Treachery Episode 1

November was usually the toughest month of the year at Eden Consults. There were accounts to be balanced, reports to be written and rewritten, contracts to be renewed and several other things that kept everyone in the office till midnight. Luke Bassey hated November as much as every other person in Eden, but he could not complain very much. His boss, Doctor Ima Jordan had retired a year ago and for the first time Luke was in charge of Nutty November.
Luke rolled his sleeves and put the AC back on. He was not having a particularly good day. He had a mild cough which got aggravated when the AC was on but he also couldn’t stand the heat when it was off. It was just a few minutes after eleven, he was not going anywhere soon. Maybe he should take a break, walk around the office a little.
He stood and headed for the door. He was almost at the door when his desk phone rang. He wanted to scream and punch the wall but that was unbecoming of a Director. He sighed and walked back to his desk.
“Hello?” He said into the phone.
“Good morning Mister Luke.” The voice over the phone said. “This is Engineer Lawal.”
“Oh, very nice to hear from you Engineer.” He said, but it was a lie.
This was going to be a very long and boring call. Engineer Lawal was the only client he was not directly in charge of; his boss still handled majority of the business with Engineer Lawal. Luke moved his notepad closer and picked up a pen and leaned back in his chair, hoping not to fall asleep.
Engineer Lawal was just about to begin the discussion when a knock sounded on his door.
“Excuse me for a moment please.” Luke said into the phone and looked up. “Who is there?”
The door opened and his secretary walked in.
“You have a visitor sir.”
“Who is it?” Luke asked then quickly added. “Don’t answer that. Tell whoever it is to wait, I’m busy right now.”
“Okay sir.” She said and left the room.
“Engineer, I’m so sorry.”
“That’s fine.”
“I’m assuming this is about the contract we sent over, right?”
“Yes, it is.” Engineer Lawal said.
Luke shifted in his chair, braced for the tirade of complaints that was about to come.
“What part of the contract do you have a problem with?”
“Do you know exactly what we do at Law Engineering?”
Luke frowned, that was not what he was expecting. “I think your name gives it away, you’re an engineering firm.”
Engineer Lawal chuckled. “Of course, but do you know what kind of engineering services we provide?”
“No, not really.” Luke said.
“Would you like to know?”
What was going on? Why was he asking these questions? Where was this conversation going?
“Okay?” Luke said.
“You’re not sure you want to know?”
Luke paused, did he want to know? “If my boss wanted me to know I’m sure he would have told me.”
“So do I hang up?”
“No, of course not. I assumed you also wanted to talk about the contract.”
“Leave the contract for now.” Engineer Lawal said. “You really don’t want to know about my company and how you can help us?”
“I want to know that for sure. You know at Eden we always do our very best to help our clients.”
“I’m not asking Eden for help, I’m asking Luke Bassey.”
“Yes Mister Luke.” Pause. “And you will make a lot of money from helping us.”
“I have to say, I’m a little confused.”
“I don’t want to do this on the phone. Let’s meet later in the day, I’ll explain everything to you.”
“Alright sir.”
“I’ll call you later to fix a time.”
“That will be good. Thank you.”
Luke ended the call and frowned; what was that all about? He was not sure what the Engineer wanted but he had a feeling it wasn’t something so clean. It wasn’t something he should be getting mixed with. Especially as he was trying to do this behind his boss’ back. The right thing to do would be to call his boss and tell him what just happened. But maybe he should hear the man out first, find out what he wanted.
Luke stood, it was time to take that walk before he lost his mind.
He stepped out of this office into his secretary’s. She wasn’t on seat but there was a lady seated in front of her desk. He needed to talk to his secretary about having visitors during working hours. He turned his attention to the rest of the office. There were people everywhere bent over whatever November had dumped on them. He turned the corner away from his secretary’s office and almost bumped into her.
“I’m so sorry sir.” She said.
“Rose, I think we talked about bringing your friends to work.” Luke said.
“I’m so sorry sir. She did not even enter, I just went to give her something.”
“What? I’m talking about the lady in your office.”
“Oh, she’s not my friend. She’s here to see you.”
“That’s right, you mentioned I had a visitor. Who is she?”
“Elizabeth Jordan, the…”
“…boss’ daughter.”
Luke turned around and ran to his secretary’s office. He stopped at the door and cleared his throat.
“Hello.” He said.
She turned around and smiled.
“Oh, wow.” Luke said before he could stop himself.
She stood, walked up to him and stretched her hand. “I’m so sorry for coming in without warning.”
Luke shook the hand. “It’s no problem. I didn’t know you were back in the country.”
“I came in last week.”
He hadn’t seen her in five years and wow, she was beautiful. He couldn’t remember how she looked the last time he saw her, she wasn’t even on his radar.
“It’s great to see you again.” Luke said. “Can we go inside my office please?”
They walked past his secretary who gave him a funny smile. Luke looked at her, what was that for?
They entered his office and sat.
“So to what do I owe this surprise meeting?”
