Love

When love came back to Town. III

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      “Flowers don’t tell, they show” Stephan Skeem

On Monday morning, Kate was in high spirits as she got off the elevator to her office floor. She was wearing a knee length black dress that complemented her slim figure, red stilettos and adorned a red Gucci handbag, one she had picked in London on one of her many business trips. Her hair was neat, held beautifully in a bun. Her face radiant and she smelled real nice. She was happy. The events of the previous weekend kept going through her mind. Tim, She smiled as she walked past her personal assistant’s desk.

“Having a good Monday, are we?” Susan, her PA, gave her the knowing look, “That smile on your face speaks volumes.”

“Oh yes, Indeed,” Kate let out a small laugh and did a little dance as she entered her spacious office. “Good morning Susan!” She shouted when she was behind her desk.

“You must tell me all about it,” Susan piped from Kate’s door. She was holding a tablet, a notepad and a pen ready for the morning brief with her boss. Susan had been Kate’s assistant for as long as the business had been operational. The two women met when Kate was interviewing potential candidates for the PA’s job and they instantly hit it off. At the time Susan was a college student looking for a part time job to enable her pay her fees. She was brilliant and had potential. Kate hired her immediately. They enjoyed a wonderful work relationship that also blossomed into a loyal friendship.

“Yes, darling, come on in,” Kate called out. “Have a seat,” She mentioned to Susan. “I will tell you all about it as soon as we are done with the day’s work,” Not being one to play during work hours, Kate got straight to business. Discipline had got her this far. She was not about to let a man break that up. “So, brief me on what’s on my diary today.” She smiled at her friend.

Susan opened the day’s itinerary.

Three hours later a delivery man was at Kate’s reception carrying an obscenely huge bouquet of white lilies for Kate. Susan received them and signed the delivery note. The flowers had a white bow tied round them and a red card attached to them. She carefully carried them to Kate’s inner office. Kate was busy on the phone when Susan entered; she placed them on the table without a single word and closed the door on her way out. Barely had she returned to her desk than her intercom rang. It was her boss, she needed her right away.

Kate was standing looking furious, she had both arms firmly planted on her desk and looked like a general ready for war.

“Who brought these flowers?” She almost shouted at her assistant.

“A delivery guy,” Susan answered wondering what the fuss was all about.

“Did you open the card?” Kate hissed.

“No.”

“How many times do I have to tell you to screen everything that comes to this office?”

“I assumed they are from your weekend date.”

“Assumed?” Kate shouted. “Remind me again why I hired you?”

“I…”

“Can you send them back,” Kate interrupted angrily.

Susan hesitated. She didn’t understand

“Now!” Kate threw the card over to her.

Susan didn’t wait for another second. She picked the card and flowers as she silently left her boss’s office.

It was at the comfort of her desk that Susan opened the card. She needed to know where she was sending back the flowers. When she read the card her eyes opened wide. Her mouth dropped.

At exactly half past twelve two friends Lucy and Kate were seated at a nearby restaurant terrace having lunch. The two of them had been friends since high school. They were so physically different yet had a lot in common. Lucy was slightly shorter than Kate, had a pear shaped figure with a well rounded behind. She was the most outgoing amongst the four friends. Kate once described her as the one who loves to talk. Married in her early twenties, Lucy was a mother of three and a stay at home mom.

In her Instagram page she described herself as the woman behind the successful man. Her husband was a successful business man who owned a chain of fast food restaurants across the country. She was well taken care of. With maids tending to her domestic needs, she had a lot of time to herself for shopping, eating out and the gym. She religiously did the first two but barely hit the gym. She loved her weight and she was often heard saying that, my husband is hooked to my curves.

“How was dinner with Tim?” Lucy got straight to the point as she took a bite of her fried chicken.

“I am not saying anything until you tell me how you pulled it off,” answered Kate as she took a mouthful of her veggies salad.

“I didn’t,” Lucy took another bite.

“What do you mean?”

“Tim is the one who reached out to me,” another bite. “Let me explain.”

Kate was now alert.

