I always knew Sibusiso to be a heartless jerk, but to stoop that low? He knew I could not afford to pay lawyers, so he was obviously going to win and take my children away from me.

“Mandy, are you okay?”

I was not okay. I was fighting a losing battle, and I didn’t know what to do..

“I’m just… He’s just..”

I sighed, looking down..

“He’s just what? Please talk to me”

I looked at the road ahead.

“He wants to take my children away from me”

“What? Why?”

“Because I wouldn’t forgive my father and I called the cleansing ceremony off”

“But you can’t be forced to forgive someone if you don’t want to”

“Exactly. I don’t want to forgive him, ever. That man stole from me, Bazukile. That man stole my childhood. I can never forgive him for that”

He gently held my right hand and played with it.

“Look, you first need to heal from whatever that person did to you, before you can think of forgiving him. Nobody has a right to force you to forgive him”

“You know, ever since we found out that we were going to be parents, we tried to get along. I’ve always known that he is a jerk, but I decided to be an adult about things and let him be there for his children. I wasn’t supposed to have forgiven him too for what he did to me”

“So, you negotiated with your heart, for the sake of your kids, to forgive him. Why don’t you do the same with your father? I don’t know the full story, and I can see that you’re too shaken to share it now”

His question got me thinking..

“I will not forgive him, please don’t try and convince me”

I looked at him ..

“I’m sorry. How can I help you? I want to help you”

I looked at the road ahead, again.

“Just be there for me, to listen and offer emotional support”

“Yeah, but I have to do more than that. This man wants to take your kids away from you, and my emotional support won’t stop him”

I looked at him..

“What are you saying?”

“We need to fight back. He can’t take these kids away from us. This pregnancy means the world to me, the children will obviously mean the world too when they get here”

I looked down..

“I can’t let you help me that way. It just wouldn’t feel right”

“Mandy, stop being stubborn. You need me, let me help you. I won’t think you’re weak or anything”

“But I don’t want to be your charity case. I want to separate what we have from my personal life”

He sighed..

“You know that’s not possible. You can’t separate yourself from what we have. I know you don’t want to be a charity case, and I promise you that you won’t be one. I will only help you with this because I can, then I promise to let you live your life the way you want to live it”

I felt the warmth of a tear, escaping my eye. It got to me that men only stayed in my life because they felt sorry for me and felt obliged to help me in any way they can. None of them has ever really stayed because they loved me. My problems have always been what attracted men to me. They would stick around, because they felt needed and appreciated. When was I ever going to be in a relationship for the right reasons? What I was doing was first class prostitution, because I eventually had to sleep with those men for them to keep those favours coming. My feelings on the matter don’t really matter, because I needed help to deal with Sibusiso.

“What do you say? I promise this won’t affect what we have. We won’t even talk about it, if you don’t want us to talk about it”

“No, its fine. We can talk about it. You’re helping me out, so I have no right to act like a diva”

I sniffed..

“Okay, now that’s settled. Sibusiso won’t know what hit him. I have the best legal team in the country. I will help you with this”

The best legal team in the country?

“Uhm, why do you need a legal team?”

He chuckled…

“Its a tough world out there. A man has to stay prepared”

Vague, but whatever..

“Thank you so much, I was starting to fall apart”

“I noticed, and I didn’t want you to fall apart in my car. In fact, I should have a sign plugged here, saying ‘no falling apart in this car’ ”

I laughed, and more tears came flowing out.. I wiped them with the back of my mind, like a school kid.. His phone rang..

“Excuse me, I have to take this”

He took his phone out..

“Cindy, hey.. I’m good man, and you?.. Oh, I just went to see my woman, where are you guys?.. Okay cool, I’m on my way”

He hung up..

“That’s my cousin. They have already arrived for tonight’s pool party”

“Oh, let me not keep you then”

“Let’s go and open for them”

I shook my head..

“I’m not ready to meet your friends and cousins”

“Come on, I still want to spend time with you, and I was hoping I’d get a chance to pop in to say hi to the twins”

He rubbed my tummy. I blushed..

“Geez, you’re so naughty”

He laughed..

“Please let’s go. I’ll drive you back home safely”

I wanted to, so I didn’t waste any more of his time, I agreed. He started the car and drove off.

