“I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, you and me. I really don’t know what to say or how to say it, do you think we could try out the relationship thing?”
Despite that I was expecting something along those lines, I was shocked nonetheless.
Nifemi was usually very eloquent and adept at expressing his feelings, the Nifemi before me was different, a tad insecure. My heart melted.
“I think that’s a good idea. The relationship thingy I mean.” I replied encouragingly with a cheeky smile, trying to diffuse the tension.
He laughed in relief. “You just had to make me ask didn’t you?” He asked as he took me in his arms.
“I needed to be sure.”
He closed in on me. “I’ve just recently noticed how kiss able your lips are.”
Funny enough, me also. “Recently?” I asked in feigned coy.
“Yea, I really don’t know when, but I’ve started seeing you differently.” He tucked some stray strands of hair behind my ear.
“Was I ugly before?” I teased.
“No. I guess I just didn’t notice.”
I leaned in and kissed him. Fireworks!
A light bulb went off in my head, I eased away.
“What of Zara?” I asked him. “I haven’t seen or heard of her in a while, and you’re asking me….”
He sighed. “We ended.”
I had this feeling there was more to this story, and I wanted to know.
“A while back. It just ended.” He replied evasively.
He steered me homewards. “Not now. We’ll talk about it some other time.”
That was good enough for me. If Nifemi promised, he fulfilled, and I was happy that Zara girl was out of Nifemi’s life. Not just because of us, I just had this bad feeling about her.
And so we began, a new phase of our life-long relationship. To our surprise everyone greeted our relationship with an; ‘it’s about time!’ Like really? Were we the last to see the signs?
There were awkward moments between us though, we now saw each other in a new light and the transition wasn’t easy. Nevertheless, I was truly happy. Nifemi was an answer to my prayers.
The speed with which I sold out the clothes I got from Dubai amazed even me. I even had orders for the next time I would go. The only snag was a lot of the goods weren’t paid for immediately, but I made plans to travel again soon.
Nifemi and Dupe encouraged me to face this as a career, and I desperately needed to succeed.
Two months later, Nifemi and I were invited to his friends engagement party. His friend and old school mate Ehis was getting married in a month to the Love of his life; MaryAnne Phillips, a celebrity designer. MaryAnne’s friends were hosting the engagement party for the couple.
I had met MaryAnne once in the company of Nifemi, Ehis and the guys and she seemed nice, while Ehis was a regular face. He and Nifemi had been friends since forever.
I wore a short sleeveless purple gown paired with strappy pink sandals, the dress code was smart casual, and knowing I was going to be in the midst of fashionistas I wanted to make sure I represented without appearing to over try.
The party was held at an up scale restaurant in VI, and was already in full swing when Nifemi and I arrived.
“Look who’s here; the latest lovebirds.” MaryAnne announced with a smile when she sighted us.
We laughed. She was standing with two beautiful ladies, one of them visibly pregnant.
“You and Ehis are the latest lovebirds.” I replied as we hugged and air kissed.
“No honey, we’re practically oldies. Have you met my friends? Nifemi and Keji, meet Clara and Susan and co.” MaryAnne introduced us, indicating the pregnant lady as Susan and co.
We all laughed.
“Hello ladies.” Nifemi shook both their hands. “…And co.” He waved at Susan’s stomach.
Through our laughter, I couldn’t help noticing how adorable Nifemi was. I smiled my secret smile.
“Why have you ladies monopolised Nifemi?” Ehis asked as he walked up behind us. He hugged MaryAnne from behind and she leaned into him.
“Hello Ehis. Congratulations to you both.” I said to he and MaryAnne.
“Thank you!” They chorused
“You aren’t married yet and you are sounding alike already?” Clara teased.
“We’ll leave you ladies. Later darling.” Ehis and Nifemi walked away to go join other guys and I marvelled at the change in Ehis. He used to be geeky, more comfortable with machines than humans. Was that him? This suave man I just saw? There’s nothing like the love of a beautiful woman.
Clara left to check on the caterers.
“So Keji, I heard you’ve gone into clothes retail?” MaryAnne asked me.
“Yes. Putting my MBA to use building my business.” I replied. I accepted a glass of wine from a circulating waiter.
“That’s good. That’s better than just working for someone else.” Susan said.
“Do you want to get a boutique or mobile? MaryAnne asked.
“Hopefully a boutique soon.” I replied.
“Ever think of selling Nigerian designs?” She asked.
“As in our ethnic fabrics?”
“Not necessarily. Ready to wear designs, like what we have on.” MaryAnne indicated our gowns, she had on a georgeous pink gown I was sure was one of her designs.
“Yea I do, but the cost of production makes the prices of made in Nigeria clothes high.”
“True.” She replied. “I’m not supposed to talk business tonight, but come by the showroom soon, and we’ll show you some of our works.”
“Ok.” We exchanged contacts.
“I need to sit for a bit.” Susan announced.
“Are you ok?” I asked as we walked with her to a chair in the corner.
“Yes I am.” She smiled brightly.
“She’s having twins.” MaryAnne explained as Susan sat.
“Wow! Congratulations!” I gave her a side hug.
“Thanx dear. She returned the hug.
“I need to circulate. See you girls in a bit.” MaryAnne left to talk to some other guests and Susan and I got to know each other better. She pointed out her husband to me, and told me about her career as a criminal lawyer.
After dinner and a toast to the couple, the party wound down. Nifemi and I were among the last to leave.
As he drove into my street, I got an sms; So you guys have graduated to PDA’s? I am watching!
Special dedication to my Mom, whose birthday was on Monday the 17th of February. May your days be long, and happy and may you enjoy the bountiful harvest ahead, Amen. Love you plenty.