Unscripted love Chapter 68 - Mzansi Stories

Sunday, July 3


Unscripted love Chapter 68


The Consolation Price
I stopped at the steps and looked up at the open door. The noise from the celebration party spilled down the steps and into the streets. I was generally good in social settings but this time I only came to celebrate my husband along with many others that wanted to congratulate him for his monumental achievement. I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the party on the heels of a brief conversation with Futhi about her sleeping with the man my parents wanted me to marry. I was still fuming from the heated exchange with that demon, Solomon.
I took a deep breath, smoothed my flared dress and checked my hair to make sure it was still snugly fastened at the nape of my neck. I straightened my shoulders, plastered a huge grin on my face and started up the steps.
I wondered how long it would take me to identify Levi in the sea of bodies. I was eager to talk to him about Futhi and Solomon. When I spotted the Minister of Sports I figured this was not the time nor the place for baggage. Walking in that room, rubbing shoulders with society’s elite as I squeezed past them gave life to what the new chapter in Levi’s life really meant.
Scanning the crowd I studied faces trying to figure out which one belonged to my husband. I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Pearl standing next to me.
“Hey, Thando.” She handed me a glass of wine. “This will help you blend in with the crowd. Love the dress, red is definitely your colour.”
“Thanks. You too.” I knew then that I should have listened to Sbahle and worn the blue dress, now I was stuck looking like Pearl’s understudy. I hated how gorgeous and radiant she was in her red dress.
I took the glass and gave her a strained smile, ignoring the reminder that she was the main reason why Levi and I broke up. I would have preferred it if their friendship ended but I had no right to make that demand.
I was aggravated when a photographer appeared and asked to take a photo of us. I leaned in and smiled for the photograph that would make for some interesting comments from people that believed that Levi and Pearl dated. They had sex so I suppose it was bad enough. Momentarily, I wondered how many other women Levi had slept with were crawling in that room.
“I’m gonna go and look for Levi.” I informed Pearl.
“I doubt we will get five minutes of his time. Everyone wants a piece of him tonight.” She gave a low chuckle.
She placed her hand in the small of my back and started to direct me towards a group of local celebrities gathered near a large fireplace.
“Listen, Thando. About that whole living together situation, I know how it must have looked but I assure you that my relationship with Levi is purely platonic.”
I stopped dead in my tracks at her statement and looked up at her. Why did she feel the need to explain? Was she feeling guilty? Why was I so insecure when Levi hadn’t given me a reason to doubt his faithfulness?
“Can we not talk about that, please?”
“Sure. I just wanted to clear the air. Wouldn’t want Levi’s favourite women not getting along.” Pearl laughed at her own joke, only I didn’t see it as one.
She started to push me forward but I forced her to stop again.
“Did he tell you that you were his favourite woman?” I demanded suddenly, feeling the need to get an explanation for her elevating herself to the favourites list.
Pearl just shrugged. “He sees me as the little sister he never had.”
“And you see him like an older brother?” I swallowed hard at that.
“Something like that. Levi only has eyes for you. Seeing him so in love is really beautiful and I am happy that he found that special someone in a woman that is beautiful inside and out.” Pearl started to push me forward once again.
I couldn’t contain the bright smile that lit my face, it was nice hearing that from a close friend of his. It was enough to keep me moving forward and I was still thinking about it when I heard myself being introduced.
“Guys this is Thando, Luvuyo’s girlfriend. Thando, this is Morena, Katlego, Busisiwe and Rikhado.” Pearl said as if I didn’t know who they were. She pushed me forward.
I held out my hand, my smile still bright as I looked at the starlets who took turns taking my hand in greeting. When Rikhado took my hand I couldn’t help but notice that it was large, strong and warm as it enveloped my smaller one. It’s almost like there was a familiarity in it.
His eyes were black and frankly assessing as if he recognised me but couldn’t place the face.
“You are the one who was singing worship songs when we went out a couple of months ago.” He said, placing me. Would I live that day down? Oh my God, was I acting a fool in front of Levi’s celebrity friends?
“Ungazodlala ngami.” I felt myself blush. Now that I thought about it the poor guy must have thought that Levi was dating a wild party animal. Rikhado seemed not to notice my mortification as he went on to introduce me to the rest of the people in the circle that I’d always avoided. I hardly heard him in my embarrassment and I hoped none recognised me from that day.
I greeted everyone with a hello and a handshake, trying not to act like a star struck groupie.
