The Inklings: Chapter 113

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

Syafika didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night. She kept having bad dreams. First she dreamt that she was living in a block of flats that had replaced her house. Then she dreamt that she was trying to get ready for her date with Anthony but couldn’t find any clothes that fitted and all her shoes were broken. It wasn’t until just before sunrise that Syafika fell into a nice deep sleep, but she didn’t get to enjoy it for long because Ousman started knocking on her bedroom door when he realised she’d slept in.

“Are you ok Syafika?” yelled Ousman. “It’s after 8! I have to leave for school soon. Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?”

“Yes please” said Syafika. Even though she was feeling tired and anxious, Syafika realised she was starting to like having Ousman around.

Syafika quickly put on her running clothes and was brushing her hair when Ousman knocked on her door.

“I’ll leave your tea outside. I have to go to school right now” said Ousman.

“Thanks” shouted Syafika. She finished doing her hair and then went to get her tea.

Ousman had left a tray with a teapot, jug of milk, pretty cup and saucer and a small vase with a bunch of basil flowers in it. On one corner of the tray was a small grey and pink feather and Syafika wondered whether Ousman had left it intentionally or whether it was a sign that Aminata had helped make the tea.

As Syafika drank her tea she thought about how sweet Ousman could be and felt bad when she remembered how awful she’d been to him in the past. Then Syafika planned her day. She’d run to work, have a quick shower, then put her work clothes on. If she hurried she’d get to her desk before the 9:30am team meeting. Syafika hadn’t forgotten that Celine was expecting them to go for coffee again today, so maybe they’d do that after the team meeting. Syafika would have a quick lunch (no run this time) and then work hard all afternoon so she could leave a bit early and have plenty of time to go home and get ready for her date with Anthony. She and D’arby had planned to meet halfway to the city and walk to the restaurant together, finalizing their plans as they went.

Syafika checked that everything she needed was in her backpack and then she ran off to work. As Syafika took the shortcut through the park she had to be careful not to slip because the path was a bit muddy. It started raining and Syafika remembered the day last year when she’d walked through the park carrying a cake for Anthony’s last day of work. Syafika couldn’t help crying when she remembered how hopeful she’d felt that morning, and how crushed she’d been that afternoon and hoped she wasn’t going to have another one of those days. Syafika was trying not to get too excited about meeting Anthony that evening because deep down she knew it probably wasn’t going to end well. Based on past experience there was a high chance Anthony would cancel, and even if they did meet up and had a lovely time Syafika now knew things about Anthony she hadn’t known last year.She wondered if she’d have felt the same about Anthony back then if she’d known he was a spy whose job required him to charm people into telling him things.

…………………………………..

Syafika was the last person to arrive at the team meeting. She’d taken so long in the shower that she hadn’t even had time to turn her computer on before the meeting started. Syafika kept noticing that Nelson was staring at her and regretted the awkward conversation she’d had with him yesterday – what had she been thinking! As if Nelson would tell her the truth about Anthony when he’d just gotten back from a meeting where Anthony warned him not to say anything! Syafika realised that when she was excited she was likely to do stupid things. She made a mental note to stop and take lots of deep breaths that day, to make it less likely she’d do more stupid things.

After the meeting Syafika didn’t have to ask Celine about going for coffee because Celine came over to ask her.

When Syafika and Celine arrived at the café Celine tapped Syafika with her elbow and whispered “Your man is here”

Syafika looked around and noticed that the waiter who’d given her a note last week was operating the cash register. He smiled when he saw Syafika and it was such a happy smile that Syafika couldn’t help smiling back, even though she didn’t feel like having anything to do with him that day. Syafika thought he was someone she should like, but because of what was going on with Anthony she didn’t want to complicate her feelings any further by getting to know someone else.

“He really likes you” said Celine. Syafika raised her eyebrows but didn’t say anything. Syafika headed towards a table and wanted to take the seat that faced the window, but Celine got to it first. Syafika sensed she was being manipulated by Celine and it made her cross. She felt like getting up and running away. She began to imagine what would happen if she jumped up and raced out of the café and down the street. She couldn’t help smiling as she pictured the look on Celine’s face as she watched her go.

