Hariet: Hey!! In-law, how are you doing? * with five smiling smileys.
Me: Hariet, what a surprise, I’m fine and you? How come with my digits?
Hariet: I’m good and did you need to ask that?
Me: Thought as much, Tolu.
Hariet: Just that she doesn’t know that I have it and you ain’t a leaky mouth right?
Me: ‘Depends on what I will get for not going to be one’ I sent with a smiling smiley.
Hariet: ‘ Is someone asking for a bribe?’
Me: ‘Depends on what you call a bribe’. I sent smiling.
Hariet: ‘Then give me a figure or what to do’
Me: Will do when I think of something worthy of making me shut up. I sent with smileys.
Hariet: You are cray cray, how is your day going?
Me: Fine, just work.
Hariet: And you made me aching all round after Saturday and never bothered to check up, not cool.
Me: Sorry dear, how are feeling now.
Hariet: limme, you think sorry solves everything?
Hariet: Don’t Hey me please, I’m pissed with you.
Me: C’mon, don’t be like that. Ok, what can I do to make it up to you?”
Hariet:’ Gotcha!!’ she sent with loads of smiling smileys. ‘I think Dinner will do’
Me: Dinner? Ok, first of all where I work is very far from your home and I don’t have a car to come pick you up.
Hariet: Excuses! Excuses!! Excuses……
Me: For real dear. Not giving excuses.
Hariet: Fine, where do you work?
Me: XYZ mall, Mushin branch.
Hariet: For real, didn’t know XYZ has a branch in Mushin.
Me: They do, that’s where I work. I sent trying to discourage the dinner plans.
Hariet: Then I will come to you; I stay not far from there’
Me: And when did Banana Island become close to Mushin.
Hariet: The moment an in-law started trying to dodge from taking his to be in-law to dinner.
Me: Ok… not trying to dodge or give excuses but maybe we can reschedule, will be working late today’.
I had just two thousand naira with me and four thousand in the bank, a rough calculation of what dinner in the cheapest eatery of her taste wouldn’t cost less than 4k5.
Hariet: Perfect, I like late dinner. Gotta roll, see you later. She sent with a lips smiley before going offline.
I had loads of messages from other people who I was on with before Hariet. After replying the chats, I stepped out to use the ATM in front of the mall.
As the day rolled by slowly, I had the urge at intervals to send Tolu a message but had to wipe the messages after typing them. Maybe she should reach out to me first. The fact that she was coming online was a sign that things were cool with her.
I checked my time after packing up my stuff ready to go, praying that Hariet doesn’t call or call to cancel the dinner plans. It was already some twenty-minutes to seven pm and I was hoping that something comes up to interfere with the dinner meeting.
When my time finally clocked seven, I slung my bag across my shoulder and walked off heading towards the mall for the final supervision before heading home.
Though the mall closes by 10pm, my duty stops at 6pm while the reps and accountants continues till 10pm. The reps and the accountants work on shifts. Morning shifts end by 4pm while evening shifts ends by 10pm. Before leaving by 4pm , the accountants on morning shift submits their records to me which I look through before handing it over to the manager and takes care of the evening records the following morning.
I was almost through with the final supervision when my phone rang; yes, it’s Hariet.
“I am inside your mall.” She said as I answered the phone.
“Where exactly?” I asked leaving the wine section towards the entrance.
“Just got in.” she replied.
“Ok on my way to you.” I said and dropped the call making my way towards the entrance.
I saw her as she stood with her attention on her phone. She was dressed in a corporate black trouser and a whine color HTM shirt tucked into the trouser with a casual gold slippers, her weaves flowing down her shoulders. The cloth did well exposing her bottle shape figure.
“And this is a mall, not a phone pressing center.” I said placing my fingers over her phone as I got to her.
“Hey!! Good evening?” she greeted with smile opening her hands for a brief hug. “I didn’t know of this branch.” She said after the hug.
“Well, now you know.” I shrugged as she looked around.
“And what’s your duty here?” she asked as we walked towards the exit just before the security at the entrance greeted me goodnight with a sir. “Sir?” she asked raising her eyes.
“Well let’s say I assist the manager.” I replied with a smile. “And you don’t look like you are coming from home.”
“Yes, because I’m not from home but work.” She said punching some keys on her phone before turning it off.
“Work?” I started surprised; I thought she was in school. “Where do you work?”
“DEF” she answered nonchalantly.
My jaw dropped immediately before I asked, “Remind me again. How old are you?”
She laughed at the look I had and the question. “You are funny Toby. So where are you taking me for dinner?” she asked as we exited the mall heading towards the parking lot. Pressing a button on the remote key lock she had, the lights of a Lexus NX, 2015 model Dimmed twice and stopped.
“I think I have had enough surprises for a day.” I said standing still while she walked around to the car laughing.
“Is this yours?” I asked stupidly.
She shrugged with smiles looking at me while holding the door open. “Oga get in let’s go.” She said laughing hopping into the car.
I walked sluggishly towards the passenger side and got into the car which the interior left me more speechless.
“So oga, where are you taking me to?” she asked breaking the silence as we drove out of the mall premises.
“Ummm!! I don’t really know places around here because I’m not much of an ‘eat out’ person, so, you know a place?” I asked.
“Hey!! Don’t gimme that hand o cuz I know places.” She said laughing her voice going above the soft music emanating from her car stereo.
“Oh!! Wait,” I started catching what she meant. “lemme rephrase, do you know a place we can get a cheap dinner that won’t leave me trekking to work tomorrow?”
She busted out laughing hysterically, “You are something else I swear” she said catching her breath.
“Better to say the truth than form and suffer after.” I said. The air blowing from the car AC was getting me cold. “You mind if we enjoy some natural evening air?” I asked politely.
“And by that someone is asking that I turn off the AC.”
“If you are ok with it.”
She turned off the AC and pressed a button which had the glasses rolling down and immediately the night air oozed in hitting our faces blowing her hair all over hers.
“Yes, that feels like it.” She said smiling putting her hair away from her face while I breathed in deeply the evening air. She drove for a while and made a turn which finally saw us driving into a posh café.
“And this is how I will trek to work the rest of the week.” I said making a face as she eased the car into a space laughing.
Parked, she picked her clutch from her hand bag as we stepped down from the car.
“Just exactly what and what are ladies handbags suppose to contain?” I asked as we walked leisurely to the entrance.
“You don’t just want to know what our handbags are meant for, so , just leave us be.” She replied laughing as I made way for her to walk in through the door held open by the security.