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Babycharmer: "What are you guys up to?'

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Goodbye...
Next short story:
Babycharmer: The Invasion?

  The temperature at the verandah was positively low and breezy. Wind slapped Ash's face gently. Laundry flapped in the wind and the sun was smiling brightly down on earth. The wind carried low music that filled the with such happy memories and thoughts.

  Dressed in a simple summer-like dress, Ash crossed the hall and placed her glass on the countertop. Smile hung on her face as well as happy thoughts that filled her head. It was not because of any dates, her birthday or anything. It was just the mood of the day.

  A tiny beep sounded from her handphone. Pressing the green button, Ash hadn't had the chance to say hello when an extremely familiar voice rushed and hit her eardrums.
  'Ashh!!!!' it was Elle. 
  'Yes, honey. Lost your teddy bear lately?' Ash couldn't help but to tease Elle as she sounded like a 5-year old looking frantically for a lost stuffed toy.
  'Ouh I wish it was something like that. i'm like so dead bored. Uber bored. Mother of all boredness. Eh, is there such a word?' there was a note of desperation and tiredness in her voice.
  'Bored?' Ash couldn't hear anything on Elle's part except her voice. It was eerily silent.
  'I'm in a shop. Bridal shop to be exact,' there surfaced the angry note of her voice. Elle's voice went as low as a snarl. 

  Ash smiled again for the zillionth time today. Ash remembered a bit of a conversation that they had when Ash accompanied Elle to a kenduri kahwin. Elle thought the business of having one was every bit difficult, tiresome and extremely difficult. Elle claimed her mom will turn into a persnickety supervisor on such occasions.

  'I want to hold a simple tea out the beach for my friends during my wedding, granted that I meet The One,' Elle said seriously.
 
  Ash returned to the present. 'It can't be that bad. Yes I know I know you hate it,' Ash continued without giving Elle the opportunity to say anything,' Just a few moments more and it will be over. 6 months is not that long. After 6 months, you don't have to endure any of this anymore. Ok? Ash tried to placate Elle.

  'But its so boring. And I'm tired. And I had to try like zillion dresses, 300 gowns and looked at approximately 3 million baju kurung and 400 abayas.'
  
  'What?' Ash asked while laughing. 

  'Yeah, I exaggerated about the abaya part. Listen, I got to go. My mum's here.' And click! the line went dead before Ash could say goodbye. Ash continued giggling while thinking how some people just won't change regardless of the passing time.

  From morning until night, Ash locked herself inside her room, learning the strokes and sound of the Mandarin language. It was her goal to master her third language and targeted that by end of 2008, she is to continue learning French. Ash barely noticed the passing time and by the time she checked the ticking clock, it was nearly 8 and she hadn't eaten anything except some tit-bits on her table. Stomach grumbling and too lazy to cook, Ash grabbed the car keys and decided to hunt for food in the nearest vicinity.  Mamak stall or Secret Recipe; she can't make the decision just yet.

  Happy at the thought of finally getting out of the house (the house felt pretty stuffy by now), Ash marched out from her house and climbed into her grey Kelisa. Her family was visiting her youngest brother who was attending a boarding school in Kedah. And they decided to spent a short holiday there. 
  
  The  night was buzzing with activity. Somehow, the wolrd looked better despite the gloominess she felt last week. Maybe it was a part from knowing Nazri. Maybe it has nothing to do with that guy. Ash even lost his business card.

  The beginning of a new era. Both of them cannot go against time so like it or not, it was a fact that had to be accepted without any question.

  To add to Ash's jolly mood, she managed to spot a vacant parking space. It was just one of her lucky days. Usually, it will be a battle with intrepid residents of the place before anyone will be able to secure a parking space in order to grab some food. There was a time that Rashid, Ash's younger brother, almost fought with a driver because of a parking space. But definitely not today.

  Ash was still sitting in her car, contemplating whether to go inside the mamak stall or head to the Secret Recipe instead. In the meantime, her fingers grabbed a lipbalm and applied in on her lips. Getting charred lips for her was easy but she was always in time to protect her lips before it bled.

  After two long minutes, Ash got out of the car and headed for the Secret Recipe. Screw diet, screw thin frames, Ash just wanted food; if possible a fudge. A huge fudge with tons of chocolate sprinkles and chocolate syrups. Well, if God wants us all to become pencil thin, why did he send chocolate fudge, right?

  With that thought, Ash headed for Secret Recipe and eyed a table in the corner of the outlet. Before she could reach her destination, a voice called out to her. In reflex, she turned and faced Nazri, the one who looked like Gavin Yap. And God, wasn't he good looking tonight? Complete with black turtleneck and dark blue jeans, Nazri posed at his seat holding a newspaper. Well, he was just sitting but for someone as good looking as him, it will always look as if he was posing.
 
