Story Time. Chapter 1
It was an exciting night for Zuri. Unbelievable. Just a few months ago she had had that big fall-out with her parents after informing them of her decision to quit college. She decided to pursue her dreams after one year of study which was enough for her to know that her passion lay elsewhere. It was a bold move that caused a strain in her relationship with her parents. And now after eighteen long months, it was beginning to pay off. She was lucky and she knew it. They had mended their relationship and though begrudgingly, they chose to extend their support towards their daughter.
“Are you done,” came a distant faint voice, “Zuri, are you done? We’re already so late,” Kevin said, as he let himself into her bedroom. It was not usual for Kevin to use her full name, all her close friends called her Zu.
” Yes, just one more minute Kev.”
Zuri was a mix of everything; an introvert and an extrovert, outgoing and still treasured the indoors, but, she was undeniably a talented actress. However, she must have been bestowed a generational curse by her ancestors because she would always be at best thirty minutes late to every meeting or event attended.
This is where these two best of friends were extreme opposites, Kevin was a very impatient and punctual person, the kind that was always at least an hour early, while today wasn’t any different, he wasn’t just impatient, he was anxious. He had told Zuri that he had invited a ‘lady friend’ to the party.
” I have never seen you like this. I’m so eager to meet this ‘lady friend’. She better be alluuuring, ” said Zu mockingly.
Kevin tried to put up a smile but he didn’t have the best of poker faces. What she didn’t know was that he had a reason to be nervous. He wasn’t sure how things were going to unfold. He knew he was putting their friendship on the line but there wasn’t any other way.
With that, they were off to the party. It was a soirée thrown by Zuri’s production company after wrapping up the first season of a critically acclaimed drama series that had been renewed for a second season. The casting team didn’t comprise of big wigs in the industry but they were gaining prominence as the series progressed and had already received nominations for various awards.
It was an all white party, something that Zuri strongly protested as cliché but her peers disapproved. The chauffeur-driven ride, perks of being the main star of the show, was rather quiet. The two seemed to be in deep thought. Whilst Kevin was engulfed with worry of his date with his ‘lady friend’, Zuri on the other hand had a dilemma of her own. She had developed somewhat of a connection with her co-star and protagonist of the show, Wade, or so she thought. Scratch that, so she hoped. “Should I ask him out?”
She thought of Wade calling her name and how he always made it sound so romantic, his skin so soft, smile so gentle, how he managed to pull off such craftsmanship of an evil character on the show was pure talent. She adored him.
About forty five minutes later, they pulled up to the venue. It was a magnificent private residence adjacent to the sea, filled with cheer and laughter as people blissfully bantered among themselves. As they walked in, her colleagues came to usher them in and in that midst the two friends were separated. He was looking for his date and she was looking for her crush.
“Hallo Zuri, so you finally decided to show up?, said Mr.Baraka in excitement. He was the owner of the production company.
” Oh Mr. Baraka, you know I can’t turn down a chance to make a grand entrance,” replied Zu heartily.
“I have been waiting to take photos with you all night. Come on now before you’re whistled away from me.” he continued as he led her to the photo booth.
Mr. Baraka was an old chap with a youthful spirit, always chatty and vibrant.
“There is someone in particular who’s been asking around for you,” teased Mr. Baraka with a wink as they had their pictures taken. “Speaking of the devil, here he is.”
Zuri could tell by the sweet scent who it was without looking. She was extremely excited and really struggled to contain it. Besides, one must give in to pride every now and then.
” Mr. Baraka,” nodding him off as he turned to Zuri, “Zu, I’ve been looking for you,” Wade Said as he gave her a peck on both cheeks.
” Looking radiant as always. You’re so beautiful Zu. There’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you. You can’t imagine how long I’ve been waiting for this night. I’m a little bit nervous actually. Can you believe that? You make me nervous. “
“Oh quit that Wade, I have a reputation to maintain. I can’t be seen cozying up to my ‘sworn’ enemy, lest we cause unnecessary frenzy,” she said as they both laughed.
Mr. Baraka had already left, God knows who was the unlucky lad or lass that had to bear the never ending banter.
“There you are,” Came a voice from behind Zuri.
“Darling come meet her, I found her. Zuri, this is my girlfriend Sheila. She’s such a huge fan. You’re actually the only reason she agreed to come to this party, she’s a tad shy this one. Sheila meet Zuri.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. You’re even more beautiful in person,” Sheila said cheerfully.
“The pleasure is mine. You’re so lovely. Hold on to this one Wade, she’s gorgeous. Umm, I have to look for Kev now, it’s been a while. See you around,” said Zuri. She could feel the tears swelling up in her eyes. She had to leave.
“A girlfriend? A girlfriend Wade? Six months working together and you never thought to mention her? We had lunches together, the late night shoots. What about that time we almost kissed? ” Her internal ranting was interrupted when she almost bumped into one of the waiters. It was then that she realized she had been walking round in circles and forgot to look for Kevin. Where was he? Who was the mystery ‘Lady Friend’? She decided to look for him from a central place, one where she didn’t look like she was desperately looking for someone. She went to the bar and first ordered a drink.
“Give me two shots of your finest whiskey on the rocks.” It was an open bar after all, she figured.
As she was sipping her drink, she could see two people coming towards her from the left corner of her eyes who were Kev and his date. She turned to greet them. Maybe that would take her mind off what just happened but immediately she saw his date, her glass dropped. Unfortunately this wasn’t the kind of event with loud music hence the shattering attracted attention. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence between the three. Zuri stood up and made for the exit.
She couldn’t believe it. How could a night that was supposed to be one of the major highlights of her career turn from bad to worse in such a short span of time? This time the tears shamefully rolled down the eyes. She could feel the stares and hear the whispers as she walked out.
“This will be all over the media. I can’t afford another scandal and all the public humiliation,” she thought as she hopped into the first cab she found.
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