A thousand apologies for this much-delayed post. I actually saw a surge of hits on Thursday night/Friday morning - it was really rewarding to see that people have a real interest in reading, but it also puts the pressure on me. I guess I just got caught up in the hectic turmoil of inauguration week.
I'd also like to ask two small favors of my readers - first, if you have any questions, suggestions or complaints about where the story has gone or where the plot is going, let me know! That's the beauty of this format. Second, if I don't know you or I just don't know that you're reading, leave me a note saying hello and wherever you're from. Maybe it's working at a writing & development firm, but I love to find out demographics.
Anyways, here's Part 18:
Evan recalled a connection between Samira's father and General Abdel-Kareem. There wasn't much chance that it had anything to do with his investigation, but he might find something he could use, some lead he could follow. He'd read an interview with Lena Crane, the English actress who married an Egyptian, General Rahman and made a splash in the London tabloids. To find his daughter here in Cairo so many years later was a lucky break.
He shook his head. She was staring at him curiously, trying to parse what meaning he might have gleaned from her name. That fixed gaze had a disconcerting effect on
him; he found himself biting at the back of his dry lips in distraction
“Did you know my father?” she asked.
“No, no. But I knew of him. Read about him. Are they here now, or in London?”
“Both passed away; my father here, my mother in London a few years ago.” She paused. “Allah yarhamhum.” She added the Arabic blessing for the dead almost as an afterthought, a dimly remembered but instinctive reaction. “What brought you to Cairo, then?”
Evan opened his mouth to speak but stopped for a moment. Too direct, and she might shy away from helping him. On the other hand, if he lost track of her it would be difficult to find her easily among Cairo's millions. “I'm writing a story, actually. It's being going on for a while now. Hopefully I'll be able to file it soon.”
An expression Evan couldn't identify flicked across Samira's face. Did she already know who he was after, what he was chasing? He pressed on. “You know this city well, don't you?”
“It's been more than a few years,” she replied.
“Still, you might be able to help me out. I'm sure of it, actually.” He pulled a card from his pocket and offered it to her. “Could I get a number, something to get a hold of you later on? I might have a few questions for you.”
Samira took the card, examined it for a moment and slipped it into her purse as the taxi rolled to a stop in front of the American University campus. She dropped a five-pound note in the driver's hand and stepped smoothly out of the cab.
“I'll let you know,” she said over her shoulder.
Evan sat for a moment, watching her fade into the hustling crowd through the metal frame of the taxi's open door. He felt a vague sense of guilt mixed with satisfaction as he toyed with the hotel key-card that had fallen, unseen, out of her pocket and onto the seat as she left. Maybe he should have let her know, but after she brushed him off that way, it was really his only chance. He grinned as he paid the driver the rest of his fare.