Longing to Heal the Earth – Day 13

Longing to Heal the Earth 

People don’t realize the earth is…alive, her grandmother would say.

events_crystalitas_gaia_mother_earth_healing_meditation_elementars_180x120Before…when her grandmother was young, the world was lush green.  Thick trees grew tall, so tall, one couldn’t see the highest branch.  Green grass in fields, vast and wide, as far as the eye could see.  Her grandmother would run down the hill, to the valley where the fresh spring flowed.  The water sweet, cool and clear.  So clear, the rocks in the riverbed were visible.

Those days, her grandmother would say that all she needed to do was scoop water in her hand and take a sip, drink a gulp, dunk her face in the fresh spring water and drink her fill.

There was no need for machines to clean water.

Not like now, Mira thought, her gaze on the clear glass of water on the table.

All her water came in bottles sold at the supermarket.  She was thirty and had yet to see a clear spring or river, one safe for her to dunk her head into the precious water and drink her fill.  Mira gagged at the thought of dunking her head into the Nairobi River for a drink.  The river was sick with muck, garbage, waste….God knew what else…one sip and she’d end up in the hospital with poisoning.

Her grandmother’s stories sometimes sounded like lies.  Yet she knew, her grandmother would never lie to her.  Mira believed her when she spoke of lush green fields and tall trees.

On days like this, she wanted a taste of the water in a clear fresh spring.  Mira took the glass and drank deep.  It was hot outside, and she still needed to go to the market.

Letting a sigh escape, she got up, wore her hat and took her purse and a light bag she used for shopping.  She stopped at her door to wear the nose mask that had turned essential in the past year, then left her apartment.

The sun was hot.  Scorching hot.  Mira walked along Ngong rd heading to the junction mall.  Pedestrians she passed wore similar nose masks, their heads covered with hats and dark eyeglasses.

The masks were for the dust.  In a frenzy of progress, the country had lost eighty percent of its tree cover.  Forests, fields of green and lush valleys replaced with forests of sky scrapers, apartment buildings and factory buildings.  The rivers had turned to muck-filled waters thanks to the factories dumping at will without regulation.  The streets became filled with trash, as the population increased and no garbage regulations were imposed.  Garbage, muck, chemicals in the air…no trees, the air changed, the soil changed…the earth started dying and so did the people.

She was lucky.

Mira worked in one of the factories that manufactured portable home-water cleansers for those who could afford them.  Water was an essential commodity.  One that the entire nation needed to live.  The water cleansers brought in enough revenue to keep the factory going.  It was a good job, a secure one.

Her job allowed her to afford an apartment that provided clean water, air conditioning to escape the relentless heat and sealed doors to keep out those who couldn’t afford it.

Her people were killing the planet with progress.  The reduction of trees had led to a drastic rise in temperatures.  Summer weather turned deadly, those living in the semi-arid areas suffered first.  The heat spread through the nation like wildfire, it dried the rivers and lakes.  By the time the government started responding to the crisis, essentials like water had turned into a precious commodity peddled by opportunists.  Water was the new Oil.  Oxygen, the second highest money-making commodity.

Air conditioned houses were an essential now.  No living soul could withstand the heat at midday.  Unfortunate souls caught in the daily heat wave met their deaths within the hour if they couldn’t find air conditioned shelters.  It wasn’t easy as the government commissioned shelters got overcrowded.  This daily scramble to get into these shelters was even more deadly.

Mira shivered.  She made a conscious effort never to be outside at midday.  Once, the newspapers were filled with stories on politics, now they were filled with the death toll numbers from the daily heat wave, the severity of water shortages, and what to do to escape the heat.

Mira reached the supermarket.  She stowed away her nose mask, just as she saw customers running to the vegetable stands.  Vegetables were a rare commodity.  She caught a glimpse of leafy greens and found her self running too.  Slipping in to the throng of struggling bodies, she slipped under a thin man’s arm and reached out her hand to the shelf.  Her fingers searching, searching, then they closed over a bunch.  She gripped it tight and fought hard to pull out of the human scramble. 

When her hand was free, she hugged her bundle tight against her chest in case an opportunist tried to take it away from her.  She kept walking and didn’t stop until she was in the canned food section.

A smile escaped when she saw the bunch of fresh green spinach in her hand.  She hadn’t seen one of this in three months.  The price on it was high.  One thousand shillings.  More expensive than chocolate.  Lord knew how long it would take until she could get her hands on another one like this.

Fresh fruits and vegetables were hard to come by.  Mira headed to the water aisle and got a ten bottles which she put in her cart for the week.  She took one bottle and stared at the label.  The ice-caped mountain, with flowing streams and green trees on it’s hills seemed surreal.  She doubted anyone in her generation had ever seen anything so beautiful.

No wonder her grandmother insisted that the earth was alive.

If we had only stopped killing the trees, stopped abusing the earth by dumping garbage, pumping gases into the sky at will…my dear Mira, you might have seen how clear a spring can be,’ her grandmother would say.  ‘I miss that sweet water I tasted, my girl.  Nothing like this garbage you drink.’

Mira sighed and placed the bottle into her cart.

She too wished for that sweet spring in her grandmother’s past.  If only she could heal the earth…

***

Thanks for reading!

100 days Writing AdventureDays go on, this week a prompt on writing for the earth.  Collect the garbage, don’t cut your trees, and ride a bicycle or walk to the bus stop.  Love the Earth as she’s alive.

 

Other Stories:

  1. Oran – Child of Destiny

The Hyena’s Marriage – Day 12

Prompt: Three children are sitting on a log near a stream. One of them looks up at the sky and says…

The Hyena’s Marriage

spotted-hyenaThree children sit on a log near a stream eating sweet ripe mangoes from their grandmother’s garden.  Mango juice runs down their chins, none of them stopping to wipe it away, to eager to savor the taste.  The sweet delicious feast oddly exciting, as they had to climb the tree to get the mangoes.

After their grandmother explicitly told them not to climb the tree.

The fact that they had not listened to her, and had then gone to climb that mango tree, with the threat of her finding out, made the mangoes all the more sweeter.

Now, one of them looked up at the sky, and saw an old hawk fly by in a hurry.

“Where do you think Kito is going?” the boy asked.

“To cause trouble no doubt.  Why?” the girl in the middle asked.

The boy wiped his chin on his sleeve and stared at the mangled mango seed in his hand.

“Kito carried a sweet potato vine in his beak.  Where do you suppose he is taking it?”

“You’re seeing things, Munya.  Why would a hawk carry a vine?”

