40. A function or a party?

Anna

Just five days since we arrived in London it’s been adventurous for me. I have never been to this part of Europe and I must say the sightseeing in London is very resourceful. With Philip been busy with the London office, Natty made herself available upon Philip’s request. So far, Philip’s mum hasn’t been around the house to visit, from what Natty told me Both Philip’s mother and brother Jonah have had to visit Georgia the night we left New Jersey and are due to come back in ten days.

I stood at the balcony of Philip’s suburb estate, smiling down the ray at Lilian and her adorable boyfriend, I wave at them to catch the attention. Both Lilian and her boyfriend… Boyfriend? I really have to stop saying that, why is it that I can’t remember his name when he introduced himself at the airport? I have to ask Lilian one more time …with both looking my way I waved back at them.
Why does he look so familiar though? My thoughts keep nagging before, a hand came over my shoulder. I knew it was Philip. Smiling up at him, with the ray of light covering half his face, he asked

“What are you doing out here?”
I smiled and pointed out at Lilian and her man now climbing up to the balcony. ” I am trying to get their attention. How was your meeting?”
As Lilian and her… Yes, Clement, how could I have forgotten the name. As both walked their way towards us, Philip kissed my cheek and smiled at them. ” meeting was a fine babe. Lilian, Clement, I trust you’re enjoying your vacation” he continued

” Yes, it’s been a wonderful experience ” Lilian replied. Clement smiled at us. There was something about his charisma, which I couldn’t place..not yet.

“Thanks for having us at such short notice, ” Clement said

” No problem mate” Philip nudged Clement while he still had his hand over my shoulder. ” By the way, so do you have anything planned out for the rest of the evening?” Philip asked

” None I suppose, ” Clement said as he replaced Lilian’s hair which was dangling from the wind blowing in our face. ” Do you have plans babe?” He asked Lilian.

” I was going to sit with Anna and go over the schedule for the new year but that can wait, right Anna?” She smiled and fluttered her eyes at me, pleading. She really must want not to work on this trip. Fine, I will indulge her.
“That can wait, Lilian” I brush a smile at her as she yelped her hand into the air in jubilation.

” Now, that’s perfect because we have a function to attend. Found the invitation cards on the front desk in the hallway. You all don’t mind, do you?”

Philips question was more like a plea. I could tell he doesn’t want to go to this function but this is a duty for him, to represent the family and all. And I am all for it. Family.
I would do anything for this man standing beside me even if its an inconvenience for me.

” I don’t mind ” I replied. My response and the rest of others brought warmth to Philip’s face. He smiled and pat Clement on the back and hugged Lilian.

” That’s a relief for me” Philip whispered into my ear. And kissed me on the lips.

” We will get going to keep up with the time for the event.” Clement offered.

” Outfits are in your closet, should you want one” Philip offered a smile with their response as they dashed into the building.

” I am glad that they can come” touching his warm hand to calm his nerves.

” I am lucky to have you the most, Anna”

” And what would do without me?” Philip fakes a frown and pouts his mouth. ” Hahaha, ” I laughed out ” I love you, mate”

” Mate?” the curious line meets my gaze

” picked up a few British accents”

” Nice, if it warms you up, buddy”

His deep rich laughter filled the air, mixed in the ray of sunlight. We hugged while we took our time gazing at the sky.

****
Pulling up the last strap on my blue long dinner gown, Philip helped me to tie my shoes. With a smile, I doped his hair back in place.

” Shall we?” Philip asked

” Yes, San, ” I grabbed my small gold purse ” all ready”
.” Have I told you today that you look beautiful”?

” You’re not bad yourself” I smiled

” I am flattered. But thanks for coming with me”

” and miss all the fun?” I scoffed then smiled back ” You’re welcome.”

Coming out the door leading to the hallway, clem and Lilian were already waiting for us to join them. I just say they both make a great couple. Like mini us. I smiled at the stupid thought of having them as our kids heading out to their prom in high school.

“Clement,” Philip said ” Thanks, mate. You look dashing in that cape ”

” You’re not bad, yourself” Clement replied then turned his gaze at me. He paused briefly then turned his gaze back at Lilian. His funny look at me was uncomfortable, what is this feeling or vibe that I keep getting from him?
Is he trying to tell me something? Damn it. My year one psychology class, You would think, I should know about human body language.

