Category Archives: Treachery

28Jul/17

Treachery 5

Luke stepped into a puddle and sharply withdrew his leg. That just summed up the day he was having. He had gotten himself, his boss and his future into a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, unlike the puddle situation, he did not have the power to withdraw himself from this one. He looked around him, like every other night in the city, people walked around oblivious to the pain of others. He’d done the same several times; live like he was the only one who mattered.
Whatever he’d done, however bad he was, Engineer Lawal was still the one who used him. He could literally taste the bitterness that sprung up in him at the thought of Engineer Lawal. He had been used by a vile man. But the man did not have to try too hard, he’d caved so easily. No, this wasn’t on Engineer Lawal, this was on him.
What was going on with Doctor Jordan now? That concerned him. Were the DSS going to be gentle with the man they assumed was a big sponsor of terrorism not only in Nigeria but several African countries? He didn’t think so. Doctor Jordan’s life was ruined and so was his.
A blinking red light a few feet from him caught his attention. A sign under it read: ‘Caleb’s: Quintessence of Heaven’. Heaven? He smirked, they didn’t want the likes of him there. But Caleb’s was a bar and he was exactly the kind of person they wanted in there.
He walked into the bar and found his way to a corner of the room where he had the best chance of solitude. He dropped into the chair and a waitress approached him.
“Welcome to Caleb’s sir.” She said.
He looked at her and for a moment wished he could exchange lives with her. She looked happy and probably did not just betray her boss.
“Sir?”
“Anything numbing.”
“I know what you mean. Some magic coming up sir.” She said and walked away.
He brought out his phone and switched it on. He’d put it off immediately he left Engineer Lawal’s restaurant. He was sure Elizabeth would have call him several times but he had nothing to say to her. It was better to be thought a devil than to open your mouth and confirm it.
The phone came on and he was right, he had several messages from Elizabeth. She did not call him names or insult him but she expressed her disappointment very clearly. She sent him a link with the caption; ‘see what they are doing to him’.
He opened the link.
It was a blog post and it was titled; ‘Millionaire Accountant exposed as terrorism sponsor’. Luke sat up and started to read. He sighed as he read. The writer was brutal. She described how Doctor Jordan’s hitherto good life was just a front. She insinuated that Eden was just a money factory for the terrorism and unsuspecting companies who had worked with them had paid their hard earned money to sponsor the very same thing that was destroying their country. At the end of the post she attached a picture.
Luke clicked on the picture and gasped.
It was Doctor Jordan been transferred into a car and his face was battered. It looked like he could not walk either; he was being carried by two men.
Luke dropped his phone on the seat beside him as tears flowed down his face. He could not live with this, he had to do something. He could call Elizabeth and tell her everything. Maybe she could take it to the authorities, if they would believe her. He could go himself. He shook his head, no he could not. He remembered Engineer Lawal’s warning.
“If you go to the police with what you think you know, they will not believe you. Even if they do, you have no evidence. Any evidence you have will only send you to jail with Doctor Jordan, not get him out.”
He had to tell somebody what he had done, it did not matter if they believed him or not. He had to tell somebody, anybody.
“Sir?”
He looked up and saw the waitress standing in front of him with a bottle of a drink he did not recognize and a glass.
“Here’s what you ordered sir.”
“I ordered that?”
“You want ‘numb’, this is ‘numb’.”
He motioned for her to set the drink on the table and she did.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Luke asked.
“Sure.” She said.
“Please sit.”
“Oh, it’s going to be a while?”
“I don’t know, maybe.”
“Give me a minute please.”
She walked away and he shook his head, she was probably not coming back. He opened the drink and poured some into the glass. He took a sip and he felt a sting on his face like he had been slapped, he almost dropped the glass. At the same time he felt waves course through his head like something just opened up blocked pathways in his brain.
He took another sip and relaxed in the chair.
“Sir,” The waitress was back. “You should probably pay for that before you drink more.”
She was right. He was not sure he would remember anything by the time he was done with drinking. He brought out his debit card and paid for the drink.
“If you would still like to talk, I close in one hour.” The waitress said.
“Okay.”
He probably would not be able to talk in one hour except he stopped the drinking. And maybe he should.
His phone rang. It was Elizabeth. Idiot! He had forgotten to switch his phone off. It did not matter, he could not answer anyway. He filled the glass and downed as much as he could without his throat going up in flames.
He poured another glass, this was going to be a long night.
***
He felt coldness wash over his face and he stirred. A second wave of coldness fell on his face but this time he felt it more. It wasn’t just cold air, it was water. He opened his eyes and saw a pink flowered sheet that ended just a couple of feet from his face. The pink sheet was soft, at least it felt like it was. He was on a bed. He moved his legs, they ached like they had not moved in years.
“Stand up right now.” A deep voice, growled above him.
Luke pushed himself up and looked in the direction of the voice. It was a man. A bald, short but very scary looking man.
“Who the hell are you?” The man shouted.
“Where am I?” Luke mumbled.
He looked around the room. He recognized nothing about the place. The bed he was lying on was placed on the ground. Not too far from the bed was a gas cooker and some pots. Opposite the bed was a wooden hanger, lots of female clothes hung from it. This place was not familiar at all.
“I’m talking to you.” The man shouted. “Who are you?”
“What am I doing here?”
The man raised a punch. “This will remind you.”
The door behind the man opened and a lady entered.
“Shina, stop it.” The lady shouted.
Luke looked at the lady, he recognized her. She was the waitress at the bar. Was this her house?
