Tag Archives: Fanta

The Inklings: Chapter 142

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

On Sunday morning John woke Fanta up earlier than she would have liked.

“Emily is making breakfast” said John.

“Why so early?” asked Fanta.

“She wants to take us all to a playground this morning then out to lunch” said John. “I know you said you wanted to have an adventure today and maybe this is not what you were thinking of, but it might be fun. Emily seems to really be enjoying having us here”

Fanta felt grumpy about Emily planning her Sunday but she realised that the kind of adventure Emily was taking them on was probably at least as good as what she’d have been able to organize – it wasn’t likely that she and John could do something really exciting, like spying on people, when they had to bring her sisters along.

When Fanta and John walked into the lounge room Emily’s kids came to greet them.

“Good morning Summer and Spencer” said Fanta.

“How did you remember their names so quickly?” whispered John.

“I said them over and over in my head twenty times” said Fanta. “Do you remember how old they are?”

“They are smaller than your sisters so I guess they are 3 and 5” said John.

“Close” said Fanta. “Spencer is 4 and Summer is 6”

Greg told everyone to sit down at the dining table while he and Emily brought out the breakfast.  Fanta could tell from the way Spencer and Summer reacted to what their parents put on their table that Emily and Greg had gone to more trouble than they usually did at breakfast time- Spencer was bouncing in his chair with excitement as he looked at the plate of pancakes and Summer kept trying to grab a cinnamon roll.

“Wait!” said Greg. “Let the guests serve themselves first”

“Please don’t take all the cinnamon rolls” asked Summer.

“Don’t worry, there are plenty. I have more in the kitchen” said Greg.

“Who’d like scrambled eggs, toast, tea or coffee?” asked Emily.

Fanta noticed John’s eyes light up when Emily mentioned toast.

————————–

After breakfast everyone set out to walk to the local park.

“We can stay here a few hours and then have lunch. There’s an excellent café next to the park” said Emily.

Fanta wondered how any park would keep them busy for more than an hour but was glad she didn’t say anything because when the park came into view she realised that it wasn’t an average local playground – it as enormous and full of adventures. There were three giant slides that you had to climb towers to get to, flying foxes large enough for adults to play on, giant swings and even a lake with pedal boats for hire.

Fanta noticed that Emily and Greg had been watching their guest’s faces and were smiling at their reactions. When Ruby and Nancy ran off in the direction of the flying foxes Fanta had to control the urge to race them there. Instead she looked at John to see what he wanted to play on first.

Emily dropped John, Fanta and her sisters home late on Sunday afternoon. When they got inside Nancy declared “That was the best day ever!”

“Yes it was” said Fanta. Her muscles ached, her hair was messy and her clothes were grubby, but it had been worth it.


The Inklings: Chapter 140

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

When John knocked on Emily’s door he thought he heard an echo.

“I can hear thunder!” shouted Nancy.

“Look – lightning!” shouted Ruby.

“I can smell the rain coming” said Nancy.

When Emily opened her front door John noticed a familiar smell. As he stepped inside the cool, dark house he heard more thunder and felt a gust of warm air follow him in.

John noticed a change in Ruby, Nancy and Fanta as they came inside. Their faces became serious and they moved carefully and silently.

As Emily greeted Fanta and her sisters John looked around nervously. The floor was tiled in what looked like polished marble but wasn’t. There were paintings on the walls with heavy-looking golden frames and the furniture all looked solid and heavy too. John remembered Emily telling him how she’d had it all custom made from Camphor Laurel because it grows like a weed. John realised that the suitcase had been left behind at the front door but decided he’d go and get it later.

As John followed Emily into the sitting room he tried to work out what the familiar smell was and before he knew what was happening he was standing facing his mother. She put out her arms and gave John a cuddle. John’s mum seemed to have become smaller and more fragile.

As John watched Emily introduce Fanta and her sisters to his mother he noticed that Fanta looked terrified. When they sat down and started talking John noticed that his mother kept asking Fanta questions and he remembered how judgmental his mother was. Fanta seemed to have been giving the right answers though, because John could tell that his mother liked Fanta.

