ISAAC SEGUN ANUBI
It had been two weeks since he met Lucy but he hasn’t been able to get her off his mind. Michel was at his restaurant, God’s Own Republic. It was the go-to place to eat for almost everyone in Abuja. It was located at the centre of the city and had everything from local to African to international cuisine.
Michel always goes to the restaurant on Saturdays when he was free to have his lunch. It was been managed by his best friend Alexa. He met her when he first moved to Abuja from Lagos six years ago and they’ve been best of friends since then. They always ate lunch together whenever he came over. They were in the VIP section of the restaurant and he was having a plate of pounded yam with egusi soup and assorted meats, while Alexa was having semolina with okra soup and goat meat.
Michel was still thinking of Lucy when Alexa brought him out of his trail of thoughts, “Mr Man, what are you thinking about? You haven’t really touched your food, your favourite for that matter. Don’t tell me you are thinking of that lady?”
Coming out of his reveries, Michel sighed. “I don’t know why I can’t get her out of my mind, you know.”
“Why is that, from what you told me, she offended you and looked for you to apologize, why then are you thinking about her, or are you falling in love?” Alexa asked, teasingly.
“Oh shut up already. I just feel there’s something wrong with her. Like she’s lost or hurt, you know. I could see it in her eyes. She’s trying to hide it but if you look at her deeply you would know.”
“Well, I don’t know what you saw but what I know is that she isn’t your problem to solve, it not like you guys are friends, or did you exchange contacts?”
“No, she just came to apologize and that was all. Only thing I know is her name.”
“Good then, stop worrying your head about her. Eat your food before I get angry at you for wasting my efforts on it because I took my time to make sure it was perfect like you always want it.”
“That’s why I love you na. Who would have been taking care of me like this if you were not here?” he said smiling and he loved her more. Alexa has been of massive help to him ever since he met her. She helped him settle down and helped with connections too. She had been part of the brain for his business and she personally chose to manage the restaurant even though he had established her own business for her. She had a fashion design and clothing line but decided to put people in charge while she managed the restaurant due to her love for cooking. Michel had decided to make her the owner ones she got married.
“More reason I told you to get yourself a girl. Don’t let your fine boy look deceive you. You aren’t getting any younger. I have my own man and soon we would be getting married and I won’t always be there for you.”
“I know madam. You don’t have to rub it in. I just haven’t seen the right woman yet.”
“See this one. You that you are the hottest bachelor in town, any lady would want to wife you jor.”
“I don’t want any lady. I want my lady, and who even came up with a stupid title like that,” he asked feeling irritated at the sound of the “hottest bachelor ” slang.
“It’s not a stupid title boy, it the truth. You think if I wasn’t your friend, I wouldn’t have married you?” Alexa said looking serious.
“Thank God it didn’t turn out to be so.”
“Why did you say so, idiot?” she asked, hitting him on the shoulder.
“Because we will end up killing each other. Our combination is a bad one,” he replied laughing.
Suddenly, the atmosphere changed and he smelled her cognac. It wasn’t something he could miss. It had been a part of him since the last time they met at Sharon Hotel. This was the second time he’s feeling it and he knew she just walked into his section and he raised his head when Alexa spoke to her.
Lucy had decided to go have her lunch at God’s Own Republic. She had heard a lot about the restaurant and their amazing delicacies and decided to have a taste of it that day, and in a way, she was hoping to see Michel again. Since their last meeting at the hotel, she hasn’t been able to get him off her mind. She had been seeing those smiles of his all the time. Even Betty had teased her when she said she felt like eating there.
“Just say you want to go and try your luck and see if you will meet him there. I’ve seen receipts of things you’ve been purchasing from God’s Own Supermarket and I know Globus Supermarket is your favourite place. That guy has really turned you on,” Betty had said to her.
Even though she denied it with the excuse that she only wanted to see how good the places were since people are saying a lot about them, she knew deep down he was affecting her in a way she wasn’t sure of and hated it.