“Why do you have a man sleeping on your bed?” The short scary man asked, his anger now directed at the waitress.
“I met him at Caleb’s,” She started to say.
“What are you going to tell me next, you are in love with him? You are pregnant with his baby?”
“No, nothing happened.” The waitress said. “Can you calm down and let me explain.”
Luke looked at her, he wanted to hear that explanation too.
“He came in to Caleb’s three nights ago.” She said.
“What?” Luke shouted. “Three nights ago?”
“He looked like he was having some issues so I gave him one of our strongest drinks. I didn’t know he was going to finish the whole bottle.”
Luke could not believe what he was hearing.
“I’ve been here for the past three days?”
“Yes.”
“What?” The boyfriend was boiling now. “Please tell me he was unconscious throughout.”
“No, he wasn’t. He woke up a few times to vomit but that was all he did.”
“Is this what you do? Bring every drunk fool you meet in the bar to your house?”
“The manager said he was my problem since I was the one who allowed him drink so much. He looked like he was about to die, I didn’t’ know what to do.”
Luke stood, if he had been out for three days he shouldn’t still be here. He needed to find out what was happening.
“Thank you so much for everything.” Luke said. “I’m sorry for any inconveniences but I have to leave now.”
“You better leave now.” The still angry boyfriend said, then turned to his girlfriend. “You still have a lot to explain.”
Luke stood and got out of the house as soon as he could. Nothing made sense to him at the moment. What had happened to Doctor Jordan? Was he still being tortured? Was he dead? Elizabeth?
Three days? He shook his head, he couldn’t believe he had lost so much time. What if he had died? What if he’d died without knowing what happened to Doctor Jordan. Thank God it was just a black out. He knew what he should do, he knew what he wanted to do. He was going to turn himself in. What was the worst thing that could happen?
But first he needed a bath.
***
He looked at his house and for a few seconds hesitated. It’d been three days, anybody could be waiting for him. Engineer Lawal could have sent somebody to take him out, Doctor Jordan’s people could be there waiting. Or maybe the DSS figured everything out and were waiting to arrest him.
He sighed. He’d laid his bed, he would have to lie on it.
He knocked on the gate and waited. There was no answer. There was supposed to be an answer. He’d employed a guard when he started getting paid a lot of money by Engineer Lawal. He shook his head at how stupid he was. He knocked again. Still no answer.
He pushed the gate and it opened. He stepped into his compound and stopped. There was a car that wasn’t his in the compound. It looked familiar. It was Mercedes Benz GLK350. This was Elizabeth’s car! Was she here? Why was she here? Was Doctor Jordan dead? Was he ready to see her? He wasn’t ready to, not the way he was. He turned around and pushed the door as slightly as he could.
“Luke?”
Luke stopped, he’d been caught. He turned around and faced Elizabeth. And she was smiling.
“Luke.” She said and ran towards him.
He took a step back and held her back when she got to him. “Hi.”
“Where have you been?”
“I’ve been…” He started to say but his voice trailed off.
“I’ve been here since morning, I have the greatest news.” Luke looked up. “Dad is back at home.”
“What?”
“He’s innocent Luke and he proved it.” She said. “He suffered, a lot, but he’s back.”
“How did he…? Did they arrest someone else?”
Or were they going to arrest somebody? He still wasn’t in the clear.
“Yes they did.” She said. “You know one Engineer Lawal?”
Luke opened his mouth but no words came out.
“I’m sure you know him. It turns out he was the one who set this whole thing up.”
If Engineer Lawal had been arrested, it was only a matter of time before he mentioned his name. And it wouldn’t be less than he deserved.
“At least your dad is okay, right?”
Before she could answer, her phone rings. “Hey, it’s Dad.” She answers the call. “Yes, I had to wait but yes Luke is here now.”
Luke gasped. She shouldn’t have said that.
“He wants to speak to you.” She said and handed the phone over to him.
Luke looked at the phone, there was no more running, he had to face his boss now.
“Hello sir?” Luke said.
“Are you okay son?”
Luke moved the phone far away from his ear for a moment and chocked back a sob.
“Yes sir, I’m okay.” He said.
“I know everything that happened and I wanted to tell you everything is okay.” Doctor Jordan said.
Luke starred ahead but saw nothing. “Sir?”
“I know Engineer Lawal deceived you, I know he used you and I know you implicated me with the DSS.”
“Sir?” Luke turned away from Elizabeth so she wouldn’t see the tears that ran down his face.
“You should be grateful I was arrested in your stead. You wouldn’t have come out of it alive. And Engineer Lawal would have used someone else eventually to get to me.”
“I’m so sorry sir.” He could not say the words enough.
“It’s all forgiven Luke.” Doctor Jordan said.
Why on earth was this so easy? Was Doctor Jordan making him comfortable, until he threw him in jail?
“Luke, there’s one more thing.”
“Yes sir?”
“I still need a CEO at Eden and I want you back.”
“What?” No way, he wanted him back?
“So, what do you say Luke? Are you ready to come home?”
**Before I end this**
Treachery isn’t just one of my stories, it’s a parable.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
“Are you ready to come home?”
That’s God’s question to you, me, everybody. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, it’s all forgiven. We (man) committed the sin but God took the punishment and in doing this, he was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting our sins against us.* So now, no matter how treacherous a man is, he is forgiven, all he has to do is come home to God.
How do you do this?
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and you believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will saved.**
My question and God’s question to you is, will you come home? If your answer is ‘Yes’, say the following prayer.
“Dear God, I believe in your son Jesus. I believe that he died for my sins and was raised up for my justification. I confess him as my Lord and Saviour and according to your word, I believe I am now saved. Thank you father, in Jesus’ name.”
That’s it. So easy. Salvation is so easy, it will be a terrible mistake to miss out on it.
If you said that prayer, or have any questions, you can call, text (sms and Whatsapp) me on 07036551676.
LordJosh
Signing out.
*2 Corinthians 5:19
** Romans 10:9

