Chapter 8

AMARA-


The story of how I met Randall is long and unpleasant. It started with a kidnapping or human trafficking rather. My uncle Moses who sexually abused me from the time I was twelve sold me to him for a million rand. The exchange was done by Randall’s closest friends Styles and Nkomo. I was kept in a room with no food or a toilet to relieve myself. 

In a week Nkomo tried to force himself on me and for a reason I couldn’t understand Randall lost his mind. He beat him to a pulp that’s when things between us started to change he became overprotective and possessive. I could swear he lived for me and nothing else. 

In time I saw Randall with different eyes. My heart started warming up to him I fell for the guy hook line and sinker. 

That’s when I found out that my uncle had actually pawned me to a taxi boss who was old enough to be my grandfather and the only way Randall could rescue me from him was by offering my greedy uncle money.   


The road to marriage was not easy it was full of thorns. But we had each other and here we are nine years later celebrating our anniversary. I still remember the day I said I do it feels like it was just yesterday. 


“Wow Amara.” My baby Liyana says standing behind me. Our eyes meet in the mirror reflection. “Papa is going to fall in love with you all over again when he sees you in this dress.”

That is the plan a smile creeps upon my face. Now I’m more eager to see him he hand-picked the dress I’m wearing. Nothing fancy casino royal is the theme. 

“Thank you my love” 

Is it too soon to say I am happy? 

“I can’t believe he ruined the surprise and told you about it” Liyana chines bouncing her way to a chair close to the bed and lowers herself down. 

“It’s my fault really” my big mouth sought attention and I ended up telling Liyana how excited I was about the party. 


There’s a knock at the door he’s been doing that a lot lately maybe trying to check if I’m dressed. He still won’t make love to me although he’s making progress with the kisses. 

The signals Randall gives are that of someone who was sexually molested the thought has crossed my mind many times. Then again this is Randall Okolie we’re talking about. He’d kill anyone who dares to touch him.


“What do you think?” I ask him a smile dancing on my face. He’s standing in the doorway eyes sparkling. The last time he looked at me like this was the day I stood before him in my wedding dress. He pulls me into a quick tight hug. I hear him sniffing is he crying? He lets go and looks into my eyes there is so sign that he shed any tears.

“I’m happy me hemma thank you for choosing me.” I would choose him over anything in this world that’s how much I love him.  


“Okay okay. Let’s go before I die of diabetes.” Liyana yelps clapping her hands to gesture urgency. 

He takes my hand and escorts me out of our bedroom I can hear noise as we approach the flight of stairs. The guests must be here. 

“Where is your little brother?” My question finds Liyana who shrugs her shoulders annoyance daubed over her bored expression.  

“Probably stuffing his face with sweets” she waves her hand making the matter trivial. “You guys go ahead everyone is waiting for you.” 


We do as told and move down I’m still waiting for Randall to tell me how I look. He wants me to remind him like I do everything. 

“So you don’t like the dress?” Yeah I’m getting upset. He looks at me as if I’m the most stupid person he’s ever met of course he won’t say but his eyes convey a thousand emotions. I’m able to read a few when I’m lucky. 

“I wouldn’t have picked it if I didn’t like it” an unbothered tone sashays out of his mouth. This is the right time to yank my hand back. 

“But you haven’t said anything about it.” Calm down Amara and breathe.  

“I did before we bought it. Don’t you remember me hemma?” How do you say God in Akan? Maybe he will hear my prayer when I pray in the husband’s language.  

“The dress was draped on a mannequin not on me.” No funny looks I want to complain about this matter or he will never learn. Seriously? He can’t keep getting it wrong. His hand slides to the small of my back as we reach the bottom of the set of steps. Everybody gathered in the entrance hall smiles and applaud us I guess it’s for surviving nine years in war. I find Randall beside me he’s staring back. He leans in and whispers…


“You look better than the mannequin don’t worry about it.”

