Walking briskly to the hamam at Bab Dukala, Radouan had a quick bath, went to the Mosque to pray that he would see Delphine again, and tried to obliterate the anger and remorse he felt at the way she had treated him. ‘French women were never satisfied’, his friend J.W. once said, ‘when they say yes, they mean no, and when they say no they usually mean yes!’
After praying he picked up some croissants and drove to Toni’s place where he quietly let himself in, prepared some fresh orange juice and coffee and brought it in to her. ‘You’re awake.’ he smiled, setting down the tray.
Toni made a face. ‘Where were you? I woke up at six thirty and you weren’t here?’
‘I told you last night I had to go to Mosque... special day.’
‘Kiss me,’ she said lazily.
Radouan kicked off his babouches, threw off his gandoura and crawled in bed. Even though he had bathed and prayed, he was still excited from his encounter with Delphine. Certain juices had accumulated that had to come out; otherwise, all day long he would be nervous and that would not be good because in two hours he was meeting his mother and going to see his bride to be, Hafida.!
In bed, he kissed Toni passionately for almost an hour and finally guided her hand to his zahp. She went wild; they fell off the bed and finished on the floor. When she surrendered to him like that she became the person he really loved. ‘Oridouka,’ he whispered softly. ‘Oheepouka, Antajouka.’
‘Waha sidi,’ she smiled up at him.
‘We’ve been fighting too much’... I wanted to show you how much I really love you.’
Toni sighed and looked around the room. ‘habibi... look at this mess, the breakfast tray fell off... the orange juice.’
‘Don’ worry, I’ll get you more orange juice. What will you do today?’
‘I have golf at Amelkis, then a work out at the gym... Shall we lunch here?’
‘As you like, but attention, ‘bibti! Remember what I said about Lahcen: if I ever catch you together… I’m serious. Staring is the same as...’
‘You’ve said all that before,’ she smiled ‘... stop obsessing... let’s not spoil such a glorious morning.’
‘Promise me you won’t look at him.’
‘I promise, now what about lunch?’
‘Really I should have lunch with my family, it’s Friday... but I’ll try and get out of it. Call me around midday to be sure. I have some papers to file with the Municipality.’
‘I’ll be working out then.’
‘That is why I want you to call me. I want Lahcen to hear you speaking to me. And what about tonight?’
‘I’m dining at Trattoria with an architect from Casablanca... you must join us or come by.’
‘To discuss plans for our country house, of course...’
‘Who is this architect... how did you meet him?’
‘His name is Ben’ Sleem... something... I’ve forgotten his name. I’ll have to call the people who recommended him....’
‘Attention to what?’
‘You must be careful of these architects, they’re all swindlers... jus' pay attention and don’t commit yourself until we talk it over... there will be negotiations... I know all their tricks. Where did you say you were meeting him?’
‘Trattoria in Gueliz, I should think... why?’
‘I’ll probably have to sit with my father for some time. They say it makes him feel better. We don't talk much, jus’ sit... sometimes I hold his hand... sometimes I massage him. I should be back here by midnight. You won’t bring your architect back here will you?’
‘Why? Because he shouldn’t know about me. If you’re going to negotiate with him it must look like you are doing it, not me. If he happened to meet me here and saw this place... your Picassos, the Matisses... the price would go way up.’
©Elwyn Chamberlain 2006