An Old Crush

He had just finished making a business call when he noticed Cyiarra.  She was sitting alone at a table having a glass of wine.  It had been a year since the last time he saw her.  He walked over at once and her face broke out into a big smile.   When he reached her, she got up and exclaimed, “Ajay, fancy running into you here,” before she hugged him.

He hugged her back, thinking she felt really good.  “You look great,” he remarked when they separated.  She did in that black dress which hugged her figure and she had taken out the braids.  Her natural hair looked better.

“Thanks.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how gorgeous you look.”

He felt his face get hot.  “Are you waiting for someone?”

She nodded.  “Yes, but you can sit and chat with me until he gets here.”

He sat down.  “So, who’s the guy you’re waiting for?”

“Someone a co-worker set me up with.”

“So, this is a blind date.”

“Yes.  What about you, what are you doing here?”

“I’m having dinner with a client.”

“Man or woman?”

“Woman.”

“Is she single?”

“Yes.”

“Beautiful?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure it’s just a business?”

He smiled.  “It is, I swear.”

She didn’t look very convinced.  “I always thought that you were a bit of a flirt when we were at high school and it got worse when we were in university.  I used to watch you.  You were always surrounded the cheer leading type of girls.”

“Were you jealous?”

“Yes.  You must have known that I had a huge crush on you.”

“I didn’t.  You had a funny way of showing it.  Every time I saw you you were talking to that guy, what’s his name.  The one who won the ugly sweater contest two years in a row.”

She laughed.  “Oh, that was Malcolm.  He was a really sweet guy.”

“He was always hanging around you.  It was obvious that he had a crush on you.”

“I guess he did.  I’m surprised you noticed, though.”

“I noticed everything about you.”

Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the expression on his face.  “So, why didn’t you ask me out?”

“I don’t know.  I guess I was nervous and afraid that you’d turn me down.”

“Turn you down?” she exclaimed.  “Are you serious?  I would have jumped at the chance to go out with you.”

“What about now?” he asked.  “Would you jump at the chance to go out with me?”

“Are you asking?”

He was about to answer when his date walked in.  “She’s here.”

Cyiarra followed his gaze.  The woman making her way over to the table by the window was stunning.  The elegant red slim pants suit flattered her slim figure and accentuated her olive skin.  Her black hair fell in thick waves past her shoulders.

Cyiarra looked at Ajay.  “She’s stunning.”  She couldn’t help being jealous.

“Yes, she is but I’m not attracted to her or anyone else.”  His eyes were riveted to her face.  “I’ve eyes only for you, Cyiarra.”

Cyiarra’s pulse quickened.  She took a sip of the wine.

He reached into his pocket for his wallet.  He opened it and took out a business card.  He jotted down his number on the back and gave it to her.  “This is in case things don’t work out between you and this guy.”

She looked at him.  “Are you hoping that they won’t?”

“Yes,” he admitted before standing up.  “It’s good to see you, Cyiarra.”

“It’s good to see you too.”  She didn’t tell him to enjoy his dinner.

He walked away.

Cyiarra watched him, wishing that she was having dinner with him instead of this other guy.  She glanced at her watch.  He was five minutes late.  Not good.  It would be embarrassing if he didn’t show up.  She was about to take another sip of wine but decided that it would be a good idea having too much on an empty stomach.  She was hungry.  Where was he?

Just then, a tall and very attractive African American man suddenly materialized in front of her.  “Good evening,” he said.  “I apologize for being late.  The traffic was bad.  I hope you haven’t been waiting too long.”

She waved his apology aside.  “No, I haven’t been.”

He stretched out his hand.  “Cyiarra, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Keenan.”

He sat down.  “Brie didn’t mention how beautiful you were.”

Cyiarra smiled.  He seemed like a nice guy but every now and then, her eyes drifted over to the table by the window.  A couple of times she noticed that Ajay was looking in her direction.

Dinner was pleasant but by the end of it she knew without a doubt that it wouldn’t be a second date.  She smiled at Keenan.  “Keenan, thanks for a lovely dinner.  I enjoyed it very much.  You’re a really nice guy but…”

“…but, you’re not interested.”

“Sorry.”

“Well, it was nice meeting you any way.  I wish you all the best.”

