Chapter 19

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Kareem was playing quietly in front of the television where Barney was on, Layla was laying on her stomach coloring in a Sesame Street coloring book, and Houssam was sitting over them on the couch, his computer on his lap as he worked on his next article. Dawud and Mohammad were sick and as Ilham didn't want Layla to get sick, she had been staying at Ilham's parent's house. However her mom had a doctor's appointment today, and as Hisham was working, the only situation they could think of was to have Layla stay with Houssam and Hana when she came. He hadn't minded of course he liked the little girl, and she was great with Kareem.

They had been sitting in the living room for half an hour and so far neither child had expressed being bored, so he was pressing his luck until one of them spoke up. This was like his third article that he had written and he was on a roll. He still had ideas, and had decided to just write as much as he could now, that way when he went back home, they would have a few of his articles before needing to find a replacement. He hadn't sent them to Hana yet. She had been acting weird lately, almost as if she was angry with him, and it was kind of annoying. He had come to think of her as a close friend, and now that she barely said more than two words to him, the feeling of loneliness was starting to creep back. He hadn't realized it until now, but she had begun to take away some of the feeling of aloneness that he had been experiencing lately, and without her, it was coming back.

"Amu Houssam I'm bored!" Layla exclaimed twenty minutes later, and Houssam closed his laptop before motioning the little girl over to him. She hurriedly scrambled into his lap, and he kissed her head before pushing the hair back from her face.

"What do you want to do?"

"Can we go swimming!?" she exclaimed her eyes lighting up, and Houssam paused for a second to think about this. Both Yusra and Ilham had given their okay for the kids to go swimming if Houssam was up for it, Kareem's swim things had even been laid out in his room, and Layla had a bag of her swimsuit and water wings. But he just wasn't in the mood for it.

"I don't know Layla."

"Oh please Amu?! Please?!" she exclaimed, stretching out the 'e' in the second please and he sighed.

"Okay fine. Go get changed."

The little girl squealed before kissing him on his cheek, grabbing her bag, and dashing into the bathroom.

"Come on Kareem. Let's go change." He said scooping up his nephew. Kareem screamed in protest, reaching out towards the screen.

"Barney!" He exclaimed.

"Barney will still be here when we get back! You want to go swimming?!"

Kareem's eyes lit up and he began to bounce up and down in his Uncle's arms. Houssam laughed and took Kareem into his room. After putting on the baby's water diaper and swimming shorts, he put him into a full on body suit that floated. After that he borrowed a pair of swim trunks from Amir, and after making sure he had the key that unlocked the gate to the pool, he went back downstairs, finding an excited Layla in the hallway already dressed in her swimsuit.

"Amu Houssam can you help me with these?!" she exclaimed, extending out the water wings, and once he had slid them on her arms and blew them up, he took each child by the hand, and went outside. Almost immediately Layla went flying into the pool, and though she disappeared momentarily, she floated back to the surface, giggling like crazy.

"Woah hold on a second buddy!" Houssam exclaimed as Kareem tried to do the same, and he pulled off his shirt before snagging his nephew in his arms and slowly descending into the pool. Kareem shrieked with laughter as the cold water hit his legs, and he clung to his Uncle, jumping up and down with excitement. Houssam laughed and went further into the pool, of course the shallow end barely even came up to his waist. He would be able to stand in the deep end, which was only six feet, and still be able to see above the water. But he didn't want to take the kids out there, so he stayed on the shallow side. At first Kareem didn't want to let go, making sure Houssam's hand was always in reach. But soon he took Layla's hands and the two of them were swimming off together, laughing and playing.

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