The rest of the day passed in a blur of activities and by lunchtime, I was ready to drop from exhaustion. Never have I done as much work as I did this morning in my entire life. First, I was given a brief to prepare by one obnoxious senior associate. The guy had been so rude; I almost threw his brief in his face.
He had approached the tiny desk I was allotted in the corner and unceremoniously dumped a stack of files in front of me. “Hey, late girl.” He said
I looked up and almost swooned. His was the face of an Adonis. He is tall, dark and handsome. Yeah, yeah, I know its cliché but I just couldn’t help myself. His face had such character as to be forceful. I was enthralled even though I was a bit irritated he had called me ‘late girl’.
“I need you to go through these files and find me something I can use in court.” that said, he turned and started to walk away. He then turned back. “Bring it by my office when you are done.”
“Where is your office?” I managed to ask before he was out of earshot.
“I’m sure you’ll find me.” he said without looking back
Suffice to say, I was so mad, I almost flew out of my desk. Then, I calmed myself down and remembered it’s a new job and I have to go through the ‘initiation’ process.
Before long, I am engrossed in the case and I actually find it interesting. It is a criminal case about oil spillage. A drilling company that refused to clean up its mess, thereby endangering the lives of the people in the community. The community had to fight for their rights, hence the court case. I can see the notes he made by the side. It seems this is the case’s second hearing in court.
So, here I am, at lunchtime and I enter the cafeteria. The law office provided a small cafeteria in the office building because they don’t what their staff running around, looking for food at lunchtime. The cafeteria is convenient and very affordable.
I go straight to the counter, I am so hungry. I have had nothing to eat all day except the tea I took in the morning before leaving the house. I was too excited to eat anything.
“What do you have?” I ask the girl manning the counter.
She looks up and smile. She’s a young girl, can’t be more than sixteen. “We have jollof rice, fried rice, coconut rice, beans and plantain and semovita plus egusi soup.”
Hmmm, plenty to choose from. I am tempted between jollof rice and beans and plantain. I make up my mind and go for beans. I am eager to taste the glorious combination of porridge beans and fried plantain in my mouth.
Presently, I was served and I head to an empty table. I dig in to my food with relish. I am about to put the first spoon in my mouth when I saw a shadow fall across the table. I look up, it is the lady that smiled at me in the morning meeting.
“Can I join you?” she ask
“Yeah sure, no problem. Please.” I indicate the empty seat across from me.
She sits down and looks at me. “So, how is your first day going?”
“Oh. As well as can be expected.”
“That bad, ehn?” she looks at me with a look of understanding. I must have looked puzzled because she explained herself. “It’s just that I’ve been there and I know how it feels.”
I smile and put a spoon of beans and plantain into my mouth. “Mmmmmm.” I exclaim in ecstasy, closing my eyes to better savor the taste.
She laughed. “It’s very good.” She indicates her plate. It was then I noticed we were having the same thing. “I can eat it every day. By the way, my name is Sunmola.” She extends her hand for a shake.
I shake her warmly. “Pleasure to meet you. I’m Leona.”
I heap another bite onto my spoon but before I could swallow it, a drop fell on my shirt. The palm oil in the porridge stains my white shirt immediately. I groan. “Oh no, this is a disaster.” I quickly pick up the paper towel to reduce some of the damage but it was no use. The day just got a lot worse. Thank God, I have a jacket; maybe it will cover the damage a bit.
“Hi, late girl or should I say stain girl?” that obnoxious guy appear at my table. “Tsk tsk. I hope you have another shirt to wear because we are expected in court by 2pm. By the way, how is that brief coming?”
“What? I’m not going to court.” I exclaim
“Oh?” he raised his eyebrows and before I can answer, he walks away once again.
This is incredible. This guy must have a death wish or something because if I find myself in a room alone with him, I won’t be responsible for my actions.
Sunmola laughed quietly. I look up. “What’s funny?” I ask, not bothering to mask my irritation
“You should see the look on your face.” She smiles
“Yeah. Is Dapo giving you any problems?”
“His name is Dapo?”
Figures. He’s a Yoruba guy. His species have arrogance in spades. They are the epitome of arrogance. “I can handle him.” I reply Sunmola.
“Don’t worry. His bark is more than his bite.”
“Thanks.” I am not worried.
By this time, I have no desire in the food before me anymore. Ogre Dapo has spoilt the fun for me. I pick myself up from the chair and covered the stain with the napkin in my hand. “See you around.” I smile at Sunmola and quickly walk out of the cafeteria.
At a quarter to two, I go in search of Ogre Dapo. The first person I ask direct me to his office. I get there, knock on the door and hear a brisk “Come in.” I go in and find him bent over a file on his desk engrossed in its content. I clear my throat.
That gets his attention as he looked up momentarily. He sat back when he saw me. “Well, well, if it isn’t ‘late girl’. What brings you by?”
I grit my teeth and place the file on his desk. I am determined not to lose my temper. “Your brief, sir.”
“That’s good. Are you ready for court?”
“As ready as I can be.”
“I see your jacket did not succeed in covering up the stain?”
I draw the lapels of the jacket closer and button it up. Stain covered effectively. He smiled.
“Sit down. I’ll be ready in a moment.”
I sit down and found my eyes drawn to his person. He looks so good when he’s not joking around and making me angry. I could sit and stare at him all day.
“See what you like?” he’s looking at me and smiling sardonically. I almost die of embarrassment.
“No thanks.” I fix my eyes on the far corner of the room and kept it there till I heard him stand up.
“You don’t have to be embarrassed you know? I like you looking at me.” with that, he picked up the brief and sailed out of his office.
I sit there like an idiot. I am momentarily rooted in the chair with shock. After a few moments of inertia, I stand up and run after him.