Sitting so close to him Zeina began to inhale his heavy cologne; it reminded her of one of her favorite men's cologne Polo Black. The smell surrounded Zeina and she took in a deep breath trying as hard as possible to focus on the scent...she'd want to remember it when she got home. He was wearing a dark dishdasha without the qetra, just the way she liked it. Just then Zeina friend, 3awash, who had been in the other room stepped out, "oh intay lail7ean ehnee..." she began but paused when she spotted the stranger.
"ee just helping him out wiya an application o bamshi.." Zeina turned towards her friend, her eyes pleaded for her to avoid changing any part of the scenario that was taking place in front of Zeina. 3awash however didn't give the guy another look but instead shrugged and headed back to the office, grabbing a stapler on her way. Zeina knew she'd keep herself busy inside.
He flipped one last time through the application before going to the very front page and sliding it to Zeina, placing the pen on top of the paper.."akeed kha6ech a7la min kha6y.." he smiled.
She didn't mind at all, grabbing the pen she looked at the first question, 'Name', she smiled internally because she knew the name..and with her pen on top of the line she prepared herself to write the letter 'S' ..
"Manaf Al Flani.." he said in a low voice. Zeina was taken aback for a second. Why had she assumed this was Sulaiman? She glanced over at the man next to her as if seeing him for the first time. She hadn't gotten around to putting the pieces together .. "ba5eth mada 3indikom o ba7awelha.." she remembered him telling her. Ohhh, he's the one studying in ma9r and he's just here to take a class... she thought stupidly to herself. It was too obvious..
She used all her will power to concentrate on making her handwriting neat and swirly, after finishing his name she moved on to the next question...'D.O.B' she pointed to the letters and looked up at him .. He looked down at them then back up at her... "sheno ya3ni?" his eyebrows formed tiny waves as he squinted trying to comprehend what the letters stood for..
"3eed meeladik" Zeina gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile..
"aahh okay .." he leaned back, obviously dissatisfied with the easy explanation to what seemed to be confusing question..."November 1, 1984..."
Zeina's mind quickly began to calculate things in her head..how much older was he than her? 4 years...what was his sign? Scorpio..she shuddered at how seeming it was for him to be a Scorpio.
"el 3agrab.." she smiled at him writing down the date..
"sheno?" he asked staring back at the paper thinking she was talking about it..
"la agoolik burjik...el 3agrab.."
"oh..ya 3ami zain.." and with that he turned his face and began scanning the room with obvious boredom. "esh6oola hatha?"
Her close friend, the color red, began to creep up back into her cheeks as she recoiled from his harsh brushing off.
"umm buga 9af7etain.." she whispered flipping through the pages to count..
"enzain tadreen shlon 3a6eeniyah .. ya36eech il 3afia .. ana ashoofli a7ad isa3edni mabi a5eth min wagtech..." he said beginning to stand up.
"la wala 3adi..ma waray shay ana .." Zeina immediately regretted her reply, it made her sound like she had nothing better to do..
"la mu 3an shay bes ana waray shighel..mashkoora ma ga9artay.."
Zeina hated herself even more after his reply...now not only did she not have a life, but he had one and it didn't include him ejabel wayeh-ha for a few minutes. She looked away trying to conceal her face, she had always been told that her expressions gave away what she was feeling and she didn't want him to notice her humiliation mixing with her disappointment.
"Enzain hal awrag akhaleehom ma3ach wela ayeebhom il mara el yaya?" he was already at the door holding it open and talking over his shoulder. He meant the papers the university had asked him to bring..
"yeebhom ma3a el application" was all Zeina could mutter before once again lowering her head and pretending to be organizing what little papers she found on the desk.
"mashy.." he said, and with that the door shut behind him.
Forgetting 3awasha in the next room Zeina grabbed her stuff, counted to thirty, enough time for him to be way ahead of her and began to walk out of the office. She didn't want to be anywhere near him as she got into her car. As she made her way across campus however she saw him, way ahead of her, and if she walked at just the right pace, in no danger of bumping into her. He held the papers in one hand and had his phone pressed to his ear with the other.
ykalem 9a7bita? Zeina thought to herself.. akeed wa7d mithla mu single! Eventually through her internal mumbling and muttering she made it to the parking lot, running a quick sweep of the area to look for his bentley. It wasn't there. He must have come in a different car this time...now she regretted not walking faster to see what it was.
Once inside her car and the heater was on, warming her up from the icy encounter she had just had, Zeina punched in Sara's number to tell her about what had just happened.
"It was like i was the ugliest most unattractive girl he'd ever seen .. he couldnt bare to ejabelni 7ag ni9 dgeega..wela 7atan tried to ask me what my name was or anything .. " she would complain to Sara on the drive back.
Manaf would have a good explanation for what had happened that day .. but it'll be a while before Zeina finds that out.
to be continued ..