Chapter 42

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~Iman’s P.O.V~

  This week was really weird in more than one way. First it was Mazen who was more open to me now. We talk like we’re friends, laughing and talking about random things not like an employee and her boss should, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that he has met my family and they took a liking in him.

  Then there was Holly who was awfully quiet around me. She wasn’t eager to tell me anything or even ‘update me’ on her week like she was when I saw her in the discussion. It was like she was carefully choosing her words around me.

  Normally I wouldn’t mind some peace and quiet around the shop but it didn’t feel right. I know something was bothering Holly but I didn’t know if it was my place to ask her what was wrong or not. I mean sure, we were colleagues and she gossiped with me sometimes even though I never really liked it but we weren’t really friends, were we?

  “Al Salam Alykum.” Mazen said entering the shop stopping my train of thoughts but I didn’t mind it.

  “W Alykum Al Salam.” I smiled replying to him and taking a better look at his appearance. He looked good today.

  Not that he ever looked bad before, but he looked extra good today. I think he trimmed his beard and got a fresh haircut. Also the fact the he was wearing a button-up shirt and formal trousers made him look better looking today. It must be a special day.

  “Holly isn’t here yet?” Mazen asked casually.

  “Not yet.” I replied feeling bad that he had caught her being late again this week. She had been late to work every day this week and unfortunately for her, Mazen had been coming early in each one of those days. I wonder where she had been all those days.

  “It’s becoming a habit for her. I don’t like this. Maybe I’m going too easy on her.” Mazen commented not really to me but just worded his thoughts out loud I guess.

  “I’m sure she has her reasons.” I tried to defend her out of guilt. I don’t really know why I was doing so, it was unprofessional and I’m not even sure if she did have a legit reason for her tardiness but I had an urge to defend her out of nowhere.

  “It’s still not acceptable. She doesn’t even call to tell me she will be late. I pay her by the hour. I’ll have to cut her next pay check.” He said with a firm tune. He was being a manager which he was supposed to be and I had no place to interfere. It was his business and he knew what he was doing but I still felt extremely guilty for some reason. Maybe because I had a soft spot for Holly, I don’t know.

  “Just hear her out first. Maybe she does have a reason. You never know.” I tried my best to make him at least give her a chance before taking actions.

  “Are you always this kind to everyone?” He said out of nowhere with a small smile on his face that showed his dimple making me have a weird feeling in my stomach and my mouth unconsciously curled in a slightly small smile as I looked down.

  Hearing the bells over the door hit each other indicating someone entering the shop’s door, we heard Holly’s faint voice “Hey.”

  “Hello.” I replied with a sweet smile to her.

  “Holly, do you know that your shift starts at 12:30 sharp?” Mazen said in his manager tone which was slightly scary in a boss-employee kind of way.

  It was the first time I had ever heard him be so stern before and even though in this situation he was considered professional and a ‘scary boss’ but for a second there, I felt a slight resemble between Mazen and Ayman.

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