14 – Blinder than a Bat…Didn’t see it coming ’till he grabbed her arm
Art and glass, Koya thought with a smile, trailing her finger over a delicate blue glass jar. Sculptures, mosaics…it was endless. She loved it all. Wished she could take each beautiful piece to her home in Ndwaru Road, but that was a crazy thought. She touched a glass wind chime and smiled at the resulting jingle of notes. Well, she could take the wind chime. Visiting Kitengela Glass remained as charming as ever.
She glanced at Kim. He was busy talking to one of the Artisans about a mosaic for his client’s house. She took the wind chime to the assortment of glass products they had chosen for Kim’s client. Kim joined her a second later.
“Will you buy this for your wife?” the lady attending them said with a smile. She held out a glass jewelry box. It was gorgeous.
Her comment, though, freaked Koya out. Koya lifted her hand, already shaking her head.
“Oh no, he’s not—
“Yes,” Kim said with a wide pleased smile.
He made the payment fast, grinning from ear to ear. Koya frowned and left the gallery first.
She’d hoped to walk around the property more, but—she headed straight to Kim’s pickup.
Kim grabbed her left arm, stopping her a few feet from his car.
“Nothing,” Koya snapped. “Let’s just go.”
“Don’t do that,” Kim matched her tone. “You’re annoyed she mistook us for a couple and I went along with it. Don’t brush it off.”
Koya stared at him, then jerked her arm out of his hold.
“Yes, I’m annoyed. You didn’t have to play along. We’re not—
“What if I want us to be?” Kim asked, cutting her off.
“Gosh, I don’t know whether to be insulted or amused. Koya, surely, you’ve noticed. I care about you.”
“As a friend,” Koya said, shocked to the core when she read different in his eyes.
His gaze was softer somehow. Had he always seemed so…She stared at Kim not sure why she hadn’t seen it before. She let out a soft breath, panic rising.
“Don’t,” Kim said, this time, he lifted his hand to stop her. “Get in the car. I don’t want to hear another rejection.”
She closed her eyes and turned away because she was afraid. What the hell was she supposed to do now? The ride back to the city was uncomfortable. The radio was on, saving them from silence, but Koya could barely look at Kim.
By the time Kim pulled into her property on Ndwaru Road, she was ready to jump out of the cab and hide in the house for a month. Kim circumvented her plan, locking her door when she would have opened it and escaped.
“We don’t have to do this,” Koya said quickly. “You’re my friend, Kim. One of my oldest friends. I don’t want to lose that.”
“You won’t.” Kim took her right hand in his. “Listen to me. Now that Charlie’s back—
“What does he have to do with anything?”
“Everything,” Kim said. “Charlie is always the key to everything in your life. You haven’t dared look at anyone since he left. Tell me am wrong.”
Koya met his dark gaze then. His knowing gaze made her feel naked. She read love in his eyes, perhaps some pity, though that was fleeting. Kim knew her too well.
“You’re not wrong. He hurt me, Kim,” she admitted. “I’m over it.”
Kim gave her a small smile. “I’ve waited, given you the chance to recover and heal. Don’t you think it’s time to discover if you can love again?”
Koya dropped her gaze to their intertwined fingers, her heart beating too fast.
“In case I’m not being clear, Koya, I’m asking you to give me a chance.”
Koya let out a soft sigh.
“But I like us, now. What if we ruin us?”
“We won’t,” Kim said. “I won’t let it happen.”
Koya closed her eyes and wondered if she wasn’t being too cautious. Kim was good to her, had always been. He was a good friend, maybe if she gave him a chance as he was asking…Charlie’s image flitted into her thoughts. His declaration that Saturday about wanting her back…as though she’d been sitting around waiting for him to come for her.
Giving Kim’s fingers a squeeze, she opened her eyes and gave him a small nod.
His answering smile was blinding. She couldn’t help laughing because he looked like a kid getting his first soccer ball.
God, what was she thinking. This could go so wrong.
“Okay,” Kim said, with a satisfied nod.
“Now what?” she asked, staring at their clasped hands.
“Now we go on a date, Koya Kalahari. Our first,” Kim said with a grin. “I owe you meat.”
“Jeez, you are really hitting on my weaknesses. I do love meat.”
“Go in,” Kim said, nodding to her house. “Get dressed, all nice and fancy. I’ll pick you up at seven o’clock. I’m taking you out tonight.”
“No one goes on dates on Monday,” Koya said, not that she had been on any date for a while.
“We do,” Kim said, leaning over to press a soft kiss on her cheek. “Thank you for making my day.”
Koya dug her fingers through her braids, wondering if she needed to change her hairstyle. The braids suited her, she liked them long. They were functional, and she could wash them at will. Plus her hair stylist got them looking so thin and pretty…they fell around her in a neat fall. She shrugged. The braids would stay.
She smoothed her hand over the amber kanga dress she wore. The skirt of her dress stopped an inch above her knee. She looked colorful and fancy, thanks to her genius tailor. She’d gone through five horrendous try-and-errors to meet the tailor who had finally mastered her figure. Style in this city was meeting your soul mate in the form of a godsend tailor.
Koya smiled at the figure she cut in the mirror and decided she would do.
Taking a matching clutch bag from her bed, she left her bedroom and went downstairs. She entered the kitchen just as Hana came in carrying bags from the supermarket.
“Wow, where are you going?” Hana asked, her eyes wide with drama as she dumped her loot on the kitchen table. “Who is the hot date?”
Koya opened the fridge and got a bottle of water. Cracking it open, she took a healthy sip then answered Hannah.
“I’m going to dinner with Kim.”
Koya finished her water, and dumped the bottle into the trashcan.
“Close your mouth, honey, flies will get in.”
“Like a date?” Hana asked. “As in, you and Kim?”
“Uh…I think I should be recording this,” Hana said, getting her phone from her pocket. “Ashi won’t believe me, so we need to get this nicely documented.”
“Jeez, you’re making me sound like a shut in. I do go out….sometimes” Koya said, checking Hana’s shopping bags. Finding white corn and beans, she frowned. “Hey, remember to remind Auntie Shiro to make githeri on the jiko. I don’t want her bending over firewood back there.”
“You’re the only woman on earth who would talk about githeri at a time like this,” Hannah said, already dialing Ashi. “Ashi, you won’t believe this—
Kim chose that moment to stroll into her kitchen. Hana gave an appropriate gasp when she saw him. He was not in his usual casual clothing. Tonight, he’d chosen a dark blazer, pressed blue shirt and dark slacks. He’d exchanged his work boots for shining loafers. Dashing and handsome were words too simple.
“Ready?” Kim asked.
Koya picked up her clutch from the table.
“You look beautiful,” Kim said, giving her a red rose.
Hana giggled behind her.
Koya took the rose and brought it to her nose. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d received a flower. Kim took her left hand and tucked it into the crook of his elbow. Koya wondered why she’d never thought Kim a romantic as he led her out of her kitchen.
To be continued…Thanks for reading!