He was on the beach. It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun felt good on his face as he gazed out at the sea. It was after 4. In an hour he would see Ife. Ife. Right now he wished she were there with him. They would walk along the water’s edge, holding hands before they went skinny dipping. And then, instead of getting dressed and heading back to the hotel, they would make love right there in the sand. His eyes darkened at the thought.
“Hello, Toshiro,” a pleasant voice said behind him.
Startled, he turned around. It was Emma, the English woman who was staying at the hotel. She had arrived last week and they had exchanged pleasantries. Yesterday, she invited him to join her for breakfast and he accepted out of courtesy. He smiled now. “Hello, Emma.”
“I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
“No, you’re not disturbing me. You’re more than welcome to join me.”
She sat down beside him. “It’s really quite beautiful here, isn’t it? So peaceful.”
“Yes. That’s why I come here every day.”
“I usually come in the mornings but this morning I couldn’t because I went on a tour to Lake Mburo National Park.”
“How did you like it?”
“It was wonderful. We were taken directly from the hotel and to the park for a boat safari, guided hike, and game drive. We got to see the animals in three different ways and lunch was included. I took so many photos. As soon as I return to London, I’m going to post it to my blog.”
“Sounds like you had a great time. I’ve never been on a tour even though I have been to Kampala many times.”
“Are you here for business or pleasure?”
“Business.” He explained to her that he was in the Sogo shosha which are Japanese companies that trade in a wide range of products and materials. He didn’t mention that Sōgō shōsha were among the highest-paying employers in Japan. “What about you? What do you do?”
“I’m a Financial Director. I get to develop and control the company’s annual operating budget to ensure that all financial targets are met and financial advice and guidance to the company’s managers and staff to enable them to achieve their objectives.”
“I can tell that you love what you do.”
She smiled. “I do. It’s a wonderful job. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”
“My sister, Miko feels the same way about what she does. She works for the Human Rights Organization. Her specialty is Women’s Rights and she is very passionate about it.”
“Good for her. The HRN has its hands full trying to eliminate domestic violence, human trafficking, honor killing of women, military rape, and other violent acts committed against women. I’m thankful that there such organizations exist and am always interested in helping them in what ever way I can.”
Toshiro wondered what she would say if she knew about his arrangement with Ife. How ironic it was that, for purely selfish reasons, the brother of a human rights advocate, should be exploiting one of the maids working at the hotel where he was a guest. He got abruptly to his feet. “I think we should be heading back to the hotel,” he said, glancing at his watch. It was a quarter to five. “I have a call to make.”
“All right.” Emma stood up and followed him up the embankment.
Ife was on her way to the stairs to go up to fourth floor when she spotted Toshiro and the very pretty young English woman walk through the front entrance of the hotel, talking and laughing as they headed for the elevators. She watched them jealously, making sure that they couldn’t see her. When they got on the elevator and the doors closed behind them, she turned away, seething. She was sorely tempted to go straight home instead of up to his suite. No. She couldn’t allow her jealousy to cost her her job.
Emma turned to Toshiro, her expression hopeful. “Perhaps we could have dinner together this evening.”
He smiled apologetically. “I’m afraid I have other plans.”
“A rain-check, perhaps?”
“I’m sorry, Emma, but I’m already in a relationship.” When he said that he wasn’t thinking of his girlfriend, Asuka but of Ife.
“Well, whoever she is, she’s a very lucky woman. It was a pleasure meeting and spending time with you, Toshiro. Take care.” She held out her hand.
He shook it. “It was a pleasure meeting you and being in your company too, Emma. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” She turned and stepped out of the elevator when it reached her floor.
Minutes later, Ife heard the elevator doors open and saw him exit. He was alone. Relieved but still miffed, she watched him as he let himself into the suite. She waited until it was exactly five o’ clock before she walked down the hallway to number 406.
He was on the telephone when she let herself. “Thank you,” he said before hanging up. “I asked for a car to pick me up tomorrow morning for my meeting,” he explained. He walked over to her and would have taken her in his arms but she brushed past him. Frowning, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
Ife swung around to face him. “I saw you and the English woman together.”
“I was on the beach and she joined me.”
“What did you do?”
“We talked and then it was time for us to head back here.”
“Is that all you did–talk?”
“It’s obvious from the way she acted that she’s attracted to you. What about you? Are you attracted to her?”
Toshiro caught her by the shoulders. “No, Ife, I’m not attracted to anyone but you,” he said. “I think about you every minute of every day and I want you all the time. You have no reason to be jealous of Emma or anyone else. You’re the only one I want to be with. Oh, Ife…” he groaned thickly before he began to kiss her passionately.
Ife’s jealousy went away and putting her arms around his neck, she eagerly responded to his kisses. After they made love and showered, he ordered dinner which they had on the terrace. By the time she left, it was almost eight o’ clock.
Miremba was with Mrs. Sato, their next door neighbor. She always went there when her mother wasn’t there. Ife didn’t like the idea of her being alone in the apartment. And besides, Miremba and Mrs. Sato enjoyed each other’s company. The older woman was teaching her how to speak and write Japanese. “Mom, are you seeing someone?” she asked as they let themselves into their 1 bedroom studio apartment.
Ife glanced at her, startled. “Why do you ask?”
“You used to come straight home after work but now you don’t come in until almost seven and you have this faraway look on your face as if you’re thinking about a special someone. Who is he? Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone.”
Ife closed and locked the front door before she replied, “This is just between us. It’s the person who gave me the tickets to the ballet.”
“So, who is he?” Miremba asked.
“He’s a Japanese business man staying at the hotel.”
“He’s Japanese? Wow. Several weeks ago, I met Mrs. Sato’s grandson, Kento. He’s really cute. When he’s not visiting Mrs. Sato, we call or text each other. He’s teaching me how to speak and write Japanese.”
“Make sure that you and he are never alone together.”
“Are you hungry?”
Miremba shook her head. “No. I had chicken Teriyaki at Mrs. Sato’s. It was delicious. So, is it serious between you and this Japanese business guy?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, Mom, I’m sorry that things didn’t work out with Dad but I’m sure he would want you to be happy even if it means being happy with this other guy.”
“What about you, Miremba?”
“I want you to be happy too.” She hugged her mother.
Ife hugged her back, her expression troubled. “Thanks, Baby,” she murmured.
Next up is Toshiro Goes to Bunga.
Sources: Viator; Wikipedia; Human Rights Now Japan; Study in the UK; Institute of Directors