(Continued from Severe Insecurities III)
Annette tries her best to control her emotions. She knows that if there is anyone who poses a threat to her relationship with Raphael, it is that woman Linet. She knew there was something between the two of them from that very first day when she met them. She actually thought they were a married couple, and was therefore very surprised when Linet came looking for her and asked for her number.
Annette thinks she has been unfortunate with relationships. She has dated quite several men since she was in college, but none of the relationships has led to the altar. In fact, the longest relationship she has had was in college, which lasted two years. She was with Jeff from their second year until their fourth year at Kenyatta University. But the relationship ended when he ran off with her erstwhile best friend Mary, who he later married.
Since then Annette has been involved in a string of short relationships, most of them coming to an end in less than a year. Most of her boyfriends, including Jeff, accuse her of being ‘clingy and insecure’ but she doesn’t see it that way. Most of them are cheaters who do not want to be held accountable. Annette sees herself as a model Christian girlfriend. She is religious to the core. She fasts for about two days every month and she attends Sunday services and midweek church services religiously. She is fluent in Christianese. She is willing to be a traditional wife, allowing the man to be the head of the household. She has no problem with domestic chores. She actually thinks feminism is ungodly.
The one rule she sometimes compromises on is sexual purity because after dating a man for a couple of months she will usually surrender her body to him. But what she doesn’t do is cheat. She is faithful to her boyfriends, emotionally and physically, and she expects the same from the men she dates. But most men do not like being accountable and that is why they accuse her of being clingy. Most of those men were not worth it anyway. They were just after sex and some of them were even married.
But Raphael is different, and she can feel it.
On the day she first met him, she was not even looking for a date. She had spent the night with her best friend Irene, lamenting about their singleness. They had planned to go to Irene’s church, and then spend the afternoon together before Annette returned to her house. But that plan was shelved when Irene got a call from home and had to rush there. Having been brought up in the church, Annette did not plan on missing a Sunday service. That is why she went to Irene’s church anyway because it was nearby.
She found herself seated next to a very handsome man. But there was a problem: he was married. He was donning a wedding band, and the seat next to him had a handbag. The man’s wife came down from the pulpit after the worship session was done and sat next to him. They kept whispering to each other as the church service continued, like a typical newly married couple. Annette ignored them, even though she thought the man was as fine as aged red wine. As a Christian girl, she dates with a monogamous Christian marriage in mind, which means married men are off the table for her.
That is why she was very surprised when the man’s wife approached her and asked for her number. The woman waited until the visitor’s reception was completed before making the request.
“Who is your friend, and why isn’t he approaching me himself?”
“He is the man who was seated next to you in church. He has been out of the dating scene for a very long time and he is rather conservative. He doesn’t know how to ask for the number of a woman he has barely spoken to. But he likes you and all I am asking is that you pick up when he calls. And maybe go for one date with him, then decide for yourself whether you want another…should he ask.”
“That man…isn’t he your husband? Both of you have wedding rings.”
The woman, who Annette came to know is called Linet, laughed.
“Oh no. We are not married. He was married to my best friend Samara and that is how we became friends. Unfortunately, my friend passed away so Raphael is a widow.”
Linet had paused at the question.
“I am divorced. But I have kept the wedding band because I don’t like answering too many questions from nosey people.”
“If your friend is such a nice man that you would recommend him to me, why don’t you take him for yourself?”
Linet had paused again and then sighed deeply.
“Raphael has been like a brother to me. When I met him, he was my best friend’s boyfriend and later husband. I also had a fiancé who I later got married to. That means Raphael was automatically friend-zoned. When we both got married and our platonic friendship was strengthened. I would struggle if I were to see him as anything other than a brother to me.”
Annette considered this piece of information and agreed to give her number. Raphael called that same evening and asked her out on a date. Contrary to what she thought, he did not sound shy on the phone. He went straight to the point and asked her whether she was dating or was married. She said she wasn’t. He straight away asked her on a date.
On the date itself, she found him to be funny in a quiet way. He is confident, but not arrogant. He has a good job. He is loyal-she has learned that he stood by his wife’s side throughout a traumatizing ordeal with cancer. In other words, he was and still is the ideal husband. But there was a problem; while she was ready to walk to the altar with him the following day, he did not seem ready to even ask her to be his girlfriend.
She realized that part of the reason was that deep down he was in love with Linet. Annette is not a fool, neither was she born yesterday. She had seen the chemistry between Linet and Raphael and knew they liked each other romantically however much they denied it. She knew she had to move fast and establish herself in his life, otherwise, Linet would push her out, even though she is the one who brought her in.
Annette started asking to see him more frequently, and soon they saw each other almost every day after work and almost every weekend. She started hugging him casually, and he got used to it. And then one day she kissed him on the lips and told him that she loved him. He was quiet for a bit and then told her that he loved her too. More importantly, he asked her to be his girlfriend.
Since that day she has moved to consolidate her position in his life. She is determined that this time around she will walk down the altar. Ideally, she wouldn’t have had much to worry about, because Raphael is a very faithful man. Unlike some of the losers she has dated before, Raphael doesn’t flirt with women, nor does he behave or speak inappropriately to them. Unfortunately, women are not so well-behaved around him. Many were quite literally offering themselves to him. He has moved to eliminate all those threats, and that includes Linet.
There was only one part of her life that she did not have control over: his office time. She could not bear the thought of him being exposed to all those women for all those hours that he was away from her. One of her plans to deal with this problem is to get him to propose to her. But that has proven to be more difficult than getting him to ask her to be his girlfriend. She has even asked outright, and he has told her repeatedly that he is not ready.
Her next plan, having failed in her bid to get him to marry her quickly, is to move in with him. But that plan is not working either. He holds some very traditional Christian beliefs that have hindered that plan so far. There was even a day she stayed at his house till quite late at night, ostensibly watching a movie. But she was secretly hoping that the desires of the flesh would consume them and that she would spend the night with him. That would have been the first step towards moving in with him. But after the movie they had a snack and then he drove her to her apartment. She tried to seduce him, she even kissed him playfully, but he did not fall for the trap.
She is not giving up. She is determined to be his wife. Sooner or later she will break his defenses and make love to him. She will get pregnant and that is what will seal the deal. Raphael is not the kind of man who will break up with her if she is carrying his offspring. That much she is sure.
In the meantime, however, she has to keep the vultures away. Luck is on her side. She was talking to her friend Irene over the weekend, and she mentioned that Raphael works at J & S LLP, and she expressed interest in joining the firm. That is how she learned that Irene is a cousin to Shea Jadelia’s husband. Shea is one of the co-founders of the firm. Irene called Shea and that is how she landed this job. In addition to having a nice job with a nice salary, she will now be able to keep an eye on Raphael.
Her first target is Raphael’s secretary. She has for a while been displeased by the fact that Elosy answers Raphael’s cell phone whenever he is in a meeting. Annette doesn’t like it, but when she tried to raise the issue with Raphael, he simply told her that Elosy was doing her job. This morning, as soon as she saw Raphael heading out to a meeting with the partners, she went and snatched the phone from Elosy. Answering that phone will be her job now.
Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, the first person who called is Linet. The woman thought she was clever by calling Raphael during work hours. She doesn’t know that she, Annette, is always one step ahead.
Raphael is hers and hers alone; all the other women will have to understand that.
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