I am done spent and depleted. There’s got to be classes where they teach men how to be romantic mine is a hopeless case.  

  

The party commences I spot a few familiar faces and smile when obligatory. Randall won’t let me out of his sight apart from the new found sensitivity he has become clingy. Although his touches are limited. He pulls me with him to every person we approach. The majority are business partners I need to have a talk with Liyana. How did she pull this off? 

He moves in to deliver something to me as we close in on an old man elegantly dressed like most of them here.


“That’s Tshilidzi Mulaudzi.” He says. 

This one looks more expensive than anyone we’ve spoken to Randall tells me he’s a new investor in their company. His eyes are glued to me I’m getting uncomfortable and that smirk on his face is giving me weird vibes. Randall notices and pulls me closer to his side a sign of protection. 


“Are you sure you’re ready to never look into your wife’s eyes again Mulaudzi?” Randall queries as soon as we’re within earshot voice void of humour. 

He grimaces at the old man who doesn’t look intimidated at all instead laughs his heart out. Creepy if you ask me.  

“Get your eyes off my wife” a warning from Randall. 

“My apologies Okolie” the old man chortles. I don’t care about his apologies I’m still uncomfortable. There’s something creepy about him his eyes somehow remind me of uncle Moses. Men like him always have diabolical thoughts running through their heads. The conversation moves to business I shouldn’t be standing here.  


Mulaudzi seems to spot someone in the crowd his eyes widen or I could be seeing things. Curious as ever my eyes follow his gaze. I don’t see anyone but Liyana and Zitha across the room. They are oblivious to the eyes scrutinising them. He excuses himself and saunters towards them he better not be lusting over those kids. 

 

“Happy anniversary you two” my attention is jerked away by an acquainted voice. That’s Styles and his wife Sethu I must have missed them earlier. They manoeuvre through the crowd to get to us Sethu as usual has this smile on her face. Her sister Ayize hates it she says people tend to take advantage of you when you look like a popeye. Her words not mine. 

“Did you guys just get here?” I question them.

It really doesn’t matter the most important thing is that they are here. Styles means the world to Randall and him being here is everything. Randall’s twin brother Nqabayomzi and his wife Thandiwe could not make it she is undergoing spiritual training in Swaziland. There seems to be a lot of spirits hanging around us... deep breaths...


“Sorry we’re late” Styles jumps in giving Randall a look I can’t puzzle together. I follow his eyes he’s looking at Sethu’s stomach or… belly? 

“Oh my God are you pregnant?” I almost half-scream… this girl. What a way to shout ‘I’m pregnant’ anyone can spot it with that tight dress she’s wearing. Only now she squeals in excitement reminding me how bubbly she has become. Styles must be giving her something Sethu was me once upon a time… boring and dull with no life in her. Now she glows like she eats d!ck for breakfast. 


“Wow you guys sure know how to keep a secret huh?” The thought runs to my mouth. I’m kind of hurt Ayize didn’t mention this to me unless she’s being kept in the dark as well. Sethu accepts my hug. “Congratulations.” 

This is the second person I know who is expecting it makes me wonder if the universe is playing a trick on me my gaze unconsciously moves to Randall and find him staring back. Maybe he’s thinking the same thing. 

“Thank you” Sethu articulates. “Sixteen weeks.” 

She reveals before I could ask her smile widens as she rubs her small bump. My heart is suddenly heavy no I’m not jealousy… I would know if I were. 

“You know how we’ve been trying to have baby since Sihle was four? So we decided to try again and wanted to be sure and safe before breaking the news to everybody.” Styles enlightens placing his hand on Sethu’s back. 

“I’m happy for you brother.” That’s Randall the two shake hands. 


I know what is running through his mind the two shake hands. 


I know what is running through his mind there is nothing he wants more than to have another baby. As crazy as it sounds he wants a house full of kids. 

Over the years he’s randomly brought the topic up and it’s not happening. I don’t know why I am not conceiving if we didn’t have R.J I would have cried infertile. When God wills it then we will have more kids. 

