Unscripted love Chapter 84 B - Mzansi Stories

Friday, August 12


Unscripted love Chapter 84 B


#84 B
The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly. The Great Gatsby
It was poker night. Everyone in Sandiso’s new circle of friends participated. With seven people gathered around one game, things got interesting pretty quickly. Cigar smoke spiralled through the air, creating a musky fog above our heads.
A gathering of shots and empty beer bottles were scattered around Sambulo’s entertainment room and I could tell that the mess was rubbing Sandiso the wrong way but he had no jurisdiction over another person’s home. Sandiso’s friends were already a little tipsy, some looked high to be honest. Sandiso had a pretty high tolerance for alcohol, so the beers and a couple of shots he’d taken had yet to really affect him much.
Sandiso was seated next to me, his right hand was on my white jean clad thigh, while his other switched from his cards to his beer then my belly whenever he saw the baby kicking. The way he looked at the cards in his hands didn’t give anything away. As always, I had no idea what he was thinking. After a couple of months of hanging out with this group I was part and parcel of the social circle. A common fixture bolted to Sandiso’s side.
It was Sambulo’s turn to make a move, and he scratched his chin – his tell for when he was about to lie, but he stopped and squinted. A heavy sigh left him and he placed the cards face down on the table. “I fold.” He yawned. “Ngidziniwe yebonina benginelilanga lelidze namuhla [I am tired, I had a very long day.]” He said and walked towards the guys gathered in the lapa with his short whiskey glass in hand.
The brothers, Ndumiso and Bandile, who always played as a team, were now up, but my attention wasn’t on them. Smangaliso was seated on their left, and the aggravated glare he had pointed my direction made me uncomfortable. I raised a brow at him when he tilted his head and nodded in the direction of the kitchen as if he was trying to get me to slip off with him. I often had a sense that he was trying to get me in a room alone but Sandiso never let me out of his sight. Not that I wanted to be alone with a man whose girlfriend was hanging on his side.
When I glanced at Smangaliso again, I could only wonder what went wrong during the robbery that left him with a huge bruise under his eye and a split lip. I ripped my eyes off him and focused on the game.
When it came time to reveal everyone’s hand, only three people hadn’t called it quits. One of them being Smangaliso, the other Danger and the last was Sandiso. They all flipped their cards over with the same confidence, but only one face held a look of victory while the other two suddenly dropped their cocky expressions.
There wasn’t even an ounce of surprise on my face when Sandiso slid the pile of chips to a heap in front of him, but groans surrounded the table in a moment’s notice.
“Pharaoh,” Sandiso called the huge man tasked with safeguarding the money and he immediately perked up from his phone. “-the money.”
Pharaoh placed his phone on the table and grabbed the safe in front of him, opening the padlocks with a tiny key hidden amongst others on his keychain. A huge ward of cash travelled from his hand to Sandiso’s hand.
“What can I say gentlemen?” He dropped the huge stack in my handbag and shrugged. “Money always finds its way to power.”
I saw Bandile rolling his eyes at the comment, but lucky for him, Sandiso didn’t. The two hated each other for reasons unbeknown to me. That simple act could have escalated into a fighting match. Esther was lying on the floor with an arm over her eyes, her cigarette leaning on the side of her mouth. Sandiso’s eyes followed me when I got up and took a seat on the foam couch next to her.
Esther glanced at me before exhaling smoke. “How much did Sandiso win?”
“More money than you’ll make in two years.” Sandiso chimed in, reaching for her cigarette.
Danger groaned. “Let’s play another round.”
Sandiso shrugged him off and wandered off to the kitchen to get another beer from the fridge. I was surprised he didn’t drag me with him. The man turned me to bubble gum stuck on his shoe and he never let his guard down.
“We are playing another round,” Danger demanded. Obviously, he was a bully, a sore loser and greedy. Ever since I met him he’d been that way. Always talking about making money, he loved it fast and easy. I overheard him talking to Sandiso about going into the drug trade but I didn’t fish for details – I wasn’t interested in knowing how they made money to finance their elaborate lifestyles and flashy houses. The house I shared with Sandiso was quite impressive, it could have easily been slotted in on an episode of top billing. But it paled in comparison to the house we were in. It met the MTV cribs criteria, complete with an indoor pool and a cinema room.
Sambulo’s fortress had more bedrooms than I could count which is my I failed to understand why Obvious slipped his lover into the living room next door. Rhythmic banging came from the room, Khethukulunga’s moaning rolled out to meet us and the boys acted like they couldn’t hear a thing as they carried on their conversation.
