CHEF 26 by Ojeiwa Ojeabu Omo- Episode 3

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Cynthia felt all alone even though Kaima was right there with her in the living room. Their routine weekend wasn’t business as usual this weekend. Saturday morning was business as usual at the gym, but Saturday afternoon was not business as usual for Kaima.  While Cynthia was seeing a movie and doing justice to a bowl of vanilla ice cream, her distracted friend was on the reading table with her laptop looking busy, not even showing any sign of interest in the movie or the ice cream.

‘Sweetheart the movie is almost over and the ice cream is almost finished, you know this is not how we operate on weekends, we try not to bring work back home during weekends’ Cynthia said.

‘ I am sorry love, I know I am breaking one of our golden rules, but this is not office work, this is personal,’ Kaima replied.

‘So what are you working on?’ Cynthia asked.

‘A business plan’ Kaima replied without taking her eyes off her laptop, ‘I’ll be with you soon sweetie, am almost done,’ Kaima blew her a kiss. Cynthia rolled her eyes playfully at her, poking her tongue out at Kaima. ‘Stop that you clown Kaima said in a feeble tone.’

‘Get your butt over here, workaholic!’ Cynthia retorted.

Kaima stopped what she was doing, she fixed a fiery stare at Cynthia, her friend replied with a similar stare that looked fiercer than Kaima’s own. Suddenly hoots of laughter erupted across Kaima’s living room. ‘You devil!’ Kaima said still laughing; ‘you just know how to pull me away from work.’

‘Sure love, which is why I am your best friend,’ Cynthia replied. Kaima stopped working; and joined her friend on the couch.

‘What movie are you seeing?’ Kaima asked as she scooped some vanilla ice cream from the bowl with a spoon.

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

‘Hey man, someone stopped by the restaurant on Friday wanting to see you.’

‘Really! Who?’

‘It was a woman from one of the offices at the silver building.’

“Did she leave a message?”

‘No she didn’t, she said she will drop by next time, I told her you’ll be around next week, so I guess you should be expecting her within the week.’

‘Thanks man.’

‘Don’t sweat it friend.’ The line went dead. Damilare placed his phone on the table and returned his attention to the cook book on the reading table. Not only did he love to cook, he also loved to read and research about food. A graduate of Biology education from a state owned tertiary institution in Ibadan, he was lucky to have gotten a job as a chef at the magic menu restaurant. With the unemployment rate in the country hitting high double digit figures, coupled with the fact that he graduated with a third class, people would call him lucky, he would argue that it was divine favor. He never imagined he would someday be cooking for a living.

He had learnt how to cook at a very early age, learning how to cook new dishes every now and then as he grew older. One day while visiting a friend, hunger struck like a lightning bolt, his friend being aware of his culinary skills asked him to cook a meal. There were two other guys at his friend’s place that day, making a total of four guys, himself and his friend included. When the food was served and the eating began, one of his friend’s visitors cried out joyfully that the food was too delicious and wondered if Damilare owned his own restaurant. At that point Damilare made it clear to him that he was unemployed and looking for work, the visitor asked for his phone number and told him he might be able to get him a job at a new restaurant opening in Victoria Island soon. Damilare smiled inside and said to himself ‘that would be a colossal joke.’  Two weeks after that visit he got a call from the manager of the magic menu restaurant stating that an interview had been scheduled for him. Thanks to that visit he is currently employed, and thankful that he knew how to cook.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The time was 4 pm, Victoria Island was looking busy as usual, and the mid week was gradually giving way to the weekend. Damilare was in the kitchen when a call came in from the front desk, that chef 26 had a visitor.

‘A visitor huh,’ Ikenna said to Damilare, ‘I’m sure it was the woman from last week.’

Ooh! ‘That’s true I had forgotten about that, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.’

‘I bet you a thousand Naira that when you get to the front desk, it’ll be her waiting to see you, Ikenna said.’ Damilare smiled, took off his apron and chef hat, and hanged it in the closet close to the kitchen door.

‘I wish I could take the bet, but, one thousand Naira is too big a bet for me to afford,’ he said with a wry grin.

At the front desk, he had a brief conversation with the receptionist, who pointed to a lady dressed in a corporate manner, she was dark in complexion, looked smart, beautiful, with a well shaped and rounded figure. He walked up to her, flashing a gentleman’s smile, he said;

‘Hi my name is Damilare, heard you want to see me?’

‘Yes’ came the lady’s reply, My name is Kaima, am a Financial Analyst at ‘Arrow visions.’

‘Nice to meet you’ Damilare replied.

‘Same here’ she said with a grin. ‘Is there some place we can talk?’ She asked. Damilare ushered her through the door with the tag restaurant, the place was breathtaking, simple, and unbelievable spacious. ‘The restaurant is nice,’ Kaima remarked.

‘I guess it is,’ Damilare said.

You’re chef 26, right? Kaima asked.

‘Yes I am’. Kaima flashed him a hearty smile.

 

‘I have a business proposal I’d like you to consider,’ she said pulling out a document from her black leather hand bag. She explained the details of the proposal to Damilare, he nodded a few times in acknowledgement. 20 minutes later, she stood up to take her leave. ‘I have one favour to ask of you,’ she said to him.

‘Which is?’ He asked.

‘Please do not disclose everything we have just discussed to anyone.’ Damilare was quiet, he did not respond. ‘Can you keep this to yourself she asked him again, please, keep this to yourself, I have my reasons for saying so’, she said.

Damilare took a deep breath, and then calmly he replied, ‘I will’.

‘By the way’ Kaima said, ‘I didn’t catch your surname, your surname is?’

‘Adeyemi,’ he said.

‘So I can address you as Mr. Adeyemi.’

No! Damilare replied, ‘just call me Dre that would do.’ Kaima turned and headed for the exit.

‘Wait’ Dre called out, ‘you didn’t tell me your surname either, what is your surname?’

‘My surname is Audu,’ she said.

‘I can call you Miss. Audu then,’ he didn’t see any wedding ring on her finger so he assumed she wasn’t married.

‘No!’ She said, just call me Kay, she replied with a radiant smirk. ‘Give me a call when you’ve made a decision,’ she gave him her business card. ‘

‘I will.’

She angled towards the exit without looking back. Dre watched her leave and wondered if this woman was sure about the deal she had just brought to his table. He realised as she walked away that she was stunningly beautiful and sexy at the same time. ‘Get that thought out of your mind,’ his conscience warned. ‘I will,’ he said to himself.

 

…………..to be continued

 

Genre: Romance/fiction

 

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