Growing up

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Chapter Eighteen

She texts Nandipha to come over. As usual, she wastes no time. She is in our room in no time. Like always, she is bubbly and vibrant like a child who just ate a lollipop. She tells us about how long her day was; how hectic it is being a university student. It looks like she has forgotten that we are also university students. After whining asks how Mongikazi is. “I’m perfect thanks, yourself?” Mongi replies.

“I am asking about what happened earlier,” Nandi says.

“And what is that?”

“Nigerians, black car, duh?”

“I am not sure I am following.”

“Are you always this slow? Is Aviwe sleeping? She has to bail me out here,” then she comes close to me and taps on my shoulder. “Aviwe, Aviwe wake up doll.”

Pretending to be super drowsy, I reply: “What is it?”

“Come now, “she pinches my ear.

“No, Nandipha man!”

“I’m sorry but at least you are awake now.”

“What do you want?”

“Rude.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“She is sleepy and when she is sleepy she becomes grumpy,” poor Mongi replies.

“I see, ok as I was asking; how did you get in that Nigers’ car? What were you doing with them and why did you run away and not give your statement to the police?”

“How do you know that?”

“I don’t remember it happening in another planet, did it?”

“Seems like you know it all.”

“It looks like you two forgot to give me the memo, why are you all so mean to me all of a sudden? I don’t remember having beef with you but everything is different now, so what’s wrong? And I am not stupid. You all are hiding something and have been avoiding me.”

“Pardon me?”

“You heard me.”

“Well, you see what you want to see. On my side, I have nothing against you! No beef, no bad blood, no nothing, love.”

“Really?”

“Do you have to ask? I swear to God! Mwaaaa”

“Oh I am so relieved, I was worried! Aviwe, Aviwe wake up!” Nandipha shouts.

“Oh Lord have mercy! Let me go wash my face,” I say, yawning.

“Before you go to the bathroom, tell me: are we good?”

“I’d be an ungrateful child if I wouldn’t be good with my mom after the Friday night treat,” then I smile and wink at her. I get off my bed and as soon as I get out of the room I roll my eyes like ‘bitch please’. After washing my face, I go back to my room.

“So Nandi what have you been up to?” I ask Nandipha as I sit on my bed.

“Nothing interesting, but I doubt if I can say the same about you two. You guys seem to be having all the fun without the crew! How can I forget Mongi confessed to be in love with you, Aviwe? I honestly didn’t see that coming. I thought maybe it was going to be the other way round. This is not even the best part of the story. Tom Vee on the other side is in love with Mr rot in jail Bee.” She pauses and rolls her eyes. “Forgive me, guys. I just find this really interesting. Ok then Mr Babalo on the other side is in love with my lesbian friend here Mongi! Wow!”

Mongi looks offended but tries to keep her cool when she says: “Where did you get that? And why are you telling us?”

Nandipha takes the chair and puts it in the middle of the room so that she can see both Mongi and I. “No doll, this is just the beginning of our reconciliation. You said we are good, right? So I want to tell you every dot I connected and I need you to tell me if I am correct or not.”

“What are you doing, Nandipha?” I ask, a little irritated.

“Nothing, yet. What I am going to do in the next hour is totally up to you. Ok, let me go on with my love triangle story. Let me connect the dots. So the three of you love each other. Ok, let me try again. There are three of you and each of you loves a wrong person within the triangle. No, I give up. This is complicated, but hey that’s why we are stuck here. Mr Bee came here to see Mongikazi, Aviwe saw him and faints. I still wonder though. I wonder how you all ended up in a triangle while Aviwe is from East London. But no, that’s the least of my worries. After our friend fainted we took her to the hospital, but on the same day she was discharged and went missing in action! My guts tell me that Vee went with Babalo.”

“Get to your point Nandipha. Where are you heading? What are you implying?” Mongi says, impatiently.”

“Calm down now, this is truth reconciliation. Listen without interrupting! Thing is, you don’t have timing but thanks for leaving me the dots to connect. If you were not as reckless, impulsive and careless as you are, it would have been really hard to do my job!”

Mongi wants to respond but Nandipha cuts her short. “Not now doll! I said listen and you going to do just that. If you can’t close your mouth, don’t worry, I will close it for you! Where were we? Oh, I was saying Aviwe went missing in action with Babalo. Mind you, Balo met only the two of you here. After a few days he was arrested before doing his job. The problem in hand now is his missing silver briefcase. And one of you has it, who is it? Oh, before you respond just remember that this is nothing but the truth. Then we can all sleep and go to school tomorrow like all the other students.”

“What’s with you and this brief case?” Mongi asks.

