I drove up to the old vintage manor before parking my car in the driveway and making my way to the backdoor which we use for the beautiful stained glass windows door in the front, I pushed through the mini garden gate to Daniel and some boy playing soccer in the backyard.
"And what are you doing home?" I asked as Dan stopped and looked at me.
"Firstly, afternoon, Aunty Tari, how was work?" I raised my eyebrow at him as he smiles sheepishly "my coach was out sick and study hall was a bust" he said as he looked to his friends "this is Webber, he is new" I turned my head to the young boy who had too many piercings for a kid his age and accompanying tattoos "Danny go get some ice tea for our guest" I said approached the young man.
"Aunt Tari, please" he pleaded as he came up towards me.
"Danny the ice tea" he huffed before running to the kitchen door, probably gonna try and get the drinks as fast as he can but I knew my sister would stop his speeding ass "Webber is it?" the kid nodded not looking at me. "Well, Webber, I am Danny's Aunt Tari but I am not any Aunt Tari, I am the Aunty Tari, I will not stand for someone coming into his life to cause havoc, Danny is a good kid, very good and he had freedom, we allow that but we can easily take it away if he misses another study hall," I said as the boy looked at me then to kitchen door "and I know in your mind that study hall might be a bust but it lets me know exactly where he is because Danny has a future and I don't want his bright mind to go to waste," I said as I picked up a cricket bat with my feet and held it to his neck "understand?"
"yes, Madam" he swallowed as he looked to the kitchen door again.
"good," I said before moving back "nice meeting you Webber, maybe you can braai with us next time" I smiled before backing away.
"yes, Madam," he said as he exhales. "nice to meet you too"
"and if you need anything please ask me, I am very resourceful," I said as I opened the kitchen door to see Danny with two Ice tea in his hands. "nice kid," I said as entered the Kitchen and he followed.
"can I stay at Webber's tonight?" he asked as Webber came up behind him.
"Sure, but you are still attending tonight, ok?" I said as I walked to the stairs.
"yes," he shouted before heading out of the kitchen.
"you didn't have to give him a hard time" my sister appeared in her summer cotton dress and a cardigan, ready to leave
"I know but all of their friends need a good holstering," I said as I turned to head upstairs "I will be down in five seconds," I said as ran up the stairs.
I sat across a one-seater couch in the fitting room area of a very expensive store while Rhea tried on dress after dress while I sipped on a well-deserving coffee:
"is Jules gonna join us tonight," she asked as she stepped out of the dressing room in a purple chiffon explosion.
"Nope, she is at a spa retreat with Cecilia," I said in a posh tone "they couldn't even make it to set today but she will make it up to you," I said as I shook my head at her dress.
"In a way only Jules knows how" Rhea shouted as she changed into another dress "soooo," she said after a small pause "Edward" she pulled the name from her lips.
"Yea, what about him," I said as I found a magazine on the nearby table.
"a little bird told me that someone was drooling over the tall bold Irishman" She giggled before she exited the dressing room in a dark blue satin dress which I gave a so-so.
"I was not drooling," I said as flipped through the pages a little too aggressively.
"That's not what this video says" she shoved her phone in my face, it the video was Mike and I standing before the booth watching Edward sing his piece, I watched myself become enchanted by the man as if I wanted his eyes to touch mine if it were the last thing I did, I felt disgusted with myself for staring at him like that and I should know better but I didn't want Rhea to see my thoughts and I shut off the phone as I handed it to her.
"I guess that bird is a man with no sense of boundaries," I said as gave her the phone back.
"I think you should live a little" she smiles before moving back to the dressing room "what's a hot heavy fling to you? Just for a few months"
"you know my rule," I said as threw the magazine back on the table "I don't do producers, director, model and especially actors" Rhea came back out in a pink shimmering dress that full tulle and boned bodice, she spun around as I smiled "you look perfect" I smiled.
"thank you" she giggled before turning back to change into her normal clothes "aren't you getting anything?" she asked as I shook my head.
"Nah, just gonna grab something out of the old closet," I said before grabbing my bag.
"But Tari tonight is special" she came from the dressing room "she won't want anything but the best" she announced with a pout on her lips and her eyes as big as plates.
"Fine" I huffed as I walked up to the nearest clothing rack and began looking for anything in my size, I finally found a sequins maroon dress and I grabbed it "happy?" I asked as she squeaks before I turned to the cashier to pay before leaving the place.
