Jabali's Redemption - Episode 19
Neema was awakened by someone shaking her, ‘Neema, the car is out there again,’ her mama’s voice carried through the fog of her brain,
She sat up straight and saw her mama peeping through the curtains of her bedroom window.
‘Mama,’ she rubbed her eyes and reached for the phone under her pillow case to look at the time, two am in the morning, Neema yawned and approached the window where her mama was.
‘Are you sure it’s the same car mama,’ Neema could see the dark tinted salon car outside the compound, through the low fence, she could see it parked under a street light, in the open for everyone to see. The windows were up and she could not see anyone like always but she could felt like the person inside the car could see her just fine . A shiver travelled down her spine.
‘Who could that be? This is the second night this car is parked outside our gates,’ mama shook her head in disbelief,
Neema had an idea who the person might be, Majid had promised to come after her again.
She hadn’t told her mama that. In fact, she kept mum about her recent attack. She trusted Jabali’s word that Majid wouldn’t try to attack her again. Maybe she shouldn’t be trusting him so much after all because it seemed Majid was not going to stop acting on his threat
All episodes of this story can be found here >> https://www.ebonystory.com/story/jabali-s-redemption
. Neema knew she was in danger, for some reason Majid had managed to rattle her so much.
‘We should call officer Mukabi and report this,’ mama suggested and moved out of the window,
‘No, don’t do that,’ Neema instantly killed that idea in her mama’s head. If officer Mukabi was involved he would come to know of her attack by Majid.
‘Give me time to figure it mama, if I fail then we will inform Officer Mukabi,’ Neema brain was bombard with solutions, maybe she could just confront Majid once and for all. That was a bad idea her part of her brain reasoned, she could end up being a sheep that led itself into a slaughterhouse.
‘Neema what is it? You seem to know something that I don’t,’ mama leveled her gaze on the dim lit bedroom,
‘Me?’ Neema tried to act as innocent as she could. She didn’t her mama to stress over nothing,
‘Yes you, you are acting strange, do you know this person? Is he another one of your friends’, her mama dragged out the word friend and Neema felt her face heat up at that,
‘I…don’t think so,’
‘Mmm huh,’ her mama mocked, ‘what about that handsome man, Akila,’
Now Neema knew she was going to be thoroughly grilled by her mama, since that day Akila had dropped her home after her attack, her mother had been smitten by his good looks and charming personality. It did not help matters that Akila had shook her mama’s palm with several notes that her mama tucked underneath her leso as he was leaving.
‘He is my boss mama, nothing else,’
‘I thought Jabali was your boss,’ mama was clearly confused,
‘Both of them are my bosses, Akila is another board member in the organization. So technically he is my boss though I don’t report to him directly,’
‘Oh, I get it now. You know Neema you should accept his proposal and become his girlfriend, I heard he is going to take over the company from Jabali very soon,’ mama whispered conspiratorially and Neema felt her eyes widen,
‘Where did you hear that from?’
Mama folded her arms across her chest and proudly declared, ‘from the market place, they say that the last remaining Kasri is going to lose the company to Akila, so you have to strike now when it is still hot,’
‘Ma!’ Neema exclaimed, she shouldn’t be talking about such things with her mama,
‘What?!’ mama stretched her hands in front of her, ‘am I wrong? Akila is young, handsome, rich and he clearly is fond of you. Why don’t you say yes to him? You never know where the relationship might lead,’
‘I…I can’t,’ Neema said defeatedly, she sat at the edge of her bed defeatedly,
‘Is there someone else Neema?’ mama sat beside her,
Neema wanted to shout yes, there is someone else, someone who had been ignoring her since that day in the lift, someone who had kissed her and caused her heart to beat again. After they had stepped outside the lift, Jabali had receded back to his old self. Quiet and contemplative, he didn’t acknowledge her half the time they were together or
‘No, there is no else,’ Neema faced her mama, ‘I want to focus on us first, I don’t have time to date with Ngao causing trouble each and every time. Am only working for Jabali to pay off the debt,’
‘And after you complete paying the debt, what next? What are you going to do? Go back to Nairobi and stay there until we need you again?’
Neema noted the bitterness in her mama’s voice, she didn’t have an answer to her mama’s claim. It was true, she was planning to go back to Nairobi and continue working there. She couldn’t stay in Tembo town. She couldn’t continue staying near Jabali. She just couldn’t. it was becoming hard to deter the line between love and hate. She hated him for causing her family too much heart arche but she also knew part of her heart yearned for him, for his love, his company and friendship.