“Thank you, Keenan.  It was nice meeting you too.”

“Do you need a ride?”

“To the subway would be fine, thank you.”

While he paid the bill, she pulled on her jacket and grabbed her handbag.  As she stood up, she looked across the room at Ajay.  He was watching her.  She wanted to go over and say goodnight but decided not to.

She called him in the morning.  That evening they went for dinner and dancing.  A year and a half later, they got married.

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Colton’s Problem

Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! – Isaiah 5:11

“What are you doing here?” His breath reeked of alcohol.  He was on the floor, his hair disheveled, the empty glass lying beside him.   “Go away,” he said, waving his hand.  He tried to sit up but his head was pounding.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told him.  “I’m not going to leave you like this.”

“Don’t you have school or something?”

“It’s Saturday.”

“I don’t care what day it is.  I don’t want you here.”

“Why not?” she demanded.  “I’ve seen you drunk before.”

“You know why I don’t want you here.”

“Is it because of what happened the last time I was here?

“Yes!” the word was a hiss.  He raked his fingers through his hair in frustration.

“We kissed and…”

“And if I didn’t come to my senses, we would have ended up in bed.”

“I thought that was what you wanted.”

“It was—it still is but you’re too young for me.  You’re still going to school, for Pete’s sake.”

“I’m graduating next year June.”

“It doesn’t matter when you graduate.  You’re still too young.”

“I’m seventeen.”

“And I’m thirty-six.  Now, I really don’t want to continue this discussion.  I need to sober up.”

She tried to help him up but he pushed her hands irritably away.  “I’ll go and fix you something to eat while you take a shower.”

He got unsteadily to his feet.  For a moment he had to hold on to the back of the sofa to regain his composure.  “Which part of I don’t want you here that you don’t understand?”

“I hate when you’re like this,” she said. “It makes you rude and nasty. I’ve watched alcohol change my father into a moody, miserable person before it killed him. I don’t want to see the same thing happen to you. I love you, Colton.”

He closed his eyes.  “Please don’t say that.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Aniyah, you’re not making this easy for me.”

“I’m not trying to make anything easy for you.  You need help, Colton.  My church is offering an Addiction Treatment Program.  If my father had gone to it, he would probably still be alive today.”

“I don’t have an addiction.”

“What would you call your drinking?”

“A problem, not an addiction.”

“All right, this program will help you with your drinking problem.  I printed off information from their website.  I put it on the desk in your study.  Read it over as soon as you can.”

“Fine, I’ll read it.  Now, will you please go?”

“I’ll go after I’ve fixed something for you to eat,” she insisted.  “In the meantime, have these.”  She handed him a glass of water and an Advil.

He took them and watched as she disappeared into the kitchen.  He hoped she wouldn’t make a racket in there.  The slightest sound jarred his nerves.  It felt like someone was drilling a hole into his temples.  He sipped the water, swallowed the Advil and drained the glass.  He left the glass on the mantelpiece and headed for the bathroom.  He filled the tub with hot water and poured a few drops of eucalyptus oil.  After stripping, he stepped into the water and settled down.  He stretched out and rested his head against the back of the tub.  He was feeling better already.

The door opened and Aniyah walked in.  “I made you some Chicken Noodle Soup.  Make sure you drink it while it’s still hot.”

He stared at her in consternation.  His face was beet red and his heart was racing.  Underneath the suds, he could feel his reaction to her.  “You should know better than to walk into a man’s bathroom, especially when he’s in there having a bath,” he muttered tightly.

Aniyah couldn’t prevent her eyes from traveling over his wide shoulders and broad chest.  She felt her body react and she swallowed hard.  She wondered what he would do if she decided to join him.  No, she decided.  He wouldn’t be pleased.  I promised him that I would leave after I fixed him something to eat.  I have to keep my promise.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to barge in.  I’m leaving now and just wanted to say goodbye.”

“Goodbye and thanks for the soup.”

“I hope you enjoy it.  I’ll call you later.”  She turned and left the bathroom, pulling the door quietly in behind her.  She leaned against and closed her eyes.  Her chest was heaving.  Loving and wanting him were taking a toll on her.  She didn’t know how much more of this she could deal with.