When Syafika came back to reality she noticed that the waiter was handing her a menu. Syafika hadn’t intended to eat anything but when she saw the list of specials she realised she was really hungry and remembered that all she’d had for breakfast was a cup of tea. Syafika watched Celine order her usual black coffee and then ordered herself two slices of fruit toast with butter, ricotta and figs. When Syafika handed the menu to the waiter she noticed that his hand was shaking.

“Are you having a snack or is that your lunch?” asked Celine. Syafika listened carefully for traces of disgust in Celine’s voice but couldn’t hear any.

“Brunch, I guess” said Syafika. “I didn’t have any breakfast and might not have time for lunch”

“Why not?” asked Celine.

“I have a date tonight, so I want to leave early” said Syafika.

“What about the waiter? Don’t you like him?” asked Celine.

“I’m not really thinking about him” said Syafika.

“So why did you want to come here then?” asked Celine.

Syafika wondered what she should say. She looked at Celine and tried to work out whether she could trust her. Syafika wondered whether anything she said to Celine would be reported back to Anthony and wished she’d been clever enough to think of a way to test Celine’s trustworthiness.

“A couple of months ago I saw you meeting a man here. I think you know him as Lawrence. He is the man I have a date with tonight. I love him, but I think he might be trouble. He says he used to date you. Is that true?” said Syafika.

Celine stared at Syafika for a while and Syafika could tell that Celine was struggling to come up with an answer. Syafika watched carefully, looking for signs of jealousy but only saw fear.

“Yes, I did date him” said Celine eventually. “But there just wasn’t a spark and we ended up just being friends. Sometimes we catch up for coffee. That must be what you saw. How did you meet Lawrence?”

Syafika wondered how she should answer that. She didn’t want to tell Celine that she knew Lawrence as Anthony and wondered whether Celine knew that Anthony went by more than one name. “I used to work with him” said Syafika.

Celine looked terrified when she heard that Syafika used to work with Lawrence. Syafika wondered why, but didn’t know how to ask. Syafika also wanted to know more about Celine’s relationship with Anthony.

“How did you and Anthony meet? And when? How many dates did you go on before you realised there wasn’t any spark?” asked Syafika.

“We met on an internet dating site a couple of years ago and we went on three dates” said Celine. “You don’t need to be jealous”.

Syafika felt like saying something rude. She did feel jealous, and angry, and at that moment she hated Celine, but couldn’t say anything because the waiter brought over their coffees and Syafiaka’s fruit toast.

“Can I sit down for a minute?” asked the waiter.

“Sure” said Celine.

The waited dragged a chair over and sat down. He looked at Syafika for a second before speaking “Today is my last day working here before I start another job but I don’t want it to be the last time I see you so here’s my phone number. Please call me. Will you please call me?” said the waiter.

“Ok” said Syafika.

The waiter smiled, got up, replaced the chair and got back to work. Syafika looked at the note he’d given her. It just said “Nhat” followed by a phone number.

“You realise you just promised to call him, don’t you?” said Celine.

Syafika looked at Celine then looked at the note again and didn’t know what to say. She hadn’t meant to promise anything but now that she had, she knew she would have to call or risk feeling guilty for the rest of her life, and Syafika hated feeling guilty. Syafika decided she wasn’t capable of deciding what to do about that today so she put the note into her wallet and started eating her toast.


The Inklings: Chapter 112

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

When D’arby went to make his breakfast on Wednesday morning he discovered John in the kitchen making toast.

“How did it go yesterday?” asked John.

“Not as good as I expected. Syafika and I only really managed to confirm what we already suspected – Anthony is a spy and that some other people Syafika works with are somehow involved. Syafika’s going out for dinner and a movie with Anthony tonight”

“That’s a pretty big deal!” said John. “Today Tim is going to bring me another transmitter like the one we used for Vincent. Do you want to use it tonight?” asked John, conveniently forgetting to mention what Tim had said about it being illegal to listen to other people without their permission.

“Wow. Yeah!” said D’arby.

“Come and collect it on your way – we’ll both be at the restaurant again tonight” said John.

D’arby enjoyed the chilly early morning air as he walked to work. He was a bit disappointed that he hadn’t learnt more about Anthony the day before, but was excited to hear what the rest of the team had been up to on Tuesday.