We stopped for some frozen yoghurt before heading to the parking lot "I don't get you but I will tolerate you, all I say is this if he asks you out say yes" she said as I began to argue. "Just say yes"
I huffed before I said "if he asked"
"Good" she smiled before walking to the car as she stuck me with paying for the parking ticket.
I ran from door to door trying to get everyone dressed and ready to go which wasn't easy in the dress that I should have checked before buying it but now I was the proud owner of straight cut maroon dress that hugged my hips and breast in a way I wanted to cover up even though the dress was conservative, it's still held a lot of imagination for the opposite sex; I raced to Ariana and Raven bedroom, I opened the door to find Ariana in a satin pink dress which had a train as the back of it accompanied big bow and a tiara to match, Adriana sat as Raven slowly rolled out her hair to style it.
Raven wore a black dress that had embroidery roses on the sleeve, paired with an ankle boot and her hair in a curly afro and I look down at my black studded jacket and black accessories, knowing instantly that I was the reason for her dark clothing but I shook my head "hey you two ok?"
"Yes, Aunt Tari, we don't need your assistance," Raven said before turning back to doing her sister's hair.
"ok" I shouted before heading across the hallway to knock on Gabby door, she opened it with the phone in her hand as usual "are you done?" I asked as I assessed her outfit, she wore the holographic dress I told her not to buy.
"we will talk about this later" I said before heading to the boy's room, I knocked on Tim door and he opened in a cute little suit. "Aren't you adorable?"
"I am a man" he rolled his cute green eyes "I don't need your approval" he walked out of the room and down the stairs, I knocked on both Daniel and Jake doors and they both answer in suits as well "looking good, downstairs," I said before facing the hallway "we leave in the next five min, get your behinds downstairs!" I shouted as Adriana ran down with flowing dress and a dry storm called Raven followed her but before she could hit the stairs I pulled her back "no animal, go put Mr Roger back and his heroic counterpart Captain America in their homes"
"I preferred the term bodies" she grumbled before turning again.
I finally ushered the group of kids down the stairs to find Mr and Mrs Makay who we called Mom and Dad waiting with sweet smiles on their faces but I saw the sadness behind it, I gave them both a hug when we turned to Rhea in her beautiful pink dress and accessories accompanied by the old faithful leather Jacket Maya had given her on their first date, she smiled at us nervously as she pulled the old jacket toward as if to snuggle into it to calm her nerves as everyone staring at her.
"You look beautiful, Liefe," Mom said as she hugged and Dad joined in the embrace, soon we all cuddly close before the limo arrived and we off to the restaurant.
We enter the glamorous restaurant which was in pale white with a modern vintage look to the place, in the centre of the ceiling hang a crystal chandelier as golden trimming accompanied the moulded ceiling, round tables littered the floors as futuristic pods acting like little booths for privacy, we walked deeper into the restaurant we happened about ten years ago and every year we came back it looks better and better.
Rhea stood beside me as she tries to keep her tears from falling, so I grasped her hand tight and moved deeper into the place when a hostess walked up to us " good evening, did you reserve a table?"
"only the best table in the house" as an old man with grey hair on the temple of his hairline and a sweet smile that said family, all in one. "Genevieve, this is my family whenever they come you seat them at any seat available" he grabbed my sister arm in a gentle gesture and escorted her deeper into the restaurant before he turned back and grabbed me too "forgive Genevieve, she is new to the establishment," he said but stopped in his tracks when Adriana and Raven stood in protest for us. "Oh, I am sorry my young ladies" he dropped our arms and picked up the young girls in a quick swoop as he let out a pretend to yell "you two are getting too big"
We made our way to a table at the end of the busy restaurant when Mr Marlon put the girls down and went to greet Mom and Dad, followed by the rest of the kids, before standing next to Rhea and said "today, I will make for you special Portuguese dishes on the house" he expressed.
"no, please, we insist," I said as he cut me off very vicariously.
"no, you will let me pay for this because it's a gift, to Rhea and we must celebrate with perfect wine" he turned to the children "and grape juice," he said as Rhea smile "then we dance and Tari will sing, we will have a good time, now to the kitchen" he charted off without our final say.