Colton stared at the closed door.  The hangover was now the least of his problems.  His body was on fire and it had nothing to do with the water which was becoming tepid now.  He wanted her so much he could almost taste it.  It took supreme effort not to come out of the tub and walk over to her just now.  How was it possible that he could be in love with and attracted to a high school senior?  This was madness.

He spent a few more minutes soaking in the tub and then he drained it before taking a very cold shower.  After he had the Chicken Noodle soup which was very delicious, he went into the study to get the information she had printed for him.  He went into the living-room where he pored over it.

There was no point denying it any longer.  He had a drinking problem and desperately needed help.   He was tired of turning to alcohol when he couldn’t deal with his problems.  Instead of getting down on his knees and asking God for help, he reached for a drink.  Well, he was going to change that.  He went into the study, picked up the phone and dialed the number.

It had been several weeks since he started to program and had been making steady progress.  He had gotten rid of all the alcohol in his place and hadn’t had a drop since the day Aniyah found him.  And they were now dating.  He was convinced that she was the right one for him, regardless of the age difference.  He planned that as soon as she graduated from high school, he would propose.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11

Sources:  Faith in Recovery; GOOD; Food Network;

 

Kadisha Gets Noticed

happy-african-american-woman

“Take a look at that gorgeous guy who just walked in,” Rita said to her friend, Kadisha as they sat  at a corner table having dinner.  It was a Friday night and they had decided that they would treat themselves to a nice dinner before heading home.  They were at a Middle Eastern restaurant which a co-worker had recommended.

Kadisha followed her gaze and her heart leapt and started pounding wildly when she recognized the tall, athletic figure following the waitress who led him and his date to their table.  It was Fadi.  He looked gorgeous in the burgundy sports jacket, black shirt and black pants.  Her eyes shifted to his date.  She was tall and beautiful with thick, shoulder length black hair.  The black cocktail dress she wore flattered her figure and gave her a look of elegance.  Was she his girlfriend?  Kadisha wondered and sighed.  “That’s Fadi, the guy I’ve been telling you about,” she told her friend.  “Remember I told you that we work on the same floor but in different departments?”

That’s him?” Rita exclaimed, staring at her.  “None of the men I work with look anything like that.  Who’s that with him?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re still interested in him, right?”

“Yes, but as you can see, he’s with someone.”

“Is he married?”

“No.”

“That’s good.  Most of the men in my department are married and the single ones stay clear from single women like me.  I think I scare them because I am a single mother.  Most men or at least the ones I’ve met don’t want to date single mothers.  They avoid us like we’re a plague.”

Kadisha looked at her friend.  “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out between Jim and you,” she said.

Jim was the man whom Rita had been in a relationship with and the father of her now teenage son.  It turned out that Jim was married but separated from his wife.  He met Rita at a resort and they became involved.  They dated for a while and then the relationship ended when Jim reconciled with his wife.  It took Rita a long time to get over the hurt but Kadisha had been there for her, helping her to pick up the pieces and encouraging her to concentrate on raising her son.  Rita found it difficult to get back into the dating game.  The men she met lost interest soon after they learned that she had a son.  She never heard from any of them again, not even the ones who were fathers themselves.  They were running away from blended families.

Rita shrugged, “I guess he wasn’t the one for me, after all,” she said.  “We wouldn’t have been happy.  His wife would have always been between us.  If there’s a man out there for me, I will find him someday. Until then, I can live vicariously through my friends.  So, what are you going to do about Fadi?”

Kadisha picked at the Eggplant dish with almond yoghurt and pickled chilli which smelled and looked appetizing. “Nothing,” she said.  “He’s never really shown any interest in me.  We say hello to each other and exchange pleasantries.”

“Do you know anything about him?”

“A co-worker told me that his parents are expatriates from Lebanon.  They came to America when he was a baby.  He has two older brothers.”

“I wonder if his brothers are as handsome as he.”

“I don’t know.”

“Don’t look now but I think he just noticed you.  Ahh.  He’s getting up and—he’s coming over.”

tusharBy now, Kadisha was in quite a state.  Her heart was beating at an alarming rate and her hands began to tremble.  I must keep calm, she told herself.  She looked up the same time he arrived at their table and smiled.  He was looking at her.  “Hello, Kadisha,” he said, smiling which made her heart melt.

