Its 3 AM and I can't sleep. The others decided to sneak out and go partying and now I am stuck here alone. I decide to go to the kitchen for some hot chocolate. I make my hot chocolate and sit down on the table. I hear footsteps in the passage and soon Bab'Shongwe walks into the kitchen.

Bab'Shongwe: "Too excited to sleep?" He asks as he takes a seat across the table. I get up and make him some tea with lots of sugar and milk.
Me: "I am not sure if its excitement or fear." I hand him his tea.
Bab'Shongwe: "Where there is love theres no fear." I smile he has no idea there is no love involved in this and I am not ready to tell him just yet.
Me: "I know Love heals and makes all things better right."
Bab'Shongwe: he laughs "I am glad you still remember that."
I look at this man and I thank God everyday for him. Him and Bab'Biyela are the reason I don't think all men are trash. Because of them I know what its like to have a father figure in my life.
Me: "Baba ngyabonga. (Thank you) for everything you have done for me I could never repay you."
Bab'Shongwe: "I should be thanking you. You are a strong and kind child in this day and age kindness is hard to find. After my wife died and then my son I didn't have it in me to love again. I took the job at your school just so I can eat a part of me was just waiting for the day God would take me so I can be with my wife and son. Instead you came along and I had purpose again. You unknowingly made me want to live again."
Me: "I guess we needed each other."
Bab'Shongwe: "Yes!" He takes a sip of his tea. "So tell me about this boy. Is he good to you?"
Honestly I haven't known him long enough to figure that out yet. I mean its only been two weeks.
Me: "He is good! He is a good person!"
Bab'Shongwe: "And he makes you happy?"
Me: "Yes baba he makes me happy."
Does he? I don't know but i know being with him is different. He is easy to talk to and he makes me laugh. Is it love? I don't think so. Attraction maybe? Yeah attraction. He is an attractive person but love I don't think so.
Baba finishes his tea and decides to go back to sleep. Before he leaves he turns around and looks at me smiles and walks away. How did I get so lucky.

I finish my hot chocolate and decide to try and sleep. Maybe this time I will succeed.



At a shisanyama in Nelspruit Philani his friends Lindani Nate and Senzo and his brothers Sihle and Banele are sitting around a table drinking beer. The place is almost empty but these guys don't want to leave.

Philani: "Guys I think we should go get some sleep its already morning."
Sihle: "So vele you are getting married?
Philani: "Yep thats what your father wants."
Banele: "Since when do you do everything dad says?"
Lindani: "Since he saw the woman your father chose. Heck if that was me I would also give up my playboy card and settle down for life if it was with her."
Nate: "Why? is she hot?"
Lindani: "See for yourselves." He takes out his phone.
Philani: "Why do you have Lando's pictures on your phone?"
Lindani: "Its instagram bra."
Philani: "Her account is private."
Lindani: "To you maybe." He passes his phone around and shows everybody.
Senzo: "Ok now I understand she is hot."
Lindani: "Told you. Your brother is whipped."
Philani: "I am not whipped." They laugh.
Lindani: "Really thats why you try to call me and end up calling her instead."
Nate: "Wait what?"
Philani: "Bra its not my fault your numbers are almost similar."
Nate: "But you've never had such a problem before."
Senzo: "Whipped!" They laugh.
Banele: "Now I really need to meet my sister-in-law."
Philani: "Mxm whatever lets go I am sure the old people are already waiting for us." They get up and leave still teasing him.

They get to the hotel and find the uncles already waiting for them. They shower and get dressed then meet in Bab'Zweli's room. They say a prayer before walking out to their cars. Lindani Nate Senzo and Philani are together in the same car.

They drive out and the others follow behind in the minivan. As they are about to get to their destination they notice a blue car overtake the minivan and follows them close. The car then overtakes them and quickly stops in front of them. Lindani brings the car to a halt and the minivan follows and stops behind them. The guys already have their hands on their guns ready to shoot.

