… the world through the eyes of the rambler.
Waiting in the wings.. part one.
Waiting in the wings.. part two.
Everyday should be a holiday, Nicholas thought happily, eyes trailing the movement of bikini clad females on a beach in Miami, Florida. With so much estrogen on offer, his bruised ego was pacified in many ways than one. There was a leggy blonde seated on a sand mat some feet away. He waved to her, making a mental note to walk over and say hi, when his lazy bones could rouse themselves.
The change of pace was good for him, as was the change of environment. The Halifax deal had fallen through as expected; and for the first time in eighteen months, he hadn’t seen or spoken to his high strung girlfriend in a stretch of two weeks. In his mind, he was single, available and actively searching.
The clouds formed overhead, signifying a high likelihood of rain. Nicholas contemplated how else he could spend his time, if the July showers prevented an extended sojourn on the beach. The blonde got to her feet, and began the visually stimulating process of folding up the mat. She was tall and incredibly toned. Her bent figure gave him a very nice view of an impressive derriere.
Now was perhaps the time to make his move, he thought, noticing the covert glances she stole at him. He smiled in anticipation, his quarry probably wondered what he was waiting for. A latent male pride kept him horizontal on the beach lounger. With a sense of satisfaction, he watched as she walked towards him, face lighted with a beaming grin.
Nicholas sprung to his feet. He took a few steps forward, wearing his most endearing face. Blondie, as he had come to think of her in the last few minutes, turned aside.
Nicholas stopped short. Suddenly realizing that his outstretched hand was left hanging in the empty air. She’d looked him full in the face and walked past, moving ahead to link arms with a tall strapping jock, who had only just made an appearance on the private beach.
Nothing like a good dose of rejection to bring a man’s ego down to earth, Nicholas chuckled ruefully. His competition was leaving with his girl. He retrieved his mobile from the ground and headed for the beach front hotel.
Making a stop at the lobby to pick up his key card, he noticed a petite looking female standing at the reception desk with a suitcase carrier by the side. She was obviously checking in. Nicholas thought she looked oddly familiar as he moved closer.
“Julia?” he exclaimed in surprise, recognition dawning. It was Tracy’s twin sister.
Her face broke into a fond smile as she registered his presence. “Nicholas! What a pleasant surprise. Is Tracy with you? Are you on vacation?”
“You haven’t spoken to her?” Nicholas inquired with some discomfort. The twins were very close, and he imagined they told each other everything.
Julia shook her head in denial. “I haven’t seen or spoken to Tracy in weeks. I’ve been so busy you see. You know how it is Nick, work and all.”
Yeah, he knew. More than she imagined. The sisters had apparently had a falling out of some sort, because a busy schedule had never kept them apart before. “Let’s meet up for lunch in an hour, assuming you’ll be ready by then?”
“Yes I will. I just need to take a shower and get out of these clothes.”
He examined the room number on her key card. 705. That was two floors beneath his. With his arm casually draped over her shoulder, Nicholas propelled her towards the elevators.
“It’s nice to see you again Julia, we have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Yes we do.” She averred, thinking that the last time she’d socialized with Tracy’s playboy (as she regarded Nick in her mind) was at least six months ago. She had literally fled to the States this time, determined to keep a very low profile; but Nicholas was an amiable personality. The right sort of person to get her mind off her troubles and convince her to start viewing this trip as a vacation.
He saw her off to her room and headed for the gym at the facility for a thirty minute workout. After which, Nicholas retired to his own suite to relax for a little time in the jacuzzi. The hotel restaurant on the ground floor gave good lunches, and he found as he strolled into the tastefully furnished room that Julia was already seated, waiting for him. She was a stickler for punctuality.
He remembered. That habit of hers had irritated her twin no end.
A waiter pulled out a chair for him on the table. Nicholas gave the fellow a shoulder pat and took it gracefully. Julia was impressed, the man somehow managed to make the simplest act look polished.
He felt her perusal and did some appraisal of his own. She looked refreshed and younger, like a white swan on a still lake. The analogy was a quote he’d once read in a lifestyle magazine. Apt or not, a shower had obviously done wonders for her appearance.
“You’re early.” He commented unnecessarily.
Julia laughed at his slightly disgruntled expression. “Would you rather have been kept waiting?”
“No.” he decided, pretending to give it some thought. If he had to choose between Julia’s punctuality and Tracy’s perpetual lateness, he would take the former.
“Let’s order.” he suggested, turning to the waiter who hovered nearby. Julia scanned the lunch menu and chose a hearty meal of tuna rice salad and chicken wings. For desert, she settled for banana cake with cream cheese frosting.
Nicholas nodded in approval of her choices, and made his usual order of grilled chicken sandwich and vegetable sauce. He was not a foodie, but he had a good appreciation for women who fed well and were not overly bothered about their weight. Not that Julia had anything to worry about, he noted. Hers was a compact body, with a lean athletic frame.
They ate in silence, electing by mutual agreement to converse only after they were properly stuffed. Afterwards – while sipping a glass of red wine – Nicholas listened attentively as she talked about her future plans. He knew she had a fledgling Interior Decor business, what he hadn’t known was that she considered it more than a lark.
“By the end of this year, I plan to open a branch in Lagos. We already have many orders from the South West on our web page, so it makes perfect sense to have a showroom in a commercial hub like Lagos.”
“And competition?” He inquired mildly, companies like hers abounded in Lagos already.
“My strategy is to keep offering the best quality furnishings at the lowest costs.” She replied. “Thanks to the arrangement I have with my partners in China, I can offer unique items manufactured from my designs.”
“Are they patented?” He asked, referring to her designs. It was the obvious thing she ought to have done to discourage counterfeiting.
“Yes. David handled that for me. You should find some time to visit the showroom in Abuja. Believe me Nick, you’ll be quite impressed.”
“I’ll do that.” He promised. “Just as soon as I get back to Nigeria.”
The conversation flowed freely for another hour. Nicholas discovered that they had a lot in common. He thought he probably had more in common with Julia than with the sister he was involved with.
They shared the same zodiac sign, and were both monsters of organization. She was an avid movie goer, Manchester United FC fan, and she believed in God – even though she was not overly religious. Julia hated rain almost as much as he did. Best of all, she had an irreverent sense of humor that more than matched his own. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d had so much fun, conversing with a lady outside the office.
“Goodness Nicholas, look at the time.” She exclaimed, catching a glimpse of the gold plated clock hung on the entrance wall.
“I have to call my mother, I promised I would check in with her everyday at eight.”
He emptied his glass and pushed back his chair. The time was about four o’clock, which meant it would be about eight in Abuja. “Let’s get you back to the room then, you don’t want to keep her waiting.”
She smiled gratefully and lifted her purse from the table. In all the time they’d spent talking, she hadn’t thought of Harrison even once. Nicholas was always a good conversationalist, she knew. He had skillfully drawn her out and made her open up about her life and aspirations. It had been a while since anyone succeeded in doing that.
He gave her a bear hug at the door of her room, and Julia waved as he walked back to the elevator. By now, the anonymous letter she’d mailed to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria’s secret police, would have arrived it’s destination.
Well, let the chips fall where they may.
Thankfully, she was far removed from it all. The call to her mother gave her spirits an added lift. Harrison had not turned up at her door to look for Julia. She could relax, let her hair down, and enjoy the sight and sounds of Miami.
To be continued.
Copyright 2013 by Idowu Oluwatoyin.
All rights reserved.
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... the world through the eyes of the rambler.