“It’s no time to play dumb now doll, see? Saturday when you blew me off when asking about Babalo you made me think and then I came to a conclusion that Vee was wide awake when I was talking with my boss in the car Friday night. I mean, that’s the only thing that explains your rudeness towards me. I mean who becomes so mean to a person who just spent money on you? You are not as clever as you thought! And I saw your (pointing at me) call logs. You are the one who was on the phone with Babalo when he got arrested! Which explains why you visited him in prison on Saturday. Hey, stop me when I start talking trash Mongi and I didn’t see this coming; at least not this soon. We both look so stupid, I don’t know what to say. We look at each other.

“Fun time is over ladies, I have said everything I know and now it’s time you tell me what is true and what is not.”

Mongi looks at me. I can see the fear in her eyes! “Start talking ......nothing but the truth.” Nandi continues.

“I have the briefcase.” I say, softly, not sure if it’s the right thing to say.

“Good, hand it over.” “It’s not with me.” “Go and get it. It’s not yours! Now move it! Time is ticking.” “I can only have it on Wednesday.” “Where is it?” “Why would I tell you?” “Because I am asking you nicely.” I tell her it’s in a safe place, even if I tell her, they can’t allow her to take it.

“I won’t ask where you keep the briefcase. You’ll go get it and I will patiently wait with Mongi and pray you don’t do something stupid. You wouldn’t want someone who loves you with every fibre of her body to get hurt right? Oh and Bee loves Mongi, so he would never forgive you if you’d let something bad happen to her. You don’t want to be hated by Babalo, do you? I advise you to be smart.”

“That’s every dirty secret in my closet, any questions?”“Have you ever killed someone?” Mongi asks“No, I have never took someone’s life but I have tortured them ’till they were close to death. Nobody had ever given me a hard time.” “Let’s be clear: just because I have never killed anyone it doesn’t mean I can’t. I can and I will if I have to.” Nandipha adds.“Can we sleep now? Like I need my beauty sleep for the last time before this girl next to me puts a bullet in my head.”I turn around and face the wall, she comes really close; I can feel her honey spot against my bum, we sleep on a spoon position. I need to think but her breathing on my neck is irritating and distracting. I need to think about my next move, I have to get lost in my mind but she keeps pressing her cookie on my butt. Then she puts her hand on my stomach making her way to my boobs. I take her hand off my breasts and shove it to her thighs but she does it again. She puts her hand on my hip this time, brushing it slowly. What is she thinking? What’s wrong with her? I turn around and face her.“What are you doing? Just because you have a gun now you want to rape me too? You are disgusting.”“I thought the feeling is mutual.”“I’m afraid it’s not, now leave me alone.”“Babalo won’t know this; I know you want this too.”“I’d rather die than fucking a monster. I am not gay and even if I was you are definitely not my type.”“Oh, please I am everybody’s type.”“Nandipha, I want to sleep. You are irritating the crap out of me. Look, I know you thought stealing was the way to get a better life, but I tell you now it’s not and it’s not too late to change.”“Do you think it’s that easy? I mean, if it was that easy I would have cut the ties with Ta Yunga a long time ago. Look, Aviwe I see what you are trying to do. You trying to be smart and talk me out but that’s not going to happen. I have two brothers and a mother. My brothers are still in school and my mother is in rehab. Ta Yung have me hooked around his thumb and if I double cross him, he will make me pay the price. It’s you or my family and I can’t take that chance. Besides, I love what I am doing, Ta Yung is always been good to me: he rescued me, took me and my family in and that came with a price. Never have I ever thought it was free. And even if I were to decide to let you free I’m not so sure if I can trust you. Now are you going to fuck me or not?”She gets on top of me, sits on my cookie then she leans over like she is going to kiss me. I give her the taste of her own medicine - the evil smile, she smiles back. I am not sure what she is trying to do, I am not sure if she really wants to sleep with me or if she just wants to piss Mongikazi off or maybe this is just what she does to her victims. I don’t know if Mongi is asleep or not but she doesn’t say a word. I let Nandi come really close and when she is about to kiss me I grab her wrist and roll her over. I pin her underneath me. I pin her hands on top of her head.

