Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chapter 26: Strip Club

Daise left me on the couch to go and wake Alina as Sgt Major Dhlamini walked into the lounge. They greeted each other and the Sgt Major dropped heavily into an armchair.

“What’s up with you Sgt Major?” I asked him, noticing the frown on his face.

“Are you letting your penis do your thinking for you Major?” he asked me.


“Just yesterday, you were taking the proper precautions: not going out onto the veranda; having people watching the road and generally taking care. Today you buy a flashy red car and blithely let the woman drive it home, with you following. If you are going to change tactics and set them up as bait, I would appreciate being told beforehand.”

I could see he was mad with me, and I felt a bit guilty. “You are correct Sgt Major. I wasn’t thinking clearly. Sorry about that.”

“Don’t apologise to me Major. Just don’t make such bloody stupid mistakes again. I couldn’t give a shit about you, but my people’s lives are at stake and I am starting to get a little fond of the two women.”

“Sgt Major! You are going to make me cry if you aren’t careful. It sounds almost as if you are trying to protect an officer from his own stupidity.” I waited to see how Sgt Major Dhlamini would respond to my attempt at levity, and wasn’t disappointed.

“You only cry when you see people kicking puppies. You know better about the way I feel about stupid bloody officers,” he said while grinning wryly at me.

“Too true. Thanks for the kick up the arse. I wasn’t thinking clearly. “

“Are you ready for tonight?”

“I think so. Are you happy with the plan?”

“Not really. I do think that it is the best we can do though. Just don’t act like a silly bugger tonight and we should gain some useful intelligence.”

“Ok. I’ll make sure I don’t sodomise anyone…”

“You know what I mean. There’s only so much we can do if they attack you in the club.”

“Here come the ladies,” I said seeing the two of them descending the stairs. “Ladies, if you will forgive me for saying so, you would both look like a million dollars dressed in sacks. In those jeans, you look like ten.”

“You like?” Daise asked as she twirled to show off the tight jeans she was wearing.

“Yes, I do. Do the boots fit you Alina?”

“They’re perfect, thank you Rupert.”

“No problem. Both of you need to be comfortable and I figured that good boots stand anyone in good stead if they have to do any kind of running or fighting. There’s nothing like being prepared.”

I got up and went to the gun safe. Daise already had her Vektor SP1 in a bikini holster on her belt, and I got out the little Luger 9mmK. “Daise tells me you know how to shoot an automatic,” I said as I handed the weapon to her along with a bikini holster.

“Yes I do. I haven’t shot much though,” Alina said as she started threading her belt through the holster.

“This weapon is simple enough. It has a thumb safety. Move it down, and pull the trigger. I will cock it for you so that it is ready.” I matched actions to words and handed her the weapon. She took it from me and tested the feel of it in her hand.

“This fits my hand perfectly,” she said with a surprised note in her voice. “I expected it to be too large for my hand.”

“That’s why I gave it to you. Don’t think about it too much. It’s only there in case there is a dire emergency, then you have it as backup. The old saying is ‘You never need a fire-arm until you really need a firearm’. Don’t draw it unless you really need to use it, OK?”

“Ok.” Alina practiced taking off the safety and engaging it again, then, once she was happy that she knew what she needed to know, she slid the weapon into her holster. “How do I hide it?”

“Just pull your T-Shirt out and let it hang over the holster. If it shows too much, then pull the holster slightly round behind your back.” I demonstrated by lifting my T-Shirt to show them where my holster sat. “I’ll have to leave mine behind when I enter the club, so I won’t have it on me. I’m relying on Cpl Maseka and his crew inside the club, and you guys as backup on the outside.”

I glanced at my watch and started hustling the girls out to the Land Rover. Sgt Major Dhlamini climbed into the front passenger seat and the girls got into the back. I took a few seconds to load the Lee-Enfield into its storage compartment and we were on the road.

We arrived in the parking lot of the Strip Club ten minutes before nine and I saw thatRoy’s car was parked near the entrance. We had already decided that he would enter the club before me, so I wasn’t too worried about that. I stopped and looked to see if I could see Cpl Maseka’s car. Just as I hauled out my phone to call him, he arrived along with three others in the car. He waved at me and found a parking spot. Our plan was that the four of them would be a distraction as well as my support in case anything happened inside the club. They got out of the car and stood around chatting. I gave Daise and Alina a quick kiss and got out of the Land Rover. As I walked towards the entrance to the club, Sgt Major Dhlamini drove the Land Rover out of the parking lot and stopped across the street.

I walked into the club’s entrance and stopped at the barrier. The bouncer there, a giant of a man dressed in a suit, patted me down before directing me to the cashier’s window. He was distracted though, as we had planned, because Cpl Maseka came up right behind me with his three companions. I paid my R100 entrance fee and entered the club proper. As I came through the screen door, I was greeted by one of the waitresses who asked me if I was alone or whether I was expecting anyone. When I told her I was alone, she asked me to follow her and led me to a table in the centre of the club, near the ramp. I asked her if I could rather sit against the wall and she just smiled and agreed.

I sat down in a booth with my back to the wall and looked around. Cpl Maseka came in shortly after me and the four of them moved to a larger table right near the ramp, but about two tables away from mine. They immediately ordered a round of drinks.

I hadn’t been in this club before, so I was interested to see the décor. I had been in another club a few months before on the occasion of a friend’s bachelor party, so I had something to compare it to. This club was not as clinical and well lit as the other had been. The booth I was sitting in had red leather covered seats and was fairly sheltered from view. I looked up at the ceiling and saw that it was possible to pull a curtain across to ensure privacy. The table was fairly sturdy, and I guessed it had to be to handle the rigours of women dancing on it. There was no-one dancing on the ramp, but there was a table dance going on a few tables away from me. When I looked a little closer, I saw that the blonde dancer’s legs were resting onRoy’s shoulders and his nose was about ten millimetres from the crotch of her panties. Well, his cover seemed to be intact.

There were about twenty dancers in the club that I could see. Other than the one busy with the table dance forRoy, there was one other table dance going on the other side of the ramp. I craned my neck and saw that it was two dancers up on the table doing a dance for a group of eight guys. Only a few other tables were occupied; it seemed to be a little slow.

The waitress came back once she saw I was settled and I ordered a brandy-and-coke which I thought I would be able to nurse for a while. There were signs on the walls giving a list of the rules, the most important of which seemed to be that there was no touching of the dancers and no photos were to be taken.

Shortly after my drink arrived, the current song ended and the DJ announced that ‘Bettina’ would be doing a dance for us. All the girls that had been doing dances on the tables, as well as the others who were sitting on chairs against the far wall, disappeared into a staff-only door. The lights dimmed a little and a new song came on. I recognised it as Joyride from Roxette.

As Hello, you fool, I love you, C'mon join the Joyride erupted from the speakers, a tall, striking red-headed women appeared on the ramp. She was dressed in a pair thigh-high black leather boots over tight green pants and a white men’s dress shirt. Over that she had on a long green cape. She started out by dancing along the ramp, swirling the cape and playing with it coquettishly to cover and reveal her face. After a few minutes of this she discarded her cape, and started using the poles spread along the ramp. I watched her eyes, and noticed that like all good strippers, she was evaluating her audience, checking to see what appealed to them and where she would get the most attention. She used her hands constantly to direct the audience’s eyes away from her face to her breasts and her legs, them drew them up again to watch as she moved on.

The first song soon came to an end, and as the next song started, she sat down on a chair to remove her long boots. Once they were off, she started dancing again, going through basically the same routine until about halfway through she started unbuttoning her shirt. The way that she moved and twirled provided a very titillating experience, showing occasional flashes of her bra.

I was suddenly distracted from the show when I caught movement in my peripheral vision and turned my head slightly to see that three men had come into the club. I watched as they moved to a table and two of them sat down, so engaged in their conversation that they were completely oblivious to anything that was happening around them. Their lack of attention was compensated for by the third man, who’s attitude screamed ‘body-guard’ as he stood against the wall near their table and tried to watch everything going on. His gaze flicked across me and I could see that he evaluated and dismissed me as a threat. I kept watching the two at the table, trying to hide that I was doing so. I suspected that the shorter man was the Dimitri that I had heard so much about, while the taller man looked more like a local. I risked a glance inRoy’s direction, and got a slight nod from him as if he was confirming what I thought.

When I started paying attention to the dancer again, she was down to her panties, and I took a few moments to admire the truly impressive job that some plastic surgeon had done on enhancing her natural assets. As the song ended and the next one began, ‘Bettina’ bent over from the waist and slowly removed her panties. Her rear was pointed away from the audience while she did so, and she kept glancing around coyly, giving the impression that she was alone and was worried that someone was watching her. I was tremendously impressed with her skill. She was obviously not just a run-of-the-mill bump-and-grind dancer, but someone who took great pains to actually dance, and to put on an act at the same time. It took her almost half of the song before her teasing was done and she was fully nude. After that, she went back to the poles and eventually was displaying herself completely to the audience. She moved around the ramp, stopping every now and then to put on a bit of a show, and once again used her hands to direct the eyes on her; starting at her face; then down her body; pausing at her breasts; before moving on to stop between her legs. It was instantly obvious that she was either a true red-head, or her hair had been died to match top and bottom.

