The Inklings: Chapter 103

To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/

Syafika rushed to work on Tuesday and worked diligently until Celine arrived, then she walked over to Celine’s desk.

“Will you come for a quick coffee with me after the meeting? I’d like to go back to the café and see the waiter again” said Syafika.

“Sure” said Celine, sounding pleased. Syafika noticed that Celine looked towards Fanta’s desk and thought Celine might have been checking to see whether Fanta looked jealous but Fanta was too busy reading to have noticed.

And so straight after the team meeting Syafika and Celine went to the café. When they arrived Celine noticed that the waiter who’d given Syafika the note wasn’t there and suggested they come back another day.

“But I saw him here when I walked past this morning on the way to work” said Syafika. “Maybe he’s just gone to the bathroom. I really need a coffee anyway. We can come back again tomorrow if he doesn’t turn up today”

Syafika was feeling proud of how she’d thought of a convincing lie so fast. She could see D’arby sitting at one of the tables and noticed that he was holding a mobile phone, which made Syafika feel like laughing because D’arby hated mobile phones more than she did – he didn’t have one and would normally have refused to even use one.

When they’d ordered their coffees Syafika lead Celine to the table next to D’arby’s, and sat down facing D’arby. This meant that Celine had to sit in the seat with her back to D’arby.

As soon as Celine was comfortable D’arby dialed her phone number. When Celine heard her phone ringing she took it out of her bag and answered.

“Hello?” said Celine. “Hello?” Celine looked at her phone screen and shook her head. “Someone called me from a private number and hung up as soon as I answered”

“Maybe it was a wrong number” said Syafika.

When Celine noticed the coffees being delivered to their table she put her phone back in her bag and was just about to take a sip of her coffee when D’arby rang her phone again. Celine sighed and answered but D’arby hung up again.

“Maybe they keep losing signal?” suggested Syafika.

“Maybe someone is trying to annoy me!” said Celine.

D’arby quickly sent Celine a text message that said “Why did you hang up?” Celine’s phone made a soft chiming sound when D’arby’s message arrived.

“I’m not going to read that” said Celine. “Stupid phone”

“It might be important. I don’t mind if you check it” said Syafika.

“No. I’m cross with my phone now” said Celine.

D’arby had to send another five messages before Celine’s curiosity grew large enough for her change her mind. Syafika watched as Celine unlocked her phone to check her text messges then Syafika deliberately picked up her coffee cup without taking a proper grip. The cup slipped out of her hand and spilt coffee all over the table

“Ow!” said Syafika, pretending she’d burnt her hand.

The next bit had been hard to plan because D’arby and Syafika could only guess what Celine and the waiter might do, but fortunately their behaviour suited the plan. The waiter rushed to get some ice for Syafika’s hand and Celine dropped her phone into her bag and rushed over to the counter to get some serviettes to wipe up the spilt coffee.

D’arby reached down into Celine’s bag and took her phone. He knew he only had seconds before the screen would lock so he quickly opened her Contacts and looked for a ‘Lawrence’, but there wasn’t one. There was only a ‘Mr L’. D’arby looked through the rest of Celine’s contacts and couldn’t see any sensible names. While Celine was wiping up the spilt coffee and the waiter was presenting Syafika with a bundle of ice wrapped in a tea towel D’arby discreetly copied down the numbers for Mr L, Mr X, Mr Triangle, Lion and Mouse. Then he carefully put Celine’s phone back in her bag.

“Would you like another coffee?” the waiter asked Syafika.

“No thanks, I feel so embarrassed that I just want to go. Thanks for offering though” said Syafika.

Celine was a bit annoyed because she’d been looking forward to drinking her coffee and the waiter could tell so he poured Celine’s coffee into a takeaway cup. Syafika insisted on paying the bill and while she was doing so D’arby walked past and dropped the phone he’d been using and a piece of paper into Syafika’s bag.

As they walked back to the office Syafika apologized to Celine and they organized to go for a coffee again the next day.

Back at the office Syafika did some work for about half an hour and then discreetly put D’arby’s phone and piece of paper into her pocket and headed for the bathroom. Syafika checked that the cubicles were all empty and then opened D’arby’s note. It said:

“There wasn’t a Lawrence in the phone so here are some possibles. Try them until you get him”

Underneath the note was a list of the phone numbers D’arby had copied from Celine’s contacts and ‘Mr L’ was first. “L for Lawrence” thought Syafika. “But what about T for Tucker?”. Syafika noticed there wasn’t a ‘Mr T’ on the list. Complicating Syafika’s thinking was the fact that when he’d been working with her, Anthony had gone by the name ‘Anthony Long’.

Syafika opened the phone D’arby had given her and tried ‘Mr L’ first.

“Hello?” said Anthony.

Syafika was so relieved that she didn’t have to call everyone on the list that she almost forgot what she was supposed to say.

“Hi. It’s me – Syafika. We really need to meet today. At lunchtime. I’ll wait for you at the café in the Botanic Gardens at 1pm. Ok?”

“What?” said Anthony. “What’s this about?”

“I can’t talk now. Will you be there at 1pm?” said Syafika.

“Ok” said Anthony.

Syafika quickly hung up, put the phone in her pocket and tried to look normal as she walked back to her desk.

As Syafika sat down she heard a funny tinkling sound and realised that the phone was ringing. She looked at the number and realised that Anthony was calling her back. Syafika couldn’t speak to Anthony there and didn’t know how to turn the phone off so she took the back off and removed the battery. Then she looked up to see who’d been watching her and was disappointed to see that Nelson and Celine were both looking at her.

“Sorry. New phone. I don’t know how to use it properly” said Syafika, hoping that she hadn’t stuffed everything up.

 

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