Unscripted love Chapter 89 - A - Mzansi Stories

Saturday, August 27

Wizzy

Unscripted love Chapter 89 - A

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#89A
For Better or Worse
I tilted my head up to look at Levi. His new fade haircut made him look younger and brought out his sharp facial features. It was kind of sweet to hear that he chopped off his dreads because people shave their heads when someone passes away in some African cultures. His eyes were closed and the warmth of his skin cursed through me. I was resting on his chest, sandwiched in between the back of the couch and his body. It felt sturdy against my cheek.
My arm was draped loosely over his stomach and moved as he breathed. I tried getting up more than once but his grip was too strong. He only pressed me tighter against him and I gave and eventually, I gave up and willed myself to relax. Every muscle in my body loosened as I concentrated on the faint sighs he made. They calmed me down.
“Love,” he murmured. His voice was drowned by sleep. His eyes were still shut and I watched him carefully, feeling his muscles tense and contract below me.
“Yes,” I whispered.
His eyes fluttered open and his eyebrows furrowed. I waited a few more moments until he was fully awake. “Still can’t sleep?” he glanced down at me, blinking a few times.
“Yeah, just watching TV.” I murmured, slightly shifting to a more comfortable position. The low sounds of people laughing could be heard in the otherwise silent apartment. “You should go upstairs and sleep, Levi. I don’t mind.”
“I’m all good.” He gave me a convincing smile but I knew better. I saw straight through his words and into the tiredness of his eyes. I saw how he forced them open and how hard he was trying to make me feel content in my own mind.
“You don’t look it. You can go to sleep, I’m fine. Really.” I gave him a half-hearted smile.
It had been a week since I landed in South Africa and so much had happened in such little time. I had so much admin to comb through, from signing all sorts of documents prepared by the prosecutor to reversing all that had been done when I was presumed dead. Life insurance policies and death benefits had to be paid back. I was glad that Levi didn’t know what to do with the 2 million he got for my life insurance so it was just sitting in his savings account, waiting for my mother to calm down so they could talk about a fair split. Levi didn’t think it was fair of her to demand every cent and I agreed with him. He was my husband and he was entitled to inherit from my deceased estate. Levi and I drafted a joint will to ensure that we didn’t have any issues in future.
My family planned a welcome home party that was larger than life and I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with my loved ones again. I was also pleased that Thuthuka knew the truth even though he vowed to never speak to my mother again or come to her funeral. I silently hoped that he would come around and forgive her, not for her sake but for his. Harbouring hate and resentment takes so much from you.
I hadn’t seen Joel nor heard of his whereabouts. I suppose he was laying low or rebuilding his empire after suffering a devastating loss that was sure to leave a dent in his pocket. The bust was all over the news but my name or my involvement wasn’t mentioned to protect my identity. It was reported that 24 people were arrested during the raid in Brakpan. Drugs with a street value of R65.4 million, as well as R4 million in cash, were among some of the things that were seized. Sixteen search warrants were carried out in all the Leza’s Kitchen franchises around the country during a joint operation conducted by the Hawks and the South African Police Service but Joel and his wife had cleaned shop.
It took an entire day of arguing with Levi to finally understand his reasons for telling his mother about the raid when I asked him to keep the news to himself. It took another day of heated exchanges to convince him that we didn’t need Joel and his mother and their drug money to survive and provide for our daughter.
I refused to stay in that house so Levi and I were crashing in his old apartment that he shared with Nthato and Kagiso seeing as Levi had rented out his house for two years. True to form, his mother emptied his bank account as a form of retaliation for him choosing to leave with me instead of staying with her. We were eternally grateful for Kagiso and Nthato for letting us live with them while we devised a plan. I didn’t have a cent to my name seeing as my mother took my bank card and spent every penny.
My mother couldn’t understand why I didn’t just move back home until the baby was at least six months old but I had a husband now. I couldn’t bail out on my marriage for months on end and run home when things got tough like I usually did.
“Do you want some breakfast now?” Levi asked and checked his phone. It was six in the morning. The sun was starting to peak above the clouds and through the living room curtains.
