(Continued from A Complete Family II)
Kathuni and his sons and brothers leave shortly after Rose leaves, leaving George alone with Karambu and Jacinta. George goes to his bedroom, grabs a jacket and his car keys and heads to the door. Before he leaves, he turns and glares at Karambu.
“Let me make this clear. You are not welcome here. If you think you are going to be my wife, think again. I will get rid of you and your protector sooner than later.”
“There is no need to use threats, son…” Jacinta begins.
“I am not your son!” George snaps and bangs the door as he leaves.
Karambu breaks down and starts crying.
“You said he loved me. You said he would accept me as his wife. You lied to me,” she moans.
“Of course he loves you. It is that woman who has cast a spell on him. But you will help him overcome it. You have to be patient. You want to work for that Muhindi forever?”
Karambu did not go to high school for a couple of reasons. Lack of school fees is the reason she tells anybody who bothers to listen. The other reason is that she scored 47 marks out of the possible 500, and was at the very bottom of her class at Kiraro primary school. No school, including the day schools, wanted to touch her.
But it is true that her parents would not have afforded it even if she had gotten admission. Besides Karambu, they have nine other children. The children are all grown up now, but just like their parents, are very poor. Karambu’s parents only own a quarter of an acre of land, and bitter arguments are already emerging amongst Karambu’s six brothers over the inheritance of that piece of land. To make it worse, Karambu’s three unmarried sisters live on the same piece of land with their children. The brothers, when they are not fighting amongst themselves, are always plotting on how to evict their sisters and send them to the fathers of their children.
Karambu’s eldest sister gave birth a day before her KCPE exam was set to start. She never bothered to go back to school. She was not a minor when she became pregnant though. Having started school late and having repeated several classes, she was 19 years old by the time she finally reached class eight. She refused to say who the father of the child was, but the boy resembles a village lout called Kiogora. She has since given birth to two more children with different fathers. The story of Karambu’s two other sisters is very similar.
Karambu is, however, street smart in spite of her academic handicap. The last born of her family, she has avoided pregnancy unlike her sisters. Not because she is a saint though. True, she is an active member and the secretary of the youth group at Messiah’s Tabernacle in Chuka. She is also the worship leader, thanks to her melodious voice. The only reason she is in church, however, is because she thinks that church girls are more likely to get married than the more secular girls. And to her, marrying a man of means is the only way she can avoid the biting poverty that plagues her family history.
Just like her sisters, she is sexually active. But she has learned the importance of contraception. She insists that the men she sleeps with use protection, and when she is in doubt, she does not hesitate to use emergency pills. She knows that if she becomes pregnant, her chances of getting a suitable man to marry will drop dramatically.
By the time Jacinta reached out to her, she was sleeping with two men. One is her “official” boyfriend, Dave. He is a University graduate who has recently been employed as a cashier in one of the banks in Chuka. He is also the chairman of the youth group. When he got a job and she seduced him, his longtime girlfriend Fridah really had no chance. Fridah is beautiful and intelligent, but she lacks the seductive charm of Karambu. Karambu is a stunning beauty. With a smooth, dark skin, wide hips, full chest, fashionable clothes, melodious voice and a very warm personality, almost every man at Messiah’s Tabernacle drools after. So when the youth chairman got a job and she decided he would be a suitable husband, his fate was sealed. Fridah left Messiah’s Tabernacle a very bitter girl.
Dave and Karambu started having sex not long after. Once again she seduced him but later accused him of leading her to sin. Through emotional manipulation and sexual skill, she got him to propose to her and now he is preparing to pay her dowry early next year and marry her in church later on in August. They still have sex regularly, and his Christian soul feels guilty every time, but he has become addicted. She is irresistible. He consoles himself by reminding himself that he will marry her next year. Surely God will understand.
