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Chapter 27

Maqhinga Ngidi

That woman who fainted after seeing him is here in his house. She really has a fainting wish Maqhinga was asked to stay far away from her and he's been respecting that. He guesses this is about Twinnie being in his house- a dramatic aunt has come to fetch her.
He hears her gasping in shock as they walk into his father and her aunt standing like statues in the middle of his dining room.
“Go to the car with her” Ngidi says without turning his eyes to them. His top buttons are undone so Maqhinga knows that he has fucked up. The woman looks like she's been crying for hours her puffy eyes keep going from Twinnie to him. He has to watch his steps because he doesn't know what she might do; some women are crazy out there.

He pulls Twinnie’s hand and walks out of the door. Ngidi's car is parked behind his and Maqhinga is not sure which car he wanted them to go to.
“I’m leaving” Twinnie whispers and pulls her hand off his. Is she running really?
“Ngidi will find you if he wants you. Don't act stupid I'll be a man and stand up for you.” He pulls her back. He can see it in her eyes she's really frightened. He's never been into this kind of situation before- interrupted during such a steamy session by parents! He has an urge to bend her down right here and carry on where they left off. Her tiny waist fitted perfectly in his arm. Hlomuka has never been accommodated so well and massaged that warmly. Thick lips clean and shaved gripping skills on point and the heating core that burst every knot in your body. His member is up just from the friction of their skin contacting. How is this even possible? They just got caught and all his di€k wants is to slide into her?
He grinds his teeth and releases a sharp breath. His eyes are still on her he’s craving for every inch of her body. And her nibbling on her lip like that is not helping his erection.
“Fu€k you're so hot Twinnie.” He grabs her head and unexpectedly onslaught her with a kiss. His hands are all over her butt grabbing and spanking as he shoves his tongue down in her throat and moans at her taste.
Strong hands grab the back of his neck Snalo jumps off with her eyes bulging out. A fist lands on Maqhinga's chin. He turns his head back in shock. Maybe he did disrespect his father and the aunt but a whole punch! He's never been punched by his father in his whole life.
“What are you doing?” Ngidi roars with anger steaming from his eyes. He has seen enough. This bulls…he will never forget this day. His children!
“I love her” Maqhinga says wiping the blood gushing out of his cracked lip with the back of his hand. He didn't think about it. It just came out of his mouth. Snalo is in shock as well. Love? That's a foreign language.
Maqhinga looks at the aunt a little bit ashamed of his actions but not regretful. He's going to stand up for Snalo because this is not the last time they see each other. It won't end this day or next week he doesn't know what's going to happen yet but he knows that this is not it. 
“Ngiyaxolisa Ma but…” He exhales and turns his eyes to Snalo.
“I want to get to know her better and see where our thing goes. I'm not trying to mess with her. I'll be her peace” he says.
“Maqhinga!” Snalo exclaims.
“I mean it Twinnie. I'll be your sanctuary give us time to adjust into this…” Ngidi cannot listen to this any further.
He simply cannot take it.
“She's your blood sister damnit!”
Silence. Furrowed brows. What the fu€k is he talking about?
“Son you have committed an incest. This is my daughter. Your mother's child.” As low as his voice is kept it still breaks. He watches as his son's face transforms from hopeful to painful. He still remembers how he'd get home and find him one-year and eight-months old innocent baby sitting on the floor with his milk bottle and staring at his mother with his big brother cuddling on the couch. His face would always brighten up when Ngidi walked in. He'd run into him happy to finally get some love as well. That's how Ngidi learnt to hug randomly and give soft kisses.
“Ma what is he talking about?” Snalo asks. This whole thing makes no sense. How is she Mr Ngidi's daughter? How did it happen? Maqhinga can't be her brother.
“This is your father. This is the man your mother left 27 years ago with you and Snakho in her tummy. And this boy is your brother I'm so sorry baby.”
Now it gets through their skulls. This isn't a joke. Ngidi wouldn't just pick a random woman up and drive to Maqhinga's house to lie.
They look at each other and freeze. Tears are gushing out of Maqhinga's eyes he doesn't sniff them back or move. He knew about the sibling- not siblings and he didn't think it would be someone in his circle. Why didn't they find out about this sooner? Before the party.

