‘For a baby that was malnourished during his stay inside there, he is surprisingly hale and hearty. It is almost too miraculous to be true.’ Her gynecologist, Doctor Halima Jimada told her in a voice, tinged with surprise. She has become a close friend throughout the years she has been battling her barrenness.
‘You need to see the way he was screaming at the top of his voice when I saw him this morning.’ Yetunde tried to smile as she looked down at the baby who was on the second bottle of baby formula. His eyes were closed but his small mouth was working furiously while he held the bottle close with his second fist.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and felt her friend’s palm came to rest on her shoulder in reassurance. She looked up and her eyes shone with unshed tears.
‘Would I say God is unjust on His throne? What did I do to deserve these years of barrenness in my life, Halima?’ A lone tear rolled slowly down her cheek.
‘Don’t be ungrateful to your Creator, Yetunde. Count your blessings. How many women are as rich as you are? Hell, how many people are as rich as you are? Everything you touched turns into Gold. You can’t have it all.’ Halima’s smile was gentle, even as she was firm and realistic. Yetunde sighed sadly.
‘He is still on the throne and He still answers prayers. He only does it in ways that are beyond human’s scope.’ Her hand rubbed a spot on her shoulder, it was surprisingly soothing. She met her gaze.
‘Get your lawyer and set about adopting him. The Nigeria system is in a rot already. This little man needs you more than anything else in the world.’
‘What if his mother turns up to claim him in the future?’ She voiced the niggling thought in her head. Halima laughed but it wasn’t a pleasant sound.
‘We will cross the bridge when we get there.’
Olalekan Kolawole was named after her father. She tried not to be emotionally attached to the baby but it was a losing battle.
Lekan was dark in complexion and good looking. He was pampered with everything which money can buy.
He was enrolled in an exclusive private school by the time he was three.
She drives him to school every morning and went to pick him up in the afternoon on a daily basis.
Her whole life revolved around his existence until she met Ademola Badmus when Lekan was five.
Her son took an instant dislike to her lover-to-be.
It was Monday morning. Fatihat remembered she was supposed to be at the board meeting in Abeebs’s company just as she opened her eyes.
“Can you imagine that brute telling me I have to be there? Can’t I do anything I like with my company?” She complained to Josephine as they had breakfast in the kitchen. The latter laughed at her.
“I can’t remember the last time you wore a real suit. You just keep piling them in that enormous wardrobe of yours.” Josephine said, eyeing her appreciatively. She was clad in dark blue mini skirt suit with a white inner camisole. Her smooth fair legs ended in a pair of solid heel black shoes. Her dark long hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her face was devoid of makeup.
“How do I look?” She asked anxiously as she got to her feet and turned around.
“You look good and sexy as hell. You are the youngest CEO in Nigeria.” She grinned at her.
“I’m very nervous. What will I say when I get there for God’s sake?”Fatihat asked worriedly. She removed a stick of cigar from the pack in front of her and lit it. She inhaled and released sharply, a cloud of smoke covered her face for a while.
“You will find something to say, I’m very sure. That is why you are Delilah Smith alias the bad girl.” Josephine hailed her with a smile.
“How is the hotel business going? There is nothing as good as revenge. I feel good.” She flashed her gaped-teeth smile, a smile which had led many men astray in the past.
“You are the only one who knows how well it feels. Anyway, it is nice to be employed and be paid well. Your name alone has won over enough customers.” Josephine got to her feet and cleaned the table.
Fatihat dropped the half-smoked cigar into the ash tray and ran upstairs to put on a light make-up. She picked up her car key and hand-bag on her way out of the house and drove out, closely followed by Josephine in her ash color v-boot.
She drove into the company’s premises on the outskirt of Lagos and just realized how mighty it was.
She was unusually early and parked in the managing director’s parking space. There was only one other car in the parking space. She noted that it was only the security man and few staffs who were punctual in the office.
Lateness is the order of the day in this company, she noted and filed it away as she moved around leisurely in the compound. She walked into the manufacturing and warehouse section. The whole place was empty. She was about to leave when she saw movement at the far corner and moved there without hesitation. She saw two young men, moving sacks of raw material into a waiting van just outside the place.
“Where are those going, young men?”She asked quietly, moving in noiselessly on them. They dropped the bags in fright.
“The factory manager, Mr. Bamgbose asked us to drop it in the waiting car. Who are you ma?”The taller of the two men asked suspiciously.
“I’m a new employee. Do you two work here too? If you can tell me anything, I will make it worth your time.” She said quietly as she removed some naira notes from her bag and handed it over to them.