“Let me call Phila and tell her. I know she’ll be worried sick”

He giggled..

“Phila is my nigga, can she please come to the party? Please”

I laughed..

“Why are you asking me?”

“She said I should ask you, because apparently you are bullying her”

I laughed harder..

“Phila likes playing the victim. Of course she can attend your party, I have no problem with that. Just make sure she’s safe”

“That goes without saying”

I dialled Phila’s number..

“My friend”

She picked up..

“Hey friend, listen, Bazukile and I are going to his place. We’ll be back later”

She laughed..

“You’re going to shag, just say it man. You don’t have to sugarcoat it”

I cleared my throat..

“I’ll see you later”

I hung up..

“So you told her about what we did the other day”

I was so embarrassed..

“Not really. She’s just assuming”

He laughed..

“Don’t worry, I was just asking. If you’re comfortable talking about it, I’m good”

I looked away..

“Uhm, so what have you planned for tonight?”

I changed the awkward subject.

“Its a pool party, so people are going to be rocking swim wear. I have hired a DJ, and the catering company handling our food is on point”

I nodded.

“Oh, great.. So Phila should rock a bikini too”

I laughed..

“And I’m sure she would be excited about it. She was so drunk the other day”

He laughed too..

“Can you believe that she doesn’t remember half of the things that happened?”

He laughed some more..

“She doesn’t? Wow, she was totally wasted hey. Did her man get hold of her?”

I shook my head..

“I don’t think so. He arrived this morning, to check up on her but she was asleep so she asked me not to wake her up”

“You were both so scared of the guy, and that really got to me”

I smiled..

“No, I wasn’t scared”

“Oh hell yeah, you were scared. Your voice carried so much fear”

“Maybe it’s because Phila is scared of him, maybe I was scared on her behalf because she was too drunk to be scared on her own”

He laughed… We got to his place. There were three cars parked outside..

“Oh wow, so many people?”

“What people? Its only three cars”

“Each car has five people in it, surely”

He laughed.

“Relax man. Be yourself. Nobody will bother you here. These people are here to have fun, nobody has time to pay attention to someone else. Besides, these are only my cousins and close friends. They would never be mean to you”

I nodded.. He unlocked the gate and drove in, the other cars drove in too and he locked up.

“Come, let’s go”

He stepped out of the car, and I followed suit. The others got out of their cars too..

“Relax, okay?”

I nodded. We went over to them and greeted. It was a very long greeting and introduction session. Bazukile introduced me as his girlfriend. Maybe he didn’t want to explain our situation to everyone, and I was comfortable.

“Oh wow, why didn’t you tell us that you got a woman pregnant?”

One lady asked. Bazukile and I looked at each other..

“Yeah, what’s up with that? Does the family know yet?”

“Guys, can we not do this now? Let’s get into the house and have fun”

Bazukile held my hand and walked towards the house, the others followed us in.. We got to the lounge.

“Guys, make yourselves at home. More people will arrive later”

“Is there food? I am hungry as hell”

One of the ladies asked..

“Yeah, there is food. But its just food I made and bought myself. For the party , food will arrive later”

After a few minutes of small talk, Bazukile announced that him and I would be in his room if anybody needed him.. We got to his room. He grabbed me and turned me around to face away from him..

“Come here. I couldn’t wait to have you all to myself”

He kissed my neck, while he had his hands on my tummy. He was the only person I allowed to touch my tummy.

“I want you to forget about everything else and focus on us”

He mumbled while still kissing my neck. I turned to face him..

“Okay, I’ll focus on us”

I kissed his lips. After a few minutes of intense kissing, he carried me to his bed. I laughed my lungs out in excitement.. He gently placed me on his bed, on my back, and climbed on top of me. He looked at me straight in the eye as he gently spread my legs open..

Later, we were laying on his bed, naked and exhausted. With him, I learnt that my satisfaction meant something between the sheets. His aim was to satisfy me, before his own satisfaction.

“I have to get going”

I whispered, drawing a pattern on his eyebrows.

“Already?”

He whispered back..

“Yes, already. I don’t want your people to see me”

I smiled.

“But I still want to spend time with you”

He pulled his lower lip..

“There’s always a next time”

I laughed, getting out of bed..

