Unscripted love Chapter 77 - Mzansi Stories

Wednesday, July 27


Unscripted love Chapter 77


You are Allowed to Leave
The glowing white lights of closer­than­they-appear skyscrapers slipped through the slit in-between the two curtains, illuminating our bodies, the clock blinked 21:49 P.M.
Levi and I seemed to have a silent conversation as we stared into each other’s eyes. I finally looked away, tears threatening to blur my vision, when a hand encircled mine. It was soft and warm, reassuring almost, as if the owner of that hand wanted me to sense his desperation.
“Our Love, I have no doubt in my mind that you love me and I love you so, so much. But I finally understand why they say sometimes love isn’t enough. We have a deep connection that I now believe we shouldn’t explore further than we already have.
I want you to be happy in every possible way even if that means you finding your happily ever after in Lerumo or someone else. I’m moving out of your way to true contentment and I am allowing you to be with the man your heart years to be with.” Levi whispered, his expression utterly serious and his eyes were glazed with tears. His words felt like a punch in the gut.
“Baby… don’t do this.” The words barely made it out. My hand covered my heart pinballing madly in my chest.
“It’s not just the Lerumo thing, Thando. I’m afraid we jumped the gun. There are big fat red flags and we are pretending that they are not there.” Levi continued.
“I am sorry for losing my mind over you not telling me things then turning around and doing the same thing,” I paused, silently staring into my favourite jet black eyes, “I did not tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you or have you question my loyalty and devotion to you. I am not with you simply because I cannot be with Lerumo. I am with you because you are the man I want to be with.
There is just something about you that I cannot put into words, Levi. I thank God every day for your love and patience. Loving me is not easy because I am not whole. Trying to love a return soldier that has been wounded by love is not easy because we come back with battle scars and haunted memories that make us love differently. I’m sure it isn’t easy cleaning and dressing wounds when I keep pulling off the scab. I wish getting over people, experiences and the after effects of those experiences was as easy as taking a pill or having a cup of cough medicine that you can take over- night, to wake up feeling brand new but it isn’t. Healing is hard work but you make me want to put in the work because you make this world so amazingly beautiful.
You once said that we are from two completely different worlds and I didn’t realise the depth of those words until we fully embarked on our journey of love. You have taught me understanding and you also taught me that love is selfless. I have taken much more that I have given and I want to work on that. There are things that we could highlight as red flags and use them as the perfect excuse to call it quits but we both know that we will only to end up looking for each other in other people.
I believe that it was only God’s grace and blessing on our lives that kept our love blazing in the midst of obstacles that may have kept the most daring of couples apart. With each passing moment our love kept deepening into the precious gift that it is now. I am so grateful for our union. I love you to the point of ruin….please do not give up on me. I will try harder. Please tell me that you love me.” I ran my fingers up his chest, following the path to his shoulder, “because I do. I love you, you are the only one I want to be with.”
His lips were turned up into a tiny smile, as he held me tightly to his chest. "I love you too." He whispered, capturing my lips into a kiss that felt just right. Pulling his mouth to mine, I let my movements say what I couldn’t, and taking each piece of him slowly, his eyes gazed upon me, vulnerable to my touch, he came completely undone in my arms.
He jerked my head back and twisted a strand of my hair in his fingers, searching my eyes. “I need you to reassure me that I am the only one. Let me believe that I can trust you. Let me believe that I won’t have to hear things about you that you didn’t tell me from other people. I never want to hear that you were playing table tennis with the man you chose when you had a choice between me and him. I actually want you to stop talking to Lerumo.
Give me the reassurance that you’re all in, that you’re not confused, that you know what you want — that you know you want me. Be loyal to my heart, protect it, and don’t try to win my heart if you’re going to lose it.
Give me your heart. All of it — not just a little bit, not just the broken pieces, not just the guarded pieces, not just what you think you have left, I want all of it. Ask your God to make you whole again because I need you to be vulnerable with me, be honest, be sensitive, be romantic, be affectionate, be giving and open your heart to me like you’ve never been hurt before. Don’t compare me to your ex or the one that got away. Start a new page with only my name on it, clean your heart from anyone else and allow me to be the only one in it. Give me your heart because it’s the only thing that matters.