After John’s mother had had a good look at Ruby and Nancy she suggested they go and play with Emily’s kids. John watched the four of them trot off to play in another room and wished he could go with them. John leant back in his chair and tried to relax as he waited for an opportunity to ask where his father was.

“John, you should go and help your father in the kitchen” said John’s mother. As John got up he wondered whether she had been reading his mind.

John stood awkwardly in the kitchen doorway for a few minutes and watched his father making pasta before summoning enough courage to interrupt.

“Hold this” said John’s father, and he draped a sheet of damp pasta over John’s forearms.

As John watched his father he wondered when he’d learnt to make pasta, but he was too shy to ask.

“I wonder what’s keeping Tim. He usually helps me make the pasta” said John’s Dad.

John wondered whether his father might be losing his memory.

“Tim’s minding my restaurant tonight so he can’t come for dinner” said John.

“Yes, he was going to do that but I insisted I send one of my managers over so he could join us” said John’s father.

John felt his whole body become hot with panic. He felt like taking Fanta by the hand and running away before Tim could arrive, but a voice inside him told him that there was no point running because Tim would have to meet Fanta one day. So John stayed where he was and turned his panic into anger.

“Why didn’t you consult me?” John asked his father.

“It was meant to be a surprise – a surprise family dinner, just like your mother and I being here was a surprise” said John’s father.

John realised that Emily must have planned what she thought would be a pleasant surprise and felt guilty for having behaved so passively. He decided to make an effort to enjoy himself, but was still terrified that Fanta would decide that Tim was better than he was.

When John heard a burst of laughter from the sitting room he knew that Tim had arrived. He started walking out of the kitchen but his father stopped him and took the pasta sheets off his arms first.

Emily and Tim were laughing at something. John managed to see Fanta’s expression before she realised he was in the room and was relieved that she didn’t seem to be admiring Tim.

“Tim, this is Fanta” said Emily.

Fanta stood up awkwardly and shook Tim’s hand. John wanted to sit down beside Fanta but Tim beat him to it so John sat down next to his mother and watched Tim try to coax Fanta into a conversation.


The Inklings: Chapter 138

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

On Saturday morning Fanta was stirring her cup of tea when she noticed that her hand was shaking. She realised that she was feeling anxious about meeting John’s sister Emily that evening. Fanta had the impression that John’s family had high standards and was worried that they wouldn’t like her, or at least they wouldn’t like that she came from such a broken family. Fanta’s worry showed on her face as a frown and when John and D’arby noticed they thought Fanta must be cranky with something they’d done so they offered to clean the house while she did whatever she liked.

Fanta went out to the backyard to escape the noise of the vacuum cleaner. She sat in the shade and realised she missed her parents. Fanta wondered where her mother was and realised that she hadn’t seen her for almost nine years. Before she realised what she was doing she was remembering the day her Mum left.

Fanta didn’t realize anything was wrong at first. The house looked pretty normal. Nancy and Ruby were both in their playpen in the lounge room and the radio was on. Fanta could smell her mother’s perfume and thought she must be around somewhere, but she wasn’t anywhere in the house. While looking for her mother Fanta realized that there were lots of things missing from the house. It wasn’t until Fanta went to her mother’s room and found that most of her clothes were gone that she realized she had left them. Next Fanta went to the kitchen because that was where the phone was and Fanta thought she better call someone to ask for help. That was when she found the letter on the kitchen bench.

“Dear Fanta,

I have gone travelling with Ben and I don’t know when I will be back. Your aunt is coming tomorrow to take you and your sisters to live with her. You have to go with her because I have sold the house.

I know you will take good care of your sisters. I will see you when I get back.

Love,

Mum.”

Fanta still remembered what she’d felt like that day,and it made her start crying. She remembered how her aunt had told her that her mum would be back in 6 months so Fanta had counted down the days, but her mum never came back. Fanta had gone through periods of hating her mum and hating her mum’s boyfriend Ben (she’d even made voodoo dolls of Ben) but what she still really wanted was for her mum to come back. Fanta knew her aunt was in contact with her mum but her aunt would never tell her anything about her or where she was, except that she was ok.

Fanta wiped her eyes and mentally rehearsed answers to the question that she expected Emily would ask that evening – the same question everyone asked when they found out that Fanta looked after her sisters: “What happened to your parents?”