“I don’t know.”  Munya shrugged, licking on the mango juice escaping between his fingers.  “Aren’t you curious, Lena?”

“No.

Munya sighed.  He was the curious one.  Everyone in his home knew it.  He asked too many questions, and got into trouble because of his curiosity.  Once, he asked his mother if being curious was a bad thing, but she’d smiled and said it was the best way to learn.

Oh well, Munya threw the mango seed and stood.  He went to the edge of the stream to wash his hands, otherwise he would be sticky all day.  Besides, their grandmother would take one look at their sticky fingers and know they stole her precious mangoes.

“Lena, Karua, don’t forget to wash your hands,” Munya said.  “Grandmother might really beat us with that cooking stick she waves this time.”

“Yesterday, she wanted to hit me with it when I forgot to close the chicken house,” Lena said with a giggle as she rushed to his side.

Karua moved slower, he was the youngest in the family and often followed Munya and Lena on their adventures.  Munya worried about Karua more than Lena, because Karua was slower.  He didn’t like running as much as Lena did.  Lena was a tomboy, or so their mother said.  Whatever that meant.

“I want to know where Kito was going,” Munya said, looking above the trees near the stream.

The small forest near the stream bordered their family’s farm.  Their mother and grandmother often sent them to collect firewood.  That was how they met Kito, the old hawk that lived deep inside the forest.

“Let’s take Karua home first,” Lena said, watching their youngest brother splash water at the stream.

“That will take too long,” Munya complained.  “Kito moves too fast.  Please, I’ll look out for him.”

“You said that last time, and I ended up falling behind taking care of Karua.”

“Lena, I promise I won’t leave you alone,” Munya said.  To convince her, Munya went to Karua, took his left hand and led him toward the forest.  “See, he’ll walk with me.  Let’s go, Kito is surely going to cause trouble.  I want to know.”

“You’re going to get us in trouble,” Lena complained even as she followed them.

Munya ignored her and with determined footsteps, led them into the forest.  Sunrays from the sun shone in intervals, breaking through the tall, tall trees with leaves that sang when the wind blew.  Soon, Munya noticed they weren’t the only ones in the forest heading in the direction Kito had gone.  Rabbits raced by, each carrying a gift in its mouth.  Monkeys laughed overhead, swinging from tree to tree.  More birds flew by, the great big elephant who sometimes came by the stream for water stomped by.

Each animal carried a small gift, and Munya wondered if he’d been wrong about Kito going to make trouble.  They soon came to a clearing and Munya clutched Karua’s hand tight when he started tripping over a stone.  Lena took Karua’s left hand and together they steadied him.  They looked up to find the animals waiting in a circle in the clearing.

The silence was unusual, even the chattering monkeys sat in silence on the edge of the circle.  Munya glanced above and saw Kito resting on a low branch on the tree next to them.

“Old Kito,” Munya said, his voice in a loud whisper.

“Shh…” Kito answered, not looking at him.

“But…” Munya started only for Kito to fly off his branch to land on Kito’s right shoulder.

“Stop making noise,” Kito said, dropping his sweet potato vine.

Munya caught it before it touched the ground.

“What is going on?  Why have the animals in the forest gathered?” Munya asked, trying to keep his voice low.

“You’ll see,” Kito answered.  “Here it comes.  Look to the sky, my noisy friend.”

Munya and his siblings all looked up in time to see the sunrays dance into the middle of the clearing.  Bright and pretty, they were golden yellow and almost blinding.  Munya gaped when he saw two hyenas walk into the clearing from opposite sides.  They moved slow, and only stopped when they met in the middle of the clearing.

Before Munya could ask what the hyenas were doing staring at each other in the middle of the clearing, a light rain started and all the animals cheered.

“Munya,” Lena said, her tone amazed.  “Look, it is raining and it is sunny at the same time.”

“Yes,” Kito answered, his voice too pleased.  “The Hyenas are getting married.”

Munya smiled in wonder as each animal walked up to the two hyenas in the middle and left an offering close to them.  Munya lifted the sweet potato vine he held, looking at the old hawk.

“Why did you bring a sweet potato vine for the hyenas?”

“So they may have a prosperous and long life together,” Kito answered.

Munya gave the sweet potato vine to the hawk and watched him take it to the new family.  The animals then included them in celebration and Munya and his siblings had a fun and exciting afternoon celebrating the hyena’s marriage.

***

100 days Writing AdventureThis post is part of the East Africa Friday Feature entry.  Still going with the writing challenge.  I went out last week and it started raining while the sun was out and I remembered this story my grandmother used to tell us.

 

Read Other Stories from Participating Bloggers

The Other Woman – Olufunke Kolapo

Alien Abduction

 

Koya’s Choice – 19 – Day 11

19 – The truth comes when you least expect it.

Mean.  Horrible.  Heart breaker.  These words described the woman who had written the letter sitting on the desk.  Koya scowled.  She didn’t have her own letter to  prove her innocence.  Kim was the only who had read the letter Charlie had sent her. 

Anger. Astonished.  Bitter.  Downright annoyed. 

That was her after Charlie walked out of her office looking justified.

Bastard.

He wasn’t the only one who had a broken heart.  Her heart was broken too. Staring at the letter on her desk, she wondered at her luck.  Why did this have to go this way?  She’d never written a letter to Charlie.  Which meant, the letter she’d read…she stared at the letter on her desk.  That letter that  had broken her…

Koya got to her feet and grabbed her cell phone to call Kim. Her finger hovered over the dial button, but she couldn’t call.  She was someone who had been kissing Kim last night.  Did it make sense to call him now to complain about her ex? 

Was that fair?

Koya scowled. 

She started pacing, looking for Ashi’s number.  Her finger, once again, stopped short of pressing the dial button.  Ashi had spent fifteen minutes earlier in a parking lot railing at her over her indecision with Kim. If she called now about a bloody letter that was eight years old, Koya groaned and stopped pacing.

Hana was next.

She dialed Hana’s number, but it went unanswered.  One glance at the time, it was two o’clock.  Hana was probably busy with work.

Great, she needed a bigger circle of friends.

Grabbing the worn letter from her desk, she took her car keys and left her office, not even stopping to give Linda an explanation.

The red haze that clouded her mind didn’t clear until she was driving along Ndwaru road leading to the Dhali Estate. She stopped her car before the imposing gate she had once pounded on for answers.  The black gate, high and imposing.  There was the pillar where Kim chewed on sugarcane and dropped the bits while she cried her heart out. The pain that day had never left her.  Rejection, so coldly delivered.  How could she have hoped to forgive Charlie after reading that letter she got?  How could she have imagined he received a similar letter from her?

