“My name is Ngozi Nwosu and I am so happy to be here on the opening of Chirex...sorry Chinex Mall?....oh gawd...this isn’t working,” I said aloud, and cleared my throat.
I had been practicing the speech I was supposed to give for the opening of some mall in Lekki tomorrow, and failing miserably. For some reason, I was finding it extremely difficult to focus. My mind was everywhere else but the speech. I decided to stop forcing it and take a break. I had been at it all morning and I was getting nowhere. I walked over to my bed, where my phone was charging and laid down. I picked up my phone and did my usual social media run. I started with Instagram first...went through my timeline….then hopped on my explore page which was always much more interesting than my timeline…....then I had to see what new gist was on the Shade Room and then of course Baller Alert for good measure. Twitter was next on my plate. As usual some person was talking shit about me. I chose to ignore it this time. Being a public figure meant that there was always some Nigerian man... or woman who had something negative to say about the way I decided to live my life. Meh. I dropped my phone back on the table after my intensive social media run. Let me give it a chance to charge abeg, I thought to myself. I also had to get up and practice this speech....so I would not look like Olodo number 1 tomorrow. I heard my phone ding as I was getting up and debated whether or not to check who or what it was. I gave in and grabbed my phone. It was a whatsapp message...from Obi. Heart eyes emoji. Hmmm...I wondered what he wanted. After lunch….that turned into dinner last week (hehehe), we had been casually flirting with each other. I really wasn’t trying to make anything of it…
- Because he didn’t even live in Nigeria and
- Because I knew how men were. This was not my first rodeo.
He had to fly out of the country that weekend but he told me that he would let me know when he got back. I opened the message and it said “What are you doing right now?” I wondered if I should let him know I was practicing for a speech...I mean what if he wanted to hang? Cus I sure as hell wanted to hang out with him...like a desperado…fuck my speech. Maybe he would think I was unserious if I said I had a speech but still wanted to hang? Fuck. I was doing it again. Overthinking...again...sigh...he probably wasn’t even back from London sef and here I was making plans.
“I have this speech I have to give tomorrow so I am practicing for it,” I typed out. I saw him typing out a response. Then he stopped then he started again.
“Can I help? I’m great with public speaking and I am back in Naij,” came his reply.
Omg. A big smile appeared on my face and I did a little dance. “I’m hanging with Obiii...I’m hanging with Obiii,” I sang aloud in my room. I was totally unaware of my aunty opening the door and watching me make a fool out of myself until I turned around, still dancing and singing, and saw her, staring at me at the doorway.
I jumped. “Oh my God...aunty you scared me. I didn’t know you were there,” I said feeling the shame wash over me.
“You were enjoying yourself. I didn’t want to disturb you,” she answered smiling.
I scratched my head in response to this. It was something I did when I was feeling embarrassed.
“Hmm...so Ngozi...who is this Obi that you are so happy to be hanging with eh?” she asked, her eyes playfully narrowing. “I have never seen you so excited about a man before...hmm,” she added.
“He is just a friend,” I answered her. I suddenly felt like I was in primary one again.
“A nu gom (I have heard),” she replied smiling knowingly at me. “Well I hope I get to meet this Obi...who is just a friend,” she added slyly.
“Aunty it is not like that o,” I replied shyly. I didn’t want to encourage her. My face was hot with shame.
“Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I am leaving for my Lions Club meeting. I should be back around 7,” she said.
“Ok Aunty. Have fun o,” I replied.
“These my crazy friends. Let’s see what they have planned for me today,” she replied joking.
I laughed. My aunty always had some story to tell after her club meetings.
“Anyway bye bye o. Let me leave you so you can get ready to hang out with this Obi,” she said chuckling and closed my door.
I sat down on my bed, shaking my head. What kind of gbese had I put myself into now. I knew I wouldn’t hear word after this.
I walked into the building where we had decided to meet. At least I hoped it was the building. He had given me the address to some place in VI and from where I was standing, it felt like nobody had been in here in a long time.