“I guess so,” I said. I closed my eyes for a moment, breathing in the fresh, masculine scent of his shirt. It smelled freshly washed and felt soft against my skin. I unconsciously clutched it, pulling gently at the collar.
“We need to get our own place before the baby comes.” He spoke quietly.
“I know.” I murmured.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said and I totally understand BUT not all the money was made from drugs and illegal activities. I invested a lot of money into the family businesses, surely we should get Joel to buy me out of the legit businesses.” He said.
I sighed. “I don’t want their dirty money, I also don’t want Joel to feel like he has a hold over us. It’s almost like Joel has to give you a hand-out. I don’t even see your mom agreeing to that because she wants us to move into that house.”
“Mom will get over it, it’s not like I lived with her growing up.” He tiled my head to face him. “It isn’t a hand-out if it’s my money that I invested, thinking I was planning for our future. I worked hard for it and it seems odd to paint the whole estate with the same brush.”
I shook my head. “We do not know where Joel is and we do not know what he is thinking or planning. Please do not poke the sleeping beast by demanding money from him when he has already lost millions because of me. Levi, you were voted South Africa’s sexiest man by that other magazine. Surely you can leverage that to get modelling jobs.”
“Don’t you get it? Nobody wants to work with me. My brand is tainted. All my sponsors dropped me.” He huffed.
I buried my face in the crook of his neck and mumbled, “It seems hopeless now but we are going to get back up on our feet and we will be just fine. ”
“When? I still have to go to school for an entire year before I make any money as an economist. We’ve been sponging off my friends for about week now and I feel emasculated. I want to provide for my family, that’s why I told my mother about the raid in the first place.”
“I will get a job.” I stated. “I’m gonna talk to Bianca, my old boss, and she what she says.”
“You look like that baby is going to fall out of you any second now, nobody is going to give you a job in this state.”
I sat up. “Did you just call me fat?”
He furrowed his brow. “When did I call you fat?”
“Just now.”
“I said nobody wants to hire a person that has to go on maternity leave for four months. You are hearing your own things with your cute little dimples.” He smiled up at me and I rolled my eyes but I couldn’t stop the stupid smile that formed on my face. “Baby, I want you to think long term. We don’t even have a sock for the baby. Where are you going to give birth? Where will we live? How are we going to buy formula?” Levi asked.
I cupped his cheek in a bid to get through to him. “Babe, the cops said bullets were flying long before they stormed in and I am pretty sure Joel organised a hit on his own men. I think he wanted to kill everyone that saw his picture, why else would your mother ask where I saw the picture? He is a cold hearted murderer that wouldn’t think twice about blowing your brains out. That is the type of guy we are talking about. What is he going to do to us when he comes back? What if he kills us?” I croaked.
I paused to take a deep breath. Levi’s thumb swiped away the tears underneath my eyes.
“I know it doesn’t seem logical to just drop everything but I don’t want you to fight with a man that is capable of murder. We will figure it all out and we are going to be fine. Maybe not right now, maybe not tomorrow but someday we will have our own place and we will be back on our feet.” I said.
Levi gripped my shoulders, gently pushed me forward and off the couch. I let the blanket fall onto the ground and pool at my feet. I curved my fingers into my palm to form a fist.
“I know that man loves my mother. He wouldn’t kill me because he knows that would be tantamount to killing her. I don’t want anything to do with drugs or money made in the trade. I want to pull out my bank statements, highlight all the deposits I made and get my money back. I’m not even going to fight for interest.” Levi’s mouth was pressed against the side of my head and he was warm. So comfortably warm. I felt the calming motion of his lips brushing against my skin as he spoke. “We need money to pay for a therapist. You are not okay, babe. You’ve declared that you are a survivor but you haven’t even given yourself a chance to truly deal with the emotions or process what happened to you. What you went through is traumatic but you keep saying you are okay and you are trying so hard to bury the pain. You are a victim masquerading as a survivor.” He said.
I tugged my sweater sleeves over my hands and wrapped my arms around my stomach. I tumbled into his embrace as he stood in front of me. His fingers tangled in my hair as he moved my braids around the back of my neck. I started to sob again.
