Raece Lucas Caruk & I met when I was 23. We had been at the library at the same time and he had asked me where a book was. I had taken him to the book and then we sat down and talked for awhile. Before we knew it, Raece was asking me out, and then ten months later, we were married. A year later, I am pregnant and we are moving to Egypt so that he can practice medicine with his father. Will Raece's family accept me? And how about the child I am about to have? Will my parents be able to make it to Egypt for the birth of their grandchild?
Chapt.1: First Contact:
Raece was walking around looking for books when I passed him. I was looking for one of my favorite authors and didn't here him ask me for help until he tapped me on the shoulder. I was listening to my CD player and the volume was all the way up. When he tapped me on the shoulder, I swung around, yanking out the headphone from my right ear.
"Hi, can I help you?" I asked.
"Yes, I was wondering if you could show me where a book was. I am having trouble finding it and the library people seem not to know of the book I am looking for." He said in a thick accent.
"Um, sure, what book was it that you were you looking for?"
"It is called 'The Red Heart' by James Alexander Thom. I have noticed his other books but I cannot find that book. My father recommended that as soon as I could, I should read that book. But I cannot find it for the life of me."
"Well, sorry but you're definitely not going to find it here. I've already tried and apparently someone forgot to return it to the library because it's no longer in the system. The only way to find it now would be to order it through a Borders Book Store. There should be one at the Everett Mall as well as the Alderwood Mall."
"You must like the book as well. Have you not already bought it?"
"Buying it would mean that I had money, of of which I do not. No job means no money which means I have no money to spend on the stuff I want to spend it on. So I am stuck at the library most of the time, checking CD's and movies out. And an occasional book, though I have to say, I haven't read a book in a long time."
"Sorry to hear that. Would you like to sit with me? Maybe you could help me with another little project. I have my laptop with me and am in need of some help downloading a game I play as well as a 3D chatting network in which I just joined. Facebook said it was one of the top chatting sites to meet new people."
"You must be talking about IMVU. Yeah, sure I can help you out. I have an account on that site as well, though I don't get on much anymore due to the fact that the library doesn't allow downloaded stuff on their computers and my grandma no longer has internet."
"Yes, IMVU is what I have. And if you are on it, then I can add you as a friend. I do not have that many friends so maybe you can help me find some."
"And the game that you play? What site is that on?"
"It's called Wizard101. I've also just started to play it. Also another site Facebook suggested I check out. My sisters have played it for some time, but I have just recently started playing. Now we can keep in touch through our Avatar Wizards."
"I'm thinking I'm going to like having you as a friend. I'm Jami, what's your name?"
"Raece, but most people call me Luke since my middle name is Lucas. You can call me Luke if you want."
"Raece, is that by any chance spelled R-A-E-C-E?"
"How did you know Jami?"
"I'm good with names. And where exactly are you from? I noticed the accent and was thinking Northern or Middle Africa. Am I wrong or right?"
"Right, I am originally from Egypt, that is where my family lives. My father owns the house here that I am staying in. He bought it soon after he found out that it was for sale. It is somewhere in Lake Stevens, but I get lost easily trying to go places, except when I am going down to school at the University of Washington."
"That house isn't by any chance on a river that likes to flood, is it?"
"You know of the house I am talking about?"
"Show me a picture and I can tell you if I do or not."
"Let me pull one up from my picture folder." He said as he minimized the internet browser and went into his Picture Folder. He brought up a folder labeled 'Father's House' and opened it. I sucked in a breath. "You know of this house Jami?"
"I should think so; I grew up in that house. It used to belong to my dad before he sold it. I hadn't realized anyone had moved in though, from what most of the neighbors have said, there is barely anyone ever home."
"Well, I am glad I know who used to own the house. I have barely spent time there myself but now that we are friends; maybe I could spend more time at the house. Would you like to go there, I mean if it is alright with your grandmother?"
"I don't think she'll mind. I'm now friends with the son of the man that bought the house in which me and my siblings grew up. Are the rooms already designated by your sisters and family?"
"Yes, my sisters came up a few weeks ago and brought some of their stuff with them. There is only one room open other than mine at the moment and that is the one next to mine. Mine being the one over the garage."
"And my old room is the one that is empty. As soon as we are done downloading everything, do you want to go over there? It's been a long time since I've been in that house."
"I would be delighted to allow you to reenter your childhood home. Maybe you would like to spend a few days there as well. My family is flying up this weekend and I have promised that I would find someone that knows their way around the town and accompanying us to the other towns around Lake Stevens. My father believes this will be a good vacation spot."
"That would be great, only thing is, I don't think my family will be too happy of me spending time with someone that I had just met. Though you living in the house that my family used to own will give you some points. My parents should be home soon and my grandma is always home. Would you like to meet them, just as a precaution so that they at least know where I am?"
"Of course, and my father would be willing to pay you for showing us around, like you could be our personal tour guide."
"Yeah, I doubt it, a personal tour guide that doesn't drive. I highly doubt your father will want that. By the amount of pictures you have on here, you must have a camera."
"Yes, not only am I going am I going to the University to become a Pediatrician but I am taking some photography classes. I am always looking for new things to photograph. And my father won't mind that you do not have your license though I am wondering why such a pretty woman like you doesn't have one."
"I live on a bus line. There was never a need for me to get my license since I was five minutes away from the bus. Except when I lived at my dad's. Then the bus was three miles away."
"Well that explains a lot then. I was sure I saw you walk in when I drove up. You live up the hill don't you?"
"Yes, I do. But how did this end up turning into a conversation about where I live? I don't mind where you live since it is where I grew up, but at the moment, my home is of no importance to you. Okay, so we have IMVU up and running, now all we have to do is download Wizard101 and we should be good."
"Show me your IMVU, will you? And you can add me as a friend. I can check my email later in the day."
"Sure, why not. Though don't be surprised by some of the outfits. One of the main reasons for my having IMVU is mostly to buy outfits that suits some of my characters that I write about in the stories I write. If you know what FanFiction is then I won't have a hard time explaining it to you."
