(Hey folks, remember I am launching my first hard copy novel, The Preying Shepherds, next month. The event will be at Eton Hotel, Thika. Kindly grab your ticket by paying Kshs. 1500 to buy Goods Till Number 297264. Thank you for the continued support.)
(Continued from Forbidden Love III)
“Don’t you think we should take some time to know each other?” Patrick asks timidly. “I feel like things are moving too fast.”
“Am I pressuring you?”
Patrick suspects it is a trick question, but he plunges ahead anyway.
“I feel that way. Look, don’t take this the wrong way, Regina. I already said I love you. But the whole idea of marriage is so sudden.”
“Okay, I am sorry,” she says, to Patrick’s surprise. “But will you at least live with me here? It can get lonely at times.”
“I think I should build myself first, don’t you think?”
“I can help you build yourself babe, don’t be afraid. Or am I too old for you?”
“I did not say that.”
Patrick has been in a relationship before so he is familiar with this kind of conversation. Whatever you say, you are damned. The last time he had this conversation, it ended in tears. His girlfriend’s tears that is. Wendy was his first girlfriend. They were classmates but they got to know each other through a mutual friend at Maasai Mara University Christian Union and dated throughout campus. They were both broke but there was no pressure because they expected to find jobs after graduating. But then it did not happen; not for Patrick. After graduating, Wendy found a job at a PR agency in the city, so she encouraged Patrick to move to the city with her.
Patrick would have preferred to remain in Narok, where he suspected that life would be cheaper than in Nairobi. But Wendy convinced him that he stood a better chance of landing a good job if he moved to the city. Wendy even rented a bedsitter for him and paid six months’ rent in advance. Because she did not want to look like she was outshining him, she opted not to rent a one bedroom house, even though she could have afforded it. She came from a well up family, and the starting salary at her new job was decent. She rented a bedsitter but in a different estate.
Trouble started in their paradise almost immediately. Wendy wanted to get married, but Patrick did not want to commit before getting a job. He was brought up knowing that the man is the head of the family, and that providing is a large part of that headship. How would he then be the head of the house if Wendy was paying rent for that house as well as footing all the other bills?
But Wendy believed that their love would withstand his joblessness.
“Do you think I would disrespect you just because you don’t have a job babe?” she asked in frustration.
“No babe. It is not like that. It is just that…I don’t know how to say this…I need to feel like a man.”
“I will give you my ATM. You will be controlling our money. Haven’t we always shared everything we have?”
That discussion eventually led to their breakup, because Patrick refused to compromise, and Wendy became convinced that he did not love her. Patrick is the one who called it off, because he was tired of Wendy’s nagging. Patrick was heartbroken because he loved her, but he was convinced that he had made the right call. If he agreed to marry her without getting a job, he would have felt emasculated. He has not heard from Wendy for seventeen months now, although he thinks about her often.
If this job he has gotten was a straight up job without any strings attached, he would have called her to share the good news, and probably try to woo her back into his life. But this job has major strings attached.
Instead of thinking about his aborted wedding plans to Wendy, he is discussing marriage with a woman old enough to be his mother, and a woman who is so financially established that she is his boss. This is a woman who has an economist son and another studying in Canada, both of them his age mates. She is a woman who is good at martial arts, and who has a gun hidden somewhere in this house. If Wendy’s financial stability made him insecure, what about his current situation? The truth is that Regina will be wearing pants in this family.
“Okay babe, this is what I think,” Regina says, bringing him back to the reality. “We can wait a little before we go ahead with wedding plans. You are right: we need to get to know each other better. But the best way to now someone is if you live with them. So come and live with me, so that we can tell if we have chemistry or not.”
Patrick does not respond, but he doesn’t think a response is expected. The decision has been made.
“Good morning sweetheart,” Regina greets Patrick, when he finally opens his eyes. There is light in the room, so Patrick knows that he has overslept. He normally wakes up early on Sundays, because he volunteers as an usher in all the services.
“Come on sleepy head, it is time to wake up. We will be late for church,” Regina says, tugging his hand.
That last sentence sends a chill down Patrick’s spine. The fact that they would now be going to social places as a couple had not registered in his mind until now.
“Do we have to go?” Patrick asks fearfully, already thinking about the stares he will receive from his fellow ushers when he walks through the church doors with Regina by his side.
“Of course we will go honey. Don’t let me be the one to push you away from God.”
