Lifestyle, Romance

No Vows Broken IV-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from No Vows Broken III)

Lillian stays put, although it is obvious she is fighting tears.

“Aren’t you getting off?”

“I didn’t say I don’t want to get married to you,” Lillian replies, her voice shaking. “I just…you know what, just forget it. Let’s go back to work.”

Mutwiri glares at her and then shakes his head. He puts the car on drive, releases the handbrake and gets the car back on the road. He stops the car in front of his restaurant.  Lillian is the manager of the restaurant. Mutwiri hired her less than a year ago, after the long serving manager, Gladys, decided to exit so as to focus on other things. Gladys had been hired by Kananu. If there is one thing that Mutwiri learned from his late wife, and this is what has helped him to steer the business to its current success, it is hiring the right people. Kananu approached every aspect of the business with a corporate mind, including procurement and staffing. She was never afraid of paying money to get professional advice.

But she was also very hands-on, and within a short time, she had learned everything there was to learn about being a restauranteur, even though she came from a banking background. She encouraged Mutwiri to do the same with the supermarket: hire the best, but learn as much as you can about the business.

Fifteen years later, the business has grown. The restaurant is still one, but has expanded in terms of capacity, and it is still the most popular in town. The supermarkets are now three, in three neighboring towns. Mutwiri has also gotten into the construction industry by opening a hardware store. It is one of the largest in the business.

When Gladys, the long serving manager of the restaurant resigned, Mutwiri advertised the position on social media. It attracted about four thousand applications. Mutwiri’s junior staff members thinned down the numbers by weeding out those who were not qualified and remained with a group of two hundred. A majority were knocked out either because they lacked degrees or experience at a managerial level. Mutwiri was willing to consider applicants with diplomas who had extensive managerial experience, and he was also willing to gamble with degree holders with limited experience. He constituted a hiring committee, comprising of the heads of his other business units, his lawyer and his accountant. The lawyer and accountant are both independent professionals with their own firms. He has in-house accountants, but he prefers to use external accountants to audit his books of account. The hiring committee further thinned the numbers to twenty, and these are the ones that were invited to for interviews.

Lillian emerged as the best from the interviews and he hired her. She has a degree in hospitality management and an MBA, and so far her work has been excellent. She has introduced an outside catering service at the restaurant, and according to the accountants, it is already surpassing the eatery in terms of revenue. Lilian is beautiful, but Mutwiri did not think about dating her when he first saw her.. He had no desire to get committed to any woman ever since Kananu died. With Kendi playing the role of wife at home, and since he has always been able to sleep with women without getting attached, he had little desire to commit. Besides, he had not met a woman who made him think about commitment.

But Lillian changed that.

First, she is the one who made the first move on him. She started throwing subtle hints, and he caught on immediately. He decided to flow with the tide, and one day she grabbed him in his office and kissed him deeply. Since then she has kept him on his toes, and he didn’t realize what he was doing when he agreed to marriage. He told her that Kendi was his house manager who had been hired by his late wife, and he had never had the courage to fire her. he did not say anything about his last born son, allowing Lillian to assume that he is Kananu’s son.


“I am resigning,” Lillian says as she steps out of the car.


“I said I am quitting. I don’t want to work for a brute like you.”

“You don’t want to work for a “brute like me” but you are willing to marry me? That does not make sense.”

“We are not getting married. How can I get married to an animal that is willing to leave me at the middle of the road just because I called him out on his lie? How can I get married to a man who has been toying with another woman’s feelings for fifteen years? How can I be sure that you will not treat me the same way you have been treating Kendi? No Mutwiri. I am not going to live with you, and I will definitely not marry you. It is over between us.  If I didn’t get off the car when you asked me to, it is because I am not stupid. I wasn’t going to get out of the car and walk all the way here. But your decision to kick me out of the car clearly showed me your true attitude towards me. I am done with you.”

She slams the door of the car and walks away towards the restaurant. Mutwiri wants to follow her but his pride does not let him. He parks the car at his reserved parking lot opposite the restaurant and walks up the stairs to his third floor office. He owns the building, and it is the same one that has his hardware store. Actually the ground, first and second floors of the building are occupied by the hardware. Offices are on the third floor. Mutwiri also owns the adjacent building, where the supermarket is, and the one across the road, where restaurant is. He bought the building that has the restaurant, and that was also where the supermarket had been when he and Kananu started out in business. But he constructed the two buildings that currently house the supermarket and the hardware, having bought the plot for a song ten years ago.

From any of the two windows in his office, he can view his little kingdom. He stands at one of the windows and watches restaurant and the supermarket. Kananu would have been proud of him had she been alive. She is the one woman who believed in him, even when her life was moving at a much faster pace than his. When she started working at the World Bank, she helped him to enroll at one of the small universities in New York, and that is where he earned his degree. He got a job as a manager of a small superstore; it was nothing compared to her cushy Wall Street job, but still she cheered him on. She wanted the best for him, and that is why when they came back she opened the supermarket for him. She wanted him to succeed away from her. Mutwiri also knows that her decision to quit banking and get into business was informed by her desire to be equal partners with him. She understood that as long as she was in the corporate world, he would always remain in her shadow.

Kananu knew he was insecure and she did everything to make him feel valued. She was a super-achiever, but she was also so secure in her abilities that she was willing to step back and allow him to catch up. Since she died he has been looking for the same qualities in a woman, but he has not found them. Kendi is far from it. She is not as accomplished, as self-confident or as educated as her aunt was.

For fifteen years, he could not find a suitable wife. Most of the women he has been encountering are either intimidated by him, or are rude, arrogant and self-entitled. The only exception is Sabina, Pastor Kinyua’s wife. She is bright and very self-confident. She knows how to make things happen. She is the one who convinced him to invest in her husband’s church. Pastor Kinyua doesn’t know it, but Mutwiri’s reward for his investment in the church has been his wife. Mutwiri and Sabina have had an affair for years, but she is a married woman, so he cannot marry her.

Then Lillian showed up.

Lilian works for him, but she is not intimidated by him. She is assertive but not rude. She was the woman he has been looking for all these years. But now she is slipping away from him. Part of him urges him to go to her and beg for forgiveness. But pride will not let him. He is convinced that she needs him more than he needs her. She might be like Kananu, but she is not Kananu. For starters, he is the one with the financial controls in the relationship.

She will not resign. She cannot resign.

He is still standing at the window when Lilian emerges from the restaurant with her handbag. She walks to the parking lot and enters her silver Honda Fit, which he bought for her, and drives away. Mutwiri has a feeling that he has seen her for the last time.

Suddenly he is filled with anger. All this would not be happening if that fool Kendi had not come to his office. She has to be taught a lesson, and kicking her out of the house will not be enough. He knows a couple of young men who can brutalize and humiliate her, before finishing her off. She will not be the first person he has gotten rid of.

He walks to his desk, picks his phone and makes a call. No one messes with him and gets away with it.

(This is the last free instalment of this story. To find out what became of Kendi, kindly follow the instructions below to purchase your copy of the novella for only Kshs. 100).

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