Laughs and smiles all around the room as the birthday boy, five minutes into his entrance, was now starting to absorb the sweet reality of the pretty big surprise party that had been clandestinely arranged. His two colleagues from work, Edem and Sandy, were still shaking him playfully, teasing him about the way he gripped his chest in a brief moment of terror upon hearing the loud “SURPRIIIISEEEEEEE” that filled the room once he opened the door.
As you can expect, the house was buzzing with activity. The organizers of this secret party had definitely done a yeoman’s job; everything had gone perfectly according to plan. The right number of invitees, the drinks and snacks, the decorations, the DJ, the cake… all in place.
As Nicky, the newest 28 year old in town walked over to get himself another cup of coconut water from the vendors, Edem followed him, the grin preceding his last teasing statement starting to fade as his face returned to its normal look.
“Winnie is behind all this, isn’t she?” Nicky asked.
Edem rolled his eyes. “Like Sark would say, what else? Of course, lah!”
Nicky sighed and shook his head as he turned away from the lady that had served him. “Dear Lord, that babe blows my mind. Most incredible blessing I’ve had in the past two years. I promise, I gotta start making…”
“Attention please! Will the birthday boy please report to the dining table for the cake cutting?” a voice boomed over the PA system. The voice of Adjeiwaa, Nicky’s younger sister.
“Time to go and cut the cake, chale,” Edem said, as he accompanied the man of the hour from the big living room space to the dining table on which sat a big, beautiful red velvet cake. Judging by its size and width, Nicky could easily tell: this was a product of Kareena Cakes.
One of the few cake bake shops in towns he rated very highly.
“Peeps, let’s gather round, let’s gather round,” Adjeiwaa ordered. “Issa very essential period of this eyi that we’ve gotten to. Let’s do this… DJ, could you let the music go down a bit?”
As people moved towards the new converging center, Nicky took his place behind the cake, admiring the ‘Happy Birthday Nickyyy’ inscription on the cake.
Within a minute or two, all attention was now on the gathering at the table.
“Alright, alright, alright, we all here,” Adjeiwaa said, the satisfaction in her voice plain and apparent. “Now where’s the knife?”
Nicky blinked and looked at the table. No knife. Wait, wuhhh? How did I forget to notice there’s no knife on the table?
“I’m bringing it, please!” a voice rang out from the kitchen.
Nicky’s face brightened as the owner of the voice briskly walked out the kitchen, clearly in a hurry to get the knife to him. As the crowd made way for her, the smile on his face grew with each passing millisecond.
She placed the knife on the table and looked up at him.
The smile and the look in his eyes said enough. She giggled and stuck her tongue out at him.
Winnie. Nicky’s boo for the past two years.
Snickering at that action as he rolled his eyes, she turned to Adjeiwaa, who nodded, and turned to the crowd and said, “Oh, before the birthday boy cuts his cake, there’s a special message for him. From the most organizer in chief, most Nicodemus, most hot irresistible mama, most hard geh hard geh. Dear people, let’s hear what Winnie Gyampoh has to say to her booboo!”
The room was immediately filled with cacophonic choruses of eishes, oohs, aahs and awws as she took her spot in front of the table, directly facing Nicky. Clearing her throat, she signaled for the noise to settle. “You people dey come give me pressure!”
A few laughs, and the place was now silent, waiting for whatever it was she had to say.
Until someone mischievously cried out in a deliberate high-pitched voice, “Why so sassy, ma?”
The noise returned in the form of laughter and more eishes and ‘damn girl’, as everyone was now focused on her black and white off-shoulder blouse and her dark blue leggings. Already described by many of her friends as a ‘ridiculously enchanting hottie’, there was no way they’d let her off the hook with that so easily.
“Ei, you people, I dey beg, relax gimme, eh,” she pleaded.
Took a while, but the admiring ended for her to begin her little speech.
“Please, before I start, I beg, don’t take videos. I dey beg waaa,” she pleaded, eyeing one guy who had steadied his phone, ready to capture the action. Snickering, the guy relented and put his phone down.