Phumzile pulls Snalo into her arms and rubs her back. Snalo has always been a difficult child to raise mostly because she doesn't talk much. Right now Phumzile doesn't know what's going to happen. How is she going to help her go through this. If it was Snakho it would've been easy; Snakho would've screamed cried her eyeballs out and created a big scene. It would've been easy to walk beside her as she navigates this new reality. But Snalo is a mysterious child you never know where her mind is. You never know if she's really happy or sad. She keeps everything in.

Ngidi pulls Maqhinga's arm and hugs him on his chest. He's locking in his own tears. The last thing he wanted was his son to act anything close to that fu€ker Msawenkosi. He thought they'd get here in time before he slaughters from his own kraal. But they were late the damage has been done and there's nothing he can do to reverse back the deed.
“Son we will work this out. You didn't know anything” he tells Maqhinga. He reaches down to his cracked lip with his thumb and wipes off the blood leaking from it. He's dealt with a lot of criticism for being a “mommy-dad" to Maqhinga. A father who hugs his son and texts him in the mornings- that have been questioned. The biggest taboo is telling him that he loves him. Fathers don't do that not in this environment. But nobody understands what he's been through with this boy. Nobody understands how much love Maqhinga needs only he does.
“How Baba? How? I just slept with my sister. Who sleeps with his own sister? Who does that?” 
“You didn't know. That's the bottom line. I will make this right both of you will be cleansed and I'll appease to the ancestors. I promise.”
This is too much for Maqhinga. No number of goats can ever make him forget what he's done. How is he ever going to look at Snalo in the eyes and not see her half-naked with her coochie laid out for him?
“Maqhinga let's go home and talk. You have to meet your other sister” Ngidi's words fall on his back. He walks inside his house and shuts the door after him.
--
Ngidi heaves a sigh and slowly turns his eyes to the one-of-two. Twenty seven years! Why didn't Magcina give birth and leave them behind just like she left others?
“Thingolwenkosazane” he says. Even though they have met under these distasteful circumstances he's still happy to finally meet his daughter. It doesn't mean that there was no storm or that they are not dealing with the aftermath. It simply means that a light has appeared in the midst of darkness. There is a rainbow- a symbol of hope and new beginnings. As our elders believed; a bridge between heaven and earth. Him and Magcina.
“My name is Snalolonke” she tells him thinking that maybe he's confusing her name with someone else. However his face says otherwise the pain is evident in his eyes but there's warmth in them. That warmth she's been yearning for her whole life.
“I'm asking you to be my rainbow. An arc of light the symbol of hope and a sign of the covenant that I'm about to make to your mother in the other world that I will love you and your siblings and die for you if I have to.”
Snalo looks at her aunt. She gave them their names it would be ungrateful of her to switch to another one just because her newly- found father explains it so beautifully and makes it sound special.
“I'm not trying to change who you are. I love the name they're calling you” Ngidi says and turns his eyes to Phumzile with gratitude. “Thank you for everything. If it doesn't offend you I'd like to call her Thingo and not what you all call her.”
Phumzile nods her head and a deep breath follows. All that matters to her right now is how are the kids going to get out of this situation? How are they going to forget what they did together? And that boy Maqhinga is she going to be able to be an aunt to him and treat him like others? How long can she stand the sight of him?
“Thingolwenkosazane” Ngidi opens his arms and takes a few steps forward. Snalo releases the breath she's been holding and walks into her father's opened arms.
“I'm so sorry Nkosazane yami. I know I should've looked for you harder and made more efforts. It's so embarrassing to know that you've been right here under my nose all this time. I shouldn't have stayed that long with your mother not knowing where she came from I should've forced the truth out of her. I'm really sorry.”
“It's okay. We should find Snakho” Snalo says untangling herself from Ngidi's arms. Maqhinga's sweat still smells from her body and it's embarrassing knowing that both these people who are parents to her know that she just got laid.
“Go to the car and wait. I need to speak to your brother quickly” Ngidi says.
Phumzile walks with Snalo to the car

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silently praying that she'll open up about her feelings. She can't just say; “It's okay. We should find Snakho.” And that's it. How did her mother leave? Why did she leave? There are a lot of questions she needed to ask; things she needed to know.

