‘Step Back, Dad!’ (23)
Episode 23… enjoy!
Today was judgment day, or so it seemed. I had arrived work early as instructed by the M.D. and as I observed the atmosphere in the almost-empty room, I knew things had gone sour in the Company. Bimbo, who had picked me up at the bus stop this morning, had updated me on what had been on since I was off work.
“I never believed it myself.” She piped. “Stealing from the Company? An inheritance that would have been his own had he waited just a bit more, and now he has put everybody in trouble. The M.D. is not letting anyone go scot free without proper examination.”
“I see.” I was so disappointed. I never would have thought Steve would stoop so low to forge his father’s signature and steal millions without anyone’s knowledge, not even mine. I never even had inkling. He had been doing this even before his father travelled. “It is very unbelievable. I will even be worse for it as I worked directly with him. The M.D would think I was an accomplice.” My heart accelerated with fear.
“Hmmm, my dear. I should tell you this. Tongues have been waggling that you were a partner o, since both of you worked together and you did not report anything.”
“How was I supposed to have known? Am I the accountant? I am just an ordinary P.A. who does only what she is told. This is strictly between Steve and the accountant. It is their signatures, not mine.”
“Well, let’s hope the M.D. believes that.”
I looked at Bimbo. She sounded like she didn’t believe me herself. Well, I knew God would vindicate me and all the waggling tongue would be silent soon enough.
“Chinwe!” A woman in her sixties peeped out of a door. “You can come in now.”
I inhaled deeply and walked into the board room. Three pairs of eyes stared sharply at me. I knew them. The three members of the Board of Trustees. The M.D was right at the middle and his face was very serious.
“Sit.” He commanded.
I sat opposite them and folded my arms. There was no need to fear. Though I was through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid…
The woman started. “You know why you are here, don’t you?”
“Yes, I am here to be interrogated.”
“He was your direct boss, right?”
“Yes, when the M.D. travelled, I was transferred to work with Mr. Steve.”
“You worked with him and you didn’t notice anything fishy? How is that possible?”
“He only gave me access to what he wanted me to know. I did not know this until it was discovered.”
“During the course of our investigation, some of your colleagues accused you of having a romantic relationship with Steve. Is that true?”
What! Calm down… “I never had any of such with him.”
“So you never went on a date with him?”
“Well, ermmm… We went out a couple of times. He actually didn’t give me much of a chance to decline.”
“I see.” My interrogator eyed me through her glasses. “So, it was a forced romantic relationship?”
I shifted uncomfortably. “It was a boss-employee relationship.”
She sniffed as if she didn’t believe me. The other two looked same. I wondered where this would end and what their final judgment would be.
An half-an –hour later, as I travelled back to the hospital, my phone rang. It was Segun and that was the third time that morning.
“Hi, darling. How did the interrogation go?”
Darling? That sounded kind of weird to my ears. “Went well.”
“Good. I am sure the result will favour you.”
“Have you given thought about what we discussed yesterday?”
“Oh, that.” When having lunch together, he had opened up on what he had been planning to tell me. He wanted us to be back together and while that would have been fantastic news, contrarily, my heart was filled with fear. Strange, isn’t it? How something you once cherished suddenly becomes unflattering… “Well, I am still praying about it.” I was not about to make a second mistake.
“Please pray fast so that I can know how to plan for myself.” He replied.
That sounded a bit selfish to me. “Well at this stage, I cannot give a fast answer. I need to be more certain than ever.”
“Okay, I understand, but you know we are running out of time and we now have your father’s blessing.”
“I will give you an answer soon.”
“Will be waiting and I hope it will be positive. We have come a long way. Let’s close this with a happy wedding. Plus age is not really on your side.”
Now that hurt every time… when someone decides to remind you of something you have chosen not to remember, especially when that person should have been someone that should show more ‘understanding’. “God is on my side, Segun.”
“I know. Was just kidding.” He chuckled.
