He managed to keep “Mrs Fierce” in his house for two days. Even though she didn't say the important words he feels like his lie cannot stand between them anymore. It'll take time for her to trust him again and he's still hiding some things from her but they'll be fine. He can feel it in his bones they'll be okay.
He's humming a song as he cracks the eggs into a pan on the stove. There's no day-off in their industry mostly for drivers but him and Maqhinga only go to the rank if something really needs them or if they're bored. Unlike Ndlalifa who's suddenly obsessed with work and waking up at the crack of dawn everyday.
“Long-lost son you're back” Maqhinga teases as he makes his way inside the kitchen followed by a short big girl with blonde hair. Only God knows where he found this one.
Ndabuko lifts up his eyebrow.
“How old is she?” He doesn't care if the girl is listening. She looks too young to be doing sleepovers in a 29 year old man’s house. Maybe she's just a varsity student chasing the flashy lifestyle.
“Old enough to satisfy Hlomuka.”
Ndabuko shakes his head and watches as he hovers over the girl and inappropriately touching her. His hand slides in front of the girl's skirt she's giggling as Maqhinga whispers something to her. He left his own house because he cannot face Fuze he cannot stay there because she'll come over and shower him with the love he doesn't deserve. Watching Maqhinga changing girls everyday and listening to them screaming at his di€k at night is the price he's paying for staying here.
He finally lets go of the girl he gives her a few R100 notes and kisses her on the cheek.
“Don't give anyone my cookie” he tells her before she goes out of the door and she blushes and nods her head.
He closes the door after her and walks to Ndabuko who's preparing breakfast.
“What are we eating?” he asks as he attempts to grab a piece of egg.
Ndabuko yanks his hand off.
“Go wash your hands” he says.
“Ndoda I showered when I woke up.” Still Ndabuko blocks his hand from reaching the eggs.
“She's your girlfriend alone don't feed me her pu$$y. I also don't finger Ndondo and touch your food afterwards.”
“Ndondo? Not Fuze? Is she now officially your only girl?”
“Maqhinga go wash your hands!”
Because Ndabuko is annoying and he wants the scoop he jogs to the bathroom and quickly washes his hands as asked.
He grabs the plate prepared for him and adds four more bread slices Ndabuko thinks everyone went to Wits and studied with white people. He eats seven slices not three. He's not a girl and he is not trying to maintain a figure.
“I take it Mrs Fierce is also fierce on bed” he says and stuffs the egg inside the mouth with his eyes glued on Ndabuko.
“No but she's hooot. I nearly lost my sanity there and you can feel that nobody visits that palace regularly.”
“Not nearly you did lose your sanity look at how moody you're because she's gone back to her house” Maqhinga says and they both laugh.
Maqhinga stops laughing. Now his eyes are filled with pity.
“There's Fuze she doesn't know what's going on. Don't you think it's fair to just come clean? I know that I'm the last person who can advise someone on how to treat a woman but bafo that's Zamafuze she has loved you through thin and thick. It'll be better to hurt her by “moving on too fast” than to cheat on her.”
Both these options are bad he'll break her heart either way.
“And you could lose Mrs Fierce while at this game” Maqhinga continues.
Ndabuko’s appetite runs out. He knows this. He'll talk to Fuze before making things official and coming out with his relationship with Ndondo. But Maqhinga needs to understand that he's not him. He's scared to dump her because he knows what she's done for him. Unlike Maqhinga who even dumps a girl in front of a new one and lives his life like nothing happened.
“I don't even know what I'm going to say” he says and inhales deeply.
“Nothing beats- you deserve someone better and I'm not that someone- and then look like an asshole” Maqhinga says.
“We are talking about Fuze.”
Maqhinga sighs and shrugs his shoulders.
“Yeah right. You have to be nice and try to make her understand.”
Ndabuko exhales deeply. He’s never been those guys it's easier when a girl breaks up with you because you walk away without any guilty conscience. But he has to break up with a woman who's been with him for four years he hasn't been in love with her the past two months and that alone breaks his heart. Fuze doesn't deserve this…but she doesn't deserve to be fooled either.
He types and sends her a short text. They have to meet in his house in an hour and talk.
Her silky hair is tied neatly on top of her head she's wearing a short yellow dress and sandals. Her bag is clutched under her arm and she's lost in her phone.
When Ndabuko pulls up she lifts her head and stares as he climbs out of the car.
“You changed the locks?” she asks.
He clears his throat and looks away.