Give me the things that will last whether we’re rich or poor, sick or healthy. Give me the things that will matter no matter where we are. Give me something the world can’t take back, give me something the world can’t break, something that will never lose its worth. Give yourself to me with reckless abandon like I have given myself to you. If you cannot do all of that, you are allowed to leave. It will destroy me but don’t stay to spare my feelings.” He said huskily, his voice shaking slightly.
I swallowed, mesmerized by his vulnerability and his loving expression. Levi stroked my back lightly. I felt my eyes fill and blinked, the tears rolled down my cheeks. He lifted a hand to wipe them away tenderly. “I never want to be the reason why you are crying.”
He ran his hands down my arms, closing his fingers around mine. His voice was a gentle caress, spilling over me like lapping water, making my body tingle and my head spin.
"You needn't decide now," he said, stroking my fingers. "You can let me know when you're ready. I just want you to know I want this - you...us. So when you're ready - if it's what you want - we can begin." He tightened his grip on my hands.
I watched him, shock and joy flooding through me.
"I don’t need time to decide. I want us," I said in a whisper, brushing my lips against his. A brilliant smile lit up his face and my breath caught in my throat.
His mouth seized mine in a lingering kiss, his arms crushing me to him. He nudged my dress and slipped it over my head. His gaze followed his hands as they caressed my neck and my breasts. I wiggled out of my underwear and he lifted me to his lap. My body was quivering with excitement at the feel of his warm hands on my skin after so long. With a shuddering breath, I unbuttoned and pulled his shirt off and pressed my lips to his chest, my fingers tickling his sensitive skin. I slid to the floor to remove his pants and boxer briefs, running my hands up his legs as I admired him.
"You're so gorgeous," I breathed, stroking his muscular thighs and his trim waist. "You're perfect...and you're all mine..."
He pulled me into his lap again, settling my legs on either side of him.
"And you're mine, love," he murmured before his lips found mine.
I rocked against him, gasping in delight at the sensation. My head fell back and I felt his fingers between my legs, finding the button at the center of my pleasure and circling it steadily. I shuddered instantly, moving my hips against him. I circled my fingers around him, desperate to feel him inside me, but he held me securely, continuing to move his fingers until the tense coil deep inside burst apart and I shrieked and whimpered with pleasure. The warm tingle spread throughout my body until my ears were buzzing and my fingers felt numb.
"You're so beautiful," he whispered, kissing my neck.
His hand covered mine, still wrapped around him, and we guided him together, sliding him home in one gentle thrust. He stroked my back and my legs, his mouth finding my breasts and teasing the nipples with his tongue. I locked my arms around his shoulders as our bodies met, alternating fierce, urgent movements with deep, languid thrusts. I felt him swell inside me and met his eyes. Threading my fingers in his hair, I smiled slowly and angled my hips. My release began and I lost the ability to move, only able to hang on to him as he drove me over the edge.
"Come with me," he begged, his mouth finding mine.
He groaned and gripped my waist, holding me steady as his body moved beneath me. I whimpered and moaned against his lips, spasming around him as he pressed me onto him for one final thrust and gasped my name. I slumped against him, our arms around each other. Our chests heaved in unison, his heart pounding rapidly against my chest. I pressed further into him to feel the reassuring beat, the tangible proof of this wonderful man who loved me, who was mine.
Our breathing slowed and he began placing soft kisses on my lips, cheeks, forehead.
"I love you," he said in wonder, as if he needed to remind himself.
"I love you too," I said with a breathy laugh.
He raised his head to look at me, cupping my chin. I saw an unidentifiable expression flit across his face and I watched him curiously, speechless. He smiled mysteriously but didn't speak. He only stood with me in his arms and took me to bed, curling his body around mine and drawing the covers over us. I splayed my hands on his chest, listening to the sounds of him drifting into sleep. I closed my eyes, a dreamy smile on my lips.