She slammed her palm on the car horn.  The sound splintered the relative calm in the neighborhood.

The guard appeared at the small entrance on the side of the gate.  Giving her car a once over, he decided she was worthy of entering the estate, and went to open the large gates.  She didn’t wait for him to ask questions. Koya drove up the driveway determined to face Ashley Dhali.

***

To be continued…Thank you for reading!

100 days Writing AdventureDay 11 – Ashley, the boogey Mama is looming in the horizon.  I suddenly wonder if she’s going to manage to play her games this time.  The days continue…

Koya’s Choice – 17 – Day 9

17 – Surprises come in the form of a well-worn note

Back at her office, Koya stopped in the reception area when Linda met her at the door.

“Another package, Miss Kalahari.”

Linda pointed to a large box in the corner.letters

Koya stared at the large box.

“What is it now?”

“The box was delivered ten minutes ago,” Linda said.  “I haven’t had a chance to open it.”

“Who is doing this?” Koya gave the box a skeptical look.

“How is the tree doing?” Linda asked, handing Koya a pair of scissors.

“I had it planted in the yard behind my house.”

Koya started undoing the package.

“This gets more exciting with each package,” Linda said.

Koya took a step back with her minutes later, and they stared at the five foot tall soapstone sculpture of a leopard perched on a rock.

“A leopard sculpture.  What does that mean?” Linda asked.

Koya shook her head, a bit concerned by how expensive the gift looked.

“Did the delivery guys have you sign anything?”

“No.  They dropped off the package like last time.”

“Whoever is doing this has a lot of cash to burn.”   Koya moved to touch the leopard’s muzzle.  The stone cool to the touch.  “The leopard is gorgeous.’

“Where will you keep it?” Linda asked, moving to take a closer look.

“Take it home,” Koya said.

She stepped away from the statue and picked up the documents Linda had placed in a neat pile on her desk.

“Call the same guys who picked up the tree.”

“Yes Madam,” Linda reached for her phone.  “By the way, you have a visitor in your office.  He insisted on waiting for you.”

“Thanks.”

Koya walked into her office, her attention on the documents she held.

“I’m sorry I’m late.  You didn’t wait too long, I hope.”

“I don’t mind waiting for you.”

Koya’s head jerked up in surprise at the sound of Charlie’s familiar voice.  She stopped, staring at the man seated on her couch.

“Hi,” he grinned.  “I hope lunch was good.”

The documents she was holding fell to the floor.

“What are you doing here?”

“Those words are getting too familiar.”  Charlie got off the couch, unfolding his height in one elegant move.  He came over and picked up the files.  “It’s customary to say, ‘Hi, good to see you.’”

“Is there something you need?” Koya asked, trying to breathe through her panic.

Charlie stood too close.  He smiled and held out the documents.  She took them fast and hurried to her desk, needing to put distance between them.  His cologne filled her nostrils, crawling through her system, devious man.

Charlie chuckled at her retreat and she glared at him.  He chose to sit in one of the armchairs across her desk, resting his right ankle on his left knee.  He looked way too relaxed.

“I’ve told you before, I only want to talk to you, Koya.  I miss that.  We used to talk about everything, remember?”

“If you are not here on a business matter, I don’t know what you’re doing in my office.”

Koya folded her arms against her chest, and tried to ignore the fact that Charlie looked too handsome.  He had shaved clean.  His dark t-shirt clung to him, showing off a toned body.  His long legs in blue jeans, black converse shoes on his feet.  He looked like a rich, playboy, nerd.  Or Will Smith in his Men in Black days…the older movie…jeez what was she thinking.

She needed to get this guy out of her office.

“I have urgent matters—

“You are free for the rest of the afternoon,” Charlie cut in.  “I checked your calendar.  Your assistant is not very discrete.  The only reason you’re here is those documents she handed you.”

“Excuse me?”

Charlie placed a card on top of her desk.

“I own Mahali Travel Agency.  I’m here for an update on the ad campaign we wanted.”

“You’re what?” Koya picked up the card and stared at Charlie’s name printed on expensive  paper.  “You own Mahali Travel?”

“The documents you received will answer any questions you might have.  As of today, I’ll handle the campaign, personally.”

Koya felt her knees go weak.  She reached behind her for the chair and sank into it.  Her gaze never once leaving Charlie’s card.  Her business and Dhal, Dhal and her precious business…she shook her head in denial.

“The contract you sent—,” She stopped and glanced at Charlie.  “Your name was not on any of those documents.”

“I have employees working at Mahali.”  Charlie flashed a small smile.  “They handle paperwork.  I’m very interested in what your campaign will do for Mahali.”

“You’re really going to be working with us?” Koya placed Charlie’s card on her desk and cursed her decision to sign the five year contract with Mahali.  She should have trusted her gut.

“Closely,” Charlie said with a triumphant smile.

“Alright then,” she said.  “I’ll inform Hana.  She’s in charge of your account.  She’ll make sure to give you constant reports.”

Koya returned Charlie’s smile with a smug one of her own.

“Hana is currently in Diani though.  She’s visiting the locations your agency gave us.  As soon as she’s back, I’ll give her your number.”

“You’re not working on the ad?”

“Like you, I have people who are better at the job.”  Koya sat back.  “If that’s all, Mr. Dhali.  Please have a good afternoon.”

Charlie scoffed.

“You’ve gotten meaner.”

“Have I?” Koya shrugged.  “You taught me, Charlie.”

Charlie got up then.

Koya thought he was leaving, instead he reached into his pocket and produced a well-worn paper.  He placed it on her desk.

“I rather thought you taught me,” Charlie said, his gaze narrowed.  “Your parting note eight years ago certainly didn’t mince words.  Koya, why would you break my heart so brutally?”

Koya gasped, staring at the old letter on her desk.

***

To be continued….Thanks so much for reading *_*

Previous Chapter

100 days Writing AdventureDay 9 – Trudging along, clocking the word count.  Around Nine hundred words, that is a blessing as always.  Today was good.  Have a wonderful Friday tomorrow!

Koya’s Choice – 16 – Day 8

16 – Best Friends say it like it is.

Early the next morning, Koya stared at the back flat tire on her Mazda a sigh escaping.  Of course, her day would start like this.  It was six in the morning, the road quiet, with no one to ask for help this early in the morning.  Shaking her heard at the situation, she reached up and held her braids in a ponytail.  Walking around to the boot of her car, she popped it open and reached in for the jack and spare tire.  Thankfully, she always had her car serviced and the spare tire was good.

