It was the first time since getting engaged that Natasha is spending time with Raymond. And here she was, spending the night in his apartment.
Raymond was seated in the living room making a phone call, and all his attention seems to be devoted to whoever is at the other end of the line.
“Sir, we are committed to safeguarding lives and properties, but this expansion and investment is necessary.” He said to into the receiver. “I am very well aware of the fact that we need to go public before we can expand, but I want to be sure that the Government will support our expansion after going public.” He added. “Very well sir. I will be in Abuja, first thing tomorrow morning. Goodnight.” With this he dropped the phone.
Tasha who has been standing all the while sat down beside him. “Who was that?” She asked.
“The minister for Trade and Investment.” Raymond replied.
“What was that about?” She asked.
“I believe it is high time we expanded our frontiers and became independent of some things. But we need to get our IPO done before that.” He explained.
“That’s a very huge step.” Tasha said quietly. “I hope you get it done successfully.”
“Amen. Is dinner ready?” He asked.
“In five minutes.” She replied as she stood up to go check what she had on fire. She only took two steps before she stopped and turned to face her fiancé. “Don’t you think we should talk about your political ambition?”
“I’m listening.” Raymond replied.
“When did you agree to contest for a seat in the Senate and why would you go ahead without at least informing me. And I got to know at the same time when the public got to know?”
Raymond kept quiet for a while. “I’m sorry you weren’t pre-informed, but Dad offered me the ticket the night he invited us for dinner which you missed. I couldn’t turn him down cos the party wanted someone from his family to run. He couldn’t trust anybody except me. I he invited you so you could have a say, but in your absence and judging by the timeline the party gave, we needed to communicate our decision to the party that same night, so he told me to decide based on what you are cool with.”
“And you think I am cool with you playing politics?” Tasha asked.
“No. In fact, I knee you would say no and I cannot afford that. I have always had political dreams and ambitions and I can’t let you discourage me from pursuing it.”
“Darling, politics is risky, ungodly and meant for the heartless. You are none of those people. You can’t fit in. You can’t play by their rules.”
“If my dad could play politics even when he was called unfit and he became a state governor, I think I can play too.” Raymond replied.
“Politics is not like that. Your dad is your dad, with his distinct charisma and charm. You are you and you are not fit for politics.” She tried to make him see from her standpoint. “Loom at it this way, OBJ is a former President but none of his children are in politics, Atiku is a former Vice president and no other Atiku is in politics. Even the great Awolowo, Azikiwe, Abiola, none of their children played politics.”
“Iyabo Obasanjo used to be a Senator.” Raymond replied in his defense.
“Makes no difference.” Tasha downplayed his point.
“Why didn’t you mention Tinubu?”
Clearly, she knew nothing she said would make him bulge.
“Dinner is ready.” She announced storming off into the kitchen.
Less than three minutes later, dinner was served and the couple sat at the dinning room.
“How’s the chicken?” Tasha asked.
“Well boiled, perfectly fried and the taste is outta this world.” Raymond replied. “I’m afraid I will bite my tongue.”
He added with a chuckle.
Tasha smiled. If nothing, she is as sure as hell about he culinary skill and she doesn’t hide them. Having learnt from the best, her Aunt who doubled as her foster mother for many years maintained catering as a side job.
“Thanks.” She replied.
Her ringing phone was what caught her attention. She excused herself and went into the living room where her phone was.
“I don’t understand how this thing is called a mobile phone but it is less mobile than it ought to be.” Raymond commented.
“Na you sabi.” She sneered.
She spoke in low tones with the caller more than three minutes and by the time she returned to the dinning table, Raymond was almost done eating.
“Who is that?” He asked as he took a large chunk of the chicken into his mouth.
“It’s my Aunt.” She replied. “I have to go home now.”
She rushed into the bedroom, reappeared almost immediately with her handbag and her car key dangling on her fingers.
“Calm down and tell me whatever the problem is.” Raymond almost shouted.
“It’s Philip. He is in trouble and I don’t know how much trouble he is in. But the way my Aunt sounded on the phone, I think it is very serious.”
“Can’t they handle it, what if you are out of the country?” He asked.
“I won’t be able to sleep knowing that my son is in trouble. I have to be there.”
“Are we ever gonna have time for each other? If our jobs is not causing the hindrance, your son is.” Raymond complained.
Tasha leaned forward, kissed him. “I’m very sorry, but we will fix it.” With this she walked towards the exit. “Goodnight.”
Once she was inside her car, she ignited the car engine and slowly drove out of the compound. Her mind flashed back to the events of the day and one particular thought lingering in her mind, refusing to leave is the discussion she had with Raymond less than three minutes ago.
“Is Raymond complaining about Philip?” She asked aloud. “He better not be.” She concluded.
There comes a time in the life of man when certain habits intensifies and some others stops. Such was the case with Raheem and his best friend and business partner, Raymond. Since the latter’s engagement, he appears to be more withdrawn from some of the social activities he is known for. Raymond now feels the need and urgency to go home once work closes everyday, contrary to what was obtained before when 10pm is just the beginning of a wonderful evening.
Raheem sat on either side of two top ranking staff at RayRah petroleum. Even though they were both his employees, they often find time out to relate outside the confines of their workplace and chat as friends. And with Raymond out of the picture, Raheem is out with them.
“Raheem, are you ever gonna get married?” One of the men, a Director of the Company’s finance department.
“Marriage is a scam. A restriction and a life punishment.” Raheem replied.
“And Raymond is about entering one.” The second man, the head of HR remarked.
“He will learn.” Raheem replied.
“You know, it is funny how a known player like Raymond will be preparing to settle down while a non-player like Raheem are not even thinking of dating.” The Finance director said thoughtfully.
“And who told you Raheem is not a player? He is always around the HR department looking for which employee he can prey o. He is a lowkey player.” The HR manager replied.
“Even in my presence you are talking about me.” Raheem joked. “But even if I am a player, I never impregnated any staff at any point in time, did I?”
“None that I could think of.” The head of HR replied. “And last year, we covered a major scandal up.” He added.
“Talking of scandal, is the company going public?” The Finance director asked.
“No, we are not.” Raheem replied. “In the next three five years, it is not on the table.”
“My department is hosting a group of external auditors next week for a full blown audit of our accounts and possible cover ups before we present it before the board.” The Finance director explained. “And I don’t know why we need external auditors.”
“And why we have to present the report to the board at this time of the year.” The head of HR added. “Raheem, what are you not telling us?”
Even though he heard the question, he couldn’t reply because him mind was far away, filled with series of thoughts. How come the company is pushing for an IPO and he as the co-CEO is not aware? And he even sits on the board as a member and he is not aware of any board meeting coming up except for the quarterly meeting which is not in another two months.
“Maybe, Raymond has answers to his questions.” He thought as he downed the content of his cup. “That’s enough drink for a night. One of you should foot the bill.” He said as he stood up.
“Drive safe boss.” They hailed as he exited the bar.
As soon as he was out of sight, the two men face each other with a shocked look on their faces. “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
“I am too scared to think what you are thinking.”
To be continued