By Tomi Adesina
“Dare is making me do the opening speech at next week’s Annual event” I said as I walked into my office.
Toni looked up with surprise written all over her face. “An intern is never chosen to make such speeches,” she said. “You must be special”
“Special?” I asked, as I sat down. What did Toni mean by special? I could argue that I am talented, but my skills haven’t been put to test, so how could Dare guess that I was special? It all boiled down to the thought that Dare liked me. “I think he likes me,” I said.
“Oh, well, if you say so” she said, smiling.
Why did Toni reply with so much surprise? I hope for my sake that she did not think I was below his standard. “Do you think it’s impossible?”
“Not that” she said, swirling her chair. “I thought you took so long to notice”
The Intercom phone rang and Toni picked it. “It’s for you,” she said staring at me. “Dare”. I looked at her strangely; I was just returning from Dare’s office, why would he call?
“Hello” I said into the receiver.
My eyeball widened as I dropped the phone. “Dare has a very important information for me” I said as I walked out smiling. I met Dare outside my office. “I was just on my way to see you,” I said, adjusting my loose collar.
“Its fine, I am here anyways” he replied.
“Shall we?” I asked.
“This way please,” he replied, and motioned to the elevator. “In preparation for the Annual meeting with the board and all, I want to show you to your new office,” he said, as we stepped out of the elevator.
“New Office?” I asked. The thought of the new office sent my brain buzzing. Why was he taking me upstairs? The offices upstairs were executive; Dare’s, The Board Room, and an unused office. Every promoted intern had their office on the second floor, why was mine different?
“Yes, I know it seems early but I feel that you deserve an office of your own” he started. He stopped in front of the unused office.
“Oh…well” I said. I was not excited about the office as I should have been. I was going to miss Mrs Small; she made everything fun for me. “Why is my office on the top floor?” I asked perplexed. “I should be on the second floor with every other promoted intern”
Dare sighed. “Darlene…can’t you just stop protesting for once, and follow instructions.”
“What instructions?” I asked. “I will miss Toni”
“Come on Darlene…This is your office, your responsibility! Don’t shirk it!” he said opening the door.
“Welcome to your office” he said, turning on the lights.
The office was spacious. I walked over to the large window. “Wow!” I said, staring out of the window. “The view from here is amazing!”
“What is it about this office and its view?” Dare asked, as he joined me at the window. “Those were the exact words of Reina when she got this office back then” he added.
“Who is Reina?” I asked.
“My ex-girlfriend” he replied scratching his head. “She used to own this office,” he added, leaning against the table.
“Oh…sorry about that” I replied.
“Sorry about what?” he asked. He sighed as he took his seat. “There is nothing to be sorry about, you didn’t even meet her,” he added.
He was right about that and my pretence spotted. I never met his ex, so why was I pretending to be sorry? I guess I was caught up in the traditional way of saying “sorry” to every unfortunate incident whether one had a good knowledge of it or not. “But why then are you giving me this office?” I asked. “It must remind you of her”
“This is business, and in business, personal matters are set aside, this office is yours and it is as far as business goes,” he said, doing his jacket buttons.
I am not ready to move here. It meant Dare and I would be on the top floor except for board meetings. “Is this office not meant to signify a level of ranking here?” I asked. “And I have just been promoted from my intern status, it doesn’t seem appropriate” I added quickly.
Dare scoffed. “This is the second time you are challenging my judgmental skills today Darlene,” he stressed. “You are so inquisitive…I am giving you this office because I have always respected you and your records from Law School, I believe you are in the best position to occupy this office,” he answered clenching his teeth.
Respect? My records from Law School? Where did all that come to play? How did Dare know about my records from Law School? Was he tracking my records? He has the rights to; I am his employee. “Oh…Ok”, I said. Dare smiled and walked out of the office. I looked at the office and the thought that Dare might be seeing me as a replacement for his ex struck me. “Why did he give me her office?” I thought aloud.
“Who is Reina?” I asked Toni as soon as I returned to my office; at least, I have not moved out.
“Dare told you about Reina?” she asked looking surprised.
“No, he just mentioned her name when he showed me to my new office” I replied taking my seat.
“OMG!” Toni exclaimed. “Did Dare give you his ex’s office?” she asked as she came over to my table.
“Yes” I replied, staring at my laptop.
“You are so lucky girl, every staff in this firm can only dream of being in that office” she started excitedly. At that moment, it seemed as though I was the only one who was not impressed with the office. “It has this amazing view that will take you into another world, the city’s lights come alive in the night and will take you to cloud 9!”
“Toni, why did Dare give me his ex’s office?” I asked, cutting off her excitement.
“Maybe, he felt it was time that the office got occupied, it had been vacant for more than a year since Reina left the firm” she shrugged.
“But, I don’t want to leave here” I said, looking sad.
“Oh, Come on…you have to move on, I have to build up new interns, it’s my job” she said hugging me.
We remained in the hug until Toni broke away. “Mushy stuff, right?” I said. We laughed. “Why don’t I buy you lunch?” I offered.
“For sure, with the way things are going, you will be having your first practice Court session in a bit, and before you know it, you are out there battling in our playgrounds” she said grabbing her handbag. “Shall we?” she said. “And to be frank, I am in the mood for some crispy KFC chicken”
We hung out at KFC until after lunchtime. Toni gave me tips on how to survive with Dare on the top floor. She did admit that Dare could get annoying and I just had to either put on a tough skin or rebuff him. She avoided discussions about Reina; I was interested in knowing the reason why Reina broke up with Dare even though I guessed that he must have put her off with his attitude. On getting back to the office, I decided that I would move to the new office early next week, I wanted a bit of repairs carried out there, like changing the wallpaper and all that. I did not want to smell Reina’s ghost in there.
…to be continued