“PING!” her phone had been vibrating silently in her lap while she dreamt. She looked down at it willing it to ‘shut-up’ so she could replay her dream experience– Did I just dream about Malik? Lara thought. Was that supposed to be Malik or Dele in the dream? Oh well! Who is this idiot pinging me incessantly! Could they have picked a less appropriate time! Oh! Tis Sandra, what now?
“I hear you moan and I know that was not a pain-moan” It persisted
“Answer me jooor. I know you are awake now”
“*sigh* sigh* sigh* Sandra, why dost thou persecute me?” Lara replied
“what did you dream about?”
“That you bought a new car and took me for a ride *tongue out*”
“Hmmmmn this is far from over”
“LOL. Amebo tins”
Their driver was pulling into a paved driveway with music coming from the other end. Alex was out in front, waiting. He waved at them just incase they hadn’t spotted his bulky frame and protruding stomach. Lara always asked him when he was going to have the baby and he would laugh right back and say when she has hers. He was easy-going.
“Hey Alex!” Lara calls out while Sandra begins a pout in the back seat throwing in a deep scowl at Alex. He feigns a cardiac at her scowl, staggering backwards playfully clutching his heart as Lara climbs out of the front seat to hug him tightly.
“What’s the matter with Sandra?” he asks her “What have I done this time? Y’all just barely got here. Wouldn’t that break the world record if I have done something to make her face look like that in less than 2 minutes?
Lara bursts into a throaty laugh.
“Don’t mind her jare. She is just angry about last time”
“I heard that” Sandra joins getting out of the car while Mofe parks the car properly
“What last time?” turning towards Sandra “What did I do last time? I thought we all had fun” he affected a hurt tone
“Hmn! One of us thinks so!” Sandra retorts, walking ahead towards the door then realizing she was probably giving him a great view of her behind. She quickly turns around and finds him ogling her just like she predicted.
“Arrrgh! You are incorrigible Alex.” swatting his chest with her purse “This is the same thing you did last time we met! Well, you included my front view too. Could you drool less, perhaps?”
“Perhaps” he says unrepentantly
Chuckling behind them, Mofe walks up to the door ahead of them since Sandra was stuck like a statue to a spot so Alex wouldn’t get a view.
“You both have started again” was his only comment as he goes inside the dimly lit place
“Lara are you coming or you want to be the referee?” he calls from inside
“Am coming” extracting her self from Alex’s arms, she walks inside too
“You see, why cant you just be less stingy like Lara and allow me unrestricted view?”
“Do I look like ONTV?” came her hiss “Alex mind yourself o before I lose my temper today”
“Ha-ha Alright, I’ll let you be this time. No tease. I promise. Shall we?” giving a mock bow
“After you” she says
Walking to the bar, they found Lara and Mofe safely ensconced directly opposite the spigot of beer.
“Nice. We can order now. You guys finally finished” piped Lara
“Your friend stingy sha. She say she no be ONTV”
“What?” Lara looked amused wondering what ‘being ONTV’ referred to in the context
“Alex!” a stern look
“Okay o. I don shut-up my mouth” he says
“What are we having? I want a virgin cocktail drink am meeting someone later this evening”
“By meeting someone, you actually mean a guy?” Mofe asks
“No. A hermaphrodite! Whatchuthink?” came her sharp retort
“Don’t bite please. Just idle question” Mofe raises his palms in mock surrender
“Don’t mind Lara. It is a guy. One cute tall guy that behaves himself and controls his eyes unlike some people I know” Sandra supplies
“Na you dey find trouble now o. Trouble siddon jeje yanga waka go wake am” Alex rejoins
“Did I mention any names? Guilty conscience”
“Ok naa. I will continue with what I was having before Mofe brought me trouble” grinning widely
“Heineken?” Lara asks
“Star?” Mofe suggests
“Stout” Sandra offers
“Ahhhhh! A woman that knows my heart. You are almost right though. Ha-ha”
“Barman, please give me two big Odeku, one virgin Pina colada for the lady in green, a legend extra stout for my guy here and for this most exquisite goddess……darling, what are you gonna have? He seemed pleased with himself to make Sandra smile at the ‘goddess’ title. He actually was attracted to her and all the clowning and horsing around was to mask his doubts. He felt he didn’t stand a chance if he asked her out on a date. She would simply turn him down and he couldn’t live with that.
