“You are glowing!” Clara observed two days later. We were at our shop, going through our to-do list for our grand opening, which was scheduled to hold in a week.
“This is serious!” She mused. “You are radiat….. Omg you made up with Zach!” She concluded wide eyed.
“When? Why didn’t you tell us? What was his explanation?” She asked in rapid succession, as excited as I was.
“Chill! One question before another.” I got up from our newly installed lounge chairs, and twirled around. “When? Two days ago, he came here….”
“He did, how….”
“He said he had been seeing my car parked out there for like a week, and he stopped by….. He saw Buchi and I, put two and two together and….”
“Anyways, I followed him to his house, determined to have it out with him, and we made up.”
“I’m so happy for you.” She came over and hugged me.
More like, we hugged, we were like two children sharing illicit tales.
“So tell me, what’s his explanation about the pictures?”
My smile faded, I broke eye contact.
“He really didn’t say, you see, those pictures could be promo shots, or even photo shopped. Zach is….”
“MaryAnne!” Clara interrupted me. “You mean he didn’t give any explanations for the pics?” She stared at me disbelieving.
“So how did you guys make up?”
“Clara, Zach is a star, these things are bound to happen!” I crossed my hands across my midriff defensively and moved to the window.
“I’m confused here, Mary. What are you defending: Zach’s career or his infidelity? What were those pictures about?
“Okay Clara. This discussion is closed, I’m done talking.”
“No it isn’t! I’m your friend MaryAnne, if I don’t tell you the truth, who will? Zach hasn’t told you the truth about those pictures and you swallowed whatever story he told you! Worse, he didn’t even explain.” Clara was almost raising her voice.
“Fidelity is a big issue with Zach, he isn’t cheating on me!” I snapped.
“How do you know?”
“Are you suggesting I snoop? You know I don’t do that.” I was getting irritated, and Clara wasn’t showing any signs of letting this go.
“No I’m not. Considering the evidence, don’t you think Zach owes you an explanation?” She stressed.
“I do, but……”
“Don’t allow Zach turn you into one weak female. He should explain how those pics came to be, it’s not rocket science.”
“Why are you taking this extremely personal? Is there something you know which you aren’t telling me?”
“What? How? No, all I’m saying is….”
“This matter is closed. Infact I’m done for the day.” I began packing my bag, picking my notes and other scatterred knickknacks.
Clara sighed and flopped back into the sofa.
At the door, I turned back to her.
“Aren’t you going home?”
She sighed and shook her head at me.
Grabbing her bag she locked up behind me.
* * * * * * * * *
“I can’t believe you girls let a guy come between you.” Susan declared two days later.
We were at Clara’s. For two days after our altercation Clara and I had barely spoken to each other. We hadn’t seen also, until Susan intervened.
“And you’ve also neglected your business! And planning my wedding!” She sounded like a mother chastising her children. “Because of guy issues?”
“Clara was being…..” I tried to explain.
“Really?” She really sounded prim. Like a cross between a mother and a Judge. “I don’t want to know. Can we move on?”
“Yes mommy.” Clara and I chorused and burst into laughter.
“I really am sorry Mary, I was just looking out for you.” Clara apologised.
“I know, and I got too defensive, you did raise some good points.” I replied smiling sadly. “Zach and I will have to talk.”
“Okay, good children! Kiss and makeup.” Susan ordered.
We grinned at her.
“I don’t actually mean kiss! Anyway, grand opening on schedule?” She asked.
“Ask Clara, I’ve been sulking and hiding away.” I replied.
“Yes, on friday. Bring all your colleagues, free flash makeover, and hair bunny for all.” Clara replied.
“Ayi and I have made over a hundred bunnies. We are good to go.”
“Dash me one nau, pre-opening gift. Or mediating gift.” Susan batted her ayes at me.
We concluded our plans, our opening was in a few days.
* * * * * * * * *
Our opening was grand (even if we say so ourselves). Entertainment was on point, people came; male and female, more than I expected. There was something for everyone.
We made some sales, took some orders, went home tired but happy.
And….. I met Ehis. Ehis was dragged to our opening by his sister, who heard about us from her friend.
Imagine the original typical geek and you have Ehis. Dunno if the job affected him or he has always been like that, but he was the typical computer geek.
We met, and I gave him my card. I found myself thinking about him long after our first meeting. He called me the next day and we kindoff hit it off. He was pleasant to talk with.
Zach wasn’t able to be there, he had a prior engagement, but he did give us a shout out on all his social media accounts, and he called me every free moment.
* * * * *
Days after, business kept getting better, I knew I would have to hire another tailor soon to keep up. I had already hired a shopping assistant for the showroom, in addition to the lounge receptionist Clara and I hired.
About a week after, a lady walked into MAP designs while Clara and I were relaxing with gist in her office.
“Ma there’s a lady here to see you.” Funmi, my shop assistant said from the door.
“Who is she? Client or….?”
“She appears to be a client, she said she wants to meet with the lady behind MAP.”
“Okay, send her in.”
We adjusted ourselves as she was ushered in.
Beautiful, sleek, stylish, and she was wearing one of my designs. I liked her already.
“Hello, I’m MaryAnne.” With a warm smile I got up and extended my hand. She took it in a warm handshake.
“Adeola Sawyer.” She said.
“Please sit. This is Clara; my friend and partner.” I introduced.
“Faces by Clara.” Adeola and Clara exchanged niceties.
“I’m glad to finally meet you. Zedeye bought me my first ‘MAP’, and I’ve been a fan since. Bought several online.”
“I’m happy you are a satisfied customer. You say Zach, Zedeye bought your first….”
“Yes, two months ago. I’ve bought six others since then.”
She had this charming demeanour, smiled while she talked and was oblivious to the uneasy curious glances shared between Clara and I.
“So you are Zedeye’s sister?” Clara asked hopefully.
“No, I’m the girlfriend. I was pleasantly suprised to find a Nigerian designer who could get the size thing perfectly. I’m a perfect eight, but wearing eight by a few of the other…..”
I zoned out. She is the what??? There was this loud roaring sound in my head, was it me or was a plane about to crash on us?
She is the what?
Trust Clara, she covered beautifully well. “Oh! You are the girlfriend! MaryAnne we have celebrity in our midst. Come over to the lounge let’s entertain you. Have you seen the showroom?”
Clara ushered her out of the office. I felt sick, hot and cold at the same time.
I remembered that purchase, his sister was a size ten and I did question him about buying a dress a size smaller. He said she requested for an eight.
Clara popped back in. “Mary, I know you aren’t okay, but you have to hold it together. I will try to dismiss her.” She popped back out.
I took a few minutes to calm myself before leaving my office to see what they were up to.
I found them giving her a flash makeover.
“Hello there.” I tried to smile.
“How do I look?” She asked.
“Clara’s not done.” I settled into a chair and watched Clara work her magic.
When she was done, she turned the chair to face me.
“She looks so good.” I commended, she really looked good.
Adeola glanced at her watch. “I’ve got to run.” She got up. “Have my purchases been totalled?”
“Yes ma.” Clara’s sales assistant responded.
She paid and we waved her goodbye. Through the glass walls we watched her walk to a car.
“That’s my car!” I pointed.
“No MaryAnne, your car is parked over there.” Clara pointed out my own car on the other side of the parking lot.
The car Adeola was getting into was a black crosstour, an exact replica of mine!