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“ …Don’t Go Falling Now..! ”

A Short Story by


To Bear & Bluey

Chapter 1.

Was it a ‘busier- than –usual’ day...?

Was it even possible in Cape Town, previously a sleepy coastal city that had, over the years, mushroomed into a mini metropolis with a few larger Businesses moving Head Office to this breathtakingly beautiful City.

Nevertheless, not too much had changed. It maintained sleepiness, somewhat. There were nothing that was too urgent. Nothing that could not wait until tomorrow.

Yes, there were discussions about what to expect with the clock rolling into the year 2000, but if it caused major concern amongst the “Let’s see what tomorrow brings” mindsets, It went unnoticed.

So the busyness were in my mind.

I lived in Cape Town for many years, and it left its mark, not that I minded! Growing up in a big city, I found Cape Town to be a breath of fresh air.

I also did not mind, over the years, becoming not quite as concerned about too much else - other than eking out a living, in the beautiful but not particularly lucrative, as far as salaries went, City.

The Hospitality Industry gobbled up so much of it!

Peace of mind came with a price I reasoned. Living in The Mother City was well worth sacrifice, of sorts.

Back to the busyness of the day. I finally decided, (Typical! As it had been a New Year’s Resolution and now, well into the year) I had to find a permanent position. I loved Temping. Before one tires of faces, or they of yours, the Assignment would be completed and I moved on to the next assignment.

New People, New challenges, possibly better salary.

But I knew that, that was all about to change and that I had to become more responsible.

My son, Jethro, who’d been away for a while, returned. Unfortunately, he wasn’t on a field trip or something quite as simple.

I married and divorced his dad, then remarried him. Ten points for trying.

I awarded myself that.

Brendon and I had a heady Relationship, he just completed his Army conscription and being eager to get back into the civilian life, met and wooed me.

I found him to be a little ‘crazy’, and vulnerable. He believed that one ‘walked on the wild side… or not at all.’

I became pregnant some months after that, and he did the ‘honorable’ thing.

As much as I admired him, being the only daughter with a bunch of brawny Celtic lads, five of them- to be exact, as brothers… made “Honor” top of Brendon’s priority list!

There were no blame game, no brawling… much to the brothers’ collective disappointment.

It was a little late-in-coming to be asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage, my father told Brendon, flatly.

He had, however, been planning to celebrate my 21st birthday and handed me a Silver key, despite the fact that I left home years before.

Brendon saved him lots of money, he joked. So despite the timing, he was thrilled at the news.

Brendon and I knew each other for close on six months and tried our hand at marriage, but we parted before an anniversary could be celebrated.

I left the option open for another attempt, should Brendon ‘grow up’ and thought it would be worth pursuing.

Jethro was left with the ‘tougher’ of the two parents and he’s the ‘Apple of my eye’.

A couple of years later, we tried again. The abuse of drugs, which, at that point I decided, was the first sign of not wanting to grow up, crept into the second marriage.

Not at first of course, but soon after that, there would be a relapse.

Worst of all, I followed suite and found myself lost, again.

I loved Brendon Jonas and defended him as viciously as a Vixen mother, when he was accused of “getting me into all sorts of trouble”.

Brendon did not hold a gun to my head, was my defense, and the truth.

I just needed to ‘get inside his head’ and find out what made him “tick”.

I never ever found out.

I came to a place where it was no longer worth any more ‘trying’. Even though it was a huge decision to make, I made it.

It cost me enough already. Our son, was no longer with us, Thanks to the ‘ever- helpful’ Social Services.

We were about to divorce, for the second time, when Brendon disappeared, “Into the Mist...”!

To hide the disappointment, at the time, I joked about it because, sooner or later… From “Out of the Mist” he would re-appear, wanting to ‘start again’, right where we, or rather – he, left off.

Sometimes it was a week, a month. Sometimes, a 24 hour Absence.

The last disappearing act stretched into years. But that was all a thing of the past now! I reminded myself.

Jethro returned, I had more than one person to take care-off.

It was a nagging reminder that my previous care-free days needed a serious adjustment.

My decision to start ‘Perm’ job- hunting stemmed from that.

My mind was wandering, it was a busier than usual day! If only in my mind!!!

I passed the address of the Company, where the Interview took place and had to back track, arriving five minutes before the agreed time.

Looking back, there I was, ready to be a responsible adult. Way overdue. I was 36 at the time.

The Interview went well. Admittedly, at that stage, I had been to so many job- related meetings and Interviews, I took it in my stride. I had “more than enough experience” - Greta, Head of Finance, found in me the ‘Perfect Candidate’. I had to report to her. I knew that things were about to change. At that point, I truly

weren’t aware of just how much!!!

Chapter 2.

The open plan offices at R&R Admin seemed uncomfortably smaller that morning. Although I chose to sit in the Pool, the continuous drone of a voice, made me wish I was miles away.

I was actually ‘introduced’ to Steven, before I met him. As with almost every other company, there was the ‘Office Chatterbox.’ Cheryl Carstens. Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of R&RMUZIK, Jeff Smythe. She re- introduced, by word of mouth, of course, The “Management” at R&RMUZIK.

“Jeff’s the Managing Director” she re-informed me.

“..And I’m his PA.”

I remembered thinking that I met her a few minutes before then, but already humored her. It was (I reasoned), the ‘first few days’.

Cheryl seemed awfully chatty that morning and I guessed, me- being

‘The new kid on the block’ (hardly!), was someone who’d still be prepared to pay attention to her. She continued, taking a huge breathe…

“Then there was Steven..” She smiled broadly.

“….He only recently ‘settled down’, over the last six or seven years; Having spent many, maybe fifteen years ‘on the road’ with their Band - Gig to Gig , City to City. No particular ambition other than to have fun. He was a Bass Guitarist…”

She paused for breath, or effect!

“He’s a widower. He lost his wife just over two years ago. A son, Storm, lived with him.”

Cheryl seemed to have gasped for another breathe,

“He ….”

I recall how I tried to block it out!!! I tried to turn off my antennae and simply refused to listen!!

Laughing now, but I thought, almost desperately, of HOW I was going to get her to Stop!

