It is funny how men see women at times. They look at women and all they allow themselves to see would be the four corners of a bed and satin sheets. Lillian shook her head as she stared at the talking man across the table from her, all these Nigerian big-wigs with their kinky minds. He had pestered her into a lunch date. If it had been at a place other than this lovely restaurant, Lillian would have shunned him, she wouldn’t really have cared if that would have made her boss throw a fit, she was good at what she does, and her boss’ tantrums she could match pitch for pitch. But this man wanted to play games, and Lillian was prepared to beat him at it, it had been weeks and he had refused to even look at the proposal Lillian had for his clothing line. Today was today she had decided as she dressed up for the date; and there they were.
“I am having such a good time.” I am sure you are, you egoistic prude.
“I am too, so as I was saying, we are willing to give you a full page in our September issue if you agree to our terms and I promise we will…”
“Do you eat Russian? I know a beautiful place we can go. Their menu is fabulous.” Oh God, what have I gotten myself into? Lillian sighed. She looked around and waved the waitress over. Okay, let’s play then, she threw him a smile.
“Are you ready to listen to my proposal or would you rather I leave it to Ricky?” Lillian asked as she asked the waitress for another glass of water. The man looked at her like she was talking blasphemy. Lillian knew the motive behind the invitation but the magazine needed new adverts from prospective clients like him and he had seemed like a good man. His clothing line, Flirxy, was a rave and it was the kind of business that Ricky had interest in. When Ricky’s interest is pricked, Lillian always got a huge commission. Lillian had agreed to this lunch because Ricky had insisted that she should, and she needed a new car. She was the best at negotiations but the white dude was flaying her. She briefly bowed her head and said a silent swear word.
“Why did you say that?” the man asked acting like Lillian should have gotten the drift. Lillian smiled. He thought he was smart but, taking this lady on was a big mistake. Hers wasn’t just a street-smart syndrome. She had her experience from being the BFF of the toughest Nigerian girl in town, and that girl knows what’s up!
“You know what; forget that I just said that. Let’s take a new lane,” she said as seductively as she could.
“That’s what I’m talking about.” Fool, she hearted.
“I am usually right, you know. People say I am a good judge of character and I know the best positions to put people in, anytime and anywhere,” Lillian replied and sipped the last of her champagne in a very suggestive way. The look on the man’s face changed in an instant. She was a diva at this game and he was already losing his handle on it. Lillian adjusted herself and ran her hand over her chest pretending to wipe something off. The man’s eyes dropped down from her face. He stared at Lillian’s chest for a while then the stare went up again, the smile now wider.
“I have a proposition,” he said. Lillian nodded. You should, I don’t do this for nothing. She smiled wetly at the gaping man. He was not hiding it anymore. He had it on his face that he wanted her; he wanted her so much that she could see hints of sweat appearing on his forehead.
“I am all ears to propositions,” Lillian replied and leaned on the table. The man swallowed and drank more champagne.
“You are a very lovely woman indeed. So, what if I sign the contract you want me to sign, no questions asked?” I wouldn’t be doing all this if I didn’t want that, mister, was Lillian’s thought.
“That would be lovely indeed. I promise to meet your every need.”
“I am sure you will. So, let’s make it tomorrow…”
“No. tomorrow will not do. I have to get your signature now or Ricky will kill me. He threatened to take me off and give me to Mr. Sonibare instead and let Lovelyn handle you,” she replied.
“Tufiakwa, that stupid Yoruba man,” the man said in his thick accent. He then stretched his hands towards her. She gave him the papers and in few minutes the deed was done. She dipped her hand into her bag and brought out a piece of paper.
“What is that?” the man asked.
“Do you know the hottest strip bar in town?” Lillian asked she leaned back on the table.
Lillian asked her question again. She started to talk about how wonderful the place was and how slim and cute the girls there were.
“Is this some kind of joke?”
Lillian ran her hand over his and smiled. She told him that “Hot Tomatoes” was not a joke. It would be the best thing he could ever do to himself to cool his raging loin. Her phone started to ring then. It was her boss; he wanted her back at the office. Lillian dropped the paper in front of the gaping man and stood up. The man stared. It was a pamphlet with pictures of sexy girls with tomatoes in their mouths and the inscription “Hot Tomatoes” written boldly across their blurred but naked chests.
“What now?” he asked, “Don’t do this!”
Lillian stood up and picked up her bag, she then bent and shook his hand warmly, “I will see you when I see you but before I do, be a good sport and ask for Velvet at the Hot Tomatoes. She will rock your world.”
She strode out before he could compose himself to say anything else. She had places to go. She had to get back to the office. She was supposed to meet her husband’s friend and she was running late. She hurried down the parking lot to her car thinking one down, two to go. Business was good but scoring points as a hustling girl with insights into how the Naija man thinks, was even better.