When she was facing me, she caught my eyes watching her, and returned my look. She moved her hands to direct my gaze away from her face and I smiled at her, nodded and continued to look at her face. She moved on after giving me a slight nod and a faint smile.

At the end of the song, ‘Bettina’ gathered up her clothes in one arm, performed a very elegant bow to us with her whole body, then turned and left the ramp through a door in the wall. As soon as she had left, the staff-only door opened and the rest of the girls appeared again. They started circulating amongst the tables.

I was approached by three at different times, who asked if they could sit down. I turned them away politely, saying that I might be interested later.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chapter 25: Getting Ready

It took about an hour to get everything sorted out, but then we could leave in a mini convoy. Daise was driving her new car with Alina sitting beside her. They had the top down, and the admiring looks from other motorists were obvious. Two beautiful women in a cabriolet, I was surprised that there were no accidents, from the inattention of other drivers, on the way home.

Once we were home again, I called everyone together in the lounge to discuss the activities planned for the evening. The most obvious issue was that neither of the two women should show themselves in the club, and we decided that it would be a bad idea for me to sit with Roy as it was likely that he had been identified as a policeman. I was a little concerned about the fact that we would have to be unarmed in the club, the search at the door as likely to be very thorough, so we had to figure out how to make the situation as safe as possible. After some discussion, we decided that the best bet was to work with some misdirection and we worked out a plan for that. Once we had settled on that, I called Roy and discussed it briefly with him.

I explained our concerns to Roy, that we were concerned about security and his being identified. He was quite happy to go along with our plan, so it was settled. We would enter the club separately with a little diversion to draw attention away from us. Sgt Major Dhlamini was designated to take care of the outside security, and possible backup, while Cpl Maseka and a couple of the others would form a raucous group, celebrating a bachelor’s party. I would sit on my own as near to them as possible, and Roy would also sit on his own, but far from us.

Nqobile had prepared us a nice meal of lamb chops, mashed potatoes and some salads, which we all enjoyed before moving off to our various rooms to get some sleep in preparation for an expected late night.

When I walked up the stairs to my room, Daise took my hand and Alina walked right behind us. I expected her to turn off to go to her own room, and was a little surprised when she followed us into my room. I shrugged mentally and stripped down to shorts before climbing onto the bed. Daise climbed up next to me and snuggled up in my arms, and Alina, after some hesitation, lay down on my other side. I decided that just pretending to ignore the situation was my best option, so I closed my eyes and before I knew it had dropped off to sleep.

I woke to the delightful sensation of two beautiful women cuddled up to me. I eased my way out from between them and jumped in the shower before going downstairs. It was just five o’clock when I got to the lounge, so I turned on the TV and caught the highlights package from the days play. It was day three in the cricket test match between South Africa and Australia, and it looked as if we had a good chance of beating them by an innings. It was very nice to see, even though we had lost the series already as they had won the first two tests.

Sitting and watching a bit of cricket was a relaxing activity and I allowed my mind to mull over the events of the past few days in an attempt to put everything into perspective. There had been a lot of things happening and I hadn’t really had a chance to think them through and decide what I really felt about what had happened. I had discovered fairly early on that it was important for me to take time to process things as soon after they happened as possible, otherwise some overlooked facet could jump out and bite me at the most inopportune moment.

I decided that I was very happy with the fact that Daise and I had gotten on so well, and I was really starting to like Alina after a pretty rocky start. The fact that the two of them had started pulling me into a conflict was a little more difficult to get my head around. One the one hand, I didn’t want or expect anything of the kind to happen, but on the other I was finding myself enjoying the mental challenge. I had to admit to myself that the threat of danger added more than just a touch of spice.

My ruminations were interrupted by the sight of Daise walking down the stairs. I turned the volume on the TV down and greeted her quietly, “Hi. You sleep well?”

“Very well, thank you. I can’t believe how nice it is to sleep snuggled up safely next to you,” Daise replied. She walked over and settled onto the couch next to me, tucking her legs up under her in that effortless way that women have. I lifted my arm and dropped it around her shoulders as she scooted up closer to me.

“How are you doing?” I asked her. “We haven’t really spoken much since Alina got here.”

“Actually, I am doing a lot better than I thought I would. Rupert, I must tell you that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I was really worried that I would be just a trophy wife or some sort of sex-slave, and I was prepared to accept that if that was what it took to escape from my situation, but you have taken me into your heart and your life in a way that fulfils my dreams. I wanted to thank you for that, as well as to tell you that you really didn’t have to buy me the car or anything else, I am quite happy just being with you.”

“Thanks Daise. I really appreciate that. I think you know that I am in love with you. I was also more than a little worried what would happen when Bev pushed me into making those first moves, and I can tell you that you are way more than I expected. I have noticed though that you seem a lot more relaxed now that Alina is here…”

“I am. I don’t think you realise exactly just how close Alina and I are,” Daise told me. I looked closely at her and I could see that there was a faint blush that had spread across her face.

“I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean,” I said, pretending not to have noticed the blush. I had a pretty good idea, picked up from observing the way the two of them interacted with each other, but I wanted her to tell me in her own way and, more importantly, in her own time.

“I think I told you that we shared everything,” she asked looking up at me as she did so. At my nod, she continued “Well, we became very close in the last year or so. Alina didn’t have any boyfriends. I think what she was being forced to do had made her scared of men. So …” Her voice trailed off and she looked down, tracing a pattern with her finger on her bare leg.

“Are you saying that she turned to you for comfort?” I prompted quietly.

“Yes. We … we became lovers,” she said just as quietly, then she glanced up quickly at my face. I guessed that the expression she saw there she found sufficiently encouraging that she gained the courage to continue. “It started with me holding her in the night because she was having bad dreams and crying. I would kiss her tears away and the one night she just reached out and grabbed hold of my head and started kissing me on the mouth. That was the first time. It was a huge surprise to me. I had never experienced anything like it and hadn’t expected to. I didn’t know what to do, so I just responded to what she did to me. Afterwards, Alina told me how good it felt for her to be in control for once but how, at the same time, how nice it was to have someone gentle and soft to make love to.”

“Yes, I can imagine how that must have been for her. What about you though? Is this something you were comfortable with?”

“Not at first. It was very exciting while she was busy making love to me, but I was very embarrassed the next morning when I woke up in her arms.”

“Was it just that one time?”

Daise was watching my face the whole time. I was concerned about how she might interpret my feelings, because I was unsure what expressions showed on my face. I was even more unsure of what my feelings were. I guess that uncertainty must have shown.

“Do you think it was bad?” Daise asked me anxiously.

“I have no problems with the fact that the two of you made love,” I answered cautiously, “the only thing that concerns me is whether she forced you somehow.”

“Oh no!” Daise answered emphatically, “She was very gentle with me.”

“No, I don’t think you understood me. What I meant was if it was something that you wanted to do. She could have made you feel that you were obligated to her or something.”

“Oh, I understand. No, once I got over the surprise, I definitely wanted to do it.”

“Did you do it again?”

“Yes, a few times. I just thought that I should tell you though. Alina was telling me before we went to sleep that she misses our closeness.”

“Do you still want to be involved with her?”

“I don’t want to lose you.”

“That isn’t what I was getting at. I wanted to know about your feelings.”

“Well, yes. I think I would miss her.”

“I must tell you, I suspected that the two of you had a more intimate relationship. I have been watching how you interact with each other.”

“Does it bother you?”

“Well, it would have when I was much younger. I am not nearly so immature and insecure as I was at eighteen. I think what is important for me is that there is honesty; each of us needs to be honest with the other and open about what we want to do. Thank you for telling me about this Daise. It bodes well for our relationship that you are able to tell me these things.”

“Thanks Rupert. I knew I had to tell you. I already told you that I would give up anything else for you, and this is included.”

“I’m not asking you to give it up Daise. I just wanted to explore your thinking about it. I am quite happy to be in a triangle relationship with the two of you.”

“What do you mean, exactly, by a ‘triangle’ relationship?”

“What you seem to be describing. You and I loving each other and you and Alina loving each other.”

“Oh no,’ Daise laughed, “you’ve got it only half right.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to finish the triangle Rupert. Alina told me that she is starting to fall in love with you too.”

That was a shocker. I had thought that there was an easing of the hostility, not a move towards love.

“Are you sure?” I asked Daise. “This is a hellova turnaround from her feelings just a few days ago.”

“Yes. Alina told me that if it hadn’t been for me feeling the way I do about you, she would have made a move on you already. Why do you think she snuggled up to you earlier? She could have slept next to me if that wasn’t the way she was feeling.”

“That’s true, I suppose. It’s something I will have to think about. It’s not something I had ever considered before. I’ve read about relationships like that, but never experienced anything like it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even met anyone who had a relationship like that.”

“What about Sgt Major Dhlamini? He has lots of wives.”

“That’s not the same. They aren’t together in his bed. It’s very much one at a time.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, he’s never given me any reason to think any differently.”

“Well, that’s not the idea I got from Mzwandile when I chatted to her in the ladies’ room at the Spring Ball. She definitely seemed to be looking forward to some intimacy with one or two of his other wives once they were married.”

“Well, that’s a surprise to me. How on earth did you get involved in a conversation like that with her anyway?”

