Within a span of two weeks, the girls had almost forgotten about Uncle Jaffar and his entourage. Life was back to normal with the ever challenging hastiness of a city that hasn’t known sleep since industrialization became a thing.
Mimih was still insisting that Zuhura should play a game on Swaleh, to keep him on his toes, she said. To Mimih, this was normal but to Zuhura, it felt immoral playing with someone’s heart. She however gave in to Mimih’s insistence because she promised that it would all be fun and no one would get hurt.
“I mean,” Mimih had shrugged. “We just want him to state his position, you know!”
Zuhura had laughed it off.
A few days later, Jimmy asked Vivian, his PA to give Mimih a call in the morning and notify her of a party he was throwing at the rooftop of one of the city’s boutique hotels later that evening.
“And he couldn’t even call me himself?” Mimih asked.
“You know him and his inscrutability,” Vivian explained.
“Yes. Always a weird last minute kinda man, this my Jimmy. Can I bring a friend?” she asked.
“Who? Zuhura? Sure, why not. It’s VIP for you girls,” Vivian said.
“Ebu tell your boss to organize transport for us,”
“Done,” Vivian said. “I’ll have his driver pick you girls up at around eightish. Is that okay?”
“That would be perfect, Vivian,” Mimih said. “How’s work lakini? We should hook up sometime.”
“Work is good. Busy as usual. Sure, we should totally hook up.”
Mimih turned to Zuhura. “You and I are getting our asses into a party tonight.”
“Ah, not me,” Zuhura waved her hand. “I’ll just stay back and hang out alone with a movie and some pop corn.”
“Wacha za ovyo,” Mimih punched her. “This time I’ll not bulge until you get yourself into a cute dress and go with me to the party.”
“That’s not the place for me,”
“Jimmy insists that I should tag along with you.”
“Ok. He didn’t. But I’m sure he must have wanted to mention it to Vivian but forgot,” Mimih said, hands placed on her hips. “Come on siz, it’s just a themed party. No hullaballoo and funny shit.”
Later in the evening, Jimmy’s driver got at their apartment on time and the girls hopped in. The party was set on a black and white theme. While Mimih rocked a flowing, black evening dress with glittery highlights, hair tied obediently in a tight pony tail that seemed to pull on her forehead, giving her eyes a sexy twist and white high heels, Zuhura had chosen a long black dress which neither hugged her body nor ran loose all over the place. With her headscarf tied in definite black and white curves, she completed the theme with flat, white shoes.
“Hi Eddie,” Mimih greeted the driver, tapping him on his shoulder. “Long time. Siku hizi mapenzi hakuna, eh?”
“Am good,” he laughed. “Si you know how boss is?”
“Yes I know, Eddie.”
Thirty minutes later, Eddie dropped them at the entrance of the hotel. Mimih had been here before and she hooked Zuhura’s hand on hers as they walked into the shiny, white-marbled lobby, heading straight for the elevator.
“Ebu stop holding me like that,” Zuhura whispered. “People might think we are a couple.”
“Say that one more time and I will plant a kiss smack on your lips,” Mimih said, pinching her.
At the rooftop, Vivian met them, hugging them tightly as she led them to the VIP section. Jimmy was talking with a few distinguished-looking gentlemen, and he acknowledged Mimih’s presence with a wink and a raise of his wine glass.
“I understand it’s your first time here?” Vivian was asking Zuhura.
“Who me? Yes it is.” She answered.
“No need to panic. Just be yourself, smile if possible and eat and drink as much as you can darling, alright? I’ll catch up with you darlings later. Duty calls,” she said, disappearing into the black-and-white crowd.
“Drink as much as you can, darling,” Mimih said, mimicking Vivian’s bubbly voice while grabbing a glass of wine from a waiter walking past them.
“These people. They all look important” Zuhura said.
“Wapi?” Mimih said. “Wacha nikupe umbea. It’s only the suits and dresses and fancy watches that make them seem that way. Most of them, especially the men, are scumbags. Some women are just show offs, you know. But then again, this is one place you are most likely to find credible future employers in case you want a job. I almost know everyone here.”
“And they are all Jimmy’s friends?” Zuhura asked.
“Yes. And enemies too,” Mimih said.
“Shit. Don’t look right now. George is heading this way with his fiancé in tow,” Zuhura whispered.
“Hello ladies,” he greeted them.
“Oh. Hello George, Hello Susan,” Mimih turned, plastering a huge smile on her face. A moment of silence followed as words seemed to be lost in the abyss of the drama between them. Zuhura just stood there, looking around for any waiter serving soft drinks
“Good evening,” a familiar voice greeted them.
“Salim! What a surprise!” Mimih said, falling into the pile muscles that had just greeted them. “Everyone, meet Salim. Salim, this is my friend Zuhura, and this is George and his fiancé.”
“Pleasure,” Salim said, placing a huge on his chest. An emerald ring screamed for attention on his little finger.
“So,” Mimih addressed him, running a finger on his hand, resting it intentionally on his chest. “You and me must catch up before the party ends.”
“Excellent. I’ll see you around then. Friends, if you’ll excuse me,” he bowed his head slightly as he tried to disappear into the crowd, his huge frame betraying his presence.
“And we were also just about to leave,” Mimih addressed George and Susan, tagging on Zuhura’s hand. She noted with a sadist satisfaction how George’s face had changed since Salim came appeared, and how he stole angry side glances at her. Susan remained peculiarly quiet, and Mimih wondered whethere it was deliberate or just for show.
“So you know Salim how?” Zuhura asked.
“Ha, story of my life,” she said. “Remember how I always say that George gives me the best sex? Well, I lied. Salim is something else I tell you. The mere thought of it makes me dizzy.”
Zuhura felt a thick ball of envy rise in her throat. Swallowing it hard, she pictured Salim and Mimih together, and felt terribly jealous of her best friend for the first time since they met.