“I'm…I was…I was going to tell you.” This will be harder than he thought. Out of all days today she chose to dress up exactly the way she looked on their first date. It's the same dress and same hairstyle.
They hug. His heart is beating like a drum. He's imagined how this might play out. She'll cry and beg him to stay with her.
“Must I get you anything to drink?” he asks still unable to look straight into her eyes.
“Water is fine. Why are you acting so strange?”
He ignores her and fetches the drinks from the kitchen. He should've drank for this. He's not a man enough to just do it.
She's waiting for him on the couch. This might be the right time to tell him what she's been keeping from him. He derseves to know.
“Fuze we need to talk about our future” he says and instantly regrets his choice of words.
“There's something I need to tell you first” she says.
He gulps down his juice and looks at her. Her hands are shaking and he's getting even more worried about the break up that's following. She won't take it well.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes I'm okay. I think I'm fine.” She's nodding her head as she says but her moist eyes speak a different language.
“Do you remember when I called you and said I was at the doctor's? Two weeks after you moved in with Maqhinga.”
He nods his head before even collecting his memory of that day. He's anxious to find out what's going on with her. Why she looks so troubled.
She rubs her palms on her thighs and releases a sigh.
“I was in so much pain and heavily bleeding. But I thought it was just one of those months where I get…” She shakes her head and wipes the watering corners of her eyes. She is fine that's what she keeps telling herself everytime a weak inner her wants to break down. It's not that deep is it?
“I had a miscarriage” she manages to get the words out and then buries her face in her hands.
Words record slowly in Ndabuko's head. He wants to process everything grasps the reality of what he just heard grasps the reality of what he just heard but she's wailing next to him and he needs to find a way to comfort her.
“Why didn't you call me?” He can't recognize his own voice. Something huge something he didn't even know was a part of him has been cut into pieces and taken away from him.
“How far were you?” he asks. He could ask her about the pill but now is not the right time for that.
“Three weeks” she says between the sobs.
“Why didn't you tell me?” he asks again.
“You were busy with work and I didn't want to stress you at that time” she says.
No he was busy with Ndondo. He was posing as a yardner and stalking another woman.
“What did the doctor say? What was the problem?”
“Everything was perfectly fine that's the problem Ndabuko; nothing was wrong.”
He pulls her into his arms and tightly embraces her. He's trying not to break down in front of her. Maybe if he was home with her the baby would’ve survived. Maybe if he paid attention and didn't fall head over heels with a woman his dead brother wants him to marry this wasn't going to happen.
“Please forgive me Zamafuze I'm really really sorry."
“It wasn't your fault sthandwa sami.”
He cups her face and looks at her in the eyes. She's broken something he hasn't cared to notice the last couple of months.
He lifts her chin and kisses her lips. Guilt is poking his heart from every angle. It's all his fault.
“What did you want to say? You said we must talk about our future and I just wanted to let you know that we once created a soul. Just in case you're thinking of doing something inhlawulo should come first.” They're talking about their future right? It's something she's been waiting for years.
Ndabuko is shocked by her conclusion but he can't show that to her or object what she's saying.
“I will discuss inhlawulo with Ngidi. I don't know how these things are done” he says after clearing his throat.
“All I know is that the damages come first before lobola.”
He nods his head. This is not the direction he was taking but he can't tell her. He's already broken this woman.
She lifts her eyes to him and flutter her eyelashes with a weak smile on her face.
“I have missed having you all to myself like this.”
“Me too” he says and plants a kiss on her forehead.
The day didn't go as planned it's sad and sour. They're still together and living with the scars.
She orders the food and they just cuddle on the couch throughout the evening.
It's 9:56 pm and Fuze is fast asleep on the bed. He's been doing one thing since he found out about the miscarriage and that is to stare at her.
He received a text from Ndondo earlier which is very strange and he hasn't read it. It feels wrong to even have feelings for her. These feelings are what drove him away from Fuze they're what stood between him and his baby. He could've been there protected Fuze from whatever and supported her. But he couldn't because Ndondo stole his heart and sanity.
No words can express how sorry he is to Fuze. But more than anything he's sorry to himself; to Ndabuko. He's sorry that he robbed himself a chance to be a better father than his own father. He robbed his baby a chance to be alive. He should've protected them. Maybe if he was here….
His phone is ringing.
It's Ndondo. His hands start sweating as he contemplates whether to answer or not.
He lets it ring until she drops the call. It was okay when she was being Ndondo and not giving him the benefit of a doubt.