Tim had just relocated back into the country after accepting a job offer with a multinational real estate firm which was developing low cost affordable housing in the region. He was a successful construction and civil engineer appointed to spear head the developments. Kate had heard of the developments which had garnered wide media coverage. It was dubbed, the revolution of real estate. She was aware about the investment opportunities that came with it but had no idea of the man behind it. She would later learn with admiration that the young tall outspoken boy in high school that she dated was all grown and had made a name for himself in the construction world.

After graduating top of his class in Yale, Tim immersed himself in his work and at forty he had never been married and didn’t have children. His mother had pushed him at some point to get married and sire her grandchildren. One time she went out of her way to set him up with a few girls from her local church. Tim thought the girls were either too religious or simply not wife material. He disappointed his mom, he never settled for any. A few years ago, Tim was involved in a long-term relationship with a top doctor in The States. She was a brilliant lady who also lectured at a local school of medicine.

Tim’s mother was beside herself with Joy. She went into days of fasting and called unto Jesus to finally have her son walk the damsel down the aisle. She beseeched her prayer group warriors to remember her son in prayers. She called on the name of the Lord more times than she could count and even made covenants and promises with the good Lord to have her son marry. She had numerously told her son that she was afraid of dying without having to live according to the Biblical promise of seeing your children’s children.

Tim was the only child and she was desperate to see that promise fulfilled. And so she spent more times on her knees than her feet. Then the unexpected happened, Tim broke up with his long-term girlfriend, his mother went into depression. She lamented that her son wanted to deny her blessings. But when she came out of it, she went back to prayers that one day her son will get married. Her prayers were yet to be answered.

Over the years Tim followed keenly on Kate’s career and her life on social media and the press. That woman intrigued him. She had always been at the back of his mind, the silent matter in his brain. When he took the current job offer he had vowed to look for her. To achieve this he sought Lucy’s help, she was the life of the party. Lucy updated him on details that he didn’t know about Kate’s life. The more he learned about her life and her business the more he wanted to be with her. He wanted to be her prince in a shining armor. He knew he loved her and he desperately wanted to make her his wife. Someday, he had said to himself.

With the help of Lucy, Tim set up the supposed Kate’s birthday dinner party. It was his idea on the choice of the restaurant. Lucy’s job was to get her there without Kate suspecting anything. It was at that restaurant that Tim had hoped he would finally lay his eyes on the love of his life for the first time in over two decades.

“So what happened with you two,” Lucy smiled suggestively. They had now finished their meal.

Kate took a second as she looked at their bill. She read the figures on it and gently pushed it over to her friend. She’s the one who called for lunch, she smiled.

“You are not going to tell me, are you?” feigning hurt Lucy pushed a bit further. She paid the bill and they stood to leave.

Kate smiled broadly. Her heart was doing a triple chase jump as she was thinking of Tim right at that moment.

“Thanks for lunch darling,” Kate kissed her friend on the cheek as they said their goodbyes. On her way up the elevator to her office, a tinge of excitement ran down her spine as she remembered Tim’s words to her when he saw her off at her car that dinner night.

“I want to see you again, Kate,” he had kissed her on the left cheek. Such a gentleman, she had thought. Then he had stood by to watch her drive off. It was magical. Instinctively, she raised her hand and felt her cheek; she smiled as she got off her floor.

Susan her PA looked distraught as Kate stepped into her office.

“Did something happen?” asked Kate, “You look like you have seen a ghost.”

“I told him you are not in,” her voice was almost trembling as she mentioned towards the inner office.

“Who?” Puzzled, Kate walked into her office and saw him.

She stopped on her tracks.

He was sitting on the seat next to her desk looking calm and composed. He was dressed sharply, clean shaved and had a boyish look. His dark blue Armani suit looked like it was sewn on his skin complementing his well toned muscles. He’s never looked more handsome. When she entered, he stood up and gave her a roguish smile. He clasped his hands together at the front like an obedient soldier.

“Hello Kate,” he enunciated her name as if every word was special.

She closed the door firmly behind her and quickly opened her mouth to speak. He cut her short abruptly.

