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LENNY (PART III)

April 23, 2012 7 comments

When I wrote the first part of Lenny I never planned to come up with a sequel. But there are a few readers that loved it so much they relentlessly insisted on a continuation. I therefore came up with the second part and although I intended to end the story there, I couldn’t manage to wrap it up. It recently occurred to me that I could do a story on Lenny at least once a month and see where it goes. Fans, here is part three.

When Valentine said that she was glad she had joined Lenny for a drink that evening, he took it as a casual compliment. He simply grunted as he emptied a beer bottle into his glass. But when he turned towards Valentine, her eyes were fixed on him. There was an air of sultriness in them. It’s like she was looking into his eyes, but not quite staring. That’s when Lenny realized that her compliment was not a whimsical one. Words deserted him. His mouth remained agape. Her soul-penetrating eyes seemed to lure him towards her. Her slightly parted lips were inviting. He was enchanted.

It all started earlier that day when Lenny phoned Valentine at lunch hour. She sounded downcast citing that she was having a bad day at work. She jestingly said that the devil had possessed her boss and he was giving her hell. Lenny told her that he had a brilliant idea that would help relieve all that stress. It involved buying her a drink after work.

She agreed, almost half-heartedly.

After lunch, the three hours between two and five seemed overstretched. Lenny would glance at his watch every few minutes. He didn’t get much work done that afternoon. He was utterly distracted. At some point he gave up on trying to be productive and resigned to assessing bars. Despite the fact that it was a bad time of the month, he settled on an upscale one. Being a Wednesday, overcrowding was not likely to be an issue. He simply wanted a bar and restaurant with a welcoming, warm setting. Once decided, he texted Valentine the name of the place and said he would be waiting for her at the balcony.

At quarter to 5pm, he couldn’t take it anymore. He snuck out of the office and drove to the rendezvous which was only a few blocks from Valentine’s workplace. Half an hour later, he was there. He walked through the restaurant on the ground floor toward a flight of stairs, went up and took a sit at a table on the balcony. An attendant approached him and he asked for his favorite beer. He then took out his phone and called Valentine. She said she was submitting a report then she would be on her way.

Lenny was excited. He had not seen her since the encounter at the supermarket one and a half months ago. He called her frequently but he never once asked to see her. Perhaps, the nasty incidence at the restaurant still haunted him. That evening, he consoled himself with the fact that impromptu plans always worked out well for him. He gazed down at the bustling streets hoping to spot his date from a distance. His mind raced as he tried to picture how she would look like.

Twenty minutes later, he spotted her from a distance as she walked briskly towards the bar. Even from afar, she looked elegant. She was in a pantsuit, stiletto heels and a trench coat that she had left open. A coach bag hang on her left shoulder. Lenny spotted men turning for a second glance as she walked by nonchalantly. He broke a smile.

Her face lightened up when she saw him. He stood up as she walked towards him and took her in a warm embrace. The fragrance of her perfume was subduing. She placed her handbag on the table and proceeded to take off her coat. He realized he should have been the one to take it off. But he would have many more chances to impress her as the evening progressed.

As they both took their seats, Lenny jokingly said that he hoped Valentine had not set her boss’ office on fire before leaving the workplace. He said he didn’t want any cops interrupting their evening. She let out a hearty laughter before saying that the thought had crossed her mind. She then asked him if he knew any hit man she could hire.

Whenever Lenny was out on a date, he had a goal in mind. His only goal was to take the girl to bed within the shortest time possible. Every statement that came from his mouth was tailored towards achieving this target. He would create a whole new persona in a bid to seduce his date. He would brag about things he had and those that only existed in his dreams. He never meant anything he said and feigned interest in his dates.

However, on this particular night the only mission he had was to spend time with Valentine. Watching her enjoy herself melted his heart. As much as he wouldn’t show it, every time Valentine burst out laughing he was tempted to perform the Windeck dance. Whenever she spoke, he would listen attentively and ask follow up questions. Even when she talked about her cat Tommy. All in all, Valentine was charming and she spoke with conviction. Listening to her talk was sweet music to Lenny’s ears.

By 9pm, the rain was coming down in sheets. Streetlamps illuminated the raindrops resulting in a spectacular spectacle. The ambiance at the balcony was serene. The music was not so loud as to impede conversation, but was loud enough for a little head bumping. The air was fresh and unadulterated. A light breeze caused a tingling sensation as it grazed the cheeks. Lenny had chosen the ideal spot.