“Hello, Fadi,” she said, barely audibly.  She turned to Rita, “This—this is my friend, Rita.”

Rita beamed up at him, holding out her hand which he clasped in a firm handshake.  “It’s nice to meet you,” she said.

“Likewise,” he replied.  He turned his attention back to Kadisha.  “I didn’t notice that you were here until just now.  If I had seen you earlier, I would have come over earlier to say hello.  Is this your first time here?”

Kadisha nodded.  “Yes, it is.”

“I’ve been here before.  How do you like it?”

“I like the place, the food and the people.”

“Well, I hope you both enjoy your dinner,” he said, although his eyes were still trained on Kadisha.  Then, he excused himself and returned to his table.

As soon as he left, Rita looked at her.  “I thought you said he has never shown any interest in you,” she scolded her.  “The man couldn’t take his eyes off you.”

“If he’s interested in me, why is he here with her?” Kadisha demanded.

“Have you ever given him any encouragement?  Does he have any idea that you are interested in him?”

“Well, I didn’t want to make it obvious since he never showed me any signs that he was interested.”

Rita rolled her eyes.  “At the rate the two of you are going, nothing will get resolved.  Either you or he has to make the first move.”

“It’s not going to me as long as he is dating someone else.”

“I wonder why he didn’t bring her over to meet you.”

“I expect he has his reasons.  Let’s change the subject, please.”

“All right.  This short rib in the beetroot glaze is delicious.  I love Middle Eastern food.”

They talked about other things during the rest of their dinner and Kadisha tried to avoid looking over at the table across the room.  She enjoyed her Chipotle chicken pastille with fennel and pickled blackberries while Rita delved into the Lamb rump with sorrel pesto and vanilla-braised chicory.  For dessert they both had the Roasted pineapple, macadamia, coconut ice cream.  Rita signaled for the waiter and after splitting the bill, they grabbed their handbags and left the table.

As they approached Fadi’s table, he saw them and stood up.  Rita said to Kadisha.  “It looks like we’re going to meet his companion after all.”

Kadisha had no choice but to stop at the table.  Up close his date was even more stunning.  I don’t stand a chance, she thought.

“I’d like you to meet Gaelle, my sister.  Gaelle, this is Kadisha, my co-worker and her friend, Rita.”

Kadisha stared at him.  “Your sister?”

“Yes, Gaelle is my sister.  Her fiancé was supposed to be having dinner with us but something came up and he couldn’t make it.”

“I thought you only had two brothers.”

“Yes, I have two older brothers and a younger sister.  She was born here long after we came to America.”

Relief washed over Kadisha and her face brightened.  Turning to Gaelle, she held out her hand.  “It’s really nice to meet you,” she said.

Gaelle smiled at her.  “I’ve heard so much about you,” she said, much to Kadisha’s surprise.  She turned to her brother.  “Now’s your opportunity to ask her,” she told him.

Fadi took Kadisha’s arm and drew her aside. He lowered his head so that he could speak softly in her ear.  Her skin tingled where he touched her arm and her pulse raced because of his proximity.  She could smell his cologne.  “I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tomorrow night.  ”

Kadisha nodded.  “I–I’d like that very much,” she said.

He seemed very pleased and relieved.  “I’ll pick you up tomorrow evening around seven.”  He gave her one of his business cards to write her address and phone number on the back.  After she jotted down the information, she returned the card to him and he placed it in the breast pocket of his jacket.  “Good night,” he said.

She said goodnight to him and to his sister and then preceded her friend out of the restaurant. As they walked to the parking lot, Rita nudged her, laughing.  “See, I was right about him liking you,” she said.  “His dinner companion turned out to be his little sister.  And while you and he were talking, I confirmed with his sister that he isn’t dating anyone.  So, there’s no reason for you not to go out with him.”

“He invited me out for dinner tomorrow night.”

“And did you accept?”

“Of course, I did.  I’d be a fool not to.”

“This is so exciting.”

They reached the car and after they were strapped in and pulling out of the parking lot, Kadisha sighed.  “Now, I just have to figure out what to wear.”

“If you like, I can come up with you when we reach your apartment and see what you have.  You want to dazzle and impress him at the same time.”

