Mimi returned to her room after a long day of sitting upright in a chair, staring at a projector screen and listening to her tutor go on and on about the art of character development. This was the sixth day of a writing workshop she was participating in and she had already gotten tired of the long hours she spent at the classes. Thankful that there were no lectures slated for the next day, she had taken a long shower and had her dinner very early. She was about to get into bed and curl up with her current favorite book, Questions for Ada, when she heard the shrill tone of her room intercom. She rolled her eyes and picked up the receiver.
“Who is this?”
“It’s Segun. I’m sorry, were you sleeping?”
“Oh, Segun. No I wasn’t. What’s up?”
“Nothing really, I’m going down to the bar to have a drink, I was wondering if you wanted to come”
“I was actually about to sleep” she said.
“Come on, I really don’t want to be at the bar alone, please”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not a possibility. The whole squad is out there.”
He laughed. She had caught him.
“Fine. I want to be there with you. Please”
“Alright.” She gave in, “Just for a bit. I’ll meet you there”
She dropped the receiver and sighed.
Spending the past few evenings with Segun had caused her to develop a fondness for him and she could hardly say no to his requests to share a drink at the bar every other evening. He always sat across from her during their classes, engrossed with the half caste Fulani girl and the Igbo girl with a big bum. She had started feeling jealous, wondering why he never sat beside her in class but always wanted to spend his evenings at the bar with her. She frowned a little as she put on a simple black dress and a pair of white slippers. She had known Segun before the workshop. He was one of those popular writers in her social media circle who somehow seemed to have a new story on a big magazine every week while she struggled for months to write a decent story, and received rejection mail after rejection mail. She always thought Segun was snobbish and elitist with his many overly intellectual arguments on twitter. She had engaged him in a heated debate once about religion, dismissing his opinions that organized religion was a stupid practice. She had been so angry at his views that she blocked his account midway into the debate. Weeks later, on one of her many sleepless nights, she unblocked his account, realizing how silly it was of her.
On the first day of the workshop, during introductions, she spotted him across the table from her and felt her heartbeat quicken. He caught her gaze and flashed her a smile and she broke into an awkward laughter. He cornered her at the close of classes that day and invited her to settle her scores with him over drinks. Segun turned out to be a sweet and jovial boy who never failed to pay her a compliment, as well as all the other ladies at the workshop with them. He was popular among the ladies, most girls wanted to be seated with him during classes and meals. Mimi was not sure whether to feel annoyed or flattered at his daily invites to have drinks with him at the bar.
Segun was sitting alone at a table, waiting for Mimi to show up. He had a cold bottle of orijin in his hands as he moved his head to the loud music playing from the speakers around the bar. All around him, his fellow workshop participants were seated in pairs and groups, sharing drinks and having heated discussions. Everyone knew he spent his evenings with Mimi so no one bothered joining him, they said hi, and kept moving. He kept glancing up from his phone to look at the door, hoping to see Mimi walk in. He couldn’t understand the intense attraction and fondness he felt for her. Mimi was quiet but opinionated and stubborn when she finally spoke, all the things that made him desperately want to unravel her. He avoided her during their workshop classes because he could never quite focus when he was around her. He had known her on social media for years, reading her stories and memoirs. When he heard from a mutual contact that she would also be at the workshop, he had made up his mind to form a friendship with her. He hadn’t imagined it would be easy, considering how much she hated his guts.
He kept his eyes fixed on the entrance and finally, his eyes caught her familiar figure walk into the room. He watched her span her eyes around the room looking for him, eyes squinted because she was a short-sighted woman who refused to wear prescribed glasses. He waved his hands, and smiled as she spotted him and walked towards him.
“Orijin? Urgh!” She scrunched her nose at his drink as she took the seat opposite him.
“What do you know about alcohol?” He asked, laughing.
“I know it tastes like vomit” She rolled her eyes.
Segun signaled the bartender to take Mimi’s order.
“Order your malt now… isn’t that your regular drink?” he said still laughing when the bartender asked her what she would take.
Mimi laughed as well, slapping Segun’s hand playfully.