When his father died he was set to take over as King of the Ashanti Kingdom back in Ghana. He’s postponed it for way too long sometimes his words make me believe that he has no plans on going back. That would be a mistake too risky his ancestors can be crazy when provoked. Maybe that’s why they refuse to grant him his wish. 


“When are you guys giving R.J a play mate? With Liyana grown he must be lonely.” Sethu just had to ask this man next to me is eyeing me probably waiting for an answer. He should ask his fossil grandfather not me.  

“That’s a personal question Sethu don’t you think?” Thank you Styles. 


ZITHA-


His hand is painfully clasped around my wrist his steps heavy with anger. He’s stomping in the direction of the exit door dragging me with him to god-knows where. He’s out of breath and rasping in between inhalations. Must be the excess fat I would think he eats more than he should. With the rate he’s going he’ll be a perfect candidate to represent a typical BEE. I don’t know what Tshilidzi does for a living just that he’s into politics. 


This party is a little crowded so no one is paying attention to this man manhandling me he grabs the front door open and I’m slammed against the wall the second we step outside.  

“Ouch!” A cry jerks out of my mouth. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

He doesn’t give me an answer but clutches my cheeks with his hands. I cannot understand the anger that’s directed towards me. 

“What are you doing here Zithobile? Are you following me?” Yeah right imagine. The only thing I would follow is his bank account. 

“Why would I do that Tshili?”

“Then why are you here?” He grunts voice stern and unkind. 

“My friend invited me it’s her parents’ party.” Why am I giving him an explanation? 

“Don’t lie to me Zithobile. Why the fuck are you here?” His teeth are gritted veins on his head throbbing in unsaid anger. His hand clutches around my neck pressing and depriving me of air. This is the first time that he’s acting like this with me my ancestors must be turning their backs on me. 

 

“Let… go…” the desperate plea is forced. 

“Are you trying to ruin me you b!tch?” This man sprays when he speaks spitting venom along with durable words. It’s getting hard to breathe and I’m losing my strength while trying to get his hands off me.  

“Pl…ease.” This plea should work my brain is deprived of oxygen and that has my eyes burning with unshed tears. The bastard finally releases me and I hunker down coughing and winded. A hand grabs my hair forcing my face up. Oh God this is a devil in disguise. His words do nothing to me but his eyes are the scariest thing right now.

  

“Stay out of my way Zithobile or you’ll beat your mother to the grave.” He snorts and forces a sloppy kiss to my lips before pushing me. The force is strong enough to throw me to the ground… Look at that son of a bastard walking back into the house like he just completed his greatest task in life.   

“You bastard I will deal with you one day.” He thinks he can treat me like trash and I’ll let it go? I need to clean up or Liyana will cause havoc when she finds out what happened.    


AMARA-


Oh here comes Liyana prancing her way across the floor an enthusiastic expression resting on her face. A sigh of relief takes ownership over my lips Sethu has been talking about nothing but her pregnancy I need a break. 

“Papa they want you to do a speech.” Liyana. 

She is more animated than any of us are I love to see the smile on her face. And then? Why is this one puckering a brow? You would think he has stage fright. 

“What’s wrong?” I ask him failing to curb my twitters.

“I’m not doing that.” He’s whispering by the way Styles and the crew hear his complaint and fall out in laughter.  

“Stage fright huh?” Styles teases and pats his shoulder. What am I saying? That’s not a pat it’s a punch. “The great Randall Okolie afraid of a little crowd.”  


“Shut up Styles I’m just not up for it and there’s no need either.” Randall sounds like a big baby hands dig into the pockets of his pants and I know they are not coming out anytime soon. This is him trying to intimidate us. It’s going to be hard to persuade him. I will let his friends and daughter do the convincing I already have a hard time getting him to sing my praises. 

“Come on it’s your anniversary.” Liyana hurdles in. “Right Amara?”