I couldn’t bring myself to respond. I couldn’t even disagree with what he was saying. I couldn’t seem to do anything, just cling to him and hope that time would really make the pain of repeated history subside.
“I am burying the pain because I do not know if I am entitled to label it rape this time.” He pulled back to look down at me.
“Why?”
“I poked the sleeping beast. I flirted heavily with him to get information and I think I pushed too hard. I’m the one who sent mixed signals so I can’t turn around and cry rape.” I sniffled.
“If a man sticks his penis in a person who has told him to stop it is rape. I do not care what you did, what you were wearing or what you said to him. You could even be making out, naked with a person in bed – no means no. We shouldn’t justify animalistic behaviour. Chickens behave that way, not human beings.” He said. Levi took my hand and started leading me to the stairs, “Come, let me run your bath water for you. I’ll make something for the two of you while you bath.”
I followed him without remonstration.
Levi was making breakfast a little while later. While he negotiated with the pots, I found a pair of his socks in the bottom drawer of our temporary room and slid them on, instantly relieved of the painfully chilling tile that covered the floor. We were in the middle of summer but that apartment was so cold or maybe it was just me.
Having showered and changed into Levi’s clothes I made my way down to have breakfast. I wasn’t hungry, but I was trying for him. I’d seen him fighting his own tears a couple of times and I knew it was hard for him too. He wasn’t kidnapped and raped, but not being personally affected by something doesn’t make it any less of a tragedy.
“It’s done.” He called.
I walked into the kitchen to see my plate already made. He sat down on the stool next to me and lightly swivelled back and forth as he ate. I brushed the food around for a while before actually taking a bite.
“Thank you for this,” I said, swallowing another forkful of egg whites. His smile nearly reached is eyes, but not quite. He studied me carefully, assessing my movements. I didn’t mind. I was even surprising myself by eating as much as I did. I guess I was slightly hungrier than I’d thought.
**
“It’s almost three o’clock.” Levi glanced at his watch. “Our bus leaves at six so we have to get ready if we want to get there and check in on time.”
“You don’t have to check in like you are flying somewhere.” I informed Levi.
“Are we coming back by bus?” He asked.
“Taxi, it’s cheaper.”
“I’ve never been on a taxi. How do they even work?”
“You’ll see. It will be our little adventure.” I looked back and smirked at him which earned me a peck on the lips. A peck and cuddling was about as far as we went. I think he didn’t want to rush things and he wanted me to be the one to push further when I was ready.
Levi was sitting next to me on the couch, slowly rubbing circles on my aching back in a soothing manner. I wasn’t supposed to travel long distances this far along in my pregnancy but I felt obligated to attend Sandiso’s funeral.
His weight shifted the cushion as he pulled me tighter into him.
“Are you sure you want to come along to the funeral? You don’t have to be there.” My voice was thick with exhaustion. I ignored the sadness stirring inside at the possibility of him taking me up on my offer to bail out of the trip.
“I’m going there to make sure that that inbred is really dead.” Levi hissed.
I didn’t say anything for a while. He just watched me as I looked at the television screen. It was muted now, but another movie was playing.
“I’m just trying to figure out if you are actually sad that the man who raped you twice is dead,” Levi finally mumbled.
“I’m just sitting here watching TV. I didn’t say anything about grieving Sandiso’s death.” Levi didn’t seem persuaded. “I’m not saddened by his passing. I just have a lot on my mind, so many different things to think and feel at the same time.” I said.
“Why do you want to go to the funeral?” he asked but didn’t wait for an answer. “Baby, you need to stay home and get better. You aren’t even supposed to be fighting with your grandmother and your mother who both believe that its bad luck for a pregnant woman to attend a funeral.”
“Do you believe in superstitions now?” I squinted to keep the tears from falling. “Levi, I just want to do the things I want to do but people keep shoving their own ideas down my throat. There is no scripture that says, ‘pregnant woman shall not attend funerals’ so I am going. Please don’t side with them, I have to do this. Just let me do what I want to do. I need closure.”
