“Eva, it’s not what you think.” He started to plead looking fearful for her reaction.
“Really?” was all Eva could manage. Christian grabbed her arm and pulled her into the apartment before she could entertain the notion of running away.
“I need your help.” He shut the door quickly still holding her.
“My help?” Eva was still shocked. She didn’t know if she should get angry and attack him. Or attack Christina.
“The network has been bad. I sent some messages but they didn’t go. So I called you over.”
“Can we fast forward to the part where she’s here.” “And that dress?” she thought. Eva’s heart beat faster anxious that she might not like the answer.
“I am being ambushed!” he whispered urgently sneaking a peek to the sitting room. His actions puzzled Eva more than his words. She knew this wasn’t a caught red handed situation. She had to get to the bottom of this. She continued to look at him questioningly trying not to betray her anger.
“Can you just stay with me for a while. I’ll explain later.”
“Okay, her car broke down not too far from here and she couldn’t stay outside while the mechanic fixed it because of her dress.”
“So? Give her a jacket and send her on her way.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Why? What’s so complicated? We have plans, unless your intention was a romantic evening for three I don’t think she should be here.”
“What?” Christian looked lost for a second. “Plans?” he looked at Eva’s outfit and the bottle she held. Eva face changed from anger to comprehension then embarrassment.
“Did you call me after she got here? Are you using me?” she choked out.
“Eva” Christian looked apologetic. Eva felt like hitting him but her right hand held the bottle and he still held her left arm.
“Let go of me.” his grip on her elbow had slacken to her wrist, he let her go. Eva put the bottle down on the foyer desk. She looked at Christian through the built in gilded mirror.
“Eva listen, I don’t believe her story. I think she might want to stay the night and possibly try something. I know I could try to get rid of her but she’s very unpredictable and she can do many stupid things. If I tried to get rid of her forcefully or if I let her stay and nothing did happen, she would find a way to spin it and you would find out. So I thought the solution to most of the scenarios would be your presence here. I am sorry…” Eva raised her hand to silence him.
“I don’t like this.” She turned to face him. “I don’t like this one bit.” Was all she could manage; she glared at him and turned into the apartment.
Eva loved his apartment. Christian had tastefully decorated it himself in tones of beige and little splashes of colour. It didn’t look like a real bachelor’s pad apart from the PS3 game console that had a prominent position in front of the TV. The carpet was butterscotch coloured and was soft enough to sleep on, the couches were dark terracotta with muted grey, dark green, navy blue and wine coloured throw pillows. The glass dining table had beige striped chairs. A tall ornate wood cabinet with a French door intricately designed with glass served as the liquor cupboard. That’s where Christina was, making herself a drink as the TV was on a music channel.
Eva sat on the couch and quickly rearranged her face as she thought of how to handle this. Christian came behind her and whispered over the music that he was glad she came. Christina sat on a couch adjacent to Eva as far from her as possible. Christian went into the kitchen to get Eva a drink from the fridge.
Eva and Christina had mutual dislike for each other since their first meeting even though it was just once. Christina was Christian’s ex and she didn’t hide the fact that she wanted him back even though he was soon to be married. She had to be diplomatic with Christina but it looked like she wouldn’t get any other message than a standoff. Eva couldn’t imagine herself having a cat fight with any woman for any reason.
“Eva” She was shocked to hear her name. She had been concerntrating so hard on the TV and didn’t expect Christina to acknowledge her presence, at least not so soon.
“How are you doing?” Christina smiled sweetly.
“I am good” Eva replied smiling.
“I must apologize for intruding on you and Christian. He didn’t tell me you had plans tonight” she eyed Eva’s sitting form smiling, not the least bit apologetic. “But as he may have told you my car broke down nearby and it wasn’t exactly safe for me to wait while it was repaired so Christian kindly allowed me to wait here. I hope you don’t mind.” Christina finished.
“No, not at all. Well we can’t fault Christian for being so thoughtful. Leaving you out there would have tarnished the criminal record in this area.” Eva smiled. “You are dressed so nice? I hope you didn’t have to cancel a hot date because of your car?” She added quickly.
“It was just a girl’s night out, nothing big.” Christina gushed. She turned away to look at her phone.Christian brought Eva’s drink, cranberry juice.
“So I ordered some food and it’ll be here in a bit.” Christian announced sitting on the third single settee adjacent to Eva, facing Christina. “I hope neither of you mind Chinese.” Eva glared at him. He was still courteous. Christina stood up to make a phone call walking to the doorway.
“Eva,” Christian called. Eva ignored him and took the remote to change the channel to a Nigerian movie. Christian moved to sit beside her and tried to hug her. She shrugged out of his hold.
“What is it Eva?”
“He asks obvious questions.”
“Eva can we um, go inside and talk?” Christian ventured
“No” Eva replied curtly.
Christian sighed and stood up going into the apartment. Eva took the time to try and put her thoughts together. She had known Christian to sometimes be a gentleman and a boy scout, but this situation was just too bizarre. How unpredictable could Christina be? She pictured Angela laughing at the situation. Damn Christina. Eva needed air. She went outside to the balcony and stared out. There wasn’t much scenery from just the second floor and no cars could be heard because the house was not on a major street. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and stayed a couple of minutes.
She heard conversation other than the TV and decided it was time to head back in. Christina and Christian were on the long couch sitting at the extremes. Christian saw her approaching and then Christina turned around.
“Eva, where did you get to?”
“I was on the balcony” Eva said giving no explanation. She stood looking at the two of them on the couch.
“We were just catching up on old times. Why don’t you sit here?” Christina stood up graciously and took her previous seat. Eva sat beside Christian and he put his arm around her. He squeezed her shoulder as she settled in.
“I just changed the channel and I stumbled upon our favourite movie. It’s a romantic comedy we watched at the cinema, it was me and Christian’s first date. We bought the DVD later on and we loved to watch it over and over again” Christina narrated sweetly.
Eva kept her face straight thinking of what to say that wouldn’t be censored.
“It’s not really my favourite movie. I haven’t watched it in so long…” Christian tried to explain but trailed off.
“I don’t care for the movie.” Eva picked up the remote from the settee where it had been abandoned and changed the channel back to the Nigerian movie in the hope of irritating Christina. Christian’s hand patted her shoulder lightly.
“So how are the wedding plans going you two?” Christina asked smiling at Eva.
“They are going well” Eva answered briefly. She was now reminded of Christian’s mother, Mrs Okere’s phone call earlier. She had asked Eva to consider a moderately bigger reception area since most of Christian’s cousins had confirmed that they were coming in from Europe. Now she told Christian as much.
“What?” Christian’s eyebrows crossed in shock. They had started out with a small wedding for only immediate family of about twenty now it had escalated past a hundred. “She always does this. I’ll speak with her,”
“Please do. It’ll save me the stress of trying to change venues again at short notice and trying to get the deposit back from the restaurant” Eva couldn’t help but feel exasperated.
“Are you planning it yourself?” Christina asked.
“Yes I am.” Eva answered and turned to the TV.
“We just wanted something small so there was no need for a planner.” Christian explained.
“Deary, can you refill my drink please? A splash of brandy will be great too.” She offered her glass to Christian. He obediently did so. When he got back, Christina targeted her questions at him, but so far she didn’t try to revive the past. Eva kept quiet throughout till the doorbell rang. It was the Chinese food. Christian announced he would warm it up for them and Christina offered to help.
“There’s no need. I’ll do that.” Eva stood and walked into the kitchen without waiting for a reaction, Christian followed shortly after. In the kitchen, Christian put the food down on the counter. Eva reached for it but he put his hand on hers. She looked at him questioningly.