I haven’t been in Cape Town in a little while, but I needed to do it. I was shaking all the way to the shuttle car with my bag wheeling behind me. I made it to Cape Town to see Tokello and that was the biggest step. My phone kept vibrating in my handbag and I knew it was Khathu. He had been SMSing me and calling none stop since Sunday morning. I pulled it from the bag, switched it off and shoved it back in my handbag. The shuttle dropped me at City Lodge V&A Waterfront and I got myself to the booked room. There was no way I was going to pay a good four grand for just a night at the One & Only, never! It wouldn’t damage my monthly allowance but I was not on holiday to spend four grand for a few hours. I needed just a room to freshen up and lay my head. I also didn’t want Tokello to book me a room anywhere. I didn’t want to give him a chance to end up in my room.
I sat by the window and stare blankly at the view of the city. Life used to be easier when I was younger and care-free. I laughed, cried and rejoiced in those streets up the mountain. I had good and bad memories of Tokello and I, in the same streets of Cape Town.
It is just after 11:00 am and I was supposed to meet Tokello at 13:00. I didn’t realise I missed his voice until he called me on Saturday. I didn’t have his new number so I answered not knowing it was him. I was stunned by his voice but I listened to him pleading to meet up with me so we could talk. He avoided talking about our engagement and him breaking it. He pleaded for a chance to talk to me so he could explain himself, clear the air and move on without guilt. I turned down the offer on Saturday as I was sure about Khathu. Walking into Khathu’s apartment to see him and that woman half-dressed got to me. I knew I was gambling with my heart but I didn’t know it would be so soon. I wanted to believe his explanation since I saw a folded blanket on the couch and woman sneakers beside the couch. She definitely slept on the couch. I so wanted to believe him but my head was telling me something else. He looked guilty and she was shaken by seeing me standing in the kitchen. I have seen how Khathu stare at that woman and I was just fooling myself by agreeing to be with him. I missed talking to him but I prayed to be a little stronger for my own sake. Seeing them together crushed the little hope I had for my relationship with him. I couldn’t even tell everyone in the car why I wasn’t myself thereafter. I didn’t even hear the sermon from the Pastor. I was heartbroken.
Tokello called me again on Sunday afternoon during the family lunch. I agreed to meet up for him to get things out of his chest and give me answers to all the questions I had ever since the break-up. My issue with Khathu made it easier for me to agree to a chat. It wouldn’t hurt anyone. I asked Tokello to send me the details of the lunch.
‘Lunch date at the Wine Loft, One & Only resort. Please allow me to dine you here. I had always promised you I will, when I afford. Grace from Mango will call you in an hour to give you the ticket details,’ his SMS read. I was shocked to learn he wanted me to fly all the way to Cape Town for a lunch date with him. I agreed to the lunch. I could use some Cape Town breeze anyway.
Here I was, almost ready to meet with my EX. I jumped into a shower and dressed up afterwards. I had on a red over-the-knee pencil dress paired with black sexy platform heels. I was going to walk a good 10 minutes to the resort and still had to look good while at it. I switched on my phone and a lot of notification beeped in. Sharon, my team’s secretary, sent me an SMS to call her as soon as possible. I dialed her number and she picked on second ring.
“Hey Shaz, you were trying to call me,” I say while touching up make-up on my face. She was on speaker and my phone was on top of the dressing table.
“Tshepo, thank God…your father urgently needs your report on the latest interior project and the junior architects are at the seminar. Mr Maake is in a meeting now… can you please leave your phone on so you can give him feedback? He said he approved your leave on condition that you will work wherever you are and give him all reports he needs,” she said breathlessly.
“Yeah, I promised to be on the call. I promise I will keep my phone on.”
“Alright, enjoy your lunch date. I’ll tell him to SMS you what he exactly needs and you can email him back his reports.”
She hung up and Khathu’s name flashed on my screen. I didn’t want to talk to him as yet but I missed him. I watched as he tried a few times before giving up. He gave up so easily. I finished with make-up and hair; and then headed to One and Only. I was taking my time parading on the street, turning heads of other pedestrians. I had to look a little perfect for my EX so that he doesn’t think I lost my touch after the break-up. He was waiting for me at the Wine Loft. He still looked fine as hell. He was wearing a white shirt and a navy suit like he always did. It is a pilot captain ‘thing’ of his. One would swear he was immune to other colours. He wore a perfect smile and I watched him admire me from a distance.
He walked to me and gave me a young hug before pulling a chair for me. I buried myself on it and kept a convincing fake smile. My heart was up my throat but I kept my cool. He had a perfect smile like he was about to propose to me all over again. A waitress walked to our table with a massive bouquet of red roses. He was still a charmer, too bad he chose to break my heart and I hated him for that. He received the roses and passed them to me.
