“Thank you, but none of this would have been possible without my amazing team. I accept this award on behalf of all of the people at Constellation Industries. They have worked hard, even harder than myself and they deserve to be recognized for the effort they have put in.” Emeka said as he stepped back from the podium amid a swell of applause.
He looked out at the audience, spotlight bathing him in a blinding glare, but he was un-phased. Power players in their finest tuxedos and women in their most garish dresses were there to salute him, but all of their adoration meant nothing to him. He knew that they would forsake him the moment he made one wrong move.
As he scanned the room and observed the white-gloved servers distributing drinks to the Various CEOs and their wives, his eyes fell on his wife who sat amidst his team members and he gave her a small wink. She had helped him rehearse his speech, but he was on the verge of throwing it out the window.
He had just received an award for being the leader of the fastest growing conglomerate in Africa over the last two years. In his heart, he did not feel he deserved it because there were so many people that made it possible for him to look good.
He stepped back up to the podium and continued his speech.
“When I first assumed the position of President at Constellation Industries, it was not as if the company was struggling. No, they had already built themselves into a powerhouse in many industries. My job was to make the company sustainable. My job was to make the company nimble enough to weather any storm that would come its way.”
“I had the easiest job of all because I was and still am surrounded by the best minds not only in Africa but the world.”
A thunderous applause greeted this proclamation.
“It warms my heart to be able to stand here before you because this award is not a reflection of my ability but a testament to the quality to my team. They would wake up early and stay at work late so that we could compete on a global level. When things became difficult, they proved that they had a truly indomitable will.”
“I am happy to be in a position to accept this award, but I am even happier to be a member of my amazing team. In short, Micheal, Chika, and Cassie come up here. This reward belongs to you.” Emeka said with smile that threatened to split his face in two.
The room exploded into applause as people stood on their feet to acknowledge the team that had brought Constellation Industries so far so fast.
“Please forgive me, I may seem sentimental but I also have to acknowledge my wife. She has been my staunchest supporter through the good and the bad. Without her, I would truly be incomplete, my dear, please come on stage.”
Emeka was in his element, this kind of event did not usually cater to shout-outs and calling other people on stage, but the audience seemed to be enthralled by his easy charm and charisma.
When everyone was assembled on stage; Cassie, Michael, Chika, and Hadija, the charismatic president handed over the award to his team and said a few more words to close his speech.
“You see these people behind me? They are the people that build Constellation Industries, they are the people that deserve to be recognized, and they are the people that I would lay down my life for. Choose your team wisely, they will make you or break you. Thank you all and God Bless.”
He quickly descended from the stage with his wife and team while the audience stood one more time out of respect for a man that was so humble about his own accomplishments but was quick to acknowledge those around him.
As they all left the hall where the event was taking place, Mr. Vincent was outside with his children.
“Mr. Vincent, Why didn’t you come to the award ceremony?” Emeka asked, surprised to see the old man there.
“I have been to my fair share of award ceremonies, you will have to forgive me for missing this one. To make it up to you, I want to take everyone out to pop a few bottles of champagne.“
“Emeka, don’t you dare refuse, I can see that look in your eyes.” Walter said quickly.
“Ok ok you win.” To Hadija he whispered. “Baby, are you ok? Is it alright if we go out?”
“Of course dear, this is your night, let’s enjoy it.” she whispered back.
“Alright everybody, let’s go and paint the town red.” The president said with a smile.
As Emeka looked at Mr. Vincent, there was a deep sadness behind the old man’s eyes and when the president really looked at the old man, he seemed smaller than before and less vigorous but Emeka quickly put it out of his mind so that they could enjoy themselves.
They partied like school children, popping champagne and allowing their presence to be felt in all of the clubs that they happened to visit that night. Emeka enjoyed himself with all the people that were important in his life. He wished that these kind of moments could last an eternity, but he knew that it was a dream that he would have to wake up from in a few hours.
The next morning, Hadija and Emeka were both a little ill from all of the alcohol they had consumed, but it still did not dampen their moods.
Their children refused to allow them to rest, all three of them came inside the master bedroom and began to complain of bitter hunger.
“All you people do is eat.” Emeka Groaned while covering his face with a pillow
“Well, you can stop feeding us but what would Uncle John say?” James said with a mischievous grin.
“What is my business with Uncle John?” Emeka growled, his headache getting the best of him.
“Leave your daddy alone James, he had a rough night.” Hadija said, coming to Emeka’s rescue.
“Daddy, are you mad at us?” Phoebe asked with the childish charm that melted Emeka’s heart every time.
“Of course not baby girl.” He replied, taking her in his arms. “I am just tired from the night before, what do you want to eat?” He asked while tickling her.
“Daddy stop,” the beautiful girl giggled. “I want to eat eggs and cornflakes, and orange juice, and pancakes, and sausages, and…”
“Wow, stop there princess, where do you want to put all this food?”
“All she does is eat and sleep.” Michael chimed in.
“Is that so? I thought that is what babies were supposed to do.”
“Nah, that is for normal people, we are the Jones.” Michael said with pride.
Emeka looked around him; at his wife, and his beautiful children and realized what Michael said was true, they were a family and nothing would ever change that.
He gathered his family in his arms and hugged them tight, he held them this way until James broke the silence.
“Dad, can we eat now?”
“Haha, of course you can.”
The rest of the weekend passed too quickly and before he could settle down and enjoy his time with the family, it was already Monday morning at the office.
“You look good Emeka, I take it your weekend was restful.” Cassie said as she waddled into his office.
“I feel good as well, and you look very pregnant.” Emeka replied.
“I feel very pregnant as well. I salute women that have six children or more.”
“The bundle of joy that you are going to bring into joy will make it all worth it. What are you, like six months now right?“
“I sincerely hope so and yes, I am about six months, not much longer now.”
“Have you decided on a name?”
“Yes, I want to name him Zion.”
“Oh, that does not seem like something John would go for, and besides, how do you know it is going to be a boy.”
“Please do not refer to my child as “it” and I have faith he will be a boy.”
“Haha, well excuse me.” Emeka said fondly.
“Emeka, we have come a long way since the days of our ill-conceived infatuation.”
“You are right, it was a learning experience to say the least.”
“Would you like to go for round two?” Cassie asked with an unreadable glint in her eye.
“Not on your life.”
“I didn’t think so, but Emeka, thank you.”
“I have heard about how Bosses treat their old flames in a work setting and the rumors are never nice. So I want to thank you for being above board.”
“I have hardly been above board, besides, if I were to chase you away who would hold this company together when I am slacking?” He said with a smile.
“I am serious Emeka.”
“So am I. You are an amazing finance chief and you deserve everything you get. As for treating you well. It would not serve either one of us for me to be an asshole.”
“Thanks Emeka, I know now that I can always count on you.”
“Are you going to cry? You know how pregnant women are.”
“Maybe just a little bit.” She replied with a chuckle.
“Alright alright, we’re cool yes?”
“Yes, we’re cool Mr. President.” She said as she struggled to rise and waddled out of his office the same way she came.
That was interesting Emeka thought to himself as he got back to work. I wonder what else is about to happen here.