Unscripted love Chapter 88 - A - Mzansi Stories

Wednesday, August 24

Wizzy

Unscripted love Chapter 88 - A

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#88A
Caught between a rock and a hard place
LEVI’S POV
Nothing ever happens the way you imagine it will. Sometimes things turn out to be happier, or more exciting. Other times they will be scarier. That’s how life works. You never truly know what will happen. And I guess I sort of assumed I would be able to handle whatever came my way.
I used to be a dreamer. I used to look at my life like a magical, wonderful thing. It was a mystery I tried each day to figure out, but was satisfied with being surprised about its secrets too. It was like a game to me and I deemed myself quite the player. I’d started to see it differently.
My life had turned into a curse. I thought I had all the time in the world to figure out the mystery, to live the life that I wanted to live, to be with my wife and watch our child grow. But I knew that life as I thought it would be had changed for eternity.
I was stuck in a place between two alternative lives, I would only know which life I would live if all went according to a plan that I knew so little about. I could only sit and hope that Sandiso, Joel and whoever else would walk straight into an ambush and spend the rest of their miserable lives behind bars.

Deep down I knew that Our Love would be forced to take the stand and give witness testimony of whatever she experienced. But I was afraid and I didn’t know if I wanted her being dragged to court to be the star witness in their case because we would have to spend the rest of our lives looking over our shoulders, watching where the kids were at all times just in case someone came for revenge.
Thinking about all of this while waiting for a phone call or anything to let me know what was happening was overwhelming, especially when I was barely existing. I shook my thoughts when I heard a voice behind me.
“Levi?” My mother said in her buttery smooth tone.
“Mom,” I bit my lip as I turned to face her. I released the death grip I had on my phone and stood from the bed. She walked into my room and embraced me.
“You need to eat something, my son. Come.”
I allowed her to keep one arm around my shoulders as she led me out of my room. “How are you feeling today?” she asked as she placed a hand on my forehead.
My lips turned into a frown and I gulped, slightly furrowing my eyebrows. She had already mentally assessed my condition and I was fairly certain she believed I looked like I’d been run over by a truck. Of course, it was hard to keep it together and pretend that everything was the same as the day before when my eyes were bloodshot beyond belief. I wanted to tell her I was okay but it was a little too late for me to lie to her.
“I’m, I’m trying.” I mustered up the best brave face I could give, but she was wiser than to fall for it so easily.
She sighed. “C’mon, let’s go to the dining room to get something to eat?”
“Okay,” I mumbled, nodding twice.
I couldn’t help but stare at the splendour around the house as we made our way down the glass elevator. The endless chandeliers, imported custom made furniture and rooms the size of studio apartments. How much of this life was paid for with dirty money made on the backs of despicable acts against humanity? How many families were grieving the loss of a loved one to drugs? How many lives were laid down to pay for all of these things that ultimately mean nothing?
“Are you coming inside, Levi? The chef made one of your favourites. I don’t know how you could eat that gunk.” My mother’s quiet laugh ran through my ears.
I forced my legs to move. “That’s nice of him.” I commented.
I would have loved to smile at her genuinely but that didn’t seem possible in the moment.
The open dining space smelled of peppermint and something else, most likely in the oven. Between asking me if I was okay multiple times, my mother had also mentioned that she was tapping into her inner cake boss and that I should join her baking class.
The kitchen timer suddenly rang with excitement. “I’ll just be a minute. I’m baking some banana bread, I hope that it will turn that frown upside down. Oh, Joel has some business to take care of this morning so he won’t be joining us for breakfast.”
I clutched the edge of the chair tightly when I heard his name. I managed to ask, “Where did he go?” as she hurried to take the bread out of the oven and fix the basket of desserts.
“Joel goes all over the place. I can’t keep up, honestly.”
“Did he tell you who he was meeting? What is the meeting about?” I shuddered to ask.
A confused expression was all over my mother’s face even though she tried to keep a smile. “No and no. He usually calls to say he arrived safely but he hasn’t called and he isn’t answering any of my calls. It’s almost as odd as you asking me these random questions.” She said and turned to her bread.
I guess I was hoping that Joel’s silence meant that he’d walked into Charlotte’s Web. In that moment I wondered what would happen to my mother if Joel was arrested. I wondered how she would cope with finding out that she didn’t really know the man she was married to. Would she be depressed or angry? Would she blame herself for not pushing for inclusion in Joel’s life? Would she file for divorce or stay married to him and start a prison romance?
“Here you are,” my mother handed me a steaming mug and a slice of what was supposed to be banana bread but it looked like a growth. The scalding drink warmed my body as I swallowed it desperately.
