Rain sat at the back of the church because she was late. She was late because she couldn’t make up her mind whether or not to attend the funeral service of the man that could be her biological father. She was late because she wasn’t sure if somehow, she had a hand in his death when she decided to go on a dirt-gathering expedition against him. Rain was late because she felt guilty being there in the first place, when the truth about her existence could upset his widow and children, and forever taint the picture-perfect image, they had painted of him, in life and even in death.
Although Rain was late to the service and she missed all of the tributes and eulogies that were said in honour of the late Donald Wakama before her arrival, she caught that of Chief Edozie. She heard every word of it and it left her in awe, how her boss was able to stand there for twenty-five minutes or so, and speak with so much intensity and eloquence about a man that stole so much money from him and betrayed the trust required by the office he occupied.
When Chief Edozie went back to join his wife and the others where they sat, Rain wanted to go to him and tell him how well he did. She wanted to wrap her arms around him, and console him because he looked lost and broken, like a little child in search of love and attention. His declaration in the house of God that he craved comfort for the irreparable loss of a personal friend and pillar in his company felt to her like a cry for affection, and in that moment, something in her heart responded to his cry. However, she restrained herself knowing that his wife was by his side and everyone in Edozie Express knew how protective Ohita Edozie was of her husband’s space.
Since Rain agreed to accompany him to Abuja when he travelled to the FCT for a few days of rest starting from Wednesday and all through the weekend, to her mind, it felt like she had slept with him for a second time already. When friends and colleagues from Edozie Express waved at her as she entered the church, she could have sworn that they knew already the plan she had to spend some time away from Yenagoa with him. The thought alone spiked her heart rate uncontrollably.
As for Chief Edozie’s wife, their eyes met for about a second when Rain went to the front of the church to drop her offering in the giant bowl meant for the general public. In that split second they looked at each other, Rain almost raced out of the church because it felt like the woman could see right through her and straight to her guilt. Rain hadn’t exactly said yes to being his mistress, but she was already feeling shamefaced and it made her wonder how girls like Annie pulled it off with so much ease and confidence.
Rain chastised herself for agreeing to be his escort for the trip. She hated that she even went back to work with EE after turning in her resignation letter and walking out on the astonishing offer Chief Edozie made her if she agreed to be his girlfriend that first time. She thought she was firm, she wanted to be firm, but her Uncle Kalku begged her to consider the whole thing from a different perspective. Because he was older and wiser, and way more experienced in love and life, and in the ways of men and women than she was, she let him finish his long talk and maybe that was a mistake on her part.
After he spoke, she remembered crying really hard because he ended by advising her to go back and apologise to Chief Edozie. At that point she wanted to tell him everything, including the fact that they had sex in his office and that Chief Edozie wanted a relationship. But she held back. Uncle Kalku being an elderly man, and a father figure to her, she didn’t think it was appropriate being that granular. In the end though, all he knew, the only information he had to work with was that Chief Edozie paid people to spy on her boyfriend for days and she didn’t feel safe working for him anymore. What if he had her under surveillance too?
“You can’t resign because of that.”
“But I already did, and I can’t go back. Please uncle, don’t ask me to go back there.”
“You will, you have to. How do you think you will get over what your boyfriend did with Annabel if you don’t have a job to distract you? Besides, that is not the kind of job you throw away just like that. Look at my own children here, after years of leaving school, all of them are still living with us in this small house. Look Rain, this country is hard. Don’t think that things have suddenly become good for the common man in this country because you landed such a good job on a platter of gold. Let me tell you authoritatively and for free, that if you leave Edozie Express because your boss did something you didn’t like, you will regret it. Rain my daughter, if you are not careful, you will be home for many years and you won’t even as much as get a letter of invitation for an interview.”
“But uncle – ”
“Don’t but uncle me. They gave you a house. Not just any house oh, but a storey building. They gave you a car, not just any car oh, but a jeep. You travel, not just anywhere oh, but oversea and you want to resign. Ah my daughter, make you think this thing well oh.”
“Chief Edozie monitoring David and I, Annabel and David sleeping together behind my back, Annabel getting pregnant for David, my parents coming over and saying nonsense to me in my own office after what happened to me in their house when I was a teenager, Mr. Wakama dying the way he did…the whole thing is just too much uncle. I’m really confused and I don’t know what to do. How much can one person take in such a short time? Uncle, I don’t know, I don’t know. I just don’t want to make a mistake I’ll regret for the rest of my life because I didn’t think things through and I acted out of panic and confusion.”
“But that is exactly what will happen if you resign and you don’t go back and beg that man. This Chief Edozie, he has been very kind to you, don’t forget that. And no matter what he did that is causing problem between you and David right now, I’m sure he did it with your best interest at heart. After all, you occupy a very big position in his company and if this David cannot be trusted he can cause problems for you there as well and maybe even do something that might affect your job and even the company as a whole.”