“She asked me a lot of questions about our relationship,” Daise giggled. “I think she might be a little more interesting than the Sgt Major expects.”

“I think you’re right. Damn. I would love to tease him about this, but I get the feeling that he would have just as many opportunities to tease me by the time they’re married.”

“You mean you will consider it?”

“Yes. We will have to see how things go with this whole situation though. I don’t think that now is the right time to be exploring variations in sexual triangles.”

“Sexual triangles… hmm… that gives me some images to feed my imagination.”

I laughed. “Me too, you minx. I think it’s time we got everyone up and ready for tonight though.”

“Looks to me that you are up and ready enough,” Daise teased me, running her hand over my thigh and between my legs.

“Hey,” I protested weakly, “we can’t do that now.”

“If you say so,” she said with a last teasing squeeze and a smile.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chapter 24: Shopping

Roy’s announcement left me a little flabbergasted for a few seconds. I took a few seconds to process what he had said. As I thought about it, I realised that it made a lot of sense. I had heard that the strip clubs were often full of women from the ex-Soviet republics, and that it would be a natural habitat for someone like Dimitri.

“That sorta makes sense,” I told Roy. “Which one were you thinking of?”

“The new one in Stamford Hill Road,” Roy answered. “Club 363. Its been open a while, but we’ve been watching it for a while now and there was a change of ownership about six months back. Since then, it has gone from a pure strip club to having some of the dancers becoming ‘Ladies of Negotiable Virtue’.”

Roy glanced at Daise and then fixed on Alina as he said this. I looked at Alina, and saw that she had a strange expression on her face. I couldn’t quite define what it was, but guessed that it was somewhere between anger and amusement.

“Alina? You Ok?” I asked her.

“Yes. I like the way that you put that Roy. Much nicer than some of the things that I have heard it called,” Alina said.

“Ja, I like it too. I have seen enough women in the industry to have some sympathy with them. I don’t like the way that they are often treated by other policemen and I try to compensate a little. A lot of them are really nice…” His voice trailed off, and I could see that the subject was still painful for him.

“How is Julie by the way Roy?” I asked him.

“I keep track of her as much as I can. She has put on a lot more weight since you saw her last. She moved down to Knysna and is working as a clerk for a lawyer down there. She is slowly rebuilding her life.”

I decided that Roy had come a long way to be able to talk about it like that. It hadn’t been too long since he wasn’t able to talk about it at all. I could see that both Daise and Alina were intensely curious, so I looked at Roy and asked him “Can I tell them?”

“Sure. Probably a good idea that they know.”

“Ok. Alina, Roy had a girlfriend, they were engaged to be married, and he noticed that money was going missing from their accounts. One day he got a call from Julie’s partner in her law firm to ask where she was. He called around, and no-one knew where she was. She had just disappeared. He hunted for her for days, and when he eventually found her, she was walking the streets. It turned out that she had had a growing addiction to cocaine and it had got her into all kinds of trouble, both financially and professionally. Eventually, the money that she had borrowed landed her in the clutches of the Nigerians. They had introduced her to Crack and were pimping her to maintain her habit. Roy here tried to intervene, but wasn’t successful for a long time; Julie’s addiction wasn’t something that she wanted to shake. He did eventually manage to get her out and into rehab. Once she came out, she started putting on weight. We think it was to make herself unattractive to men. Now she wants nothing to do with men at all.”

“Did you say her law practice?” Daise asked.

“Yes. She was a damn good lawyer. We think that there were a lot of high flyers in the circles she moved though, and they got her into the cocaine as a way to maintain the energy level. It’s a damn shame.” I answered her.

Daise turned to Alina, and put her arm around her. I could see that Alina was close to tears. I knew before I told the story that it might hit a little close to home, but I figured that it was worthwhile as an object lesson as well as to show that both Roy and I were sympathetic to the plight that Alina had found herself in. Alina looked at me and I could see a softening in her eyes towards me. She hadn’t been exactly hostile before, but there had been a reserve there that had bothered me. I guessed that we had taken the first steps towards breaching that reserve, and that made me glad.

“What’s the plan then Roy?” I asked him.

“I thought we could meet down there about twenty-one hundred, go in and just check out the place. See what we can see.”

“Aren’t you on duty?”

“Not really. I have just come off the night-duty shift and I have two days of down time before going back on the day-duty shift. I figure I can maybe convince my supervisor that this is overtime work too.”

“Ok,” I laughed, “sounds good. Lets do that then. I have some things I would like to do this afternoon, so I think we should leave you to your Castle Draft and see you later?”

“Cool. Have fun and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” he said with a friendly leer at the girls. Daise and Alina took it in good spirits and both smiled at Roy, even though Alina’s smile was a little wan.

Once we left the Pavilion Mall, I drove into Pinetown. Cpl Maseka and his crew checked in with me via cell phone and I told him where I planned on going. The girls didn’t have a clue though; and it struck me that sometimes it was useful to be able to speak a language that they didn’t know. That thought sparked another, and I decided that I needed to think carefully about how I could get them to listen in to what would happen that night.

Once we got into Old Main Road in Pinetown, I spotted the place that I wanted and pulled in.

“What are we doing here?” Daise asked with barely suppressed excitement.

“What do you think?” I asked. “Have you forgotten that I told you I thought you needed a car?”

“I thought you were just talking,” she said, then she lapsed into what I guessed was either Ukrainian or Russian and her and Alina went back and forth for a while.

While they were talking, I parked the Land Rover and got out. I knew exactly what car I wanted to get Daise; I had been eyeing it for a couple of months now whenever I drove past. As I walked into the showroom, I could hear the excited chatter continue as the girls followed me. Once inside, I was approached by a salesman and I started telling him what I wanted, but I spoke in Afrikaans so that I could keep it a secret from Daise and Alina. It took me a few minutes to explain to the salesman, and to figure out the practical arrangements for payment. I gave him my details and he scurried off to process the paper-work, and phone the bank I supposed, before turning to Daise.

“What do you think of that?’ I asked. Daise turned to look where I was pointing. She went still, looking eerily like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car in the road; dead still and poised to run at the slightest sound or movement. “Yes, in a few minutes that will be yours,” I assured her. I really liked the Beetle 2.0 Cabriolet, and if the look that Daise gave me when she turned around was any indication, she really liked the red one I had pointed out. All of a sudden, I found my arms filled with a very grateful and excited woman.

Chapter 23: Intelligence

We were right in the middle of our meal, when we were interrupted by a warning from Cpl Maseka. I looked up to see Roy threading his way through the tables towards us. The dark circles under the arms of his blue uniform shirt were a clear indication of how badly he had been sweating in the heat.

“Hey Roy, how’s it going?” I greeted him.

“Damn hot,” he grunted as he sat on the wooden bench across from me. “Hi ladies, I’m Roy,” he greeted Alina and Daise, perking up obviously as he did so.

“Settle down you horny dog,” I warned him. “These ladies are with me.”

“The ones you told me about?” he asked before extending his hand to Daise and Alina in turn. “Nice to meet you,” he told each one and smiled as each told him their name.

“Can I get a beer?” Roy asked the waitress who had arrived at the table, “A Castle Draft please.”

The waitress nodded and left and I decided to jump in before Roy had time to settle and start in on one of his inevitable monologues. They could be interminable, but were usually confined to one of two subjects: how inept and corrupt his fellow Metro-Policemen were; or how bad the scourge of crime was affecting the city. Sometimes both.

“Can you brief us about what I asked?”

“Sure. I just came off duty. We had a meeting earlier this morning to discuss exactly that.”

“And?” I had to prompt him to continue as his beer had arrived, and he had stopped to inhale it, before ordering a second one from the waitress who had hardly had time to turn away from the table.

“Ah, that was what I have been dreaming about since I got on duty. It’s been a long eighteen hours for me already.”

“Eighteen hours?” I asked, surprised.

“Ja. I’m on my night duty cycle. We got a call early on, about twenty-hundred, that there was a big shootout in the Point Road area. We were first on the scene. You know those old buildings down there, just behind Addington Hospital? Well, it seems that one of the Nigerian drug gangs isn’t going to be a problem any more.”

“Oh? What happened?”

“They’re all floppies now,” he grinned.

Daise looked at me with raised eyebrows and asked “Floppies?” I laughed and answered her, “Yes, when you shoot them, they go all floppy and fall down.” Daise smiled a little uncertainly, but seemed satisfied with the answer.

“That’s about it,” Roy continued, “there were a couple of bodies in the street, and then a few more in the stairwell. They had some rooms on the third floor, and the rest of the bodies were there. Lots of blood and gore and tons of AK doppies all over the place.”

Before Daise could ask again, I explained that doppies were cartridges, and that it seemed that her countryman’s brainchild, that most successful export to the shitty little wars around the world, was what had fired them.

“Hey,” Roy interrupted my explanation, “I’m supposed to be the cynical one in this relationship.” He grinned at me and called for another beer.

“Roy, before you get completely plastered, maybe you should tell us the whole story and how it relates to what we need to know.”

