Some personnel jumped for joy after i resumed work. Others were jealous and angry especially Mummy B whose mood changed on seeing me.
She was definitely disappointed. She thought I would be gone for good. “What are you doing back here? You handed in your resignation”
“Why don’t you go and ask the Manager and not bother me with questions?” I snapped back knocking on Mr. Henry’s Office then i entered with a faint smile.
“Good morning Sir” i greeted and he nodded.
He seemed preoccupied with a lot of things, especially his laptop
. “I just came to thank you once more for helping me out of jail and thank you for giving me my job back.”
“You’re welcome and I didn’t give you back your job. I didn’t fire you in the first place” he answered and I laughed.
“You seem like you have a lot on your plate. What’s going on today? The hotel seems…” I stalled, “Busy” I continued and I saw him type on his laptop.
“Yeah…. Hotels are usually busy around this time… It’s the festive season. You should know” “Apart from that, it’s like something important is happening today”
“Yes” he answered still typing.
“The whole reason for asking is to know. I’m just saying not like I’m standing here to get the gist, I could go meet a few persons to”
“Gossip?” He asked then chuckled
. “I heard that’s like your major” he said still typing and I scoffed. He finally took his eyes off the laptop.
“There’s a meeting today to choose the assistant manager”
“Who?” I asked smiling. The assistant matters a lot.
“The lady with my girlfriend the other day at the restaurant” he answered and I scoffed. “Are you serious?” I asked, “What?”
“You’re going to put this hotel in your absence in the hands of a bimbo like that?”
“Adesuwa” he said in a warning tone.
“That girl hasn’t handled anything in her life, I’m pretty sure the only thing she can handle is her make up”
“Sue me if you want Sir, fire me if you want but I’ll say the truth. That girl is no Assistant… Maybe an assistant make up artiste. This isn’t her field. She doesn’t know Jack about the hotel management”
“Listen to yourself Sir, you just said she’ll learn. Learn what? Why would give a position to a person who doesn’t know shit about the job. Your girlfriend probably suggested it Shea? She’s trying to help her friend”
“You don’t understand”
“The pressure I’m under from everyone! Mom… I already promised” “Think of the hotel Sir, for the first time, I think the hotel finally has a good person to manage it. If there’s anyone that can make this hotel good again, it’s you and every decision you’ll make will either make or mar the management. Think of this”
“What am I supposed to do? The boards are waiting, Jummy already told me Emmy organized a after party this night”
“You’re the boss, I’m not telling you to disappoint them. Just do what is right for the hotel”
“What should I do about the assistant?”
“The assistant should be someone who has experience with managing people. If you want my opinion, I don’t think there’s any reason looking for what’s under your nose.”
“I don’t understand”
“If there’s one person that should be your assistant, it should be Mrs. Haruna. She knows this hotel well enough and has tried to managed in the absence of a manager. She’s amazing, and she knows every worker, she should be a better assistant. The essence of an assistant is having someone relieve you of your workload not having a workload you may need to relieve yourself of” I paused.
“Good day Sir” I added then I left him to think about it.
I walked into the maids quarter smiling. I’ve actually missed entering into it. There I found Lilian still on her casual, top and Jean. She was smiling bashfully. I believe the word for it is ‘blushing’.
“Welcome back once again” she announced and I laughed. “Let’s bow for our queen” Michelle teased and I picked up a towel on a stool then threw it at her and she laughed.
I noticed Lilian was still blushing so I decided to tickle her. “What’s it with the smile? You’ve been blushing since I walked in”
“Maybe I’m starting to crush on you” she answered bringing out her tongue and I chuckled.
“Either that or someone has a new crush” I guessed and she scoffed. “Abeg help me ask, I’ve been asking since she came in”
“I’m not currently crushing on anyone” “Lilian I’m your best friend, you’re not supposed to keep anything away from me” I tried to play on her feelings and it worked.
