perfume still lingers in the air. I am not mad anymore but I want him to sweat. He is standing by the fridge I am folding my arms waiting for him to explain. "We had a thing a few months ago. She refuses to let go" He says. "But my love please believe me. I love you. You are the only girl for me" he is begging me following me around the penthouse. I am tired I want to sleep but then I think about Dad. He must be awake by now. He comes to me and I am taking steps back. He walks past me and picks up his cellphone. I gather it has been on silent or vibrate because he picks it up and answers it. It is all work Jibberish and All I can do is fold my arms and pat my foot on the floor. I am beyonf irritated. I love this man's attention and when he is on his phone I get lonely in the bathroom or taking a shower I miss him. Thats how close and clingy I have become to him. ** I remember I was mad but his hands on my waist and his light kisses are making my knees wobble and Before I know It I am turning around and letting him make me his before I head home. Not only is his smile the death of me but his sex as well. Dad is awake when I make my way to the kitchen to prepare something for dinner. "You have been gone for quite a while" He is calm. He knows where I have been and he will not reprimand me no. Not this time. I know my father. He joins me in the kitchen he is limping. Diabettes has hanged his life by a thread. Sometimes I wish Mother would come back just for him. I am far he never wanted to remarry and he refuses a live in nurse. I had had to beg him to accept a maid on one condition: she does not live with him. "How long have you been with him?" he asks. He looks worried. "almost a month" I Join him on the table. I know this conversation is heading to serious it needs undevided attention. "hmm I see" I can't help but wonder what he is thinking. This is my father. Mxolisi Mfiki. The man who would go to Jail for me or my brother. The man who knows what he wants when it comes to his children. "There is something about him. I cannot put my finger on it but it is strange yet powerful" I shrug my shoulders when he raises his eyes and looks at me. "How old is he?" he looks at me with a concerned look. "almost 35" his eyes widdened a bit. I know the 8 year gap is quite an issue but come on its only 8 years not 15 or 20. He gets up and walks to the human size window where Mkhululi stood the first time he came to me flat. "Do you think you love him?" He asks. I have no idea how to answer that question. I have to reason with this old man. "Dad Mkhululi has been amazing and I know its still early but I know.. I know He is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love him daddy.. I love him" My voice is sobbing up and my tears have already done their first trip down my cheeks. I can never not cr when I am having a conversation with my father. � "Do you know his family?" He asks. Here I was expecting Daddy to console me but no! He continues drilling me about my Man-Friend. I nod wipping away my excess tears. "He is the middle of three males. I have met both brothers and the eldest's wife and son briefly". "i see. Have you been to where he works? Do you know what he does?" Last time I checked I was not a spy. Now why is dad asking me all these things. If he wants to know why doesnt he tell me to organise him a date with Mkhululi? I am starting to get irritated. "He makes and sells guns legally dad to all participating security and protection services in SA and internationally" I say. I want him to understand. The next question I am expecting so I just answer him without thinking about it. "Yes he owns one too. But I have never seen it and I do not want to" he nods he is satisfied. He gets up and walks to his room but pauses before he disapppears. "Don't bother with supper. That nice lady my son in law bought me a dilicious plate. There is leftovers in the oven for you" He smiles and walks away. I turn to the oven and find steak onion rings and somes perfectly cooked pap with vegies and gravy on the side. I can't help but sigh in relief. I don't have to cook. But My man is very unpredictable. Everymorning it is the same routine. He is there at exactly 8am with a cup of tea and ready to take me to the shop. This morning though it is not him. It is Zamani. I am sad I missed him last night. I let zamani in to carry a painting to the car. "Daddy I will see you later okay I love you" I kiss him goodbye as he is having his scrammbled eggs toast and salty tomatoes. He just grummbles and I am gone. I am in the Dodge I so want to ask him where Mkhululi is he keeps looking at me through the rearview mirror. Our eyes meet and he quickly looks away. Its getting weird I tell you. "where is he?" I ask. I miss him. "He had to attend a chi.. A council meeting" he says I nod feeling alone as I look out the window. I can feel Zamani stealing glances at me through the mirror but I miss Mkhululi and I do not have the strength to entertain his antics. He clears his throat. "Madam Lydia would like to see you she requested a breakfast meeting across the street from your shop. She is there already waiting" I just nod. I have never really spoken to Lydia even the day I met her when her husband was in hospital. She is having a strawberry Daiquiri. It's still morning for alcohol though but I order one too just for kontrol!! "How are you?" She asks she must be concerned about the day of the money and police