The Prince of Kuching
14 Dinner
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The Prince of Kuching
Author :CMShuk
© Webnovel

14 Dinner

Meaghan stood before her cheval mirror, holding up several shirts. Snorting in disgust at her dithering, she selected a scoop-necked blouse in cool beige, and paired it with black and brown tribal-patterned broomstick skirt. A pair of leather sandals completed the outfit. She had washed her face and decided to leave her hair in the simple braid, but reapplied her makeup. Once she finished with her lipstick, she nervously smoothed the front of the skirt and performed a final check in the mirror.

She almost didn't recognise the face in front of her. Her cheeks seemed flushed and her eyes brighter than usual; she almost looked like a teenager on a first date. This isn't a date, she scolded herself, its just dinner. But her traitorous body was telling her otherwise.

Ultimately ignoring the fluttering in her stomach, she opened the bedroom door and stepped into the living room.

~ ~ ~

Rickie ran his fingers through his blonde locks and tried to loosen tense muscles. He was striving to look relaxed as he fidgeted in the chair and waited for the two ladies to appear. He wondered what Meaghan would look like. Would she look severely professional like the waitress uniform from Saturday last week, or casually chic like that day at the waterfront? Or even slouchy comfortable earlier today? The sound of the bedroom door had him looking up.

His breath came out in a soft sigh.

Meaghan looked soft and approachable; the neutral colours of her outfit somehow enhancing the loose auburn hairs in her crown and the pink spots growing on her cheeks. Dark pink toes peeked out underneath the long skirt, and her arms were long and sleek, ending with several gold bangles.

She looked both sexy and shy, a combination that Rickie found almost irresistible. With his eyes still locked on her face, he started to rise from the chair, intending to walk to Meaghan; only to be startled by the sound of a slamming door behind him.

"I'm ready!" called out Leaf as she walked from behind the chair and went over to her sister. "Wow, Meg, you look awesome". The teen was dressed in a bright purple tunic shirt over colourful leggings. A chain belt was wrapped several times around her waist, and her feet were encased in high-top sneakers that had tribal figures crudely drawn on them in black marker. Her flaxen hair was teased into spikes on the back and sides, with a blue streak behind her right ear.

As she stepped up next to her older sister, Rickie couldn't help but note the differences between the two; one, bright and exuberant like a tropical fish; the other, cool and mysterious like the deep jungle.

"So, how do we look?" The younger girl looked at him expectantly.

Rickie leaned back with his left hand under his chin, and pretended to be in deep thought as he perused them. Then he straightened up, chuckled, and said, "All the guys will be envious."

As Tina preened, Meaghan shot a narrowed glance at Rickie, unsure if he was making fun of them. The clear, guileless look held a spark of humour, and Meaghan felt an answering smile reluctantly form on her lips.

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"So are we ready?" Meaghan nodded at the question, picked up her bag, and walked to the door.

~ ~ ~

The Jambu Restaurant and Lounge was an old converted Colonial building, painted in a soft orange. Inside, cozy groupings of chairs surrounded hand-carved tables, and native textiles adorned the walls and flooring.

At the entrance to the restaurant, Rickie looked at Meaghan and raised his eyebrow. Meaghan felt the need to explain.

"I know it's not high class or anything, but the food here is good." Rickie shook his head and opened his mouth, intending to say something, when an exotic female voice cut above the low murmur of the other patrons.

"Tuanku Rickie! Bonjour!" The sing-song sultry voice had a hint of British accent with overtones of the Caribbean, and belonged to a stunning dark-skinned woman, dressed in a tropical sarong.

"Bonjour, Hillary," Rickie stated with laughter, before he was enveloped in a warm hug. The woman air-kissed both of his cheeks before turning to the two women.

[A/N: "Tuanku" – Traditional honorific for Malaysian individuals that are descended from certain royal lines]

"Welcome to Jambu Restaurant. I am Hillary, the owner." Meaghan gave a slight bow, but Tina immediately got closer to the woman.

"You talk our language funny. Where are you from?" Meaghan stepped forward, grabbed Tina's arm and tugged it. Tina didn't budge. Rickie answered.

"Hil's originally from Trinidad. We brought her here to implement the computer systems for our emergency shutdown systems as part of our disaster planning for our exploratory oil platforms."

Tina mumbled, "She doesn't look like a computer nerd. She's too pretty."

Hillary replied in an amused tone. "Looks are deceiving; I have a PhD in Computer Science. After I had a baby several years ago, I decided that pulling overnighters was too stressful, so I quit. And started this restaurant."

"She still consults with us," Rickie said, "And keeps our systems up to date and running. And she's done well with this place. In fact, the only thing she wasn't successful was her indoor garden." Hillary punched him lightly in the arm.

"It wasn't my fault the fuse blew and took out the automated watering systems and lights. I just had a lousy person helping me. Anyway," Hillary's voice became businesslike without losing the lilting tone, "how many in your party?"

"Just the three of us, Hil." She led them to a round table secluded by lush tropical plants and left them with a smile.


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