It was unending!!! … I didn’t want to know about… Steven and I didn’t want to know about his tragedies!

There was an echo in the background …

“…. He’s also the Managing Director of YZ Distributors, the ‘Sister Company’, they had ties with R&RMUZIK.” AND The Juiciest bit, Cheryl, at that stage, was left breathless, as she reported that he, was… ‘Coming out of mourning’.

Was that the term she used?

Apparently, quite a few young, and not- so- young ‘hopefuls’ were sure they’d “catch his eye”, she advised me.

It sounded Medieval to me. Surely that happened quite naturally, I remembered thinking. Or didn’t it?

The rest of that day was probably spent in a bit of a blur. As with each new Assignment, there was the usual perusal of documents, manuals, - how things were done at R&RMUZIK.

There were a quick tour, a ‘meet n greet’ that was offered by Greta soon after I arrived at R&RMUZIK.

I met the Office Staff and went to Retail downstairs. The Main Distribution company were in another section, part of the Complex-, but Admin seldom dealt directly with them, so Greta skipped that detour.

It was a usual rushed first day.

There were other Updates… Dead Lines, Bi - Annual Stock Takes, Sundries. It was an average day in the Life of …….. .

Chapter 3.

Five o’ clock could not come soon enough that day. I rushed home, ready to take a hot, relaxing bath.

I loved showering. It was quick, invigorating and ‘done in two ticks.’

The Commune where we stayed , there were many in Cape Town, had ample Bathing Facilities, but guaranteed, there would come a day when someone would be standing directly opposite the bathroom door, as you exit, with that :

‘Did you have to take that long’ look on their faces’.

That evening, after an extremely long day, I remembered thinking that nobody’s facial expression was going to matter, I was taking a long, relaxing bath.

Unfamiliar with relaxing; the long, relaxing bath lasted all of five minutes!

A very happy Jethro greeted me, as I walked into our Pad.

“What tickled you?” I asked, rubbing my wet hair with a towel.

He grinned, “Nothing really, it’s just great to see you happy again”

“Happy? How?” It was a nerve wrecking couple of days!

“Smiling?” he volunteered.

Was I smiling??

“Tell, you what, Jeth … If I’m smiling, it’s because I can’t believe I’ve made it this far in the day!” I said.

“That Bad, hmm?” he frowned.

“Worse. But hey, what’s a day without a challenge?” I asked, rubbing his mop of blond curls.

“..How was your day at College?”

“Totally Awesome!!!”

He looked as if he was about to tear up but rubbed an eye ..

“Mom,” he started, Hugging me... “Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.”

I knew he was referring to my insistence on reinstating my guardianship over him.

I’m his mother. I’m drug free. I insisted so strongly on a drug test at the time, that the ‘Powers that be’ thought it a waste of time, and funds, to even bother with a test. My insistence, and appearance, had, according to them, proven my innocence already.

“Thank You!! …” I said, hugging him closely,

“Thank you very, very much Jethro, You’re an Angel.”

I didn’t know what Jethro’s reaction would be, once he heard that I’ve been successful with the reinstatement.

I wondered whether it would’ve been a case of… “Too little, Too late?”

But it wasn’t!!!

When Jethro left the Establishment, I waited outside with a colleague friend, who offered to give me a lift.

I remembered how Jethro walked up to me, without a tear in his eye and simply said: “I’m so glad you’re here. For me”

And we left, he moved into my ‘Pad’ at the Commune, and we took it from there.

“So you like College, then?” I asked, eager to talk about anything other than another accounting procedure.

“Mom, I Love College!!! I Love the freedom!!!” he beamed.

I frowned, slightly …

“No oo Mom – Don’t get me wrong!!! I would never abuse that. It’s just wonderful, freedom of choice- with the subjects,”

He grinned, “Pretty girls, too.. Thanks!”

“Stop Thanking me and produce good grades” I retorted, playfully.

Jethro always brought home good grades, only then – he’d be bringing them home with a smile on his face.

Happiness is….

I mumbled about my exhaustion, feeling drained!

“I’m off to bed. ‘Going to lie down before I fall down...” I joked, and retired, yawning.

Chapter 4.

I blinked in the dimly lit silence. Outside the birds began to welcome a new day in The Mother City.

It was way too early to get up and I scrambled around to check for the time. 4.30 AM …. What on earth? I wondered, finding myself going through the last few days’ events.

This was not unusual. My days of temping allowed me varied, exciting, ‘scary’- as in a ‘Big- Bad- Wolf’ Boss, Huffing & Puffin’ Assignments.

There was always something to mull over and smile.

R&RMUZIK seemed like an ideal permanent position. The name, R&RMUZIK, was derived from the original sole Shareholders, brothers ‘Royce and Royce’, but the Logo depicted a guitar player and leaned, cleverly, to the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” idea.

I noticed that it was more of a younger crowd, but the ‘Senior Positions’ was filled by … ‘More Senior’ staff members, so I fitted the mold well.

Unavoidably, my thoughts moved on to Cheryl Carstens…‘Wondered if she ever took a break, other than to gasp for air, to continue...

I was thinking too much. It’s way too early to have even started.

I looked up at the ceiling, a blank canvas, and had it filled in no time!

New faces, Names ...

I wondered about “Steve” and what he’s doing, whether at all, he’d be awake.

As much as I tried to ignore Cheryl’s unrelenting updates, the name “Steve” was deeply imprinted in my mind.

I continued with the train of thought, almost curious. There was no face I could picture, but it left me wondering.

Nonsense, no one was awake at four unless they were finishing off a night shift..

I found my bombarded mind, fully focused on Steven. I wondered whether Storm slept next to his Dad.

Jethro shared a double bed with me for years.

When I remarried his Dad, he reluctantly moved to his own room. Delighted at the reappearance, but disappointed, nonetheless, that he’d be saying Good night and making his way to his bedroom.

I ended each night with a bed-time story... But we never shared a bed again.

So many thoughts, so early. The morning crept in. The hand on the clock moved onto just after five. Still too early.

I hoped the day at R&RMUZIK would be uneventful. I hated not getting enough sleep.

I slipped into a track suit and headed towards the kitchen area.