"Aye, I know what FanFiction is. My sister Setti loves writing and reading stories from that site. Her favorite author is BobWhite with a capitol B and W."
"Well then she is definitely going to love me then."
"And why is that?"
"You're staring and talking to BobWhite with a capitol B and W."
"Well, then I have to say that the rest of my family will love you to. Setti has gotten nearly everyone in our family to read your stories. She will be flabbergasted at meeting you. Did you ever think about getting published?"
"Yeah, with some of my stories, but FanFiction can only be posted on the site. At the moment I have a bunch of poems that I am trying to get published but the last people I spoke with wanted me to pay them eight thousand dollars for them to publish my stuff. And I definitely don't have that kind of money lying around. No offense, I would love to see some of my poems in a book one day, but I don't think that it will happen any time soon."
"I would love to read some of these poems of yours. And I know Setti will as well."
"Well, thank you. But tell me more of you. I wish to know a little more about you and our new friendship."
"Alright, I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I am here studying to be a Pediatrician before I go back to Cairo to work with my father at his private practice he opened up some years ago. My mother is a teacher and loves the children she teaches. She wishes she could teach them of other places but we haven't been able to travel much. My love for children and nature are my best qualities and I love to read. Anything I should know about you other than the fact that you like to write poetry and stories?"
"Of course; I love to read and watch movies. I get most of my ideas from the movies and TV shows that I watch and the books I read. I like nature as well and my family is a big snowmobiling family. Family tradition is a big must in my family, and I am a huge tea drinker. I am also really good with kids and almost every kid I've come in contact with thinks my 'funny faces' are hilarious. That about sums it up for me."
"So, is everything downloaded then?"
"Yes, and here is my IMVU account." I finished as I typed in my password and username. He immediately saw that my girl was dressed as a Ranger. I went first to my pet and fed it, then moved to my outfits and showed him all the clothes I had bought for my avatar. He was impressed. I looked up about that time and realized that it was way past dark and then looked at the clock. "Holey crap, I really have to be getting home. Would you mind driving me home? Not a very good idea to walk home in the dark in Marysville, and I hate walking in the dark anyways."
"Sure; should we exchange phone numbers then so I know how to get into contact with you?"
"Of course." We exchanged cell numbers and then headed out to the parking lot. I got into his truck and he drove me the way I showed him. I gave him directions back to the highway and he promised to call me the next day.
Raece called me the next day just like he promised. My dad was over talking with my grandma when I got the call. My cell was in the living room and when I rushed to pick it up, both looked at me. The looks on their faces told me that they wanted to know who I was rushing to answer the phone for. They had never seen me rush to answer the phone for anyone, let alone a friend. Besides, my cell was nearly always with me. I went into the other room and talked with Raece, who told me that his family had arrived and that they wanted to meet with me to discuss not only mine and Raece's friendship but also about me being a tour guide for his family while they were in town. Raece had told his family that the house they now owned had used to belong to my family and they had immediately wished to meet me. I said that it was fine and he said he was on his way over to get me. I of course told him that my father and grandmother were at the house and he insisted on meeting with them. When I came back out into the living room, both were waiting for me to explain.
"What?" I asked them.
"Just that you've never rushed to answer the phone for anyone that we know of. Not even when you were dating Zach. Who's the boy?" My dad asked.
"Just someone I met at the library yesterday. I helped him get some things set up on his computer and we got to talking. He was the one that dropped me off last night. His name is Raece."
"Do you know anything about him?"
"Only that he is from Cairo and up here going to the University of Washington to become a Pediatrician. He plans on going back to Cairo as soon as his training is over to work with his father at the family's private practice. He also likes nature and children and he loves to read. His father bought your house. And he offered me a job."
"Wait, his family is the one that bought it. I knew it was someone from out of state but I never met the people that bought it. Now I want to meet this guy."
"Well that's good because he is on his way over here now to pick me up. His parents want to meet me and offer me the job of tour guide since they have never been up here for a long period of time. I said I would have to talk it over with my grandma and you of course. So what do you think?"
"I think it is good that you now have a job, but don't get too dependent on this job, they could let you go without telling you why. But the fact that his family now owns our old house, well at least it ended up in good hands."
"Yes, it did. He has photographs of the house and yard on his laptop. They redecorated the outside and planted some trees in the back that will bear fruit later on in the season. He also says that with a little help from said previous owner, they might be able to get the yard to look as if it were brand new. I said I'd have to talk it over with everyone. He wants to repaint the basketball court and possibly repaint some of the rooms. He of course wants to ask permission not knowing if we still care about what happens to the house."
"He doesn't have to ask permission to change the paint job of the walls of the house. His family owns the house now; they can do what they want with it. But," the ringing of the doorbell interrupted my dad and I got up to let Raece inside, "we'll talk about this later Jami."
"Dad, grandma, this is Raece Lucas Caruk. Raece, this is my dad Terry and my grandma Shirley."
"It's nice to meet the both of you. Before we go anywhere, I need to ask if it is okay that Jami be able to spend the night. We plan on leaving first thing tomorrow morning to go adventuring and my father doesn't want to have to drive all the way out here. If it is okay, she'll need to pack for the weekend as well. We'll be gone throughout the weekend."
"Yes, it's fine with us. Jami you should probably go pack. We'll talk more with, Raece, is it?"
"Yes, but you can call me Luke. My middle name is Lucas and most people prefer to call me Luke over Raece. It's just easier for them."
"Alright, Luke it is then. Please sit down."
"Thank you, um Jami, Setti asked if you would please bring any music that you might have. She is a big music buff and was wondering what you were interested in."
"Alright, all my music it is then. Grandma, can I borrow the red suitcase?"
"Yes, go ahead."