The other man she is sleeping with is her boss, Rajul, who everyone in Chuka calls by the generic Indian name, Patel. Rajul is the reason she is able to dress well and take care of her body. He owns a hugely successful wholesale shop in Chuka. Rajul knows that part of his success is because of Karambu. She is so good at her job that he has raised her salary and promoted her to be his assistant manager. Due to her natural charm, her strength is in establishing and maintaining business relationships. Because of her, almost every retailer in the area buys stock from his shop. Local businessmen were at first wary of a Muhindi, but Karambu has since won them over. But that is not the reason he pays her house rent and gives her cash over and above her salary. The reason is that at least three times a week, after the shop has closed and he is left alone in his office reconciling the books, she sneaks back through the back door and has sex with him.
Jacinta reached out to her just over a month ago and told her that her son wanted a wife to give him a son. She had been watching the Karambu lead worship at their church for a while and was convinced, by analyzing the wide hips, that the girl would not have trouble getting pregnant. And because she is so beautiful, George would have sex with her sooner or later. Add the fact that the girl is so humble, warm and saved, and you have the perfect candidate for George’s second wife. Jacinta knew that she has a fiancée, but the girl is so saved that Jacinta is sure that she and her boyfriend Dave had been abstaining until marriage. She is pure for her son, so to speak. Dave would have to find another girl or go back to the one who left the church because of Karambu. Of course Jacinta does not know about Rajul, besides the fact that she works for him. They talked for a couple of weeks before Karambu agreed to Jacinta’s plan. Karambu knew George even before Jacinta approached her because he is a popular man around Chuka. She knows that George, being a wealthy man, is a better catch for a husband than the financially struggling Dave. Who knows, he might even be Tharaka Nithi Governor one day, and she, a poor girl with a poor academic background, will be the First Lady.
But Karambu also knew that moving in with George was risking it all, because word spreads fast in small towns. But Jacinta made it sound so easy. Except that Jacinta was wrong. She underestimated her son’s devotion to his wife. It is now almost a week since Rose left, and George only comes to sleep, shower and change. He probably eats at his hotels because he doesn’t touch the food Karambu prepares.
Jacinta has been urging her to be patient but Karambu knows she doesn’t have the luxury of time. The scandal she and Jacinta created at George’s house is already a hot topic in town but her identity is yet to be revealed. She would know because a lot of gossip goes on at Rajul’s shop, and nobody seems to know who “the girl” is. But she knows it is just a matter of time. She needs to have sex with George so that she can blackmail him into marriage. She only needs to sleep with him once, and everything will fall in place. Pregnancy she can get from Dave or any other man and make it look like George’s. But she needs to get George to sleep with her within the next few days otherwise she will have to bail out and got back to her house and continue planning for her wedding with Dave, before Dave hears that she is living with another man. She cannot risk staying for more than a week without being sure that George will cave.
She has been lying to Dave that her father is unwell and so she has been commuting from home every day. She gave the same excuse to Rajul, so this week she has not been sleeping with him either. She leaves the shop and goes straight to George’s house. But she cannot lie to them forever. In fact, Dave wants to visit her father over the weekend, and she will have to find a reason to dissuade him. In the long run, she will either have to cement her place in George’s life or go back to her old life.
The problem is that George doesn’t take alcohol, so she cannot sneak into his bed when he is drunk. He doesn’t even eat her food, so she can’t put something in it. She needs to find a way to get into his bed soon, otherwise Jacinta will have to find another girl for her plans.
(Two days later)
George wakes up feeling groggy. There is light in the bedroom so he knows he has overslept. Then he becomes aware of the presence of someone else in the bed.
“Rose baby, you are late for work,” he mumbles.
Then he suddenly remembers that Rose left the house. He lifts the bedding and a very naked Karambu turns slightly mumbles in her apparent sleep. It is then that he becomes aware of his own nakedness. He cannot remember how he got to sleep without his pajama, or how Karambu got into his bed. And he doesn’t know whether he had sex with her or not. The only thing he remembers is taking a glass of water before going to bed, just like he does every night.
Rose is the first thing that comes to his mind. She will be heartbroken if she finds out, and knowing his mother, George knows Jacinta will make sure Rose knows. Suddenly George feels waves of panic rising in his chest. He cannot afford to lose Rose.
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