“Duwa, Bongani told me about your mother. I’ll keep her in my prayers, and you too my child.” Annetta said standing on Duwa’s bedroom door.
“Thank you ma’am, she is a strong woman. She will make it.” Duwa gave a wearily smile.
“If there is anything you need, we are all here for you. You are part of this family my dear.” The lady smiled assuring Duwa what she was saying was true.
“Thank you so much ma’am.”
“We must go visit her.” Annetta didn’t seem to request the visit. She loved Duwa like a daughter after all. What she was going through, she would make it easier if she could.
The lady had been happy with Duwa since she started working for her, loved how this young maid made her only son happy. She had noticed how lively he’d become since Duwa started working in her house. It was what she needed for her son, girl who made him happy after all he was the only real happiness she had.
“Thank you again madam, but I don’t want to trouble you at all. We are managing.” Duwa kindly turned down Annetta’s suggestion.
“I wasn’t asking Duwa. Tomorrow, we all go with you, Bongi and I. And, don’t worry, we can help in any way we can child. Like I said, you are part of this family.” The lady patted her shoulders and cheerfully left the room.
They hadn’t seen eye to eye since she slapped him and all he said was the most shocking and unexpected words to Duwa to earn the slap. She had been avoiding him and he had given her the space she needed though it was hard each time they ran into each other. Duwa would only clean his room after he left for work, she would then have her supper in her room not on the dinning table with the family like she used to. She got used to the arrangement, it was easier this way.
She entered his room with her cleaning kit, harmonizing to a song playing in her earphones. She closed the door behind her, put the cleaning utensils down and removed her earphones.
“Duwa, I don’t want sex from you.” Bongani said, startling the life out of Duwa. He ran to her and grabbed her in case she was going to fall.
“What are you doing here?” She barely could speak, she tried to breathe in and out.
“Sit, relax.” He said helping her sit on his bed. “I just want you to know that I don’t want to have sex with you. I love you, I meant that part.” He calmly confessed.
“How could you? Someone is carrying your baby, you are even engaged to her Bongi.” Duwa tried to avoid slapping him again.
“She got pregnant out of a drunk mistake, my father wants me to marry her because our families are close business allies. He says we can’t embarrass such close family friends, but Duwa, I don’t love her.” He knelt down before her and took her hand. “I was bitter before you started working here, taking my mistake out on innocent people. You came and my life changed, I felt good each time you knocked to clean in here. I quickly got taken by your charming eyes, smile, calmness.” He touched her left cheek and she leaned towards his hand.
“I need you. I’ve tried to stay away from you for a couple of weeks and I’ve never felt so much pain. I love you.” Bongi said.
Duwa felt the same with every cell in her body, but at the expense of another heart and a baby, it was all not right. If only it was not so complicated. She fought her tears and stood up, looked at Bongani and slowly put her headsets back into her ears and walked past him. She reached for the cleaning utensils and went into Bongani’s bathroom and suddenly broke into tears.
How unfair, how could she not have a man who clearly wanted her that much? She sobbed her heart out that she wondered if he was hearing her ridiculous sobs. Of course he could hear her, he was now knocking on the door behind her. She could hear the knock through the music in her ears. She had to dry her tears and get back to work. She ignored his knock, raised the volume so her ears hear nothing but the music. It was going to get better hopefully.
The visit at the hospital had been awkward, the drive from there back to the house was quiet.
Annetta refused to answer any question Bongani asked as to why she froze when she saw Duwa’s mother. Both the ladies just looked at each other and refused to say anything other than mention each other’s names in disbelief. The look on both their faces was like that of a frightened toddler, scared of superstitious stories of ghosts and phantoms.
Once they got home, Annetta jumped out of the car quickly and rushed inside the house to her room. She broke into tears, uncontrollably. The world was too small and with too many unexpected turns. The past came back to haunt her, and only a matter of time before her husband knew about Sabrina, the girl he was supposed to marry all those years ago, but with circumstances never allowed. She gathered strength to go and explain to the confused Bongani and Duwa.
“And this?” What she saw alarmed her even more.
Bongani and Duwa had embraced each other, sitting on the couch in the living room. Duwa seemed to be crying.
“She was crying mother, but that’s not the issue. What was that at the hospital?” Bongani was defensive.
“Are the two of you an item?” Annetta asked. She was no child, the two were too cosy, something was going on.
“Don’t run from the issue at hand mother, explain to us what we saw at the hospital.” Bongani demanded.
Annetta took a deep breath, her legs couldn’t hold her. She sat down and exhaled.
“Long time ago, I loved a young man and your father Bongi loved this young lady so much. We knew, your father and I that we were betrothed but we had this crazy idea that we will fight it and each one of us will marry our love. Our parents had a different plan according to their family and business values.” She paused, swallowed hard. “Your grandfather paid the girl your father loved a visit and threatened her and she went missing. Same as to the man I loved. Gave him a beating to warn him and he left town too. I was able to track him but he wanted nothing to do with me after what they did to him.” She dropped a tear.
“You mean you and dad was actually forced into this?” Bongani asked.
“He looked for her, no trace of her. We were left with no choice but to wed and learn to live with each other. We decided to make the best out of our situation, and we did. Three years later you were born and we grew stronger but he never stooped loving her. It killed me but in our days, we had to listen to our folks. He still loves her, and seeing her today just reminded me, made me relieve that pain.” She took a deep breath holding back the tears.
“You mean my mother is….”