She took off her heels and changed into white rubber shoes she kept in the boot.  She was five minutes from home, but there was no need to trouble anyone there.  It would only waste her time, and throw her off schedule.

Taking the jack, she placed it under her car and concentrated on lifting her back tire.  Her father had shown her how to change a tire.  Too worried she’d be helpless on the road, he had thought it a good skill to have.  She was fitting the new tire when another car stopped behind hers, interrupting her concentration.  Without looking up, she listened as the driver opened his door and she called out.

Niko sawa,” she said.  “Almost done.”

“You always liked the do-it-yourself policy,” Charles Dhali said behind her.

Koya looked up in surprise.  Damn it, he was the last person she wanted to see.

Charlie stood a few feet away looking neat in a navy blue suit.  His driver beside him.

“Isn’t it too early for you to be awake?” Koya asked, not stopping what she was doing.

She pushed the tire in tighter and reached for a bolt.  She gasped when she was swiftly pulled up, and the bolt taken from her fingers.

“Koya,” Charlie said, moving her a few steps back.  “I have missed your sarcasm.”

“What are you doing?” she demanded when Charlie handed the bolt to his driver.

The man was already quickly fitting her tire and turning the bolts in quick motions.

“I was fixing that.”

“You were,” Charlie said.  “Now you’re getting help.  I don’t remember you being so stubborn.”

“People change,” Koya said, pulling away from him.

Two women walked by, their gazes curious, Koya winced.  A few more minutes and this incident would be the breakfast news on Ndwaru Road.  She cursed under her breath.

“Why did you stop?” she complained.

“I’d never walk away from you when you need help,” Charlie said.  “Koya, I want a chance to talk to you.”

“I don’t want to talk to you.”

Koya walked around the crouching driver and opened the front passenger seat.  She rummaged in her bag, retrieving wet wipes after a second.  Taking one towel, she used it to clean her hands.

“You don’t want to, or you’re afraid?” Charlie asked, coming to stand beside her.

His proximity more than she could handle today.  She had spent last night working at giving her heart the chance to move on.  Kim’s kiss while not earth-shattering, was warm and kind.  She had promised to give him a try.  Maybe, warm and kind was what she needed.  

If so, she definitely shouldn’t be appreciating how intoxicating Charlie’s cologne was, or how he consistently refused to adhere to personal space rules.

Dumping the dirty wet wipe into a small paper bag from the glove compartment, she closed her hand bag and reached up to let her braids down.  She escaped Charlie again, walking around to the trunk to get her heels.

“Koya—,”

Charlie followed her.

“I’m done, Sir,” the driver said, saving her.  The man picked up the flat tire and jack.  She moved away so that he could put them in her boot.

“What’s your name?” she asked the man.

“Kuria.”

Koya smiled.

“Thank you, Kuria.  You’ve saved me.”

Kuria nodded, giving her a small grin before he headed back to the large black SUV Charlie used.

“Do you smile at every man you meet?” Charlie asked, as she wore her heels.

“Just the nice ones,” Koya answered.

Picking up her rubber shoes, she put them back in the boot and closed it.

“Thank you for stopping—,”

Charlie moved to stay her progress to the driver’s side.

“Koya, the more you push me away, the more I’m going to search you out.  So, once again, meet me for lunch, dinner, hell even coffee.”

“I don’t want to,” Koya said.  “I told you on Saturday.  You and I are over.  I don’t want to see you, or spend time with you.  Leave me alone, Charlie.”

“Is that how you want to play this?” Charlie asked, when she shrugged his hold on her left arm off.

In answer to his question, she opened her door and slid in to the driver’s side.  She waved at Kuria, and started the car.  Seconds later, she pressed her foot down on the gas and sped off like the devil was chasing her.

***

Charlie watched the Mazda speed away and grimaced as Koya swerved to miss a bump on the road.  She couldn’t even try to be careful.  He was losing his mind worrying about her.  Shaking his head, he went to his car and got in the back seat.

Getting his cell phone, he dialed Archer.

“Did the contract arrive?” he asked when Archer answered.

“Yes.  She signed the five year contract with Mahali Travel.”

“Good,” he smiled and ended the call.

Fine, if Koya wouldn’t give him time, he would simply have to take it from her.

***

At lunch, Koya found herself seated across Ashi upstairs at the Green Corner restaurant.  Ashi’s wedding preparations continued: chaotic, endless and taxing.  The joys of marriage so beautifully wrapped in a nutshell.

“I have settled the catering, flowers, venue and entertainment,” Ashi counted down on her list.  “Kim and Nic will deal with transportation.”

Koya got a receipt from her handbag and handed it over to Ashi.  Ashi took the receipt, as she sipped her fresh mango juice.

“The receipt covers invitation cards, guest card names and all other printing you needed,” Koya said.  “The delivery will be made tomorrow to your house.  Looks like the wedding is ready.”

“Except the bridesmaid dresses,” Ashi complained.  She stirred her juice with her straw.  “You really won’t wear lime green?”

“Ashi, I love you, but we’re not wearing that color.  Choose another one.”

“The wedding colors are forest green and white.”  Ashi sat back in her seat.  “White is obviously out of the question.”

“I can work with forest green,” Koya said.

“Great, we’ll talk to the tailor tomorrow morning,” Ashi said, marking it in the diary at her elbow.  “So…now that my wedding is taking shape, how about you tell me what you decided about Kim?”

Koya reached for her orange juice and took a healthy sip.  She stared out the windows at the busy parking lot behind the KCB bank and wondered if she could get a way with a lie.

Her date with Kim had gone well.  Kim dropped her off at home at around ten o’clock, leaving her with a chaste kiss on her cheek.  She had fun.  The cooking, the laughing, the stars.  How easy it was for Kim to make her laugh.

Only one small fault, she thought.

She met Ashi’s gaze now, thinking about Kim’s kiss.  Her heart beat had sped up,  but not in excitement…no…she’d felt nothing.  It scared her to feel nothing, so she’d let Kim kiss her, her eyes closed, afraid of betraying the shallow depths inside her.

To feel warmth instead of passion….kisses weren’t meant to be so flat, she thought.

She knew, after all, Charlie’s kisses had driven her crazy.  Hell, she was still obsessing over the scent of his cologne this morning.  Koya shook her head at the insanity in her head.

“I can’t do it,” Koya confessed to Ashi in a whisper.

