Chapter 29 by Heather Chung
Adi hung his head in his shameful, sorrowful hands for the first time. Oh, how desperation makes you do the unthinkable. He sat out of place whilst everyone else conducted the rest of the plan on how to save Nadia successfully. They all knew it wasn’t going to be an easy operation despite the glee, optimism and hope they collectively shared. “Son?” Adi groaned, snapping his hands away to hide the tears. “What?!”
“Oh, my sport, that is not a polite greeting.”
“Well I’m sorry for the lack of vivaciousness in my greeting.” Talal shuffled two metres next to Adi and was met with a desolate silence. Many questions and thoughts rushed back into Adi’s head sitting next to his father. But none manifested. It’s funny how sometimes anger can paralyse someone from wanting answers.
“Do you remember when you were young?”
“Jeez, what the hell is this?!”
“I know what you’re doing. Don’t!”
“Can’t I at least try?”
“Oh, so you’re finally going to resume your fatherly duties now? Okay then.” Adi turned to face his father. “What could you possibly want to tell me?”
“Don’t be sarcastic.”
“Oh, I’ll be however I want!”
“Yeah, and look where that got you. Oh, right. Here! In this mess!” Talal pointed. Adi rolled his eyes before sitting back square to view the huddle. Talal sighed… before standing up and leaving Adi to his tortured mindset. Insolent old man!
Rob peeked at this supposedly tender moment that you see in films. Only to be disappointed that there was no father-son embrace but rather footsteps walking towards even more hurt and turmoil that may never get fixed, even under a crisis like this. Rob hobbled over to Adi… Even with a slightly fuzzy head and questionable friendship/enemy status of him and Adi, Rob had to know more about what was to become of Nadia. “Rob seriously don’t man! I know!”
“Hey! You don’t need me to tell you how messed up this all is…”
“So, what? Is this the part where you tell me that I am still a good person? That I am redeemable? That I can truly fix my wrong doing?”
“I think that can only be done through actions at this stage.”
“Rob… Mate. I’m sorry… I…” Rob interrupted by holding up his hand. “Adi, that’s not enough. Because right now, Nadia is in danger. Shouldn’t it hurt for you to know that?” Adi nodded. It was worth a try at least. “Adi... Can I just ask why? Why did you feel the need to do this? Why would you put her in danger like this?” He shook his head and remained quiet.
Maybe the guilt was settling in. He didn’t want to admit that he wanted the fame and fortune like everyone does. He wanted to be known as part of the team that cured Budlyt-19. Everyone loves an underdog story and he wanted to be the star of one. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to Nadia, but... “Fine, don’t answer.” Rob turned around. “Just make up for it by getting Nadia back. It’s the least you can do.” He huffed and hurried back to the table where everyone was gathered.
Adi gazed forward, ignoring their presence to view the dark clouds covering over the sunsetting blue sky…
“Nadia? Come on!”
“Please! I want to show you something!”
The lab stood with brightness and promise for better things to come. This was the moment when Adi first got a job at LifaLabs. “Are you even allowed to give me a tour? I’m not staff.”
“No, but you’re family!”
“Well yeah, but I didn’t get the job. Ergo you deserve the perks.”
“Would you just… please!” She nodded and accepted Adi’s hand to drag her around. They ended up in a glass tunnel, looking down at the hard workers with pipettes and colour liquids. “I can’t believe this. I’m really proud of you Adi! You get to be on the frontline of where there’s going to be research and cures to SO many illnesses! Do you reckon you’ll be able to help with what you have studied?”
“Paha! Don’t make me laugh! I only got the job as an assistant. I’m responsible for cleaning out beakers, test tubes, work spaces and insane amounts of paperwork.”
“Yeah so? You show them your academic and work hard like you have been doing. Who knows?!”
“Hey don’t be mothering me now.”
“You know what I mean Adi!” She elbowed. “And besides, what’s wrong with throwing you a compliment anyways? We all need to do it more often. So, take it and shut up. I’m really proud of you!” She lifted her arm and side hugged him. Both smiling at the new environment and life that Adi had worked so hard for. Adi shook his head to snap back into focus. He finally stood up and approached the table, with as much authority and stiff upper lip attitude as possible. “We need to go… NOW!”