I was actually looking forward to spending a little more time with Levi’s family so they could get to know me better. I just felt like I was nothing more than the girl who fell pregnant after four months of dating but I was so much more than the adverse inferences that could be drawn from that. I bought a new dress down to my ankles to look respectable and left most of my makeup behind. I wanted his folks to get a good impression of the simple, down to earth girl my parents raised.
My heart was pounding in my throat when Uncle George picked us up from the Plettenberg Bay airport. He was a giant of a man, a head of grey, physically trim with muscular arms and a hard face. I was immediately intimidated, all my mental notes on what we could talk about long forgotten.
“So this is her.” Uncle George said sternly, inspecting me suspiciously in the most scrutinising way.
“Yes, this is her.” Levi stood straight as stick, never meeting Uncle George’s gaze. I had the impression that he was terrified of him and would later learn that he had sufficient reason to.
“Let’s go,” his uncle grunted and we followed like sheep on their way to slaughter.
The trip to the holiday home was almost unbearable. The man practically interrogated his nephew, asking about his plans for going back to school and how long he was going to be kicking a ball around in London before he got a real job. Levi’s answers were as concise as possible, never elaborating on anything. He never mentioned the six week coaching course and I knew instinctively not to get involved in any of their conversation. I sensed trouble if I had.
His wife, aunty Ruth, was the complete opposite, to the extreme. She hugged Levi for a full two minutes in tears before turning to embrace me. She even greeted our little human that was now about the size of a lime.
“Oh, I am so happy to see the two of you,” she cooed. She showed me to the room allocated to me and I was stunned by the meticulous order. For a house that was reserved for holidays there wasn’t a spec of dust and everything was in its proper place. The whole room reminded me of a museum – even the towels in the bathroom were aligned in a perfect row.
The rest of the house was equally perfect. Levi’s room didn’t even look like the room he spent a lot of his holidays in as a child. There were no posters or sports trophies or anything else that would make the place homey or give tell-tale signs that Levi had been there before. It was sterile with whitewashed walls and white bed sheets. The only colour in the room was a burgundy carpet.
“Zebbediah will unpack your luggage. Come down and I’ll make us some tea,” aunty Ruth offered. “I baked a loaf of banana bread. It’s still your favourite, isn’t it?”
That was news to me, I’d never seen Levi eat banana bread. He also shied away from bread in general, citing calories.
“Yes, Ruth.” Levi gave her an affectionate smile. “We will be right down.”
As soon as she disappeared, Levi pulled me into his arms. “So how do you like my father’s older brother and his wife?”
“Oh, they seem very nice,” I claimed though his uncle gave me the creeps.
He smacked a kiss on my lips. “I think they like you too. Especially George.”
“What makes you say that?” I asked, having thought the complete opposite.
“Usually, he can be a bit critical. By not talking to you, you met his approval.” I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.
After plenty of kissing while I unpacked his suitcase, despite being told that someone was going to do that, we went downstairs. It was my lucky day, his uncle was just leaving.
“I have to go meet some people. Don’t wait up with dinner – I’m not sure when I’ll be back.” He announced and Levi nodded. I felt relieved that Hitler’s cousin was leaving. When we got to the kitchen, we found Levi’s aunt kneeling on the floor, sweeping together pieces from a broken tea cup. She had been crying.
“Hey, let me get that for you,” Levi said, pulling her on her feet and hugging her briefly. Instinctively, I started to pick up the broken pieces.
“I, klutz, ran into the open cabinet and dropped the cup,” she offered when she noticed my gaze. I didn’t know what to believe. Could a grown woman really be crying over a broken tea cup? I would later learn that she was crying because her little pumpkin, Levi, was leaving.
The rest of the afternoon was quite amicable. Levi was totally different around his aunt. They seemed very close and he confessed to her that he was really struggling with coming to terms with not getting answers from his biological mom’s family. I couldn’t understand why his mother’s family was so cold towards him. They turned their backs on him and threatened to tell the police that he was stalking them after just two calls. I could tell that Levi was hurt by their rejection when all he wanted was to get to know them better so he could better understand himself.
The tea was calming and the banana loaf, divine. I had to get the recipe from Ruth so I could bake my husband’s favourite loaf for fun, now that I would be a stay at home mom. The thought freaked me out and I wasn’t certain that I would truly be content with just being a mother and a wife. I always dreamed of more, like I was meant to do more with my life and now I’d traded it all in.