27Jul/17

Treachery 4

Guilt is a terrible burden. It drives men to crazy heights and terrible depths. Men have killed innocent strangers because of it. Some have ended their own lives, transferring the guilt to their relatives who then carry it on till they also reach their breaking point. Guilt have driven men to dreamless sleep and dreadful daydreams. But for Luke, guilt eventually drove him to sleep.
After several hours of drinking and pacing in his living room, he had swallowed a few sleeping pills. They made him drowsy but couldn’t get him all the way. He was trying to run away from what he had done and what he was doing but sleep was not going to be his escape. Maybe it was better to wallow in the guilt, allow it devour him. He let himself go; broke down in tears, cursed himself and everything he had done in the past two weeks. Maybe it was the drugs eventually working or the exhaustion from the crying but in the end he fell asleep.
He tossed in his sleep, his legs flaying around on the cold, hard floor. Anybody watching him would think he was fighting something and maybe he was, but his enemies were not such as could be beaten with a few karate chops.
The screen of his phone came on followed by Tu Pac’s voice declaring with rhythmic fervor “I see no changes, wake up in the morning and I ask myself, is life worth living, should I blast myself…”
Luke did not wake up to hear his phone ring, or to answer the question Tu Pac was asking but he would soon have to answer both; the call and the question.
The phone rang again, and Luke stirred for a few seconds and stopped. He lay still till the phone stopped ringing. His eyes opened, slightly, but his mind could not comprehend anything he saw. He opened the eyes wider and sunrays streaming through the window hit his cornea. He snapped his eyes shut and for the first time noticed the banging noise on the right side of his temple. He moved his right hand and placed it on his temple. Actions had consequences, hangovers were proof of that. He pulled himself to a sitting position and leaned against a sofa.
Why on earth did he feel so terrible?
His phone rang again and he had the answer to that question. Engineer Lawal was calling. He remembered the arrest warrant. He remembered Doctor Jordan and Elizabeth. He remembered the document he’d signed. The clock on his phone said it was seven minutes after twelve. If Engineer Lawal was right, the arrest warrant would have been issued already. And if Elizabeth was right, Doctor Jordan would be out of the country already. He could not wait on the ‘if’s though. He picked up the phone and hit the answer button.
“Hello?” He said, his voice barely audible.
“Where the hell are you?”
“I’m…” It looked like he was in his living room. “I’m in…”
“Is your TV on?” Engineer Lawal asked.
“TV?”
He removed his right hand from his temple and reached for the TV remote. His head felt like it would come apart. He clicked the power button and the TV came on. There was nothing on. He’d not paid his subscription in four months.
“Hello?” Engineer Lawal called.
“Sorry, my sub has expired.”
“Okay, I guess I’ll just tell you then.”
“Tell me what?”
“Doctor Jordan was arrested this morning at the airport and has been brought in for questioning by the DSS.”
“What!” Luke jumped to his feet. His eyes swirled and two seconds later he was back on the floor.
“It is what it is Luke. We are working on it but we need you to stay away from the case, okay? Don’t do anything stupid, we are sorting everything.”
“You said this was not going to happen.”
“You just be calm, okay?”
“Be calm? You said they couldn’t arrest him.” Luke screamed, trying his best to be louder than the banging in his head.
“You said he would not be in the country.” Engineer Lawal retorted.
“You made me sign that thing…”
“Shut up Luke. We are sorting everything as I speak to you.” Engineer Lawal said. “And nobody made you sign anything, you made the choice.”
“What am I supposed to do now?”
“Sit tight and don’t talk to anybody. You understand?”
“Does he need a lawyer?” Luke asked and quickly added. “Do I need a lawyer?”
“We are taking care of it, sit tight.”
“Okay.”
“And remember, don’t talk to anybody.”
“Okay.”
The call ended and Luke dropped the phone on the floor. This was exactly what he feared, no, what he knew would happen. How could he have been so stupid to sign that document? He’d hoped they could sort the whole arrest out without Doctor Jordan even knowing about his part in it but there was no way that was happening now. What were they doing to his poor boss now? Were they torturing him? Were they threatening his business and his family?
Elizabeth!
He had to talk to her. He was sure Doctor Jordan already knew he was the cause of the arrest and Elizabeth probably knew too. He had to talk to her.
He picked up his phone from the floor and noticed the ‘missed calls’ for the first time. He had thirteen of them. Nine of them from Elizabeth. He hit the redial button and put the phone on speaker. It started to ring. He was not sure what he would do or say but he had to talk to her.
“Luke, I’ve been calling you all day.” Elizabeth’s loud voice filtered through the speakers.
“I’m sorry.” Luke said. “Where are you?”
“Where do you think? In the police station and I’m not even sure my father is here.”
“You’re not…?”
“Why are you not here?”
“I’m sorry, Engineer… I mean, I just heard about the arrest.”
“You just heard? Have you been asleep all day?”
He could not answer that question. “What happened? I thought you said you were traveling this morning.”
“Our flight was delayed.”
“Oh, no.”
“They are calling my father a terrorist Luke.” Her voice broke and she started to sob. “They said he was a sponsor for terrorists. You know my father will never do that.”
“I know Elizabeth, I know.” Tears welled in his eyes, what had he done? “Don’t worry Elizabeth, your dad will be fine. There are people working on his release.”
“People? What people?”
“Just trust me, okay? He will be fine.”
“Luke, they are not even allowing him see his lawyer.”
Luke sighed. He could not tell her about Engineer Lawal or what he was doing to help her dad.
“Elizabeth, I promise you, your Dad is not alone. I’m doing something about this already.”
“Thank you Luke.” She said. “My Dad needs you now more than ever.”
