She couldn't believe that it was still as soft and moist as it was when she first left the salon. Then she remembered the list of products and sites that Sharon had given her. She picked up her tote from amongst the shopping bags and headed straight for the living room sofa, sitting down directly in front of her Notebook. Once she located the list, she powered up the computer and went to work bookmarking the sites. Before she knew it Zehira had whipped out her bank card an placed orders for Oyin Whipped Shea Butter, two sets of Tomoka's Twists and a cute hair tie.
"I'm going to have work some overtime to make up for all of the spending I did today," Zehira said out loud. She got up to retrieve her shopping bags. As she headed back over to the sofa, she heard the buzz of her cell phone which she had placed on the table next to her computer. She dropped the bags on the sofa, sat down beside them and reached for the phone. She was surprised that she did not see Lauryn's number, but Tracee's.
"Hey, Tracee," she answered. "Are you home yet?" came the voice on the other end, she had spoken too soon, it was Lauryn. "Lauryn, I know I saw Tracee's number come up," Zehira responded. "It is my number, Z," Tracee responded sounding exhausted. "Lauryn, had me call you from my conference line, she is all excited about some surprise man you're going to show up with tonight," Tracee added. "T, Lauryn is trippin'. I don't know why you listen to her, there is no surprise man," Zehira said as she took off her shoes, folded her legs up under her and started looking through the items in her shopping bags. "I kind of figured as much," Tracee responded.
"I hear typing, are you still at work it's almost 4:30? I thought you were getting off early today," Lauryn added. "Yeah, I stayed much later than I thought, but I'm actually just finishing up. At least I will be out of here before six today," Tracee answered. "T, don't let her change the subject. I called her this morning, she said something about a surprise, then at lunch she was with some man," Lauryn jumped in, whispering and stating each fact like she was standing before a judge in a court of law. "I am not trying to change the subject. Yes, I did say I had a surprise, but it surely is not a man," Zehira said.
"Girl, you know how Lauryn is, she always got to be up in somebody's..." Tracee was interrupted by a loud click on the phone. "Hello?" she called into the phone. "I'm still here," Zehira responded. "Lauryn?" Tracee called, but did not get a response. "I guess her supervisor must have walked by again,"Tracee said and both her and Zehira laughed. "I keep telling her she needs to stay off the phone when she's at work," Zehira said. "Or at the very least, don't call anyone who actually cares about their job," Lauryn added and they laughed again.
"Did you finish the book?" Tracee asked. "Yep, I finished it on my train ride home today," Zehira responded. "I just finished last night, it was actually pretty interesting. I even ordered another one of his books from his site," Lauryn said. "It was good, I have to check that site out, but after all the money I spent today I need to slow down for awhile," Zehira said. "Well, we'll hear what everyone else has to say later on. I'm on my way out the door, Kara is going to kill me if I don't pick up that platter on time, so I will see you later," Lauryn said. "Okay, see you later," Zehira echoed and the call ended.
Zehira placed her phone next to her Notebook and decided to check-in on a few of her favorite natural hair blogs. As she browsed through her bookmarks, - she glanced at the time and decided against it. "I only have a couple of hours before I have to meet the girls, and know good and well I wont be able to resist going to all of these," she thought. She pulled up her music playlist instead and clicked on Goapele's Love Me Right. She turned up the volume, grabbed her shopping bags and went into her bedroom.
She unfolded one of the colorful scarfs she had purchased and went over to the floor mirror. "I think I may wear this one tonight," she said aloud. As the music played Zehira modeled her new accessories which consisted of silk head scarfs, colorful flower barrettes and hair clips, earrings, and even two new handbags and a three tops. "I knew I should have gotten those shoes, they would have completed the look," she said to herself as she looked into the mirror admiring one of the handbags hanging from her shoulder.
Zehira pressed the buzzer in the entrance way to Kara's condo and pulled the door open when she heard the buzz unlocking the door. "Hey, Miss Z, great hairstyle," Sean yelled from the front desk. "Do you need any help?" he asked. "Thanks," I'm going to use the elevator, I should be alright," she responded as she walked through the lobby. As Zehira waited for the elevator she couldn't help but look at her reflection in the stainless steel doors. Her hair was indeed looking good. She knew that if her hands were not full they would be in her hair. The elevator door opened and she got in. "What floor?" came from a young man standing in the elevator, apparently coming from the parking level.
"Seven, please. Thanks," Zehira responded. When they reached the seventh floor the man stepped aside to let Zehira by. "By the way, your hair looks really nice that way," he said. "Thanks," Zehira smiled. She could smell Kara's condo as soon as she left the elevator. Book club meetings at Kara's were the best. Both Kara and her brother Darius who lives with her were chefs, and they always prepared the best dishes. She turned the corner and saw that Kara's door was cracked."Kara," she called as she slowly entered and closed the door behind her. Zehira's mouth began to water, the smells were even more tantalizing from inside. "Come on in. I'm in the kitchen," Kara yelled.
"Where should I put this," Zehira yelled back. "Just put it anywhere on the dinning room table and get in here so I can get a closer look at that head," Kara yelled again amongst the clanking of pots. Zehira smiled to herself and put her store bought veggies and dip platter on the table. When she entered the kitchen Kara was pulling out a pan of macaroni and cheese from the oven. "Girl, I know that is not your famous mac and cheese," Zehira said as she pulled open a cabinet drawer to get a fork. "Oh, look at you," Kara said as she placed the tray on the kitchen table into one of the metal warmers.
