Osaz had a new secret – or not so secret – admirer. She watched him like a lioness watches her prey, and for some reason, it unsettled him.
He paid the cashier, picked up his food tray from the counter and made his way slowly across the packed hall to the four-seater table at the extreme corner. It was the only free table in the room. As he put down the tray and sat, the cold draft from the standing air-conditioning unit sent a chill down his body. He wasn’t a big fan of air conditioners, and he would have stayed away from this corner. But he would have to bear it this afternoon. He wasn’t keen on sharing a table with any of the couples present.
It wasn’t Valentine’s Day or a Friday night, but every occupied table had a couple seated. Everywhere around him sat a man and a woman. Every table, except for one where a lone middle aged woman sat hunched over a magazine. She wasn’t eating. He guessed that she was waiting for someone or just passing time. It was barely 2 pm this Tuesday afternoon. Osaz tucked into his meal of yam and stew. He was expecting his friend who was still placing an order for his meal at the counter, but this food couldn’t wait. He could eat a horse right now and he dug straight into the delicious meal.
The Lion Queen
Jide soon joined him at the table and they ate in silence. Absentmindedly, he lifted his head from his plate and was sweeping the room visually when his eyes locked with another pair two rows away from his table. For half a moment, he was held spellbound. Never before had he seen such desire in any pair of eyes. Her eyes had a subtle fire in them, a longing, and a simmering of the sort that he had never beheld before.
She clearly had been fixed on him a while, and even now she held his gaze. She shared the table with a man who sat across her and with his back to Osaz. Her position gave her a good view of everything in Osaz’s direction. She was light-skinned and had curves in all the right places. She was not big but there was no want of flesh in tasteful quantity everywhere. Osaz had good eyes that caught how sensuously pleasing she looked. His estimate was that she was in her mid to late thirties. He had been ogled by women before. Lots of women. But this…this was different.
Like A Lioness Watches Her Prey
He broke the eye lock and turned his head away, continuing his casual sweep of the room and finally settling back to his food. His friend, Jide, needed to pick up some snacks for the road and excused himself. The usually confident Osaz was so ruffled that he did not once look up from his food while Jide was away. His solitude was soon done away with however when Jide returned with his light package. “I see that you have a new secret admirer.”
Osaz looked up at him in shock. Jide was grinning like an idiot. “Yes, buddy; that fair damsel there has it in for you badly,” Jide continued, “She almost can’t take her eyes off you.”
“It really is that bad; right?” Osaz replied with some food in his mouth, “I noticed how she looked at me earlier. This one is not-so-secret an admirer. She is almost not making any attempt to hide it, considering that she is with a guy.”
“Her brother or just a friend perhaps?” Jide responded. “Omo!! She looks at you like a lioness watches her prey. I noticed her eyeing you on my way to the counter just now and kept an eye on her. If she could kill the guy in front of her and kidnap you, even the CIA won’t be able to extract you from her clutches. That woman wants you!”
“I shall call her Lion Queen”, Osaz said as he took a quick glance at her. This time, she was paying attention to her meal – the one on her table. She ate slowly, deliberately, and with a finesse that he recognised. It seemed to him that she was conscious of his gaze or that she expected him to look. She had on a light blue chiffon over a pair of jeans. Her feet were half out of the ash-coloured loafers that she wore.
“Like what you see?” Jide asked. “Perhaps you should go over and introduce yourself to your new queen – your Lion Queen!”
“Idiot!” Osaz snapped at his friend, smiling. “You think everyone is like you? Please let’s eat and get out of here, biko.”
The two men returned to their meals and finished up just in time for Osaz to notice Lion Queen and her man get up and head for the exit. At the door, the gentleman let her step out ahead of him, then paused, turned and fixed his eyes on Osaz for a moment, and then he was out the door.
Osaz’s mind whirled as a cold feeling of dread settled on him where he sat.