Chapter 16. Decisions

Sajida was sitting in her usual spot in the sitting room in front of TV nibbling on some seeds when Yara got back home. She stood in front of her mother blocking the screen and pretended to scratch her face with her right hand, “Notice something different?” asked Yara holding back a smile.

“Oh My!!” said Sajida as she stood up, pulled Yara’s hand and stared at the ring with sparkling eyes.

“What do you think?” asked Yara happily.

“Speechless! This is worth a fortune!”

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Beautiful and valuable! You have chosen the right person my dear. I can congratulate you now” said Sajida as she gave Yara a quick and cold hug.

Yara was overwhelmed by her mother’s hug. It was their first hug for as far as she can remember. She was sure that it meant something to her mother too. Sajida was really happy at that moment to see her daughter engaged and not just to see that huge diamond on her finger.

“Mama, I’m sorry that I’ll have to put your happiness on hold for a moment. But there is something important that you should know” said Yara sitting down.

“How I hate bad news. Make it quick” said Sajida with her attention back on TV.

“That man that we owe money called again few days ago”

What does he want? Didn’t you just pay him?”

“Yes, but it was a small amount and he wants the remaining balance”

“Why can’t he be patient? He wants us to sell the house? Because that’s all we have left!” said Sajida angrily.

“I don’t know. But he threatened to go to court so we better come up with something”

“Why don’t you ask Fahad to lend us the amount?”

“No way! Impossible!”

“Then what other option do you have?”

“I’m thinking of…selling the studio” said Yara hesitant.

“Finally!” said Sajida and cracked a seed with her teeth.

“I could sell my photos in Nadia’s new shop or even in the café. The only thing is that.. baba gave me that place. It’s special to me” said Yara sadly.

“Well, it’s his debt at the end of the day! It’s like you’re giving it back to him”

Ignoring her mother’s comment, Yara got up and poured herself an Estikana of Black Tea. “One more thing” she said as she sat down holding it carefully.

“Please, enough for today!”

“Let’s just get done with this please. We can’t keep on paying for Tamara’s school.”

“There is no way that I’m getting her out of this school” snapped Sajida.

“But can’t you see how much we have to pay for it? I can’t keep on managing the amount”

“You’re getting married now! You won’t need to spend on yourself, he will spend on you. So use the money you earn for the school!” said Sajida easily.

“Spend on myself? When was the last time I went shopping or spoiled myself in a spa? You spend more than I do!! All my money goes to the house!”

“I told you to find yourself a job but you never listened”

“So I could pay for my sister’s school? It’s not just my responsibility! You are responsible too!”

“Don’t give me a headache. Sell the studio, pay the man and then use the rest of the money for your sister’s tuition. End of topic” said Sajida as she raised the volume of the TV.

 

The next morning, Yara and Nadia were doing more work in Nadia’s shop. “I have to take a picture of you in this hideous outfit” said Nadia and took a picture with her phone of Yara standing on a ladder wearing a dungaree with a bandanna on her head.

“If you want to blackmail me and send this to Fahad then be sure that I don’t care”

“You look like a blast from the 90’s” said Nadia laughing.

All that she wants, is another baby…” sang Yara.

“That would make a lovely theme for one of your shoots! Back to the 90’s!” said Nadia excited.

“Don’t remind me. If I sell the studio there will be no more themes. Just random framed pictures hanging somewhere..”

“There is no other solution ha?” asked Nadia sadly.

“Can you think of any?” asked Yara as she walked down the ladder.

“Let me lend you the money!” suggested Nadia sweetly.

“No! I’d rather take a loan from a bank and pay interest than take the money from anyone! We’re not talking about a hundred or two, it’s thousands!”

“Do whatever you want. But do you think that Fahad will allow you to sell the studio? I don’t think so”

“I won’t tell him!”

“What? You want to cause more problems between you two?” asked Nadia in shock.

“Nadia I really don’t have any other choice! He will understand later on” she said as she sat on one of the packed boxes.

“I really think that you’re doing a big mistake”

“Leave that now. You promised that you will tell me what happened with Mohammad yesterday!”

Nadia smiled and sat on a wooden chair, “he wants me back” she said without any introductions.

“WHAT!!”

