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Sugar Daddy - Literature - Nairaland

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Daddy, Where Are You?; A Short Story / Sugar Daddy Chronicles (18+) / My (almost) Sugar Daddy And Me (2) (3) (4)

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Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:34am On Sep 11, 2016
Chapter 1
Busi stared at the girls on the stage. They were her friends. Why wasn’t she up there with them? The answer was simple – because she hadn’t entered Hamony High’s talent competition. She couldn’t sing like Ntombi, dance like Lettie, or tell a joke like Asanda. No, the only talent she had was being late for school! A loud cheer went up around her: “Usebenzile!” In front of her Unathi leapt from his seat and punched the air. “Yes!” he shouted. “I knew they could do it!” He turned and grinned at Busi triumphantly. “Aren’t they great?” Busi looked away from Unathi’s stupid, grinning face. She turned her back to the platform where Lettie, Asanda and Ntombi stood smiling, waving and blowing kisses at their adoring fans

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:41am On Sep 11, 2016
[quote author=balosammy post=49257919]Chapter 1
Busi stared at the girls on the stage. They were her friends. Why wasn’t she up there with them? The answer was simple – because she hadn’t entered Hamony High’s talent competition. She couldn’t sing like Ntombi, dance like Lettie, or tell a joke like Asanda. No, the only talent she had was being late for school! A loud cheer went up around her: “Usebenzile!” In front of her Unathi leapt from his seat and punched the air. “Yes!” he shouted. “I knew they could do it!” He turned and grinned at Busi triumphantly. “Aren’t they great?” Busi looked away from Unathi’s stupid, grinning face. She turned her back to the platform where Lettie, Asanda and Ntombi stood smiling, waving and blowing kisses at their adoring fans, Let’s give a round of applause for our dream team. We are proud to have three such talented students at Harmony High. They are going to go on to do great things!” Busi had never seen Principal Khumalo so excited. “Ntombi paved the way for Harmony High with the Teen Voice Competition. Now her two friends are proving that they are just as talented.” His words made Busi sick. She was Ntombi’s friend too – her third forgotten friend.

There were more announcements – about the soccer game that weekend and the extra lessons that were being offered after school. One of the teachers found a pair of underpants in the girls’ toilets. “Could the person responsible please come forward,” the teacher said. The girls in front of her giggled. They were so childish, thought Busi. She couldn’t wait for assembly to end.

Once the teachers left the hall everyone crowded around Ntombi, Lettie and Asanda, wanting to be their new “best friend”. When Lettie turned and smiled and waved at Busi, she couldn’t smile back. She picked up her bag and pushed her way to the back of the hall, where she told a prefect that she needed the bathroom. “

Now,” she said. The prefect nodded.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:47am On Sep 11, 2016
* * *

In the girls’ toilets she stared at herself in the mirror. “Why?” she asked her reflection. “Why are you so useless? Why are you so ugly? Why aren’t you talented like your friends?” Tears welled up in her eyes.

The clapping in assembly finally stopped. She dried her tears and washed her face. But she wasn’t ready to go back into the hall. What she needed was a way out. And there it was. One of the windows in the bathroom had been taken out to be fixed. She could see the blue sky through it.

Her bag went first. She threw it out, climbed onto the toilet and squashed herself through the narrow window frame. Good! She landed in the sand and brushed herself off. Then she picked up her bag and ran for the fence. She lay against it, her heart thumping in her chest. No one had noticed. She stood up again and pushed her way through a hole and out onto the road. Freedom!

* * *

Then she heard music – the thump, thump, thump of a bass beat as a taxi slowed down and crawled along the pavement next to her. She stopped. Should she turn and run? But where? Back to school? She had no plan. And now the taxi was stopping and the driver was leaning over and opening the passenger door. He beckoned her to get inside.

Busi looked back down the street. There was Mr Soci, the Life Sciences teacher, staggering in through the gates of Harmony High – late again, and drunk. He turned around and stared at the taxi. Before he’d had a chance to work out who she was, Busi jumped in.

“Running away from school?” the driver asked, jokingly. His shirt was undone to show off a smooth, muscled chest and the gold chain around his neck glittered in the sun. He gave her a lazy, sexy smile. She knew the drivers who stopped at the school on their taxi route and she didn’t recognise him. Why had she never seen him before? She was surprised by how handsome he was.

He turned the music down. “Hey, not everyone likesLoyiso. It’s not every girl’s choice,” he laughed.

“What’s that?” she said, distractedly. She hadn’t heard him properly, she was worried Mr Soci had recognised her. Was he walking to Mr Khumalo’s office right now to report her? But then Mr Khumalo would smell the alcohol on his breath.

“I said,Loyiso isn’t every girl’s fantasy. Is he yours?”

“He’s okay,” she shrugged.

The street ahead of them was empty. Where was he going, and why was she the only passenger?

“Did you get bored with school?” He revved the engine and put the taxi into first. She still had time to open the door and jump out. “I don’t blame you,” he said softly. “You can have much more fun out here. How old are you? You can’t be more than fourteen?”

“Fifteen. I’m fifteen,” Busi said quickly, suddenly wishing that she was older and that she wasn’t dressed in her school uniform.

They were driving further and further away from Harmony High. He was taking a right, then a left, weaving between the narrow streets in the township. She would never remember the route.

“Am I so ugly that you can’t look at me?” he teased. She smiled – she couldn’t help it. Driving around in his taxi felt so much better than some stupid English class. He had stopped to pick her up and he let her sit up front. She was somebody in his taxi, not the untalented nobody she was at school.

“So, which lesson are you missing?” He reached over and stroked her cheek lightly with his finger.

“English,” she said. “Romeo and Juliet, actually.”

“Those star-crossed lovers – like us, baby girl …,” he said softly, his voice silky smooth. She stared at him. “How come a taxi driver knows Shakespeare? Is that what you’re thinking?” he laughed, and Busi felt herself blushing. “Well, I’m not just any old taxi driver. I own a fleet of taxis. And that’s not all …”
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:49am On Sep 11, 2016
So he was rich, good-looking and clever. But she shouldn’t be letting him drive her around like this. And she didn’t have taxi fare. “Never talk to strangers, Busi.” That’s what her granny always told her. “And if you are in trouble, call me. Day or night. Uyandiva?”

“Ewe, Makhulu. Ndiyakuva,” she always replied. And here she was talking to a stranger and letting him drive her who-knows-where. She didn’t even know his name.

“Parks,” he said, as if he had read her thoughts. “My name’s Thando, but my friends call me Parks.” He reached over to shake her hand. His hand was warm … and he held hers a little too long. “What’s your name, pretty girl?”

“Busi,” she said.

Then she heard a rasping cough from the back of the taxi. She had thought they were alone. Swinging around, she saw a man lying across the back seat. Dirty jeans and a filthy old T-shirt covered his thin body. He coughed again and his whole body shook. Then he spat phlegm out onto his hand and wiped it over his pants. It was disgusting. “Don’t worry about him,” Parks said. “He’s got a problem. I’ll have to get a new gaadjie soon.”

She wouldn’t look back again, not even if the gaadjiespoke, she thought. “So, what are you going to tell your teachers when they ask where you were?” asked Parks, as he pulled into a garage to get petrol.

“I’ll tell them I’m not well,” Busi said. Right now that was true. She was feeling car sick from the petrol fumes and the thought of the gaadjie on the back seat.

When the tank was full Parks asked her, “So, where do you want to go?” And then, “Don’t look so frightened. I’m not going to kidnap you.”

“Home,” she said quickly, suddenly fearful of what she had done. “Can you take me home?”

“Of course.” He stared at her for a minute. “I mean, if that’s what you want?” She couldn’t look at him; she just nodded.

“Here,” she said when they got to her street. She pointed to a house a block away from their shack. The last thing she wanted was for her granny to see her arriving in a strange taxi with a man old enough to be her father. She didn’t stop to think why Parks hadn’t asked her for directions, how he knew where she lived.

“Bye, sweetie.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. “I’ll be watching out for you. How does a free ride sound sometime?”

“Good,” she said, uncertainly.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:51am On Sep 11, 2016
Chapter 2

Busi stood outside the shack where she lived with her granny. She had to get her story straight before she went in. Her grandmother would ask her a hundred questions. Where were you? Why weren’t you at school? She would say that she had stomach cramps. Her granny would believe that. But when she finally opened the door and went inside, she wasn’t there. Something was wrong.

Her grandmother was old and didn’t get out much. She went to the clinic on Wednesdays and she had umgalelowith her friends on Fridays. But today was Monday – she should be at home. Busi went out into the yard to check if she had fallen. But the yard was empty. If she went to ask the neighbours, rumours would fly. No, she would wait a while and see if her granny came home. Perhaps she had gone to visit a friend. If she came back after three o’clock she would never know that Busi had come home early.

It was cold lying on her bed. Their shack was dimly lit and an icy wind was blowing through a hole in the zinc sheeting. They would have to fix it before the winter rains. If only they had more money. Her mother and father had gone to Jozi to look for better jobs, but they hadn’t sent any money back. Then she thought of Parks with his fleet of taxis. He was rich, and he liked her. He made her feel like a queen and he wasn’t awkward like the boys at school. Yes, that was the difference. They were boys and Parks was a man.

She thought of his smile. What she had done was dangerous – she knew that. If she saw him again she would just keep walking. But what if he stopped and opened the taxi door? What would she do then?

Parks had joked about kidnapping her. But it happened every day. She read The Sun. There were so many photos of children who had gone missing. She remembered one little girl’s trusting face. Her name was Cheryl and she disappeared the day before Christmas. She left to go to the shop and never returned. Where were those missing boys and girls?

But Parks had taken her home when she’d asked him to, and he had opened the door for her. He was a gentleman. Busi fell asleep and dreamed of him.

* * *

When she woke up it was already late in the afternoon. She could smell the wood smoke from fires in the street, and the sweet smell of roasting meat on the fire drums. Then she heard the familiar sound of her grandmother’s cough, and the clatter of dishes. “I wondered if you were going to sleep until tomorrow,” her granny said when Busi pushed back the blanket that separated the bedroom from the kitchen. She wasn’t sure when her grandmother had returned. She wasn’t sure if she knew that she had missed school.

“I was feeling ill,” she said, to be safe. “I came home early.”

“I know.” Her grandmother put her hand against Busi’s forehead. “Are you feeling any better now?”
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:53am On Sep 11, 2016
“Yes,” said Busi, trying to see if her granny believed her. “Thank you.”

“I was feeling ill myself earlier. I went to the clinic. On the way back I passed some friends of yours from Harmony High. That boy, the nice one, greeted me. You know, the one who helped me carry my shopping that time.”

“Unathi?”

“That’s it.” Her face lit up, remembering. “He told me you weren’t at school. He was worried, Busi.”

Busi thought of how, not so long ago, she had written love letters to Unathi. And how upset she had been when he returned them unopened. He seemed so cool and sexy and all she wanted was to be his girlfriend. But now that she had met Parks, Unathi seemed so young and inexperienced – such a boy. Now she had met a real man.

“Why should Unathi worry?” said Busi quickly. “He doesn’t really care about me.”

“No? That’s not how it seemed to me.”

“What did they say at the clinic, Gogo?” Busi asked, trying to change the subject. “Are you sick? Did they give you something to make you better?”

“It’s just my blood pressure. I forgot to take my pills.”

“I can help you to remember to take them, Gogo. I can even get a pill box for you. Asanda’s granny has one. It has a place where you put the pills for every day of the week. You can easily see if you have forgotten one.”

