39 Heading Ou
Over lunch, Meaghan decided to take Ivoire's file out and see if there was any correlation between her current assignments. She was reaching for her bag when her cell phone rang.
Looking at the screen, she felt a little burst of happiness.
"Hello," she said, holding the phone in both hands.
"How are you doing, Meggie," Rickie's warm tones started a shiver across her shoulder blades, "I wanted to see you this morning, but I've been busy."
"That's okay," she answered almost breathlessly "I'm doing good. I've missed you."
At her admission, Rickie wanted to haul her off and have some time for just the two of them.
Cursing his busy schedule, he thought for a moment, and then smiled. "Would you like to come with me to our gas rig? I promised my father I would perform the final inspection before they start drilling. Since I know your boss, I'm sure he'll allow you to take off for the rest of the day."
He allowed a little hopefulness to creep into his voice.
Meaghan smiled. "I'd love to, but I can't; I promised your sister we would go shopping this evening."
Rickie deflated, but, still, he wanted her to spend time with his family. Sethe liked her, although no one in the family knew about them yet. He didn't want their fledgling relationship to come under the scrutiny of his father just yet. If Sethe became her friend, then she would be firmly on his side if there were any objections.
"Well, have fun with Sethe then, and I'll talk to you later tonight."
"I'd like that." Meaghan replied. "Be safe then."
She hung up already anticipating when she would hear from him again.
~ ~ ~
Meaghan had just changed into a floral print sundress when Tina came home. She gave her older sister a hug and a kiss, looked at her critically, and then nodded.
"Just give me a moment to change, and we can head out."
A few minutes later, Tina came out. Surprisingly, she wasn't as colorful as usual; she wore a short skirt in blue, with a yellow, green, and blue patterned jersey top. A wide black belt and black sneakers completed the outfit. Her normally spiky hair was pulled up in a curly ponytail, but without the streaks of color. Even her earrings were simple gold dangling chains, not her usual eye-popping style.
"You almost look like you're going to a funeral," Meaghan said good-naturedly.
Leaf said, seriously, "I just want to give a good impression."
Meaghan was surprised, but assured her she looked fine.
"And you have the address?" At Leaf's nod, Meaghan grabbed her jacket, purse, and keys.
She decided to use a taxi to get to the Ahmad residence to cut the travel time. When they arrived at the front gate, she could only stare in awe. The curly metalwork of the gate gave way to walls of native stone, a gilt stylized sun in the center surrounded by graceful metal palms. Along the front of the wall, the bright green leaves of elephant's ears competed with the fuchsia stars of bougainvillea.
Meaghan's had crept out and squeezed her sister's.
Tina, on the other hand, was excited but not shocked at the opulence the gate hinted at.
The taxi driver rolled down his window and spoke to the tinny voice from the grill above the security camera, giving Meaghan's name.
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"I hope Sethe is ready, so we can leave quickly." Meaghan mused and turned to Leaf. "We need to be on our best behavior; remember my boss lives here, too."
Leaf looked at her only sister for a moment, and then nodded.
"I promise. But, kakak, I don't think you need to worry. Everyone's is looking forward to seeing you."
Tina suddenly stopped, a stricken look on her face as the taxi cab drove through the now-opened gates towards the house.
Meaghan glanced at her sister as Tina's words registered. "What are you talking about?"
Tina looked guilty.
"Sethe and I talked last night. She wants to have supper here at the house, before we go shopping."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Meaghan looked at her sundress, suddenly wishing she had worn something more formal.
Tina saw the movement.
"Meaghan, you look great; don't worry about it."
When she looked back up; they were at the house.