Playing with Fire I-By Edward Maroncha

This has become a dangerous game now, Louisa reflects as she slowly disembarks from the small aircraft at the equally small airstrip. Why did she even agree to come here? As she drags her suitcase on the paved road, she is aware that there is a SUV waiting for her on the other side of the low lying buildings she can see ahead. Jared is not in the SUV though. It is his driver and personal assistant, Humphrey, who is waiting for her there, ready to drive her to the cottage where Jared is waiting.

Humphrey is the one who made all the arrangements for this trip. He booked and paid for the flights. The cottage where they will be staying is registered in Humphrey’s name. Nobody knows that the Governor-Elect is there right now waiting for her. Nothing can be traced back to Jared. Jared is known to be a very religious man, so he told his wife that he is going to a prayer centre to pray and fast. It is something he has done before, even during the campaigns, and Louisa suddenly wonders whether all that time he has been meeting other women in this remote village.

Jared is the newly elected Governor of Embu County, but before that he was the CEO Tauen Investments Limited, a conglomerate with interests in various sectors of the economy including mining, manufacturing and health. Louisa doesn’t know what the mining subsidiary does, but she knows that there is a subsidiary that manufactures margarine, cooking fat and soap. And there other subsidiary runs a chain of hospitals.


Louisa met Jared during the campaigns late last year. Actually, it is Humphrey who reached out to her and asked her whether she would want to be part of Jared’s campaigns. Louisa is an influencer, and she has made quite her name for herself on social media. It was therefore not surprising that the then little-known businessman would want her services.

When Humphrey first reached out to her, she had never heard of Jared. And even by the time she went to see him, she still knew very little about him. There was almost no information about him available online. That is the first thing she was determined to change. Humphrey made the arrangements and she met Jared at his office in Westlands.

When she went to meet him, she expected to see an old, potbellied man with opinions cast in stone. But when she met him, she was surprised to see a good looking man in his mid-forties, with a charming smile and an easy-going manner. That surprised her. Why would a relatively youthful man have no footprints on social media?

“The truth is that I have never seen the need to. We meet our clients the traditional way, and we do advertising the old way through television and newspapers,” he told her in response to her question. “Our businesses also have websites and social media pages. We have never seen the need to have me or the other executives on social media. But the reason I called you is because Humphrey suggested that I should get an influencer to develop my personal profile and brand for the campaigns. He suggested you.”

As it turned out, Jared was offering more money than she expected. She quickly signed the contract that made her the communications director and social media manager in Jared’s campaign secretariat. She also secured contracts for her photographer/videographer and editor so that they would continue working together. The one thing she was prepared to bargain hard for was to be allowed to remain in Nairobi; she did not want to relocate to Embu. As it happened, she did not have to push hard. Jared quickly allowed her to and even gave her an office down the hall from his. During the campaigns he would also remain primarily based in Nairobi although with time and as the election neared they would be spending more and more time in Embu.

“I have a home in Embu but you will be staying in a hotel. But don’t worry, the campaign secretariat will be taking care of all your expenses. But you have to deliver.”

“Don’t worry sir. By the time the election comes around everyone will be aware of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the position.”


Louisa is a journalism graduate but she had started blogging after failing to secure a job in mainstream media. She had started blogging by writing short stories on Facebook and on her blog. When that failed to gain traction, she tried fashion blogging. But she struggled to get followers.

Her big break came when she met Alpha. A friend of hers had been invited to a party in Lavington and she had tagged her along. Alpha was in the party and he started hitting on Louisa as the night wore on. At some point in the night, he kissed her and started fondling her. She had a boyfriend at the time, but he was as jobless as she was, and Alpha looked rich. She was more than willing to leave the struggle love. Alpha’s status as a wealthy man was confirmed when he took her to his BMW and drove her to his house in Spring Valley.

