Kendra had been home from Egypt for four days and was still beaming. She was absolutely, completely- in love, in real love, not some compromise of the word like she’d had with Will. This was sexy and solid and exciting. This was love that made your head spin around and made you want to dance down the street. She couldn’t stop smiling.
She’d talked on the phone with Asra every day since they parted. She knew he was feeling it too. After that first afternoon of making love, after coming back from Hatshepsut’s temple, they never left the hotel room again until she had to leave for her flight, and then they parted very reluctantly. She’d forgotten all about her uncertainty after that first time they made love. She was sure it was her own insecurities and imagination that had made her see things in Asra’s face that were not there. Flying back to London, she felt like she’d forgotten something in Cairo. She was counting the days, the hours, before they’d be together again.
She looked out the window at the rainy, cold, grey streets of London and then back to Annah. “I need to go out for lunch. I haven’t shopped since I’ve been back, there wasn’t a stitch of food in my fridge this morning. You want to come.”
Annah held up a plastic container. “Last night’s cottage pie. We could share if you don’t want to go out in the rain,” Annah offered.
“No, I’ll not steal your lunch from you. I’m not that stingy. I’ll brave the weather. Shall I bring you something for dessert?”
“Sure, surprise me.”
Kendra pulled up the collar of her coat and opened her umbrella. She bravely stepped out into the wind. It really was wretched weather, more so since she’d been in the hot Egyptian sun for two weeks. She headed for a small café across the road when she thought she spotted Dr. Devin, Bianca’s Devin. She hadn’t seen him since she’d been back from Egypt. Bianca said things were still going strong between them; no one was more surprised about that than the two of them. They’d thought they were committed, non-monogamous, loners in search of a good time. Seven months on, it turned out they might have been wrong.
Kendra hurried her steps to catch up to him. “Devin!” she called when she was nearer.
He turned and saw her and stopped. “Hi Kendra! What are you doing out in this awful weather?”
“I’m actually going for lunch.”
“Even me. How about we eat together? There’s a fantastic Egyptian restaurant just down around the corner. I think you’d like that after your trip, which I want to hear all about. My treat.”
There were so many of these tiny cafes and restaurants in the Covent Garden area she was never surprised when someone took her to one she’d never been to before. They turned onto a side street just before the Lyceum Theatre and about half way down the block Devin said, “This is it.”
It was well hidden this place, she thought. He opened the door for her and they got in, shaking their umbrellas outside. The restaurant, called Amasis, was bigger than it looked from outside, having two sections and about twenty tables. Photos of iconic Egyptian sites like the Sphinx and the Pyramids hung on the walls. Then Kendra spotted a large painting of Hatshepsut’s temple and she smiled. What a funny coincidence, she thought.
The place was quite elegant, more like a restaurant for dinner, perhaps after the theatre, not a quick lunch and it seemed most people agreed with her since the place was empty. A woman with dark, heavy lashed eyes and a welcoming smile wearing a green veil covering her hair greeted them. “Would you like a table for two?”
She led them to a table by the window and gave them menus. The woman took their drinks order then disappeared through a door at the side. “So Bianca said you just got back and that your trip was great,” Devin said trying to break the silence. “This place ought to feel pretty familiar.”
“Yes, I especially like that one.” Kendra pointed at the painting of Hatshepsut’s temple. “We went there, it’s amazing. The story too, so lovely.”
“Yes. It’s at the Valley of the Kings right? I’m not that good with the antiquities. I think I’m more British now than Egyptain.”
“Yes, that’s right it’s in Luxor at the Valley of the Kings. Well actually behind it.”
They fell into silence as they searched the menus. Kendra realised too late that she really didn’t know Devin that well, he was her best friend’s boyfriend, not really someone you’d go to lunch with- alone. They’d never spent any time together and she feared they would have little to talk about. She could feel the weight of a long lunch in her future. She asked him some questions about plastic surgery and that kept them going for a while to her relief.
The friendly woman in the green veil came up to the table again. “Are you ready to order?”
“If you don’t mind, I could order for us both,” Devin said.
“Sure, that’s great.” Quite alpha male of him, Kendra thought. How did Alpha woman Bianca and alpha male Devin manage to not kill each other?
The waitress disappeared. “So,” Kendra tried again, “how’s everything going with you and Bianca?”
“Good. Surprisingly good. We’re quite similar, actually.” They were both gorgeous too. Kendra wondered what kind of children they’d have, that is if Bianca would ever agree to such a thing, which Kendra doubted. She’d made more than enough remarks about not wanting to stretch her body all out of shape by becoming a baby making machine. That was unfortunate. The babies for the two would be incredible.
“Yes, that makes things a bit easier, ” Kendra said.
Devin told her about an opening for an exhibition he and Bianca attended at the Portrait Museum. A friend of his had a few pieces included. As he spoke, the noise from the kitchen, the normal sort of cooking noises began to get louder. There were voices that were slowly being raised. After a while the voices became angry.
Devin looked at the door and then back at Kendra. “I hope they won’t take it out on our food.” Kendra laughed.
As they waited, the noise coming from behind the door where their waitress disappeared was becoming increasingly louder. It sounded like people fighting. It became so loud Devin and Kendra stopped talking since they could no longer hear each other. Just then the door burst opened with a loud smack, and an old man, his face screwed into a scowl, stomped out followed by the waitress, who was equally annoyed, and behind the waitress, to Kendra’s surprise, was Asra!