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“So I need you to come up with a strategy to restructure the workforce.” Bode said to Jumoke the next day after he had briefed her about Wilpac and its troubles. They were seated in the conference room with three other members of staff.
“Okay.” She said and took down some notes.
“Alright, that would be all.” Bode Yemi-Brighton said and made to leave the room but thought of something. “Umm… guys, can you excuse us please?” He said to the other three in the room.
“What is it?” Jumoke asked puzzled.
“I need you to bring your A game on this one please.”
“You know I always do. Why’s this one so important to you?”
Bode pinched the bridge of his nose. “I try to detach myself from clients but I honestly believe that these guys have so much potential. I really want to see them succeed and I want us to be a part of their story.”
Jumoke pondered on what he’s just said. “So the children all came back to take care of their father’s business? Strange… commendable…”
“I’m going to need that strategy ASAP.”
“Yeah, I’ll have Funmi set up a meeting with the COO…”
Bode nodded vigorously. “I was going to suggest that you talk with her.”
“Trying to help me do my job?”
“Not at all.” He replied with his hands up. “I can help you in whatever capacity you deem necessary though…” he said leering at her.
“Don’t be a pig.” She replied shaking her head in mock resentment and Bode laughed heartily.
“On a serious note though, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”
“How do you feel about being my partner?”
“Bode, I don’t have time for…”
“Business partner, Jumoke.”
She stared at him. ”Bode, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I would like to make you my partner. We would own the company together.”
Jumoke was still staring at him. “You’re serious.”
“Of course I am. I wouldn’t joke with something like this. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I can’t think of anyone else I would rather own this company with.”
“Wow… I’m really flattered…”
“You can take some time to think about it. But I’ll need you to convince me with the Wilpac project.”
Jumoke was still dazed. “Wow… thanks Bode.”
“Don’t thank me yet. Like I said, prove me right on this project.”
As soon as Derick woke up, he felt parched and reached for the buzzer when he heard a knock and lay back gently.
“Hello.” Jumoke said.
“Hi.” He replied in a hoarse voice and beckoned to her.
“I didn’t come and see you or anything like that…” She sighed. “I’m sorry, that came out wrong. What I meant to say is…”
“It’s okay.” He replied with a smile. “I’m glad you’re here anyway.”
“How are you feeling now?”
Jumoke noticed his chaffed lips. “I’ll go and tell the nurse to bring you some water.”
“Thanks. How’s your daughter?”
“She’s fine. The doctor just had her checked.”
“So what’s the matter with you? The nurses wouldn’t tell me.”
“Wow. What’d you eat?”
“Not sure, I ate several things on my last trip.” He replied and tried to sit up.
“You don’t have to sit up… please…” she urged when he ignored her. “Look I’m leaving now. You don’t have to bother.”
“Tired of lying down…” he said wearily.
“But you still look weak…”
“I know…” he replied panting from exertion and stared softly at her. She was wearing a nicely cut black jacket on a wine dress and had pulled her hair up into a bun that accentuated her round face. She looked tired, but it ddint take away from her beauty. He forced his eyes away from her pink lips and cleared his throat.
Jumoke could feel his eyes on her, there was something about this man that made her comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time.
“Err… take care of yourself. I just thought I’d stop by since I was here.”
“I will. Thanks.”
As Jumoke turned away, Derick desperately wanted to call her back and tell her that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her and how much he wanted to get to know her, but he realized that this would be taking undue advantage of the situation. He would appear weak, opportunistic, and even unserious. He would have to prove himself to her and he only hoped that he would get the chance to do this.
Gloria had a plastic spoon in her mouth and a cup of ice cream in her hand as she walked into Jumoke’s room the next night.
“Hey Gloria.” Jumoke greeted without looking away from her laptop.
Jumoke cocked an eyebrow at her and wondered about the mischievous look on her friend’s face. Gloria plopped on the bed and took another mouthful of her ice cream, grinning from ear to ear the whole time.
“Gloria, why are you smiling?”
“Nothing, I’m just really enjoying this ice cream, I sprinkled some coconut in it along with the candy you brought home. Really yummy.”
“I’m happy for you.” She replied disinterestedly, tapping away at her keyboard.
“So… you know Derick, the guy I brought home to see you…”
“Yeah what about him?”
“You know he was hospitalized.”
“Yeah… I saw him…”
“And you didn’t tell me about it! I wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t called me to thank you for checking up on him.”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that I ought to report my daily activities to you.” Jumoke replied, still focused on her work.
“You like him Jummy.” Gloria concluded pointing at her with the plastic spoon. “Otherwise, why wouldn’t you tell me that you saw him?”
“Gloria?” Jumoke said looking at her now, her face hard with displeasure. “I’m not in the mood for this.”
“Why do you have to be so serious? Are you going to die because you like a guy?”
“Like I said, I’m not in the mood. I have work to do.” She returned her attention to her work.
Gloria stared at her for a while then got up from the bed. “He said I should thank you for your concern and he hopes that Hope is doing better.”
Jumoke nodded in response.
At the door, Gloria said to her: “Love will creep up on you Jumoke, sooner or later. I just hope you let it in.”
Jumoke sat in the conference room of Wilpac Ltd with her assistant Funmi Oyekan.
“So what’s the name of the senior manager again?”
Jumoke shook her head. “I don’t think these people are serious, why can’t the COO himself be at this meeting?”
“It’s a her…” Funmi corrected.
“Whatever, this is supposed to help us to strategize! I thought they said things were chaotic here, what can be more important than the company’s stability?”
Funmi pursed her lips and said nothing, she realized that her boss was ranting and the last thing she needed was her answering a rhetoric question. Jumoke was cranky this morning and she wondered what had set her off so early in the day.
Jumoke knew she was being irrational but she couldn’t help it. She was trying to get last night’s conversation with Gloria out of her mind. The last thing she needed was love, everything was going on well with her and Hope and she was looking forward to a major career advancement. She had a new target- to make partner at Brighton Consulting.
The door opened and a lady walked in. When Jumoke turned to look at the entrant, her lips parted in shock. It was her old friend- Remi Williams.
The two women stared at each other, utterly dumbfounded.
“Jumoke…” Funmi said hesitantly. “What’s going on?”
“Hello Jumoke… it’s nice to see you again.” Remi said nervously.
Jumoke gasped, got up from her seat and hurried out of the room. Funmi promptly followed her.
“Jumoke what’s going on?” She asked as soon as they were outside.
“What is she doing here?” Jumoke replied, hyperventilating.
“What do you mean what is she doing here? We’re meeting with the senior…”
“You said her name was Jennifer Bassey…”
“No, that’s not Jennifer Bassey, her name is Remi Williams…”
“Yes, that’s the COO’s name!”
“How is this possible?” Jumoke said to herself, her hands clammy and her heart beating even faster. How had she not known that Remi was involved with this company?
“Wilpac… Williams…” she muttered and then it all made sense.
In a twisted turn of events, she had been employed to save the business of the family who had left her to her fate twelve years ago.
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