"Thanks." I went to go pack as Raece settled down to talk to my dad and grandma. I packed all my cool looking clothes which included my tie-dye dress, both of my gypsy skirts, my shell belt, my African shirt and the purse that went with it, and all of my jewelry & makeup. The next thing I packed was some jeans and some sweatshirts, then all of my music into my duffel bag. I also put my computer games in just in case Setti or any of his other sisters wished to play a game. I went into the next room and grabbed a few movies as well, but mostly the family movies and the Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman TV Series and put them in the duffel bag as well. When I had everything packed, I went into the kitchen and grabbed all of my tea and the sweet-n-low that I always put in my tea. Raece and my dad were in full conversation when I announced that I was ready. I had packed my laptop and charger, my cell charger, CD player and all the AA batteries into my laptop bag. In my duffel bag were some small blankets, a razor, ibuprofen, shampoo & conditioner, toothpaste & toothbrush, hair brush, my box of pony tail holders, deodorant, body wash. I had also grabbed my M.U.D. backpack that contained my FanFiction stories that I didn't have on my laptop. My dad looked at me but Raece helped me get everything into the back of his truck before I told my dad and grandma goodbye. My dad told me that he approved of Raece and his family and that as friends, we would be good friends. I got into the passenger side of the truck, putting my purse on the floor and holding my dragon and Raece started the engine, backed out of the driveway and we headed for the house.
Caruk House: Old Force Household:
The first thing I did after we got all my stuff into the house and into the room that was designated for me, was explore the house I had grown up in. Raece and his parents were amazed to find that the small door in Raece's room led to the small door in front of my room. It was a crawl space where we had kept most of our old backpacks and some blankets. My step-brother had also kept most of his stuffed animals in there and whatever he could stuff in there. The Caruk's let me explore my old home for about ten more minutes before I grabbed my duffel bag and backpack and brought it downstairs. Raece was talking with his sisters in the living room when I came downstairs. I set the duffel bag next to the wall on carpet and waited for it to calm down.
"Raece told me that you wished to speak to me about being your tour guide while you were here Mr. Caruk."
"Yes, that and my son seems to be smitten over you. My daughter, Setti, can't believe you are her favorite FanFiction author and my wife, who is busy putting some of your clothes in the walk-in closet, has mentioned your wardrobe that you have brought with you. She didn't say anything in front of you for fear that you would take offense to it, but can we ask what your thought is about the clothes you packed?"
"Of course. Well I figured because you were from Cairo, that you wouldn't mind my weird sense of fashion. The dress was the last dress sold from a store I entered in Everett before it closed. The gypsy skirts are my favorite; I wear them over my pants. My shell belt was made in Nigeria as was my orange shirt and the purse I brought to go along with it. The earrings and necklace I bought with the shell belt. No I haven't been to Nigeria, or Cairo, but there is a market called Pike's Place that I got my skirts, the shell belt, earrings and necklace from. I got the shirt and purse from the Sausage Fest that is held every year in Everett. It's basically Everett's beer festival but it is also a carnival as well. My family has been going since my mom met my step-dad."
"That was a lengthy explanation. Raece said that you brought music for Setti and my other children to listen to. Is any of it good?"
"Depends on what they like. I have a variety of music selections. My favorite at the moment are my Hindi/Korean Pop music that I have been listening to since I downloaded it from Limewire, before my grandma lost her internet. Whatever you do, do not ask me to fix a computer, it won't happen."
"Duly noted. Would you like something to drink? We have a coffee pot; I can make coffee for you if you want. Our family prefers to drink tea, but I'm not sure what you like to drink."
"She likes tea as well Josef." Raece's mother came down the stairs with my tea box and the sweet-n-low. She had a grin on her face. "Though she has a much bigger variety than we do. You must let us taste some of this tea. We only have what we brought with us from Cairo. And you must show us where you get your tea."
"Oh, I get it at the local Safeway or where it is the cheapest. You can have some if you want. I stuffed all the tea at the house into the box. And I managed to empty a few of the boxes the tea actually came in. I think I packed my strawberry tea as well. It's a leaf tea but I only have one tea leaf steeper."
"That's okay, most of our tea is leaf tea, so we have plenty steepers. The strawberry was in the gold package yes?"
"Yes, and did you happen to cross a white bag packed away with everything else?"
"Yes, I put it in the garbage for I didn't kow what was in it. It looked like a garbage bag to me." The look on my face told her it wasn't garbage and she immediately asked what was in the bag. "Not garbage, so what was in it?"
"Incense; about 15 bags of them, all different flavors. I figured you wouldn't mind if I burned them in the house. I've been banned from burning them at home because my grandma is allergic to the smoke. There should be an incense burner with them."
"Oh well, they can be saved. They are still in the bag. I'll go get them."
"Thank you. Uh, Setti, Raece told me that you liked music, so I brought my stash of CD's with me. Hopefully you will like the music as much as I do. I also brought some computer games for the kids to play with if they wish."
"Thank you very much, the girls will be thrilled. And here are your incense. No laptop?"
"Uh no, I don't have one. It kind of got stolen. But my grandma's friend has a neighbor that fixed my computer; I just can't get on the internet unless I'm plugged into an internet cord."
"Oh, I'm sorry about your laptop, well you can use one of ours that we aren't using. I'm sure Setti will be happy to let you borrow hers."
"Thank you. Oh, that side backpack I brought with me has two binders full of FanFiction stories in it if you wish to look at them later Setti."
"Yes, I would love to look at them. I can't stop reading them. Raece says you also write poetry. Did you bring any?"
"No, but I can get on the website I post them to and let you read them if you like."
"Yes very much so. Is the interview over dad? I want to see what she has without you interrupting."
"Yes Setti, the interview is over. Raece, can you go get your sisters, maybe they would like to look at the music. Jami, do you prefer anything for dinner?"
"Whatever you want to make; just as long as there are no peppers; I hate peppers."
"You hate peppers?!" Setti asked, shocked. Her whole family loved peppers.
"It's a long story. To shorten it up, my step-mom had a jalapeño plant that had dried up. I was in the eighth grade and we had this science project we were working on. We had to make a garden with our science partners and I brought jalapeño peppers to school. Over lunch, me and my partners planted the seeds and apparently I had a seed on my thumb. Without knowing it was there, I itched my eye and the seed got into my eye. I ended up in the nurse's office with my eye over water for the next hour. It wasn't fun and I never ate peppers after that."
