When they entered the towering arched gate that led into the old medina, it was like they had stepped back in time. Cobbled streets lined with workshops and stores and stalls stood in sharp contrast to the bustling metropolis outside the medina walls. Men sat at tables that blocked half of the narrow alleys, drinking fragrant mint tea or dark, thick coffee. No women in sight. Wide-eyed children, curious about the tall strangers, ducked out of slivers of passageways into the small shops that sold fruits and vegetables and other staples. The smells of mint and coffee and spices and ripe fruit made an intoxicating blend.
Whitt stopped in the middle of the street, taking in all the sights and sounds and smells. “I think I might die of sensory overload before we reach the restaurant.” She picked up a few apricots at a nearby stall, sniffed them, and then held them out for Finley and David to smell. David leaned into the sweet fragrance of the fruit. His eyes closed, and a grin spread across his face.
“Smells like home.” He took the fruit from Whitt’s hands, added a few more to the pile, and put them on the counter. “Anything else you ladies want?” Finley and Whitt both shook their heads while he paid the young woman behind the register.
“Where’s he from anyway?” Finley asked under her breath.
“California, but don’t hold it against him.” Whitt knew Finley’s bias toward the East Coast. If Finley was going to spend five hours on a plane, she’d prefer heading east to London than west to San Francisco or Los Angeles. Whitt’s opinion of California wasn’t far off.
“May I have one of the apricots, please?” Whitt held out her hand when David joined them on the street. “Hunger has overtaken me.”
David took out two pieces of fruit and handed her the bag. He passed one to Finley and polished the other on his shirt. Finley knew they were taking a risk by not peeling the fruit, but it seemed worth it. She pulled out some tissues, passed them around, and used a few to clean her apricot. When she bit into it, juice spilled from the deep orange yellow flesh and dribbled on her fingers.
“Maybe we should forget the restaurant and binge on these.”
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