“Quite a strong Zulu accent, where in KZN are you from?” The petite bombshell standing next to Rikhado asked as she tucked her arm through his in a proprietary way.
“Durban, kodwa inkaba yami yawela KwaMashu.”
“Hawu, Mkhaya. Waze wang’khumbuza ekhaya. [You just made me miss home]” Zakhele drummed in.
“Can you speak Sotho? I mean, I am guessing you’ve been this side for a while now.” The petite lady asked and I was mystified as to why this woman was coming off as hostile.
“No, I can hear one or two things but that’s about as far as that goes.” I said and placed my still full glass on the tray of a waiter as he passed.
“You don’t like wine?” Pearl questioned.
“I do. It’s just -”
“Better not to drink tonight, lest we start worshiping God in our drunken state again.” Rikhado hijacked my sentence, eliciting giggles at my expense. I felt myself turn bright red.
“Why don’t you perform tonight? Do a cover song or something. I know he will appreciate his acquaintances singing for him but he would really love that.” Pearl suggested. She was so pleased with her suggestion it came through in her chirpy voice.
“Can she sing?” Zakhele questioned. “We don’t want wooden mic contestants on stage.”
“She can sing.” Pearl and Rikhado nodded in unison.
“She has a stunning voice.” They went on as if I wasn’t there.
“What song do you want to sing? I can talk to the DJ and we will organise the instrumental.” Zakhele offered and I shook my head vehemently.
“Not gonna happen.” I stated.
“Oh come on, just one song.” Pearl hectored.
“I have heard you singing before, I don’t know why you would deny him this gift. It’s something meaningful that money cannot buy.”
I was intrigued by Pearl’s words. I nodded my head towards hers in affirmation of her statement but they mistook that as me agreeing to humiliate him by singing in a room full of distinguished guests.
“Pearl…” I began when Zakhele stopped me.
“Which song are you going to sing?” He asked impatiently.
“I don’t know. Umm. Well, he asked me to sing Thinking Out Loud for him once and I told him I would practice before singing for him. Maybe that one?” What was I getting myself into?
Before I could answer that question next to the stage, preparing myself to croon Ed Sheeran’s classic. There was no turning back now, I just had to pretend that it was just the two of us in the room.
Our Love entered the stage, stood behind the mic stand and greeted everyone in a timid voice. Anticipation hung in the air as the room quietened down and zoned in on her. She held my gaze for a moment, I could have sworn I saw her lips twitch into a nervous smile before she closed her eyes.
The light dimmed and a bright spotlight was put on her. The background music started playing, she opened her eyes slowly, and then the most magical sound came out. It carried around the room in sound waves, bouncing around wildly. Her voice was feathery, sounding vulnerable but strong at the same time. It was hypnotising, almost like everyone was drugged, I was drugged. The sweet vowels leaving her mouth carried a strong and powerful message.
The fullness of the sound coated my skin like a warm, heavy blanket. The lightness of each note, like a gift. If sound could be a light, then that's what it was. A light in the darkness. Her voice rose and sank effortlessly, touching upon each note like a dove. Every word awakened every ounce of my being and beckoned me to fall deeper. I could not bear the silence when it stopped.
It wasn't just me that had a high opinion of her singing that evening. The whole room stood still in the silence, willing her to continue or sing another song. My admiration for her was deep seated and long lasting. I couldn’t help but be hazardously in love with this human. She said a very brief speech and moved off stage.
“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” I gushed as I opened my arms to her when walked towards me. Zakhele climbed on and joked about him having first dips on signing her to his record label which earned a round of hilarity in the room. I didn’t hear the rest of his words as Our Love fell into my open arms like she was so glad it was over.
My lips brush hers. Not innocently, like a tease but hot, fiery, passionate and demanding. I wanted to pull away as I saw flashes around us but I couldn’t seem to. I lost myself in the minty moment, my senses had been seduced and I could no longer think straight.
“I love you,” I whispered slowly, prolonging each letter as if to savour them.
“I love you too. Congratulations babe.” She smiled, my heart fluttered at her voice as I clasped my hands on either side of her face.
Me: By the way, remember I told you Amelia wanted me to do a DNA test before meeting the rest of the Mmola family?
Thando: Yeah.

“Got the results today and Lancet Laboratories is 99.99% sure that Keagile is my dad.” I smiled.
Thando: I knew it was just a formality. How does he feel? Have you told him?
Me: Yeah, he is excited. It’s just a pity that I missed my sister’s wedding while waiting for confirmation for what I already knew.
