Sam frowned

Disclaimer: As previously stated, you recognize it, I probably don't own it. Don't sue me. Pretty please. I do, however, own the lovely Maya and her family, as well as Yusuf, whom you'll see later.

Capítulo 3: El libro

Maya smoothed her quivering hands on her skirt, a bad habit learned from her mother. She asked again, "Can I help you?"

Sam frowned. So much for recognition, he thought. "I'm sorry, miss, I just thought you was someone else."

Maya grinned. "Hello, Sam." Seeing his skeptical look, she giggled. "You thought I forgot you, didn't you?" Giggling. Just HOW old are you again?

Sam shrugged. She was obviously the same girl he had rescued from the twin threats of Rick's displeasure at a severely drunken guest and a potential "conversation" with Captain Renault (because, after all, the captain was an equal opportunity employer when it came to women. While Rick almost never had a girl stay over, Sam had once overheard Renault mention that he might pick up one of Rick's "flames" on the rebound, drunkenness of the potential victim notwithstanding.)

He cleared his throat. "Nah, I was just coming by to check up on you, you know, make sure you hadn't gotten in trouble."

Maya raised her eyebrows. "You do this with anyone who faints in the foyer of Rick's café?"

Sam shrugged again. "No, just the ones who come in alone and can't speak English too well."

Maya blushed. "I must have been some trouble to you, keeping you away from working. I remembered your piano playing, you know. Not what, exactly, but just that it was nice."

Sam grinned. "Well, thanks, miss. That's nice of you."

"It's true. I haven't heard that music before."

"That's a change. What do you listen to, miss?"

It was Maya's turn to shrug. "I really don't anymore. I used to listen to the music in my town, but then we came here and between managing the shop and exploring I haven't had much time to find music."

The door to the shop suddenly opened, startling them.

"Oh no, I've kept you. Don't you have to get back? Was there a book you wanted to see?" Maya realized that the shop was empty, except for her and Sam. Where was her father?

Sam looked around. For such a small room, there was really quite a collection of books. "I don't get much time to read, Miss Maya, because Mr. Rick keeps me busy." He thought for a second. "But do you have any copies of the Bible in English? I remember when I was smaller my daddy used to read it to me."

Maya moved out from behind the counter, and walked towards the shelf with all of the Bibles on it. People were so anxious to sell these, but she couldn't understand why. Wouldn't it be better to keep the word of Hashem with you so that you could remember His laws and show respect to Him? She indicated the shelf to Sam. "Which would you like? We've got plenty of them."

Sam picked a dark blue book with gold stamped letters on the front: "King James Bible". "How much?"

"Hmm. I think for this one 3 dirham. Is that all right?"

"Absolutely, miss." Sam pulled some money out of his pocket and gave it to Maya. "Thanks very much. I'll let you go back to your work," he said, eyeing the book on the counter.

Maya blushed. "Thank you for coming by, Sam. It was very kind of you."

"It was no problem for me, miss. You take care of yourself." Sam walked to the door.


He turned and looked at Maya.

She blushed deeper. "You're welcome back here whenever you want."

"Thanks, miss. I might take you up on that someday."

"I'd be glad if you did. But Sam?"

"Yeah, miss?"

"If I see you again, please don't call me miss?"

Sam raised his eyebrows. "Sure, if you want me to."

"I would."

"Then I'll remember. See you around." He walked out.

Maya grinned hugely. She felt like a bit of an unintelligible idiot, stuttering and blushing like that. But all the same she felt like jumping around, however unseemly that might be. Had she just made a friend? A grown up friend, not like Yusuf, upon whom she could always count for fun and jokes. And such a considerate friend, too.

The door creaked open. Maya jumped. Had he come back for some odd reason? The man walked in, and Maya relaxed, realizing it was her father.

"Abba, where did you go? Is everything all right?"

Zvi took out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his forehead. "I went to visit with your mother for a few minutes. All is well here?" Noticing the silly grin on Maya's face, his eyes narrowed slightly. "Maya?"

Maya came back around the counter and hugged her father. "I'm fine, Abba. I'm doing much better than I have been lately."

Zvi looked around the shop. "So, it has been busy, I see."

"Not so much as usual, I think. It's too hot for people to be walking."

Zvi nodded. "So it is. How does this sound to you, Mayaleh? If nobody comes for another half hour, you can take the rest of the afternoon to yourself."

"Really? Thank you, Abba."

Zvi gently tugged one of Maya's braids. "Hard workers need to have a little break once in a while, is it not so?"

"I suppose." Maya went back behind the counter. "Why don't you have a seat, and relax for a little? It's been a busy week."

"Such a good daughter, who thinks of her old and decrepit parents."

"You and Ima aren't decrepit or old."

"That's true, but it feels like it in this heat." Zvi pulled the other stool from behind the counter and sat, looking out the window and watching the occasional person walk by outside.

Maya picked up the Hugo and went back to reading, a hint of the smile still on her face.

A/N: Things will start to get interesting soon, I promise! Exams provide much fodder for drama. I think this rambles a bit, but it can't be helped. There's a lot of shrugging. And guest appearances in the next chapter  Comments, as ever, are deeply appreciated. But please, no flames. They make me upset, and then I can't write anything for the people who actually like this.