He perused the menu as the waiter stood patiently beside him, waiting for him to place his order. It wasn’t that he was indecisive about what to order, it was his pocket that cried out in protest. How could a N50 bottle of water cost N500?! Wetin happen? He thought as he glanced at the waiter who was still standing diligently beside him. He couldn’t afford to waste money especially since he still had his NEPA bill to pay and had to get to work and back every day for the rest of the month. The thought of the NEPA bill brought to mind the previous night when he had encouraged his co-tenants to patronize their services at Realty Point. With an affordable well structured payment plan, they would be home owners in no time. A lot of them had shown interest and he had proudly given them his new complimentary card. He smiled at the thought only to realize the waiter was still waiting.
“I really don’t know what to order; maybe when my date arrives.”
“Ok sir,” the waiter replied, nodding politely as he returned to wherever he appeared from.
Martins breathed easily, glad not to have the guy hovering over him. He closed the menu, dropped it on the table and took in his surroundings. The place was called Rekks Gardens. It had a wonderful lawn with big trees that shielded you from the hot afternoon sun. Benches were positioned in different places across the lawn. There was also an adult swing where two people could enjoy the coolness of an evening breeze. Not far from the lawn was the bar where he currently sat and observed the other patrons present.; a couple who sat together and were obviously lost in whatever they were discussing, two guys eating fish suya and beer and chitchatting like women and a guy who sat alone, drinking a bottle of beer with his gaze on the TV. Martins glanced at the TV and was surprised the man’s eyes were fixed on it since there wasn’t anything interesting showing.
Rather than brood on what the man was thinking, he turned his thoughts to how much Rekks Gardens made when there was a full house with the kind of price list they had. Located in a high end commercial area and close to the road, he imagined it was a lot. The property also shared borders with banks and businesses, increasing its worth to probably ten times its initial value. And from what he could see, converting the lawn to an events arena rather than just a relaxation spot could rake in more money if they were not already doing that. Also, utilizing the space they had to build accommodations wouldn’t be a bad idea. He thought of what the asking price of the place would be if they were interested in selling and a smile formed on his face. He liked the way he was beginning to think. One week in Realty Point and he was seeing prospects in every real estate he came in contact with. He was learning a lot and he was learning fast. He made a mental note to see if he could talk to the manager after his meeting.
The thought of his meeting made him glance at his wristwatch. Aisha was thirty minutes late already and since his phone was bad, he couldn’t get a courtesy call or text explaining why and if she was close by. He hoped she wasn’t going to cancel on him. If she did, he deserved it. He was even surprised she’d given him audience so far considering what he did to her. It was more than he deserved.
Aisha was his classmate in school and they had been amicable friends until SOC 306 had come between them. Martins was the class rep for Mr. Gbadamosi’s dreaded SOC 306 class; a position he earned because he was the student with the highest CGPA in his class at the beginning of the year. It was a position of pride, and Martins made the most of it. Because he acted as the extended hand of Mr. Gbadamosi, Martins earned a lot of enemies for this reason but he didn’t care, he just wanted to impress the man and get through the course without any hitch too. He wasn’t going to allow his peers reaction to him cost him an extra year he couldn’t afford.
On a particular day, Gbadamosi instructed him to collect the assignment he had given the students two weeks earlier, and submit them at his table first thing the next morning. Martins judiciously went round the class to inform everyone present and make them understand he would be submitting the assignment by 9a.m the next day. At exactly 9a.m the following day, Martins made good on his promise and submitted the assignments even though a large number of the students had begged him to hold off till 10a.m Aisha was one of them and she had been more aggrieved because she was his friend. If his treachery had ended there, it would have been okay but because he didn’t make that sacrifice, Aisha had ended up with an extra year. She had cried, called him names, thrown tantrums and swore she would make him pay. That was why he had been scared when he saw her but she had surprised him.
He smiled, shaking his head in disbelief at the thought of what she did for him. He turned his gaze away from the lawn and looked in the direction of the entrance. His jaw almost dropped as he stared at Aisha as she walked towards him. With long hair falling over her shoulders, the shimmering short clingy dress, stiletto heels and a nice simple purse, she looked like someone who stepped out of a fashion magazine. She didn’t look flamboyant; she just looked elegant.
The other day he’d seen her at her office, she had looked chic and corporate and if she gave off even half of the sexuality that oozed from her right now, he didn’t notice. He swallowed, wishing he had ordered for a bottle of water. He lips were suddenly dry and he felt thirsty. Gathering his wits around him, he got to his feet, put a platonic smile on his face and welcomed his date.
The story continues next week…
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