I’m wearing a very short, white, figure-hugging dress with white heels to match. I decided simple was the best way to go. And the all-white is somewhat symbolic as tonight will be the last time Zama and Andy will be together. White seemed the best colour to celebrate the occasion.
Andy promised that he would speak to her after the party, so we could begin our life together as soon as possible. I realise that this technically classifies me as a homewrecker, but this has been a long time coming, and I don’t want to dwell on the negative.
I walk into the extravagantly decorated house. There are twinkle lights and scented candles everywhere, the waiters are already circulating, handing champagne to all the guests who showed up early. The large, extended dining table has been set, with a gigantic flower arrangement in the middle. The massive chandelier above the table illuminates the entire room.
As I make my way through the place I can hear the DJ testing the sound and then I am welcomed by the pool which has pretty floating lights. This looks like a scene right out of a movie. I do my last minute checks in the kitchen and bar to ensure all is ready to go. The party is ready for the guest of honour to arrive, and I can’t wait to see him.
All the guests have arrived by eight and we await the couple of the moment. Zama has been sending me five-minute updates so I can have everyone ready by the entrance, with the cake on show and birthday candles lit. The big surprise has been planned right down to the last detail. That woman is a serious control freak. We are all by the door whispering silently, waiting for the birthday boy and his date to walk through the door. I am right in the front of the crowd, carrying the cake with all 25 tiny candles lit.
When he opens the door he is genuinely delighted to see all the people who came to celebrate his birthday. It is really heart-warming that all his friends and family came tonight. I can tell that he is touched by all this.
He leans over the cake and blows out his candles and the room bursts into applause. He looks up at me and smiles so broadly that I can’t help but smile back at him. As he straightens up Zama pulls him into a kiss that causes the room to erupt into an ear-shattering roar of commentary.
I am jealous that she gets to share this specific moment with him and … I just can’t deal.
“Thank you to all of you for taking time out of your lives to come to celebrate with me. You have no idea how special this makes me feel! And a special thank you to my amazing girlfriend for organizing this.”
Suddenly this cake is too heavy to carry so I hand it to some random guy standing next to me. That’s it – my hosting duties are officially over! I head straight to the bar area with the intention of steering my night down drunk avenue. I find Tumi already there, flirting with the bartender.
“So, what other talents do you have besides mixing drinks Sipho?” Tumi says, stroking his arm.
“Before you tell your life story please hand me a bottle of tequila,” I say, interrupting them.
Sipho grabs a bottle from under the counter and places it, and a shot glass, in front of me.
“There you go. Enjoy!” he says, and helps one of the waiters refill the champagne glasses.
“What’s going on Lihlo?” asks Tumi.
“Helping that witch plan this party was a huge mistake. Why did you let me do this?” I say and take another shot of tequila.
“What happened? And don’t pin this on me I have been telling you this whole thing is a mistake.”
“Nothing happened and I guess that’s the problem. I get nothing and I deserve nothing.”
“Oh, I see we’re having one of your famous ‘Lihlo pity parties’. Cool, I’m game. Pour me a shot.”
“I am so over this whole night. I worked my ass off and his ‘amazing girlfriend’ gets the credit! I should just go home.”
Tumi doesn’t say anything and I am grateful that she doesn’t have any ‘I told you so’ speeches left. We sit with our backs to the bar and watch some of the guests dancing by the pool. They seem to be having a great time while I wallow in self-pity. I wish Andy was here with me; that I wasn’t his dirty secret.
And just like that, as I think of him, he magically appears. Why is he walking towards us? Why do I suddenly feel a lot more cheerful?
“Hey there gorgeous.”
I instinctively look around to see if anyone heard him call me gorgeous then nod in response. He takes my hand in his and squeezes slightly. And I can’t help but smile at him.
“Thank you for tonight. I know you worked really hard to make my night special.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you like your party.”
“Are you going to stick around for the whole thing?”
Is he asking me to leave? Does he not want me here?
“Why do you ask? Don’t you want me here?”
“No, of course I want you here. I just know that you’re not a fan of organized fun … and parties make you anxious.”
“Well, I sort of organized this fun. But you’re right, I didn’t plan to stay for the whole thing. I might leave very soon.”
“I’ll come by your place later,” he leans in and whispers into my ear. “I wish I could take you in my arms and kiss you. That dress looks so damn sexy on you.”