"I can see why you don't like peppers. Hi, I'm Aaliyah and these two are Acenath and Adara. My name means…" I cut her off.
"I know what your names mean. Aaliyah means to ascend, to go up; Acenath is Egyptian for belonging to the goddess Neith; and Adara means noble."
"How do you know that?"
"I have Hebrew names on a flash drive. I use all sorts of names, religions and vocabulary in some of my stories. And even have a knack at making up languages for some of my stories as well. I personally can't say that I like one language or religion over another. It's just who I am."
"Nice one Raece, she's a keeper."
"Nobody ever knows what our names mean. Nor do they think every religion is worth looking into. Our brother sure can pick them."
"We are only friends. We just met yesterday at the library where I helped him with his computer."
"You won't be his friend for long Jami. Soon you two will be married with kids before you even know what hit you."
"You must be the Seer of the family."
"Seer? What's a Seer?"
"Someone who can foretell the future of course."
"Oh no, that is not me. I was just saying since he can't seem to take his eyes off of you."
"I noticed that from the first moment I met him. There's this sort of charm about him. So may I ask where you are planning on going tomorrow?"
"We heard that there were Ice Caves near Granite Falls. Do you know where they are?" Adar asked.
"Actually to tell you the truth, in the whole time I've lived here, which is since I was six, I've never been to the Ice Caves. I've always wanted to go though. I'm sure we can find a map to it on MapQuest though. It'll be easy if we just follow the directions. I think they are up near Mt. Pilchuck though."
"Mt. Pilchuck huh? Isn't that the Pilchuck River behind us?" Acenath asked.
"Yes it is, and it doesn't matter how hot it is, that river will always feel ice cold. It's mountain snow water. In the last major flood, the river changed course and now all the rocks are above water instead of underwater. And the big rock in the middle of the rest of the rocks, that used to be where we would sun bathe in the middle of the river. But at least we now have a deep spot back again. There hasn't been a deep spot since I was like eight, after the big tree fell down. But if you walk upriver a little, there are a few other deep spots and this big open field that's great for picnics, but only in the summer."
"Sounds great; I can't wait to come up here for summer vacation."
"How old are you girls?"
"I'm sixteen, Adara is fourteen, Acenath is twelve and Setti is ten. Raece is the oldest out of all of us. The only reason we are here now is because school is out for what you would call Spring Break and mom and dad wanted to check out the house."
"Well, it is a very welcoming house. But what happens when all of you, including Raece, go back to Cairo? Who's going to look after the house?"
"We were thinking of renting it out, maybe to someone in your family, now that we know the house used to belong to your family. But it would be a reasonable price. Most likely $1500 depending on how many people decide to rent at one time. If they have roommates, then the rent would be split up, if not, then we would lower it." Josef, Raece's dad explained.
"My father is going to want to talk to you then. Here Setti, how about we go through the music now. I also brought some family movies if you want to watch one tonight."
"Movies!" Raece's sisters yelled together.
"Our girls have been dieing to get there hands on some new movies. We have about ten at home and brought only a few with us. They just can't seem to get enough of the movies."
"Why do you say it like that?" Acenath asked.
"Well, because when I was in the military, I bought a lot of movies. I'm a movie buff myself so I figured I would stock up on all my favorite TV shows on DVD and all my favorite movies as well. If you want, while you are here, we can go back to my house and get some more movies."
"How many movies do you actually have?!" Setti asked.
"I can do one better then telling you, I can show you." I said pulling out my cell and going to my pictures. Going to the one marked as 'Movie Collection', I enlarged it and showed it to the girls. Their mouths fell open and they just stared until the screen went black.
"That a lot of movies, Jami."
"About eight-thousand dollars worth, granted some of them I already owned. And then the fact that the front movies are hiding the movies behind them. They could fit the way I wanted them to fit and they are all in Alphabetical order, except when I get annoyed, then I just stack them any which way."
"Maybe later on in the week we could go back to your house and look at your movies and bring some back here."
"That'd be fine. The garage door opener is in my purse upstairs so I'll be able to get in."
"You use a garage door opener to get into your house, Jami?" Adara asked.
"Yes, my aunt lost the house key so my grandma and I get into the house via the garage. Its okay, we just have to make sure it closes all the way before going anywhere. And I mainly head down to the library down the hill. It's only about a twenty minute walk since its mostly downhill. The walk back up normally takes longer cause I get tired from walking up hill and stop then realize I get colder when I stop."
"Why don't you think about getting your license then? Wouldn't it be easier?" Aaliyah asked.
"Yes it would be easier, but I have no money to take the class to get my license and I don't have the money to pay for a car or insurance."
"Oh, I forgot that you have to pay that stuff. I haven't gotten a car yet, but I do have my license."
"That's good for you Aaliyah."
Miriam, Raece's mother had just finished making dinner when Setti and Adara found some of my Christian music. They seemed to be fascinated by it and popped the Michael W. Smith CD into the stereo. Raece had just come downstairs from doing something in his room and Aaliyah and Acenath were helping Josef, their father with decorating some of the house. They figured they could buy some stuff for the house later on that would help spruce it up a little. Raece had my bag of incense in his hand and his father looked at him as he handed it to me.
"Thank you Raece. I don't know what I would have done if I had lost my stash. It's taken a few years to get this many incense and money as well. Would you like me to burn one right now? I can if you guys would like."
"That would be fine Jami. What flavors do you have?" Miriam asked.
"What flavor do you like?"
"Well my favorite is Egyptian Musk but what is your favorite?"
"That would have to be the Lemongrass. I like anything that has a lemon scent or flavor."
"Well, I believe Lemongrass will be just fine then. Go ahead and light it and we will eat our dinner together. I have also made a big pot of hot water for anyone that wishes to drink tea with their food instead of milk."
"Thank you and we can use some of my tea bags as well. I think I'm in the mood for some Orange Spice. I haven't had that in a while."
"Alright then, and this music is good Jami."
"Thank you, just one of the CD's I burned from the library."
"Burned?" Aaliyah, Acenath and Adara asked together.
