To read the story from the start go to: https://the-inkling.com/catch-up-with-the-inklings/
Fanta had just sat down at her desk at work when Celine came over.
“Do you know where Syafika is?” asked Celine.
“She’s sick today – hasn’t she called in to say so?” said Fanta.
“Oh” said Celine, and she frowned.
Fanta could tell that Celine didn’t believe that Syafika was sick.
When Fanta went to the kitchen to get some water she bumped into Nelson, who was making himself some tea. Nelson gave Fanta a friendly smile and was about to say something when his mobile phone rang.
Fanta only turned the tap on a little bit because she wanted to take as long as possible to fill her water bottle so she could stay and listen to Nelson’s phone conversation but she didn’t learn much from it because all he said was “Yes” then he hung up and left.
Fanta was disappointed because she’d been looking forward to doing some spying. When Fanta returned to her desk she felt restless and realised that she felt she’d been missing out on the fun that Syafika and D’arby had been having.
At lunchtime Celine asked Fanta to join her in the Botanic Gardens and Fanta happily agreed.
“Do you know what sickness Syafika has?” asked Celine as they walked down the stairs.
“Vomiting” said Fanta. “She might have been contagious yesterday so anyone of us could be next”
Celine looked disgusted and was quiet until they got to the Botanic Gardens.
“Let’s sit over there” said Celine and she lead Fanta towards the rose garden. They sat down on a seat and had barely opened their lunchboxes when Fanta noticed an awful smell.
“Can you smell vomit?” asked Celine.
“Yes” said Fanta.
“Maybe Syafika has been here” said Celine.
Fanta and Celine moved to another seat near the pond.
“It smells better here” said Celine. “I smell leaflitter with a hint of bird poo and a faint whiff of apricots”
Fanta took a deep breath and had to agree. She wondered where the apricot smell was coming from but didn’t say anything.
“Did Syafika tell you about the waiter?” asked Celine.
“No. What waiter?” asked Fanta.
“A waiter at the café yesterday. He gave her his phone number” said Celine.
Fanta couldn’t help rolling her eyes.
“Are you cross that she didn’t tell you?” asked Celine.
“No, we don’t talk everyday. I’ll ask her when I see her tonight”
“Is it a good idea to see her tonight if she is sick – she might still be contagious?” asked Celine.
Fanta’s first impulse was to say that Syafika had been feeling better when she saw her that morning and so she probably wasn’t contagious, but she stopped herself just in time when she realised that telling the truth would contradict the two lies she’d told Celine that morning – that Syafika was sick (when she was already feeling better and was really just tired) and that she hadn’t spoken to her (when she had). When Fanta stopped to think she realised that Celine might be right – Syafika might still be contagious.
“How long do you think she will be contagious for?” asked Fanta.
“I don’t know, but I’d stay away for the rest of the week if I were you. Vomiting is disgusting” said Celine.
Fanta wondered whether Celine was trying to be helpful or whether she was trying to come between her and Syafika. Fanta even started to suspect that the story about the waiter might be a lie.
Fanta took a large bite of her sandwhich and stared into the distance. She could see a figure walking up the slope towards Government House and wondered whether it was Anthony.
“What do you think of Nelson?” asked Fanta.
“What do you mean? You aren’t asking if I think he is handsome are you?” said Celine.
“No!” said Fanta and she laughed as she thought about it. “I mean, do you think he is a good person”
“Why are you asking that?” said Celine.
“I don’t know. I just have a sense that Nelson is up to something” said Fanta.
“You must have been watching too much TV” said Celine.
Fanta didn’t respond but she silently decided that she didn’t like Celine very much.