We set a date for Wednesday evening, much to the delight of my friends. When speaking to Sonia, I had the distinct feeling that she had been expecting my call. I couldn’t decide whether it was a good thing or not.
Well, time would tell. I thought. I was determined to impress Chief Odeniran’s daughter. She had schooled outside the country and had definitely met classy, polished guys both white and black, so I needed to bring something more spectacular to the table.
By Tuesday evening, after getting back from work, I got a haircut, and carved my beards. By the time the barber was done with me, even I admired myself. It had been a while since I had taken time with my appearance like this. There was no doubt that I had high expectations for this date. I was going to put my best into this.
Wednesday evening, right after work, Flores stopped by my apartment. She actually came bearing gifts, she had taken the time to shop for an outfit for me, I was overwhelmed.
“You’re kidding me, right?” I asked “You didn’t have to do this.”
“Its my good luck charm for you. In your search for the right woman, this is a good start.” She handed the shopping bags to me.
“Wow… I didn’t know you were this rich. You’re a big chick ooh.” I was pleased with her kind gesture.
“Shut up…and go and dress. You can’t be late for your first date.” She pushed me in the direction of the bedroom.
Taking her unawares, I swooped her up in my arms and hugged her. She screamed and hit my chest with her hands. Eventually, I put her down, her face was flushed and I could see she was trying to suppress laughter.
“How dare you? What was that for?” She asked, feigning anger.
“Are you angry? Like, really angry?” I asked, advancing on her.
She took a step backwards and glared at me “Yes, I am.” she replied.
“I don’t think so.” I replied and began tickling her.
She screamed again, laughing uncontrollably. Finally, she began to beg…
“I’m sorry…sorry…” she whispered as she tried to control her laughter.
“Are you still angry? Say you’re not angry anymore…” I threatened her with another tickle session.
“Okay, okay…I’m not angry. I promise,” She said, still laughing.
I grinned at her, enjoying our little play session.
“You’ll be late for your date.” She said.
“Your fault,” I replied. “That was my way of saying thank you.”
She punched me lightly “Bear in mind that I will revenge.”
“When I get back.” I said “Are you going to be here?”
She shook her head. “Fred and I have a date too. But you’ll gist me tomorrow,abi?”
“Definitely,” I replied and entered the bedroom.
I was dressed in less than twenty minutes. I was amazed at how well the clothes she bought fitted me. I looked handsome, different from the real me. Wow! Sonia was going to be impressed.
When I emerged from the bedroom, Flores was curled up in the sofa, watching a movie.
“Ta-da!” I faked a pirouette “ Presenting, the latest model of all times.”
She turned to look at me and the expression on her face said it all, I knew I looked good.
“Wow!…You look handsome,” she said, sizing me up.
“Thanks to you,” I replied with a mock bow.
“I had no idea, they would be exactly the right size.”
“You are a goddess,” I said, blowing a kiss. “So do I look good enough for Sonia Odeniran?”
“You sure look good enough for me,” she confirmed. “Had no idea you were this good- looking.”
“I’m taking her to Southern Fries. Is that okay?” I asked, all of a sudden I was getting nervous.
“Jake, you’ll do fine, okay? Don’t go out of your way to make her comfortable while making yourself uncomfortable. Southern Fries is just fine.” She gave me a reassuring smile.
I thanked God for a friend like this.
Eventually, I left the house. I had repaired my Camry and was pleased that it was available for the occasion.
I got to the venue of our date and secured a seat facing the door where I could see her when she walked in. At that moment my phone rang. It was Oscar.
“Hey, man. What’s up?” he asked “How’s the date going?”
“I just got here. She hasn’t arrived yet. I’m waiting.”
“Okay. Well, just called to wish you all the best,” he said.
“You guys are not serious ooh… you keep talking as though I’m about to write my final exams,” I said, keeping one eye on the door.
Oscar laughed. “In a way, its like that. Hey, Abigail says hi.”
“Say hi to her for me too. How are the wedding plans coming?”
“She’s in charge of it all. Its going well, I think,” he replied. “I gotta run. I need to attend to something.”
“Okay. Thanks for calling. I’ll let you guys know how it went.”
We hung up and I settled down to wait for Sonia. I checked my wrist watch. It was almost seven- thirty. We had agreed Seven pm. She was running late. I ordered a drink to keep me company as I waited.
My phone beeped signalling an incoming message. It was Femi telling me to “Play my cards well and make daddy proud”. I smiled, my friends were indeed characters of different genre.
My nervousness had miraculously disappeared, I was suddenly so sure of myself, I was going to be at my best when my date arrived. I wasn’t going to behave like some limp carrot, I was going to impress her and show her the stuff I was made of.
Eight pm came and still no Sonia, I wasn’t worried, not yet. Ladies had a habit of keeping a guy waiting so I wasn’t surprised, she was probably primping herself to look her best. I tried to picture her mentally, funny enough, I couldn’t get a clear picture of what she would look like.
By eight- thirty pm I was restless. I had finished my drink and was thinking of ordering another one. Still no Sonia.
I tried her cell, it kept telling me Network busy. Now, I was a bit worried. What kind of primping will make her an hour and thirty minutes late? I wondered.
As I sat there, someone tapped me from behind.
“Thank God,” I said as I turned to greet her.
It wasn’t Sonia who was behind me. It was Barbara.
“Hello… I thought it was you but I wasn’t sure.” She flashed a smile at me.
As usual, she had me speechless, I had to admit she looked dazzling.
You’re waiting for someone?” she asked.
“Yes.” I finally found my voice. “I…have a date. But, I think she’s running late. You stay around here?”
She nodded. “I came to get some take out. I haven’t cooked in a while.Been busy.”
I summoned the courage to ask her to join me. Not for any reason, except to be polite.
She didn’t decline lie I expected. She sat opposite. I realised that the way I looked at her had changed, now I knew what her real relationship with Femi was.
“So, who’s the lucky lady?” she asked.
I shrugged, I wasn’t sure I was ready to tell her about my personal life. I didn’t know her well, besides, her connection to Femi still disturbed me.
I didn’t resent her or anything, was just a bit more cautious around her.
“No one special. Just a friend,” I said, non-committally.
I don’t know how she managed to do it, but somehow we spent the next few minutes chatting. By the time I checked the time, it was quarter past nine. By this time, I was sure I had been stood up. Sonia hadn’t shown up.
And somehow I had ended up with Barbara. What a strange coincidence.