“Thank you Alex. I will have same thing as Lara. Who knew you could be such a gentleman” she teased back
“Alex, why Odeku naa?” Lara asks
“Have you seen their new advert?”
“yes” doubtful where this was going
“Did you hear the dude’s voice?”
“Well, if that don’t make you wanna drink it, I wonder what else will” Alex states simply and they all laugh
“That’s true though” Mofe agrees
“Yesso. I always wondered where they got the guy with such a voice and I ask myself is this how a real man should sound ni or is it that when you drink it, you start sounding like that?” Lara says
“This is Gulder the ultimate” Sandra imitates a baritone and they laugh some more
A phone rings, Lara picks up trying to hush the group but the music from the speakers would still have interfered so she moved towards the ladies to pick her call. It was Dele.
“Where are you?” he repeated again. She had not answered the first time. She probably had not heard with the loud music playing in her background.
“Hello. What. I cant really hear you?” she feigns
“How will you hear me when you are in somewhere noisy! Where are you?” he repeats a third time almost losing his temper now. If he knew the little liar, her brain would be working furiously to cop-out the most inane lie.
“Oh! I went with Sandra to one of her friend’s house. Her son has a birthday party.”
“I see. How old is the son that you all are dancing at a child’s birthday?”
“He is 4 today”
“Ahh! So they now play Olamide’s Story for the gods at a four year old’s party! What kind of mother does he have?”
“Ohhhhhh Dele please don’t start. You should know everybody likes Olamide. Even kids. Besides, the song part is sort of for us adults. The kids had their cartoon characters come play games and dance with them earlier already. Please don’t start o”
“Alright. I hear you. I was just checking to see how you were doing”
“Am fine” curtly. She was beginning to lose her temper in this fine game she was playing with Dele. She couldn’t let that happen. She should have called him before they got into the bar so he wouldn’t have had to check up on her. Dang! Falling asleep, dreaming about Malik had made her forget. Careful girl, you don’t wanna mess up the grand plan now, do you?
“Am sorry. You know how I hate going for parties but I had to come with Sandra since you were busy. She insisted and I couldn’t think of a way to get out of it. I miss you baby” she soothed
He wasn’t sure what she was trying to sneak past his head his time. He decided to let it slide.
“I was tidying up in the office and realized I had not heard from you since you got back to Sandra’s this morning so I decided to call.”
“Thanks love. Am fine. Have you seen Dapo yet? Has he called you?” neatly shifting gears
“He hasn’t called. I assume my brusque manner with him yesterday may have caused it. I went through the school package he left for me and I think it is something do-able”
“How do you mean?” she probed when he stopped there
“Well, for one, they would help him secure a part-time job on his student visa where he will work just 25 hours max a week. I feel this will help him develop a sense of responsibility including gaining work experience”
“Oh! I see. Yes, it does sound like a good idea. You should call him though. You know how he is. He may be sulking and misunderstanding your silence already. Call him”
“Okay. I will. Before I leave the office” he assures her
“I miss you baby”
“I miss you more”
“Are you coming over tonight?” he asks
“No dear. I’ll come tomorrow. My uncle at Bwari asked me to see him. I called him this afternoon to let him know I was in town before we will stumble into each other and he would yell like last time. So, when I called, he said he had been wanting to ask when I was coming into town so we could discuss something urgent”
“Okay” in a small voice
“Am sorry dear. I didn’t realize you would want to see me again today”
“You know I always want to see you. What kind of talk is that?” a bit sharply “It’s fine though. I’ll see you tomorrow then? Tomorrow is Sunday, no Uncles or aunts to see eh and if there is, cancel it. I want to see you. Tell them your husband said so”
“Yinmu. You will have to marry me first to claim the title” she retorts
“Don’t worry. Very soon.” he smiles into the phone
Two short raps on the door.
“Lara! Are you in there?”
“Am coming Sandra”
“Sandra is calling me. I have to get off the phone”
“Wait! Where are you in the house?”
“In the bathroom”
“Why in the bathroom? Couldn’t you stay in the bedroom or something?”
“You said you couldn’t hear me and the bathroom looked empty with no music coming in. Are you complaining on my behalf? It is me in the bathroom not you” She returned a bit sharply
“Sorry. Got to go”
“Alright. Call me when you girls get home”
Sandra was eyeing her suspiciously.