“No danger of me getting drunk. Just replacing lost fluids,” he replied. “It relates to you guys because we have been tracking these guys for a few months now. I think they are the same bunch that you are interested in, but their tactics and aggression suddenly got ratcheted up. We haven’t seem them getting into prostitution much as yet here in Durban, although they are apparently getting into it up in Jo’burg, but they have been taking on the drug gangs in a big way. The Nigerian gangs have been running the drugs ‘till now, but last night they were taken out completely. The scene that I covered was just one of three. All the same MO: automatic weapons mostly, AKs and the odd R4; all the Nigerians left dead; all the drugs in the place gone; and no witnesses, well none who will talk anyway.”

“Do you have any leads at all?” I asked hopefully.

“We know exactly who it is. It’s the guys you asked me about. There’s no proof though, nothing to show that they were there or that they did it.”

“How do you know it was them then?” Daise interjected.

Roy gave me a look, then turned to Daise. “I’m sure you’ve watched a few cop shows on TV. You must know that we work with informers and people under-cover?”

“Yes,” Daise answered, “but you said you didn’t have anyone who witnessed it.”

“No I didn’t. I said there were no witnesses who could talk. We have started finding the bodies of all our informers and under-cover people turning up in the strangest places. They all have their tongues cut out and a bullet to the head.”

“Shit. These guys don’t play.” I was a little shocked by that.

“So we have learnt. It gets worse though.”

“How could it be worse?”

“I told you I was in a meeting this morning?”


“Well, we made a presentation to the big bosses about the whole deal. It turns out that police intelligence knew that some of this stuff was happening, but had decided to wait-and-see as it was pretty low-key, and the politician types were encouraging that attitude. They want to keep this below the public radar as much as possible. There is no way they want anything to impinge on their World Cup cash cow. They are shitting themselves about the publicity on this. Expect to see a bunch of lies in the media over the next couple of weeks.”

“Ok, but if you know it is them, but don’t have any proof, what are you going to do?”

“At the moment, it is cover-your-arse time, so there are no really coherent plans coming out. No real prospect of any either. I have seen chickens without heads make more sense than that lot.”

“Maybe this plays to our advantage,” I said thoughtfully.

“How do you reckon that?”

“Well, I guess that your lot would be inclined to look a little in the other direction if something did happen to them.”

“What the hell are you thinking Major? You got some OPS-ORDER brewing in that twisted skull of yours?”

“Sort of,” I laughed. “Just thinking that we should check them out and see how much of a threat they really are. Unfortunately, if they have taken out their main opposition, then they might have more time to deal with us. I just don’t know. That’s why I gave you a call; I figured you might have some info for us to at least be able to evaluate them.”

“I was thinking a bit about that. I have a plan for you to get a look-see at the opposition if you like.”

“Ok. What did you have in mind?”

“Well, I thought you might like pay a visit to a strip-club.”

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chapter 22: Shopping

I woke up with the sun in my eyes. I lay quietly for a while, just enjoying the feeling of waking up next to a beautiful woman. Daise was still lying in the crook of my arm, but she had turned to face away from me and I was snuggled up behind her. I had my right arm draped over her waist.

As I lay there, basking in the early morning light, and in the feeling of Daise’s body against mine, I slowly came to realise that something was strange. I hadn’t woken up completely, so it took me a little while to figure it out. It suddenly clicked into place for me when I realised that I had an arm draped across my shoulder. I lifted my head slightly to look over Daise, and saw that Alina was in the bed, on the other side of Daise and had cuddled up to her. It was her arm that was draped over Daise and resting on me.

When I tried to extricate myself quietly, Daise stirred and turned her head towards me. “Good morning Rupert,” she said sleepily.

“Morning Daise. When did Alina join us?” I whispered.

“She crawled in sometime after we fell asleep. I haven’t spoken to her, I didn’t want to wake you. She was probably feeling lonely. We shared a bed most of the time at home.”

“No problem. I was just wondering. I’m going to go for a swim, are you going to join me this morning?”

“I’m so warm, I don’t want to move. It’s probably a good idea though.”

“Ok. I’m getting up now, feel free to go back to sleep if you want.”

I got up and went into the bathroom to relive myself. When I came out to get dressed in my baggies, I couldn’t help but admire the sight of the two beautiful women lying snuggled together in my bed, their arms around each other and their long hair intermingled on the pillow.

I shook my head to clear the images that my thoughts generated at the sight, and went downstairs to start my morning swim.

Some time into my swim, I became aware that the two women had made it down to the pool. I stopped at the end of one length to greet them.

“Don’t stop because of us,” Daise said brightly.

“Why not,” I answered looking up at the two of them, “I couldn’t wish for a better view.”

Daise preened a little and Alina adjusted her bikini self-consciously. It looked as if she was wearing one of Daise’s, as it was delightfully small. “Feel free to join me,” I invited them.

Daise looked at Alina, and responding to some signal I couldn’t pick up, turned back to me, “No, I think we’ll just watch from here.”

They settled down on the pool steps. I carried on swimming for another thirty laps before stopping.

When I got out, they joined me and we wrapped our towels around us before walking into the house for breakfast.

Nqobile had set the table with a variety of cereals and I started the coffee percolating. As we ate, I told them what I had planned for the day.

“I thought we could go to the Pavilion Mall to do some shopping,” I told them and saw the interest bloom in their eyes. “After that, I have made an appointment with a friend of mine. We’ll meet him a bit later.”

“Who is it?” Daise asked.

“His name is Roy Peace. He is a Staff Sgt in the regiment, but more importantly for us, he is in the Metro Police. I called him the day before yesterday when I was making plans and he told me that his section is tasked with dealing with a ‘new wave’ of organised crime in the city. He says that it is mostly to do with the drug trade at the moment, but Police Intelligence has speculated that they are getting slowly into prostitution. From what he says, I think that it might be the people we are interested in.”

“What will he do?” Alina asked, a little tentatively. I got the idea that she was unsure of her status with me; I guessed she realised that she needed to rebuild my trust in her, as she was trying to build her trust in me.

“He’ll just brief us at first, although he has said that if we do think that these are the right people, he will take us on a drive to see if we can spot some of them. I emailed him the photos you took at the airport Daise, and he says he thinks that he recognises one or two of them.”

“Dimitri?” Alina asked.

“No. I specifically asked him and he doesn’t recognise him. He must be here only because of you.”

When we had finished eating, we got changed and waited for Sgt Major Dhlamini to arrive. He had left me a message to tell me that he had some things to take care of. While we waited, I asked Alina about her joining us the previous night. She was a little tentative at first, but after some prompting, admitted that Daise had been right: she was feeling lonely and scared and needed the company. I reassured her that she was welcome any time.

Two hours later we were at the Pavilion Mall. We had an unobtrusive group running interference for us while we shopped. The women loaded up on all sorts of clothes at my urging, and were ready for me when I called time and hustled them out to the car. Once we had everything loaded, we found a table at Firkins, a restaurant that opened out onto the roof parking lot, and we waited for Roy to arrive.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chapter 21: Alina Comes Around

Sgt Major Dhlamini arrived within five minutes, and was not disappointed to hear that it would be a while before Alina would be ready to talk. He listened to my explanation of what I had deduced and his only response was a grunt before he wandered off to find Nqobile.

After ten minutes or so, he came back into the lounge, where I was sitting and flipping through the satellite channels on my TV, and told me that the sheep spit-braai was ready. He was holding a plate, and obviously ready to eat.

“Typical bloody Sgt Major,” I teased him, “always ensure that your stomach is sorted out as a priority.”

He laughed at me. “You know your lessons about the most important lessons for soldiers, ‘Always eat whenever there is food, because you never know when you will get another meal.’”

“Ok, good point I suppose. Why don’t you organise that all the others eat, and you too, and I will wait until Daise and Alina are ready and eat with them?”

“Sounds good. By then I will probably be ready for seconds anyway,” he said with a grin.

“Probably thirds or fourths.”


He wandered off and I carried on waiting for the girls, trying to war-game possibilities and options in my head while I channel-surfed.

Almost two hours had passed when I heard the girls coming down the stairs. I turned off the TV and waited for them to appear. They were both dressed casually and I could see that Alina had scrubbed the gunk off her face. Her red eyes betrayed the fact that she had done a lot of crying. I guessed, from my past experiences with women, that this meant that she had poured her heart out to Daise. I was happy about that; there was no way I wanted to deal with a weepy woman again, one had been bad enough.

“Hi Ladies,” I greeted them, “before we start would you like something to eat? Alina, we prepared a special meal to welcome you.”

“Thank you Rupert. I’m ravenous,” Alina replied. Daise just nodded at me.

“Ok, let’s help ourselves. Nqobile has put it all out on the counter for us.” I picked up plates and handed them to Daise and Alina. We loaded up on salads, and I added mielie-pap and sauce to my plate. Both women looked at it suspiciously and avoided it. I led the way out to the braai area where Sgt Major Dhlamini and Cpl Maseka were standing and talking.

When he saw us coming, Cpl Maseka picked up a carving knife and an over-sized fork and asked the women what they wanted, then cut them slices from the carcass on the spit. I selected my preference and once my plate was loaded so much that it groaned, I pulled up a chair. The rest all joined me, Sgt Major Dhlamini with his umpteenth helping, and there was only the sound of mastication for a while.

Once all the plates had been cleared, I prompted Alina, “Time to tell us your story Alina.”

Alina gulped, looked at Daise for reassurance and, apparently satisfied with what she read from her expression, launched into her tale.

