Chapter 7. Expectations

In fancy pink and golden teacups, the girls were sipping tea in Nadia’s bedroom at her parents’ house. This spacious and beautifully decorated room witnessed many life changing debates and discussions. It was always were they gathered to discuss matters that couldn’t be discussed in public because It’d probably require screaming or weeping!

As soon as Nadia arrived from Qatar, she packed all her belongings from her villa and moved to her parents’ house. She intended to do that to make it clear to Manaf that there was no going back. Her mind was already made on ending this marriage and deleting every trace of his existence from her life.

“I don’t know what hurts more, the fact that my husband cheated on me or how my parents are blaming me for it!” said Nadia. She was sitting on her bed with her hair falling on her face without any drop of make up. She was still a symbol of beauty even in her worst conditions.

“Why are they blaming you?” asked Dalal holding a cup and sitting on a nearby chair.

“They believe that I didn’t give him enough attention and that I wasn’t a dedicated wife”.

“You gave up your career for him! You devoted your whole life to him! It was the other way around, he wasn’t man enough!” said Yara angrily.

“Exactly!” agreed Dalal.

“My parents don’t see that. They only see the big picture; the divorce and what people will think and say matters to them more”

“Give them some time and they will come to their senses. There is no doubt that your happiness matters to them more. They’re still in shock.” said Yara as she refilled her cup with more tea.

“I don’t think so. Last night they were trying to convince me to go back to him! They want me to forgive him and forget that it had ever happened!”

“Did you consider that?” wondered Dalal anxiously.

“Of course not! What he did is unforgivable!” Screamed Nadia.

“Very cheap. And it’s hard to digest because it’s really out of his character!” said Yara in disgust.

“What was his excuse?” asked Dalal.

“Excuse? He had no excuse! He apologized a million time but he had no excuse!”

“But at least he’s feeling guilty” said Dalal digging for positive things to say.

“It’s too late. Guilt and apology will do him no good now”

Nadia’s mother opened the bedroom door and peaked in. She was petite but age added few pounds to her little figure. Her short light brown hair was always neatly blow-dried and her big nose was the first feature to be noticed in her face. With half her body inside the room, she started lecturing: “Talk to her girls. Tell her that divorce is not easy and that women need to sacrifice in order for their families to survive”.

The girls nodded smilingly out of respect.

“If every woman asks for a divorce whenever something happens then no couple will remain married for good” she continued while stepping in giving a full view of her short pink floral Jalabiya.

“Mama, we talked about this already” said Nadia in an attempt to stop her.

“I’ll send you dinner in a bit” said her mother feeling insulted as she turned around and left the room.

“You want my honest opinion? I don’t see you heartbroken” said Yara.

“What do you mean?”

“You are not hurt out of jealousy or because your man had been with another woman. You are angry with yourself because you made the wrong choice by marrying Manaf and because he favored another woman over you!” explained Yara.

“Isn’t that normal since I was never in love with him?”

“It’s like you were waiting for an opportunity to walk away” said Dalal.

“You’re not even crying Nadia. Look at you, you are angry and upset but not heartbroken!” said Yara.

Nadia stayed quiet for few moments and her eyes started to glitter with tears: “Maybe I’m just replacing my pain with anger. Maybe it’s easier when I’m angry with myself” she said as tears started to fall over her cheeks.

“You need to let it out” said Yara as she patted her back and pulled her closer.

“And I was feeling guilty just for checking out that guy in Durra last week. I felt like a cheater just by admiring a guy’s looks while he spent the whole week with another woman!” said Nadia sobbing.

“I have an idea, what about we get away for a while just until things get quiet here” suggested Dalal in one of her bubbly moments.

“One of us needs to deal with a divorce, one is drowning in debts and one has no leave days left from work. Can’t happen” said Yara.

“Actually, that would be perfect” said Nadia as she wiped her tears, reached for her mobile from her bed side table and dialed her dad’s personal assistant number: “Hello Abdullatif, please book three tickets to Beirut with the following names..”

**

The noise of the drill was shaking the studio. Fahad walked in to find Santosh drilling the wall while Yara was standing on a chair holding a photo. He stood where he was quietly waiting for that very noisy drill to stop. “Hey shorty” he finally said when Santosh stopped drilling. Yara and Santosh looked back to find him standing with his arms folded on his chest. “Hey! How long have you been here?” asked Yara as she jumped off the chair and put the photo down. Her hair was tied up with a pencil and she was wearing light faded jeans with striped white and navy blue Urban Outfitters t-shirt. “Nice hair! How did you do that?” he said as she came closer. “YouTube!” she said proudly. He turned her over and removed the pencil from her hair: “It looks better this way” he said as her soft hair fell on her shoulder and handed her the pencil with a smile. Yara blushed and turned around to Santosh who was hammering a nail into the wall: “Are you done yet Santosh? Please hang that remaining photo and you can leave then. Thank you”

“You’re lucky. We just finished arranging my new collection which I shot in Durra” she said turning back to Fahad.

