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Monday, 21 December 2015


Chapter Four: Princess Ella Shows Up

More slowly than expected, Sunday finally arrived. It was the day I and Princess Ella fixed our date. I had made the call and she had accepted we meet today by 5pm (for a start, I won Ade and Element’s bet. They both paid up without complaints. Pascal’s bet was left to be won). I have to say this; I was a bit disappointed when I first heard Princess Ella’s voice. I was expecting a mellifluous and soft voice that would match her stunning looks. Rather, what I heard was not exactly that. It wasn’t even close. Well, no one was perfect, I guessed and shrugged it off.

 Everything was in place. According to the lectures and grooming I received from Element, I was to give the Princess a good impression of a well-to-do gentle man (my roommates were all firmly behind my back this time). I needed a car to boost my reps so we had made arrangements to borrow Princewill’s (a colleague) Avallon for three hours, in case I had to drop her at her place. I dressed up neatly in my best shirt and trousers and got the approval of the room. No suits, no ties, they’d make me look conservative and too tightened up, thanks Element. I used my Malizia moderately and put on my Rolex (imitation brand of course). My low cut was as neat as Usher Ray’s. I had also shaved off every spiky growth on my chin. Everything facial mattered much. I brushed my mouth with extra quantity of Dabur Herbal. I could have passed for a bill board toothpaste model plus a smart-looking business man. I even gave my looks a thumb-up though I was as nervous as a teenager. 

I and Princess were to meet in a lovely eatery-Ariel. I had chosen the venue and she said it was ok, though she hadn’t been there before.  I had been there once when I had to get cake for the room on Pascal’s birthday some weeks back. It had left a memorable and remarkable impression. By 4:40pm, we (I, Element and Ade) pulled in with the borrowed Avallon into the serenity of Ariel.  My roommates came as observers and promised not to interfere in any possible way (including gestures) with my date. They were just going to seat at some distance away. They needed to be sure I earned Pascal’s bet. 

On my part, I had to make Princess Ella feel happy and comfortable on our first date. I was convinced a place like this would match her class and taste, even though she claimed to be simple and down-to-earth. I needed to prove a point to my roommates too. Naturally, I preferred the first floor to the ground floor. I loved everything about this fast food. It seemed to have been designed and customised for dates. The air conditioning was appreciably moderate. The interior decor was pro stuff. Some sections were general while some were for people that required more privacy. I preferred the later section. The lighting was soft in this section and they didn’t have all those iron chairs with soft seats on them or fanciful wooden chairs except in the general sections. They had soft and comfortable sofas there. Very cool R&B songs were diffusing from hidden speakers. The 32 inches plasma TV screens hanging on the white and lemon walls were synchronously displaying TRACE urban hits. To top it all, the side wall facing the streets was a massive floor-to-ceiling see-through glass to give an amazing view of traffic and buildings. One could see anyone walking in or out from where I positioned. This was what I wanted. I had to see when the Princess walked in. The last thing I wanted was to let her be stranded. 

I got a can of apple drink to while off the waiting time and also ease my nervousness. It was already 5:15pm and no sign. Maybe Pascal would win his bet back, a part of my mind thought but it was too early to start thinking negative. Should I call her again or just wait for some few more minutes? Maybe she forgot about the date or maybe one of her rich guys took her out, or maybe she just changed her mind. Alright, relax man; I told myself. She’s going to show up, probably traffic or something. I started practicing in my head on the first words I would say. It had to be complementing. Something like, ‘Good evening Miss Ella, may I say your profile picture is an understatement of your true beauty. I’m pleased to meet you.’ I think that was good for a start. I reminded myself it was all for the big bet. No strings attached. Just prove the point to my roommates and get the remaining 3 grand. Two minutes later, I received a text message from Princess Ella: ‘be there soon...apologies.’ That was a bit relieving.

By 5:26pm, there was still no sign. I was so nervous I rose up to the convenience to splash some water on my face. Why can’t things just go as planned with ladies? As I walked in, I met a fat man walking out of the men’s lavatory. “hold on friend, I wouldn’t go in there if I were you, the flush handle is bad so everything’s still intact”, he said.  I told him it was ok that I needed just the wash basin outside. After a quick splash, I dried my face and was about pulling out my phone to dial Princess Ella when the phone rang. Caller ID: Princess Ella. My heart raced. She was already here, I guessed. I wanted to burst out of the convenience but I held myself to hear her first. I picked the call. 

Ella: Hello, Pete, so sorry I’m late. I’m outside here at the shawarma spot, where’re you please?
I didn’t know what to say for a moment. My pulse was furiously fast. I was finally meeting the beauty I only spoke with online. Would I be who she expected to meet? Ok, Peter, breathe it all out and reply her.
Peter (Narrator): “Wow, finally you’re here. O-ok um lemmi um come get you then. Ahh gimme a minute please.”
Stuttering wasn’t my thing but neither was real life dating.
Princess Ella: “Alright then, I’m waiting.”
I don’t really know what made me ask the next question even though I knew how she looked from her pictures. Maybe I was very nervous.
Peter (Narrator): “What are you wearing so I can easily spot you? You know, err dressing can change a lady’s appearance.” 
She gave a short amused giggle, and then she described her wear.

