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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rosie and the Chief (1)

 
I was running late for my friend Helena's birthday party and was driving down, trying to meet up when I nearly had a crash. As I slowed down to negotiate a bend into her estate, I heard a sound at the back of the car. I swerved off the road and parked. Feeling a bit shaky, I got down to see the damage. One of the back tyres was flat. I sighed, wondering why this had to happen now of all days.

Just then, my phone rang. 
"Rosie where are you? Nearly everyone has arrived except you!" Helena said, sounding pissed with me.
When I told her about the flat tyre, she calmed down a bit.
"I know you can't fix it yourself, so just tell me where you are and I will send someone to you," she stated before hanging up.

My second phone rang and as I was talking to another friend I had invited for the party and needed directions to Helena's house, a sleek, black saloon car drew close to where I stood. As the driver parked, a man spoke from the back window.
"Is there a problem? Do you need any help?"
  I drew close to the car. 
"I have a flat tyre, sir."
"In that case, my driver can help you fix it as I know most of you ladies can't handle such things," he said, smiling a little.

I thanked him but rejected his kind offer.
"My friend is sending someone to sort it out. So, don't bother, sir. And thanks," I said.
"It's no bother. My driver can be working on it before your friend turns up," he said. He spoke to his driver, who came down and opened the boot of the car. He brought out some tools and set to work on my car. 
The man got out of the car and introduced himself.

"I'm Simon. And you are...?" 
"Rosemond. But my friends call me Rosie or Rose,"I told him.
I think I prefer Rose because you look like a flower, a blooming one at that," he said, grinning down at me. He was a tall man and even in my high heels, he towered over me. He looked to be in his sixties with his closely cropped hair generously sprinkled with grey hair.
We stood under a nearby tree chatting as his driver replaced the punctured tyre with a spare.
It turned out he was visiting a relative of his who lived in the same neighbourhood as Helena.

“I told him about the party and said he could join us when he was done at his relative's place. He was a total stranger to me but I felt inviting him to the party was my little way of expressing appreciation for his help with my car.

"Thanks for the invite. But won't I be 'crashing' your friend's party?" he asked. I told him it was not a problem, that my friend would not mind my bringing a guest.
Soon, the driver was done with the car. I thanked him again and before driving off, exchanged contacts.

  ***
I never knew that chance meeting with the kind hearted man who helped with my car, would have such an effect on my life. But that's a story for another day.
Later that day, the man called, stating he could not make it to Helena's party, as he had to be at another function with his relation.
"I would have really loved to be at your friend's party but we have a family function to attend. But I hope I can invite you out for a drink or so one of these days," he said. 

It was nearly three weeks later when he called. I was free that weekend- my boyfriend Lucas was out of town on a business trip so I accepted his invitation.
"I will like to, sir," I stated.
"Good. But do me a favour, will you? Can you drop the sir? It makes me feel ancient. Just call me Simon," he said.

  "It's just a sign of respect sir, as you are old enough..."
"To be your father. But I'm not your Daddy," he said, laughing and I joined in. That was one thing I liked about the man- he had a capacity to put me at ease, made me relate to him like a mate instead of someone of my Dad's generation.

On the appointed day, I met Simon at a very exclusive club in town. One had to be extremely rich, with a networth running in multiple millions to belong to the club. I wondered as I parked near the entrance if Simon belonged to that class.
He was in a white tennis outfit when I met up with him. He was sitting in a private part of the club, chatting with another man.

After introducing me to the man who was a friend of his, he ordered for some drinks for me.
I told him I was not hungry when he wanted to send for some food too.
"You can order for some small chops to go with the drinks. Their chicken wings here are delicious. Why not try some?" he said.
It was that day I knew that appearances could be really deceptive. Simon or Chief as most people around called him turned out to be a very successful and wealthy business mogul. 

Though with vast wealth, he lived a very simple life and shunned the limelight unlike many of the rich in the society. He had six children who were all grown up with the last born having graduated shortly before our meeting. That day, I found out a little bit about him and more as our unusual friendship progressed.
Later, he went to the tennis courts within the club to play a round with some friends of his. I sat by the court side, sipping my drink and watching them play. 
"I really enjoyed your company today. Maybe we could do this some other time?" he asked as we got ready to leave. 
I did not see any harm in it since all he seemed to want was for me to keep him company.
"I'll like that," I told him before we parted. 

  ***
After that, Chief often called to meet up with him. Our initial meetings were at the club though later, I began seeing him at home. He lived in a very big mansion in a high fenced compound with a lovely garden. His wife, he explained, was hardly in the country as she preferred living abroad.
"Two of my children live abroad as well and she shuttles between them," Chief told me the first time he invited me to his home. Apart from the last child, a girl who still lived at home, the rest had their own homes. That first day, I had expected him to make some moves towards me but he remained his friendly self, treating me more like a little sister than anything else.

  "What's up with that man? Are you sure he's a real man?" Helena wondered when I told her 
what had transpired at Chief's house.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" I queried. 
"What man will invite a lady home, a cute one like you for that matter and not even touch her. It's unreal!" she declared. 
I laughed at her words.

  "You think every man is a womaniser? Chief is not like that o! Besides, he sees me as just a friend, 'his baby sister' or even daughter," I stated.
"Daughter my foot! Just wait, his true intentions towards you will surface one of these days! Then, you will see I was right all along!" said Helena.
"You know your problem? You have become very cynical about men. Not all of them jump into bed with every girl they meet. There are still some decent, responsible ones, you know. Like Chief Simon. He's not interested in me as a woman," I said.
She shrugged.
"Na you sabi. Only time will tell if I'm right or wrong," she said before changing the subject.
  As events turned out, my friend's words proved prophetic. For Chief indeed had plans for me, but not in the way she envisaged...



What does Chief Simon want from Rosie? Details later!

To be continued... 
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.


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