“It’s not nice to return flowers,” he smiled again as he watched her reaction.

She didn’t show any emotion.

“They are expensive you know,” he added coyly.

 

Photo: Courtesy
Love

When love came back to Town. II

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“And when you turned to me and smiled, it took my breath away” Chris De Burgh

In another part of town, the county governor was holding his annual end of year party. The governor’s ground residence was transformed into a fire ball. Literally. The event company had gone to great lengths to give the venue a spectacular look. It was richly decorated with themed colours; purple and pink. Polished cocktail tables spread out across the grounds. In each corner of the field there were food points enough to feed the whole nation. Smartly dressed waiters in uniform stood at ease ready to serve.  Guests drank from crystal champagne glasses and ate from fine china ware.

There was a live band playing that night made up of mellowed voices. The guests were dressed to the nines. Their invitation cards had read, dress code: formal dinner. They did not disappoint. The guest list comprised of government dignitaries, corporate CEO’s, business men and who is who in the media and entertainment industry. There was plenty of traditional and exotic meals. Drinks flowed freely, available to anyone who cared to over indulge. It was an extravaganza to behold.

He saw her first as she mingled with the guests. She was exactly how he loved his women. Thin and attractive. He took a second to savor her beauty. She looked like a woman who had just jumped off one of those glossy men magazine covers. For what seemed like an eternity he became a hunter in the jungle studying his prey right before he pounced. He was mesmerized. She was a slender frame wearing a long red figure hugging dress. She was hot. Too hot such that he had to calculate his move on her lest he got burned. He studied her.

She wore her hair long; hanging below her shoulders it fell lazily on her back. Her makeup was sweet and sparkling. Her radiant face shone brightly over the dim lights. It was in the way she walked swaying her hips across the grounds that captivated him or maybe it was in the way she laughed, seductively, he thought, that drew her to him. Cold chills ran down his spine. He swallowed hard. He had to move closer to her. He told himself he had to smell her, touch her, talk to her. He just had to move closer.

He adjusted his bow tie and strengthened the jacket of his tuxedo. Clearing his throat, he grabbed a refilled glass of champagne from a passing waiter. He took a long sip. He let the cool Pol Rodger linger a bit longer in his mouth before he took a slow deliberate swallow while keeping his eye on the lady. My lady, he said to himself, soon she will be. By now she was having her back to him. He stared at her backside. He could make out the contours of her body. He allowed his eyes to travel along her contours. Slowly he undressed her with his eyes, from the back of her hair to her slim shoulders, down her back to her firm narrow bum.

He let his eyes linger a bit longer there. Her dress was perfectly tight. He noticed she wasn’t wearing anything underneath. He felt hot. A thin streak of sweat formed on the upper part of his forehead. His pants became tight. Taking a sip of his chilled drink, he moved his eyes all the way down to the bottom of her dress, he couldn’t make out if she was wearing shoes or not. Her red dress flowed freely covering her legs to the ground. He now more than ever had to move closer. He inhaled deeply, straightened his broad shoulders and took a step forward.

“Phil, My guy!” Before he could turn around, some heavy-set guy was already giving him the bro hug. He cursed under his breath. Suddenly what he was feeling vaporized into thin air.

“Hey, Man,” He forced himself to answer back faking enthusiasm. If it was another place, another time, he would have punched the dude and pounced on his prey.

“I didn’t know you come to these parties, man,” his friend was saying excited to hit off a conversation. Phil barely heard him. His eyes were searching the crowd frantically. His lady in red had disappeared.

Where was she?

“The governor is my friend,” Phil answered. Eyes searching the crowds. “Besides am here representing my people.” They both faked a hard laughter.

Woman, where art thou?

At 42, Phil was the youngest Member of Parliament to be elected in his county. He considered himself young, charming and charismatic. The ladies adored him. He was the most eligible bachelor in town. He was divorced. After his relationship with Kate went up in smoke, one year later, he found himself a wife. He married in a prominent family. A young rich lawyer who was a partner in her father’s prominent law firm. Phil’s father-in-law was also a successful businessman who had built himself a well established empire to the tunes of billions.

