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Self esteem is something that was seldom taught in the class room, a few wrong relationships and even the basic Sunday school teaching about it goes out the window. Sammy is just one in a room full of bodies that just needed some verbal affirmation, but will she get it? At what cost?

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Chapter 1


The herd may be stampeding in the wrong direction, it’s okay to step aside and let them go by.


The trip to Lusaka had been tiresome, I couldn’t even feel my legs, I knew they would most likely be swollen. I stood in Hungry Lion waiting for my Zanga big bite 2 while I waited for Niza or Aunty to pick me up. I sat in the corner and dug into the chicken, gosh it was so amazing. I did not even realise how hungry I was. I could eat ten of these I thought, ripping into the greasy drumstick. My phone vibrated on the table it was Niza. With my mouth full I picked up, hardly able to get out a greeting.

“Sammy, I am in the parking lot opposite Hungry Lion,” he said as soon as I picked up, I swallowed quickly. Disappointed that my meal was being cut short but grateful I didn’t have to wait.

“Okay am coming. ” I said packing up my food and tossing it into my handbag. I blessed the size of it. I sashayed out of Hungry Lion and immediately saw my cousin’s Range Rover. He flashed his lights. I smiled as if I would mistake his car for anyone else, his number plate was custom made.

Niza alighted and came to hug me, my cousin was excessive in the good looks department, and he smelled expensive, I took a deep whiff of the musky, woody scent and had to suppress a sneeze.

“Mum will be excited to see you, ” he said with a smile.

" I hope she doesn’t bring up the Internship, ” I cried out.

" Just take it up. ” he urged.

" I still have my one year. ”

He smiled. Aunty had given me one year after my degree in Social Work to find something I loved to do or join the family business. Not a single bone in my body was designed for business, and I was shit at numbers, so the family business was not on my to do list right now. I wanted to help people, but it was so hard to find a good job.

" So who is this beauty who managed to drag you to the aisle?” I asked imitating Aunty’s accent.

I saw a smile on Niza’s face and he brushed down his non-existent moustache using his finger. It was a look I had never seen on his face before and I had practically grown up with him. I spent all my holidays at their house in Lusaka our parents were close. They were cousins too, but he was older than me by about 4 years but still my best friend.

“You’ll get to meet her, ” he smiled.

" Does she have brothers?” I asked jokingly. I had met Tinashe, I liked her.

“You broke up with the Auditor?” he teased. I had been dating a guy from KPMG throughout my university days. I had been on the Copperbelt barely two weeks when he told me the long-distance relationship was not working for him, and that was four months ago.

“You broke up?” he asked again horrified.

“Shut it and drive. ” I said curtly. I expected an I told you so from him but he just squeezed my hand comfortingly.

" She has two brothers, so you might be in luck. ” I grunted. My dating days were over.

I looked out the window thinking about my ex made me feel awkward. It had been four months, but I think I was not over him. We had dated a very long time, then it was over and I was heartbroken.

“We have rehearsals tomorrow evening at my house, I hope you’ve been trying the videos I sent you,” Niza said with a smile. Dancing had just never been my forte and he knew that. “We had a deal. You can’t back out now,” he added.

“Wait until I can’t fit into your expensive bridesmaid's dresses then you’ll see,” I mumbled. I had gained a few kilograms since the last time I was here, I used to jog with Niza and I kept fit. But I had stopped all that and being unemployed had turned me into a couch potato.

“You still look good, nothing a good run can’t fix,” he said good-naturedly.

A good run? I was not running anymore. Just walking made me feel like my chest was burning up.

“Am I staying with you?” I asked guardedly.

Niza laughed. “You want mom to kill me? I bet she has had your room cleaned out thoroughly.”

“Oh,” I groaned. “There goes my plans of partying till dawn.”

Niza just laughed. “We’ll pass through Levy Mall for a few minutes I have to collect something for Tinashe.”

“Okay. Where is she anyway?” I asked I had met her once after their engagement party, she was nice and just the right amount of sarcasm I liked in people. We had become fast friends.

“Attending a wedding, by the way, we have been invited to a family dinner tonight at Taj Pamodzi,” he informed me.

“Our family? ” I asked surprised because the Kalimwendo’s could be embarrassing.

" Tinashe’s. It’s her dad’s wedding today.”

I didn’t want to ask but Niza gave me the knowing look. He knew I had a very curious mind. Like why her dad was marrying now? And what of her mom?

“Just tell me, ” I said.

Niza just laughed and parked the car. The doors unlocked and we got out, it was drizzling but I was not going to make a fuss about a few drops of rain on my face.

I walked beside my cousin, laughing casually and smacking his sexy muscles when he stepped out of line. That’s when I saw Mando hand in hand with a very pregnant misses coming out of African Jewel. My eyes settled on the girl, I barely recognised her.

“Is that Mando?” I heard Niza ask.

He must have noticed the colour as it drained out of my face, or he could have felt my footsteps falter.

“I should go over and punch his face in,” Niza said angrily. He too had done the maths.

I reached out and grabbed his arm. “Please don’t!” I begged.

Just then Mando looked over at us.

I wished that the ground could open and swallow me, I had just walked through the drizzle, I know my face was probably 10 shades of complexions, I had not bothered with my hair after 4 long hours on the bus, I most likely looked like I had just survived an electrocution, and I was wearing the only dress that probably fit me without having to force it on.

I looked away and forced myself to walk faster, my eyes stung with tears as I saw the tight grip with which the girl held Mando’s hand we had never walked hand in hand like that, jealousy washed over me like cold water in June, along with it was my already broken heart, an ache I had ignored all this time.

Niza held my hand as we went up the escalator. Sympathy written all over his handsome face all I could think about was the girl Mando left me for, or maybe I had just been his chick on the side? I was mortified. She was beautiful, her make up was perfect, her hair, her clothes and she was pregnant. Me on the other hand looked like what the cat had dragged in.

We collected Tinashe’s contact lenses from Sunbird, at this point all I could think of was just going home to sleep. So much for the excitement of coming back to Lusaka.


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