“Don’t panic. He just said that we should do something about it, and not let this chance go by once again!”

“Wow! And?”

“I said that I would never ruin his stable marriage”

“But is he willing to ruin it?”

“I don’t know. I think so, but he wasn’t clear. All he said was that we should think of a way. But it doesn’t matter because nothing can happen”

“Are you sure? This is the love of your life asking you to be with him. After all what you’ve been through, you think that you should let go of him again?”

“He said that we should think of ourselves and not make this about others. But what kind of life will I have then? I asked him not to call me again. I basically pushed him away. I can’t even think of the possibility of me causing him trouble”

“But it’s what you both want!”

“It’s too late..”

“I feel bad. I’m part of the reason why you let him go back then” said Yara.

“Of course. You are a big part of my life and you shouldn’t feel bad!”

“It’s really hard to believe. He is back and willing to try again!” said Yara shaking her head.

“Let’s just forget about it and go have something to eat? Food is always the solution” suggested Nadia as she got up.

“Totally..” said Yara.

 

One week later:

It was a Monday afternoon. Fahad, Yara, Nadia, Osama and Sara were having lunch in Maki. Yara was against the idea of showing up with Fahad in public since their engagement news spread and there wasn’t any official proposal yet. But Fahad managed to convince her by playing the recovering-from-sickness card. He also convinced her that it’s time to make Nadia and Osama pay attention to each other. With everything that happened to Nadia recently, Yara thought that it might be a good idea to do this in order for her to get her thoughts off Mohammad.

They were seated in the center of the dining area on a rectangular table, where Yara and Nadia sat next to each other faced by Fahad and Osama. Sara was left with the seat between Osama and Nadia. The girls got engaged in their own conversation after they were handed the menu. Fahad took that chance and moved closer to Osama, “What do you think of her?” he whispered.

“Who?” wondered Osama.

“Who else? I will never ask you to check out my fiancé or my sister!”

Osama laughed, “Nadia? She’s..nice”

“Nice? Only?” he said disappointed.

“What more do you want me to say?”

“She’s a good catch! Just keep that in mind” said Fahad and opened the menu.

Yara picked up her phone and BBMed Nadia:

Yara: He’s hot right?

Nadia’s phone was blinking but she didn’t care to check her messages. “You have a message!” said Yara. “Yeah, never mind” said Nadia carelessly. “Check it!” said Yara hitting her leg. Nadia understood, picked her phone, read the message and typed back:

Nadia: Who? Fahad?

Yara: Oh no! The only other guy on the table maybe?

Nadia: Haha you’re funny. Now you really wish that it was him you’re engaged to?

Yara: You are so stupid. You check him out for yourself!!!!!!!

Nadia: LOL, OSAMA? AHAHAHAH..i’m not 19 anymore!

Nadia had a laugh on her face that she was trying hard to hide while she typed. She put her phone away and went back to the menu.

“We must order Yara Maki” said Fahad jokingly. They all laughed, “it’s my least favorite unfortunately” said Yara.

“Most important thing is Edamame Salad” said Sara.

“Yeah that’s for sure” said Osama while flipping the menu.

Just when the waiter came to take the order, Yara’s phone rang. “Yes mama?”

“You need to come home right now!!” ordered Sajida in panic.

“What’s going on?” asked Yara scared.

“Some men are here and they want to get inside and evaluate our belongings! They have a court order” screamed Sajida in terror.

“He did it!! I’ll be there now, ask them to wait” said Yara as she ended the call, picked up her bag and walked away without saying a word.

“What’s going on?” asked Fahad, but she didn’t look back and kept walking.

“Yara, wait. What’s the matter??” asked Fahad as he ran after her in the parking lot.

“I have to be home right now we’ll talk later” she said reaching her car.

“Let me drive at least”

“No. Please, Fahad, I’m in a hurry” she ordered.

“I will drop you home. You don’t have to explain. I’ll just drop you” he begged.

“FINE” she said frustrated as she gave him her car keys and hurried to the passenger seat.

It was a ten minutes drive that passed so slowly for both of them. Yara was absent minded and worried throughout the whole drive and Fahad respected the space that she asked for and stayed quiet.