She was seated in the VIP section and having a plate of Risotto, an Italian cuisine. She had had it the last time she went on holiday to Italy and she had been looking for a place in Abuja that made it but she didn’t find any. It, therefore, came as a surprise when she saw it on the menu. Eating it now, she swore it was exactly like it was when she had it in Italy and made a note to always come here to eat. She loved the serenity of the restaurant. One can’t help but feel relaxed and at home.
She was still eating when she heard that laughter and she froze. There was no way she would miss that laughter. It was deep and enchanting in a way she couldn’t explain.
“Lord is that him? Please let it be him.”
She decided to go and check out if he’s the one.
While getting up, she almost tripped over.
“Get yourself together, Lucy.”
When she got to the other section, she saw him talking with another woman and their connection was so real that she felt a tinge of pain in her heart and she almost held her chest.
“Who is she and why am I feeling jealous all of a sudden? What’s really happening to you, Lucy?”
She was about to turn around and go back to her seat but the lady with him arrested her by calling her.
Alexa was still laughing from what Michel said when she saw a lady headed their way but got intrigued when she was about to turn back. She wondered if the lady was lost or something.
“Hi there, are you lost or something? I can show you the way back to your table.”
When he looked up, Michel realised how beautiful Lucy really was. She was wearing a pink pair of jeans that brought out all her curves and a flowering blouse that stopped a little above her navel. She was in a white sneaker and had light makeup and her beauty was ethereal. He was just lost in thought looking at her when Alexa nudged him with her elbow to bring him back to reality.
“She’s talking to you,” Alexa said with a mock smile on her face.
Even Lucy couldn’t escape her share of confusion because the moment he raised his head, she saw his cute eyes and full lips and was lost in them.
Michel was wearing a short trouser and a Burberry short sleeve shirt with two of the top buttons opened to reveal the hair on his chest.
“No. I’m not lost. I thought I heard a familiar voice from the other side and I felt I should check it out. My guess was right,” Lucy said, startled.
“Hi, Michel,” she said when she realised his eyes were all over her. She felt naked by the way he was looking at her.
“Why does he have so much effect on me?”
“Oh, hi Lucy! To what do I owe this visitation? Don’t tell me you didn’t stalk me this time around,” he said, forcing a smile.
“No, I didn’t. I only came to have lunch.”
“And how many times have you come here to eat?”
“Actually, this is my first time.”
“That tells me you are either stalking me or you came here with the hope of seeing me.”
Lucy didn’t have an answer to that because she knew he was right.
Sensing that the lady was caught unawares, Alexa decided to rescue her because she knew Michel had a corny way of getting the truth from people.
“Will you let the young lady be, Mr Man. You can be gentleman enough to ask her to sit down and introduce us. Or don’t I deserve to be introduced?”
“Sorry your lordship,” Michel teased, knowing her plan,” Lucy, please join us. “
“Oh, I’m good. I just came to confirm if you were really the one. I’m actually done and leaving anyway. “
“So you will just go like that without having a chat with us? You might as well not have bothered to check if it was really me in the first place.”
“Please sit down and let’s get to know each other,” Alexa pleaded.
“Alright, if you insist,” Lucy replied sat facing him, and his cognac hits her again and she knew she was in for another nightmare because that sweet scent will never leave her.
“Welcome to God’s Own Place. I’m sure you already know it’s mine.”
“Yes, I heard.”
“Great! Well, this is Alexa, she is the manager of this place and she’s my very good friend, more like a sister I would say.”
“Aww, don’t make me blush,” Alexa said, making a funny face.
“You’re a clown,” Michel replied.
On hearing Alexa was Michael’s friend and looking at them play, Lucy felt good about the information and was surprised with the way she was uncomfortable earlier when she thought they were a couple.
“Nice to meet you, Alexa. I’m Lucy,” she said as she proffered her hand in a handshake.
Receiving Lucy’s hand in a shake, Alexa told her that she already knew her name. “He already told me about you.”
“He did?” Lucy asked, shocked that he told his friend about her.