When D’arby arrived at the ‘official’ office Rudnika was there so they rode to the real office together. Rudnika told D’arby that everyone was arriving at 8am for a special meeting to decide what to do about Anthony. D’arby was disappointed because it meant that anything he and Syafika learnt that evening would be too late to contribute to their decision, but realised that leaving such an important decision until tomorrow may not leave enough time to take action.

When everyone had gathered for the meeting Rudnika looked at D’arby and suggested he report back first. D’arby could see that Valentine and Carol were looking forward to hearing what D’arby had been up to. After D’arby told everyone about what he’d done the day before and how Syafika was going to meet Anthony for dinner that night, he added that Fanta had seen Anthony delivering the letter yesterday morning and had asked D’arby what he was up to.

“Having to keep everything secret is really difficult” said D’arby. “Is it always going to be necessary?”

“Leopold has been having similar thoughts” said Rudnika. “Let’s discuss secrecy later. First I want to know what you think Anthony is up to”

“I think Anthony is a private spy – I think people pay him to spy for them. I think he is doing two spying jobs at once – spying on the people where Syafika works and spying on RenewBank. I think someone must have asked him to find out about RenewBank and for some reason Anthony decided he’d rather not tell his client what we are up, coming to us for payment instead” said D’arby.

“Why would he decide not to tell his client about RenewBank?” asked Leopold. “Have you considered that maybe he spies on organisations, hoping to discover something juicy so he can blackmail them? Maybe there never are any clients.”

“That would make sense!” realised D’arby. “Maybe Anthony found out that people were already spying on RenewBank and knew that we knew we were being spied on so decided to find out what those other spies were looking for.”

D’arby was quiet for the rest of the meeting. Valentine and Carol reported on their investigation into Anthony’s background. Anthony really was from Perth and his Mum really did still live there. Anthony had gone straight from university to working for the government, where he’d worked until going to prison the year before. Anthony had been convicted for having equipment designed to make forged documents – he’d been caught when he tried to use a fake ID.

Leopold had been investigating who Anthony could have been working for but hadn’t been able to connect him with anyone. D’arby could see now why Leopold suspected that Anthony was just working for himself.

“What about Anthony’s flat?” asked D’arby.

“We looked up who owned every flat in the building but none were owned by Anthony – at least not under his real name or any of the fake names we know about. We checked out a flat owned by someone called Anthony Harris, but he isn’t the Anthony we know” said Leopold. “It would help if we knew which flat Anthony lived in.”

“It would be good to know more but our investigation time has run out. We need to decide what to do” said Rudnika.

“If Anthony isn’t working for anyone, why do we need to pay him?” said Valentine.

“He could tell people the official office is fake,” said Leopold. “then those other people watching us will try to find this one”.

“What if we talk to Anthony?” suggested D’arby. “If we tell him we know what he’s up to it might scare him off. He’s already been to prison. I bet he doesn’t want to go back.”

“I like that idea” said Rudnika. “But I think we should talk about Leopold’s idea too. Leopold, you explain please.”

“What if we stop all the secrecy and announce what we are up to and just let everyone know. There’d be no point spying on us if we were open. It puts us right in the firing line, but we’ll have to be there one day. Being open means our enemies will attack but it also means that the people who agree with our ideas will be able to defend us. I think we should approach some groups who we know will support our idea and ask them to help us get support for it. People could even register in advance to be customers” said Leopold.

After discussing the ideas the team decided on a plan. First, D’arby would follow Syafika as she had dinner with Anthony and they’d try to find out which flat Anthony lived in. Then tomorrow D’arby would call Anthony to arrange a meeting. At the meeting D’arby would tell Anthony that RenewBank knew what he was up to and weren’t going to pay him. On Friday they’d stop trying to evade spies and start being open about what they were planning – trying to gather as much support as possible.

After the team meeting everyone was visibly happier. D’arby realised he could get back to his modelling now and was looking forward to Friday because then he could tell Syafika, John and Fanta what had really been going on.


The Inklings: Chapter 111

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

As Syafika walked home from Fanta’s place she wished she’d changed into her running clothes because she wanted to run but the shoes she was wearing were not suitable for running in – just the walking she’d done in them that day had given her blisters on her little toes.