“My dad told me about all the good work you’ve been doing since he retired last year and I came to say thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Luke said.
Luke looked at her and she looked at him. For about ten seconds, they sat in silence. At first, it was nice, a beautiful moment passing between them but it soon became awkward.
“I think I should leave now.” Elizabeth said.
“So soon?”
“Well, there’s nothing more to do here.”
“Can I show you around the office, introduce you to some of the top managers here?”
“I will like that.”
The day was looking up, in fact November was suddenly looking good.
Luke entered the restaurant and looked around, the whole place was empty. He stepped outside, the sign on the door said it was open. He entered again and walked deeper into the room.
“Mister Bassey?”
Luke spun around and saw a lady in some sort of uniform standing behind him.
“Hello? I’m here to see…”
“Yes sir. He said you should sit.”
“Okay.” Luke said and sat. ”Is he here?”
“What will you like to have sir?” The waitress said. “We will make your order while you wait.”
“I’m fine.” Luke said. “Please just tell him I’m here.”
“Alright sir.”
The lady walked away. Luke wondered why the man was meeting him in an empty restaurant. Maybe it was like in the movies and he was about to discover the man owned the place. He leaned back in the seat and waited.
One hour later and he was ready to leave. Engineer Lawal had not shown his face and the waiter had not come back. He slid off his chair and started towards the door. He was somewhat relieved the man did not show up.
He was almost at the exit when he heard a door open behind him. He stopped and looked back and saw Engineer Lawal coming out with a smile on his face.
“Mister Luke, I am so sorry.” Engineer Lawal said.
“I’ve been here for…”
“I know, I’m so sorry.” Engineer Lawal said. “Please sit.”
“I have another meeting in one hour.” Luke said. And this meeting he was really looking forward to. He was meeting Elizabeth for dinner under the guise of updating her on what was happening at the company.
“We won’t be long.” Luke sat. “Are you sure you don’t want anything?”
“No, I’m fine.” Luke said. “So, you wanted to tell me about your business.”
“Yes, I want to tell you about my business. Unfortunately, I can’t.”
“What?” Luke said. “So why am I here?”
“I want to tell you but we need to discuss something else first.”
“See, you are really getting me confused now.”
“Forgive me. That was not my intention. Mister Luke, have you ever thought about starting your own company?”
“Yes, of course I have.”
“Why haven’t you?”
“The time has not been right.”
“You know they say the best time is always now.”
“What do you want Engineer Lawal?”
“I started a new project last month and I was looking for a young likeminded consultant to bring on the project.”
“You’re firing Eden?”
“I want to hire you.”
“I work for Eden.”
Engineer Lawal smiled and held Luke’s gaze. Luke nodded as realization dawned on him.
“You want me to resign from Eden and take this as a solo project?”
“Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.”
He really wasn’t. He’d thought of starting his own company for years but Doctor Jordan always took some decision that seemed to tie him down for a few more years. He’d thought the previous year was the right time but then his boss had decided to retire. It looked like bad timing to leave the company at the same time so he’d stayed. Maybe this was the right time.
But not in the middle of Nutty November.
“What are you thinking?” Engineer Lawal asked.
“The timing is…”
“The time is now. I need to make this decision in the next twenty four hours and I don’t have a plan B. So if you’re going to say no, you need to say it now.”
“Then I’m sorry, I have to say…”
“It’s a five billion naira contract.”
Luke swallowed. “Five…”
“Billion naira. Spread over the next twenty four months but still, five billion naira.”
That was a lot of money. For a start up with little or no structure and experience, the odds of finding this kind of job was little or nothing. Eden as big as it was would not reject this kind of offer. This was so right, this was what he’d been waiting for.
But not in the middle of Nutty November.
That was a major issue. It would come across as very disloyal to leave in the middle of the company’s most busy period.
“Can we start this deal in January, so I can hand over to somebody at Eden?”
“I’m so sorry Mister Luke, I’m already behind schedule and I need to get things going right now.”
“How soon do I need to make a decision?”
“Right now.”
Luke sighed. This was the opportunity of a life time. This could be a quantum leap for him if he had the guts to take it. But it would also mean betraying his boss and mentor.
Engineer Lawal spread his arms in front of Luke. “So what is it going to be?”
This restaurant had people in it because unlike Engineer Lawal, Elizabeth knew better than to buy off the restaurant for the whole day. Luke sat at the table he had reserved and hoped Elizabeth would not make him wait for one hour too. Or maybe it would be great if she didn’t show up at all.
He’d accepted the deal with Engineer Lawal and it was going to be difficult trying to get the daughter of the man he had just betrayed to like him.
He saw her enter the room and for a few seconds he forgot about his treachery. Maybe he could have his cake and eat it.
He stood as she came closer.
“I am so sorry for keeping you waiting.” She said.
“No, that’s okay.”
“He kept me waiting.”
Luke blinked. “What?”
“My dad, he insisted he wanted to join us.”
Luke looked up and saw Doctor Ima Jordan enter the restaurant. Judas was about to have his last supper with his master.

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