"Yes, you download the CD onto your computer via Windows Media Player then you go into the rip window and hit rip. After the CD is ripped to the computer, you grab a blank CD, put it in the CD Drive and go into the Burn window and hit burn. Then when they pop out of the CD Drive, I write what is on them and put them with the rest of my burned CD stacks; which at the moment number three. I've been burning CD's I borrow from the library for awhile now. Its easier then going out and buying them yourselves' that and there's also Limewire. It's something you can download from the internet, the free version at least. But I don't use it anymore seeing as my grandma no longer has internet, hence the reason I go to the library to use there computers."
"Ah, you will have to show us how to burn CD's later on then. But now, let's eat."
Dinner was eaten not in silence but in talk. Everyone had questions about my life and I in turn had questions about Cairo and the rest of Egypt. Almost everyone of the Manave family realized that I did have an extensive knowledge of some parts of Africa, and figured it was just research for some of my stories. They were right, but it was also because someday, I was going to travel all over Africa just for the fun of it and because it had been something that I had wanted to do since I was in High School. Plus I always wanted to travel the world, just never got the chance. They asked few questions about my time in the military and I answered them, but only to a certain point. I didn't say anything about how I got out, just that the reason I got out was of personal reasons. They let me leave it at that. The Manave family had each grabbed a tea bag from my Tea Box and had tea with sugar and milk. I of course only used two packages of Sweet'n'low.
Movie & Laptops:
All the kids had a laptop and since I was using Setti's slightly old laptop, we all got on the internet and did separate things. The first thing we did together was add each other to our Friends List on Facebook. Next thing I did was download IMVU to the desktop and get on my homepage. Then I downloaded Wizard101 so that we could all play together and added each as my friends. The last thing I did was check both of my email accounts and delete what I could. Setti had gone through some of the movies I had brought and Chosen 'Avatar' and put it into the DVD player, shutting off the music in the process. We settled down to watch the movie and play on the computers.
As 'Avatar' started, Raece started chatting with me on Facebook. I was on Facebook and IMVU at the same time and figured it was faster if I added Raece to my contacts on IMVU and helped him get more friends for him through my friends list. He seemed to appreciate that I was asking my friends to be friends with him. I had also downloaded Limewire to the computer and was in the process of downloading some music that I wanted and didn't have at the moment on CD's that I had burned.
Chapt.2: Tour Guide:
For the first time in a long time, I woke up early, well earlier then I normally would. I guess it was because I was back in my childhood home. And the other part was because I could sense someone was watching me. I opened my eyes to see Setti sitting in the room, reading one of the binders full of stories. She sensed someone watching her and looked up. When she saw my eyes open she smiled and laughed then set the binder down and came over to sit in front of me.
"How long have you been up Setti?"
"It's hard to say. The time shift is so different then from Egypt. I guess my internal clock is still stuck on Cairo time. I've been up for a few hours, though my sisters and brother are still asleep. Did you want to go back to sleep?"
"Actually I was thinking about going for a small walk around the neighborhood and around the property. Want to join me?"
"Oh, can I?"
"We can leave a note for your parents. Let's get some cool clothes on and head out, shall we?"
"We shall, let me go get dressed."
Setti left the room and went back to her room which had actually been a closet at one point. She didn't mind, she liked the small bedroom. While Setti got dressed, I dressed in some sweat pants and a tank-top. I grabbed a pair of my slip on shoes and my phone. I met her downstairs five minutes later where we left a note for the family and then slipped out the front door. She grabbed my hand as we started walking down the road. It was only about seven in the morning so nobody was really up and about.
We walked the whole neighborhood before making our way through the abandoned lot next to Michael's house. We stopped on the small hill before making our way down towards the river. Setti was looking at the water and smiling. My phone was going off which meant that they had either read the note or hadn't seen the note yet. We walked along the riverbank until we couldn't and climbed up the bank to the level area and headed back into their back yard. I went down to the river again and sat on my knees. Setti came up next to me and sat down. She seemed to be deep in thought.
"Jami, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure, Setti go ahead."
"When we go back to Egypt and Raece follows us later on for summer vacation, will you come with him? I mean, would you consider coming with him if he asked you to? He comes home for all the breaks he can including Thanksgiving and Christmas."
"That would have to depend on if he asked me to come with him. I would love to journey to Egypt, it's one of the places I really want to go, but Raece would have to ask me first."
"Oh, I understand."
"Setti, it doesn't mean he might not ask me, but your brother and I have only known each other for a few days. If he asked me now, don't you think that would be a little awkward?"
"I guess you're right. It is peaceful here, you know. I mean of course you know, but just in case you didn't know. And I'm rambling again."
"It's okay Setti, you're ten-years-old, you have every right to ramble and be a kid and all. So what do you do at home when you're not in school?"
"My babysitter makes me do not so fun stuff. She's not that fun, she's older than me and with my sister's too busy with their own studies they barely have time for me. That and I'm normally the only one home right after school. My babysitter is like sixty or something like that."
"I see, well, for the time that you are here, I wouldn't mind hanging out with you. I'm pretty good with kids and I think I'm a fun person and all."
"Really, that sounds like a great idea. Hey, maybe you can come home with us after Spring Break and be my babysitter. I can ask mom when we get back to the house."
"Let's leave that for another time. For now, let's just have fun while you are here. Besides, don't you think I will miss my family if I leave all of a sudden? And how would I get all of my stuff down there? No, for now, it's best that I stay here and look for a job."
"But you have a job. My dad hired you to be our tour guide."
"And when you are gone, what am I supposed to do for work?"
"Raece said that you were trying to get published, maybe he can help you with that."
"Setti, there is a lot you need to learn before we talk about that. For now, I think we should get back to the house. They are probably up and about by now and I need to get a shower in as you do to."
"Okay. Hey Jami?"
"Thanks for befriending my brother. You're one of the better girls he's befriended and you like just about the same things as he does. You will make a good couple."
"You are welcome and what's with your family and prediction making?"
"It's who we are."
"I can tell."
