Parks arrived at home to see a stranger with a red cap leaving the house.
“Who was that?” he asked Thandi.
She was sitting in the lounge, her handbag next to her, her purse open.
“No one you know. By the way, Parks, Busi is alone. Her granny’s in hospital. It’s a good time to get her – she will need help now. She will agree to give up the baby.”
“How do you know?” Then it dawned on Parks. “You have got yourself a spy, haven’t you? You are paying someone to spy on Busi for you.”
“Spying, what spying?” said Thandi. “I’m just helping out someone who doesn’t have much money, that’s all. And if they want to tell me some neighbourhood gossip, all the better.” She frowned. “Let’s hope the granny dies. Then she will have to give us the baby.”
Parks went to the drinks cabinet. “Well, we are not killing off her granny.”
“Of course not!” said Thandi. “Would I ever think of such a thing?”
Knowing you, I wouldn’t be surprised, thought Parks. He sipped his whisky.
“I’ve got more baby things, Parks. Beautiful things. We are going to be so happy. You’ll see,” said Thandi, hugging a cushion to her chest.
Parks saw the cuddly blankets, soft toys and babygros stacked on the table. He sighed. He had hoped that Thandi would get over this, but now it had become a dangerous obsession. For his own safety and peace of mind he would have to get hold of that damn baby.
Thandi stood up, took his whisky glass from him and put it down. “Come. We are paying Busi a visit.”
Busi woke with a jolt. Someone was banging on the door. Sleepily Busi stumbled to open it, thinking that one of her friends had probably forgotten something.
“What have you left …?” she mumbled as she opened it.
But it was not her friends. Before she had a chance to slam the door shut, Parks and his large wife had pushed her back into the shack.
“Get out!” shouted Busi as she stumbled backwards. Parks’s strong hand steadied her.
“You have no right …” she said loudly, turning to face them. “I’ll call the police … I’ll …”
“Quiet now,” said Parks gently, touching her softly on the cheek. “We’re not going to harm you.”
“Just listen!” said Parks’s wife.
Busi turned away from them, covering her ears with her hands.
“No,” she said, “I won’t listen to you!”
“Be quiet!” Busi heard Parks say to his wife, “Let me do the talking!”
His wife opened her mouth to say something, looked at Busi, then closed it again. She nodded at Parks.
Busi felt Parks moving closer to her. She felt him putting his arm around her shoulders.
“We heard about your grandmother,” he said, leaning down and speaking so softly that Busi could feel his breath close to her ear. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
Oh, Parks, she thought, I loved you so much. He was so close to her that she could smell the familiar scent of his aftershave. A part of her wanted him to envelop her in his arms.
“Everything is going to be OK,” she heard him say. “Let me take care of everything. Let me take care of you. Let me take care of the baby. My baby. Give it to us. Give it to me. We will be able to give it everything it could want in life. Everything. When the baby is born you must give it to us. We will give it a wonderful life. We have money, and no children of our own. We can do it. You must let us.”
Busi’s eyes flew open, and she pulled away. Then she turned to face him, her fists clenched at her sides, her eyes flashing. “‘My baby’!” she said, her voice rising. “Did you say ‘my baby’?” Busi’s heart was beating furiously in her chest. She rushed to the door of the shack and flung it wide. “Get out!” she screamed, waving her hands wildly. “Get out of my house! Get out of my life! I will never …”
Busi paused to catch her breath. Her mind was in turmoil. Parks was staring at her, open-mouthed. His wife was behind him, pushing him forward. Busi was aware that she was shouting loudly, and that she had picked up a frying pan from the stove and was waving it in their direction. Suddenly she felt the baby kick fiercely, and she clutched at her stomach with her other hand.
“Calm down!” said Parks, “Our baby …” and he moved towards her.
“It’s my baby!” shrieked Busi, aware that she was frightening Parks. “My baby! Not yours! Now go! Go! Go now!”
Parks’s wife came towards her.
“Leave it …” Parks said to his wife, hustling her to the door. “This is not the right time.”
Parks’s wife looked at Busi, who was still waving the frying pan as if she was about to bring it down on them.
“You will regret this,” Thandi said quietly. “Has anyone told you what it is really like, having a baby? Clearly not. They can cry all night; they can drive you crazy. And you are just a girl. What makes you think you will cope? Listen. That baby belongs to us, just as much as it belongs to you. We will know when the baby is born and we will be there waiting. And you, my girl, you will give it to us.”
And then they were gone.