Ntombi felt herself smiling. How
could she not? He looked so cute,
with his naughty smile. “Aren’t I
going to get a hug?” He stepped
forward and she dissolved into the
warmth of his arms. “It’s so good
to see you,” he said squeezing her
gently and kissing her hair. “It’s
been the longest twenty-four
“For me too,” said Ntombi.
“I never want to let you go again,”
“I was worried,” Ntombi confessed.
“I know, I’m sorry,” he whispered,
taking her head between his hands
and looking searchingly into her
eyes. “Things just got a little crazy.
I’ll be able to explain soon. I really
want to. It’s just I can’t, not yet…”
“You’re not in some kind of
trouble?” asked Ntombi. For a
moment something swept across
Mzi’s face. It was his mask, the face
that she couldn’t see behind, but it
passed in a second.
“Come. I’ve got someone who
really wants to meet you.” Ntombi
frowned. She hoped it wasn’t
another of his girl friends; she
didn’t know if she could fake
enthusiasm. “My sister,” he said.
“She’s invited you to tea. She
wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
They got into the car and soon
were speeding through the
township. So he did have a sister.
He had been telling the truth, and
now she was about to meet her.
“Is she OK, your sister?” she asked.
“Yes… but we had a big scare.
That’s why I acted the way I did
the other night. I’m sorry. You see
the doctors thought she had
cancer, and we were waiting for
the results. I’m really close to her…
and I guess I just freaked out
under the pressure. But now it’s all
“Yes,” said Mzi. “We found out this
morning. Her tests were clear.” He
smiled at Ntombi.
“I’m glad,” Ntombi said. As they
pulled into a side street Mzi turned
“There’s just one thing,” he said.
“Don’t ask her any questions about
it. She’s still quite upset and she
told me she just doesn’t want to
talk about it.”
“Of course I won’t,” said Ntombi.
Mzi stopped the car outside a
white painted fence and came
round to open her door. Before she
knew it a young woman was
coming down the path to greet
them. “I’m so pleased to meet
you,” she said, smiling at Ntombi
and then looking quickly at Mzi. He
“Come inside.” It felt really good,
and normal; the most normal thing
that had happened in days. Just
sitting and chatting to Mzi’s sister,
and laughing. Ntombi was just a
normal girl with her cute
boyfriend, who had a family, and
an address and an explanation for
They had chatted for about ten
minutes when Mzi excused himself
to go to the toilet. Ntombi was left
alone on the couch, as his sister
went to make some more tea.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” she
assured Ntombi. Ntombi sat and
looked around the room. She
wondered where their parents
were. Hadn’t Lettie said something
about them living with their aunt
now? Just then she heard a beep. It
was coming from under the
cushion on the couch. She fished in
and took out Mzi’s phone – it must
have fallen out of his pocket as
they sat. As she fumbled with the
phone she must have pressed the
green button because suddenly
words appeared on the screen. She
couldn’t help reading them – and
what she read made her heart beat
We on 4 2morow? Mit @ usual
place 6pm –Mama’s – bring
intshiza – Z
Ntombi quickly stuffed the phone
back under the cushion as Mzi shut
the toilet door behind him. “Hey,
you look like you seen a ghost.
What does my sister think she’s
doing leaving you alone like this?
That’s no way to treat a VIP guest.”
Just then his sister came back in.
Mzi flashed her what looked like a
warning glance – it wasn’t friendly.
Oh no, thought Ntombi. She didn’t
want to see him angry.
“I was absolutely fine,” laughed
Ntombi weakly. “I’m a big girl
“Of course she is,” the sister said.
“I’m sorry. My brother is just a little
bit overprotective. In fact he
worries about everything – he just
doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
She smiled sweetly up at Mzi, who
smiled back. But she could see the
tension in his body.
“We’d better get you home, before
your mother wonders where you
are,” he said, reaching out a hand
“There’s no hurry,” said Ntombi,
not wanting to be alone with him.
“They take ages in church.” Just
then another beep came from
under the cushions. Ntombi
pretended to look surprised.
“Oh,” said Mzi as he quickly
retrieved his phone. “It must have
fallen out my pocket.” He quickly
scanned the message. Ntombi
watched his face, but it was a mask
again, revealing nothing. “Let’s go
– maybe we can swing by a take-
out on the way home. I could kill
for some fried chicken right now.”
He laughed and Ntombi laughed
too. She couldn’t let him suspect
that she knew about him and
Zakes. They got into the car and
Mzi turned on the stereo.
“I love this song,” said Ntombi.
“Me too,” said Mzi. As they pulled
into the Chicken and Fries take
away he asked her what she felt
like. “You can have anything,” he
“I’ll have a wrap,” she said.
“You also like wraps?” he smiled.
“You have good taste – wraps are
my favourite. You see, you and I
are going to get along just great.”
He kissed her cheek. “We have the
same tastes, I can tell.”