Stories Hub / Interracial Love / Love Note Pt. 01

Love Note Pt. 01

by BaalatErotas 09/04/15

Ana is -- and always has been -- her own woman. She doesn't need trends, popularity or silly sentimentality. She has also learned the hard way that she doesn't need a man. Any man. She knows herself well and doesn't want to be like everyone else; she doesn't crave what they have.

Leo is a musician that sings about the kind of love that Ana scoffs at. His work has exposed him to enough women to make him realise everlasting love is en route to extinction. So, he lays down his mic and walks away from both the industry and all emotion.

When they meet, each unbalances the other's neat resolutions. Is the music industry shallow and love a fallacy? Do high walls really make for safer hearts? And what is to happen now that Leo has found the one woman who re-inspires him to write love notes worth singing... but also doesn't want to hear what she doesn't believe in?

*** *** ***

*** I ***

"Why do you still live in this grey, sweltering jungle?"

"I like being employed -- and this is the best jungle for that at the moment. And it only feels excessively hot when crazy people like you opt for waist-length twists in summer."

Ana cracked a lazy eye open and peered at her friend behind the wheel of her sporty little Mercedes Benz. She and Thandi teased each other all the time, easy considering how different they had turned out. Ana had moved around enough in the last five years to be unsure of where her home was anymore. Thandi had called Johannesburg home since their families had both moved and met there when the girls were five. Ana had never lasted at any job for more than a year; meanwhile Thandi was... disgustingly successful.

She lifted her twists and draped them over the back of her headrest. "I'm not crazy -- my hair's never been a problem before. This November is just far hotter than any I remember -- it's technically not even summer yet. I want a spring do-over... Hey. Are we in Hyde Park? Why are we in Hyde Park?"

"Because I live here now." With that, Thandi pulled into a small complex with two uniformed guards at the gate. "So, this is the pad you're visiting for the next month."

Ana pushed her oversized sunglasses up into her twists. "Fancy, Ms Moyo... Okay, I think I could put up with this for a month -- especially considering the nightmare you've tricked me into."

"I did not trick you, Ana." Thandi parked outside a facebrick block. "I just didn't tell you over the phone about how desperately grateful I am that you're the sort of friend who would save a sister in need during a work emergency."

"Hm," Ana scoped the adjacent matching block while her friend unlocked. "Luckily you're paying me well enough for me get over the pseudo-deception pretty quickly."

Thandi laughed.

The two-bedroom apartment was small but pristine; boasting scarily shiny appliances and a view of small shared garden out back. Ana took in her guest room: creams, yellows and pale pinks; a thick rug at the foot of the bed; and bright daises in a vase on a glass table flanked by two armchairs. She twisted her full lips.

"It's not that bad, oh, Goddess of Grunge."

"I'm nowhere near... "grungy". I'm told teens in the '80s were... meh, never mind." Ana tilted her head at a painting of a photograph. "And this is that bad. That picture doesn't even make sense. Why paint a photograph in a totally unpainting-like manner??"

"It's art. Very expensive art -- so, there."

Ana snorted. "You do know that people who live in places like this eat tofu and... break into musical dance numbers, right?"

"Dork." Thandi elbowed her. "I didn't take the afternoon off to suffer abuse. Get freshened up so I can prep you for your job."

"Ah, fuck. Really?"

"Yes, really. We need you ready to go, go, go by Tuesday morning, my friend."

Ana tossed her bag on the bed and went to check out the rest of the apartment. It was all very light and spotless. She tugged her tank top down, as if not ready to expose her tattoos to the virginal ambience.

"And... these are for you." Thandi held out a set of keys attached to a gate clicker... on a pink keyring.

Ana scowled at the print on the keyring. "'If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change'...?"

Thandi did a mini fist pump which looked cute in her tailored outfit. "Wayne Dyer. You'd love him."

"Uh huh."

Ana took in Thandi's designer clothes and neat weave. The apartment and suburbs suited her perfectly. Unlike Ana -- who had to be sticking out like a disorderly delinquent with her scuffed sneakers and purple lips.

"What?" Thandi had her hands on her hips.

"Nothing... You just seem hell-bent on challenging me to love you in spite of you."

