FINDING LOVE AFTER THE ORGY (A short episode)
The day started like every other day. Ejiroghene or Lina as she preferred to be called now that she had gotten admitted into the university of Lagos decided that she would skip lectures that morning. She stretched on the bed, her toes reaching to touch the edge of the bedframe. Her eyes zeroed in on the fuschia pink nail polish on her toes and her lips curled in disapproval. The polish was at least a week old and chipped around the corners. Ejiro thought of patching them up. Rita her nail girl was out of town and she didn’t trust anyone to handle her nails the way Rita did.
If I no quick come back, you fit use Petra. She sef sabi her work.
Ejiro did not go downstairs to the salon where Petra sat next to Rita’s empty chair. She surveyed the empty room slowly, sizing up her roommates’ beds. They had hurried out of the room, voices loud and books clutched to their chests when she gotten up to pee that morning. It had been eight then. Now the long arm of the clock pointed to the twelve and ten. She imagined her classmates crammed in the small airless room Dr. Ladipo taught his PSY 101 classes and did a mock shudder.
“I hate that class,” she said, leaving her bed and marching in her see-through lace and cotton nightdress to the bunk on the opposite end of the room. She squatted beside the lower bed and braced herself with her free hand against the bed’s edge as she helped herself to the bucket of water there. “I better call Bola before she forgets to sign for me.”
The uncarpeted floor vibrated under her and a scraping sound filled the room as she dragged the iron bucket that belonged to her roommate Sekina. She did not hear the insistent ringing of her phone over the din until she stopped to tug at the dirty rag that had attached itself to the bottom of the bucket. It was in the silence that she caught the feeble strain of the last ring. Springing from her squatting position, Ejiro dashed across the room to her bed.
“Hello,” she said breathlessly into the phone when she picked it. “Daniel.”
“Yeah,” a deep male voice answered. “Daniel from Tinder.”
“You say this every time we talk,” Ejiro laughed. “I know where we met.”
Daniel from Tinder had been her friend for a total of two weeks. They had exchanged numbers on the dating app and now spoke frequently on Whatsapp. Talking had led to flirting and they had agreed on a date that Friday. Ejiro had been intrigued by the idea of meeting him. He was attractive and appeared to come from money. Suddenly, she felt a pang of self-doubt.
What if I am not his type?
“So what’s up?”
“No classes? You said you are in Unilag right?”
“Yes, Unilag. I have a class. I don’t feel like going for today’s lecture.”
Daniel laughed drily. “You are quite the book worm aren’t you?”
Ejiro caught the sarcasm. “It’s just this course. I don’t usually miss lectures. ”
“Well, you did say you were a rebel the last time, so, not surprised.”
He told her why he had called. His friend was organizing a small get-together in his house at Osborne estate. He thought it would be nice if they finally got to meet in person. Ejiro accepted his invitation without much thought. They agreed to meet outside Club 57 on Awolowo road, Ikoyi at seven that evening and Daniel ended the call, leaving her to worry about what she would wear. Her gut told her it would be a gathering of the rich of the city, a dozen more like Daniel who spoke in a manner suggestive of lives spent in the midst of opulence and wealth. Ejiro looked down at her nails, a worried expression on her face.
“Maybe I should just use this Petra. I can’t go out with my nails like this.”
Daniel was better looking in person. He used neither of the cars she had seen in his pictures, but had instead been waiting in a silver Toyota Highlander when she pulled up in the rickety taxi she had picked from the school gate. Ejiro’s heart fluttered when he leaned to kiss her cheeks.
“You look good,” he said, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled.
He was several inches taller than her and sported a thick beard that was immaculately groomed. The ash grey kaftan tunic he wore did little to hide his broad shoulders and Ejiro almost swooned when he gave her a short friendly hug. Her concerns about the evening suddenly evaporated. Smoothing down her short black dress, she settled into the soft leather of his car seat as he turned the key in the ignition. If only her roommates could see her now.
The party was in full swing when they arrived. Guests swarmed the middle of the living room, gesticulating and talking over each other. Music added to the racket but nobody seemed to mind. Ejiro felt overwhelmed by the football-sized living room, the blinding chandeliers, sleek electronics and the dressed down guests with glowing pampered skins. They all seemed to know each other, stopping conversations to back slap newcomers and ask about mutual friends. Ejiro collected the glass of sparkling wine Daniel handed to her before he disappeared up the long winding staircase in the corner of the living room with the host Ebitimi who had looked at her up and down with curious interest when Daniel introduced them.
Ejiro turned to the voice. It belonged to a dark skinned girl with a dark heart shaped face that bore no sign of make-up. A figure hugging maxi dress showed off her voluptuous shape.
The girl gave her a sweeping glance and a small nod.
“Lina,” Ejiro said, nodding back.