“Baby you haven’t seen yourself the way I have. I just think this funeral is going to make things worse than they already are.”
I furrowed my eyebrows and looked up at Levi hesitantly. “What are you talking about?”
“You talk in your sleep sometimes, last night you said some things I hope nobody has to hear.”
“What kind of things?” I whispered. I almost didn’t want him to tell me.
Emotion cursed through him as he spoke. “At first you were shouting, screaming really. That’s why I woke you up and said we should come and watch TV….. It sounded like you were wrestling someone, reliving some sort of attack.”
He continued to hold me to his chest, lightly stroking my head. I could hear his ragged breaths and steady heartbeat.
“You don’t deserve waking up in the middle of the night to my screaming. You don’t deserve any od this.” I said.
Levi’s demeanour changed. I could sense his muscles tense underneath me. “I told you that we are going to get through this together.” He sat up straighter, rested his elbows on his knees.
“But aren’t you worried you won’t be the same person you were before this? It just seems unfair that you are stuck with a person that can’t be fixed in a week. Or maybe ever.” I paused, catching my breath. It quickened and my chest heaved up and down. “Won’t you spend the rest of your life wishing that you were in a normal marriage with normal problems like who is going to wake up and change the nappy?”
He stared at me seriously. An unequivocal need for me to understand him hid beneath his eyes and underlined his words. “How could you ever think I regret being married to you? How could you possibly think that?”
I didn’t know the answer. Though one way or the other, the guilt remained. It enclosed my mind and body with each breath I took. I felt like an emotional tampon.
“This is what I meant when I said for better or worse. You aren’t getting rid of me that easily.” He took me into his arms and pulled a blanket over my shivering body. I didn’t fight him. I just let him hold me and decided that maybe he actually wanted to be there to help me navigate to a brighter day.
When I relaxed in his embrace I felt something move inside me. “I think Hailey-Hope is awake.” I muttered. He saw the hand on my stomach, and his face lit up.
“She's kicking, isn't she? I want to feel.” Before I could say a word Levi was in front of me, both his hands on either side of my round belly. He rubbed the sides gently with his thumbs, waiting for something. Of course, as soon as someone wanted to feel her move, she stopped and I looked like I was imagining things.
I heaved a sigh. “She was moving a second ago.”
Levi put his ear to my stomach, where my belly button was beginning to poke out, much to my displeasure. “Do you ever actually hear anything when you do that?” I asked, putting my hands on my waist.
“Of course,” he said, lying through his teeth. He moved his hands to the front of my stomach and waited. He pouted when he didn’t feel a thing. “Nothing.”
I felt a wiggle again. “Wait,” I said. I took his left hand and slid it down to the side of my stomach. I pushed firmly on his hand.
“I feel it!” Levi said excitedly. I smiled to myself. I took my hand off of his and ran it through his head as he continued to feel Hailey-Hope move within me.
“I think she's fallen asleep,” he said after a few minutes, when I stopped feeling the movement. “I love you baby, you have made me a man.” He murmured proudly, his eyes closed and his ear still pressed against my belly. “Daddy loves you too, my little princess,” he added, moving his head to kiss my belly. We hosed ourselves when she suddenly kicked him in response.
Levi moved back to the chair and pulled my back flush against his chest and draped his hand over my tummy. He kissed my shoulder blade and said, “I don’t ever want to hear you saying that you think I can do better or be in a better marriage. You have to believe me when I say that I am never going to leave you. I am going to help you fight your demons, I will hold your hand while you fight the war against your mind. I am going to be here when you soot the names of memories you still haven’t faced.
I see your baggage, your history, the great purging of your soul and I still love you anyway. I see every phantom within you, and I still choose to stay, to fight. My love, I want you to remember that you are not a vessel of sadness; you are not a lost cause. I believe with reckless abandon that you deserve more than what the past was able to give you, that life is not always protected by the softness of your heart. I want to defend you. I want to show you how happiness is supposed to feel. You can question and doubt anything in this world but be rest assured that I want to love you, I want you even when everything looks bleak. I already made the promise, now let me love you for better or worse.”
I was definitely married to the sweetest man in the world.

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