The next evening, I got together with my girlfriends. I was anxious to tell them about Dapo, I had already hinted that I had some gist for them and naturally, they were excited and waiting for what I had to say, so we decided to get together for drinks after work.
I knew their excitement majorly stemmed from the fact that I rarely have juicy gist for them and they have come to not expect much from me. The one who almost always has something to say is Cynthia, she’s the one with the body to die for and guys are always around her, hence her constant desire to rub it in our faces so to speak. She just has to tell us a story every time.
Peju is always skeptical about Cynthia’s stories and she once told me in confidence that she’s sure Cynthia exaggerates and adds more flesh to her story just to feel cool. According to her, no one can have that many admirers, men and women alike. That is Peju though; she’s always the voice of reason although sometimes her ‘reasoning’ borders on spite to me. She’s always so holier-than-thou, I find it quite tiresome.
The one after my very own heart is Winifred, we call her Winnie! after Winnie the Pooh albeit fondly. She’s just so cuddly and squishy and very warm, in and out. She’s a beautiful girl with a beautiful heart and of all my friends, I feel most comfortable with her. She’s not reed thin like the fashion world seems to dictate, she’s curvaceous and buxom and that makes her self-consciousness about her body which leads to a type of inferiority complex. I always tell her she’s beautiful but she does not believe me, she says it’s easy for me to say as I am of the ‘lepa’ horde.
Anyway, I got to our meeting place and found Peju already at the restaurant, seated none too patiently waiting for us. I walked towards her and gave her a peck on the cheek. She smiled. I saw she’s already nursing a bottle of Maltina.
“Leona, Leona, always the proper lady. Shey you have come again, abi?”
Her tone was not very flattering neither was it rude, it was roughly in between and I decided to ignore her and not take offence. “Hi Peju dearie. How was work today?”
“Oh, work was fine o. so how is the new job? Is it everything you thought it would be?” she took a sip of her drink.
“Yes it is. Very exciting and educative.” I was not about to tell her it could be a drag sometimes, especially for a junior associate, we get all the tedious work.
“So, what’s this all important gist you have for us?” she raised her brows
“Why don’t we wait for Cynthia and Winnie? I wouldn’t want to repeat myself. It would be better to tell it only once.”
“Okay.” She shrugged
Just then a waiter came to the table and asked for my order. I told him to wait for our friends so he could take the orders all at once. Winnie approached the table as I was still talking.
“Hold on for a minute.” I said to the waiter as I gave Winnie a hug. “What will you have?” I asked her
“Hmmm, I’ll have what she’s having.” She indicated Peju’s bottle of Maltina as she sat down on the chair directly opposite mine.
“Alright, I’ll have the same.” I told the waiter. “And a bottle of Smirnoff Ice too.”
I took the liberty to order for Cynthia as she’s the only one who takes alcohol amongst us and Smirnoff is her drink of choice. Cynthia, always the party girl.
Speak of the devil, I had barely sat down before she came sweeping in. “Hello, my darlings.” She blew a kiss to us all, effectively cutting off the tiresome ritual of greeting us individually. “Have you been waiting for long?”
“Oh Just for a few minutes.” I ventured
“Speak for yourself.” Peju cut in. “I’ve been sitting her waiting for you for the past twenty minutes.”
“Psst, just twenty minutes? It’s not my fault you have a fixation for coming early nah.” She said dismissively.
Peju bristled. “And it’s not my fault you don’t respect people’s time.”
“People’s time kwa? What’s that?”
Winnie carefully stepped in before it all got out of handling. “Girls, girls, today is for Leona. So, can we please focus on her?”
Peju still wanted to say something but Winnie laid a calming hand on her shoulder. Sometimes I wonder why we keep her around, she’s always so caustic but I guess we need her to balance us out. Although, she can be fun when she chooses to be.
“Yes, my darling girl. How is the new job, kwa?” Cynthia asked, trying hard to ignore Peju. Cynthia might seem flighty but she’s very sensitive and I bet Peju’s comments hurt her although she’ll die before showing any sign of hurt.
“Oh its very interesting.” I launch into the wonderful benefits of my new job and my friends listened with rapt attention as I extolled and cut down some characters. During my narrative, our drinks arrived and I gave them the story about Dapo amidst oohs and aahs. By the time I was through, my throat was parched from all the talking.
“So, what do you guys think?” I asked anxiously.
Winnie gave me a thoughtful look. “I think you are in love.”
I looked at her blankly. “Love?” I laughed. “Come on, Winnie, I barely know the guy.”
“Well, it’s just what I think sha.”
“You know, I think Winnie is right. You know me, I don’t believe in all this love things, ehn? I prefer to spend my time thinking about money but girl, you are letting off some vibes. It’s what you lovey-dovey people will call love, I guess.”
Cynthia’s observation alarmed me more than Winnie’s. Winnie is an inane romantic and she sees love everywhere, in fact she falls in love every other day, but Cynthia? She’s more practical.
“Girls, come on. I admit I like the guy a lot but love? I don’t think so.”
Peju spoke up then. She had been suspiciously quiet all the while. “Leona, although I find it very offensive to agree with that,” She pointed to Cynthia “I have to say they are probably right. I’ve never known you to talk about a guy like this; with respect and reverence. I think Cupid’s arrow finally found you.”
I sat back and looked at them all. Cynthia winked at me, Peju smiled and Winnie just kept grinning like a fool. Suddenly, I felt very scared. If they were right, that meant this Yoruba guy had carefully worked himself into my heart despite my defenses. Help me Lord. I prayed.
For the duration of our meeting I barely contributed, I just kept thinking of the possibility of loving Dapo. Cynthia regaled us with her stories for a while until we decided to call it a day. We all wished ourselves a nice weekend as we departed but I’m not sure I would have one.