She didn’t want to hurt Kim.

“You mean you don’t want to give Kim a chance.” Ashi adjusted, leaning her elbows on the table, moving closer so that she studied Koya.  “You and Kim are perfect.  I know you don’t see it, but I do.  He’s been in love with you for a while.  He’s a guy who does everything he can for you.”

“I like him as a friend,” Koya said.  “He seemed so happy last night, I couldn’t say anything.”

Ashi stuck the receipt Koya had given her into her purse.  She stood up and picked up her set of shopping bags and handbag.

“I have something to say to you and this is not the place,” Ashi stated.

Koya reached for the bill, paid it and stood up, taking her own set of shopping bags.  She followed Ashi down the stairs and out the restaurant onto the busy street.  Ashi led the way to the parking lot.  They’d used Ashi’s grey Toyota SUV today.  Ashi unlocked the back and dumped their shopping bags on the backseat.  She slammed the back passenger closed and turned to Koya.

“What do you want to tell me?” Koya asked.

Ashi leaned on the driver’s door.

“Koya, I’ve been your friend for as long as I can remember—,”

“Are you going to start a lecture in the middle of town?”

“You’re living in a shell,” Ashi said, glaring at her.  “You don’t let anyone in, you’ve decided what happened with Charlie will happen again.  I’m worried about you.  Quit acting like a nun and let go, for god’s sake.  Life is short.”

“I’m no nun,” Koya protested, looking around the busy parking lot.  “Not all of us are lucky like you.  We don’t have incredible Nic’s waiting for us.”

“Man bashing will get you nowhere with me.  You not dating is about you and the issues in your head.  Kim has been super patient, and now that he’s made a move, you’re acting like an idiot.  Friendship is a gift, Koya.”

“Are you done?” Koya asked.

“No.”  Ashi glared harder.  “I wanted to tell you that you do like Kim.  More than friends, otherwise you would never have let him kiss you.  So stop lying to yourself.  I’m done now.  We can go.”

Ashi pushed off the car and opened the driver’s door.  She got in and slammed the door closed.  Koya stood staring at her, then laughed.  There was nothing else to do when Ashi got this way.

Straightening her pale blue blouse over her jeans, she walked around to the other side and got into the front passenger side.  Ashi was busy messing around with the radio.

“Do you still want to go back to the office?” Ashi asked, her tone more friendly.

“Yes.  I need to sign LPOs and Hana left for Diani.”

“That sounds like loads of fun,” Ashi started the car.  “You should have gone with her.”

“Next time,” Koya promised.  “How are your parents taking the wedding arrangements?”

“The sagas continue.  Nic’s dad and mom are coming to visit on Saturday.  I’m afraid my extended relatives will show up with more hidden demands.”

“Like your uncle last time when he asked for a crate of booze?” Koya laughed.  “Everyone wants a piece of your dowry.”

“You have no idea—,” Ashi said.

***

**Niko Sawa – I’m fine.

Thank you for reading *_*….to be continued.

Previous Chapter

100 days Writing AdventureDay 8 – Friends in stories and the roles they play…I loved this one because I love writing Ashi and how there she has been for Koya.  It’s hard to find a connection to trust that long…so Day 8 was quite a fun write. I muddle along…

Koya’s Choice – 15 – Day 7

Chapter 15 – Familiar, and terrifying normal

“Lift your arms,” Kim said, and Koya stepped back from the wooden table.

She smiled when Kim expertly wrapped an apron around her waist.  He tied it at the back and kissed her cheek.

“Okay,” he said and she stepped back to the table.  She smiled when Kim skip danced to the pitmeat cooking on the grill.  “Bet you didn’t expect to cook your own dinner.”

Koya laughed.

She popped a slice of salty tomato into her mouth and pointed her knife at him.

“You fooled me with the epic suit and red rose.”

“It’s not that bad,” Kim said, grinning at her.  “Look, open skies, beautiful scenery, nothing but stars.”

Koya winked and finished slicing the tomatoes.  She couldn’t deny it, Kim’s preferred venue was gorgeous.  Kim had borrowed the place from a friend.  A private property in Ngong undergoing the last stages of construction.  The backyard was artfully landscaped: wooden benches and chairs on soft green grass.  Her toes begged to sink into the green.  The barbecuing pit was in the middle of the yard and came complete with a charcoal grill and work tables.  Koya loved the setting.  She envied the eventual owners.

The self-service dinner was very Kim.  He loved barbeques.  She watched him slice meat on a board, cutting it into pieces, then serving on two plates.  She finished with the tomatoes, cilantro and cucumbers.  Placing them on an oval plate, she took them to a table on the grassy patch.  In minutes, dinner was ready, and Kim helped her remove the apron.  He disappeared in the house, and she sat on one of the benches, staring at the starry sky.

Dinner was enjoyable.  Kim was comfortable.  She laughed and ate…way too much.  She teased him as much as he teased her.  When she removed her shoes to walk on the grass, he didn’t bat an eyelash and joined her.  After a while, they sat on the grass staring at the stars. Her head on Kim’s lap, his hands braced back.

She studied him as he stared at the stars.  A lifetime worth of memories filled her thoughts.  Kim had seen her cry over spilt milk on the way from the shop when she’d been sixteen.  He laughed at her then.  Then the time Charlie left her…Kim had scolded her for crying too hard.  Telling her it wasn’t the end of the world.  Of course, there was two years ago, when she lost her father.  That time, Kim held her tight and murmured soothing words, allowing her to cry as much as she wanted.

She saw it now.  How deep his support had been, how faithful, how hard he stood by her.  He was woven into her life.

“What are you thinking about?” Kim asked, and she blinked realizing he was watching her.

“Nothing,” she said, giving him a small smile.  “Dinner was delicious.  Thanks.”

“Now that you got your meat,” Kim said, touching her braids.  “Are you ready to talk about us?”

Us, now there was a word.

Koya shifted so that she was on her left side, staring at the barbeque pit and the fire still burning there.  Kim stroked his fingers through her braids.  The touch was comforting.

“Kim,” she started.

“Don’t say no,” Kim said.  “You have a bad habit of making abrupt decisions on personal issues.”

“Is that so?” Koya chuckled.  “You know way too much about me.”

“Do I?’ Kim smiled.  “Isn’t that a plus for you?”

“Hard to tell,” Koya said.  “I know too much about you too, Kim.”

“I consider that a plus,” Kim replied, his tone heavy with promise.