As Kara took off her oven mitts, and reached for the lid to place over the freshly backed macaroni and cheese, Zehira quickly dug in and scooped out a forkfull. "Mmmm," she sighed as she slowly chewed savoring every bite. "You don't even look like yourself," Kara continued. "I mean you look like yourself, but like a fresher you," she added. "I'm glad you approve," Zehira said as she walked over to the sink to rinse her fork and placed it into the open dishwasher. Kara followed her reaching up and touching Zehira's puff. "I, mean it's so moist and soft. How do you like it?" Kara asked. "I absolutely love it," Zehira answered. "And that scarf is too cute. You know I'm going to have to borrow that," Kara added.
"Sure, anytime," Zehira smiled. She watched as Kara pulled the oven mitts out of her apron pocket and pulled out another tray from the top part of the oven. She imagined how nice the scarf would look wrapped around Kara's almost waist-length locs. "Maybe locs will be my next hair goal," she thought. "So this is the 'surprise' Lauryn was inquiring about, " Kara laughed as she put the second tray into the next metal warmer. "Oh, I see she got to you too," Zehira said. "Of course, you know how she is. She has to be in the know. She called to see what I might have known." She also mentioned something about some man," Kara added.
"Yeah, she called when I was having lunch and heard a man in the background and went ballistic," Zehira laughed. "I could only imagine," Kara said as she shook her head and they both laughed. "When I first heard the buzzer I was hoping it was Tracee coming in. She is picking up the dessert platter at the restaurant from Darius," Kara continued. "Yeah, I talked to her earlier, she had stayed later at work than she expected, but when we hung up she was on her way to get it," Zehira responded as she got a whiff of the barbecue winglets that Kara was now placing in the third warmer.
"This must have taken you all day to prepare," Zehira said. "Actually, I started the macaroni last night, and Darius fried the wings and and did the barbecue chicken," Kara said as she now reached into the stainless steel refrigerator pulling out a huge bowl. "Okay, that's it, I am going to add chef to my list of requirements for a husband," Zehira said. "I guess that's just one of the things you're going to have find out from this 'mysterious man' as you're getting to know him," Kara responded and smiled as she stirred the bowl of potato salad.
Just then they heard a buzz coming from the security monitor. "Ahhh, saved by the bell," Zehira laughed. They saw Lauryn and Tracee standing in lobby entrance way. Zehira reached over and picked up the phone and pressed the pound button. "Yes, may I help you," she joked. "Come on, Z, buzz us in," Lauryn responded. Zehira pressed the star button and watched as they pulled on the door and stepped into the lobby. "Z, can you go crack open the door so they can come right in?" Kara asked as she lit one of the butane cans under the food warmer. "Sure," Zehira responded leaving the kitchen and heading for the door.
She returned to the kitchen to help Tracee with the food. As they began to arrange the condiments on the table Tracee and Lauryn came through the door. "I'm telling you, Sean the front desk guy is too cute," they could hear Lauryn saying to Tracee. "Girl, I told you to stay away from those young guys," Tracee laughed. "K, I could smell this place as soon as I stepped off the elevator," Lauryn yelled as she placed her jacket on the coat rack and took the dessert platter from Tracee so she could do the same.
"Girl, she ain't lying, the food smells great," Tracee added. As they walked over to the dining room table Lauryn stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh - my - goodness," she said emphasizing each word as she looked at Zehira's hair. Tracee, almost running into Lauryn, took the platter from her friend, who was dramatically frozen in place and walked over to the table. "So, this is your surprised," she added.
"Just take that into the kitchen, T," Kara said as she shook her head at Lauryn, who still stood in awe with her mouth gaping open. "What the heck did you do to your hair?" Lauryn squealed finally recovering from her initial state of shock. "Nothing much," Zehira responded. "I just had Sharon take a little off the ends," she added. "A little," Lauryn repeated as she slowly walked closer to Zehira. "Yesterday you had hair passed your shoulders and today you have an afro," I would say that she chopped off more than a little," Lauryn said sounding upset.
"It looks so cute and fresh," Tracee interjected. "That's exactly what I said," Kara said. "I'm thinking about doing the same thing myself -- finally saying goodbye to these weaves and going natural" Tracee added as she reached up to touch Zehira's puff. "Humph, I guess it looks decent on, Z, but I wouldn't go that far," Lauryn added as she purposely tossed her hair over her shoulder. "Okay, I'll take that as a compliment,"Zehira said. "And, I guess I should take it as an insult," Tracee added and they all laughed.
"It's so soft and smells so nice," Tracee said. "The style really suits you, Z, I can't wait to watch as it grows out," Kara added. "It's going to take some getting used to, but with the right accessories and outfit it will be all right," Lauryn joined, not really as impressed as the others but trying to come up with something nice to say. Again, the other ladies laughed. "What are y'all laughing at," Lauryn asked. "You!" they all said simultaneously. "So, this was the surprise. I guess, there ain't no man either," Lauryn said only half joking with her lip poked out. Again, they all laughed. "Come on, y'all let's eat," Kara said and began passing out plates.
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