“I will not disappoint him.” Luke said.
It was already too late to fulfil that promise but she needed to hear the words.
“When are you going to get here?”
“Within the hour.”
“I’ll see you then.”
She ended the call and Luke buried his face in his palms and screamed. He lifted up his head, stood and stumbled towards the bathroom. There was a time to beat himself with guilt but that time was not now. Doctor Jordan and his daughter needed help and he was going to the one man who could help them; Engineer Lawal.
***
Luke held the car steering wheel with one hand and held the phone to his ear with the other.
“The number you have dialed is switched off.” The machine said for the umpteenth time that afternoon.
Luke looked at the phone, he was dialing the right number; Engineer Lawal’s. Was the engineer in a meeting trying to sort Doctor Jordan’s arrest? This was the first time his phone was switched off. He’d told him once he never switched it off, not even at night. He had business partners in different time zones and he needed to be reachable at every minute. Why was it off now?
Luke pushed his turn signal and made a right turn, he was going to the restaurant where he’d met with Engineer Lawal severally. He might meet someone there who could tell him what was going on.
What if he didn’t meet anyone? What if he was not able to reach Engineer Lawal on time? What if he was never able to reach Engineer Lawal again? He shook the thoughts off his mind. He had to focus now, Doctor Jordan needed him to. Elizabeth needed him to.
He didn’t need to worry, it would seem. As he approached the restaurant, he saw Engineer Lawal go into the place with a couple of older men. He sped up to the building and parked as fast as he could. He ran to the door and stepped in. The restaurant was in full operation. There were customers sitting around but Engineer Lawal was not in the restaurant. He walked to the counter and saw the lady he’d seen in dungarees the other night sitting close to the cashier.
“Hello.” Luke said to her.
She looked at him, her face blank.
“I’m here to see Engineer Lawal.” He said.
“He’s not in.” She said, her face still showing no emotion.
Luke smiled. “I understand why you might say that but I’m one of his business partners. I was here the other night, you took me in to see him.”
If she remembered that night, her face did not show it.
“It’s urgent please, I’d like to see him now.” Luke said.
“He’s not here.” She said and this time her face showed a reaction; annoyance.
“I just saw him walk in.” Luke said, he was getting pretty annoyed himself.
The dungarees lady stood. “I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Leave? Are you serious?”
“Please leave now.” She said.
Luke turned around and faced the door. What on earth was happening here? Was this girl just being a problem or was she under instruction not to let anybody see Engineer Lawal? Or maybe Engineer Lawal did not want to see him specifically. Well, there was only one way to find out.
Luke eyed the door he’d gone in through that night, it was slightly open. He turned around and ran for the door. He crashed into the door and was behind it before the dungarees lady could get after him. He ran through the short corridor and burst out into the kitchen. He got to the end of the kitchen and turned the handle of the door that led into the room where he’d met with Engineer Lawal. The handle turned but the door did not open. On the other end of the room, the dungarees girl was approaching. Luke did not like the look on her face, she looked like someone who could kill.
He had to get in somehow. He knocked on the door and then he banged on it.
“Engineer Lawal.” He shouted. “I know you are in there.”
“Step away from that door.” The dungarees girl said. “Now.”
Luke stayed as close to the door as he could and banged on it with both hands.
“I said step away.”
Luke turned around and faced her. “I just want to talk to him.”
“You are not going to, not today.”
“But he’s in there, isn’t he?”
“Step away from the door.” She said and walked closer to him.
He was not sure what she was going to do but the least he could expect was fisticuffs. He was getting into the room whether she liked it or not.
“For the last time, step away from…”
He stopped her mid-sentence with a punch. It landed well, almost as well as any punch he’d ever thrown. It wasn’t good enough because now, her formally blank face looked hot with anger. She balled up her fist and he got tensed in his body, ready to receive a punch.
He heard a click behind him and the door opened. He turned around and Engineer Lawal stood in front of him.
“Thank you Sade.” Engineer Lawal said.
Luke entered the room and Engineer Lawal closed the door behind him. He was torn between gratitude for not having to feel the wrath of the girl and anger over how he had been treated.
“What are you doing here Luke?” Engineer Lawal asked.
“I could ask you the same thing.” Luke said.
“Weren’t you supposed to sit tight?”
“You are supposed to be helping Doctor Jordan get out of jail, instead you are…” Luke looked around. The two men he had seen earlier were sitting with two bottles of wine and half empty glasses in front of them. “You look like you’re celebrating something.”
“Yes, we are Luke.” Engineer Lawal said and returned to his seat.
“I don’t understand.”
“Get a glass Luke, you should share in this celebration.” Engineer Lawal said.
Luke’s heart started racing. He was confused about what was going on here but it did not look like anything good.
“What is going on?”
“You helped us achieve a goal we have been trying to achieve for years Luke. You are our hero.”
Luke shook his head. “Congratulations on achieving your goal but I’m here to talk about Doctor Jordan. What are you doing to get him out?”
“Nothing, Luke.” Engineer Lawal said. “Absolutely nothing.”
“What?” Luke said, his throat was getting dry and he was finding it hard to swallow.
“Why would I want Doctor Jordan out of jail when I was the one who put him there?”
Luke suddenly felt faint, staggered backwards and reached for a place he could lean on.
Engineer Lawal stood and moved closer to Luke.
“Your boss, Doctor Jordan, will not be getting out of jail today. In fact, he will not be getting out of jail at all. Thanks to you.” He lifted his glass to Luke. “Cheers.”