Levi was sitting on a barstool and I was half sitting, half leaning against him with his arms tightly wrapped around me like he was afraid that I’d run away if he let go. He’d been extra affectionate since I’d told him that Lerumo was calling and texting, relentless in his pursuit and not taking no for an answer.
Zain and a girl I assumed was his latest conquest arrived with his mother and his cousins later that evening. We gathered around the dinner table and enjoyed a scrumptious meal prepared by all the women, myself included. I was part of the chopping and setting up the table squad, too afraid to actually prepare a dish on my own and display it on the table for their scrutiny.
Scented candles flickered and the whole mood was light with laughter.
“You two seem really happy together,” I overhead Levi’s mom say.
Levi beamed. “Thandolwethu is the one, mom. I couldn’t imagine ever being with anyone but her.”
This made me feel so special and I knew I had to try harder to be the woman that he needed.
It didn’t take long for medical terms to start flying across the table. Eating chicken parmesan while the women openly spoke about the last time they went for mammograms and pap smears was odd. I had to put my fork down when his cousin Apryl spoke about the colour of her baby’s poop which lead to a long discussion on stool and healthy bowel movements.
I helped clean the kitchen afterwards and was surprised when Aunty Ruth scrubbed everything down with a disinfectant.
“George has a thing about germs,” Apryl explained while putting up the dishes. Again, the whole cabinet was carefully arranged. The cups reminded me of little soldiers lined up in a perfectly straight line. I’d always assumed that Sandiso was the only one who was so pedantic but there were more like him.
Once everything was in showroom condition, we played cards in the living room. Coasters were placed under the glasses and popcorn crumbs were immediately removed. Aunty Ruth’s eyes were in constant motion to make sure everything was in order at all times and both Levi and I had everything we needed. I was offered ice cream, Levi’s favourite tea from Argentina and cookies, all of which I declined because I was stuffed. I could see Levi being spoilt as a child.
Uncle George came home at ten thirty and the conversation fell quiet as soon as he walked through the door. “Bed time is nine o’clock,” he stated and Levi grabbed my hand.
“Let’s all go to bed,” uncle George demanded and there was no doubt in my mind that I had to comply. Seemingly, everyone else had the same inclination as we scrambled to our assigned bedrooms.
Shortly after the lights went out, Levi snuck in my room. I heard the tip-tap of his feet padding towards the bed.
“If Hitler’s cousin finds you in this room, we are both dead.” I joked and we both whisper laughed.
“George used to be an army General. That’s why he is a little strict.” He explained as he stripped down to his underwear and slipped under the duvet.
“A little? That man puts my dad to shame.” I exclaimed.
I felt a hand sneaking up my thigh and I stopped Levi dead in his tracks. “Someone needs a cold shower.” I jested.
Levi looked at the phone buzzing frantically on the pedestal and let out a heavy sign. I rejected Lerumo’s call and switched the device off. Levi looked me dead in the eye, then offered me an exhausted smile.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Lerumo.” He answered honestly. “The problem is that I remember everything you used to tell me about him when we were friends. I recall the lies you told Sandiso to hide your infidelity. Remember telling me that you were so shocked that a guy like that could even look in your direction? You even said it’s like Trey Songs noticing a girl from Matatiele.” Levi said with an exasperated huff.
“I also said that I would never marry you but look at us now. That’s all in the past and I want you to stop acting like a cop, using things I said in the past against me. You told me you could never have one vagina for the rest of your life, you have pussy on speed dial and there are far too many women on earth to stick to just one. You don’t see me using that against you. Even if you said that you are incapable of being faithful I believe that you are even when there have been things in the past that made me question that. Baby, some battles have to the fought and won in your own head, doubt your doubts before you doubt me.” I couldn’t look at the hurt all over his face and I didn’t know what to do to make him believe me.
I turned and snuggled into him with my back, my pear-shaped butt nuzzling close as he wrapped his arms around me and intertwined his fingers with mine.
