Heels and Valleys Chapter Nine

“Oh my God” she heaved when she got outside.

“Funny that I had remained composed all these while only to fall apart at the real moment.” She fanned herself with her hand as she mused. “I’m going to get through this.”

She turned to return to the hall and stopped. She was hearing voices and realized that it was coming from somewhere near her.

“I regret telling you about the whole issue. How dare you use such information to your advantage?!” she heard Boluwatife blast somebody.

“I understand that you now want to play the blame game. Why did you tell me in the first place?” the speaker’s voice now sounded like Cynthia’s.

Favour was done listening to the conversation. She walked faster into the hall and composed herself as she stood amongst the people who were still standing before the chairman who was already giving his speech.

“Once again, I appreciate all the departments that brought For You Architecture and Homes to the enviable stage we are in.” Favour nodded as the Chairman continued his speech.

“And now, is the moment we have been waiting for. Let’s put our hands together as the award-giving ceremony begins!” Favour steeled herself as it was time for the bomb to explode. The sound of excited claps didn’t make her better, but worse. She pasted a calm countenance on her face even though the inner turmoil she battled with could boil water.

“As I call on the names, I want the awardees to come out immediately.” Without stopping, he collected one of the plaques.

“The award of most dedicated newbie of the year goes to…” he slowed down, increasing the tension in the hall. “Adeyemi Adesanmi!”

Favour closed her eyes shut as she heard the name. “What was wrong with the chairman? Shouldn’t he at least go on with the real awardees before including her suggestion?”

When she heard no uproar, she opened her eyes. Sanmi looked bewildered in his brown suit. She looked at Cynthia who was also surprised. She heard Boluwatife gulp in air behind her. She looked back and saw Tony trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Favour then realized that she was the only one that was not looking surprised. To make up for her lack of surprise, she raised her eyebrows to feign surprise.

Sanmi looked towards her at that moment. She increased her surprise act and watched him climb up the stage to get his award. While still wondering why he had to collect an award, he got the award, took a picture with the chairman with a worried face.

Favour looked around, expecting a reaction from somewhere—maybe Cynthia. Cynthia had a frown on her face and that was all. She had underestimated her enemy’s calmness. Favour’s face fell. Her plan had flopped. She was done with the company after all.

“The award for the most exceptional director goes to Chukwuoma Favour” The chairman called but Favour only heard her name being called. She looked around, trying to decipher her name caller.

“Most exceptional director, Miss Chukwuoma Favour. We’re waiting for you” The chairman called again. The expression on his face was not to be easily discerned. It was Favour’s turn to be genuinely surprised. Her eyes popped out of their sockets before she walked up the podium with shaky legs.

“No! That can’t be!” someone shouted behind her, causing her to stop and almost lose her footing. She looked back to see Cynthia fuming in rage. Favour almost screamed in ecstasy. Her plan had worked, finally. Cynthia would have no choice but to explain the whole thing. If Cynthia tried to lie, her loyal members would refute it.

“Cynthia, do you have something to say?” the Chairman asked.

“Mr Chairman. I sincerely do not like that question. That’s what Favour always asked me too.”

Cocking her head, she mimicked Favour

“Do you have something to say?” That’s what she asks every time.” Cynthia said, the anger boiling over. Favour looked down in amusement. She hadn’t realized that she usually asked Cynthia that question.

“Favour does not deserve that award and I have proof of that. Mr Chairman, I never knew that you would want to cover up the mismanagement of funds. Is it because she’s a woman?” The chairman’s wife was already up on her feet. The rest of the party were stunned at the turn of events.

“I trust my husband. Cynthia, what point are you trying to make?” the chairman’s wife asked. The chairman was surprised that his wife wasn’t believing Cynthia’s word immediately. This was her first time vouching for him.

“Calm down Betty. I would take care of it” the chairman said softly to his wife.”

“You don’t want to listen to me. Did you forget the call I put across to you a few weeks ago? I was even expecting a bonus for that. Why did you cover up the mismanagement of funds by the marketing department?” Cynthia continued to ask vehemently.

“I won’t allow you to speak to me that way Cynthia. Just tell me all you know about it”

Sanmi came out just then and stood, head bowed before the chairman. “I’m sorry, I’m the one who is to blame for the mismanagement of funds.”
“No, you can’t continue playing the martyr. Just tell us who it is already” Favour asked him.

Boluwatife flew out of hiding and knelt before the Chairman. Sobbing, she said. “I’m sorry Mr Chairman. Neither director Favour nor Sanmi is to blame.” Sanmi looked at the almost confessing Boluwatife in hope that she would keep quiet and let him take the blame peacefully.

Favour sighed. The drama looked like what two lovers would do. It stabbed a dagger at her heart.

“I am the real culprit.” Boluwatife continued.

“I’m ready to refund the money. I can even leave the company to restore the peace that used to reign. I regret telling Cynthia anything about it. I decided to refund it when I gave my life to Jesus but had not gotten enough money to refund it. Sanmi had offered to help me pay it off but before any refunding could start, the secret had gotten to you and Director Favour. That was why he decided to take the blame. I regret causing any of these.” She continued sobbing before the chairman.

The chairman handed the microphone to the MC who was standing nearby, watching the unfolding drama. He spoke something into his ears. He descended from the podium and raised Boluwatife from her kneeling position. He directed Sanmi, Cynthia, and Favour to also follow him. By this time, Cynthia was already regretting her outburst.

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