Rostine felt like a million dollars this morning. There was a marked bounce in her walk. Her clothes were starting to feel tight, which meant she had stopped looking emaciated. Rohan walked in.

“Morning everyone”

Rostine was the only one who looked up. Rohan looked sharp as always. She decided to give him 2 minutes to settle in before she went to him with her customer service query.

“Hey, sorry to bother you but if we don’t do something about Mark Holdings’ bandwidth, we shall lose them.”

“Sometimes a loss is not such a bad thing, especially if one is not a good fit,” Rohan answered with a raised eyebrow.

“Indeed, and yet, we have to do everything in our power…no customer leaves on my watch.”

“So what if all you do is not good enough?”

“Then the customer got their own issues and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

“Exactly! It will not be your fault if they walk out on you. You should let them and hold on to deserving customers.”

Rostine was about to respond when Protas walked in.

“Morning Rostine, morning Rohan”

“Good morning” they both chorused.

“Alright, I will see what I can do, however, I suspect some staff is doing some nefarious things that are chewing their bandwidth” Rohan answered with finality and Rostine turned and left.

Rostine walked back to the pen and found it packed with the usual suspects. Everyone was having their breakfast. The boss called Rostine to his office.

“Rostine, I usually trust your hiring skills, but this time, the new recruit…..NO! Please do something about it” Hersh said with something between a cringe and a grimace. He almost looked constipated like he was about to throw up. Rostine had to suppress a laugh. She coughed.

“Why me boss?”

“Imagine me doing it….Besides, you are diplomatic and bold. I like that about you.”

“Still…you have to appreciate how delicate the matter is.”

“And yet, this has to be done today. Do you want me to pull rank?”

“Fine boss, you owe big time!”

“You tied a Gele to work today and I haven’t said anything have I?”

“Hmmm….alright, just because you asked nicely”

“And what’s up with you this morning? If I didn’t know better I would say you have met someone special.”

“I am happy. I have finally forgiven myself…”

“Good for you!”

She walked away smiling. She loved this job and her easy-going boss. Returning to her desk she bumped into Ali, the office smoothy (smooth talker).

“Hey boss-lady”

“Good morning Ali.”

“Not a good morning boss-lady”

Argh…! She didn’t have time for Ali’s antics…..

“Sorry to hear that Ali, hope the day turns out better.” Rostine tried to brush him off.

“How can it? Ali has to walk in the blazing sun. The day will not get any better. When I left home the sun was hot and it’s only getting hotter!”

Ali should have been a sales agent. He knew about wearing people down with a smile. She tried skirting the issue again.

Ali I know for a fact that you now have a motorbike, you are not walking everywhere like you used to.”

“Madame, with the glaring sun Ali needs a glass of cool sugarcane juice or Madafu

“Okay, come by my desk, Ali. We shall find a way to lessen the effects of the unforgiving sun.”

“I knew you would understand boss-lady, thank you!”

Like she had much of a choice! One way or another Rostine would have had to part with at least Tshs. 1000. She wondered how much money Ali made out of all of them with his smooth lips.

Rostine sighed. The workday hadn’t technically started yet, but it was B-A-U (business as usual)!

Thinking about yesterday made her smile though. She opened her MSN messenger and sent a smiley face to jotosana@hotmail.com

jotosana@hotmail.com: Hey babe…. how you feeling this morning?

fagilieni@hotmail.com: Like a deviant teenager

jotosana@hotmail.com: Remember…you deserve happiness after all you have been thru. I simply want to remind you that there are good guys out here, that you are special.

fagilieni@hotmail.com: I feel grand thank you very much

jotosana@hotmail.com: The pleasure is all mine babe….TTYL…going for a meeting…

The only regret she had after spending a whole day at the beach yesterday with young blood (that was her secret name for him), was the state of her hair. She was surprised the boss had cut her some slack today. She knew how much he hated it when they tied a Gele at work. She had to get her hair done this evening. Suddenly Rostine smiled. She had the perfect solution for her hair and the new recruit.

She dialed her boss’s extension.

“What’s up Rostine?”

I need to go out around noon for a long lunch, for the assignment you gave me this morning.”

“Hmm…how long are we talking about Rostine?

