Fathers, seated at the men’s corner chaired by C.J’s Father, Mr. Okonkwo, barely paying attention, rather engrossed in discussions ranging from business to football and slightly to their mistresses in which case they speak in codes and husky whispers.
Mothers, surrounding C.J’s mom, Sylvia, each looking for any opportunity to brag about their children, with gist about their children’s latest mischief, latest achievement, some of them spicing up their narrations with little white lies, just to make it seem like they have the smartest kids. Occasionally, cheering their kids, urging them to win whatsoever game the M.C had them doing, there’s an unspoken stiff competition in the air.
Uncles and aunties mostly focused on their phones fully immersed in social media, a few in pairs sharing a laugh, while some are focused on the kids who are having a swell time. The kids are lost in the world created by their M.C who Ariel considers too cute to be just a kids party M.C.
All is swell and Merry, C.J is having a happy birthday party .
“I told you to wear that gown” Ariel mutters settling to her phone after taking a couple of selfies with Bodun who was wearing a Spongebob tee and blue jean trousers with a pair of white kicks.
“Babe, this is a kid’s party, not a dinner party, I don’t even know how you convinced me to buy that gown in the first place. You know I’ll have to wear a body shaper to look good in that gown but you don’t know how uncomfortable that thing is. Why did I let you talk me into it and that gown is expensive oh!”
Bodun complains taking her seat opposite Ariel who had changed her outfit to a gown she just bought at the fashion store.
“That’s because your subconscious knows I make better fashion decisions, besides can’t you see the hot guys here?” Ariel fans herself with her imaginary fan,while batting her MinkbyAshier faux eyelashes at a guy walking by, who responded by winking at her.
“I am definitely getting that guy’s number, before I leave” Ariel smiles
“Ariel this is a freaking kids party, who turned on your Hormones na.” Bodun Laughs making Ariel sigh, shaking her head in a way that says she can’t believe Bodun is ignorant
“First things first, my hormones are always on, besides that guy could be the ticket to my next shopping spree and I don’t mind booking him down right now, number two, B! have I not taught you to see opportunities everywhere?”
Bodun rolls her eyes “Excuse me teacher, this student is not looking for opportunities besides in case you’ve forgotten I just got out of a relationship, I’m in no hurry to get into another one ”
With a mischievous smile settling on her face, Ariel squeals “Oh so you admit you are a student, shey you know what your problem is, you are always seeking for long term commitment, must everything lead to marriage? I didn’t want to say this but I told you so, I told you Kelvin was not long term material, sometimes you just need to get the D and the money!”
“Shhhhh keep your voice down, there are kids around” Bodun hushes Ariel
“Abegi! That’s another problem I have with you, you pretend to be responsible but I know you oh babe, I know you. Even the long term commitment you are looking for, it’s not like you would stay oh…” Ariel mumbles “I’m even surprised you stayed that long with Kelvin that he had the opportunity to cheat on you ”
“What did you say? Bodun frowns
“I said I didn’t know today was CJ’s party otherwise I would have brought a gift for him”
“Liar liar pants on fire! ” Bodun says in a singsong manner and Ariel quickly responds in the same tune “it takes one to know another”
They both burst out with laughter as a worrisome frown gradually folds on Bodun’s face
“What is it?” Ariel asks
“Babe I’m worried though”
“Worried about what?”
“What that woman said”
“What woman are you talking about?”
“The woman at the front of the fashion store we went to”
Ariel Hisses with an underlying sigh of relief “Are you for real? When did you start buying into crap like that?”
Bodun stares at Ariel wondering why she can’t see reasons. “Didn’t you hear what she said? Why won’t I buy into it?”
“Well, you were the one listening, what she wanted was money and she figured we had some seeing us coming out of the store with full shopping bags. Didn’t she leave after I gave her money?”
“That’s because she was done saying what she wanted to, if you had heard what she said you wouldn’t be like this” Bodun insists
“What did she say?” Ariel asks to fulfil all righteousness.
Bodun pauses for a while as flashes from the incident go through her mind
“Blood, I see blood! Pain coming for you soon! It will destroy everything, your hopes and dreams, everything you have planned for! Blood!” Those were the words of the middle aged woman who had stopped Bodun as she came out of the fashion store that Ariel had taken her to earlier in the day. Bodun was frozen and speechless from fear and couldn’t move until Ariel came and shooed the woman away by stretching a 100 Naira note to her from a distance.