” Anna” I heard Philip call out my name ” Are you okay?

” Yes, I am perfect ”

” For a sec there, I thought you were sick or something ” Philip whispered

” Come on, I won’t faint on you. At least not tonight ” I smiled then continued ” Tonight is very important to jeopardize. ” I looked around but couldn’t see Clement and Lilian. With Philp on cue, he replied to my dilemma
” They already went with the other car ”

” I didn’t hear them leave.”

” You zoned out on them, Anna. Are you’re okay”
.” Yeah, I am fine. Babe, can I ask you to look up Clement for me?”

“Why?” He looked at me with disbelief ” Did he do something while I was away?”.

” No, I just want to check and see if he’s good for Lilian ” I lied. That’s good enough lie

” Okay. I will do that on our way out ”

I gave him a nod and smiled as we exited the hallway.

*********

Coming in through the east entrance was someone whom Philip was familiar with. The man dressed in a white tuxedo and grey trousers. I gave a small laugh at the dress code. Because it seemed fair to see things here in London that I wouldn’t normally see in New Jersey. Wait for a minute, who am I kidding every clown does in New Jersey.
Philip held my gaze to snap out of my brain-hole as the man in a white tuxedo approached. I smiled the most pleasant smile I would ever want to give off, considering this is new masculinity in my territory and giving off any weakness would be damaging to his household.

” Philip, hey mate. It is you.” Says the man in the white tuxedo.

” Antonio, it’s so great to see you mate” Philip relaxed my hand before he hugged Antonio.

” Wow, how long has it been? Four years or five?”

” You do the counting. I don’t consider them years ” Philip replied

” I have told you skype doesn’t count.” He smiled and reached out to me. ” And who is the beautiful lady? Ain’t you going to introduce us?” Antonio inquired.

” Am sorry, Anna meet Antonio. Antonio, Anna”

” My pleasure” Antonio held the back of my hand and kissed it.

” it’s nice to meet you, too” I smiled at him. ” So, four years huh?” I inquired as I directed my gaze at Philip then Antonio.

” Maybe, as I said, I …”

” don’t keep count” Antonio cuts Philip short.

” So, how did you two meet?” I asked as we went into the hall. Which at the moment was filled with different personnel and multiple bands centred on the stage.
Is this even a function or a party?
” I met him in law school” Antonio’s voice jolts me back to the present.

“Wow, that’s great. ”

” It was nice meeting you Antonio. Why don’t we tall more on Skype? Anna and I would like to find our seat. Which I believe it’s on table 135 ” Philip gave off his professional smile.

” Yes, we should meet at the weekend at the club”

” I will call when am available. Babe, this way”
As I waved Antonio off, Philp held me by the waist, taking a deep breathe in and out. I smiled at the notion that he wanted to really get out of Antonio’s company.

” I take it you don’t enjoy his company?” I muttered as he drew my chair out like a perfect gentleman.

” Not really. Most of the time he says things he shouldn’t say” he sat beside me and held my hand.

” He is a loose cannon, then?”

The shock and truth on his face made me smile the most. This man here would get you of anything displeasing to him.

” So, tell me how you both met?”

” Do we have to?” Noticing the discomfort on his face.

” If you don’t want to. That’s fine. ”

” No, it’s okay. I met him at the club five years ago. ”

” Same club?” I grimaced and raise my eyebrows.

” Wait, it’s not the club you think.”

” Then, what is this club, San?”

” it’s the hockey and tennis club, downtown”

Huh! I actually thought it was a night club and all… Phew, rich people never ceases to amaze me.

” Oh” was all I could give off.

” Yes, he was playing terribly at hockey and mother offered that I should teach him and make friends besides Jonah. Besides, he was from a wealthy home.”

” Awww, Jonah must be very happy to be free of you. ”

“Cliche, then I found out he was a loose cannon. Practically knows every family’s secrets in the club.”

” Wow, that’s some deep mess. But you still keep in touch?”

” because he doesn’t have anyone else to call. I try to engage him to keep up with the club’s daily activities. It’s part of our company.”