“Thato and I were at a restaurant around the corner from where I work. Lerumo showed up and I left. He showed up again when his cousin told him we were having lunch at a Mexican restaurant and again, I left. Like a tick, he showed up again when Thato and I were playing table tennis. That’s when I finally stopped running and I spoke to him. We spoke, he gave me his jacket and he walked me to my room. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have entertained him but I swear, that’s all that happened.
I am sorry for not telling you about it. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to worry or think that I would leave or cheat now that he is back. I realise now that in trying to spare your feelings I did the very same thing I always complain about – you not telling me things. I am sorry.” I whispered.
“Hmmm.” Was all he said. It was neither an agreeable sound nor a humorous one. He was stroking my fingers up and down, as light as a butterfly's touch. After a while it seemed he was massaging my hands, moving from the knuckles to the palms - leaving nothing untouched - before trailing off to my forearms with long, caressing strokes.
“You trust me, right?” I asked. My butt nuzzled against his crotch again, almost as though to rouse him from slumber. He was growing, stiffening, right up against me.
He turned my head to face him again, glanced down at me with studious eyes, mere inches away.
“I have to trust you,” he crocked.
My heart skipped like a faulty CD player, my mind whirling with what he could have been thinking. I turned the rest of my body to face him. He placed my lips gently on the centre of my forehead and planted a loving kiss there, smelling my hair as I did. And then he hugged her tighter, revelling in the feel of us pressed together.
“Let’s go to sleep. Goodnight.”
I slept all night cuddled in his arms. Just before four, he got up and went back to his room, five minutes later, I heard his uncle rummaging in the hallway. Levi must have known his schedule by heart.
An hour later Levi was back at my door with a new pair of sneakers for me. I changed and we jogged to the beach where we strolled along the picturesque Indian Ocean coastline for a long time. We fed the birds bread crumbs and breathed in the fresh ocean sea.
“I could stay here forever,” I said, staring out on the endless sea, watching the angry waves roll to shore.
“I used to come out here a lot. Being close to the sea relaxes me.”
“I’m sure you needed a lot of time away from Hitler’s cousin.”
Levi looked like he just bit into a sour grape. “He wasn’t always like this. He changed when my father passed away. Pain changes people. But he is still a good guy, hence he works with people involved in violent crimes and abuse.”
I was puzzled. “Don’t mostly women work in those areas? I mean, a lot of rape and domestic violence victims are women and I cant picture victims confiding in a man.”
Levi smiled, his eyes thoughtful. “He doesn’t work with the victims, baby, but the perpetrators. He strongly believes that intense therapy is needed to prevent repeat offences. In the long run, getting those people help will protect the victims as well.”
It made a lot of sense. “I hope there are more people like him that can help Sandiso. His demons were simply too strong for him to fight without the necessary help.”
Levi traced my lips with his fingers. “I want Sandiso to burn in hell if there is one.” He sneered and quickly changed the topic.
I enjoyed the rest of our stroll and was sad when we had to pick up the pace and jog back to the house. Going back to my temporary home meant more of Uncle George. To my surprise George was on his best behaviour. He waited on his wife hand and foot which was strange for me because I was used to my mother doing everything for my father, bar breathing for him.
We played board games with the cousins, Zain and his girlfriend until the aroma of meat taunted my nostrils. My stomach grumbled and I toddled into the kitchen to help Levi’s mother. Despite being told to go back and play with the others I grabbed a knife and cut into the tomatoes for the salad as uncle George set the table, while cross examining Levi about Keagile.
When the matured steaks were done, we gathered around the table. I piled up my plate with meat and corn on the cob. The food was delicious and the light atmosphere continued until almost at the end of the meal. That’s when Apryl returned me to my harsh reality.

“I don’t mean to sound insensitive but why did you stay in an abusive relationship for so long, Thando?” She started. “….I watched the show. I fail to understand why women stay in abusive relationships, maybe you can make me understand. You weren’t married, you don’t have kids with him and you weren’t financially dependent on him so why didn’t you walk away?” She clarified her question.
“What show?” Gabriel, Apryl’s husband asked.