“Rupert,” she said, “I’m really sorry about the way I acted earlier. I have been so scared. Daise has been telling me about you and your friends and the way that you have treated her since she got here, and I felt a little better about things now.”

“No need to apologise Alina,” I told her, “just tell us what happened to you please.”

“You were right; I was beaten and I did betray you. I was in the departure hall at Schipol and I had just spoken to you and Daise on the new cell-phone I had bought. When I hung up, Dimitri appeared suddenly behind me and grabbed me by the hair. I didn’t know exactly who he was at first, but he soon told me.” She glanced at the Sgt Major and Corporal, then obviously made up her mind that as they were part of what was happening, that they should hear what she had to say.

“He explained to me,” she continued, “that he had been the one behind me during my rape.” She placed a particular emphasis on the word ‘behind’ which I understood to mean that she meant that he had been the one to sodomise her.

“He forced me to go with him. It was two hours before I was supposed to board, so he told me that there was plenty of time for us to ‘play a bit’. He had booked a room in the airport hotel, one of the ones that is used by people who have long lay-overs, and he took me up to it. When we got there, he started asking me all sorts of questions about Daise and about you. I didn’t want answer his questions. This seemed to make him happy. I realised that it gave him a reason to do what he did next.”

“To beat you?” I suggested.

“Yes. He had some oranges lying on the bed. He stuffed ‘something’ in my mouth …”


“My panties.”

“Ok. Sorry to embarrass you.”

“No. It’s OK. I need to tell the story. Anyway, he gagged me and then put the oranges, I think it was four of them, into a pillow-case that he pulled off one of the hotel pillows. He threw me onto the bed and held me down by kneeling on me, then he hit me with the pillow-case. I soon wanted to talk, but he ignored everything I did and just kept beating me; on my legs, my belly; my chest; and even on my face.”

I watched as tears rolled down Alina’s face while she related this. Daise had scooted her chair closer to Alina’s and was holding her hand. When she started crying, she stroked her hair and her back and said something softly. I guessed it was those meaningless phrases that are meant to comfort. Alina seemed to take strength from this support and carried on.

“He stopped after a while and took my panties out of my mouth, then started the questions all over again. He didn’t show any emotion; it was as if he didn’t care whether I talked or not. I didn’t want to take the chance though; the look of pleasure in his eyes when he was hitting me was the scariest thing that I have ever seen. It was obvious from the erection he got while he was hitting me that it was pleasurable for him to hurt me.”

“What questions did he ask?”

“He started out asking about Daise; where she was and who she was with. When I told him about you, he focused on you and I told him everything I knew. It wasn’t much and at first I though he wouldn’t accept that I knew so little. He listened to what I told him and I guess that he must have realised that I was petrified of what he would do to me if I lied or left anything else. When I stopped, he just thought for a few minutes then he told me what I would have to do.”

“What was that?”

“He said that I would have to come here and meet up with you. He told me that they would follow me and that I should lead them to you and Daise.” Alina looked at Daise and I guessed that she had already apologised to her, because Daise just leant in and gave her a hug.

“He must have threatened you somehow?”

“Yes. He told me that there were about twenty-five of his ‘colleagues’ here and that if I didn’t do what he told me, they would all take turns with me and that when they were finished, he would cut me. Cut my face and body. He said they would make sure I survived so that I could learn what it was like to live with an ugly face and body and … with no tongue. As a warning to others.”

“Ok. What were you supposed to do. Call him?”

“He told me that they would just follow me until they knew where you were staying, then they would make an example of you.”

“Do you have any idea what they are doing here? It puzzles me that Russian criminals would be in South Africa?”

“Yes. He told me a little about that when he was explaining about making an example of you. They are busy setting up their operations for next year; for the Soccer World Cup. They are busy setting up their prostitution operation here the same way they did in Berlin a few years ago. They have bought some houses and they are busy removing any competition; either by killing them or scaring them away. From what he said, it seems as if there are some locals that will work with them.”

“Did he give you any hints about what he would do to ‘make an example’ of me?”

“He seemed to think that you wouldn’t be much trouble; that you would be backed down with a sufficient threat. I got the idea that he wanted to threaten you with violence, but that he was under orders to threaten your livelihood or something.”

“That’s great Alina, thank you. That gives us a little more of an idea of what to expect. Knowing how many there are is also good. It will help us plan our defence.”

“You aren’t worried?”

“Well … a little. I have some ideas about how I would like to handle this. I think it would be best to wait for morning though. I think you have had enough to deal with today. I think Daise should help you to bed. Nqobile prepared the guest bedroom for you.”

Daise took the hint and pulled Alina to her feet and led her back into the house. I sat in thought for a while and then noticed Sgt Major Dhlamini watching me expectantly.

“What do you think Sgt Major?” I asked him.

“I think that the best form of defence is attack,” he replied. I could see the battle-lust in his eyes.

“Yes, it makes me nervous to have to sit and wait to see what they will do. We have a little time though because I don’t think they were prepared for the way that we evaded them on the way back from the airport. I think we need to be careful though; they won’t continue to underestimate what we are capable of.”

“They are criminals, not soldiers,” he said with contempt dripping from his words.

“True. It does make them more dangerous in some ways. They aren’t bound by many restrictions, while we do have to worry about the law.”

“Mmmm,” was his only reply.

“I’m going to get some sleep. I think I need to charge my batteries. The next few days might be a little draining.”

The Sgt Major grinned. “I think you just want to drain something else.”

I laughed at him as I got up and gathered the plates. His laughter followed me as I walked into the kitchen. I loaded the plates into the dishwasher and went up to bed.

When I slipped into bed, I was delighted to find a warm, nude, body waiting for me.

“Hiya,” I greeted Daise, “how are you doing with all of this?”

“I am just so happy that Alina is here now. I think you will look after both of us very well. Won’t you?”

The pleading tone in Daise’s voice cut right through to my heart. “I will do whatever it takes,” I reassured her.

“Thank you,” she said and proceeded to almost smother me with kisses. “I am still too sore to do anything like we did last night, but I still want to do something for you,” she told me.

“There’s no need,” I told her, but my body’s reaction gave away the lie. Daise smiled and disappeared under the covers. I soon found my manhood engulfed in a wet, warm mouth. I didn’t last very long and groaned as she sucked my essence from me within a few minutes. Her head popped out a few seconds later and she had a self-satisfied smile on her face.

“How was that, nice?” Daise asked.

“Very nice. Thank you,” I assured her. I fell asleep shortly after that, lying on my back with her head cradled in the crook of my arm and her body tucked snugly into mine.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 20: Alina is Nervous

“Relax Alina,” I tried to calm her, “I’m on your side. I’m not sure if you noticed, but you were being followed.”

“No, I hadn’t noticed,” she replied. She shifted in her seat as she said it, however, and turned away to look out the window. I was instantly suspicious. I got the clear impression that she was trying to lie to me. I wasn’t sure quite what she was trying to hide, but at the least, I suspected that she knew that she was going to be met and followed. This put a new complexion on things.

Ahead, I could see Cpl Maseka’s car turning off into Edwin Swales VC Drive, heading towards Pinetown. Our plan was to lose anyone following us before we got to the original car rental agency in Pinetown, so Cpl Maseka turned off at Queensborough. We drove past on another road that ran parallel. There was a subsidiary rental agency there, and he pulled into their parking lot, jumped out, and handed the keys to the attendant. He then jumped over a low wall and into my car. The car that had chased him from the airport was stuck. It had to turn around into traffic and drive about two klicks back to get onto the road that we had used.

“Did they follow you on foot Cpl?” I asked Cpl Maseka.

“No Major,” he answered, a little out of breath, “I don’t think they know the roads here very well. They drove straight on when they saw me go over the wall.”

“Excellent. Thanks Corporal, good job.”

We drove in silence for a few minutes until we were back on the main road. Ten minutes later, I pulled into the Pinetown rental agency, and found the Sgt Major waiting for me. I got out of the car, handed the him my car-keys and bundled Alina into the Land Rover. Cpl Maseka got into the back and we pulled out. Total time spent: less than two minutes. I felt like the Ferrari Formula One Team doing a pit-stop.

As I pulled away, I was almost deafened by the effusive greetings between Daise and Alina. A quick glance at Alina showed a completely different person. It was as if those first few minutes of being re-united with Daise had stripped away her other concerns. As we drove, however, I could see her start to worry again. A few minutes into the journey, her cell-phone rang. She immediately looked guilty, and I could see she was trying to decide what to do; whether she should answer it or just pretend that it wasn’t ringing.

“Alina, pass me your phone please,” I requested politely. She just looked at me. “Now,” I added with a bit more emphasis. Cpl Maseka had picked up on the tension between us and I could see that he was watching Alina very carefully, leaning close to the front seats. I caught his eye in the rear-view mirror and cut my eyes towards Alina. He nodded slightly to show that he understood that he needed to watch her closely.

Alina was still dithering about her phone. “Daise, please pass me Alina’s phone.”

Daise reached into Alina’s bag, grabbed her phone, and handed it to me, giving Alina a puzzled look as she did so.

The phone stopped ringing just as I took it, so I pressed the green button to bring up the list of recent calls and saw that the first missed call was from ‘Dimitri’. I scrolled through the list and saw that there were three or four calls to-and-fro between Alina and this Dimitri, starting from when Alina had landed in Cape Town. I opened the back of Alina’s phone, removed the battery, and dropped it into the storage compartment between the seats.