“That sounds like a very clever thing. Thank you, Busi,” her granny said, taking her hand. “You know something, my child? I like to have you living here with me. I am lucky to have such a kind granddaughter.” Busi smiled and hugged her. “I’m sorry it’s sometimes boring for you,” her granny continued. “But I am blessed that you are such a good girl. I know you would never do anything stupid. Utata Nomama abanangxaki. They have nothing to worry about.” She looked at Busi closely.

What did her parents care what happened to her, Busi thought. They had left her here with her grandmother. When last had they phoned her? It was easier for them without her. Hadn’t she heard her mother tell their neighbour that she wished she hadn’t had a baby so young; that Busi had ruined her chances in life?

“I’ll go get us some meat for supper,” Busi said. “Before it gets too late.”

“Come straight home,” her granny cautioned.

Out on the street she felt better. Her head felt clearer. It had been dangerous climbing out of the window and getting into Parks’s taxi – dangerous, but exciting at the same time. She was lucky, she told herself. Things could have gone differently. He could have taken her away, raped her and left her for dead in a ditch somewhere. It had been dangerous. But she knew she would do it again.

She heard a shout from the end of the road. It was Lettie and Unathi. They were waving. She waved back. This time when she came up to Lettie she gave her a big hug. “Well done for winning best dancer in the talent show. Mtsalane!” she said. And she was surprised to find that she really meant it. Suddenly it didn’t matter so much that her friends were popular. Now she had something of her own. Something exciting that her friends didn’t share. She had her own thrilling secret – and his name was Parks.

“Where did you go?” Unathi asked her.

“Why does it matter to you?” Busi said cheekily.

“It doesn’t really,” he shrugged.

“So, why are you asking?”

“Mr Ntlanti wanted to know where you were. I told him you had stomach cramps,” said Lettie.

“Phew, thanks,” Busi said.

“Didyou have stomach cramps?” Unathi questioned her.

“Yes, I did. Do you think I’m lying?” she snapped.

“How come you didn’t tell anyone that you were sick?” He wouldn’t leave it alone. He was like a dog with a bone.

“Enough with the questions,” joked Lettie, seeing Busi’s face. “Uyadika!”Then, as Unathi walked away, she said quietly, “It’s just because he likes you.”

“He has a funny way of showing it,” Busi replied.

Where was he last term when I liked him, she thought? With another girl! Busi had bad luck with boys. She thought of Ebenezer. She had dated him until that day when they’d had a terrible fight. He’d pushed her and she had fallen hard onto the tar behind the sports shed. At the sound of her screaming, Asanda and Ntombi had come running and Ebenezer had fled, leaving her with a broken arm. Parks was different, she told herself. He was a gentleman, and so funny and good-looking. He had taken her home when she had asked him to and offered her free rides in his taxi.

“Are you coming to soccer tomorrow afternoon?” Lettie asked, interrupting Busi’s daydream. She put her arm around Busi’s shoulders. “You’re the best goalie our team has ever had,” she coaxed. “You know how we lose when you’re not there.”

“Maybe.”

“We can take the taxi together. I’ll wait outside the gate after school.”

“Sure,” said Busi. But as she walked back with the meat for supper, she wasn’t so sure she would be going to soccer. She found herself thinking about Parks again. She couldn’t get him out of her head. Why had he come past Harmony High? Why had he changed his taxi route that day?
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:43am On Sep 11, 2016
Chapter 3

“Something’s happened to you,” Asanda said at school the next morning.

“Not that I know of,” Busi lied. They were trying to finish their homework before the siren went off, and it was Busi’s turn to press her book against Asanda’s back.

“You could’ve fooled me,” Asanda went on.

If there was anyone who could read people, it was Asanda. She always knew when something was going on with Busi – she would have to be careful. Asanda knew her too well. She could tell that Busi had a secret she wasn’t sharing. And Busi wasn’t ready for Asanda to know – not Asanda, or Lettie, or anybody for that matter. They might spoil it for her. They might try to stop her from seeing Parks.

“Is something wrong? Are you upset because we were in the talent show? I know it must be difficult for you. You know you can tell me anything.” Asanda sounded concerned.

“I do know that,” said Busi.

“Good! Now, can you hurry up? My back’s going to break. I feel like a donkey.”

“Finished!” Busi announced, shutting her Maths book.

“Phew! At last!” Asanda replied, stretching. “Did you do number 5? It was so hard. I felt like my brain was exploding.”

“I left it out,” said Busi.

“Why don’t you ask Unathi to help you? He told me he finished all of them. You know how clever he is,” said Asanda, as Lettie came up and joined them.

“Yes, Busi. You’re the only one he’d give answers to. If you asked nicely, of course,” Lettie chipped in.

“I swear he just doesn’t know how to tell Busi that he likes her,” Asanda laughed.

“What happened to his girlfriend in Jozi?” said Busi. Last term she had caught Unathi staring at a photo of a very pretty girl and she had been filled with jealousy. It seemed like such a long time ago. Things had changed so fast. Everything was different now.

“You know how people talk,” Lettie said, “Don’t believe everything they say about Unathi.”

“I won’t,” replied Busi. “And I won’t believe anything that Unathi says. Anyway, I’m not into boys.”

“Oh?” Asanda and Lettie said together. “It’s like that, hey?” Busi hadn’t meant to say anything. She shouldn’t have opened her big mouth.

“No, I’m not into boys … I’m into men.” She tried to sound casual.

“Men? So Harmony High boys aren’t good enough for you any more?”

Luckily the siren went off before their interrogation could begin. “Don’t forget. I’ll meet you at the gate after school for soccer practice,” Lettie reminded her as they went upstairs to class.

“If you’re not too busy chasing M-E-N!” Asanda teased.

* * *

When the final siren went Busi was the first out of the school gates. She waited for Lettie and Asanda. She decided to go to soccer and even changed into her soccer gear. If she was going to see Parks, she would have to be careful. She would have to make sure that her friends didn’t find out. And if she missed soccer today they would become suspicious.

But Mr Ntlanti made Asanda and Lettie help him carry books back to the storeroom after class. She was alone at the gate waiting for them when she heard loud music from a car radio. She recognised Busi Mhlongo’s Zithini iziswe. Her heart skipped a beat as Parks’s taxi turned the corner and cruised to a stop next to her. She looked down at her soccer gear. Oh no, she thought, he can’t see me like this. I look like a guy in this gear, not the pretty girl he said I was yesterday. If only I was wearing my netball clothes. But it was too late to run back and change into the short skirt that showed off her legs.

Parks opened the door and she got in – like she knew she would. She looked back quickly. “Let’s go,” she said, not wanting her friends to see her leaving in his taxi.

“In a hurry today?” Parks teased. “Not the shy girl of yesterday!” And then, seeing her worried expression, he added, “I’m not complaining! I like assertive girls. Assertive and sporty!”

There was a wheezy cackle from the back of the taxi. It was the gaadjie. Today he was awake, if you could call it that. He reminded her of those boys she had seen under the bridge, with that spaced-out look from sniffing glue. It was like their bodies were present but their minds were somewhere far away. The gaadjie was lost in the music that pumped from the speakers. He swayed back and forth to the beat. But when Busi looked at him he stuck his tongue out at her. She quickly turned to the front. He gave her the creeps.

“Thula wena!”Parks shouted. The gaadjie stopped. “He knows who’s boss, but he’s crazy,” laughed Parks. “Remind me to get rid of him.” Busi didn’t want him there, leering at her. It would be so much better if it were just the two of them.

“Doesn’t he put the customers off?” she asked Parks, whose taxi was empty again today. It was strange – usually the taxis around Harmony High were packed. Parks laughed.

“I’m off today,” he said. “I came here just for you.” Then he gave her that easy, sexy smile and Busi felt her heart beat faster.

As they turned the corner Busi looked back to see Lettie and Asanda at the gate searching up and down the road for her. She could have jumped out then. But she didn’t. “Why are you so nervous?” asked Parks. “Relax. I’m sure they’ll find a sub for you. On the other hand it will be tough replacing someone as cute and sporty as you are …” He changed the music to something slow and soft. “I’m flattered. Do you know that? I’m flattered that you’ve chosen me. I’d have thought all the boys would be after such a sexy girl.” Busi blushed as she thought of Unathi. He wouldn’t even know what to say to Parks. Unathi knew nothing of the world outside his street. Parks was a man. He had seen the world, and Busi wanted to see it too. Her life had suddenly got a lot bigger than Harmony High.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:46am On Sep 11, 2016
* * *

They were heading out of the township now and onto the freeway that led down to the coast. “Aren’t you hot?” he asked her. “In that gear, I mean.”

Busi looked down at her school soccer shirt. She was feeling hot in it. She shouldn’t be shy about taking it off. As she pulled it over her head, revealing the skimpy T-shirt she had on underneath, she felt him watching her. It made her tummy flutter with excitement.

She wound down the taxi window. That was better, cooler. The wind rushed in around her and she put her head back and laughed. Parks laughed too, pleased that she was so happy. “Good,” he said. “You shouldn’t hide what you should be sharing. Now, where would you like to go?”

Chapter 4

“Take me somewhere nice,” Busi said. She didn’t want to go home. There was nothing for her at home.

“I think it’s beach weather. You been to the beach?” Parks asked as he weaved between cars, then accelerated into the fast lane. “You ever get out of thatdump you call home?”She shook her head. He was right. Their shack was small and cramped and cold. “Well, you deserve it, girl. Let me treat you.”

Busi had only been to the beach twice in her life. Once, when she was six, her mom and dad had taken her to Monwabisi. She had built a huge sandcastle and played in the waves. It was New Year’s Day and the beach was packed. Then in Grade 7 the school had taken her class down to Muizenberg on an outing. Twice – in her entire life. And she lived so close to the sea. “Beach weather,” Parks said again. “Wat sê jy?” he called to the gaadjie in the back.

“Beega, beega, make the circle beega,” the guard sang. Uyaphara. What was it – dagga, tik? His brain was fried, that was for sure.

“You’re right, Parks,” she said, feeling braver now, “It is beach weather.”

“That’s my girl,” he said and took her hand. She felt the thrill of his skin against hers.

“What are you thinking?” Parks said, smiling at Busi. It was so easy for her to talk to him. He wasn’t awkward when he spoke to her, like the boys at school. Talking to him was like chatting to one of her girlfriends. When she couldn’t think of anything to say he filled the gap.

“I was thinking about you – about the way you make me feel so good,” she said.

“That’s because I’m a man who has money and treats his women well.” He sped up. They were nearing the sea. She could smell it. “This is only pocket money, driving this taxi. My other businesses, that’s where the real money is. You don’t get that if you’re a fool.”

Respectful, intelligent, handsome … She had hit the jackpot! But every kilometre on the clock was a kilometre further away from her home, her granny, and her friends. And she was out of airtime! “It’s okay. I’ll get you home before dark,” he reassured her. “We wouldn’t want your granny to worry now.” So he knew she was anxious. He knew what she was thinking. That’s what true love was, wasn’t it? You didn’t have to say anything. You just understood each other.

She didn’t stop to wonder how he knew that she lived with her granny.

“We’ll stop at KFC. We can’t go to the beach hungry.”

“I am hungry,” laughed Busi. “I could eat a horse.”

“That’s what I like to hear.” His chuckle was low and rich. “I’m glad you’re not one of those girls who don’t eat. I like my women curvaceous.” He put his hand on her thigh and gave it a squeeze. “Don’t give a man scrawny chicken wings when it’s juicy meat he wants.”

So he liked the way she looked. And it gave her secret pleasure thinking that Lettie wasn’t his type. He wouldn’t look twice at her. She was skinny and her chest was flat as a pancake. And Asanda, well she would annoy him with her constant questions and jokes. No, it was herthat he wanted – Busi.

Just then her cell glowed and she let out an, “Oh!” It was Lettie. Why had Lettie SMSed her, just when Busi was thinking bad thoughts about her? She turned around. Stupid, she thought, how could she be in the taxi with me?

