At the sudden hiss, Katherine tore her gaze from the pay cheque and looked in the direction of the Secretary who was noisily chewing gum while drumming her artificial painted red nails on the polished desk. This has been her ordeal for seven months. One day… one of these days, she knew she would ask the Secretary to the Director of Accounting if she suffered from drooling as she was always chewing or munching.
She strode for the corridor and wasn’t taken aback when the hiss pealed out once more. She also felt a pair of eyes on her but she didn’t turn back.
Katherine had barely sat when the intercom rang.
“Yes sir… no problem… I go tell am.” The HC said into the receiver and when she was through, she glanced at Katherine. “The Director of Accounting dey call you.”
She went wide-eyed and her heart skipped a beat. “Wetin happen, ma?”
“E no tell me, my pikin. E just say make you come now now.” She replied before turning to two ladies gisting at a corner. “Time never reach for una duty abi? Abi una no sabi wetin time de talk!” She rebuked and they immediately hurried into the store.
Katherine removed her overall and hung it in the changing room. She wondered what could be wrong. She was out of duty and wasn’t even in charge of the DA’s office.
She had to pass by that girl again! Her forehead creased into a frown. Hey girlie, don’t put those kind of people in mind because they will fulfil their purpose of putting you down. All you need do is to ignore and place your head high up. She told herself and smiled, the inner Katherine was on duty. She punched a button and soon the elevator doors slide open.
Few minutes later, Katherine walked past the secretary.
“Heys! Heys! Where do you think you’re going to? Heys! Heys! Are you deaf?” The Secretary jumped to her feet and her phone landed on the tiles with a thud.
Katherine did dramatic swirl on a heel, glanced at her sides before placing a hand on her chest. “Are you talking to me?”
“No, myself!” She retorted.
“I guess so too.” She gave her a winsome smile. “Keep talking to yourself.” She marched off .
The Secretary stared at the departing figure mouth-agape. She recovered and could do nothing more than to sit fuming since her boss already informed her he was expecting her.
At his response, Katherine opened the door and stepped into the cosy office.
Patrick Sunday removed his glasses and gave her a scrutinizing look from head to toe. “Katherine, you are so beautiful. If you were fair-skinned, one would have thought you’re a mermaid. Your dress…” He sat back in his black executive high-back chair. “How can a cleaner have such taste? You’re so different and to think that all this is for me. Hmm.” He smacked his lips. “I–am–the–luckiest–man–alive!”
She hadn’t known what to expect when she was summoned but what she was hearing hadn’t been an option. If she was surprised by his bluntness, it wasn’t apparent.
“Come in and sit, dear. What do I offer you?”
“I don’t want to sit and accept an offering.” The respect she had for him vanished like it normally did any time a man proved to be irresponsible. She had seen him about five times from a distance. He was almost same height with her or probably an inch taller. Dark skinned, kept a trimmed moustache and a full hair. He was plump, late forties but looked younger.
“Hmm.” He smiled, displaying his gap tooth. “I am familiar with the usual women playing hard to get thing, so tell me, darling, how much do you need to sit?”
Katherine tilted her head to a side and said nothing.
“Looks like everything is set and all I need is to book a reservation in a hotel then.” He picked his mobile phone and scrolled through.
She folded her arms across her chest and watched him.
“Hello. This is…”
“Mr Patrick.” Katherine interrupted his telephone conversation.
“Pat, please.” He corrected with a smile, his palm over the speaker of the phone.
Like he hadn’t spoken, she went on. “Mr Patrick Sunday, you’re wasting your time. Why am I actually here?” She ambled forward and sat on a vinyl chair.
He put down the phone and gave a short laugh. “You’re not trying to get me angered, are you?”
“Why am I actually here?” She repeated calmly.
“I like you, Katherine, and have been watching you for five months now.” He raised a hand in an emphatic gesture. “I am not usually that patient but when I see a special girl, I feel it in my body, spirit and soul. All I need is an occasional tender loving care and you get for yourself continuous money supply, promotion and a car. Tomorrow is a perfect day for this relationship to begin, I think.”
“I am not interested.”
He threw back his head and laughed, rocking his chair in the process.
She sat back and stared at him.
“I’m so sorry—so sorry, darling.” He chuckled. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I am going to give you time to think about this.”
“There is nothing to think about. My time is too precious to waste trying to figure out what I know the answer to. Sir, my answer is no.”
He blanched, stunned. “I can’t believe this. This is the first throw back I’m ever receiving.”
“Wow!” She applauded herself to his chagrin.
Patrick shook his head as if the inevitable just happened. “You can’t turn me down. Katherine, you don’t know what you are doing. You are throwing the opportunity of a lifetime away just like that.”
“I can’t make anything out of that.” She opened a palm and raised it as she emphasized. “I don’t care about that. I don’t care if it is pleasure for life, an opportunity of a lifetime or an enjoyment forever. I hope you understand.” She stood up.
“Katherine, I am offering you promotion, constant money supply and even a car.”
“Does your wife have a car?”
“This conversation is about you and me.” He shot back.
Katherine sobered up. “Is this what all the cleaners must go through?”
“I will be sincere with you—yes, some of them.” He grinned, recovering from the awkward moment.
“If you do keep your promises, some of the cleaner would be driving cars.” She said. He opened his mouth to protest but she wasn’t through. “Spend that money and time with your family. My answer once more is no.” She made for the door.
“You are making the biggest mistake of your cleaner life and I’ll make sure you pay for it!” He was on his feet as hit the desk with his fist.
“Ha-ha-ha.” Katherine laughed mirthlessly as she turned. “That is a classic joke that can make me laugh from my standing position to the floor.” She met his gaze with a stern expression. “Let me make this clear, I am not afraid of Patrick Sunday, what he represent and I’m not afraid of losing my job.”
“You are… you’re jeopardizing with your future and …”
“Be still, Patrick!” She interrupted sharply pointing an index finger. “Who are you and what do you think you are to decide my future?” She shook her head and stomped out of the office.
Patrick’s jaw dropped.
The look on Katherine’s face must have been enough warning because the Secretary opened her mouth and closed it immediately.
As she entered the elevator, it suddenly became clear in her mind. Was there an affair between them? Oh poor Secretary, she had been protecting her territory!
Katherine hissed, irritated.