She turned to the waiter, smiling, and said, “I want a bottle of your best red wine please”, and when he turned to leave, she added, “and two shots of tequila”
The waiter nodded and walked off.
“Ooooooh someone is going to show me she can drink tonight”, Segun teased.
“I’m not trying to show you anything please”, she laughed, “I just feel like letting loose a bit. I might as well have some fun since we have nothing to do tomorrow”
Raising his bottle up as if in a toast, Segun said, “I’m in.”
A couple of minutes later, the bartender returned with their drinks on a tray, expertly balanced on one hand, bill in another hand, and a smile plastered on his sweaty face.
“Thank you”, Mimi said as he dropped the drinks and the bill on the table and walked off.
She picked up the glasses of tequila and handed one to Segun. They both raised up their glasses in a toast.
“What are we drinking to?” She asked.
“To successfully completing the first week of workshop, to new friendships and to the beautiful lady sitting by me.” He said, and they clinked their glasses while laughing.
Segun swallowed his drink immediately, just in time to watch Mimi gulp down the tequila in one swallow. He laughed as she winced and tapped her chest to ease the burn of the tequila in her chest.
“Don’t worry”, he said handing her a slice of lime, “it’s a good start.”
She glared at him and said, “Please! I’m a pro at this”
“Sure”, he replied and they laughed.
Mimi poured out a glass of wine and handed it to Segun pushing his bottle of orijin aside.
He laughed as he picked up the glass.
“So, are you finally going to tell me why you blocked me on twitter?” Michael asked grinning.
Mimi laughed. She had been evading the question all week.
“You annoyed me” She said, “that’s all I will say.”
“Yes ma’am” Segun said.
Mimi stood up, refilled her wine glass and beckoned to Segun.
“Come on, let’s dance.”
Segun took her hand and allowed her lead him to the middle of the room.
“It’s not a dancefloor, but it will do.” She said.
The tequila had loosened Mimi up and on the dancefloor, she found herself performing dance moves she didn’t know she had in her. She turned her back to Segun, wiggling her waist and laughing loudly, not caring that they were the only ones dancing in the room. She took Segun’s hands and put them around her waist, pressing closely into him until she could feel his heart beating. He whispered something in her ear that she didn’t hear but she laughed anyway. They danced and laughed until they were out of breath.
Segun ordered two shots of tequila as they returned to their table. This time, Mimi drank it without tapping her chest.
Two hours, an empty bottle of wine, and three more shots of tequila each later, Segun and Mimi made their way upstairs to their rooms, both tipsy and walking hand in hand. Segun offered to walk Mimi to her room. When they got to her door, they both stopped, smiling.
“I really had fun tonight”, Segun said, looking into her eyes.
They were standing facing each other, Mimi’s back against her door, their noses almost touching, their breaths audible and the tension in the air palpable.
“Me too”, Mimi said, surprised at how shaky her voice sounded and how rapidly her heart was beating. She cleared her throat when Segun didn’t say anything and said,
“Soooo…” He echoed.
Segun began to lean in closer to her, never shifting his gaze from her eyes. As he leaned in, she licked her full lips slowly as if daring him to kiss her. When their lips finally met, the world around them exploded. She kissed him slowly at first, as if testing the waters. Moments later, she intensified the kiss, placing her hands around his neck. He grabbed her waist possessively and kissed her deeper. In that moment, she was his and he relished it.
She was the first to pull away, smiling and touching her lips.
“Whew”, she breathed still looking at him, “I’m gonna go inside now”, she said when she finally found her voice. She stood there for a second, and Segun thought she was going to invite him in but she unlocked her door and went in without looking back.
Segun stood there staring at the door, torn between knocking on her door or walking away.
This article was written by Phidelia Imiegha,
Phidelia Imiegha is a young Nigerian writer and lover of literature. She is an African literature enthusiast and accepts book gifts all year round. She spends her free time adulting and listening to music. You can find her writing on her personal blog www.phideliaimiegha.com, or follow her on twitter @thephidelia_
Culled from Issue 17