“Thank you.” I mumbled.
Silence filled the air and I could sense her watching me intently, curiously. She seemed to study my every move as if I was going to shatter at any moment. It was comforting to know how much she cared for me, but terrifying to think about how crazy I must have seemed to her.
After a few moments of quiet, she sighed. “Levi, be honest with me about something.”
I looked up at her wearily and mumbled, “Okay.”
A gentle smile crossed her face. I glanced down at my shaking hands and clasped them together tightly in a pathetic attempt to stop the nervousness from spreading throughout my body. Somehow, I felt slightly confident that I could answer her questions truthfully.
“How have you been, really?” Her eyes were kind and full of sincerity.
“Really?” I said. I couldn’t lie to her even if I wanted to. I was scared shitless and I couldn’t do a thing to help Our Love.
She nodded. “Really. Something tells me that there is more to the hysterical squawk we heard last night. It’s just hard to believe that you fell, it’s sounded like… like you just heard that someone died.”
I took a deep breath and thought of something. “Grief comes and goes I guess. Things have calmed down since Thando’s funeral but I still can’t bring myself to believe that she is actually gone. Sometimes I see her standing in front of me then she disappears, last night was one of those times when I felt so close yet so far from her. I don’t know when I’ll be able to come to terms with it. I’ve lost everything I treasure…. I just feel like I have to start from zero.”
I contemplated whether or not to tell her that Our Love was alive while I took another gulp of tea. The warmth felt good against my lips. It felt cruel to exchange her spouse for mine. Joel and Thando had both broken the law but one was a lesser of the two evils.
My mother looked at me thoughtfully, as if waiting for me to say something else. She reached across the counter and gripped my hand tightly.
“I know it’s hard. You might even feel like you don’t have anybody but you have me, this family… your other family. I will be here for as long as you need me.” She gave a small smile. “I know it may seem like you’ve lost everything. Your dream job, your wife and your child. People are talking about how you will join the ranks of soccer stars that are broke and forgotten but don’t let them get to you. You were smart with your money so you don’t have to start from zero. You have restaurants, coffee shops and solid investments.”
I paused. “Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit!” My voice cracked and I tried gulping down the lump in my throat. “All my money is tied up in this whole mess. Every. Single. Cent.” I stated hysterically. “They are going to seize ALL the assets, including mine.” I realised.
My mother furrowed her eyebrows. “Who, Levi?”
“The police,” I mumbled.
“Why would the police seize all your assets?” Mom asked.
I hushed her and pulled her to the pantry before I spoke in a hushed tone. “You have to promise that you won’t tell anyone. I am only telling you because we have to salvage what we can before it all comes crashing down.”
“I won’t tell anyone. You know you can tell me everything.” Her voice was thinner.
Panic riddled her face and her eyes grew wider and wider as I word vomited what Our Love had told me. I also told her that he was going to be arrested and all his assets would probably be frozen and we were going to lose everything.
“We cannot let this happen.” My mother covered herself with her hands, unable to hold back the sobs. “We have to tell Joel that he is walking into a death trap.”
“No!” I bellowed. “If this doesn’t happen then Thando will go to jail.” I stated in a softer tone.
“So Joel must go in her stead!? Are you asking me to choose between my husband and your wife?” She asked, placing her hand on her hip. And then, I knew that I was officially screwed.
She stormed out of the pantry and made a beeline for her cell phone with me following hot on her heels.
“Mom! Don’t do this. If you do this your grandchild will be born in a prison cell.” I pleaded.
“Joel will figure out a way to make this right.” She said and placed the ringing device on her ear.
I grabbed it and sent it sailing across the room. It shattered on impact and my mother gawked at me which a look of sheer disbelief. Her cold fury burnt with dangerous intensity.
“How stupid could you be Levi?” She seethed. “What did you think was going to happen? That he was going to be arrested and we would all live happily ever after? WE WILL LOSE EVERYTHING,” she roared and marched towards the phone in the kitchen. “Don’t you dare touch me! I do not have time to argue with you. I have to undo this mess you and that girl made before it is too late.”
I struggled with her for the phone. “If this deal doesn’t happen today then Thando will go to jail. Do you understand that!?”
“Get your hands off me!” She barked and tried to shove me off her.
I yanked the phone out of her hands and walked backwards, daring her to charge for me knowing that I was stronger than her. My mother stood with hard staring eyes that never blinked. Her reddened skin clung to her skull like a wet rag to a rail. Baring clenched teeth she demanded that I hand over the phone in a voice that was barely more human than a growl.
The phone hung as limply from my bony hand as a dead rabbit. Before I retaliated she launched into a tirade of expletives in the same low growl, but just loud enough for the other inhabitants of the house to hear.