“But uncle, please let me stay here for a few days and think about everything.”
“You can stay here as long as you want, Rain. But then you will be hiding and you have always been someone that does not hide. You confront your issues head on.”
“You think so?”
“I know so. Have I not watched you grow up from a girl to a woman in this very house? Rain, I know your Oga will call you and when he does, please listen to what he will say to you.”
For a moment, Rain was certain that her uncle knew everything, even though she only gave him the synopsis.
When Chief Edozie called her later that evening, there was no time for beating around the bush. He went straight to the point.
“Rain, you have to come back.”
“Chief – ”
“I need you now more than ever before. With Wakama dead, what do you think will happen to the finance department of the company? There has to be continuity and you are the link because of the brilliant work you have put in these last few weeks.”
“You want me to be CFO?”
“I will give you the position today if you want it.”
“Is there a price tag? Do I have to do something for you in return or do you think I truly deserve it?”
“Rain, you deserve it. You have earned your spot, that much I know. But I also like you very much and I want us to be something. I want our relationship to evolve.”
“And become what? Chief, this theory of evolution would complicate things between us, in the office and generally.”
“It wouldn’t complicate things if I’m no longer CEO and I’ve already told you I was stepping down.”
At the end of the day, Rain felt like she didn’t have a choice. She went back to work with the expectation that she would step into Donald Wakama’s shoes, but Chief Edozie had other plans. On the day she thought she would get the promotion Chief promised her, Shata Anele was introduced to them as the new CFO of EE. Because of his youthfulness, his looks and his charisma, everyone in the company applauded coming on board.
Initially Rain was disappointed that she was overlooked for the position, but eventually she got around to the idea of having Shata as her immediate supervisor. Chief Edozie told her Shata was very good at his job and Rain knew she still had many things to learn about her role. She knew she wasn’t ready or experienced enough to be CFO of such a large company.
The shocker for her however, was when Mrs. Edozie replaced her husband as CEO. Rain couldn’t decide which was worse – dating the boss, or dating the boss’s husband.
When Rain expressed her discomfort to Chief Edozie, he laughed it off as naivety. However, when he realised how serious she was about quitting again, he offered to move her to head his newspaper company. It was in the same conversation he mentioned the trip to Abuja and how it would afford them time to discuss the future of their relationship and her future in his empire.
“Sir, wouldn’t this be coming too soon after the burial? And in any case, where would I tell madam I’m traveling to at the same time you too will be out of town. She will suspect something.”
“Rain – ”
“Sir, what if someone sees us together in the plane or even in the hotel and they go back and tell your wife? I don’t think I can do this. Chief, this thing won’t work.”
“Rain, you are over thinking this small thing.”
“It’s not small, and there’s nothing wrong with being cautious, Chief. Besides, someone has to think of repercussions, and that someone is me.”
“You will be fine. Yes, my wife would be taking over from me and you’d have to work directly with her every day, but she doesn’t have to know what’s going on between us. And if you join another company in the group that isn’t within the scope of her coverage, then you won’t get to see her that often. That way you don’t have to feel guilty about anything.”
“When you put it like that it sounds good, but somethings are easier said. How soon can I leave EE for the newspaper?”
“Let’s talk in Abuja. I think you should stay in EE long enough to clear the mess Donald left behind though. I can’t think of a better person to work with Shata. But as soon as he wraps up his investigation and I get my money back, I promise you, you’d be the next MD of the newspaper company.”
“Let’s talk about this some more when we are in Abuja, please.”
“And I really love you, Rain. I want to make you one of the most powerful women in Bayelsa state. I want to make you rich beyond your wildest dreams.”
“Thank you, sir…I don’t know what to say.”
“We’d be in Transcorp Hilton. Me, you, good food and a very comfortable bed.”
Suddenly Rain was excited about being with him in Abuja. She knew she wasn’t thinking straight though, but she couldn’t help herself. The thing with D3 and Annabel really messed up her mind and emotions, and she needed a rebound. But Chief Edozie wasn’t just a rebound, he was also her revenge, because when she became the richest woman in Yenagoa, David Spiff III will rue the day he slept with her best friend.
The pastor announced the recessional hymn and Rain stood up to join the rest of the church in singing. The officiating pastor and his wife, the choristers, immediate family members and dignitaries all accompanied Donald Wakama’s casket in a solemn procession out of the church. No one in the group or around her caught it, but Chief Edozie winked at Rain. She guessed he was telling her they’d talk later or something like that, or maybe he just wanted her to know that he saw her. Whatever it was, she didn’t wink back. Now she had plunged, she couldn’t afford to be careless.