When there was a knock at the door John jumped. He wasn’t expecting anyone and so couldn’t help thinking that maybe the police had finally come to arrest him. He crept over to the door and looked through the peep hole. Phew! It was Fanta.
Fanta hadn’t slept much all night and when John saw her he could tell. He immediately started to worry that she might be about to break up with him and felt a bit like crying.
“Sit down, poor thing. I’ll make some tea” said John, and then he winced at how much he’d sounded like his grandmother.
As John stirred milk into the cups of tea he tinkled the teaspoons against the inside of the cups extra loudly, to cover the silence. Then he picked up the cups and turned to face Fanta. She was smiling.
“Phew!” thought John.
“Lenny has disappeared so I don’t have a job” said Fanta.
John took a little sip of tea and coughed. It was too hot.
“What do you mean ‘Lenny has disappeared’?” asked John.
“He ran away from the Police, I think.” said Fanta.
“Why?” asked John, but Fanta didn’t know. Neither of them would have been surprised if Lenny had broken the law though. He didn’t seem to care about being a good person.
“Do you want to work at the restaurant?” asked John.
Fanta laughed. She’d expected that John would say that. What worried her was that she knew waitresses didn’t earn enough to pay her mortgage.
“How could I say ‘no’ to that” answered Fanta. “But you know I would be looking for another job at the same time. I guess this might be what it takes for me to get a job related to my degree.”
“Fine” answered John. What he really wanted to ask was whether he could pay Fanta’s bills for her. But how could he word that offer without sounding condescending.
“My money is your money, you know” said John, finally.
“All of it?” asked Fanta, trying to look annoyed, but she was feeling happy.
And so John and Fanta agreed that Fanta would work at the restaurant for the weekday lunchtime shift when her sisters were back at school. Then it was time for John to set out for the restaurant. As they left the block of flats they noticed someone was putting up a giant sign out the front. It said “Expressions of Interest” and had a picture of the block of flats with the land dimensions marked.
“Looks like you might have to move” said Fanta. “Developers would love this site.”
John looked worried. He wondered how D’arby would cope with having to move while trying to finish his thesis. John would be sad to leave their little old flat.
When Syafika arrived at work at 9:05am there was a note on her desk to let her know everyone was in the meeting room. Perhaps someone had told her that every day started with a team meeting at 8:30am and she’d forgotten. Syafika could hardly remember anything that she’d been told the day before. She hadn’t slept well, probably because she’d been feeling hungry. Then when she tried to eat some toast for breakfast it had made her feel sick. Even a cup of tea hurt her stomach.
Syafika opened the meeting room door as gently as she could. All the chairs at the table were occupied so she stood at the back of the room and listened to Christine give a presentation, but she had no idea what Christine was going on about so she tried to work it out from the slides she was showing, but they were just as incomprehensible. Christine seemed to be giving them a maths lesson and Syafika couldn’t work out why. Syafika began daydreaming about Anthony coming to rescue her.
Then after the meeting Nelson rescued Syafika instead. He suggested they go for a coffee at the café in the Botanic Gardens. Syafika looked at her watch – it was only 10am – and couldn’t believe her luck.
On the way to the café Nelson asked Syafika how she was finding the job and whether she was enjoying it. Syafika admitted that Christine’s team was much more intense than her old one and that she was having trouble keeping up.
“I have an idea” said Nelson. “I am speaking at a conference on the Central Coast tomorrow. It starts in the morning and finishes on Saturday afternoon. Everyone is staying at the conference venue, which is a nice hotel near the beach. You should come too. It would give you a very good overview of our work and how it fits in with what other people are doing.”
Syafika nodded. She thought that going to a conference would be more fun than spending Friday at work but was a bit worried she’d fall even further behind if she missed out on what happened at work tomorrow. Nelson could see the indecision in her face and suggested she sit down and have a think about it while he ordered their coffees. This time they were going to be able to drink their coffees at the café – another luxury that Syafika had been missing.
When Nelson returned he was carrying a tray with two coffees (in real cups!) and two pieces of cake. Syafika decided at that moment that she would go to the conference tomorrow.
Perhaps it was because Syafika had a full tummy for the first time in days, but that afternoon at work went well for Syafika. She was able to pay attention to everything that went on. Christine even had some good news. They had been given a bigger budget and could afford to have two more people in their team. Christine emailed around the job descriptions and Syafika was excited to see that one of the positions was for a graduate and would suit Fanta perfectly.
When Syafika left work she went straight to Fanta’s place (making sure she called Rose to tell her first). Syafika had a printout of the job advertisement in her bag and was feeling excited. She imagined how nice it would be to have Fanta working with her.
As Fanta waited for Syafika to arrive she was also feeling excited. She was looking forward to working at the pizza restaurant for a while and was feeling more secure now that she knew that John would be there to help her if she needed it.
When Syafika knocked on the door of Fanta’s house she could smell something delicious cooking, probably pasta.
As Syafika and Fanta and Fanta’s sisters sat at the table enjoying a dinner of pasta, salad and a cold fruity tea they told each other about their days.
Syafika gave Fanta the job description. As Fanta read it she felt happy that Syafika and John were both looking out for her.
“You better stop telling me how hard Christine makes you work if you want me to apply for this job” said Fanta. Fanta read the job description and saw that it was something she was qualified to do, but then she read that it was full-time and realized she didn’t want a full-time job.
Syafika noticed that Fanta had started to frown.
“What’s wrong?” asked Syafika.
“Do you think I’d be able to do it part time?” asked Fanta.
“I don’t know” said Syafika. “I’ll ask Christine on Monday. But I think you should apply anyway.”
Fanta was feeling a bit slack for not wanting to work full-time. She wondered if it was lazy of her to want to be able to keep some of her time for herself and her sisters.