The water washes off Hlelo's blood from my body. I stopped crying hours ago before I came home.
My mother and practically anyone else who could could fit into my dad's car was on their way here too.
I heave out a heavy and tired sigh finally allowing myself to step out of the soothing shower. I turn the water off and dry my body.
Another sigh escapes my mouth when I see the hickeys on my now very tiny body. Everything started a bit well and just ended terribly.
It just felt like one of my dreams all over again. And maybe I made it worse by allowing him to sleep with me. What if the muthi they used on him is contagious?
What if he forgets everything permanently because of this?
I feel like such an idiot right now cause if I stayed away then Hlelo would still be okay and not at the brink of death.
I feel nauseous from all this over thinking I've been doing that I just put my hands on the bathroom basin. Maybe I was the curse in Hlelo's life and that bitch was his destiny. Mine was probably with Nathi or...or even that pig Themba. Maybe I was just supposed to marry him start our own little family of 12 in KZN and not follow my nursing dreams. Have Thembekile as my 'lovely' sister in law and that witch mother of hers as my mother in law.
I'm sure even Nonhle would agree to this since she's never loved me or tried getting to know me.
I nod this is probably how God planned it out and I just had to ruin it. This would be the only other reason for this much pain. If he is still testing me than jeez he must really think I'm strong or something.
When we got to the hospital it all became too real. The amount of blood he lost before we even made it there terrified me. The whole road I kept him conscious by talking to him and he'd respond but the closer we got to the hospital he was zoning out. It felt like that day I was losing Ntombi.
"He's critical but stable. "-Is what Dr Mahlangu told me. I've heard those words being said to tons of people before but now that it was said to me they sounded different.
They sounded surreal and foreign like I've never ever heard them before in my life.
And to top it off he looked weak which made me even more worried.
In that call I placed to mama she told me to pray for him before I was told to leave and take a shower eat and get some well deserved rest.
How do you do that when your very soul is restless?
I lied to police.
Me Khanyisile Khuzwayo-Mazibuko lied.
It was only because I didn't think I'd want them dealing with Ruby and her squad because this was personal. Telling them that it was probably a robbery gone wrong and that I found him laying on the floor shot. It's the best I could come up with and they seemed to buy it.
I walk out of the bathroom after lotioning my aching body. Walking into the closet I remember that I packed all my clothes when I left and weirdly enough my side was still clean. I would've expected her -Charblahblah- to have moved her clothes in here the same day I left but anyway...
I search through some of his smaller tshirts but end up settling with an big red one instead. I put it on.
Ma'Nkosi is the one who fetched me a pair of Hlelo's clothes to wear before we left since my dress was too bloody.
I also find a pair of grey track pants. I quickly go and clean my stained sandals.
When I exit the bedroom I'm atleast a little bit decent. No bra or undies but no one needed to know that.
"Ma'Nkosi have you seen Hlelo's phone?"-She stops with her mopping business and looks up at me. Her expression is filled with sadness and maybe a bit of confusion.
"Yes Ma I need to make a few phonecalls "-I explain to her. She nods and points with her head towards the kitchen.
"It's in the kitchen?"
"Charmaine always put it there after switching it off."
Oh wow...wonders shall never end.
"She used to hide his phone? "-I ask. I can't begin to think what terrible conditions I actually left my husband in.
Gosh. Lord forgive me.
"Always whenever she would find it she would hide it there. It was always weird marn yaz. I'd Sometimes give it back to him but he wouldn't mind it at all. That's when I noticed that something isn't okay here."-she explains.
I make my way to the kitchen. "Ikuphi ma? (Where is it ma?)"-I ask scanning around.
"Top cabinet behind the white dinner plates."
Shuu. I clap my hands once.
What else did this woman do?
Indeed I find the phone there and it's off.
I switch it on and it's on 34%.
So many missed calls and unread messages.
I don't bother checking those. I go to his contacts and search for Tsiietsi's numbers and dial immediately.
I place the phone on my ear and allow it to ring. "Uhmm...Boss."-he answers.
Oh so they haven't heard.
"It's Khanyi."-I correct him.
"Oh sorry how may I help?"
I clear my throat. I know that Owen has been all acting as the boss there when Hlelo wasn't around.