The moment he parked in front of Yara’s house he saw two Bahraini men in Thoab standing by the gate, “Who are these men? What’s going on?” asked Fahad confused.

“Go back to lunch. It’s nothing” she said as she opened the door.

Fahad ignored her and got out of the car after turning off the engine. “What kind of a man do you think I am? To leave three ladies, who’ll be my family in no time, deal with strange men on their own? If you are not used to having a man who takes care of those things then it’s time for you to start doing so! You can’t deal with everything on your own!” he said seriously and roughly. Yara stared at him with a blank face. She couldn’t argue. He made total sense and gave her no option but to give up.

“How can I help you?” said Fahad as he approached the men. They gave him the court order and he read it carefully. He then turned around to Yara, “Is this from the man you owe money to?”

“Yes”

Sajida came out after seeing Fahad and Yara through the window and stood by Yara’s side, “You told him?” she asked in a low tone. “He found out” said Yara.

“Could you hold on please?” Fahad excused himself and moved closer to Yara and Sajida, “You need to tell me what happened exactly”

“He called around ten days ago and warned us that he would have to go to court if we don’t pay him the full amount” explained Yara with her hands folded on her chest.

“Do you have anything written?” asked Fahad.

“No. I just have a copy of the contract he signed with my father and the receipt of the amount I paid him”

“Give me his phone number quick”

“Why?”

“Give me the number and get inside the house!” ordered Fahad angrily.

After few minutes, Fahad walked inside Yara’s house for the first time. “What happened?” asked Sajida in concern as she and Yara were standing in the middle of the hallway.

“They left” he said with a firm face expression.

“Come inside. Let’s sit down” said Sajida as the three of them walked to the sitting room.

“Why didn’t you tell me that he threatened you?” asked Fahad angrily staring at Yara. She remained quiet.

“She didn’t want to trouble you with our issues from the very beginning” explained Sajida.

“This is no trouble. I’ll be a part of this family and you should treat me accordingly” he said sharply.

“I’m sorry” said Yara.

“It’s solved.” He said.

“Solved? How?” wondered Sajida.

“I spoke to the man. I promised him that he would receive the whole amount by tomorrow morning. He withdrew the order immediately”

“Oh, Fahad. Can’t thank you enough” said Sajida relieved.

“This is why I didn’t tell you! It’s a huge amount Fahad. How will you manage it?” said Yara upset.

“I have my ways. And it’s either you accept this or the court order will go on and you’ll end up losing your belongings and the house!”

“God forbids” said Sajida placing her hand on her chest.

“Yes, this is why those men where here” said Fahad.

“How will you manage the amount?” asked Yara again.

“I will arrange with my father. But don’t worry, it will be between me and him only. My mother will never know. I understand your concerns”

“Yes that would be great. Thank you so much dear. It feels good to finally have a son” said Sajida.

“What will your father think? Asking for money even before things get official is very embarrassing” said Yara.

“He will understand. You don’t know my father, he is the kindest man on earth. He never thinks badly of anyone”

Allah ykhaleeh lekum” said Sajida.

“We’ll pay it back. As soon as we manage to do so” said Yara with her mind fixed on the studio.

“There is nothing to be worried about now. Do you have any other debts?” asked Fahad.

“Small manageable ones. Been paying them for a while and it’s almost covered” said Yara.

“We need to sit down together and calculate the whole amount of all the debts. It is important to do so” ordered Fahad.

Inshalla. Thank you so much, you really proved what a good man you are” said Sajida.

Fahad leaned towards the coffee table that was placed between him and Yara to view the framed photos that were on it. “That’s the picture that was in your display when I first added you on BBM” said Fahad while looking at a picture of Yara and her father. He was carrying her with huge vintage sunglasses on his eyes and she was laughing and trying to pull the glasses off.

“I really love this photo” said Yara with a sad smile.

There was another old picture of Sajida standing on her own in front of Eiffel Tower. Her hair was short and curled and she was wearing a brown blazer with shoulder pads. “Look at that vintage look” said Yara sarcastically holding Sajida’s picture.

Fahad laughed silently so Sajida won’t hear him. She was busy with her Blackberry and she didn’t seem to hear their conversation. “Seems like it was always this way. You and your father together while she’s busy in her own world”

“Yup..” said Yara absent minded.