Thinking back, Koya could suddenly see Kim’s heart in all he had done for her…with her…She was terrified Kim cared a lot more than she did for him.  She had power over him.

“You’re afraid,” Kim said, his tone a whisper.

“Can’t help it,” Koya said.

“Do you need time?” Kim asked.

“I always need time.”

“So you know,” Kim said, touching her chin with gentle fingers.  He turned her head so that she was looking at him.  “Don’t feel pressured.  I can wait.”

That was it though, seeing him waiting for her…how long he had been waiting, she thought.  She couldn’t help feeling a tad guilty.

She held his gaze.

“We’ll always be friends first,” Kim said, rubbing her lower lip, his thumb rough against her skin.  “I know it won’t happen overnight.  I just need you to promise to give us a chance.  Will you?”

The deep hope in his gaze had her nodding.  His delighted smile made her happy, and when he leaned down and kissed her, she closed her eyes, her heart beating hard.

***

Thank you for reading….to be continued –>

Previous Chapter

100 days Writing AdventureDay 7 – Finally getting into the nitty gritty of it…challenge today was clock 600 words of a story you are working on. Cheers, Koya’s Choice – 15 is up!

Koya’s Choice – 14

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.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” Koya snapped.  “Let’s just go.”

“You’re mad.”

“I’m not.”

“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.

She blinked.

Kim scoffed.

“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.

“Kim—

“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.

“Koya.”

“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.”

Hana gaped.

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?”

Koya shrugged.

“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.

“Yes.”

“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!

Previous Chapter

Koya’s Choice – 13

13 – Hidden Secrets & Changing Relationships

Ashley Dhali swept her finger over the photos on her pad with reserved judgment.  She was in her office at the Dhali estate.  Her assistant stood a few feet away from her desk clearly worried about her reaction.  

She frowned and shook her head.  

She wasn’t angry.  She settled back in the comfortable leather office chair, surprised.  She really wasn’t angry. In fact, she hadn’t thought about Koya Kalahari in years.

Ashley glanced at the pictures on the screen again.

Charlie stood too close to a beautiful woman in a long green dress.  Koya had matured into an elegant creature.  What worried Ashley was the expression on Charlie’s face.

She placed her pad on the desk and met her assistant’s gaze.

“Where was this?”

“The Power to Women gala held at Riruta church on Saturday.”

So that’s where Charlie had gone.

He’d gone to check on his old flame.

Hunting, she scoffed.  “That punk.”

“Miss Kalahari is the foundation’s Chairlady.  Dhal Corporation has donated one million shillings to their community center project.  They foundation is building the center on a plot close to Miss Kalahari’s home.”

Koya seemed to have found a foothold in the power jungle.

Ashley stared at her pad for a full minute then made a snap decision.

“Call Adele Kouga,” Ashley said, remembering the M.P.’s wife was the Vice- Chairlady. “Make an appointment with her for tomorrow morning.  Tell Nora to start preparations for a dinner party on Friday night.  The guest list is as usual.  Make sure you add Koya Kalahari to the list.  Let’s see if she can swim with the sharks.”

“Yes, Madam,” her assistant left her office fast, shutting the door.

Alone, Ashley stood and walked to a chest of drawers against the wall to her left.  The top drawer was secured with a small keypad.  She punched in the password and the lock system disengaged.  Pulling open the top drawer, she removed a sizable lacquered box, placing it on top of the chest.

Ashley removed a bunch of letters she’d kept hidden for eight years.  Taking the oldest one, she stretched it open and stared at her son’s familiar writing.  Her gaze on the heartfelt words written…

She wasn’t sorry for the decision she’d made eight years ago.  She really couldn’t be sorry, because it would mean undoing so much.  Dhal Corp wouldn’t exist, Charlie wouldn’t have turned out the way he had.  Folding the old letter, she stuck it with the rest and returned them into the box.  She locked the box away in the drawer and strode out of her office.

Regrets were for weak minds.

The best she could do now was get to know Koya Kalahari.

***

“Mahali travel would like us to create a campaign promoting their Diani, Malindi and Nyali packages,” Koya said, reading through the requirements Mahali emailed her.  “We need site visits, Hannah.  I’m leaving that to you.”

“I’m in for a trip to Diani.”  Hannah grinned as she took the pictures of the beach cottages Mahali Travel used to host their clients.  “I see myself here for a month.”

“Haha, there is a two-week limit on the project, cousin,” Koya said as she sat back in her seat.  She swiveled it from side to side, twirling her pen.  “Don’t get lost down there.”

“Hmm,” Hannah met her gaze.  “This will be a fun campaign to create.  I have a billion ideas already forming.”

“I’m sure,” Koya said with a small smile.

She stopped swiveling her chair, and leaned her elbows on her desk.  She signed off on the budget the accountant had laid out and passed the file to Hannah.

Hannah stood to leave, and then paused, studying Koya.

Koya raised her eyebrow.

“What?”

“Are you alright?” Hannah asked.  “You’ve been like a zombie since the gala on Saturday.  You drank yourself to sleep that night. Yesterday, you agreed to wearing lime green at Ashi’s wedding without flinching.  I’m worried.”

“She seemed so set on the lime green for the bridesmaids,” Koya said.  “I didn’t want to argue with her.”

“I’m counting on you to change her mind.  I refuse to look like a bright fruit in the name of a wedding.”

Koya laughed.

“Fine, I’ll take her out to lunch,” Koya said.  “I’m fine, Hannah, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Hannah frowned and took her seat again. 

“Koya, we all understand that things are a bit tough for you—.”

“Hey,” Koya protested.  “This is exactly what I want to avoid.  Nothing is hard, Hannah.  Charlie can’t dictate how happy or sad I am.  Life goes on.”

“Sounds to me like you are trying to convince yourself you’re fine.”  Hannah stood and waved the file she held.  “Thanks for this.  I’m off to Diani for some work and play.  Meanwhile, please think try to live a little, cousin.  Life is not all about work, you know.”

Alone in her office, Koya swung her chair around to stare out her office windows.  She tried to get a hold of the anger rising up at odd times of the day: an old anger she’d never managed to destroy.  She kept busy to ignore it, but it was constant and ready to burst out these days.  Charlie had looked well, too well.  His intention to get back with her after the horrendous letter he’d written was insane.  Who did he think he was? 

She’d come in to the office this Monday morning ready to bury her head in work and forget him, but apparently work wasn’t helping.  Her cell phone buzzed on her desk and she reached for it.

“Kalahari,” she answered.

“Come out and play,” Kim said into her ear.

