Always Love (I)

The vibration of her phone set off a ripple effect of disaster across the kitchen counter. The aftershock resulted in her newly opened set of cutlery crashing to the floor and almost wrecking the immaculate white tiles, her expression changing from terror to relief as she realized they were in fact unscathed by the avalanche of stainless steel. The relief of the moment was short-lived however, as Tito her hyperactive Yorkie Terrier pup,set off by the noise,began a fit of uncontrollable barking.

“Down girl!” she snapped, while she struggled to find her footing in the chaos that was now strewn around, amidst a wave of half opened boxes.Tito still hot on her heels. She spun around in almost a full circle, a desperate attempt to find a way out, only to set the baby off in a bout of hiccups, while he cried out in protest. It was all getting a bit too much. A business mogul, ambassador, motivational speaker and so much more, one would think she would be able to handle a quiet night in with a pup and a baby. As she made her way to the door, she laughed out loud at herself and the irony. With her free hand she managed to grasp the brass doorknob of the grand mahogany door. No sooner than it swung open,Tito was hurtling past the porch, straight into a pile of leaves. Yeah, let her blow off some steam.

Back in the kitchen, she finally had the chance to check her phone. “New message from Alex”, it read. She smiled. Perching herself on the high stool, she placed the baby on her knee where he gurgled in contentment. The message finished loading.

“But what don’t you want to do??”

“What do you mean?” she typed back, confused.

“In terms of what you want to do…in life!” came the reply.

Ohhh. Right. Still momentarily caught up in the confusion, she had almost forgotten that she had just hit her fiance with the news that she was starting up a new support group for drug addicts. He was one of the only few people who understood her ambition and wasn’t intimidated by it. He loved that she achieved all the goals she set for herself and had the ability to make everything she did look as easy as pie. To many that didn’t know her, she seemed unnecessarily persistent and quite the perfectionist, but to him she was just what he needed. After his proposal 6 months earlier, despite her busy schedule, she had managed to fix in their wedding plans and the preparations were well underway. “Let’s do this marriage thing! No time to lose there, the sooner we do it the better.” She often joked when they were together.

As their conversation waned, her mind drifted back to when they first met, at her first ever fundraising gala for vulnerable children. Despite it being a cause so dear to her and one her heart burned with passion for, she was nothing short of a nervous wreck. But only on the inside. She had long ago learned the art of self composure under pressure and so nobody would be able to notice. Especially seeing as she looked as stunning as ever in a beautiful ankara gown she had, of course, designed herself. There were so many people, supporters and potential sponsors alike, to impress, and so it was hardly a wonder that she needed to pull the event off without a hitch.

Because of this, she was only half attentive as her long time friend and p.a, Paxine made her way across the crowded room to where she was standing and tapped her on the shoulder.

“Lolly, there’s somebody I’d like you to meet…”

She slowly turned around, still scouring the room with her eyes, trying to make sure the waiters were keeping everyone’s glasses filled.

“Yes of course. Very glad to meet you Mr…”

Her voice trailed off as she came face to face with a pleasant looking man. He wasn’t particularly handsome, but he definitely stood out from the crowd as he was towering above her petite frame with his magnificent physique. He was extremely well built and she could not help but wonder what it would be like to be held in his muscular arms.

Her eyes lingered for a moment, before she forced them back up and was almost thrown off guard as she realized he was studying her intently with a bemused look on his face. One eye slightly squinted as though he was trying to decipher her thoughts.She felt the heat rising up to her face and was ever so thankful for her rich melanin skin, knowing that if she were any fairer, her discomfort would have been more than evident by the reddening of her cheeks.

His mouth turned out in a grin as he finished her sentence.

“Alexander Nyawira”

But of course! She knew he looked familiar…He was running for mayor!

“Where are my manners” She said, laughing nervously as she signaled one of the waiters. “Can I offer you something to drink?”

As he picked up a glass she went on..”It’s my absolute pleasure that you could grace us with your presence tonight Mr Nyawira”

“Oh the pleasure is all mine. And please, call me Alex.” He answered.

Oh Lord. Even his voice, deep and commanding, rang with masculinity. It was no wonder he was considering a career in politics. It suited him.

She chatted briefly with them for a moment longer before politely excusing herself to mingle with the other guests.

“Paxi, you will be a dear and ensure Mr Nyawira, sorry, Alex. enjoys the party?”

“Yes of course!” Paxi responded humorously, giving her a slow, secretive wink. She had been trying to set her up with an eligible bachelor for years, and had so far been highly unsuccessful.This time Paxi, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Lololi thought to herself, as she strolled over to where the chef was standing, patiently waiting for orders to serve dinner. But as she discussed the entrees with him, she couldn’t keep her mind off Mr Nyawira who was now staring directly at her from across the room, as he took a long, slow sip of his champagne.

The evening went amiably enough, the only disturbance being a power outage in the middle of dessert which had been quickly resolved. Thereafter, it went smoothly and as the band upped their tempo, Lolly once again heard that voice that she’d been trying desperately to get out of her head all night, asking her to dance. She could hardly decline, considering her earlier thoughts of being in his arms would now become a reality could she? In an instant they were gliding effortlessly across the floor, while others looked an admirably for a moment before they joined in too.

Courtesy of the photographer Paxi had hired, a glorious image of them was splashed across every newspaper the following morning. As she had been poring over it, with her morning cup of coffee, Alex had called asking if she had seen it. That was enough to spark the flame that had been ignited the night before, and their romance didn’t take long to blossom. Constantly both in the spotlight; paparazzi, tabloids and glossy magazines all did their part in fanning the flame of their love, and they were constantly referred to as the hottest power couple of the decade.

As she slowly drifted back to reality, she couldn’t help but notice how the baby was looking at her. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought he was Alex’s son. He had the same distracted, inquisitive look on his face that Alex got so often she was now so familiar with it. But that was impossible.

Luka was Paxi’s son and Lolly had offered to babysit to allow her a long overdue weekend off. With Alex out on a business trip, with some Prime Minister or other, she had more than enough time and so had willingly obliged. She laughed at the strange coincidence and made a mental note to tell Alex about it as soon as he got back.

Right now, she had a tired baby to put to sleep, and a very hungry puppy that was now howling and scratching at the door, begging earnestly to be let in. She opened the door just as Alex called to say goodnight.

“Sweet dreams beautiful” He said sleepily. “I love you”.

“I love you too!” She replied, still smiling.

Little did she know it was the last time she would hear him say those words.

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