Jabali's Redemption - Episode 20
‘Neema, where are you?’ Ngao barraged through the front of Ma. Zainab’s restaurant with nose flaring and fists clenched. Neema swallowed from where she was seated behind the cashier’s desk. Her brother was enraged.
A few patrons inside the restaurant turned and looked at Ngao who was charging towards her.
‘Naiti, what…’ Neema trailed off when Naiti crossed the desk and dragged her out to the kitchen, past the door written employees only. Neema wondered what was it with men dragging her around like a rag doll . She could walk perfectly fine for crying out loud. First Jabali yesterday night and now Naiti.
‘let go,’ she struggled to release her hand from his grasp as they bypassed a furious Lulu who was hauling a huge basked full of grocery to the kitchen table. Neema was thankful Ma. Zainab was not here to witness what was happening or else she would be in big trouble.
‘Where are you taking Neema Naiti?’ Lulu questioned dropping the basket and following them out of the kitchen.
‘You stay out of this,’ Naiti retorted back never stopping or looking behind.
‘Naiti stop,’ Neema managed to free her hand once they were outside the hotel. They stood under a big tree.
‘You have some nerve Neema, even after warning you to keep off Jabali
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. You went out with him yesterday night how could you?’ Naiti screamed for all and sundry to hear. Neema had never seen her brother so mad.
Neema knew she had to choose her next words wisely but not before she noticed the scruffy look on Naiti, he appeared unkempt and in dire need of sleep. Yesterday night he hadn’t made it home and Neema wondered what he was doing. There was a dark ring on his right eye and his lips were bruised. Did he fight with Jabali? She wondered.
‘Naiti you have to listen to me, yesterday night Jabali…’
‘You will not go anywhere near Jabali again, do you understand? If you don’t want me to lose my mind and hit you Neema you better listen,’ Naiti warned her again not listening to her feeble explanations.
‘Naiti you cannot continue treating me like a child,’ Neema grew angry,
‘Oh,’ Naiti voice registered surprise, ‘so now you have grown and think that you can answer me back. Do I have to remind you that am your older brother? Jabali is only after one thing from you and when he gets it, he will leave you. That is what men like him do. He is not genuine,’
Neema shook her head in disagreement,’ not Jabali he is different. He…he told me that he like me. he confessed yesterday night,’
Naiti was taken aback, ‘he what?’
Thinking that his brother was relenting, Neema went on, ‘Jabali confessed his feeling for me, he likes me and I like him back,’
Naiti released a rough guffaw, he held his stomach as he laughed out loudly, ‘and you believed him? You are so dense Neema.’ His attitude changed almost immediately the tense look coming back to his face, ‘A man will say anything to get what he wants and since you have refused to listen to me am going to deal with him,’
‘Deal with him? How?’ Neema asked him the question she asked Jabali the previous night. Jabali had promised Neema he wont fight Naiti but Neema knew her brother won’t hesitate to fight Jabali.
‘That is between me and him, maybe if I knock some sense to him, he will see the light,’ Naiti bypassed her and started walking back to the restaurant but Lulu crossed his path. Standing in front of him
‘You have no right to come between true love,’ she coldly stared up to him and Neema saw that her brother’s back tensed, maybe he was surprised, Neema was surprised too. She had never seen Lulu stand up to Naiti. She had always been mildly interested in him.
‘Move aside Lu, I don’t have time for this,’ Naiti tried to side step Lulu but she spread her arms blocking his way,
Wait did Naiti just call Lulu, Lu? What was happening?
‘No, I will not move, you have listen to Neema and leave both her and Jabali alone. They don’t deserve a brute like you to come between them,’ Lulu continued to surprise Neema even more. She called Naiti a brute.
‘A brute? You now think of me as a brute?’ Naiti was equally surprised,
‘Yes, a brute, since you don’t seem to recognize love even if it is in front of your eyes,’ Lulu almost whispered the last sentence and Neema strained to hear it. She saw Naiti clenching his fists and Neema feared he would hit Lulu so she intervened. She stepped between them, Naiti never moved his eyes from Lulu. A foreign look that Neema had never seen before covered his visage.