“Hello!” I said aloud, hearing my voice echo over and over again. Hmmm...I hoped he was in here. I also hoped he wasn’t a kidnapper trying to kidnap me. I wondered why I hadn’t entered this place with Mr. Emmanuel. I was about to turn around and go back to my car when I suddenly heard footsteps and saw Obi coming down the stairs. He looked finer than the last time I had seen him. Damn. I thought to myself. This guy is foinne. As usual, he was dressed super casual in a t-shirt and shorts. I was so happy that I was also dressed super caszh. Sneakers, blue jeans and a t-shirt. I looked easy and breezy...for real this time. I was so excited to see him again and I started to wonder if we were going to get any work done, or if this was just an excuse to hang. To be honest, I was already preparing myself to read this speech from my paper. It wouldn’t be that bad….forget the fact that it would be streamed nationwide. I would just have to deal with that image when it came out. I cringed at the thought.
He smiled as he walked towards me and my belly did flips.
“Hey, there’s my pageant girl,” he said walking over to me. He hugged me and I felt like I was in heaven. First of all, he smelt amazing and for some reason being in his arms felt so gaddem good.
“Hey Obi,” I managed to say when we broke apart from the hug.
“So I take it you aren’t going for any meeting afterwards,” he said laughing eyeing my outfit.
I playfully rolled my eyes at him.
“Sharrap,” I said and playfully hit him on his shoulder.
“Ouch,” he said laughing and grabbing his shoulder like he was in pain. “A pageant girl with the arm of a wrestler,” he added.
“Whatever. Now you know not to try me,” I responded. “Sooo….what is this place anyway?” I asked, walking around the empty building.
“You like?” he asked from beside me.
“There is basically nothing in here so I don’t know what I am supposed to be liking,” I replied.
“Well...in a couple of weeks, or months...it is going to be something else. I just bought it. I am working on transforming it into a co-working space for entrepreneurs. Let me show you around,” he said and he proceeded to take me on a tour of the building. He showed me the potential gymnasium, the cafe/ restaurant, and the multiple office rooms. I could definitely see its potential. He also seemed really excited about it and for some reason, that made me happy as well.
“I have one last place to show you,” he said. We were now on the 5th floor of the building. I wondered what it could be. He opened the door and we were suddenly outside. It was a rooftop but unlike the other spaces in the building, it had actually been decorated.
“I hope you like it. I worked on it with the interior designer today because I wanted to have a place for us to hang and for you to practice your speech. It is a little bit of a rush job b---”
“It is beautiful,” I said interrupting him and walking into the space. It really was. The floors were covered with lush artificial grass and on it were yellow and white striped couches, white cane chairs and white cane tables with white umbrellas attached to them. Green plants and floor lamps were littered everywhere which helped bring the space together. In the middle of the space was a huge chess board on the floor. It looked so good.
“Wow. How and when...I don’t even know what to say,” I said completely flabbergasted.
“I’m so happy you like it,” he said. “Let’s just say it has been a long morning and afternoon and I think I need a drink now. Rosé?” he asked.
“Yes please,” I replied and he walked over to a small refrigerator that I had previously not noticed, and produced a bottle of Rosé . I sat down quietly on one of the sofas enjoying the Lagos breeze and admiring my surroundings. He walked over with the bottle and 2 glasses and sat down beside me.
He poured 2 glasses and handed me one.
“Here is to new beginnings and you delivering the most fantastic speech tomorrow,” he said smiling. When I lowered my eyes to sip my drink, I heard him say “You have to keep looking into my eyes for the first sip, unless you will have bad sex for 7 years.”
I looked up into his eyes and of course, the first thing I thought of was sex with him. A frisson of electricity shot through my body as I imagined what it would be like. My gawd...I was like a wild animal around this man.
It took about 2 hours and 2 bottles of Rosé for me to get through my speech but somehow, I felt prepared and oddly confident about it. Maybe it was the alcohol talking but working with Obi was surprisingly helpful. He had all these little tips on remembering and speaking confidently. It was a pretty productive study session...if you didn’t count the googly eyes and the jolts of electricity that I constantly felt everytime our skin brushed against each other. Sometime during the study session, I told Mr. Emmanuel to go home because Obi had suggested that he would drop me at home. I wanted the extra time with him, especially since all we did during our time together was practice my speech.
“So it’s the house after this one,” I said to him. We were on our way back to my house. Our wonderful time together was coming to an end and I was dreading it. I wished I could extend it somehow, but I didn’t want to seem desperate. I didn’t even know I could like him anymore than I already did.
We came to the gate of my house and he turned to me.
“Should I come inside?” he asked me.
