It all seemed like a bad dream till Gbenga kissed the strange woman. Kemi needed someone to wake her up from sleep. The engagement ring suddenly felt too heavy on her finger.
She waited a bit for the interrupter to show its ugly head when Diola, her friend, poked her head through the door, after sliding it open a bit. She said with a smile:
Kemi threw her hands into the air and shouted out of happiness:
She then dropped her fingers on her keypad, letting the other know that it was time leave, but the other wasn’t just yet done with her.
“You have been working too much. We are having a night out tonight. I want you there.”
Kemi frowned; she knew that Diola won’t move an inch till they reached an agreement. She had a lot of work to do and Gbenga would be coming over that night. It was few months to their wedding and they haven’t even started preparing anything yet –even the girls were not so keen on the bridal stuff.
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“Girl, I have a lot of work to do and tonight, Gbenga would be coming over. I don’t just think I can do this.”
At the mention of Gbenga, Diola rolled her big eyeballs around their sockets.
“Girl, give me a break. You need to open your eyes, go out more. You have your life before you. We need you tonight.”
Kemi gave up. It was useless to try to convince Diola about anything when her mind was made up. When Kemi got the job at the IT firm, it was Diola that put her through most of the things, and then she met Ebi and Ijeoma. They all became very close that they decided to watch one another’s back. They didn’t party much, but made it a point of duty to go out on Fridays.
Their work was too demanding and they needed a means to ease the stress off. Unfortunately, along came Gbenga who changed everything: their friend no longer looked beyond her computer or Gbenga. It was Gbenga or nobody. Kemi looked at Diola pleadingly. She thought of another way to get rid of her, but none popped up. She just threw in the towel.
“What’s on the menu tonight?”
Diola was so excited that she showed her full body.
“Yeah! That’s my chocolate! Tonight, we are hitting the pizza place.”
Kemi shouted out of excitement, Pizza was her favourite and the girls knew it.
“You are all trying to bribe me, right?”
“Diola, I am supposed to meet Gbenga at….”
The phone cut her short. She looked at the screen and it was Gbenga. She looked at Diola before she picked up the phone to answer.
At that instant, the expression on her face changed from a twinkle smile to a look of disappointment.
“But baby, this is the third time you are cancelling a date. Can’t the work wait?”
Diola couldn’t hide the disappointment on her face, either. She knew exactly what was going on. Kemi looked up and saw Diola watching closely. Her friends never liked Gbenga, but she had tried to make them see the good in him but to no avail.
“Ok, baby. Some other time.”
She hung up and kept staring at the computer screen. Kemi was not in the mood to talk about the call and she looked for a way to make Diola go away. She didn’t know why Gbenga would choose to cancel their date almost every time. She also held back some tears; she didn’t want her friend to see her break down like a cry-baby. She spoke without looking at Diola:
“But my wedding comes up in few months time. You are all trying to make me too fat that I won’t be able to fit into a size eight anymore.”
Diola threw her head back and laughed. She wanted to ease the tension, as much as possible while she tried to get her to go out with them.
“Don’t just bother about that, we got you covered.”
“So, the usual time?”
“Yes. I will send the address to you, or do you want to ride with me?”
“No, I will just drive to the place. I drove to work.”
“Ok. See you then.”
Diola left like a wisp of rushed air; she was a character to reckon with: she knew what she wants and knew exactly how to get it. She was Kemi’s pillar and still is, and that is why she finds it very difficult to refuse her anything. Kemi looked at the workload before her and the time left to finish everything and gasped out aloud:
“O my gosh!”
She went back to typing in order to meet up with the girls at six.
Kemi was already running late; she maneuvered her way through the dangerous traffic of Ikoyi and killed the engine in front of the Pizza Place. Daylight receded slowly but the place was already bustling with life. She locked her car and made her way into the energetic atmosphere. The place was too alive to be a pizza place: they had a spot for drinks, pizza, ice cream, food and a dance floor.
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The place was already crowded by workers who came around to cool off the stress of the week. Some were already getting drunk while others kept it alive on the dance floor. Within a twinkle of an eye, she located the girls at a very cool corner that overlooked the streets of Ikoyi. She made her way straight to their nest and exchanged hug and kisses: these girls kept her going.
“I have missed you all!”
Immediately she sat down, a waiter made his way to their table with their pizza and drinks.
“Wow! You guys already ordered?”
“Yes, we know that you must be very hungry,”
They all dug in at once, and while she was enjoying the pizza, she looked up and saw the look on their faces: it smelt of nothing far from disappointment. She followed their eyes and it led her to the street. A car had stopped and a young man helped a young lady out of the car. His back view looked so familiar that she swore she knew him.
Immediately they turned to enter the restaurant, it was as though someone cut the air-supply through her lungs. Gbenga! He led a young lady into the place. Kemi made to get up but Ebi held her back:
“Don’t move an inch, do you hear me? You have been fooled all these while.”
She looked at the three of them in surprise; so they knew all these while. Gbenga had his arm wrapped around the lady’s waist and they went to get some ice cream. As they waited for their turn, Gbenga kissed the girl full on the lips. She didn’t miss the sparks in their eyes. Kemi started to shiver; she could not believe her eyes. Immediately, the DJ changed the music, the girls stood up. Ijeoma came over to her and said:
“You know how you always loved to dance on that floor. Come on girl!”
Others joined to get her to join them. They successfully dragged her to her feet and led her to the dance floor. When Gbenga saw her, he couldn’t hide his surprise; he turned to the lady and said something into her ears. They didn’t wait for their orders to be served before they disappeared. Kemi thanked the heavens for her friends: it wouldn’t have been easy without them.
Written by Oluoma Udemezue.