Many said that Phil had married for the money terming his marriage to Lina as fake. His own friends and family had speculated that it will not last. Everyone who knew him said that he was an opportunist with a hidden agenda. They were all right. One year into the marriage, Phil declared his interest in the Member of Parliament candidacy. His father-in-law backed him up. He after all backed as many politicians as he could. His business interests depended on it. His empire would enlarge. He was cunning in his dealings. He needed a new ally and so he rooted for his son-in-law. Money changed hands. Networks established. Strategies played. Secret meetings held. Brown envelopes pushed. Political rallies organized. Phil won the elections with a landslide.

Six months after he was elected Lina filed for divorce citing infidelity and irreconcilable differences. The media had a field day. Social media was a buzz. Rumors flied all over. It came out that Lina was unhappy in her marriage right from day one. That Phil neglected her. It was said that she was going crazy. He was never emotionally available for her. He was milking her dry and was a serial womanizer. It was ugly. His father-in-law got a heart attack. A tabloid reported at some point that Phil was still stuck in his previous relationship with a certain self-made business woman. Lina had always suspected the same.

They went to court. Phil fought dirty, he was ruthless. He hired crooked divorce attorneys. He bribed the judge. Lina gave in and Phil got himself a handsome settlement. She was the moneyed one, he had sworn. When it was done. Lina flew out of the country to clear her head in one of the Caribbean islands. She never came back. Several months later she would go on Instagram, post a photo of herself sun bathed in a tiny pink bikini, hanging on the arms of a masculine Maui beach boy beside the sea, holding a cocktail glass, wearing a wide grin and oversized sunglasses. She captioned it, sex on the beach.

Phil moved out of his matrimonial home. Put it up on sale. Cashed the money. He continued with politics. He was popular. The media loved him. Women drank from his palms. He knew he was attractive. He charmed everyone on his path. He widened his networks. He stepped on many people’s toes and jumped over others. Many hated him. Others loved him. They listened when he spoke. He pushed bills in parliament. He broke existing rules and made new ones. His political career was bright. He was meant to lead. One day, he had told himself, I will live in the governor’s mansion.

“Yes, yes, it’s a great party,” Phil answered to some comment that he wasn’t sure whether it was directed to him or to someone else. The people around him had grown into a crowd within a few minutes. Everyone was talking at the same time. But his mind was not there he was thinking about the mysterious lady.

Who was she? Was she alone?

“There’s an issue I would like us to discuss next week,” The deputy governor, a lady, turned to Phil.

“Yes absolutely,” answered Phil, “Have your people call my people and set up an appointment.”

Where was she?

“It’s a personal issue,” She pressed in his ear.

He took a step backwards. Rumors had it that he had once had an affair with her. She had condemned them as malicious. He smiled inwardly when he remembered how she kept telling him she was married with each falling off of her clothes . He didn’t embark on the same ship twice.

“Have your people call my people,” he repeated calmly.

Damn it. Eyes searching.

At the high table there was the sound of clicking glasses. The master of ceremony turned to the microphone and asked for everyone’s attention. Each person’s focus turned towards the front. Small crowds were dispersed as they took their seats. The MC was introducing the governor who was expected to make his speech. Thereafter the dance floor would be opened and everyone was invited to dance like there was no tomorrow. The band was warned to keep the guests entertained like never before and the waiters were told to make sure everybody’s stomach was well taken care of including their thirst. Phil had given up on his lady in red.

The governor took the microphone.

“Ladies and gentlemen…,” The governor started.

He spotted her from the corner of his left eye. My lady. She reappeared mysteriously just as she had disappeared. She was standing at the corner of the field, alone, looking straight at him. Teasing him with her eyes.

“I hope you are enjoying your night……”  Governor’s voice trailed off in the wind

He wasn’t listening. He turned his head full circle to gaze at her. Their eyes locked and they held each other’s gaze for a few seconds. She twitched a small shy smile. He titled his head and raised his glass at her.