“Just 2 hours. I have a good plan and I know you will like it”

“I bet. I know you are also up to no good Rostine. If it’s anything to do with your hair, then fine. But no later than 2pm okay?”

“Thanks!” One could never pull a fast one over Hersh that was for sure!

Today was turning out to be a good day after all.

Soon Rostine was deeply engrossed in her work. Around 1030hrs she saw her messenger blinking.

jotosana@hotmail.com: Hey babe. You look stunning today. Did you get in trouble with your boss regarding the headdress?

fagilieni@hotmail.com: Nope. Looks like a bright Monday today. Thanks for the compliment. I had a great time yesterday…

jotosana@hotmail.com: I know.

fagilieni@hotmail.com: How do I put up with your modesty again, or lack of it? wink…wink…

jotosana@hotmail.com: You know deep down am all heart…So have you thought about what I asked yesterday?

fagilieni@hotmail.com: Is that all you are thinking about? I haven’t even started to think about it!

jotosana@hotmail.com: Let’s not change the topic here, okay? Will you be staying late in the office today?

fagilieni@hotmail.com: At the rate that am going, it’s a definite yes.

jotosana@hotmail.com: Great, me too… Are you smiling?

fagilieni@hotmail.com: Can’t seem to stop!

jotosana@hotmail.com: That’s my girl!

Soon it was midday and Rostine rushed out. She had reserved a hair appointment soon after talking to her boss. She knew that would take about an hour plus. She would have her lunch at the salon killing 2 birds with one stone. She would then go to the supermarket. She smiled at her ingenious plan. She was good at problem-solving after all.

An hour and 45 mins later, her hair looked and felt great, she was full, and she had what she wanted from the Supermarket. She had succeeded within the time frame and even had some time to spare.

The pen was empty save for a couple of people, one of them being the new recruit. This was perfect for what she was about to do.

“Hey Suleiman, please come,” Rostine called the new hire.

“Yes, boss.”

“Have a seat.”

“How is the orientation going so far?”

“Good. Everyone is kind and cooperative.”

“Great. Once in a while, we have a welcome package for new hires. Here is yours”

“Wow thank you, boss!”

“We welcome you to Shwari Telecoms. As I said the other day, we are like a family here. Welcome to the family.”

Suleiman opened the gift and was surprised at what he found! 2 roll-ons, a deodorant spray, and a small card. This was a perplexing welcome gift. He figured since he liked Ali, he would ask him about it later on.

Rostine sort of felt bad having to do the office ‘dirty work.’ She knew that Suleiman would eventually get it. She remembered the last time she had to do something similar with Patrick.

This mint is really delicious. It’s got a unique flavor. Here try it….You like it? Patrick had said yes. Great! Here is a packet of them. I think it’s a good idea whenever you are called to Hersh’s office, you pop one before going in. You understand? Patrick had nodded finally getting it. Since then no bad breath from Patrick.

Hersh walked out of his office and saw Rostine. He raised his eyebrows. Nothing ever escaped their boss’s eyes.

“So you were going to do your hair, hmm?”

“Partly yes. The assignment is also done.”

“I didn’t expect any less from you. Should I ask how you did it this time?”

Trade secrets” Rostine answered with a wink.

“Thank you Rostine. I knew we could count on you”

Later on, Suleiman followed Ali to the kitchen.

“What’s up, Ali”

“Hey, Kiddo. You alright?”

“Yeah, I kinda wanted to ask you something”

“You know you can trust me right?” Ali asked the young lad

“uhhm…yeah. The thing is I got a curious gift from madame. I wondered what others got for their welcome gift”

“Different things” Ali answered evasively with confidence he didn’t feel. “What is it you got?” He asked.

“I got 2 roll-ons and a deodorant spray.”

“Oh! I see.”

“See? Even you think like I do…. it is a weird gift.”

“No. I think it’s a wonderful gift. You know what they say. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Be happy and use it. Right?”Ali said with a bright smile. He was happy the madame had done something about the lad’s body odor.

Ali left the lad and went straight to Rostine

“Boss-lady, I have come for my juice.”

Here…” Rostine parted with her hard-earned 2000 shilling note. Pity..she had to choose between that or the 10,000 shilling note.

