I'm glad to say things have settled down and I have my routine back and I'm writing again. With Making Scandal out now, I can focus on writing book 3 of the Essien Trilogy, Riding Rebel.
|Genevieve Nnaji as Rita Dike|
"Mr Petersen will see you now."
Heart-thumping heavily in her chest, Rita Dike straightened from the wooden frame armchair and rubbed clammy palms down the sides of her black trousers.
The secretary, Calista, who spoke to her, was a dark-skinned girl not much older than her twenty-three years, dressed in black platform stilettos, grey pencil skirt and black striped fitted white shirt, face made up and blemish free, tresses of dark hair extensions almost to her rounded bottom.
How much do secretaries earn? Rita stared with envy, lips slightly parted, as Calista manoeuvred around her maple finished modular desk and sashayed across the red carpeted floor.
Surely, the girl didn't earn that much more than she did. But Rita had already done the mental mathematics and there was no way she could afford the expensive hair extensions or designer shoes. Not with a mother in the village and a university undergraduate sister who depended on her for financial assistance.
Calista turned the metal door handle and pushed back the oak slab. Rita swallowed the lump in her throat and shoved back worries about her finances. The faint scent of tobacco reached her before she saw the occupant of the massive modern white-walled office. A new concern churned her stomach.
Why had she been summoned to her boss's office? Not five minutes into the start of her work day and she'd received a phone call from Calista asking her to come up to the top floor.
Her tentative "Why?" had received a "You don't ask why when the owner of Zen Media invites you to his office. If I were you I would get up here, pronto."
Rita had abandoned her work and taken the elevator upstairs immediately, anxiety knotting her stomach.
"Good morning, sir," Rita said, hands gripped at her back to hid the fact that they trembled.
Head full of dark curly hair lifted and enquiring amber eyes pinned her. "Ah, come in, Miss Dike."
She sucked in a sharp breath and walked further into the space, cool air from the air-conditioner kissing her skin. The first time she'd heard Mr Petersen say her name and surprisingly, he used the correct two-syllable 'de-kae' pronunciation instead of the one-syllable 'dyke' that some other non-Nigerians used.
Then again he seemed to be more Nigerian than most, especially since she'd read he'd been raised in South Africa. Like now, he looked almost regal in a silver caftan and trousers with white embroidery around the collar and edges as he strode across the room from the large beech desk to the cream sofas at the other end.
Stacked beech wood shelves lined one wall. The other side showing floor-to-ceiling tinted glass and a view of Lagos Island, the bustle of the main commercial district and the Marina.
She hovered next to the sofa, hands held rigid in front of her.
"Sit," he waved her to the chair before he relaxed into one, legs and arms spread.
Obeying, she sat on the edge. She couldn't loosen up until she knew the purpose of the meeting.
Calista lowered a tray of bottled water and two tall glasses onto the beech wood coffee table and retreated.
"Help yourself to the drink," Mr Petersen said. The sharp scrutiny of his gaze made her swallow hard.
Glad for the distraction of opening the metal cap and pouring water into a glass, she said, "I hope there's no problem, sir. Have I done something wrong?"
"Not at all," he replied in an even tone. "I have a very important assignment for you. Are you up for it?"
Head snapped back, she stared at him, mouth agape. A rush of excitement flowed through her body at the welcome words and she sat up straight.
Her job as a junior reporter was currently no more than a glorified clerk. When she had studied journalism she'd had dreams of travelling the country and the world reporting on life altering events. Instead she was stuck doing the occasional birthdays and obituaries for the Sun People Newspapers.
Now, it looked like her fortunes could be changed.
"Of course, I'm ready, Sir. Anything you have for me, I can do it?" she said, eagerness making her rush her words.
Surely it had to be something wonderful. He'd used the word 'important'. Perhaps some research into corrupt civil servants or some investigative work on the spate of attacks and kidnappings from Boko Haram. The possibilities were endless.
"You are going to help me take down the Essiens."
Copyright Kiru Taye 2014
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Happy Hump Day!