“…….that was a great year we had…”

She stood still staring at him. He now had full view of her. She was breath taking. His heartbeat increased. His temperature rose. He took a step towards her.

“As you know we achieved most of our objectives……”

He could see that she was holding her gown with her right hand and she had lifted it up slightly. He saw brown skin. His knees became weak. She dropped it and like a night goddess turned around to leave.

“…I would like my wife to say a few words…”

She turned and looked over her shoulder, he was still standing. She started walking away slowly her dress flowing swiftly against the night breeze caressing the contours of her being. He was awed.

Hands were clapping at a distance.

In a daze, he dropped his glass on a nearby table and like a slave to a master he followed her silently into the darkness.

 

photo: courtesy 

 

 

 

 

 

Love

When love came back to Town.I

love

“I look at you and see the rest of my life in front of my eyes.” Unknown

 

She was early. One hour early than the agreed time. She stood momentarily at the door scanning the stylish decorated restaurant, possibly looking for a strategic place to sit where she could watch the door and easily catch her friends as they arrived. A cute young waiter came to her rescue just as she was perching herself on a nearby table for four. He smiled politely at her. She smiled back. He extended his hand at her and introduced himself as Mark. She shook it feebly. He was holding a neat folder on his hand, he looked at it and back at her, then he sweetly said, “Miss Kate, your reserved table for four is right here.” He pointed at a corner.

“Thank you,” she whispered and proceeded to it. She almost forgot that, Lucy her friend, the organiser of today’s dinner party had called earlier and reserved a table for four. How the waiter knew her name she didn’t dare ask. She was in no mood for a conversation, but she secretly guessed that Lucy must have tipped the restaurant that she, Kate, would be the first to arrive. “She is always the first to arrive,” She must have told the hostess.  The first? She shook her head slightly. Mark, the cute waiter helped her sit and handed her the drink menu. She looked at the wine list. She wanted something strong today. Perhaps a tot of tequila would lessen the tight knots she felt in her stomach. A tot? Heck, she wanted the full bottle of tequila. She just wanted to drown herself. Today was meant to be fine dining with her friends, and so she mastered all her strength and beat the temptation and instead ordered a fine bottle of red wine, an Italian name that she could not even pronounce. A few minutes later, Mark had poured her a glass. She checked her watch she had more than fifty minutes to herself before the rest of the girls arrived. That was exactly how she had wanted it. To be alone a couple of minutes and just immense herself in her thoughts as she sipped her drink. She knew she would finish the bottle before the rest arrived. She intended to.

Today was her birthday. She was 40. She sipped more wine. She was proud of herself and her achievements. Sitting there, sipping her wine, listening to soft piped music from the background, Kate started reflecting on how she got to where she was today.

She was a successful business woman. An overachiever running a lucrative communication business. The business was five years old. She reflected on her life. More Wine. She had been employed for a better part of her life and had risen up the corporate ladder and made herself a sort after business manager. At some point she had gone back to school and bagged her Masters degree in Business. At the peak of her career she quit her job.

She was a hungry woman. Hungry for what? She wondered to herself. More wine. Hungry for success? Hungry for love? She wasn’t sure. More wine. She had registered her communication and consultancy firm and it picked like wild fire. She reminisced on that day that she drove into a car show room in her modest Toyota and drove out of it in a brand new Range Rover paid for in cash by herself. A girl has to reward her hard work, She smiled. More wine. Her business picked. Her clients loved her. She was doing superbly great, she thought to herself. More wine.

Today she is 40. The big 4-O. Her friends are celebrating her. She is the last one of her four close friends to hit it. The rest were already a couple of months settled in between the four and the zero. More wine. Of all her friends she was the unmarried one. But she was the most successful. Built on self success, her Instagram bio read. More wine. her friends had husbands and little kids running around. They had families, She had a career. More wine. More thoughts.

By this time she was drowning more wine than she could pour. Phil. Phil came to mind instantly. He loved her or so she thought. They had been together for almost a decade, for better part of her late twenties and mid thirties. She was faithful to the man. He wasn’t to her. At some point of their relationship they had lived together. She thought they would get married and have kids. She had a plan for her life. A girl always has a plan. Her’s was to finish school, get a job, get married have kids, get a house with a picket fence and a dog. All this before she hits thirty. More wine.

