Unscripted love Chapter 87 - Mzansi Stories

Friday, August 19


Unscripted love Chapter 87


Final Moments
Once the doors opened wide ahead of us, bass pulled through my veins and the overpowering amount of red was captivating. The whole club had me engulfed in a pool of the colour. It was deep, erotic red – not the kind you’d find on romantic heart-shaped boxes.
Despite the exterior of the building, the interior more than made up for it. The way the place was set up looked expensive, and there was clearly a lot of thought put into every design. I had to give the interior designer credit where credit was due, but then shame them for wasting their talent on a strip club.
Empty stripper poles extended down from the ceiling to a couple of different stages. No one occupied them, bar one, where a girl was practicing her routine in yoga pants and a sports bra like it was a sport. The young Asian could give Nicole The Pole a run for her money. I wasn’t even a guy but I was thoroughly impressed by her flexibility.
It didn’t take long after our arrival for our small group to be met by another group. The other group was led by an intimidating guy in an all-black suit. He was most likely in his mid-thirties, but I couldn’t be sure since his eyes were covered by shades.
Without hesitation, I grabbed onto Sandiso’s arm and adjusted myself so that I was hiding a little behind him. Just him shielding me made me feel a lot safer, although I knew it was just fooling myself. Being around him wasn’t any safer.
The guy in the shades was accompanied by two others. One with broad shoulders, and the other with a neck covered in tattoos. It took me a minute before I realised that the two were bodyguards, and shades looked awfully familiar but I couldn’t quite place the familiar looking face. Maybe I was mistaken because he didn’t recognise me.
My blood was slowly running cooler, and it only made it worse when Sandiso shook me off, and sent a disapproving look for being too clingy. He pushed me behind him a little, and due to the stilts I was wearing, I lost my footing. Right before I could flat on my ass, a strong pair of hands kept me steady in a firm grip.
“Don’t worry, duchess. I’ve got you.” Bandile’s hot breath brushed against my ear, and my throat clenched. His arm found its way around my shoulder, and I forced myself to deal with this vetkoek’s hands on me, not daring to make a scene right now. Most of my attention was not on Bandile, though, but on the scene before me and the man in shades that Sambulo called Henze.
Henze’s intimidating glare was revealed when he took off his glasses. His eyes felt so dark even though they were forest green. Their coldness spread throughout my body like an attack on my nerves, and he wasn’t even looking at me. His gaze was on Sambulo, eying him critically. “Blaze got a kid to head up operations this side?”
Sambulo wasn’t a kid but he didn’t correct him. “All is in order on our side. Worry about your end.”
Henze chuckled. “So, you got everything from Mexico, Spain and Colombia?”
“Would I be here right now if I didn’t?” The calm tone Sambulo used put me on edge for some reason. Like an explosion was imminent if even the slightest spark were to ignite in the wrong way.
Sandiso on the other hand was tense and his jaw was clenched.
Suddenly, Henze’s attention was on Pholile. His eyes pierced her whole body as they ran across every inch of her, like some sort of inspection. When he was done, his mouth lifted at the corner – the knowing look he had made me worried about her.
“Let’s take this conversation to the back room.” Henze’s order was followed by a little jerk of his head. Sandiso reached out for me, and I took his hand without question. We were led all the way to the back of the club, and through a door. On the other side, a sort of lounge area was set up where a few people were seated on couches, girls in skimpy underwear, some topless roamed the room with the grace of a panther. The distinct smell of weed coerced my senses and my mind pulled at me with need when I saw a couple of people sniffing lines. My body craved the high it once experienced and the relief it would bring me.
One young girl who had to be underage, possibly sixteen, was using some sort of card to straighten a white powdered line. Suddenly the need to inhale unlawful powder into my ever willing nose was overpowered by the pity in the back of my mind. What must have happened to that girl to lead her to the life she was living now? I didn’t even what to know.