“Why am I putting up with this!” she asked herself, and took her shoes off. She put them in her bag, then ran barefoot the rest of the way home.

When Syafika arrived home she saw a tow truck loading up a large white car. She was relieved to see that there was no obvious damage to the car, not because she cared about the car, but because she didn’t like the thought of more people getting injured by cars in her street.

Syafika wanted to tell her mum about her date with Anthony but couldn’t because India was there. India and Festus were examining a drawing of a building. They looked angry. Rose was writing notes. Syafika could smell beans and realised that her dad must have cooked dinner. Binta was making salad.

“Where are your shoes?” asked India.

Syafika had forgotten that she was barefoot. She looked at her feet and noticed that they were a bit grubby because she’d run through some muddy sections of footpath on the way home. “In my bag. They were too uncomfortable” said Syafika.

“Better give your feet a wash” suggested Binta.

Syafika didn’t like all the scruitiny her feet were getting so she went to have a shower.

When Syafika came back India was still in the kitchen and Rose had made a few more pages of notes.

“What’s going on?” asked Syafika.

“We’re organizing a street meeting for Thursday night” said India. “Some greedy a-hole wants to build this disgusting thing where the burnt-out houses are”

Syafika looked at the drawing India was pointing too and realised that it was a large block of flats.

“The block of land won’t be big enough for a building that big” said Syafika.

“They want to buy us out too” said Festus.

“And they’ve also made offers to the people with blocks backing onto the site – we went and spoke to everyone this afternoon to see what we could find out” said India.

“Can I come to the meeting?” asked Syafika. She didn’t want a block of flats next door and was worried her parents might consider moving.

“Of course!” said India.

Mamadou, Ousman and Aminata came into the kitchen and India realised that it was dinner time so she got up to go.

Syafika noticed that Aminata was making a hissing sound.

“Is she ok?” asked Syafika.

“She’s been making that noise for a couple of hours” said Ousman. “I think she’s imitating the sound of something”

“It sounds like a tyre deflating” said Binta.


The Inklings: Chapter 109

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

When Anthony’s meeting was over, Anthony sat alone on the seat in the rose garden for about 15 minutes. At first D’arby thought Anthony was waiting for someone else to arrive but eventually he realised that Anthony was probably just digesting all that had happened that day. Anthony looked really worried and D’arby couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for him. D’arby wondered whether Anthony had been motivated to blackmail Renewbank by something other than greed.

D’arby’s thoughts were interrupted when Syafika sat down beside him.

“What are you doing here?” whispered D’arby.

“I followed Celine because I guessed she was going to meet Anthony and I wanted to watch” said Syafika.

“Ssshhh” said D’arby and he pointed towards Anthony. Anthony stood up and started walking away.

Syafika and D’arby waited until Anthony was out of hearing range and then they excitedly began to discuss what had happened that day. D’arby listened carefully when Syafika told him what had happened at her meeting with Anthony and how she was sure Nelson had snuck off to meet with Anthony after. D’arby could tell that Syafika was scared as well as excited about the plan for having dinner with Anthony, and D’arby couldn’t help feeling the same. If D’arby hadn’t been trying to find out about Anthony to save Renewbank he would have recommended that Syafika didn’t have dinner with Anthony.

D’arby told Syafika what he’d seen when he followed Anthony and showed Syafika the photos he’d taken and Syafika confirmed that they were of Nelson and Celine. Syafika was happy that Anthony had made Celine angry.

“What did we learn today then?” D’arby asked Syafika.

“Not as much as I’d hoped” replied Syafika. “But at least now I’m more confident that Celine and Nelson are both involved in whatever Anthony is involved in – I guess we’ve partly confirmed our suspicions, but I still have no idea what it is that they’re up to”

“Yes” said D’arby. “I think we can be pretty confident that Nelson, Celine and Anthony are all up to something. Do you think that it might involve the work that your team is doing? Could there be some corruption going on?”

