“Well, let’s see what you got,” Lutho said, finally joining Zakhele at a table. Without asking, he opened the Streetwise 2 box and dug in.

“It’s wrapped,” Zakhele said. “Where were you?”

“Helping a lady carry her bags to the taxi. What is it?”

“Ever the gentleman; no wonder the ladies love you,” Zakhele said, bitterness tickling his throat.

“Exactly, and I don’t even have to buy them anything,” Lutho hit back. “So, what did you get man?”

“Earrings, beautiful earrings,” Zakhele said and beamed with pride.

“And I’m sure they cost a fortune,” said Lutho, biting into a piece of meat.

“Not really. They are actually within my budget.”

“Bra, why are you buying that girl anything? She’s taking you for a fool,” Lutho protested.

“Don’t start with this again. Lucia is not like that,” Zakhele defended the love of his life. “You don’t know her like I do. She loves me.”

“Love? What does she know about love? Wena, you are a fool. Everyone knows she’s cheating on you.”

Zakhele was starting to get a headache. He knew how Lutho felt about Lucia and he wasn’t in the mood to hear any of it. There had been rumours of Lucia’s transgressions. She had a high maintenance lifestyle and men liked to buy her things, hoping to steal her from Zakhele. But Zakhele had never seen any proof of this. Everyone, including Lutho, was just jealous, he thought.

Lutho, noticing his friend’s countenance, changed his tone.

“Look, you’re my friend and I’ll always look out for you. If you love the girl and she makes you happy, then fine, I’ll leave you alone,” he said. And then he added, “But I still say the girl is a gold digger.”

Zakhele sighed. Lutho was his oldest friend and Zakhele wanted him to be happy for him and Lucia. Besides, when he had saved enough for lobola he wanted Lutho to stand in for him and represent him during the negotiations.

But Lutho had made it clear that he didn’t like Lucia, that he found her pretentious and believed that she was using his friend. Lutho had even said that if Zakhele was willing to be used like that, then so be it, but he should not involve him.

Now Zakhele’s phone rang: a call from Lucia. He hesitated to pick it up. He could still feel the tension between him and his friend. The phone vibrated on the table and he just looked at it.

“What did I tell you? She can smell the gold,” Lutho said, laughing.

 ***

Tell us: Do you think Zakhele should believe the rumours? Or should he trust his girlfriend?