“Yes, she is the one your father loved and is the love of his life. Sabrina.” Annetta answered.
Both Bongani and Duwa kept quiet without words. Both so shocked and bumped to digest the whole story.
“And father wants me to marry a woman I don’t love yet he knows how it feels to be forced into a marriage you don’t want?” Bongani punched his own palm in fury.
“He doesn’t know you love someone else. Maybe if you did love someone and told him he’d understand and when I tell him I found Sabrina he might just change his mind.” Annetta wearily said.
“But what about Sandra’s baby?” Duwa asked, concerned.
“I can raise my child without marrying her. How many times must I say it?” He asked furiously, turning to his mother. “Mother, I love someone and I am willing to lose everything for her.” He stood up and walked to his mother.
“Excuse me, I need to think.” Duwa took off abruptly running towards the hall way to her room and locked herself up.
He knelt down beside his mother, “Please, tell dad. I can’t be with Sandra, I can’t even pretend. This is not days of your youth, times have changed. Please, mother, I want to be happy. This woman makes me happy, contented, I love her.” He begged.
“I know you do,”
“You do?” Bongani was surprised.
“Yes, I’m not blind son. I know, you and Duwa. She was the only maid you never yelled at for waking you up after the news of Sandra’s pregnancy. You help her cook, you come home for lunch, you help her clean the dishes, laugh around her, you stare at her while she is not watching. I’ve seen it all son, I have been there remember?” Annetta laughed.
She had heard everything, he did love her genuinely. Standing behind the door leading to the living room she smiled under her tears. Duwa’s heart was dancing, she couldn’t believe he told his mother. When she left her room she was going to tell them she was leaving, getting out of their lives, taking her mother with her. Hearing his confession to his mother, she was not leaving him at all. The two of them were going to find a way out and be happy together somehow.
Her ear suddenly was burning like someone grabbed it and squeezed it. The door flew open, she was dragged into the living room with the ear.
“Look who I found eavesdropping,” Sandra said pushing Duwa down.
“What are you doing?” Annette and Bongani asked in a unison.
“Let her go damn you!!” Bongani yelled running to Duwa’s rescue. He quickly separated Sandra’s hand from Duwa’s ear and lifted her up.
“You didn’t hear me? I said I caught her eavesdropping, someone punish her.” Sandra said.
“You are crazy Sandra.” Bongani shouted keeping his hand on Duwa’s ears. “Are you okay?” He asked Duwa but she did not respond, instead, tears just rolled down her cheeks.
“Excuse me,” she calmly said and left the living room.
“Sandra go home now, or else,” Bongani warned walking after the woman he loved.
“Excuse me, I am the one you listen to Bongani. I’m the mother of your unborn baby, I am your wife to be. You come back here Bongani!! Bongani?!!” Sandra screamed at Bongani to stop; to no avail.
“Sandra, please for the sake of the baby calm down.” Annette tried to calm her down.
“He went after the maid, leaving me here.” She started sobbing.
“As much as she was eavesdropping, I do not get physical with my employees, that was uncalled for.”
“She is disrespectful though, she could have been listening to family secrets. How rude, she deserved it. But why did my husband go after her?” Sandra yelled, breathing like she was about to go into shock.
“You are stressing for nothing, you need to relax young woman. Sit, let me grab my purse and drive you home, come back tomorrow when Bongani is calm. He sees Duwa as part of the family that’s all, and I promise I’ll talk to Duwa. Such stress is not good for the baby.” Annetta tried to sway Sandra’s attention from why Bongani followed Duwa.
She quickly took her purse, helped Sandra walk to the car outside the house and advise her driver to follow her as she drove the psychotic daughter in law of hers. She had to buy time for her son to calm poor Duwa down for suffering such humiliation at the hands of this brat her husband was forcing on their son. Duwa was a far better choice for her only son.
“Duwa, I’m sorry for what Sandra did. She is crazy, and…” He didn’t know how to apologize.
“I should apologize, I disturbed your talk with your mother.” Duwa calmly said not looking at Bongani.
“No, Sandra disturbed us. I’m so sorry, that was uncalled for.” Bongani said sincerely. He came closer, stood behind her and reached for her hand turning her around to face him.
The look in his eyes made her knees weak, her blood was boiling, her heart racing, her palms were sweating and her whole body was melting as he touched her cheeks. She leaned on the hand, wrapping his palms in her own. He was what she wanted, no more holding back despite what was at stake. She put her index finger on his lips as he tried to apologize again, smiled faintly, kissed his hand.
He drew her closer, placed his hands on both her cheeks lifting her face up so he could kiss her. He plunged his lips on her tender lips, she kissed back and he could feel the yearning in her kiss. He held her, arms down to her waist, drew her in closer so he could feel her skin underneath the dress she wore. He lifted her up, walked slowly, kissing her and watching his way.
His muscles thick and strong, she gave in to his lead and held him close. If she was going to be in trouble with Sandra and Bongani’s father, it would be all worth it. She felt him put her down on a bed, she opened her eyes. She was placed on his bed, that big bed she made for him every morning, on the beddings that smelled like roses, red roses.
He kissed her, on her lips, lightly on her neck. Gently moving his hands up and down her body. She was relaxed and he kept her relaxed, slowly sliding his hands under her dress making her gasp for air to the sensation his hands gave her. He kept it that way, allowing her to touch him, unbutton his shirt. He pulled away, lifted her up with him so he could finally unzip her dress.
And there no more words as the dress fell to the floor and his shirt followed…..