“Hello!” Ariel snaps her fingers to Bodun’s face.
“She said she saw blood and pain coming for me, that it would destroy my life”
“Destroy your life?”
“Well not really my life, she said my hopes and dreams, everything I have planned for”
“I don’t know why you are taking that woman serious, I told you she’s just a beggar. I’ve seen her around a couple of times”
“But why did I have to meet her today? With the presentation happening on Monday, less than two days away !” Bodun laments.
Ariel opens up her palms, squints her eyes and slowly moves her head left to right showing Bodun she doesn’t understand her.
“What does that have to do with the woman?”
“What if Lola wants to do something diabolic to cause me pain?” Bodun frets
Ariel rolls her eyes, hits her forehead with her hand and completes her gestures with their look
” Bodun! Are you kidding me?”
“What if she has been doing something diabolic all the while even with Kelvin?”
“Babe, knock it off, there’s nothing diabolic happening and none will!” Ariel assures her while trying to end the topic.
“But…” Bodun wants to press on
Ariel is getting irritated “But nothing aarghhh! Abeg end this topic.” A big grin settling on her face “Behind you, turn through your left”.
Bodun is about to turn sharply when Ariel cautions her
“Slowly na” Ariel hisses
“Sorry oh”. Bodun turns slowly and sees a dark skinned stud, staring directly at her, their eyes clash, a surge flows through her veins and she quickly turns her head back to Ariel flustered.
“What was that Ariel?”
“What was what?”
“Who was that?” Bodun corrects herself
“Imagine he is so hot, you don’t know how to speak English again. That guy has been staring at you since we walked in.” Ariel tells Bodun absentmindedly as she settles back to her phone.
“Are you serious?” Bodun smiled, she loved attention, a little too much and she was working on changing that mostly because it came to her for the wrong reasons.
Feranmi had been staring at Bodun since she came in with Ariel, he thought she looked beautiful, and had been contemplating walking over to her, but was held back by his niece who demanded his full attention and also because Ariel wouldn’t leave Bodun’s side. He also felt it would be weird approaching a lady at a kid’s party. The moment Bodun stared at him he flustered but his embarrassment was quickly covered up by his niece who had come to drag him towards the M.C
“Aunty B!” C.J shouts startling Bodun , she turns her head towards his direction and sees him running to her, with anxiety in her eyes she stands out of fear,a million thoughts flying through her mind, her heart praying for one thing only, that CJ be alright. When he gets to her, he hugs her.
“Are you alright ?” She asks looking round for any clue of trouble.
“I choose you” he screams in glee
“You choose me For what C.J?”
C.J points at the MC, a small tear drops from the side of Bodun’s left eye, she couldn’t bear if anything went wrong with CJ, seeing him smile gave her relief but she was confused.
“It appears our celebrant has found his champion, I believe others have too”
The M.C says stretching his hand towards Bodun.
“Yes!” The excited children shout
“Good! Let’s bring them out” M.C directs
Bodun is still confused but no longer worried. C.J pulls her out of the crowd to the front where the MC is, the other six kids doing the same.
“I’m sure you all are wondering why you are out” The excited M.C says
“Yes” Bodun and the other adults mutter
“Well the kids have chosen you as their champions and you are going to play a little game. You are going to dance round chairs and make sure you get a seat once the music stops.”
Oh no! Bodun grumbles. She didn’t like this game, it reminded her of her younger years. She used to win this game and people teased her saying “she won because she’s an orobo”
“The last two People standing will answer one question to determine the winner . The person who answers first and correctly wins a gift for the kid and for themselves. Mind you the kids have given me their answers to the question already”. The MC informs thrm
Now everyone was watching, the champions muttering their uncertainties, the children confident and the M.C with a big grin on his face.The M.C doesn’t drop his smile all through, the smile is almost too weird for Bodun making her unconsciously produce a weird smile of her own. She turns to have a look at her competition, three other ladies and three men.
Oh no! Bodun gasps, it was the guy Ariel said had been staring at her.
He is so hot!
