“If you and I are in agreement…” Azzah let her sentence trail off as she pushed her elbow into Reem’s back. Reem stood back up, downing half of her bowl with a few gulps. She glanced back at Azzah with a smirk. Azzah gestured for her to move on. Reem did so, Azzah watching her the entire time.
“They certainly like to dance around each other,” Waseme commented, holding a new bowl out to Azzah.
Azzah took a few more gulps to finish her drink so to exchange it with the fresh one. “In Reem’s case it is dancing. She knows how to dance well. Lebna knows how to stand and look pretty.”
“It is a good thing to have,” Waseme agreed. “What will you do when she takes him?”
Azzah shrugged. “Nothing different. It won’t change anything.”
Waseme held the empty bowl to her chest, following Azzah’s watchful eye back to Reem. Reem’s stance was much like when they sparred – sturdy. She knew exactly where she stood and it was where she wanted to be. Lebna could only attempt to mimic her certainty. It made Azzah snicker.
“Probably not.” Waseme patted Azzah on the shoulder and returned to her pots.
Azzah brought the bowl to her lips holding it with both hands. “I think this is my favorite.”
“Hm.” Reem took a big gulp herself, belying her previous words. “Then enjoy it while it lasts, little sister. She said it will only be for a little longer.”
“I think you should make up for your less enjoyed drink with something else.” Azzah hooked her free arm with Reem’s. She grinned at Waseme, who knew exactly what Azzah referred to. With a shake of her head, Waseme went back to pouring another bowl. Whether for someone else or in preparation for them coming back, Azzah never knew.
Reem hadn’t missed their look. Reem was a sharp one. Azzah might have sat them both down in front of Waseme’s hut to start their evening, as they always did, but she had to know what Azzah would push her toward. It was hard to miss Lebna. His skin was lighter than most, though just as rough from work fishing, hunting, sowing and gathering as the others. His locs were thick, bound only with coloured thread.
“What’s this?” The moment Reem noticed Lebna, her eyes caught. “Well?” she asked Azzah, pretending not to know.
“He’s still up.” Azzah took another sip. “You should go speak with him.”
“I should go speak with him?” Reem repeated, not doing much more than pressing her lips against her bowl.
Azzah laughed. “Come on now! You aren’t fooling anyone, especially not me.”
“Oh, Azz, how could I ever fool you?”
Hirka was not large, but it could always be described as lively. Even at this time of evening, when Azzah and Reem were free from their duties until the next day. Many others had come back into town, done with their day of hard work and ready for relaxation or festivities.
Azzah liked this better. Until recently, she and Reem had held the night shift. Azzah hoped that Daudi and Lulu would enjoy the night air enough that the Lel’ul would be pleased with retaining this arrangement. It was nice not having to forgo sleep to see more people. She knew Reem liked it too, though more for once particular person’s company than anything else.
“What’s in the bowls tonight?” Reem asked Waseme. The woman began to pour out drink the moment she saw them approach. It was like this every night, right in front of Waseme’s hut.
She held them out with hands roughened by her years of serving the bowls in the exact same way. Reem and Azzah grabbed them at the same time. “Same as yesterday. It’s not quite the time for next season’s drink, Reem. Hold steady for a little longer.”
“Ah, well I can always ask.”
Waseme chuckled, dark grey eyes sparkling from the light of the evening meal fires. “Asking won’t make a lick of difference, you know.”