My date is standing beneath the façade of the building. Exact same spot we met in the morning. It’s like he had marked it with his scent and he just sniffed his way back to it.

The customary exchange of pleasantries then I ask, “So, where are we headed?”

“Patience, Shiru, patience.”

“Fair enough. But I don’t have much time.” I take a quick look at my wristwatch and say, “It’s 01:33 pm. I need to be back within the hour.”

“I guarantee that you’ll be back by 02:30 pm.”

He gestures with his hands for us to leave and says, “Shall we?”

The streets are still crowded with folks heading to lunch while others are just roaming around. No specific destination in sight or mind.

We pass a few restaurants but kept on moving. He’s the captain alright. Let’s keep walking.

Not much is said along the way as we take a few turns, cross some streetlights, and find our way to Java Embassy House. You can see the KICC building right across the street. We find a table by the patio. Violas and lady ferns screen us from the pedestrians walking by.

The sun is overhead and the air is moist and sticky. But there’s a calming breeze that seems to carry with it all of my troubles from the office.

The AC on our floor was faulty and it was almost 30 degrees Celsius. I might be here a while.

A waitress saw us walk in and dashed our way. She hands us the menus and proceeds to clear the table beside us as another couple leaves.

I’m watching my weight and have been on a strict diet for a few weeks. Regardless, I order some chimichangas and a chocolate shake. My waistline cannot be lost in a single sitting.

James asks for a grilled veggie sandwich with red pepper spread and a strawberry splash to wash it down with.

As the waitresses walks away, I catch him stealing a look at her legs. He notices me watching him and quickly tries to diffuse the situation.

“There’s a nice vegan restaurant a few blocks from here but I know right now it’s packed. Can’t get a seat without a reservation. And I wasn’t sure you’d show.”

I shrug and scan the menu again. As if I want to order something else.

We talk about the weather and touch a little on a story that has been trending recently about a serial killer in Nairobi. The press have dubbed him the City Strangler. It’s a weird topic for a first date but it’s all the media have been feeding us lately. And we use it to fill in any gaps in the conversation. Surprisingly, it acts as an effective ice breaker of sorts.

The waitress comes back with our drinks. We’re both at ease now and the mood is less tensed.

Now that we’re seated across from each other with time to kill, I study his features. He has brown eyes with eyelashes that most women (me included) would kill for. A nice afro that is clearly well taken care of and a few days’ worth of stubble on his chin. His face is smooth and I wouldn’t be wrong to think that he goes for a facial every so often. Basically, he’s well groomed and evidently mindful of his looks. Something that would be difficult to say of many men out here, more precisely in this city.

Without knowing, he’s checking most of the boxes on my list.

“So, tell me James, why did you stop me this morning?”

He smiles. White teeth. Another box checked.

Keep your eyes peeled for the sequel…or better yet, just subscribe so that you don’t miss it.