Victoria’s heart drummed against her chest. David liked her back, but…
“If that’s the case, why have you been ignoring me all this time?” she wondered out loud.
“That’s not true. Granted I didn’t say or do anything, I was aware of every second you looked my direction. And every time you weren’t watching me, I was watching you,” David revealed.
“Companies frown upon office romance,” he continued.
“What has changed?” Victoria asked. “Are you leaving the company?” she panicked.
David laughed at her expressive face, she was such an open book.
“No, I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to engage you outside work. See? I have Secret Santa to thank for,” he smiled. Victoria couldn’t resist staring at his lips. David noticed and smiled more.
“Where do you live?” he asked.
“You don’t say! I live in Bugolobi! Had I known we were neighbors, I would have approached you sooner to borrow sugar or something!”
“Right. And I would of course lend you a spoon or two. There’s nothing wrong with being neighborly.” It was Victoria’s turn to smile widely. Was this really happening? She wondered. She couldn’t wait to tell her mom, her dad would be a different story altogether. While her mom is ready to give her to anyone willing to take Victoria, no one is worthy of his daughter when it comes to her dad.
David checked his watch and signaled the waiter. Victoria caught him and warned, “Don’t you dare touch that bill! I invited you, this is my treat.”
“I suppose I have no choice, my life seems to be on the line…”
Victoria smiled and asked the waiter to bring the card machine.
“I’m only letting you clear the bill if you let me tip the waiter,” David suggested.
“Deal.” Victoria agreed.
“You know, I was a waiter while in university. It’s nearly impossible stretching the monthly check through to the next month, the tips definitely come in handy.”
Victoria was touched, “Perhaps we should both tip him.”
“Thank you but I got this.”
The waiter ran their bill and David handed him a 50,000 shilling note as Victoria signed the receipt. The waiter looked at it questioningly.
“Thank you for the great service,” David conveyed has gratitude as he gestured for Victoria to get moving.
Victoria moved out of her seat and bumped into someone.
“Vic, watch it!” David warned.
“Excuse me! ” “Excuse me!” Victoria and another gentleman exclaimed at once.
“So good to see you Victoria, oh my God, how long has it been?” Christopher said happily engulfing Victoria in a bear hug.
Victoria sighed as she carefully pried herself out of his clutch, “Christopher, it’s been a week.”
Christopher smirked at her, then looked at David pointedly and asked Victoria, “What are you doing here?”
“Not getting my nails done. My boss and I came for dinner. David, Christopher, Christopher, David.”
Christopher ignored David’s outstretched hand to face Victoria, “Your boss? Victoria, are you still pretending to make a living?”
Christopher’s super power was to get to Victoria’s nerves in the shortest time possible, he broke his own record every time they met.
“Christopher…” Victoria hissed through clenched teeth. David shifted his weight as he looked on.
“Sorry Daniel. I.” Christopher started.
“It’s David.” David corrected.
“I’m Christopher, Victoria’s childhood friend. Her parents and mine are friends,” Christopher said proudly.
“Pleased to meet you Christopher,” David acknowledged politely.
“David, shall we?” Victoria prompted, eager to escape Christopher and his big mouth.
“Hey, what’s the rush?” Christopher asked, clearly wounded, reaching for Victoria’s hand. David stepped forward, as if to protect Victoria.
Victoria shoved both of them aside and made for the exit, David followed her soundlessly.
“Call me!” Christopher called out to no one in particular.
“I swear that guy…” Victoria pondered on what to do with Christopher’s annoying existence in her life.
“The evening was going so great.” David said, already reminiscing.
“David, I’m really sorry he ruined everything!”
“Don’t give him too much credit,” David advised as they crossed the road.
“Thank you so much for honoring my invite.”
“It was bound to happen…”
“Took you long enough,” Victoria complained with a laugh.
“It won’t happen again,” he promised.
They reached their poorly lit parking lot. Geoffrey the askari was waiting for them, flashlight in one hand, a lit cigarette in the other. He quickly crashed the cigarette as they approached.
“Hello sir, madam. You are here, I thought you left early,” Geoffrey the askari made small talk, digging, hoping to discover something juicy to report Mr. Byaru, head of security.
“We’d gone to meet a client,” David informed him. Everyone knew Geoffrey the askari was an enthusiastic sharer of information.
There were 3 cars in the parking lot, a white Toyota Harrier, a red Vitz and a 2016 sleek black 4 by 4 Mercedes Benz Cross Country.
David stood by the Vitz and waited. Victoria looked at him, “Is that your car?” she asked.
“No, I assumed it was… Oh!” he stopped himself as Victoria clicked the Benz open.
“Is that your car?” he asked, flustered.
“I hope so…”
“Sweet ride. I’ve seen it around a few times and wondered who the lucky owner was.”
“It’s my lucky ride. Good things tend to happen every time I drive it,” she said with a smile.
“Good things must happen to you all the time then.”
“No. Not really. I don’t get as lucky when I drive the other cars,” Victoria revealed.
“Other cars?” David almost screamed. “Do you have more than one car?”
Clearly embarrassed that she had revealed way too much, Victoria stuttered, “Y-yes. I like collecting cars,” she said in a small voice.
“WOW,” David breathed. “Well, we should get going. I will drive behind to follow you and ensure you get home safely.”
“That’s not necessary David.”
“We’re not going to debate about this Victoria.” Victoria got into her car and rolled out of the parking lot, David followed her in his Harrier.
Traffic was so light that they were in Bugolobi in less than 10 minutes.
David called Victoria as they drove through Bugolobi to Mbuya.
“I don’t know why I am so excited to see where you live,” he said.
Victoria laughed nervously, “I’m not so sure…”
“Do you live with your parents?” he asked.
“No. I live alone. But my staff lives within the establishment.” They drove past apartment block after the other.
“Victoria, do you have servants?”
“Not really, they are more like family,” Victoria said tenderly, a smile in her voice. David shook his head. They had passed all the apartment blocks and residentials, they were heading towards a lone mansion perched a top the hill.
“Uh. Victoria, which one is your house?”
“The one on top,” she said easily.
“Are you kidding me?”
“Afraid not. We are here,” she announced as the gigantic gate automatically opened to reveal a hundred meter driveway leading to a car canopy housing her fleet of cars on one side, a garden or a bush, David couldn’t tell, on another and what could easily pass for a luxury safari lodge with a beautifully manicured football size compound was Victoria’s house.