“Well, Nelson did once tell me that Christine was involved in corruption – that she was helping the Minister steal money and that she’d set things up so Nelson would get the blame if anyone discovered the theft” said Syafika. “But I didn’t really believe him. I trust Christine more than Nelson”

“Either way, that’s bad! How can you work with these people?” asked D’arby.

“For a while I didn’t have a choice – all this started happening the day Dad broke his leg and so I had to keep working or nobody in the house would have been earning any money” said Syafika.

As D’arby listened to Syafika he realised that he liked Syafika a lot more now than when they had met. It wasn’t a romantic affection, just admiration. D’arby was enjoying working with Syafika and he hoped that they’d be better friends now.

Before Syafika and D’arby left the Botanic Gardens they made a plan for Syafika’s date with Anthony the following night. Then they got up and started walking home. D’arby felt proud to be walking next to Syafika.


The Inklings: Chapter 108

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

Syafika was feeling guilty when she got back to work because she’d had such a long lunchbreak. She walked quickly and quietly to her desk without looking at anyone. When she was safely behind her computer Syafika had a look around. Celine was at her desk but Fanta had gone home and Nelson wasn’t as his desk, nor was Christine in her office. Bronwyn looked up and when she saw Syafika she came over.

“Are you ok?” asked Bronwyn. “You look like something has shaken you up”

Syafika liked Bronwyn but wasn’t sure how much she should tell her. “Yes, I guess I have been a bit shaken up. I think a friend of mine tells lies and now I’m confused about what is true and what is made up” said Syafika.

Bronwyn looked sympathetic but the phone on her desk started to ring so she had to go and answer it. Syafika looked at Celine and felt like crying. She hated to think that Anthony had been on dates with Celine. Syafika tried to stop tears from escaping by taking slow, deep breaths. Then, to take her mind off Anthony and Celine, Syafika checked her email.

When Bronwyn finished talking on the phone she came back over to Syafika’s desk and said “If you feel like going home, go. You do more than a satisfactory amount so you should be able to have a rest when you need one”

“Thanks” said Syafika. “I’m feeling better now but I might leave a bit early”.

Syafika was supposed to meet D’arby at 5pm but before that she wanted to try to talk to Nelson about Anthony.

“Do you know if Nelson will be back this afternoon?” Syafika asked Bronwyn.

“He just popped out for a coffee so he should be back soon” said Bronwyn.

Syafika wondered whether Nelson had gone to get a coffee from the Botanic Gardens cafe and began to suspect that Nelson may have been having an emergency meeting with Anthony so they could get their story straight. Syafika was pleased that Celine was at her desk because she didn’t want Anthony to have emergency meetings with her.

Syafika was busy replying to an email when she noticed Nelson walk in. She waited until he’d had a chance to settle down at his desk before she went over.

“Did you ever work with Anthony Long” Syafika asked Nelson.

“Yes, I did. I was his team leader when he started working here” said Nelson. “Why do you ask?”

Syafika felt embarrassed because she hadn’t thought beyond her first question.

“I used to work with him too but I never knew what to think of him. What do you think of him?” asked Syafika.

“Why are you even thinking about him?” asked Nelson. “He’s not still working here, is he?”

“No…” said Syafika and she tried hard to think of something better to say but her brain had switched off. She looked at Nelson briefly and tried to read his thoughts from his face. Nelson looked like he was using a lot of effort to try and keep his face blank and this confirmed to Syafika that Nelson had just met with Anthony. “I better get back to work” said Syafika and she went back to her desk.

After Syafika sent the email she’d been working on she spent some time watching Celine. It was past the time that Celine usually went home and Syafika wondered what she could be up to. Syafika was about to walk over to Celine’s desk and ask her what was keeping her back late when Celine’s mobile phone rang.

“Hello” whispered Celine and she bent over as if she was trying to hide behind her computer screen. Celine looked at her watch before saying “Ok”. Then Celine turned her computer off, picked up her bag and left the office, saying a quick ‘See you tomorrow’ as she walked out.

Syafika decided that she was going to follow Celine. If she headed to the bus stop it meant she was probably going home, but if she headed towards the Botanic Gardens it probably meant that Anthony had called and asked her to meet him.