“Why do you look worried?”

“Nothing” she said avoiding looking into his eyes.

“You can’t lie to me. Is it the debt?”

“Yes”

“You should be happy that it has been taken care of”

“I am! But this is not how I wanted to start my life with you! Remember when we first met and how upset I got when you paid the electricity bill! It’s not a nice feeling.” She said annoyed.

“That was different. We are engaged now and what’s mine is yours” he said with a smile.

“What about some Turkish Coffee?” asked Sajida as she put her phone down and took off her reading glasses.

“Let me treat you, how about we go out for coffee? You need the change after this stressful afternoon” offered Fahad.

“Don’t trouble yourself dear. I’ll ask the maid to do the coffee” said Sajida.

“I insist. Yalla get ready and I will ask my mother and Sara to join us” said Fahad.

“Can’t object. I’ll go change” said Sajida getting up.

“Did you talk to Nadia?” asked Fahad.

“Yes, while you were out. They ate”

“Great. We’ll grab a bite as we have coffee.” Said Fahad.

 

“Unplanned outings always work better” said Fouzia as they were all seated on the table under the stairs.

“It does. I am a very organized person and I get really frustrated when plans change but as you said, unplanned feels surprisingly nice!” said Sajida.

“Because it doesn’t give you a chance to have any expectations” said Sara.

“As long as we’re all here I think that we should set a date for the official proposal” suggested Fahad.

“True. We shouldn’t delay it any longer.” Said Fouzia.

“You’re welcome anytime habeebti” said Sajida happily.

“What about next week? Which day would be suitable for you?” asked Fouzia.

“Hmm. Today is Monday, what about next Tuesday? In a week time” suggested Sajida.

“Fine by me. I’ll have to inform the family today” said Fouzia.

“How many ladies will you be?” asked Sajida a bit worried.

“My two sisters, two sisters in law from my side, three sisters in law from Bu Fahad’s side, my aunt and her four daughters….” Counted Fouzia.

“Wow Yumma why are you going that far? No need for all those people” interrupted Fahad.

“Wait till she gets to the end of the list!” warned Sara laughing.

“We have to. This is how it works. And if I don’t, I will never hear the end of it” said Fouzia.

Hayakum Allah” said Sajida sincere.

Walla I think that it’s unnecessary. Why don’t we just call the close ones? The aunts from both sides. That’s more than enough” said Fahad.

“Let her do what she thinks is right. It’s once in a life time” said Yara.

“Not exactly. It’s my second” said Fahad jokingly and they all laughed.

“Do you want a wedding Yara?” asked Fouzia.

“No, not at all. I hate weddings”

“Come on! I’ve been dreaming of your wedding since you were born!” begged Sajida.

“No way! It’s just impossible” said Yara firmly.

“What about a small one? We could do it in your house or ours and invite family and close friends only” said Fouzia.

“That I won’t mind” said Yara blushing.

“Yeah, fair enough” said Fahad.

“But I really wanted a grand wedding” said Sajida disappointed. Yara gave her an angry look discreetly. How could she ask for a grand wedding when the man just paid thousands of Dinars to save them from the debt? “But yes you’re right that would be better” said Sajida changing her mind.

Yara and Fahad were sharing Mini Burgers and Kibbeh while the rest were having coffee and different kinds of sweets. To their surprise, Alia, Fahad’s x-wife walked out of the other section of the cafe. They all stared at her as she walked towards them.

elsalam Alaikum” she said confidently yet politely.

“Alooy!! Where have you been!!” said Fouzia as she stood up and kissed her.

“So good to see you!” said Alia as she hugged Fouzia.

“How are you? Are you getting younger with time!”

“I’m so sorry I never call and ask about you” said Alia.

Yara was staring at them and then at Fahad in confusion. “It’s his x-wife by the way” she then explained to her mother. “Wow!” said Sajida not able to take her eyes off of her Chanel bag.

“Fahad, how are you feeling now? I was planning to call and check on you” said Alia.

“I’m good. Much better. You met Yara already. This is her mother” said Fahad introducing them.

“Nice to meet you” said Alia shaking Sajida’s hand.

“Look at those earrings” whispered Sajida staring at her Van Cleef earrings.