Regina kisses him lightly on the lips.
“Breakfast is ready sweetheart. Just take a shower and join me in the dining room.”
“I think I should have gone to my house to pick my clothes,” he says weakly, thinking of a way to extract himself from the situation. “I don’t have anything to wear after I shower.”
“It is okay. Ferdinand was a lean man, and most of his clothes are still in the clothes room. I am sure they can fit you.”
“You want me to wear your husband’s clothes?”
“Sure, I don’t see any problem. He is dead, so I don’t think he will need them anymore.”
Patrick steps out of the bed and realises he is naked.
“Where are my clothes?”
“You left them in the sitting room, but I threw them away with the garbage. You will not be wearing cheap suits anymore.”
Regina leads him to a clothes room that is adjacent to the bedroom. It is the same room that she went to last night and emerged with towels. Two walls have shelves full of feminine clothes, with the lowest shelf on each wall lined with feminine shoes. A third wall has a full length dressing mirror on one side and next to it a desk with a mounted mirror, with a chair next to it. Patrick later learns that that desk is what Regina uses when wearing her make up, and that its drawers are full of whatever make up she owns. The fourth wall has masculine clothes. There are suits, shirts, ties, jeans, khakis, T-shirts, shorts, track suits, socks, jackets, sweaters, socks etc. Regina takes off a navy blue suit from its hanger and places it on a table that is next to Patrick’s wall.
“I think you should wear this. Why don’t you take a shower and then try it on?” Regina asks, as she retrieves a clean towel from her side of the cloth kingdom. Patrick heads to the shower; to his relief, Regina does not follow him, but instead starts looking for something to wear to church. Apparently she has showered, but she is dressed in shorts and a T-Shirt.
When Patrick returns from the shower, he finds her on the make-up chair applying lipstick. She is already dressed in a navy blue trouser suit with a stripped, sky blue blouse. In addition to the suit, Patrick finds that Regina has added a stripped, sky blue shirt, a vest, a brown belt, a pair of socks and a pair of boxers to his table, which he later learns is primarily used for ironing.
“Here,” Regina tells him, handing him a bottle of lotion. Patrick applies the lotion and dresses. The clothes fit him perfectly.
“See, I told you the clothes would fit,” Regina tells him, handing him a bottle of cologne.
“If Ferdinand was my size, how was he the father of Collins?”
“You have not met Collins’ mother,” Regina says, laughing. “She is a human tractor. I don’t know what Ferdinand wanted to prove by getting in a relationship with her.”
The church’s security team gives Patrick a weird gaze as they show Regina where to park the car. For a moment, he wonders why. Couldn’t he have been given a lift by the lady? But then he realises that he is dressed more expensively than he normally is. Perhaps they don’t suspect that he slept with her, but they certainly have noticed that his suit is better than what they are used to seeing on him.
But then he remembers another fact: he is matching clothes with Regina.
Patrick is acutely aware of the stares as he and Regina walk from the car to the church. At the door, the two ushers, both of whom are his friends and would have ordinarily asked him why he did not show up on time to assist them, politely greet him and show him where he and Regina will sit. He doesn’t look back, but he can swear that they are exchanging glances behind his back.
The service has not started, but the worship team is already testing microphones in readiness for the start. Patrick and Regina sit next to each other. Regina takes his hand, squeezes it, and then holds on to it. Just then, a young lady occupies the seat next to Patrick. She has a familiar scent, so Patrick turns to look.
It is Wendy alright, and she smiles at him.
“Pat! I have missed you! How are you?”
“I am fine Wendy. How are you?” replies Patrick awkwardly. He tries to release his hand from Regina’s but she tightens the grip.
“Look Patrick, I know this is the wrong place to say this but the thing is, I still love you and think about you often,” she says, lowering her voice a bit. “I came here looking for you because I have good news. I tried calling you yesterday but my calls did not go through. Or did you block my number?”
“Of course not, Wendy.”
“The company I work for has an opening, and I put in your name. My boss said I should contact you immediately so that you can start working on Mon…” She stops midsentence when she notices for the first time that his hand is locked onto another woman’s. Patrick forcibly withdraws it from Regina’s, but the damage is already done.
(This is the last free sub-chapter of this story. If you want to find out what became of Patrick, kindly follow the instructions below to grab your copy of the novella for only Kshs. 100)
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/man-lonely-park-night-dark-1394395/
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