It was called the ‘Esimba’ for lack of better term but it was really combination of the local term ‘Isimba’ and the first letter of my name. It was on the on the right side of our homestead near my parents’ house. As the last born that location of my hut; traditionally was rightfully mine. The positives thing about my hut was that it had a spacious room compared to my other siblings and the negative thing about it was that it was close to my sister’s hut who was always pain in my ass.

“Well let’s get our bag in the house,” I told her. “We’ll be right back siz.”

While I was taking the bags in the house, Michelle tapped my shoulder.

“Evans if you don’t mind I will love to have the night in your sister’s hut. I have a good feeling of us being bestie.”

“No way Michelle, if you saw how dismal her room is you’d change your mind. But maybe I could put the mattress on the floor of my room if I promise to be good.”

From the pained expression on her face I saw immediately that was no go.

“Okay fine. Can you let me store your books in my room? At least I will have something that belongs to you in my Esimba.”

“Mmhhh, of course Evans,” she replied.

Michelle followed me to my sister’s hut. It was small and cozy. I put her bag in the closet and my sister told her to use her dresser. On the way out I showed her where the nearby bathroom was located.

“Who is that?” Michelle asked pointing at Josh.

“That is my cousin Josh. He is married,” I said dramatically.

“Oh, okay.”

We headed back to the kitchen and now my father was talking with my mom. He turned to us and when he saw Michelle he smiled before speaking.

“Well look who the cock dragged in. To what do we owe this unexpected guest?”

“Hello, dad. I swear the way you and mom act you’d think you haven’t seen a lady from central. This is Michelle Wanjiku, dad” I said as the way of introduction.

“Charmed. By any chance are you from Ann Waiguru branch of family?”

“It was a stupid joke but my father had a way of making such things sound better than they were his delivery. His eyes would twinkle gaily and his expression would convey good humor and it worked as Michelle giggled from his corny remark.

“Good thing you’re here Evans. I want to ask a favor of you. Would you ride me to your aunt as I’m little tipsy and I don’t want myself driving. So give me a quick ride and don’t worry about Michelle, your mother and your sister Cecil will keep her entertained.”

“Good boy,” he said turning away.

“Sure thing Dad,” I replied.

That was it as far as he was concerned, he’d delivered his orders and he thought no more about it. My father and I weren’t close in any meaningful way. Sure we were the family and we loved each other I guess, deep down. But was nothing in common and our personalities were of such opposites that if weren’t related we never would have had anything to do with one another. My father’s only interests were my other three brothers, taking local liquor with his friends and poker. That was it, well that and hearing the sound of his own voice.

“Be back in a few, have fun,” I told Michelle as I turned to drive my father to my aunt.

My aunt Anyango lived a thirty minute drive away on the far side of River Nzoia and once we were there I waited as my father and my aunt fruitlessly argued about my uncle requiem. Finally they came in conclusion allowing me to drive back. So a trip that should have taken not more than one hour and thirty minute dragged on for over two hours and it was now dark.

When I returned, I found Michelle sitting in a chair outside by the fireplace with my siblings; Brian leaning down and whispering in her ear. Whatever he said was causing her to smile and laugh. When my dad and I came to where they were he stood up and moved as I headed towards Michelle.

“What took you so long? I was starting to think you’d run away and leave me here by myself,” she joked as I reached her.

“Like always, things take longer than expected when dealing with family.”

“Evans why didn’t you tell me your brother Brian was a junior partner in one of the prestige Law firm in the country. That’s very pretty impressive.”

“Well before today there was no reason to mention it and since he’s here I knew he would do it soon enough so there was no need for me to.”

“Was that necessary Evans? Really, your brother seems very nice to me” she said taking a large sip from a glass in her hand.

“I don’t mean anything by it. Sometimes you get tired of hearing it, that’s all. I’ve heard it for the last one year and truthfully I’m surprised his name isn’t said in Queens English. By the way what are you drinking?”

“Cecil made it for me, she called Chang’aa I think. It is really good.”

“Well, be careful. Those things are strong Michelle.”

“Don’t worry she said this one was the weak one. Besides it feels we’re in party and I don’t like we’re going anywhere tonight.”

