I shook my head as I felt heat rush through my neck and cheeks, quickly adjusting and looking forward as I cleared my throat. "You're just really pretty, that's all," I told her, stealing a side glance at her as I watched her lips slowly spread into a smile.
"Thank you," she appreciated me, quickly adding, "You are also pretty yourself."
I really didn't take it to heart, knowing she was only trying to be polite and return my words but, I also couldn't help how jolly I felt at the compliment. My heart rejoiced. "Thank you," I muttered, turning on my phone as I began to operate it, causing us to slip into silence.
It wasn't long before we got to the restaurant. It wasn't somewhere I had been to before. It had 'Eat' written in white on a red background and hanging at the top, in a glass case. It was a big building, with a really wide parking lot. It looked like somewhere I was most definitely not going to go to, for 'just lunch'.
Fareedah got down from the car first, after she had packed her vehicle. I got down also, followed her to the entrance after she locked it and confirmed it was locked. It was a rule in Nigeria, never lock your car and simply walk away, lock and check if it is truly locked.
My mouth almost opened wide when I walked into the restaurant. I was immediately filled with a rush of fresh air. The inside made it seem like the scorching sun that was outside, didn't exist. It was so chill and cold, I regretted wearing sleeveless. But, looking at Fareedah, she was also in sleeveless and she walked like she wasn't feeling the cold a bit. I had to be a hard guy, so I stood firm and boned it.
Fareedah led us to a private booth, slipping in and closing the curtain right behind me as I walked in. "Why don't we just sit in the main restaurant?" I asked her, trying to hide that I was way bothered about how much we were going to lay for the private booth.
She smiled calmly as she took her seat, causing me to sit opposite her. "I'm quite shy, so I prefer eating in an enclosed place."
I frowned. Eh ehn. Because of shyness, she is willing to spend more money. "But you ate in the open in school that day," I asked, trying not to frown.
She chuckled, twirling the silver ring she was wearing on her index finger as she replied, "I didn't enjoy my food and had to opt for a drink later on."
I nodded, remembering that, that was how she had misplaced her purse. "Sorry," I muttered, making her frown.
"For your purse that day." I shrugged.
She smiled. "It wasn't your fault, it was mine," she said as she adjusted her black purse on the table, prompting me to notice it for the first time. She had replaced her purse, cool.
A dark petite young lady walked into our booth with a smile. "Welcome back ma," she said to Fareedah, bowing a little as she dropped two menus for us. "Would you like your usual ma'am, or you'd like to go through the menu?"
I became confused. Why was she talking to Fareedah with so much respect, like she owned her or something. And Fareedah was a usual? At such a big place? Was there a piece I was missing? I frowned, trying not to voice out my thoughts.
"The usual, please." She turned to me. "Would you have my usual, or want to look at the menu?"
I shrugged. "Looking at the menu won't hurt." But the moment I picked it up and opened, it hurt. The place was expensive, my student allowance couldn't handle. The cheapest thing on the menu was fifteen thousand (15,000) naira. I vibrated. "I am not hungry," I announced with a smile, but my stomach betrayed me that very instant, rumbling. I giggled awkwardly, looking away.
Fareedah chuckled. "I told you bills on me," she said, "Order whatever."
I smiled, picking up the menu half-heartedly. I looked at the list once more, I almost had a heart attack. Ordinary rice oh, was twenty-five thousand (25,000) naira. I giggled, knowing that my conscience wasn't going to let me pick anything, I smiled and said, "Whatever you're having, biko."
She chuckled, nodding at the waiter, who bowed and said, "Yes ma."
Who exactly was this girl? What was her job? I thought she said she didn't do paid art? So, where does she get her money from? Her dad? Hmmm… Was she a runs girl? Nah, she didn't look like one. But really, what do they look like? Never judge a book by it's -
"So, what course do you study?" Fareedah asked, cutting my thoughts short.
My mind slipped. It was the first time she was the one making a move, and showing interest in me. I smiled, feeling warm all over. "Linguistics," I replied her, looking everywhere apart from her face. I couldn't bring myself to. I was going to get all shy and sweaty, and I didn't want her to see that.
"Cool, cool," came her simple reply, while I nodded. "So, why do you want to be my friend? What do you want?" she intertwined her fingers on the table, crossing her legs.
My breathing stopped for a second. I couldn't bring myself to tell her what I wanted. "I find you interesting," I managed to blurt out, hoping she was going to take it as that.
"And what's so interesting about me?" she asked thoughtfully, leaning in a bit.
I shrugged, trying not to show how much of an interest I had in her. "Everything about you. From the small to the big," I said, hoping I didn't come off creepy.
"Hmm." She hmmed, looking away. "Cool."
We fell into silence while my mind began to race. Was I ruining things? My legs began to shake beneath the table.