"What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, geeko." Ana flopped onto a white couch. "I'm just saying tricking me into a holiday that turns out to be a temp job is one thing; finding you knee-deep in convertibles, private complexes and White people is quite another."

Thandi's spine straightened. "There are Black people here."

"True," Ana smiled. "I saw a whole two in uniform at the gates."

"You only been here two minutes and haven't seen anyone else!"

"I know, my sweeto geeko." Ana laughed, tugging her down next to her. "Just teasing your prissy weirdness. Now, quite foolin' and tell me about this slave labour. Focus."

Supper was Chinese takeaway and they devoured it over a four-hour briefing session.

At least an hour of that work time was spent reminiscing and laughing. Ana actually only appreciated food when around her friend -- the rest of the time she lived on junk... or skipped meals entirely.

The junk partly accounted for her curves, no doubt.

Where Thandi had a slim, compact frame, Ana constantly felt too curvy... like she was spilling out all over the place. Her hips alone were every slim-fit jeans' nightmare. She'd long ago given up on wishing herself into a less attention-grabbing shape and focused on low key clothing instead.

"Your first goal will be to have a band assembled by Friday," Thandi told her. "We have conditional agreements in place, but no one has signed on the dotted line yet and I want that secured before rehearsals begin."

Ana tried to mumble a response past her full mouth -- then just settled for a chopstick salute.

"You also need to get the official track list okayed as soon as possible, so we can arrange backtracks should they, God forbid, ever be needed. But mainly to get the new songs done."

"How many new tracks still need to be produced?"

"At least six."

She coughed. "Six new tracks and as many backtracks in five days??"

"See why I refused to entrust this to anyone but you?"

Ana grinned.

She really had been irritated at first learning that Thandi had invited her over with ulterior motives. But whom was she kidding? It felt fantastic to be back, doing what had come so naturally to her a few years ago. Also, this was the best-paying gig she'd ever had; and even if it weren't, she would have wanted to help her overextended friend.

The true pillock in this scenario? Leo Boreas.

Thandi Moyo ran an efficient management company that had never let down a single musician to date. The fact that Leo Boreas -- whoever the hell that was -- was stuck four weeks before a once-off national event with no management team and no assistant was his own damn problem. The crap with celebrities (even retired boy wonders) was that they always assumed the world was at their beck and call.

A pragmatic human being would understand the logic of sticking to an agreement. But not this dolt. No. He had started out with a mid-December appointment with Thandi to begin work; but then, the very next day (apparently for shits and giggles), announced that he'd be arriving on the first of the month instead and expected an assistant to be ready to work on non-existent notice.

This gave Thandi less than two days to find a stand-in since she wouldn't be around much in the first two weeks. She wasn't even given any negotiating room -- not that she would ever piss off a big client by messing with his plans as he'd messed with hers.

"I'm going to be in Botswana a lot and can't afford handing a client this big over anyone less than 110% committed." Thandi's dark eyes were earnest.

Ana was lying on her back, her eyes barely open. "God, I know. Look, Botswana isn't that far -- go as often as you need to in order to get those studios set up. This is not as freaky-scary as you're making it out to be. If I have questions or anyone catches fire while you're gone, I'll call... Unless you'd prefer handing this account over to one your lackeys -- not too late, y'know."

"Uh uh," Thandi shook her head. "I trust those two, but not with this. Because Leo Boreas is "freaky-scary", ntombi. Don't underestimate the man just because he stepped down from music five years ago --"

"I'm not. I'm underestimating him because he sings R&B and no one has taken love songs seriously since the '90s."

Thandi ignored the interruption. "He is huge. I've had my balls in a vice for months just hustling to secure this job --"

"Your balls -- that's... almost cute."

"-- because women -- and many guys, I reckon -- around the world, between the ages of fifteen and fifty are insanely in love with this man and his talent. We have to pull this off, Ana -- just this once, just this month."

"Then I should mention one last time that putting him in the care of your friend who hasn't worked the music industry in five years and doesn't pay attention to social hype, is probably not the wisest move."

Thandi held up her wine glass. "I'm not just doing that -- I'm putting him in the care of my friend who was even better than I was when we worked together for that shady little music company way back when, my friend who has artist management in her blood."

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