On Saturday afternoon Fanta packed a suitcase to take to Emily’s place and tried to get her sisters to choose what they wanted to pack but they were too excited.

The sun was still hot when they set out for Emily’s place. Nancy insisted on pulling the suitcase along as they walked to the train station. After a train trip they caught a bus that took them to the end of Emily’s street. By the time they arrived the sun had dropped behind the houses, and the warm colour of the sunlight made the houses in the street look even more impressive. Ruby and Nancy were amazed by the tall street trees and beautiful gardens. One garden had a large sprinkler going that overshot the garden and wet the footpath. Fanta’s sisters screamed as they ran back and forth the section of footpath, and didn’t stop until their hair was dripping wet, despite Fanta pleading with them to stay respectable.


The Inklings: Chapter 132

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

Syafika couldn’t help smiling as she watched Binta drag Rose and Mamadou off to India’s place. She wondered how long they’d be gone and what she should do while they were away. Syafika walked around the house with her cup of tea, humming to herself. When she wandered into the loungeroom and when she saw the piano she sat down and opened the lid.

There was a pile of piano music books on top of the piano that would have had a thick layer of dust on them if Rose hadn’t recently had to clean up for Zikpi and her film crew.

Syafika took down one of her favourite books and it fell open at the piece she used to play the most.

Syafika put the open book on the stand, adjusted her position on the piano stool and started playing.

Syafika was glad that it was a slow piece of music because her fingers felt really clumsy. She realised she should have done some exercises to warm her hands up first, but kept playing anyway. About halfway through the piece Syafika felt shivers down her spine and a wave of emotion swept over her. She started crying but kept playing. She felt as if her body had been taken over because her hands remembered the music better than she did. Syafika played one piece after another until she felt exhausted. When she stopped she looked at her watch and realised that over an hour had passed.

As Syafika stood up she had a feeling that someone else was in the room and when she turned around she was surprised to discover Amanda sitting on the sofa with Aminata on her hand.

“I wish you did that more often” said Amanda. “I miss hearing you play”

Syafika didn’t know what to say. She felt embarrassed that Amanda had been listening to her and wondered whether she’d been there when she was crying. Syafika was also amazed that Amanda had come out of her room and that she was behaving so coherently.

“Do you come out of your room often during the day?” asked Syafika.

“No, just sometimes” said Amanda. “There’s still a lot for me to do in my room. I think I’ll be able to start coming out more regularly soon though”

Syafika tried not to roll her eyes when Amanda talked about having a lot to do in her room. Syafika resented how Amanda could get away with being so lazy.

“I’m going to make some lunch. Would you like some?” asked Amanda.

“Yes please” said Syafika, realizing that she was feeling really hungry.

“Why don’t you pick tomatoes and some salad vegies from the backyard while I prepare the rest?” said Amanda.

As Syafika walked out to the garden she realised she needed adjust her vision of reality so that it included the possibility that Amanda might grow up into a normal, functioning person.

When Syafika came back inside carrying tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce leaves she could smell melted cheese and saw that Amanda was grilling cheese on toast.

“Thanks. Now sit down while I make salad” said Amanda.

As Syafika sat silently at the table and watched Amanda chop the salad vegetables there were so many questions she wanted to ask but she was worried that if she asked them Amanda might run up to hide in her room again, so instead Syafika decided to talk about what she’d been up to.

“You’ll never guess what happened to me last night!” said Syafika.

“I don’t have to guess all of it because I checked the answering machine messages – you got sick and stayed at a friend’s house” said Amanda. “Which friend? Fanta?”

“No, not really a friend. His name is Anthony. It’s a long story, but my friend D’arby and I are spying on Anthony to try and work out what he is up to. We think Anthony is some kind of spy” said Syafika.

“Who does Anthony spy on?” asked Amanda as she served lunch.

“That’s a good question” said Syafika. “I know he is trying to find out what goes on where I work, but I think he might also have been trying to spy on D’arby and maybe even me or someone in our family – although I don’t know why he’d do that”

Syafika took a large bite of the cheesy toast and was amazed at how delicious it tasted. Then she tried the salad and discovered that it was also very good.

“Wow. This is so yummy! Thanks!” said Syafika.