She turned to Nicky.
“You know, I still have fond memories of the day you first spoke to me. While I was busy looking for that history book in the library. Believe me, I could tell from day one that you wanted me. And at first… I kinda thought you had some nerve looking to hit on me. Yet at the same time, it kinda excited me. And how you constantly kept in touch and all. I still get goosebumps over how you took my hand on that date at Roots Apartment Hotel and told me so plainly, ‘Winnie, I want you.’ Damn, it was so… intriguing.”
A chorus of oooooohs followed at that. “Herh, levels dey, wati!” some of his friends exclaimed.
The two lovebirds laughed as they looked at each other. The brief period of noise died out, and she continued.
“It’s been two years and about four months now. And I know I don’t regret saying yes in the least. You’re amazing, baby boy. I never thought being in love with a guy like you would be such a thrilling journey. Of course, we have our issues every now and then, but that’s just a tiny percentage of the beautiful experience it’s been having you as my man.
“You’re so much fun to be with. And you’re such a silly boy sometimes. I mean, how can you tell me drones are like giant mosquitoes? Who does that?”
Everybody including Nicky laughed. “But it’s true, lah. Don’t you hear the noises they make?” he protested.
Winnie shook her head. “Waleva. Let’s reserve that argument for another day.”
The laughter ran out. She continued.
“So yes. Nicky, you’re fun to be with, and you always know how to make me laugh. And I might be known as a hard girl, but nobody else sees and cuddles my softer side more than you do. I love the way you dote on me sometimes, make me feel like the baby girl I am. I love it. You pamper me like no other. And those forehead kisses?” She giggled and looked away shyly. He’d get the hint.
“I love the way you care about me as a whole. The hottie that I turned out to be, I’ve encountered guys who make it too obvious with their behaviour that it’s just my body they want to press-press. Nothing more than that. But you… you go beyond that. Lord knows how poorer I would have been in so many ways if I didn’t have you in my life. Going out of your way to help me finish my project work, pushing me to start this Masters degree, encouraging me when I was having those issues in the Children’s department in church. I’m just awestruck at how God gave me a man who’s not obsessed with my body, but who’s interested in helping me walk in my purpose. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“Your family has embraced me, just as mine has embraced you. AJ is the sis I never had, and your mother is an absolute gem! You already know how highly my dad speaks of you, so no long tins. You naa, you know.”
Winnie took a deep breath, then reached out to hold his hand. “Nicky babe, all this is just to say, happy birthday. I love you. So much. You mean more to me than ampesi with kontomire and avocado, and you know that’s a big deal for me!”
Nicky shook his head, a grin on his face as some people laughed, those who were fully aware of her love for the local delicacy.
“I love you, Nicky. I wish you all the very best this day. Thank you for making me the happiest chic on earth for the past two years and four months. I wouldn’t have it any other way. God bless you so much, my love, and may He establish you, continue to lead you on the path He’s set out for you and make you a blessing to your generation. Can’t wait to spend forever with you.”
The chorus raised this time was a chorus of Awwwwwws. Something which Nicky usually couldn’t stand, especially when the likes of Edem and Sandy distorted it to make it even more annoying to his eardrums. As he got his lady to come over to his side, though, those teasing chants were the last thing on his mind.
Giving her a kiss on the forehead, he hugged her tightly and whispered in her ear, “Thank you so much, baby girl. Lord, I love you. More than words will ever comprehend.”
“My love,” she murmured, her head leaning on his shoulder, giggling as she gave him the softest of punches on his chest. Her standard reaction whenever his lips touched her forehead. “Nobody makes me happy the way you do.”
He smiled, then whispered, “Well, queen, better get ready. Because one thing I know for sure is, next year by this time, God willing, you’re gonna be having my ring on your finger. It’s time I begin to make things official, girl. I need you around for the rest of my life to make it a blessed life. No two ways about it. It’s time to make you mine, Winnie. For good.”