“At least one of us is getting lucky,” said Esther, confirming that I wasn’t the only one hearing things over the music.
“Are we still playing?” Ndumiso asked, his brow creasing as he struggled to light up his cigar. “Pass your smoke.”
Smangaliso leaned over. Ndumiso held the tip of his cigar to his until it lit. He drew back and exhaled. “Ndu, Ngicela kusebentisa lucingo lwakho. [Ndu, may I use your phone?]” Smangaliso asked.
“Why are you always using people’s phones?” Sandiso chirped in as if he asked him.
> “Why are you winning every round? I wouldn’t be surprised to find cards hidden in your sleeve.”
Ndumiso handed the phone over and told him to make it quick while the guys spoke about all the times Sandiso cheated and proceeded to playfully feel him up in search for hidden aces and kings.
Esther propped herself on her elbows. “Took the guys long enough to figure out that Sandiso is cheating again. Sandiso is a skelem, let’s hope his child doesn’t turn out the same way. How far along are you anyway?”
“Seven months.” Sandiso answered for me when I didn’t even know he was listening in.
“Your tummy is a bit small for seven months.” Pholile pointed out as she walked in the room with a tray of meat. “Mine was gigantic, you should go and see the doctor to make sure that munckins is growing and developing as she should.”
“We went for a check-up, everything is fine.” Sandiso’s answer came off as defensive and earned glares from those in the room.
It was easy to tell that there was something amiss about Sandiso and I. I despised him. Pretending that I didn’t was hard but I had to if I wanted to get out of the house. When he went out to ‘earn a living’ I was usually tied up to one of the posts of the four pole bed. Red bruises and dark blisters marred the soft skin around my wrists. It burned under my gentle touch and the ripped skin was aflame. When Sandiso saw the damage the coarse thick ropes had made over time he called in people who bolted the windows shut so that I couldn’t make my great escape while he was gone. At least I could walk around the house and watch TV anytime I wanted.
I was pulled out of my thoughts as the banging in the adjacent room accelerated, Khethukulunga’s moans turned into screams. I cringed as I listened. That poor girl often complained about being rubbed raw by a boyfriend that was a serial cheat. Obvious shouted like he was in the amazon, signalling that he’d reached a glorious climax.
Esther leaned forward to snub her cigarette on the wooden coffee table. “Thank fuck that’s over.”
I nodded. They guys played another round while I ate and spoke to the girls, mainly Pholile. We’d grown relatively close seeing as she was my designated hairstylist for my labour intensive short hair and the only visitor that came to see me from time to time.
They were discussing their boyfriends, obviously. They were all nice guys that didn’t fit the typical ‘I’ve killed people in cold blood’ look and they seemed incredibly normal. There were scarier ones like Danger, Obvious and of course Sandiso. Bandile could be scary when angry, but for the most part the brothers were very sweet. Then there was Smangaliso, who probably had the best sense of humour of the bunch, always cracking a joke one way or the other. Sambulo was a hottie and he seemed like the brains behind the operation, always ordering the others around and not doing much himself.
When I first met them I expected them to be these cold ruthless bastards. I figured you’d have to be a bastard to be in their line of business and be involved with everything their job entailed but they didn’t really pose a threat to me personally. Then again, Sandiso was always five feet away.
My thoughts strayed to the table when Sandiso was accused of cheating yet again. This time they took off his jacket and searched his pockets and my bag but he won fair and square. The men who kept donating their money to a lost cause couldn’t accept that Sandiso was damn good at poker. “This room is full of sore losers.” Sandiso exclaimed as he loaded another ward of cash in my bag and started walking in my direction.
“Just one more round. Winner takes all.” Danger called out.
“Chief, save your money for another night.” Sandiso responded. He downed the rest of his beer and leaned down next to my ear. “You ready to go home, sthandwa?”
I rolled my eyes and took his hand when he offered it to me. Since he won big tonight, surely he would be in a good mood. Perhaps good enough for him to agree to us going to the doctor again or allow me to speak to my family. I missed them terribly and I wanted to know how Futhi’s exams were going, find out if mom and dad got back together. I couldn’t even think of Levi without shedding a tear, the whole experience made me realise how much of me was actually him. I watched way too much soccer and I often found myself wandering off to the news channel.
Just as Sandiso and I were saying our goodbyes, the sliding door opened and Sambulo stepped into the room with another tray of meat.
“We were just leaving. Thank you for having us.” Sandiso said.
“One, it’s raining. Two, the night is still young so what’s the rush?” he asked and set the tray on the table.