It was all going smoothly. Valentine and Lenny were cherishing each other’s company. She was seated on his left with her face turned towards him and her chin resting on her palm, not as an expression of poignancy, but in an enthralled fashion. Lenny’s entire body was turned towards her. They shared stories ranging from life experiences to personal opinions and perceptions. Whenever Lenny spoke, Valentine would listen ardently, her eyes never leaving his face. She nodded, smiled and laughed as he engaged her. Occasionally she would instinctively reach for her glass for a sip of her cocktail.

And then she let it out. A simple expression that carried so much weight. It was not exactly what she said but how she said it that changed the course of the evening. As they sat there with their eyes locked, only one thing was going through Lenny’s mind. A strong force was impelling him towards her. He was like a canoe that was being drifted downstream by a strong current. His head inched closer to hers. When their lips were just a few inches apart, Valentine lowered her head. Lenny bit his lip and sat back on his seat. An uncomfortable silence followed.

Valentine cleared her throat and said that she needed to be on her way since she needed to be at work early the next day. She glanced at the bill and took out her purse but Lenny insisted that he would take care of it. He offered her a ride home but she declined claiming that it would be too much trouble for him since they lived on opposite sides of town.

They walked out of the bar without saying much. They approached a taxi and Lenny opened the back door. Before Valentine could get in, she turned to him. She pushed her hair out of her face, moved closer to him and put both her arms around his neck and hugged him tight. With her cheek against his, she whispered, “Thanks for a good time.” She then got into the cab and left.

Categories: Fiction

LENNY (PART TWO)

March 5, 2012 12 comments

Four months after writing my second post Lenny, I still get bashed by readers who found the ending to be too brutal. I therefore decided to come up with a sequel before mercenaries are sent for my head. I’m calling a truce.

Just like a ship diminishes as it sails toward the horizon, the disheartening occurrence with Valentine was slowly fading from Lenny’s mind. It had been four months and he was proud of the fact that he could now go for days without wallowing about her. He no longer felt like throwing himself off a cliff every time thoughts of Valentine crept into his mind.  It had taken time, but he was finally getting his mind back on track.

Well this was until one momentous Sunday afternoon when he bumped into her as he was shopping in a supermarket. He was at the rice section trying to pick out the best brand and just as he grabbed a bag from the shelf, a female voice behind him teased, “trust me, that one tastes like sorghum.”

Lenny had a response as he turned towards his adviser, “and what do I owe you for such invaluable…” The sight of Valentine made him freeze. He didn’t get to finish his statement. With his mouth agape, he stood there staring at her. His eyes were locked with hers. He soon came back to his senses and extended his hand to greet her.

“Wow Valentine… it’s nice… it’s… how… how are you doing? I didn’t expect to see you.”

They engaged in a little chitchat. It was awkward. At some point he told her that she looked fabulous. Valentine actually looked like she was auditioning for a makeover. She was in a track suit and some cheap sandals, not to mention that her hair looked like she’d just survived electrocution. He excused himself after an uncomfortable silence and walked away. He was tempted to pick up a china plate and smash it over his head.

As he drove home, his mind was clouded. He had his eyes fixed on the road but his mind was elsewhere. He steered the car through sheer instinct. His mind was still in the supermarket next to the rice aisle. He was thinking about the lady he had met. Her frame still lingered in his mind. He had noticed that she had grown significantly slimmer.

Once again, Valentine would become etched on Lenny’s mind. Despite the weight loss, she was still a goddess. Her smile was as heartwarming as ever; her eyes, as enchanting as the sunrise. She was still God’s finest work of art.

In an instant, an astounding realization rocked Lenny’s mind like a gigantic wave rocks a vessel. A realization so significant he impulsively stepped on the brakes, causing the car to swerve on the tarmac. He got the car under control and pulled over.

Lenny could not remember seeing the sparkling of the engagement ring on Valentine’s finger. He replayed his encounter again and again.  He was certain there was no ring on Valentine’s middle finger. Such a profound realization!

It was getting unbearably hot in the car. His underarm was soaked. He switched on the air conditioning and switched off the radio. He deliberated for about half an hour before getting back on the road. He had conceived a plan. He would call her that evening and confirm his suspicions.

That evening, he was watching the clock tick as he recited out loud what he had planned to say. His insides felt constricted. A feeling all too familiar. At exactly half past seven, he picked up his phone and scrolled down his phonebook. Much to his surprise, Valentines name was not in his list of contacts. At that point he remembered that day at the restaurant when he deleted it out of despair.

He sat back with hands clasped behind his head. He was frustrated.