I got up and took Setti's hand and the two of us headed back up to the house. It was around eight now so we knew that they would most likely be up by now. As we passed the crooked tree Setti stopped all of a sudden and looked at it.
"Jami, why is this tree all crooked?"
"I don't know actually. It's been like that since I was a little girl. We always called it our haunted Halloween tree because it always looked like a Halloween tree to us. Anyways, there was no point in chopping it down; I guess you could say it added a little more character to this place."
"Hm, I'll have to look at how it got all crooked later when we get home from adventuring today."
"You go right ahead and do that. You know, even though I hate getting up this early, we can make it a regular thing while you're here if you want."
"Could we? Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you."
"Setti thanking you for a reason?" Raece asked as he came up behind us making the two of us jump and look around.
"I told her we could make these early morning walks while she was here a regular thing. She seemed to be happy about it. I assume you guys got our note?"
"Yes, we all got up and got ready and the two of you were gone. Setti was always up way before the crack of dawn anyways. So when we got downstairs and still didn't see you, we were going to go out looking. Adara was the one that found your note and we stopped fretting over where the two of you were. Then Aaliyah reminded everyone that you used to live around here so if Setti was with you then she would be safe. Breakfast has been made if you guys want to come in and get ready to go."
"Yay, breakfast!" Setti yelled as she ran for the house.
"Sorry about this. When I woke up I saw Setti sitting by the wall reading out of one of the binders I brought. She seemed bored a little so I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and she said yes. I didn't mean to frighten your family."
"It's okay Jami. You were helping Setti, that's the way they see it. And I think my mom figured that you had gotten her out of the house so that we could sleep in a little longer. And we are grateful for that. Setti normally gets up way early if she's the first up."
"You want to know what she asked me while we were sitting next to the river. She asked me if I would go with your family to Egypt to be her babysitter. I told her that we would talk about it later."
"Hm, Setti does seem to like you a lot, that's for sure. But maybe we better wait till summer to discuss those plans. They'll be back up here this summer and as next year is my last year of school, next summer I will be going back to Egypt to help my family."
"Oh, well that's nice. I think I should head in now and get ready. I still need to take a shower."
I left him standing by the tree and headed back into the house. I didn't want to lose him as a friend and we got along great. Like his family, I could tell that there was something more between the two of us then just a friendship. I looked back and noticed he was still next to the tree. The look on his face told me he had seen the disappointment in my face and heard it in my voice.
When I was out of the shower and getting dressed, Adara and Acenath walked in through the walk-in closet.
"Hey Jami, we saw you and Raece talking out by the tree. Anything interesting?" Adara asked.
"You guys just want to talk about anything but what you want to do today aren't you?"
"No, we're just curious. We saw the look on your face when you came in, the disappointment and then we saw Raece's face and we knew that he must have told you he's coming back home next year after his finals. Are you okay with that?" Acenath asked.
"I don't really know. I mean, he's the first guy I've talked to in a long time that seems to get me for me, that seems to like me for who I am and not want something more from me."
"You mean sex?" Aaliyah asked walking in through the closet as well.
"Well, actually yes. I mean there are certain aspects of myself I don't want to give away to a guy just because he wants it. I'm not that kind of girl. And I already got pressured into having sex once so that's not going to happen again. Let's just say I found out he was married after the whole sex part, which really wasn't that good anyways. And how did this turn into a sex talk anyways?"
"It just sorta came up and all. Look, Raece definitely won't pressure you into anything, but I think if you listened to the rest of what he was going to say, you wouldn't have been so disappointed." Adara said.
"Right, he still wants to be friends, his family likes me, but he just wants to be friends for now. I get it and that's fine with me."
"Okay, well, just, the next time he wants to talk to you alone, let him talk, don't say anything, just let him talk. Maybe you'll understand why he told you he was heading home next year. Oh and mom says that there is some left over breakfast for you if you want. They're all drinking tea at the moment and we said we would see what you were up to." Aaliyah said.
"Thanks but I'm not much of a breakfast eater. A few cups of tea in the morning soot me just fine."
"But you have to eat breakfast; it's the most important meal of the day."
"Says the teachers in the schools we all go to."
"Yes, but aren't they normally right?"
"Not all of them, that's for sure."
I stopped talking, grabbed the last things I needed (phone and purse) and we headed downstairs. The girls followed me downstairs where Setti was sitting at the dining table having some breakfast and some tea. I grabbed a bag of tea and some hot water and joined her. Raece was sitting in the living room, updating his Facebook page saying that the family was going out for the day with a new friend. He never looked up at me figuring I needed time with what he had told me outside. He was wrong of course but I wasn't going to say that. There was plenty of time to talk later, and as his sisters put it, to listen to him and not talk at all.
"What no breakfast Jami?" Setti asked.
"Not a big breakfast kind of girl Setti, never really have been."
"But it's the most important meal of the day. Well at least that's what the teachers and mom say (seeing as she's a teacher and all)."
"Yes, but I'm not the kind of girl that really eats breakfast. I always skipped it and just had something to drink. Besides, a few cups of tea in the morning fill me up till lunch anyhow. So where have you decided you want to go adventuring for the day?"
"We were thinking Pikes Place Market, if you don't mind. We can go to the Ice Caves another day."
"That's no problem. I have a few places down there that I like to go to whenever I'm down there. The best place is the French Bakery, they have the best food and then there is the candy shop. And a few places that I like to buy different things from around the world like the Egypt shop and the African shop."
"Sounds fun, I didn't know other places had stuff you could get stuff from Egypt. This is going to be a fun day that is for sure."
"What do you think Raece? Think we should go to Pikes Place Market and go exploring?" Acenath asked walking up to her brother.
"Sounds like fun to me. And maybe we can buy what we want and keep it here for the summer and then come back and have that picnic in the field up the river."
"He's thinking about something romantic, yuck!" Adara said.
"No I wasn't, Jami just mentioned it yesterday and it got me thinking that we could do that in the summer."
"He does have a point Adara. Jami did tell us yesterday about that meadow and how in the summer it was a good idea to go up the river and use it as a picnic spot and go swimming in the deep spots around the meadow." Aaliyah said.