Finally, I was meeting the online Princess physically. For the first time in my life I was having a real life date. These thoughts made blood pump up my face and go down again in a quick descend, leaving me cold and hot at the same time. I walked out of the restroom, summoning courage like a man and approached the floor-to-ceiling window facing the streets so I can see her. I could see the shawarma section below. It was separated from the main building though still owned and operated by Ariel. The line there was not long, four or five people waiting for their turn. I could see three more people not in the line but just waiting around. A guy dressed like a member of a rock band, chewing gum nervously and two young, beautiful ladies actively in conversation. One of the young ladies was strikingly prettier than the other-the taller one. I could only see the back view from my position—suspense. I was expecting one not two. And something else didn’t seem accurate here. She told me she was dressed in pink top with blue pencil pants but neither of them wore those. Maybe she was trying to play games by adding last minute twists. That wouldn’t be funny because I was confused and at the same time ran out of thoughts. I didn’t want to get down there and look like an idiot. I had to be sure. Could she have walked in already? Was she there at all? Did she lie to me that she’s waiting at the shawarma spot? I looked behind me. I could see Element and Ade and Pascal sitting at their table and watching me with intense curiosity and interest. I thought I could use their help at this point so I made a gesture for them to come over to the window. I told them my confusion. I thought they’d ridicule me but they didn’t, maybe not yet. Element suggested I called her again. Even that never occurred to me. It was when I dialled her number that a lot of things started unfolding. 

When the dialling went through, I was expecting to see one of the girls bring out a phone to answer my call. Instead, what I saw marvelled me. The rock band-like guy who was then chewing even more nervously pulled out his phone from the side pocket of his pencil jeans. A blue pair of pencil jeans! He was wearing a pink top too. Those were the exact description of dress Prinicess Ella gave me. Taking a closer look at him even at the given distance, we could see him better. He tied a red scarf and his hair was long and weaved backwards like a secondary school girl. He wore earrings, not the big circular ones but the dot type, bright silver in colour. His silver necklace reflected dully around his neck. His pair of pencils was so tight he looked like a girl.  He picked the call and for a split minute, I was lost for words. We were observing if he was the one actually at the other end.  Surprisingly, it was him!         
Rock band-like guy: “Pete what’s keeping you up till now, you said you were coming down. Is this payback for being late?”
The voice—that was the same voice I spoke to the very first day I dialled Princess Ella. It was the same voice that replied each time I had called Princess Ella. This better not be what I’m thinking. I hung up instinctively. I told my roomies that the guy below seemed to be the Princess Ella. The rock band-like dude was in fact Princess Ella. All this while, it had been a guy. No wonder the voice sounded so unfeminine from day one. All this while, I’ve been chatting with a gay. No wonder he had been bringing up so many discussions on homo. I had always agreed with his views on it because I believed people were free to make their choices and that gave him a sort of clue that I was into it. The bastard thought I was gay! I was upset and disappointed. All I could say was ‘shit!’ repeatedly. Element looked like he wanted to punch the guy below through the glass. He despised gays. 

Element: “This is the definition of massive bullshit!” he yelled uncontrollably, almost smashing his phone on the floor. 
People turned from their tables but we didn’t care. 
Ade and Pascal were dumb-founded.
Peter (Narrator): “What do we do now guys? This whole thing is rucked up.” 
Pascal: “Let’s get out of here. We have to return Princewill’s car.” 

Element was still bitter. I sensed he was not satisfied with Pascal’s suggestion. I knew what it meant when I saw that look on his face—something rough was on his mind.
Element: “Peter, you see that bastard standing there, he messed with you. The gay motherf**ker treated you like nobody by tricking you, wasting our time and resources too! You think we should all sneak out of here and go away just like that? I’m sure this sonofabitch deserves some lesson! Who knows the next person he’s gonna manipulate? Let’s get this sissy, guys. Ade, you get the car in position.” Nobody objected.

It was getting dark by time we got outside. The gay dude was about leaving the shawarma spot. Ade went straight to turn the car around and put it on gear while the other three of us went to ‘say hello’ to Princess Ella. 
I was not a rough guy. I just happened to be with some and we needed to take care of this embarrassment from Mr. Gay so I was in support. When we were done, he was all messed up like puke. There was no blood but I was sure he’d be a proud owner of a black eye and broken ribs in the morning. We quickly left for the car when the security men started running towards the scene we created. Ade was a good driver-maybe a get-away driver because in no time, we were on the streets all sitting quietly in the ride except Element who was swearing and cursing.
Element: “You know what guys, I think we need to drink away our disappointments. We need to drink away our guilt. It helps in times like this. We won’t stay long, plus it’s weekend.  The bad news is I don’t have money.”
Peter (Narrator): “No way. Not tonight people. Number one, y’all know I don’t drink. All I need is a sound rest. Let’s return Princewill’s car then get back to our tent.” 
It was surprising nobody made fun of the whole situation at Ariel. Every one of my roommates seemed to be emotionally affected too. That was until Ade spoke.
Ade: “I wonder if some people will still chat on 2go again. I can imagine the number of friends of the room waiting to hear the gist of the whole outing. Oboy room go bubble this night. Hehehehe. I should drive faster.”
I knew my roommates. Just what I had been expecting. I knew the sympathy wouldn’t last. It wasn’t even in their nature.
Pascal: “Hmmmm, Ade you sef. No do mek some people go sleep off-camp o. My happiness be say my 3grand don enter my pocket again.”
Element: “At last, you no prove anything to us Pete and I don spend money on top your head. See as you come dull us. mtchew, the whole thing de vex me sef. No worry mek we reach room, life go tire you.”

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