Mani and Ehi just finished posing for cameras on the red-carpet at the BET awards. There were presenters at the show and were putting on identical red jumpsuits. The event was few minutes from beginning.
They walked into the building hand in hand and was led by security to their seats which were on the front row.
It wasn’t long after they sat down when Stephanie and a friend walked pass and sat at the adjacent row.
“What on earth is she doing here? ” Mani whispered.
“She is probably here for the same reason as we are.” Ehi whispered back.
“That’s really shady. Do you think we should go over and introduce ourselves?” she asked.
Turning in disbelief to face her “And why would we do that? ” she said slowly.
Mani shrugged and replied “I don’t know. Maybe just to be petty. Imagine we go over and they try to pull attitude on us and we just smack them right in the face and snatch their wigs.” She said with a mischievous look on her face.
It wasn’t until she was done speaking that Ehi realized she had left her mouth open. Quickly closing it, she stared at her friend for a while before replying “How you haven’t found yourself in an asylum is a mystery and how I have coped with you all these years is a bigger mystery.”
Rolling her eyes and leaning back in her seat she replied “nope the biggest mystery is how I have coped with your boring a-s all these years. I wish Christian was here by now we would have those thots rolling on the floor.” She had this weird smile on her face and then she closed her eyes and was still for a minute and then she gave a sudden jerk of her shoulders like someone who has been possessed and said “Lord Jesus not today, I can’t go to prison now…maybe later.” She opened her eye and adjusted herself properly like any other sane person would have done.
Ehi didn’t want to tempt fate and asked what all that was all about so she pretended not to notice. At that moment the host for the evening came on stage.
Chirstain joined them at a club for the after-party.
Ehi switched into an army-navy anorak over a tank top and a rock-star tasseled miniskirt. Mani was also putting on a tank top but she paired hers with denim shorts.
They were at the VIP corner with some friends partying when Zeke walked in with his arms around Stephanie. They moved to the other end of the room and sat down.
Everyone paused and looked at Ehi who in turn pretended to be on a call. When they realized that they weren’t going to get a reaction from her they returned to whatever they were doing before. Ehi had no idea why two of them were together and she didn’t want to find out either. She went on with her business like they didn’t exist.
Soon Christain dragged her to the dance floor. She had never been a good dancer so she was really shy about dancing in public but Mani and Christian kept egging her on till she let loose and was having the time of her life. She was still dancing when a fight broke out between two drunks. One minute they were shoving each other and the next minute others joined in the fight and before anyone could react there were gunshots and everyone was trying to run for safety.
Ehi was running out like every other person when someone stepped on her and in the process of pushing the person off she lost her footing and fell to the ground. She tried getting up but people kept stepping on her, she was struggling to get up when someone lifted her from behind and helped her to her feet and holding her firmly by the shoulders led her outside.
Once they were at a safe distance from the door, they stopped to catch their breath and when she turned around to look at the kind stranger,she found herself starring at an older version of her children’s face. She was lost for words and just kept staring at him.
“Are you alright ? Hope you are not injured? ” He asked with deep concern.
“Yes I am okay.” she said slowly not trusting her voice.
“It’s good to see you again. What are you doing in LA? ”
“I came for the awards.”
“Okay, a couple of my teammates attended i think because I overheard talking about it. So where are you staying so I could drop you off…erm… that’s if it is okay with you.”
Before she could respond Mani ran over and wrapped her arms around her “Oh my goodness,thank God you are okay.” Placing her hands on either side of her cheeks she continued “We were searching everywhere for you. I was so scared we lost you. Yo Zeke was shot and I think someone is dead too, it depends on who you ask this. Some say two dead others say three. I guess tomorrow we will find out the real story. Come let’s be on our way before the police get here. ” At that moment she realized they were not alone. She turned to address the stranger “And who is this handsome —” she stared at him as the jarring realization struck her,she looked at Ehi and back at the man.
“I’m Cicero Smalls. I play for the LA Falcons if you are wondering why my face looks familiar.”
“Of course I think I saw in that cereal commercial .”
“Yeah that’s me. ” he replied.
“My nephew Malik loves that advert. You should see him when it comes on, he knows every word.” she said but she was looking at Ehi who had turned pale, turning back to him she continued “It was nice meeting you…erm… I guess I will be on my way now. We are going back to the hotel room so when you are done discussing with him. ” she said and left.
“Wow, why do I have a feeling your friend doesn’t like me.”
“Mani likes everyone,its probably everything that have happened tonight that’s making her sound that way.”
“Do you want to grab a bite or something?”
“Is that a good idea?”
“I dunno but for old times sake and I swear I don’t bite. When we are done I will drop you off at the hotel. ”
She looked around before replying “well I guess we might as well be on our way. What’s the worst that could happen.” She said nervously.
When they were leaving the first police car was driving in. They found a little restaurant and took seats by the window across each other. They talked about everything but their relationship and even that didn’t really matter. They spoke for hours and only left when the owners wanted to lock up the place.
He drove her over to the hotel and they exchanged contacts before she alighted and went upstairs to her room. She had no idea how tired she was until she saw her bed. She knew she was supposed to shower but to hell with it, she jumped on her bed and it was lights-out as soon as her head touched the pillow.
She was hearing voices but she couldn’t really understand what they were saying. She struggled and opened her eyes and she saw Christian looking down at her, his lips seem to be moving but she couldn’t really hear him. She had to force herself to concentrate and get what he was saying. He seem to notice that’s she wasn’t following the conversation so he paused and started all over again but this time slowly.
“How could you not tell us that Cicero Smalls was your baby daddy?”
“Don’t you there huh me, that fella is the best thing that has happened to basketball since Micheal Jordan. He just won his second championship ring last week. If only you had told me this precious information last week I would have had a front row seat at the finals. How could you be so selfish.” he folded his arms across his shoulders and had this stern look in his face.
“I can’t believe you Christian instead of you to be mad she lied to us all these years, you are interested in front row seats. Are you sure you are okay. ” Mani said from the other end of the room.
“For the record I never lied. I just never spoke about him and I had my reasons for doing so.” she replied angrily.
“Really,you had your reasons you say… I thought we were best friends. If you can hide such a secret from me I wonder what else you have been hiding.” Mani said and stomped out of the room.
Christian shook his head and let out a deep sigh “Don’t really take to heart everything she just said. You know she is angry and the Bronx in her is always extra but you know she loves you. I’m mad at you too but I know if you didn’t tell us about him is because you had a reason. I’m not going to lie I am mad you couldn’t trust us with such a secret but I want to believe you would have told us in your own time. Okay…erm… before I forget we will be going to the station later in the day to give a statement.”
“Because of what happened last night?”
“Yeah plus your boyfriend Zeke was shot but I heard from a friend he is out of surgery and doing fine. Though two people were killed last night. One was a waitress and the second hasn’t been identified yet. Alright I guess I will see you later. ” with that he left the room.
She sat up and used her hands to push her hair from her face. She needed a shower badly but she couldn’t seem to make her body move. The phone beside her rang and she crawled over to answer.
“Good morning Hilz.” Just hearing his voice made her weak instantly and she leaned against the wall for support. “Hello are you still there?”
“Yes.. yes I’m here. Hope you slept well? ”
“Yes I did. I hope you slept well too. ”
“Okay, so I’m in front of the elevator now. I’m with breakfast and I should be in front of your door shortly.”
“Hold on, you are in the hotel right now? ”
“That’s what I just said. ”
“Oh my God.” she slammed the receiver into the cradle and ran to the bathroom.