Ella’s finally in a relationship, something she’s longed for forever. Then her sister comes to her with a fantastical story about her boyfriend’s alleged infidelity. When Ella confronts him about it, all hell breaks loose and Daniel leaves. Ella goes to him and they make up. She should be happy, but she isn’t, and she has no idea why. Start Ella and Daniel’s story here Lonely Eyes Part 1 – Hello, Chaos!
About a week later, it lifted. She woke up one morning and saw her house through the eyes of a stranger. Everything was everywhere. There was no discernible demarcation between her living room and bedroom. Her clothes were everywhere, as were her disgusting utensils. No one would eat in her house ever again if they saw it in its current state. Even she wouldn’t eat here if she had any kind of choice in the matter.
She immediately got to cleaning, first the mouldy dishes, then the dusty floors. By the time she was done, the sun was setting, and she was beyond drained. The house was habitable. She’d tackle the mountains of laundry the following day. Fingers crossed.
As if sensing her grave mood had lifted, Daniel called, asking her out. They’d spoken barely five times throughout the three weeks the black cloud had engulfed her. It appeared, though, that they were both back and she couldn’t have been happier.
She curled up on the couch, as she spoke to him. “A week? Where are we going?”
“It’s a surprise.”
“Come on,” she whined playfully. “We’re going away for a week, and you won’t tell me where.”
“I was led to understand that women are into this sort of surprise thing. Are you saying I was misled and should cancel it altogether?”
“Stop talking stupid. What should I pack?”
“Everything you would take if you were moving to the beach and intending to spend every waking moment in the water. Think tiny and tinier.”
She laughed. “So we’re looking at an entire week of tiny and tinier?”
“Yeah, and nothing altogether.”
“I think I can do that.”
“That’s my girl.”
Ella had barely been able to sit still since the phone call. It had been so long since he’d done something like that. They had fallen into the simple dinner date, then sex routine, the only difference being where they ate. Too often, it was just ordering in, followed closely by sex.
This time, they had a week to focus on themselves and renewing their relationship. She was going to maximize this time alone, free from the daily pressures of life, and use it to set them back on track.
Ella flittered about the house on newly light feet packing stuff. She’d make up for the lost work hours when she came back. Her working mojo had returned, so she’d definitely be fine. It would mean working slightly longer each day, but it would do. What her job lacked in the way of compensation and intellectual rigour it more than made up for in the freedom to set her own hours.
She packed every skimpy article of clothing she had. Tiny skirts and shorts. Tight vests and tees. The single matching bra and underwear set she owned, which she brought out only on special occasions. This week needed all the big guns.
Her phone vibrated, and she grabbed it. Daniel had been sending her texts about how excited he was. She’d been waiting by her phone, all excited, with butterflies in her stomach, which is what she imagined young teenage love was like. She’d not dated anyone in high school or even when she was at the university. Daniel was her first relationship, and she just loved that she was getting to feel these things, even if it was so late in the game.
Her face fell. It was her brother in their sibling chat group. He was just checking in on everyone. Damn, she’d have to tell them she was going on a week-long trip with Daniel to some as-yet-unknown place. That would go well.
As much as she dreaded having to tell them, she couldn’t be so irresponsible as to go to some unknown place with a man and not tell her people. She’d been alive too long, and seen too much to be able to convince herself to do that.
Ella recorded a quick voice note. “Hey guys, I’m alright. Daniel and I are going away for a short trip. It’s a surprise so sijui where we’re going but I’ll let you know as soon as I know. Plus, I’ll check in with y’all every day, so you know I’m still alive and shit.” She laughed so they’d know she was joking. “Cool. So you know we can do daily voice notes. See ya.”
She hoped they understood that meant she didn’t want phone calls and that all communication should be via voice notes. She wanted to focus on her and Daniel this coming week.
Neither one of them replied immediately, and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were discussing it separately, most likely on an actual call. She wasn’t going to let herself worry about that. She’d done her part, the responsible thing, and would shortly be off on her much-needed romantic getaway.
That evening, Daniel pulled up in one of those big vehicles used by tours and travel companies. “Safari, baby. You ready?” he asked, embracing her in a tight hug. She clung to him and sighed. It had been too long.
“It’s just the two of us, right?” she asked, lifting her head from his chest.
“What are we going to do with this big ass car?”
He pulled back and shook his head, clicking his tongue. “We’re going to have to work on your imagination and sense of adventure.”
Ella laughed. “I look forward to it.”
They spent that night in one of the luxury hotels in the city. Daniel insisted they needed some major pampering, considering they’d be spending most of their time on their asses in the car. They ate overpriced though admittedly delicious hotel food, cuddled, as they watched TV, and raided the snack bar just for the experience. They had sex on the plush hotel bed. Then she lay still, listening to Daniel’s soft snores.
She’d faked it. She’d faked orgasms in the past, on rare occasions, but it had never occurred to her that she’d ever feel the need to do it in such a set-up. The mattress alone was divine, to say nothing of the room and being waited on hand and foot. Ella didn’t know why she’d done it this time, and she always knew why. Sometimes it was because she was tired, others because it was taking too long, and others because she was upset about something. She wasn’t any of those. So why?
Maybe it was a side-effect of her poor sleeping and busted circadian rhythm.
That had to be it, she decided. Then she closed her eyes and prepared for another sleepless night.
They had marginally satisfactory morning sex and a highly satisfactory breakfast before hitting the road. Ella discreetly checked in with her siblings via text that morning and later in the day, when they stopped to use the bathroom, sent them a voice note.
“Hey, guys. I’m alright. We’re just driving without any specific destination in mind, but we’re headed towards Naivasha. I’ll let you know where we end up. Hope you guys are good. Bye.”
They held hands intermittently while he drove, and she checked that off her bucket list. It felt as good as it looked in all the Pinterest pictures. This must be why Huey and Eddy seemed incapable of not doing it. Her days of charging them with reckless endangerment were firmly behind her.
Daniel stopped at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint. They watched the sunrise in each other’s arms wrapped in a Maasai shuka they bought right there to ward off the chill. They also bought matching bead bracelets in the Kenyan flag colours and took a million pictures. She couldn’t even remember the last time they’d taken pictures together. They spent the drive listening to old-school local songs and some throwback Hip Hop and RnB, competing to remember the lyrics and sing along. She couldn’t remember the last time they’d had this much fun together, just laughing and being silly.
At around midday, they stopped for lunch and then resumed the drive. They occasionally stopped to take in the scenery in each other’s arms in the back of the Land Rover. During the drive, it was mostly just singing, laughing, and giving each other delighted smiles. If there was a National Park, they took a detour and went in, just following their whims. As the sun set, they searched for hotels online and picked one that met his expensive sensibilities to lay their heads at that evening.
Every day was the same yet different and so very magical she was afraid this much good fortune would most definitely be followed by tremendous ill fortune.
“Why do you look like that?” Daniel asked. They were on their drive back. In about five hours max, she’d be back in her old life.
“I don’t want it to end.”
“I know, me too.” He took her hand and squeezed gently before releasing it.
“I’m scared,” she added.
“Of losing this, this, us.” Ella whispered, looking at the scenery through her open window.
“Why do you always do this? You always expect bad things to happen, that’s why bad things happen to you. You’re too negative. It fucking sucks.”
Her throat closed up, and she focused on the moving trees to keep the tears at bay. “Yeah.”
Is she being too negative or is there something to her gut feeling? Find out what happens next here – Lonely Eyes Part 7: Unpleasant Surprises – Did She Know Him At All?
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