“Thando is feeling tired.” Sandiso lied. “And her feet are swollen so we wanna soak them and go to bed.” That wasn’t a lie, my Shrek feet were huge and I could hardly stuff them into shoes.
“Oh, she can sleep in one of the rooms,” he said, pulled Sandiso closer and whispered, “doors are locked and I have guards outside. She can’t leave even if she tried.”
My stomach clenched but I pretended acted like I didn’t hear a thing.
After Sandiso and I crossed the threshold of our room for the night, I dropped Sandiso’s hand and closed the door. Locking the door was unnecessary if his whole gang was tasked with ensuring that I didn’t make an escape but he did it anyway.
Sandiso sat on a chair next to the bed and patted the bed for me to sit facing him. He pulled off my sneakers and rubbed my feet while I gazed outside the gigantic windows. The raindrops splashed against the windows. Dark clouds had completely covered the sky and the moon was hidden behind them.
He tried to kiss me when he was done but I turned my head and gave him my cheek.
“Ah come on, Thando. This game is getting old now. I have blue balls.”
“So go find someone else you can fuck.”
“How long are we going to keep doing this? I have been nothing but nice to you but you keep pushing me away.”
“When can I speak to my family?” I asked softly. I tried not to sound desolate, but my eyes told otherwise.
“You are childish and annoying. I am actually going to going to find someone else to fuck, busy acting like you are the only one with a vagina.” He shifted his chair and reached for the keys in his pocket. His eyebrows were furrowed and he stood tensely.
“Enjoy.” I mumbled my words, avoiding his gaze.
“Don’t test me!”
“I just want to find out how Futhi is doing.” I pleaded. “She tried to commit suicide.”
“That’s unlike Futhi. She is always bubbly.”
“Dad cheated. Mom left and Futhi didn’t take it well. Evangelist Solomon took advantage of that by getting her drunk and raping her.”
His eyes popped out of his sockets. “Solomon, Solomon as in Solomon?”
I nodded. “Solomon!”
“Oh my God. I am going to make sure that he is taught a lesson.”
“What does that mean?”
Sandiso didn’t answer, not that I expected him to. He stormed out of the room and forgot to lock the door. It was the slip up I’d been hoping for but there were far too many people in the house and guards posted outside so there was no use in trying. I ripped off my shirt and headed for the en suite shower.
I towel dried my hair and stared into the floor length mirror. My stomach was prevalent but it wasn’t big enough for me to switch to maternity wear. My dark eyes were like large marbles in my head, and I could half stand the absurd hair colour when my hair was wet. I secured the towel I found in the bathroom around my bust and left the bathroom, finding Smangaliso sitting up on the couch when I walked in. “I need to talk to you. We need to make it fast before Sandiso comes back here.”
“What are you doing here?” I sneered. My throat was dry, but I still managed to swallow the lump in it. “I am going to scream and Sandiso will kill you.” I threatened when he walked closer.
“Don’t scream, I am a private investigator that’s working undercover.”
My brow furrowed. “What? Did Sandiso put you up to this as some kind of sick joke?”
“No. Levi hired us to find Sandiso but this whole thing has evolved into so much more than we expected. For one, everyone thinks you are dead.” He looked at me dead in the eye.
“What the hell are you talking about? You need to get out of here before I scream for help!”
“We don’t have much time! They found the cab you were in the night you were abducted somewhere in Limpopo. It was torched and they found what the forensic anthropologist said were your remains. Turns out his daughter was abducted a day before his report was released, I don’t think that was a coincidence. Especially when we combed through the lead Detective’s accounts and saw a deposit of R90 000 the day the car was found. They staged the whole thing to make it look like you died.”
“They think I’m dead?” My face held a shocked expression.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a newspaper clipping with a big bold headline about me being found dead and a picture of my face sprawled across the page. “Is this some kind of joke?” My eyes ran through the article while he spoke, searching to see if this guy was lying. “Levi told everyone that we are married.” I gasped when I read the part about us being married for a short time, nobody knew that but the two of us.
“Yes, he did. He approached us after your funeral because he felt the police weren’t doing enough to find Sandiso. We followed up on a phone call made by a person that claimed to have seen you at a mall the day after your funeral, we set up a stakeout at that mall and saw Sandiso. When we followed him to make an arrest were shocked to find that you were still alive. W-”
“I am alive! Who did they bury?” I interjected.
“We’d have to exhume the body and run some tests to answer that question.”
“So get me out of here. I want to go home.”
“That’s the problem, Thando. If you leave now you will walk straight to jail.”
“What?” My stomach flattered.