Ngidi walks straight to Maqhinga's bathroom and finds exactly where he thought he'd find him. Under the shower attempting to peel off his skin and crying. 
“Hlomuka” he yells as he taps outside the glass. This should be his time with Snalo talking and connecting but he's here keeping her waiting outside because he cannot leave his son in this condition.
It takes a moment but he finally gets out of the shower. Ngidi grabs a towel and passes it to him.
They follow each other to his bedroom and walks over Snalo's thong lying on the floor. Ngidi clenches his jaws and tries to keep his eyes off the floor.
“We will go and visit your mother's grave. Then I'll pay for the damages and…” Maqhinga turns around before he can finish. He's reeling anger.
“My mother? Baba let's go downstairs and have a drink.”
That's strange. 
Ngidi watches as he puts his clothes on and picks his sister's thong from the floor. He disappears with it in the bathroom and walks back with that unfamiliar expression on his face.
“Let's go Ngonyama!” He walks past him to the door.

A trip down the stairs feels like Mandela’s long walk to freedom. Maqhinga disappears in the kitchen and walks out with two glasses and cans of Jack Daniels.
He empties one can into the glass and passes it to his father.
“Look I'd like to hang out but your sister and aunt are waiting for me outside” Ngidi says.
The glass he brought is no use he opens the can and gulps it down.
“You said we'll go to my mother's grave how can I visit someone that I don't even know? Was she even my mother? Why don't you give me something- anything that can remind me of her?”
“Maqhinga you were young and…” He doesn't let him finish. This is what his father always does; beating around the bush and trailing off topic.
“What is your best memory of her and I? I want it to be my memory too. When did she stop breastfeeding me? Was it easy? I want stories just like Ndlalifa.”
“Maqhinga look your mother loved you. Ndlalifa remembers her because he was older. I can't remember everything and I don't see why it matters so much?”
“I get that Baba. Trust me I get it. That's why I'm asking you to share memories of me and her that you still have.” His father's eyes are everywhere but not at him. When are these secrets going to end? What can be so hard that even when your son is 29 you cannot tell him?
“We'll talk about this some other time. If you need anything call me I need to get the other girl. Be at my house in the morning” Ngidi says lifting his body off the couch and walking towards the door without looking at his son. Only if Maqhinga understood that he's doing all this to protect him!
--
Ngidi’s House

Phumzile and Snalo went to sleep in Ndondo's house and only came back this morning with Snakho and Khosi. Ndabuko and Ndondo also came but they're allowing the family to unite so they decided to have their breakfast out. Maqhinga hasn't arrived yet but when Ndlalifa called he said he was going to come.
Snalo is watching Mom on Netflix for the third time if not fifth. Snakho always calls her out on watching sad movies but this one is different maybe because of how it ends. Nothing is sweet as revenge. She's glued to the screen and inwardly gritting her teeth at some scenes. But she's not crying as Khosi and Snakho do everytime they watch it.

Things are a bit awkward. Ndlalifa is in the kitchen and preparing breakfast. It's always been his job as the older child to cook and feed others. Khosi is still trying to process everything her attention is on the photo album that Ngidi gave to them. Her Aunt Magcina that she can't remember well looked so happy in these pictures especially where she was with Ndlalifa. Surprisingly Maqhinga is only with Ngidi and Ndlalifa in the pictures and not anywhere with his mother. Wasn't he two years old when Magcina left? Why does it not look like they ever met?
“Where is Maqhinga and Mamncane?” she finally asks.
“Go and help your brother in the kitchen” Phumzile says throwing a look at her. She knows the truth and honestly she understands her sister. She could've done things differently but it's what it is.
“Brother? It sounds so strange.” Khosi rolls her eyes and makes her way to the kitchen.
She has never got along with Ngidi's son and Ndabuko. She's that person who judge others by their characters. Ndabuko is a liar Maqhinga is a player and Ndlalifa looks mean AF.
“What are you doing?” she asks Ndlalifa with her arms folded. Making breakfast in a rich man's house wasn't in her morning plans.
“How do manage to look so mean everyday and snap at people whenever you talk?” Ndlalifa asks while forking out sausages from the pan.
“Me?” Her forehead furrows.
“Yes you” Ndlalifa says.
“Maybe it's a thing from your mother's side of the family because I don't remember how many times I have stopped myself from slapping the arrogance out of you everytime I see you.”
“Slap me? Have you seen how tall I am? You'd need a ladder to even reach my cheek.”
Khosi picks a slice of tomato and bites a piece.
“Whatever! I saw your special lady last night. How much did you pay to get her?”
The conversation sails off smoothly in the kitchen. It's easy for the birds of the same feather to fly together. Being the first child in the family comes with its own hardships and responsibilities. It's easy for them to relate to each other despite the judgements they've made of one another.