Levi gave me this “should I tell them to stop” look while Apryl gave them a brief synopsis of my experiences with Sandiso that I really didn’t want to discuss with people that I’d just met.
Emily lowered her fork. “Apryl, this is neither he time nor the place. You can search the internet and read up on the experience of rape survivors and women that left abusive relationships.”
Apryl: I don’t want to know about a bunch of strangers.
Zain stuffed the last piece of steak in his mouth. “Is he in jail?” He asked, while chewing.
Levi’s eyebrows quirked. “He got off on a technicality and this conversation is over.” His voice had a tone of anger in it.
Apryl and I exchanged a glance. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I was just asking a question.”
“Please excuse Apryl, she is socially awkward.” Uncle George gazed at me and I acknowledged his words with a nod.
Gabriel grabbed a beer from the cooler. “Anyone else want one?” He asked, taking the spotlight off me.
I darted from the table as soon as lunch was officially over and hid in my room. My mood was thoroughly ruined and I stretched out on the bed, staring at the ceiling, which was one of my favourite activities. The idea that my shame was out there for people to discuss over lunch sliced deep into my soul. It seemed like no matter what, rape and abuse walked into the room first and I followed sheepishly behind. My whole life had changed while Sandiso got away unscathed. The unfairness of it all rattled not only my world, but my belief in the justice system.
I closed my eyes, pretending to be asleep when Levi opened my bedroom door.
“You aren’t snoring so I know you aren’t asleep.” His observation made us titter and I threw the pillow at him. “Apryl wants to apologise.” He said, catching the pillow.
“She doesn’t have to apologise, it’s not a big deal.”
“It is a big deal. We are all open books that are free to discuss anything around the table but my family needs to learn that people are different and they should respect that. You can grin a bear a conversation about bowel movement and vaginal thrush over a meal but you shouldn’t be dragged into a confessional.”
Apryl and I hugged it out and I refocused my attention on her little one. I had fallen instantly in love with Louisa. She was a wonderful baby, extremely good-natured, but I know I would have felt the same even if she'd been fussy. Having never been around babies, I had never thought much about the type of mother I was going to be until I held her for the first time. From that moment I just couldn't get enough of Louisa. It was almost as if I had heard the switch of my biological clock start the countdown to when I’d be holding my own little miracle in my arms.
Levi covered his face with his hands and then dramatically drew them away to reveal a surprised expression. Louisa gurgled and flapped her chubby arms. I smiled, feeling as if my heart would burst at the sight. I caught Ruth's eye and saw her grinning at us. Levi repeated the gesture and this time I giggled along with the baby. Louisa turned at the sound, reaching her arms out to me. I gladly picked her up, tucking her in my arms.
"She'll need to eat soon," her nanny said softly. “Do you want to feed her?”
“I’ve never fed a baby,” I murmured, pulling back to gaze at Louisa’s chubby cheeks. Louisa's grey eyes regarded me seriously as if she was wondering who I was. I glanced up to see Levi watching me with a warm smile. Seth passed us on his way to the kitchen, stopping to clap Levi on the shoulder.
"We will be playing with your little one soon," he advised cheerfully.
“Have you thought of a name?” Levi’s mother asked.
“Bokamoso.” Levi beamed.
Reluctantly, I handed the baby to the nanny and nestled against Levi's chest, his arms circling around me as we settled against the couch.
Emily: What does it mean?
“We don’t know.” Levi said, laughing. “My dad came up with the name.”
There was a beat of silence in the room. Any mention of Levi’s other family always created tension.
“Harvey is a nice name for a boy.” Aunty Ruth suggested.
Levi: Well, Thando has to come up with his or her Zulu name seeing as I’ve settled on Bokamoso.
Zain: The baby won’t have an English name?
“We haven’t decided.” I butt in. “Harvey is a nice name.” I added, to pacify them.
“Hailey Hope is a beautiful name for a girl.” Emily advocated. Now that we’d stuck to a name suggested by Levi’s father I was certain that Emily’s name suggestion was more of a recommendation seeing as she was the one that raised him.
Levi and I sat silently, watching Abigail feed the baby, hearing the distant sounds of everyone chatting in the background.
"This is going to be us soon," I murmured, sighing happily.