The rest of the girls were about twenty or older, but that didn’t make me feel for them any less. The group of guys that were there didn’t seem to look down on the women who were all a couple of strands away from being nude. It was weird to think, but they almost seemed like they were at a family gathering of sorts. The way they spoke so easily, and laughed like nothing was wrong. To them this was normal, to them this was home.
We continued past them, and headed towards a room at the end of the hall. Once we got there, Sambulo shut the door behind him and closed the blinds. I still had no idea what I was doing there. Every fibre in my body since I left the car was blaring at me that something wasn’t right.
Hanze crossed his arms and nodded towards Sambulo. “Let’s see the samples.”
No hesitation came from Sambulo was he nodded toward Sandiso who immediately put his hand inside of his jacket and pulled out a brown paper sack that was handed over to him on the ride to this place. The contents were revealed when Sandiso stuck his hand inside and pulled out a few zip up bags. Each bag was filled with a different drug, some I could recognise from what I’d seen on television but others didn’t look like anything I’d seen before.
“Crates have been packed, ready for shipment.” Pharaoh stated.
The heavily tattooed henchman was one to step to the plate and grab one of the baggies from Sandiso’s hand. Cocaine filled that specific one and he opened it. He dabbed a finger in the white powder and brought it to his tongue.
When he nodded to Henze, I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding, and Henze smiled widely. The tattoo guy wasn’t done though, he inspected the other two bags of drugs and popped one of the baked beans tins open. Sandiso, Sambulo, Danger, Pharoh, Bandile and Pholile didn’t seem the least bit intimidated. I was scared shitless.
“Half the job is done. You’ll get payment when Blaze takes delivery at the final destination tomorrow.” Henze said.
“That wasn’t the deal. Half now and the rest when we deliver tomorrow.” Sambulo held.
“Who’s to say any of your people won’t steal the stuff overnight?”
I noticed how uneasy Henze eyed Sambulo. It was then that I saw the annoyed expression on Sandiso’s features, which I could only half see since he wasn’t facing me. He was definitely not happy about them doubting his integrity as well as the others.
In my mind, Sandiso didn’t have any, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.
Sambulo refused to be bullied into submission and made it clear that mules and people that helped him smuggle the drugs to the central depo were waiting for payment. He even threatened not to deliver the final packaged products if half wasn’t paid, Henze told him to keep his panties on and handed over a duffel bag.
When the money was exchanged, I thought it was all over, but I was wrong. A firm hold found Pholile’s upper arm and she was pulled forward. Danger’s grip didn’t loosen as he spoke. “Lift.” I didn’t even know what the girl was supposed to be lifting in a room full of men that were stronger. Surely one of them could lift.
“Wait.” Pholile protested.
A grunt of frustration left Danger as he yanked the mother of his child and flung her closer to Henze.
“Archiebald!” Her shocked plea didn’t stop Danger as he lifted her short dress and exposed her bottom half, revealing her panties that barely left anything to the imagination. Everyone in the room just stood there as Henze nodded– my stomach dropped.
Instantly my face started to burn and a surge of panic erupted inside me. Sandiso was a terrible person, I knew that, but I knew he wouldn’t allow them to do the same to me. I should have listened when he told me to stay home.
Danger let Pholile go and she immediately tried to cover herself up again.
“What is he doing?” Bandile’s hissed whisper was more savage and louder than he meant for it to be.
“She is part of the package deal.” Sambulo stated calmly.
In one swift movement, Henze’s arm pulled Pholile closer and whispered something to her ear. The little speech he gave her was more than enough to get her to comply right away.
My breath caught at the back of my throat when Sandiso grabbed my arm and pulled me to him. An eerie tingle ran up my spine as he placed his hand on my lower back. “Told you not to come.” He hissed.
It was obvious in the way I trembled against him that I was terrified, but I was the only one in the room who seemed to care. “Can’t you stop this?” I whispered as Sambulo and Henze had a brief discussion on logistics and travel arrangement.