“Thank you. Any gift for me?” Ali teased

Go away, I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Thank you for what you did! Let’s hope it works out” Ali said and walked away.

Rostine smiled. Ali was like the Tanzanian mishkaki's that brought everyone together. He was the one person who knew everyone’s secret. She hoped he didn’t know hers. She couldn’t put it past him though. That’s why she needed to be extremely careful. This was one thing ‘the family’ had no right to know.

Speaking of secrets, she turned on her machine to see if there were any messages from young blood.

Jotosana: Are you back? Why are you staying away from me today? You know I love to see the way you walk…..

Fagilieni: You know what they say about absence and the heart…

Jotosana: nope! I don’t care.

Fagilieni: You could make something up and come over to see me…you know?

Jotosana: And miss to see that tight butt swaying on its way out? Naah…

Fagilieni:  What if your desk mates catch you ogling?

Jotosana: As if I haven’t caught them doing the same thing despite being married men?

Fagilieni: lalalalala…..I don’t need to know what that testosterone packed room does…seriously

Jotosana: so, are you coming or what?

Rostine left his question hanging and stood up to go to the bathroom. On her way back she would pass by the Technical office to check the progress of her queries.

As she walked into the office, she could have sworn all the guys' eyebrows shot up. She knew her stylist had done justice to her hair by their faces. She made a mental note to tip her more next time. She walked to Rohan’s desk. She got the answers to her queries and left. It was all professional-like of course. She and Rohan would get top marks at the Little Theatre for their acting skills. Nothing on their faces betrayed the deep feelings they had for each other, or that they had spent a whole day together yesterday. No one would imagine a strict Jain like Rohan would date a black woman let alone a divorcee.

She was a Tanzanian and yet she didn’t know most of the secret places Rohan took her to. She had asked him how he knew all the secretive romantic places being a virgin and a strict devout Jain. He had answered that he had dodgy friends who dated African women and that we were benefiting from their experience. Like the beach they had gone to yesterday was exclusive where everyone minded their own business. Rohan was adamant that their relationship remains a secret. His reputation was at stake and the local Indian community was merciless. His family back home even knew how many times he farted. That’s how lethal the community was.

Rohan was romantic, thoughtful, and generous. The best boyfriend one could ask for. Seeing that she wasn’t interested in remarriage, Rostine was content to keep his secret. Having a handsome boy like Rohan in love with her had an amazing effect on her self confidence. She no longer felt dumb, insecure, or unsure of her decisions. She was slowly getting her belief in herself back. She wished all dumped women could find a Rohan in their life.

Rostine resolved to stop daydreaming and focus on her work. Apart from a few flirtations with Rohan on their MSN, she put in an honest afternoon work. Soon it was 5pm and most of the staff left. She loved this quiet time, it’s when she got to do her most serious work without the interrupting phone calls. Hersh and the accountant were still in. By 6pm everyone had left and only she and Rohan were left. They both ignored each other for 15 minutes for safety’s sake. Then Rohan came and locked the office door, took her hand, and led her to his office.

Rostine was unable to calm the flutter in her heart. She wasn’t sure if she was ready for The Conversation yet.

“So, Rostine, like I said yesterday, I want you to take my virginity. I know it’s a strange thing to ask but I need to have the experience. My mom is bothering me to settle down; they are finding a girl for me. I know my mom. It’s just a matter of time. Please…please…plus it’s been 6 months already. I am beginning to think you don’t care for me… ” Rohan pouted.

“I am honored, Rohan. The problem is that I am practicing second-hand virginity. I had vowed to stay for 2 years before I had sex again that is if I ever had it again. Am not too keen on it. Why can we not just continue as we are? You should save your virginity for your wife. You two will discover things together.”

“I appreciate but that is my decision to make. Don’t worry about your vow. After I leave, you can keep your vow. Remember I told you that am planning to return to India next year? Time is flying. I am now left with 9 months only.  And when I really think about it, if you count the time that idiot walked out on you to the time you both called it quits, I am pretty sure your 2 years are up. But…I also think there’s something more you are not telling me.”

“You are way too smart for your young age, you know that?”