I didn’t find that funny at all. In fact, I just cut the call and switched off my phone just in case he wanted to call back. I needed to think. So many wrong things happening at the same time… my job was on the line, my love-life at stake, a sick father in the hospital… God, where are you in all these? I closed my eyes and whispered a minute prayer. They say it is always darkest before dawn… this is really the darkest moment of my life. I know God will never let me go.
At the hospital, I met the Deaconess feeding dad and once again, I was happy he was in good hands. I did not tell them detailed reason of why I had to go to work. I was not about to give dad another reason to worry. I watched them play like two love-birds and I wondered when I would have my own companion who would stick by me through thick and thin. My mind drifted to the only one person that would have fit well and a familiar sadness filled me. I had not seen him since yesterday and yet it felt like it had been years. I really missed him.
“I know that face.”
I was startled to see Mrs Folarin beside me. I must have been deep lost in thought not to have seen her walk towards me.
“What face?” I smiled and tried to brighten up.
“That sad face that shows you want something very much, but you can’t have it. I have walked that path, but trust me dear, what you want will come soon enough.”
“What if it is too late to have it?”
“Too late? That is not in God’s dictionary for His children. He always does everything at the right time, but sometimes He needs us to act as well.”
“When your mother died, God bless her soul, it wearied me to see your father alone. I loved him so much, always loved him and I knew he loved me too; but I knew your father. He was too shy to talk.”
I laughed. “Dad is shy? That is not believable.”
“I know, but when it comes to the matter of the heart, even the strongest become weak. When I saw your father was not going to make the move after many years, I had to. But that was after I had prayed well and felt the push from God. I had to walk up to him and asked him directly what he was going to do about us.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that. I discovered that was the only chance I had at happiness and I just had to take it. It was either that or I risk losing everything. So, I ask. What are you going to do about him?”
‘Who? Segun? He is waiting for my answer, but I am really confused right now, so I told him to give me more time.”
She chuckled. “Not Segun. Tunde, my dear.”
My eyes widened in surprise. “How did you know?”
“Oh, please. A man comes to the hospital and keeps bringing food for you. He finds excuse to come to the hospital just to have a peek at you. And when he comes, you become jittery and check yourself out to be sure you look presentable. If no one observed that around here, I did.” She winked. “So I ask again. What are going to do about this? Act or watch happiness slip you by?”
I jumped out of my seat. “I will act and now.” I picked my bag and ran towards the door. Then I turned. “Dad!”
He raised his head from the book in his hand. “Yes, Chinwe.”
“When Bro Tunde told you he was interested in a lady, he didn’t mention the name, did he?”
“None I can remember. Why?”
I smiled. “Never mind.”
I had never felt this kind of excitement before. I was on my way to finding the happiness I had once ignored. There is always a second chance at love, right? God had been speaking all along and I had not been paying attention. Jesus, please forgive me.
My phone buzzed. It was the M.D. again and my joy deflated a bit.
“Hello, Chinwe. How are you?”
“I’m very well sir.”
“I was just going through your record and I found something interesting.”
Oh no! What was it now?
He continued. “I discovered you have a background in accounting.”
“Yes, sir. I actually am at the last stage of my ICAN exam.”
“Okay, so you think you can handle my Company accounts?”
“I… I don’t what you mean, sir.”
“I have fired my Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect. He is a thief and has been working with my… with Steve to run this Company down. I do not know who to trust any more. I need someone with high integrity and ethics like you to take position immediately.”
What!!! OMG!!! “But sir, during the investigation…”
“Forget about that. Your record is clean, plus you have worked with me. You are tested and trusted and you have never disappointed me. Do you think you can handle that position?”
Do I think I can handle, ke? “Of course, I can.” I could not recognize my voice. This was too much to take.
“Okay. Be at the office tomorrow to pick up your letter of appointment. You have to start with immediate effect. Things need to start taking shape again.”
He cut the line and it took some minutes for me to gain my balance. Is this how God works? My body shook with emotions I could not control. Just like that? A promotion not expected… a double, no triple promotion actually. Chineke idinma!