“I am glad you made it,” he said like we had never broken up. I took the flowers and thanked him for the gesture. I didn’t know what he wanted me to do with the biggest bouquet of roses in Cape Town. Pack it up to Gauteng maybe? I wondered.
The waitress brought us the best bottle of wine. The room smelled divine with all blends of wines. He ordered us lunch and the waitress brought it minutes later. We ate in silence, stealing glances of each other.
“I had always wished to dine you here, remember?” he said while resting his back on the chair. I tried to read his face but I failed to. “You should see their rooms. Just as we always imagined.”
“Tokello, you said you needed us to talk,” I said. I didn’t care about how the resort looked like. We have both been to better places.
“I wanted to apologise.” He pulled himself back to the table and filled my wine glass with some more of the Shiraz wine we were having. It was sweet and bitter in a pleasant way. I wanted more of it but we had to talk before I get myself tipsy.
“Only now?” I thought out loud.
“I am going for therapy and my therapist advised me to do this.” I slightly rolled my eyes. Therapy my foot. The only person between us who needed therapy was me. I was humiliated and broken; and it was all his fault. I had to explain to a hundred of people why my perfect pink rock ring was not on my finger anymore.
“Tshepo, I messed up. I really did.” He picked my hand and I shook it off from him. We were not yet there at holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. I needed answers to my million questions. I was trying hard not to think about Khathu. I would have loved to share this with him. I thought I would be doing this with him waiting for me somewhere and he would be the first to ask me how it went.
“Why did you leave me like that?” I asked for the first time.
“Because I was young and stupid…and didn’t know what I wanted.”
“You said you were ready and we sat for pre-marital counselling with the pastor for weeks.”
“I thought I was ready until that day. I am sorry I complicated your life.”
“You didn’t complicate it. You humiliated me in front of my family. You made me question my worth in a way. You took my confidence away,” I said while pointing at him. He had no idea how embarrassed I was. “I don’t even think my family will ever forgive you.”
“I am sorry. I need your forgiveness.”
“Why now Tokello? You have been doing great without me.”
“I pretended to be fine. I am hurting every day. I kept kicking myself for what I did. I didn’t want to hurt you more and the time I saw you at Charlotte’s engagement’s party, I wanted to come to you but I got cold feet. You know I was not invited? I knew you were not going to miss it for the world and all I needed to do was to see you. You looked happy and better without me so I decided to let you be but I was unable to move on. Since the break-up, I haven’t asked a woman out because I want you back.”
I gulp on my wine a few times while he explained himself.
“Are you dating?” he asked and I gulp on the wine again.
“That’s not important. We are not here to talk about boyfriends and girlfriends. We are here to talk about us,” I emphasized. I didn’t know where I stand with Khathu. He has hurt me so much but my heart wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“Would you give us a chance?” he asked and I stare at him. What was he talking about? He was the same man who left me at an ‘altar’ because he didn’t love me enough. I said the ‘altar’ because it felt like he left me there on a day of a wedding.
“You left me because you didn’t love me enough.”
“I lied. I just had cold feet.”
I chuckled. Not at what he was saying. I was laughing at myself for flying all the way here to listen to that rubbish. What did I think anyway? I was just curious and needed to run away from Khathu. I needed to breathe and be away from the truth about the man I now loved deeply.
“What’s funny?” he asked and I poured myself more wine from a new bottle. Tokello watched as if annoyed. Why did he bring me to a ‘wine heaven’ if he didn’t want me to indulge? We were surrounded by all sorts of wines in the world and finishing a bottle wouldn’t kill me.
“I thought you would fill the void in my heart with your explanations but none of that is happening.” I sipped from my glass, no more gulping. “I thought I needed to see you for closure, but I wasted my time Tokello. I should have stayed away from you.”
“Why? I thought we were here to talk.”
“I thought I needed the…” My phone beeped from my purse and I quickly took it to check the message. I was awaiting my father to text me about my interior project. I opened the message from an unknown number.
‘I am patiently sitting at the City Lodge waiting for you to finish your lunch date with him. My flight back to Joburg is in four hours. I will wait for you for one hour to come here. If you don’t, then I will get the message. Khathutshelo.’
“Are you alright?” Tokello asked. I was stunned and I failed to hide it.

*****

I rushed to City Lodge with my clutch bag under my arm and the bunch of roses hugged to my chest. I was a little sweaty as I walked faster than I should have. The wine was also starting to spin in my head. Khathu was sitting at the end of the room with his hands on his face. I walked up to him while catching my breath.