We settled into the fragrance air as Mom and Dad went on and on about old memories of Maya, the kids were enchanted with magical was of storytelling even Gabby put her phone away to listen while Rhea looked on with sad eyes and I could see then and there that she was reliving every moment at the back of her mind, I just wanted to take her in my arms but I knew she wanted to celebrate the moment for now, instead of being comforted by it.
So I respected her wish and stood off until something could my eyes, Adriana and Raven were looking down as if they were trying to hide something from me, I looked to Rhea and smile as I slowly slipped out of my seat, I made my way to them to find Raven holding a lizard in her hands which Adriana somehow put a bow on it, I grabbed Raven's arm and escorted out of the restaurant.
"Raven, for one night I wish to have a dinner that doesn't evolve wild life," I said I got low to face her.
"they are attracted to me" she huffed with lizard nesting in her hand "I can't help that I summon creatures to my aim"
"well, tell it" I was interrupted by Raven.
"it's a him" she proudly said with a lift of her head.
"ok, tell him that this is a family affair," I said as I moved to my feet while she set the lizard in a nearby table and returned to my side, we turned to enter the restaurant when Edward popped up out of nowhere.
"Hey, Ms Black," he said in his delicious accent.
"Mr Jones," I said in a tight voice.
"please Edward" he placed his hand to his chest but crouching to Ravens level "and who is this?"
"I am Raven Makay," she said proudly "how do you know this man?" she turned to me.
"Edward and I work together" I smiled at my eyes glazed down Edward muscular body in a deep grey suit without a tie which made his Adam's apple protrude between the pure white shirt, I watch it move up and down as he spoke to Raven who gave very melodramatic answers while he responded sincerely.
"so here for dinner?" I asked as the woman appeared next to him, she was beautiful and very familiar, her skin looked like liquid gold accompanied by her gorgeous brown eyes and pillow lips, her long legs that went on for miles and thin frame gave me the impression she was a model but I couldn't place her, she was exquisite in a long green silk dress with a long slit on the side.
"yes, oh this is Monique" Edward introduced her with a smile, she took my hand as kissed it gently before giving a weird look.
"Nefertari," I said as I shook her hand "Nice to meet you, Monique"
"The pleasure is all mine" she smiled before turned to Edward who had a straight face on "shall we get our table?"
"oh" Edward snapped out of the daydream he seemed to have "yes, of course, nice seeing you" he smiled then turned to Raven "bye-bye"
"Why don't you join us for supper?" Raven said in a flat tone.
I stepped in the invitation "actually, we are having a family dinner, a very momentous day, maybe another time" I said with a sweet fake smile.
"I count on it" Edward winked before escorting the beautiful woman into the restaurant.
I let out a sigh of relief as my niece thought I was jealous at our encounter "don't despair my dear aunt" she announced as we walked to our table "she shall never last, her frame is that of a bird, frail and malnourished, her long legs like poles will not sustain that body for long." Raven said as I looked down at her "she will not make a good mate"
"Raven," I said abruptly "don't say that, she seemed very nice"
"don't mistake her smile as kindness" she stopped me with a huff "woman are sorcerers, their power knows no bounds, so be vigilant"
"ok, no more Shakespeare for you," I said as I patted her on the back, as settled into our seats again.
Before I could completely settle in Rhea took my hand and whispered "will you?" with eyes that asked the question while Mr Marlon stood behind me.
"Of course" I smiled as Mr Marlon took my arm in his and escorted me to the main stage before taking the mic.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you" he gestured to me "Nefertari black, she, my friends, has a voice of an angel" he helped me out of my coat before guiding me to the mic, as the crowd clapped softly.
"Thank you" I smiled as I stared out into the crowd, my eyes found Monique who smiles sweetly then Edward who looked deep in thought, I shook my head and turned to Rhea, whose eyes were tearing up, going through sun shines of each memory and the only song came to mind; the first line of I cried for you by Katie Melua came soring out of my mouth as I held onto the mic stand as the music took me.
My eyes glazed upon the beautiful glittering maroon dress as Nefertari sang a beautifully sad song, capturing the audience in the beautiful melody though no one knew of the inspiration behind this song selection, everyone was teary-eyed. I turned to Mon, she was enchanted by the goddess and didn't even feel my glaze on her cheeks, her tears lingered on the rim of her eyes as she tried not shed them, she finally caught my gaze and wiped them while clearing her voice.