“Okay fine! It’s not a crush. I met a guy on Saturday night. He’s nice, like really nice and we’ve been talking.” “Where were you on a Saturday night? The Lilian I know does not do bad things. Who is teaching you bad things?” I joked with a Yoruba accent and she laughed.
“I took a friend’s shift at Your best mall; that big mall across”
“We know!!!” Michelle and I yelled.
She was trying to describe the mall as though we’re not in this same Lagos. We were dying of suspense already.
“We spoke for a while and …..”
I tried Adesuwa’s number all through Friday but I wasn’t reachable. Information reached me that Adesuwa has been arrested. I was on night shift and there was no one to exchange with so I had to stay.
I decided to pay her a visit the next day where she broke the good news that she would be coming back to the hotel.
Later in the day I received a call from a friend about an emergency she had to attend to in her village. She wanted me to take her shift.
“Babe I’m on night shift too oh, look for another person”
“You don’t understand. Lilian you’re my last hope oh”
“What am I supposed to do? Leave my job and attend to yours? It not fair. Explain things to your manager” “That wicked man? He said I should quit the job. You know how much I love my job”
“I love my job too” I complained.
“My supervisor said I should get someone to take my shift but if I can’t I should forget the job”
“Is it compulsory to go to the village?”
“It’s my mom, she’s seriously ill. As it is sef, I’m already booking a bus down to Benin”
“I’m sorry about your mom. Don’t you have other alternatives?”
“Lilian you know I’m a rudie, and I use people a lot. They don’t even want to pay attention to me but I know that you have a good and tender heart. Lilian I’ll begging you in the name of God, please take my shift” she busted into tears and I shut my eyes in thought.
“Call your supervisor and tell him or her that you have a replacement. What time do you start?”
I called Mrs. Haruna immediately. I told her I was sick. “You don’t sound sick” she answered and I chuckled faintly. “Can I be sick for one night? I’m having issues here”
“Take care of yourself before tomorrow” she answered and I smiled.
I resumed Jennifer’s shift before five. I didn’t even know what the job description was. The mall was as busy as ever!
Suddenly i saw a young lady walk up to me.
“You must be Vivian. I’m Lara”
“It’s Lilian” I corrected. “Sorry” she laughed.
“It sounded like Vivian when she called. You’re to put on your uniform, the dressing room is over here, follow me” she suggested and I did.
“So does Jennifer do?”
“Smile and try to help customers.”
“Jennifer doesn’t smile” I said unconsciously and she laughed. “Not when you’re trying to earn some cash and tips from rich customers” she answered and I chuckled.
“You’re to stand on the East wing today. That was Jennifer’s shift for the night”
“That’s the session for…” She paused laughing at me. I felt uncomfortable. “Don’t worry. I hope you have a sharp memory cause I’ll give you a tour of the mall”
“Jesus!” I muttered almost dying of nerves. “Things I do to help a friend” i added and she laughed.
“At least you have a great smile, use it well, you might get a tip or someone to take you home tonight” she advised handing a uniform to me.
“I don’t understand”
“Some of do this job for the for the connection it brings. Welcome to Bestchoice mall”
I stood by the East wing monitoring customers who bought things around that section and I also gave directions where to find specific goods.
A guy walked up to me with his hands plunged in his pocket. He had a Bluetooth fixed to his ears. “Good evening to you Sir, can I be of any help to you?”
“I am looking for the section to get toys for kids. I rarely shop here so …”
“Oh” I paused in thought trying to remember the section. “It should be there Sir” I pointed at any spot.
“Okay. Thanks” he said and he walked away.
I sighed hoping I haven’t shown him to the wrong place. Whatever! It’s not as if he would get lost.
I tried to brush my thought away from it while I smiled to other customers.
Suddenly I saw him walk up to me again. “You said it was that way” he pointed to the direction I gave and I nodded.
“It wasn’t” he laughed and I sighed. “I said it should be there… I think it’s that other way” I pointed to another spot and he laughed.
“Should? Think? Don’t you work here? You’re supposed to know this place like the back of your hand. Are you new?”