“Don’t stress too much about it. You gave your family what they wanted, now you are free to build a relationship with the Moola family.”
Me: Yeah. Did you speak to Futhi?
Our Love sighed. “Let’s just dance and have fun tonight. We will talk about everything else tomorrow.”
“Okay,” I sighed. “I got hold of Grace. Seems like a spiteful journo trying to make a name for herself. I don’t know what to do.” I went on when I’d just agreed to drop it.
“Thato said something about an urgent interdict. Maybe I should do that?”
Me: What is that?
Thando: I have no idea. But he said he would only know if it’s something worth pursuing if I tell him what happened.
Me: What if he goes and tells people?
Thando: As my attorney he can’t do that, he said something about attorney client privledge. Maybe we should meet him and get advice on what we can do.
Me: I have too many interviews and appearances scheduled, I don’t have time. Meet him tomorrow and give me feedback?
“Okay. Enough about that, I’m thirsty. What are you drinking tonight? Beer or wine?” Thando asked.
Her brow furrowed as she looked at me in utter confusion. “Juice?”
“We can’t drink when WE are pregnant.”
Thando: Oh really, I am pretty sure I saw you sipping some wine earlier.
I grinned. “Foetal alcohol syndrome occurs when the pregnant mother drinks excessive amounts of alcohol, one glass isn’t excessive.”
She laughed. “I am so glad I get to carry the baby for us. I’ll get us some orange juice.”
As Our Love walked off I could only hope that Thato had tricks up his sleeve. My baby was a fighter but I didn’t want her going through another battle because of me.
With each day that passed I found myself slipping into depression. I’d made an appointment with the therapist at school. Maybe I could find the courage to tell them, I thought to myself. Maybe there was something they could do. Maybe there was a cure for my pain. Maybe the therapist would see that I was dying.
After waiting for nearly two hours, I was called to the back room, where I waited another 45 minutes for a therapist to greet me. Once inside, I noticed that the room resembled doctors’ offices, not what I imagined a therapist’s office would look like. I sat on the chair, a paper was rolled across the table that separated us. A lot of time had passed but I was still trying to find the words to say. The therapist, a man in his mid-50s with short, salt-and-pepper hair seemed rushed.
I began telling him how I’d felt, and within 10 minutes, before I’d gotten around to telling him why I was feeling what I was feeling, he’d decided that I had social anxiety disorder. As soon as he’d come to his own diagnosis, I was sent down the hall where a medical doctor scribbled some words on his prescription pad. I picked up the prescribed pills and headed home.
I tossed the pills aside, deciding not to take them or attend school the following day. My dad had packed his bags and travelled to Jo’burg, hoping to come back with mom, leaving me home alone for a few days. I was completely cut off from the world. I was somewhat amazed that my parents hadn’t made any contact with me. Nobody thought to ask if I was home safe, what I would eat for dinner or even acknowledge that I still existed. Sister Thando only thought to call when Brother Solomon felt the need to tell her about that day.
The feeling of complete self-induced isolation was somewhat surreal. My mind began to wander, imagining the end of my own existence. I began searching the internet to find out whether taking all my medication at once would result in my death. Could I do it? Could I save up enough pills to make that happen?
I sighed heavily and rolled onto my side. Not surprisingly the space beside me on the bed was empty. I sighed and pulled myself up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. My feet dangled just inches from the cold floor. My shoulders drooped. My heart beat painfully slow, aware of my loneliness.
I slid forward, cringing as my feet pressed against the frigid tiled floor. I hugged myself, no one else would. I padded quietly down the bare hall and into the scantly furnished kitchen. A chair sat in the middle as though awaiting the arrival of a table and more chairs to share the meagre space. Several boxes sat in the corner patiently waiting for my mother to fetch them when she’d managed to secure a second storage locker. A calendar boasting idyllic ocean scenes hung crookedly on the fridge that was marked ‘mine’.
I tilted the calendar in vain. It slid to one side. I gazed at the ‘x’ marks in each day. My birthday had come had gone. August was almost through. Each day was blank. To most a day held a promise of plans to be made and happy memories to be created. For me, a stark reminder of the emptiness and isolation.
My phone sat on the counter where I had left it when I got back from church. No missed calls. No missed messages. The backlight faded slowly until the screen went black. My reflection was distorted but still visible. Dark shadows had crept up beneath my eyes. My lips pulled into a deep frown threatening never to be lifted into a smile again. Hours went by and my phone remained silent. I was certain my father had reached his destination, he could have at least called to say he’d arrived safely. Maybe Sister Thando told them about Brother Solomon and I, even though she promised she wouldn’t.