Kadisha mentally sorted through the outfits she had in her wardrobe.  “I think I have a couple of dresses that may work.  If I run into any trouble, I’ll call you later and there’s a boutique round the corner where I live just in case I need to buy something.”

“Okay, so if I don’t hear from you later, it means you found something to wear but I want you to call me on Sunday and give me the juicy details of your evening out with your handsome co-worker.”

Kadisha laughed.  “I will,” she promised.  “Have a good night, Rita.” She got out of the car and waved as her friend drove off.

As soon as she got to her flat, she went straight to her bedroom and pulled open the doors to her wardrobe.  She went through the dresses hanging there, praying that she would find something.  Her eyes fell on the burgundy halter dress with the flare skirt.  It was fairly new—in that she had only worn it once and it was simple but elegant.  She would wear her hair up.  The silver metallic strappy sandals would complete the outfit.  Satisfied and relieved, she closed the doors and went to take a quick shower.  She stayed up to watch the news and then went to bed.

The next day, she cleaned the apartment, did laundry and went grocery shopping.  The time went by very quickly and seven o’ clock soon arrived and so did Fadi.  When she opened the door and saw him standing there, her heart stopped.  He looked absolutely gorgeous in the dark blue suit, light blue shirt and no tie.  His gaze traveled over her and she could tell that he liked what he saw.  “You look very beautiful,” he commented softly.

She suddenly felt very shy.  “Thank you,” she said before she turned to close the door and lock it.  Although she was wearing high heels, he still towered over her.  They walked to the lift and rode it in silence to the lobby.

In the car, they talked about different things and then, he said to her, “Kadisha, I want to date you.”

“I want that too.”

He smiled.  “Good.” Then, he reached out and taking the hand resting on the seat beside her, he raised it to his lips.  She trembled when she felt them brush against her skin in a gentle caress.  Their eyes met for an instant and locked in a steady gaze.  Then, he released her hand turned his attention back to the road ahead of him.  She sat there, her mind whirling and her heart pounding.  Tonight’s dinner was just the beginning of what promised to be a very exciting relationship.

 

 

Sources:  Expat.com; Trip Advisor

A Dream Come True

“Any plans for tomorrow evening?” Tristan asked Arianna.  They were in his office and he had just finished giving dictation.  She was about to get up and head back to her cubicle when his question arrested her.

“No, I don’t have any plans,” she replied.

“Good.  I have two tickets for The Nutcracker and was wondering if you would like to go with me.”

For a moment she was at a loss for words.  For the first time since they had been working together, he asked her out  on a Saturday night.  “Sure,” she said now, trying to ignore her racing pulse.  This always happened when he stared at her.  She noticed that he’d been doing that a lot lately.  “I’d like that.  Thank you.”

He smiled.  “Good.  We’ll have dinner first.  ”

“Sounds great.”  She couldn’t believe that they were having this conversation.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow evening,” he said.

“Me too,” she replied, her pulse racing.

“I’ll pick you up at five.”

“All right.  I’ll be waiting in the lobby.”  She stood up and saw his gaze travel over her briefly before he turned his attention to his laptop.  She quickly left the room.

When she got back to her desk, she put her notebook and pen on top of it and then went to the washroom.  She stood in front of the mirror, studying herself.  Why did he look at her like that?  Was it the jacket that looked like a tuxedo, the red blouse with the bow or her hairstyle?  Maybe she should have worn the maroon sweater she bought the other day.  That color suited her better and it flattered the contours of her upper body too.  She glanced down at her knee length black pencil skirt and her stocking-ed legs.  From her waist down she looked fine.  She really needed to spice up her wardrobe.

What on earth was she going to wear tomorrow and what was she going to do about her hair?  Maybe she should march right back to his office and tell him that she couldn’t go.  No.  She had dreamed of going out with him ever since they started working together and now that it was finally happening, she couldn’t chicken out.  Besides, she was looking forward to spending the evening with him.  Sighing, she left the washroom and returned to her cubicle.  She would worry about tomorrow later.  For now, she had his notes to type and other work to do.

When it was time to leave, she stopped by his office.  He was on the phone but he said something and put the caller on hold.  “I just wanted to say goodnight,” she said.