The Coffee smelled like heaven and I know it would, thankfully, work its wake- up charm. Strong. Without milk.

Jethro squinted as I quietly opened the door, “What time is it?”

He asked, yawning.

I apologized for being restless and begged forgiveness, we had such an easy going relationship – this son and I.

Jethro jumped out of bed, startling me . .

“…It’s not that early!! You’re not that restless!! You’ve a job to get to!!”

So typical of Jethro, he always had a practical solution or reason for everything.

I replied, a lot calmer after being startled:

“Thanks, My Love. You know me a lot better than I thought, Coffee?”

I took the train to work, and loved it. I pretty much was a loner, as far as relationships went, but other than that, I simply loved being surrounded by people.

That’s how I ended up at the Commune. Having my own ‘Space’, but having someone to chat to, at a drop of a hat... with no strings attached!

Jethro loved the idea as well. We had that much in common.

We never wanted to do anything particularly ‘traditional’; we had fish and chips on Sundays and “Sunday Roast” on Tuesday.

We loved thinking Out of the Box. Experiencing as much diversity in life as possible.

Ironically, he’d been traditionally named after his father but that hadn’t warranted a minute of discussion from Jethro.

His name is: Jethro.

Chapter 5.

I arrived at R&R Admin that morning, feeling a little bit ‘perkier’ than earlier, thanks to a strong dose of Coffee, but only just. I knew it was going to be a long day.

With the second Cup of Coffee, I noticed a lot more focus, which was good. It’s a new position.

Staff trickled in and by 8:30, a new day at “R&R” (Rock ‘n’ Roll!) began.

I was working towards the first few deadlines of the week, much of the morning spent looking at earlier work rather than bothering Greta, who was settling into her new position, as well.

There’s no rush, but I made it a habit of always being prepared and seldom left with unexplained or overlooked situations. I also thought of a simpler, more specified way of filing certain docs, there’d been a few challenges.

The phone on the desk rung quite sharply and I wondered whether the call would be for me, given the fact that I barely arrived.

“Accounts, Good day” I answered.

“Hello Yvonne Tyler?” was the response.

“Hi ..um.. ” I remembered being taken quite aback.

Giggle. It was a call from Retail.

She composed herself. “It’s Jade. At Reception. I believe you’re interested in standing in for me during lunch times?” She stated.

“I wanted to…” I attempted an explanation, which she didn’t allow..

“Could you come down, just before one?” she asked, adding:

“So, take an earlier lunch, okay?”

“Ok ..See you then. Jade.” I managed.

Lunch in ten minutes, I was quite relieved and decided to take a walk, get some fresh air.

I needed it. Wow. Cheryl was an earful and then some.

It certainly didn’t help that she’d been with R&RMUZIK for the last ten years and acted as if she had shares in the company.

Shares in everyone’s personal business, if you asked me!

What didn’t she know about ‘Steve’? I wondered.

Was she also a … ‘Hopeful’?

I arrived at Retail with ten minutes to go before my first “Reception Relief Duties” would be explained to me.

As with being ‘part of the Pool’ and not having a separate office, I also volunteered to do a bit of receipting and switchboard duties for an hour, once

a week. Just to get the “feel” of the Company … and that I had!

The Retail Store was breathtaking.. Almost like a musical festival all on its own. Guitars – Fenders, Ibanez, ... Percussion Section - Huge Collections, Basic sets, Trumpets, Amplifiers, Synthesizers. .

It was a phenomenal experience, I recalled. Although bedazzled, I felt quite ‘at home’!

[Although I never played a musical instrument in my life..]

No, I take that back. I vaguely remembered two years of music lessons at school.

Piano, to be more specific, but I was so adamantly left-handed at that age, my right hand refused to cooperate!

That was the end of music for me.

I had, however, dabbled in poetry.

I called it ‘Lyrics’, believing that the words would, eventually, dance on the lips of Celebrated Stars – I didn’t care too much for the idea of Lime Light, but thought it would be an Excellent way of earning a huge income.

I began the walk to reception, conveniently situated just passed the center of the showroom.

Surrounded by shiny musical Instruments and doing the walk of … Fame?

It seemed like forever, I remember, before I got to the Reception desk that afternoon. All eyes, possible, were on me.

“Hello, Yvonne. I’m Jade. Welcome to R&RMUZIK” she beamed.

“Yes, Hi.” I answered, not even attempting to begin or complete a sentence!

The Welcome wasn’t necessary. I met every one, for about two seconds, on the brief tour on day one.

“Come... Come... Sit” Jade beckoned.

“Here’s the extension list. You’ve got one upstairs so I won’t make you a copy, ok..? So, you can use mine.” She explained.


I remembered thinking... “Was she Serious?” Followed by: “Young”.

I questioned my noting of age and hoped it wasn’t one of envy. I had fun-fun-fun, I smiled.

With the sudden upheaval of my moving from ‘foot loose’ to ‘ever so responsible’; as proud as I’d been of my decision, there’d been a niggling, unrelenting thought that I wasn’t going to cope. Everyone seemed younger – and with far less responsibility.

I was 36 at the time. Some politely guessed me at 28, 30 or 31(at Most!) were the most popular guesses, which was still a huge Compliment!

My ‘Secret’ had often been quizzed from me and I had a standard answer. .

Stay Single! Less Hassle!

(I had, however, been thankful for the good genes!)

Although I’d been married twice, mostly ‘on paper’, Brendon was on A.W.O.L. most of the time. So I was ‘Single’, most of the time.

Single and devoted to Brendon-Jethro, The Apple of my eye.

Looking back, we joked about it, being on A.W.O.L., Brendon having just completed his military service. His immaturity frustrated me, but he was so vulnerable and I found myself loving him all the more.

Desperate to get him to make decisions, there’d been a delivery of a summons, an uncontested divorce and I’d become “Ms. Yvonne Tyler”, once again.

Fiercely independent, I had had my Identification Document changed.

(With the second marriage, I had never gotten round to reverting back to Jonas. Guess I never was much of a Mrs. Jonas, then.)

I yanked myself away from my musings, and back to reality. And Lunch- Time Reception Relief.