"Sounds like you loyal men haven't heard what happened to my husband then. But I'll inform you when I get there. That's if you don't find out before I do."
"Mrs M what-"
"Listen to me. I want everyone there at HQ within the next half an hour. Can you do that for me?"
"Tsiietsi can you do that for me or not?"-I ask him again a bit sterner this time around.
"Yes Mrs M I can."-He says.
I think for the first time since this whole thing started I smile.
"Aren't you having anything to eat Khanyi?"-Ma'Nkosi asks me after I hang up. It's past 2h00 in the morning and food is definitely not on my mind.
"No Ma I have to be somewhere right now. I'll probably grab something on the way."
"Uyobona uHlelo nha? (Are you going to see Hlelo?)"-she questions.
"No."-I shake my head grabbing a random car key that hung on the rack. "But another thing I want you to know is that my family is on their way here. Please give them whatever they want. And please don't tell them anything about the months thingy I want to tell them that myself."-I say and head out with Hlelo's phone. Mine as well.
The keys end up belonging to Hlelo's Porsche which I unlock and get in.
Rob knocks on my window and I lower it. "Mam I hear you ordered a meeting."
"Yes I did."
"Okay I'll be following you than."-I nod and roll the window up.
The road isn't as busy making my drive there very smooth. This drive feels very therapeutic. I don't have a plan but I know where I want to end up.
I park in front on the building.
Looks like everyone is almost here and I'm glad that I was heard and respected. Rob parks a bit further from where I was parked.
We make our way to the entrance and I try the 1134 code. It works and the door opens. Rob pushes it open and I allows me to walk in first.
We walk past the passage. They're not in that too white lounge so I assume they must be where they usually meet.
Yep they're all here. They look pissed but hey who cares.
"Khanyi."-Melo says. He looks rustic and ruff. Hair and beard all grown. The looks I'm getting for what I'm dressed in...jeez.
Rob settles in next to him and I make my way to where Hlelo used to sit and stand.
The authority I feel gushing over me is impeccable and this is only from standing on his spot.
"What's going on here? It's like 2 in the morning."-Nqoba says.
"Listen here okay. You men have known my husband longer than I have. He has treated you like his brothers for years and suddenly you turned on him? Because of what exactly? "-Straight to the point.
"He was becoming an ass."-Lundi mumbles loud enough for me to hear him though.
"So? Are you telling me none of you have been asses to each other?"-They keep quiet.
My marriage has nothing to do with this meeting.
"Hlelo becomes an ass and you go ahead and replace him with Owen? A reckless good for nothing waste of space bustard? The same man who didn't have good intentions for my husband and I? The same man who bewitched him? The same man who was part of the killing of my unborn baby?"
"Yes Hlelo was under Charmaine 's spell. Lundi you noticed but left him too. Makes me feel like I can't trust anyone here. "
Again this is not about my marriage.
"Now I didn't order for you men to be woken in the middle of your beauty sleep for nothing. Hlelo was shot by that bitch and right now I'm not certain if he'll make it."-This definitely made Melo's eyes go wide and he touches his stomach exactly where Hlelo was shot.
"What?!"-Nqoba and Lundi exclaim.
" I'm certain about one thing though they're running where ever they are and I want you to find them and bring them here alive. Ruby Charmaine and Owen dearest."
"Wait wait wait..so Hlelo is in hospital because Charmaine shot him and he was also bewitched and what the heck?"-Nqoba.
"I should've known."-Melo.
"I repeat find them and bring them all here. I want to deal with them."-me.
A whole flippen 2 days later we land in this Cuba Havana and to be honest I've never been this exhausted. Always being on the lookout sitting for hours unend on a plane sleeping in a cheap motel to keep us on the low-low and a second flight that took just as long.
My feet were beyond swollen.
I didn't even think it would take this long to get here. We even wasted time at the airport exchange kiosk and bank.
But the important thing is that we made it here and we were still alive. It's a 6 hour timezone difference here. I have no phone and no idea where we're headed to. Owen decided to destroy them.
"How many more minutes are we going to be traveling for I'm tired and hungry."-Ruby complained on both our behalf. Owen was sitting in front with the driver of this car while the two of us sat at the back.
