Modi’s mouth was dry and her heart beat faster than normal. How would Khotso react to her confession?

His eyebrows were slightly raised as he glanced at her.

“Are you trying to put me off you, Modi?” He sounded amused. “Yes, your face and figure were what attracted me first, but since then I’ve discovered that your personality is the most beautiful thing about you.”

Modi hadn’t realised she was holding her breath until it gusted out of her in a huge, relieved sigh.

“I thought it was only fair to warn you, so you don’t get a shock when … if …” She came to a confused halt, her face heating.

“When we make love?” There was something in his voice that made her body go warm and weak. Then he added more seriously, “Aren’t most people marked or scarred in some way by the time they reach adulthood? Some on their souls or hearts or minds, some physically.”

“Are you?”

“I suppose in a way.” He grew thoughtful. “My childhood left its mark, you could say. The early years. I still have nightmares about being turned out of our house, and of being hungry. But scars can work for good. I mean, mine made me extra determined to do what I’ve done.”

Modi felt the prick of tears behind her eyes. Let him believe her scar was a positive thing too. In one way, it was, but it was a mark of so much more – of private things she didn’t have to tell him. He didn’t need to know. It wasn’t as if this thing between them was going anywhere serious. A fling was all it was.

“Your story must be inspiring to others,” she said.

He just smiled and turned up the car radio as a Tresor song came on.

“Now here’s a guy who’s a real inspiration,” he said. “Came from the DRC to South Africa, started out as a car guard, and look where he’s at now. Huge in the music industry.”

“I love his work.”

Relieved to have got the scar story out of the way, Modi relaxed and let herself enjoy the day.

When they got to Henley-on-Klip, Khotso’s friends accepted her as if she was one of them. Some had partners with them, others were on their own. The couple who owned the house with its big garden and long swimming-pool were slightly older. They were expecting their first child.

“Andrew keeps referring to my bump as my ‘frikkadel’, and I’m just worried our little guy is going to end up called Frikkie,” Yonayona gurgled, patting her baby bump. “You guys have to help us pick a name. Everyone who comes to our house has to write a name on a piece of paper and put it in this jar, for Andrew and me to go through later.”

“Well, I’m not giving you my favourite name,” Khotso joked, accepting one of the small squares of paper Andrew was handing out. “What if you choose it? I’ll be needing it for my own son someday.”

“Good point,” one of the girls said.

Quietly, Modi wrote her favourite boy’s name on her piece of paper. She wouldn’t be needing it.


Tell us what you think: It seems like Modi hasn’t told Khotso all her secrets, but is sharing everything that important this early on in their relationship?