Fahad walked closer to the wall noticing all the additions. “May I have an exclusive presentation of the new collection from the talented photographer herself?”

“Certainly. The collection is called Tranquility” she said as she stood next to the wall acting all professional.

“Interesting” said Fahad with his hand on his chin.

“What do you think of this photo?” she said pointing to a photo of a seagull flying over the sea.

“Hmm. The ability to achieve your dreams” said Fahad giving it a title.

“How? Fly high and the sky is your limit? Very cliché Fahad!”

Fahad laughed: “This is the part where you should say that the beauty of art is that each person sees it from his own perspective”

“I’m sorry but your perspective has nothing to do with art” she said jokingly.

Fahad laughed again and moved few steps towards another photo: “I love this one” he said while staring at a black and white photo of a child playing with sand with his father standing next to him. They were facing the sea and the picture was taken from behind.

“Really? I wasn’t sure about adding it to the collection”

“Why? It’s amazing! It speaks of stability”

“This is how you see stability?” she asked in a serious tone this time.

“Yeah. .” he said and remained quiet for few moments. “There is something that I need to tell you” he continued as he turned around and faced her. “Let’s sit down..” he gently held her back and directed her towards the two armchairs in the corner.

She sat down quietly waiting for him to speak. She hated how he always popped up serious announcements when least expected.

“I never told you why I divorced my wife”

“And why do you feel that I should know by now?” she asked nervously.

“We’ve become good friends..”

The mention of the word “friends” gave Yara a great deal of disappointment. “Tell me then”

“She didn’t want to have kids” he said staring at the floor.

“Oh. What were her reasons?!”

“Our marriage went perfectly well and we loved each other. But, this was a huge issue that stood between us” he said without answering her question.

Yara felt surprisingly jealous as he mentioned being in love with another woman. “Do you still love her?”

“It doesn’t matter. We’ve been out of each others lives for two years now”

Yara didn’t hear the answer that she wanted to hear and it was very hard for her to control her feelings: “You obviously didn’t get over her!”

“This is not the point Yara. Why are you insisting to know?” he said sounding upset.

“I’m not!” she snapped.

“Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to tell you!” he said in frustration.

Meanwhile, Osama was waiting for Fahad in the café when Dalal walked in. He waved politely and she walked towards his table:

“Shloanek?”

“I’m doing good. How about you?”

“Very well. Have you seen Yara around?” she asked looking around.

“Not really. I’ve been waiting for Fahad for a while and seems like you’ll be waiting too. Please join me until one of them arrives.”

“Oh, sure, that would be nice” she said excitedly as she took a seat.

“So, how’s work? Enjoying banking?” he asked.

“Not really. It’s all dry routine work but I don’t see myself doing anything else”

“Really? And why is that?”

“I don’t feel that I have the creativity or the talent to work in marketing or anything of that sort. And in Bahrain it’s either this or that”

“Or you could sell cupcakes!”

“Oh don’t get me started. Seems like all Bahrainis are suddenly bakers and designers”

Osama laughed and nodded.

“So what do you do now?” asked Dalal.

“I used to work in GFH in Investment Placement”

“Oh, is that how you know Manaf?”

“Yeah. But this is Bahrain, everyone knows everyone. I knew him before but we became friends in Doha”

“I see. And now?” she asked curiously.

“I’m starting my own business. I never liked Investment Placement but it was a good experience. I gained many connections” he said in confidence. And bonuses, thought Dalal.

“What’s the new business about?” asked Dalal but Osama didn’t seem to hear her as someone who just walked in stole his attention. Dalal turned around following his gaze to find Yara. “Oh, there she is! Thank you for the company” she said as she got up.

“Hey, would you mind if you give me your phone number? There is something that I’d like to talk to you about” said Osama a bit hesitant.

“Sure” said Dalal with a big smile and a pounding heart.

“What’s going on? Why do you look upset?” asked Dalal as she approached Yara.

“Long story. Can we get out of here?”

“But Nadia is coming!”

“I don’t care I just don’t want to stay here one more minute”

“Too late. She’s here!”

Yara ignored Dalal and made her way out of the café.

“What’s wrong with her?” asked Nadia.

“No idea!” said Dalal and they both followed her out.

“Yara. Where are you going? My car is here. COME!” ordered Nadia while Yara was walking towards the studio. She turned around and walked back to Nadia: “Please don’t force me to talk. Now open the car!”. She got into the back seat of Nadia’s shiny Black Mercedes as soon as Nadia clicked on her key.

“He hints! He hints all the time. Oh Yara you are cute, I like your hair Yara, I want to see you Yara. I don’t know if I’m crazy but he flirts!”

Nadia and Dalal couldn’t help laughing.

“And why are you angry?” asked Dalal sitting on the front seat.

“He speaks to me about his ex-wife and how much he loved her because we are GOOD FRIENDS by now” she said in more frustration.

“Calm down. I’ll take you for a drive and you let all the thoughts out” said Nadia as she started driving.