“No.” The whispered word was said in confidence, even though Sandiso looked scared out his mind. I didn’t dare open my mouth to say anything else, knowing I’d lose control and draw attention to myself.
“She’s also very pretty. Some girl on girl action would be nice to see.” Henze brushed a strand of hair out of Pholile’s face while he was looking in my direction, and I could see Sandiso’s fist clench out of the corner of my eye.
“Not part of this deal,” Sandiso rustled.
Henze chuckled. “TouchĂ©. I must say, you guys are good at this. She really looks pregnant, wouldn’t say she has drugs strapped on her belly.” Henze commented and nobody bothered to correct him. Instead, Sambulo’s eyes lit up as if he was cooking up a new idea in his head.
Every muscle in my body locked up as Henze walked in some door that lead to a dark passageway, followed by Pholile and his bodyguards.
“You have half an hour.” Danger hissed as they closed the door.
The guys let out a collective sigh of relief and smiled gleefully passed around stacks of two hundred rand notes while giggling like kids that scored a jackpot when they went trick or treating. Nobody seemed to care about the girl that was being prostituted by her husband to sweeten the deal but me.
Before I knew it, it was all over and Sandiso and I were in a restaurant as if nothing happened earlier that night. I was still trying to calm the raging hell inside of me as I sat across from him in a private dining room. Crystal and roses surrounded the room, everything extravagant and candlelit. Sandiso was laughing into his cell phone.
Sandiso had changed to blend in with this crowd. He settled into a dark grey suit with a faint sheen in the candle light, worn with a maroon tie and matching pocket square that resembled liquid rather than silk. I was thankfully in a longer dress, pearls hung around my neck.
He got off the phone and smoothed his tie. “This time tomorrow we will only eat where these rich people eat. Drive what they drive. Live in their neighbourhoods and take our kids to their schools. I can already taste the good life,” he said, speaking in Zulu.
My eyes lit up, seeing the end in sight and I responded in Zulu. “What’s happening tomorrow?”
“The packages are going to be delivered tomorrow. To think that we have been working tirelessly to pick up stuff from all over the world, get in the right hands, get it through customs and get it over here and now all that’s left is for us to get the stuff over to Blaze in SA and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Everything is easy back home because everyone has a price.”
“Everyone keeps talking about a delivery to Blaze, who is he and where are you going to give him the stuff?” I focused on the time and place that I needed to buy my freedom.
Sandiso chuckled and took a sip of his expensive fine wine. “I didn’t think you had the stomach for this, clearly I was wrong.”
I smiled. “Ditto.”
Sandiso lifted the in-house glass bottle of water and poured it for me, our fingers touched as I took the glass. He watched me as I drew the water to my lips and savoured it as though it were fine wine. “Let’s just say Blaze is the chairman of the entire corporation. The puppet master that we all report to, Henze is his right hand man. Stinking rich white guy based in Jo’burg posing as a legit restaurateur.”
I paused. “Have you met him?”
He smirked. “No, that’s not how this business works. You only meet people that you need to meet. Sambulo sent me a picture of him that he took of him without his knowledge the last time they met.”
I pressed the glass against my lips daringly. “Can I see?”
“No,” he said softly. “Strictly on a need to know basis. And you, my love, don’t need to know Blaze because I am never taking you to a drop off again. It’s not safe and I won’t always be able to protect you. I don’t want a ride or die wife, I prefer it if you stay out of the business.”
I needed to change gears and press the accelerator to get the information I needed before the drop the next day. I leaned forward, fully aware of the view he was getting of my chest. “So when do we order?”
“I’ve taken the liberty to order a variety of things I cannot pronounce on the menu.”
I arched my brow. “Not your usual oxtail or well done steak order?”
“No. I each rich people food now. We have arrived!”
I sat back and looked him over when our host walked in with the order. “Did I tell you just how handsome you look tonight?” I asked while trailing my foot up his calf muscle.