Wats up? Wer u @?

“My friends are looking for me,” she told Parks.

“So call them,” Parks answered, turning the volume down.

“I can’t,” Busi laughed. “Where must I get the airtime? And anyway, I’m sick of them wanting to know where I am all the time.” Parks put his hand on her thigh again. “They just care about you,” he said. “And I can see why. You’re special. I care about you too. I’ll buy you airtime, my baby. I told you, I treat my girls well.”

She liked that. She liked being called his baby. It gave her a warm feeling. Nobody had bought her airtime before. She had always had to earn the money to buy it. This was so much easier. She closed her eyes and put her head back and let the music carry her away.

* * *

Parks was true to his word. He stopped and got Khentakhi to take to the beach – a Streetwise Feast. And not just R29 airtime – R110! She had never had so much before. How could she thank him?

“Aren’t you going to call your friends now?” he teased her. They were coming up to Sunrise Circle. She could see the beach.

“Later,” she said. She liked the way it sounded so casual and grown-up. She didn’t want to be a silly schoolgirl with him, on the cell to her friends all the time, talking nonsense about boys and stuff that wasn’t important. No, phoning Lettie and Asanda was the last thing she wanted to do right now.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:49am On Sep 11, 2016
* * *

Parks pulled into the parking lot in front of the water slides. He grabbed the KFC bag from behind his seat. Then he opened the tub and tossed a piece of chicken at the gaadjie, like he was a dog. “To shut him up,” he laughed.

There were other couples strolling down the beach, hand in hand. As they walked down onto the sand, Parks put his arm around Busi and pulled her close. The comforting warmth of his body next to hers made her want to cry. Her granny gave her a quick hug sometimes. But her mom and dad – she couldn’t remember the last time they had hugged her, or held her close. They had been gone for so long. And she realised how lonely she had been.

The sea was pearly grey and still, like the sky. Not a wave in sight. Like a magician, Parks pulled one thing after another out of his bag of tricks: a blanket, two glasses, a bottle of champagne, KFC.

“Let’s celebrate,” he said, filling their glasses. Busi had never had champagne before. It was what movie stars drank. She had only had a sip or two of beer at a tavern once, with a boy who couldn’t afford to buy her a Savannah.

“What?” she said. “What are we celebrating?”

“You. We’re celebrating you.” Parks leaned over and kissed her cheek.

* * *

When they got back into the taxi to go home, it was getting dark. They had splashed in the shallow water. He had picked up shells for her and told her she was clever and funny and beautiful. The champagne made her feel dizzy with love. Not even the gaadjie’s coarse voice irritated her. And when Parks stopped at the end of her road he leaned over and took her hand. “I’ve had such a good time,” he said. “You make me happy. You’re my sugar baby, Busi – so sweet and so cute.” Then he kissed her on the lips.

It was different from awkward schoolboy kisses. This was dreamy. His lips were soft and warm and firm. She was lost. When his cell phone beeped with a message, he pulled away, reluctantly. “I could do this all night,” he said. “But I’ve got some business to attend to …”

“Bye, cutie pie.” The sound of the gaadjie’svoice startled her. It was the first time he had spoken. He was waving his fingers at her and licking his lips. He had watched them kissing! Ugh!

After Parks had left Busi stood and gazed down the road after him. She felt dazed, like she had just woken up and didn’t know where she was. She was still lost in the clouds when Unathi came up behind her. He jolted her out of her dream world and back to the cold, dirty street. “I didn’t recognise the taxi,” he said. “Or the driver.”

“A friend,” Busi said quickly.

“Of your father’s?” Unathi’s voice was bitter. And when she didn’t reply, he added, “Lettie and Asanda were worried when you didn’t pitch for soccer.”

“I don’t see them here?” she said, looking around, “What are you, their messenger boy?” They were cruel words and she saw that she had hurt him. But he deserved it, stalking her like that. She turned her back on him and started to walk home.

“Be careful with your taxi driver,” Unathi called after her. “Be careful, Busi. Remember Ebenezer. Sometimes people aren’t what they seem.”

Chapter 5

“What happened to you yesterday?”Lettie asked Busi the next morning.

“Yes, girlfriend. Aren’t we good enough for you anymore?” Asanda joined in. “Are you just interested in mennow?”

“I had cramps again,” lied Busi.

“Shame, are you feeling better now?”

“I’m fine,” said Busi. “I’m sorry I didn’t wait. I had to get some Panados. Then I went home to bed. You were taking so long with Mr Ntlanti …” Then she remembered Unathi. He had seen her get out of Parks’s taxi and he might have told them. Was that why they were looking at her like that? Was this a test? She would be shown up for the liar she was. And there was Unathi now, coming across the school yard towards them.

“Busi wasn’t feeling well yesterday afternoon,” Lettie announced. “She went home to sleep.”

“You see, you needn’t have worried,” Asanda said to Unathi. Then she turned to Busi. “Unathi was soworried.” She winked at her friend.“Utatamkhulu.You should have seen him,” she added, imitating his voice. “What if she’s been kidnapped? What if she’s in hospital?”

“Every ten minutes,” laughed Lettie.

Busi looked at Unathi, hoping and praying that he would keep his mouth shut. When he spoke she looked away. But all he said was, “I hope you’re feeling better now.”

“Yes, thank you,” she mumbled.

“Unathi thought you might have been kidnapped. He kept telling us some rubbish about a taxi he saw cruising around the school yesterday,” said Asanda, punching Unathi on the arm affectionately.

“Hey, I thought you had other things to worry about, Unathi,” Busi said, trying to change the subject. “Like that girlfriend of yours in Jozi. How is she, by the way?” But Unathi didn’t answer. And she didn’t push it. She didn’t want to make him angry or he might tell her friends about Parks.

“What you doing later?” Lettie asked as they went back into class. “Do you want to come shopping with us?”

“I think I’m going to take it easy,” said Busi.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:51am On Sep 11, 2016
“Well, call us if you get lonely after school.”

* * *

It was no use pretending that she was working in class. She hadn’t written a line since she got to school. When the Maths teacher, Ma’am Ratsibe, walked around the class checking their homework, Busi hid the page she had been writing on under her arm. “I left my Maths book at home,” she lied. She didn’t want the teacher to see what she had drawn on the page of her workbook – a heart with their names inside it.

462.png
It was foolish, she told herself. She would never see Parks again. It had been one wonderful afternoon. That was all. But she couldn’t help hoping that he would be there again, waiting at the gate after school. All she could think of was the feeling of his lips on hers. She was bubbling over like the champagne they drank. Every few minutes she looked out of the classroom window to see if he was there, waiting. But the road was empty. It was too early, she told herself. He would come later.

* * *

When the final siren went all the students pushed to get out of the gates and into the taxis. The drivers were the bullies of the road, hooting and shoving to get in front of each other. She searched for Parks’s taxi. But he wasn’t there and her heart sank. She couldn’t wait again – not with Unathi around watching her every move. So she decided to walk home. It wasn’t that far, and she would save the taxi fare. She could buy herself something nice with the money – some lip gloss for when she next saw Parks. She would show him that she wasn’t a silly little schoolgirl.

She watched as the taxis left one by one, bursting with schoolkids crushed together. School ties came off and shirts were pulled out and hung loosely over the guys’ pants as they got comfortable on the way home. She waited until the last of them had gone and then she started to walk, really slowly, down the road. But she got only a few paces when she heard a familiar voice.

“Do you want me to carry your bag?” Unathi was there again, following her like a lame dog. She was angry now. Why couldn’t he leave her alone? “Why didn’t you take the taxi?” he asked.

“Why didn’t you?” she answered.

“To save the fare,” he said. But she knew that wasn’t the reason. He was looking out for her. And she wished he wouldn’t.

“To go to Jozi to see your girlfriend?”

“I’m telling you, I haven’t got a girlfriend. Thumi and I broke up. Why won’t you girls get it? The way you go on, anyone would think mna ndingudlalani.”

“Aren’t you?” As she spoke she kept looking up and down the street for Parks.

“You waiting for someone?” Unathi asked. When she didn’t answer he reached out and took her bag, heavy with books. “I’ll walk you home. It’s not safe to walk alone.”

What if Parks saw her walking with Unathi? What if he thought Unathi was her boyfriend? Would he drive on? “Oh,” she said, pretending to have just remembered something. “Yhini Bawo,I forgot, I was supposed to stay behind to get help with my Maths. You go on ahead.”

“I can help you.”

“Thanks, but Ma’am Ratsibe is waiting,” she said. “She’s expecting me and I’ve already been in detention twice for not handing in my homework.” Unathi looked at her strangely, then handed back her bag and turned and walked away.

* * *

Busi ran back through the school gates. She waited until he had gone around the corner before she went back out onto the street. Her watch said two forty-five. He wasn’t coming. Why would he? But then she heard that familiar, thump, thump, thump of the bass beat pounding out onto the road through the open windows of Parks’s taxi and her heart leapt. And when Parks pulled up next to her she went straight up, put her head through the window and kissed him. It was so bold, so brave. It made her feel like a grown-up. And he kissed her back.

“I’m in luck,” he said, a big grin on his face. “I thought it was too late. I thought I’d missed you. To think, if I had come five minutes later you might have gone. Now get in, I’m hungry.”

“Khentakhi?” she laughed. She was so happy.

“Let’s try some place new,” he said, as she looked back expecting to see the gaadjie. But today they were alone. “He was annoying me,” laughed Parks. “I dropped him at the last traffic light. I booted him out. He’s probably lying on the pavement right now.”

“Serious? You kicked him out of the taxi?”

“No, I’m just teasing you. I like teasing you.” He winked at her. “I like kissing you too.” As they drove he reached over, opened the cubbyhole and took out a CD, “Hey, I got you some new music.” He slid the CD into the player. It was Ringo – the musician she had told him about when they were at the beach. “Sithandwa sam …,” she sang along.

“You like it?”

“I like it!” The fear had gone. She had been stupid to be nervous of him. Now it felt like they had known each other forever.

“Now, where are we going for lunch? You can pick anywhere. Remember I’m not just a taxi driver. I’m also an entrepreneur,” he laughed. “Money is no object.” But Busi didn’t know any of the fancy places. She knew KFC and Steers. That was all. And they had been to KFC.

“Steers,” she said.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:53am On Sep 11, 2016
“Steers it is,” he answered. “But next time it will be somewhere fancy … after sunset.” He looked at her. “There will be a next time?”

“Yes.”

She wanted to tell him she loved him there and then. She had to hold the words in before they came bursting out. No, she would wait until they were somewhere romantic … at night.

Chapter 6

It was easy, Busi told herself. When you wanted to do something, it was easy. And she wanted to be with Parks. That afternoon, after they had been to Steers in Wynberg, he drove her up the leafy roads in Constantia. One of her granny’s friends worked there for a rich lady. But it was the first time Busi had seen such huge houses, except on The Bold and The Beautiful. “For one family! Can you believe it?” Parks said. “Stick with me, baby, and one day it will be my BMW parked in that driveway. And it will be you getting out of it.”

“Really, Parks?” she said.

“Is that what you’d like?”

“Yes. But I wouldn’t paint our house that colour. And I’d prefer a Mini Cooper.” He roared with laughter. It made her happy to think that he found her funny.

He took her over to Hout Bay, then on to Camps Bay. Some of her friends had been there. They had told her about the models they’d seen being photographed under the palm trees. “Not as curvaceous, or as bootilicious, as you,” Parks flattered her.

“Don’t you have to be anywhere?” Busi asked him. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

“I told you, I’m my own boss,” he laughed. “The only person who can tell me where to be and when, is me.” And when his cell phone rang, he switched it off.