Things didn’t work out with Phil. She wondered out loud to herself why she had stayed in that relationship longer than she should have. She blamed herself for missing all the signs. The signs were there. I didn’t miss them. I ignored them, she said to herself. More wine. She went through a lot of emotional abuse from the man. The unfaithfulness that came with it. The numerous women she had to fight off him. The two miscarriages she had. The torture, the mental turmoil that came with it and the financial burden she bore in that relationship. She stayed through years of abuse and neglect from a man she cared so deeply and who said he loved her but whose actions spoke otherwise. Yet she stayed throughout the years.

Then, the beatings came. He would drink himself silly through out the night. Came home in the wee hours of the morning and harassed her throughout. More wine. He would blame her for loosing his job. He hit her not once not twice and the beatings became a regular. Yet, she stayed. She thought about the emotional pain she went through covering up for his actions. How it tore into her like a knife to flesh. She couldn’t understand how she worked twice at her job and shinned in her career while at the same time hiding her dark personal life. More wine.

One day, she woke up. Tired of all the excuses. Tired of crying and being depressed. Tired of making up cover stories why she had bruises on her face and arms. Tired of being used by a man she thought loved her. Tired of living a lie. She made a decision that would change the course of her life. She packed her bags and left her house one early morning when Phil had gone out. That was her turning point. Like a determined woman to rebuild her life, she never looked back. She gave up on love. She gave up on men. She was going to build her life right from the bottom. That was seven years ago. More wine.

She looked at the wine bottle, it was half full. I am an optimist, she chuckled to herself. As she was pouring the last drop, she looked up and saw a tall well-built gentleman staring at her, smiling down at her. She thought it was the wine playing tricks on her. He broadened his smile. She looked at her watch then at the door. She wished that, that second her friends will walk through the door. She ignored him. He didn’t move. She sipped her wine. He took a seat. He extended his hand. She looked at it suspiciously. By now, she was sure she was hallucinating. The wine has got to her.

“Kate, its me,” He said excitedly as he shook her hand.

She sipped more wine.

“Its me, Tim. Oh my,” He threw his huge arms around her and embraced her tiny frame. It felt awkward. Her mind was not processing. She knew she should push him away, but for some strange reasons she didn’t.

He seemed familiar.

“It’s been decades,I have missed you!” He was now laughing and holding her hands. Staring into her eyes. He was talking hurriedly. She couldn’t make out what he was saying. She was confused. She lifted her glass, it was empty. I need more wine, she thought. He continued talking animatedly while holding her hands. He seemed very excited and happy to have seen her.

She looked at her wine bottle. There was no single drop left. She sighed. Tim. She knew she should know the guy but she wasn’t quite sure whether it was the wine with the strange Italian name that was making her think funnily or she was dreaming.

Then she looked squarely at his handsome face for the first time. It hit her. Tim.

“Oh My God, Tim!” She almost let out a scream when she realised who he was.

Her first love. The guy who was crazy about her in high school. Her high school sweetheart was right there staring at her. Her love of her life was holding her hands! She had thought she would marry this guy. Back in the day, when they were young and restless teenagers they loved each other. They even had names for their kids and the places where they would live when they got married. They had planned out their lives down to the last details. But as fate would have it, Tim left immediately after high school with his family to The States and they lost touch. They never communicated. They both grew up and life happened uniquely to each of them.

He was there, holding her hands, talking. It seemed surreal. Tim, her true love was sitting next to her. He was looking deeply in her eyes, studying her face. It felt like high school again. Kate felt a teenager, a shy, young, naive girl in love. She was speechless. She was motionless. It felt like a dream. It felt like the world stopped for them right at that moment. It felt like they were just the two of them, two lone people. Two people who seemed like strangers drawn to each other with so much to say.

Wait, how did he find me? She asked herself.

Excited, Confused, caught in a mix of emotions, it dawned on Kate that her friends had set her up.