Nefertari El-Sayed was aware of the looks she got from the two men following close behind. Living alone with her mother and fending for both their needs at almost every hour of the day, odd hours included made her extremely observant and self conscious.
Three years ago, her mother had been involved in an accident that had taken her ability to work landing her in a wheelchair for life. Her inability to work had cost her mother her job as a cleaner in an exclusive five- star hotel; Four Seasons Hotel at Nile Plaza leaving her with no choice but to drop out from college and work for their living and her mother's medications.
With no certificate or degree, she was forced to resort to odd jobs like taking care of some of her neighbors' dogs and pets, babysitting and working as a cashier in one of the convenience stores around but recently she had more jobs on her hands than the former because the cost of her mother's medications had increased and she hadn't been checked by a doctor in more than four months. She had gotten a job as a pizza delivery girl which paid ten dollars an hour - a lot more than the cost of both babysitting and the walking of her neighbors' dogs, she had secured a job at the historical museum as a guide because of her vast knowledge in the history and cultural aspect of her country.
Again, here she was on one of her job escapades. This time it required her being part of the performers at the show at the Al-Qahira Ballroom. Over the past couple of weeks, she had been present along with the other performers much to her mother's disapproval of course. She had been giving excuses about attending a free educational seminar with some of her colleagues to which her mother reluctantly agreed but never failed to voice out her displeasure of her absence but of course she hadn't listened, she kept on leaving home for the practices. She had to find enough money for their feeding and her mother's medication bills. It was their only means of survival. The woman would never let her live it down if she found out the real reason she was absent and she was certainly not letting her find out now or ever. She didn't think she would survive another one of her mother's tantrums and feared her mother wouldn't too- hence....
'Are you a Muslim' came one of the voices behind her. She turned a fraction to see who had asked and couldn't help the sinking feeling when she noticed Adam smiling down at her.
Why that feeling?
With a barely visible shake of her head, she walked on, slowing down her only when she reached their destination. She turned to them seeing that Adam had one of his smiles on again.'Then why the .... outfit' he asked again. If it was someone else she would have thrown back a sarcastic answer, a 'mind your business' but instead she found herself replying with the half truth. She didn't know if it was his smile or personality but she found she liked him.
'Hiding from someone' she said with a shrug, another curious grin graced his lips
'A crazy ex?'
She gave an indifferent shrug and quickly announced her departure, she was late already and although she enjoyed his company she had to prepare for her performance.
'we are here, this is the VIP entrance' her eyes pointedly signalling to the bold VIP sign above one of the huge side doors of the ballroom.'I have to go now'. He gave a small nod and said a 'bye'. Nefertari turned to his companion who had been silent most of the time. His eyebrows lifted a fraction when she did, clearly she had not been expecting her to look at him. Strangely having the need to infuriate him, she gave him a small smile 'bye Matty' to which he groaned and nodded but not before letting his eyes move down her length. She walked ahead living them alone and heading to the door that led to the backstage. She liked Adam, he had looked at her someone worth talking to and not just someone worth spending his night with. She had spent most of her life outside her home to recognize the look that made her feel worthless, that made her feel like just an object for fulfilment of pleasure, that was the look she had received from most men around her, Adam's friend, Matteo, not being an exception. She had seen in his eyes the first time he looked at her and made no move to hide it. He wanted her. He was angry but his eyes didnt hold the anger she wanted his eyes held anger that he intended to vent out on her on a bed! She always prided herself in being different from most women she knew- she didnt bask in the glory of being stared at. She despised being stared at, it didnt matter who it was,old or young, handsome or not and Matteo was no different. Or was he?
She recalled the feeling of disappointment she felt earlier when she realized that it was Adam who had spoken to her,the way she felt when his sea blue eyes looked into hers for the first. It felt surreal until she had noticed the glazed look in his eyes-The same look she noticed most men look at her with. Hurt had replaced the attraction she felt at that moment. Hurt hidden beneath the sardonic and mocking gaze she had sent him. Suddenly she wasn't sure if she hated him or hated that he looked at her the same way other men had or hated that the first man she'd ever felt an attraction to looked at her as a mere sexual adventure or hated herself for feeling attracted to a man no different from most men she had come to hate.
