(Continued from Love on the Rocks)
Donald steps on the accelerator, but keeps the Premio in view. He branches off at Kirurumwe and heads towards Chogoria. On the way, he calls his friend James just to make sure that he is ready. James is also a doctor and works at Chogoria Mission Hospital. They met at medical school. Donald called James two days ago and explained his problem and they agreed to exchange cars. James meets him at the hospital parking lot.
Donald exchanges his Suzuki Escudo for James’ Nissan X-Trail. Both cars have tinted windows. Donald passes Rehab at the hospital gate. He laughs softly as he joins the highway and heads back to Kieganguru. He knows that what he is doing is childish, but it is fun. James is one wicked man, and Donald knows that he will do something stupid to annoy Rehab.
He also knows that James will somehow find a way to rope in his wife Bessy. Bessy was also their classmate in medical school and is currently a doctor at Chuka County Referral Hospital. James and Bessy dated since they were in second year until they got married two years ago. Donald has always thought that he would like a relationship like theirs. They are best of friends. Unlike many campus relationships that are based on parties, sex and lust, those two always had something deeper than that.
Donald always assumed it was because they were Christians. But then they led him to Christ when he was in third year and he got to see that things were not any different on that other side. The pressure to hook up into relationships was just as intense in the Christian Union as it was in the Comrades Centre, which was the campus beer den.
Before he got saved, Donald had dated a couple of girls at different times. One was his classmate, another was a pharmacy student. He can’t remember having any meaningful conversation with any of those girls. Whenever they were together in private, it was always about sex. If they were together in public, say having dinner in a restaurant, then the girls would always be on their phones browsing things on the internet. He dumped the pharmacy student and she never talked to him again until they cleared school. His classmate dumped him for another classmate of theirs.
When he started dating the CU treasurer while he was in fourth year, he assumed that things would be different. But they weren’t. True, unlike his other two relationships, this one was not physical. But it was not emotional either. Cess wanted to control him. She wanted to have a say in everything he did: where he went, who he talked to, which friends he kept etc. She wanted to be by his side at every possible moment. She always sat next to him in class, ate together with him, and followed him to the library. Some people started admiring this lovey-dovey affair, and openly started declaring their admiration. This made Cess very proud. She and her man were the campus power couple.
But Donald was suffocating. He wanted breathing space. He knew he would have to dump her so he enlisted the help of his friends Bessy and James. He did not know what they would do, but those two, even though born again Christians, are always full of cunning pranks.
James and Bessy had thought that Donald should have been more patient with the pharmacist. They thought that he had dumped her before giving the relationship a chance to grow. That is actually the reason he patiently waited until his classmate dumped him.
But when it came to Cess, both James and Bessy agreed with him that she needed to go. So they quickly agreed to help him. In their brilliant plan, Bessy used her friends to start a rumor that she was having an affair with Donald. They even posed for a few compromising photos, which were taken and leaked online by James.
James then acted furious and even publicly dumped Bessy. Donald pleaded innocence but Cess would have none of it. She dumped him and convinced the CU committee to excommunicate him. The day that she dumped him, Donald, Bessy and James went to a restaurant in town and celebrated Donald’s freedom.
Cess is the reason Donald wants nothing to do with Rehab. By all indications, Rehab is just another Cess. Perhaps even worse. Why would she even pursue him in her car when they are not dating? How much will she control him if they start dating? God forbid that they should get married.
Rehab does not know James and Bessy, so she has no idea what is about to hit her.
Donald drives to his home and parks just outside the house. His parents’ house is a walking distance from Sophia’s home. He could have walked there if he had wanted. But he had decided to use his car because he knew Rehab would show up at any time. That is actually the reason he called James two days ago to set up today’s plan.
After parking the car, he leaves the compound on foot and walks to Sophia’s home. They do not have a gate so he walks straight to their quarry. He finds Sophia and her family still working. He has ordered five hundred debes, and Sophia’s father has told him that he usually wants his client to be present when the debes are being counted to avoid conflict.
For reasons best known to him, Sophia’s father assigns the work of counting the debes to Sophia. Donald found out that there is emotional and intellectual connection between him and Sophia, even though she is less educated than his campus girlfriends. They are both members of the local PCEA youth group, where Sophia is the current Chairlady. Donald attends the meetings whenever he is home, even though these days that’s usually once or twice in a year.
Until recently, he had never thought of Sophia as anything more than a good friend. Since she is an active youth leader, his parents have never objected to the friendship. But that is also because they have never imagined that he would fall in love with a girl who did not complete form four. But two weeks ago something moved in him when he saw her leading worship. He suddenly realized that a she is what he had always yearned for: a friend he could share his life with. He did not waste time; he asked her to be his girlfriend the following day.
She refused for two reasons: the first is Rehab. Donald understands that. No one would want to be in a relationship with someone who has someone following him around. Donald is confident that James and Bessie will take care of Rehab for good, just like they did Cess.
