BELLA EPISODE 6: MONDAY CAME, EVENTUALLY.
“Meyer Isabella, Head of Legal Affairs.”
When I saw the gold-plated inscription on the door of my new office, I stared a little longer. Truth be told – I wasn’t feeling quite as much as head of anything, let alone, head of legal affairs.
At 31 with a first and second degree in Law, it was a huge title. Yes, I had a few certifications and work experiences but still nothing compared to the being given such a tittle in a company like Edgewood.
God bless Jeremiah Young.
I tried to look the title with my outfit as much as I could but that part of me kept laughing in my head as if to say “Head of Legal Affairs, alright!”
Mrs. Cole, the HR Director (thank God she wasn’t fired, though a part of me was starting to think it won’t be a bad idea if she was because she kept sizing me up as it was obvious I wasn’t her candidate) was with me alongside her secretary. I guess it felt like a slight on her part that I would be heading a department in the company as she is. I remembered Jeremiah mentioning that she didn’t think he followed due process in hiring me.
I did a mental ‘tongue out’ to her.
Well, too bad I am now your Head of Legal Affairs, mummy HR. I smiled twitching my lips leftward, the mischief on my face, unmistakable.
“Welcome to your office, Miss Meyer’’ She turned to her secretary and said “Bring her secretary in.”
In a few seconds, I saw a young lady of about twenty-five walked in. She had a notepad and a pen in her hand with a smile across her lips. Big eyeballs on a small face, what a combination. She was cute in her own way, petite too.
Did part of her training include smiling or was that barely her nature?
“This is Taira Kanu. She is your secretary. She worked for the last Head of Legal Affairs and pretty well knows the ropes of the legal department. She is a lawyer too and has qualifications in secretarial administration. She will be working with you, going forward.”
“Good morning, Madam” her voice was not as petite as her body, I observed.
“Good morning, Taira” I responded with a warm smile. It wasn’t bad to have an ally, at least. This may not be a friendly environment in the long run.
“My secretary will take every other thing up from here. She would introduce you to the HR officers in charge of your recruitment to give you a briefing and proper orientation. You worked with us as part-time legal counsel so things are not so new to you around here. However, you will still need to integrate properly on an in-house level. Have a great day and once again, welcome to Edgewood.”
She turned to walk away. As she walked away, I looked at her in admiration. I admired women who kept their hair cut for their boldness. My mother tried to keep my hair that way in my junior years in high school. I hated it because I felt it made me look masculine. Thankfully, father was still alive then and after numerous begging and crying to him, he asked her to let me grow my hair back.
‘’Madam, your orientation exercise takes place from 12 noon until 2.00pm every day from today to Friday. Camsy and Idris are assigned to you as orientation officers. I will take you to them shortly. As you would have read in the email sent on Friday, heads of departments/senior executives meetings will be holding tomorrow instead of today because of the recruitment activities. We want the newly recruits to settle in first. We hold general meetings every last Friday and first Monday of every month. In the case of an emergency, it could be held anytime. Departmental meetings would be at your discretion as you are a departmental head. Please come with me.”
We walked to the HR Department where I was introduced to Camsy and Idris. “They will both take it from here. Welcome to Edgewood, Miss. Meyer.”
Camsy and Idris looked younger than me, at least. For once apart from with Taira, I didn’t feel like I was the youngest person in Edgewood.
Idris, the more outspoken one started ‘’Welcome to Edgewood, Ms. Meyer. By 12 noon, we would begin the orientation process with you but in the meantime, I present to you the keys to your official car. If you will come with me to locate it, your chauffeur is waiting to be introduced to you and carry out any duties assigned by you.”
As I took the car key, I knew it was a Toyota Camry instantly. The model was what I didn’t know. As I followed them to the employee’s parking lot while Taira followed me, I saw a lot of Camrys, (different and same models) and wondered which one was mine.
Finally, we got to a gray 2015 Toyota Camry Sedan and I almost gasped. Leaning on the car was obviously my chauffeur dressed in black suit, looking so professional.
“Somebody pinch me, now!” I screamed inside my head. My eyes, almost teary.
“This is your car, and this is Mr. Sanusi Aliu. He is your official chauffeur.’’
Mr. Sanusi was obviously in his mid-forties. “Good Morning ma, Welcome to Edgewood.”
“Good morning, Sir.” Was my silent response. “I would like to test-run this car for a few minutes if you don’t mind.” I wasn’t sure who I was directing the statement to.
“Sure, see you at 12 noon. We would be in the conference room in the HR department,” Camsy replied. The four of them stepped aside, watching me.
I nodded, opened the car, started the ignition and drove away.
Where I was driving to, I had not the slightest idea but somehow, I found my way back to the office.
