“Cucku-roo-koo!” 6 am, and the cock had barely finished crowing as Iphey walked into the bank premises. ‘Click-click-click’ as her heels hit the concrete.
Truth is, Iphey was nervous about meeting with her boss Funmi again, which is why she was at the office early to take a closer look at her work. She had no idea what she could have done. Funmi had called her ‘unprofessional’. Why? She couldn’t think of a reason. Since she started at this bank, she has consciously been professional about everything.
She hurried to her desk in the common office and began shuffling through files and to-do lists making sure she had left no stones unturned. As she began to work, she turned on some music to keep her company. She had another hour or so to herself before the first set of bankers began to arrive. The crooning voice of Michael Buble will work wonders to calm her nerves.
“..Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out, You'll make me work so we can work to work it out, And promise you kid, I'll give so much more than I get, mmmm....I just haven't met you yet..” she sang to herself, bobbing her head to the music.
“Well I have certainly met you.” A voice said behind her. Startled she dropped the file she was holding.
“Oh I didn’t mean to startle you” It was the bank manager. Her bosses’ boss, Ayo.
“Oh its not problem sir. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here. I’ll just turn the music off”. She replied. She was a little uncomfortable being in the same room with him.
“Ah, but I didn’t ask you to turn it off.”
“No, its ok. I will turn it off. I have to run to the basement anyways."
“Why are you avoiding me eh Iphey?”
"Ah no its nothing sir." She got up to put the files away. As she walked by him, he grabbed her by the waist and held her close to him.
"I don’t bite." he whispered in her ear.
"Ahem!" A voice said behind them. It was Tunde, her colleague. She hurriedly released herself from Ayo's grip.
"I will see you later ok Iphey?" He smiled at them both. "Good morning Tunde."
"Good morning sir," Tunde eyed their boss as he strolled out.
"There is nothing going on, before you start to accuse me abeg!" Iphey began defending herself.
"Have I said anything?" Tunde laughed in her face. He ran a finger down Iphey’s arm and caught her palm in a lingering handshake.
"Now if only you will agree my own…." He let the words hang and then turned away. "See you at lunch?"
He smiled on his way to his office on the other side of the hall. He was in marketing where as she was in clearing operations. Oh lawd. Why did she attract all these men? Chinedu, Ayo and now Tunde. The latter was her friend but he would get her in trouble soon if he didn't stop.
Tunde had just gotten engaged but would not stop his flirting with all the girls in the bank especially her. Other staff began to arrive including those who shared her office and they all settled down to the day's grind.
Knock knock! She spun on her seat. It was Funmi. "Meet me in my office in 10”.
Great the day just got worse, Iphey muttered under her breath. She tidied her desk, as she got ready to head over to Funmi’s office. What could I have done? She wondered to herself trying to figure out what it was. As she approached Funmi’s office, she heard voices, so she stood outside waiting.
“Why did you call this meeting Funmi?”
“This girl is not doing her work Ayo! Her work is sub standard, not up to par. She needs to be taught a lesson.”
“But you know this is not the company policy. You need to tell her privately first before bringing me into this.” Pause. “ Are you doing this because we are not sleeping together anymore Funmi?" He queried her.
"What we had was more than sleeping together Ayo and you know it!" Funmi yelled.
"You're married now Funmi. YOU went and got married but decided NOT to tell me..."
"Did you tell me when you got married three years ago? And did that stop us?"
There as silence in the room and the sound of Funmi's heavy breathing.
"Funmi, I believe you're being harsh on your staff because you're frustrated more than anything else. So leave the girl, she has done nothing wrong. You know, the transfer offer to be with your husband is still open. I think you should consider it. Me and you are finished."
The door swung open and Ayo nearly ran over Iphey in the doorway. Iphey avoided meeting his eyes. He smiled at her.
“I’m guessing you heard all that then?” he asked her. She looked everywhere but at him.
“It was bound to come out sooner or later,” he muttered, almost to himself. "But you should keep it to yourself." Ayo gave her a look-over, with a knowing twinkle in his eyes as he walked away.
Iphey rubbed the back of her neck feeling very uncomfortable. Just then, a visibly shaken Funmi opened the door.
“What are you standing there for?” she snapped.
“Err..you asked me to come and see you?’ Iphey answered.
“Forget it. Let me just warn you that I will not take kindly to any silly mistakes from you again. You hear me?”
“Yess ma,” Iphey answered sheepishly.
“Now get back to work, before I change my mind”. She spat at her.
Iphey spun on her heels and raced back to her desk. Its wasn’t yet 10am and the day was already off to a rocky start. She still had to call her mother when she got home that evening. Thoughts of Chinedu had chased it from her mind last night...