She actually rolled her eyes at him. “You don’t really have any right to judge me. I’ve heard plenty of rumours about you, and they have not been good.”

Eric burst out laughing – more as a cover for surprise than finding it funny. “So my reputation precedes me. Yes, I like women and have never made any secret of it.”

“But with you it’s like wham, bam and thank you, Mam. You never care about the women after you dump them.”

Eric was furious, and it showed. “What gives you the right to speak to me like that?”

“Nomeska,” she said softly.

“Nomeska,” he repeated. “Who on earth is she?”

“You don’t even remember her! She was pregnant with your baby. Yet in a few short years you’ve obviously wiped her from your mind.”

The penny suddenly dropped. “I wasn’t responsible for her committing suicide.”

Avika looked at him long and hard. “No, you didn’t give her the pills and force her into that bath of water and make her use the knife to cut her wrists open and die all alone in a bath of water.”

Eric blanched, and stepped back in shock. He’d never heard the precise details about how Nomeska killed herself and their unborn baby.

“She had no family to turn to. When you told her you wanted nothing to do with her and the baby she saw no other way out.”

“How did you know her?”

“I went to school with her. She was a friend, not a very close one. But I wish she had come to my family and me. We would have helped her.”

“I’m not that person any more, Avika. I regret very much what happened to her.”

“Then who was the person sitting waiting for you at the end of the bar? Is she another young woman you bed and then forget all about the next day?”

“You don’t miss much, do you?” he commented.

“I’m just a good observer,” she said. “I don’t like to see women being abused.”

“Well, what were you doing with Moses tonight?”

“He’s my boss. I’ve just started a new job. I can’t afford to lose it.”

“But why did you have to go out for a drink with him?”

“Because I didn’t have much choice. He would have found a way to sack me if I didn’t do as he asked. He does it with all the young female staff he employs. But I would never have slept with him.”

Her eyes were beginning to fill up with tears. “It’s not in my nature to go out with lecherous, older and, more especially, married men.”

“I’m sorry,” Eric said, and sounded as if he meant it.

“Apparently Moses thinks he must ‘break in’ every new female staff member that comes to work for him. I only heard this after I came to work for him. There are numerous complaints laid against him, but at the last moment the women change their minds. It seems as if everybody is afraid of him. What a leech to discover, on your first week in a new job.”


Tell us: What’s your opinion of a woman like Khole, who patiently waits for Eric?