“Khathu, what the hell are you doing here?” I asked breathlessly and he raised his eyes to me. He glanced at the flowers and then lifted his eyes to mine. I didn’t care what he thought, I had to take the flowers with me. They were beautifully arranged and I needed to take a few selfies with them.
I had a thousand questions for Tokello but now I had more for Khathu.
He stood from the couch.
“What are you doing here?” I asked again. How did he know I was here and booked at the City Lodge? I told Sharon not to tell anyone but my father.
“I came to talk to you.”
I turned to the elevator and he followed me. I needed to get to my room to shake off the platforms heels from my feet. I also needed a pair of sweat pants. He followed me silently. I thought I didn’t want to see him but I was glad he flew all the way here for me, just to talk. I opened the door, jumped in and shake off the shoes off my feet. I threw the roses on the bed and pulled a pair of sweat pants from the luggage bag. I changed into them and a vest.
Phew! Why do I have to wear tight dresses though?
Khathu was watching me from the end of the room. I knew he wanted to explain himself and to also question me about my date. I wondered how he knew about it.
“Where is she?” I asked while wiping make-up off my face. It felt like dejavu. It felt like the day I found him gawking at her at the club. He walked me to my hotel room and watched me change and clean my make-up.
“I don’t know. I don’t care,” he said with a straight face. I chuckled. The wine was making me a little courageous.
“Why did you come here?”
“To meet my EX.” There was nothing to hide. He was standing in his apartment half naked with a woman so dining with an EX should not dare hurt him.
“So is this what you are going to do in this relationship whenever there is a misunderstanding? Run to your ex and shut me off?”
“There is no relationship. I cannot be with a man who loves another woman. I told you, you can have her all you want. I don’t know what you are doing here. You should have gotten the message that I don’t want to talk to you ever again.”
Well, I was talking to him now but I thought I was never going to.
“I don’t know how many times should I tell you that I didn’t sleep with her. I wanted to sleep with her so fucken bad Tshepo,” he said and I turned to him, stunned. I have read many of his SMSs trying to explain but nothing caught my attention like what he just said. “But I didn’t sleep with her because I remembered the words I told you and I meant it. I promised you that I will not hurt you and I still promise that. Honestly speaking, I was just a little vulnerable when she kinda threw herself to me but I couldn’t go through with it because I treasure you. I treasure us. I really do. And now you running back to your EX seems like you don’t love me enough.”
I did not have a come-back response. I just sat on the bed quietly. My heart believed what he was saying while my head was secretly hating on that woman.
“He bought you flowers to last you a year…do you love it?” he asked.
“What? The flowers? Yes I do.” He frowned. I was also being honest. I loved the roses.
“So, what’s up with you guys?” he quietly asked. I sighed.
“We were just talking about the past.”
“He wants you back, doesn’t he? Do you love him back?”
“What the hell am I doing here with you Khathu? I came here running and I left that guy at the most exquisite dining ever with wine to last me my life-time and you still asking me if I love him back? What time did you send your text? What time?”
“15 minutes ago.”
“I had to run in those damned heels, looking like a fool, and you still ask me I loved him back?”
He walked to me and crouched between my legs. He took my hands into his and stared into my eyes.
“I love you and I don’t want to lose you.”
I am tickled by his voice. Blame it on the wine, or not! I loved Khathu so badly I was ready to let go of our misunderstanding. My heart spoke its own language and right now, it needed Khathu.
“I love you too…but…”
“No buts. It won’t happen again. I don’t love her but you. She will never be around me and I will be more thoughtful about situations around me,” he said. “I will never make room for misunderstanding. I will make sure of that.”
“You promise?”
“With all my heart.”
He pulled my neck and buried his lips on mine. He carefully laid me on the bed still passionately playing his tongue inside my mouth. I pushed the flowers off the bed and help him take off his jacket. He slid his hand under my vest, to the back and reach for the bra clips. I lifted my back a bit for him to un-do it easily. It let loose and he cupped my right breast.
“You taste like wine,” he said and groaned as he continued kissing me. He moved his lips from mine and planted them on my stomach. I chuckled from the tickling.
I thought I was angry at him. Not anymore, I supposed.
He pulled my sweat pants, together with my underwear. I was lying on the bed in just a vest while he takes off his clothes as fast as he could. He was ready to attack like a hungry lion, evidence was on how strong his manhood stood before me. He jumped back on the bed and continued kissing me while on top of me. Seconds later, my vest joined the other clothes on the floor.
“Do you have a condom?” he asked and I shook my head.
“Just pull out.” I said. I needed him as much as he did me. No room for foreplay.
“Are you sure?” I moaned and gritted my teeth as he enters me before I assured him of my decision.
‘Welcome back,’ I thought to myself as I opened wide and dug my manicured nails on his back.