“Alina,” I said woodenly, “I think you owe us an explanation. It can wait till we get home though.”

Alina just nodded. The expression on her face was guilt overlaid with defiance. Daise started in at her in Russian and I stopped her, telling her that I would prefer it if she kept it to English and waited ‘till we got back to the house. After that, there was silence in the car.

The journey through Giba Gorge seemed as if it had been unnecessary as I detected no tail, but I was still happy that I had made that more paranoid choice. Sgt Major Dhlamini called me just as we were arriving at the house to tell me that he had dropped his guys off on-foot and they would set up stopper-groups on the road leading to the house. He said he would prefer to stay away until we had a clearer idea of what was going on. I was happy with that. It was nice to know that I had backup waiting on-call if needed.

Once at the house, I got everyone to sit in the lounge area; I didn’t want to expose us more than necessary, and I thought being on the veranda was a huge potential risk.

I was watching Alina like a hawk, and as she sat down on the couch, I realised what had been bugging me about her; she was moving very stiffly. With a sudden flash of insight, I thought that I knew what had happened.

“Alina, stand up please,” I told her. She gave me a puzzled look as I walked over to stand in front of her. I looked at her for a few seconds as I considered.

“Ok, lift your arms up above your head,” I told her while I demonstrated what I meant. Daise was looking at me now as if I had turned into a monster. “Relax Daise, I think we will figure this out soon enough. Ok, Alina. Drop your arms. Who beat you up? Was it ‘Dimitri?”

“No-one beat me up. What are you talking about?’ Alina answered defiantly.

I sighed. “Alina, it’s obvious from the way you move that you are sore. Your arms are stiff; you are favouring your right side, I would say that your ribs have been hurt; every now-and-then when you forget to hide it you wince when you turn and I suspect that when you clean all that gunk off your face, we will see that there is either some bruising or other damage there. Do you want me to insist that you remove your shirt so I can see if there are bruises?”

“There aren’t any bruises.”

“Ok, that proves nothing though. There are many ways to beat someone without leaving any marks. What did they do, use Oranges in a bag?”

Alina gasped in surprise. Bulls-eye. “Ok Alina, I think the best thing is to get you into a hot bath to ease some of those pains, then we can have a long chat.”

Alina looked trapped. I watched while she shot darting looks around the room, as if she could somehow spot an escape route.

“Don’t bother trying to ‘escape’ from here Alina. You are going to have to trust us; we have your best interests at heart and we will sort this out.”

“Trust you,” Alina spat at me, “you are a man. I have learnt my lesson: never to trust any man.”

“I can understand that. I tell you what, you chat to Daise a bit while you are having your bath and see if she can’t help you to change your mind a bit. When you are finished, then we can start this conversation over from the beginning. Is that fair?”

Alina looked at Daise. Daise nodded to her encouragingly. She turned back to me, “I suppose.”

I watched as Daise led Alina up the stairs to the bathroom. Once they were gone, I gave the Sgt Major a call.

“Sgt Major, you can come in. It’s important for you to hear this. I think that we don’t have an immediate threat, but we need to explore our options.”

“I’ll be there in five mikes. Should I pull the stopper-groups?”

“Are they covert enough or will they attract attention?”

Sgt Major Dhlamini laughed out loud. “Anyone who notices the guys will think they are just your normal Tsoti’s hanging around the neighbourhood. You might pick up a bit of flack from the private security when the Nervous Nellies call it in though.”

I laughed in turn. “I’ll give the security company a call and tell them we are running a training exercise. They’ll be happy with that, we’ve done it often enough before.”

“That should work. See you.”

“Bye.” I smiled as I hung up. ‘No need to tell them that this one wasn’t a training exercise. What they don’t know can’t harm them,’ I thought to myself.

Chapter 19: Alina Arrives

Swimming gave me time to do some of my best thinking. I used the opportunity this morning to go over how I felt about what had happened during the night. I was really surprised by just how awkward making love to Daise had been, and how it had confirmed for me what I had guessed the day before; that she was a virgin. I realised that I hadn’t really believed her when she told me I had guessed correctly about that. She deserved an apology from me, and I resolved to do that as soon as I finished my swim.

Once I had reached my limit, I climbed out the pool and towel-dried myself. Daise stood and did the same when she saw me getting out and we walked back into the house. Once we were dressed again, we met on the veranda for breakfast.

Nqobile had made us fried eggs, bacon, tomato, and lots of toast. We didn’t share more than a few words during breakfast.

“Daise,” I started, once I had finished eating, “I just wanted to apologise to you about last night.”

“Oh no, there is no need for you to apologise. I am the one who should apologise; I wanted to make it good for you.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. I wanted to say that I was sorry that I said you should have told me that you were a virgin. You did, yesterday at the pool. I am afraid I either didn’t remember, or I didn’t really believe you.”

“That’s Ok. You were still very gentle with me. I appreciate that.”

“Ok. Please clear you head of the idea that you have any reason to apologise. We can work at this and make it better as we get to know each other.”

Daise was obviously embarrassed to talk about it, so I let it lie there.

“Almost time for us to go,” I told her as I checked my watch. “Is there anything you need?”

“I just need to make a trip to the bathroom then I’ll be ready.”

“Ok. I’ll meet you at the car in ten minutes then?”


We both went upstairs. I cleaned my teeth and returned downstairs within five minutes. Cpl Maseka climbed into the back of the Land Rover together with his two guards and we were forced to wait for no more than three or four minutes before Daise joined us and we could leave.

The trip to the car rental agency took us twenty minutes through the early morning traffic. Sgt Major Dhlamini called me on my cell while I was driving to tell me that he had arranged for the various people to be picked up and was also en route.

I pulled into the rental agency grounds and found a parking spot, then walked over to the office to sort out the rental agreements. When I walked out of the office, the Sgt Major was waiting for me and I threw him the keys to the over-watch car without saying a word. Cpl Maseka got the second set of keys and I kept the third. The Sgt Major gestured to Daise and she joined him in his car. I waited to see that everyone was set, and then we set off in a convoy of three white Opel Corsas; chosen to be as nondescript as possible.


We arrived at the airport half an hour before Alina’s plane was scheduled to land, and Cpl Maseka dropped off one of his guys to wait for her. He parked his car in the “Drop and Go” area, climbed out, and opened the boot to give him the excuse he needed to stay there without the airport security types moving him on.

I drove right through and parked at the petrol station to wait, while the Sgt Major drove onto the third floor of the parking garage and climbed out so that he could watch the entrance to the Domestic Arrivals hall.

I was in contact with Cpl Maseka and Sgt Major Dhlamini via a set of cheap, short-range walkie-talkie radio sets I had bought. Cpl Maseka had instructions to report in as soon as his man emerged with Alina, so I settled in to wait for her to arrive.

I was surprised when fifteen minutes later I got a call from the Sgt Major.

“Nine, this is Niner-Fox. Message. Over,” he called me.

“Nine, Go.” I answered him.

“Niner-Fox, Hens in the Hen-House. Over.”

“Nine, Wait one mike.”

I thought for a second. If he was reporting possible hostiles, then our security precautions were not in vain after all. I wondered how he had identified them positively. ‘Hens’ was our code for people that were definitely hostile. ‘Chicks’ would have meant that they were only possibly hostile.

“Niner-Fox, this is Nine. Say again, ‘Hens’? Over.”

“Niner-Fox. That’s a positive, over.”

“Nine, Ok stand by and continue over-watch. Break. Niner-One did you copy over?”

“Niner-One, positive. Copied your last. Over.”

“All Nine stations, continue as planned, Acknowledge. Over.”

“Niner-One, Positive.”

“Niner-Fox, Positive.”

“Nine out.”

‘Ok. Just have to stick to the plan,’ I thought to myself. Fortunately, we had planned with the assumption that we would have hostiles, so the confirmation just ratcheted up the tension a notch or two, it didn’t change anything. I settled in to waiting again.

The next report I got took about twenty minutes. It was from Cpl Maseka.

“Nine, Niner-One. Message over.”

“Nine, Send Over.”

“Niner-One. Pickup now over.”

“Nine. Acknowledged. Standing by.”

“Niner-One Out.”

I started the car and left it idling so that we could get moving quickly. I climbed out and stood next to it while I waited. It took Cpl Maseka about four minutes before he pulled into the petrol station, and stopped next to me. It had felt like it was taking him forever, but I realised I was running on adrenalin. All my senses were on high alert. Cpl Maseka stopped his car and opened the passenger door.

“Hi Alina, I’m Rupert. Please hurry, I need you to get into my car right now.”

“Hello. What’s the rush?”

I paused to look down at Alina. Even in the midst of my urgency, I decided it was worth the time to admire a seriously sexy woman. She was a complete contrast to Daise with a very curvy body, large breasts, long hair and a perfectly made-up face, albeit a little heavy on the makeup. She was wearing blue-jean shorts, and they were very short, and high-heeled sandals, so her long tanned legs were very much in evidence when she swung them out of the car.

“Sorry to rush you Alina, but we think there are some guys following you and we need to lose them. Just climb into my car please and we’ll get out of here. I’ll explain on the way.”