"that girl has some pipes on her" She whispered lowly.
I brushed off the jealous boil in my stomach "What do you think of the situation at the table" I pointed to the table Nefertari was sitting with a beautiful young woman, a wise elderly couple and a bunch of kids.
"Well, you want my honest thought or a sweet lie," Mon asked as she turned towards me.
"A sweet lie"
"honesty it is" she looked at the group for more time then grabbed my hand "I see a proud mom and dad, a beautiful bunch of kids and hot pair of lesbians" she let go and turned to her drink.
"That's your honesty" she nodded and started giggling, "that's what you see there"
"It's not just your loins talking," I said as she almost choked on her drink.
"Loins" she giggled as I nodded with a frown on my face "who even say loins anymore"
"a lot of people" I argued as she nodded sarcastically.
I thought for a while before turning to her "Doctors, doctors say loins all the time"
"yea in the 1800's" she laughed softly as we both turned back to the singer "you know you need to get over her"
"I don't think would be that easy" I am in too deep already thought to myself.
"I think I am too" she whispered, knowing I was deep in thought but I grabbed her sides and tickled her as she went into a frenzy under the table.
The ceiling loomed over me as I laid across the couch in the tv room, the room had dark wooden floors with a royal blue room divider that was attached to the house in a Victorian mould and a dark painting in a vintage style, I looked to my right to see my sister drunk laying on the floor, she out a gut racking scream before pulling her body up like a zombie "let's goo all the way tonight" she stumbled to her feet "no regrets...just love" she jumped onto the table and began to dance at a song that wasn't even playing.
The house was quiet as a tomb with only the voice of Rhea singing, the kids were off to their grandparents while Gabby and Danny were at their friend's place while we laid here getting drunk, it was one of the nights where we could do as we wish but we still missed the bunch so much that we would probably call them in the dead of night.
"Taaari" Rhea said as she appeared in front of me "I want pizza!" she shouted before jumping to the kitchen to grab the keys.
"babe, you can't drive, you are drunk" I shouted as I pulled myself off the couch, I fell on my stomach before stumbling to my feet and following her.
I find Rhea sitting on the counter with a jar of Nutella and a tub of ice cream "that's why you gonna drive me" she hiccupped.
I lifted the vodka bottle "I can't drive" I said as I stumbled "because I am drunk too" I giggled with her.
"Uber!" she shouted as I shook my head.
"We could just get food delivery," I said as she began to call the Uber as I shook my head.
"Uber! Uber!" she screams into the phone "I want to go to cheesy bread"
I grabbed the phone and said, "Listen here, son of the chariots of uber, we need a fast carriage to transport us to the place of round bread and cheese, is there a carriage available?" I asked as slowly left the kitchen "now, listen carefully, we will not be needing that uber but do you provide uber eats?" the man answered yes as I smiled, "good, get me a large pizza, I will buy online now" I put down the phone.
"Taaari" Rhea was laying across the kitchen counter as I ordered the pizza "I miss Maya," she said as tears began to fall down her cheeks. "she was so amazing, full of life, how could she die sooo quickly" I climbed onto the counter to comfort her, I pulled her between my legs with her back facing me, I wrapped my arms around her "we were supposed to grow old together, walk our daughters down the aisle, give boys the talk and watch them all graduate from university but here we sit in the middle of a counter with nothing but memories living in the walls"
"babe.." I whispered as played with her hair.
"you know I see her everywhere, I can't turn the corner without having a memory of her beautiful grace and those awful jokes she thought were funny but they were not, they weren't" she expressed as she giggled a little.
"Maya is here and will always be, just have to hold onto the memories she left behind" I rubbed her head "keep them close because we both know Maya would have walked into this kitchen and drag us to a nearby bar just to make you smile," I said as I turned her face towards me "so smile," I said as I cradled her to sleep.
I sat on the fall with a bottle of Jameson, a box of pizza and fast asleep sister who was draped across one of the couches before me, I felt a tear fall down my cheeks as I replayed every memory of Maya in my head, over and over again until I can hear her play with her mischievous thought. I got to my feet and tracked my way to the kitchen and pulled out an old bottle of whiskey, I pour it into a glass before toasting it to the heavens. "to you Maya, the toughest person I will ever know" I said before knockdown and I went back into the kitchen to carry my sister to bed.