The next morning Augusta listened intently as her husband reluctantly described Elder Mba’s office.
“Okay, I get it.”
“But Augusta what do you want to do? Why can’t you let it go?”
“The man thinks you’re timid and I am dumb. He thinks we can’t stand up to him because of his reputation…”
“And we can’t!”
“Augusta please don’t do anything to embarrass me.”
“This is why he thinks he can get away with his debt, you’re too timid to stand up to him!”
“The both of you are the same thing.” Jeffrey said walking away.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“At least you both think I’m timid.”
Augusta knew she should apologize but she didn’t. She picked up her bag and left the room.
Augusta walked into the office of the secretary and asked to see Barrister Mba.
“From where?” the secretary asked fiddling with the phone.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No, but I was told to come here by another lawyer. It’s a matter of life and death.”
The secretary looked at Augusta, she didn’t look like a trouble maker.
“Okay let me just let him know…”
“Oh!” Augusta reached for her phone. “Sorry this is important. Let me just step out…”
“If you miss him now you won’t be able to see him until around four when his meetings end.”
“I’ll come back! This is very important!”
Augusta left the office and smiled, she had gotten the exact information she needed. Now she prayed that it all worked out well otherwise she’d have to think of something else.
“Rotimi, I just think someone who is single should go. The duration of this training is unpredictable.”
“But I’m willing to be there for as long as it takes!”
“Don’t cut me out because I’m married!”
“I need you here Rotimi, Jide is going.”
Rotimi left his boss’ office frustrated. The training had been his plan to get away from church and home so he could avoid Olasunbo. He couldn’t take a leave at a time when the company was doing its best to make sure that they hit the year’s target. But how could he go to church and see Olasunbo or stand Kayinsola’s withering gaze?
Augusta walked into Elder Mb’s chambers later that afternoon and sat down patiently. The secretary had already told her that he was in a meeting. It was just fine, she picked up a magazine and began to read. An hour and an half later the door opened and Elder Mba walked out with two distinguished looking elderly men.
“I’ll have my secretary send you all we have.”
“Please, the sooner my people get to work on the case, the better.”
As they moved closer Augusta suddenly jumped to her feet.
“Elder please I need my money.”
Elder Mba stared at her for a few seconds taken aback by her audacity.
“Madam what are you talking…”
“Please sirs help me beg this man to please release my money, He bought shoes from me including the ones he’s wearing and I’ve been begging him for weeks to pay me my money.” Augusta started to cry. “I’m a single mother with two children and I have no one to help me. Maybe you can assist him if he doesn’t have the money, my children have been sent away from school.”
Elder Mba’s guests looked at him awkwardly. “Gentlemen I’m sorry for this embarrassment, please ignore her and let’s leave.”
As they made to leave, Augusta dashed in front of them and wailed. “Please help me beg him!”
The secretary stood up, stunned at the display of the woman she had apparently misjudged.
“SAN give her her money or do you intend not to pay.” One of them snapped at Elder Mba.
“Of course, I’ve just been busy.”
“Too busy to pay your debt to a single mother?” the other one said.
“She’s not… I’ll pay you when I get back.” he made to lead his guests out again.
“Ah please sirs! If he doesn’t pay me now he won’t pay me again.”
“But I don’t have it here!”
By now some of the junior partners of the firm had stood in the corridor watching the display from afar, embarrassed on behalf of their boss.
“How much does he owe you Madam?”
“One hundred and twenty thousand naira sir.”
“Write her a cheque.” One of the guests suggested.
“Clara, get me my chequebook!” The elder snapped at the secretary.
“Thank you!” Augusta curtseyed, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I really appreciate it.” She sniffed.
Elder Mba wrote her a cheque and she collected it, thanking his guests profusely. As she stood at the roadside waiting for a vehicle, she brought out her list and struck off another name with a smile. She had realized what Elder Mba’s strength was and turned it into his weakness- his reputation.
As Kayinsola closed the gate after driving into the compound she noticed the jeep parked adjacent to her house and wondered whose it was. Her neighbours weren’t usually around at this time of the day. She shrugged and closed the gate, it was probably faulty.
T.J sat up after he heard the gate close and exhaled. That was close. He looked at the house and scratched his stubble. Kayinsola was very comfortable, no wonder she spoke to him anyhow. But all that would change soon.