Planning Lola’s birthday bash was fun. What made it more fun was the fact that it was gonna be a surprise birthday bash, cant wait to see the excitement in her face when she sees it. Getting Sade, Blossom and Camille involved also added more fun to it. But the larger the circle got, the harder it was to keep the secret. Chris somehow managed it.
He had been thinking of taking her to the same restaurant he had taken her for Valentine’s and he was particularly inclined to acquiesce to her request because she had fallen in love with the place and the food that she had actually marked a table as her favorite table.
One evening, on his way back to the hostel from a personal errand he went to run, he saw Camille waiting at the bus stop trying to get a cab. He knew that by her dressing and her disposition, she was heading back to the school.
He drove a little further from where she was and tooted the horn a little. When she didn’t realize he was actually waiting for her, he tooted the horn again. By this time, she looked up and saw the car and noticed that that was Chris’ car. She knew the car very well. It was the car that had taken to and from parties on countless occasions.
She stopped talking to the cab driver she had managed to hail and started the little trek to where Chris was parked. She walked over to the passenger side on the right side and gently slid into the car.
“Hey Chris”, she said.
“Hey back. Where are you headed?”, he asked.
“Duh”, she said and laughed.
“I was just asking to confirm. You girls have lots of places to go to on your minds”, he retorted.
“Ehn. I’m sha headed to school” She replied uninterested
“All right. I’ll drop you off at the hostel.” Chris offered
He looked on straight ahead as he backed out from where he had parked. He changed the music from the hardcore rap he had been listening to earlier to something a little lighter. For some reason, He and Camille never quite got along like the rest of Lola’s friends. Trying to make small talk, he asked where she had been coming from.
“Oh that? I went to see one useless boy”, she replied.
“Ahn ahn, how was he useless?”, he asked.
“The stupid boy was trying to force himself on me. He didn’t even give me cab fare” She sounded pissed
Stifling a chuckle, he said “How you come you went to his house if you don’t know him?”
“I know him very well joor. We’ve been making out before but I was not ready for the do just yet”
“Oh” Chris said faintly
“What?”, she asked.
Chris was not particularly struggling to understand why she had suddenly become a talkative that night. He had smelled it on her as she had entered the car. Although quite faint, the smell of alcohol was unmistakable, so she is sort of tipsy or at worse drunk.
“So tell me, how come you weren’t ready to do the do with the guy?”, he asked trying to keep the idle chitchat going.
“Maybe I was waiting for you to come and pop my cherry”, she said maintaining serious eye contact.
“What?!”, he said swerving and braking so rapidly so he wouldn’t rear-end the car in front of him.
“You heard me”, she retorted.
It had to be the alcohol he thought to himself. Surely she couldn’t be saying all that he was hearing. He must be hearing things. He started moving again, this time, in silence. Just before they got to the school gate, he parked on a side street just so they could clear the air.
“What do you mean you’re waiting for me to pop your cherry?”, he asked.
“Exactly what the words mean”, she replied.
“Jesus!”, he shouted.
“You’re such a damn fool Chris. I waited and waited for you to notice me. The lights I was shining were brighter than cut emeralds, yet you didn’t see me”, she said
“I didn’t know”
“How could you? Then the next thing I know you started dating Lola. My best friend!”, she said almost sobbing
“And. . . and Lola will keep asking me why you and I don’t seem to get along. If only she knew right?”, she said trying to smile but not quite making it.
“You should’ve said something”, he said quietly.
“And be taken for a desperate chick? Hell no!”, she retorted sharply.
“It’s too late now, you know? I can’t be sneaking around. Besides, I can’t even cheat on Lola”, he said.
“Don’t you think I know that?”, she replied.
He leaned over and hugged her. He couldn’t give her what she wanted but at least he could comfort her. As he was pulling away from her, she held him tighter.
“Please don’t leave me”, she said, “you must hate me now I’m sure. Please don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you”, he said reassuring her, “let’s get you to your hostel.”
He tried pulling away from her again. This time she let him pull away a little and then just when he was at arm’s length, she pulled him closer and kissed him full on the mouth. He tried pulling away, but she held him tighter.
When she finally let him go, he just stared at her. A little mad at her for pulling such a trick on him, but more mad at himself for liking it.
“I’m sorry”, she said, when she saw the emotion all over his face she couldn’t quite identify.
“It’s all right”, he replied.
He pulled out from the side street he was on, and then headed into the school premises. He drove her straight to her hall, neither of them saying anything on the drive there.
“We’re here”, he said, trying to lighten the mood.
“Sorry about earlier”, she said, “it won’t happen again.”
“Don’t worry about it.” He tried to make it look like nothing
“Totally off topic, but what are we doing for Lola’s birthday?” She inquired
“We? There’s no we. There’s just us. Lola & I. I’m just taking her to a restaurant she loves very much.” Chris said knowing deep down that he didnt need to say all of that.
“The one you took her to on Valentine’s?” She asked
“Yeah. Problem?” Chris asked
“Not at all. Just that for a very long time she had wanted a surprise party” She replied
“Really?” Chris asked, happy to be on the right track with the surprise party.
“Yes, really” She confirmed.
“I’ll find out for myself. Thanks for the heads up” Chris said, hoping to cut the conversation before sparks might fly again.
“I’m sure you’ve got it covered, but Lola must not find out what happened tonight. She might just kill me” She said
“No worries” Chris said
“Goodnight”, she said, walking towards the entrance of the hostel.
“Night”, he called after her.
Turning the car around, he headed to his hostel trying to put the events of this night behind him and started to think about how he was gonna figure out which one – the dinner or the surprise party – was the better idea.
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