Previously. The incessant ringing of the phone woke me up from my sleep or was it a nap… I didn’t even have the energy to check what time it was. I picked up the phone lazily and answered in a hushed tone.
“You sound unwell, are you okay?”
I figured quickly it was a guy. Kev.
“Oh! Kev I am good, I was just taking a short nap & I kinda lost track of time.
“So you’re around?”
“Yeah, I just returned, Wassup”?
“All is cool, I just thought you could come over, catch up a bit then maybe see what next. I also want you to meet some friends of mine you’ve not met yet”
Some chill went done my spine when I interpreted the words uttered by Kev. Last those words came out of him, ignited a chain of events that led to me & Cera… & her drama!
“Oh come on! Not again Kev, remember what Cera & I got to … and what she is doing now.
“What? Come on dude…”.
“Yeah! Cera. We will talk about that when I come over.” “Wait! One more thing, is she part of your guests tonight?”
“Just come Brian. We are friends right?”
I didn’t know why I asked whether Cera would be attending. It was either just a formality or I was hoping to see or meet her without the effort or her knowing or feeling as if I still needed her. Emotionally I didn’t need her but if she was telling the truth about that kid, then it would be my latest weakness. I looked at the clock on the wall & was surprised how time had flown so fast! I stopped the meditation track still playing on the home theatre & repositioned myself for a power stretch & a relief yawn.
The creaking of my bones was just out of this world as I stretched to relax. My mind was quick to conclude and remind itself that it had been a long while since I had fish or any of their products, my shameless mind had the audacity to remember fish Wednesdays with Cera. Not Now!!!
I walked slothfully to the fridge & got myself a fruit smoothie made by another ‘friend’ of mine a few days earlier. It tasted fresh enough, or maybe it was the maker I had in mind. I switched on the tv & the news were full of the day’s earlier bombing of our enemies installation. Then the comments and views of the happy citizens followed through. This is always a smile generator for me. The particular station then brought up a file clip from a past air show we had performed earlier in the year for the president. I couldn’t help smile harder as I walked away. I hated feeling excessively good about myself. It always acted as a barrier to progress.
I hit the shower & stayed a little bit longer than usual. I dressed rather fast, for a guy who was just from sleep. I had now gotten used to harmonizing my own clad. Cera had been the head of that department when she was around. “I want my man to look good. It makes us look good” she was always saying that. As I was picking my keys from the table, a high zone thought crossed my mind, “How I would love to be in a state of indecisiveness over which ride to drive…” Would be nice! Good life to me that seemed.
For the first time I didn’t have the energy or rather the psych to push my 2 stage twin turbo B4 to the limits I normally do after thrilling air experiences. There is always some extra adrenaline for my auto angel – Tootsie. I drove at a humble 70 Km/h. Later figured that it was the much I had weighed last I was on the scale. I quickly glanced at the fuel gauge and I was pleased with what I saw. I wouldn’t need to refuel any time soon. I arrived at Kev’s residence within the time frame I had set for myself. His lot had some pretty alien rides & I guessed they belonged to the ‘new’ acquaintances he wanted me to meet.
Definitely by the time I got to the gate leading to his driveway, they had all heard Tootsie’s blare extraordinaire. By the time I stepped off her, Kev was at his front porch with arms wide open. Before he could even say hi, he was already talking about Cera.
“I Know you are not in good terms, but you are both my friends & I don’t wanna lose any of you…”
“Okay! Got that Kev.”
“Good. Welcome home.”
It was a striking 4 bed massionette with a Qatari customized interior, at the corner of a modern gated community. Just like me he had picked the airport view & the rest of the neighborhood. He loved Qatar! Never figured why & he bought it in cash! By the look of the interior, he had closed a great deal in the recent past. There were new fittings, full size art work & a new set of leather recliner couches. I noticed all this coz I was shunning the alternate act of scanning through faces of the people around me. I instead preferred to be looked for and approached. It was easier for me since all my opening statements appeared awkward, or so I thought. I don’t know how much time had passed but it started getting really weird standing there all alone without even a glass of water in hand. I was a still in a haze as well, think I slept out of phase.