“Tell Phila to get ready, I will pick her up when I drop you off”

“Okay, I will. Let’s take a shower. There are so many people out there, we need to smell fresh”

He laughed..

“What?”

I looked at him..

“The way you’re saying it. So you don’t want them to smell what we did on us”

I laughed too..

“Yeah, some people are sensitive to these things”

He got up too and we went to take a long playful shower. We were having so much fun in there, splashing water all over the place. When we were done, we got out of the shower, butt naked.. Joys of having an en-suit bathroom, gosh..

“Oh, my poor kids”

Bazukile said. Shocked, I looked at him. He was picking up the used condoms from the floor.

“What are you talking about?”

He looked up..

“I’m talking about my children. Look”

He waved the condoms.. I laughed..

“Grow up man”

He laughed, taking the condoms and going to the bathroom with it. I applied his body lotion, and got dressed. He walked back into the room..

“Would you like anything to eat?”

“Yes, please. I’m hungry”

He laughed..

“What?”

“Nah, nothing.. So you want us to eat here or out?”

“Out”

He got dressed. I fixed his bed while he was getting dressed. We then walked out.. People were already pouring in, and some were already tipsy.. Bazukile told some of them that he was taking me back home, promising to be back.. We got to his car and drove off..

We got to town and grabbed a few things. We couldn’t sit and eat because he was in a hurry. We rushed home. On the way, I called Phila and told her to get ready because Bazukile was going to pick her up when dropping me off..

“Tomorrow I’m going to attend a family meeting, Sibusiso will be there. I’m really not looking forward”

“What’s the agenda?”

I shrugged my shoulders..

“Way forward from this pregnancy, I’m not sure”

“Don’t worry, attend the meeting. Nobody is going to force you to do anything you don’t want to do”

I nodded..

“I am totally in support of forgiveness, but it should come from within. The first step is healing. How can you forgive someone for something you haven’t healed from? That doesn’t make sense”

My phone rang.. It was Phila.

“Hey friend”

“Mandy, there is a man here, to see you. He says he is Sibusiso”

My heart skipped..

“Did you invite him in?”

“No, he’s outside. I just got back from talking to him by the gate”

“Okay, I’m on my way. Don’t let him in”

“Sure”

She hung up..

“Sibusiso is there”

“Relax, he will say what he came for, and leave you in peace”

Bazukile was so calm about that whole thing. Difference between him and Alex is that Alex panicked with me. When we got home, his car was parked outside.. Bazukile and I stepped out of the car and walked towards the car. Sibusiso got out of his car too, and rushed to us..

“Hey, Mandiphumle”

He shouted.. Bazukile and I stopped and looked at him.. He greeted Bazukile, and he greeted back..

“Mandy, can I have a word with you?”

“Talk. Say whatever you want to say”

He looked at Bazukile. .

“Mandy, I don’t have time for drama”

“What drama? Say whatever you want to say”

“Mandiphumle, how can I talk to you about personal issues in front of a stranger?”

“Dude, she wants you to talk in front of me. Stop wasting our time and talk”

Bazukile quickly chipped in..

“Shut up, I’m not talking to you. I don’t even know who the hell you are. I have nothing to say to you, so shut the hell up”

Bazukile laughed in disbelief..

“Why are you talking to me like that? You don’t know me, so mind your language”

“Because you’re getting involved in things that don’t concern you. I’m not here to talk to you, so stay the hell out of this”

“Sibusiso, you’re wasting our time. I will not have a private conversation with you”

He looked at me..

“Fine. I’m here to discuss the cleansing ceremony. I will not beg you to do it, but I’m just here to tell you that you will regret what you’re doing to my kids”

“Okay, I got it. Thank you”

“Be prepared. You will not get away with this”

“Whao, is that a threat?”

Bazukile asked..

“I told you to shut up!”

Sibusiso replied..

“Hey, don’t tell me to shut up. She heard you, leave now”

“Who are you? Dude, this whore is just using you. She will suck you dry, so slow down and wait for the day she ditches you for a richer man. Ask her how many men she’s been with since she and I broke up. While you’re at it, ask her who she’s staying with here. This girl is bad news. She’s the type of a girl that your mother warned you about. A little advice; don’t take pride in being her man”…