“Who was on the phone that took you so long? All the ice in your drink has melted down. You drink looks like a cheap man’s swimming pool already” continues to eye her looking for something to pounce on
“Twas Dele. I should have called him before we came inside”
“Mscheew! Maybe you should have. Anyway, the guys are waiting for you wondering what ate you up in the ladies”
“I’ll be right out. I need to just call Malik before he calls me too. I told him we were going for a housewarming” At Sandra’s raised brow “Wetin? Isn’t this a housewarming? Oh dear! You didn’t warn me” she feigns and they both chuckle as her phone hits Malik’s dial tone
“Sshhhhh” at Sandra as the connection is made on the other end “Malik, hi. How is your day going?”
“I just wanted to check up on you and ask how your mum is faring”
“Yea, sure. We still on for tonight. I may even have a surprise for you” she laughs
“Alright. See you later baby. Mwuah!” she ends the call
“Flirting with the dream now eh?” Sandra teases
“You know how it is”
“Yea, I know he was the one you dreamt about in the car”
Lara merely laughed and refused to say anything. Standing side by side, touching their faces in the mirror, Sandra shakes her head in bewilderment.
“I just don’t get it.”
“What don’t you get?”
“How it is that you seem to attract all these men who fall deeply for you, yet you can’t seem to commit to one! It’s baffling”
“Hey! Don’t say that. Am committed to Dele ain’t I?”
“hmmn You call that commitment? I won’t even touch that with a comment” snorting
“What can I say! I try but none seems like the right one” in a more subdued tone
“Ha! The illusory right one eh?” Dropping her lipgloss, she turns Lara bodily towards her “Tell me, does that illusion really exist? Is there a right one for every person or is it just a wish like a unicorn?
“I wish I knew the answer Sandra. I wish I knew”
They were barely indoors before a horn blares in front of their gate. If Mofe had not pulled away immediately he dropped them off, she could have sworn it was him again. Looking through the drapes, she saw the black range rover jeep – Lara’s cup of tea!
“ugh” she groans “Already? He is so on time. Couldn’t he be like other men and be late” she groans again as she rushes into the room to change into a dress suited for an evening with her dream.
She chose a pale tortoise-shell knee length dress that had playful pleats which swirled when she moved. She clutched her tiny purse that carried nothing more than face towels and vex money.
“Babe, you gats carry vex money. If you follow guy go somewhere and he start dey do anyhow; maybe he wan keep you hostage overnight or he asking for ‘the goodies’ because he carry you go shopping-shopping, just carry your vex money comot and call a cab. If no cab, FLY OKADA. Better to reach home than be sorry afterwards.” she couldn’t remember which of her many street-savvy friends had said so, but she never forgot it and it had saved her many times.
“Laraaaa!” Sandra yells from the sitting room
“Am coming” she replies
“You better don’t be coming” came the rejoinder
“I’ll soon be there”
“Ah! Worse” as she goes into peals of laughter
Lara’s phone rings. It was Mofe. What now?
“Oh great! You got home already. Nice”
“Yea sure. Will tell her. Thanks again. We both had a great time hanging out with you guys”
“Alright. Goodnight” She ended the call with a weird feeling that Mofe was camped outside her window, watching her through high powered binoculars. She shrugs, smiling as she realizes what was happening in Mofe’s head.
“Good! You are all dressed up. Malik says he wants to cook for us tonight.” Sandra informs her as soon as she steps out
“What!?” her face drops “I mean, fantastic!” she attempts a fake muster
“If you don’t like the idea, we can go somewhere else. I just assumed you would want to stay indoors with your friend after being out all day” he says
They stare at each other with warring emotions flitting across their face before Sandra saves them by chuckling and shooing them out the door.
“Malik, please take my girl someplace nice. I doubt indoors is what she had in mind when she put on this pretty dress. You are welcome to fix us breakfast some other time or the other way round but tonight, I’d rather be a couch potato in my Pjs while I Telemundo myself to sleep.”
“Are you sure?” they both inquire simultaneously
“Shoo shoo. Off with the two of you so I can get my Telemundo on” came her reply
“Thank you Sandra. Goodnight”
As they walked towards the gates, she pulls the drapes aside “hey! Bring her back tonight Young man!”
“Yes ma’am. I will” he chuckles linking his fingers through hers as they shut the gate behind them.
“I like your friend” he says
“Me too” she replies and smiles