Getting in the lift, I met with Jeremiah and a middle aged man. It’s amazing how my heart still skips whenever I see him. I knew his office had always been at the top floor. I remember taking this lift back to his office when I forgot my bag. That day I stood stupidly in the middle of his office thinking he was going to kiss me. Now, we were on this same lift together. Thankfully, there was someone else with us.
I was just returning from the short drive with my brand-new official car. Driving down the street and back, I realized that my old Peugeot 307 didn’t come any close. That was what I drove to work this morning. Now, I would be going back home with a 2015 Toyota Camry Sedan and a top-notch chauffeur too. I still hadn’t decided how I was going to make use of the chauffeur. It still felt awkward having one and what’s more, one who’s almost twice my age.
“Miss Meyer, howdy?” He chose to call me whatever, whenever. Today, it was Miss Meyer.
‘’I’m well. Good morning,” I responded, greeting both of them. I sensed the man wasn’t a staff because the ID card on him wasn’t Edgewood’s. Probably the company’s banker or a contractor, I couldn’t tell and it would be rude to keep staring at the ID card resting just few inches above his stomach.
It looked like both of them just happened to be on the lift at the same time. Hopefully, he would get to the top floor.
My office was across the hall from Jeremiah’s. I was sure Lisa shared the same floor too. I had not seen her, however. I was sure she would be present tomorrow at the head of departments/senior executives meeting. After all, she was the new Chief Operating Officer. I rolled my eyes.
I looked up to find Jeremiah looking at me with a smirk on his face. He looked like he was intrigued by something. I couldn’t tell what. I wasn’t able to hold his gaze much longer, so I moved my eyes away, pretending to be removing supposed dirt under my neatly manicured finger nails. The lift seemed to be taking longer than usual. Then it stopped, but on the 3rd floor.
The other man got out with a pleasant smile across his face and there was no one available to get in. I was stuck with Jeremiah in the lift!
They call it butterflies, but why did I feel sick when my tummy rumbled? Still, the feeling felt good, in spite of the moisture I started to feel on my palms.
I wonder what Ego would have done. She had a way of always putting herself together especially with men: either she liked them or not.
“How do you do it?” I heard him say.
I looked up at him. The intrigue on his face was obvious. “Do what?” I asked.
“Roll your eyes and still manage look cute.” He was smiling so sweetly now. I couldn’t help it. I blushed.
“My mum doesn’t think it makes me any cute, we have had issues about it since I was a child. It’s a bad habit I have tried to drop. It seems to be stuck with me,” I shrugged nonchalantly, trying hard to keep his gaze and still look confident.
I managed to pull through until he said, “Your mum wouldn’t see you like I do,” and I saw his left hand come up toward my face and felt the back of his index finger brush my left cheek. He was facing me directly now with the same tender look he had on when we were at the conference room together. Only that now, he just brushed my cheeks with his finger and was standing few inches away.
“Bella, now will be the time to shift backwards and give him the ‘what the hell was that for?’ look.” I told myself but I just stood there looking like a zombie. Was it safe to assume again that he was going to kiss me?
“Dear Lord, save me!” I screamed inside my head.
God must have heard, because the lift opened and I literally ran out. I didn’t look back till I got to my office. I closed the door behind me and locked it too. Leaning on it with my back, I allowed my self slide downward till I was sitting on the floor.
I wish I understood what happened there. I had run out of the lift. Why do I keep giving myself away? Now, he knows he has a hold on me. Now he knows his touch got to me. Why did he touch me that way?
“Bella, you are 31, not a 16 year old teenager, dammit!” I chided myself.
Emotions were high for me, now. I wondered how much of this I could handle. I had always been in control of situations, why now? The piles of emotion gave way to anger inside of me. Did he hire me so he can make passes at me? Did he see me as a weak woman who he can play on her emotions? What right did he have to keep doing that? First was when he made a move that seemed like he would kiss me but then left me hanging, next was him sending me gifts, then the consistent looks of affection in the conference room and now, this.
I needed a doze of Ego’s advice. I should call her. As I stood up to reach for my bag which was still on the table of my new office, I discovered my heart was still beating. I reached for my phone, ready to dial Ego’s number when a text came in from Jeremiah:
“I am sorry I made you feel uncomfortable. Truly sorry. I was going to ask how you were finding your first day in Edgewood before you ran out”.
Then it struck me, it was actually my first day at work!
12:15pm. I was late for my orientation meeting.
“Great, I am getting by just well, Jeremiah. How is that for a response to your crisis management text message?” I muttered under my breath as I snatched my iPad from my bag.
“Head of Legal Affairs who hasn’t been able to manage the affairs of her own heart. How is that for the headline news, Isabella?” Shaking my head at myself, I hurried out of my office, iPad in hand.