Being Vivian: The Everyday Life Of A Lagos Big Girl (Episode 14: The Rebound)
After my phone call with Hajara, I was so excited that I abandoned the rest of the cooking for Esther and Florence to finish up. I hurried to my room to ransack my wardrobe in a bid to find something hot enough for me to wear, but it was a fruitless search. There was nothing badass enough for me to slay in. All my sexy clothes were at my place in Lekki.
I had to enlist the help of Esther, who offered me her new red dress that she was planning to return to the seller because it was a size too big. Well, it was a size too small for me but it was the most flattering outfit in her collection of dresses. Not that Esther had poor taste in fashion, but her sense of style was a little too edgy for me.
Being a real ‘Road Safety’ according to her nickname, she made me pay for the dress and even collected ‘tax’ on it as well. I didn’t complain because it was worth it. The dress was a short deep red bodycon that hugged my body in all the right places, with a deep V neckline that showed off my bosom just the right way – not too much and not too concealed. It was perfect!
I squeezed myself into the dress and accessorized with gold to match my purse and shoes, then I wore a matching silk kimono over it as I left, otherwise my parents wouldn’t let me step out of their house wearing such an outfit. The drive to Banana Island took me almost 2 hours but I didn’t experience much difficulty locating the house. The party seemed more like some sort of international convention or a celebrity hangout as I came face-to-face with famous people I’d only seen on TV or on the pages of magazines.
“Oh my goodness!” Hajara gasped when she spotted me as I entered her mansion.
“Alhaja Hajara Tanko!” I said and walked into her open embrace.
“You’ve outdone yourself this time, Vivian. You look stunning!”
“Thank you. I hope I’m not overdressed sha?” I asked feeling a bit self-conscious.
Hajara smiled. “Look around you and answer that question yourself.”
Truly, a quick glance around the extravagant premise told me I was dressed just right in this crowd of people dripping in expensive jewels and designer garbs.
“Come, let me introduce you to my husband and then you can mingle,” she said and linked her arm with mine as she led me into her palatial home.
One hour later after enjoying a delicious intercontinental dish, I was sipping champagne and listening to a boring tech nerd drone on and on about a new app he was developing for one consumer goods franchise. I’d grown tired of holding on to my false smile so I just allowed my ‘resting bitch face’ to fall in place. The fool didn’t take the hint and just kept talking.
“Sweetheart, here you are. I’ve been looking for you all over the place,” said a handsome white dude with a disarming smile aimed at me.
The tech nerd and I stared at the stranger with identical puzzled expressions.
“You’re enjoying the party, yes?” He asked me. I couldn’t quite place his accent.
“Uh, yes…” I replied, confused.
“Oh pardon my manners,” he continued, this time to Mr. Tech Nerd. “My name is Francois Maurille, her boyfriend.”
My boyfriend? I was getting more confused by the minute.
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Tech Nerd’s eyes goggled. “Francois Maurille? The Francois Maurille of Smart Travels?”
“Yep, the one and only,” Francois replied with a modest smile.
“Oh mi gosh! It’s a real pleasure to meet you. My name is Kelechi Eze, I’m a software and user interface developer. I was at a workshop you hosted two months ago for tech enthusiasts on the latest market trends in the industry.”
“Yes, I remember that Mr. Eze but if you don’t mind, I’d like to reclaim my girlfriend now.”
“Oh of course, sure. Go right ahead sir,” he blubbered and literally melted away.
Francois turned his attention to me and I noticed he had green-grey eyes below thick dark lashes and a head-full of honey brown hair. His designer suit was perfectly tailored to flatter his tall lean physique. What an eye candy!
“Hello milady,” he said with a dazzling grin. “Checking me out? Are you impressed?”
I tried to match his enthusiasm but I felt like he was mistaking me for someone else. “I’m not sure we’ve met before, have we?”
“No we haven’t but I reckoned you needed saving especially with the way that guy tried to bury you in a pit of uninteresting monologue.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. I liked dry humour. “I actually tuned out his voice and started having conversations with myself in my head.”
“Ouch!” He laughed.
“Well, thank you then. My knight in shinning Armani.”
“Vuitton,” he corrected.
I shrugged. “Same difference.”
He laughed, clearly enjoying our banter. “Are you here alone?”
“Yes. And you?”
“Sort of. I’m here with some of my colleagues but I’m not dating any of them.”
I laughed. “Good for you.”
“It just occurred to me now that I still don’t know your name,” he said.
“You never asked,” I replied.
“Right. So let’s start afresh. My name is Francois Maurille, I am the CEO of Smart Travels, an online travel agency affiliated with many hotels in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Senegal. We provide seamless and affordable lodging services to our clients via mobile apps. I also invest in promising tech startups based in Africa.”
“Wow! That’s an impressing CV,” I said trying not to feel intimidated. “I am Vivian Emuakpor and I am the Marketing Manager at Addus Visuals which happens to be one of the biggest advertising agencies in Nigeria right now.”
“I’m impressed,” he said with that megawatt smile of his. “Are you one of Mr. Tanko’s business associates?”
“No, I’m not. His wife is my friend. She invited me.”
“I see. I must thank her for that.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Because if not for her, today would have gone down in history as the most boring New Year’s day of my life.”
I tried not to appear flattered by his obvious smooth talk.
“So Vivian, would you like to go somewhere less crowded?” He asked.
“No, with Eze. Of course, with me.”
I giggled. “How do I know you’re not an axe murderer?”
“Actually, I’m not. I prefer guns.”
That sense of humour. I loved it!
“Okay,” I conceded. “But I’ll tell my friend first, so if either she or my family doesn’t hear from me in 24 hours they’ll know you’re responsible for that and hunt you down.”
“So now I’m a kidnapper too?”
“One can’t be too careful these days. Wait here, let me go look for my friend and inform her I’m leaving.”
“I’m coming with you,” he said smoothly. “I never want you out of my sight again. Wherever you go, I go.”
I grinned. “That’s so cheesy, but I like it.”
And so we walked side by side as we combed the obscenely large house in search of Hajara.
** To be continued in episode 15**