The second reason will be more difficult to deal with: his parents. He cannot change who his parents are. He knows Sophia is right: his parents will not approve of his relationship with Sophia. His parents are obsessed with ‘class’. They are not really wealthy, but in an impoverished village, their well-up status makes them appear to be very wealthy.
Donald doesn’t know how to deal with that problem. His parents can’t stop him from loving and marrying whoever he wants. He has always been independent minded. But he needs to convince Sophia that.
Donald’s phone rings just when two young men start counting debes of ballast, under the keen eye of Sophia. He looks at the caller ID. Bessy.
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Hello Donald darling. James tells me it is time for you and me to have another affair.”
“Before you do anything, just remember that in these parts I am a respected doctor and the son of a church elder,” Donald says, laughing.
“I need something from you”
“Take a selfie with your girlfriend and send it to me.”
“Do you want help or not?”
He steps aside so that Sophia cannot overhear the conversation.
“What do you want to do with the photo?”
“Trust us Don.”
“She is not wearing nice clothes because she is working in the farm.”
“Have you ever heard of the word Photoshop?”
“Okay. But what are you planning to do?”
“Just send us the photo Don,” Bessy says then terminates the call.
James speeds towards Kieganguru, leaving the Premio behind. He makes a U turn outside Donald’s home and heads back. He passes the Premio at Pole Pole market, headed in the opposite direction. He drives slowly knowing that if what Donald said about her is correct, Rehab will make a U-turn and follow him. Sure enough, she appears on his rear view mirror a few minutes later.
Why are these obsessive women attracted to Donald? He wonders silently. He makes sure the Premio is in sight as he drives towards Chuka. He half expects her to turn back at some point, but she doesn’t. He stops and parks on the road not far from Chuka General Hospital. Bessy appears and stands at the co-driver’s side chatting him through the window until the Premio parks in front of his car. Then as Rehab steps out of her car, Bessy opens the co-driver’s door and steps into the car. James drives away.
Rehab is convinced that Donald is teasing her. He has a more powerful car and he is a more confident driver and could have sped away if he really wanted to get rid of her. She is convinced that he wants her to follow him. She has relaxed somewhat after the tense moments outside his home, and is actually enjoying this mini-chase. His mother has told her that he plays difficult with women, and that is why he is still single at his age. Rehab is convinced that she can crack him.
When he enters Chogoria Hospital, she assumes he wants them to go to Lenana restaurant for lunch. Lenana restaurant is inside the hospital compound. So she follows. She finds his car at the parking lot. But as she leaves her car and walks towards his car, he drives off. She rushes back to her car and follows. She is enjoying this.
He allows her to follow for a short while then he suddenly speeds away. She assumes he is going home. But before she can get anywhere, she sees him on the way back.
She turns the car and follows his car. He allows her to follow all the way to Chuka. He stops near Chuka Hospital. She finds him talking to a beautiful woman. She cannot really see Donald because he is still in the car but she can see the woman clearly. A spark of jealousy goes through her. She quickly parks in front of his car. She is ready for a confrontation. She needs to mark her territory. But before she can get to the car, the woman gets into the co-driver’s seat and Donald’s car drives away.
With the entry of a woman into the picture, Rehab is no longer amused. Whatever game Donald is playing, it is no longer interesting. She is ready to pull that woman’s hair if need be. Donald is hers. She gets back to her car and follows. He allows her to follow up to Kathageri, and then he speeds away. She floors her own accelerator but she is unable to match his speed. Besides, she is not used to driving fast, and after a few minutes she slows down. She drives all the way to Runyenjes but there is no sign of him. So she turns back.
She cries all the way back. Sophia was a simple problem to solve. She had already decided that if Donald insisted on seeing that peasant girl, she would get one of her clients to kill her. She has the candidate in mind.
Rasta is a known robber and murderer, but he is so good at what he does that he has never been caught red handed. That makes Rehab’s work as his lawyer very easy. Also, nobody would dare testify against him, because witnesses in his cases have a way of disappearing. A simple call to him and Sophia would be past tense. But who is this mystery woman that Donald is seeing?
Rehab is browsing on social media when a photo that Donald is tagged in catches his eye. There are two couples in that photo. She recognizes one couple: Donald and Sophia. She recognizes a third person: the woman who entered Donald’s car at Chuka. The caption of the photo, which is posted by the second man in the photo, says: Glad to have spent the afternoon with these dearies. Congratulations on your engagement Donald & Sophia.
It now makes sense to Rehab. Donald must have gone to the hospital to pick that man, then went to Kieganguru to pick up Sophia, then picked up the woman in Chuka. Donald allowed her to follow so that she could witness it all. He must think himself very clever. But she will teach him a lesson. When he wakes up tomorrow, his so called fiancée will be dead.
She picks up her phone and calls Rasta.
(To be continued on Tuesday)
Image by Yaayaa Diallo from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/woman-thoughtful-sad-young-person-4901313/
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