“Good morning Ms Mbatha thank you for coming in!”
He said as he sat down. Lawyers can dress hey. I know we all like different styles on men and with me a man in a suit or a man in uniform takes that cup any day and every day. It’s a given especially if the suit sits well. There are those suits which rural men wear which look like they have balloons inside or those shiny slippery looking suits we see especially at weddings, to me that’s not a suit. I am talking about tailored suit in which you can see a man took his time to get it made and end up looking like that. Sigh, my mouth is even watering at the thought!
“Thank you for seeing me!”
I responded. He was very fluent and confident in the way he carried himself. He had that lawyer thing of knowing what he is about.
“I understand that you are not happy with me taking over your case. Nthabiseng is one of our brightest lawyers and I also understand your friend. The friend part makes it an automatic conflict of interest but also the amount that you are suing for though small is definitely significant enough for us to want to give you the best. Companies like yours might have in house council but when their finances are threatened they call in an entire law firm to defend themselves. It’s not a small thing!”
He explained. Firstly Nthabiseng had kind of thrown me under the bus buy not warming me that she had told them of my concerns with the choice of representation. I felt a bit embarrassed in that I was kind of saying he was not good enough.
“Do you really think they will use an entire law firm?”
I asked him.
“Yes of course they will. Most of the decent companies have law firms on retainer. This protects them from being sued or getting in deals that don’t benefit them. You have chosen to take on a company and that’s expensive. What they normally do is that they will find a way of prolonging a case until it’s financially impossible for you to maintain your lawsuit! Usually you will be winning but because you no longer have resources to fight them you with draw the case to save your finances!”
He explained. I clearly had not thought of that. I thought it was simple case of them showing what the evidence we had was and the judge says pay and move on.
“How long will it take?”
I asked him.
“I can’t tell you that unfortunately as there are many factors that determine the length of a case. It all depends on how they want to counter your lawsuit. If they choose to settle which is what you pray they do, they will come up with a counter offer of what they are willing to pay which is why our asking price will be r7million and not r5million!”
He said and looked at me hold my breath. Come on though people I am not the only one whose eyes light up when I hear the prospect of making money. There was a lot of millions being mentioned lately.
“Isn’t that too much?”
I asked him being much as I was excited I was sceptical.
“Yes it is. I have looked at the case a bit and I see that you have a strong case. We want a situation where if they choose to settle then it will still be a significant amount!”
“So according to you what figure are you not willing to go under in this eventuality?’
He asked me. Was I going to seem greedy if I mentioned a big number?
“I guess r3million!”
I told him.
“You have to be sure. We go into that room with a clear story.”
He told me and I told him I was certain. I did not know how he was going to argue the case but that not my job but his.
“How much will the firm charge me?”
I asked him.
“With us we operate on the basis of a percentage. In this case we will waive all the legal costs and should we achieve settlement then we get 15 percent of whatever they settle for!”
He explained. I tried to do a quick calculation in my head but my maths deserted me at that moment. We chatted for about 30 more minutes and then I had to go. I still had a trip to plan for so I had a bit more to do.
“Did you guys have a good meeting?”
She asked me.
“Yes we did. I could barely concentrate though, the guy is hot! You have been keeping secrets neh?”
I asked her and she loved.
“Trust me I know and what’s worse is that he is such a nice guy you just fall for him. I had a crush on him when I first came but he never asked me out and that’s your entire fault!”
She said laughing.
“Why is it my fault ah?”
I asked her.
“I told you about him, I think you just forgot. I asked you if I should go talk to him and let him know I like him and you said no! You told me a lady waits for a man to approach him and we never approach men!”
She reminded me and I remember that conversation so well but it’s not my fault, it’s how we are raised. No matter how independent or educated you are, as a woman you wait for a man to approach you. There is just something wrong with asking a man out as far as I am concerned.
“Yeah I remember now, that was him? Had I known I would have said go for it!”
I said laughing.
“Well another girl who works here took her chance and she asked him out straight up! They dated for a few months then she actually cheated on him!”
She told me and for a moment there I thought she was going to say she was just pulling my leg.