Next stop was the Waterfront, where they went window shopping. Parks bought her a necklace with a locket on it. “Now all you need is a photo of me inside,” he joked. “Would you keep it safe?”

“Very safe,” she said, looking into his eyes. He gave her a lingering kiss, then took her hand as they strolled down the mall together, her locket shimmering silver around her neck. A woman stopped to stare. Busi knew why. Here was a young girl in school uniform kissing an older man. So what, she didn’t care what anyone thought. They didn’t understand.

* * *

On the way home Parks pulled over into a lay-by and they kissed. He told Busi that he was looking forward to more, but only when she was ready. He would never force her. He wasn’t like that. “I can’t wait to see you out of your school clothes,” he said as he dropped her off. “Will you dream of me tonight?”

“Yes … sweet dreams,” she promised.

As she lay in bed she smiled. The locket was around her neck, hidden under her nightie, close to her heart. He said he couldn’t wait to see her out of her school clothes. Well, he would. She had an idea. It was so simple, but so clever it made her laugh. And it would work – she was sure of it. She wanted to please him, and school was so boring. She didn’t need Lettie and Asanda asking her where she was all the time, or Unathi following her around like a bodyguard.

When she woke up the next morning she packed her casual clothes in her school bag. After breakfast she kissed her granny goodbye and headed for the taxi rank. But as soon as she got around the corner she ducked into the toilets at Jake’s Tavern and changed. She re-emerged in jeans and a cute top. Then she rang Parks. So easy! “Any time,” he had told her. And he had given her airtime so she could call him whenever she felt like it – day or night. He was there in five minutes.

* * *

Over the next few days Parks wined and dined Busi. She ate food she had never tasted before in fancy restaurants. He would leave the taxi with that idiot gaadjie as they wandered hand in hand through town. Parks told her about his big dreams and ideals. Most of the time he was in a good mood … except for when he took calls on his cell phone. Then he would walk away so that she couldn’t hear him. But she could tell from his body language, the way he stood all hunched over with his fists clenched, that he was angry. And once he’d turned his taxi around just as they had set off, and dropped her back near her house. “Business,” he’d said.

When she didn’t see him, she missed him all day. But then he would always be back the next morning.

The third time she bunked school he took her up to the forest. The gaadjie wasn’t there and they lay on the back seat and kissed and cuddled. When she got home she told her granny that she was studying after school for exams. And her grandmother was pleased. It was their joke – Parks’s and hers.

Lettie and Asanda SMSed her.

r u ok? wer u bn?

Ndiyagula.

oh! gt wel sn.

They didn’t know how much fun she was having. She had another life and it was better than anything they had. She was just sad it had to be a secret. She wanted to tell them about the crayfish she ate and the perfume he bought her. She wanted to boast about the man she was dating and how good life could be. He was going to take her to a hotel for the night. “Don’t be frightened,” he said. “I’ll be gentle. You’ll see. You’ll love it.”
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:55am On Sep 11, 2016
By the end of the week she was bursting to tell her friends about the life she had been leading. Yes, maybe it was time to go back to school.

* * *

On Friday morning she couldn’t wait. As she was putting on her school shoes she heard a knock at the door, and her grandmother talking to someone outside. Parks wouldn’t dare come here, she thought. But when she went out she saw Unathi standing there. “I hope you’re feeling better,” he said. She didn’t know what to say. Her granny was staring at her, as if she finally understood what Busi had been up to. Unathi pulled an exercise book out of his bag and opened it. Inside was a whole bunch of papers. “I brought you the notes you’ve missed,” he said. “With exams coming up, you can’t skip anything if you want to pass.”

“Missed?” Busi’s granny asked, frowning at her. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s extra work, Gogo. I want to do well in the exams. I want to make you proud. You know the classes I’m doing after school? Well, I missed a couple.”

Unathi didn’t say anything. He just handed over the papers. He had copied his notes – pages of them. Busi was amazed. He had done this for her? But why? To make her feel bad? To sow a seed of doubt in her granny’s mind? Or because he cared?

Chapter 7

Busi’s friends ran to meet her when she walked through the gates of Harmony High. “We’ve missed you! How are you feeling?” asked Asanda.

“Yes, we were really worried when you didn’t even make the soccer game. We know how much it means to you to be in the team.” Lettie gave her a hug. “You must have been really sick?”

“You could say that …,” Busi smiled. She couldn’t wait to tell them about Parks.

“Why are you grinning like that?” Asanda asked. “Have you been keeping a secret, Busi? And we thought you were ill.”

“I was ill,” Busi laughed. “I caught the love bug.”

“You’re in love?” asked Lettie. “With who?”

And then she told them about Parks. How handsome he was. How he treated her like a movie star. She watched their astonished faces as she told them that he had bought her skinny jeans and that he was getting her a smart phone with a contract!

“You must be joking?” Asanda couldn’t believe it. “A cell phone with a contract and jeans. Serious?”

“Serious.”

“And he took you to the movies during school?” said Lettie, who looked like she wasn’t sure she believed Busi.

“And to lunch afterwards,” Busi went on. She couldn’t stop now. “Three courses: starters, mains, dessert. A steak this big.” She held her hands apart. “And chocolate pudding.”

“Oh, I can taste it … stop … stop!” cried Asanda.

“He’s too damn sexy for my own good,” she told them, thinking of the dimple in Parks’s chin and that slow smile.

“Too damn sexy, that’s for sure!” They giggled together.

Busi had never felt so popular before. Asanda hooked an arm through hers as they walked back into class. “So tell me, Busi,” she whispered, “just between the two of us … have you done it yet?”

“What?” Busi faked surprise. It was the one thing she still needed to keep a secret – the night Parks was planning at the hotel. She didn’t want anyone to ruin that. “No, not yet,” she said. “He’s not that kind of guy. He respects me. He says we’ll have sex only when I’m ready. But I’m his girl, Asanda. He calls me his sugar baby.”

“You are his baby,” Unathi sounded disgusted. He had been listening from a few metres away as she bragged about Parks. Now he came up to her. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen soon,” Busi said crossly.

“Fifteen now,” Unathi said.

“So?”

“So, do you know that sugar daddy of yours could be arrested?” Seeing the look of horror on Busi’s face, he went on. “I could report him to the police if he sleeps with you. A man who has sex with a girl of fifteen is committing rape in the eyes of the law. That’s what it is, Busi – rape. You are under the age of consent. Your sugar daddy umele uyokumvalela etrongweni. And they should throw away the key. I bet you’re not the only girl he’s seeing.”

“I am!” shouted Busi. “And anyway, I’m sixteen next month. And you wouldn’t dare report Parks.” But Unathi had made her scared. His uncle was a policeman. What if he checked up on Parks? What if he followed them? But she couldn’t let him see her fear. “Have you finished with your lecture?” She took a step towards him so that she was really close to his face, “Because I’m sick of listening.”

“You’re just jealous, Unathi,” said one of the girls who had come up to join in, “because Parks can give Busi what you can’t.”

“And you really believe he loves her?” asked Unathi. “That he doesn’t cruise the streets in his taxi looking for more sugar babies like Busi to tempt with treats and promises. And then to use and dump – like spoiled goods.”

“What do you know?” cried Busi. But in that moment she realised that he knew far too much. Not only had he crushed her moment of triumph, but he’d made her afraid too. She wished he’d just go. And she was relieved when a group of his friends dragged him away. She tried to forget what Unathi had said.

“When are you seeing your man again?” asked Asanda as they went into class.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:56am On Sep 11, 2016
“Tonight. I’m wearing the skinny jeans he gave me. I can’t wait.”

“And you haven’t had sex yet?” Asanda asked again.

“No,” Busi shook her head. “I’m not cheap like some girls. And he knows that.”

“Be careful,” warned Lettie. But she knew that once you had the love bug there was no cure except for the pain of breaking up. Hadn’t it been like that with Ntombi and Mzi? It was lucky she had escaped.

“Yes, I know, Lettie. Wear a condom, safe sex …”

“That too,” said Lettie. “But I meant, be careful of your heart.”

“What’s wrong with all of you?” Busi said, “Can’t you just be happy for me?”

It was English with Mr Ntlanti. The closer they got to exams the stricter he became. No minute should be wasted, he told them. But it was all wasted on Busi. She couldn’t concentrate on anything. And anyway, it was just too hot for Shakespeare today. Her mind drifted to Parks. Unathi was talking rubbish, she thought. And she let herself wonder which hotel Parks would choose for their first night together.

Then Mr Ntlanti started asking questions. He pointed to one of the boys and when he didn’t know the answer he put him straight into detention. Busi couldn’t be in detention that afternoon. Parks was coming for her after school. All she had to do was SMS him. She had to tell him now that she wanted to go to the hotel tonight. Before it was too late and before Unathi messed it up. And she had to get out of class before Mr Ntlanti asked her a question she couldn’t answer. She excused herself, saying that she needed the toilet.

In the corridor she took her cell phone out of her pocket and quickly started tapping the keys.

Pck me up @ Jakes – ur sugar bby.

“Texting your sugar daddy?”

Busi flew around. “Are you stalking me?” she yelled at Unathi. She had had enough.

“Maybe you’re fooling Lettie and Asanda, but you don’t fool me, Busi. You think you’re too cool for school? That you’re better than the rest of us because of Mr Moneybags? The only person you’ll be fooling in the end is yourself.”

“You’re just envious.”

“Think what you like. I’m just disappointed in you.”

“Disappointed!” spat Busi. “Who are you? My father?”

“Have you even looked at the notes I gave you?” Busi could hear that Unathi was upset now. He couldn’t hide that with his anger. She had hurt him. He had spent hours writing those notes and she hadn’t even looked at them.

“It was kind of you to give me the notes,” she said. She couldn’t look him in the eye.

“The exams are two weeks away. Do you really want to repeat Grade 10? Do you really want to see your friends moving on and leaving you behind?” Busi stared at him. What could she say to him that would make him understand? How could she tell him what Parks gave her? How it was so much better than all of this. That school didn’t matter now. Couldn’t he see how happy she was?

“I’m happy – so, so happy. Can’t you see it?”

“All I can see is an accident waiting to happen,” he said.

“I don’t want to go to school any more, Unathi.”

“You’re throwing your life away,” he argued. “And I won’t just stand by and watch.”

“You don’t understand …”

“Do your parents know?”

“They’re in Jozi, chasing their own dreams. Why should they care?”

Then the siren went and students rushed out into the corridor and Busi could escape.

Life was so strange. Unathi’s attention would have meant the world to Busi only a couple of weeks ago. He was her hero back then, with his big, broad shoulders and his talent on the soccer field. She used to think he was such a man. How things had changed. Now he was following her everywhere and she wasn’t interested.

She looked down at her SMS for Parks.

Pck me up @ Jakes – ur sugar bby.

Then she pressed the SEND button. There was no going back now.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 11:58am On Sep 11, 2016
Thsnks for reading , i will upload the next chapter 2moro .
Baloz
Re: Sugar Daddy by Fijumokesayo(f): 4:36pm On Sep 11, 2016
Which country are you from? I'm a Nigerian, and there are some words I don't understand in the post. Please, maybe you should write the meaning of every words at the end of the update.
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You're doing well with the story so far, God bless you.

1 Like

Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 10:32pm On Sep 11, 2016
Fijumokesayo:
Which country are you from? I'm a Nigerian, and there are some words I don't understand in the post. Please, maybe you should write the meaning of every words at the end of the update.
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.
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You're doing well with the story so far, God bless you.
Actually am a nigerian also , but I have lived in ghana 4 years . any word u don't understand just point out I will tell u d meaning
Re: Sugar Daddy by jacksonPolloc(m): 8:59am On Sep 12, 2016
nice story...keep it up
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 7:17pm On Sep 12, 2016
Chapter 8

Parks was at Jake’s Tavern at six sharp. Busi was waiting anxiously outside in her new skinny jeansand her silver top. She knew she looked good. “I couldn’t wait,” he said, leaning over and kissing her as she got in next to him. Then he picked up a red rose on the dashboard and handed it to her. “For my sugar baby. You look gorgeous. I am the luckiest guy in the country … in the world.” He hugged her.