“Goodnight, Arianna.  See you tomorrow.”  He waited until she left before returning to his call.

As soon as she got home, she headed straight to her bedroom and opened the doors to her wardrobe.  Her anxious eyes scanned the hanging outfits to see if there was anything there that she could wear.  And there it hung–the black long-sleeved sequin bodycon dress which she had worn only once and which flattered her figure.  Relieved, she set it aside.  And regarding her hair, she decided that she would just slick it back.

The first thing Tristan said to her when he saw her the following evening was, “You did something with your hair.  I like it.”

She smiled, feeling very pleased.  “Thank you.”

They walked to where his car was parked. After they pulled out of the parking lot, he said, “You know I’ve always wanted to ask you out but wasn’t sure if you’d be up for it.  Not many women like to get involved with men they work with, especially their bosses.”

She stared at him.  “I-I had no idea that you wanted to be in a relationship with me.”

They were at a stop light.  “I do,” he replied, turning to look at her.  The expression on his face made her heart skip a beat.  “I know that you’re not currently in a relationship and I’m not seeing anyone so I figured that it was okay for us to see each other outside of the office.  That is if you don’t have any objections.”

“I-I don’t.”  Her heart was racing now.  To say that she was thrilled about this whole thing would be an understatement.  She was on cloud nine.

“So, it’s settled then, you and I are officially dating.”

“Yes.”

He reached over and kissed her on the lips.  When he drew back, they were both breathing heavily.  “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time too,” he muttered before turning away because the light had changed to green and the driver behind him honked.

Arianna’s lips were tingling.  That kiss had set her heart ablaze.  It was something she had fantasized about so many times but never imagined that it would actually happen.  And here she was in the car, on her way to dinner and the theater.  Things were finally looking up for her.  Yes, sometimes, dreams do come true.

Source:  Perpetual Bliss

Ife’s Gift

African woman in head scarfHe was passing by the store when he saw it.  He stopped in his tracks and stared at it for several minutes before going inside.  He asked the woman there to see it.  It was a very beautiful and made of very fine material.  It was soft to the touch.  It would be perfect for Ife.  He bought it and asked the woman to wrap it for him.  He thanked her and left the store.  He walked to where the rental car was parked and got in it.  As he drove off, he tried to imagine Ife’s reaction when she saw it.  Would she guess why he bought it?  Theirs hadn’t started out as a conventional relationship.

He had returned one afternoon and caught her using the toilet.  She begged him not to report her because she could lose her job at the hotel and she needed the money to take care of her daughter.  He agreed not to report her on one condition–that she slept with him.  It wasn’t something he ever imagined that he would force a woman to do but he wanted her.  She had no choice but to accept his condition and after she finished cleaning that afternoon, he took her to bed.  After that, he made sure that he was there when she was.  He always felt guilty afterwards but his desire for her was stronger than his sense of decency.

He thought about the day when he had rushed back to the hotel to be with her.  It was raining cats and dogs and he got caught in it.  By the time he got to his suite, he was completely drenched.  She was cleaning out the bathroom when he opened the door.  She turned to find him leaning against the frame, in his wet tee shirt and trousers.  “You’re soaking wet,” she exclaimed.  “You should get out of those clothes.”

“I’m going to take a shower,” he said.

“All right,” she said, moving away from the wash basin.  “I’ll wait in the bedroom until you’re done.”

kentasakura_39082075_671478666560898_3687727708541812736_n“No,” he said.  “I want you to join me.”  He removed his tee shirt and the rest of his clothes, his eyes never leaving her.  He stood there naked, his desire for her obvious.

She nodded and undressed.  He closed the bathroom door and taking her by the hand, led her to the shower.  They stepped inside and he slid the door shut.  After turning on the water, he turned to face her.  Without saying a word, he pulled her into his arms and began to kiss her.  His kisses deepened when she responded and soon he was pressing her against the tiles while his lips plundered hers, the water beating down on his back.  They made love in the shower and afterwards, he ordered room service.

Over the course of time, he fell in love with her.  His time there in Kampala was drawing to an end and soon he would be returning to Tokyo.  The thought of not seeing her again was unbearable.  He had to think of something.  Right now he was considering moving to Kampala and start a business.  He couldn’t imagine returning to his life in Tokyo after having met Ife.  Life without her was no life at all.

