After my initial meeting with Chigozie, he apologised for the very unpleasant things I had heard him saying about me on the phone and then for some reason I could not explain; I started looking forward to my wedding vendor meetings with him.
At first, I assumed it was because he took a lot of the stress away from me. I often left him and Ada the wedding planner to do the negotiating, ask questions and agree on timelines.
It had been a full week of meetings and the routine was pretty much the same. I sent him an itinerary for the day, he always arrived at the location before me, we hardly said anything to each other and at end of each meeting, I would say “thank you” to him and he would say “anytime’’.
That day, I was to meet the caterers and I decided it wasn’t necessary for him to come with me and so I did not send him an itinerary. At about 9.00am I got a message from him, it read;
Chigozie: Good Morning Ma’am. Just want to confirm where to meet you today. Thank you.
Me: Good Morning Sir. Today’s meeting is very girly…meeting the caterers. Don’t want to bore you.
Chigozie: Bore me with food??? Please time and venue! I will be there.
I sent him the address and found myself carefully selecting my outfit and adding extra an extra coat of red lipstick.
Its Friday, I want to look nice. I said to myself.
We had just concluded the menu for the wedding reception with the caterers and it was time to leave.
“Ok so this is our last meeting for now, thank you so much for all the time you have spent hassling wedding vendors and keeping the wedding planner in check”. I said as we walked to the parking lot.
“You’re welcome. Funny enough I found it rather insightful. It was also a reminder that I shouldn’t consider getting married anytime soon, everything is so expensive!”. He said chuckling.
“Oh you’re not married”? I asked.
“Nope”. He said.
“Just don’t say stuff like that in front of your girlfriend, it’s not very encouraging”. I said.
“Well that shouldn’t be too hard. I don’t have a girlfriend right now and I am not looking for one’’. He said as we stopped in front of my car.
“So I guess you are going back to the office”? I asked him.
“Yep…right after I grab some lunch. All the talk about food just made me hungry!” He said.
“Oh my God, I feel responsible for that. I’m sorry, I should have warned you that I was only coming to discuss the menu and there was no actual food involved”. I apologised with a smile.
“I just heard the word caterer and I assumed there was food involved. Serves me right though”. He said.
“Ok tell you what, why don’t I take you out to lunch to make up for the torture I put you through today”? I asked. Don’t ask me where it came from. For some reason it just seemed like the right thing to do. He had put in a lot over the last week and I knew I couldn’t exactly offer him cash, I thought lunch somewhere nice would be a good way of saying thank you. Plus I really didn’t think it was a big deal.
“Now that’s a bright idea, I’m definitely taking you up on that”. He said.
“Ok I know this awesome place in VI, where they have the best sushi …”I was saying when he interrupted.
“Wait a minute! You are buying me lunch so I should get to choose where I want to go’’. He said.
“Ok I apologise, it’s your call”. I said.
“Awesome! Now there is this fantastic place not too far from here, where they have the best amala and ewedu. The goat meat is always amazingly soft and the drinks are practically frozen. That’s where we are going”. He said.
I was quite surprised at his choice.
“Ok if that’s what you want then let’s go, I’ll just drive behind you’’. I said.
He looked at the car I had brought to the meeting, a Silver Range Rover and then he shook his head.
“Let’s just go in my car. I’ll bring you back here to get your car.” He offered.
I was going to protest, but then I figured he had his reasons and so I got into his car. It was a blue sedan with leather seats and apparently…a very loud stereo.
“Are you comfortable”? He asked as we pulled out of the parking lot.
“Yes of course, why are you asking”?
“No particular reason, I just happen to know that you are usually chauffeured around town in brand new SUVs. I’m pretty sure you have never been driven in one of these”. He said with what sounded like a hint of embarrassment in his voice.
“I don’t know what you mean, Chigozie. Your car is nice and I am extremely comfortable”. To prove my point further, I reclined my seat and stretched out my legs.
He smiled and the rest of the ride was smooth until we arrived at our destination and I was extremely uncomfortable.
The place was small, with a musty smell and terribly hot!
“Are you sure you want to eat here”? I asked him.
“Aje butter.” He said laughing out loud “The food is very nice, I promise.
“I’m not hungry. You can eat I’m fine”. I said.
“Come on Adesewa, just try something new today and you can write about it in your diary tonight”. He teased.
I noticed it was first time he had actually called me by my first name. He usually called me “Ma’am or Miss”. I loosened up a bit and then I said
“Ok, I’ll have a little…but if I get sick you are in big trouble”.
“You won’t, I promise”! He said.
He asked me to grab a seat by the window so we could get a little fresh air while we ate and then he returned a few minutes later with two steamy hot places of amala. He shoved one in front of me.
“Eat”. He instructed.
“There is no cutlery”. I said
“Madam you don’t use the cutlery in places like this”. He shoved a bowl of water at me and then said “Wash your hand and eat”.
I did as I was instructed. The food was really nice and I soon found myself biting into the soft goat meat.
“I thought you were forming. Now you are attacking the meat like it owes you money”. He said.
I burst out laughing
“You are so mean. I like amala it’s not about the food, it’s about the environment. It could be a lot neater you know”. I pointed out.
“When boys are hungry, boys don’t care about neatness”. He said.
We finished eating and then I asked
“So where do I pay”? I asked
“You pay before you eat in places like this, not after you eat. I already paid don’t worry’’. He said
“But I thought it was my treat”. I protested
“Amala and goat meat…really? Do I look that cheap to you?” He asked with a straight look on his face.
“But I asked you what you wanted and you said……” He interrupted me
“I was only joking. When we go somewhere fancy, you can pay but this one’s on me”. He said and we both laughed.
He took me back to get my car and then asked
“So when is our next vendor meeting”?
“Not anytime soon. I think we have covered the major ones. Besides Tunji is back this weekend so I think we can take it from there”. I said
He looked disappointed
“Ok cool. So see you around”? He asked
“Yeah, sure.” I said.
Later that night, he sent me a message it read:
Chigozie: Fall sick yet?
Me: Nope. I’m great and so was the food.
Chigozie: Awesome! You are now officially a razz Lagos girl.
Me: LOL. Thanks for lunch.
Chigozie: Anytime…sweet dreams.
I replayed our conversations in my head over and over again till I fell asleep. I knew what was happening, I was developing a crush on Chigozie.