She has no idea why he chose her of all the girls who were in the party till today. But he did and that is how she became his girlfriend. The following day she expected him to end her home after alcohol cleared from his head but instead he asked whether she would consider staying with him as his girlfriend. He took her to her place to take her stuff but when he saw what she owned he told her to donate it to someone needy. She gave all of them to a friend of hers. She also told the that she was moving out, and the landlord allowed to keep the stuff until her friend came to pick them up.

Alpha took her to buy new clothes and shoes. Alpha is the one who helped her become a proper blogger. He bought her a modern camera and hired a photographer/videographer for her. Of course now she had proper clothes and shoes to shoot photos and videos with, and she could afford exotic locations. Her blog started picking followers. Her rising stature attracted new viewers to her old writing blog, so she started writing stories again.

By the time she met Jared, she had half a million followers on Instagram, 400k on Facebook, 300k on Twitter. She had decided against joining Snapchat, Telegram and Tiktok. She also has a YouTube channel that has attracted 225k subscribers, and counting. She was actually making her own money from endorsements, quite apart from the money she was getting from Alpha.

Alpha travels a lot. Sometimes he takes her with him, but sometimes he travels alone. When they travel together, she tags her team with her. When she got the campaign job, she asked for Alpha’s permission to take it, and he told her he was not opposed.


The first time Jared kissed her, they were working late on his speech. It was shortly after he had won the gubernatorial position, and the speech they were working on was the speech Jared would deliver at the swearing in ceremony. He had offered to hire her as his communications director and speechwriter after his swearing in, and she had accepted. Jared told her that she would have an office in Embu at the County Government Headquarters, but she would also retain her office in Westlands. On that day, they were working at the Secretariat offices Embu. It was around 10 PM when they got a draft that they were both satisfied with, and by then almost everyone else had gone home.

When he approved the final draft, Jared rose and hugged her. Then he kissed her. One of the things Louisa has come to appreciate about her boss is that he is very intelligent. Unlike Alpha who has loads of money but cannot hold an intelligent conversation, Jared is a joy to listen and speak to. She had actually been lusting after him for months, so when he kissed her, she kissed him back hungrily. Before they realised what they were doing, they were making love in the massive couch that is in his office.

That was a weeks ago, but Louisa hasn’t stopped thinking about the Governor-Elect. She enjoys the life Alpha has provided for her, but she does not love him. The chemistry is simply not there, and even when he makes love to her, she simply tolerates him. But Jared lit a spark in her that has been consuming her entire being. Since then they have made love twice, again in his office. This is their first weekend rendezvous together. It is a risky affair for both of them. For starters, because Jared is a Governor, if details of an affair leaked to the media it would cause them a lot of embarrassment. But that would be the least of their problems.

Over time, Louisa has discovered two things that make this affair a very dangerous endeavor. First, Alpha is a ruthless drug dealer and arms smuggler. He has been very good to her in the two years they have dated; she has been living in his house, driving his cars and generally being his wife. In spite of that, or probably because of it, if he learns that she is cheating on him, there is no doubt in her mind that he will kill both her and the governor. But right now he is in Congo, or South Africa or wherever it is that his illegal business has taken him this time around.

Second, Jared is not the owner of the companies he has leading before he became Governor. They are owned by his father-in-law, who is a very reclusive billionaire. The old man is also very connected, with direct access to State House. The man is extremely vindictive, and if he learns that his son-in-law is cheating on his daughter, both of the Governor-Elect and Louisa will be dead meat. But they have the perfect cover in case the old man gets suspicious: Louisa can always claim that she is seeing Humphrey, and cross her fingers that that information will not reach Alpha.                                                                           


As she walks towards the black Toyota Prado, Louisa is wondering whether she is making the biggest mistake of her life. She throws her suitcase into the boot of the SUV and then hops on the front seat. She looks across at the driver’s seat and screams.

Humphrey is there alright, but he is dead. His head has been shattered by a bullet.

(Continued Here)

Image by Matthias Groeneveld from Pixabay:


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