He chortled. “You are trouble.”
A large plate was laid before us, and I tried to discern the meal. “What is this?”
“Beef Carpaccio. Do enjoy.” The host smiled and left the room.
It was a dish with flat pieces of pink meat, drizzled in what appeared to be herbs and olive oil. “You aren’t going to eat this,” I laughed.
Sandiso’s mouth turned down at the corner. “This is raw. How are we supposed to eat this?”
“Let me.” I picked up a loaf of chocolate bread and broke it. I swirled a small piece in the meat, pinching it in the bread. “Come closer.”
He leaned forward, allowing me to reach over and feed him.
“Your turn.” I instructed. He did the same and fed me. The raw meat and spice rolled onto my taste buds with the smooth olive oil. His fingers touched my lip, and I closed my mouth and whipped a tongue across them. His arm tensed, and slowly, I gained the courage to suck, knowing the effect it would have on him.
“Little girl,” he said, his voice low. “You are trouble.”
I gave him a small bite. “I am not a girl.”
“No, you don’t flirt like one.” Sandiso purred.
I wrapped my lips over his finger and took the full length into my mouth. His breath hitched, his eyes burned with desire. I released his finger and maintained eye contact with him.
“I don’t fuck like one either.”
I continued my onslaught while refilling his wine glass. Before long we’d had the main and dessert and he sang like a bird in his drunken state. I almost couldn’t believe it when he reached into his pocket, scrolled through his pictures and showed me the picture of Blaze on our way home.
My mind couldn’t register the picture of Joel taken without his knowledge. It was as if my brain short-circuited and needed to be rebooted. Did Levi know that his family’s lavish lifestyle was funded by drug money? Was he part of the syndicate? I needed to know for sure before telling Smalgaliso that the drop was happening at 11:00 in Brakpan.
Before I knew what I was going to say I’d fished the phone out of the speaker cone, put the speaker lid back on, pushed the speaker in place in the TV room. I tip toed to the bathroom as and tirned on the shower water as I dialled Levi’s number. I paced up and down nervously while it rang, my heart hammered against my chest.
“Hello?” Levi’s voice boomed after the fifth ring.
“Bun.” I croaked.
“W-who is this?” he hesitated.
“It’s me, Thando. Sandiso staged the whole thing to make it look like I was dea-”
The call was cut short and I initially thought Levi dropped the phone on me but I’d run out of airtime. Smanga wasn’t kidding when he said he loaded enough for me to buzz him if I needed to talk to him. I had an SMS bundle but texting would take too long.
The phone lit up and I answered the call before the device made a sound.
“Hello? Thando?” Levi’s voice was barely audible in his shocked state. When he was satisfied that it was me and he wasn’t imagining things he let out a hysterical bellow only interrupted by his need to draw breath. My eyes dripped with tears. My walls, the walls that held me up, made me strong just... collapsed. Moment by moment, salty drops fell from my chin, drenching my pyjama top. I tried to pull myself together and get to the purpose of the call but he kept speaking in mumbled words that only he could understand. I cried as if my brain was being shredded from the inside.
I grabbed onto the basin so that my violent shaking would not cause me to fall and from my eyes came a thicker flow of tears than I had cried before. Emotional pain flowed out of every pore. The whole world had vanished. My eye was off the prize. I no longer cared about anything thing else, I just wanted to see Levi again.
Levi didn’t know anything about drugs and he was certain that his mother didn’t either. He didn’t care about me going to jail. He just wanted to drive to wherever I was and take me home. When I told him that he couldn’t and I had to act like my rapist’s girlfriend, he cried as if the ferocity of it might take me to him; as if by the sheer force of his grief everything would be undone and I would be tucked into bed beside him.
I tried to tell him that the exchange was taking place the next day so we just had to hang on for a few more hours. I tried to calm him, even as my own tears fell thick and fast but in his hysteria he was too strong willed, too wild, putting everything in jeopardy.