He could remember some digits though. He picked up a pen and paper and wrote down the digits he could remember. After battling with his mind for a while, only one digit of the prefix was unclear to him. He however knew that there was the digit 2 somewhere. He decided to try his luck and start with the prefix 0722… He would then try 0721, 0720 and 0712. The first call was picked by a drunk man with a heavy Meru accent. The second and third calls were not successful either.

He was successful with the fourth call. After ringing twice, he was startled by Valentine’s voice.

“Hi Lenny! It’s nice to see your phone still works.”

Lenny was surprised to realize she had kept his number. He kept his cool and responded cleverly, “hey! I got it fixed so I could thank you for helping me out of my rice situation. This one you selected is so tasty I only had to sprinkle a pinch of salt over my white rice and I had myself a meal.”

Valentine let out a hearty laughter just like he had hoped.

Lenny then changed his tone to a more serious one and admitted that he had called her because he’d noticed something was different about her. He expressed that he’d noticed the missing ring then paused for a moment before asking Valentine if she was still engaged.

For a moment there was pin-drop silence. Valentine then cleared her throat. She was obviously struggling to find her words. Lenny waited eagerly to hear what she had to say. But when she finally managed to speak, she said she would rather not talk about it.

“I understand Valentine. I do.” Lenny said empathetically, “but believe it or not, I am in such tremendous anguish here. Just tell me if you are still seeing someone. That’s all I need to know.”

Valentine contemplated for some time and revealed that she was single. She said that she had not been seeing anyone for a while and she was comfortable that way.

Lenny thanked her for being honest with him. He had noticed how unhappy she sounded and before he hung up, he told her that he would make it his job to cheer her up every single day. He said that he would not just do it because he wanted her to be happy, but because making her happy was all he cared to do. He told her that he was glad they had met that afternoon, and concluded by saying that everything happens for a reason.

Ok, I have just realized I cannot complete the story in one post without it seeming rushed. Someday when I get inspired the story will continue.

Categories: Fiction

The woman at the bar

December 5, 2011 23 comments

“They say a woman ain’t supposed to do… what I’m about to do… but you so fine beau…” If you like Cecile like I do, then you know what that first line is all about. The song is called Home Tonight and she sings about luring a stranger from a bar and taking him home with her.

Sally had the same intentions. She always did on those Saturday nights when she felt the itch. She would go to a high end bar, sit pretty at the counter and trap her catch. Her striking looks and her captivating charm were her strongest assets. A flash of her smile attracted men like moths to a light bulb. But Sally had a dark side to her: She did not let herself get attached to any man. Once a man fulfilled her needs she would banish him. Depending on her mood, she would go as far as kicking him out in the middle of the night. She had a good job and enjoyed her independence. She enjoyed going for what she wanted and being in control made her feel powerful. She never saw any man for a second time.

This particular night, she was seated on a barstool at the counter sipping her cocktail and bumping her head to the music. She was in a jovial mood and was having a great time. She wore a short, red dress and her yellow thighs were hung out for the men to ogle at. Before her were several tots of brandy and vodka that had been bought by men seeking her attention. She only drank what she bought with her own money. Occasionally men would walk up to her and attempt to start a conversation. Sally would brush them off with a sneer on her face. She did not fancy being approached. She enjoyed instigating the whole thing. But so far, no one had caught her eye. She was a patient prowler though. She knew what she wanted and never settled for less. She fancied tall, confident men and was inclined to the smokers. She found smoking alluring.

A funny commercial on the screen before her had caught her attention when she heard a deep voice next to her ordering for shots of tequila. She turned to her left and saw this princely man standing next to him.

His nifty looks and his composed demeanor caught her eye. Sally had some brains on her and she could always come up with a line that would interest her target.

“Someone’s looking to get sloshed tonight huh.” She said as she sipped her drink.

“Pardon me?” He retorted.

“I hope you got yourself a designated driver,” she continued.

He chuckled and explained that the shots were not all his and pointed at three thirsty-looking chaps at a table in the middle of the bar.

“But I think you should be worried more about yourself,” he said as he gazed at the numerous shots on the counter before her.

She too explained herself. She knew the explanation would impress him. It did and he asked her to join him and the boys at the table, but she declined. She was a master at her game. She knew when to press on and when to hold back. Prince charming went back to his table. She would periodically steal a glance and whenever their eyes met, she would smile shyly and look away. She was determined to take him home with her, and she knew just the strings to pull.

Half an hour later, she was startled by the same deep voice.