“Which hotel are we going to?” she asked, excited and nervous at the same time. What if she didn’t know what to do in bed to make him happy? What if she made him angry, or he got tired of her?

“That’s a secret,” he said. “Trust Parks! Has he ever let you down?”

Busi had never been to a hotel before and so when Parks swung off the freeway into the parking lot of the Formula One she thought it was the real deal. She hung back when he checked them into their room, fearing the receptionist might ask how old she was. She didn’t want anyone stopping them. “Come on, my baby,” Parks was saying. He took her by the arm and led her to the lift.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 7:19pm On Sep 12, 2016
Their room was on the third floor. As they got into the lift another couple squashed in. They had a suitcase and two smaller travel bags. Busi suddenly felt awkward. She and Parks didn’t have any luggage. It must be so obvious to the couple why they were coming to the hotel. She was relieved when the man and woman got off on the second floor.

Now they were alone, Parks started kissing her passionately. They almost fell out of the lift when the door opened. “Let’s see our room, and then I’ll take you out for supper,” said Parks. He was so confident. He knew exactly what to do, like he’d been to many hotels in his life.

The room was small, but the bed looked new with clean white sheets and a nice duvet. They had their own shower, with hot and cold water! Parks laughed as Busi turned the hot tap on and off, excitedly. At home if they wanted hot water they had to heat it on the stove. Here it was flowing from the taps – as much as you wanted.

* * *

After supper they sat in the hotel lounge and Parks ordered them drinks. He asked her how school had been and she told him about Unathi. He laughed. “The boy’s crazy about you. You shouldn’t be so mean to him. You’ll break his heart. And anyway,” he said, blowing a cloud of smoke from the cigar he was smoking, “Unathi’s right, baby. You’ve got to think of your future. You’ve got to be someone. Look at me. Where would I be without an education? A successful entrepreneur? No! I’d be like that useless gaadjie.”

Maybe Parks was right. But Busi didn’t want to think about Unathi now. This was her night. It was just her and Parks.

As soon as they got back to the hotel room Parks held Busi close and started kissing her neck. He was gentle at first, but as he began to fumble with her clothes she could sense his urgency. “Wait,” she said, suddenly shy of him seeing her Unclad. It was all going too fast and the light was on. “I need the toilet.”

“Hey, don’t be long…. The bed will get cold without you.”

Alone in the bathroom Busi took off her clothes and wrapped a towel around herself. She felt nervous, but she had come this far – she couldn’t go back now. She wouldn’t. When she opened the bathroom door she was relieved to find that Parks had turned the light off. Now only the moonlight shone through the window. It was better in the dark. “Come here, my sugar baby,” he said softly. She unwrapped the towel quickly and slipped under the sheets. Was she doing the right thing, she wondered? What was he expecting? And then their bodies touched and he started kissing her again and she was lost in the moment.

When it was over Parks held her Unclad body against his. She lay with her back to him and looked out into the night. “Why so quiet?” he asked her. “It’s all right, baby. The first time always hurts a bit, then it just gets better and better.” But it wasn’t that. She was in his warm arms, and yet she felt sick with fear. She had brought a condom in her bag – she had wanted to be responsible. But she hadn’t had the courage to insist that they use one. And now it was too late.

“What’s wrong?” he whispered. “Didn’t you enjoy it?”

“We didn’t use a condom,” she said softly, expecting him to be angry. But he just chuckled.

“Is that all?” he said, kissing her forehead. “Don’t worry, baby – I don’t have Aids,” he reassured her. “Relax. I promise you nothing bad is going to happen.”

“What if I fall pregnant?” She shouldn’t have said that. Now she was ruining the whole night in the hotel. But he wasn’t cross. He just pulled her closer to him. She turned around in his arms. In that moment the moonlight streaked through the flimsy curtains and picked up the hazel colour of his eyes. He looked honest, sincere.

“You worry too much. I know what I’m doing.”

“But …” she stammered. Then he laughed, rolled her over, covered her body with soft kisses, tickled her.

“You’re a woman now,” he said, lighting up a cigarette and settling back into the pillows.

She curled up and hugged herself. He felt so far away, smoking his cigarette like that. She found she was crying. She didn’t know why she was feeling like this. She should have been over the moon. This is what she had wanted – to be a woman for Parks, not a silly child. So why then did she feel so sad? “I don’t know if I’m ready for this,” Busi whispered into the dark. But Parks didn’t hear her. He was lying back, his eyes closed, a smile on his face.

Busi listened to the sounds of the night: the creaking beds in the room next door, the hum of traffic in the distance, someone’s shrill, drunken laughter. And suddenly it all felt so cheap.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” she said. But she was talking to herself.

Sitting on the toilet she wept, longing for the child who had slipped away. She looked at her reflection in the mirror, looked to see what had changed. Where was the young girl? Who was this woman? Then she saw Parks’s reflection come into view. He was standing behind her.

“We must go,” he said, “I must take you home now.”
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 7:22pm On Sep 12, 2016
* * *

Parks flirted with the receptionist when he paid the bill and Busi felt hurt and jealous. It was so soon after they had sex. He should have had eyes only for her. And why did the receptionist know his name?

Then another man, about Parks’s age, walked into the hotel. He came over and greeted Parks. Busi could smell utywala. On his arm was a woman wearing a wig, very high stilettos, and a dress that showed off more than it covered. It was obvious that she wasn’t his wife, or his girlfriend. The woman looked at Busi and smiled knowingly. And Busi felt cheap again, umthatha lula.

* * *

When they got back to the taxi Parks took her hand and kissed it. “Thank you, baby. I love you so much.” That was better. It was about love, not just sex, she thought.

“Forever?” she asked. Then he laughed.

“Nothing is forever, not even love. Soon you’ll get tired of me. You’ll want a younger man.”

“Never!” Busi said with certainty.

He laughed again. “Even when I’m old and grey?”

Why couldn’t he understand that he was all that mattered to her? He owned her, body and soul. He opened the taxi door and was about to get in when he remembered he’d left his wallet at the desk. He ran back to fetch it.

Busi turned around to look for him. That’s when she saw the woman. She was sitting in the driver’s seat of a big, shiny black car that was parked in front of the hotel. The car window was rolled down and she was staring at Busi.

Chapter 9

“So, did you do it?” was Asanda’s first question as Busi got off the taxi on Monday morning. Busi nodded. “And?”

“It was the best,” Busi said, and hoped she sounded convincing. All weekend she had thought about it. She had gone over it in her mind. She had felt Parks’s hands, his kiss. That was nice. But she had also felt lonely and cheap. She had tried to push that part away and only remember the good things. And then there was the woman waiting in the black car at the hotel. Who was she waiting for? And why did she stare at Busi? Part of Busi wanted to tell Asanda these disturbing thoughts. But she couldn’t. She needed them to think she was still flying high from her night with Parks …

“So, you’re bringing Mr Parks to the school dance on Friday?” Lettie asked. Busi had forgotten all about the school dance. She thought how different her life was now from her friends’. They wouldn’t understand how small and childish a school dance seemed. But she didn’t want to disappoint them. And she could see that some of them didn’t believe that Parks existed. She would show them.

“Of course,” she said. “He’ll add a bit of class.”

“That’s if Mr Khumalo lets him in,” said Lettie.

“He’s old enough to be your father,” Unathi added. “And you’re still a minor – until next week, is it?”

Busi wished he would stop saying Parks was old enough to be her father. She didn’t want to think of him like that. Nobody wants to think of their father like that. It made it all wrong! It wasn’t like that. Parks was her boyfriend.

“It won’t be a problem,” Busi told Unathi. “Wait and see.” But she wasn’t so sure. She hadn’t even asked Parks if he would go to the dance with her. He hadn’t met any of her friends, and she didn’t know if he would want to. Besides, they might embarrass her in front of him with their stupid girlish talk.

* * *

“She definitely has the love bug,” joked Asanda quietly in Chemistry. Busi had caused a minor explosion at the back of the class because she wasn’t concentrating. When the air cleared of smoke, the teacher went with Busi to get a brush and pan to clean up the mess. Left alone, the class could talk more freely.

“More like the Parks bug. It’s incurable, so I’m told,” said Xoliswa.

“What do you mean?” asked Asanda.

“Xoliswa means she isn’t the first schoolgirl Parks has taken for a drive,” Vuyo chipped in. “He took a friend of mine’s sister from Brookland High for a drive one day. Luckily she jumped out of the taxi before he got his dirty hands on her. That’s why he’s moved on to cruising by Harmony High. The principal at Brooklyn found out about him and threatened to have him arrested.”

“They should have arrested him,” said Unathi. “That’s why this poo keeps happening. People turn a blind eye. We have to do something.” He looked at Asanda.

“Busi is our friend and she needs us now.” He sounded worried and angry.

“Busi only wants one person in her life now,” Lettie said sadly. “Mr Parks.”

Chapter 10

So Busi was in trouble – that’s what everyone thought. Her friends had warned her, had grown tired of covering for her. There was not much they could do or say to save her any more. But Busi didn’t care. The love bug had bitten her and Parks was all she could think about. When she thought of him it made her pulse race. The next day she missed school, and the next. It was a joke between them – how she left the house every day dressed for school, her hair tied up and her books in her school bag. Her granny would call after her, “Your lunch, child, you’ve forgotten your lunch!”
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 7:23pm On Sep 12, 2016
She didn’t need the lunch, but she would run back and take it from her grandmother’s trembling hands. She’d give her a peck on her hollow cheeks to show her gratitude. And she’d give the lunch to some hungry child along the way. These days she feasted regularly on the most expensive KFC on the menu, or Steersburgers with extra cheese that she downed with a lime milkshake – double thick, of course. And every Friday, as a special treat, she and Parks would try out a new fancy restaurant. Money was no consideration at all.

“Order what you want,” Parks would say to her. And it didn’t end there. He was generous. “And get yourself more airtime.” Life was so good. She had almost forgotten how alone she had felt at the hotel. But at night in her bed darker thoughts would creep back in and she would feel lost and lonely. And sometimes, just as she was going to sleep, she would see the woman’s face staring at her from the window of that smart black car.

* * *

“Busi, is that you?” her grandmother called from the back yard as Busi came in from another lunch with Parks. She had changed back into her school clothes in his taxi.

“Yes,” she called, as she pulled off her grey skirt and white shirt. Should she wear the new dress he had bought her to the dance? The dance!

In the taxi on the way home she had plucked up the courage to ask Parks. It had taken guts. What if he said no? What if he didn’t want to hang out with schoolgirls and schoolboys?

“Parks, there’s a school dance on Friday and I’ve told my friends you’re coming,” she said as they approached her street. Silence. Then he laughed and she could breathe again.

“So, you’ve been telling your friends all about me.”

“Well, I’m so proud and happy to be with you. And you’re so good to me. I wanted them all to know.”

“Of course I’ll come to your dance. Friday, you say? Just SMS me the address. I’ll meet you there. I’m sure you’ll want to go along with your friends. I know you girls – you like to get ready together.”

“Are you sure? That’s so kind of you, Parks. I knew you’d understand. I’ll see you there,” she’d said, and kissed him goodbye.

“Sure thing,” he replied, winking at her.
Re: Sugar Daddy by jacksonPolloc(m): 1:42pm On Sep 13, 2016
Balosammy are we not expecting anything sooner?
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:00pm On Sep 13, 2016
Chapter 11

“Orange!” Lettie shrieked excitedly. “I want the orange!”