“Err..no it is fine,” I said to him. I knew my aunty and uncle were home and I didn’t want them asking any more questions. It was easier this way.
“Ok. So this thing tomorrow...I’m kinda free tomorrow and if you want I can be there to support you,” he said. I didn’t think he would be interested in coming so I hadn’t thought to invite him.
“You really want to come for this thing?” I asked him.
“Yes Ngozi. I really want to come for this thing,” he said looking into my eyes and smiling.
“Ok. Cool. I’ll text you the address. It should be fun. Free jollof,” I said smiling back at him. “Cool,” he said. We were both staring at each other and smiling. The air was thick with anticipation and we both knew what we wanted but nobody wanted to make the first move.
I was not good in situations like this. Infact, I usually ran away in situations like this so I said, “I guess I should go in now.” And then, I reached for the door handle but before I could open the door, he pulled me into his arms, and…..hugged me. I had been really expecting a kiss so my soul was crushed when I found out that it was just a hug. I mean it felt nice but..dang...I had really really wanted to kiss him. I guess I looked a little disappointed because he lifted my chin when we broke apart from the hug and asked with concern, “What’s wrong?”
I bit my upper lip and looked into his eyes and said, “I thought you were going to kiss me.”
His eyes widened and then he said, “I want to but I didn’t know if you wanted me to..yet.”
“Yeah I d---,” I began to say but he was already pulling me closer and his head was descending, and then his lips were against mine and it suddenly felt too hot in the car. He gently parted my lips and slipped his tongue in between them which caused me to almost melt. He tasted delicious, like wine and like...Obi. I liked it. I wanted more. I gently bit his top lip which caused him to hungrily deepen the kiss. I moved my hands over his back, feeling his muscles straining against his shirt. I wanted more but I had to stop myself. I was right in front of my house, and anyone from the gateman to my uncle could come outside at any moment. I broke our embrace, panting heavily and looking at him with hungry eyes.
“I have been dying to do that from the first moment I saw you,” he said looking deep into my eyes. He reached out and touched my face, capturing my chin in his hands.
“You are so beautiful,” he said. “And funny and intelligent,” he added grinning.
I chuckled nervously. “I think they would have chased us out of Yellow Bird Cafe if you kissed me there,” I said jokingly, trying to lighten the mood. I was dying to kiss him again.
“No Ngozi….I meant our flight from London to Lagos. I wanted to talk to you then...but I didn’t want to be that guy….so when you left your book, I knew I had to shoot my shot,” he said stroking my face with his thumb.
I couldn’t believe it. How could he have been trying to talk to me when I had been dying to talk to him. I thought he hadn’t even noticed me. Oh my gaddddd!
“You should have said something,” I said giggling. I didn’t tell him I had also been trying to talk to him...yet. I had to ‘do babe’ small.
“I know. I just didn’t want to disturb you. I didn’t know if you had a boyfriend or a husband. Can you imagine if you weren’t interested and we had to sit next to each other the entire flight? It would have been the most awkward flight ever.”
“True. Well...I’m happy I forgot my book,” I said smiling at him. “And I’m happier that you shot your shot,” I added chuckling.
“Yeah same here,” he said and pulled me close to him kissing me lightly on the lips.
“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” he asked when we broke apart.
“Yes Obi. See you tomorrow,” I said opening the door.
“Can’t wait to see my girl kick ass,” he said and winked at me before I got out if the car.
I walked to my gate and looked back to see him put his car in reverse and then with a little wave, he was gone.
I leaned against the gate of my house, replaying what had just happened in my head. That was one of the most romantic nights I had ever had. I knew I should be smart and not fall head over heels in love with Obi...but right now, I didn’t care about being smart. I wanted to enter the danger zone. I could not wait to see him again. I could still feel his lips against mine. Sigh. What a man, what a good kisser, I thought to myself.
“Ngozi are you okay?”
I turned around at the sound of a voice, interrupting my thoughts. It was Baba, the gateman.
“Yeah. I am. I’m just going to go in now,” I said, walking towards the door of the gate where Baba’s head was poking out of. He moved and allowed me to enter.
I couldn’t wait to go to sleep, so that tomorrow could come and I could see Obi again. I hadn’t even told any of my friends about this new development in my life. They were going to die when I did. Maybe I needed to talk to someone about it because right now, your girl was sprung.
- By Joan Caven
Read PT 1 HERE