Victoria headed to Ronald’s office spurred by aggravation. She had avoided facing Ronald for two months, even if they worked so close, it was surprisingly easy to go weeks without seeing him. Entering his office without knocking, Victoria stopped before Ronald’s desk, annoyed by his nonchalant expression. Fighting the urge to smack the knowing look off his face, Victoria stood her ground.
“What brings you to my office, Vicky?”
“Stop bullying Anita,” Victoria said.
“She’s not a good worker.”
“That’s crap talk,” Victoria sighed. “You’re not being fair to her. She did nothing wrong.”
“If I don’t fire her, will you come back to me?”
“No.” Victoria flashed him a smile. “I will, however, start thinking of you as a human being.”
“I see you’re still deluded by the photographer. What can he give you?”
“His time,” Victoria said. “If nothing else, at least Eric is honest with me.”
“I was honest too,” Ronald said, cocking his head to the side. “We had it good, Vicky. Dump that rough boy and come back to me.”
“I’m not here to talk about us.” Victoria placed her hands on her hips. “You’re the manager here, I work for you and so does Anita. Keep things professional, or I’ll be forced to go above you with this.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Ronald scoffed.
“Try me, Ronald,” Victoria snapped.
His expression dared her to try, and God help her, it worried her to tangle with her boss this way. She didn’t want to lose her job. After all, she needed to pay rent, there was her car payment, water, electricity, and future projects…her job was important to her. Still…she would fight for Anita.
“Fine,” Ronald said, his tone cold. “Anita can stay. Don’t expect anything from me, Vicky.”
“I never did, Ronald.”
As she left Ronald’s office, Victoria realized that in truth, her attachment to Ronald was superficial. The fear of being alone had kept her with him. Clinging to a partner who cared nothing about her, she smiled as she entered the elevator.
That had changed now. She wasn’t afraid. There was nothing wrong with being single. Despite her mother’s wishes or what everyone around her thought, it was pleasurable being by herself. There was confidence in that knowledge.
On her way down to her office, her phone buzzed a message and she smiled when she saw a reminder from Eric. Well, she reminded herself, there was now Eric. They were visiting his house this weekend.
Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful, the light a golden yellow, turning the yard behind Eric’s house magical.
Eric, for once without a camera, carried two rose
plants, one white and the other pink. They were in black bags, and ready to be transplanted into their new home. He hurried to Victoria’s side where she was crouched in the flower garden, making sure the holes they’d made were deep enough. He stopped beside her, placing the plants on each hole.
“How long until they bloom again?” Victoria asked. “I’ve never known how long.”
“I don’t know either. We can discover together,” Eric said, crouching beside her. “What flowers do you like Victoria?”
“Lavender,” Victoria smiled. “You can use lavender for a whole bunch of stuff, it’s a multipurpose flower.”
“You always need to justify why you like something. Say, you like lavender. Leave it at that.”
“Fine, I like lavender flowers.”
Eric shook his head.
“What now?” Victoria bumped his shoulder with hers.
“Now you’re saying what I want to hear.”
“I’m going to throw dirt under your shirt.”
“I’ll stick earthworms in your hair.”
Eric lifted one out of the manure and Victoria fell back on her butt, with a strangled scream. Eric laughed and brought the wiggling fat earthworm closer to her face. Victoria screamed and scrambled away.
“Why are you freaking out? You had your hands in the manure minutes ago.”
“Stop torturing tiny animals,” Victoria said getting to her feet. “Eric, put the worm back in the soil.”
“Fat chance I’m getting close to you right now.” Victoria pointed at the squirming earthworm. “That looks too disturbing. Drop it in the soil, Eric. Come on.”
“Say please,” Eric teased.
“Please?” Victoria begged, her eyes so wide and pleading, he dropped the earthworm in the hole they’d made for the roses.
“Babe, you beg prettily.”
Victoria scoffed and came at him. She grabbed a handful of dirt and poured it down his shirt before he could react. She ran off with a happy laugh and he stood still.
She giggled and raced toward the hose pipe fitted to the rain water tank by the house.
Eric ran after her, removing his t-shirt and throwing it on the grassy lawn. He caught her just as she picked up the end of the hose. She started to spray water at him, but he pulled her close and kissed her hard. She dropped the hose and clung to his shoulders.
The compound was private, thanks to the live green fence he planted years ago. The only gate was locked. There was no one to interrupt them. Eric smiled and kissed Victoria until she was breathless, her arms locked around his shoulders.
She broke the kiss first, burying her face into his shoulder. He held her trembling body against his thinking his control was slipping. Then, Victoria gasped her fingers digging into his skin.
Victoria tapped his shoulder, doing her best to step out of his embrace. Eric turned to see what had her so panicked. He gaped when he saw his four sisters standing a few feet away in a row. All he needed was his mother behind them and the family would be complete.
How had they gotten in again?
“Eric?” his youngest sister said. She had just finished high school.
Eric cleared his throat and took Victoria’s hand when she started to edge away.
“Mimo,” Eric said, pasting on a wide grin. “Hi, this is Victoria. I was removing an earthworm from her hair.”
Victoria groaned when his sisters burst into uncontrollable laughs.
“You couldn’t have come up with a better excuse?” Victoria whispered, she scowled at him and he smiled.
“This earthworm must have been tiny,” Waceke, the oldest sister, said.
“The size of wheat grain, he was searching so hard,” Njoki said.
Christine laughed the hardest at this comment. She was the third born sister, always so amused, but the easiest to conquer. Eric looked at her for support. He gave her a pleading gaze and she giggled, hurrying to his side.
“Oh, look, you have soil on your back,” Christine said. “You’re working hard, Eric. Hi Victoria, I’m Christine. Third sister on the line. Hope you’re now free of earthworms.
Victoria scowled at Eric, and then smiled at Christine.
“Thoroughly free,” Victoria answered.
Mimo launched herself at Eric and he braced for impact as she hugged him hard.
“What are you ladies doing here?” he asked, not willing to give up the privacy he’d carved out this weekend.
“Mum bought veggies from the market for you. She said to drop them off,” Njoki explained. “Didn’t think you’d be home at this hour.”
It was only nine-thirty in the morning. Eric had hassled Victoria out of her house at eight wanting to spend the day with her. They had gone to buy the flowers along Ngong road, then come straight to his house.
“We started out early,” Eric said, locking his arm around Victoria’s waist. “Want to share a late breakfast with us, since you’re here?”
“Yes,” Christine said, she moved fast, pulling Victoria out of Eric’s reach. Christine led Victoria to the house.
“Why don’t you wash up,” Njoki said, giving him a small smile. “We’ll get breakfast started.”
Before Eric could protest, his sisters were gone toward the house, and he was alone with the hosepipe. He wondered if he should invest in a new better lock for his gate. Staring at the blue sky, Eric groaned.
Thank you for reading….to be continued ^_^!
Special thanks to Ngatia Edwin for reading this story this year, and inspiring me to continue posting it on here! I will work hard to post it all.