“So what is it? Did that moron hurt you? Did you not enjoy it with him? I bet he didn’t make you feel special that’s why. I promise that even though I have never done it, I will not hurt you. I will treat you as delicately and tenderly as you deserve. There…there…please don’t cry. Now I know why you have avoided sex so skillfully…I am so sorry…” Rohan held her tight, offered his hanky, and rubbed her back compassionately.

Rostine couldn’t stop weeping. This man’s tenderness was too much. He was so astute, so attuned to her emotions that she was like an open book to him. She almost wished he wasn’t Indian and that she could marry him. She was afraid of falling in love with him. In fact, she was afraid that the gap he left might end up being epic compared to the vacuum left by her divorce.

It was at that moment that she decided she would honor his wishes. Just as she was sure she would never forget him, she would ensure he never did. She didn’t know how, but she sure as hell would find out. Even if it meant buying the Kamasutra book or whatever. Maybe this was going to be good for her after all. She needed to find out for her own sake if she was frigid as her ex had called her, or if it was that uncaring bastard’s fault after all.

Wouldn’t she love to know what it meant to come without faking it? If all that she read in the romance novels existed in reality and not just in print? What did it mean to be wet for a man and not suffer pain during sex? For the millionth time, she regretted that she had saved her virginity for that scoundrel.

She wiped her tears and looked up directly into his eyes and he knew.

August 21, 2020 10:17

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Vanessa Kilmer
16:37 Sep 13, 2020

Hi Naomie: I received your story from the Critique Circle. You created a great deal of subtext from all of your characters. I was able to see each of them distinctly. I like the way you formatted the dialogue and texts. That's a handy technique. Vanessa


Naomie K
03:14 Sep 14, 2020

Many thanks Vanessa for your encouragement. Thanks again


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Thom With An H
14:38 Aug 24, 2020

I had to read another of your stories and this shows your depth and versatility. It also got pretty hot there at the end. You do a great job of developing characters and using dialogue to move the story along. Great job again. I didn't choose this prompt but I'd still love your feedback if you have a moment. It's called "Coming Out".


Naomie K
14:52 Aug 24, 2020

Funny, I did the same and just posted my comment. You must have seen it by now. Thank you. I saw you got good feedback on showing vs telling. I am also working on that and understand dialogue is a great way to show. Thank you for the encouragement. All the best as you work on it too...!


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Bianka Nova
14:00 Aug 23, 2020

Good job on the prompt! :) I also like the way you've fed bit by bit the info on who's the secret lover. P.S. I think Kamasutra is two words (Kama Sutra) if you are referring to the book. At least that's how I've seen it written. Let's see what the Indian people on Reedsy have to say on the subject :)


Naomie K
03:27 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you, Bianca. Noted on the Kama Sutra. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment too :)


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Keerththan 😀
09:26 Aug 23, 2020

The dialogues were wonderful. The ending was great. Amazing story. Great job. Would you mind reading my new story "Secrets don't remain buried?"


Naomie K
03:28 Aug 24, 2020

Appreciate your encouragement so much. I will read your story.


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Deborah Angevin
08:06 Aug 23, 2020

I love the way you write the dialogues, Naomie. Great job! P.S: would you mind checking my recent story out, "Yellow Light?" Thank you :D


Naomie K
03:28 Aug 24, 2020

Will do Deborah. Many thanks for your time too


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Roshna Rusiniya
05:29 Aug 23, 2020

This was quite a tricky prompt and you have done a great job. Loved the dialogues!


Naomie K
03:29 Aug 24, 2020

Roshna thank you! I needed all the encouragement I am getting from you all. Many many thanks.....


Roshna Rusiniya
03:32 Aug 24, 2020

You are welcome Naomie! ❤️ If you have time,have a look at mine too. Thanks!


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02:50 Aug 22, 2020

I love the way you structured this. Very creative 👍🏼


Naomie K
03:30 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you, Sarah. :)


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Lynn Penny
15:00 Aug 21, 2020

I like how you crafted the dialogue, it fit with the prompt perfectly. Awesome job!


Naomie K
03:31 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you so much Lynn


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The Cold Ice
14:54 Aug 26, 2020

Congratulations for getting shorlisted. Amazing dialogues. Loved the ending. Waiting for your next... Would you mind reading my new story “The dragon warrior?”


Naomie K
09:51 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you, I did not even know I had been nominated so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I have read your submission and left a comment :)


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