Because the devil won’t let me have the slightest amount of happiness we are interrupted. Zama comes out and announces that dinner is being served. Andy quickly lets go of my hand and heads over to his girlfriend.
I talk Tumi into exploring the gigantic house instead of going to dinner. I just couldn’t endure another moment of the happy couple’s unnecessary PDA. So my partner-in-crime and I spend a good hour and a half in the larger-than-life master bedroom. We have a pillow fight, jump on the bed and take shot after shot of tequila. When the bottle is empty and it’s time for another, we make our way downstairs – clumsily and very loudly.
But I miss a step, almost land face-first at the bottom … but I somehow manage to land on my ass, which makes Tumi squeal with laughter. The living room bursts into cheers and applause. For a moment I am embarrassed: they must have all seen me almost nose dive down the stairs.
But it’s not me. We realize that everyone is gathered in the living area, their attention drawn to the head of the dining room table. We push through the crowd to get a good look at what’s happening.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
Andy is on one knee in front of Zama and she is sniffling dramatically! This has to be a nightmare turned into reality. Zama finds her voice and practically screams the word “Yes!”
I suddenly feel ill. He gets up and lifts her into his arms and they kiss. I drop the bottle clutched in my hand and it shatters, startling everyone.
I see Andy turn my way, looking surprised. He obviously thought I had left the party!
“You have got to be shitting me,” I say, outraged, and head for the bar. “Barman! Tequila, and keep the shots coming.”
I’m joined there by Tumi shortly after. The people seem to have ignored my outburst and have gone back to dancing. About 10 minutes into my drinking the room is starting to spin and I’m struggling to focus my vision. But I don’t feel like I’ve been sucker-punched anymore … so the alcohol is doing its job.
I feel a hand on the small of my back and I literally jump as I turn. I didn’t expect it to be Andy, but he is standing before me, very engaged, with a stupid look on his face.
“Can we go somewhere and talk?”
“Why? Don’t you have a fiancé you can talk to in dark corners?” I say between hiccups.
“Please Lee. I just want to explain.”
“Explain what? How you made a complete fool of me? What could you possibly say to me that would explain this?”
“It’s complicated. I just need–”
“What do you need Andy? What could you possibly need from me? What else could I give you that you haven’t taken already?!” I am shouting now.
“Calm down. You are causing a scene,” he hisses.
All I can feel is blinding rage. He did this to me and now he wants to explain it away with more bullshit about how ‘it’s complicated’; more lies.
“It’s not complicated at all! You knew exactly what you were doing. You enjoyed having me in the background to toy with whenever you wanted. It was all a lie. You didn’t mean anything you said. You were okay with letting me fall in love with you, encouraging me, while you knew this wasn’t going anywhere.”
“Don’t do that; don’t play the victim. You knew exactly what you were getting into!” he says, getting heated.
“No, you knew what I was getting into. All I had was your word, and nothing else, apparently. Did you even love me? Or was that just something you said to get into my pants? Why did you do this?”
“You need to calm down. People are looking at us.”
“A marriage proposal isn’t something that comes out of nowhere. You had to plan it. Why did you make me end things with Brandon, if you knew all along that you were leading me on? Just answer that for me.”
He hesitates for a moment as though he is really thinking about the answer to my question.
“I need you and … I mean … the whole thing with my dad really messed me up. I didn’t intend on hurting you but … at the moment everything went out of control … and I didn’t know how to stop it. All I know is that I need you, but I’m in love with Zama.”
And there it is: he doesn’t love me. It is all a lie. Tumi told me this wouldn’t end well and I was so swept up in the sexual passion, and my love for him, that I didn’t want to see the truth. It was looking me in the face the whole time and I glossed over the signs.
I feel defeated, broken and stupid. I’m suddenly tired of standing here crying over a man who has never loved me.
“Go to hell Andy, and please lose my number.”
I walk off, head straight for the door. At the entrance I find Zama, and it seems she heard everything, judging by the look she is giving me.
“You are nothing but a slut!” she snaps and slaps me.
I slap her right back, push her aside, and open the door. Before I step out, I turn to look at her. “Enjoy him. Maybe marriage will make him less of a liar. You know, the whole ‘making an honest man of him’ nonsense.”
I shut the door behind me and burst into tears, interspersed with wild screaming.
Tell us: Are you surprised at what Andy has done? Will marriage make him faithful to Zama?