‘Mama why don’t you go back to bed, as long as the owner of the car doesn’t try anything we should be fine,’
Mama sighed and stood up, tightening the colorful leso beneath her arms, ‘Neema you should give yourself another chance to love Neema, you deserve it,’
Neema wondered if her mama knew about her past relationship with Jabali.
Neema paid the uber man and hurried at the steps of the county commissioner’s office. A huge brick building with the beautiful flags of Kenya hoisted in front. The front had been decorated by a cleverly done flower bed. She wondered what meeting Jabali had there. He had called her early on Monday morning to come to the commissioner’s office at exactly eight in the morning. She was not to be late. He didn’t give her any details. She was just to carry her national identification card. Neema wondered why all the secrecy. The commissioner’s office was in the next town and she had risen up so early.
‘Neema,’ Jabali deep voice called her out as she was consulting with the receptionist. She turned to see him standing at the corridor with one of his hand on his pocket and the other one raised, he was checking his watch. Neema knew she was not late, she was actually on time. He was dressed in a three-piece black charcoal suit that fitted his athletic build to the T. Neema’s heart gave a start, he looked so handsome, unconsciously she removed an invisible lint from her coat. She always felt inadequate to him.
Jabali had a closed look on his face, he didn’t smile or show any sign to acknowledge her when she greeted him.
‘Morning Jabali,’ she greeted him, she didn’t get an answer back. His indifference face staring back at her. Neema wondered what was wrong. Ever since that disastrous meeting Jabali hadn’t had a time to relax, he held a lot of closed door meetings with some board members. Neema knew he was looking for solutions to secure his position in the company. Neema did everything to ensure he was comfortable, she had prepared endless cups of kahawa tungu for him. Maybe he had found the solution.
‘Right this way,’ he opened the door for her to the door written own registration in capital golden letters. Neema wondered what kind of meeting they were going to have.
Neema entered the empty boardroom, there was no one in sight apart from a white envelope and a ball pen sitting next to it. She wondered where everyone was but at least she wasn’t late. Jabali locked the door behind him and Neema’s sixth sense jumped into action. Something was not right here, she could tell.
‘Jabali, where is everyone?’ she asked trying to control her pulsating heartbeat.
‘No one else is coming, have a sit,’ Jabali curtly answered and took a sit at the head on the table pointing to the seat next to him, Neema swallowed her panic and sat down.
Jabali passed the white envelop at her, ‘open it and sign,’
‘What is this?’ she couldn’t hold back anymore. The white envelop was scaring her more than Jabali’s attitude. Had Ngao done anything? That boy didn’t know when to stop. Was Jabali dissatisfied with her work? Was he canceling the contract? Was Ngao going to juvenile detention? Neema couldn’t stop her mind from running amok.
‘Open it Neema, it wont bite you,’ the statement was said without any mockery, his face remained stoic.
With trembling fingers Neema, Neema reached for the envelop, it was not sealed and had only a single piece of paper inside. Neema pulled it out.
The words were printed out in bold black block letters. Neema’s eyes scanned the document and found her name beside Jabali’s name written by Jabali’s neat handwriting,
‘Sign it,’ Jabali stretched the pen towards her and Neema dropped the paper and the envelop back at the table and abruptly stood up,
‘What is the meaning of this?’ she pointed towards the paper and Jabali stood up too, a hard look on his face,
‘It is a marriage certificate Neema, it is clearly written here,’ he pointed at the incriminating words, ‘we are signing a marriage certificate. No, you are signing a marriage certificate. I have already signed my part,’
‘What?!’ Neema pushed her chair back, ‘I didn’t agree to this,’ she could not believe this was happening, this couldn’t be happening. What games was Jabali playing right now? What was his angle?
‘You have to sign this certificate if you know what is good for you Neema, you owe me,’ he stabbed the paper on the desk, his face hard.
‘How is me owing you related to me signing a marriage certificate?’ Jabali must be high on something if she thought she was going to agree to this charade. If she signed the papers then that meant she was agreeing to become his wife, Jabali would be her husband, Neema felt faint. The air on her brain became short.
‘No,’ she whispered and leaned against the apple red conference table,
‘Easy,’ Jabali held her arm to stabilize her and Neema pulled it back roughly, his tone softening considerably.
‘You can’t make me sign this,’
‘Yes, I can and you better do it if you know what is good for you,’ Jabali insisted,
‘What is good for me is to stay away from you. You and your games, your manipulations,’ Neema nearly screamed, ‘I don’t know what you are trying to do here but I am not going to be part of it,’ she picked her handbag and started to the door, she was done with Jabali.