“Yes, I am 36, twice married... ” I answered Jade’s incessant questioning. The first questions were: are you legit? Are you married!

“WOW! So you’ve got a Guy, then?” Jade responded to my full answer, which she allowed!

“No ooo... And I should be the one asking questions, Jade!” I reminded her.

“Sorry, just getting to know each other...” she gulped.

I felt bad. I’d been sharp, however truthful.

“I am Sorry Jade!” was my immediate response, adding

“Too many questions... All at once. Yes, we will get to know each other.”

was my consolation, “.. Bit by bit.”

Two ‘earfuls’ I thought. Jade, being definitely the bubblier of the two!

She grinned. Genuinely. I felt a sense of relief. I didn’t mean to snap.

I’d just recently come from Admin. And Cheryl. Enough Already!

Relieved at not having caused any animosity, Jade continued as if nothing had happened.

“OK – So these 6 Main Lines are R&RMUZIK; These 2 Red ones are for YZ Distributors. They do have direct lines” she’d pointed out, “but calls do come through the ‘board.”

“Ok ... ” I managed as she answered another call.

“R&RMUZIK Good Afternoon. How May I Assist you? ...Certainly! ‘Going through!”

Jade turned to me “You were saying….”

“Heck, honestly, ‘Can’t remember! … There’d just sooo much going on in my head and names and departments and..”

She laughed, “Don’t make a fuss, Girl, you’ve been here, what? ... all of two days ?”

I liked her carefree attitude.

After all, she said: “You can only do as much as you can do, at one time!”

There seemed to be an awkward silence, and I wondered whether I ‘snapped’ a bit too sharply, earlier?

We looked at each other and both begun speaking at the same time; and burst out in laughter, attracting a bit of attention.

“No, you first.” I volunteered.

“OK, so, lunchtimes are pretty quiet... Jade began, smiling almost shyly,

“We get busier days, month-ends ...But other than that, everyone in the Music Industry takes lunch!”

I smiled… “That’s Good news, right?”

We laughed again, not as loudly as before but I remembered how good it felt. I thought to myself how much I enjoyed this ‘Permanent Position’.

We sat in silence again as I checked the extension list.

Not for too long though, Jade cleared her throat, determined not to let the comfortable silence become too comfortable.

“Ahem, so… If you’ve got no guy, . . I’m just saying, . .ok... so, just for interest sake, if you could spend time with any one of the Guys here on the floor . . Just say… which Guy would you choose? ” she asked the question that was probably burning on her lips.

I looked up, across the floor. All Young-ish, Cute-ish, ...

“Do I have to do this, Jade?” I asked in an exaggerated plea.

“Oh come onnn... Yvonne, lighten up!” Jade made sure she got answers when she made an allowance for them!

I scanned the floor once more, wondering what on earth the point of the exercise was.

“Umm, this is a crazy question and I don’t know...” I eventually answered

“Just Look. Just say!!” she insisted.

Eventually, she ‘wrestled’ Jesse Goode out of me. He was OK. Boyish, Nice Hair?

I hated choosing anything suddenly. I usually deliberated for quite a while before I made decisions, but – I was pushed and had chosen, who’d seemed to be, the most outgoing of the Sales Team. Sales Team by day, some Muso’s by night – Always waiting for that one break. The Big one.

Obviously, Jade told the Guys of her scheme to get me to ‘make my decision’.

Jesse was cocksure, and “not Surprised” at my eventual choice.

He refused to go unnoticed.

There was another call and Jade answered..

“R&RMUZIK, Good Afternoon..”

I looked up from the board, totally thrilled at my current situation.

From the left passage, I noticed this guy – well, Older guy.

He hurried passed, from the back, two staff members on tail, and left a large bunch of keys at reception.

Didn’t He take ‘Lunch’?? I asked myself aloud.

Kinda Nice… Kinda Cute… Kinda Sexy…

“Who’s That?” I quizzed, Curiosity, or Jade’s igniting my sudden interest in ‘boys’, got the better of me.

“Why wasn’t he part of ‘The Choice’?” I asked, completely intrigued.

The board started buzzing, the lunch time lull was over.

“R&RMUZIK, Good Afternoon! Certainly Sir, One moment please” Jade paused,

“He’s not part of R&R, anyway …” she grinned.

“Ooh” I replied, more curious than I felt all morning or afternoon about a thing involving R&RMUZIK.

After All, I reminded myself, this was just a Company, I’d be ‘doing the books’, these were the extensions, this is what they…. But Who was that guy??

I didn’t ask. I decided not to. It didn’t matter. Much.

Jade paused from taking calls and turned to me, imploring,

“Please could you take these upstairs” She handed me a pile of paperwork, smiling.

“You are here! I needn’t send it up later..” she paused,

“We’ll chat a... R&RMUZIK, Good Afternoon! ”

Jade smiled and offered a small wave.

She entertained the Guys wishes, much to Jesse’s delight and gave me a few ‘useful tips’ regarding the stand -in Lunch Time Reception Duty.

“I hope you’ll come down tomorrow lunch time.” She offered.

We hardly chatted, the Guy’s Egoistical game taking most of the time and things got busier, almost at the stroke of two past two.

There would be quieter lunch hours in the near future. Once a week was more than enough, I thought to myself.

I smiled walking back to Admin. Everything had seemed so refreshingly new and exciting. That was it, then. ‘Lunch time Duty’ over.

Chapter 6.

Back upstairs to R&R Admin.

I passed Jeff’s Office and had noticed a visitor, a business associate deep in conversation.

Jeff forfeited a trip to Germany, his wife being in her seventh month of pregnancy and with her family in Australia, he decided not to leave her unattended.

The visitor looked familiar...

I saw him earlier down at Retail! He left a bunch of keys at reception.

Wow, he moved fast! I thought.

Yep, ‘Old School Rocker’ hair still shoulder length, not greying ...

Veryyy easy on the eye...

I thought he was -“Charismatic” .. Was that the word I decided on when searching for one to best describe my first impression?

He placed a bunch of keys on the ledge at Reception, I said to myself,

How charismatic could that have been?? I remember, Ilaughed.