Levi's arms tightened around me and I heard him catch his breath.
"It is," he said thickly. He cleared his throat and lowered his voice. "When do you think we should have our wedding, bun?"
I twitched, looking up at him.
"Are we engaged?" I teased, grinning.
He smirked. "Did I forget to propose to you?" he teased back.
I snickered, holding out my left hand. I wiggled the bare ring finger and glanced up at him, having taken off the family jewels for the sake of peace.
"Looks like it," I said in mock seriousness.
“I have to do something about that.”
The next day I was roped into a 9 kilometre walk in the Kruisfontein State Forest. I failed to understand why anyone would walk around in a bush for fun but I kept my mouth shut. I smiled and nodded as Levi and his family members admired the forest, pine plantation and rocky beach. I was much more interested in bungee jumping off the Bloukrans Bungy Bridge which is the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge. My excitement plateaued when I was informed that I couldn’t bungee jump whilst pregnant.
I was surprised when Levi said he would bungee jump, given his fear of heights but I half expected him to pull out at the last minute. Once Levi was strapped in he hooked a finger under my chin, raised my lips to his for a chaste but lingering kiss. He rested his forehead against mine, our eyes locked. I smiled slowly, drowning in the dark pools of his eyes. I was just about to press my lips to his again when I felt something cool against our joined hands.
I turned to see him holding an emerald cut pink diamond ring over the tip of my ring finger. I gasped, meeting his gaze. He cupped my cheek, gently stroking my face. He smiled a little nervously, but his eyes were sparkling with love and happiness. I searched them, getting lost in the warm irises that glowed with the promise of our future.
He dropped to his knee, a movement that was met with squeals and expectant eyes. He hadn’t said anything yet but tears were spilling over Aunt Emily’s cheeks.
“I love you Thandolwethu Zenkosi Khoza.” He started. We heard a sharp inhale from where Emily was standing. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted uncle George navigating his drone that he was using to tape the scenery towards us which distracted me and I missed Levi’s first few words.
“… there is a bold contentment that you bring into my life. I never thought I could love a woman as much as I love you. I am annoyingly in love with you and I have come to the conclusion that there is no word that exists that can truly describe the intensity of my affection. You make what I thought were only luxuries in relationships everyday normalities.
I never pictured myself in a serious relationship or settling down and starting a family but now that I’ve met you, all that has changed. I picture a wedding with a lacy dress and a blue velvet cake. I picture living in a double storey house filled with children, pictures and happy memories. I picture visiting in-laws and getting to a point whereby they accept me as their son. I can picture a forever. My sweetheart, even a bad day with you is better than a good day without you. I can’t imagine that ever changing. Please do me the honour of being my wife?”
Our eyes met again and I stopped breathing. Alight with the anticipation of our life together, they sparkled with commitment and hope, and with love. In the span of a second, my mind flooded with images of the events of the past few months, from the beginning when I didn’t know what it meant to be loved to the time apart to us reuniting. That first kiss, our first date, the exact spot in the kitchen where he told me he loved me and I believed him for the first time. I relived the emotion of each moment as the memories flashed by, my chest swelling with warmth.
I was still nodding, grinning widely. The flash of a camera startled me into awareness. "Yes," I whispered.
We both turned our gaze to our hands and he slipped the ring onto the finger where it belonged. He crushed my hand in his, kissing my fingers. I let out a sob, flinging my arms around him. There were more camera flashes and the sound of clapping and excited murmurs, but I was only aware of Levi's strong arms around me, his heart beating steadily against my chest, his lips on mine. Then he held me close, our faces buried in each other's necks.
"Now we are officially engaged," he whispered into my ear. “I could marry you a thousand times.”
I laughed softly, hearing the happy voices surrounding us.
“I wanted us to get engaged, let go of our fears and jump off together. Restrictions messed it all up but I couldn’t wait to ask so we will just pretend we jumped off.” Levi said.
I laughed. "It was perfect," I whispered. Levi already knew how I felt, he surely could see it in my eyes in that moment, but the emotion coursed through me so powerfully I couldn't keep the words inside. “I love you.”

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