Sonnet cyber cafe was usually worth spending time in. No wonder the cost of using their facility was roughly double that of the cyber cafes around. The cafe was fully air conditioned; the computers were all brand new LCD systems and the furniture, superb. The service was adorable and there is constancy of power supply as they quickly switched to an independent power generator when public power supply failed, which was unfortunately often.
At exactly 12 pm, Ada gave the crystal clear glass door of Sonnet an effortless push and it opened inside. With an air of souciance, she walked up to the heavily vanished L-shaped desk of Smart, the director of Sonnet, as he liked himself to be addressed. Smart was a narcissistic young man in his early twenties who literally wore an aura of importance around him.
Sonnet was established by his elder brother in Canada, but Smart liked to show to whomever that cared that he didn't answer to anybody when it came to the affairs of Sonnet_ he was his own boss.
He was uniformly fair complexioned and obviously hairy. His chest which he defiantly exposed by leaving out the first two buttons of his shirt undone was a black curly bush. Often times his father who was a school principal would tease him to leave the fly of his trousers open also so that the actual sexy hairs in his body would be better appreciated. That was the best his father could do as his son had grown beyond his control.
Today, like many other days, A tiny golden necklace adorned his neck while the pendant was buried in his hairy chest.
Smart caught Ada's eyes on his chest first thing as she entered the café. He let out a knowing smile.
"Good afternoon Smart, your shirt is not bad.”
Ada felt compelled to compliment.
"Hmm... your hair pack isn’t bad either. How’re you?” he said. Before Ada could respond, he continued, "Sugarpie, I hardly see your break light these days, I can't remember
the last time you buzzed my phone or came around to see me. pourquoi tu ne appel pas moi? Hope you still fancy French."
Ada smiled. She'd a soft spot for the language.
"Well, I’ve been in my father's house. As you can see, I come to the cyber cafe when I need to get something done on the net. Meanwhile, I remember telling you that I am no sugar pie, so cut it off. Your majesty could see me if you came to my father's house, only that our bulldogs don't welcome strangers the first day."
"Do you know Queen Elizabeth! ‘I’m in my father's house, you could see me if you came to my father's house'." Smart definitely knew how to make caricature of somebody.
"Ok then, sit right here in your cyber cafe and expect me to come searching or better still call my prince! Beggie, give me one hour ticket."
Ada enjoyed arguing with Smart. Only that she didn’t like him that much. He was full of himself, and overflowing…
Ada offered him a two hundred Naira bill for the ticket. Smart stopped short of clicking his mouse and raised his gaze from the money to Ada's face. His eye bore into Ada's, and when he got her pupils, he held it. Ada was confused.
"What?" she asked shaking off the grip of his eyes.
"Ada, you insult me." he feigned disappointment.
"As in? Honestly I don't understand." Ada was trying to recollect how the 'insult' happened.
"First, you came in here without any notice, having shut me out for months. Now you're offering me money for ticket. As in... you think I can't give you free lifetime in my cyber cafe?" his face looked serious.
Ada stifled a bout of laughter.
Ohmigod! This guy is really a work. She stood there smiling at him. Smart sighed, opened his drawer and brought out a 3 hour ticket and gave her.
"You can give your two hundred Naira to street beggars, you hear? Please use that system.” He pointed at a system to his left.
Ada decoded_ he wanted her close to him so that they could continue talking.
"No..." she said, “I want to stay somewhere private."
"Or away from me?"
"Smart, you're smart."
"Ada, please stay there. Thanks for the compliment." He cooed.
Ada could read the desire in his voice.
"Promise no interference."
"I promise, my queen."
"Cross your heart."
He did. Ada logged into the computer and sluggishly clicked the go-button after typing www.jambite.com on the address bar. When the site opened, she first tried her own scratch card and she got her JAMB score displayed.
"I'm sure you aren't looking into my screen?" Ada asked without looking at him.
"Just making sure my queen is having the best of service.” he said curtly.
"I'll call your attention if need be."
"Ok, my queen"
"No more 'my queen', please."
"OK, my queen."
Ada broke into an uncontrollable laughter. She'd to hide her face when other customers at the cafe turned to her direction.
Smart said: “I guess 297 is a good JAMB score to make a damsel laugh without curtsy."
Ada printed a copy of the result and then frantically she typed in Barile's registration number and PIN. She crosschecked the details and then clicked on the submit link. The website reported scratch card error. She tried again and again. Same response. She consulted Smart.
"Smart, I don't know what's wrong with my scratch card."
"Your scratch card or your friend's?"
"Whatever...the scratch card isn't accepted."
"Who's the guy?"
"Who told you it's a guy?"
"My meat is: I want to know who deserves you more than I do."
"You really want to know?" Ada turned to look him in the face.
"Ohk, he’s somebody whose gallery has only me, and not a cathedral of girls. Somebody who's down to earth; not one who looks down on me from an ivory tower. Got it?" Ada couldn't imagine her boldness. Smart was startled. He never imagined Ada would have the impetus to talk to him like that. Without saying a word, he came to her side, took the scratch card from her hand and checked it out. The next minute, he’d printed Barile's result- 288. Ada said thanks, checked her mail and logged out of the system.
"Should I go with the remaining time?” she waved the ticket at Smart.
"Yea." he responded without looking up.
Ada made for the door, the atmosphere was pretty more charged than she could handle. She stopped short at the door regarding Smart who feigned consumed in his computer screen.
"Sorry if I hurt your feelings...but you pushed me. Well such things happen, hope you'll be able to curtail it some other time.” She stepped out, while Smart watched her firm waist sway from side to side.