“Omphile arrives tonight; better lock up your stuff, Modi,” Jonase joked.

They were all up early for a Sunday. Little Phenyo never let his parents sleep late, waking up full of sound and energy, greedy for the day, while Modi was dressed and waiting for Khotso to arrive. They were going to spend the day at Henley-on-Klip with some of Khotso’s friends.

“The month had better go quickly, that’s all,” Modi said. “I’m not sure I can put up with Omphile for longer than that. Oh, I think that must be Khotso now.”

A glance through the window showed her the Audi pulling up outside, with Khotso at the wheel.

“Invite him in for a minute so we can meet him.” Reabiloe’s eyes sparkled with interest.

Modi and Khotso had only had one quick coffee date since their evening out. Khotso had been hectically busy all week, while Modi had been assigned to duty at one of the Excellence Conference Centre’s breakaway rooms.

He looked so good in casual clothes, she thought, opening the door to him. He tasted good too, as he brushed his lips across hers.

“Come in and meet my family quickly,” she said, slightly breathless.

“Sure. And who’s this?” Khotso asked indulgently as Phenyo came running up. “Hey, dude.”

To the little boy’s delight, Khotso offered his fist for a knuckle-bump. Seeing Phenyo respond with shining, instantly hero-worshipping eyes, Modi felt something stir and clench in her heart.

Khotso was good with kids.

He charmed Jonase and Reabiloe too. It was because he was such a warm, genuine person, Modi realised.

“Maybe we can all get together sometime,” Khotso suggested before he and Modi left the house. “Hey Phenyo, see you soon, brother.”

This time he and the little boy shared a high five. Modi swallowed, swamped by emotion.

“Have a great time,” Jonase wished Modi, and turned to Khotso. “It’s good to see my sister going out and about, having fun. She deserves it, after everything she’s been through. It’s like her courage is being rewarded.”

Modi saw the question in Khotso’s eyes. He didn’t say anything until they were in the car, driving through streets so much quieter than usual this early on a Sunday morning.

Then he asked, “What did your brother mean? Everything you’ve been through?”

Modi didn’t answer at once. How much should she share with him?

“You know how I told you I got sick when I was fifteen?” Her voice trembled. “It was … a very bad time.”

God, she hated remembering.

“That must have been hard, especially as you were so young.” There was real sympathy in the way he spoke. “But from what your brother said, you were really brave.”

Brave or desperate? Modi wasn’t sure.

“There’s one more thing,” she continued, because she had to warn him, and she touched her stomach lightly. “I had to have an operation. I have a scar. I know you said to pack a bikini for today, but you and your friends will only see me in a one-piece. And if you’re not comfortable about being with someone scarred, then you should turn around and take me home.”


Tell us what you think: Is Modi right to warn Khotso about her scar, or is she being over-sensitive?