Jabali's Redemption - Episode 21
‘Jabali Kasri, you must have a death wish,’ Naiti said immediately he sat down inside the expansive Jabali’s office in Tembo Tea Factory,
Jabali had expected that Naiti will come in fist flying but he was oddly composed
‘I don’t know what you are talking about,’ Jabali feigned innocence, he knew very well what Naiti was talking about. His relationship with Neema.
Less than an hour Neema had called him to warn him that Naiti would be coming after him and here he was, sitting inside his office and glaring at him as the worst enemy he had ever faced . Jabali knew that between him and Naiti there was some bad blood but they were grown up now. It was time to bury the hatchet.
‘You and Neema can’t work out,’ Naiti pointed out with a straight face,
‘Why? I like your sister and I think she likes me too. What is wrong with that?’
‘Everything about that relationship is wrong and you know why.’ Jabali gritted his teeth,
‘We had no control over that situation. It happened years ago even before I set foot in this town. You seriously can’t be holding that on my neck,’
‘And that is why you can’t date my sister. Neema might hate our late father, rightly so by the way,’ Naiti fiercely put, ‘the man was nothing but a devil spawn in our lives but she will be heart broken to hear your family had a hand in our father’s mysterious disappearance
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. She will be devastated and hate you for life. I am trying to prevent that,’
Jabali paused his lips for a second. Naiti was right, if Jabali would come out clearly and tell Neema about his father’s involvement in the vanishing of her father, Neema would not be amused. She would end up hating him. Though Jabali hadn’t come to know of Mzee Kasri’s involvement in Mzee Kadiri’s disappearance until he was taken in by his father, he felt guilty of knowing the fate of Neema’s father and not telling his daughter.
‘Neema will never know if you don’t tell her,’ Jabali clearly answered Naiti, he figured that what Neema didn’t know won’t hurt her.
‘You want me to lie to my sister?’
‘you are already lying to your family. How is this any different? In fact, you have so many lies woven up on your sleeve Naiti,’
Naiti frowned at him, ‘what are you talking about?’
‘The activities you do inside the mountains at night,’
‘Are you accusing me of something Kasri?’ Naiti narrowed his eyes at him.
‘Does Neema know you are a smuggler? You are going to end up like your father if you don’t stop,’
Naiti stood up fast, the chair scraping the floor and falling down behind him, ‘watch it Kasri, not all of us were born with golden spoons on our mouths. We had to struggle to get where we are. We don’t have rich fathers to cater to each and every of our whim,’ he spit bitterly, standing over Jabali.
Jabali knew he had struck a cord and his assumptions of Naiti’s nightly excursions deep inside the mountain were true. The man was playing with his life and he couldn’t even see it. He stood up too and faced Naiti, looking his squarely in the face. They were both the same height, though Naiti was a bit hefty that Jabali.
‘Not everything is as it looks, take this as a warning, all you are doing might come back and haunt you. Smuggling is illegal, and Mzee Kasri deals with the people who steal from him with an iron fist,’ Jabali answered him back, most people thought he had it easy being the son of Mzee Kasri but it was exactly the opposite. He had to work hard to prove to the old man, time and time again.
Naiti ignore his statement, ‘by any chance is this a way of you getting back to me?’ he asked out of the blue.
Jabali furrowed his bushy eyebrows, ‘for what?’
‘I don’t believe this cock and bull story my sister is telling me about you two liking each other,’
‘She told you that?’ surprise registered on Jabali’s face, he was glad Neema was admitting her feelings to his brother. He smiled.
‘Unfortunately, yes after pleading with me not to beat you up,’ Naiti deeply sighed, ‘that is the only reason you are standing up right now,’ Jabali couldn’t tell if he was joking or being serious since his facial expression didn’t change.
Clearly Naiti was worried for his sister. It was obvious to Jabali that Naiti didn’t want to get Neema hurt but Naiti had nothing to worry about.
‘I am genuinely interested in Neema. I have deep feelings for her,’ Jabali hoped to communicate his sincerity to Naiti. He didn’t need his approval to date Neema but it seemed important to Neema that they both become civil with each other. If it were up to him, he would not bother with Naiti at all.
‘You are going to hurt her,’ Naiti predicted with a resigned look on his face, he sat back on the plush chair, his rigid personality disappearing. He appeared tired and in dire need of sleep. Jabali sat down too tapping the ball paint too on the desk.