Alina stood up and walked around the front of my car to climb into the passenger seat. Cpl Maseka had already transferred her small bag into the book of my car and drove off as soon as I slammed the passenger door closed. I jumped into the driver’s seat of my car and called the Sgt Major.

“Niner-Fox, Nine. Message, Over.”

“Niner-Fox, Go.”

“Nine, Package safe. Your status, over?”

“Niner-Fox. ‘Hens’ are in pursuit. Four followed the package out and joined a fifth in a blue Toyota Mini-bus. Approaching swap point.”

“Nine. I see you. I will follow you. Got photos?”

“Niner-Fox. Trying now. Out.”

I waited until the Sgt Major had passed us, and then pulled out behind him. We were soon on the N2 Freeway heading north, back towards Durban. I could see Daise in the Sgt Major’s car with the digital camera. She was tasked with getting as many photos of the men as possible and now just needed to get one of the back of the car so that we had a number plate to work with.

With things running as planned, I looked sideways at Alina, and noticed that her fists were clenched tightly with tension.

“Sorry to drop you right into it like this, Alina. We decided to take some precautions to ensure that we could protect you when you arrived. Are you OK?”

Alina turned to look at me. I was taken aback by the expression on her face. She had a look in her eyes that reminded me of an animal that I had seen caught in a snare during a patrol we had been doing in the Kruger Park near Messina. It was a look of aggression that was pasted on top of fear.

“What the fuck are you doing? Are you kidnapping me?”

Chapter 18: First Time

Daise walked up behind me, slipped her arm around my waist, and gave me a gentle kiss on the cheek. I turned my head to look at her with a smile and asked“I hope you’re not a vegetarian?”

“No. I haven’t eaten too much meat recently. Those steaks look huge.”

I laughed. “They are fairly large. Don’t worry about it though, what we can’t eat will go into the fridge and we can snack on them later. There’s nothing like cold steak sliced up on white bread with a bit of ‘Old English’ mustard.”

“Sounds nice. Can I get you something to drink?”

“Yes, please. A Coke would be nice.”

As Daise walked over to the bar fridge, Sgt. Major Dhlamini looked at me with a grin and cocked his head at Daise.

“You approve, do you, Sgt. Major?”

“Yes. She seems nice. I really approve because I can see the effect she is having on you, though.”

“You aren’t worried about the shit-storm it is bringing down?”

“No, I’m actually looking forward to it.”

“Yes, you would. You love having an excuse, don’t you? By the way, are you staying over tonight?”

“Yes. Nqobile has me sorted. I have one of my guys fetching the kit we need for tomorrow. He’ll meet us at the car place.”

“What are you guys talking about?” Daise asked, as she returned carrying my Coke and a Castle Lager for the Sgt. Major.

“Alina is arriving tomorrow, and we were just going over the final arrangements.”

“All I heard was something about weapons?” Daise queried, with a nervous lilt to her voice.

I explained the basics to Daise; that we would be picking Alina up but changing cars and that she should stay with the Sgt. Major in the over-watch car. At first she seemed to be a little surprised that all the arrangements were necessary, but I explained to her that we were just taking precautions to ensure that we didn’t make it easy, although we knew that we could be found simply enough once someone knew it was us that Alina was joining. Daise was obviously still nervous about the whole thing, but seemed to be content to leave the issue in our hands.

Once the meat was ready, we all helped ourselves to the salads that Nqobile had made, and ate with our plates on our laps. The Sgt. Major ensured that the soldiers on guard got their food, and then rejoined us.

After the meal, we were all tired so we packed up and went off to bed.


It took me a while to figure out what had woken me. My curtains were open, so I could see that it was still night time. I got out of bed, then walked out into the passage, and then followed the sounds to Daise’s room. I could see that she was still asleep, but she seemed to be having a nightmare; she was tossing and turning, and every couple of seconds she called out in what I guessed was Russian. I was reminded of the many times I had comforted my daughters at night, when they had bad dreams. Daise had kicked off the covers, so I laid down on the bed next to her and pulled her into my arms. She didn’t wake up, but put her arms around me and pulled me close. I continued to lie there, holding her, until I fell asleep again.

The next time I woke up, it was because Daise had moved. I opened my eyes and watched her. She was awake and I could see she was trying to extricate herself from the tangle the two of us had made of our limbs and the bed-sheets. I smiled slightly and tightened my grip on her. She looked up at me in surprise.

“You had a bad dream; I fell asleep as I held you.”

Daise looked embarrassed, “Sorry if I woke you.”

“When? Now, or in the middle of the night?”


“Well, I certainly never expected our first night sleeping together would be like this,” I teased her.

“Me either.” She looked at me again and a mischievous expression crossed her face, “I expected it to be much more active.”

I laughed. “You looked so beautiful in the moonlight from the window, I wanted to kiss every inch of you.”

“Why didn’t you?” Her voice shifted suddenly; from a young girl's, to the throaty voice of a woman. It caught me completely off-side.

“I didn’t want to take advantage of you.”

“And if I had told you I didn’t mind?”

I decided that was an invitation that I wasn’t going to ignore. I bent my head and nuzzled her neck, biting softly as I moved up to her ear. I could feel the goose-bumps on her shoulder and all around her neck. She shivered.

“That’s nice.”

Encouraged, I freed my hand and started stroking her arm and running my fingers through her hair; kissing her skin all the while, and kissing around to her jaw, nibbling with my lips. I could feel the response from her body; the way she arched against me; the way she shivered; the tremble in her throat and how she turned her head so that I could gain access to her skin.

I shifted over slightly, and reached her mouth with mine. It was slightly open and I took her bottom lip between my teeth for a second, then kissed he mouth. Her tongue slipped out and teased my mouth.

I felt my desire rise like a flood and suddenly I was kissing her ravenously. She returned the kiss in full measure and our tongues wrestled; striving to penetrate each other as deeply as possible; in a frantic foretaste of other penetrations to come.

I moved my hand over her nightie, feeling the warm swell of her small breast, with the rigid protrusion which begged to be touched. She moaned into my mouth, and I moaned back, just as incoherently.

Suddenly, we were both frantically shedding our few clothes and I reared above her, intent on consummating what we had begun. As I penetrated her, I looked into her startled eyes, and paused; shaking from a suddenly repressed desire.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” She sounded uncertain.

“We don’t have to do this.”

“Yes we do. I want you to.”

I slid forward slightly, held up momentarily at the start, then sank fully into the wet warmth between her legs. I realised, belatedly, that there had been more resistance than I had expected.

“Damn. You didn’t tell me you were a virgin.”

“Did I need to?”

“I would have waited longer, tried to make it better for your first time if I had known.”

“Please stop talking, just carry on.”

I could see that she was determined. I moved slowly out and in, and I could see that she wasn’t enjoying it.

“I’m sorry. It’s hurting you.”

“It doesn’t matter. I want it to be good for you.”

“It’s only really good for me when you enjoy it.”

“Please.” She started crying. “I don’t know what to do. I want you to like me. I thought you liked me.” She turned her head to the side and I watched a teat roll down her cheek.

“I’m really sorry. I’ll stop.”

“NO! Please don’t. Finish it. Maybe next time you can teach me what to do.”

I started moving again, taking it slow and easy. After a few strokes, it seemed to get a little smoother and her frown disappeared.

“Is that better?”

“Yes. Much better.”

“Put your legs around me.”


I stroked for a few more minutes, then spasmed quietly as I came. I relaxed and lay on top of her for a few seconds, then rolled to the side and pulled her into a hug.

“Are you Ok?” I asked as I cradled her head on my shoulder.

“I’m fine. A little sore, but fine. Sorry I couldn’t make it nice for you.”

“No, I am the one who should be sorry. We’ll try again and take our time. It should be better next time.”

We lay together on the bed as the dawn light started creeping into the room, both of us in a state of near sleep, holding each other. Eventually, I kissed her and asked, “Want to go and swim?”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea, except I think I mustn't now. I'm a little tender and I'm worried that the chlorine will burn me. I'll come with you though.”

We got up and I left her to get dressed, while I went to get my costume.


We held hands going down the stairs and out to the pool. Cpl Maseka called out a greeting as he walked passed us. We both dropped our towels on the deck-chairs and I dived in while Daise sat on the edge and dangled her feet in the water.

Edited by Mlle. Euphrosine. Remaining errors are the authors

Chapter 17: Pickup Plan

I walked back into the house to find Sgt Major Dhlamini sitting on my favourite brown leather couch, drinking a mug of what I was sure was ultra-sweet tea, and chatting to Nqobile.

"Sawubona Sgt Major, what's going on." I greeted him while accepting my own mug of tea from Nqobile.

"Well, I'm not doing anything. Were you?" he answered me with his patented 'innocent' look...

"You bastard. I'll get you for that."

He laughed. "I just wanted to tell you that we are all set. Cpl Maseka and his team will man the tree-house and patrol the grounds. We also have a few soldiers in a mini-bus just down the road. No-one will question them; they look just like a broken-down taxi."

"Ok. Sounds good." I was checking my cell-phone while I listened to him and saw that there was an SMS from Alina. "Alina says that she has boarded the plane and will be here on schedule. I have some ideas about how to handle that."

"All right. You're still convinced that they're going to try to follow her from the airport?"