“Levi, baby, listen. The police need to catch them in the act for this to work. If all his goons are behind bars he won’t get out again. Just trust in the process.” I sobbed. “I don’t wanna go to jail… I don’t. Promise me you will stay put and let this play out like it should. Please promise that I was right to think that I could call to make sure that you wouldn’t end up in jail along with the gang.”
He sniffled, “I promise.”
“I will see you tomorrow.” I whispered.
“You sound so sure.”
“I am sure. I have to go before he hears me or notices that I am gone. DO NOT CALL ME BACK.” I whisper yelled.
“I have to go. Don’t tell anyone that I’m alive. Especially not my mother, she has a crazy side. I love you.”
“And I love you.”
I pressed my head against the wall that was holding me up, it was white. So pure. So innocent. There was nothing pure or innocent about what was happening. I was trembling. I couldn’t stop trembling even long after I cut the call. Even as I pressed my hand against the wall, it trembled as raw emotion rippled through me.
I was rattled by the sound of someone turning the door handle. I quickly texted Smanga and told him the time and place where the exchange was taking place, deleted the text. A text came through just as I was about to toss the device. “Where in Brakpan?” Smanga’s question had my stomach in knots, I had such little time to get the exact location. I switched it off and shoved it in the washing powder box.
There was a distinct knock on the door and I knew it was Sandiso.
“Coming.” I yelled.
“Which coming are you referring to?” He laughed at his own joke.
I yanked my clothes off, jumped in and out of the ice cold shower and wrapped a towel around me before opening the door.
“And then?” he slurred, looking at my wet body.
“I couldn’t sleep so I figured I’d pray and take a shower.” I explained just in case he heard my whispers.
“Oh, let me join you then.”
I grinned. “That won’t be necessary. I’m done so let’s go to bed.” I said walking to the sink and splashing water on my reddened face. “You should get some sleep because you need to be up very early tomorrow morning.” I said.
Sandiso leaned against the doorway, his arms crossed in front of his chest – an amused smirk on his lips. His eyes pierced mine through the mirror with their usual broodiness that was hard to overlook.
“You’ve been crying.” He noted.
I shook my head. “It’s nothing, really.”
“My princess crying is something to me. What’s wrong, sthandwa sami?”
My mind couldn’t think of a lie fast enough. “Derek died.” I whimpered.
“Derek Sheperd, Meredith’s husband.” I sounded idiotic even to my own ears.
“The guy from Grey’s Anatomy?” He entertained me. Now I was certain that he was really drunk. He couldn’t have been sober if he was falling for this stupid lie.
“Yeah. He was in a car accident. I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose your husband while pregnant with your third child. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you. What would happen to me and the kids?”
“I’m not dying anytime soon. Besides, death isn’t always gloomy. Sometimes it is the best thing to happen to the people the deceased leaves behind.” Sandiso countered.
I turned around to face him. “How so?”
“I was in the car with the man I called father when he crashed into a truck. He asked me to grab the phone and call the ambulance but I didn’t. I just sat there and waited for him to die.”
“I am so sorry.” I said and closed the distance between us.
His arms found their way around my waist as he pulled me closer to him. The strong scent of his cologne on his bare chest gave the illusion of a safe haven – a feeling I used to associate with what I thought was home. My head rested against his chest as he held me tightly, taking in a whiff of the braids his mother pleated after helping me dye my hair back to its natural colour. He kissed the top of my head before I was released from his hold.
“Don’t be sorry. I’m not. That man may be dead but I am still struggling to come to grip and live with the things that he did to me as a child. I have found that people don’t understand me and I often do not understand myself and why I do some things and why I can’t stop myself from doing those things. I feel alone, I feel so alone. I have an ache inside from loneliness that never goes away. I feel ugly, I feel worthless and I feel like God has forsaken me. I just feel like you are all I have.” He said when he turned away in an attempt to hide his hurt.