“Orange nail polish?” Busi laughed. “Where did you get it?”

“It belongs to my mum,” said Zinzi. “She has many other colours …” Ntombi had brought her sister Zinzi along to help them dress at Asanda’s house. They were primping and preening, doing one another’s hair and nails and trying on each other’s clothes.

“Busi! Where’s your head, girl?” Lettie exclaimed, blowing on her freshly painted orange nails. “Get done, or we’ll be late.”

“I can’t wait to meet your mystery man,” laughed Asanda.

But Busi was worried. She had SMSed Parks the directions five times and he hadn’t replied. “Trust me, I’ll be there. And I’ll never let those girls laugh at you. I’ll charm them all. Just wait and see.” He would be there. Of course he would.

“Why are you so quiet?” Ntombi asked in the taxi on the way to the school hall. “Is anything wrong?” She too had noticed Busi withdrawing from their group of friends. Ntombi knew that Busi was in trouble with Parks. She recognised the signs. It had been the same with Mzi – the lies you told yourself and others, the promises that were broken.

* * *

When they got to the hall there was a bustle of activity. Everyone was commenting on everyone else’s choice of clothes and how this one and that one looked.

“Ujongeka kakuhle!”

“Kwenzeke ntoni ezinweleni zakho.”

“Is that really …”

“Oh my god, what is Selwyn wearing!”

* * *

Busi waited outside. It was getting cold and the rest of the girls and boys had gone in. She could hear the music starting. It was Malibongwe– one of her favourites. It used to get her onto the dance floor, no matter what. But not tonight.

“Are you okay?” Mr Khumalo asked Busi. “Are you waiting for your date?” He had come to check that all the students were in the hall.

“Yes, he’s been caught in traffic,” she lied.

“You can wait for five minutes more. Then you’ll have to come in,” he warned. “There are quite a few girls and boys who have come on their own. It doesn’t matter at all. We can all dance together. You don’t have to have a partner.” It was kind of Mr Khumalo. But it didmatter to Busi. She had told all her friends that Parks would come. She had boasted about her smart, rich boyfriend who was a man, not a boy.

Eventually she was forced to go inside the hall, but she didn’t dance. She waited by the door, nervously checking her cell phone for messages. When she could, she ran out to check the parking lot. “Of course I’ll come, baby. I’ll be there after ten,” he had promised.So, where was he?Her friends were losing patience with her.

“Come on, Busi, you haven’t danced all night – come and join us,” Asanda pleaded with her. Then Unathi came up and held out his hand. “May I have the pleasure?” he asked her. She hovered between going with him and running outside again. He looked very handsome in his suit and she knew what a good dancer he was. But if she went with him she might miss Parks.

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:02pm On Sep 13, 2016
“The night is young, Unathi. You’ll see – I’ll dance with you later.”

So he too stopped asking her, dancing instead with all the girls who wanted to dance with him. There were many of them, as he had long legs and good moves. But still he kept watching Busi out of the corner of his eye. Why couldn’t he talk some sense into her?

* * *

It was midnight when Busi tried Parks’s phone for the last time. This time it went onto voicemail.

The number you have dialled is unavailable. Please try again later.

Busi was close to tears. Where was he?

“What if something happened to him?” she asked Lettie.

“Something like what?” Lettie wanted to know.

“Something bad, like an accident …”

“Or something like, maybe he’s married. Or maybe he’s too old to come and dance with a lot of teenagers.”

“But he could have said so …”

Asanda laughed. “I can just imagine the look on Mr Khumalo’s face if he pitches up and wants to come in.”

“Yes,” Unathi added, “Mr Khumalo said admittance strictly for schoolchildren.”

“He’s not coming to dance,” Busi argued now, changing her tune. “He’s coming to fetch me.” Her friends looked at one another and rolled their eyes.

“How well do you know him?” Lettie wanted to know. “Did you meet his family? Do you know where he lives?”

“He lives in Milnerton,” Busi answered proudly and, as an afterthought, “His family lives in the Eastern Cape.”

“Conveniently!” Lettie snapped. “You know what, Busi? You hardly know this man. I only hope you use condoms.”

“I know what I’m doing, Lettie,” said Busi. “Mind your own business. Besides, he isn’t HIV-positive. He said so.”

“Hmm, yes, and he’s so reliable, Busi!” retorted Lettie.

Busi decided to ignore this hurtful remark. Anyway, she had something more urgent to think about. Where was Parks?

The music had stopped. Happy young teenagers came tumbling out of the hall while the team who had organised the dance stayed behind to clean up and pack away the plastic chairs. Busi saw this as her opportunity to get away from her friends. She took off and ran all the way home. She wanted to go and look for Parks, but where would she begin?

* * *

“Is that you, Busi?” her grandmother called as she entered their shack.

“It’s me, Gogo!” She was cold and out of breath. She had taken off her shoes to run through the dark streets – too frightened to slow down or stop.

“I thought you were all sleeping over at Asanda’s tonight,” her grandmother said, smiling, as Busi bent down to kiss her on her cheek. “You’re exhausted.”

“All that dancing,” Busi lied. “I left before the end. Asanda’s being such a show-off, I decided not to spend the night there.” Her grandmother smiled. “Girls! I remember all the fights we had at school. Then we would hug and make up.”

* * *

Busi sat up all night – watching, waiting, listening to the sounds of the night. Part of her still expected Parks to come and knock at her window, armed with a big smile and a sound explanation, a can of Coke and a whole-nut chocolate. His phone was still on voicemail and she couldn’t think of a single person who might be able to tell her what had happened to him. She was angry and worried.

She didn’t know what to think.

Where was he?

As the night grew still around her, a million possibilities raced around her head. Did he owe her anything? Did he really love her? What did she know about him and his life? In giving her money and buying her things, Parks didn’t have to explain anything to her. And suddenly she felt like that prostitute in the hotel. He had bought her sex with pretty lockets and meals in fancy restaurants. She wasn’t sure what to wish for – that he would come for her or that she could forget him forever.

As the sun rose she could no longer fight the tiredness, and she drifted off to sleep. But Parks wouldn’t leave her alone. There he was in her dreams, opening the door of his taxi. And there she was getting in, looking back. But in her dreams the gaadjiehad gone. In her dreams a woman sat on the back seat. It was the woman from the smart black car, staring at her.

Chapter 12

Busi woke up late in the morning, with a headache. She felt nauseous. Her granny said it was because she hadn’t eaten properly and cooked her some porridge. But Busi didn’t feel hungry. She had to force the porridge down. Parks still hadn’t called and there was nothing she could do. She told herself to try to forget him, but she couldn’t. And when there was a knock on the door she rushed through to see who it was. She hoped that it wasn’t him and that it was him – all at the same time. She would be so relieved to see him, but she didn’t want her granny to meet him. It wasn’t Parks – it was Unathi, looking tired but still handsome.

“I came to see if you got home okay?” he smiled.

“What do you care? I saw you dancing with Felicia last night.” Busi couldn’t look at him.

“What was I supposed to do? Sit on the wall? I asked you to dance, remember, and you said no – too busy waiting for Mr No-Show.”

“Actually he phoned,” she lied. “He was in an accident.” Unathi raised his eyebrows in disbelief.

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:03pm On Sep 13, 2016
“So, why aren’t you at the hospital at his bedside then? Why aren’t you with him in his hour of need?”

“I can’t leave my grandmother.” It was a stupid excuse, she knew. But he didn’t question her further and his expression softened.

“I was worried about you, Busi.” His voice was quiet now, and full of concern. “It’s dangerous, Busi. What you are doing is dangerous.”

She didn’t have the energy to fight back. What could she say? And when there was another knock at the door and the sound of girls giggling, she was so relieved, she laughed. Her friends burst in looking a bit worse for wear from the night before. Asanda still had some make-up on. “Hey, Unathi sprinted to get here ahead of us, Busi. He must really like you,” she teased. Unathi rolled his eyes.

“I just came to tell her that what she’s doing is dangerous,” he told the girls.

“Well, we’ve come to take her clothes shopping at Wynberg station. Xoli got such a nice top there for only R5,” said Lettie. “And it’s girls only, boyfriend.”

“I get the message,” said Unathi. “Loud and clear.”

* * *

“I don’t care about clothes any more,” Busi complained as they got into a taxi to Wynberg. She didn’t care about anything – except what had happened to Parks. They sat in a row at the back – Asanda, Lettie, Busi, Ntombi, and Zinzi squashed in between them.

“So he didn’t show?” said Lettie, “It’s not the end of the world, chommie. Forget about him. Move on.”

“Yes, forget him,” agreed Asanda. “I’m a one-chance girl. If a boy says he’s going to call and he doesn’t, I give him one more chance. If he does it again, he’s out. If boys get to know that you won’t take poo, they won’t give you poo! Or if they do, they’re not for you.” But whatever they said, Busi couldn’t forget about Parks. How could she?

They got out at the taxi rank in Wynberg and walked over to the street stalls, where they started looking through the piles of pretty tops on sale. It was then that she saw Parks’s taxi stopping on the other side of the road. She watched as the gaadjie helped an old lady off, nearly falling in the gutter himself as he handed over her plastic shopping bags. She strained to get a glimpse of Parks. She wanted to run across the road, but a Golden Arrow bus pulled up in front of the taxi. And when she finally got there, the taxi sped off. But not before she had caught sight of the gaadjie grinning stupidly and waving at her – the idiot. Busi’s mouth was dry with shock.

“It’s not him,” Zinzi said, taking Busi’s hand.

“What?”

“Parks isn’t driving,” Zinzi said.

“How do you know? How do you know it wasn’t him?”

“Because it was a woman driving,” said Zinzi firmly. “I went over there to get some chips. I saw everything.”

“A woman?”

Busi thought of that black car and the woman staring at her. She checked her phone again. Nothing. No SMS, no missed call – nothing. She sat in silence all the way back in the taxi, feeling like she wanted to throw up. And when the taxi lurched to a halt near Asanda’s house, she got out just in time to run to the side of the road and retch. It was like her whole body was turning itself inside out. She was a mess. And she started to cry. “Come inside,” said Asanda, putting her arm around her friend. “You can wash, and we’ll make you some tea. Then we’ll have a fashion show. It will make you feel much better.” But Busi just wanted to get to her bed where she could curl up in the dark and work out how she could find Parks.

* * *

“Busi,” her grandmother called her when she came in, “I’ve made you something special for lunch – hot scones. Oh, and there’s fresh sweetmilk cheese. I got my pension today.”

“Thank you, Gogo, but I’m not hungry.”

“You must eat, child,” her granny said, wiping her hands on her apron.

“I said I’m not hungry!” Busi snapped, and flung herself on her bed. Her grandmother stood in the doorway.

“What’s the matter, child?”

“Nothing’s the matter! Now can you leave me alone, please?”

She had shouted and she felt terrible when she saw the look of shock on her granny’s face. And then the tears came, deep sobs wracking her body. Where was he?

When she woke up she could hear her grandmother listening to Isidingo. Did she have to have the TV on so loud? The light was fading outside and there was a cold cup of tea on her bedside table. She pulled off her clothes and climbed into her pyjamas. “Is that you, Busi?” her grandmother wanted to know when she crept past her into the tiny kitchen. Who else could it be?

“It’s me,” she answered meekly. Her grandmother switched off the TV, and turned right around.

“What is the matter, child? Is something worrying you? You can tell me.”

“It’s nothing, Gogo – really, it’s nothing.”

“I want you to understand something, Busi, mtwanam. I don’t have money to give you, but whatever it is that is worrying you – whatever it is that you did or didn’t do – I will always be on your side. That is what love is all about, and I do love you so, even if at times it’s hard to believe.” Busi bit back the tears.

