My name is Tshepo; I’m a cool and quiet person. I like socializing with my friends over beer and laughter. I’m an honest guy, but shy. Innocent and I have been friends for almost seven years. She’s always been a very good friend to me. When both of us were older, I realised that I was in love with her. Problem was this; I didn’t know how to tell her about my true feelings for her because we were such good friends.

I believed that the right time would eventually come and I would have the courage to tell her how I felt about her. I fell for her the day we met at college; she had enrolled to study IT and I was doing a security guard course. As our friendship developed, I came to know her as a caring, humble and loving person. She watched me date a string of girls but I never developed any serious feelings for any of them because I was in love with her.

We would often hang out together after campus and talk about everything from TV, to movies and our lives. Eventually we both graduated from our respective courses. Innocent found work in data capturing and I worked as a security guard. Our workplaces were close to each other so we met up for lunch at the McDonalds around the corner from her office. In all that time, I never revealed my feelings for her. Then came a day when I decided that it was the right time to tell her. We were on lunch at McDonalds.

“Inno, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time now,” I started.

“You know you can tell me anything. Talk to me Tshepo,” she said looking at me curiously.

I hesitated for a moment before I said, “I’ve been in love with you since our first day at college seven years ago.” I didn’t look up for fear of seeing rejection on her face.

Innocent then laughed, she probably thought I was kidding. But when she saw how serious I was she stopped laughing and looked away.

“Do you really mean what you’ve just said,” she said looking me straight in the eyes.

“I do, I’ve just always been scared that you might reject me,” I said moving closer to her and taking her hand in mine.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for you to say those words. I feel the same way about you,” she said.

Innocent then took my face in both of her hands and placed her lips against mine. For a moment I was surprised at her kissing me, and then I kissed her back. I kissed her like I kissed her in my dreams, full force but gentle.

That day we became more than friends, Innocent and I became lovers.

I felt insecure that Innocent was earning more than I was. She would buy me gifts and help me out with money when I needed it. It was supposed to be the other way around; I was supposed to be the one buying her gifts and helping her out.

“What’s the matter, Tshepo,” Tiza asked me one day when we were having a couple of beers at the local bar.

“You know, money is the issue as always,” I said trying to sound casual.

“Why don’t you ask Innocent if you’re short on cash,” he said smiling.

“I can’t do that. What if she starts to think that I’m only with her for her money? I don’t want to lose her,” I said miserably.

Tiza was my best friend, but he was a bad influence. Once, he convinced me to cheat on Innocent. I never told Innocent that I cheated on her because I knew that she would leave me.

“Man up, bro. You know Innocent would do anything for you, including giving you money if you asked.”

I didn’t feel like discussing my money problems with Tiza anymore so I changed the subject and we spoke about soccer for the rest of that evening. The next day, Innocent came to visit me at my home. She knew that something was the matter with me. She knew me very well.

“Baby, what’s up?” She asked as she sat next to me on my bed.

“You know I don’t like asking you for money, but can you help me out until I get paid please?” I asked looking down at my feet.

“What’s the money for?” She asked innocently.

“I need it to buy a few groceries and toiletries,” I said more confidently.

“What did you do with your salary? You got paid two weeks ago; you can’t tell me that you used it all. I can’t help you out this month because I have to send money back home; my father is ill and needs it to go see the doctor,” she said.

I immediately felt bad for asking her. I loved her and it wasn’t right of me to depend on her money because she needed it as well.

“I shouldn’t have asked, I’m sorry,” I said sulkily.

“Baby what’s wrong? I thought we sorted this out. Do you love me or are you with me for my money? You know I’d help you if I could,” she said in a quiet voice.

“How can you ask me that? You know I love you or are you having doubts about us?” I asked a bit angry for her insinuation.

“Love isn’t about money, it’s about two people caring for each other and loving each other,” she said taking my hand and pulling me back to the bed. I loved her that’s why I couldn’t be angry at her. I didn’t want her to leave me so I had to find a way of getting extra cash quickly by myself.

I sorted my money problems out and invited Innocent for dinner at Capsy, an elegant restaurant in town. I wanted to show her that I was sorry about my manners towards her the previous day. She arrived on time then we placed our orders.

“Inno, you know I love you right?” I started.

“Yes I do and I love you too, baby,” she said adoringly.

“I know that I may act like a douche sometimes, but it has taken me a long time to get to where I am with you now,” I said smiling.

“I know that too, but why did you wait so long though,” she asked looking at me seriously.

“Guess I was scared that you’d reject me. You are a better person than I am and that alone made it difficult to say something in the first place. I’m glad I did say something eventually,” I said lovingly.

“I get what you mean; we were such good friends, but look at us now; we’re so in love,” she said.

“I don’t ever want to lose you, baby,” I said.

“I don’t ever want to lose you too,” she said giving me a peck on the lips.

“I love you more and more with each passing day,” I said as the waiter put our food on the table.

Innocent was my true love and I realised that I didn’t want anyone else. I also realised that money has nothing to do with love; it can’t buy happiness. Innocent made me feel alive, more than money ever would. I only hope that our love will last forever.


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