Andisiwe lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling. “What am I going to wear?” she said aloud to herself. “I can’t buy another new dress or I’ll be broke.” Slowly an idea began to form in her mind. Then, delighted with the idea, she jumped up. Giggling to herself Andisiwe put her index finger on her lips.

“What she doesn’t know won’t kill her,” she said to herself, pausing to switch on her radio. Her favourite song, ‘Pump it’ by the Black Eyed Peas, was playing. She danced happily to the tune, jumping up and down.

Andisiwe knew exactly what she was going to wear. Still moving to the beat of her favourite song, she sashayed out of her room and down the passage. She was singing along rather loudly as she came to the door of Mimi’s bedroom. At the door she hesitated. Her aunt’s room was seriously out of bounds. Mimi was very generous regarding every other room in her house, excepting her bedroom.

That room had no doubt been the scene of many a romantic moment, and to Andisiwe it was a room filled with secrets. She pushed the door and it swung smoothly open. Andisiwe stood for a moment and breathed deeply. She sighed. There it was, wafting on the cool air of her aunt’s bedroom, that particular perfume that she had always associated with Mimi.

Andisiwe took one step into the room, and felt the soft pile of the snowy white carpet give beneath her bare feet. This was the first time that she had dared to venture into Mimi’s room alone. She tiptoed across the white carpet, and stopped for a moment in front of doors that she knew led to Mimi’s walk-in wardrobe. And then, dramatically, she pulled the doors open.

“Wow.” said Andisiwe softly. “Awesome!”

The rails were literally bursting with dresses. Shoes, neatly arrayed according to colour, were stacked on shelves from the floor to the ceiling. Andisiwe picked up one or two, simply to admire them, before moving on. She knew exactly what she was looking for.

Andisiwe put on her aunt’s Valentino print dress and her Christian Louboutin black Huguetta Pumps. She spun around in the bedroom then admired herself in the full-length mirror in the large en-suite bathroom.

Now she remembered seeing a Coco Chanel quote on Tumblr that said, “A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” Feeling like a million dollars, Andisiwe danced back to her bedroom where she put on the Prada perfume that Mimi had bought her as a welcome gift.

When Thabo arrived to fetch her he looked dashing in his dark green suit. Andisiwe felt wonderful in her aunt’s clothes, and as Thabo greeted her with a hug, she noticed again how absolutely divine he smelled. Thabo planted a kiss on her cheek and opened the car door for her. This time around Thabo was driving a grey Audi R8 Coupe.

“I like this car better,” said Andisiwe. “It’s sporty, which is what I like! Anyway, where do you get all these gorgeous cars?”

“Remember I told you I know people… who know people?” said Thabo as he started the car and pulled out of the driveway with a gentle roar. “I’m glad you like this one.”

Thabo took Andisiwe out to Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch. Andisiwe had never been there before, and the mountains and oak-lined streets took her breath away.

The hotel setting was just gorgeous, with tables covered in white cloths. The brown leather chairs were incredibly comfortable, and Andisiwe settled happily into one.

“My auntie said Stellenbosch has the best wines in South Africa,” said Andisiwe, running her hand over the brown leather armrest. “What she did not tell me was how beautiful this place is. Thank you for bringing me here.”

“Don’t mention it,” said Thabo, flashing her one of his gorgeous smiles as he handed her a menu.

There were things like ‘Cured Lourensford Trout’ and ‘Carmay King Quails’ listed on the menu. Andisiwe blinked, shifted in her seat and swallowed hard. She had never seen, let alone eaten, any of these foods before.

“So,” said Thabo, closing his menu and putting it down. “What are you having?”

Andisiwe smiled across at him nervously, and then looked down at the menu in front of her. “Oh I don’t…” she said hesitantly.

“May I suggest something?” said Thabo cheerfully, and Andisiwe was washed with gratitude towards him, as she let him help her make a decision.

As they ate they chatted about their childhoods. They discovered that they had rather a lot in common, and they found much to laugh about together.

“Remember I told you that I feel like I have known you my whole life,” said Thabo, as he lifted her hand to his lips and gently kissed it. “We are meant for each other, Siwe.”

The bill eventually arrived, and Thabo took out his card to pay. The waiter ran his card through the machine.

Andisiwe was shocked to see that it was declined. Thabo laughed it off, insisting that the waiter try again. “Maybe,” said Thabo, with a wave of his hand, and an edge of irritation in his voice, “the problem is with the network.”

“No, I’m afraid not,” said the waiter. “Sir, I’m afraid it has been declined again.”

“Just try it again,” said Thabo firmly, standing up.

Andisiwe could see that Thabo was getting angry, his voice growing louder. “I’m sure,” continued Thabo, “that there is money on that card. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, would I? Can you now stop embarrassing me in front of this beautiful lady? Try it again!”

Andisiwe shifted in her seat and looked down at her hands which were now gripped together in her lap. Thabo had taken the machine from the waiter, and was poking his finger into the concerned-looking waiter’s face.

Desperate to avoid a scene, Andisiwe spoke up, very quietly saying, “Let me pay.” She still had a lot of the money left that her aunt had given her.

Thabo immediately threw his hands up in frustration, but took his card back from the waiter, and accepted the card that Andisiwe offered him. The waiter swiped her card, and the transaction was approved.

Thabo escorted Andisiwe out of the restaurant in silence, but she noticed that he was frowning deeply. “I don’t understand how this could have happened. I deposited money into my account a week ago,” he said as he opened the car door for Andisiwe. “I’m sorry Siwe. This is the second time you’ve rescued me because of my financial problems. I promise I will make it up to you.”

Andisiwe felt deeply fed up, but she forced herself to smile. They drove away, and an uncomfortable silence settled around them in the car.

Andisiwe thought to herself that this just might have been the most embarrassing moment of her life. She decided that all she really wanted to do was to go home. Why hadn’t she and Thabo just gone to a Spur instead? She would have enjoyed ribs and calamari, with an ice cream sundae for dessert. It would have been a lot cheaper.

Andisiwe felt very depressed as she thought about the fact that her account was now nearly empty. She had meant that money to last her a long, long time, until she got on her feet in Cape Town. She couldn’t ask her aunt for more. Aunt Mimi had been so generous.

“I hope you have petrol this time around,” said Andisiwe after a while. She felt grumpy, and simply could not resist the temptation to make an angry comment.

“Oh, Siwe I’m really sorry,” said Thabo, moving his hand from the steering wheel to tenderly squeeze her hand. “Please forgive me. I really like you. I hope you’re going to let me make this up to you.”

When Thabo pulled up outside Mimi’s house Andisiwe got out of the car, and hardly muttered a goodbye. She put the key in the front door lock and turned it. The door opened and she went inside, without looking back.

* * *

What do you think: Should Siwe give Thabo another chance?