“I’m not feeling so good, Gogo, that’s all – it’s nothing to do with money.” Her granny came over to her and lay her cool hand on her forehead.

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:05pm On Sep 13, 2016
“You’re a little warm – a bit of a fever. I’ll give you somepills. You’ll soon feel better.”

Busi ate a cooled scone with thinly spread apricot jam and sipped at a scalding cup of fresh tea. Then she took the two Panados her granny had given her and went back to lie on her bed, where she watched the evening shadows darken and turn to night. Where was he?

“I was young once,” she heard her grandmother say as she shuffled about preparing for bed.

“Goodnight, Gogo.”

“Goodnight, my child. Are you feeling a little better?”

“Aha, a little.”

“Good. Have a nice rest. Lala kakuhle…”

Her grandmother shuffled along to her bed on the other side of the room. As usual she bumped her leg on the edge of the bed and instead of cursing, sang praises to Sweet Jesus. Busi couldn’t help smiling. She listened to the creaking bedsprings as her granny climbed under the blankets and turned this way and that until she got comfortable. Soon the old lady was snoring away peacefully.

If only Busi could fall asleep so easily.

Where was he? Why didn’t he phone at least – tell her something, anything? She needed to know that he was alive – explanations could follow. She thought of that disgusting, grinning gaadjie. Would he tell Parks that he’d seen her?

“What goes on in his head?” she had asked Parks once.

“Fog, baby,” he had answered, “just fog. But he’s good with a gun. You see, he doesn’t think.”

“Not enough of a brain to have a thought,” Busi had added. Parks had thought that was so funny, he had laughed out loud.

How she longed for him. It had been days. And still no word.

Chapter 13

Busi was up early. Today would be different, she decided, as she pulled her hair into shape. Today she’d start with a new attitude, beginning by being nice to her grandmother. How could she have been so mean? “What do you want, Busi?” her grandmother asked as she placed the hot cup of tea on the table in front of her. “I don’t have money to give you.”

“Want? I don’t want anything, Gogo.”

“Yes, you want something. I know you. Why are you being so nice to me?”

“I made myself a cup, Gogo, so I made you a cup too. That’s all.”

“Thank you, my child. Now, are you feeling better?” the old lady wanted to know, still frowning at her.

“I’m feeling a whole lot better, thank you, Gogo.”

“I’m sure it’s your period that’s on its way.”

Busi kissed her grandmother on her soft, wrinkled cheek and rushed off out of the house. She would be on time for school today, instead of running into Harmony High just as the prefects were about to lock the gates. This new attitude was helping her to cope with not knowing what had happened to Parks. Today she wouldn’t worry about him. She had left her cell phone at home. It wouldn’t bother her that he didn’t phone. She would get through this day – without him and without thinking of him.

* * *

But life has its own plans.

“It’s him! Come quickly!” Zinzi came running towards Busi during first break. “Khawuleza!”

“What are you talking about, Zinzi?”

“It’s him – Parks. He’s waiting outside in a big, black car.”

“What?”

There were wolf whistles as she rushed to the school fence. Everyone knew about her and Parks by now. Everyone was talking. She felt their eyes following her. So what? Soon they’ll find someone else to talk about. That’s what Unathi had told her once. “People talk, Busi. It’s human nature. Soon they’ll get tired of talking about you and find someone else to gossip about.”

Zinzi was right. There he was, sitting behind the wheel of his fancy car: big sunglasses, big smile, blowing big smoke rings into the chilly autumn air.

* * *

Busi was so pleased to see Parks again she didn’t notice that the car was identical to the one she had seen at the hotel – the same car that appeared in her nightmares. The prefect stationed at the gate couldn’t stop Busi as she pushed past her. “I thought you were dead, Parks,” she gasped, when she was in the car and in his arms.

“Dead, baby? Why dead?” he laughed, throwing his head back. They both heard the siren. Break was over. “You better go back,” he said.

“No. I’m coming with you.” She couldn’t just let him disappear again. Not now. She couldn’t go through the torture of waiting again. She looked out to see the prefect writing her name in the detention book. “Will you write me a doctor’s letter?” she asked Parks as he pulled away from the kerb. “To get me out of detention.”

“Of course I’ll write you a letter,” he replied, with that impish, irresistible smile of his. At the stop sign he leaned over and hugged her so tight, she cried. “Why the tears, baby?”

“I’ve missed you so much. Where were you?”

“Taking care of business …”

“You could have phoned. Why didn’t you answer my calls?”

“I phoned you this morning. Your cell was on voicemail. That’s why I came to look for you.” A car hooted behind them and he pulled away again.

“Where were you?” she asked again.

“I told you, I had business.” She could hear that he was angry now. She shouldn’t be asking so many questions. But she needed to know.

“I’m sorry, Parks. I was just worried.”

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:07pm On Sep 13, 2016
“Well, you shouldn’t worry. I’ve got enough of my own stuff to worry about. I can’t be worrying about you too,” he snapped.

“I thought something had happened to you …”

“You don’t have to worry about me. You’re not my mother, or my wife!” He was shouting.

That was it. She wasn’t his mother. She wasn’t his wife. What was she to him?

“You are a big, juicy secret in his life,” Asanda had told her. “I bet you he’s married with a bunch of kids.” They had all laughed out loud, Busi probably the loudest. It had seemed so absurd at the time, but it wasn’t funny any more.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere.” She stared out of the window. It didn’t matter.

“Do you want to go back to school? Do you want to go home? What do you want?”

“You’re the driver!” It was going horribly wrong, thought Busi. It wasn’t meant to be like this.

“Come, I’ll take you to eat somewhere. Are you hungry?” His voice was softer. He wasn’t so angry any more.

She really wanted to talk – to tell him how frightened and alone she had felt. But the words were caught in her throat.

He took her to the Spur at Fish Hoek and held her hand across the table. “I’ve missed you, baby,” he said, looking deep into her eyes. But this time it would take more than those words to make it okay. He could just turn on the charm – she knew that now. But Parks knew how to bring someone around. And when he started talking about his childhood, he had her in the palm of his hand all over again.

“When I was a little kid …,” he said, looking out at the rolling waves washing up on Fish Hoek beach down below, on the other side of the railway tracks, “my dad used to go off for long periods of time. I missed him so much. But when he came back I was so happy to see him, and he spoiled me.” Busi listened to Parks and imagined him as that little boy. “We would take a train ride to the beach, just us two, and he’d teach me to catch fish. But then, one day, he left without a word to me. I used to stand by our gate every day waiting for him to come back, but he never did …”

He had hooked her again – drawn her back to him with his sorry story. She imagined him as a little boy waiting for his dad to return. She put her head on his shoulder. His story was so sad.

After their meal Parks lit up a cigarette. He pointed towards the sea.

“Is that a whale?” he asked.

“Maybe it’s a shark,” Busi laughed. He was back and she was happy.

* * *

As he dropped her off, he said, “You wanted to meet my friends. I’ll introduce you to them tomorrow. I’ll meet you outside Jake’s.”

“Sure,” she said. Isn’t this what she had wanted? But when Parks had gone she panicked. What would his friends think of her – a schoolgirl?

Chapter 14

Parks’s friend’s house was in Mandalay. It was a double-storey – so grand. It had windows and balconies all over the show. And it was set in a big property with trees and a huge, enclosed yard. It reminded Busi of the house in Romeo and Juliet – the way Mr Ntlanti had described it, with Juliet calling Romeo from the balcony. Their English teacher had a way of making you see things in your mind. Yes, it was just like this.

Parks’s friends seemed nice enough, but she was the youngest there by far. They ignored her mostly, and so did he. She sat and watched as they played pool and drank beer. She watched Parks as he laughed with them, burped with them, cheered for Swallows. There was an enormous flat-screen TV in the lounge. From time to time he came over to her in the old armchair where she sat, trying to look relaxed. “Are you all right?” he asked her, and when she nodded he went back to the pool game, laughing and joking nechommies. She realised that she didn’t know a great deal about Parks at all.

The women were braaing sheeps’ heads outside on an open fire. She knew they were talking about her, but what did she expect? She felt alone and out of place and wished her friends were there with her. They could chat and laugh about the older women who thought they were so smart. And the men, with their beer bellies. But her friends were far away. All she had was Parks. He was her lifeline, and he was ignoring her.

* * *

By ten o’clock Parks was already way over the limit. Busi was worried because she knew the cops were cracking down on drunken driving. Parks had told her that one of his friends once spent the night locked up and he’d had only four beers. “Sleep here – it’s not a problem,” said his friend’s wife, putting her arm around him. “The girl can sleep here too.” She flashed Busi a fake smile.

“Yes, you can’t drive, Parks!” The woman’s husband staggered over.

“Enkosi,” slurredParks, crashing into the table as he went for another beer.

Busi sneaked out and around the side of the house to phone her granny. “I’m sleeping over at Asanda’s, Gogo,” she lied.

“I’ve just seen Asanda. She came here looking for you. Busi, where are you?” Oh no, thought Busi. She had been caught out.

“Gogo, you didn’t hear me right. I said I’m sleeping over at Lettie’s. I’m tired. It’s been a long day.” She knew that her granny didn’t believe her. She could tell by the silence on the other end of the line. But all her grandmother said was, “Be careful … Will there be an adult there?” And suddenly Busi wanted to laugh. There were

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 2:10pm On Sep 13, 2016
only adults where she was.

“Take care, my child,” her granny said.

* * *

They slept under a thin blanket on a foam mattress on the floor of the garage. It was cold and she was thankful for Parks’s body pressed up against her, although he stank of liquor and sheep fat from the braai. She turned her head away, but he pulled her closer. “Mmm … you’re so warm. Come here.” He was handling her under the blanket, fumbling drunkenly. “Now you have me all to yourself. Are you satisfied?” But he didn’t wait for a reply. He started kissing her. This time she told herself he would wear a condom. She had brought one, and he would use it. “Wait,” she said pulling away. She started scrabbling through her bag. But by the time she had found it Parks was fast asleep, snoring drunkenly. It seemed so unfair.

Busi couldn’t sleep, not in this strange place with these people who didn’t care about her. She thought of her grandmother alone at home, worrying about her. How long could she go on lying to her? She thought of what Unathi had said. And the doubt crept in again. What was she doing?

But she was like a thin branch blowing in the wind. All Parks had to do was sweet talk her and the doubt blew away. Then all she wanted was to be held by him and treated like a princess. She was his sugar baby. And so when he wrapped his arms around her in the morning and said, “Good morning, beautiful,” she smiled. No one else made her feel as special as he did. He leaned up on one elbow. “Hey, I’m glad it’s just the two of us,” he said. “Did you call your grandmother? She must be so worried.”

“When will you meet her, Parks? When can we tell her about us?”

“You’re joking, of course.” He looked at her like she was having him on.

“I hate lying to her,” Busi told him.

When he realised she was serious, he jumped up from the mattress and pulled on his jeans. “I need a smoke,” he said. He was angry now. But she was so sick of keeping him a secret. She wanted to be able to walk in public with him. If her granny met him and saw that he was serious about her, she would come around. She was sure of it. “Wait here,” Parks said, feeling in his jeans pockets. “I must have left my cigarettes in the house.”

Busi got up too, folded the blanket that had been covering them, and waited for him to come back. She listened to the stirrings around her, the morning sounds. There were voices coming from the big house, a dog barking. Why was he taking so long? Maybe he had gone to the shop nearby. He could have told her, invited her along. She waited some more, but now she needed to use the bathroom badly. Finally she could not keep it in and went over to the big house.

The women stopped talking as she entered. They looked at one another, smiling smugly amongst themselves. “Where’s … where’s … Parks?” she asked them.