26Jul/17

Treachery 3

Luke sat at the bar, eyes fixated on his untouched cup. Two weeks after he ran out of the Eden building he was still laden with guilt. Everything was going on well with Law Engineering, more than just well; things were booming. Engineer Lawal was not joking when he said they need somebody young and mobile. He’d already been to six cities in three different African countries in two weeks and he was scheduled to meet Engineer Lawal the next day. Those meeting usually led to another trip. He was enjoying his work. Mostly. He’d had to poach some of the staff at Eden to start his own company, that part he didn’t enjoy. He was yet to see or talk to his former boss and he hadn’t even officially resigned. The most painful thing though was losing Elizabeth before he even had her.
Luke picked the cup and took a sip of whatever the bartender had poured in there. Up until two weeks ago, he had never taken alcohol but it was fast becoming a habit now. People said alcohol helped you forget your troubles. He didn’t forget his, but at least they numbed his guilt for a while. Maybe he didn’t deserve to have his guilt numbed.
He waved over the bartender and stood. He dropped a few notes on the bar for her and walked out the building. It was dark now and there were no stars in the sky. It looked like it was going to rain but nobody seemed to care. Cars drove past him, blaring their horns at nothing in particular. Women sat under makeshift tents hawking their wares. Tired pedestrians walked past them without as much as a glance. Luke looked at them with envy, they had no problems. At least not the type that he had.
He entered his car and started the engine. He closed his eyes and tried to picture what his life would be if he could control it. He imagined L.B. Consulting’s grand opening; Doctor Jordan and Elizabeth on either side of him. He imagined traveling to six cities in two weeks with Elizabeth by his side. He imagined Doctor Jordan calling to congratulate him on closing the deal with Law Engineering.
He opened his eyes and punched the steering wheel. He was trying his best to get away from Doctor Jordan, how come his mind wouldn’t let him?
He shifted the gear into drive and turned into the road. And then everything happened in a blur. He heard a loud horn beside him followed by a crash. The car swerved away from his control and he slammed the brake.
What just happened?
His heart was racing and his eyes were blurry. He opened the door of the car and stepped out. A crowd was starting to gather. He looked around and saw a Benz GLK350 not too far from his car. He looked back at his own car and it had a huge dent. Anger surged through him. Whoever was in the Benz had run into him. Today was the wrong time to mess with him. He walked towards the Benz. The driver was still inside, he wasn’t even going to come down to apologize? Luke walked around the car to the driver’s side. He knocked on the window, whoever this fool was, he was going to let him have it tonight.
The window rolled down slowly and he tensed, ready for whoever was behind the wheels. The windows came down and he frowned.
“Elizabeth?”
She turned and looked at him. “Luke? Oh my God.”
Luke looked around, the crowd on the scene was becoming larger. It was only a matter of time before a policeman arrived to try and take advantage of the situation.
“Can you still drive?” Luke asked, she nodded. “Good, we have to leave this place now.”
“Okay.”
“Drive ahead, when you get to the next street, turn right. There is a restaurant just after that turn, park in front of it. I’ll join you now.”
“Okay.” She said.
Luke stood and watched her drive away. He turned around and headed for his car. Was this a coincidence? He smiled, there was no way this was a coincidence. He’d literally run into her on the night when he was feeling the lowest, that was no coincidence.
He got to his car and entered. He turned the ignition, and the engine started, spluttered and stopped. He turned the ignition again, this time it did not start at all. He looked up, Elizabeth was already out of sight. He stepped out of the car and looked at it, what was he supposed to do? He was not an engineer; he could not fix the car. Even if he could he did not have the time.
“Mister Man?”
He turned around and saw a policeman approaching him. He didn’t have time for this.
“Is this your car?” The policeman asked.
Luke looked at the car, it wasn’t his favourite anyway. And he probably would get it back.
“No, it’s not.” Luke said and walked away from the policeman.
He waved down a commercial motorcyclist and was away from the accident scene before the policeman could ask any other question.
He stopped in front of the restaurant he had described to Elizabeth and she was there, sitting in her car. He knocked on her window and she stepped out of the car. She was still a little shaken.
“I’m so sorry for… “Luke said. “I don’t even know what happened back there.”
“You turned into the road without looking.” Elizabeth said, her voice a little too cold.
“I’m so sorry, I was having a bad day.”
She looked up at him with concern. “A bad day? I thought your business was doing very well.”
“Yes, it is.” Luke said.
“And that is why you haven’t called all this time?”
Luke was confused. She still wanted him to call her? He’d imagined whatever her father had told her about what he did would have driven out any kind of feelings she had for him.
“Can we go inside the restaurant, please?”
“I don’t have long.” She said, looking at her watch. “I’m traveling with my dad tomorrow morning, I haven’t packed yet.”
“I won’t waste your time.” Luke said.
They entered the restaurant and sat. They ordered just drinks, to the disappointment of the waiter.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call you.” Luke said.
“That’s all you have to say? No explanations?”
“No explanations because they’ll just be excuses.” Luke said she didn’t look like she was buying that. “I’ve wanted to call, believe me, I’ve wanted to. It was part of why I was having a bad day.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“It’s complicated.” He could not believe she did not know all he had done.
“Are you going to ask how Eden is doing?”
“I know Eden as always been and will always be fine.”
They sat in silence for a couple of minutes, looking out through the window. Luke did not mind the silence, it suited him. Any word he said could potentially ruin the moment so he just let her be. It had started to drizzle outside and people were hurrying past their window. He watched them; a large soup of humanity, stirred up and down by huge spoons of desire. He hated being in that big pot with everyone else, he hated being turned up and down by those spoons but he’d made a vow to himself a long time ago; his desires would not go unaccomplished.
“I think it’s time to go.” Elizabeth said.
She was one of the biggest things he desired at the moment, he was not letting her go.
“When will you come back from your trip?”
“In a week.”
“Will you answer if I call?” Luke asked, with a sly smile.
“Will you call?”
Luke nodded, of course he would. But there was still the issue of his running away from her father.
“Do me a favour please,” Luke said. “Don’t tell your dad you saw me tonight.”
“Okay.” She said.
That was surprising. He’d expected her to protest or at least ask why.
He walked her to the car and watched her drive away. There was no guarantee that he would see her again but whatever had made him run into her tonight would make it happen again.