"We're almost there."-He tells us. I sigh watching the colourful houses through the window. Its not fancy at all here. In fact it looks poor here.
"When are you giving birth sis?"-Ruby asks bringing me back to earth.
"Uhmm in 3 months."-I tell her.
"I swear you look like you're about to give birth now."-She says chuckling.
I look at her and then at my belly. "Could be twins."-I lie.
She nods and pats the pockets of her jeans. "I forgot this idiot destroyed our phones."
"We'll buy another one once we settle in."
A few minutes later the car comes to a halt next to an apartment of flats. A yellow one.
"That will be $20 please."-The driver says and Owen pays up with no complaint. We step out with Owen holding the bag of money and me holding a bag of clothes. Just a backpack.
I watch the car drive away. Some people are looking at us while others continued with their own business.
The cold breeze hits my skin and I cover my bare shoulders with my hands.
"Owen! Hola! (Hello)"-A guy calls out causing us to turn.
"Fernando!"-They're both at the door. He didn't even bother to tell us he's going to knock.
They share a manly hug accommodated with a few pats on the back.
"My goodness Owen I haven't seen you in ages how have you been?"-they separate.
"I've been good my friend."-He lies.
"And who are these ladies?"-He asks walking to us. Owen behind him.
" oh uhmm well this is Ruby my girlfriend. "-He introduced her. Ronaldo or whatever his name was reached for her hand and raised it to his lips pecking the back gently. "Beautiful name for a beautiful lady it's a pleasure to meet you Ruby."-He says and I think I see her blush.
"And over there is her sister Charmaine."
He does the same with me too. "I must commend you Owen travelling with two beauties like these must have been a challenge. It's a devine pleasure to meet you too Charmaine."-He is such a gentleman though.
"Ruby travelling with two beauties like these must have been a challenge. It's a devine pleasure to meet you too Charmaine."-He is such a gentleman though.
"Ruby Charmaine this is my good friend Fernando."
"You can call me Nando."-He says causing Owen to chuckle.
"We used to study at the same university back in SA."-He explains.
"Well then I think we can go on in. "-Fernando says and we follow behind him walking past the door which he keeps open for us.
I repeat such a gentleman!
"Thanks once again for letting us crash here."
"What are friends for?"-Fernando. We walk into another door after our journey down the passage. "Welcome it's small but I hope it's good enough."
"Relax dude this is perfect Thanks once again."-Owen.
"Let me give you a tour of this tiny place then."-him.
After the tour I settle in the room I've been given and the first thing I do is throw myself on the single bed and immediately dose off...
When I awake it's dark in here. The window only gives minimal lighting but it's just enough for me to find the switch I spotted earlier. The bright light makes me close my eyes and open them once again adjusting to it.
My door is slightly open and I can hear those two men chatting up a storm and by the sound of things the TV is also playing.
"Ah Charmaine come join us."-Fernando signals for me to sit next to him as I walked to the lounge.
On the table is a whole platter of food.
"Have some Arroz con pollo boniato con mojo."
"Some what?"-Me. He gives me a spoon and chuckles.
"Apologies It's just Cuban for rice and chicken with sweet potatoes in a garlic citrus sauce."-He says and my mouth already waters. Owen downs a beer.
"There's also some juice for you in the fridge if you want some since you're pregnant."-Fernando.
"I think I'll just have a beer instead thanks."-I utter taking one from the table removing the lid with my teeth.
"But-..."-Fernando starts as I take a refreshing cold sip.
"Let her be Nando."-Ruby says and he seemingly obeys her wishes.
I take a sweet potato and bite it tasting it's amazing garlicky flavour.
Supper is done and dusted and I'm honestly full and ready for my bath. "Uhmm Fernando I'm off to shower and sleep...there's no water crisis here right?"
"Not that I know of. I guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow. "-He says smiling. I nod and get up.
"Wait I got you this."-Owen says and takes out a tiny phone.
Back in SA one like this would be R100.
"So I got rid of my Samsung for this? "-Me.
"Charmaine we're trying to keep a low profile here. Stop worrying about that now will you?"
I roll my eyes and see how he gives a sleepy Ruby a similar model phone with a different colour.