“I’m busy.”

“You’re staring out the windows brooding, come on, don’t be a bore.  It’s Monday.”

“Most people would think you’re the crazy one.  Mondays are serious business days.”

“Not for me,” Kim chuckled.  “Change into jeans and a t-shirt.  Let’s go glass shopping.  I have a client who wants fancy art on glass.  You’re good with that kind of thing…how about it?”

“Will you pay me commission?” Koya asked, although her blood was already singing at the thought of a road trip out of the city.

“A steak dinner,” Kim offered.

“Meat?” Koya laughed.  “I guess I’m that kind of girl.  Fine, let me change.  Where do you want to pick me up?”

“I’m downstairs, hurry down,” Kim replied.

Koya got up from her seat and looked down at the parking lot below.  She grinned when she saw Kim’s familiar black four-wheel drive pickup.

“Five minutes,” she promised, rushing into the bathroom attached to her office.

She kept a mini wardrobe on a shelf in the bathroom.  She changed out of her white and red skirt suit into blue skinny jeans and blue t-shirt.  Pulling on matching rubber shoes, she held her braids up in a ponytail and hurried out of the bathroom.

She made it downstairs in six minutes, but who was counting.  Kim grinned at her as she got into the passenger side.  He gave her a once over and pointed at her neck.

She touched the gold necklace she’d been wearing to match her elegant skirt and blouse.

“Oops,” she smiled and unsnapped it.  She slipped it into her handbag and wore her seat belt.

Kim gave her an approving wink and started the truck.  He tuned the radio to a rock station, turning up the volume.  Koya loved the drive out of the city, a sense of freedom always settled over her.  Glancing at Kim, she smiled because he always knew how to lift her spirits.

***

To be continued…>>

Thanks for reading!

Previous Chapters

Koya’s Choice – 12

12 – The Past starts to take A Backseat

Koya let go of Kim’s arm and stalked forward, intent on punching Charlie.  The bastard, how dare he—

“Hold it,” Kim said, tightening his arm around her waist.  He restrained her against him.

She struggled for a minute but then stopped when she realized people were watching them.

“Can I let go now?” Kim asked.

Tears filled her eyes.  Koya nodded and turned to face Kim so that her face was hidden from the curious crowd.

“I hate him for doing this to me.  He is such an arrogant idiot.  How dare he?”

Kim gripped her upper arms and gave her a little shake.

“You don’t to do this here,” Kim said.  “Suck it up, breathe in and take control.”

Koya wiped tears from the corners of her eyes and took in a deep breath.  Her stomach hurt.  She wished she didn’t have to be here at this gala, but she couldn’t leave.  It would be rude to their other guests.

“He made me this way,” she said, taking in several deep gulps of air.  “How can I miss him and at the same time hate him so much.  Is that normal?  I don’t think I’m normal.”

She pressed her right hand over her heart.  Her heartbeat was racing faster than a bird’s, threatening to jump out and rush after that idiot.

“You’re doing fine,” Kim said, his tone gentle.

She looked up, met his gaze.

“You’re fine,” he repeated.

Kim seemed sure so she nodded.

“You’re right.  I’m strong.”

“The strongest woman I’ve met,” Kim assured her.  

Koya stilled then, reading more in Kim’s gaze than she wanted.  She wondered if it was alright to hold on to him when she knew she couldn’t offer anything back.  Kim was always so steady.  Such a rock…

“Can you do this?” Kim asked, he rubbed her arms, the motion familiar, meant to console her.  “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll get Ashi.”

Koya nodded and took a step back away from Kim.  Her gaze remained on him as he walked away in search of Ashi.

***

Ashi and Hana stayed by Koya’s side as though she were an invalid that needed constant care.  Whenever Ashi saw Charlie move close, she maneuvered Koya away from him: she and Hana worked well.

Koya couldn’t help laughing when Hana pressed pistachio ice cream into her hands.

“You guys are crazy,” Koya said, taking a small bite of her ice cream.  “I’m not going to melt just coz he’s close by.”

“Could have fooled me,” Ashi teased.

Koya ate her ice cream, her gaze never straying from Charlie, though she pretended not to watch him.  Their guests gravitated to him, as moths would to an open flame.  No doubt wanting to get an in with the budding leader of the dark world, she scoffed.  

She swallowed a huge bite of ice cream and almost chocked.  Jeez, she needed to find a solution about that darned check, there was no way she was going to receive it from Charlie.

As the gala came to a close, Koya stood on the dais giving a thank you speech.  Her gaze settled on Adele who sat at the front, her headdress so huge, she couldn’t be missed in the crowd, and an idea struck.

She smiled.

“Your generosity has made this gala successful,” Koya said to their guests.  “On behalf of the members of Power to Women Foundation, I want to thank you for raising money enough to fund our community center for a year.  The foundation gives the honor of receiving the largest donation of the day to the lady who has worked with tireless dedication.  She made this gala possible today.  Please welcome the Vice- Chairlady, Mrs. Adele Kouga.”

Adele beamed as she got up amid applause.  She went up the dais, followed by the executives from Dhal Corp, headed by Charlie.  Koya took her seat beside Ashi and watched Adele receive the one million shillings dummy check from a grim Charlie.

***

After the simple ceremony ended, the gala guests left at their leisure.  Charlie lingered, watching Koya work with the staff to undo tents, pack chairs and tables into a huge truck.  She’d avoided him all day, instead sticking to Kim, Hana and Ashi, allowing them to corset her.

Charlie scowled.  Koya’s escapism annoyed him.  He was not leaving until she talked to him.

***

“Charlie is still here,” Ashi said when the field was clear and only one event truck was left.  “What do you want us to do?”

Koya gripped the envelope she held and sneaked a glance behind her.  Charlie stood by the Zuri Events truck, talking to the driver.  She sighed.

“Go get the car,” Koya said, “I’ll meet you.”

She walked the few steps to Charlie and the driver with false determination.

“Thank you guys,” she said to the Zuri Events driver, handing him the envelope she held.  It had their pay.  “Drive safe.”

“You’re welcome,” the driver smiled at her and started the truck with a final wave.

Then she was alone with Charlie once the truck drove off.

“I’ve avoided you all day.”

“I noticed,” Charlie said, and then went silent for a moment.  “I came because I wanted to see you, Koya.  I missed you.  There isn’t a day that passed I didn’t wonder how you were.  You’ve always been important to me.”

“How lucky for me,” Koya said.  “I’m sure your dogs have the same consideration.”

Charlie winced.