“So,” Folake sipped from her glass, looking over the top at Ejiro. “You are Daniel’s friend?”
“Where did you meet him?”
Ejiro hesitated a second. “At a party.”
Folake smiled. It was a strained smile and Ejiro knew immediately that the girl did not like her.
“Anyway, enjoy yourself.”
It was her only conversation for the evening. No one seemed to notice her and she soon took to counting the bubbles in her champagne. Daniel returned just when she was beginning to feel alarm at his absence. He apologized for leaving her alone, giving her hand a quick squeeze as he took the spot beside her.
“Long conversation. Sorry.”
He looked around the living room. A small circle of three men passed what looked like a cigarette around. Ejiro soon recognized the smell that wafted in her direction. Marijuana.
“Where did everyone go?”
It was then Ejiro noticed the near empty living room. She had been so busy feeling left alone that she had not noticed that the crowd in the room had disappeared into thin air.
“Come,” Daniel said, grabbing her hand. “Let’s go look for them.”
They combed through the massive house, looking into rooms with gold furniture, heavy drapes and king sized beds. The rooms were empty. Daniel called out for his host, his voice echoing in the long hallways of the house.
“Come,” he said again, taking her back downstairs. It was in the room east of the living room that they found them. As they stepped into the room, Ejiro was hit by the feeling that she had stepped into a twilight zone. Her senses took a while to interpret the scene before her, but as soon as they did, she felt herself turn to stone.
The crowd they had gone in search for had dissolved into a throng of writhing bodies that covered every space in the room. Naked, they heaved against each other on twin beds that had been pushed together. The room was filled with loud moans and the slap slap of sweaty bodies.
A woman bent over beside her, her breasts swinging wildly as a smiling man rammed repeatedly into her from behind. Another couple stood to their right, lost in the throes of passion. Ejiro stared stupefied at the picture of the man with his head thrown back, his right hand on the back of the female head bopping up and down between his thighs.
Profanities Ejiro had only heard in the porn movies she had stumbled upon in her brother’s laptop filled her ears. A woman peeled herself off the body of a man on the bed, navigating the jungle of flailing legs and arms as she walked to meet them. Ejiro’s eyes widened when she saw who it was.
“Daniel,” Folake said, her voice a seductive drawl as she held out a hand to the man beside Ejiro. “It’s our turn.”
Ejiro stared in fascination at the naked woman before her. She heard Daniel’s voice beside her.
She turned just in time to see the amused smile on Daniel’s face and then watched as Folake turned to leave, a pout on her face. Her huge behind jiggled and swayed as she rejoined her partner on the bed.
A hand touched Ejiro on her elbow and she jumped. Ebitimi stood beside her, his manhood erect and swinging like the head of a cobra.
“You want to fuck or you want to watch?”
Ejiro stuttered. “I…I…don’t…”
“She is not the type Timi,” Daniel said, coming to her rescue. Taking her hand again, he led her out of the room. Ejiro dragged in a shaky breath when they were in the living room.
“That was…” she stopped unable to find the right words to describe what she had seen.
“Yes, very weird.”
She looked into Daniel’s smiling eyes.
“Did you know?”
Daniel shrugged. “Well, Timi usually has parties like this. I just didn’t know this was one of those.”
“Okay,” Ejiro said, rubbing her hands together to dispel the chill that had settled in them.
“You are not really the wild type,” he observed, his eyes narrowing as he watched her.
Ejiro looked away from him, embarrassed to be caught in the wild vixen lie she had conjured in the time leading up to their meeting.
He laughed. “Come, let me take you back to school.”
They were quiet throughout the ride to Yaba. Ejiro could not help thinking about Folake and the familiar way she had spoken to Daniel in that room. She couldn’t shake off the feeling that they were lovers.
“Tell me,” Daniel said when he parked outside her hostel. “Your name is not really Lina, is it?”
There was something about the way he looked at her that forced the truth out of her.
“No.” She shook her head. “It’s Ejiro.”
He smiled knowingly. “I guessed as much.”
Ejiro she studied him for a few long seconds.
“You and Folake…have you?”
Daniel’s smile slipped and his eyes grew serious.
A sudden stab of jealousy surprised Ejiro but she forced a carefree smile, reaching for the passenger door.
“Thanks for the evening. Goodnight.”
He stopped her before she pushed the door open.
“I want to see you again.”
The air thickened with tension. Ejiro stared into his eyes, wondering if she would fit into his world or he into hers. They were different. Tonight had proven that. Yet in spite of the disparities in their backgrounds and values, Ejiro wanted more than one date with him.
He kissed her goodnight before letting her go. Ejiro watched his taillights disappear into the distance, then turned and hurried to her hostel. She couldn’t wait to share the story of her adventure with her roommates.