“Yes and No. I work elsewhere, I’m just taking a friend’s shift. I’m sorry” I smiled.
“If I was asking of heaven, you could have shown me hell” he assumed and I laughed.
“I’m sorry. I s–k at this job, it’s not my thing” I answered and he laughed.
“At least you have the smile for it” he complimented and I laughed.
“Can you walk with me? Let’s find the section together, I could use your company”
“I don’t know if it’s acceptable”
“You’re supposed to take care of the customers needs right? Just help me find the toys and probably pick them. I’m not good with kids and their stuffs” he answered and I followed him.
“Seriously?” I asked, “Why won’t you be good with your own child”
“Nigerians!!” He chanted, “I never said anything about having a child” “Sorry, I just assumed.”
“Nigerians can assume!” He added and I laughed.
“You laughter is beautiful” he added and I smiled once again. I was blushing like a little kid. Two comments in one conversation.
He looked like a player. I needed to be very careful.
“He’s my godson not my son”
“You s–k with kids and someone made you her child’s godson?” I asked and he laughed. “She’s my best friend and I said the same thing to her too”
“The child was names after me, Deji” he paused, “What’s your name?” He asked and I sighted the toys section. “Lilian” I answered and he smiled.
“We’re here” I announced. “I have to go” I turned my back to leave but he held me back.
“Please help me out”
“I don’t want to get my friend in trouble.” “You won’t. I have to get this to him before the day runs out.”
“It’s his birthday and I forgot”
“You’re an horrible God father” “I’ve called myself worse” he answered and I laughed.
“I’ve had a lot on my mind and…. I forgot to set a reminder. The mom just called me a while ago to remind me. Junior would hate me if I don’t get him something. He’s just five but this boy can beef”
“What do you think he would like?” I asked and he shrugged.
“He loves toys and gadgets. That I know”
“What kid doesn’t like toys?” I asked and he laughed. “I’m horrible at these things. Just help out”
“Kids usually love things with their favourite cartoons on it. What’s his favorite cartoon”
“That’s easy it’s PJ mask.”
“Well now it’s depends on your budget. How much are you willing to use?”
“You sound like an economist. Well any budget as long as I get the hell out of here” he moved over to a section of cars.
The price tags on it were more than my salary. His phone rang and he picked it up listening to the caller.
“Okay” he kept on saying till he hung up.
“Please help me pick one out of these, I have to go now” he suggested and I picked one for him.
“This should do” I answered and he nodded walking towards me while pressing his phone. “What your phone number?” He asked, “In case I want to call to appreciate you for helping out”
“You can appreciate me now”
“It’s not the same”
I looked up at the surveillance.
“I don’t want to be caught”
“I’m just a customer bringing out my phone.. Just call it” he requested with a smile and I did.
Afterwards he squeezed something into my palm. It was money. “I don’t want”
“It’s a tip, it’s a tradition when I shop. Thanks” he chipped in.
I walked in late into the board meeting where I had partners present along with heads of departments. Emmy was present too.
The room while was buzzing before I walked in.
“I apologise for coming in late. I was making calculations” I sat down on the chair in the middle of the room.
. All eyes fell on me.
“We’re all gathered here towards a particular vision, whether or not I would choose a person to fill position of the assistant manager.”
I noticed Emmy’s countenance. She was probably wondering why I added whether or not.
“I made a decision this morning, not for me, but for the growth of the hotel. Someone said to me a while ago that an assistant should be someone who knows the hotel, not just the hotel, but the staff too. I want to see the hotel grow. I would love to manage it with no other person than….” I noticed Emmy smile.
Sorry to disappoint but… no other person but Mrs. Doyin Haruna” I concluded and she shook her head in shock. Then she turned over to Emmy.
“I’m pretty sure everyone must have heard from sources that Miss. Emmy would be the assistant but I’m here to announce the information as false. Those are only rumours that should not be held to heart. She would hold the position of the secretary of this organization.”
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