“Hlelo and your mother love you very much.” I swallowed the lump in my throat as my heart bled for him. I couldn’t bring myself to lie to him at that moment.
“I don’t think I could ever forgive my mother for turning a blind eye. She is trying so hard to make things right, even to a point where she is betraying her own moral compass but she cannot undo the damage she caused. She made me believe that getting butt fucked by your father is normal. That beating up a woman you love is all part of a normal healthy relationship. Maybe if she had acted sooner I wouldn’t be so damaged. Thando, I just feel like my demons are too strong for me to fight.”
I was torn. I reached out to him and clutched him in a warm embrace.
“I’ve been seeing someone.” He admitted. “When I was in the mental institution I used to talk to a psychiatrist and I found that speaking about it hurt but it helped. Sometimes it made me so angry, I’d shut down for days. It was so hard to admit to her and myself that I was raped by my own father, in my own home.
I was a virgin and I did not want to believe that I lost my virginity that way. I didn’t even know if it counted as me losing my virginity. I don’t know if I lost my virginity to you or my dad.
I told my mother what he did. She noticed the scars and bruises, she noticed him looking at me inappropriately and my mother once saw him grab me by my waist but she did not say or do anything. It left me feeling really depressed about my life and it was hard for me to get out of bed and I had absolutely zero confidence. I’ve never told you this but in many ways I saw you as my Messiah. Everyone bought into this loud boisterous character I played to hide the hidden hurt but you saw right through it. You were on my side and validated my feelings and emotions, something I didn’t get from my own mother or my siblings that all turned a blind eye. They often made me wonder if I was adopted to fulfil perverted sexual desires because I wasn’t treated the same.
You introduced me to the two people who I came to know as mom and dad. To what it means to form part of a family. Your parents loved me like their own son. I came over often because I felt at home and at peace whenever I was there. I lived for washing the car with your dad, running to the shop to get salt for your mom and beating up stupid boys that used to bully Futhi at school. I felt loved and accepted. Knowing that they are hurting because of what I have done hurts me and I hope that one day they will forgive me for forcefully taking the one thing that makes me feel.”
His hand grabbed a hold of my chin and turned my face up to meet his gaze. Without warning, both his hands cupped my face and his lips collided with mine. I could taste a faint hint of alcohol on his tongue as he glided it over my own. The taste that used to make me want to gag didn’t bother me as much anymore. I was accustomed to it now.
I rubbed my nails against his neck. Horror shot through me when he pulled away and dropped his pants. “What are you doing?” I hissed.
He chuckled. “Getting in the shower so that I can cry about Derek’ and you are going to join me.”
I shook my head. “That won’t be necessary. I know how you feel about having someone’s dead skin cells anywhere near your body.”
Ignoring me, he dropped my towel and forcefully pulled me in.
The hot shower water ran down my backside as Sandiso’s grip was on my hips. His lips ran across the wet skin, the sensation made me squirm. He dropped his head and our mouths connected under the spray of the shower head, my back hit the wall in the process.
My mind screamed in retaliation but as his hands roamed my traitorous body that knew and revered his familiar touch. Sandiso bit my lip before kissing it again. I wrapped my fingers around his neck.
“I am going to miss you when you are gone tomorrow.” I whispered and placed a kiss on his cheek.
“I won’t be gone for too long, just a day.”
“Where are you guys going?” I asked.
“Yeah, but where in Brakpan?” I pushed.
He didn’t give me answer I was looking for. “You have got to be the sexiest pregnant woman on the face of this earth.”
He turned me around and forced my legs apart. A whimper escaped me as he did so, and I could feel all the emotion build and my watery eyes threatened to spill. My whole body went rigid as he ran his finger over my slit.
“Sandiso…. No.” I grabbed his hand.
“Relax.” He cooed.
He grabbed my arm and I couldn’t hold my tears any longer. “No, stop.” I shoved him off.