"Can we get going now?" Setti asked.
"Yea it would be a good idea to get going; beat the traffic and all. I don't think you want to stay down there all day unless you really want to. There's more to see than Pike Place. Around the market there is the World Market, traveling a few miles by foot you can get to the Space Needle and the light rail which you can take to the first of two malls that is three stories high."
"Sounds like a good idea. We better make sure we have what we need and lock up the house. The relator didn't tell us what the passcode for the garage door opener is so we haven't been using it as an entrance. I don't even think Raece knows what it is." Miriam said.
"Well that one is an easy one. I have the pass code. My father changed it after my sister stole from him and I still have it on my phone so I can give it to you. Unless you want to make up a new four digit passcode?"
"No, I guess we can leave it the way it is and you can give Raece the code since he will be here more than the five of us until we come up for summer. And Jami, if you don't mind, you can move back into the house so that Raece will have someone to talk to when he comes home during the weekends. And I know he will like the study buddy." Josef said.
"I wouldn't mind at all, but not for some time would it be appropriate. I don't want my parents to think I'm dating your family even though you did give me a job for the week."
"You wouldn't be dating the family. But yes, I understand how you feel about it. Maybe in a few months, though I see why you wouldn't move in right away, you should consider moving back in; we wouldn't mind and I can tell already that Raece is thinking the same thing and liking the idea. I guess it was a good idea that the two of you ran into each other at the library."
"I guess so."
Though Raece had barely spoken a word during the whole conversation, I could tell that his mind was reeling from what his parents had been talking to me about. And I could tell that he hadn't thought that they would warm up to me so easily, though he had when we first met. Setti grabbed a CD from my collection and everyone headed out to the truck, which was actually an Excursion, a vehicle I was familiar with. Josef and Miriam got into the front while the kids got into the back. They were renting it for the week and it seemed like the kids had no idea how to work the seats. With much confusion going on I finally had to tell the kids to get out and pulled the seats forward myself. They said nothing except thank you and then got into the seats. Once the seats were righted again, Raece and I got into the middle with Setti who handed her mother the CD. She wasn't the only one that had grabbed a CD. In my purse I had two CD cases with at least two CD's in each. It was hard to see me going anywhere without music. We pulled out of the driveway after Miriam punched into the GPS how to get to Pike's Place Market. I could show them where to park.
"So I hope you guys have some cash on you because when we park in Seattle, you are going to need it. You have to pay ten dollars to park in Seattle for every hour that the vehicle sits."
"Well, we brought plenty of cash with us so that shouldn't be a problem. By the way, Jami, Setti told us that she asked you to be her babysitter sometime. What do you think about that? I mean what do you think about coming to Egypt to watch her during the school year?" Miriam said.
"I'd have to know your family for more than three days that's for sure. And as for the whole travel thing, I don't have a passport at the moment and I don't have the money to get a passport. But maybe in the future when I have a job, I'd like that."
"Well what about next summer when Raece comes home to live and work with dad? Would you be able to come then? I mean you would know the family for over a year by then and I'm sure you would be able to get your passport by then." Aaliyah said.
"Next summer would work, if I could get the time off wherever I was working. But at the moment, I haven't been able to find a job that I like."
"What about writing? You like to write, we know that and Raece says you like photography. Why not go back to school and take classes for writing and photography? Raece is taking classes for photography and has taken some good pictures, though he hasn't been around that much country country in a while till dad bought the house." Acenath said.
"Going back to school requires money and someone willing to help me. I don't know about you guys, but when it comes to homework, I like listening to music while I work and it always helps that my music is the inspiration for the reason I write. When I listen to the score of a movie, it just makes my mind float away and my imagination starts working overtime. I mean I could be working on more than one story at a time and still have to time to do other things."
"Can I ask you a question Jami?" Adar asked.
"Go for it?"
"Well Raece mentioned when we got here that you told him that the book he was looking for wasn't at the library. He also mentioned that he had seen you walking into the library when he'd pulled up."
"Is there a question in there somewhere Adara?" Acenath asked.
"Of course there is. Jami, what is that you like so much about reading? I mean I understand why people need to learn to read, but beyond that, I haven't the faintest idea why some people choose to read so much."
"Have you ever really read a book that you loved so much that you couldn't put it down?"
"Well, there was this one I had back in elementary school but mom uses it in her classes now."
"Well, same goes for me and reading. I like reading because when I read I'm transported to wherever it is I'm reading about. To me, reading is an adventure every time I open a book. Take the book Raece was looking for when we met. He was looking for 'The Red Heart' by James Alexander Thom. I've read that book plenty of times and every time I read it, I'm transported back in time to when the story took place. The fact that your father suggested to Raece that he read the book makes me think he read it when he was going to school and was wondering why he could never find it in stores. There are plenty of books that I would love to own but aren't in stores and are no longer in print. Take the 'Meridian Series' graphic novels by Barbara Kessel. They are about a teen who is given the gift of a Sigil, a powerful mark that enables her to heal anything and everything around her including people and gives her the ability to fly. Her uncle, who was also given the power of a Sigil, has the ability to destroy anything he touches and he also can fly. I only have the first two books but it's quite clear what the teen girl needs to do in order for her to win the freedom of herself, her people and the rest of the people of the world they live in from her uncle who only wants to destroy everything because he is a greedy man. The teen's father was supposed to get the Sigil but because of what her uncle did, the teen got it instead. The girl starts a revolution that ends with the destruction of her uncle and her becoming minister to nearly all of the floating islands and the world they live in. Maybe in the summer, I'll bring all my books over and let you read them and you can have all the adventures you want with them like I have every time I read one of them."
"Wow, that was a lengthy explanation, but I get why people read now, and you've even got me interested in the Meridian Series as well as the Red Heart. Maybe dad will buy the Red Heart and we can all take turns reading it. And who knows, maybe you'll have enough money to buy the rest of the Meridian Series books and we can all read them together, one right after the other."
"I'm glad I peeked your interest Adara."
"So, how many books do you actually have Jami?" Acenath asked.