“I miss you” said Sara as she hugged her.

Yara was still confused with all the warm greetings. She wasn’t jealous as much as she was wondering what was the reason behind all this love and admiration to the X. She is an X after all and there should be some hard feelings or awkwardness.

“Such a nice girl. She is still respectful and loving” said Fouzia as soon as Alia left.

“She’s beautiful” said Sajida and put a spoon full of Concerto in her mouth.

Yara’s eyes were fixed on Fahad as they spoke about Alia. He was calm and expressionless, but she felt that there was something hidden behind that silence. There must be a reason that would explain the excellent terms between them.

 

Nadia was sitting in the living room of her huge empty house watching Showtime when she heard her mobile ringing. She took fast steps to her room, reached for the phone to see Mohammad’s London number. She looked at it hesitantly, not knowing if she should stick to her word or listen to her heart. She was hoping for it to stop ringing, but it didn’t. And so.. she picked it up.

“Nadia?” said Mohammad as she stayed quiet after accepting the call.

“Hi” she said finally.

“How are you?”

“Aren’t we supposed not to speak to each other?”

“It was you who said that and not me”

“And why can’t you respect my decision?” she asked whining.

“Because I know that it’s not what you want.”

“There is a difference between what we want and what we’re not allowed to want!” she said sharply.

“I asked you to think about it and all you did was believe that this is something that you can’t have!” he said upset.

“Yes. And that can’t be changed” she said.

“Listen to me, I called today because I have made up my mind.” He said firmly.

Nadia stayed quiet. She felt her heart fall down to her feet, “and?”

“I want to talk to your parents…” he said.

Chapter 15. Impression

 

“He died! You think he died? She said he just fell on the floor all of a sudden! He died Nadia he died!” cried Yara in panic.

“Will you calm down and stop thinking these crazy thoughts! People faint everyday!” said Nadia while driving Yara to the nearest Emergency Room.

“They faint for seconds or minutes but not until the ambulance reaches!”

“Pray Yara. Pray that he is fine and that it’s nothing major instead of wailing” said Nadia when her car suddenly stopped in the middle of the road.

“Oh no! Please no. NOT NOW” screamed Yara as Nadia tried restarting the engine several times but with no luck. “Troubles come at once!” mumbled Nadia and pressed on the Hazard lights.

“I will walk. I can’t stay here and wait anymore!” said Yara as she opened the door and was about to leave the car.

“Are you insane? Stay where you are! I’m calling the driver now” said Nadia pulling her back in.

“No no I can’t wait. WHY IS OSAMA NOT PICKING HIS PHONE!”

“Yara please calm down so we can reach the hospital fast. You call a cab and I will call our driver. Let’s see who’ll reach here first” said Nadia while dialing.

“TEN MINUTES. IF I WALK I WILL REACH FASTER!” Screamed Yara and ended the call with the cab agency.

“The driver will be here any minute. Relax, please. You don’t want Fahad to see you like this”

“SEE ME? HE’S UNCONSCIOUS REMEMBER?”

“Stop crying. He’ll be fine! He’s strong and you know it” said Nadia sweetly.

“I never called him. If something happens to him I will never forgive myself” sobbed Yara.

“You will see him and you’ll tell him everything that you wanted to say. He’s not going anywhere” said Nadia as she removed Yara’s hair off of her face and patted her shoulder.

 

Osama was smoking by the front entrance of the Emergency when Yara and Nadia arrived, “OSAMA, WHAT HAPPENED? WHERE IS HE?” asked Yara as she approached him fast.

“He’s fine, he just woke up. First floor room #2” he said calmly with a puff of smoke coming out of his mouth. Yara ran inside while Nadia stayed with Osama.

Yara opened the door of room #2 to find Fahad lying in bed weakly with an IV inserted in his hand. She paused by the door for a second, pleased to see him alive and breathing. “hamdella” she whispered thankful and overwhelmed that she didn’t pay much attention to the lady that was sitting next to him with her hand on his. “I’m so glad that you’re ok” she said as she walked to him with tears streaming down her face.

The other lady stepped away.

“I’m fine, don’t worry” said Fahad in a tired voice.