The blue car's doors open and Ayanda and Cebo walk towards the car.
Lindani: "You've got to be kidding me. What the fuck is she doing here?"
Philani: "I'll go talk to her." He gets out of the car and walks towards Ayanda and Cebo.
Ayanda: "Boys weekend Philani? Boys weekend really."
Philani: "What are you doing here Ayanda?"
Cebo: "Thats a stupid question even from you."
Philani: "Voetsek wena." He says looking at Cebo who cowers seeing the anger in his eyes. He looks back at Ayanda. "I asked you a question Ayanda what are you doing here?"
Ayanda: "You are getting married Philani and you didn't even think to tell me. Am I that useless to you that you can't even consider my feelings?
Philani: "Please just go back home I will explain everything when I get back."
Ayanda: "No Philani I want an explanation now." She screams at him with tears running down her face.
Philani: "Do not raise your voice to me. I said I will explain when I get back now please leave."
Cebo: "You mean after you are married explain to her now." Philani ignores her.
Philani: "Ayanda please go home this is not the time for this. Please go home."
Bab'Zweli gets out of the minivan and walks to where the three are standing.
Bab'Zweli: "Philani what's happening here?"
Philani: "Its nothing baba I'll sort it out."
Cebo: "Its not nothing tell him the truth Philani." She says while holding Ayanda who is sobbing.
Bab'Zweli: "Philani!"
Philani: ...............
Bab'Zweli: "I don't have time for this Philani. Sort this out so we can go we are already late." He walks back to the car.
Lindani gets out of his car and goes to Cebo's car he opens the driver's side and takes the keys Ayanda and Cebo's bags. He locks the car and walks to them. He hands them their bags.
Cebo: "What the fuck are you doing Lindani?"
Lindani: "Ladies we would like to stay and chat but we have important matters to attend. Philani lets go."
Cebo: "Aren't you forgetting something Lindani."
Lindani: "You mean these?" He dangles the keys. "You don't need these. Someone is coming to pick you up. Bafo lets go." He drags Philani to the car with Cebo and Ayanda swearing at them.
Ayanda: "Fuck you Philani. Uyinja uyezwa (you are a dog.)
Cebo: "Lindani give me my keys wenanja (You dog).
Lindani starts the car but Cebo stands in front of it refusing to move. Nate and Senzo are laughing their lungs out.
Nate: "Bra I thought my baby mama had drama but these two yesses."
Lindani revs the car hard and goes forward Ayanda and Cebo jump out the way and fall to the sidewalk. They get up and watch as Lindani drives off followed by the minivan. Nate and Senzo are still laughing. Philani takes a deep breath and focuses on the task ahead.
Philani: "Dear Lord what have I done."



Faith Celiwe and I are in the kitchen cooking when Buli stumbles in and throws herself on the chair and rests her head on the table.
Buli: "I am dying."
Bab'Shongwe: "Thats what you get for sneaking out at night when you should have been sleeping." He says walking into the kitchen. Buli quickly raises her head and looks at him.
Buli: "Baba I don't know what you mean I just have a migraine." He laughs.
Bab'Shongwe: "Dear child I am old not stupid. Finish up here and go to your room we are about to let them in." He walks out again. Buli slumps her head on the table again.
Buli: "Its about bloody time their screaming is making my headache worse." We all burst out laughing. "Please stop."
Me: "But Buli I told you this would backfire on you."
Buli: "Mxm you guys don't love me." She says as she gets up to leave.
Me: "So vele you are not going to make her your stinky hangover concoction?" I ask looking at Faith
Faith: "Nope she must suffer just a little bit." We all laugh.
Celiwe: "So which one is mkhwenyana?" She asks standing by the window looking out. Faith and I go and stand beside her and look out. And I see them well him mostly but you know. He is wearing black formal pants a white shirt and black formal shoes that seems to be his uniform. The sight of him gives me butterflies in my tummy that seems to be his uniform. The sight of him gives me butterflies in my tummy he looks really good. I show Celiwe.
Celiwe: "Good now that that's sorted can I have the one next to him with the shades on." That would be Lindani.
Me: "If you are willing to share him with everybody else then sure you can have him." We leave the kitchen as soon as they let them in.

We get to the bedroom and Buli is slumped on the couch. We get dressed except for Faith who watches us she is married so.... I put on my brown sidvwashi (sishweshwe) and tie it around my waist. Then bring my red lihiya (kanga) under my one arm and tie it on my collar bone with a brooch on the other arm. I put on my ligcebesha (beaded necklace) and finish my look with some beads around my ankles. I tie my braids in a low ponytail. Not to brag but I look good.

