“I need to return Jakes’ memory stick,” Taylor says as their school comes into view.
“You’re kidding me, right? He’s only in most of our classes; the guy who’s always getting top marks? And he’s got a serious case of Ntsiki-itis,” Taylor says, grinning.
“Stop talking nonsense, Tay, I don’t even know the guy.”
“That doesn’t mean he hasn’t noticed you. I’m just telling it like it is … that’s him over there.” Taylor flicks her head in the direction of a group of boys next to the school’s gate. “The one sitting on the wall. Don’t you think he’s cute?”
“Ag, go to your Jakes. I see Themba waiting for me.”
“Whatever, girlfriend. See you in class.”
“Hey, babes.” Ntsiki taps Themba on his back.
Themba takes his time turning around. “Ntsiki …”
“Didn’t you get my WhatsApp messages? Or were you too busy studying?”
Themba takes a step back from Ntsiki. “I’ve been busy, alright. Busy spending time with a real woman, instead of wasting my time with a little girl,” he says, pulling Lilitha close to him.
“What do you mean? Is this about Friday?” Tears sting her eyes as she looks from Themba to Lilitha.
“Go do a test or something, Ntsiki. There’s no longer anything between us – just air.”
“You … you don’t mean that, Themba. You said you love me.”
“Get lost, Ntsiki, and report yourself missing,” Themba says, then places his arms around Lilitha.
After a few seconds of being ignored, Ntsiki turns away and runs into the school grounds. At the girls’ toilet she stumbles and falls.
“Are you okay, Ntsiki?”
“I’m fine!” Ntsiki struggles to get up.
“Let me help you.”
“I don’t need your help!”
“There’s no need to be rude,” Jakes says, taking a step toward Ntsiki.
“Go away! I …” She manages to get to her feet, yanks up her backpack then rushes into the toilet.
At the sink she splashes her face with water before dabbing wet tissue paper at her scraped knee. “Ouch!”
“Ntsiki … I’m so sorry about–”
Ntsiki spins around, her eyes flashing. “You’re sorry, Lilitha? Sorry you got between Themba and me? Sorry you couldn’t wait to get back together with him?”
“He told me you guys broke up. I would never steal someone’s–”
“Wena s’febe. You couldn’t wait to get your claws into him again!”
“You know what? Build a damn bridge and get over yourself. I didn’t come between you and Themba.”
“Ahem,” Taylor announces her presence. “Do you mind giving us a moment, Lilitha?”
“No problem. I’ve said what I wanted to.” Lilitha steps aside. “I really am sorry, Ntsiki. I didn’t know.”
“Hey you,” Taylor says, placing an arm around Ntsiki’s shoulder. “I heard what happened.”
“It was horrible. Hu … hu … miliating.” Ntsiki starts crying afresh.
“You’ll get over it, girlfriend. I’m here for you.”
“When did caring about someone mean a prison sentence, Tay?”
“Bullcrap. You had a life before Themba came along, and you still do.”
Tell us what you think: Is Lilitha being brave or fake, approaching Ntsiki and apologising, saying she thought Ntsiki and Themba had broken up?