“Hi Kendra.” She turned and there he was. He was wearing a black shirt with a few buttons undone and she could see the top of his muscular chest. He smiled and there was his fantastically beautiful face. She gasped- again?- but this time she was positive it was out loud because he said, “Is anything wrong?”

“No… nothing… well yes… something actually.” Her brain was going a bit fuzzy, but in a nice way, she thought. “Actually I’m Kendra but I don’t know your name.”

“Sorry, how did I forget to tell you that? I’m not very good at this thing… this dating thing.” He stood looking at her, fiddling with his keys.

Kendra continued looking at him smiling, waiting. “So? What is it?” she finally asked.

“Oh, yes. Sorry… Asra , Asra El Daffas.”

Kendra held out her hand. “Nice to meet you Asra.”

“Nice to meet you, too, Kendra.” He smiled again but she was ready this time and kept the gasp inside. How was a man this handsome not very good at dating? Then she panicked. Was he married? He had to be married! It was the only answer. She decided she might as well bite the bullet straight away. They hadn’t even left the hotel lobby yet, and if he was married she wouldn’t be leaving at all. “So? Are you married?”

He looked shocked. Was that shock or guilt? Kendra wondered. “No, I’m not married though it is a situation my family is trying very heard to rectify. Haven’t found the right woman yet I guess.”

He looked down at the ground. Handsome, heroic AND shy? My god why had no one snatched this guy up? “So where are we off to?” she asked.

“I thought we might go to the oasis. It’s nearby. They have a show tonight and dinner. How does that sound?”

“It sounds fabulous!”

They headed out the door and suddenly everything went a bit woozy and Kendra wondered for a moment if she was feeling the beginning of some sort of love at first sight syndrome, but decided she probably wasn’t, especially since this was actually second site, she’d never heard about love at second site. But she was sure it probably happened. Why not? But she was pretty sure this was not love related, not yet. Then she hoped everything was going topsy-turvy because the hotel had slipped on its foundation, and not because the four bottles of alcohol she’d downed had in fact been three more than she should have. She suspected the latter and she suspected it was all going to get much worse. Much, much worse.

By the time the car stopped at the oasis, there was no doubt in Kendra’s mind that she was decidedly drunk. Luckily, she hadn’t worn heels and there was plenty of deep sand that could be blamed for a wide assortment of missteps. Asra came around to her door and helped her out; he had no clue how much his help was needed.

“Oh this is nice,” Kendra said looking around through blurred eyes. Camels, sand and a big tent. Most of the people were obvious tourists, wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts. Cameras were flashing as they got rides on a camel and a far too fat donkey before going into the tent. The sun had just set behind the rocky hills and the place was bathed in a warm glow. Very similar to the warm glow inside of Kendra.

Asra and Kendra walked toward the tent and she only stumbled twice. “Damn shoes!” They both looked down at her flat sandals but Asra kept silent. She could smell food and was sure once she got some into her body she’d be fine. A bit of food and a sit down and she’d be perfect, ready for her first date and the beginning of her new fabulous life.

They sat near the back on pillows placed at low tables. Kendra did her best to lower herself gracefully but the final bit was too fast and she landed with a decided plop. Asra smiled. “Low. These chair things…pillows, unexpectedly low,” Kendra said smiling like what she said might be funny.

“The food is buffet. Shall I get for both of us?” Asra asked.

“Yes,” Kendra said slightly too relieved. She didn’t fancy getting up and more importantly back down to the pillow. She watched him walk to the buffet line and finally was able to exhale. She leaned on the table and held her head with her hands watching the belly dancers at the front. Two women with long straight black hair and the most moveable stomachs she’d ever seen. They had lights on their hips that were making her dizzy so she closed her eyes to keep her head from spinning.


Tell us what you think: Do you think Asra is as good as he sounds?