Her mind rushed forward and backwards, trying to place even a little bit of sense into what he was telling her, but she only found herself with no words, righteous or unrighteous.
Zohra didn’t know what to feel. The part of her that wanted to stay mad at having being kidnapped and bundled like a rolled-up carpet in the back of a bumpy car found that it could not be mad when all this had been done for her safety but still, sheesh, couldn’t he have arranged it any other way?! And the other part of her… the part that had staged a prison-break from her brain and was wanted back dead or alive- leaped for joy at the prospect of spending an indefinite period close to Rashid.
So my father’s reputation and business are in danger, my life is in danger too and all I can think about is Rashid?!! Sheesh!
‘Ok, so what’s your plan?” the question came out a lot more defensively than she had planned. He looked surprised. She guessed that he had expected her to put up more of a fight, maybe hurl a few choice insults his way and generally make a scene.
No way are you ever going to talk to me like a six-year old again, she thought defiantly.
‘Errrr, it’s quite simple really, keep you here until I have established that it’s safe for you to be out.”
Zohra sighed. “That’s it? Keep me here? Doing what exactly? Where will I be sleeping? How do you know these invisible dangerous people won’t come and throttle me in my sleep here?”
Rashid scratched his chin. He hated this-this whole mess. Things were going along smoothly, business was good, Talik had begun trusting him more and more and then suddenly, one midnight visit and everything turned upside down. He had a pretty good idea where the boss was but he couldn’t be 100% sure. As things stood, it was talking three lawyers to keep Rashid himself from being hauled in by the police despite increasing pressure from no less than the head of the C.I.D herself and now, Zohra, the hellion bundle was here. Great.
“Well, plan number one is to get you somewhere where we can keep an eye on you and that has gone down successfully. As for what you will be doing, let’s not worry too much about that right now- you could sort of blend into the village lifestyle, you know. Become just another village girl doing her traditional womanly duties.”
Zohra’s eyebrows arched.
“I’m not going to slink around in a buibui all day long serving you coffee and telling you how wonderful you are if that’s what you’re thinking. I stick out like a sore thumb if I tried, anyway.” she warned.
Rashid gave her that puzzled look again, then burst out laughing.
“Zohra, if that’s the picture you have of my life then we really don’t know each other at all.”
We never have, she thought.
Still smiling, he nodded towards the door, “Why don’t you and-” he paused, a twinkle shining in his eye for just a second, “freshen up. Then join me in the house for breakfast. Whether you want to serve me kahawa tungu and kaimati in the afternoon, and then announce how wonderful I am is up to you. You do still remember how to cook, don’t you?”
Zohra cringed at the mockery but felt pure amazement sweep over her. Rashid had laughed. He had a sense of humor! At what point in the last ten years had this happened?
They walked out of the room. The presence of three silent men at the entrance to the room reminded her of the danger she was in and she shivered. They took no notice of Zohra but instantly stationed themselves-two flanking Rashid’s right and left and one beside her. He fired off some orders to the one on his right and Zohra suddenly realized that with her father gone, Talik was in charge.
Isn’t this what he has wanted all along? She thought to herself.
If that was the case…well then, she was as good as dead already.