‘Naiti, I beg of you don’t go looking for trouble with Jabali, please,’ Neema took hold of his right fist in her hand, pleading with him. The action made him turn his look away from Lulu who stoically stared back at him, he looked down at her,
‘Stay away from Jabali,’ he whispered and side stepped both of them walking back to where he had come from. Neema let out a sigh of relief and turned to Lulu, her eyes misty.
Neema wondered why her friend was so emotional, something else was going on, ‘Lulu what’s wrong?’
Lulu coughed out loudly, ‘Nothing is wrong, your brother is just getting on my nerves with his man cave behavior,’ she chuckled nervously,
‘O…kay,’ Neema was surprised by her friend’s response but she didn’t push for more information though she highly suspected that Lulu was hiding something.
‘Let’s get back to work before Ma. Zainab comes back,’ Lulu said excitedly still trying to cover up her sadness by being upbeat.
‘No wait,’ Neema stopped her, ‘thank you for standing up for me in front of Naiti,’
‘You shouldn’t be thanking me, in fact you should be warning Jabali to look out, Naiti is going after him,’
‘You are very right, I should do that,’ Neema removed her phone from the front of her apron.
‘Um…’ Neema bit her lower lip and looked at her phone apprehensively, Lulu raised her perfect eye brows at her,
‘I have never called him before…um…’
‘Seriously Neema, don’t tell me you are shy,’
‘Am not,’ Neema answered back hotly, ‘I just don’t want to embarrass myself, what if he doesn’t pick the call or he is busy at the company. I don’t want to distract him.
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. He might think am clingy and then he will dump me. I don’t want him to dump me,’ she panicked
Lulu rolled her eyes at Neema’s insecurities, ‘If you don’t warn him, Naiti will be on him very shortly, we both know your brother is not going to leave you two alone. At least give the poor guy a heads up and stop panicking Jabali is not going to think you clingy and dump you. seriously Neema, how do you come up with such ideas,’
Neema deeply sighed, ‘you are right, am panicking for nothing. I should warn him,’
‘That’s better, now call him,’ Lulu walked back to the kitchen as Neema dialed Jabali’s number.
Her stomach flip flopped as the dial tone came up, after the first ring he picked up,
‘Neema,’ his deep baritone registered surprise, ‘I didn’t expect to hear from you,’
Neema’s heart was beating so fast on her chest, she feared it will bust. His voice was warm and reminded her of the previous night, when they were together in his house, watching the rain hit the window shutters. How peaceful and tranquil it was. She wished to go back to those moments, her heart had never been content being in his arms.
‘Neema? Are you there? Is everything okay?’ he asked when she didn’t reply him back,
‘Yes…um everything is fine,’ she quickly answered as she slapped her self mentally for not speaking. He will think she was a village idiot.
‘That’s good, for a while there I thought something had happened,’ he chuckled lightly and the sound washed over Neema like cool stream water on a hot day then she remembered why she was calling him,
‘Naiti is coming after you.’ She said
Jabali sighed and Neema could picture him furrowing his eyebrows the way he was fond of doing while in deep thought, ‘I don’t want you to worry about that Neema, I can handle Naiti,’
‘I know you can but my brother is a difficult person to deal with, once he sets his eyes on something, he relentlessly pursues it. He has his eyes on you,’
Jabali chuckled again and Neema wondered what it was that he found funny, she was seriously worried for him, ‘are you worried for me Neema?’
‘Yes,’ Neema replied without missing a beat,
‘I can take care of myself and handle Naiti, don’t worry so much,’ Jabali said after a pause,
Neema didn’t know what ese to say, ‘okay, let me get back to work,’
‘Neema,’ he started as if to say something but a voice in the back ground called him out, ‘I will pick you up later in the evening,’
‘Okay,’ she answered and the call abruptly ended.
Neema stood there looking at her phone wondering how her brother and Naiti were going to work out there differences.
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By the way your comments are really motivating, keep it up. I always read them though i hardly have time to answer them back.
Much Love guys.
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