  'Hey, Ash,' Nazri sounded delighted. Maybe he needed a company and was glad to find one.

  'Oh hi,' Ash was surprised to find him. Actually surprised to see him sitting there alone. Isn't it wrong to have extremely good looking guys sprawling around in seats alone? Not sprawl, just sit.

  'Fancy meeting you here. How's everything?' Nazri folded his newspaper. 'Ouh..care to join me?' Nazri then gestured to the seat in front of him. Ash hesitated but decided to sit anyways. It has been a week since they first met and Ash did feel guilty for not replying his texts. Two to be exact. Maybe Nazri was discouraged as there seems no response from Ash.

  'Great. Busy as usual. You know, work,' Ash replied.
  'And personal commitments,' Nazri ended with a smile while putting up  his hand for the waitress. Not only is he good looking but a gentleman too.
  'As in?' Ash pulled one of her faces. She didn't intend to do it but it comes naturally.   
  'Family..partner maybe?' Nazri tried to probe deeper.

  Ash laughed and continued,' not that I know of or have you really met this mysterious partner of mine?' Both of them laughed and before they knew it, they were talking about almost everything about themselves. It seemed like when their bestfriends decided to get married with each other, Ash and Nazri became instant friends. They laughed, joked and talked about everything and both of them discovered that they have the same level of humour, only Nazri was a bit more sarcastic than Ash.

  'Well, as part of the global warming, I guess..Whoa!,' Nazri exclaimed suddenly and looked past his shoulder.
  'Sara!' a woman's voice cried. Ash peeked past Nazri's shoulders and saw a little girl with bright eyes and short straight hair looking at her. In her right hand, she held an up-turned ice-cream cone. That explains why Nazri suddenly stopped continuing his joke on global warming.
  'Oh seriously. I am so sorry,' the old woman scooped the little girl and handed Nazri some tissues to wipe his shirt. There was a concerned look on her face. 
  'It's ok, makcik,' Nazri looked at Sara and winked one eye. The little bright-eyed Sara laughed gaily. 
  'Nothing to worry makcik, I'm ok.' This time, Sara looked at Ash and blowed bubbles. Sara wasn't even blinking her eyes. Sara tried to jump in Ash's lap.
  'No, Sara. We are going back. Say sorry to Abang,' the old woman instructed the kid with a stern voice.
  'Sowwie..' Sara muttered and looked at Ash. 'Kakak..' 
   'Yes, Sara,' Ash muttered her name. Ash's heart went to her, seeing the girl looked sad and everything. 
   'Wow..Sara likes you. She doesn't usually say that to people,' that old lady exclaimed.

  Not again, Ash's heart said.

  'Get married faster, both of you. What are you waiting for? Both of you seemed to like kids,' the old woman said before leaving both of them. What? Wasn't that like too sudden and totally unrelated to anything?

  Tension filled the air. Nazri continued to wipe his shirt although there was no more residue there. Ash suddenly got very interested in her glass of iced coffee. One glance at the clock and Ash said,'I t's nearly ten. I guess I'd better make a move.'

  'Ouh yeah. Me too I guess. Hey, nice to meet you again,' Nazri said while throwing the tissue on his bowl, which once contained tom yam.
Ash called for the waitress and fished out her wallet. A hand grabbed her purse and a voice said,' It's on me.'
  'Why?' and Ash had to spoil the time where she was supposed to be smitten by his gesture. Ash was unbelievably unromantic.
  'Nothing. Just felt like it. And...promise we will keep in touch?' Nazri peered from his glasses. Ash suddenly felt the need to blush.
  'InsyaAllah,' that was the best that she could mutter. 
  'Maybe we can meet again for a round of kaffeeklatsch?' 
  'Yeah sure, why not? Maybe on weekends because I don't do much in the evening.'
  "Great.' Actually, Nazri throwed the last question to see how intelligent Ash was. And it turned out that Ash was not that bad. That word meant for coffee and conversation.

                                                          +-+

  'Do I have to knock your head so that you will know that he was actually asking you out?' Elle said with a grim voice.
  'Huh?' Ash was dazed.
  'Come on. He's good looking, funny, nice and Taufik's bestfriend. What else do you want?' Elle asked with a grim voice.
  And she regretted to do so. 'I'm looking for an ugly, geeky and rich guy. He doesn't really fit the description, right?," Ash tone was flat.
  'Ash..' there was a warning in Elle's voice
  'Elle..' Ash mimicked.
  'You are trying to be smart.'
  'It doesn't take a scientist to tell that,' and Ash howled with laughter.
  'You are so funny it hurts, Ash,' and Elle laughed too.                                                   

Previous short story:
Goodbye...
Next short story:
Babycharmer: The Invasion?
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about the writer

Siti Aishah Abdul Aziz

the one who loses her rose-tinted glasses, with the tendency to borrow others thinking caps. 
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