"Three or four plastic tubs full. One day everything I own that can fit on a bookshelf will be on a bookshelf and all of my collectibles will be on shelves to look at."
"What kind of collectibles do you have?" Setti asked.
"I collect tea sets and have been doing so since I was a little girl. I really want to show them off again but there is no room in my grandma's house. Are we there already? That took less time than I thought it would."
"While you guys were talking we took a few short cuts. Josef remembered about them while he was studying medicine here all those years ago. He remembered that he had been to Pike Place with a few friends back then, but doesn't remember much about the area. That is what we have you here for. So we just park here and pay right?" Miriam finished as we pulled up under the Alaskan Way viaduct that near everybody knew was where you parked if you were visiting Pike Place.
"Yes, and before we leave, we could check out the Aquarium too. It's not too far a walk from here and I haven't been there since I was a child."
"Sounds like a good idea. Maybe we will do that during lunch or what not. Alright kids, everyone out."
"Before you lock the doors, you might want to put the day pass in the window so the meter maids know that you paid for the day."
"I forgot that that was what was supposed to happen."
"Of course you did dad, you haven't been here since your college days. Which is why I think you suggested that I go here for college. You knew that I would like it as much as you did."
"My son has a point. So, where to now?"
"Up the steps until we get to flat ground and we can go in from the ground up."
"That sounds like a good idea. I want to get some shopping done here for the kids back home. I told them that I would bring them home a small souvenir so that they could show their families. They do seem to like it when I talk about other places. And now that I know my son will be in good hands while we are away, I think I might implore him to send us some things while we are at home and the two of you are here."
"Implore you will mother."
I laughed at the family as we started out. I bet Setti that I could race her to the top of the stairs and she took the bet. By the time I was at the top of the stairs, Setti and her sisters were still climbing one at a time. Guess it was a good thing I always had taken stairs two at a time.
"That wasn't fair Jami, you have longer legs than I do and you take the stairs two at a time."
"Setti, I did say it was a race. Besides you and your sisters looked like you were having a good time at seeing who could beat each other that I didn't want to interrupt."
"Hm, she has a point Setti. Besides, we were all out of breath like Jami is now." Acenath said. The three sisters turned to see Raece and their parents still moving at their own pace coming up the stairs.
"How come you like living in Washington State so much? Don't you wish you could travel all over? Dad used to take us on family vacations all the time and we would see the world. But when he opened the family practice, the vacations stopped as there were only a few doctors and nurses working with him. This is the first time since I started high school that we have gotten out of Cairo. And I quite have to say, even though it is nice, it is still cold out."
"Why do you think I tied a sweatshirt around my waist this morning? It wasn't because I don't think it won't be warm this day, but because it might rain as it has done on numerous occasions where it is nice one minute and rainy the next minute. You get used to the weather when you live here. But I do have to say that I would love to travel when I get the chance. I'm very big on adventures, even though it may not look like it at the moment. That's another reason I like to write. When I'm writing, I can go on any adventure I want to and not get yelled at for it. It's quite fun actually."
"I bet. Come on guys, the days wasting and I want to get to shopping already." Aaliyah called to her brother and parents who were just about at the top of the stairs. We had moved from the stairs to standing near the road where we would cross to get into Pike's Place Market.
"We're coming Aaliyah, hold your horses."
"We don't have any horse's mom!"
"Very funny girls."
When Raece and his parents were at the side of the road, the family and I looked to see if any cars were coming before crossing the road to get to the entrance of Pike Place. Once in, the first store we came upon was the book store. Aaliyah and Setti were the first in the store and they all looked around to see why I hadn't come in.
"Maybe we can find 'The Red Heart' here. It's worth a look Jami."
"Good luck, I already asked the last time I was here. That is the one book that he doesn't have. But go ahead and look at the books."
"Well thanks for the advice. Any authors you recommend?"
"For teens and pre-teens I'd go with Lurlene McDaniel. She's a young adult author as is Caroline B. Cooney. But if you don't want to buy them, I can always bring some of their books over to the house. They are two of my favorite authors."
"Then I guess there is no reason to come in here today. Come on, let's go adventure somewhere else. Dad, did you and Raece bring your cameras? I want to show all my friends what we did over Spring Break."
"Yes, Aaliyah we brought the cameras. Your cousins and aunts wanted to meet the girl that Raece ended up meeting at the library."
"Oh, great, that makes me feel nervous."
"You don't have to feel nervous. Our family will certainly like you as much as we do. Come, we have a lot of exploring to do today and we don't want to get caught in traffic on the way home tonight, now do we?"
"No, we certainly don't. The traffic on the way home can be killer when you get stuck in the Rush Hour traffic or when people go slow so they can see whatever it is that is holding up traffic. Traffic jams are never fun, unless your with your siblings headed down for a family reunion and some hot guys get stuck next to you. Happened to me and my sisters on our way down to our grandpa's house a few years back. And I'm going to stop talking now."
"Sounds like your siblings are great to hang around. In a few months or during the summer, maybe we can all meet. And I really would like to meet your father Jami. Raece told us that he met him while he was picking you up. He said he seemed like a nice man."
"He is, once you get over the stubborn and mean looking attributes of him. And he's also where I get my height from. He's 6'3 and I'm 6'0 so there's not much of a difference between us. And I can look him in the eyes, which is saying something since the rest of my siblings have to crank their necks up to look in his eyes."
"Hm, and what about your mom? Was she not home when Raece picked you up?" Acenath asked.
"My parents are divorced. But I have a step-dad that is very nice, once you get to know him. I had a step-mom, but they broke up."
"What do you mean broke up? Don't you mean they got divorced?" Miriam asked.
"They weren't technically married. Lain and dad were common law marriage which basically means that they were together for more than seven years so in the laws eyes, they were married. It was fun. We built the house you guys own now when I was in middle school. The blue house next to you used to be our house until we sold it. It used to be the only house in the neighborhood till my step-mom's father sold the land off to make some money. The whole neighborhood used to be one big blackberry field or so to say. There are pictures of what it used to look like somewhere."