To read the previous chapters or for more background
Sanna shakes her head as she heads back to the kitchen. Her mind with her employers. Pouring left-over soup in a container, seals it, then washes the few dishes. With a special cloth, she polishes the marbled counter tops and stainless-steel appliances until it reflects her image. An hour later, she switched off the lights and went to her living quarters. A passageway connects the two buildings, which keep her separate from the house, but within arm’s reach. A phone is installed to keep her connected.
A large flat-size home complete with a living room, one bedroom overlooking the mountain, a bathroom, and a small kitchen. Here she spends her nights and weekends crocheting and watching her favourite soapies.
But tonight, she isn’t switching on the TV or picks up the needle to continue her latest project; a blanket for an orphanage home she likes to help.
Tonight, her thoughts are with Simone. Simone had become a changed person over the years. The mask is up already, not even a day back. She was hoping, praying that this time will be different. That John Stevenson will appreciate his wife again. Leaving her, like a cheap woman, on the paving. Just another way of showing how much he didn’t care.
Sanna may be old, but she isn’t blind. She knows an unfaithful man when she sees one. A good man would give her the love she needs, one that isn’t present in this house, and she smirks in disgust.
“Lord, it is Sanna. I pray for my madam, please make her happy Lord, she has suffered enough. Change her sadness into happiness.”
Her cell phone beeps, and she gets it out from the pocket of her jacket. She smiles and replies.
“Hello, sweetheart. Aren’t you sleeping yet?”
“No granny. I’m missing you. When will you visit again?”
“I am coming home next week.”
“Promise. Tell mum I am in the mood for tripe.”
“I will tell her. I love you granny.”
“I love you too, Länna. Goodnight.”
A lot of heart emoticons follow, and she sends one back to her.
Placing the cell phone on the table next to her, she switches on the TV and once on the channel she likes, takes up the crochet pen. But let her hands drops in her lap. Her gaze locking on the picture of James in his high school uniform against her wall. Tucked in between her larger family. Standing regal with a bright smile that shows off his youthful face the best. It was the last day of his matric exams.
He just heard that the American family agreed to have him visit them.
“Sanna, I’m going to be a cowboy.” He had gushed that day and twirled her around and she laughed like a teenage girl.
“You’ll forget about us here in South Africa,” she had said and slapped his hands away.
“I will never forget you, Sanna. I’ll miss all the food and conversations we had. But you understand I must go?” He had glanced at the house and before she could reply, he stepped away and replaced the playfulness with a hard mask. Just then, John Stevenson appeared, and she stepped to the side. He didn’t like it when James talked to the staff.
“Why are you here at the back? We need to talk.” He barked. Without looking at her or greeting his son. James had glanced at her, fixed his jacket, then followed his father to the study door.
There she stood and listened to the fight. That was the final straw for the young man. The final deterring factor. The next day, he was gone. All the laughter had stopped, and Simone had died. The woman she knew back then has become different.
“Lord, I don’t know what happened in America or how my kleinbasie is doing. But please look after him. You know he is like a son to me.” She prays out loud. “And Lord, bring the smile back in my madam’s heart. Make her happy again.”
With a sigh, she stood, switched on the kettle, and went to the bathroom. The weight on her shoulders was heavy, as always.
Later that night, she reads about Abigail and Nabal and how she saved the entire household. “Who is her King David, Lord?” she asks and closes the good book, then bows her head.
“How did it go tonight?” Celeste asks John later, cuddled in his arms, her warm breath against his bare chest. He moved away from Celeste and get out of bed.
“Not good.” He replies.
His phone beeps, and he picks it up from the side table. Then scowls.
“Where is my money?” the first message reads.
“I will pay tomorrow,” he replies.
“You have till twelve tonight or your little secret is out.” Beeps the message.
“I like your wife. The real one. Not the tramp next to you.” comes the next message and John throws the phone against the wall with a violent swing. It smashes into bits and pieces, then drops to the floor. Celeste sits up as the lamplight goes on. “What is going on? John, talk to me.”
“Go to sleep, Celeste.”
“Just leave it. I will get a new one tomorrow.” The bed dips and he walk to the open window. Look out and see a shadowy figure in the pool of light. The dark figure waves at him and John draws the curtains close.
He doesn’t enjoy being at the mercy of others. And to pay him 250k is a waste of good money. But what should he do?
“John.” Celeste says and watches him.
“Go to sleep. I’ll be back right away.”
His lifestyle isn’t normal according to today’s standards, but when he met Celeste just after his wedding with Simone. He found loopholes within the system to marry her, and he never regretted it for one moment. Celeste brought out the best in him.
After their marriage, he immediately moved out of their bedroom. By then, his seed was already within her and he stayed to keep the farce going. No one knows about his double life, and he liked to keep it that way. It works for him. Now this. The one person he trusted to keep his secret is blackmailing him.
When he was arrested for manslaughter years ago, for another crime and put away, he thought his troubles were over. But then the new president pardons him. Some hogwash excuse that he has paid his dues. Now he is saddled up with him.
He walks barefoot to his study, sits at the desk he ordered from a catalogue in Germany. A statement of his accomplishments and opens his laptop. Staring at the amount in his account. Money he has earned by looking the other way. Not to mention the many bribes he has taken to win cases of scum that are supposed to be in jail.
He turns the chair, pours himself a double bourbon, and swallows it in one gulp. Then turns back to the screen and stares at his account.
“Dad, can we talk?” he lifts his gaze and met his daughter’s. She is the spitting image of James. It always astonishes him how much his children look alike. At sixteen, she is turning into a real beauty.
“Sure, come in. Aren’t you cold?”
“No.” she replies. And throw her arms around his neck. Not only does she look like her older brother, but she is just as clever as him. He has high hopes for her and hopefully she won’t rebel too much against his plans for her.
“Our Netball team is going on a tour to Pretoria in October. Is it possible for me to go? We need to answer by tomorrow.” She says.
“What’s the costs involved?”
“I have the documentation here. It’s all explained on here.” She replies and hands him the piece of paper. He quickly scans it and stops at the amount. R30k. this cannot come at the worst possible time. How can he not send her after she has worked so hard for this?
“I will sign it. You can go.” He says after a pause, then smiles.
“Really, oh, thank you, dad.” She kisses his cheek and jumps around the table, and he nods.
“You are the best dad.”
“You deserve it, honey. I know how hard you have worked.”
“Thank you, dad. Really. I know we will bring back the trophy this year.”
“I have no doubt. Move along so that I can look at my finances.” And winked at her. She giggles and runs out of the study, taking her exuberance with her. And he takes a deep breath.
He clicks on another account and stares at the state of his finances. Running two households is no simple task. At least Celeste is doing her part.
Taking a notepad, he quickly scribbles a few amounts on the page, does a few calculations, then went back to the laptop and opens his bank account. He knows if he doesn’t pay, he will lose more than he can afford. For now, he must see this through and think of a plan to get rid of the parasite before he comes back for another round.
Once he is done, he returns to the bedroom and takes a few moments to appreciate his wife.
The streetlight filters through the curtains and caresses her gently. From her messy blond hair to the pouty mouth, she empowered him, and his body stirred.