As Syafika walked into the foyer she noticed the lift doors closing and guessed that Celine had just got in. Syafika went to the stairs and hurried down. When she got to the bottom she stopped and watched Celine walk out the front door of the building. Celine turned right, which was the way to the Botanic Gardens, and so Syafika followed her.


The Inklings: Chapter 107

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

Festus came home from work a bit early on Tuesday so he could continue working on the ramps for Penny. India was anxious that he install them at her place no later than Wednesday because she wanted it to be all ready when Penny arrived home on Thursday.

When Festus opened the front door he could hear laughter so he walked towards the sound and discovered that Rose, India and Amanda were out the back. They were laughing because India had accidentally wiped paint on her face. Festus wondered what they were painting and then he noticed that it was the wheelchair ramps.

Rose was the first to notice Festus. “India wasn’t sure you’d have time to finish the ramps before tomorrow so we decided to do it ourselves” said Rose. “I know you were enjoying yourself, so I’m sorry. But India has plenty of other jobs for you if you are interested”

“Paid jobs, remember” said India. “Starting with a greywater system”

Festus had to suppress the urge to roll his eyes. He’d been expecting India to ask him for a greywater system ever since Rose had asked him for one. Festus was about to ask Amanda how she was going but she’d gone. Festus wanted to ask Rose about Amanda but decided to wait until India had gone home. Instead Festus went and washed his hands and started cooking dinner. He was craving extremely spicy beans.

Festus was washing some dried beans when Aminata started making an excited ‘Clink clink’ sound and flew over to the front window. Ousman soon came in the front door and Aminata jumped onto his shoulder. Ousman went to the kitchen to get a drink of water and looked surprised to see Festus there.

“Where’s my Mum?” asked Ousman.

Before Festus could answer Binta called out “I’m here” and Ousman went to find her.

After Festus put the beans on the stove to cook he could hear more laughing in the backyard and so he decided to go and join in the fun.

Festus could see that Binta, Ousman, Rose and India were all laughing at something in one of the trees. When Festus got closer he discovered that Aminata and three other galahs were sitting on a low tree branch, and all of the galahs were bobbing their heads.

Mamadou walked over with a handful of unshelled peanuts and gave them to Ousman saying “They like these – but just one each”

The galahs noticed the peanuts and bobbed their heads a bit faster.

Ousman reached up and gave Aminata a peanut, then cautiously handed one to each of the other galahs.

When the galahs had finished their peanuts they flew down to the shallow water in the pond beneath the water pump and had a bath.

The doorbell rang, which annoyed Festus because he’d been enjoying watching the galahs.

Aminata heard the doorbell and started imitating it, as if she was urging someone to go and answer the door.

“I’ll go” said Festus. He realised he should probably check on the beans anyway.

Festus turned the beans down low and then answered the door. He was greeted by two men in suits, one in a black suit and one in a grey suit. They both shook his hand and gave him their cards and when Festus realised that they were real estate agents he felt like slamming the door, but couldn’t because one of the men had his foot in the way.

“We have a client who is interested in buying the two vacant blocks next door because they have been rezoned to allow four storey developments. Out of courtesy he’d also like to offer to buy your property too” said the real estate agent in the grey suit.

Festus felt sick at the thought of such a large development next door but was fairly confident that Gina and Penny wouldn’t sell to anyone who wanted to ruin the street like that. Festus wasn’t so sure about Victoria and Graham though.

“Get out of here” said Festus and he shut the door so quickly that the grey-suited man had to jump out of the way. Festus watched from the window to make sure the men left, and noticed that on their way out they put a letter into the mailbox. Then they walked towards a giant white car and took out a laser measuring device and tripod and walked towards Gina and Penny’s burnt-out house.

Festus came outside to watch as the real estate agents started measuring Gina and Penny’s block. Festus checked the mailbox and saw that it had a letter with plans for a block of apartments.

Festus picked up a rock from the garden border and wondered how much trouble he’d get into if he threw if at the real estate agent’s car. Then he heard the familiar “Clink clink” sound of Aminata and saw that she and her three friends were sitting on the roof of the house and watching him. Festus wisely put down the rock and went inside to chop chillies.