“That’s more like it. I knew you wanted me too,” she whispers. I look her in the eyes, she stares back, and I slowly move my waist up and down rubbing my cookie against hers. She smiles, her eyes close and when she starts to moan, I stop moving. She opens her eyes and gives a questioning look. I smile in return and come closer, saying:“Look, sweetheart I may be only 18 and have a swag to die for but I am definitely not immature. I am tired of you talking to us like you are the boss. I am not a drug dealer, I have never held a gun but I have done much worse: I have stabbed a guy countless times and trust me, I enjoyed every moment. I will not hesitate to do the same to you. I will give you the damn briefcase then I want to. You to stay the hell out of our lives; it is not a request but a command Nandipha.”“Wow, I’m impressed. Now get off me.” I get off her and sit beside her. “I have never thought you are immature but I am not sure if I can say the same about your friend. Look, Aviwe don’t be dumb. If you do anything to me Ta Yung will know. Trust me it will be ugly. He will kill everyone you know, everyone close to you. Be smart: give me the briefcase. Maybe we can figure out a way to fake your death and that’s a big maybe.”“Fake my death?” I ask with a confused face.“Yes, but if we do that you’ll have to leave the country, change your identity and never come back.”“And Mongi?“Same for her.”“And then what would be the price?”“No price no nothing”“Why would I believe that you would risk your life for us? You just said you can’t stab Yung’s back, what changed now?”“I am not as bad as I sound, I don’t know. Maybe I still have a little humanity after all.”“Don’t you want to stop the life you are living? Don’t you want to be free and be like any other university student, enjoy life with no gun to your head? I mean don’t you want to leave without thinking about the next mission?”“I told you it’s not that easy; I am not doing this with you anymore. Come to sleep now I promise I will keep my hands to myself.”“Maybe there is a way. Come on think about it Nandi.”“What are you talking about?”“You said it yourself that you are brilliant, you are a fixer. Now fix your life. Use your brain to fix your life not Ta Yung’s dirty schemes. He is using you so use that to your advantage.”She gets up to sit on the bed next to me. I can see that I am starting to get under her skin. She is not horny anymore, she gives me her undivided attention.“Well this is getting more interesting. You keep on impressing me. Talk, I’m all ears. What exactly are you saying Aviwe?”“You said his guys don’t know about you; you are his secret weapon. He is the only person that has you prisoned. He is the only one that knows you and your family. If you take him out then you can have a normal life.” “How do you suggest I do that? I can’t shoot him. He is always with his guards and they think I’m his daughter. They might not know me but they know my face, they know where I live. I can’t put my life in danger for some pretty tomboy I met a few weeks back. You don’t know what these people are capable of. I gave you a deal: give me the briefcase and disappear.”“You don’t want to get out of this life, do you?”“Maybe I don’t. I have so much to lose if anything goes wrong. Goodnight Viwe. Go get the briefcase and take the deal.”She gets under the blankets and sleeps. I look at her while she is asleep. She looks peaceful you’d swear she is an angel. I can’t understand how a girl as beautiful as she is can get involved with such people and not want to get out.

I don’t have time for games; I have to play my cards right and fast. Nandipha doesn’t want to be saved and you cannot help a person when she doesn’t want to be helped. Killing Ta Yung would have saved all of us but she made her choice and now I am making mine. We all will have to live with our choices. I know killing Nandipha would be an easy way out for me and Mongi, but I wouldn’t live with that. I wouldn’t leave with the guilt of killing my friend, the few weeks we knew each other might not mean anything to her but they mean something to me. I want to play this right, I have to.I wake up before they do, I go take a shower. When I return Mongi asks: “Up already?”“What choice do I have?” I lotion and put clothes on.“Where is Miss Devil?”“She is here,” Nandipha mumbles under my blankets.“Oh, where are you going?” Mongikazi asks.“The less you know, the better.”“We are in this together...”

I cut her short. “Shhhhh I need you to trust me, I will come back tomorrow with the briefcase, Ok?” She looks at me with eyes, filled with so many questions.“Nandi will not hurt you, I will be back with the briefcase and then we will all take it from there, right Nandi?” “Yes ma’am.”Looking at Mongi I say: “Stay calm yhea? We’re all going to be fine.”“Be careful Aviwe, Babalo will kill me if something happens to you.”“And he would kill me if something happens to you too so stay calm ’till I come back.” I wink at her then I take my wallet and put in the back pocket of my chino. I take my phone and go to the door. Before I go out, Mongi shouts I must stop. I stop and look back at her. She gets up and comes to me. She cups my face and whispers: “I need you to come back in one piece, I don’t want to take a breath without you.” “How sentimental. I thought you didn’t love Mongi. Anyway, it’s none of my business. Go get my briefcase and don’t do anything stupid.” I look at Nandi and frown. I let go of Mongi then I open the door so I can leave. Mongi breaks down and keeps saying she loves me. “Go, I will deal with her,” says Nandipha. She then looks at Mongi, “Hey, be quiet you don’t want the entire res to come here and ask questions. Just stay calm ok? I’m not going to hurt you I promise. As long as your girlfriend doesn’t try to be smart.”

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