Amanda didn’t answer straight away because she was too busy chewing but she looked happy.

“I’m glad you like your lunch” said Amanda. “But what makes you think that Anthony is spying on someone in our family? What do we ever do that’s interesting enough for someone to want to spy on us?”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought” said Syafika. “It’s just that the other evening I ran the last bit of the way home barefoot – that’s the only time I’ve ever done it – and last night Anthony made a comment about me running barefoot. And there is one other thing that happened, but maybe it is nothing too”

“What?” asked Amanda.

“Last week when I was out running I saw Mum give a bundle of $50 notes to a lady who lives in a tent in the park near the station” said Syafika. “And when I told Anthony about it he seemed interested”

“Why did you tell Anthony that?” asked Amanda.

Syafika thought Amanda looked a bit cranky.

“I was trying to find out why Anthony would have been watching our house – I wanted to see how he’d react” said Syafika.

“How did he react?” asked Amanda.

“He looked interested” said Syafika.

“That’s all? He didn’t say anything or ask any questions?” asked Amanda.

“No, he didn’t have time to ask questions though” said Syafika.

“Have you considered that Anthony is just interested in you, romantically? He could have been watching you, not our house. And he might have looked interested when you told him the story about Mum because he likes listening to you” said Amanda.

Syafika felt embarrassed and didn’t know how to answer.

“Do you like Anthony?” asked Amanda.

“No, I mean, I don’t know. I used to, but I don’t know now. I think I still would like him if I didn’t feel like he is manipulating me to find out information” said Syafika.

“What do you think about Mum? Do you think she is up to something?” asked Amanda.

“The only reason I suspect Mum of anything is because I saw her give that lady all that money. Maybe all I should suspect Mum of is of being very generous” said Syafika.

“Yeah, that’s what I think” said Amanda.

Syafika didn’t say anything for a few minutes because she was trying to process all the things Amanda had said. Although each sentence had made sense on its own Syafika wasn’t able to combine them all into a clear picture of what Anthony was really up to. Eventually she decided to change the topic.

“What sorts of things keep you busy?” asked Syafika. She tried very hard to not sound condescending as she said it.

“I’ve been learning lots of useful things – I’m trying to make up for having left school” said Amanda.

“Why don’t you just go back to school?” asked Syafika.

“I don’t fit in at school” said Amanda.

Amanda’s answers had made Syafika feel uncomfortable but she wasn’t sure why. At first she thought it was because she didn’t have much sympathy for Amanda – Syafika hadn’t enjoyed highschool either but she’d still gone. Syafika looked at Amanda for a few seconds before she realised what was making her feel uneasy – it was because she didn’t believe what Amanda was saying.

Syafika heard the front door opening and thought it must have been Rose, Mamadou and Binta coming home. Amanda must have heard the door opening too because she grabbed the last piece of her toast and ran upstairs to hide in her room.

Syafika was finishing her lunch when Rose walked in to the kitchen.

“Where are the others?” asked Syafika.

“Helping India set up for the party tonight” said Rose. “I told India that you were sick and she said you could join the meeting remotely – she’ll set up her laptop in the room”

“I feel fine now though. Why can’t I just come in person” asked Syafika.

“India didn’t like the thought of that. She thinks you should stay in quarantine tonight in case you give your germs to Penny, who is still weak” said Rose. “You should be happy – if she wasn’t scared of catching your germs India would be making you come over and help set up”

“How did you get out of helping to set up?” asked Syafika.

“I just came to check on you and Amanda. Have you had lunch?” said Rose.

“Yes, Amanda made me lunch” said Syafika.

“Great, I’ll head back to India’s place then” said Rose.

“Wait. I need to ask you something” said Syafika.

“What?” said Rose.

“Last Tuesday, after Zikpi finished filming, I went for a run and I saw you giving a lady a bundle of $50 notes. Why did you do that?” asked Syafika.

Rose looked embarrassed and looked at her feet for a couple of seconds before she said “I stopped going to the beauty salon years ago and instead I walk around looking for someone who needs the money and then I give it to them”

“Why are you so embarrassed to be doing that? It’s a good thing” said Syafika.

