I met one of Juliet’s cousin in the kitchen. She was sorting out the small chops on little disposable plates, while another woman who Juliet had introduced me as one of her mother’s friends was dishing out orders to the waiters regarding the drinks.
This kitchen was one of the building’s two grand kitchens, the second one being on the ground floor. This one was particularly smaller in size than the other one but had similar classy design. It was wide, with the sink, cabinets and imbedded gas cooker towards the right end of the kitchen. A wide granite counter stood about three feet away from the door, close to the aforementioned objects, leaving a wide space for movement.
I greeted the woman but she seemed engrossed in work, so I moved towards Juliet’s cousin, Chiamaka.
“Do you need help?” I asked as I got to her side. She was backing the door at the counter, two waiters holding up aluminium trays. She placed a filled disposable plates on the tray closet to her and sent the waiter away.
“Not really,” she said, glancing briefly to smile at me. “I have done most of the plating and it’s just to serve. Shouldn’t you be at the party, enjoying yourself?”
“I just thought you might need help with the serving,” I replied.
“No. Thanks. Go and have fun, ” she said, dismissively.
“What are you doing here?” the woman asked, obviously seeing me for the first time. “Oya, go to your friend. The drinks and appetizers are already on their way.”
For some reason, she thought I was there for the food drinks. I decided not to argue with her as they had both sent me away. I walked back to the living room to meet a few people dancing. The music was low to give a sensational feel but loud enough to fill the whole room. Kunle and his friends were laughing away as they danced, while Juliet stood with a glass in her hand, grinning from ear to ear.
As I approached her, she shrieked in excitement and pulled me closer.
“Where did you run to?” she asked as she beckoned to a waiter. “Let’s dance.”
“I don’t know how to dance,” I said, dreading the idea itself. The waiter came with drinks and Juliet took one from the tray and handed it to me.
“Don’t be silly. Just move your body to the beat. “
I was about opening my mouth to tell her that I couldn’t move anything when Kunle showed up beside us and took Juliet’s hand.
“Dance with me, my lady,” he said, then pulled her away. She handed her half empty glass to me as she was dragged away. I watched them find a spot and Kunle put his hands round her, her back to me. Then he looked straight at me and gave a small smile.
To be continued…