Shelly turned around as she heard someone call her name; it was Tate, Richard’s old friend. She did not know whether to smile or frown, once upon a time they all hung out together.

"Hey Shelley long time no see!" Tate hugged her, almost squeezing the life out of Shelly. She could hear the excitement in his voice, as if shelly was a long lost member of their family.

"Hey Tate its lovely to see you, what are you doing at the hospital?” Shelly asked as she faked a smile. In truth, she would have much rather not set her eyes on him.

"My wife Beth gave birth to twins so I am just here to pick her up” Tate replied and this left Shelly shocked. She remembered a time when Tate was a bachelor and every week he would have a new woman hanging over his arm

“That’s great Tate, I am happy for you” Shelly told him. Deep down she hoped that the conversation was over and that Tate would not pry into her personal matters.

"So Shelly where have you been?” Tate asked her and in truth, Shelly dreaded answering that question.

"Well you know I've been around, working and taking care of my child"

"You know what? It doesn't matter, it's just that we were looking for you and—”

"Excuse me Tate but what do you mean by 'we?'” Shelly asked Tate, as she was confused about his use of pronouns.

"Come on Shelly didn't you know? Richard is back” This was news to her ears, news that Shelly did not welcome too well. She stood on the same spot, frozen and coming to terms with the overflow of information.

“Oh and while you are at it, I need your number or address. Wait for me, I'll look for a pen because I left my phone in my wife's room” Tate left Shelly and ran towards the reception desk to look for a pen. While he looked for his pen, Shelly quickly escaped from him.


Added to hearing that Richard was back in South Africa, Shelly had to walk back to her house in their dangerous neighborhood. She hated this place and she hated that RJ had to live here with her.

Every turn she looked, there was one bad thing after another; if it was not the drug, dealers smoking live then then there were drunkards hanging about.

"Mommy, mommy!” RJ called out to her and this snapped Shelly out of her daydream, she looked at her son and smiled at him. She hoped that her smile would relax RJ a bit and keep his innocent eyes away from the dangers of their community.

"Yes my dear boy, what is it?” Shelly asked her son who looked up at her.

"Mom I made friends with a girl named lulu and she's seven. She's in grade one and she likes math and-" RJ kept on speaking as he was excited about making friends.

"Slow down my boy you're going way to fast" Shelly laughed at her son. Shelly could not help but feel sad that all it took for RJ to smile was to make a new friend

"Mom, why don't I have a daddy?” Her son asked her, his voice filled with so much sadness that it broke her heart. The look in RJ’s eyes did not make matters any better because his eyes held so much sadness. There were days when Shelly had thought that changing the subject would make RJ forget but today she knew that even as they walked they had to address the situation.

Shelly stopped in the middle of the road, crouched down to her son’s level and looked into her eyes.

"Why are you asking mommy this?” Shelly asked her son, trying her best to understand where these questions were coming from.

"It's just that lulu has a mom and daddy but I'm the only one without a daddy" RJ responded, his words send a sharp dagger through Shelly’s heart. At a time like this, she wished that she were stronger than she appeared to be.

"RJ is it okay if we speak about it next time because we have to go home?” She asked her son, hoping that he would agree.

"Okay mommy" RJ replied, his smile came back as he agreed to his mother’s request. Both mother and son walked towards their rusty apartment but deep down Shelly knew that she had to make some changes and soon.

Maybe I should just face Richard for the last time. Shelly thought to herself as she weighed the options in her head.

Looking at her son reminded her of Richard; every time her son looked at her with those silver grey eyes; it brought tears to her eyes.

RJ was just like his father, every single action he did reflected Richard’s exact behavior. She thought about meeting up with Richard but the event of their last meeting, she remembered how Richard had talked down to her and had labeled her as a gold digger.

The thought of meeting up with Richard and having him insult her was too much for her to bear; now meeting him seemed almost impossible.


It was early morning and Richard walked up to Tate’s door and he knocked but what he saw was far from what he had expected to see. His friend, Tate unlocked the door and he looked like a wreck.

"What happened to you my friend? You look terrible” Richard asked his friend. Tate’s hair was all in a mess, bags under his eyes and sleep marks all over his face.


"Let's just say that the twins’ first night home is not exactly what I had expected. Anyways are you going to step in or just stare at my handsome face whole day?" Tate asked Richard. Both men walked into Tate’s home and they relaxed as they sat in the dining room.

"So Tate can you please explain to me why called me last night to get my ass down to your house this early morning” Richard smiled as he asked his friend.

"Well Richard my friend, I met with Shelly yesterday at the hospital" Tate informed Richard as he froze in his seat; his mind struggled to process what it was that Tate had said.

"What did she say, did she ask about me?” Richard could not help but ask so many questions and all at the same time.

"Slow down my friend. In fact I didn't get her contact detail or address” Tate replied calmly as he could as if he had no care in the world that Richard was losing his mind.

"You what?” Richard scolded at Tate.

"Hey keep it down my babies are sleeping and not to mention their mother as well. Before you start ripping my head off, Shelly ran away while I was getting a pen and paper to write her address down" Tate explained.

Shelly running away? That was impossible, she was often shy but running away was not her style. Richard thought, he could still remember how she would put him in his place when he needed to be put there.

"That's not like Shelley at all, maybe she just—”

"Richard grow up! You are my friend and I think that you need to come to the realization that maybe Shelly does not want speak to you. When I told her you were back I saw shock registered look on her face, as if she had just seen a ghost" Tate explained to Richard who struggled to believe that Shelly would refuse to see him. Richard knew just how much pain that he had caused her but refusing to see him was what hurt him.

"No, I'll have to make sure myself” Richard stop up from the dining room chair and looked at his friend and Tate was smiling at Richard.

"Tate Buckingham what is that wicked smirk I see on your face?” Richard asked his friend.

"Well I was just thinking of you. Would you mind accompanying me to Elizabeth’s party tomorrow night?” Tate asked Richard who stared at his best friend as if he had lost his mind. Richard knew that there was no possible way that he could ever go back to Elizabeth’s house, especially with Maria being around ready to pounce on him.

"Well I'm not going” Richard replied as he was about to walk out of the kitchen when, his friend Tate stood in his way and stared at Richard in the eyes.

"Look Richard, I know you really do not want to be at this party, but think about it, Shelley might be there tomorrow night” The stark realization hit Richard that maybe Tate was right and that he might see Shelly this time.

Of all the times that Richard hated when Tate was right, this was the time when he was glad that Tate was right. If all went well then he might see his Shelly at the party.

Next chapter