I stared at my beautiful reflection in the mirror utterly amazed by the transformation I saw. "Wow! Olivia you look amazing." Lola and Juliana chorused as they stared at me. I looked absolutely breathtaking in the white strapless lace trim dress Lola had given me, my makeup had been retouched by Juliana and I was wearing gold pleated heels with a lovely pearl choker on my neck, all courtesy of my cousin Lola. Usually I was always bubbling with excitement whenever I hung out with my sophisticated cousin and her fab friend Juliana, but I felt tensed and apprehensive as we left Lola's posh apartment on that fateful day.
Lola had pestered me about her friend named Thomas who had seen me at a party we attended and was interested in me. She had badgered me into having lunch with him and I agreed on the condition that I wouldn't go alone. It was my first time in such a beautiful restaurant. The opulence and splendor I was beholding calmed any reservations I had against the lunch date. Thomas was a beady-eyed, bald headed short man in his mid forties, he wore blue jeans and a polo T-shirt that did nothing for his unflattering pot belly, I disliked him instantly.
Lola and Juliana ordered animatedly from the menu with the familiarity of girls accustomed to Chinese cuisine. Lola was only a year older than me, but she was sophisticated and a campus socialite. She went on shopping sprees abroad, she was always dressed in the most fashionable clothes, she attended the best parties, and occasionally hung out with popular artists. We shared the same faculty but different departments. I on the other hand was a Straight A student whose social activities basically consisted of church and school programs.
"What are you having?" Thomas asked me.
I fumbled with the menu in front of me unable to identify anything. Kai! Will I ever belong? I wondered. "I'll have what she's having." I pointed at Lola to the waiter, he noted our orders and left.
The food was amazing. Wow! I marveled as I helped myself to the scrumptious meal. I was a major foodie so it was a very satisfying moment for me. Lola and Juliana were so different from me and it intrigued me. Their outlook on life captivated me.They were go getters who went after whatever they wanted at all cost, their views were a contrast to the strong Christian values my parents had raised me with.
At first I could care less about fashion or the latest trend on campus but it all changed after I attended Lola's birthday bash at a famous club in town. It had been exhilarating and electrifying dancing to loud music, putting on lots of makeup and racy outfits, mingling with Lola's classy friends, and having my first taste of champagne. I became fascinated with Lola's lifestyle and I hung out with Lola and Juliana a lot more, paying less attention to my studies.
My phone began to ring nudging me out of my reverie, it was Cynthia my coursemate and close friend. I stood and excused myself to take the call.
"Where are you? " Cynthia whispered.
"In town. " I rolled my eyes. She was always worrying about classes.
"We're having a test! Mrs Davis is about to give us a test. What are you doing in town? Get over here now!" She hung up. Whoa! I was far away from school at the moment. I hurried back to our table and told Lola I had to leave.
"Thomas is about to take us shopping you can't leave. Besides you wouldn't make it there on time, not with all the traffic." Lola coaxed. She was right, I reasoned, there was no way I could make it on time.
Shopping was another mind blowing experience that day. We shopped at a luxurious boutique downtown. Lola and Juliana excitedly helped themselves to expensive items while I was awe-struck. I had never shopped in such a plush place, the prices I saw were outrageously expensive. I got caught up in the excitement and forgot all about Mrs Davis' test. I picked lots of splendid stuffs for myself. We piled on bags, shoes, watches, clothes and even jewelries.
We spent hours shopping, trying on expensive shoes and exotic dresses. After that Thomas wanted us to stop by a five star hotel so he could see to a brief business meeting. We had another fantastic dinner in his suite while we waited for him to round up his meeting. When he returned hours later it was almost 10pm, he suggested we go clubbing that night. Lola and Juliana agreed before I could even object, so Thomas booked us in another suite separate from his. I became alarmed, I just wanted to have lunch and leave, instead we had gone shopping and now we were talking clubbing. Lola assured me we would go to the club with Thomas then ditch him and head back to our hotel room. We changed into more revealing outfits and left with Thomas for the club.
That night my preference for clubs ended forever. I didn't like the loud music, the sweaty bodies grinding on each other, or the overwhelming smell of cigarette everywhere. I was left sitting alone with Thomas in the VIP section while Lola and Juliana went mingling with the crowd. Before I realized what had happened Lola and Juliana were no where in sight. I started to panic, they had left with their phones and keys. I began calling their phones but there was no answer. An hour passed by and still nothing from them, Thomas suggested we went back to the hotel incase they were already there so we left for the hotel.
At the hotel I was told by the receptionist that my friends hadn't returned so I would have to wait for them since they were with the room key. I almost went hysterical, they were still not answering their phones. My purse, transport money, clothes, house key and everything we bought earlier were all in that room. I was stuck with just my phone and the skimpy dress Lola had talked me into wearing. Thomas urged me to wait for them in his suite, and I was left with no choice but to accept his offer.
Alone with Thomas, I was tensed and frightened. He sat on the bed staring at me in a way that made me squirm uncomfortably. I tried calling again only to discover their numbers were now switched off, my heart began to pound with fright. They had ditched me on purpose, they had set me up with this strange man, I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream but I had to stay calm. My panic increased as Thomas continued watching me.
"Olivia." He called. I looked up at him and the look I saw in his eyes told me I was in one hot mess. How was I going to escape this trap?
To be continued...