"They both have simcards registered and are official to the network providers of Cuba. Just one important thing don't make unnecessary calls. Not to Dimpho not to Jackie and for the love of everything that's holy not to Hlelo understood? "-Owen asks
Why would I call him if I don't even know if he's alive or dead?
I nod anyway and ask again if I could be excused to which he agrees to but tells me that we'll go buy clothes tomorrow.
"Yeah I'm going to bed. Goodnight."-Ruby.
My shower isn't even luxurious since the only toiletries we had in that backpack was a vaslap one for each a bar of soap and three toothbrushes. The rest will be bought by tomorrow.
"This is stupid."-I mumble to myself pressing a few buttons on this tiny brick of a phone. "No Internet? Facebook? WhatsApp?"
This is all your fault my subconscious yells at me as I look up at the dark celling of my bedroom. I know it was. If I wasn't stupid we'd still be sleeping in our own comfortable beds.
This area is quiet. Everyone in this house retreated to bed the moment I came out of my shower. I feel like I'm the only one who can't seem to fall asleep.
There's a soft knock on my bedroom door.
I frown sitting up.
"Charmaine. "-He whispers on the other side of my closed door.
I get out of the covers and try pulling my maternity tshirt down. "What do you want here?"-I whisper this question. Managing to see the outline of his body.
"Can I come in?"
"Just let me in."-He whispers back. I breathe out and open the door wider the squeak sounding too loud.
He walks in and I close the door and turn to look at him.
"What are you doing here?"-I ask again.
"I wanted to see you."-he whispers back. I feel him get closer causing me to back away and soon after feel the door on my back. He grabs my hips with his cold hands making me shiver.
"Shhh...don't you feel this?"-He asks and immediately starts kissing on my lips. The taste of the beers he was having with Nando earlier dances on my taste buds. One hand leaves my hip and I hear him lock the door.
"Owen..."-I try again catching my breath when I break the kiss.
"Mhnn?"-he nibbles on my neck.
"W-what are you doing...?"-I feel my tshirt halting over my swollen boobs. He cups one and instantly plays with the nipple hardening it.
"Don't you miss this?"-He flicks his tongue around my other nipple bringing it to attention as well.
I nearly moan out of pleasure as I feel my body responding perfectly to his foreplay.
"Answer me Charmie."-He whispers.
Hlelo hasn't touched me in ages so this right here was bliss at its best.
"Then let's have a memorial."
My arms go onto his shoulders and he rises. I nod not caring if he sees that or if Ruby hears us from the next room. I bring him closer to my lips once more...
His hand spread my legs wide enough for him and he immediately plunges his hard self in me. I cover my mouth as moans threaten to march out.
"You like that?"-He whispers into my ear and my muffled moan is the best response I can give. "You know what I like this too."
He strokes my wet walls gently.
"I've always wanted you Charmaine."-My heart skips a beat. "But I didn't want that to be too obvious. "-He narrates into my ear.
"Faster..."-I breathe out wanting the pleasure and my climax to come sooner.
I hear him chuckle softly before he follows out my order.
"Yes..."-The word flows out.
Yes yes yes! I combust underneath him and allow the orgasm to take me away.
He doesn't stop and that makes it feel more aggressive.
I'd be yelling my lungs out if this was our apartment alone just like at his place when Ruby is out with her two so-called-friends or at my rented apartment. This was all before I moved into Hlelo's place.
He pulls out and my body just feels like spaghetti yet he tells to get up.
I force myself up. "Turn around. "-He groans softly. I turn and bend before he tells me to do that as well putting my hands on the edge of the bed. "Perfect."-He hisses and I feel him on my entrance. Without any warning he shoves himself in and I feel full again. Ahh.
He cups a boob pinches and twists the nipple sending all sorts of feelings to my needy vagina. He lets out a deep groan and I know he's close.
"Fill me up Owen"-I beg him feeling just like him. On the edge. "Fill this pussy up with your cream cause I know Ruby doesn't let you do that."-I say not giving a damn about this whispering code. If she hear she hear...
Moments later I'm laying on top of his chest probably not even caring about what just happened. Oddly enough this hasn't changed the way I felt about Hlelo.
Then there's Owen who proclaimed his 'love' to me on certain occasions. I don't think I like him in that way. But what would happen if this baby is his?