Bodun get yourself together before you start drooling.
but he is so fine…
oh snap out of it!
we would look good together as a couple
you just got out of a relationship!
doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate art in human form.
Bodun was having a conflict with herself and the carefree part of her won the argument. She had crushes easily and with each guy she fancied she found herself flirting unconsciously through various means.
But this time she was trying to control herself for different reasons, one; it was CJ’s party, two; she just went through a breakup and three; right now the CEO’s meeting was all she was supposed to be thinking about.
All through her dissected thoughts she was still staring at him and suddenly he turned his head and their eyes were fixed on each other, Bodun felt the surge again and she froze. He smiled at her and suddenly she wanted that smile to be the first thing she would see in the morning, then he waved at her and although she wanted to wave back she had temporary paralysis. It felt as though it was just the two of them alone, but Bodun was jolted back to the present by the MC’s loud voice.
“So are we ready?” the M.C says riling the children up with excitement after arranging six chairs in a circle
Yes!!! The children shout more confident than the adults
Seeing the joy and trust and love radiating from CJ, Bodun decided she would put her past aside and win this one for CJ, low-key also to make her new crush like her. Bodun was born competitive and felt that quality would attract her kind of guy.
In the wink of an eye, it was the last round and just two of them were left standing. Bodun and Feranmi. Now the dancing had stopped and it was time for the tie breaker. CJ looked a bit tense and the girl beside him looked as anxious as CJ did, Bodun figured she was the child her Crush was representing.
The excited M.C announces “Now to the final round, What is the child’s favourite cartoon?”
That was so easy! Of course she knew it! How could she not remember, C.J was the one who introduced her to it, being a cartoon lover herself, he was always singing the theme song and always gave her an update. With as much enthusiasm she could muster she raised her hand so fast you would think a billion dollars were on the line.
“Yes ma’am!” the M.C pointing his left index fingers at Bodun
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” she shouts
Yes! C.J squeals
“We have a winner” The MC announces with so much gusto
Yes! She squealed, she was surprised she was this excited. CJ threw himself at her and she gave him a spin in her arms. Everyone was clapping but Feranmi’s ward gave a pissed look to him and he was scratching his head looking remorseful.
“Thank you Aunty B” CJ whispered into her ears…
Walking back home from seeing off Ariel to the point she had parked car, Bodun could still hear the echoes of the applause, She felt something when CJ hugged her, she had a place in his life, he loved her, and she still wondered why! She couldn’t deny she felt the same way, she was happy she got him a birthday gift and that she won the prize of the contest, a huge teddy, she always wanted one of those. She laughed at herself wondering how she grew up so fast.
Her motherly instinct had been ignited by CJ, he made her want to love and nurture, but there was only so much she could do with him, he had parents.
‘I want to have kids’ she thinks to herself as she smiles, a smile which fades away as she remembers she’s not even in a relationship. Not wanting to dwell on the break-up, she searches for happy thoughts. Thoughts that are cut short when a deep sexy voice beckons to her
She turns around to see that it’s the man she was in a tie with, her crush . He is in his car driving off with his ward at the front seat. The five year old wasn’t smiling.
“Nice job you did there” He tells her
“You know C.J pretty well, my niece here isn’t letting me hear the end of it, I’m just grateful she got a price for second place ” He shrugs then whispers to Bodun “she threatened to disown me” they both laugh
“Hi, I’m Feranmi ”
“Bodun, do pardon my manners, I would really like to stay back and talk but I have a five year old to appease” He hands her a complimentary card
“Uncle Feranmi let’s go” His niece grumbles. He sighs, “Do call any of the numbers there please please please”
His begging like a child amuses Bodun so she concedes “alright I will”
“Thank you so much, bye” he waves
He drives off. Bodun doesn’t take any look at the card rather she stuffs it into her pocket. Her reasonable side had been awoken, She realized she wasn’t in for boy drama, yeah he was cute, no, handsome, well handsome plus sexy, but she had enough going on.
All that mattered was the presentation and she hoped to God that she would nail it. Suddenly she stopped walking, ” blood… Pain… Everything you have planned for” the strange woman’s voice echoed in her head and Bodun’s heart skipped a beat.
She decided she was going to do what Ariel said and not think about what the scary woman said.
Everything will be fine, she assures herself.