I first notice her by the poolside of our Kilimani apartment block. She’s sort of tall, maybe five foot ten, and cocoa brown and lean.
There’s a video shoot going on — one of those local musician ‘celebrities,’ but one who I know has been making some money now called DJ No (complete with his own TV show) — is one of my neighbours.
He drives some sort of sports car, and there are always parties going on at his apartment, but he’s never invited me, or any neighbour for all I know, to any bash (not that I would say ‘no’ to DJ No).
Anyway, now that the country is ‘opening,’ DJ No is shooting videos. And that is how I get to meet, greet and know ‘La Belle.’ Because she is one of the video vixens, dressed in bikini, by our communal pool, hijacked by DJ No.
Annoyed at being asked to ‘please leave the pool area’ by one of his goons, I refuse to comply.
‘I’m a tenant here too.’
Which is how, as I stubbornly sit under a pool umbrella, drinking my canned cool Heineken that hot Sato afternoon, La Belle assumes I’m some video/camera extra, and asks me if I mind rubbing oil on her back.
I jump at the chance, literally, spilling my can.
She looks at me with cool brown eyes, then laughs. Her teeth are pearl white, her smile ‘Julia Robertsque.’ Her skin? Satin smooth, as I massage oil gently into her back. She looks early twenties.
Later, after the video shoot, at my apartment, I will learn she just turned 25, has only worked as a ‘model’ after finishing ‘Sociology’ in November, 2017, and is experiencing quarter life crisis.
She comes to my apartment, after the video shoot is through at sunset, to use my laptop.
‘Out of bundles,’ she says in that breezy voice, that makes knees weak.
After she sends that ‘emergency mail,’ sitting cross-legged on the lazy boy on my balcony, I ask her if she can stay for just one drink?
She says, ‘ok, but I only take this specific 20-year old Glennie bubbly, Artie, just so you are warned.’
Turns out, when I call to order it, darn drink costs 12 grand, plus an extra thao for home delivery. I can’t back out now without losing all pride in those cool brown eyes of ‘La Belle’ (Lucille, birth cert).
‘She’ll pay in kind,’ I console myself in my mind, even as she eats the Glovo that goes with her Glen. I couldn’t be ‘wronger.’
After dinner, with me now quite high and horny for my pound of smooth cocoa flesh, La Belle says she wants to shower then sleep.
‘I’m full,’ she says, very cute in the Bukwoski T-shirt I’ve given her. ‘Will you be a gentleman and sleep on the couch, dear Artie?’
That’s how, after a peck, with swimming pool scents coming off her, I end up on the sofa for the night, exiled from my bedroom.
In the morning, La Belle whips up a bacon, egg and juice breakfast that stirs me from my hangover. After she serves me, and playfully feeds me bacon bits, I think I’ll get a Sunday morning gift, but wapi?
Fixing those enchanting brown eyes on mine, La Belle asks for fare. ‘How much?’ I ask.
‘Three thao,’ she says. ‘I stay in Rongai, and that’s the cost of the cabby.’
Later after she leaves, I find she forgot to log out of her mail; and her latest Sunday morning Uber ride was 220 bob to Milimani, according to her log records.