“Today he proved that I mean nothing to him!”

“Did he actually say that?” asked Dalal.

“No. But when I asked him if he still loved her he refused to answer!”

“Doesn’t mean that he still does. He’s a man. Men don’t reveal their feelings” said Nadia.

“I don’t like how he keeps using the word friends”

“Of course he’ll use the word friends. What do you want him to say? You’ve only known him a couple of months. Give it some time” said Nadia.

“I thought that you were more mature than that. You are jumping to conclusions. You are being me!” said Dalal.

Serenity finally descended in the car for few moments when Nadia turned on the radio; Fadhel Shaker was singing Law Ala Alby.

Dalal turned to the back seat excitedly: “Do you love him?”

“Leave me alone” said Yara hiding a smile and forcing her lips to frown.

“How do you feel when you’re with him?” asked Nadia while staring at Yara through the rear view mirror.

“I feel Friendship!” she said emphasizing.

“Put what happened today aside and think, how do you feel when you see him? Or when he calls” asked Dalal.

“I feel my heart falling onto my stomach” admitted Yara finally.

“Aaaawwwwww” Nadia and Dalal said together.

“Ok enough. I should get over this silly feeling anyway and be his…friend”

“Since you don’t want to talk about it anymore, I have some news” said Dalal facing them both.

“It better be good” said Nadia.

“It is” said Dalal with a grin.

“Just say it” said Yara fed up and not bothered.

“Osama asked for my number!”

“NO WAY” screamed Nadia.

“How did that happen?” asked Yara and jumped between the two front seats.

“We were talking, waiting for you and Fahad, and then he said that he wants to talk to me about something” she said overexcited.

“Something? What a lame excuse!” laughed Nadia.

“Osama from accounting!! Can you believe it!! I can’t I can’t!!” screamed Dalal joyfully.

“Maybe he really wants to talk about something! Stay calm. Don’t expect!” warned Yara.

**

Yara was arranging the laundry in her cupboard while listening to Majida. Every time she heard a message notification she hoped that it was him but she kept getting disappointed. She thought of calling him, but a part of her wanted to test how much she meant to him.

It was around 9:30pm when Yara gave up the hope of hearing from Fahad. She heard a BBM notification and reached her phone carelessly. To her surprise, it was him:

Fahad: Are you upset?

Yara: A little. You?

Fahad: LOL, I’m not upset

Yara: 🙂

Fahad: By the way, I am over her.

Yara remained quiet.

Fahad: I’m sorry I snapped. It’s just that it’s a sensitive topic.

Yara: I understand

Fahad: My trip to London is confirmed. We finalized the booking today and bought the tickets for the football match. Should start packing.

Yara: And I will pack for Beirut!

Fahad: Ha?

Yara: Nadia is taking us for few days.

Fahad: Oh. How is she coping by the way?

Yara: She’s better. We managed to get her mind out of it with our issues.

Fahad: That’s good. And you could use the change.

Yara: Yeah. When are you coming back?

Fahad: After a week.

Yara: A WEEK!

Fahad: Yeah :D.. Will you miss me? 😛

Yara: Oh don’t start..

Fahad: I will miss you 🙂

Yara: Pack warm clothes. It’s too cold over there now. Don’t forget a woolen hat and a scarf for the stadium.

Fahad: I don’t have any. I threw them all away before I came back from the States.

Yara: Then go and do some shopping!

Fahad: I don’t think that I have any time to shop over there before the game. And tomorrow I’ll be busy here with my father all day.

Yara: Why did you leave it for last minute!

Fahad: Are you worried about me 😛

Yara: Yes. Happy?

Fahad: Happy 🙂

**

“What’s wrong with you today? Why are you sitting all by yourself?” wondered Dalal’s mother as she got into her room.

“Nothing I’m just tired” said Dalal laying on bed.

“Why!”

“Can’t anyone spend some time by himself in this house?”

Kaifech” said her mother carelessly and left.

Dalal’s phone rang. She prayed that it was Osama. IT’S HIM. She jumped off the bed when she saw an unfamiliar number on the screen.

“Hello?”

“Hey Dalal, It’s Osama. I hope that I’m not disturbing you”

“No, no. Not at all” she said happily.

“Are you with your friends?”

“No I’m at home.” she said feeling a crunch in her stomach.

“Great.”

“How is your day?”

“I don’t know how to start..” Said Osama in hesitation.

Dalal let out a nervous laugh: “You can tell me anything”

“It’s a bit sensitive. I’ve been seeing you around with your friends often lately, and, honestly speaking, the three of you are amazing girls from what I saw and heard..And..there is one of you that I’d like to get to know more.” He said politely.

“Ok?” said Dalal trying her best to calm down.

“Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not someone who plays around!” he giggled.

“Oh yes we know. We know.. that.. you are a .. descent person”

“So will you help me?”

“Help you?”

“Yes. Would you please try and find out, in anyway you can, if Yara would be interested?”

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