Kholwa was light, and although that should have been worrying, August was happy because if she had been any heavier, he wouldn’t have made it to his place in one piece. He had carried her on his back, making sure that her head was not hanging awkwardly and her arms were secured around his neck.
She stirred and he tightened his grip on her. “Zamo,” she mumbled.
“It’s me, August.”
“Zamo,” she carried on as if she hadn’t heard him, “I like August.” She sleepily giggled. August smiled. She was sleep talking. “He has a nice butt.” He laughed. He wasn’t disagreeing with her, but was that really what she talked to Mzamo about? His nice butt? “But...”
“But what?” He prodded when she did not finish what she was saying.
“I hate myself for liking him and his butt so much. I don’t deserve him... I don’t...”
She did not say anything else during their walk. He thought the whole way about why she would hate herself for liking him. Did she have low self-esteem? It did not seem like it though. When they were together, she never said anything that made her confidence seem low.
But that wasn’t the first time she apologised to him with no context. Why? Was she hiding something from him? Did she already have a boyfriend? Was he just the side dish? Or maybe she was actually a he?
He shook his head. No. He had to trust her for them to be in a happy relationship.
But the thing is, he couldn’t stop thinking about it until he arrived to his flat.
He turned the door handle, hoping that the door was not locked, and also hoping that everyone had fallen asleep already. He was not feeling like explaining anything to them at the moment. He’d think of a better explanation in the morning.
But to his dismay, as soon as he opened the door, Rob’s voice followed.
“That was two hours and forty-seven...”
“Shhhh!” August shushed, walking in anyways. Both his roommates were still in their original spots, just different positions.
They looked at the girl on his back in shock.
“What...?” Sonke couldn’t finish his sentence with the amount of shock he was feeling.
“I’ll explain later. I just have to put her to bed first.” August softly said.
“You know there’s no floor in your room, right?” Sonke joked. A valid joke seeing that August’s room was a bit, if not too untidy
August opened his door, suddenly noticing the untidiness himself. He cringed. If she woke up to that, she would break up with him immediately. His roommates were behind him, following him to see the girl who was with him.
He had done the laundry not too long ago, so his blankets smelt fresh at least. He put her on the bed. They both came to help and together the process became smoother.
Sonke gave him a disapproving look afterward.
“I’ll explain,” August said, “please let me just make this look less like a pigsty first.”
They allowed him, leaving him to fix his mess. Five minutes later, he walked out of the room and sat on the single sofa, taking a while to properly look at his roommates.
“So...” Sonke was egging for him to explain.
August rubbed his neck like it was stiff. “She’s Kholwa, my girlfriend.”
“Great to know.” Sonke did not look happy. “What is she doing here so late at night, and why is she asleep?”
“We met by coincidence, I swear. We were both walking and decided to rest at the same bus stop. She just passed out and I didn’t have any money on me to get her a taxi home.”
“So where will you sleep tonight?” Rob asked, not as bothered. “You’ll be sharing a room, right?”
“Don’t do any strange things to her, or else I will skin you.” Mzamo’s voice echoed in his head.
“No!” He shook his head. “I’ll share a room with one of you.” They looked at him sceptically. “Please,” I will skin you “please.” He looked at Rob, pleading him. “Please.”
“Sure. Just for tonight.” Rob gave in.
“Answer your stupid phone,” Rob groaned, kicking August awake
August’s slowly opened his eyes. He could suddenly hear his ringtone.
“August,” Rob kicked him again, “answer your fucking phone. It’s too loud.”
August groaned, pulling it closer to his face. He found it difficult to see who was calling but answered, putting his phone on his ear, then shutting his eyes and tried to go back to sleep again.
“What took you so long?”
August sighed at the sound of his agent’s voice. “What is it?”
“We have a problem. You friend decided to make headlines again.” Veronica said. In the background, August could hear a car horn. Most likely Veronica. Why was she on the road so late?
“My friends are not famous enough to make headlines.”
“Wow,” Rob softly said beside him, turning around to face the wall.
“Wake up!” Veronica sternly said. “I’m ten minutes away, and when I get there, you need to be ready to talk to the news outlets. Manelisi has released some of your designs. He says it’s to prove that you copied him. These look just like what we were planning to release on your debut stage.”
August’s eyes popped open and he stared into the darkness. He held onto his phone as he jumped up.
“Manelisi has leaked your designs.”