Part Twelve

We headed downstairs. There was a buffet laid out and Atiyyah and I immediately attacked it. We found my parents already seated at a table so we joined them. A few minutes later Naeem arrived and sat down.
“I asked Naeem to join us for supper. It’s been a while since he’s been around people that speak proper english,” said Daddy.
Atiyyah kicked me under the table. Shooting a warning glance at her I carried on eating.
“What did you girls do today?” My mother looked at us.
“Well Atiyyah was in la-la land. I took a walk down to the construction site.”
“And? What do you think? How is it coming along?”
“From what I’ve seen, it looks great! I think I’m going to enjoy working there.”
“Where did you have lunch?”
From the corner of my eye I saw Naeem tense up.
“This café on the beach.. Naeem was going for lunch so I joined him.”
My father cleared his throat. “Yes. I’ve been meaning to tell you girls. I don’t want the two of you loitering around on your own. If you are together it’s fine, but don’t walk around alone. I’m allowing you two to go to Malaysia on your own, but that’s only because it’s a lot safer there. But whilst we’re here, i’d rather you be safe than sorry. Understood?”
I nodded. Naeem relaxed and carried on eating. I rolled my eyes at him. I honestly didn’t get what his problem was. The rest of the evening passed by uneventfully and eventually Atiyyah and I excused ourselves.
“Lets go for a swim!” I suggested. “It’s a gorgeous night.” We went to our room and changed.
“Last one in the pool is a rotten egg!” Atiyyah squealed, and ran out.
I followed close behind. Atiyyah had already taken the lift so I ran down the stairs, pressing the buttons on my way so that the lift would stop on each floor. I ran down the last flight of stairs and towards the pool. I dived in and surfaced just as Atiyyah reached the pool area.
“You cheated.” She pointed an accusing finger at me.
I splashed water on her. “Pssht no I didn’t. I just used a strategic method to win.. Rotten egg.”
She jumped in and a water fight ensued. After a while we leaned against the pool wall, utterly exhausted.
“I take back what I said about you being mature,” a voice sounded from behind me.
I spun around and found myself looking at a smirking Naeem lounging on a chair.
“Wha- h-how long have you been here?”
“Ever since you ran down the stairs as if you had a bulldog chasing you.”
“Oh.. Oops.” I could feel myself going red.
“Biltong?” He offered.
“No thanks… Soo what’s your story? Why so moody?”
Atiyyah punched my arm. “That’s rude,” she hissed.
I shrugged. “Well i’m curious. One moment you’re all friendly and then the next its as if I’m talking to the iceberg that sank the Titanic.”
One corner of his mouth turned up. “Is she always this blunt?” he asked Atiyyah.
“‘Fraid so.” With that she swam away.
“Well? What is it?”
He ran a hand through his hair and shrugged. “I’m not very good at socializing with people.”
“I’ll say,” I snorted.
“When it comes to business I’m fine, but with personal relationships, I suck.”
“Yeah well technically speaking I’m your boss. So it shouldn’t be a problem from now on.”
“Yes Miss Vawda.” He saluted and walked away.
“What a weirdo,” I said to no one in particular. I swam to Atiyyah and we spent the rest of the night laughing and splashing about in the water, all thoughts of that grumpy Naeem Kadwa forgotten.

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