PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)
Buki wore a plain olive green cotton shirt with a mix of African print in lemon and army green hues gracing the collar and cuffs, over black trousers. It was a carefully selected outfit. One that attracted a lot of compliments each time he wore it. It was also the best shirt in his wardrobe.
He had taken two good shirts along with him in anticipation of such a thing as this even though he had speculated the Eibas would be the host. The high quality fabric stretched taut along the muscled expanse of his chest, hugging his physique. His black trousers fit perfectly and the shiny black boots he wore added class to his appearance. The shirt, buttoned to his throat gave a little glimpse of his expansive neck and jutting Adam’s apple.
He had showered, clean-shaved and brushed his low cut hair into shiny waves. When he looked at his hair, he remembered Modele’s, a little longer than his, and wondered why she would do that to herself; cutting her hair just because her ex liked long hair. She would be striking with long hair, he knew.
He remembered the way she had looked with the wig; beautiful, mature, arresting. But then the short hair gave her another personality he found appealing; pretty, innocent, young and fresh. He scratched his head to remind himself those thoughts were forbidden, while waiting in her lobby just as another thought crossed his mind. What would it be like to scratch her head?
“Same colour,” she said behind him, startling him.
He turned round to face her and sucked in his breath. She was a sight to behold, and that was putting it mildly. She was exquisite in the green evening gown. Her short hair had been oiled and brushed so finely that it now shorn in soft, cascading waves. Her lips were tinged with a shade darker than their original colour, and left shiny and glossy. Her eyes lined with a teasing shade of green made her look like a goddess. Her long slender neck looked vulnerable and exposed to his hungry assessment of them, endowed with a beautiful gold chain and emerald pendant. He noticed the same emeralds graced her ears. The dress fitted her like a glove, clinging yet decent. Buki swallowed hard, short of words.
“Let’s go if you can move your legs.”
She smiled triumphantly, her perfume over-powering his senses as she sashayed past. Hugo woman, he guessed! He knew perfumes though he didn’t use the designer labels. He closed his eyes for a second to gain control, pulled himself together and followed her. He cautioned himself, remembering she had lost her cool just a few hours earlier.
Contrary to her usual behaviour, she sat beside him in front, smiling at him as she did. Was she trying to apologize? Was she not taking it too far? If only she knew the effect she was having on him. She clutched her small black bag, matching the stilted black sandals she wore, while holding on to the silk shawl he noticed matched her dress. He reminded himself he was just an employee as he moved the car, but his heart raced almost as fast as the machine he controlled.
Maxwell’s Victorian mansion swarm with guests. Buki stopped for Modele in front of the house before following directions to the parking lot. He didn’t think he would also be her companion and after parking the car, lounged on the trunk of the car. A uniformed guard approached him and directed him to a shed where other drivers waited. He gratefully headed in the direction, passing the front of the house. He was surprised to notice she still stood where he’d dropped her.
“Mr. George,” Modele called out. “Come,” she whispered. “You are my guest,” she added. He approached her, and without a word, accompanied her in.
Uniformed butlers directed them through the bar to the magnificent garden where the party was in full throttle. Modele located Maxwell at once and strode over to where he was, merely to register her presence.
Maxwell, a stringy-looking dark complexioned man, stood at Modele’s height. His face was squeezed in concentration as he listened to the guests around him. Even when he smiled, it didn’t reach his eyes. His dark eyes looked intent and serious.
“Max, good evening,” Modele said softly, breaking up the group. Standing quietly behind her, Buki admired the extensive grounds of the beautiful, well-lit garden.
“My my my!” Max turned to her. “See who’s here,” he drawled. “Modele, the queen of hearts. Come, come. I have so many people anxious to meet you. Excuse me.” He turned briskly away from the other guests and took Modele by the elbow.
“Meet Buki George,” Modele introduced, short of any other words to speak about her escort.
Max glanced at Buki and the two exchanged a curt nod. Buki assumed he was the host but Modele made no further introductions. As Max whisked her away, Buki followed, putting distance between them yet keeping her in his view. They walked to a group of people drinking and laughing and joined in. He stood apart, his eyes never leaving his responsibility. Someone pushed a glass into his hand and he mumbled ‘thank you’ to the receding form of the waiter. He took a whiff, discovered it was Champaign, and carefully sloshed it out on the grass.
“Bad. Waste,” he muttered to himself.
Sonny Nneji played live from one end of the garden. The music was good and some people danced. Some of the guests stood around talking, others sat on tables eating, drinking and generally having a lot of fun. Glamour, class, and sophistication displayed full-fledged.
“Hello,” a female voice purred behind Buki. “Are you expecting someone?”
He resisted the urge to turn around and waited for the intruder to come to. She did. A petite woman, Buki was a full head and shoulder taller than her, wearing a small black dress with a strangling choker round her throat, stood looking up at him, straining her neck. Her hair was piled high on her head, her make-up loud.
“No, actually,” Buki said curtly.
She pressed her red lips together. “Then you are un-escorted?”
“Again, no. I’m with Miss Eiba.”
“Oh.” Her voice dropped a pitch, and then she brightened up. “Wow. Well, my name is Titi Timi-Jones. You know The Joneses?” she asked wistfully. Buki nodded. He didn’t. “My family owns the business, sha! We make over 5 million naira every month. Can you believe that?”
Buki nodded absently. “Really?”
“Oh I know Modele’s family makes like hundred times that,” she laughed nervously, “but we…”
“Please excuse me.” Buki cut in and turned to leave.
“What’s your name?” She called after him.
“Oh forgive me.” Buki turned back in feigned politeness. “Buki George.”
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. “The Georges of the Fountain Finance Corporation?”
Buki waved her off and strolled away as fast as his limp could carry him. He stood in the shadows a few feet away and tried to look round to locate Modele. He had almost forgotten her.
“I see Titi has been entertaining you,” Modele said behind him.
He turned. “She seems like a nice person. Are you having fun?”
“Yes.” She paused. “Did she tell you how many times she changes her wardrobe in a year?”
“She? Who? Oh no. We didn’t talk that long.”
“Let’s get a table,” she said, “and don’t let me look for you again!”
She led the way to a vacant table at the backside of the garden. Few people were in the area. Buki took note of the stiff rebuke quietly.
At the table, he settled them both. “What would you like to take?”
She shrugged. “Snacks maybe. I don’t know.”
“I’ll see what they have.” He made to leave.
“No sugared popcorn.”
“No sugared popcorn.” He caught her eyes for a moment before he walked away.
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