Normally when my mother was this angry I took it as meekly as a kitten subjected to the rough tongue of it's mother, but not this time. I didn't care if our ding-dong woke the whole neighbourhood. The kitten was out of town, only the sleeping tiger was at home and she wasn’t getting the phone.
I was just about to speak when she said, “if Joel goes down then I am going down with him.”
I threw a look to my mother who was in the corner of the room beet red with hands stuck firmly on her hips, steam almost flying from her ears. “We didn’t know anything about drugs.” I stated as a matter of fact.
“I knew.” She huffed.
“W-what?” I hesitated.
“Levi, we tried so hard to keep this from the kids so that you wouldn’t have to live with the burden of knowing the truth. We lost everything when your dad died. Severe droughts left the farms desolate and they were auctioned off to cover the debt your father had racked up whilst pretending to the outside world that we were still living the A-Lister lifestyle. Joel offered me a way out. He settled the debts and we weren’t left out in the cold, homeless. He saved us, Levi.” My mother wept.
I ran my hand through my close cropped hair three times in quick succession and fixed my mother in a stare that could have frozen the Pacific. I snarled more than spoke. “You are a disgrace. You're not a mother, you're a failure, and you are worth less than a cockroach. I am ashamed to be associated with someone like you. Prostituting yourself and selling drugs for money, really? You expect me to believe that you had no choice…. We always have choices!”
My mother dropped her gaze to the floor and hooked her thumbs into her black jeans. “You can stand there and judge me all you want. I do not drive cars that are less than a million rand, I do not put on a shoe that is less than the chicken feed you called a salary. You are more than welcome to judge me for that but don’t you dare judge me for the decisions I made as a mother.
You are going to be a father, my boy. Your child needs to eat. Your child needs to go to school. You will learn that life is unforgiving when the suspension is over but you fail to land a contract. Thando is unemployed so you have to cover all the expenses.
While you stand there on your righteous throne please tell me where you will live; in the township? In a house similar to the decomposing tin that Thando grew up in? Where will Thando give birth? A public hospital where they take turns to see who gets to lie on a bed? What happens if there are complications during labour or your child needs emergency medical attention that only money can buy? I am a mother and as a mother I made decisions because I love you and I wanted to give you the best I could give you.”
I took a step towards my mother, a vein almost popping in my temple and my fists tightly clenched. The woman stayed right where she was. “Give me that phone. Everything will go as planned today. Joel won’t be there. Both Thando and Joel will be home in time for dinner tonight.” She stated.
“I am not giving you the phone.” I growled.
“Okay, don’t give me the phone. Just remember that when we come crashing down, you will too. I don’t know how you will explain the five million rand I transferred to you.”
“That was my inheritance!”
“An inheritance from an insolvent estate? Good luck trying to explain that to the authorities.” She stated. “I know you are angry, son but don’t throw your whole life away.” She took a step forward and we were now nose to nose. She took the phone from me and I let her.
She was hunched over the kitchen island as she spoke to Joel. I didn’t hear a thing over the resounding buzzing sound in my head.
My mother shoved my shoulder to get my attention. “How did Thando find out that Joel is involved?”
I shrugged. “She saw a picture on Sandiso’s phone.”
She went back to her conversation and I slid to the floor, buried my head in my hands.
“Sorted. You made the right choice, Levi.” Her voice was lighter, happier than before. “The exchange will take place as planned. We don’t like losing money but we will send people that we can afford to lose. They will get their drugs and make arrests. That way, your wife will get immunity from prosecution and authorities will think that it’s over. Quite a few people in the police force will get promotions for being part of one of the biggest drug bust in this decade so a lot of people will benefit from this, look at it that way.”
My face mottled crimson, words were spat out with the ferocity and rapidity of machine gun fire. Without wiping the smirk from her ashen face she leant closer, perfectly composed and uttered, “What should I get the chef to make Thando for her welcome home dinner?”
My fuse simmered and fizzed like a firework in a chill autumn breeze, then I exploded with unrestrained fury. She remained as still as a cadaver and just as pallid, unblinking against my onslaught.
“Are you done?” she asked. “I will organise the jet to fetch Thando, I don’t feel like driving all the way to Swaziland. I suggest that you take a shower and get ready to leave in an hour.” Then with a barely concealed smirk she turned on her heels and walked away as if strolling in the park on a fine day.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
25 August 2016 at 06:22 delete

OMG cant wait for the next insert...

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