'You're late Nefret', an all too familiar voice interrupted her thoughts. Looking up, her eyes met gray eyes that showed anger and disappointment, a small amused smile graced her lips as she watched Ema lips lift in a scowl.
Rehema Mohammed was her childhood friend, someone she considered a sister.They met in the hospital where both their mothers were patients. Rehema's mother, Aunt Nubia, had been suffering from a kidney disease and had been in dire need of a transplant. They had the money for the operation but none for the donor. Her mother had given one of hers to Aunt Nubia and from then they became inseparable. Aunt Nubia was often there to care of her mother when she was not home and just like her mother, Rehema was always with her. Nefertari came to a halt in front of the angry 5'8 lady. 'I am sorry, I had to show some lost people the way..sorry..I swear I left the house early today ' she said try her best to placate Ema. Hands resting on her hips, Ema cocked her head towards her outfit 'what's up with the burka'. Nefertari shrugged ' I did not want any of mom's friend recognizing me'. She took another look at her before turning, 'we are late Nefret come along'. Nefertari grinned, Ema always called her that when she was upset. It seemed to placate her thinking she would be angered by calling her a name that was not hers. She was used to it, still to make her satisfied, she feigned anger and said the usual line 'Nefret isn't my name Ema'. As expected, Ema stopped in her tracks and turned,a sideways grin, her eyes full of mirth and with a smirk replied,'It does mean the same thing right? Deal with it, Nefret'. With that she continued forward towards the rest of the performers. A sense of fulfilment enveloped Nefertari, she did not have an upset friend on her hands but that did not mean certain sea blue eyes did not linger in her mind.
The Al Qahira ballroom stood tall at about 97 feet with ceilings of cream partitioned into smaller squares of gold and brown, small crystal- like chandeliers hanging from each square. The room was indeed large- about 5602 square feet consisting of about 1500 mint green chairs. Walls of polished dark brown wood stood at the four sides of the room. In the front was a medium sized stage with two floor-to- ceiling windows overlooking green lush gardens and a peek of the Egyptian museum , a little distance away from them. A part of the seat to the right side of the stage was saved for the VIP guests. Matteo and Adamo both opted for two seats in the second row. The show had started soon after everyone was seated and had been on for about two hours. It had first started with history of the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel and its connection with the past in form of a short play. Cultural practices were explained some of which most of the guest and tourists found interesting , some absurd. The history of the river Nile and facts about it. Some paintings and a few of their ancient artifacts.
'Are we done here already' Adamo's voice came from beside him. Adamo was the one who had insisted they come and now they were here, he suddenly wanted to leave. ' I think it is just an act left, suck it up'. Almost immediately a loud announcement welcoming the last act was said and a loud applause followed.
The lights in the ballroom were turned off at almost the same time the spotlight was zoomed in on a funambulist on a tight rope. The room once again grew silent as it had always been when a performance was going on. All chatterings with neighbours and friends ceased as all eyes were drawn to the lady on the rope. All eager to see more of the cultures and practices of one of the most ancient countries in the world. The woman on the rope was a lady in white, she could not be seen from the ground level but the narrow beam she held in her hands for balance was quite easy to notice. She began walking slowly on the rope. Like a cat on a fence, she was poise and graceful. Her face looking straight ahead. She was almost at the end oftge rope when she suddenly slipped and became suspended by a hand holding tightly to the rope. The sudden happenings caused murmurs among the crowd. Some echoing his innermost thoughts out loud. Why was no one helping. His question was answered when she began twirling around on the rope, slowly but with precise accuracy, the beam held away from the rest of her body, one of her legs held in acute way with the feet almost touching the knee of the other leg. She looked mysterious and he was momentarily stunned until he heard a small chuckle escaping Adamo.