“Thank you, ma.”They both chorused.
By the time, Fatihat was through and came out of the place, the parking space was overfilled. She took a deep breath and walked into the administrative block.
Tunde Abeeb was the first person she saw and he paused when he saw her.
“You look good. I didn’t know you still have any decent clothing in your wardrobe.’ He grinned at her. She hit him at the back of his head before she could stop herself. “Are you crazy?” He said as he stumbled forward.
“You have always been bad-mouthed. Where are the others?” She noted the deserted office.
“They are waiting for us in the conference room. Are you ready?” He pulled her hand towards the closed door and she hung back reluctantly.
“I’m not ready for anything; damn it and you know it.” She snapped at him.
“Well, it is too late for that. Can we go in now?” He glanced at his wristwatch.
“Can I smoke just one stick? Please?”She pleaded desperately.
“Fatihat! Move it now.” He snapped at her.
“Let’s go.” She hissed at him as she marched in with her head held high and he stifled a grin as he walked in behind her.
She was introduced to the board of directors and she was offered the seat of the chairman/managing director of Abeebs group of company, Mustapha Abeeb‘s former position. She felt a thrill of success! Revenge is sweet and she savored the taste as she looked around at the staffs, waiting for her to address them. She knew a moment of panic before her in-born confidence kicked in. She didn’t waste time on the preamble and went straight to the point.
“Charity, they say begins at home. We are the root and architect of our own problems. Firstly, we are shutting down the liquid section of the pharmaceutical company until further notice. The production and factory managers have been indulging in random theft and I witnessed one of those this morning.” She paused and there were murmurs all over the room while Tunde watched her expressionlessly without a word. “Then we are re-visiting a few company policies like resumption time and security. I’m open to suggestions. As for the debts owned by the company, I know most of the managing directors in these banks. I will talk to them and give you a feedback in our next meeting. Suggestions please” She looked at her note and glanced at their faces one after the other. There were murmurs of general approval and for the first time in weeks, Tunde saw a semblance of a smile on the director’s faces.
“Well done, Miss Smith. We are on our way to the Promised Land. I look forward to working with you ma. ” Edward Fadairo, Operations Director came forward to shake her hand.
“Thank you, sir. It will be my pleasure.” She smiled at him as she returned the firm handshake.
The meeting ended shortly after and another meeting began with the entire staff.
It was at the general meeting that Tunde realized the extent of Fatihat’s ruthlessness when dealing with someone she had no regard for. By the time they were through, half of the managers were gone and most of the employees were highly subdued by the new policies. He knew they will receive a lot of resignation letters in the ensuing weeks. He couldn’t fault her though because he would have done the same thing exactly!
It was evening time by the time fatihat sat down in one of the conference room seats and put her legs on the table. She brought out a cigar stick and smoked silently as the place was cleaned away while Tunde sat opposite her, watching her.
“What is on your mind? Did I mess up?” she asked quietly.
“You really want this company back on its feet, don’t you?” He asked casually.
“It is the only way I can get a return on my money.” She replied tartly as she dropped ash on the ashtray and recrossed her legs on the table.
He followed her movement with his eyes and sighed inaudibly. “What do you want, fatihat? I’m sorry about what happened years ago. It was a mistake and I apologize for it.” His voice rang with sincerity.
Fatihat dropped the half-smoked cigar in the harsh tray and lit another one before dropping her feet on the tiled floor, then stood up. “You know what, Tunde abeeb? How about if I offer you a good portion of what you wanted years ago in exchange for your father’s company completely and totally. I’m quite sure I can make it work.” She gave him a quick grin.
He sat back, speechless. “My father’s company means a lot to me and I’m determined to hold on to by at all cost.” He gritted his teeth, battling to quench his rising anger.
“I thought as much, so quit bringing up what happened between us years ago. Your eyes were wide open when you did it and you are not sorry, I’m quite sure of that.” She said coldly as she came to stand before him.
“We can’t continue this way if we are going to work together, Fatihat and you know it.” He tipped his chair back to look into her face. “Anyway, I’m impressed with what you did today, you have achieved half of what I intend to do.”He changed the topic swiftly and she sat down again.
“What do you have in mind?” She repeated his previous question. By the time he was through with his sketchy plan for the company’s future, she was really impressed and a part of her plot for revenge had just slid in place. Tunde Abeeb will work for her, Fatihat Ali aka Delilah Smith; she smiled inwardly as she listened to him.
By the time she got home that day, her stockbroker has gotten her the shares that belonged to the Abeeb brothers, Ayoola and Tayo.
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