He clicks on the text he hasn't read since it came through:
WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT ME HAVING FEELINGS FOR YOU WASN'T A LIE. NDABUKO I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH YOU AND I'M SCARED.
God knows how much he wanted to hear her saying this but now he can't even be happy and celebrate. He can't even reply to her text or return her calls because that would make him an asshole.
He lies next to Fuze and wraps his arm around her. Now he's torn between two worlds; being with the woman his heart and Nhlanzeko wants for him and being with a woman who'd catch a grenade for him the mother of his child.
It's been a week since Fuze broke the news to him. He hasn't been to work and she hasn't left his house. He had to sneak her belongings back in the house in the middle of the night and leave things as they are. They're making up he's trying to pay for his sins but nothing is good enough to clear his conscience.
He hasn't spoken to Ndondo nor replied to her text. He's scared to even log on WhatsApp because she's there and she'll see that he's alive and just ignoring her. Strangely Nhlanzeko has been quiet. No bad dreams and no pounding headache.
“So you're paying lobola for Fuze?” Maqhinga asks.
“That's what she thinks” Ndabuko says and heaves a sigh.
“That means the Ngcobos are expecting cows altogether with inhlawulo. Is Ngidi aware of this?”
“He wants me to do it.”
“Pay lobola and marry her.”
Maqhinga’s eyes pop out of their sockets. Marriage is a big scary animal to him.
“What about Ndondo?” he asks.
“I have to marry her as well. I love her and I have to honour Nhlanzeko's demand.”
“Polygamy? Ndabuko you don't even love Fuze anymore. Break up with her there's no need to marry someone out of guilt. It's not fair on you and it's very cruel to her. You've already wasted this girl's life.”
“I don't want to hurt her. Why can't you understand that?” he bursts out. This is not easy for him. Yes he knows that he's being selfish and the chances are; Ndondo will walk away and Nhlanzeko will haunt him for life.
“But you're hurting her. The day you stopped loving her and continued to keep her in your life was the day you started hurting her.”
“You're a fine one to talk” Ndabuko says annoyed.
“I'm an asshole and everyone knows it. I'm a fuckboy waiting for God's sentence. Don't be like me you'll sleep and not wake up the next day” Maqhinga says.
“Because?” Ndabuko asks with a frown.
“You won't be able to handle two women. Especially not when Mrs Fierce is one of those women. Have you spoken to her?”
He shakes his head.
“Exactly you fail to even face one of them if you're busy with another one. Polygamy needs balance boy. Whatever happens on the right should happen on the left.”
“I know that but my biggest fear is losing Ndondo along the way. I love that woman mfethu.”
“If you're not scared of losing Fuze why don't you just lose her once and for all” Maqhinga asks.
“I don't want to be an asshole.”
“But you're an asshole already.”
“Yeah but I'm still below your level I don't want to surpass your shitty ass.”
Maqhinga laughs and attends to his buzzing phone.
I know that I'm losing her again. I really thought she was done that was the whole purpose for her Japan vacation; to get over him. This time I don't know what triggered it. I don't know what pushed her inside this dark box again.
The thing about her is that when she builds walls around herself she makes sure that she builds them high. The problem about her is that she doesn't cry the only way I know that she's in pain is when she buries herself with work. This week she's been clocking in at 6:30 am if not early. Andiswa says some days she comes home after eight.
I put her coffee on her desk and she doesn't even notice that I'm standing in front of her.
“I thought you said you were ready to move on” I say and snap her attention instantly.
She takes a sip from her cup and lifts her eyes to me. I don't need eyeglasses to see that she's in pain. She's empty and just living to get through the day and get this thing called life moving.
“I did move on” she says.
I need to sit down for this. I thought Senzo and her didn't work out.
“With who? And what happened? You don't look like someone who's in love” I ask.
She chuckles and shakes her head.
“Khosi you know my fate. Once I love them back they disappear. He's gone as well. But the difference with this one is that I know where he lives and I know that he's okay wherever he is.”
“Then what’s the problem?” I'm really confused.
“I tried to call and text and I got ignored.”
“My gosh friend are you sure that you were both on the same page? Maybe he just wanted a dish for his sperms you know how men are like out there.”
She releases a deep sigh and looks back on the documents in front of her.
“Forget about him Ndondo. He's not worth your energy.”
You know what I'm taking her out on a wild weekend with the twins and a group of hot guys. I'm not letting her go through this again not for an asshole that probably doesn't even deserve her.
We are going to Himeville this weekend. We'll fuck around and get wasted.