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Babycharmer: The Invasion?

Previous short story:
Babycharmer: "What are you guys up to?'
Next short story:
Twilight Princess

  Time flies as they always do. And come today, the clock on the monitor showed Friday. Another day before Ash will meet Nazri.

  It has been more than a year since Ash dated somebody. Work always get the best of her or sometimes Ashe couldn't care less of meeting anybody. She felt content with her life and family that Ash just didn't bother to go out with anyone. People did ask her out; even to the extent of chasing her out of her bank just to ask her out but she just wasn't interested.

  As the day progressed, Ash felt a burden settled on her back. It felt terribly and she had every intention to just buy a ticket to go somewhere but staying in KL. Ash hated the thought of having to choose a decent outfit so she would not end up looking like a hag to see Nazri tomorrow. Although Ash didn't have the intention to look as if she was dolled up, at least she wanted to be on the same par with Nazri who looks clean and smart.

  This is definitely going to be a chore. Ash let out a heavy sigh.

                                                             +-+

  The dreaded day arrived. Elle texted Ash as early as 7 am to offer 'a word of encouragement' as she nicely put it. And then, a text from Nazri saying good morning at 9am. Ash did got up, just to reply the texts while swearing at the disturbances in the wee hours. And with a heavy heart and legs feeling like a lead, Ash ruffled through her wardrobe and decided 'less is always more'. Ash decided to be herself.

  Afternoon arrived. Despite the fact that Ash had been praying for a heavy downpour, not a single drop of water touched the earth. All her wishes didn't come true. Oh, how she wished that it would rain. Ash hated the fact that she will be sitting with Nazri again. Ash hated the stares given by the girls when they saw Nazri and Ash together. It was as if they were judging Ash of not being fit to walk beside Nazri. Of course, he's good looking and Ash was far from a model. Ash felt like wearing a huge board saying that 'This dude over here is just a friend.' And that was basically the very reason she didn't want to be too close to him or she would end up liking him. And Ash was confident she was the jealous type.

  After an extremely painful time looking for the parking space, Ash finally managed to squeeze in her car into a very tight corner. Luckily a Kelisa can wedge beside to SUVs. And then Ash headed for the Secret Recipe Zen.

  The place must be pretty new since not many patrons were sitting in the outlet. Staffs were busy in the kitchen and Ash looked around the place. Ash might be wrong or the designer might be confused of the concept 'zen'. The outlet didn't look zen to her. It looked posh. Well, tried to hard to look posh that it ended up looking pretty pathetic. Ash smiled at the very thought.

  A tiny figure with squeky shoes walked into the outlet while Ash was busy browsing a magazine. At the very moment, a waiter came and offered her the menu. The small figure continued to walk to Ash while the lady was totally oblivious of the fact. And when Ash was about to ask for smoothie, the small figure arrived beside her table and touched her arm.

  The small face with bright eyes looked at Ash. That round face, which pictured pure innocence, stared at Ash's face innocently. Ash looked at the face and tried to remember if this cute Bambi-eyed girl belong to one of her friends.

  Ash smiled at the small girl and her head swivelled to and right as she tried to find the parent of this child. Cases like this happens all the time at shopping malls and Ash didn't one another parent losing a cute child such as this.

  'Hey, where's your mum?' Ash tried to ask the girl rather expectantly when she was not even sure that the little girl can reply anything. True as it was, the kid just smiled. Not wanting to lose anytime, Ash cradled the girl and wandered to the front part of the outlet. Ash motioned to the waitress to just put her drink on the table. Ash just started to turn when a figure nearly hit her.

  'Hi!,' it was Nazri and he was certainly breathless, clearly trying to reach the outlet as soon as he can,' traffic jam.' Nazri stood in front of Ash, red-faced. Ash  instantly knew what type of person Nazri was. He will always be late as Ash was pretty sure there was no congestion from their place.
  'It's ok but I have a situation here,' Ash said with a worried look.
  'Hey, who's this? Hi you,' Nazri was trying to talk to the girl. The little kid just turned around and fastened herself on Ash's back.
  'Frankly, Nazri, I don't know her. I think she got lost or something. She just came up to me,' Ash tried checking on the girl,' hey you.' The girl turned around to face Ash and laughed a heart-warming laugh.
  'Eh, I think this is the kid last week,' Nazri pointed out.
  'Who?' Ash asked Nazri while trying to control the girl who looked as if she wanted to jump.
  'The little one who tried to offer a free shower of vanilla ice-cream on my back,' Nazri tried to play with the kid.
  'Wow! You remembered her?' Ash was clearly impressed.
  'How can I forget such cute little kid, right Sara?'
  'Ok then. Good news that we know her name. But how to find her parents. Or her grandmother?' Ash was referring to the old lady that came with Sara last week.
  'Sara!' a voice exclaimed from afar. Ash looked up and saw a lady almost running up to them. As expected, it's the old lady. 'Oh Sara!' the old lady almost ran up to Ash. she grabbed Sara's head and kissed it. She looked up at Ash's face and smiled.
  Ash gave a rather awkward smile.
  'It's you again,' the old lady said, clearly relieved that Sara has been found. 'This time around, I have to do something for you. Maybe lunch or something. Can I take Sara now?' the lady extended her hand towards the little girl but Sara refused and hugged Ash a little harder.
  'It's OK, auntie. I'll carry her for the moment. Maybe we can just sit in Secret Recipe. I already ordered food,' Ash offered a sweet smile. The old lady looked haggard. Her shoulders slumped low and the look on her face explained that she was tired. She was carrying a few rather heavy looking plastic bag. Nazri stood rooted next to the auntie before reaching out to help her with her plastic bag.
  'Ouh thank you,' the lady glanced at Nazri. 'Ouh you are here too. Dating with your girlfriend?' the lady asked Nazri.
  'A friend, auntie,' Ash answered on behlaf of Nazri. The dude seemed to have trouble talking or even smiling. At the very moment, Sara extended her hand towards Nazri, gestured for him to come near. But Nazri just smiled and keep the distance. While walking side-by-side, Ash offered Sara to Nazri since Ash saw Sara was excited to see Nazri beside her.
  'I don't think so,' Nazri answered and this came to a surprise for Ash. But she just brushed it off and proceeded to her place. 
 All through the lunch, Ash couldn't help but think about Nazri's reaction. Ash never thought that Nazri was that kind of a guy and that reaction explained a lot about him. Nazri might be very good looking, extremely sweet and intelligent but the fact that he shied away from commitment was actually quite unsettling to Ash.
  That afternoon, Ash managed to reveal the mystery of Nazri being single.
                                                                        +-+

  Auntie Mariah looked at Ash's name card. Ash, Shafika...ah kids nowadays. They prefer to not use their names. The lady continued to twirl the cards between her fingers.
  It was sort of playful and nasty in a nice kind of way for Auntie Mariah to do this. From the first time that she saw Ash in Secret Recipe, she liked the  girl. The sweet young girl with somewhat sad eyes but such beautiful smile. And it was her who kind of persuaded Sara to turn the ice cream cone over Nazri's blouse. There were  no connection between both of then. They sat too far apart and plus, the atmosphere was too friendly. Thus, Auntie Mariah tried to meddle and shake things around a bit. 
  The old lady did it for a good course. And, her intention was pure and her judgement is just. The girl is perfect for her. And, Ash had no problems with Sara. Hw should be happy. What with his bestfriend getting married and all...

  Auntie Mariah smiled a secret smile.

Previous short story:
Babycharmer: "What are you guys up to?'
Next short story:
Twilight Princess
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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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