Ife looked at the neatly wrapped package on the table.  It had a card with her name on it.  She frowned.  It wasn’t her birthday.  Why was he giving her this?  He didn’t have to.  What did it mean?  She was hoping that it meant he had feelings for her.

Carefully, she unwrapped the present and set the paper aside.  She looked at the white box before she opened it.  She removed the tissue paper and her eyes widened when she saw the beautiful head wrap scarf.  She took it out and examined it.  It was soft and expensive looking.  She walked over to the mirror and wrapped it loosely on her head.  It looked really good.  It was the most beautiful and expensive thing she had ever had.

She admired it for a few minutes longer and then she took it off.  She put it back in the box and closed it.  She left the box where she found it.  It was time to go to work.

He let himself into the suite, his heart racing.  He was nervous.  His eyes fell on the unwrapped box.  Did she like the scarf?  He hoped so.  It was more than just a gift to him.  She was in the bedroom, tidying but came out when she heard him.  They stood there, staring at each other for several minutes and then she approached him.  “I-I wanted to thank you for the beautiful scarf,” she said.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes, I like it very much.”

He smiled.  “Good.  The moment I saw it, I wanted to get it for you.”

“Thank you.  It-it was very kind of you.”

His expression changed.  “I didn’t do it out of kindness, Ife.” He moved closer to her, his breathing quickening.  He’d never been so nervous in his life.  “I did it because I love you.”

Ife swallowed hard, her heart was pounding and her head was spinning.  He loved her.

He continued.  “I don’t know if you feel the same way about me.  I know you want me.”  His eyes darkened at the thought.  He wanted more, though.  He wanted her love too but realized that he wasn’t entitled to it.  To be quite honest, he didn’t deserve it, not after the way he took advantage of her in the beginning.  “In two weeks, I will be leaving Kampala and returning to Tokyo.”

“You’re leaving in two weeks?” She knew that it was inevitable and that one day, he would be leaving but so soon?  She couldn’t hide her distress.

He saw the expression on her face and hope flickered in his eyes.  It gave him the courage he needed to say, “Yes and I would like you to come with me.”

She stared at him, incredulous.  “You want me to go with you to Tokyo?”

“Yes.”

“But what about my daughter, Amahle?”

“I want her to come too.”

Ife’s mind was spinning.  He loved her and he wanted her and to go to Tokyo with him.  The thought of living in a strange country was daunting.  She had never traveled outside of Kampala.  What would life in Tokyo be like?  Would Amahle and she live with him?  What kind of work would she be able to do?  She wasn’t going to miss Kampala even it was her home.  Life here was a constant struggle and she was tired of it.

He watched the play of emotions on her face and reached for her hand.  “I know that moving to a strange country is scary,” he said.  “But, don’t worry, Ife.  I’ll take care of Amahle and you.”  He drew her closer to him, his eyes meeting hers in a steady gaze.  “I love you and I want to marry you.”

Her eyes widened.  “You want to marry me?” she exclaimed.  This day was just full of surprises.  It was surreal.

He nodded.  “Yes, I do. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“I’m a divorced woman.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“You would take care of another man’s child?”

“When I marry you, she becomes my child too.”

Tears glistened in her eyes.  “I don’t know what to say,” she murmured.

He reached into the breast pocket of his jacket and took out a small black box.  “I hope you say yes,” he replied as he got down on one knee.  He opened the box and took out the ring.  He couldn’t wait to put it on her finger.  He held her hand and glanced up at her.  “Ife, will you marry me?”

“Yes.”  The word came out as a sob.

He rose to his feet and pulled her against him.  “I love you.”

“I love you too, Kaito.”  It was the first time she had ever said his name.

He bent his head and kissed her.  She put her arms around his neck and kissed him back.

Two weeks later, they were on their way to Tokyo.  Ife wore the head wrap scarf which looked really nice with the new dress he had bought her.  She was happy and as she settled into the middle seat on the plane, she couldn’t help smiling.  No more cleaning hotel suites, no more sanitation issues and her daughter would be able to go to a school which had toilets.  Most of all, she was happy because she had found love.