“I am embarrassed because I kept it a secret. Your dad would probably be cross with me for not discussing it with him first” said Rose. “But sometimes I just want to be able to make decisions on my own, without having to consult anyone”

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell him” said Syafika. “I was more worried that you were up to something suspicious than that you were giving money away”

Rose laughed and asked “What suspicious things did you think I might be up to?”

“I really don’t know, but Anthony seemed interested when I told him what I saw, and he is some kind of spy” said Syafika.

“What are you going on about!” said Rose and she rolled her eyes. “I better check on Amanda quickly and then I’ll head back to India’s place. I’ll be back later to help you set up the computer for the meeting. And I can bring you some dinner over too”

Syafika listened to the stairs creaking as Rose went up to check on Amanda realised she was feeling very jealous. She wondered what sort of things Rose and Amanda talked about when they were home together every day and felt leftout. She looked at her empty plate and decided she’d wash the dishes then search the house for chocolate to eat while she read a book.

As Syafika rinsed the dishes she heard the front door opening and closing and realised that Rose must have left the house. Syafika took off the dishwashing gloves and opened one cupboard after another until she discovered a packet of chocolate biscuits. Syafika felt like a naughty child as she ran to her room with the biscuits and closed the door. She sat on her bed reading and eating biscuits until Ousman came home from school.

“Syafika? Are you home?” yelled Ousman as he came in the front door.

Syafika was touched that she was the first person Ousman thought of when he got home and got up to meet him.

“Did you see the frog and eggs?” asked Ousman.

“Yeah, I did. Very exciting!” said Syafika.

“Yes, I want to go and see it again” said Ousman and he ran off towards the back door. Syafika was about to follow him when the phone rang.

“Hello?” said Syafika.

“It’s me, Fanta. How are you feeling? Should I come over? Or do you need to rest?”

Syafika desperately wanted to talk to Fanta and was about to tell her to come over when she remembered that she was probably still contagious.

“I wish you would, but I think I’m still contagious. What about tomorrow instead?” asked Syafika.

Syafika and Ousman mucked around in the backyard with Aminata for the rest of the afternoon. They watched the frog, picked strawberries and splashed in the pond.

Syafika was feeling pretty tired by the time Binta came back. Binta had brought a large plate of food for Syafika, which would have made Syafika very happy if she wasn’t already full of chocolate biscuits and strawberries.

“Your mum is busy setting up the chocolate fountain so I’ll help you set up my computer so you can watch the meeting from here” said Binta and she took Syafika upstairs to her room, and Ousman followed.

Syafika and Ousman watched as Binta set up her computer. Then Syafika saw India on the screen and heard her say “Hello Syafika! Can you hear me?”

“Yep” said Syafika. “Can you hear me?” said Syafika.

“All fine” said India. “Now you wait there – everyone is eating dinner but when they finish we’ll all come in here for the meeting.

So Syafika sat at Binta’s desk and started eating her large dinner while watching India’s empty dining room. The highlight was when she saw Binta and Ousman walk through India’s dining room and Ousman pulled a face at the computer.

Syafika felt herself falling asleep so she rushed downstairs, put the rest of her dinner in a container in the fridge and made herself a cup of green tea. When she got back India’s dining room was still empty so Syafika did 50 star jumps to wake herself up. She’d just regained her breath when people started coming in and sitting around the dining table, then making a second row around the outside of the room. Syafika counted 30 people and noticed that there was somone there from most of the houses on the street.

India welcomed everyone and pointed out that Syafika was watching from quarantine via the computer. Then India wheeled in a whiteboard and the serious work began.

“Right everyone, you’re going to call out problems our street faces and I’ll write them down. When we think we’ve got them all we will look at how we can work together to solve the problems. Remember when we brainstorm all ideas get written down and there’s no criticizing”

“Our house burnt down and we have no insurance so we can’t afford to build again” said Victoria.

“There’s too much traffic” said Donald, who lived next door to India.

“Developers want to build a big block of flats” said Ousman.

“There’s a cat that poos in my garden” said Sunita.

When India wrote the cat poo problem on the white board Syafika started laughing and had to pretend it was a cough. For the rest of the problem brainstorm she had to keep reminding herself that everyone in the room could see and hear her.