His phone vibrated in his pocket and he brought it out. It was a text from Engineer Lawal.
Meet me now. Usual place.
***
Luke entered the restaurant and almost stepped out to check if he had the right place. The place was full, it was transacting business as usual. He looked at the spot where he usually sat with Engineer Lawal, it was occupied by a couple. They looked like teenagers, but the girl had a ring on her fourth finger so maybe they were not as young as he thought.
Where was Engineer Lawal?
He felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around.
“Come with me sir.” A young lady in dungarees said.
He wanted to ask who she was but what was the point? He followed her through a door with a tag; ‘Staff Only’. They went through a short corridor into the kitchen. The chef and his staff went on with their work like they didn’t see him. He suddenly felt like he was in an Italian mafia movie and he was about to go meet the caporegime in an underground gambling house. They went out of the kitchen into a room and there Engineer Lawal was. It was a well-furnished room. It looked like a normal office except the furniture looked really old.
“Thank you Sade.” Engineer Lawal said and the Dungarees lady left the room.
“Running out of money Engineer?” Luke said as he walked towards the table where the man was seated.
“What?”
“You didn’t buy the restaurant off tonight.”
“Nah, this meeting was too impromptu and the restaurant was having a very good night, I didn’t want to disturb them.”
“If you say so.”
“You don’t like this place?”
Luke pulled a chair and sat opposite Engineer Lawal. “It’s nice.”
Engineer Lawal drew closer to him and looked at his face.
Luke leaned back. “What?”
“You look happy.” He said.
“That’s because I’m happy.”
“Why are you happy?”
“Why am I happy? I’m always happy.”
“No, you’re not always happy.” Engineer Lawal said. “Come on, tell me why.”
“If you must know, I just talked to a girl I really like.”
Engineer Lawal drew away from him very sharply. “You talked to Elizabeth?”
“How on earth do you know that?”
“Okay, look, it’s none of my business what you do with your private life as long as it doesn’t affect our business.”
“How will it affect our business? It will not affect our business.”
“Okay then.”
Luke did not like what had just happened. Why did Engineer Lawal know about Elizabeth and why did he sound so disappointed when he found out he talked with her? It wasn’t his business.
“Why am I here anyway?” Luke asked.
“We have a problem.” Engineer Lawal said.
“A problem?”
“We have connections with the DSS and we heard a warrant will be issued for your arrest tomorrow.”
Luke sat up. “What? I don’t understand. My arrest?”
“I was as confused as you when I heard but let me explain.”
“Please do.” He could not believe what he was hearing.
“Remember all those trips you made in the last two weeks, they were all to countries where terrorists are known to have strongholds.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“They think you are one of their sponsors.”
Luke jumped to his feet. “What?”
“Calm down Luke, okay? You will only be proving them right by acting haphazardly.”
“Calm down? You want me to calm down? You just said the DSS thinks I’m a terrorist.”
“No, not a terrorist, a sponsor of terrorists.”
Luke at the Engineer like he would strangle the man.
“Sit down please.” Luke sat. “Apparently, one of our weapons fell into the wrong hands and since your signature was all over the deal, you can imagine why they made this mistake.”
“You made the weapons, why aren’t you the one they want to arrest?”
“Frankly, I don’t know Luke.”
“So, what now? What am I supposed to do? I have to clear my name.”
“Clear your name? You can’t do that between now and tomorrow when the arrest happens. The only thing you can do is leave the country as early as you can tomorrow morning.”
“You want me to run?”
“I want you to live.” Engineer Lawal said. “You never know what the DSS are capable of. You could be dead before your name can be cleared.”
Luke bowed his head and held it with both hands. “I didn’t bargain for this.”
“This would never have happened to Doctor Jordan. He is way too experienced and connected to be arrested like this.”
Luke grinded his teeth. “Why didn’t you work with him then?”
“Wait a minute, there’s something we can do.” Engineer Lawal said.
Luke lifted his head. “What is it?”
Engineer Lawal shook his head. “No, I don’t think you have the balls to do something like that.”
“I’m desperate here, what is it?”
“Okay, I’ll say it. Remember I’m just trying to help you though.”
“Say it already.”
“Remember how I said your boss can never be arrested for something like this?”
Luke nodded. “Yeah?”
“Did you ever officially resign?”
Luke shook his head slowly. “No.”
Engineer Lawal paused. “Are you sure you want me to say this?”
“Engineer.” Luke said with a stern face.
“How about you sign an affidavit saying you signed all those documents on behalf of Doctor Jordan?”
Luke gasped. “What?”
“Think about it. He cannot be arrested, at least not yet and that will give us the time to sort all our issues with the DSS.”
“You want me to implicate my boss?”
“I want you to live.” Engineer Lawal shouted. “Don’t be a fool. You will be safe, your boss will be safe and we will clear all these nonsense before anybody gets hurt.”
Luke wanted to cry but that would not solve his problem at the moment. He wished he’d not taken Engineer Lawal’s call that day at Eden. He wished he had walked out of the office like he planned to. How could he implicate his boss in his own foolishness? But what if Engineer Lawal was right and this could not touch Doctor Jordan?
“What are you going to do?”
“Can I think about it?” Luke asked.
“You realize I said tomorrow morning, right?”
“Elizabeth mentioned that she and Doctor Jordan were traveling out of the country tomorrow morning.”
Engineer Lawal clapped his hands. “Great. He won’t even be in the country when the warrant is issued. By the time he gets back, we will have sorted everything. He might never even know what happened.”
Luke shook his head, what was he doing? This was crazy and it was all happening too fast. One minute he was having a good time with Elizabeth, the next he was about to sign her father’s arrest warrant.
“Luke, what are you going to do? I have to leave now.”
“Leave?” Luke asked. “Go where?”
“I have things to do Luke. I have explained the situation to you. What are you going to do?”
Luke sighed and asked. “The affidavit, how am I going to do that?”
“Are you going to sign it?”
“I don’t have a choice.”
“Great.”
Engineer brought out a bag Luke had not noticed from under the table. He opened the bag and brought out a form. He handed the form to Luke.
“Here, sign this.”
“You have the form already?”
“How do you think I got this successful? I can predict how people will behave. I knew you would turn on your boss and I had one of my people draft the document.”
He knew he would turn? Was he that kind of person now? Judas? A betrayer?
“Sign this already.” Engineer Lawal said. “I really need to get going.”
Luke collected the pen Engineer Lawal was handing him and signed the document.
“Thank you Luke.” Engineer Lawal said as he collected the document.
“What am I supposed to do now?”
“Go home and sleep. Everything is going to be alright.”
Luke did not sleep that night, he knew everything was not going to be alright.