Some gifts are big. Other are small. But the ones that come from the heart is the best gift at all – Tinku Razoria

A New Start

I’m sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to London where the next chapter of my life takes me.  It was a job that was too good to pass up but now I’m having second thoughts.  It’s taking me away from you.  We’ve been friends since childhood.  We’ve never been apart.  I feel as if I’m leaving a big chunk of myself behind.  I will miss our walks and talks.  I will miss the way you laugh hard because I said or did something silly, until, tears are running down your cheeks.  I will miss grabbing your hand and pulling you behind me like I used to when we were kids.

I wonder if you have read my letter as yet.  It took a lot of courage for me to write it.  It’s a scary thing for a guy to tell his best friend that he’s in love with her and ask her to give up her life to start a new one with him in a new city thousands of miles from the one she calls home.   Is what I’m asking you to do, selfish, foolish?  I know that if you were to ask me to do the same thing, I would do it in a heartbeat.  But, I must remember that you’re not me.  You might not want to disrupt your life for me.

Still, I’m hoping that you will at least consider it because I really can’t imagine my life without you in it.  I know that we promised we would be friends for life, but I want to be more than friends with you.  I want you to be my partner in life.  Your beautiful face is the first thing I want to see when I wake up in the mornings and the last thing I see each night before I go to sleep.

I glance at my watch.  Soon, I will be boarding the plane.  My heart is heavy.  I don’t want to leave.  I reach for my cell.  Should I call you?  I want to hear your voice.  I hesitate.  Then, I hear you call my name.  At first, I think I’m imagining it.  Then, I hear my name again and I turn around.  There you are, coming towards me.  I stare at you incredulously, my breath catching in my throat.  I rise quickly to my feet.  It is then that  I notice you are pulling a piece of carry-on luggage behind you.  My eyes widen.  Does this mean…?

“I read your note,” she said when she was standing right in front of me.  “The answer is yes!  I called the airline and luckily there was a cancellation.  And here I am.”

My heart is pounding.  “Are you sure?” I ask.  I want to be sure that this is what she really wants.

She nodded.  “Yes.  My life is with you.”  She reached up and touched my face.  Her fingers felt soft against my skin.

I turn my head and press my lips into her palm.  When I look at her, she is staring at me and I her love for me shining in her beautiful eyes.  I draw her to me, not caring about the people around us and I whispered, “I love you,” before I kiss her.

We kiss for several minutes, just relishing the moment before we were interrupted by the PA system announcing that it was time for us to board the plane.  I reluctantly let her go and gather my carry on bag and jacket.  Then, I remind myself that I will enjoy a lifetime of holding her in my arms.  I smile as we joined the other passengers.  London and an exciting future together awaited us.

 

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No Makeup

He watched her as she approached him.  Beautiful with the face of an angel.  She made his heart sing and his eyes dance.  Her hair fell in luxuriant waves over her slender shoulders, cover most of her arms and the top she was wearing.  She looked like a mermaid walking on earth.  He stood there, arms folded, just watching her.  A broad smile broke on his face when she stopped, folded her arms and watched him.

It was his cue to go to her.  He quickly closed the distance between them.  It was when he was standing in front of her, that he noticed the makeup.  It was the first time since he knew her that she wore it.  Bright red lipstick, blush and eyeliner.  His expression became very serious.  “What have you done to your face?” he asked quietly.

“I wanted to look beautiful for you,” she replied.

“You don’t need makeup for that,” he told her.  “Here, let me take it off.”  He took out his handkerchief and gently rubbed off the blush and the lipstick.  “Much better.”

“I’m sorry,” she said.  “My girlfriends told me that makeup enhances women’s looks, making them appear more attractive in the eyes of others.”

He stuffed his kerchief in the back pocket of his jeans and held her face between his hands.  “It was your fresh, scrubbed clean face that I fell in love with,” he told her.  “You don’t makeup to bring out those amazing eyes of yours or the natural glow of your cheeks or the shape of your mouth.”

She smiled up at him.  He always said the most romantic things to her.  Right now her heart was fluttering and she was more in love with him than ever.  “No makeup then,” she said.

He smiled.  “No makeup.”  He lowered his head and kissed her.  Her lips tasted sweet and he drank them like they were nectar.  These are the lips that I want to kiss for the rest of my life.

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