwe knew, he was a shewed businessman but also a fantastic cook but along the years he left the kitchen to run the business properly and with the help of his wife had successful raised it into a 5-star restaurant with branches in Abuja, Ibadan and Owerri. He was a good friend of her dad so she wasn’t afraid to ask him for a job which he granted. Although it upset her father that she didn’t come to his company, he was happy she was following her dreams.

She had just finished giving a report on the restaurant’s Abuja branch finances which had put the boss in a very good mood since they were not only in the green but had made a tremendous amount of profit in the last quarter. Mr. Kalu had indicated this profit was what they needed to complete the Enugu branch they were building. So what time was better for her to talk about some additions to the menus.

“Huh, what place?” Mr. Kalu asked absent minded. He was sorting out some checks for payments for the new delivery van and was distracted.

“Tak Estate? I mentioned it to you earlier about the great food they served there. I am not saying we go and steal their recipes but we could get ideas to improve the various sauces we serve here and we need to add more variety to the drinks served” Kevwe said in one full breath. Her boss dropped his pen and looked up. She had got his attention.

“This girl biko leave me alone, you just like me spending money abi?” Her boss said with a smile.

“No Sir, haba. It was just some ideas I have been playing with” Kevwe said looking at the tip of her shoes.

“And these ideas you have been ‘playing with’, If we try them will they bring revenue?” Her boss probed further.

“I believe they will Sir. What attracts people to our restaurant is we always seem to have something new but we still no how to keep the favourites” Kevwe said.

“You are just a politician. Ngwanu, madam is back from Lagos and she has been saying you don’t want to see her. So you might as well take her there. If she likes their food am sure you two will come up with something” Mr. Kalu said.

“Thank you so much Sir” Kevwe said as she smiled and headed towards the door.

“Ehen before you leave. About Lagos, my wife said the restaurant there is having some serious problems. You may be traveling there to over see things and get things back to shape if I can’t pull out of this trip to London” Mr. Kalu said. That didn’t delight Kevwe one bit but she didn’t show it.

“Okay sir. Would you be needing anything or can I go home” Kevwe asked politely.

Mba, it is weekend, go home. Well done you hear” her boss said with a wave of hand dismissing her. She left, walking back to her desk she thought of the possibility of going to Lagos.

She hated the idea of having to go to Lagos. She knew if she was going she wouldn’t spend less than a month there and the staff in the Lagos branch were so annoying. Selfish people who seemed to be after their own interest. Besides she didn’t have anyone in Lagos. Her friends where here, her family was in Warri, she hadn’t even sorted out things with Kenny.

She got to her desk and sat down, dropping the folder that had the report and briefings of the meeting that just concluded. She took a deep breath and tried to focus. She picked her phone and dialled.

“Hey yeye girl” Kevwe spoke into her phone’s mouth piece.

You dey craze” Maryam replied at the other end of the call. “Make my mama catch you”, Kevwe laughed.

“How far now,have you closed? Make we go SFC chop before we enter house, work don tire me” Kevwe said.

“It’s a lie, does work ever tire Kevwe Okosun?” Maryam teased.

“Behave or else. See me wan pay for your launch sef you are there asking stupid questions” Kevwe warned playfully.

“Ehen, you should have started the conversation with that, see me for SFC now” Maryam said laughing. Kevwe smiled. She ended the call, picked up her bag and left the office. She got a cap and in 10minutes she was at Southern Fried Chicken.

“Good day madam” the door man said as he opened the glass door.

“Thank you” she said removing her glasses as she walked in. She looked around. Maryam had not arrived. She picked up her phone and sent her a bbm message.

Kevwe Ping:- Babe what are you eating let me order before you come instead of just sitting and mopping,

Maryam Ping: sorry, traffic. Soon be there. I’ll take No. 13.

Kevwe looked up at the board above the servers. Shaking her head she sent a reply.

Kevwe ping:- you don visit this place sote na number you dey use now. Remain make you get shares for the company.

Maryam ping:- get away. Just order joh I’m at the junction.

Kevwe waited for the guy in front of her to finish his order then she ordered two of no. 13, empire fillet meal or so it was written. She had to ask that they exclude a burger from one of the sets. That done she went to sit. Maryam walked in two minutes after.

“O girl how can you eat all that and still remain slim?” Kevwe wasted no time to attack.

“Give a girl a chance to settle down now” Maryam replied as she fixed her hair and brushed her dress.

“You have finished?” Kevwe asked rolling her eyes.

“Its not my fault that you eat food and it goes to your boobs and ass now” Maryam said and stuck out her tongue in mockery.

“I had to tell them to exclude the burger” Kevwe said “that’s way too much form me”.

“So its just chips you will have?” Maryam said surprised. “That thing small oh, you for ask for chicken at least”.

Abeg we will still eat dinner when we get home. How was your day joh” Kevwe said.

“That yeye lab attendant is still giving me headache but asides that work was okay. You?” Maryam asked.

“We are finally looking good financially. Your girl gave the presentation and the boss was impressed” Kevwe said proudly.

“Go girl. Na promotion we should be expecting now oh” Maryam said.

“I know. I guess that’s why he wants me to go to Lagos” Kevwe said sadly “he says things are bad over there”

“That’s good now. Show him you can manage Lagos and he might promote you to a full Manager” Maryam said then added “finally” as one of the servers signalled to Kevwe that their order was ready. They both got up to pick their trays, as they reached their seats Maryam saw two ladies walk in and ducked like she dropped something.

Wetin dey worry this one now? Kevwe asked.

“See those two women?” Maryam asked, Kevwe nodded, “the one in blue and black gown is Madam Koffi, she runs a jewelry store close to the clinic. They call her ‘mama Alaye’, always wants me to buy her fake necklaces”

“Ehen, is that why you are hiding?” Kevwe tried to pull Maryam up.

“No” Maryam said resisting, “just leave me to be finding what is not lost. If that woman should see us we will not leave here till night. She too talk”.

The two ladies seemed to have called in to place their order because they just paid, took their packages and left.

“Oya they have gone. No need to hide” Kevwe said. Maryam sat up and gave a sigh of relief.

“You need to learn to stop avoiding confrontation” kevwe said seriously. “Talking of avoiding, when will you stop avoiding Ayomide?”

Maryam looked at her friend with a straight face. He had given her space as she asked. He only sent her text mesages telling her he missed her and was thinking of her, nothing more. But she still didn’t know what to do.

“Babe I don’t know what to do. He has a kid for crying out loud” Maryam whispered.

“Ehen, so you will throwaway the possibility of a good thing because he is a baby daddy? Girl stop all this Nigerian mentallity and give it a try” Kevwe said urging her friend.

“I hear you. You make it sound so simple” Maryam said picking up a pice of chips and throwing it into her mouth.

“Because it is. Don’t go and fall in love like mumu. But see where it takes you, after three months evaluate yourself” Kevwe adviced. Maryam looked at her friend. Seriously what was the big deal.

She picked up her phone and started to dial then suddenly dropped it. Kevwe was shocked.

“What’s wrong Maryam” Kevwe said. She was about to turn to look around for where the fire had started but Maryam who was facing the door stopped her.

“Okay I need you to be calm and not make a scene but Kenny just walked in with another lady” Maryam said quietly.

Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com

You can follow him on instagram/twitter – @mfadarated.


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