She’d fired lots of questions about my relationship with Brother Solomon but there was no relationship to speak of. Knowing that there was no relationship to speak of made me feel like a proper Jezebel. I didn’t love him, he didn’t love me, we had no connection. I was hopeless and Brother Solomon gave me shoulder to cry on. It was nothing. I was still trying to figure out why he called me his baby…. his sunshine if I was really nothing…. maybe that meant something.
I’d prayed. Fasted. Now I had the opportunity to reinvent myself. To be someone new. To be the person I always wanted to be. But how could I create a new person when I had no idea who I was in the first place. I had never truly been anyone. I was a mere existence. A husk of humanity. A pile of clay moulded by those around me to suit their needs and desires at that specific moment in time. When I ceased to be of even moderate value I was left to collapse in on myself until someone else came along to shift me. I was without an identity.
As I climbed into bed I was exhausted. I scrolled through my phone and read dozens of tweets, posts and articles about Brother Levi. I stopped scrolling and gawked at a picture of Levi and my sister looking happy and radiant wherever they were partying that evening. He’d captioned it ‘nobody could have prepared me for how hard I have fallen.’ They made love look beautiful and easy. Maybe my life would be easier if I had someone who would be the calm in my storm.
I had just started to doze off when there was a knock on the front door. Convinced it was Brother Sabelo I was going to let it pass and pretend to be asleep which I practically was when the knock came again.
I jumped down from the bed, grabbing my robe and padding over to the door on my bare feet. When I unlocked the front door and cracked it open I was shocked to see Brother Solomon standing there. He was leaning against the door frame, his tie off and his shirt unbuttoned at the collar. A far cry from the orderly way he looked earlier that evening at church.
I tightened my hand into a fist to keep myself from shoving him and slamming the door in his face. I pulled my robe tighter as his black gaze finally found my brown one. He had taken his time assessing me as I’d done to him.
“Can I help you?” I asked, a chill in my voice.
“Are you going to invite me inside?” His voice carried a hit of annoyance.
I stepped aside to let him in and shut the door behind him. Brother Solomon stood in the middle of the room as I hesitantly walked over and stood next to him. I held out my hand for a handshake but he pulled away and sunk his hands into his pockets. I flinched at the thought that I could be carrying this person’s child.
“Futhi which part of don’t tell anyone is difficult to understand!?” He fired.
“I didn’t tell Sister Thando, you told her.” I mumbled.
Solomon: DO NOT TEST ME. Not today!
“But I didn’t tell her.” I raised my voice to match his. “She called and demanded an explanation. I thought you told her. If you don’t believe me then I’ll call her and she will tell you what I said.”
I considered him for a moment then turned and walked to my room to get my phone. When I turned around he was right behind me, having closed the door behind him. Alarm bells were ringing in my head. The voice that had told me to shut the door in his face was now screaming at me. This was exactly the situation I didn’t want. I wasn’t afraid of him because just as one voice was telling me to runaway another was telling me to run towards him and tell him that we might have made a baby. I was afraid of myself.
Convinced I had a split personality I turned on my phone with a shaking hand and scrolled down to my sister’s name.
“I’m calling her.” I said seconds later.
“Don’t call her.” He nodded towards the phone that was in my hands. “Maybe someone saw us when we left the chesa nyama together. Did you ask Thandolwethu what she knew before you started explaining?”
I looked down and whimpered a no. It was clearly an oversight but then again I wasn’t a good at keeping secrets.
Brother Solomon suddenly looked conflicted. And then he hit me with something I hadn’t considered. “Maybe she didn’t know everything when she called you. Maybe she was fishing for information and you fell into her trap.” Brother Solomon had moved closer to me as he spoke.
“I am sorry.” Was all I could offer.
“What am I supposed to do with your sorry? Is it going to fix the mess you made?” he demanded. “I’ve lost her forever! Is that what you wanted? Was that your plan all along? Seduce me and derail God’s plan for my life.”
My mouth parted slightly as I glared at him in shock. “I didn’t plan any of this Solomon!”
“Don’t you dare raise your voice when you address me. I will not tolerate disrespect.” He sneered.
I was rooted on the spot, I couldn’t move even if I wanted to.
“I did not mean for any of this to happen,” I insisted again.