The Inklings: Chapter 106

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

D’arby was sitting under a tree wearing a fake moustache, sunglasses and a broadbrimmed hat. He had a camera around his neck and hoped that he looked like a tourist rather than a spy. D’arby watched Syafika say goodbye to Anthony and then got up so he could follow Anthony. He hoped Anthony wouldn’t start running.

Anthony took his phone out of his pocket and called someone. Then he had a long, suspicious look around him before walking off while talking on his phone. D’arby pretended to be fascinated with the spiky trunk of a large tree until Anthony wasn’t looking, then started walking after him. Anthony finished talking on his phone and sat down on a seat in the rose garden. D’arby wandered off and found some steps that lead to a higher part of the garden and slowly made his way to the section that was uphill from Anthony and behind him. He sat down where he could see Anthony and watched. Anthony did nothing for at least five minutes and D’arby started to wonder if Anthony knew he was being followed and was hoping to bore D’arby into giving up. Then Anthony looked at his watch and sighed, which made D’arby think Anthony must be waiting for someone. D’arby realised that the phonecall Anthony made after Syafika left was to organize an urgent meeting. D’arby started looking around to see if he could see anyone approaching. There were a few people around but nobody was heading towards Anthony.

Suddenly Anthony jumped up, which gave D’arby an awful fright. Anthony did 100 star jumps and then started doing pushups. D’arby counted 80 before he couldn’t bear to watch anymore. Then D’arby noticed that a man in a light blue suit was walking over.

D’arby kept his head down and hoped the man in the suit wouldn’t notice him. Anthony and the man sat down and started talking. D’arby discreetly took a couple of photos, but only managed to capture the backs of their heads. Their conversation didn’t last long and soon Anthony’s visitor got up to leave. Anthony did another set of pushups and then he left too. D’arby wondered who he should follow and decided on Anthony.

Anthony muttered to himself as he walked and D’arby wished he knew what Anthony was saying but was too scared to get close enough to hear. Anthony’s mutterings must have helped him decide what to do next because he started running towards the exit near Government House. D’arby had already decided that he wouldn’t bother trying to run after Anthony so he just kept walking and wished he’d followed the man in the light blue suit instead.

As D’arby walked out of the Botanic Gardens he looked down the hill and thought he saw Anthony crossing the road and going down some steps. D’arby didn’t want to waste this second chance so he rushed down the hill, crossed the road and cautiously walked down the stairs. He got to the bottom just in time to see Anthony walk into a café. The café was very busy with a long queue and Anthony was at the front of the queue. D’arby thought he might be able to blend into that crowd so he joined the queue and watched as Anthony ordered a takeaway coffee. The person serving Anthony seemed to know him and was trying to convince him to buy a reusable coffee cup. D’arby realised that Anthony must come to this café often. D’arby was pleased when Anthony decided to take the reusable coffee cup and noticed that most customers had brought their own cup. As D’arby watched the barista make coffees he noticed that the takeaway cups stacked on top of the coffee machine were brown and corrugated and D’arby realised that he might have discovered the café that Anthony had bought his coffees from every morning before he went to spy on RenewBank.

When D’arby noticed some nice sandwiches in the refrigerated cabinet he realised that he hadn’t had any lunch. D’arby was considering buying himself one when he noticed that Anthony had already collected his coffee and was leaving the café. D’arby waited a couple of seconds before following. Anthony walked back up the stairs and into a block of flats. D’arby looked at his watch while trying to decide what to do. He decided it would be unwise to try to follow Anthony to his flat. D’arby was meeting Syafika after work, but that wouldn’t be for a couple of hours so D’arby hurried back to the café and bought a sandwich. Then D’arby sat in the park across the road from Anthony’s building and ate his sandwhich while watching for Anthony to emerge.

At 3:10pm Anthony came out of his building looking somehow different. D’arby realised that Anthony’s hair and clothes were different. Anthony’s hair was longer and silkier and he was wearing a tight-fitting suit with trousers that were deliberately a couple of centimetres too short.  Anthony walked back into the Botanic Gardens and D’arby followed him. D’arby wasn’t very surprised when Anthony went back to the seat in the rose garden and waited until a woman came to meet him. D’arby took a photo of the woman, who he was pretty sure was Celine. Celine and Anthony didn’t talk for long and when Celine left she looked angry.


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