When the whiteboard was full there was a 10 minute break for tea and coffee so Syafika went downstairs to make herself a cup of tea. She was determined to contribute to the next session, which was another brainstorm, but this time they were looking for solutions.

Syafika was not surprised when Victoria suggested that a solution to their problem was to sell their land to the developers and buy one of the new flats to live in. Victoria even tried to convince Penny and Gina that they should do the same. Syafika knew that the block of flats couldn’t go ahead without having at least one adjoining block and so she was cross with Victoria for pretending to be trying to help Penny and Gina when she was really just trying to help herself. The block that Victoria and Graham’s land backed onto was owned by a young family who hadn’t come to the meeting but had expressed how much they didn’t want to live next to a block of flats. Syafika wondered whether Victoria was going to try to pressure them to sell up and live in a flat too.

India dutifully wrote Victoria’s idea on the whiteboard and there was an angry silence in the room for a few seconds. Syafika was expecting someone to chime in about how they shouldn’t be NIMBYS and that they had to accept that blocks of flats were inevitable, but instead Mamadou jumped up and asked for the whiteboard marker.

Instead of trying to explain his idea, Mamadou drew it on the whiteboard. He drew a two storey building on Victoria and Graham’s block. The top storey was a pretty house with a roof garden and the bottom storey was a carpark. Nobody seemed to know what was going on until Mamadou drew the street with one end blocked off with bollards. Then he converted one lane to trees, garden, play equipment and even included a sand box for cat poo.

“We all park here, not on the street” said Mamadou, and he pointed at the ground floor carpark. “Victoria and Graham sell carspaces to pay for their topfloor house and we close the street except for emergency vehicles”

Syafika was glad that nobody was allowed to criticize ideas because she could see lots of problems with Mamadou’s plan – for a start she knew they’d never be given permission to close their street to traffic, but also because it depended on Victoria and Graham changing their minds. Syafika looked to see how Graham and Victoria reacted to Mamadou’s idea and was surprised to see that they were looking thoughtful and nodding.

When the solution brainstorm was over the whiteboard was full and everyone was too tired to vote on what to do with all the ideas so they decided to meet again in a few days.

As Syafika turned Binta’s computer off she realised that she was crying and realised that she’d been surprised by how the people in her street had come together – Syafika realised that her default position was to be annoyed at how stupid most people seemed to be.


The Inklings: Chapter 122

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

D’arby was puffed when he got home because he’d run some of the way (at least he’d tried to run all the downhill bits). As he approached the house he was relieved to see that there were still lights on.

When Fanta heard the door opening she came to look. Fanta got a fright when she first saw D’arby, until she realised he was wearing a disguise. Then she started laughing, but she soon became serious again.

“What happened?” asked Fanta.

“Syafika started vomiting so she went to Anthony’s place to stay the night” said D’arby.

“What? Why? Why didn’t she go home?” asked Fanta.

“I don’t know. She told me to go home” said D’arby.

“How did she seem when she told you that?” asked Fanta.

“Bossy” said D’arby.

Fanta was quiet for a few seconds. D’arby was relieved to see that Fanta didn’t look worried.

“I think she will be fine” said Fanta eventually. “We can track her down in the morning”

“But what if Anthony poisoned her?” asked D’arby.

“Why would he do that?” asked Fanta.

“I don’t know. Maybe he is a psychopath” said D’arby.

“Maybe he is, but why would he poison Syafika so publicly?” asked Fanta. “Don’t panic. Just go to sleep and rest so you are ready for whatever happens tomorrow”.

D’arby thought there must be more to say but couldn’t think of anything so he just said “Ok” and went to take off his disguise.


The Inklings: Chapter 114

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

When Syafika returned to the office after having coffee with Celine Fanta noticed that Syafika looked upset. Fanta got up to go over and talk to Syafika but was intercepted by Nelson on the way, who asked her to take a folder of paperwork to Briony at Human Resources.

Fanta didn’t want to admit to Nelson that she didn’t know where Human Resources was, so she decided that she’d go down to the reception desk and ask there. A man called Beazley guarded the reception desk every day until 12pm and Fanta liked how he’d greet everyone as they arrived.