Sadly things aren't the same in the lounge. Snalo is focused on her movie Phumzile’s anxiety is at its peaks; Maqhinga could walk in anytime and she has to keep it together. She cannot pull a “Magcina” on the kids and run.
It doesn't make sense why he had to resemble Msawenkosi this much. When their mother died Msawenkosi was Maqhinga's height around his age and exactly like him from head to toe. It also doesn't make any sense why she is so scared to have him around her daughters. He is not Msawenkosi it's not fair of her to think this way of her sister's child. What he did with Snalo was an innocent mistake. Both of them didn't know that they were blood related and Maqhinga didn't force Snalo into anything.

Snakho finally walks out of the bathroom with a white towel wrapped around her head. This is it; she's a rich man's daughter. Ndondo needs to be ready for a resignation letter.
“What are we eating?” she asks with her hands on the hips.
“Ndlalifa is still preparing the food” Ngidi says.
She frowns.
“Don't you have maids?”
Ngidi chuckles. This is the one who rolled her eyes at him in the hospital. She's surprisingly very happy to be here. She went through every room chose her bedroom and put some of her things inside just to mark it.
“I gave her a day off” he says.
“You are nice. But you need to start attending the gym. Is that my mother in the ugly dress? I'm glad I didn't take after her.” She's over the wall and taking down a picture frame.
This one is a shining morning star. Ikhwezilokusa. He walks towards her and explains where each picture was taken and why he looked so ugly in them.
“I don't understand why she left you because you're rich” she says staring at Magcina’s picture standing next to her first car that came as a gift from Ngidi.
“She didn't leave me she was trying to leave the painful memories. But I have you and your sister now I know her family and where she came from. I'll bring her back legally.”
“Meaning?” Snakho frowns.
“I'm still going to marry your mother traditionally.”
“She's dead sir” she says.
“Not sir but Baba” he corrects her with a chuckle and Snakho waves him off with a hand.
She'll get used to it.
“It's possible Khwezi your aunt and I talked about it. Your mother made me who I am today. She is Mrs Ngidi the woman of this house. No matter who comes her place will always be safe.”
“What caused her to leave?”
“Maybe one day I'll be able to tell you. It sounds like your brother is driving in let's go.” He pulls her hand and they walk to the dining room where Ndlalifa decided they'll be having their breakfast.
Maqhinga walks in just as they find their seats. You can tell that he had a bad night it's easy to read his emotions and get a glimpse of what he might be going through. Snalo on the other hand she's just stirring her coffee and looking completely okay.
As Maqhinga lowers himself on the empty chair beside Phumzile she rises up and moves to another chair. A brief look is shared between Ndlalifa and Ngidi.
“Thank you all for coming. The reason I asked all of you to be here today is because I wanted us to officially meet as a family. Right there is your aunt your mother's sister Phumzile.” He's telling Ndlalifa and Maqhinga.
Phumzile cannot bring herself to look at Maqhinga's direction but when her eyes meet Ndlalifa's a smile cracks from her lips.
“Finally I have an aunt!” Ndlalifa says walking over her and hugging her. Happiness is overflowing; the family has finally united.
Maqhinga remains on his chair with his hand on the cheek eye-witnessing the happiness.
“And those are your sisters…” His voice trails off again. He breathes in and out and continues; “Thingolwenkosazane and Khwezilokusa.”
“New names? Oh okay” Khosi mocks and reaches for a jug of juice.
“Is there anything else?” Maqhinga asks. His voice brings awkward silence in the room.
“I still need to discuss some things with your aunt and then we'll let you know of our decisions. But if anyone has a question they must feel free to ask” Ngidi says.
“Am I included?” Maqhinga asks.
Ngidi swallowed and reaches for water. This is the hardest situation he's ever been into. It would've been better if there was a suitable lie he could tell but the only answer he could give him would be the truth and he can't have that.
Maqhinga takes his silence response as no he pushes back his chair and rises up.
“I'll let everyone be free and okay” he says and walks out followed by shocked pairs of eyes behind.
“What happened?” Khosi asks before Snakho could.
Nobody answers them. This isn't how neither of them expected the first family breakfast to go.
Rich people have problems too?
“Wow!” Snakho exclaims.

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