My gut decided, though, that there was ‘Something about him…’

The side view of him, of course, I laughed again at myself.

It had been possibly, a five second encounter.

I wrestled with my choice of words though, and wondered how significant it was in the bigger scheme of things.

I always enjoyed a language challenge. Charismatic..? No, that sounded too “placed on a pedestal” for me, but whatever it was, he had it!

That must be Steven! I thought, unable to contain an extraordinary amount of adrenaline which had surged through me.

Jade had said he “wasn’t part of R&R...” Steven hadn’t been.

It had not taken a stretch of imagination to see why ‘Girls’ had thrown panties, phone numbers and whatever else he received, all those years on stage, but he was older.

A Year Older than I was, I decided, was “too old” and - Way out of my League.

Younger was better. Less complicated. Not complicated at all, in fact.

Motivated by the fact that “whispering sweet nothings” were unfamiliar to the younger crowd; ‘Settling down’ even further from their thoughts. It was a perfect solution from life’s entanglements.

I didn’t want to hear it and they felt totally ‘Liberated’ by the fact that life, as I knew it, was not a Soap Opera. There were no “Happy Endings.”

My motto had been: “Fun- Fun- Fun .. Kiss- Kiss ‘n’ Go !”

I tried getting my thoughts on track, checking for an incomplete list I started earlier..

I settled in, found the relevant sheet, determined to keep my mind ‘on the job.’

“Ms. Tyler?”

Startled, I looked up from my desk, into piercing blue eyes.

“Umm, you can call me Yvonne. ..or Vonnie? ..Or Bonnie?” I remembered mumbling..

(I accumulated a number of nicknames at various assignments).

He laughed, “Quite a Choice on offer, Ms Tyler!” and paused. “Yvonne. ..”

It was almost a whisper. I think.

He extended his hand. Artistic hands. … Do you get Artistic hands?

“I’m Steven”, he smiled. “or Steve.”

He took a deep breathe, indicating that it stopped there.

“ Rousseau” he concluded.

“Yes.” I answered lamely.

I remembered the word tripping off my tongue.

He. Was. Gorgeous!

“Could we find some time to chat about the Schedules I need to take with me, on the trip to Germany?” He purred. A Lion’s purr.

“Yes, Sure! When? I’m all yours!” I replied, too quickly. I felt as if every pint of blood rushed to my head. I attempted to contain the flush, but it was useless; reminding myself to get a grip, wondering when I started losing it. Steven, or Steve, Rousseau was, well, Quite delicious, to say the least, but I decided, not my type.

According to my understanding of how things worked, “You’re mine and mine alone.” (If only for ‘those moments we’re together’!)

I would have hated to live with all the attention he probably got.

Cheryl made it obvious that, he was, well, .. ‘Not your average guy.’

I was sure he enjoyed it, wanting to come across as “just an Ole’ Bass Guitarist.”

I decided that I was sure he would be known among the older crowd and the Younger. He earned their respect.. And a little envy, I guessed.

I was sure he ‘lived the Life’ ... If only on a smaller scale.

And of course, the bevy of ladies hanging on his every word!

I cringed at my small mindedness. I almost imagined I felt awful! I didn’t give’ this ‘Steve’ a “snowballs chance in hell.”

I was sure .. I was sure ..

I had, at that stage, just met the guy!

The idea of him being anything but extraordinary didn’t sit well …

It was then that I decided: I, Yvonne Tyler, was not going to fall under the spell he seemed to have casted over the ladies, I was not going to fall, At All!

At that time, First and Foremost, came Jethro, who had recently returned from a ‘Youth Centre’.

All my extra time and energy would be required restoring broken ties.

It was wonderful to have been given that second chance. Before it was too late.

Jethro was fifteen. I assured myself that I was not going to let him down. Not for anyone or anything, at any time.

I still found myself smiling, though.

While everyone, well, every women, was lapping at his heels, or trying to find some way to get this soon-to-be “Eligible Bachelor” and Managing Director of YZ Distributors’ attention, - it was handed to me on a plate.

The Managing Director of YZ Distributors needed something from me.

The luck of the Irish.

Chapter 7.

Although it was a full two months before the proposed trip, a list of Suppliers and Products concerned was handed to me, the Information needed to provide a good overview for what Steven wanted. It was all data to me.

I provided accurate, well- coordinated Schedules.

“Part of the job description,” I joked.

The Schedules were returned on a few occasions, with Amendments, but given the fact that I only recently joined the company, each adjustment was regarded as a learning curve..

Steven seemed to be enjoying every opportunity to ‘show me the ropes’ as he put it.

I knew he mentioned it as work–related but he sounded almost ..Playful? .. Flirty?

I wondered whether I’d been reading the signals incorrectly, or had this ‘Big Catch’, who had his choice of women, been flirting? With me?

Once again, I made the resolute decision: I was not going to fall, At All.

I felt butterflies in my tummy but could not understand why, but put it down to ‘nerves’.

There was so many new and, soon-to-be urgent things I needed to pay attention to, in such a short space of time, it had obviously left me shaky.

Steven and I spoke on occasion, sent each other work-related emails regarding the Schedules and generally, we had a very ‘satisfactory’ work-related relationship.

I was employed by R&RMUZIK, so other than the already completed task, there were very little reason for either to have kept contact. I put my earlier blushes and bumbles down as reaction to the complexity of the first ‘Task’, that were requested so soon into the new job.

Late that week, I received an unexpected email, from Steven. An invite to a quick drink, after work.

He wanted to Thank me for a job well done.

He also mentioned that it would be to Welcome me to Cape Town, although I had no recollection of ever having told him I only recently relocated.

I mentioned that it was my “first Permanent job” though.

I imagined he needed more than one reason to ask me out, only to remind myself that Steven had not, in fact, ‘asked me out’.

It would be a ‘Quick Drink to Thank me’ for a job well done.”

I figured I deserved that much.

It was a formidable task, not easily accomplished … without his help, of course!

I accepted. I simply couldn’t resist even if I tried.

On short notice, I called Jethro, but other than a voice asking to leave a message, I received no response.

More than likely, he’d be at Carl’s place, watching movies, and /or playing ‘games’!

