Even after having been insulted the day before, Zeina awoke thinking of Manaf; more specifically wondering when she would see him again. She picked up her mobile phone and flipped it open to look at the time...9:45 am. This gave her twenty minutes to get washed up and dressed, tossing her covers aside she made her way to the bathroom. It took her only minutes to wash up and wander back into the room planning her wardrobe for the day. The weather was cooling up indicating the end of winter and she knew she could risk wearing something lighter than usual. Zeina decided to go with dark blue jeans and a long sleeved top that was a slightly lighter shade of blue, the top was cooler than any sweater she would have picked out and warmer than all the tshirts she owned.
10:03 am ..
She stood in front of the mirror and eyed her hair considering her options, head band? flowing freely? bun? ... She decided to go with something new and attempted a french braid, it wasn't as perfect as she hoped it would be but her inexperience with braiding gave it a slightly casual and messy look which she approved of instantly. Dumping the contents of her Chanel bag onto her bed she began picking through the essentials and throwing them into her brown cross-shoulder LV bag. On her way out of her room she picked out a pair of silver ballerina slippers and hopped down the stairs as she put them on.
Breakfast was the usual..nothing. She'd grab something out of the university diner when she got there! She pulled out her phone as she got into her car and began dialling Sara's number...after several unanswered rings she gave up however and threw it aside, turning the volume of her radio up higher and hitting the gas as she sped out of her neighborhood.
It took her no more than 15 minutes to get to campus and she began her daily process of visualizing an empty parking spot right in front of the gate; she was unlucky however but did find one good enough towards the middle of the parking garage. Throwing her bag over her shoulder and picking up the textbooks she'd need for her one class today she locked her car and made her way to the gate looking through her bag for her ID to present.
The first stop she made when she got to campus was the Admissions Office. She was dying to know if he was there or if he had stopped by at all today. The minute she opened the door she spotted 3awash bent over a desk typing on a keyboard...she bee-lined straight to her..
"3awasho law a6lib minich 6alab taw3ideeni inich matrideeni o ma tes2ileeni wela so2al?" Zeina smiled mischeviously..she knew that the way she worded that question would make the ever so curious 3aysha die to know what it was and thus make the promise Zeina had requested..
"shay yeswa?" she asked grinning ...already wanting to know how juicy the bit of information would be.
"wala 7agy ana yeswa...sheftay il rayal ili kan ihnee ams? eli ga3adt asa3da...?"
"ee..." 3awash said beginning to roll her eyes.. "mu3jiba?"
"tegdireen etgoleen .. la bes abi ashoofa mara thanya etha ya .. did he come elyoom?"
"la wala ma shefta kelish..."
"enzain etha yaa please tegdireen u msg me 3ashan amor chini basa3dich ib shay? please please please..." Zeina gave her friend her most innocent smile. If it had been any other girl she would never have brought such a topic up, but 3awash was one of the most open minded girls she had known and she never got involved in people's business. Plus Zeina had done her a few "secretive" favors as well...
"ee enshallah .. bes tara sa3tain wekhali9 my shift fa etha yah 3igub i can't help you.." 3awash already turned back to her computer.
"Enshallah enshallah ya rab iyey gabil...yala ana lazim aroo7 gabil la at2akhar 3ala my class..i love u wayed mashkoora" Zeina spoke over her shoulder as she began to zigzag her way through the stands and desks and towards the exit.
As she left the Admissions Office her phone began to ring...assuming it was Sara she picked up without glancing at the name on the screen:
"Aloooo" she sing-songed into her phone
"Alo..Hala.." came a man's voice through the other end, Zeina froze momentarily to glance at the screen for a name, instead there was an unsaved number. She read it over and over again not believing who was calling her. Her heart began to pound and she was more than certain her face had gone pale...her throat drying up she tried to muster all her courage into answering the man on the phone.
"umm..hala wala.." she said .. she knew her voice had changed from the initial hello to the dried up choking words coming out now..
"hala zayoon .. shloonich?" he asked
"eb khair .. wainich ma etdigeen ma tes2ileen ma walahtay 3alaina?"
It was Mr. X...trying to have a casual conversation. As if nothing happened. As if this was all normal.
"wala lahya Mr. X..." Zeina responded not knowing what else to say. Should she tell him how much she'd longed to call him to beg him to come back to her? Wait..is this why he's calling me? she asked herself. Her heart, if possible, began to pound louder.
"wala 3ad 7atan e7na lahyeen .. bes tara nolah! Endig nes2al! jad walaht 3alaich..."
"tolah 3alaik el 3afya..agool Mr. X ana tawni kent badesh mu7atharti .. a6la3 wadeglik ok?" It was the first excuse that came to her head...she needed to get off the phone and she needed to do it now.
"ee okay 3ala ra7tich .. bes ha mu takshiteen! tara ana na6rich! Yala bye bye" and with that the phone disconnected. It was all Zeina could do not to start hyperventilating...the mixture of shock and complete ecstasy were so intertwined that she didn't know which one was stronger.
Shivering and feeling as if she'd burst at any moment Zeina began to head to her class..although she couldn't pay attention to anything the professor had said. Fifty minutes later the class ended and she made her way to the diner...stomach grumbling and all. She contemplated calling him but knew she'd turn into a stuttering idiot...she also feared he'd ignore her. Instead she decided to text him.
"Ha watcha doin?" she texted hoping this sounded normal and casual. She was in line at the diner ready to order hot cocoa and a bagel. Her hand grasped the phone tightly waiting for any sudden vibration that would indicate a received message. As she put her tray on an empty table she felt her phone move inside her palm; her heart beginning to pound she opened it,
"an6erich etdigeen 6ab3an ;)" was his reply. Butterflies filled her stomach as she curled up in the sofa seat which was at the edge of the diner's balcony. She could hear students chattering noisily below her at another coffee shop.
Deciding it would be safer to text for a while she replied with:
"ana still in class...malaqa!" ..seconds later she got a text..
"3ayal ana shagool...fe wa7ed wagefli 3ala rasi gargaaa o mu rathy ywakher..wala ma buga shay bil maktab ma takhaylt ini ga3d a7thifa 3alaih.."
Zeina giggled at the text, she had missed Mr. X's sense of humor and loved how the conversation was immediately familiar and casual.
"tabeeni ayey a6ega?" she texted back .. and inside joke of theirs. Zeina was pretty weak and whenever she followed her urge and hit someone she always ended up hurting herself instead. She waited for a few seconds and sure enough the phone beeped once again..
"Tawa dash.." was what it said. Zeina re-read it a few times trying to understand what he meant by it, then she noticed the name on top of the text...it wasn't his phone number, instead it read "3awash".
as always...to be continued