incident. "I am fine" I say. Vivid images crashing my mind as I am looking at her. I take a sip of my Cocktail. This is akward. "we never really properly introduced. I am Lydia Malinga. Melumzi is my crazy husband" she says the last part like its something normal I dont know if I should giggle or ask why because her face is not pleasant at all. We order our meal just telling each other about ourselves and our careers. She works in parliament as researcher. She earns quite a number of digits. I am growing to like her she has a weird sense of humour and I am quickly grasping it. I know when to laugh and when to just look at her. She says the randomest shit ever!! My cellphone rings she excuses herself to give me privacy taking her phone with her. It's Him. I am already blushing. "Where are you?" He does not sound good or loving. "I am with MJ's mother. Didn't Zamani tell you?" I am confused. "Only thing I know is Zamani taking you to the shop and not breafast with Lydia" He is rude and angry I can just hear his voice. "My Love it was short notice. I am sorry" I am shocked at myself for just submitting to Mkhululi Just like that. My old self would have just told him to get over it and also question why he is fussing. "We having lunch at home. Melumzi is back from hospital" He says... "Oh and Please cover your head some family members will be there too" Great!! Next I will be meeting his parents then his cousins then his aunts and before you know it I know the ancestors as well. Its only been a month and introductions are halfway done. We say our goodbyes and I am uneasy on about his attitude. Maybe the meeting he went to was not a success. I guess. I look around the restaurant for Lydia she is sitting by the bar with a gentleman. They are laughing and chatting like old friends. Maybe they know each other. She keeps patting his arm when she laughs and he is touching her face. Probably complimenting her. This woman is married she is not allowed such stuff. I wave for her and she signals 5.. She wants 5 more minutes? She's enjoying this attention from this man. I look across to my shop and Mkhululi's car is parked right infront of it. He calls. "I am outside the shop. Its quarter to 10 you are not open yet. Cataleya time is money!" Did he just say my name is full!? I am usually Baby My lady my empress Leya or Nana.. When did I go back to just being Cataleya the simple girl? When!! I pay the pill and wave goodbye to Lydia who seems preoccupied. She comes over and gets her bag. "Im so sorry dear thats an old colleague.. Rain check?" I nod and we hug goodbye. He is pacing up and down infron of my door. He is mad pretty mad. Enraged. I stand before him. My head bowed and my hands together holding my bag infront of me. I imagine my feet not in shoes I would be playing with my big toes now. "Open" he demands. Im shuffling through my bag. I cant find it. I am frustrated. I want to cry. He is scaring me. He is too angry. I drop the bag and I follow on my knees. I am crying. "baby?!" Oh now you are concerned? "baby I am sorry..give me the keys" he grabs them and opens. He picks me up and carries me to the entrance customer couch. He sits next to me. He looks at me. "I had an argument a huge disagreement with some important member of the council"� "I am not a punching bag" I am crying still. I have to tell him. He is so remorseful he can't even look at me. "my love.. Forgive me please" he is holding both my hands. "This meeting was very important and I just flipped" he is really understrain. His veins on his face have popped. He is sweating and breathing heavily. He is boiling hot and trembling. Now I am concerned. I bring him water from the mini fridge and he gulps it down. "Sorry.. My pressure is rising" excuuuuuuuse me?? "what do you mean?!" I have to ask. "My Empress its nothing you should worry about. I just sweat and lose breathing when I am angry or under pressure. But I promise this will never happen on our wedding day" I smile. It gives me great joy to know he is thinkig that far. We spend the whole afternoon on that couch just chatting. Playing with our hands and taking selfies. "Zamani will pick you up at 6 okay.." I nod and kiss him goodbye. He doesn't want to go. I don't want him to go. I wonder when Daddy is going back home. I miss laying on this man's chest every night. I'm home by 5 and Dad is not there. There's a note. ¤Racecourse with Bulumko.. Spending the night in the hood¤ .. Yeeppeeeeee.. This is Bulumko's handwritting. I can spend the night with my honeybunch. I am ready by 17:45 I am in a below knee umbrella like dress. Its caramel colour matches my head coverer and medium heels. I am accessorised but not too much. Zamani knocks at 6pm sharp and we are on our way to the Lodge. There are fleets of cars parked all over the yard. I am overwhelmed. This is not just dinner its a party. But its quiet when I enter I am met by Lydia. She is dressed like a xhosa wife. Black doekie a scarf around her waist and long sleeved top. We head to the kitchen. Its not just her there are other wives too but where are the husbands? I notice a girl peeling carrots she is dressed like me just covering her head. I can smell the cigar smoke coming from the dinning room. "Is this her?" One of the wives asks Lydia. She nods her weirdly unpleasant smile leaves me with a question mark though. The woman make remarks and comments about my beauty and how lucky he is to find such a beatiful