We all chip in for a Mozzie Cab to take us to Zack’s place, and squash in for the short journey. The driver’s pretty cool to let us all get in – we’re quite a crowd! With Lindi, Nomusa, Deevya, Val, Zoom and his three friends, as well as Zack and I, we’re a good party waiting to happen. I’m wedged in between Zack and Zoom.

Zack’s talking to Vel, sitting on his other side, and holding my hand. I had a moment on the beach earlier when Vel glanced nervously over at me, and I could see her suss the vibe and clock that Zack and I have a connection – and she backed right off. So I’m so over my little stab of jealousy. Who needs it anyway? And I’m having so much fun!  

“Have you been doing any more street art?” Zoom asks, his eyes giving him away as they flicker down to Zack’s hand stroking mine.

“No, I haven’t actually. I’ve been kind of busy, but I’m starting to feel like I might be ready for something new,” I reply.  

“You’ve really got a huge talent,” says Zoom sincerely, “I really love your work. You should keep at it. You’re a star on the rise!”

I can tell Zoom really means it. How sweet is he? And I know he is so passionate about his street art, so that really is a compliment. Hmm…he’s really good looking too – I wonder if there’s any chance of setting him up with Deevya?

The taxi stops outside Davenport Centre.

“Isn’t this where you live?” asks Zoom. “I thought we were going to Zack’s place?” 

“Oh, didn’t you know? We actually live in the same block. That’s how we know each other. Zack lives downstairs from me,” I tell him as I clamber out of the taxi.

Zoom looks like I’ve just told him some really bad news. 

“Are you ok?” I ask him as he gets out behind me.

He looks at me helplessly, like he’s way out of his depth, and then he laughs ruefully.

“How do I get myself into these situations?” he mumbles to himself.

“What situations?” I ask him, but he waves me off as he heads over to his friends, who giggle and slap his back consolingly as he reaches them. 

Deevya slips in next to me as we all stroll across the parking lot to the rickety old lifts inside the entrance to Davenport Centre.

“Shame, I think Zoom has it pretty bad for you,” Deevya says quietly, making sure nobody can overhear

“Did he say something to you?” I ask, as I turn to look at her.

“Nope, he didn’t need to. It’s written all over his face,” Deevya says matter of factly. 

Somebody should invent a device so that no human being can ever accidentally fall for someone whose heart belongs to another. 

The lift doors are open when we get there, but Deevya and I wave the others on, and take the stairs so that we can carry on chatting.

I sigh out loud. 

“That was a big sigh…what’s on your mind?” asks Deevya.

“Oh…I wasn’t going to say anything…” I begin.

“Well please do, I’m all ears” urges Deevya, always hungry for the inside scoop.

“Well, it’s just that I’d kind of hoped that you and Zoom might have a thing for each other. I just thought the l.u.r.v.e coast might be clear now that Panther’s left Durban,” I say, as we start climbing.

Deevya laughs out loud. “Hope, are you still barking up the wrong tree? Panther and I were always only good friends. I’ve told you that. And besides – he was 13 years older than me. And you might have noticed that he had the love of his life’s name tattooed on his arm for the whole world to see and I loved that about him. What were you thinking? Seriously! And Zoom is just not my type, sorry.”

Nomusa catches up with us, taking a few steps at a time, “And what about Panther’s little brother?” she chips in cheekily. She must have heard that last bit.

Deevya almost trips on the step.

“How do you know about Cameron?” she asks, clearly taken by surprise.

Nomusa grins. “Well if the you and ‘Cam’ are going to chat away constantly in public on Facebook, it’s not like it’s a big secret, is it? A pity he lives in New York, but nothing can hold back true love, can it?”

Cameron? This is all news to me!

“Oh, shut it you Facebook snoop,” says Deevya playfully, “you girls have overactive imaginations,” but despite her joking tone I noticed a vulnerability in Deevya’s face that I’ve never seen before. 

We’re a bit breathless as we get to Zack’s flat. He’s already got the music on, the lights dimmed and is busy lighting candles as we get in.

As he makes his way across the room to open the door to the balcony he touches my back and smiles at me. 

“Hey guys,” he says to the whole bunch of us, all milling about in the lounge, “there’s a great view from out here. And it’s much cooler than inside. Come on out.”

I notice that Zoom is looking really uncomfortable, almost hopping from one foot to the other. Weirdness. Everyone heads for the balcony, but he turns away, seemingly fascinated by the wall on the other end of the lounge. Zoom’s friends also hang back, looking a little bit apprehensive. 

It’s all a bit strange and I puzzle over it for a few seconds before I join all the others outside.

As I step outdoors I notice everyone is gaping out at the building diagonally opposite, and Zack is looking quite taken aback. 

I turn my head to follow his gaze and gasp out loud.

Have you ever seen glow-in-the-dark paint? Well somebody has decorated the building we’re staring at with an enormous painted heart, and written inside it ‘You’re totally hot Hope L’Amour‘. It’s all been painted in glow-in-the-dark paint, and right now this mysterious message is glowing as brightly and vividly as if it were high-voltage neon lighting.

I just cannot believe my eyes!