Before I could start valuing Kev’s interior (He will ‘kill’ me for this someday) someone called me from the far end of the room & before I could focus my vision to that end, a proverbial pat to my shoulder shifted my concentration to my back. I was somehow startled, not coz of the bearer of the soft touch that was right on point, but because of how unexpected it was.
It was Emmah, Cera’s sister. Drink in hand.
“Sorry to startle you…” (How did she know I was?) “I didn’t mean to…”
“Hi, its okay, I am okay now.”
“This’ yours by the way…” (Handing me the drink in her hands)
I raised it and I was even more surprised when the content, which, I hadn’t paid much attention to – visual especially, a cocktail that I only tasted with Cera in vicinity, brandy, white rum, Cointreau & a dash of lemon juice. How the hell did she know?!! Before I could get a migraine over the issue, she told me that she had been sent by Cera. Mmmhh! ‘No wonder you touched where you did’ – I thought to myself. How lucky can a guy get? ‘Stop being silly Brian!’ shouted my internal.
Emmah wasn’t the slow kind, when it comes to interpreting the things around her. She noted the flash frown on my face that I quickly retracted as fast as it had come. I was quick on it too coz I noted her change as well. She asked me to stay unruffled, which was not hard for me a stunt to pull.
Eerie thoughts started flowing through my mind.
‘Cera is trying to hook me up with her sister,’
‘Emmah wants to keep me for herself,’
‘Emmah the saddist wants to have a taste of me’
I quickly brushed these thoughts away, since it wasn’t the right place nor the right time & quite impertinent if it wasn’t true.
“What did you say again?”
“You heard me right Brian… Cera sent me…”
“… and?” (My arrogance started setting in but I tried my best to tone it down.)
“She wants to talk to you.”
“I will talk to her later.”
“I am sure she will appreciate.”
“Okay…” “Oh! Emmah, thanks for the drink. It was considerate of you.” Which by now I was sure the drink I still held in my hands was Cera’s project.
“You welcome Brian.”
At first I was irate at Kev for I was sure he was the engineer of that whole introductory – surprise, welcome, thingy. I stepped out in search of him but it didn’t last long before I softened. There was too much fun & too many new & vibrant faces that I was anxious to meet. Actually as far as I was concerned at that particular moment, I didn’t have the guts to face her and her drama.
Kev appeared just before my open cover stature started getting weird and out of place. He was even more animated to see me standing there astounded by the guests present. I didn’t know how to start it up with him. But as the conversation kept going, I got easy, forgot my woes & the evening presented itself rather well, the intro’s were never ending Kev tagging me along like his little son. I was enjoying the evening as it wore on.
In between thoughts, I remembered of Cera’s enticement for a chat. Here I was considering my options. Obviously under influence I would ‘feel’ bolder, when over influence I would be under threat of succumbing to emotional manipulation of sorts. I was still in control of my alcohol content. I vowed to stay a while with Kev who had used a pretty obvious intro strategy we used to call it ‘forward sweep’.
In forward sweep, whoever hosted a party, introduces the guys first and the talks with the guys would be extra long. By this time the ladies would be introducing themselves, and they would be still drinking. This means by the time the ladies would be introduced, a pretty big chunk of decency & holding back would have been eliminated by the drink. Unless the hard cores who never seem to get drunk. Kev applying Fs meant getting laid was what was on his mind for me. I almost purged to the thought. Guess I was too sober. Maybe later I would be hoping from corner to corner in search of a take away.
The other stratagem we use was the back sweep… where intros started with the ladies and then the men followed. This one was a good one to identify the wannabes from the real. This is how Cera & I met. Guess that’s why he didn’t even attempt it. But that was more than 50 house parties later probably it wasn’t on his mind!
I realized that I was out of concentration after meeting about four other of his business associates & this was the green light to approach Cera & talk it out. Longest walk ever & she was just a few steps away. As I got nearer, I noticed her glowing eyes. I wasn’t quite sure whether it was excitement or sadness… that fluid was just too much… I will handle whatever comes my way. She shifted slightly in her position & seemed like she was deliberating on how to do this…
It was slow motion to me…