“You’re not planning to have all that returned into the bottle, are you?” He asked while pointing at the shots.

He introduced himself as Allan.

Small talk ensued and when he asked her what she was doing all alone in a bar, she joked and said the bistro in her basement was under renovation. She extended her arm for the pack of cigarettes before her and pulled out two sticks. She offered him one and as she placed hers gently between her lips, he reached into the inside pocket of his coat for his lighter. And she sucked the stick in short bursts as he lit it. He then lit his. She was seated with her legs crossed facing him; and he was leaning on the counter facing her. She gazed into his eyes as they conversed, and she would randomly flip her hair or lick her lower lip flirtatiously.

Then out of the blue, she looked at him squarely in the eyes and told him the actual reason why she was in the bar. She told him she was looking for a man to accompany her to her house that night, and then watched him as he struggled to digest her words. He raised his brow, shook his head mildly and chuckled softly as he tapped the ash off the end of his cigarette into an ash tray. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear as she stroked his sinewy arms. In a soft tone, she told him that it gets quite lonely back at home, and she would cherish his company.

A song she fancied came on and she rose to her feet and invited Allan to dance. She took both his hands into hers and playfully swayed them side to side. She would then spin around and with her back on him, swirl her hips sensually. Moments later, she then turned around, pulled him closer and put his arms around her waist as she rested hers on his upper arms. She liked the smell of his cologne. And when she looked up at him, and he gave her an endearing smile, she leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the lips. He did not resist, but neither did he kiss her back. He simply took her kiss. She was relishing the night. She thought Allan would be an incredible conquest.

But her joy was short-lived.

When she took her seat, Allan did not lean onto the counter like he had done before. He took out his wallet, pulled out some notes, placed them in the glass that contained the bill, and said the last thing Sally had expected to hear.

With a face filled with remorse, he looked up at her and told her his fiancée was expecting him at home.

With that he gave her a peck her on the cheek and walked away. She could not believe what was transpiring. She was tempted pace up to him, tap him on the shoulder and smash a beer bottle on his face. But she knew he did not deserve that. She therefore sat there in disbelief. Tears welled in her eyes as she watched him disappear into the crowd towards the exit. She felt like she had been left at the altar. She was dejected. And as she wore her coat ready to call it a night, she made a resolution. She resolved to get her own man: A man she would call her own; a man that would never desert her.

Categories: Fiction Tags: ,

LENNY

November 7, 2011 14 comments

The afternoon was particularly chilly but droplets of sweat were beginning to form on Lenny’s forehead. The coffee in his mug was still at the brim and he constantly rubbed his palms against his knees. Mixed feelings of anxiety and ambivalence occupied his mind. No Lenny was not in the midst of some suspicious al-shabaab looking folks; he was just about to have lunch with a lady. But this was no ordinary lady. In fact the last time he had been nervous because of a girl was during puberty when his class teacher made him sit next to Miss Class six. At 28 years old, it was not his first date and for you to understand why he would be so nervous, I will have to take you back a couple of weeks.

Patrick and Lenny had been close friends since childhood and this particular day was the former’s farewell party. Patrick had always been quite the scholar since preparatory, and it did not come as a surprise when he announced that he would be going abroad to pursue his Masters. His party had brought friends together and Old school music played in the background as they chugged, chatted and giggled. Lenny clung to his friend. He was still trying to come into terms with the fact that it would be a whole year before he saw his former classmate and current drinkmate again. He would tell him how he never thought he would ever say the words “I will miss you” and end the sentence with “man”.

You see Lenny was the kind of guy that would not fail to notice a fine pair of legs passing by. He was the kind of guy that would spot a shapely behind from a mile away. He adored the female genus. But the night had been all about his departing friend. Patrick and Lenny shared many priceless memories, which they recollected with nostalgia that evening.

Well, that was until a few minutes past midnight when two ladies walked in. The one in front had applied her make-up too generously and walked like her stilettos were borrowed. She is irrelevant here. Lenny’s eyes were fixed on the one that followed. She was tall, about 5 feet 9 inches, her dark shoulder-length hair glistened under the dim lighting, her skin was chocolate and was without blemish. She donned a purple dress that rested freely on her curvy body. She had a confident, self-assured look on her that sent chills down Lenny’s spine.

He was distracted. His attention had suddenly shifted. His eyes were fixed on her like a lion stalking its prey. As she searched the room for empty seats, Lenny wore his most prized look hoping she would notice him. But she gave him the same oblivious look he gave girls who wore safari boots. He bit his lip and watched her as she gracefully walked to the far end of the room towards some empty seats.