‘I will never intentionally hurt Neema, I swear that to you,’
What next? He waited for Naiti to decide what to do but whatever came next, he was not going to stop seeing Neema.
He liked her too much to stop now. She was gentle and kind, a fire cracker when she got mad. To top it up, she was a beauty and didn’t even seem to realize it. Her innocence was like fresh breath of air from the pompous entitled girls he had dealt with in the city. Jabali had never been in a serious relationship with a girl, Neema was the first girl he had considered to be in a relationship with.
When he came back to town from the city, he had seen her walking down in the market with Lulu, the tall girl that was also working at Ma. Zainab’s restaurant. He had been driving but he had to slow down to take a good look of her. She was dressed in a knee length dress that was a bit too huge on her but his keen eyes didn’t miss out on anything. Her clinched waist, lush hips and full chest, her clear cocoa skin that glistened on the afternoon hot sun. Neema’s beauty nearly made him crush into the car in front of him as his gaze followed the gentle sway of her hips around a corner she took.
He had practically stalked her to find out she was working at restaurant on the unconventional part of town. It was at first glance that he remembered her, the sassy sister to Naiti. He remembered how many years back Neema had bravely stepped in the fight between him and her brother. She was the first one to stop him when he went on a rampage. A feat that even his late mama couldn’t do. That action had made her curious about her. Jabali thought he had forgotten about her until the day he saw her in the market. Then everything came crashing back. Instead of the sassy small girl he had left, he found a grown woman.
That was when he started going to Swahili dishes where the ever-loud Ma. Zainab screamed at everyone instead of talking. Jabali wondered how Neema persevered all that. Jabali had always seen himself as a confident person though a loner but all that changed when he approached Neema. At close range, he was taken back by her beauty, big eyes surrounded by long eye lashes, a small upturned button nose, wide lips that always managed to set his imagination on fire.
One thing was sure to Jabali, he wanted Neema. She was like a beam of light that seemed to penetrate deep inside is dark life.
When he started dropping her home, their time together always made his days. she seemed cautious at first but Jabali couldn’t deny that her shy looks underneath the long eye lashes set his blood on fire. He kept going to the restaurant sometime before closing to see her, he enjoyed ogling her in her uniform. Ma. Zainab seemed to intentionally give her a small uniform which accentuated her curves. Jabali had noticed several customers eyeing her and he wanted to knock each of them down.
Then one day he found out her schedule had changed she was no longer working till nine at night. To make it worse, he couldn’t reach her and he had to leave town for a meeting. He had gone to far lengths to get her phone number but Neema didn’t pick up her calls. He was very frustrated that Mzee Kasri had reprimanded him for not concentrating on the strategic meeting they had gone to attend.
Read " The Dancing Bride And Her Spirit Warrior " by the same author ( Razia Iminza )
. Jabali couldn’t wait to go back to town. He was ready to go to her home and search for her and risk another fight with Naiti in the process. By some luck, he decided to pass through the restaurant and voila, she was standing in front of him. He didn’t think twice, he went to her and drove her to his late mama’s town house.
There he had confessed hi feelings and the everything was set. Everything was going well then Naiti appeared threatening to blow his big bubble.
‘Neema doesn’t know the whole story about our baba’s disappearance, I will hold you to the promise that you will not tell her that. She might appear strong but she is all mellow inside,’ Naiti dragged him from his thoughts. He was standing up ready to take his leave,
‘I don’t think that is a good idea,’ Jabali disagreed
‘It is not your place to tell her such things, am this close to find out what happened to our father and I want to be the one to break it to her, to my family. They should never hear it from anyone else,’
Naiti didn’t wait for an answer and walked out.
He left Jabali with more questions than answers. What was Naiti doing deep inside the mountains a night? Was he investigating the disappearance of his father? How will that implicate his Mzee Kasri? How will Neema react once he learns that Jabali was keeping such a big secret from her?
Most importantly, was Naiti going to continue interfering with his and Neema’s relationship?
Two chapters for you dear readers.
It is your comments that gave me the energy to do so. So keep it up, you will never understand how much they motivate me.
Something else, i hope this story is unique in its own way. Dont shy away and tell me what you enjoy about it.
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