“We’ve got to go,” Dineo shouted into Mimi’s ear.
“Why? We’re having fun.”
“No, we’re not. Come on.” Dineo had already grabbed Mimi’s handbag from the table. She pulled her toward the door where it was quieter. “Lame was here. He saw me with your Mike all over me. I need to sort things out. I’m taking you home first though.”
“Lame here? I never saw him.”
“I doubt you’re seeing much just now.”
Dineo managed to call a taxi and she got Mimi home. Once she was finally at her flat, she called Lame but he didn’t answer. She didn’t want to explain things in an SMS or WhatsApp; she needed to speak to him.
Why did he get so upset and just leave? Why didn’t he come over and ask her what was going on? Was he going to throw this away over something he saw but didn’t understand? It wasn’t fair. She couldn’t lose Lame over something so stupid. They had only just met each other. She couldn’t lose him over this!
The next morning at Claudio’s the breakfast shift finished and Lame had not appeared.
“You look like your best friend died,” Mr Frances said.
“Yes. Sit down and tell me what’s wrong.”
The next thing she knew, she was crying on Mr Frances’s shoulder.
“You know what you need to do, Dineo? You need to go to his office and tell him everything. Tell him what he really saw last night. And most importantly, tell him how you feel in your heart.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yes, I do.”
“You don’t think it’s too soon? That I might chase him away?”
“No. I think he’s a man who doesn’t like games, he wants honesty.”
Angelica was sitting at an empty table nearby with her old, clanking adding machine. “I been watching this one, my Dineo. He’s a man to make an effort for, a keeper.”
Dineo looked at the elderly woman. Did she know something? Or was she just an out-of-touch old lady, as Mimi accused her of?
“Do you think so, Angelica?”
“Yes, my dear, go. It’s time to take a risk.”
Dineo grabbed her bag and didn’t bother to change out of her waitress uniform. She wasn’t exactly sure where Dibuka Publishing was but she had a general idea. She walked up and down the street she thought was correct and entered three buildings until she got the right one. They were on the top five floors of a building near the Company Gardens. At the reception desk she asked for Lame, and though the receptionist took in her waitress uniform with some scepticism, she directed Dineo to Lame’s office.
The door of the office was open, but Lame was inside having a meeting with two other people. He looked up and saw her. “Susan and Babedi, can we finish this later?”
The two both turned and followed Lame’s gaze to Dineo, then stood and left the office.
“Come in,” Lame said with reluctance. Dineo entered the spacious office, closing the door behind her.
“You didn’t come for breakfast,” she started.
“I wanted to talk to you about last night …”
“You don’t need to say anything. We’ve only just started dating; we never said it was exclusive. You did nothing wrong. I guess I just got ahead of things,” he said.
“No. I don’t even know that man. He’s just some drunk guy Mimi was with. Mimi, my friend, the waitress from Claudio’s. He kissed me – I didn’t kiss him. I didn’t even want to be there. Mimi was upset, her boyfriend dumped her. She was drunk and things were already out-of-hand when I arrived.”
“Honestly, you do not owe me an explanation.”
“No, I do. I’m not who you think I am. I don’t go out clubbing and picking up men. Especially now. Especially not since I met you. Especially when I … especially that I … especially because I think I love you.”
She waited, and there was only silence. She’d ruined it all. Mr Frances and Angelica had been wrong; she shouldn’t have told him. She’d really ruined it now.
But then Lame was standing and coming around the desk. And then he was taking her in his arms. And kissing her.
“I can’t believe you just said that.” He took her face in his hands. “I think I’m falling in love with you too, and I’ve been so scared. It’s not easy for me, this love thing. And then last night … I just felt like everything was happening again.”
“Happening again?” Dineo asked.
“No … I mean … I mean I just got scared that you were not the person I thought you were.”
“But I am. I am the person you think I am.”
Lame kissed her and she kissed him back. She was so happy he understood that what he saw, it was all a big mistake. And she was even happier that he was falling in love with her too.
Tell us: Do you think Dineo was brave to tell Lame that she loved him, at this early stage of the relationship?