A story written by Atreus… If You missed Part Eleven, read it HERE!!!

Date night. . . .
Miriam and her sisters had just arrived at Chez Rouge. Miriam wore a light red gown,black peep-toe heels and carried a matching black purse. She walked to the door,looking around nervously. Orisha was supposed to meet them outside. A few minutes later,she spotted him. He was resting against the wall,cleaning his glasses. “Hey”,she called out. He put on his glasses,blinked,and then smiled. “Hey”,he replied and walked to her. “Gd’evenin”,she said. “Evenin’ “,he replied,dipped his head and kissed her on the cheek. “The corporate look really works for you”,she said. He was wearing a black striped suit,white dress shirt,bold red tie and a matching pocketsquare. “Thanks. You look beautiful”,he said,running an appreciative eye over her outfit. “Uhm. . I got you this”,he said,bringing out some flowers that were arranged as a brooch. “I didn’t know the colour of the dress you’d be wearing,so i figured white would go with anything”,he said,gesturing to the white flower brooch thing. “Thanks”,she said and put it on. “And. . These are my sisters”,she continued,turning to introduce them. “Claire,Eghosa,meet Orisha. Orisha,my sisters”. “It’s nice to meet you”,he said,not sure if he should shake them or not. He ended up stuffing his hands in his pockets. “It’s nice to meet you too”,Eghosa said. “Shall we?”,he asked,gesturing to the front door. “Sure”,Claire replied. He took Miriam’s arm in his and they all went in. “Welcome to Chez Rouge”,said a beautiful woman somewhere between her early to late 30’s,and then as she saw Orisha,her face brightened noticeably. “Good evening aunt Chidinma”,he said. “Good evening dear”,she said with a smile as he kissed both her cheeks.

“Good evening ma”,Miriam said,as did the girls. “Good-evening girls. Welcome to Chez Rouge”,she said again. “Thank-you”,they said. “Orisha,i’ve got a lovely table for you. No 2”,she said and beckoned a waiter. “Please take him to table No. 2”,she said. “Yes ma’am”,the waiter replied and took them there. It was a very nice table as Orisha’s aunt had said it was,and it was a table for two. There were a few empty tables next to the No 2. Miriam’s heart sank as she realized her sisters would be right next to them,and then;”No reason why we can’t chaperone from all the way over there”,Eghosa said,pointing to a table on the other side of the room,across the dance floor. “Thanks,guys”,Miriam said softly with a grateful smile. “You’re welcome”,Claire said and then they all went to their respective seats.
***
About 45 minutes later,Claire and Eghosa had just finished eating dinner,and they were watching Orisha and Miriam. “Young love,is such a beauty to behold”,Eghosa said with a theatric sigh. “What are we,90?”,Claire asked with a chuckle. “They look so happy together. Even you can’t deny that”,Eghosa said. “You’re right. I can’t”,Claire replied. Miriam and Orisha really did look happy together-they laughed,talked,they were so absorbed in each other they didn’t notice much else-they were pretty much in a world of their own. Miriam looked . . . radiant. Claire shook her head sadly. Eghosa noticed this,and asked;”What is it?”. “They’re not gonna work out”,Claire replied sadly. “How can you know that?”,asked Eghosa. “Because,Eghe. This isn’t a fantasy,it’s real life. And in real life,the pretty princess doesn’t end up with Prince Charming. She gets her heart broken-dashed into a million little pieces”. “Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist. Quit being such a cynic”. “Ok,Eghosa,just for the record,i do believe in love. It may be incredibly rare,but i truly believe it exists. I have to. I have to believe that there’s something more than the selfishness,petty squabbles,bitterness and hate this world I have to believe there’s something better. Sometimes i think,it’s the only way i hold on to my sanity. And this is not me being cynical. We’ve gotta face the facts. Correct me if i’m wrong,but isn’t he here to spend a three month holiday in Nigeria? What happens when he leaves?”,Claire asked. “What was it Jordin Sparks sang? Uhm. . . ‘Be faithful enough to know that this’ “,she said,gesturing to Orisha and Miriam,and continued;” ‘is meant to be,and if it’s not,then don’t speak,don’t ruin it,just let them dream’ “,she finished. “Eghosa,we can’t just sit here and do nothing”,Claire said and continued;”I’ve never seen Miriam like this over a guy. Any guy. He’s the first person she’s ever had real feelings for. She’s happy with this guy. . . When she talks about him,it’s like something deep inside her just lights up,she has this look on her face;she’s happy”. “And that’s a bad thing?”,Eghosa asked,with a look on his face that clearly said;’Are you crazy?’. “Yes. It’s a bad thing,because the stronger her feelings for him,the harder she’ll hurt when he’s gone. I’m not gonna sit here and let my baby sister get hurt,and i can’t believe you’d suggest it”,Claire said in reply. “Dammit,Claire,she’s our little sister. Our sister”,Eghosa said,flaring up,and continued;”You think i don’t know there’s a very likely possibility she could get hurt? Somewhere along the line,this. . .thing,for lack of a better word,this thing between her and Orisha has grown into something more than just a teenage crush. Mimi’s always been more mature than her age,and he,he seems like a pretty well-balanced guy,and maybe in a perfect world,they could work out,but like you so aptly put it earlier;this is real life. And in real life,things don’t work that way”. Eghosa paused and continued with a sigh;”There are some things we can’t stop. This is one of them. They’re too far gone to just. . Stop. There are also some things every girl has to experience. Like her first love”. “And her first heartbreak”,Claire finished for her.

“There’s nothing we can do. I think she should live in the moment. She’s happy. That’s what matters. She’s happy,so let’s just forget about what’s gonna happen in the future. If his leaving hasn’t crossed her mind,then we can’t put it there. We can’t”,Eghosa said,sounding unnaturally subdued-she always was the vivacious one. “Well,then,Salud!”,Claire said in sad resignation,raising her glass of sparkling cider in a half-hearted toast.
***
Miriam had just finished their dessert. “Wanna dance?”,he asked. “I’d love to”,she replied. He stood up,offered her his palm and led her to the dancefloor. A song just started playing. On hearing it,Miriam inhaled deeply,closed her eyes and smiled. “I love this song. Chris de Burgh”,she said. ” ‘Lady in Red”,he added. Her eyes opened in surprise. “You know the song?”,she asked. “Yeah. Why do you sound so surprised?”,he asked. They’d moved closer;cheek to cheek,beating hearts so close together it felt like they were one. “Most guys i know aren’t particularly into old school”,she said. “I’m not most guys. Besides,it’s their loss. A lot of beautiful music was made in the times of generations past”. They remained silent,dancing. They weren’t doing anything fancy-they weren’t dancing the Viennese Waltz or doing the foxtrot;they were just moving with the music. “How fitting”,he said about a minute later,twirling her around and then drawing her back to him,and continued;”De Burgh’s singing about a lady in red,and here i am,dancing with my own lady in red”. She smiled and didn’t say anything-she couldn’t get over how much she liked being ‘his’ lady. He leaned downwards and whispered in her ear;”I wanna show you something. Come with me?”. She nodded her head and went out of the restaurant with him.

To Be Continued…

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