“Yeah I think you should do it.” We might spend the entire night going back and forth so I take his hand and guide him to the crowded lounge where everyone is waiting.

He can’t say no now that I’ve put him under the spotlight he glances at me and meets my smiling face. I also should teach him how to return a smile.  

“Thank you all for coming” great start Randall. “And my beautiful wife.” He reaches out his hand to me and I take it. “Thank you for loving a fool like me for the family we have built together. Liyana and Kwame.” 


He brings my hand to his mouth and starts pasting lingering kisses on my knuckles.

“All this means nothing without you Amara. Thank you for being my best friend and lover. Till this day I wake up in the morning and can’t believe that you’re really mine and you’re here with me. I want you to know that when you walk into a room I can’t see anyone but you and absolutely have no desire for any other woman because you’re the only one for me.”

He must have read this somewhere the Randall I know would never. An applause rings from the crowd followed by mumblings. I’m too engrossed on him to pay attention to what they are saying.  

“Rand…”

“How can you make me love you more than I already do?” Oh! He’s not finished? “You’re so good to me I won’t trade you for anything else. I love you my queen.” This is what Beyonce must have meant when she said drunk in love I’m not complaining I love this man. His hands wrap around me in a tight hug.  


Randall doesn’t give me a chance to breathe when we pull apart his lips smash against mine and we’re suddenly locked into a steamy kiss. Till date I am not a fan of PDA but this man has a way of getting me lost in his kisses. 

His soft plump lips are mesmerising an addiction I have come to love over the years. His hands move to my jaw they graze my collarbone and down my sides. The warmth has me shivering against him as he deepens the kiss. 

Gradually the noise diminishes. We’re instantly thrown into a world where it’s just the two of us. I feel his hands gently caress my back and lock my arms around his neck to bring him closer. 


“I love you” Randall manages to release these words his lips so close to mine I can barely breathe. He sucks my lower lip before I could respond and I downright lose my edge when his tongue plummets into my mouth and starts a sexual war with my tongue. I can hear myself moaning my body covered in heat. 

My legs give up the will to hold me up the feeling rushes down to my knees making them wobbly. I think Randall senses it because his arms tighten around me he’s holding me as if I will slip out of his arms. My toes curl there’s a crazy twirl in my belly. I don’t know what to call it but it has me trembling like a leaf. 


“Okay… cut cut cut.” I know that voice I try to pull out to confirm the girl shouting next to us. Randall nibbles on my lips one last time and leisurely pulls away his lips brushing on mine barely a touch.  

We’re both chasing our breaths. Heat has travelled to my face if I were lighter I would be beet red. Thankfully Randall is still holding me up. I doubt I can stand on my own. 

“Wow… that was… something.” I knew it could be none other Liyana’s friend Zitha. The child can be forward. Liyana is standing next to her with a big smile on her face her eyes gleaming. I know this is what she wants for her parents to be together. The guests are cheering some send us smiles while others mind their business.


“I love you” my husband declares for the second time his lips playing on my ear. I purse mine to supress the giggle that wants to spurt out of my mouth. 

“These words are starting to sound foreign you’ve been saying them a lot lately.” My sally puts a smile on his face.

We’re interrupted by my phone ringing it’s too loud here so I excuse myself and scurry to the empty kitchen. 

“Hello.” 

“Amara… it’s me…” 

“Thanda?” She’s crying. 

“I’m sorry I know today is your day. But you’re the only one I could call I’m in trouble Amara.”  

“What happened?” 

“He found me I’ve been hiding for hours and I’m afraid he will find me here. Please help me I don’t want to die.” Her voice is panic-stricken. 

“Send me your location I’ll be there now.” She agrees before dropping the call. 


I met Thandaza on my first day at work she's an intern going from one piece job to another. I guess there was a click and we’ve been friends since. I think of telling Randall that I’m heading out but he won’t let me go if I do. I’ll send him a message and explain the rest later when I get home.    


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