Now standing in front of 1300, she pressed the bell and waited. No patter of the guard’s running feet. She unraveled the end of her hijab and wiped sweat off her upper lip with the thin fabric. She tried the bell again and peeked through the partition. No sound. She turned around and walked to the tree.
“Sabah al khair,” she greeted the chai vendor, “Do you happen to know if there’s anybody at home?”
“Mafeesh, I just got here,” she answered regretfully.
“Shukran,” Rose said, thanking her.
Had Bullet relayed wrong information? Afterall, it did strike her odd that an agent would want to work on a Friday, a day people rested from a long arduous week. She pressed the bell once and sustained the ring with a rhythmic pattern.
The gate suddenly flung open, a man whom she guessed was Egyptian Coptic peeked his bald head.
“Fi shinu?” he demanded what she wanted, making no attempt to display his annoyance with the incessant bell ring. Rose quickly looked down, avoiding his gaze.
“I’m here to see Khaleed.”
“Khaleed is not here.”
“But he told me to be here at 7 o’clock and I’ve been here waiting and waiting.”
“Dagiga,” he said, shutting the door. Patience, being a national virtue, Rose did not as much as steal a glance at her watch when he still hadn’t appeared after a minute.