THE EXCHANGE (Episode 9)
I almost screamed when I saw him…Tunji had been with me at the Salon all morning and had just left. Baba T could tell I was jittery “Are you not happy to see me?” he asked. I told him I was just shocked to see him. He asked if we could go somewhere and talk, I quickly obliged as I did not want any drama if Tunji came back. He said he had missed me and just wanted to see me again…he also brought me some gifts from his trip to the United Kingdom. He said he really wanted to spend some time with me and he also had some important things to discuss with me. We talked for a while but I just wasn’t comfortable, I had to tell him about Tunji and that he also lived in Abeokuta and I didn’t want any trouble. He laughed and reminded me of a Yoruba adage that means
“A woman is permitted to be wooed by a thousand and one men, but can only marry the one on top of it”. He said he understood and that Laide (my cousin) already told him about my ‘boyfriend’.
“He is more than just a boyfriend” I quickly added
“We’ll see about that” Baba T responded He asked if I could come see him in Lagos the following weekend so we could talk. He also said he had a big surprise for me regarding my business. I agreed to see him in Lagos and wouldn’t let him drop me off at my Salon; he got a cab to take me back however. By the time I got home, my mum was curious to know what was happening. I told my mum that Baba T came to share a business idea/ opportunity with me and would like me to come to Lagos to discuss it and all she said was “Mo ti gbọ o” (I hear you). I told Tunji the same thing but left out the name of the person I was going to see. He actually wanted to drive me to Lagos but his car needed to be fixed and he didn’t want to risk driving it to Lagos. I told him I would be fine and I should be back in a couple of days. When it was time to travel to Lagos, I told my mum I would stay with Laide and Bola or my elder Brother. I got to Lagos around 12:30 pm and took a cab to Baba T’s office (he had given me his card and told me to show it at the reception). I tried to look my best that day because I knew the kind of company that Baba T kept…I wore one of the dresses that Laide brought from her honeymoon and really looked like ‘one of them’.
As I stepped into the building, the coolness of the air condition reminded me of a Nigerian banking hall…the office was tastefully furnished. I was lost in the beauty of the art decors until I heard the receptionist’s voice
“How may I help you ma’am?” For a moment I thought to myself “Me? Ma’am?” heh!!!!!!!!
“I am here to see Baba T” I replied. She asked if I had an appointment and I handed her the card She quickly picked up the intercom and said something like “She is here sir” Then she told me to follow her…I later found out Baba T had told them he was expecting me and that they should take me to his private waiting room. There was nothing they did not offer me; tea, coffee, juice, water but I didn’t want anything. Baba T showed up like 15 minutes later; he said he was in a meeting but had to end it. He looked at me as I got up to say hi to him, helped me up with my right hand and kind of spun me around “Hmmmn,…. you look good…I really like what I’m seeing” he said. I blushed and said thank you. I asked where my brother was and he told me he was in one of their offices on the mainland, overseeing a new project.
“I’m famished…let’s do lunch, then I’ll show you a place and see what you think of it” He said as he grabbed his jacket and car keys. I noticed that he held me by my waist as we stepped out of his office and the building. I could tell that all eyes were on me. He introduced me to one of their managers (the guy he was having a meeting with before I got there) as his ‘very good friend’. The guy
smiled and said jokingly that I must be very special for Baba T to end a meeting abruptly because of me.
After the meal, Baba T drove us to a location in Ikeja and parked in front of this huge store-like building that was being renovated. It was right in the centre of a very busy commercial area. He asked me to come see the inside…the contractor came to greet us, likewise the people working on the project. We went inside and I was shocked. It was an almost completed mega hair dressing salon…so beautiful and lavishly equipped. I could see the dryer stands being installed in the walls (in the walls). I saw glass ceilings, beautiful sets of furniture, and all sorts of high-end fittings.
“Do you like it?” Baba T asked with a smirk. I was so confused so I asked if he was planning to start a beauty salon business. He responded that it was for me if I would consider moving to Lagos. “I love your entrepreneurial spirit and I want to help you become everything you can. I want to support your dreams and aspirations. You have so much more in you than that little place in Abeokuta…I see potentials and I can picture you as a successful business woman. Move to Lagos…please. There’s a whole world of opportunities for you here” He added as we sat in his car to talk.
“Why, why are you doing this? What’s in this for you?” I asked…I was so confused I did not know what to make of it. Trust me, there’s no way anyone would see what was being built and not want it to be theirs. I could only imagine how much money was put into the project.
O My!!!! Will she succum to this or not?
Looking for Episode 1? CLICK HERE
Looking for Episode 10? CLICK HERE