“You were always so very sarcastic.  I missed that too.”

Koya sighed.

“What do you want from me, Charlie?  A hug?  A ‘Hey, welcome back, the world is still as you left it?’”

“Any response is fine, Koya.  You’re giving me nothing here.  And I see for myself that the world is different now.  You and Kim seem close.”

“We’ve been through a lot together.”

“And we haven’t?”

“You threw that away, Charlie.  Not me,” Koya said.

“I’m back now.”

Koya lifted her hand. 

“Stop right there.  I don’t want to hear more.”

“Why?” Charlie asked.  “Because you’re still angry at me?  I made a mistake leaving, I admit that, but I’m telling you I’m here now to fix it.  Fix us.  I want us back together, Koya.”

“You’re about eight years too late,” Koya said with a soft scoff.  “I don’t deny we were great.  With you, I thought I’d be happy for the rest of my life.  But, that was another time and place.  That girl doesn’t exist anymore.”

Koya straightened her shoulders, stood a little taller, and held out her right hand to Charlie.  He took it, confusion on his face.

“Welcome back, Mr. Dhali,” she said.  “Thank you for your donation.  The foundation appreciates it.  Good luck on all your other enterprises.  Have a good evening.”

She let go of his hand, gave him a short nod and turned.  She was glad Ashi had brought the car closer, so she didn’t have to walk too far.  Reaching the green Sedan, she entered the back passenger seat with as much grace as she could master.  She didn’t look back at Charlie.

***

To be continued….Thanks for Reading!!

Koya’s Choice – 11

Koya’s Choice – 11

11 – I Miss You, I Hate You, I Love You

Koya glanced up to see Adele and a man dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans walking toward them.

“Oh no, here comes Addie,” she said with a groan.

Kim chuckled and bumped her arm with his shoulder.

“She’s harmless,” he teased.

Koya shook her head and would have responded but Kim held on to her hand and pushed off the table.

“Koya,” he said his tone too quiet.

Frowning at his serious voice, she looked at him and found his gaze focused on the man with Adele.  Returning her attention to the two approaching, she studied the man walking beside Adele.

He moved with assured confidence.  He laughed and she gripped Kim’s arm in recognition.

It couldn’t be.

Her heart filled with apprehension, it felt as though her heart was going to burst out of her chest.  A sudden urge to run in the opposite direction had her shaking.

“Koya,” Adele greeted with excitement.  Her eyes were shining in triumph.  She’d finally found a weakness.  Koya would have happily strangled her right then.

“Guess who has come to our little gala.  Mr. Charles Dhali came in person.  Can you imagine?  I was just thanking him for his generous contribution today.  I insisted that you would want to thank him too.”

Koya was sure Adele was put in this world to torture her.

In which planet would she want to thank Charlie for anything?  Charlie, the bastard who chewed on her heart and spat it out like garbage.  This Charlie with a smug smile on his ridiculously handsome face….

What would he do if she shoved the bunch of flowers on the stand beside him into his mouth?

“Hello, Koya Kalahari.  How have you been?” Charlie greeted in a voice that seemed to travel through her.

“Oh, you know each other,” Adele said, still smiling.  “Good, Mr. Dhali, I will leave you in Koya’s capable hands.  We shall talk later.”

Adele patted Charlie’s arm and walked away with quick strides.  Koya could barely breathe.  She doubted she could keep standing if it weren’t for the tight grip she had on Kim’s arm.  How was it possible that Charlie still had such power over her?

“Don’t I even get a hello?”

“What are you doing here?” Koya heard herself ask.  Her anger was so strong; she feared she would break in half at the force of it.

“It’s a gala,” Charlie replied with that stupid smile that showed off perfect teeth.  It seemed his love for sweet things hadn’t destroyed them yet.

Koya turned away from Charlie then.  She needed to get a hold of the bubbling emotions inside her.

“At least call before you show,” Kim said, his arm going around Koya’s waist.  She was glad for his strength.

“Best friend, you won’t give me a hug either?” Charlie asked his tone full of sarcasm.

“It’s difficult.  We haven’t been best friends for so long,” Kim said, his tone tinged with mild amusement.

Charlie’s gaze narrowed.

“Well, sorry to surprise you with my presence.  But—, I really wanted to see you guys.”

“You chose the wrong time,” Kim said.

“It’s never the wrong time with friends,” Charlie countered. 

“Strange, how long has it been, Charlie, since you left—

“Leave, Charlie,” Koya interrupted Kim.

She couldn’t take the sight of him.  She just couldn’t listen to him, with that voice—so many memories returning.

“Go back to where you came from,” she said.

“Come on, Koya,” Charlie said with a smile.  “I’m starting to have fun.”

“Please,” Koya heard herself beg.

Nausea rose and she took in air to control it.  She’d be darned if she lost control in front of Charlie.

“You don’t have to contribute here.  Your money is not needed, so leave.”

“Ask me anything else,” Charlie said.

“I don’t want anything else,” Koya said.

Koya was sure if she could physically carry Charlie out of this field, she would.  But then there was the intense need to run into his arms and hug him, how she’d missed him, missed seeing him…she shook her head.  The best thing was for him to leave.

***

Did she need to keep holding on to Kim?

Charlie scowled.

It was taking all he had not to walk up to her and grab her hand away from Kim’s bulging bicep.  They made such a pretty picture, it annoyed him.  The tall muscular man, supporting the graceful damsel in distress.  Charlie’s gaze met Koya’s angry eyes and he adjusted his thoughts.  Damsel wasn’t right; she looked more like a furious valkyrie with fire burning deep inside.  God she was beautiful.  Her skin brown and warm in the sun, her braids falling down her back, the wind teased them gently.  Her tantalizing figure wrapped in green fabric, made him think of mermaids in the deep sea, seducing men to their deaths.

The woman was driving him crazy.

What did she mean by leave?  He wasn’t going anywhere when another man was staking a claim on his territory.  Thinking of her in Kim’s arms was going to drive him to murder.

Were they together, he wondered.

She looked comfortable by Kim’s side.  And the way Kim’s arm wrapped around her waist, there was no awkwardness.  Rage blew through him like a storm.

He looked around the busy field and gave Koya a small smile.

“I’m not making this easy for you two.  I’m staying all day, my love.  You’d better practice your smile, you’re going to have to flash it when I’m handing you a check for your precious foundation.”

Turning away before he punched Kim for his betrayal, Charlie headed for the drinks tent hoping they were selling something stronger than juice and punch.

***

Thanks for reading! ^_^

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