“You are lying? Who would cheat on such a guy? Do you see how hot he is?”
I asked her incredulously. I was shocked.
“This guy is so hot he used to bring tears to my eyes but think of it this way though, how many hot girls have been cheated on by guys with average looking girls?”
She asked me a question I totally did not expect and which made feel stupid indeed. In my so called evolved, modern, educated, liberal mind I had told myself that men don’t get cheated on when they are hot when reality is no matter how beautiful or accomplished you are as a woman you have been. Cheated on at least once! Why then was I putting him on a pedestal to stay he did not deserve it when men show us every day that we are playthings to them.
“Ok you win, I get you. So why don’t you ask him out now?”
I asked her.
“Well I have already been friend zoned and his friends are hot too so decided to cut my losses and stay in my lane!”
She said and we laughed. I had to go however. She walked me to my car and I drove off. I had already packed so I just picked up my things and went to Miriam’s place. It rained on the way meaning the traffic was super slow. She was already calling and shouting as usual as she wanted to get this show on the road.
“Are you drunk?”
That was the first question I asked her. She was a typical township girl; road trip meant a cooler box and a few savannahs in there! She took out a coke with a huge grin.
“Not drunk. I am pregnant remember!”
She said. I had forgotten. How can I forget? I have a tendency of being a bad friend to her at times.
“Are you ready?”
I asked her trying to change the subject immediately,
“Dude I have been ready! What took you so long?”
She asked me in annoyed voice!
“I hate driving in the rain and you know how much slower the traffic gets when it’s raining. I am sorry!”
I told her. She said she was fine with as long as we left. Although the funeral was far it did not really count as a road trip. We were going to bury someone.
“So what’s going to happen with your husband if you just show up?”
I asked her.
“Well we are about to find out. What kind of rubbish is that I must not attend a funeral with him? He must be mad!”
She said and I laughed.
“But you allowed him to go without you!”
I questioned her further.
“Yes I did because I thought I would follow. Funny enough I didn’t even want to go but now I am more curious than ever!”
She was doing this out of spite then but why am I not surprised. Miriam had a mean streak to her and I am certain she was going to punish this man for this.
“Don’t worry Lungi, I won’t go ratchet on him. Where ever he is sleeping I am sleeping there!”
She declared but this was Miriam we are talking about! I have known her to do things that are death defying in the name of love or a broken heart.
“And what if there is another woman there?”
I asked the most obvious question.
“Well then that’s when he will know his wife’s true colours!”
She said staring straight at the road without blinking. I could tell she was expecting drama which made this a bad idea indeed. I am not a fighting person and we are often told that when your friend is in trouble in a fight! You fight with them.
“Do you even know where he is staying?”
I asked her.
“Yes I do. I called tracker and the tracker is in my name. I asked them last night where my car was and they told me. It’s a lodge so I figured that’s where he is staying. We will go there in the evening though because if you go too early they might be no one there!”
She had thought this through meaning she was suspecting that her husband was cheating. This was fast turning out to be a bad idea. Yes I had her back but you know as girls having your back means we will be there to talk you through a break up not to go beat up other women with you especially in a town where you know no one.
“Are you sure you want to be fighting someone pregnant as you are?”
I asked her with the most obvious concern. Imagine she confronts a mistress only to get hit in the stomach risking your life as well as your Childs life!
“No woman can disrespect me Lungi! I will do what I need to do if I am pushed into that corner!”
She said defiantly.
I did not know what to do!
This was really a bad idea!
Maybe I should warn her husband that we were coming?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I must say i love your work, i have been hooked since day one.
I am 29 year old female. My problem is when I was 21 i fell pregnant and my then boyfriend and I decided to have an abortion because we were both not working at the time (never told anyone about it, not even my parents know). 8 years later i met someone whom i love very much, am pregnant with his child, he has intentions of marrying me before the baby is born. my problem is i did not tell him about my previous pregnancy because i feel its not important, am I being selfish for not telling him? and I don’t want to be judged for my previous mistakes, am I wrong for wanting to move on with my life without being reminded of pass mistakes? please advice