"Yes. From all I hear about this crowd, they are territorial and very possessive. They don't like to let anyone to get away from them once they have their hooks in them. I think I might have gotten away with just Daise, but not with Alina as well."

"Why are you doing this Major? You haven't even met the woman."

"Because I can. I have heard so many stories about women being trafficked and abused and it has always got me going. When I heard the story of what they have done to her, I couldn't help myself. This is not a story in the paper, this is someone that I can actually help."

"I think you have just gone too long without a deployment to somewhere they are shooting at you," he said with a smile. "You just want the excitement."

"You know me too well old friend. That is definitely part of it."

"I guess the other part is that beautiful young woman out there in the pool then?"

"Yes. I am starting to fall badly for her."

"I can tell. I was watching you on the range today. At the Spring Ball I thought she was just a date, but that had all changed today. You were beaming at her like you had created her out of clay or something."

"I wasn't that bad."

"Well ... that's your story, and you stick with it."

"Hmmph. Ok. We'll see. Should we start the braai?"

"About time, I'm hungry. I've got your spit-braai out of the garage and the guys will get that going as well. Seeing as they will be awake in shifts, they can tend to that. I told them to baste once an hour, and make sure the motor is running to keep it turning. Should be ready by tomorrow night."

"Excellent. Alina should be here by then so we can treat it as a 'Welcome to South Africa' meal for her."

"What cars do you want to use for the pickup at the airport?"

"I want to get Daise a car, so I figured we can go and arrange that first, then we can get some rental cars for the pickup and make the switch to the new car."

"I don't think that's a good idea. I wouldn't like to see them getting any idea of any cars you have. Make them work for the information. I would rather just use rental cars."

"Ok. That makes sense. I'll climb onto their website now and book some cars. Three you think?" I walked to my computer and started accessing the rental car site as we spoke.

"Yes, that should do it. Let's go over the plan again just to be sure."

"Ok. One guy in the arrivals hall with a board with her name on. He meets her and takes her outside. One guy driving the first car, picks her up, drives to the petrol-station just outside the airport. Leave the first car there and transfer to the second car, with the third tailing it to give over-watch security. Have I missed anything?"

"No. That sounds about right. Then we drop the cars off at the rental agency in Pinetown?"

"Yes. That's where we'll leave our cars. We'll get there and transfer to our cars and leave the rental cars at the agency."

"You'll take the Land Rover as usual."

"Yes, I just had a thought. I'll take the route through Giba Gorge, There is no way anyone will be able to follow unless they have a 4x4. We should be able to lose them before then, but if there is anyone following, Giba Gorge will make sure."

"Ok. Sounds good. I'll be in the chase car so I can keep my eye out. You going to be in the second car?"

"I reckon that's the best place. I think Alina is going to need some reassurance by that stage."

"I'd say. What about Daise? What are you going to do with her?"

"I want to involve her in this. I think she deserves to be involved. I was thinking that she could go with you."

"Should be safe enough. Ok."

"Rupert," Nqobile interrupted, "the salads are done. Are you going to braai yourself?"

"Sure. I'll get the meat, you grab the salads," I told Sgt Major Dhlamini, as I grabbed the meat from the kitchen counter and walked outside to the pool area.

"Hey Daise, we are going to start the braai now. Why don't you get changed before it gets too cool; then you can join us?" I called out.

"Ok," Daise replied, pulling herself out of the pool, "I've had about enough for now anyway."

I walked over to the Lapa with Sgt Major Dhlamini following me. I had everything set up to be able to braai there any time the fancy struck me and I had a wood fire going within a few minutes. I had just got that done when Nqobile came out and handed me a T-shirt and a tracksuit.

"You need to get changed Boss," she told me.

"Thanks you old mother hen," I teased her. "I don't know who's really the boss here," I said to Sgt Major Dhlamini with a smile. Nqobile just smiled knowingly and retreated into the house.

By the time Daise came out to join us, the wood had burned down to coals and I had the grid on and was just placing the meat.

Chapter 16: Antics in the Pool

I had been swimming lengths for about half an hour when I realised that I was not alone. I caught spotted Daise sitting on the edge of the pool, dangling her legs in the water. I complete the length I was busy with, and then stopped, holding on to the pool's edge.

"Hi," I greeted her, "you found it then?"

"Yes," she laughed, "it was easy enough."

I looked up at Daise and was struck by her beauty. The time we had spent together had made be forget a little, but seeing her like this brought it back to me. She was wearing a purple string bikini top, tied behind her neck and back, and a conservatively cut pair of bikini bottoms. Her hair had been loosened from the ponytail she had kept it in all day, and cascaded down her back. She was leaning back on her arms, basking in the late afternoon sun, which gilded her skin with a lovely copper colour. The sun had given her face a red tinged which the rest of her body lacked. Her skin had a beautiful translucent sheen.

I slowly became aware that Daise was watching me, and blushed.

"I was wondering if you still saw me as a woman." she said softly, "You have been very carefully distant with me all day as if I was your aunt or something."

"I'm sorry Daise. Once I heard your story, I went into full tilt mode. I have been so focused on doing what I needed to, to ensure that we were in a position to protect you, that I haven't paid you the attention that you deserve."

"That's OK. Seeing the way you looked at me just now tells me that you aren't thinking of me that way any more... ?"

"No. In fact it is all I can do to keep my hands off you at the moment."

"Then why do you? It must have been obvious that I have fallen completely under your spell. I even told you the story of Alina without any hesitation, and I had promised both myself and Alina that I wouldn't do that. That must tell you something about the way that I feel about you?"

"Yes, I did consider it. Daise, I wanted to thank you for placing your trust in me. The fact that you have though is what has made me back off a bit from you. It feels a little like abuse for me to come on to you under these circumstances."

"You can't rape the willing"


"Sorry. I didn't realise I was saying that out loud."

"I smiled. You know you are really cute when you blush?"

"Umm do you always swim like that?"

I recognised the attempt to change the topic and I was grateful for it.

"Yes. I need to do something to keep fit, and I hate running. Never mind the fact that it is hard on my knees, I just find it incredibly unpleasant. Swimming I can do without leaving the property, and it exercises my whole body."

"I did notice that you have no fat on you. I think I have more fat on my belly than you do on yours and I am much younger than you."

"Actually, a little bit of a belly is very nice on a woman, and enough about the age thing, I already feel like a grave-robber," I said with a smile.

"Oh no, I didn't mean to make you think that..."

"I'm just teasing you. I like to see you blush, although I like your laugh more; it's very sexy."

"Thank you. I..." She stopped in mid-sentence and just looked at me with this deer-in-the-headlights look as I rested my hand on her thigh. I was just testing the waters as I was really turned off by any indication of gratitude or reluctance. I knew that I would go fro m100 to zero in 3 seconds flat at any indication that my attention was unwelcome. The look in her eyes though was anything but a rejection. I had a sudden epiphany.

"You're a virgin aren't you?"

"How did you know?" This time there was no light blushing of her face. It looked as if she got an instant sun-burn that spread down her neck and right across her chest.

"Hey ... it's nothing to be embarrassed about. I guess it just means that I was right to take it very slowly. What I want more than anything else is your companionship. That means that we should be friends before anything else. I am quite willing to wait and go only as far and as fast as you are comfortable with Daise."

"Oh no. I really want to you to touch me. I feel as if I have a skin hunger. Ever since I told you all that stuff this morning, and you held me until I fell asleep, I have wanted to be in your arms and have you touch me. It has been driving me crazy all day."

"Well that is really good news, because I have wanted to touch you as well." I moved across so that I was directly in front of her and placed my hands on her knees then moved them slowly up to her thighs. I watched her face the whole time I did this, and when I saw her eyes close in pleasure, I had confirmation that she hadn't been lying to me. She could have been acting, but it didn't feel like it; it looked and felt genuine. I decided that I should stop second-guessing myself, and just accept as real what she said as long as it matched her actions. Daise reached down and grasped the top of my fore-arms and ran her hands up my arms, slowly bringing face close to mine. Her eyes were still closed, and I decided to push a little. I reached around behind her and grabbed her by the hips, then pulled her towards me. Her legs went around my chest and I pulled her face down towards me and kissed her.

She seemed a little startled at first, but then relaxed and started returning my kiss. As we got more passionate, our bodies came together and she slid down with her legs still around me until she was in the water with her body crushed tightly to mine. I supported her with one hand holding her bikini-clad rear and the other pulling her tighter into the kiss by the back of her neck.

Daise moaned into my mouth and squirmed in my arms and I took great delight in the feel of her lithe body held tightly against mine.

Just when I thought that we should be thinking about either moving this out of the pool, I was pulled right out of the moment by a cough. I pulled my face away from Daise and looked up.

"Sorry to disturb you sir," said Cpl Maseka, "but the Sgt Major insisted."

Daise had buried her face in my neck and I assumed it was from embarrassment or shyness.

"Why don't you swim a while and I will find out what's happening?" I suggested to Daise. "Cpl, I'll be with you in a second."

I waited for him to acknowledge my comment and turn away, before I pulled myself out of the pool and grabbed my towel to wrap around me and, incidentally, to hide my almost painful erection. I turned to look at Daise and saw that she was smiling mischievously at me. Maybe it hadn't been shyness at all, but amusement at my predicament...