25Jul/17

Treachery 2

Treachery EPISODE 2
Luke stood there waiting for Doctor Jordan to reach their table. He could barely feel his legs, and his palms were starting to get wet. He’d never been good with lies, his boss would figure this out in a minute. He turned his attention to Elizabeth, she was smiling; she had no idea what he had done. Maybe he could still back out of this deal with Engineer Lawal. Was it worth all this tension?
Doctor Jordan arrived at their table and he smiled.
“Luke, my son.” Doctor Jordan said and stretched his right hand out.
“Sir.” That was the only word he could manage as he shook the hand. There was no way he could look this man in the face or say more than a word without betraying his betrayal.
“Can we sit, please?” Elizabeth said.
“Sure.” Luke said, forcing a smile.
They sat, Luke opposite the father and daughter. Maybe if he kept his eyes on Elizabeth throughout the night, he could focus on her beauty and not the ugliness of his own behavior.
“Betty said you wanted to give her a rundown of what has been going on in the company.” Doctor Jordan said.
Luke nodded and said a strained. “Yes.”
“That’s a good idea.” Doctor Jordan said. “But I hope you’re not trying to teach her so you can run away.”
Luke cleared his throat. “What? No, I was just…”
Doctor Jordan burst into laughter and Elizabeth joined him. Luke watched them for a couple of seconds before his nerves were calm enough to let out a few laughs.
“You need to have seen your face Luke.” Elizabeth said. “You looked like you were caught with your hand in the pot.”
“I’m sure you will never catch Luke with his hand in the pot, just as I’m sure he’s not leaving us. Not now.”
Luke grinned, revealing too much teeth.
“Right? Luke?” Doctor Jordan said.
“What?”
“You’re not leaving us now.”
“Of course not.” Luke said and swallowed.
There was no way he could survive five more minutes of this. He was dying inside and the death was soon going to become very evident outside. He needed to escape this dinner, cut his losses and go stop the deal with Engineer Lawal.
“I’ve never been here.” Elizabeth said. “What’s their specialty?”
“You are about to order food?” Doctor Jordan asked. “I think it’s time to leave then. I’m done eating today.”
Luke sighed. Finally.
“I’m so sorry to see you leave.” Luke said.
“I’m sure you don’t mean that.” Doctor Jordan said.
“Of course, of course sir, of course I mean it.” Luke said, his face more squeezed than an orange in a juicer.
“I’ll let you kids talk.” Doctor Jordan said. “She must be home before midnight.”
“Of course sir.” Luke said.
“That was a joke Luke. What? Is she Cinderella?”
“Of course sir.”
“Are you okay Luke? You’ve been saying a lot of ‘of course’ tonight.” Doctor Jordan said with a frown.
“Of course I’m okay sir.” Luke said. Oh crap, he’d said it again.
Doctor Jordan and Elizabeth looked at him, a little more closely and seriously than was good for his nerves at the moment.
“That was a joke sir.” Luke said and let out a nervous giggle.
“Of course it was.” Elizabeth said. “See? I did it too.”
Everybody laughed.
“Good night Daddy.”
“Good night sir.”
Doctor Jordan walked out of the restaurant. Luke leaned back in his chair and sighed.
“Is it me, or are you relieved he’s gone?” Elizabeth asked.
Luke paused, smiled, he could be himself again. For now. “No, I love your Dad. Why will I be relieved he’s gone?”
“Honestly, I am relieved he’s gone.” She said.
“Really? Why?”
“Nobody wants their dad going on a date with them.”
Luke smiled. “So, this is a date?”
“I’m not stupid, Mister Bassey.” She said. “We could have used the office if all you wanted to talk about was my father’s company.”
Luke put his hands up. “You got me. Apparently, I’m not as subtle as I thought. I had no idea your dad was going to show up as well?”
“Was that why you were all nervous and shaky?”
“I wasn’t.”
“Sure you were. I was afraid you were going to pee on yourself.” She said and laughed.
This was not good. If she had noticed, Doctor Jordan definitely would have noticed too.
“Well, asking your boss’ daughter on a date isn’t a very smart move.” Luke said.
She nodded. “Usually it is a terrible move. But not in this case.”
Luke sat up. “Really?”
“I wasn’t going to tell you this, but my dad has tried to set us up so many times.”
“Oh wow, that’s good then.”
“So Luke, tell me about you. The things my dad hasn’t already told me, I mean.”
He wanted to say ‘I am a traitor who just betrayed your father.’ But instead he asked;
“What do you want to know?”
***
Luke sat at the head of the table watching the projector screen with disinterest. One manager after the other, stood before the group to discuss their progress. Days like this always pushed him to the edge. The few times he’d considered resigning were after these horrendous and boring meetings. He considered canceling them when he became the boss but he couldn’t, they were necessary. His days of sitting through them were probably over though. Somehow he couldn’t feel happy about that.
“We have a little problem.” Lekan Abisoye, one of the managers said as he rounded off his presentation.
“I’ve told you before Lekan, I don’t want to hear all your little problems, solve them yourself.” Luke said.
“Actually, it’s not a little problem.”
“No? What’s going on?”
“We have a problem with Law Engineering.”
Luke swallowed and leaned back in his chair. “What is the problem?”
“They are dropping us.”
“They are?” Luke asked.
“According to their CTO who talked to me, they are moving on to another company. Some new consulting firm called L.B. Consulting.”
Holy Molly, the dumb CTO had given them a name? It was only a matter of time before everyone realized L.B. was Luke Bassey.
“Did he give you a reason?” Luke asked.
“No, he didn’t.” Lekan Abisoye said. “But this is not good sir. We have to deliver this news to the Chairman as soon as possible.”
Luke shook his head. “Nobody tells the Chairman about this. I will deal with it myself.”
“Sir, only the chairman deals with Law Engineering. Most of us don’t even know what they do.”
“Are you my boss now, Lekan?”
“No sir. I just think…”
“Will you leave this to me then?”
“Okay sir.”
“Nobody tells the Chairman about this until I say so. Is that clear?”
“Yes sir.” The puzzled manager said. “Finally…”
Luke stood, that was about as much as he could take. “We’ll finish this later.”
He walked out of the conference room and headed for his office. His phone vibrated in his pocket. He removed it and checked, he didn’t recognize the number.
“Hello?” He said.
“Mister Luke.” The voice on the phone said.
“Engineer Lawal?”
“You already recognize my voice, I always like that in people I work with.”
“Good morning.”
“I need to see you now.”
“Right now?” Luke asked. “I’m kind of in the middle of an important morning.”
“This can’t wait. Meet me in the same restaurant in twenty minutes.”
“That’s not…”
The call ended. Luke looked at his phone and shook his head. If he wanted to be in the restaurant in twenty minutes, he had to leave now. He walked into his office, picked his car keys and his jacket and hurried out of the building.
He was about entering his car when his phone rang again. It wasn’t even five minutes yet, why was the Engineer calling back? He looked at his phone, it wasn’t the Engineer; it was Doctor Jordan. Luke stared at the phone; why was he calling? Did somebody tell him about the Law Engineering problem? That Abisoye fool. He could not take this call. He was not in a proper mental state to answer the Chairman’s questions. He would call him later.
He started the engine of the car and drove out of the Eden compound. He was just pulling out into the road when his phone rang and it was his boss again. He clicked the ‘silent’ button and continued on the road. This was crazy. He loved and adored this man for the seven years he had spent working for him, he could not believe he was now hiding from the same man.
Fifteen minutes later, he pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot. He looked at his phone, it was still just the two missed calls from his boss. He would figure this out later.
He entered the restaurant and like the last time, it was empty but Engineer Lawal was waiting this time around. Luke walked to his table.
“Are you going to buy off this restaurant every time we meet?” Luke asked as he shook the Engineer’s hand.
Engineer Lawal looked around. “It’s getting boring, right? Maybe next time I’ll buy off a hotel.”
Luke sat. “So what was so urgent you had to pull me during working hours?”
“You work for L.B. Consulting now, and L.B. Consulting works for Law Engineering, have you forgotten that?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Alright, very good. I need your account details, we want to make our first deposit today so we can get this show on the road.”
“Oh, wow. I wasn’t expecting any payment today. I’m yet to set up my corporate account.”
“I have a guy who can do that for you in less than thirty minutes.”
“I’d appreciate that.”
“Alright Mister Luke, it’s time you know what we do.”
Luke felt a huge weight lodge in his chest. He had a bad feeling about this. It was probably just nerves though. Who wouldn’t be nervous on their first major job?
“At Law Engineering, we do a lot of manufacturing but the place where the real money is in weapons manufacturing.”
Luke shifted in his seat. “Weapons? You mean like… real weapons?”
“Yes Mister Luke, real weapons.”
He knew this was going to be something terrible. He was been dragged into an arms deal? He couldn’t do this. But then arms dealers weren’t likely to just allow walk away. Why would Doctor Jordan be involved with arms dealers though?
“Doctor Jordan knew this was your business?”
“Of course he knew.’ Engineer Luke said. “I know what you must be thinking but we don’t do anything illegal. We deal with the government only. The federal government is our biggest sponsors actually.”
Luke sighed. Okay, this wasn’t an illegal arms deal with terrorist groups or drug dealers.
“If Doctor Jordan has been working with you since and working well, why would want to leave now?”
“That’s a good question Mister Luke. You see, it’s time for our business to expand outside of Nigeria. We have gotten links with the government of Cameroun and they are ready to deal with us. We want to work with a young, active and non-bureaucratic firm. Is that you Mister Luke?”
“Of course it is.”
“Great, I believed you were.” Engineer Lawal said. “It’s time to discuss numbers now. How much are you charging us?”
Before he could open his mouth, Luke’s phone rang. He looked at the phone, it was Doctor Jordan. He would talk to him later, he was about to get on the ride that would take him into his future quicker than he expected. He would deal with his past later.