I asked him to defrost the Pizza’s and to ‘stick around’, or to let me know whether he’d be sleeping over.

As arranged, I met Steven, in the Basement Parking, a while after the Close of Shop. He had something to ‘tie up’ before the weekend.

I went to the Mini market close by to get some gum, when my phone beeped. It was a message from Steven.

He’d sent: “Where r u?”

I responded with : “b there soon :-D ”

I arrived at the near-empty parking lot. He’d been waiting in his Midnight Blue Audi, a huge grin on his face.

“Here” he called, waving his hand from out the side window. I walked over.

“So Sorry about that” he apologized, once I got into the car.

”Rather sort something out before you go off and spend the Weekend thinking about it, Nes Pas?”

“Oh, you speak French, I see!” I remarked.

[It sounded French. That was another class, my mind refused to cooperate with!]

“Oh No, someone mentioned that to me once, it means: ‘Not so?’ in French.

It kinda stuck. Sounds good, right?” He’d smiled.“Nes Pas. Right, where to?”

I stammered “The choice is yours, really.”

Was it meant for me to recommend a place?

“Tell you what, let’s make a quick turn to O’Reilly’s – just ‘round the corner. Decent Pub.” Steven suggested.

“Ok” I agreed.

We arrived there in no time at all. It was pretty empty for an early Friday evening.

“What’ll it be then? What would you like to drink?” He asked, rather hurriedly.

“I drink just about anything” I replied.

He frowned, not sure he understood. I found myself laughing. .

“That,” I explained, “came out All wrong”

“Ohkk” He grinned at me, with ‘Mock Sympathy’.

I found myself bumbling again.. “I don’t have a preferred drink. I don’t really drink that much.” I tried explaining.

Steven’s response wasn’t convincing: “Ohkk...” He answered slowly, smiling.

“Let’s make it..” I decided to stop dawdling, “An Ice Cold Draught! I drink that with my pals at the Commune.”

He gave our orders to the waiter and turned to me.

Ohh Man, I thought.. He was Gorgeous.

“So sorry about the rush, now!” He started to explain as he sipped,

“I meant it when I said ‘quick drink’, I don’t want to take up too much of your time… ” he purred, looking at me, expectantly.

Was it my cue to insist that he had not been ‘taking up my time?’

I made it obvious that that hadn’t warranted a response.

“.. And a ‘Thank You’ was definitely on the Cards.” He continued.

“No, No problem at all!” I finally said what he needed to hear.

“Storm,” he begun, taking another gulp, “You know I have a son, right?”

I nodded.

“Well, the mother- in- law, my late wife’s mom, had some sort of crisis” he began explaining again, “and can’t pick Storm up from the After-School Care Centre, I’ve been given an extra hour and a half but I really need to be there quite soon.”

He rushed the first few sentences through and seemed to have relaxed.

We clinked our glasses, raised a Toast to the Future! I was not sure to whose future, but we did it anyway.

He began in a rather slow drawl..

He was now, he thought, ready to start dating again.

I fully expected a tirade of compliments regarding my excellent standard of work and wondered why that wasn’t mentioned yet, it’s the reason for the ‘celebration’, after all.

He decided to start dating again, he explained, because he needed to find a Mom for Storm ASAP.

I interrupted by asking whether he’d been 100% satisfied with the final schedules. This caused him to grin broadly, and laugh – embarrassed at getting so far ahead and so far off track.

“Yes, Yvonne. I could not be happier!” and he raised his glass, “to a job well done!” and smiled.

“Do you enjoy the game of dating?” he continued, well off track again.

“I don’t.” I said, taking a sip, “date.”

He broke out in peals of laughter, I had felt embarrassed. He laughed lots.

“Touchy subject, then” he’d prodded. “Not really, do you?” I seemed to have lost the battle of keeping things ‘on track’

“No, I don’t either!” his eyes had a twinkle in them, “not yet.” He winked,

explaining that he’d not been looking forward to the venture as he never ‘dated’ before.

Women had literally ‘thrown themselves at the Band Members, so his ‘quests, as he put it, was without effort.

His late wife were a ‘Faithful Follower’ of his, whom he found at the “Reception” of the Hotel where they performed.

Her room had been broken into, she had but the clothes on her back. He took her in. She needed his help. He fell in love with her, and decided to ‘settle down’, and got married to Jan. Storm were born sometime after that.

Then came the unknown, until then, the spread of Cancer which seemed to have overtaken Jan’s body, their lives, causing the sad ending to a rather sweet, yet short union.

There still was just sooo much to talk about...

We rushed through the basics but Steven checked the time and in a flurry of apologies, made a rushed exit.

The Only Definite memory, for me, had been iced cold drafts... And Steven, rushing off through the crowd that gathered during our fairly brief conversation that evening.

Steven stopped and spoke to Max, the Owner of the Pub, who nodded, as Steven placed a card in his hand, shaking the other in greeting.

They’d been friends for years. Steven had often brought Clients, or Board Members over, after an arduous Meeting.

The cuisine at O’Reilly’s was “of note” as Steven .. . ‘noted’.

Max made his way to where we sat, explaining that the taxi fare had been settled, as well as any further drinks I may order, assuring me that I just have to advise him on my decision to leave.

I smiled, it had was awesome of Steven.

I ordered another draft, wondering what on earth just happened. Later, I asked for the Taxi.

It was an unusual evening, to say the least. I fell into bed… into a dreamless Sleep.

It was One Helluva week.

Chapter 8.

It was still weeks before Steven’s departure.

All the documentation in order, I emailed the final draft for a second time, ending with: RSVP…

I needed the assurance that it was 100% and there were no further amendments.

I knew there would not be, I just had to hear from him again!

Steven’s reply had nothing to do with the schedules, which I ensured were finally, faultless.

It read: “without sounding lewd but – doesn’t rsvp mean ‘are you coming or not’? :-D”

I burst out in peals of laughter. Steven seemed to love laughing and knew how to get a smile out of anyone, at any time!

Cheryl shot a panicked glance. I had a strange feeling that she had a feeling. She looked upset.

In the weeks that followed, I almost wished I made a few ‘cock ups’, a term Steven seemed to have used often enough, during that time.

