“Hmmn. What is this man up to?” Nife muttered, dropping her phone on the table.
She had received a call from Chief asking her to meet him at one of the restaurants in Ceddi Plaza with another copy of her post jamb result, and other required document. His lecturer friend who was a head of department in FUT Minna was in town and he couldn’t remember where in the house he had placed the copy she gave him the previous week.
She thought briefly of the possibility that he was still trying to come on to her. So far, it seemed as though the message she had sent him last week had worked, although he hadn’t replied until two days later.
“I’ve heard you Nife.” was the reply she got from him.
No apology. No nothing. Just that. She didn’t particularly want an apology, as long as he has “heard” as he claimed, and kept his beady paws to himself. But she wasn’t going to take chances with him. Men like him don’t “hear”. He most probably would try again.
She went through her wardrobe, searching for the customized Jalabia she had gotten as a present from a friend who made branded shirts. At least he wouldn’t have the luxury of blaming his irresponsible behavior on her seductive dressing.
When she got to the restaurant, she spotted almost immediately. He sat at the table in the middle of the room, talking loudly and gesturing to the man who sat beside him.
“Good day Sir.” She greeted, curtsying slightly as culture demanded.
“Ehen. How are you Nife?” Chief asked. “Sit down.”
“I’m fine sir.”
She took the seat opposite him and glanced at the other man. He certainly looked like an academician, with his slightly protruding belly and grey hairs. Probably a professor.
“Professor Ladoja. This is my daughter, Nifemi.” Chief introduced.
“How are you dear?” He smiled, and offered a handshake.
“Fine, thank you sir.”
“She’s the one I was telling you about. Brilliant girl. She finished top of her OND class.” Chief continued. “Where are your papers dear?”
Nife hurriedly took them out of her bag and handed them to the prof.
“Wow. Impressive” he said, as he went through the papers. “What course are you applying for?”
“Computer science sir.” She answered.
“That’s good. That’s good.” He said, nodding his head repeatedly. “Don’t worry, you’ll get the admission. I’ll make sure this gets to the HOD of computer science.” He promised.
“Thank you very much sir.” she smiled.
“Chief. E je ke mi ma lo. I still have to meet with someone before I travel back.” he shook hands with Chief and took his leave.
“What would you have Nifemi?” Chief turned to his attention to her.
“Nothing Sir. Thank you. I’ll be on my way now.”
“Come on. Relax. Order for a take away pack, while we talk.” He said, calling the attention of the waiter.
“Fried Rice and any soft drink is fine.” She reluctantly said to the waiter.
“So I got your text message last week.” He started.
He had realized his approach was a bit crude, when he got her message. However, he didn’t think it was his fault, really. She had been looking so sexy and he just hadn’t been able to help himself. Anyway, he wasn’t particularly bothered about her message. He was sure she would come around. There was more than enough money at his disposal to change her mind.
“I admit the way I approached you was wrong, but don’t you think your message was a little too harsh.”
She fidgeted nervously in her seat and looked away from his face. This was a conversation she really wasn’t interested in having.
“That message hurt me you know? I love you, I’ve loved you since you were a girl. But I kept my feelings to myself because you were still a child.”
She gaped at him in awe. He couldn’t be serious, or could he?
“Now that you are an adult, I really can’t help myself around you. You are so beautiful and intelligent, I doubt there will be any man who won’t be attracted to you. I’ll take very good care of you I promise.” He continued, and tried to hold her hands, which were placed on the table.
She snatched her hands off the table, mouth still agape in shock. What rubbish was he spewing? Her mind worked rapidly. She thought of cussing him like she would any random shameless old goat, but decided against it. He could threaten to withdraw his help with her admission process if she did. It was best to respectfully decline his offer.
“Sir, I can’t do what you are asking me to do. You are my father’s friend sir.” She tried for a persuading voice. “I know your wife and kids. I’m like a daughter to you myself. It would be a very wrong thing to do.”
“There would be nothing wrong with being my friend Nife.” He smiled. “Beneficial is what it would be… to both of us. I would meet all of your needs and help you achieve your dreams.”
“And what would I do for you sir? Sleep with you?” She asked in an incredulous voice, shaking her head. “I can’t do that sir”
“Come on. All I want is for us to keep each other company. Nothing more. We are both adults. There’s nothing wrong in that now.”
“I’m sorry sir” She said again, shaking her head furiously.
She grabbed her bag and stood up to leave.
“Nife,” he called. “Just think about it, OK?”
“Wait! Come again.” Ayo shrieked.
The spoon of fried rice she was about to put into her mouth freezing midway. Nife had gone straight to her best friend’s, Ayo, house immediately she left Chief at the restaurant. She desperately needed to tell someone what was going on and her father was not an option.
“Chief Oladapo, the man who paid for the rice you are eating, my father’s friend, is asking me out.” Nife said in one breath.
“Oh my God! That man is a pig! He’s not ashamed of himself.” Ayo covered her mouth, as if to stop herself from shouting any further.
“Start from the beginning. How exactly did it happen?”
Nife told her everything, from what had transpired the previous week, to the surreal conversation at the restaurant earlier.
“Friends ko friends ni. Mhen. Babes, you have to tell your dad about this o. This is so wrong. What the hell!”
“I don’t know o Ayo. Would that really be wise?”
“I mean, I don’t see how telling father would achieve anything. He would just fly into a rage and their business relationship will disintegrate. And you know he’s the one who helps father with his business.” Nife explained.
“Hmmn. So what are you going to do now?”
“That’s what I’ve been thinking about. If I stick to my guns and keep saying no, he could refuse to help me with my admission.” She sighed “I really don’t know what to do.”
“Well, you can’t say yes either. You just have to damn the consequences and trust in God that you’ll get the admission without his help.” Ayo advised. “I got my admission without any help, and my result wasn’t even anywhere as good as yours. I believe you’ll get the admission without any help.”
“Eh. Or maybe I should just lead him on until I get the admission.”
“Lead him on? Hmmn. I don’t think that’s wise o.” she shook her head. “People like him will keep finding a way to achieve their evil aims immediately you give them an inch. My advice is that you tell him to go fuck himself.”
Nife’s head jerked up at Ayo’s use of expletives. She was not one to use the f word.
“That’s not an appealing picture either.” Nife said, and they both burst into laughter.