***
Luke entered the Eden building walking midair. At least that was how he felt. He’d just made his first million dollars. The money was not all his, but still he had just closed a very huge business. Everything looked too good to be true but he was not going to worry about that just yet.
He still had to call his boss.
That thought brought him crashing to the floor. This was not going to be easy but there was no going back now.
“Hey boss.” A feminine voice called behind him.
He turned around and stopped; it was Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth?” He was happy to see her but nervous at the same time.
“I didn’t know you were going to be out. My dad said you spent twenty two hours every day in the office.”
Luke chuckled. “Looks like your dad was trying too hard to sell you on me.”
“He was. That was not a good point to add for his pitch though but he didn’t know that apparently.”
“So, Miss Elizabeth Jordan, what can I do for you today?”
“I was here to continue my education.”
“Oh really?”
“I was thinking maybe today, you can tell me what a big CEO like you does during his lunch hour.”
“How about I just show you?”
“That will be awesome.” She said.
Luke smiled. His boss’ calls aside, today was turning out to be very good.
“Wait here, let me drop my jacket in my office and grab my wallet and I’ll be right back.”
“Sure.”
Luke had just entered his secretary’s door when he looked through the glass walls and saw a figure seated in his office.
“Welcome back sir.” The secretary said.
“Who’s that? In my office, who’s that?”
“It’s the chairman, he’s been waiting for a couple of hours.”
That was not very good, not very good at all.

24Jul/17

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.”
“Me?”
“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?”
“Exactly.”
“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.