I’ve been out with Brandon every night since last week Thursday, when we went out for drinks. I may have found someone great. We never run out of things to talk about. When we’re together the world seems to disappear. We have tons in common. I think he has great taste in music even though he thinks girl bands are overrated. We have political debates which he always wins, but that’s because of his law degree. He’s even read A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Adichie, which made him 30% more attractive!

He calls every morning at seven so he knows I start my day with a smile. He opens doors and offers his jacket when its chilly: chivalry isn’t dead where he is concerned. He smells amazing and dresses well. He talks to me like his equal. The man holds my hand in public and sweeps me off my feet with random, passionate kisses. At the end of every date, he walks me to my door, kisses me and then embraces me tightly and tells me I’m beautiful. This is definitely ‘dream man’ material.

Andy, on the other hand, calls me each night after 10 and claims that he needs me. I’m met with a glass of alcohol and an intoxicating kiss at the door. We barely talk to each other during the day. But when we are alone, we talk about all our feelings … and our damage. We connect on an emotional level. He’s seen the darkest parts of me, and I’ve seen his.

His relationship with his father has taken a positive turn and they are getting to know each other. But he’s afraid the man will disappoint him, so is keeping him at arm’s length. We spend most nights unpacking his feelings.

Being with Andy feels like the ultimate high. I take on all his dysfunction and make it my own. I bury myself in his mess and feel nothing other than the weight of his pain. I push my feelings aside to focus on him and his issues. Right now, he needs me – and I want to be what he needs for the rest of my life. Being with him feels good, it feels right. His need for me out-weighs my need to be more than his well-kept secret.

Tumi’s plan for me to play the field was supposed to help me figure out what was good for me. All I feel is confused, at the moment. I’m enjoying getting to know Brandon but I am still drawn to Andy. So adding another man to the mix has just made things complicated. However, I will admit that I like how, when I’m with Brandon, I don’t feel like I’m a dirty secret that needs to be hidden.

Meanwhile, my other problem has not gone away:

“So what do you think? Club Finesse seems perfect to me.”

This has to be the second time I’ve totally blanked out while Zama has been speaking. This girl loves the sound of her own voice. I still don’t know why she asked for my help when she won’t listen to any of my suggestions.

“Do you really want my opinion, or am I here to keep you company?”

“Of course I want your opinion.”

“Well Andy wouldn’t want a surprise party in a club. He hates clubs.”

She looks like she swallowed something bitter. Okay, maybe I offended her. But she did ask for my opinion. I should soften the blow.

“Look, I’m just saying he would prefer something intimate with his close friends and family. Maybe we should rent a nice house with a pool, braai area, and a great view.”

“He’d prefer a pool party?” she asks, shocked.

“He’s always wanted one.”

“Well, in that case, I have the perfect solution. My parents have a great place here in Sandton that they don’t use much.”

Not only is she super nice and insanely pretty, but she also happens to come from a filthy rich family. Talk about having it all! Oh shit, my phone is ringing. I glance down: it’s Brandon. Why is he calling? Our date isn’t for another hour still.

“Sorry I have to take this. Hey.”

“Are you still in Sandton?”

“How do you know I’m in Sandton?”

“Well if you wanted your location to be a mystery you shouldn’t have posted about it on IG.”

Wait a minute, am I giggling? When did I become one of those people who giggle flirtatiously while on the phone? Even Zama is eying me weirdly. Okay, stop being weird Lee. Chill.

“Yes, I am still in Sandton, Mr Mda. Why do you ask?”

“Don’t move. I’m in the area and I’ll be outside Club Finesse in five.”

He hangs up and I’m left staring into space like a madwoman, still holding my phone to my ear. When I turn to talk to Zama she is wearing a grin on her face.

“Who was that?”

How is that any of her business? Like, why is she all up in my shit though?

“Just a guy I’m seeing.”

“Anyone I know?”

Well, would you look at that? She is fishing for information.

“I don’t think so. I met him recently at work.”

“Oh wow, that’s amazing. Andy said you haven’t been dating for a while. I’m glad you’re putting yourself out there.”

Does Andy talk to her about me? And what is that supposed to mean? Does she see me as some sad, lonely woman?

“Yeah … so he is coming here to pick me up so I’m going to leave soon. I won’t be needing that ride anymore.”

“Oh yeah totally. Well, since we have a venue all we’ll need to sort out is food and the guest list.”

“You can just text me about what we need to do next. Brandon should be outside now.”

“Mind if I meet him?”

“Uhm … yeah sure … come meet him.”

When we walk out of the Club we find Brandon leaning against his Audi. He looks good enough to eat in his chinos and button-up shirt. When he sees us he saunters over, scoops me up in his arms, making us the official ad for PDA. Once my feet are firmly back on the ground I introduce him to Zama and they shake hands.

“I hope you don’t mind me cutting your appointment with Lihlo short, Zama.”

“Oh no, it’s perfectly fine. We were done anyway. You kids go have fun,” she says, then walks off with a goofy smile on her face.

“You heard the lady – we should go and have fun.”

“And where are you taking me?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” he says, takes my hand, and leads me to the car.

Our date turns out to be a nice quiet evening at his place. He cooks an amazing dinner and we sit in his living room flicking through his Netflix library. I am still very disappointed in his series choices, but I made sure to plug him on the best ones to watch. We start watching Dynasty and we’re going to watch it together from now on. Which is such a couple thing to do! His place feels a lot like home to me. It’s a comfy two bedroom apartment with an intimate kitchen and living area. I’m supposed to come over again tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

When he pulls up outside my apartment, I’m reluctant to get out of the car. He walks around to open my door. We make out in the elevator, until it stops on my floor. I’m really sad that our evening is over. He unlocks my door and pulls me into his arms and we kiss again as he walks us into my kitchen.

Then we hear someone clear their throat. I open my eyes – and wish I had kept them shut – forever. Andy is standing in my apartment, staring at us, with an outraged look on his face.

“Andy? What are you doing here?”

“I needed to speak to you.”

Realizing I can’t stand dumbstruck any longer I do the polite thing and introduce the men I am involved with to each other. This is the most awkward situation I’ve ever been in.

I pull a flimsy explanation about how my ‘friend’ needs me, and tell Brandon that we should link up tomorrow. I know he doesn’t buy that Andy is just a friend but he agrees to leave, and is very understanding, I guess. He kisses me good night and goes reluctantly. Now to deal with other man.

“What are you doing here?”

“So Zama was telling the truth. You have a boyfriend.”

“You have a girlfriend.”

“That’s different and you know it. And I am going to break up with Zama right after the surprise party she is planning. I don’t want to ruin it for her.”

Of course, he knows about the party. I roll my eyes at the thought.

“What exactly are you doing here?”

“I needed to see you and to make sure you know how much you mean to me. I don’t want to lose you … and now I feel like I have lost you. You’ve practically moved on.”

“I haven’t moved on. I’ve just been on a couple of dates.”

“Well stop! I don’t want you with anyone but me.”

Oh, he doesn’t like to share but I need to grin and bear it when he is with another woman?

This is all kinds of hypocritical, but I’m not brave enough to call him out on it. While I’m struggling to locate my courage he suddenly pulls me into his arms and kisses me. When he pulls away his eyes have an intense and determined look in them.

“I won’t share you with anyone! Please end things with that fool. Soon I’ll be all yours and I don’t need that clown in the way of me getting my girl.”

I am at a loss for words and his eyes don’t leave my face, making me feel uncomfortable.

“Please say you’ll end it,” he says, kissing my neck between each word.

“Okay … I’ll end it,” I say breathlessly.

 ***

Tell us: How do you feel about Andy at this point?