Lawrence was standing at Neema’s doorstep. She drew the blinds to see who was standing outside, then opened the door smiling heartily to see him.
“Come here handsome,” she stretched her hands to embrace him. They hugged, cleaving to each other a bit longer. She could sniff the whisky on his breath. “I see you’ve already started the night, eh? Come on in.”
He strolled in, towing her towards the kitchen. Most of Neema’s life was spent in the kitchen, and she loved it. She fondly said that all good things happen in the kitchen, especially her own, which was decorated exquisitely with white and lime green colours, and high top seats next to the kitchen island.
He sat on one of the seats and stared at her as she turned some fried fillet on the pan. From the first time he met Neema, he always found her attractive. There was more beauty in her, both from the inside and outside. She said the same about him and even coined a name for him – handsome.
“You’re early today. For once, you kept time. Haha.” Neema said as she turned towards the fridge to pick something.
“I couldn’t wait to see you,” Lawrence responded in a depressed voice.
“You mean it’s that bad?” Neema stopped what she was doing and looked at him with eyes full of genuine concern.
“Yeah. Nothing much has changed from the last time we spoke. Do you know something?”
“Yes?” Neema was back at the cooker mixing some sauce in one of the pans.
“I kept thinking about you during the picnic I told you about. Everything you told me and what we talked about at the restaurant.”
“Oh, and?” Neema responded, pulling a glass to offer him some mint-lemonade.
“The picnic was amazing. Until we came home and just when everything was going great, we fought about something. We are actually not in talking terms now.” He held the juice Neema passed to him.
“You know it hurts me seeing you like this Lawrence.”
“I know.” Neema was serving the food now, “I’m famished, please fill my plate.”
“Haha. You always say that, remember?” Neema said with a sense of pride in her voice, assuring herself that Lawrence loved and enjoyed her cooking.
“I love your cooking Neema.” He took a sip and swallowed slowly before continuing his next words, “He loved your cooking too, remember?”
Neema did not respond to the question. She went on to serve both plates and set them on the countertop. He knew he had brought up a topic she didn’t want to talk about, so he tried to clean up the mess, “My bad. I shouldn’t have brought him into this conversation.”
Her face sulked a bit but she tried to cheer herself up, “It’s okay.” She sat on the seat adjacent to his and held his hand saying, “Let’s pray for the meal.”
He didn’t close his eyes. He stared at her – eyes closed – and analyzed her chocolate-skin face as she prayed. She was gorgeous.
“Amen.” She concluded the short prayers. “Karibu. Oh, I almost forgot.” She walked to grab the wine and whisky and brought them to the counter table.
“Thanks.” Lawrence took a bite of his fish fillet and mashed potatoes, chowed a bit then said, “This is really good Neema.”
“You’re welcome.” Her bubbly face was back again. They both ate silently. At some point, she found it hard to hold her thoughts in, so she spoke up, “Lawrence…..”
“Yes.” He said looking up to see her. His eyes meeting her beautiful eyes draped with thick eyebrows.
“I need to tell you something. And I want you to listen to me.” She had stopped eating her meal halfway and was intentional on passing her point to him the best way she knew how.
“What is it?” Lawrence asked.
“I think it’s time you end your relationship with Stacy. Don’t get me wrong, but I strongly feel you deserve better. It’s a lost cause, Lawrence. Accept it and move one. Plain and simple.”
Her words pierced his heart like a heart surgery. He loved and trusted her and knew he could believe her on this no matter how stupid it seemed at the time. He gathered himself and responded, “But I love her, Neema. I really do. I don’t want to let her go.”
Neema sipped the Oaked Chardonnay from her glass before she finally said to him.
“Leave her alone. Okay handsome?”
He knew what he needed to do, and definitely, Neema was right.
NEXT: No Valentine’s | 10