I turn around and Buli and Celiwe are also done we are wearing the same thing. We sit on the bed and wait for them to call us. After a while Mam'Sbongile comes in and calls us Buli Celi and I follow her with our heads bowed. We get to the lounge and sit on the grass mats by the side of the door.

Bab'Shongwe: "Bo Biyela these are the girls we have in this home tell us which one your son has fallen in love with."
Lindani: "The one on the left baba." He says pointing to me.
Bab'Shongwe: "Landokuhle do you know these people."
Me: "Yebo baba I know them."
Bab'Shongwe: "They say they are here to pay Lobola Do you agree to that."
Me: "Yebo baba."
Bab'Shongwe: "Okay then you can go back."
We get up and go back to the bedroom.

After a long while we hear Mam'Sbongile ululating as she makes her way to us she opens the door and leads us out. I look into the lounge and Philani and his younger brother Banele have joined the others.

We go into the kitchen and start bringing the food into the lounge we place everything on the dining table they will have to serve themselves. We are done. We decide to go eat in the kitchen but before we leave Mam'Sbongile clears her throat and we look back at her.

Mam'Sbongile: "Lando sisi who is going to serve your husband?"
He is a grown ass man with two hands and two feet I am pretty sure he is capable of serving himself. I look at him and he is looking at me with a smirk on his face. I walk over to the table and dish up for him. The girls follow suit dishing for the others. I place the food on a tray and cover it with a glass of juice on the side and bring it to him I look at Mam'Sbongile and she motions with her head that I should kneel.
Philani: "I think I will get used to this. Being served like a king." He whispers so
I am the only one who can hear him.
Me: "Mxm don't. This is the first and last time."
Philani: "We will see." I get up and help the others serve.

When they are done eating we walk them out and they leave. We go back to the house and clean up. I go to my room and sit on the bed I open my phone and find a message from Philani.
'You looked beautiful today Mrs Biyela.'
I take a deep breath and throw the phone on the bed. What have I gotten myself into?



At Mbuzini Ntombi just walked into the house from her visiting her friends. Her mother Nelsiwe is in the kitchen cooking. She decides to join her.
Ntombi: "Make."
Nelsiwe: Looking up from the pot "Yeah"
Ntombi: "Have you ever thought about looking for Lando?"
Nelsiwe: "Why would I do that?"
Ntombi: "Because she is your child don't you ever wonder where she is how she is surviving whether she has food or clothes? What if she is homeless?"
Nelsiwe: "Sthandwa sam Lando left home no one threw her out. She left. I don't have the time or energy to run after someone who tried to do what she did. Also I didn't throw her out she left on her own. As for how she's surviving simple she's probably opening her legs for every Nigerian in Hillbrow." She goes back to her pots.

Ntombi leaves her and goes to her sister Gugu's bedroom she is laying on the bed with headsets on so she throws herself on the bed too. Gugu takes off her headsets.

Gugu: "Manje?" (So?)
Ntombi: "Hawu I just want to spend time with my little sister you know you will miss me when I go to varsity next year."
Gugu: "I wish I could come with you." She says her voice laced with sadness.
Ntombi: "Hey don't be sad I will come back to visit."
Gugu: "I know. Please look for Lando."
Ntombi: "I'll try but you know Joburg is huge. Also I think she might be somewhere in Nelspruit. I saw sis Khabo earlier and she says she saw someone who looks like Lando she even spoke to her but her name was different."
Gugu: "What did she say her name was maybe we can look for her on social media coz we can't find Lando anywhere there."
Ntombi: "I think she is there she is probably using a different name."
Gugu: "Maybe."
Ntombi: "I will ask sis Khabo for the name tomorrow then we can use that one to try and find her. "They hear a car pull up outside. "Daddy is home." She goes running out excitedly.

Gugu gets up from her bed and locks her door she goes back to sit on the bed with her knees pulled up and her chin resting on her knees. Her hands hug her raised legs tears streaming down her face. The nightmare that haunts her every night is back.


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