Mila was amazed at the numbers and brands of cars she saw all lined up from the beginning of Akin Adesola street to the spot they finally parked. She saw a red Ferrari parked discreetly at a corner, there was also a wine colored Porsche car parked neatly somewhere. Although, she didn’t know what model it was, but she could see the name “Porsche”” clearly written on it’s sleek behind. Another thing that shocked her the most was the fact that, there were so many G-Wagon cars parked neatly and arranged as if set for a convoy. And then, varieties of car brands that she had no knowledge of but they looked so new and expensive and black like all the owners had planned a show of black sophistication that evening.
She got out of the car and stood looking across the road to see more cars and a simple gate with beautiful details and at least four mean looking “bouncers” inspecting people before they were allowed access into the place.
“What is this place?” she thought out loud
Simi who was adjusting her skirt and her hair as well as surveying the entire environment answered with a satisfied smile and nod of of approval.
“This my friend, is ZENBAH the hub of all the freshest and wealthiest professionals in Lagos”
“Professionals?” Mila couldn’t believe it. How could Professionals pull off this show of wealth and sophistication all in one night?
“I tell you dear. We might even run into Mr. Duke here”
Mila was taken aback “Oh no! What would he think?”
“Haba? Can’t somebody have fun again? Abeg come, let’s go in and please, walk with class else, they’ll think you’re cheap”
Mila didn’t understand what that meant so she asked “And why should I try so hard to not look cheap?”
“Wait until you see the class of girls we’ll meet inside and by the way, they only allow babes with tush dudes access but don’t worry, I’ve got you covered”
They were allowed in after Simi had had a brief chat with the “bouncers” and true to her words , ZENBAH wasn’t a baby’s playroom. The energy in the room was thick with smoke from the shisha smokers, cool foreign hip hop music, coded dance moves that looked like nobody was dancing while in fact they were, light conversations that sent people’s heads rolling back with heavy laughter, the bright red and nude lipsticks gracing the perfectly shaped lips of the ladies Snap Chatting and the rich scent of the perfumes that oozed from the sharply tailored suits hugging and revealing the tight muscles ( some of the men looked soft though) of the men they walked past. Everyone looked so sophisticated and they looked like they had come directly from the office to breathe even if it meant breathing in the thick aroma clouding the atmosphere from the shisha pots. Most people knew most people. It was a small community of friends, associates and believers of “all work and no play, makes me a dullard”.
Simi was in her elements. She had hugged and greeted five people already and each time, she introduced Mila who smiled politely but couldn’t pretend to be as excited as she was still too dazed by the entire scene of glamour displayed before her eyes. They found their way to a table without chairs but with three men; one being Simi’s date as she put it and so they had to stand whilst exchanging pleasantries. Simi and Chris, her date excused themselves to go get their drinks while Mila stood, feeding her eyes and wondering if she was going to die standing in her heels that evening. She tried engaging in the conversation ongoing between the other men about football. God knows she hated that sport with a passion so she feigned interest and smiled when she should but she couldn’t help moving her head to the familiar sound of Ja Rule and Ashanti’s “Always on Time”. She loved that song.
Simi and Chris returned with their drinks in what looked like an angry Zuma beer mug but the details of the sculpting perfectly enhanced the features of the Zuma monster on the mug making it’s tightly shut eyes and clenched fists look so cute. They cheered to the evening and Mila lifted the mug and took a long swing of the drink for she had become thirsty. It sent sparks down her spine and she had to close her eyes to savor the bitter sweet taste.
“You like?” Simi who had been watching her all along to see her reaction asked
“Yeah! this is really good!” Mila exclaimed “It’s like rockets shooting through my veins” she continued feeling excited all of a sudden
“I knew you’d like it” Simi responded with the same fervor.
They were both now swaying to the music and taking turns to sing each line like it was karaoke then Simi suddenly stopped and was staring at someone on the other side of the room. Mila couldn’t see who it was but she could tell from the way the person stood that it was a man. She looked back at Simi and asked,
“Someone you know?”
“Yeah. I’ve been looking for that dude’s contact like forever after I misplaced my old phone and now, there he is with his friends and here I am and I can’t seem to go get it” she finished and turned away from staring.
Mila took a closer look at the person she was referring to and realized that the dude was really a fine man wearing transparent glasses.
“But why can’t you go and get it?” Mila asked looking puzzled
“Well, Chris will be pissed cos he actually invited me here and I wouldn’t want to seem ungrateful” she replied trying to keep her voice low above the loud music.
“What’s his name” Mila asked
“Leo” Simi answered and then turned her attention back to Chris who was now beside her to dance.
Mila thought of what could possibly happen if she tried being the hero of the evening to rescue Simi from her plight and decided that nothing could go wrong. She scanned the area where the said gentleman was with his friends and and noticed that he had left but there was a lady and another man there. Then she shocked herself by walking up to them. She didn’t know why but she was shivering as she moved. She felt self conscious about what she was wearing and tried walking more gracefully in her Lemon colored chiffon shirt dress that stopped just above her knees. Even if the dress was buttoned up to her neck like a bishop’s collar, she still felt cold and tried to walk straight in her black heels.
She got to the spot and gently tapped Leo’s friend on shoulder saying “Excuse me”
He turned around and looked at her with a slight frown of curiosity on his forehead, waiting for her to talk. Mila on the other hand couldn’t talk. She stood there looking and almost forgetting her reason for calling his attention.
“Yes?” He asked politely with a glass of Hennessy drink in his well manicured hand
Mila wasn’t talking. She was looking at something else. Something else that really did subtly call for her attention and she gladly gave it all the attention it was beguiling her to give.