Right, he was probably the only one who had not seen such a stunt coming mainly because he was a workaholic always never wanting to leave the sanctuary of his office. He turned back to the stage at the moment she finished her last twirl, took a graceful jump in the air, took a spin and landed on a trampoline that be hadnt noticed before bouncing off it and landing on the floor with her legs slightly apart and her back turning towards the audience. There was a moment of silence as every person in the room watched excitedly anticipating her next move. She threw the beam to the corner of the room just before a slow beat began. Matteo felt something stir in him as he watched the lady in white move her hips to the beat slowly, sensually. Something he had felt only once and just recently too! He let out a groan as bright green eyes flashed before his eyes. ' What's wrong', A very anxious Adamo asked beside him. ' Nothing' he replied and with an expressionless face he watched the dancer in front of him. She had begun to move her hands more to the rhythm of the beat now getting more immersed in the performance. Her very round and luscious bottom jiggling as if calling out to him in the long white tights she had on. This was one of the things he never fancied in his women- how sexy round his women's bottom were. He found that he liked it now. His mind on its own wondering if a certain green- eyed lady had such an anatomy. He found it didn't matter , he bright eyes and accent already drew him in enough. The beat of the instruments suddenly increased tempo and with that more dancers in white rushed onto the stage,and together they moved their bodies faster to go with the beat. He barely noticed the dance steps or the style of their dancing because something else had caught his attention. He found himself looking at the same pair of green eyes that haunted him since that afternoon. He didn't have to take a second guess to know it was her. Strangely enough, he knew he'd recognize those eyes anywhere. He didn't need his former question about her body answered because she had been funambulists he had been ogling all through the performance. The grepond eye paint and black Kohl only enhanced the bright emerald colour of her eyes and her black wig identical to the other dancers only showed her truly flawless tanned skin. Together with the white tights that emphasized her luscious bottom and wide hips, she had on a long blouse with slits on each side giving a tiny glimpse of the skin below her full breasts and both sides of her tights. By God, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was like a walking siren sent to distract even the holiest of men from their path to righteousness, her eyes being her most effective weapon. He looked up from her bare feet to the anklets on her ankles, past her laps, lingering on the juncture between her legs, her flat stomach, past her perfect breasts, his eyes resting a bit on the heavy necklace that matched the anklets on her arms and legs and then her face and found she had noticed him from where she stood entertaining the crowd. Her lips thinned and her eyes shown in indignation as if warning him to stop his assessment of her. His lips lifted in a barely noticeable lopsided grin and he tilted his head to the side watching her. Her boldly met his as she continued to dance her way through, not missing a step. She kept her eyes solely on him and though he willed his mind not to think so, he felt the sensual moves of her hands and hips were all for him. Though he knew better than to believe that, his mind dwelt on it and a small smile crept up his face. One that didn't not go unnoticed by the way her one brow lifted in question. He crossed his legs attempting to hide his erection. She was turning him to a sex craved beast, one worst than he already was. She was sexy, everything about her. Her look of displeasure, her smile, even the way she stared at him now like he was the worst person on the planet. He liked it all. She was beautiful, he knew it, she knew it but for some reason he found she didn't like it. She was inexperienced in every way, the ever present look of scorn had been to cover that up and he sure wasn't going to let it remain that way. They had met for a reason and he believed the reason was plain obvious- to help her discover her sexuality and he didn't mind doing that. She was his already without knowing- at least for the time being and he intended to make her scream it out herself, one way or another on the bed and he wasn't giving up until she had had a taste of sweet pleasure. He made it his sole mission but for now he would use the help of other women to help with his present raging erection. He threw a small smirk at the glaring woman on the stage and adjusted his trousers before making a quick excuse to Adamo and making his way out of the dimly lit up room. He had pressing issues to take a care of in his bed room