“Teni, are you alright? You are unusually quiet,” Omololu asked as he drove into the venue of the party.
I’m nervous, and I have been since he told me about this party two weeks ago. One of his friends, Dave was celebrating his birthday party and he would like me to go with him, and meet the gang. My initial reaction was excitement, but that quickly gave way to nervousness about meeting and getting the approval of the ‘gang’.
“I’m fine,” I sighed. “It’s just that your friends are important to you and I would like us to like each other,” I added with a shrug.
“Of course they will like you, babe. Have you met you?” He asked, his head titled back dramatically, earning a smile from me. “Don’t worry, just be yourself, give them the full dose of Teniola,”
“Shall we join the party?” He asked, pointing to the lighted tent ahead of us.
Nodding, I opened the car door and came down, “I thought you said it would be a small party?” I asked as Lolu joined me by my side of the car.
“Well, I didn’t think the guy would throw a bigger party than his 30th last year,” He answered chuckling. “Dave has always been the party animal and from all indication, that’s not changing soon,”
As we walked towards the party, I mentally prepared myself to meet the ‘gang’.
Dave, the birthday ‘boy’ is Omololu’s oldest and closest friend, they have been friends since they were kids and had even gone to school together. He is a lawyer turned banker. They met Tosin and Kayode, the rest of the gang, at the university. They were Dave’s roommate in 100 level, and the four of them had hit it off immediately, and have stayed friends since then. Tosin is an Economics graduate who now runs a start-up company, and Kayode is the wild one who abandoned Engineering for photography.
“This should be interesting,” I muttered under my breath.
“Babe?” Omololu called. “So, a quick question. If you are this nervous about meeting my friends, should I be expecting you to faint when you go meet my Parents?”
“Really???” I answered, rolling my eyes. “And I’m not nervous!” I snapped in irritation.
“Yeah, you could have fooled me,” He said laughing softly.
“See, babe,” he continued turning me to face him. “You look so beautiful tonight, and my friends are going to fall over themselves loving you. And not just because of your beauty, which is irresistible by the way, but because of how smart and amazing you are. So, when we walk in there, you will own the room, just by being yourself, Okay?”
My nod and smile must have satisfied me because he held my hand again and led me to the party.
The party was already in full swing when we entered. The decorations and the whole arrangement screams wealth and class.
“You never mentioned that David is rich,” I whispered to Lolu.
“I didn’t think it was important,” he shrugged. “He’s just a simple guy, who doesn’t like to be called David by the way,” He added with a wink.
Simple indeed, I thought still gaping at the spectacular opulence around me.
“Let’s go meet the guys,” He said, leading me in the direction of a group of men who I immediately knew to be ‘the gang’. They had not noticed us yet, so I had the chance to study them as we walked over.
Dave stood out among the other two men. He was the tallest of the group but what stood him out was the ridiculous-looking birthday hat he wore and the animated way with which he was speaking. The other two had their backs to us, so it was impossible to see their faces.
“Guy, what’s with the hat?” Lolu asked, drawing the men’s attention to us and causing Tosin and Kayode to turn around. I smiled politely, wondering which one is which as the two men took turns to give Lolu a man hug.
“How else would I stand out among all of you handsome devils?” He responded, grinning.
“Happy birthday man,” Lolu said giving him a man hug. “And you guys didn’t talk him out of this?” Lolu added, turning to the others.
“They were mesmerized by my charm,” Dave said smiling cheekily.
“Enough about our erratic friend,” One of the men spoke, in a deep voice. “I am Tosin,” He added with a smile, taking my hand in his. “It’s a pleasure to finally put a face to the name,”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too,” I responded with a smile, immediately taking a liking to his calmness.
“And this is Kayode, and the big baby here is Dave, as you must have guessed,” Lolu introduced the rest of the gang.
“The Miss Teniola, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Kayode greeted smiling widely. While he doesn't seem as extroverted as Dave, he was not as calm as Tosin.
“Sorry, I’m a hugger,” Dave said hugging me. “Welcome to the family, and my party,” He added grinning.
“I told you,” Omololu whispered, kissing me on the cheek.
“Yeah, your friends are the coolest,” I whispered back, smiling, truly relaxed for the first time since he invited me to the party.
As the men's banter continued around me, I looked around, taking in the beautiful atmosphere again, committing everything to memory in preparation for the many questions Bola will fire at me.
“This is a nice party,” I said, looking at Dave. “I love the attention to details of your planner,”
“They did a good job right? Tosin’s business partner recommended them to me, and I wasn’t disappointed,” He responded beaming at my compliment. “Where is that partner of yours anyway? He was just here,” He asked looking at Tosin.
“That partner of yours that I’ve never met, huh?” Omololu said, shaking his head.
“Fancy seeing you here,” A familiar voice said from behind me, as I felt a light touch on my shoulder.
“Mide?” I said, immediately hugging him. “Why are you here?” I asked excitedly.
“Tosin is the guy I told you I was partnering with,” He responded smiling.
“I’m lost here, how do you guys know each other?” Tosin asked incredulously.
Ayomide winked at me causing me to laugh. He always enjoyed a little mischief, so I was not surprised he was enjoying his partner’s confusion.
“This is Ayomide,” I said looking at Lolu, as his eyes lit up in recognition.
“Oh,” he muttered, as his friends looked on in confusion.