He would let her settle in and then walk up to her. He had a way with the ladies and Patrick secretly envied his prowess. He watched him as he strode across the room, wishing he would trip and fall flat on his face. Lenny took a sit on the arm chair right next to the lady and struck a conversation. With a smirk on his face, he told her that was quite an entrance she had made, and that she had caught his eye. But to his surprise, she did not smile shyly or blush like he had expected. She simply gave him a look that seemed to say “enough with the charade”.

This is when Lenny had a good look at her.

She was divine. Her features fell perfectly in place. She had the most stunning eyes; brown, alluring and penetrative. Her lips were full and luscious. For a minute there Lenny was lost for words. He just sat there and gazed. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

She would finally speak, but not the words Lenny had hoped to hear. In a low and soft tone, she told him that she had not seen her friend (the one soaked in make-up) in a while and they would appreciate some space to catch up. She was not rude. But the finality in her words made Lenny feel like a little boy.

Lenny felt like he’d been run over by one of those Rwaken buses. He looked up hoping to see his boys were engaged in a heated soccer argument. They were not. In fact Patrick was watching him with this grin on his face that seemed to spell out ‘Loser’. Lenny had no choice but to take the walk of shame across the room. He was tempted to take for the door and disappear into the darkness, but a part of him wanted to be around this exquisiteness just to see if it was real. He walked over and took a bashing from the boys without uttering a word. His mind was occupied and their scolding was merely background noise. He held is glass in his hand and pondered on what he had seen. He did not say much for the rest of the night. But later he would use the host to get the beauty’s phone number. “If it’s the last thing you will do for me Patrick…” he would plead. Her name was Valentine.

He would call her the day after. But before pressing the dial button he held the phone in his palm for a good fifteen minutes. He knew he had made a pathetic impression and he half-hoped she would not remember him. When she asked him how he had gotten her number, he said he’d prayed for a miracle and a little bird had dropped it on his verandah. He thought he heard a chuckle.

He called her a few times a week. He kept the dialogue casual but exciting. When she asked him about his day, he would give an exaggerated story just to keep her enthralled. But Valentine was a cautious lady. And the conversations always lacked in depth. They were merely superficial chatter.

Lenny was patient this time around. He felt there was something different about Valentine. He liked her in a weird way. He would think about her at night. Her soft voice and soft chuckles would fill his mind when he closed his eyes. He wanted to see her again. He wanted to see her badly. One Tuesday afternoon, a month after Patrick’s farewell, he called her and told her he would be running errands near her workplace the following day and asked if she could join him for lunch. She agreed.

When Valentine stepped into the restaurant, Lenny’s eyes opened wide. He gaped at her exhilarating beauty. He waved and she elegantly walked towards him. He rose to his feet and hugged her. He pulled her a seat, and she sat with her arms folded.

That is when he saw it!

Right there, on the middle finger of her left hand, he saw the sparkling of a diamond studded engagement ring. His heart shot to his throat. He felt like he had taken a stab right through the chest. Distress was written all over his face and he wished it was all a bad dream. Valentine noticed and asked if he was ok, but he would not find his words. A part of him wanted to yell at her and curse her. But he knew too well that she had done nothing wrong. She had only joined an acquaintance for lunch.

He looked at her with bloodshot eyes. The fact that he had nothing to gain and nothing to lose made him open up to her. He told her he had not been aware she was engaged. With a strained voice he told her that her fiancé was a lucky man. He disclosed that when he saw her at the party he thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. That he had longed for the day when he would see her again, and confessed that the engagement ring on her finger had broken his heart. He told her that that day at the party she had done something no other woman had ever done: She had taken away a piece of his heart. For once Lenny let his guard down and let a woman peek into his fragile heart. There was such sincerity in his eyes and conviction in his tone. And Valentine listened earnestly as he poured his heart out to her. When the waiter walked up to them and asked what they would have, Valentine asked for espresso. Lenny merely waved him away.

When he had finally emptied his heart there was an uncomfortable silence. Valentine cleared her throat and Lenny was eager to hear what she had to say. But all she said was that she had a presentation that afternoon and she needed to go do some final touches. Again, not what Lenny had expected to hear. He shrugged and continued staring into his mug. She stood up, reached into her handbag, dished out a note and placed it on the table. She then stood there for a few seconds looking at him. And she turned and left. A lump formed in his throat as he watched her walk away. He knew it was the last time he would see her again.

Categories: Fiction