That was certainly true what Michelle said and for the couple of hours we talked and ate some of my mom’s delicious food. Once when she went to get something to drink I saw Brian hand her a glass with a wink but since then he and the rest of my siblings had disappeared, no doubt to play poker. As the say goes like father like sons and a daughter with an exception of me. I guess that was the one feature that made me to be ‘mama’s boy’. I had a few drinks myself and between them, the long journey and the fact I hadn’t slept much the previous night due to anticipation I found myself fighting to stay awake.

“Come on Evans, maybe you should go to sleep now. Tomorrow is another day.”

“You’re right Michelle, I can barely keep my eyes open. What about you?”

“I’m right behind you.”

I went to my hut and I first got a pair of shorts to sleep in from my bag before pausing to my sister’s hut to wish Michelle a good night. I hopped for something to happen but she just gave me a quick peck on my cheek and closed the door. Grumbling softly, I went to my room and inflated the mattress. Realizing I’d forgotten to say good night to my mom I went back to my parent’s house and found her. She smiled and then looked me in the eyes.

“I talked with your friend Michelle. She seems very nice but she told me that she’s avoiding relationships right now. I’m sorry Evans.”

“About what mom?”

“You can’t pull the wool over my eyes. It’s pretty obvious that you have more than friendly feelings for her Evans. But don’t give up yet, with love all Mountains can move. You know it took quite some time before I agreed to go out with your father but he persisted and you see where that led. So there is always hope.”

“Thanks mom,” I said, “and good night.”

One my way to my hut I went to my sister’s hut and tapped on the door gently but there was no answer. Probably Michelle was asleep by now but semester’s break had just started so I had plenty of time, I figured. So I went to my hut and closed the door and changed into my shorts. Turning of the light; I was about to settle in when I heard something that caught my attention. It was faint but I recognized the sound.

It came from the furthest hut in the homestead. Groping in the darkness I saw a dim light closer I got. In the back wall of Kevin’s hut was a little hole that Kevin cared not to seal around it and in the same hut was where the sound originated.

Crouching a little I put my eye to the opening and looked. I had a straight view and as expected my siblings were sitting there playing cards. Along with my cousin Josh who like my brother Brian was a lawyer. But who I’d heard laugh as she sat next to Brian with a glass in her hand was Michelle. She had changed from khaki shorts and black sweater she had been wearing and like that morning in her house Michelle was wearing a long-shirt.

As I watched she appeared fairly normal. All my sibling and my cousin Josh were playing five card stud and there were some cash in the center of the table as they drank and only one of them was smoking cigarette-my cousin Josh. Michelle wasn’t playing but Brian seemed to be showing her his cards and asking her for some advice with each hand. He must have been being polite or humoring her as for Brian like my father was an excellent player who knew his way around the card table. Right after he won another hand Douglas threw his hand on the table in disgust.

“Damn it! Don’t you ever lose?” he directed at Brian who was pulling the money from the center.

“Not tonight fellas. Ever since lady luck sat next to me I can’t lose,” he replied turning to Michelle and kissing her cheek. “Here Mish, buy yourself something nice” he told her handing her some money. I hated what I was seeing but what I hated more at the time- just at the time was the shortening of her name from Michelle to Mish.

“Oh Brian I can’t take your money,” Michelle replied.

“You can call him B and gambling winnings is like found money. Since you sat there he have only lost one hand so in my book I’d say you have earned it.” Cecil said to Michelle.

She seemed unconvinced but he persisted until she took it from him after which he smiled at her. Yawning, I didn’t see much point in watching further. Again I was hurt by the fact that she wanted company why not come to me but what could I do? I’d decided to go to sleep so I took one more look at her as I could never get enough of seeing her beautiful face.

Michelle was sitting very close to on the right hand side of my brother Brian, in fact, so close that their chairs must have been touching. Her hands were on the table before when I saw a strange expression come over her face momentarily before she went back to her placid look. I then noticed my brother Brian was holding his cards in his left hand which was unusual for him and I couldn’t see his right hand. For some reason I squished myself to the wall so that I was below the level of the opening. What I saw made my jaw drop and my heart leapt into my throat.

There in Kevin’s hut with my own eyes witnessing it was my brother Brian with his hand up her long shirt and between Michelle’s spread thighs fondling her panty covered mound. I did a double check but it was really happening in front of me. Since there were sitting close to the table it would have been virtually impossible to see unless one was down below the level of the tabletop. In retrospect I should have stayed in my room as my fragile heart was being torn into infinite fragments.

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