“Thandolwethu called me a paedophile that belongs on the sexual offenders list.” He countered. “Do-do you see me that way Futhi? How do you feel about that night because I can’t stop thinking about it?”
I nervously reached down and rolled up my sleeve. His gaze followed my movement, watching me as I showed him the deep cuts on my wrist.
“This is how I feel about it.” I was finally able to take a step back, a move that registered in a glance.
“Futhi….. I didn’t mean to hurt you or make you hate yourself.” His stare was harder if that was even possible.
“How can I not hate myself? I lost my virginity to someone who is obsessed with my sister. I am nothing to you but you took the most sacred thing to me and I will never get it back.” I pulled the sleeve down and tightened my robe again.
He gave a smile that did not reach his eyes. “It’s pretty clear that your sister and I will never be together. Maybe you could be my consolation price.”
My mouth fell open, was he for real? Was he truly that cynical? I thought he was Christ like but I was clearly mistaken. Jesus would never be that brutal.
He took a step towards me again and I looked at his frame as it filled my vision. Somehow he made my room seem small even though it was huge.
“You are an amazing girl and anyone would be lucky to have you as their girlfriend or wife, but you have a lot to learn… change.” He admitted.
I rolled my eyes in frustration. “I am very mature for my age. What do I need to change?”
“Your reclusive ways.” He answered.
“My reclusive ways?” I looked at him like he’d called me out of my name. “Just what exactly do you mean by my reclusive ways?”
“I really do not want to get into that, Futhi.” He suddenly looked as if he was growing annoyed with me, like I was the one with the problem. It only made my anger escalade.
“No, please let’s get into it.” I exclaimed. “What is so wrong about me?”
“Okay fine,” he shouted. “Let’s start with the way you dress, my God, it’s like you are somebody’s grandmother. It wouldn’t surprise me to know that your grandmother gave you this frilly velvet robe you have on.”
I winced at his harsh words. They cut like a knife. I’d asked for an explanation and damn he gave me one.
“You have a beautiful body hiding under that hideous clothing you wear. I don’t know why you insist on keeping it covered up. I don’t even know why you have this coarse hair on your head. I’ve dated shy women before and have been with introverts, but I’ve never come across someone like you. I am sorry Futhi, but you only talk about church and your parents. As pretty and as smart as you are you’re an absolute bore so you’d need to burst out of the bubble you live in.” He finally concluded.
My lips trembled from the pain that filled me as I tried to keep my eyes from watering. It hurt because he was right. He was right about everything. I couldn’t deny it. Everything he said was true. I was a bore. I wasn’t fun and exciting. I was laid back, withdrawn and obsessed with church. I’d always been that way.
“If you work on that then maybe me and you could work on something.”
“Something?” I questioned.
“Courtship.” He said simply.
Was he asking me out? I was pretty sure he was supposed to ask nicely, not like this. I straightened my shoulders and marched towards the door. “Get out!”
Brother Solomon moved to stand in front of me as my hand landed on the doorknob. He placed his hand over mine, stopping me from opening the door. I felt the current energy leave his hand and travel right up my arm making my heart beat faster. How could a simple touch be so exhilarating?
“It’s not safe for you to be home alone. Let me stay.” He nodded his head towards the bed, giving me a devilish grin that made my knees all but collapse.
My gaze racked his face, stopping at his lips. He must have sensed my weakness because he buried his free hand in my hair and pulled me in for a hard kiss. The moment our lips touched my wobbly knees caved and I landed hard against him. I gasped at the full contact and he took advantage of my gasp to deepen the kiss.
His other arm had come around my waist and he was holding me to him. I trembled at that contained power that was radiating from him. I could feel the muscles in his arms ripple as he pushed me on the bed and climbed on top of me. I heard myself give a little cry in the back of my throat and even I did not know if it was a cry of distress or delight.
“Do you want me to stop?” he breathed when he pulled away from me. He searched my eyes for a moment as if he was trying to solve a puzzle.
“Yes. I don’t want to sin again.” I looked over his shoulder unable to meet his eyes. I knew that if I hadn’t stopped the kiss I wouldn’t have been able to stop what would follow. I had been too far gone.
He didn’t say a word but he brushed up against me then tilted my face to meet his gaze. “What do you say to my proposition? Are you going to work on the things we spoke about?”
“I will be the best consolation price one can get.” I whispered and he smiled at my words. He wished me a good night and spilled into the night.
I closed the door behind him and leaned against it, my heart about to beat right out of my chest. This wasn’t love but tell me what was it?

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