(‘Cock ups’ usually followed “No ..” !!)

There’d been drinks celebrating the ‘job well done’, and the chances of any further one-on-one contact with Steven was zilch. And so What? I asked myself.

I did not fall directly under his management so, apart from the odd schedule or two that he might need – well, I guessed that I wouldn’t be seeing much more of him….. And so What?? I asked myself again.

These crazy conversations I had with myself did not bring any further clarity, I thought.

Quite frankly, I found all the new methods, Account categories, new names and faces became a bit too much for me.

Jethro found me, fast asleep, in front of the TV. It had just gone seven.


He gently tugged at my arm, “Wouldn’t you prefer getting into bed?”

I mumbled that I was fine. We’d chat in the morning.

I woke up to the distinct smell of Coffee.. So close, I could almost tasted it.

“Good Morning, Mother!! Coffee?”

It was pretty unusual, to say the least. Jethro never woke up late, but seldom earlier.

“Yes Please! Wots up?” I asked.

Jethro seemed to be fidgety, unsure …

“Out with it!” I smiled, almost nervously. I wondered what it was all about?

“Mom,” he began..

“I don’t really know how to say this..”

“Well, that’s the end of the story, then!” I smiled, taking a sip of the coffee.

Jethro had not ended the ‘conversation’ yet, pulling all sorts of faces.

“C’mon, Guy… what is it?” I asked, more than curious, myself.

“You know I’ll be turning 16 soon, right?” he said, almost desperately.

“Yes…” had been the answer that had came to mind.

(Did he want me to answer that?)

“Well, a few guys at College would like to come around and celebrate, we’ll have a Braai .. Maybe a Cider or two..” was Jethro’s urgent request.

It didn’t sound like a bad idea, The Cider story didn’t ‘sit right’, but I knew they were going to have some, whether I gave the Okay or not.

I wondered what the problem could be.

My response was spontaneous, I sometimes forgot how much older Jeth was, to the image that were fixed in my mind.

“Wow, time flew! Little Jeth…16!”

I ruffled his hair, and reminded myself to ‘Stop doing that’! - Jethro’s earnest plea.

“Well, that sounds like a plan, so where do we have the problem?” I quizzed.

“Well…” He began dragging it out.


It became a waste of time and I pleaded for something concrete.

“Well, Mom, the Guys would like to sleep over afterwards. We only have a Pad, I love this Pad but … but you can’t sleep here as well, then.”

I remember I felt dazed. Dazed at the fact that my son already decided on his own celebration arrangements, without me – excluding me.

Time had, in fact, marched on triumphantly.

I asked him whether he thought of a solution to the problem, as well!

“I don’t really know, Mom.” He replied, already sure of the solution.

“What about Alice, the friend who’d brought you to fetch me, couldn’t you stay over there for a night?” He thought it out already!

“Or.. Oh, forget it! You give so much and all I do is ask, ask, ask …” was the next response.

“We’ll think of something,” I found myself saying. I knew I would. I couldn’t disappoint Jethro.

He responded with “So I can say it’s OK for the following weekend?”

He knew already that there’d be no way I would let him down.

“Yes” I answered.

He left that morning with a skip in his step. Mission accomplished, I guessed.

Jethro placed the first challenge I had to deal with, since our reunion, firmly in my hands.

Chapter 9.

I boarded the train that morning, deep in thought.

The idea of staying in a two star hotel did not sounded inviting. Cape Town, being the Tourist attraction it was, had lots of hotels. Expensive hotels.

I loved having Jethro back! The initial start caused expenses to pile up and although almost out of the red, I was in a position to make lavish decisions, yet! I wasn’t parting with spare cash to spend on expensive hotels.

Alice left Cape Town soon after she assisted me with fetching Jethro. You either loved living in the Mother City or had a hard time adjusting to the pace of things.

She went back to Pretoria. Her Mom had asked her to take over the small family business, which became a bit too much for her to handle alone.

My second thought fell on Petro! We worked together using the same Agency and I had, on occasion, accepted an invite or three.

Apart from her Dad, who swore he knew me in a previous life, and sometimes embarrassed her with the detail, I enjoyed spending time with the Parkers. They’d been hospitable and quite entertaining.

I made a mental note as the train stopped at Rosebank Station.

The morning at R&R Admin rushed by, and left me with little time for personal calls but I knew that there was one that had to be made,

I dialed the number, recalling her jolly banter, hardly forgettable!

“Hello, Petro? .. its. .”

“Yes, Vonnie! How are you, my dear?”

She loved the “Dears” and “Dearests”!

“Very Well Thanks, and yourself, Petro?”

I paused, almost waiting for her usual joke, before getting to the “nitty gritty” as she labelled anything that was not ‘hilarious’!

There was an unusual silence so I continued:

“I’ve taken a Permanent Position now. Remember Jethro?”

(Everyone who met me, ‘knew about Jethro’!)

A further silence.

“Well, we’re back together! He’s attending College …” I boasted.

The silence on the other side was deafening.

“Petro?” I asked

“Remarkable, Dearest! I’m so oo happy for you!”

I noted the smile back in her voice. A sense of relief swept over me.

“Yes, Well… ”

She almost returned to her old self, the ‘old self’ I knew!

“Well what, my dear?” She laughed on the other side,

“He hasn’t made some one pregnant, has he?”

I wasn’t too shocked by her response, often thinking the unthinkable. “Goodness, No, Petro! .. he’s about to turn 16 … ”

“Well that’s a relief! Not all news is good news, you know!” she chirped.

Did that remark have something to do with silence, I wondered.

“Are.. You pregnant?” I ventured.

There was another short silence.


I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the response, but asked anyway.

“No… of course not!” I seemed to have irritated her.

“Dad and Mom,” She said, rather soberly.. “They’re ‘calling it a day’ ”

“Are you Serious?” I asked. Unsure of whether I heard correctly, but she sounded serious.

“Yes. I’m serious. We’ve been trying to get them to reconsider, but there’s just sooo much tension at home, one wonders if that wouldn’t be the better option”.

I recall wondering whether I was more upset for them.. or for myself.