“Yea he did. He told me about this strange lady that was a pain in his ass on a beautiful Tuesday and when he thought he had seen the last of her, she showed up at his conference and apologized. “
“Yeah, that’s about what happened.”
They chatted for a while, getting to know each and Lucy realized he was really an amazing person. After almost two hours of talking, Lucy felt it was time to go home.
“Even though I wish to spend more time with you guys, I need to go home.”
“It was fun chatting with you. Let’s hang out more,” Alexa replied.
“No problem, I would love that, I need to pay for my meal and by the way, it was the best Risotto I’ve had since the last one I had in Italy.”
“We always serve the best here, and don’t worry about the money, it’s on the house.”
“No, I won’t agree to that. I insist on paying.”
“Trust me, you don’t want to argue with her, you will get tired, just accept her offer,” Michel said teasingly.
“You are mad, boy. I will deal with you later.” Alexa said with mocked seriousness and turned to Lucy. “My dear, don’t mind him. Let’s just say this is a welcome to the family treat.”
“Fine, if you say so.”
They exchanged contacts and Lucy asked Michel to give her his number and he did.
“Why are you the one collecting my number? Why aren’t you giving me yours?” Michel asked, surprised that she just collected his number without giving him hers.
“Don’t worry, I will do the honour of calling you. “
“That sounds dubious but it ok.”
That made him a little bit sad.
“What if she mistakenly misplaced the number?” he thought to himself surprised at how anxious that made him feel.
“Time to go. Talk to guys later.”
And with that Lucy left their section and went out.
Michel just couldn’t take his eyes off her retreating back. She had the most perfect shape and curves he had ever seen and something about her make him want to look at her forever.
“Mr. Man, concentrate, ” Alexa said teasingly and turned his head to face her.
“She beautiful mehn,” he said.
“Yes, I know, but like you said earlier, she has her own demons she’s fighting.”
“You right, and I don’t think she’s ready to let them go any time soon.”
“You can actually help her, you know,” Alexa said concerned, “All she needs is someone to listen to her.”
“And when did I become a psychologist?”
“Come on, you know you can, if there is anyone that can help her, it’s you”.
“Why would you think so?”
“You once helped me too, remember?”
“I knew you then, and you opened up to me. What makes you feel she will do the same? And don’t give me that look,” Michel knew she had a way of looking at him when she wanted to make him do what he doesn’t want to do.
“I know she will.”
“What made you think so?”
“She likes you. I saw the way she kept looking at you, all you need to do is get her to trust you, just use your magic on her.”
“You might be exaggerating. She might like me as a person.”
“No lady in her right senses will just like you as a person, you are too cute and hot for that.”
“Well, you do, don’t you?”
“Says who, don’t make me do what I don’t want to do, you know how crazy I can be, right?”
“Well Frank is there, you don’t want to disappoint him.”
“He should thank his stars that he’s your friend and even at that, you won’t let me have you, if not I will be with you without thinking twice.”
“Say whatever you want, you have a man and you both love each other, you will always be my favourite.”
“I know, that why I love you and you can’t deny you don’t like that girl too,” she said teasingly.
“I don’t know, you know me,” he said as his shoulders drop.
“I know, just take your time. She might be the one. It’s high time you get yourself a girl, but first, try to help her please.”
“Fine, I hear you, I will try.”
“That’s why I love you, you the best,” she hugged him and planted a kiss on his cheek.
With that, he stood up.
“I need to leave now, it’s getting dark.”
“Yea, you should, take care of yourself dear and come to visit your girl more frequently. I miss you when you take too long to come.”
“Oh, I thought you hardly miss me, and if you do, you know the road to my house, don’t you?”
“Just visit more, don’t start with your lectures.”
They hugged and Michel left for his house.
Anubi Segun Isaac is a student at National Open University, Nigeria, studying Computer Science. He is single. He loves reading, listening to music and travelling. LOVE CHANGES is his first story on Guest Writer after he completed The Klever Magg’s REWA Creative Writing Course.