” Are you some recreational lawyer?” I raised my brow.

” No, gosh, no. It’s just sport. Dad and grandpa enjoyed both hockey and tennis. That’s a memorial club for them.”

“Nice.” The slow music ignited us back to our present state. ” Haven’t seen Lilian around, have you?” I asked as I looked around.

” They are on the far end of table 234″

” Oh, I think, I see them” I waved at both couple and Clement waved back earnestly. A warm feeling came upon me as my gaze still sets on him. What is this feeling? With a second glance at him, he sure looked familiar. Do I know him? Why does his side view look like the man I encountered at the car park Gosh, no! That’s ridiculous. Anna, snap out of this illusion.

” Anna”

Philp’s voice snares me out to reality, with a worried gaze.
” Your hands are cold?” He said as the feeling in my stomach unsettled. ” Are you alright?”

I nod in response to his question in an attempt to hide the snare feelings.

” You don’t look good. We can go home if you don’t mind” still worried he moved closer to me.

” And miss out in all these fun?” I asked in sarcasm. ” I am fine, I just need to use the bathroom. Would you mind?”

” Tagging along? I am all yours ”

” You wish. ” I poked his hand ” I meant letting go of my hands. I feel warm, thanks to you.” With a smile, I made my way to the bathroom. I still felt his worried look behind me. I have to call Shaun, which reminds me when the hell is she coming?
Coming out of the bathroom, Lilian rushed in, I held onto her as we nearly collided into each other.

” Hey missy, how is the night going”

” Sorry, Anna. I have to use the loo”

” British, are we now?” I mimicked her words

She nudged at me and entered an opened stall.

” Wait, for me,” she said

While I waited, I decided to call Shaun and reapply my makeup.

” Hey, where are you? Oh, okay, call me whenever your plane lands in London. Okay, bye.”

The conference went as expected, but both Shaun and John had a bit of layover in Ireland. Whatever is the cause, I will have to ask when she comes back.

” Was that Ms Shaun?”

” Damn it, you scared me for a minute. You know, you are allowed to call her Shaun outside the office.”

Lilian shrugs and laughed. ” How is Clement. Do you think he’s legit?”

” Lilian, do you want to sleep with him?”

” What? Gosh no, that’s not my intent. I meant his personality”

The instant she asked about his personality, I remembered the worry I had before coming to the bathroom to freshen up. I looked at her from the mirror, gave a sigh then dropped my matte lipstick. Hands fold and turned to see her expectant eyes.
She wants my advice. She sees me as a big sister. Gosh! No, I don’t want that audience.
Brushing off the thought, I sighed once again.

” Lilian, what does your mind tell you?”

” He is a good man. Sometimes, He just seems lost and all”

” Have you spoken to him about it?”
Lilian gives a negative response. ” So, you haven’t and need my advice” she nods like a little child offered free candy.

” Okay, how about you start by asking some questions. Where he is from, his family and friends.”

” I did. But the answers are usually monologues or phrase. Something is wrong, right?”

” Not really, he strikes me as someone who doesn’t talk much”

” You think?” I gave her a nod.

” Give him time. You just met like how long. Three months?”

” Yes”
” Give it time. ” I continued.

“Thanks, Anna. ” she ran to give me a big hug.

” You’re welcome.” Looking at the time in the wall, I realized we have spent quite a while in here. I smiled and brushed my hair back in place
“Now, let’s go find those men before they break down this door. ” Lilian’s laughter filled the air as we both walked out of the bathroom.
Outside we collided with people making their way towards the exit. Lilian turned to look at a man who was running, she grabbed his hands to ask what the noise was all about.

” Gunshot. Make your way out or you get killed” the man grabbed his hand away and continued to make his way to the exit. Then we heard another gunshot. The man who had just spoken became lifeless. In desperate haste, I dragged Lilian back into the bathroom, locked ourselves in one available unit.

” Omg! Clem and Philip are out there ” Lilian said in a panic. ” there is someone shouting and that man just died. Omg! I think I am going to throw out my gut” she throws up before the words barely left her mouth.

“I know, just stay calm. We need to figure out what we are dealing with.” I let out my shaky voice. While I prayed in silence please let him be okay. Please.

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