This was not happening! I flinched, replying

“I am so, so sorry Petro…. Never in a million years… ”

“Yes” she answered “Never in a million years.”

I felt as inflated as a broken balloon and bad, at my selfish reaction. There’d be no more fun ‘n’ games at the Parkers’. I couldn’t suggest another get together … and I had Jethro , well.. He was relying on me.

I took a deep breath, genuinely sympathetic.

“I’m so sorry about the news, Petro. I really hope things turn out ‘Just fine’ - We must get together again, sometime soon.. But ‘gotta hang up now..”

My mind had already started racing, what was the next option?

“Yes, Yes my dear.. We must! ” Petro added but not suggesting a date.

I bid my friend a fond farewell. I also bid the chance of a cozy

sleep-over a fond farewell, too!

R&R Admin was deathly silent and I wondered where Cheryl were.

I was placed in a tight squeeze. All the obvious things that was supposed to have happened, such as Petro’s warm invite to “join them some time” did not happen!

I hadn’t readied myself for the seemingly impossible fact that Bill and Dot Parker called it Quits.

“Damn!!” I said in exasperation, I honestly could not need Petro at a worse time. “It can’t be that bad!” Steven replied. He stepped out of Jeff’s Office. Engrossed in conversation, I didn’t notice his entrance to R&R Admin, earlier.

He walked passed, in time to hear the exasperation.

“It’s Worse ..” I grimaced, leaning back with my arms behind my head, a usual reaction when I tried to ‘figuring something out’.

“How many guest rooms do you have?” I blurted, surprised at my own voice and question.

“Why?” Steven frowned slightly, this really got his attention.

“Only Kidding!” I smiled and wished I could’ve retracted my question. “Just in a bit of a situation”

“Really?” Steven asked, “a bad one?”

I looked at him, glumly. Not sure of my next plan of action with the dilemma I’d found myself in.

“A quick drink after work? ‘Want to talk about it?” He offered.

I thought about the previous “Quick drink”

Way too “Quick” for me.

I did not clearly remember what we spoke about that night.

“Thanks, but Nooo Thanks.” I replied, and added “This’ll sort itself out, I’m sure!”

These offers for “Drinks” came way too frequently.

The day raced by, as with most days since I started at R&R MUZIK. The position posed many challenges!

I’d been successful at starting the procedure of clearing long overdue, outstanding claims which the clerks seemed comfortable carrying forward month by month, sometimes year after year. It wasn’t happening on my shift, I explained! Not a clock-watcher, I eagerly awaited the end of the working day.

I checked, once more. Four forty five. ‘Home time’ soon, I thought. Thanking my Lucky Stars, It had been ‘one of those days’!

I still had one unresolved problem though. What was I going to tell Jethro?

The phone had been buzzing, I wondered whether I could deal with another call.

It was Steven.

“ ‘Sure you don’t want to accept my offer? I’m all ears! Storm is spending the evening with Grammie - so, there’ll be no rushing off tonight.”

He sounded confident, refreshed and ready to take on another challenge.

Ironically, it was everything I had not been feeling.

Oohh.. And it sounded so good. Anything but Account names, numbers, Dept. codes and lists of unresolved queries…

“Yes” I found myself saying.. “Why not?”

It was a week night. The Pub, quiet. The music softer.

“So..” Steven began, “You have a problem- I’m all ears!”

“Oh Steven” I sighed, wishing every problem would simply ‘go Away’!

“There are no problems”.

I found myself swimming in those intent blue eyes,

“No problems, at all.”

“Okk..” He replied, “Let’s have a less rushed drink, anyway! I’ll get you home in one piece.”

He ordered, and we sipped, not talking.

Steve eventually broke the silence.. “Let’s take it a little slower this time”

Ohh, that slow, leisurely smile!

“So, tell me about yourself, who’s Jethro?” he enquired.

“My Son” I replied.

He acted surprised “You have a son too, how old?”

“Much older than Storm,” I took another sip, “Either you started late or I started too early!”

I found myself smiling, everything was going to be Ok.

“I started late” He admitted.

“We had Storm when I was 40, too much else went on in my life before then. My wife was much younger though.” He sipped, indicating that it was my cue. I obliged, “Jethro is, well, he’ll be 16 one of these days”

“Really?? How young did you start then?? ” He joked, laughing.

His eyes questioning, as he took a long sip.


“Ok…” He was doing the math.

“I’m 36”

His eyebrows shot up. In Surprise?

“You’re kidding me, right?” he placed his glass back on the table.

“No, I’m not! Too old for you, then?” I shot back.

He said his wife had been much younger. I was unable to resist the jab.

Steven burst out laughing. A genuine ‘Belly laugh’.

“Whatever made you say that?” he chuckled.

I remembered another flush. It was not a blush. 36 and blushing sounded ridiculous.

“I don’t know!” I roared with laughter, it felt so good!

“I don’t know at all! Cheers!” I laughed, surprised at my own joviality.

“Cheers?” he quizzed.

I responded with a raising of my glass “I’m having a great time, Steven! Cheers to that!”

Our glasses clinking.

“That’s good to know!” he grinned, becoming more serious..

“Jethro’s father?”

“Long Story. Let’s not waste time.” I sighed.

Another stretch of silence and deep sips of Draft.

“What is the problem, Yvonne? You can talk to me.” Steven ventured.

It was another long day… Before I knew it, I explained to Steve about Jethro’s plans and how I’d not been able to meet my side of the bargain.

“Is that why you asked me earlier about guestrooms?” he asked, becoming suddenly quite alert and eager to be of any assistance.

I felt stupid. I recalled asking that, I did not know why I had.

“I have three Guestrooms,” he announced. “You are more than welcome to spend the night. In one of them.” He added.

He sounded so genuine.

“Steven…” I sighed.

“No, I’m Serious, Yvonne. No hidden agenda. Promise. I just want to help you.

It’s One night! You’ll meet Storm, too!”

He did not prepare himself for a “No”.

It sounded ‘Safe’ enough. Why safety had suddenly become an issue was beyond me.

I replied, rather sheepishly,

“Oh, I don’t know, Steven. Why make my problem yours?”

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