“A new police commissioner was appointed and he appointed a task team to have another look at cold cases. A security guard was shot dead during a robbery but they never found his killer. On review, they found a surveillance tape clearly indicating that Sandiso was there but you swore under oath that he was with you that night. That’s a crime and you will face jail time.”
“How long?”
“That’s the thing, they made an arrest and the guy sang like a bird in a bid to get a lighter sentence. Sandiso’s name came up time and time again. Linking him to robberies and hijacking on days when you claimed the two of you were on holiday or sitting at home. It just looks bad. I’d say you are looking at ten to fifteen years at best because the prosecutor will argue that you were an accomplice.”
The room fell completely still as my wide eyes looked into his sympathetic ones. “Ten to fifteen years in jail!? Sandiso said he didn’t kill anyone. Did he kill people?”
“What matters is that you defeated the ends of justice by lying for your boyfriend. That is a crime.”
“Oh my God. I didn’t know he killed people. He said he was just there to load the money into bags or drive the getaway car.” I wept, forever tormented by a past that could not be undone.
“Shhhh, keep your voice down. There is no evidence indicating that Sandiso killed anyone.” Smangaliso continued, grabbed my shivering body to bring me to him.
“There is a way out. Give them this group in exchange for your freedom. I started hanging out with this group a couple of months ago and they simply don’t trust me with critical information. It will take me months to earn their trust but you have it. You have to use it to feed us information that will help us bring down the syndicate.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know anything about this group. The only people I knew were Mdavo, Mandla, Marvellous and Sipho. As far as I know, they are the ones that Sandiso worked with. I just met these guys. ”
“You know more than you think you know. It sounds like those are the foot soldiers that bomb ATMs and steal on instruction of the big bosses like Obvious and Sambulo. They are smart and they have built an empire that runs as smooth as a German engine. They have cops in their pockets, doctors, prison warders, boarder patrol officers that ensure the smooth transportation of drugs through boarder posts.
They have been looking for someone on the inside to give the authorities inside information. You are the mole investigators that have been working this case for years have been looking for. You are sitting on a gold mine of information, you have to extract it.”
He grabbed a teddy bear off the chair and gave it to me. “It’s wired. People are listening in on the other side. You can’t wear a wire seeing as you share a room with Sandiso so you have to take it everywhere you go. Get your boyfriend talking about a job they are planning. All I know is that it’s something related to drugs coming in from Mexico. Find out where and when and we’ll do the rest. If you give them this bunch and turn state witness they will let you go.”
“Do you have any idea what you are asking me to do? I didn’t even know they deal in drugs.”
“Then you need to get your boyfriend talking.”
“He is NOT my boyfriend. That imbecile raped me!” I whisper yelled.
“I know but you need to put that aside. I have tried to fish for information but these guys hide behind impenetrable doors. They get new phones almost daily so that they are wiped clean and difficult to trace.” He shoved the teddy bear in my chest. “Tell him my girlfriend gave it to you. You must find out where the drop is happening and when. If you don’t you will be going to jail with them WHEN it all falls down.”
“Does…. Does Levi know about all of this? Does he know that I am alive?”
“If we tell him or your family members that you are alive they will jeopardise the case so it’s best that they don’t know for now. I will find a way to give you a cell phone at some point so that we can talk and feed you information I get on my end. You CANNOT call your family when I give you that phone. They will fuck this up and you will miss out on ten years of your child’s life.”
“I can’t do this.” I whimpered.
“I can get the authorities to storm in here and break you out by sunrise. Wave goodbye to this lavish room and accept that you will be in a jail cell by tomorrow afternoon. That’s where you will give birth to your beautiful baby only to have your child taken away from you. Do you want to miss out on ten to fifteen years of your child’s life? All you have to do is find out where and where the exchange is happening. We will be there waiting to nab them and bring the whole thing down. Sandiso will be out of your life forever, he won’t be able to dangle money in front of prosecutors to get them to agree to him being remanded in a mental institution when he really belongs in a prison cell. Give me an answer, I have to go.” He whispered.
I took the teddy bear. “I’ll do it.”
My body started to feel like it was drifting away and just before I thought I’d collapse, Smangaliso had closed the door behind him. Daring myself, I thought back to all the times when I looked at Detectives dead in the eye and lied for a man I now hated. A whole new level of anguish consumed me in coming to terms with the decisions that I made. The tears flowed unchecked down my cheeks and dripped from my chin as I clutched my lifeline on my chest. I was too sad to cry out or wail, I just stood there as still as a statue while the magnitude of what I had to do swept over me.

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