Sandiso hesitated for a moment but he didn’t let up. His hand travelled up my body, lingering in the exact placed I hoped he wouldn’t.
“Don’t fight it.” He hushed as he wiped a stray tear with the back of his hand. Warm lips brushed against my neck as he continued to speak. “Hush now, gorgeous. You don’t want to ruin the moment.”
I let out a guttural cry, the kind of cry that used to fall on deaf ears when I first arrived at the prison Sandiso handcrafted for me. This time someone came to my aid. Sandiso’s mother came beating down the door but the locked barrier rendered her own screams futile.
Without warning, or kindness, it took only one thrust for my world to collapse around me. My stomach was pressed against the wall and I was struggling to breathe as he huffed and puffed behind me for what felt like an eternity. He told me that he loved me and kissed my shoulder when he was done, evidence of his climax trailed down my leg.
Sandiso turned off the water. With a shaky hand I opened the shower door. When I reached to grab my towel on the floor, he spanked my butt, causing me to let out a whimper. I quickly hid my anger under a protective smile and an uncomfortable laugh. He was laughing too.
A boyish grin was displayed on his lips when he opened the door and his mother came rushing in. The playful attitude made it seem like we were in a normal relationship, nothing was amiss and there was nothing to the screams she heard just moments prior to the door flinging open. Sandiso grabbed his own towel and tussled it over his hair.
“What’s going on?” his mother asked, frantic.
I stilled my shaking hand. “Nothing.”
“Are you sure it was nothing? You woke the baby up.” Sandiso’s mother insisted. I didn’t want to talk.
Sandiso chuckled and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me to him. The towel I had bunched in my hands was grabbed from me and he wrapped it around my torso.
“You heard her, now go back to bed.” Sandiso instructed.
He moved us forward to the hallway. Sandiso was hugging me from behind while we crossed the hall to get into our room. Hlelo was standing in the hallway looking confused.
“Mommy Thando why were you screaming? Did the boogie man from under the bed come and get you?” Hlelo asked me.
I bit my cheek to keep from crying. “No,” I smiled. “Do you want to sleep with mommy tonight?” I asked as I felt Sandiso’s penis pressing against my back. Hlelo was the only shield I could think of to safeguard me from the continued onslaught that would surely follow if I went to bed alone with Sandiso.
“Yes.” The boy beamed.
Before Sandiso let me go, he placed a kiss on my jaw and closed the door when the little boy came in.
We both got dressed under our towels and knelt by the bed when Hlelo said his evening prayer. I tucked the boy in between us. Sandiso and his son snored as they slept soundly next to me while I cried silently.
Sandiso’s alarm went off in the early hours of the morning and he stirred in his sleep. He eventually rolled out of bed and took a shower while I packed a bag for his journey and quickly made breakfast.
“Thanks for breakfast, I have to go.” Sandiso said, getting up from the chair. Hlelo, was banging the wired teddy bear against the kitchen counter.
“You didn’t tell me where you were going today.” I said as I took the teddy bear from Hlelo and gave him a toy truck.
“Some restaurant called Leza’s Kitchen. Wear the skin tight grey dress I got you yesterday, that’s the one I want to unwrap when I get back.” Sandiso sent a flirtatious smile my way which had bile rising up my throat. I knew Leza’s Kitchen all too well, they even had a seafood dish in one of the franchises that was named after me. I was told that Leza is an English name of Hebrew origin, meaning ornament or brightness. It was also a combination of Levi and Zain’s names, one that Levi’s mother saw as a fitting name for the their restaurant franchise.
Sandiso picked his son up and kissed him goodbye before he turned to me. “Bye, love. I love you.”
“Love you too.”
He placed a kiss on my stomach, Hlelo’s cheek and my lips. “You once told me that my changing was your answered prayer. This is mine. My very own family.” His fingers continued to dance on my stomach as he took a selfie of us.
When Sandiso left that morning Hlelo and I had no idea that it would be the last time we saw him alive.

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