‘Then your brother will go to the juvenile center and your family will become a destitute,’ Jabali cold words stopped her at her tracks,
‘What?’ Neema turned around, ‘you are bluffing,’
‘Oh, am not,’ Jabali approached her with the grace of a jungle cat, silent and deadly, ‘I have someone in Ngao’s school right now, he will be picked up and taken directly to the juvenile center, I know about is new school. It would not be hard to convince the administration that he is needed for questioning. With his record it won’t be hard to do that. I also have the title deed showcasing that my father owns the piece of land where your family is staying. You have been squatters there for years, a phone call and you will be thrown out in the streets so Neema don’t you dare tell me am bluffing,’ he smirked and warmth never reached his cold, calculative gaze.
‘You are an animal,’ she whispered bitterly tears freely falling down her eyes, ‘you are just like your father and you will never change. I was wrong about you,’
A unrecognized look crossed his eyes but only for a second before settling back to indifference and Neema thought she had imagined it.
‘Be careful Neema, you don’t want to make me angry,’ Jabali warned leaning down towards her and brushing her tears away with the thumb of his fingers, Neema swinged her head aside. His touch disgusted her. Jabali stood back and repocketed his tight fists, his jaws ticking, ‘you have to sign the papers Neema, there is no other way,’
‘You haven’t given me much choice, have you?’ she wiped the tears away angrily. She wanted to call Jabali’s bluff but Neema knew that her father never bought that land. She had always wondered were the title deed was. Her worries had just been confirmed, the land belonged to the Kasri’s. it even bordered their expansive estates.
‘No, you don’t have a choice,’ Jabali handed her the pen again,
‘I also have some conditions before I sign this,’ Neema decided if she was going down, she would have to straighten some few things first, ‘the debt you have against my brother should be dropped, stop bothering him and stay away from his school,’
‘Done,’ Jabali nodded his head in agreement.
‘the tittle deed of my home should be transferred to my mama’s name and Ngao as the beneficiary,’ she raised her head at him and dared him to disagree,
‘You put on a hard bargain Neema but it is done, anything else?’ he raised his cut eyebrow at her,
‘No, but until am assured of the two things am not going to sign the …certificate,’ Neema couldn’t bring herself to say marriage. She couldn’t be getting married to Jabali. This has to be a bad dream and she would wake and shake it off. she couldn’t be here standing inside the registrar’s office contemplating marriage with Jabali.
In the next thirty minutes a new tittle deed had been prepared with her mama’s name and Ngao as the beneficiary in case mama passed away. Neema wondered how quickly the process was, she thought it would take months like it always did but Jabali surprised her again, having money and the name Kasri had is perks. As the lands officer was tearing down the old tittle deed, Neema knew her time was running out. She was about to he bound to Jabali for life.
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. She was about to become his wife.
‘Its time Neema, you can’t prolong this anymore,’ Jabali brought her out of her thoughts, the old officer was gone and Neema had on her hands the new tittle deed. She contemplated running away from the room with the deed but the keen eyes of Jabali seemed to notice her calculations,
‘Don’t think about it,’ Jabali shook his head at her,
‘Think about what?’ she challenged him tightening her hands on the deed.
‘About taking off without signing the certificate,’
‘Why are you doing this?’ Neema dared to ask.
‘I have my reasons, now enough stalling, sign the certificate,’ Jabali pushed the paper before her and Neema panicked,
‘We don’t have witnesses,’ she could see blank spaces for witnesses to sign but nobody had signed,
‘Already took care of it,’ he answered handing her the pen yet again. Neema was reluctant to let go of her independence. She took the pen and tightened her fingers on it,
‘wait,’ she dropped the pen again, ‘I have not heard your conditions,’
Jabali sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, ‘you want to hear my conditions?’ his hard gaze pierced her
‘Yes, obviously this is not a traditional way of getting married, you are asking me to sign a certificate but you don’t tell me what is going to happen next,’
‘Isn’t it obvious, you are going to be my wife, its clear on the certificate, you are going to be Mrs. Jabali Kasri,’ Jabali answered his ire rising and Neema swallowed, now that he was saying it loudly, she could feel her stomach dropping, ‘sign the paper Neema,’ he now commanded and Neema put the pen down. Since Jabali had already jolted her name and other details she was only to put her signature on the document.
With a deep sigh, Neema signed the document. It felt like she was sealing her fate. Neema dropped her head as she put the pen down and Jabali took the paper away, a grim look on his face.
He stretched his large hand at her, ‘congratulations Mrs. Kasri, and remember you have to act the part of being a wife, you have to be the dutiful and respectable. We shall announce it to the company on the sports events day.’ Neema didn’t shake his hand back but a tear dropped from her eyes which she effused to wipe away,
‘Excuse me,’ she ran out of the room and into the toilet, how she found them was still a mystery even to her. She locked herself inside one stall and cried her heart out.
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