A deal was struck.
Justin, Ugochi and Segun all went to work with the company. Justin and Ugochi got the deal they wanted whilst Segun was employed as an entry level staff under normal circumstances. Segun was ecstatic when he got the deal and his assent to it meant the others had to accept the employment offer. They all resumed on the same day. That was when the segregation started.
Thinking they would work as a team as they did during their service year, Justin and Ugochi had already resumed and gone to their former unit and office. Then Timi came and found then studying up on the market trends as they had skipped a few days.
Timi clapped his hands slowly and exhaled deeply before announcing. ‘Mr Jacobs would like for both of you to come with me. He wants to brief you as to your job roles.’
Justin smiled, ‘we know our roles Timi. We’ve been doing it for a year.’ He looked over at Ugochi who nodded in agreement.
Timi sighed. ‘Mr Jacobs would like to see you now. Thank you.’ He turned and left.
Bile rose up in Justin, ‘the fuck was that about?’ His anger was growing.
Ugochi rolled her eyes. ‘Language Justin. Have I not taught you anything?’
Justin shrugged. ‘I hate redundant meetings.’
‘Same here.’ She agreed. ‘Still we’ve got to see what this is about. You know he won’t like the way you wrung his hand during the negotiation. I heard he made the office hell for all his subordinates that week. So I reckon you… nope, we have loads of enemies already.’
Justin nodded slowly. ‘Not my intention anyway. I guess there’s a repercussion for everything.’ He got up and extended his hand to her.
She hissed. ‘Oga, nothing has changed o. In this building, we’re competiting. Outside, you can practice your chivalry on me, I’ll let you.’ She brushed his hand aside leaned forward planting a kiss on his cheek. ‘Be a darling and let’s go.’ She winked and started out.
He stood there watching her for a few seconds before following after her.
They met Mr Jacobs waiting with Segun at the reception. A stern look on his face. ‘What kept you ladies so long?’
Ugochi’s pace slowed at the remark. She turned to look at Justin who walked past her oblivious of the verbal attack. Segun sat up as Justin stopped a few inches from Mr Jacobs. The atmosphere became tense within seconds.
‘I don’t mean to be rude sir, but last time I checked, I was male. I still am. Addressing me as a female is a desperate move, one that’s beneath you.’ He took a step back and held Jacobs stare. Ugochi stepped forward and stood by him holding his hand.
Segun saw it all. In his own book, you didn’t take on the HR staff, let alone their top dog, but Justin seemed not to care. He wondered what they did in the last twelve months that gave them the audacity to be bold.
Jacobs blinked. Again, he allowed the kid another small win. He clapped his hands and started the briefing there. ‘Segun and Ugochi will work together in the research department. Justin you have been deployed to marketing. The unit Head specifically requested you.’
Justin gritted his teeth. He recalled how Mr Kola the Head of Marketing had incessantly tried to commandeer him as a corper. Now he thought sadly, the man had his wish. Suddenly, the appointment didn’t sound so lucrative.
‘I have no experience in marketing,’ he protested.
Jacobs smiled. Now the fun part begins he thought. ‘It’s not so different from research, you just have to convince the customers instead of fellow staff members. Anyways, Kola’s waiting for you in his office.’ He made for the elevator leaving all three to stew.
Ugochi held his face in her hands after Jacobs departure. ‘Say the word and we’ll walk. I’m with you all the way.’
He smiled sadly. ‘Nope. We’re fighters. Time to show these guys what we really are made of. They don’t seem to know.’
She slapped his cheek and smiled. ‘My guy. Guess I’ll see you later.’ She turned to Segun who was lost in his own thoughts contemplating whether the move was a wise one. ‘Come, let’s go.’
Segun rose, straightened his jacket and pants then went with Ugochi.
Justin walked slowly to the settee in the reception and sat down. He held his head in his hands wondering which way his life would go if he decided to reject the offer. There was also the baggage of Ugochi and Segun. He couldn’t bear to see them lose a good job on his whim. Somehow, he knew he would have to make it work.
Finally, he rose up and straightened his clothes. Then he exhaled audibly, and started for the elevators. Time to go swim with the sharks.
Two months had passed since Justin took the leap of faith and walked into the marketing department. Two months of gruelling hard work, annoying prospecting and double crossing stock houses. He realised after his first two weeks that money was the toy the people in his department played with. No amount fazed them, there were always stock options to buy; invest in.
Slowly, he had learned the ropes, diligently working to become the best in his unit. He worked late most nights and that caused the first fight between the lovers. Ugochi wanted him to spend time with her after work, hang out at a relaxation spot and gist. He had no such dreams.
After two months had passed and he had sufficiently learned the ropes, he started closing normally. Ugochi and Segun saw more of him and Justin had begun making insane money via the sale of stocks.
That was the genesis of trouble.
Owing to his productivity, and Mr Kola wanting to spur him along, Justin was introduced to a new client-Mr Adams. An innocuous smile and handshake later, Justin didn’t realise that he’d just signed his death warrant. All he could see was money and the possibilty of tapping it.
© Derin Gbadebo 2013.