girl like me. Others saying I am also lucky to find a man like him. I join the quiet girl near the sink and greet her. I introduce myself. "I know. Zwelonke told me about you" she smiles. She is polite and looks quite down to earth. "When are they finishing? I am starving" One of the wives asks. She is pregnant. Almost ready for birth. She could pop anytime. "The meeting in the morning was a mess. Lets hope Gqwebityala is not being pig headed." another one says. "He thinks he can do what he likes and our husbands will just go with the flow. It does not happen like that" The pregnant one is seemingly pissed. She is helping herself to the cooked butternut. � Women and Politics just dont mix. All I hear is decision Council memebers community and husbands. What I know is that these women are here to support theiur husbands. And each of them are against this Gqebityala fellow. I am missing Mkhululi. Period!! Lydia has been on her phone the whole time and she does not seem phased with all this politics thats happening here. Its hot in there I take a break and walk out to the kitchen garden. I am standing there admiring the view. I turn around he is smilling from the dining room window puffing on a cigar. I smile back. I wish I could just run to him and hug him tightly tell him I miss him. He waves I wave back and then he's interrupted by someone calling him. The meeting is still on. Culo joins me. She is Zwelonke's Girlfriend. She is so polite. She calls me sisi. "How old are you?" I ask. She sits down next to me on the swinger. "21" she says this with sorrow. "Yes he is 6years older than me. But I love him. My father hates him and me for being pr..." she pauses gets up and makes a lame excuse. She's pregnant and unhappy!! I gather that much!! The meeting is over we carry the food to the dining room. There are fewer men than the wives. I am confused. There is like 14 wives and only 8 men excluding Mkhululi and Zwelonke whom I know are not married. Melumzi is sitting on a wheelchair like a vegetable. Atleast he's talking normalu. They are all looking proud and smilling as we enter as if we are in a beauty contest of carrying food. Imagine... Miss Carry Food to Husbands 2016.. Culo walks around with a bowl of lukewarm water and a cloth. This is a norm. This is expected. We are standing in a line next to each other me carrying 5 plates and the youngest wife I noticed there carrying another 5.. Meaning I am next to place the plates infront of these men. This feels like a parade. I look at Mkhululi I frown and shake my head. Culo is still kneeling infront of the third man. I dont want to be paraded. I refuse. I look at him again he clears his throat. "You know I have a collection of some great wine and whiskey how about we leave the wives here fix the table for 5 minutes" he proposes. I sigh in relief and look at me. He winks. He deserves a reward for this. I habve just the perfect one. The men agreed and we are left alone setting the table. Culo seems distant. Maybe this whole pregnancy thing is taking its toll on her.�.. "My feet are killing me I take off my shoes as soon as he opens the penthouse door. My feet are relieved. He kneels before me and starts rubbing them so softly hitting the right spot. "You made me proud today" He says smiling from ear to ear. I guess being there and serving rich men with proud wives meant a lot to him. "I can't wait to see you at home with everyone" This man has been hinting nonstop about me being his wife. I have a feeling of a proposal soon. "Its so early" I can almost hear Lebo say in her perky voice. I have not spoken to her in a very long while and I miss her. I grab my phone and call her at first it rings for a while and then dies. I try again... "aaaaah.. I'm sorry.. Mandla.. Pleeeeaaaase! Please! Aaaaaaah aaaaaaaaah.. I won't do it again.. Mandla Nooooooo!!" The phone dies. I am calling out to here. I am scared. The noise of shattering glass and things falling was confirmation enough of a fight or better yet a beating. I am hysterall. I am crying I am scared.. I don't know what to do. He is trying to get me to talk and all I can say is "He's killing her.. He's killing Lebo" He grabs my phone and tried to call Lebo but he doesnt go through. He grabs his phone and calls someone. "Wake the hell up. I need you to trace a number. Its urgent. I will sent it now" he hangs up and sents the number. He checks me and rushes to the closet brings back one of his heavenly smelling Jackets and my pumps. We are already in the car when a text comes in his phone. He starts the car and we are on route to Khayelitsha. He is driving like a mad cow on steroids. Its dark her car is parked on the road the driver's door is wide open. The lights are flickering non stop the engine is still on. I lose my mind. "Wait here" he orders me as we enter the gate. I stand there But I cant.. I am losing my mind already. I know he said I should wait there but I rush in like a tornado is after me. Nothing Absolutely nothing prepared me for what I am seeing. Mkhululi is on top of Mandla. Beating him into a pulp. He is not even moving but Mkhululi won't stop. I am screaming my eyes catch Lebo on the bed she is unconcious. Her face is a mess her hair is a mess. Her clothes are torn. World War 3 had taken place here. Mkhululi is dragging Mandla's life less body out. I stand by the door tears flooding my face as I watch him get in Lebo's car and drive off with Mandla in the boot. ..