Jane appeared to me the type of girl who stood on the sidelines surveying the field. Juggling a handful of men at any particular time and then picking the one who broke out into a lead. It was the worst kind of gambling but perhaps the most lucrative because it was dependent on success rather than trust or loyalty or any of that fickle fluff that a lot of women preach while at the same time paying very little attention too.
At twenty-six, Jane knew how to entice, when to pull back, how to dominate and when to be subservient to get what she wanted.
At this particular moment, she was juggling three men. Feeding them whatever fodder they needed to hear. Making them believe she was what they were looking for when really, she was attached to her own cause. That of, what can you do for me? If I rub shoulders with you will my lifestyle improve?
Three Horse Race
There was John. He was not the most comely man she had ever come across. He had a face that made him look as if he was constantly frowning but that did not bother her one bit. He dressed dapper and when he opened his mouth to speak, his voice had a rich, sexy baritone. The icing on the cake was that he worked for one of the biggest law firms in the country and he was set to make partner in the next six months.
“Are you excited?” she asked while picking her ethereal silk dress which had formed a puddle of purple on the floor. That same dress that John got her for her birthday, which was easily the price of the monthly expenses of an entire department in a listed company. He had hesitated but then she smiled. John was entranced by her smile, he loved how quickly it came to her face when she looked at him. He melted like butter in the sun and paid for the dress, no questions asked. It went with her purple BMW X1 which Ken bought for her. I will tell you about Ken in a later paragraph.
“Can you believe my net starting salary as partner is over half a million without allowances?” John said airily. It still baffled him how easily he divulged his finances to Jane—something he had never done with his previous girlfriends. Maybe it was how her face gleamed whenever he spoke about money.
“That’s wonderful.” She gave him the approval he was looking for while touching up her make-up, smoothing her hair and straightening her dress in the full-length mirror. She had a flashback to a Croatia travel ad she had seen earlier and her face glowed the more.
John’s eyeballs were stuck on the TV screen, watching some humanitarian show on the history channel. She slipped into her heels and kissed him gently, staining his lips red again. “I’m happy for you. I will call you when I get home.” She was living in an apartment in Kilimani. The same apartment that Jack had bought. Let me introduce you to Jack.
Jane had met him after campus. A struggling artist, stick-thin with wrinkled clothes that suggested that he usually slept in them. They had gone on a few pizza dates that had M-shwari written all over them. He was charismatic, made her laugh but of course that was not enough. You couldn’t eat laughs, now could you? She had dropped him. A year or five passed and then she saw him on a local TV station talking about a major acting part he had been cast in.
“How is the money?” the interviewer had asked.
“You know I’m not going to say much, but let’s just say my bank account is in shock.”
That’s all she needed to hear to grab her phone and text a quick ‘I miss you’. A series of late night texts and dinner dates followed. The icing on top of the cake was an apartment in the uppity Kilimani estate.
Of course the house was in Jack’s name but those were technicalities that could be resolved with a kiss, a smile or the honey between her legs. She had not yet allowed him to explore the gardens full of nectar that lived up her thighs. She had dangled the pot of honey and it had given her a house. She decided she would dangle it a bit more until he moved the house to her name and who knew, she might give it up or wait till she walked down the aisle. That was if he ended up as her winning horse. She smiled, a smile that was wasted. That smile was worth its weight in gold when John was around.
Then there was Ken, the guy who bought her the BMW X1. An only child in a wealthy family whose parents were rarely in the country. At thirty-five, he had a reputation of spending the most money in any club he happened to party in. Armed with a tall physique, good looks and a trust fund that had more money than he knew how to spend, his middle name could only be debauchery.
You might ask, what made him tick? Wouldn’t a trust fund make you tick? I know it would make me tick. Well, he had thought he would be a photographer, then a producer, a model, a promoter. Recently he was in the mood to be a hip hop artist and he intended to live that lifestyle down to a T; money, women, drugs, with the exception of good lyrics, of course.
All that didn’t seem to dampen Jane’s spirit. She had been among his swarm of women. Like cream, she had quickly risen to the top as one of his favorites and that’s how she earned herself a BMW X1. It’s uncertain if she got the logbook too but at twenty-six, Jane had arrived. She had toyed with the idea of picking her winning horse but then they were all winning and she had decided to stick with all three.
The Winning Horse
It was a dull evening, the last sun rays were washing off from the darkening sky. Jane was perched atop the divan in John’s Karen house. It was a development that happened a year after he made partner. She was going through a magazine when John stormed in.
“I have finally done it,” he said, breathing heavily.
“Done what?” Jane asked, putting aside her magazine.
“I have resigned, I have resigned,” he sang merrily.
“To do what?”
“To become a humanitarian.” He then got into spiel about this grand idea he’d always had of going around the country helping the marginalized with relief: health, food, shelter, education. He was going to be the modern day Mother Teresa.
“You will come with me, honey, I know you will,” he said, beaming like a two year old who had just got his first toy.
She had gone through enough magazines to know there was no glamour in humanitarian work.
“At least let me think about it.” She did not think about it. Not when she had Jack and Ken occupying a big chunk of real estate in her mind, with very little left for humanitarian work.
You know how they say, ‘When it rains it pours?’ Well, it started flooding in Jane’s life. The next one to fall off was Ken. It had something to do with his newly minted hip hop lifestyle. Not the lyrics, no. Those were still nonexistent. He had developed an appetite for hard drugs and he had just had an overdose and was now sleeping in the intensive care unit somewhere in the Nairobi hospital in a vegetative state.
His parents had flown back to the country to put a plug on their son’s debauchery and that included repossessing Jane’s BMW X1. Turns out the son was clever enough to have the logbook in his name. Jane had shrugged in a cavalier manner and given them the keys, happy to have put her eggs in different baskets. So what if Ken or John were gone? She still had Jack waiting, arms wide open.
He was her winning horse, she decided. She planned to get a ring from him; it would be the cherry on top of the icing. A quick call and she was giving him a massage, a candle-lit dinner followed. She was dessert, of course. She dressed in a nurse’s uniform to quench his fetish like he had insisted during their rabid sexts. She went down on her knees and took him in her mouth. She turned this way and stretched that way in an award-winning performance that left Jack snoring afterwards.
She sat on the dresser to removing her makeup, satisfied with her strategy. ‘My juggling days are done,’ she told herself while climbing atop the bed but then she decided to pick their clothes from the floor and fold them neatly into the closet. It’s what a dutiful wife would do, don’t you agree? When she picked Jack’s trousers, a golden ring fell and rolled, stopping at her big toe. Her infamous smile broke out. ‘You mean he means to propose?’ It faded when she picked it up and saw ‘Jack and Leah’ encrusted inside.
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