“He’s gone,” the younger of the two said.

“Didn’t he tell you?” the other wanted to know.

She didn’t believe them, but they went on talking to each other and ignored her standing there in the doorway. When she had been to the bathroom she went outside to see if his car was still parked in the road. She froze when she realised it was gone. She called him on his cell phone, but it went onto voicemail. So she went to sit on an old car seat in the yard and started to play with a scrawny dog and her mangy litter. The dog looked like an overgrown rat: grey and matted with her brood hanging from her worn, dried-out nipples. “You poor thing,” she said to the dog. “Some people shouldn’t be allowed to keep animals.”

Slowly the rest of the people living in outbuildings on the property started to wake and come out into the yard. But they all ignored her, except for one who asked for a cigarette. The little children with their runny noses stared at her and giggled. “Do you perhaps know where Parks is?” she asked them, but they just stared at her and ran away.

* * *

She was feeling hungry and thirsty, so she decided to walk to the shop herself and get something to eat – a packet of crisps and maybe a juice. Maybe she would find him along the way.

Where was he? As she started walking along the strange streets she felt anger rising up inside her. How dare he treat her this way? And soon she was in tears. She wouldn’t go back to the house. She couldn’t. So she kept walking.

Eventually she found a petrol station and a little café next to it. When she emerged from the messy staff bathroom behind the building, a taxi was filling up at the petrol pump. She walked over to the driver and asked him if he was going in the direction of Khayelitsha.

“On a Sunday morning I can make a plan for you, sisi, if you have twenty rand? I’m just coming off my shift, so you must talk quickly, sisi.” She thrust the twenty rand into his hands and climbed in next to him. It was the last of the cash Parks had given her.

As they swung out onto the tarred road, she asked him, “Do you know a taxi driver called Parks? His real name is Thando, but I’ve forgotten his surname.”

The driver smiled at her. “Everyone knows Parks, my sister,” he said. “Why do you want to know?”

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:41pm On Sep 13, 2016
Chapter 15

When Busi got home she was cold, tired and miserable, and she was dreading having to confront her granny. She just wanted to run away. But this was the only home she had. She was also nauseous from the taxi ride and she felt like throwing up. She must look terrible, she thought, as she opened the door of their shack. She was horrified to find that her grandmother was not alone. The ladies from church had come around for tea. Their noisy chatter died down as soon as she came in. They just stared at her. She had disgraced her family – she saw it on her granny’s face in that moment. “Come here, ntombi,” said her grandmother.

“Gogo ...,” she stammered.

“Look at you, Busi,” one of the other ladies said.

“Where did you sleep last night?” asked her granny, sternly. “Why was your phone on voicemail? I phoned all your friends. I was so worried, and none of them knew where you were. What is going on, Busi?”

“My battery died, Gogo,” she lied, avoiding the accusing eyes of all her grandmother’s friends.

“Your granny has sacrificed her life for you …,” one of the other members of the church group said, “and look at the thanks she gets.”

“Since when do you lie to the woman who raised you?”

She couldn’t look at them. They were all staring. She was being shamed. “Go and wash yourself and change your clothes,” her granny said. As she walked out of the kitchen she heard one of the ladies say, “Today’s young people – they would never be able to live through what we had to live through. You must watch her. Does she still get her period regularly?”

* * *

Busi went to the lean-to in the yard where they washed. She stared at herself in the small mirror balanced on a piece of wood. When last did she get her period? She panicked. Parks had always said he knew what he was doing. Since that first time in the hotel, they’d had sex several times: in the back of his taxi, on a blanket in the forest, sometimes with a condom, sometimes without. She rubbed her hands over her stomach and felt ill. The Coke and chips she had eaten in the taxi came rushing up and splashed all over the floor. This couldn’t be happening to her. No, not to her, please no!

Back in her room she looked in the box next to her bed. There was a packet of unused sanitary pads. Her granny always bought one for her each month. She could hear them talking. She felt that they were watching her. How had she not noticed that she missed a period?

She didn’t think. She just typed the words and sent the message.

Hlp me. I thnk I’m preg.

He had left her alone in that strange house. Was this it, had he disappeared again? But then her screen lit up.

Dnt panic bby, will c u l8er.

No mention of why he had left her, or where he was. She looked in the mirror again. Did she know this person staring back at her? “What am I going to do with a baby?” she asked herself. She mouthed the word “baby”, afraid to say it out loud.

She waited until she had heard her grandmother’s friends leave before she ventured out of her room. “What is going on, Busi?” her grandmother asked her again.

She didn’t know what to say.

“Are you going to have a baby, Busi?” This time her grandmother was direct.

“I don’t know, Gogo,” said Busi, barely audible.

“Uthandana nendoda?”

Busi swallowed. How could she admit this to her grandmother? But her silence was all the answer her granny needed. “Tomorrow we are going to the clinic,” she said coldly. “I can’t believe you, Busi – you, of all people! What is going on in your head? Why are you playing with your life? And your mother and father trusted me! What am I going to tell them?”

Chapter 16

In the cold morning light Busi shivered in bed. She had already had to run across the yard twice to throw up in the toilet, and it was freezing outside. She felt like she was going to die and still Parks hadn’t called. Chill, he had texted. How could she not panic? And when was he going to see her? She was on her own and she was going to the clinic with her granny. Everyone would know by now, if those church ladies had anything to do with it.

There was still a chance she wasn’t pregnant, she told herself. It could be stomach trouble or stress. She had been under enough of that lately. But underneath that voice was the voice that said, of course you’re pregnant, you stupid, stupid girl. It was so unfair! It wasn’t that she hadn’t wanted to use a condom every time. She had always had one in her bag. But Parks had convinced her it would be okay. She had nothing to worry about. And now, a baby!

Busi felt guilty and angry. She knew how bad her grandmother would feel. Her mom had trusted Busi to her care. But it wasn’t her granny’s fault Busi had lied to her. She wanted to curl up and disappear. What would they do when they found out she was pregnant? “It’s nearly time to go,” her granny said, handing her a cup of sweet black tea. “Drink this. If you are pregnant, Busi, your mother will have to look after the baby.”

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Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:44pm On Sep 13, 2016
They walked to the clinic in silence. What was there to say until they knew for sure? In the clinic her granny greeted one of the women in the queue who was there with her daughter. Soon they would all know about Busi. Only fifteen and pregnant – and with a taxi driver!

* * *

They had to wait for a long time in the queue. But when the clinic sister finally saw them, she was friendly. Busi was relieved – they weren’t always so sympathetic. She told Busi that there was only one thing to do right now and that was to take a pregnancy test. She sent her into the toilet with a small cup for her urine. Then she dipped the test stick in and they all waited. Those were the longest minutes of Busi’s life. There was one line and then, faintly at first, but getting stronger, a second line appeared in the window of the pregnancy stick. There it was. Two lines: pregnant.

“Have you been tested for HIV?” the sister asked her.

“No,” Busi said, shaking her head. This was a nightmare.

“You will need to go to the counsellor for that. She will tell you what you need to know. Then she will do a test. You will have the result in ten minutes. It’s quick,” said the sister. “It’s not like it used to be, when you had to wait. That was terrible – the waiting.”

“What if I am positive?” Busi asked, her voice trembling. “What then?”

“Then we will take things one day at a time,” the sister said. “Many young women like you are HIV-positive and they give birth to babies who are just fine. If you are positive we will put you onto the right medicine to protect your baby.” She was calm as she said this and it made Busi feel better. Like it might be all right. Like this nightmare might end.

“Do you know if your partner is HIV-positive?”

“No, he isn’t,” said Busi quickly.

“It is better that we test anyway.”

“Yes,” her granny said quickly. “People will tell you all kinds of things.”

“Does he know that you’re pregnant?” The sister looked at her.

“Not yet,” Busi lied.

“When did you have unprotected sex?”

Busi thought back to the first time. It was six weeks ago. Six whole weeks since she had gone to the Formula One with Parks. But surely she couldn’t have fallen pregnant so quickly?

“I want you to come back after the HIV test,” the sister said. “I want to talk to you about the options you have.”

“Options?” asked Busi. What options were there? She was pregnant. To get rid of the baby would be unthinkable for her granny, for her family. They would say that she was killing the baby. That it would bring shame on all of them. And now the sister was talking about options?

“I know what people say about terminating your pregnancy, Busi. I know what you will have heard. People say such things all the time,” said the sister gently. “But it is your choice. You are the one who is going to have to take care of a baby.”

Busi thought of Prudence. She was in Matric at Harmony High. When she had fallen pregnant and had a termination her mother had said she would go to hell. But Prudence was strong. She had decided and she had gone to the hospital on her own. Busi had admired her. And now Prudence was doing fine. She had a boyfriend who loved her and one day she would have children.

“Think about it carefully,” the sister said. But Busi’s granny was shaking her head.

“There is nothing to think about. She will have the baby. And her mother will take care of it. And she will go back to school.”

The sister kept looking at Busi. “Come back tomorrow,” she said. Then, taking her arm, she added, “After twelve weeks it is very difficult to get a termination, Busi. After that you can’t change your mind. Do you understand?”

Busi nodded.

At home she dissolved into floods of tears. Pregnant, and before hersixteenth birthday! Her life had ended. She lay on the bed unable to move. If Parks didn’t marry her now, nobody would. Who would want a sixteen-year-old girl with a baby? But if Parks wanted her and the baby? Thatwas the answer. That was the only way.

She started to imagine them in a house together and Parks laughing and bouncing the baby on his knee. But what if Parks didn’t want it? What then? She would be trapped. She was too young to have a child. What about her dreams, her education, her bright future? Six weeks, the sister had said. Six weeks to decide whether she wanted this baby. After that it would be too late.

That afternoon her friends came to see her. The news had spread fast. Unathi came too. “Have you come to gloat?” Busi hissed as they came into the house.

“I’ve just come to tell you,” Unathi said gently with a slight, sad smile, “I’m here for you if you need me.”

“So sweet, Unathi,” said Zinzi, who had come with the older girls.

“Where is Parks now? Have you told him?” Lettie asked.

“He’s coming later,” Busi said, hoping this was true. “He’s been very supportive.”

“I don’t see him here,” said Lettie. “Did he come to the clinic with you?”

Busi shook her head.

“What will you do now?” Asanda wanted to know. “Will you have the baby?”

“I don’t know,” Busi answered. “I don’t know yet.”

“What does being pregnant feel like?” Zinzi wanted to know.
Re: Sugar Daddy by balosammy(m): 8:45pm On Sep 13, 2016
Busi told them about her visit to the clinic.

“I had to wee in a little glass jar and give it to them. I was so nervous, I spilled the wee on the sister’s desk.”

“Sies man!” Lettie laughed.

“And I had to have blood taken. Look at my bruised arm.” She showed them the bluish mark where the sister had taken blood.

“And?”

“I’m negative.”

“Well, that’s good,” said Lettie hopefully.

“But I have to go back in three months, to make sure.”

“I hope it’s a girl,” Zinzi said dreamily.

“Yes, I love baby girls,” added Lettie.

“Shh! Busi doesn’t even know if she’s going to go through with the pregnancy,” said Asanda. “Remember Prudence. And she’s fine now. She’s doing well.”

“Unathi can be the daddy,” piped up Zinzi. She didn’t understand what they were talking about. “I can see him pushing a pram! Better still, Unathi changing nappies. Yuck!” She laughed.

As they talked, Busi found she was holding her belly. There was a baby in there, growing. Ten fingers and ten toes. She was suddenly filled with such strong, tender emotions, it frightened her. It would be a very difficult decision.
Re: Sugar Daddy by elyna: 10:40am On Sep 14, 2016
pls continue I'm enjoying this.

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