After dinner Mr and Mrs Benali, Halim and Jalila disappeared. Salim and Ryleigh joined Aaliyah and Piper in the living room, which was apparently only one of three in the house but the one that had the biggest TV. They spent most of the night chatting and watching movies.
The more they talked, the more Ryleigh realised Aaliyah was a lot like Salim. She was easy to talk to, always laughed at the smallest of things, and seemed to genuinely want to get to know Ryleigh and loved her brother.
When Piper fell asleep watching a movie, Aaliyah scooped her up, said goodnight and carried her up the stairs to their floor, promising to continue their conversation in the morning. Once she was gone Salim slid closer on the couch again.
“I have an idea,” he grinned, leaning closer.
“I’d hate to think,” Ryleigh bumped her shoulder against his playfully.
“There’s a hot tub out back,” he said in a low voice. “Let’s go jump in and relax. We could both use it after that dinner.”
“You’re drunk aren’t you?” she laughed loudly. “I didn’t bring any swimwear.”
“Good,” he grinned. “I’m not drunk, just … happy.”
“But it’s freezing outside,” she argued. “And probably still snowing.”
“Yes but,” he leaned closer still so that his lips were almost against her ear as he whispered; “Hot tub Ryles.”