As Fanta walked downstairs she was worrying about Syafika. She knew that Syafika needed someone to talk to, especially before she went out to dinner with Anthony that night. Fanta decided that she would make sure she spoke to Syafika before leaving that day.

As Fanta reached the first floor a man entered the stairwell in a hurry, bumping Fanta’s arm as he passed and causing her to drop the folder that Nelson had given her. Fanta looked up at the man who’d bumped into her but he didn’t stop or say sorry.

As Fanta picked up the papers she tried to stop herself from reading them, but because she knew that Nelson was up to something Fanta couldn’t resist and ended up reading each page as she put it back in the folder.

The folder contained job applications, including the ones that she and Celine had submitted. Fanta was particularly interested in Celine’s resume. As she read it Fanta realised that Celine was over-qualified for a graduate role – apparently she’d worked for five years for the federal government in Canberra.

…………………………………………………

At lunchtime Fanta asked Syafika if she wanted to join her for a quick walk around the Botanic Gardens. Although Syafika had decided she wouldn’t have a lunch break she realised that it would do her good to have a talk with Fanta and so she agreed.

“How are you feeling?” asked Fanta as they walked down the stairs.

“Mostly scared, but also jealous of Celine because she says she did go on dates with Anthony. Although when she told me that she looked scared. I think that’s a big part of the reason I’m feeling so scared right now. What am I getting myself into?” said Syafika.

“I don’t know. I don’t like it that you’re going on a date with Anthony tonight. If D’arby wasn’t going to be there watching you I’d probably insist you didn’t go” said Fanta.

“I knew you’d be scared too, and you have a good reason to be scared. But I think I need to go – I think I have to find out who Anthony is before I can get him out of my system” said Syafika.

“I knew you’d say that!” said Fanta. “I just hope you’re right and that this is good for you, not bad for you. What happens if you don’t find out anything else about him? Will you have to go on more dates?”

“I don’t know” said Syafika. “Don’t you think it’s funny that I’m going on a date with Anthony to find out what he’s up to? He’s probably only going on the date with me to find out what I’m up to.”


The Inklings: Chapter 101

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

After Syafika left Fanta stayed out the front to watch the rain, and John came out to join her.

“Why didn’t Syafika want to borrow an umbrella?” asked John.

“She said she felt like getting rained on” said Fanta. “I’m a bit worried about Syafika trying to find out more about Anthony. He tends to make her go a bit crazy”.

“Yes, I don’t like the sound of Anthony at all. I think he’s shifty. But maybe the sooner Syafika realizes that, the better” said John.

“I guess. Meeting up with Anthony probably isn’t any crazier than chasing him around the Botanic Gardens” said Fanta.

“Tomorrow I’m going to teach my brother Tim how to run the restaurant so he can manage it while I take the weekened off. And Emily has invited us to dinner on Saturday. We can sleep over if we want because her place is so far away” John told Fanta.

“That will be a nice change!” said Fanta. “What about Nancy and Ruby? Are they invited to Emily’s place or should I ask D’arby if he can babysit?”

John was mortified that he hadn’t thought about Fanta’s sisters.

“What would they prefer?” asked John.

“They would probably like to come” said Fanta.

And so John went to call Emily, who fortunately was was happy for Nancy and Ruby to come to dinner too. Then John went back out the front to tell Fanta, but she wasn’t there anymore. Back inside John bumped into D’arby, who was on his way to have a shower.

“You never told me what was in the parcel!” said John.

“Not a bomb!” said D’arby. “Just urgent work stuff”. D’arby felt really sad about having to keep the exciting things going on in his life a secret and hoped that one day soon he’d be able to tell John all about this adventure.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

The sound of heavy rain woke Fanta up early on Tuesday morning and she realised that rain was coming in through her open bedroom window. Fanta’s bedroom faced the street but because of the strong metal bars across the window she was not afraid to leave it open while she slept. As Fanta walked over to close the window a gust of wind blew the curtains open and Fanta thought she saw someone come in the front gate. She moved to the side of the window and peeped sideways through the gap in the curtain and saw someone leave an envelope on the doorstep. A car came along the street just as the mysterious delivery person turned to leave and in the light from the headlights Fanta caught a glimpse of a man who looked a lot like Anthony.

 


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