“I was so scared..i thought that I lost you” she put her head on his chest and he hardly placed his hand with the IV on her back.

“It’s ok. I’m here” he whispered and kissed her head.

“What happened?” she sat straight and wiped her tears.

“Diabetes” said the other lady as she stood up and closed the button of her red coat. Yara looked at her and back at Fahad in confusion. “Did you even know that he is diabetic? I don’t think so. He never cared and seems like he still doesn’t” said the lady as she picked up her huge black Dior bag. “I’m Alia. His x-wife” said the lady and offered her hand to Yara to shake.

“Nice to meet you” said Yara shocked as she shook her hand and wiped her tears with the other hand.

“I never knew that you’re seeing someone” said Alia smiling at Fahad.

“We’re going to get engaged” he said looking at Yara and smiling.

“That’s great. You take good care of him please” she said to Yara and headed to the door.

Yara watched her as she walked out. She was a bit tall with a perfect body. Her soft black hair was tied up in a ponytail and her features were blending beautifully together; wide eyes, pumped lips and a nose that linked them perfectly together. “She’s gorgeous” said Yara the moment she stepped out. Fahad ignored her comment and stared at her with a smile. “Why was she here?” wondered Yara.

“Her name and number was registered for emergencies. It was never changed I guess” he said as he put his hand on hers.

“I’m so sorry I never called. Walla I was planning to do so tonight” she said with guilt.

“You have nothing to apologize for. I started it all”

“Let’s not talk about it now. You are really weak and you need to rest” she said and brushed his head with her hand.

“No big deal. It’s just a high level of glucose”

“It is a big deal! And you will get your share of yelling later for not telling me that you are diabetic!”

“You’re cute when you’re worried” He said laughing and he pinched her cheek.

“You take injections everyday?” she asked concerned.

“No. Just pills. I might’ve missed it last night or today”

“And don’t you have to watch out with food?”

“Yeah. But…”

“You’re unbelievable! Why are you so careless? This is serious you have to be more careful. This time it passed, next time it could lead to a diabetic coma!”

“I will watch out I promise” he smile.

“I can’t lose you Fahad. I went crazy just for the thought that something might’ve happened to you. So please take care of yourself, for me!” she begged.

“Anything for you” he said and kissed her hand.

Osama and Nadia were still standing by the entrance when Alia walked out and waved goodbye to Osama. “Can you guess who that lady is?” asked Osama daringly.

“Hmm, I don’t know but she is damn gorgeous” said Nadia.

Osama laughed, “Guess”

“Someone that you used to date?”

“Nope” he said with a smile.

“Good because you’ll be stupid to leave her!”

Osama laughed out loud, “You’ll be surprised. She’s Fahad’s x-wife!”

“Go away! This is his x-wife? And he left her? Tough luck Yara!”

“They were insanely in love with each other. But, you know, a lot of things get revealed after marriage”

“Yeah, of course! Scary how the divorce rate is increasing by the day”

“Women are independent now, they think that they can do without a man in their life. Reality hits them shortly and they get lonely all over again!”

“Watch it” she said offended.

“No offense! You are so easy to tease” he laughed and noticed Sara approaching from the parking lot.

“Hi Osama”

“Hey. This is Nadia. Yara’s best friend” said Osama.

“Nice to meet you” she said and shook her hand. “Why are you outside?”

“I was smoking and then Yara came terrified. Giving her space.”

“Oh I can imagine. She never faced this before with him”

“It happens often?” wondered Nadia.

“Not often but he is so careless that it happens from time to time. That’s why I’m calm” she smiled.

“Did you tell your parents yet?” asked Osama.

“Yes they are on their way”

“Then I’ll call Yara and tell her to leave.” Said Nadia and took out her mobile.

“I’ll see her on my way up then” said Sara walking away.

“I’ll come with you” said Osama following her.

They met Yara halfway through the corridor. “Feeling better?” asked Osama.

“I’m better. I was so worried!”

“It’s all right. You’ll get used to it” said Sara jokingly and hugged her.

“I can’t believe that I didn’t know about it!”

“He doesn’t like mentioning it!” said Sara.

“And we have to pretend that it doesn’t exist!” said Osama.

“Come on, the least we could do is to remind him to take his pills and eat right” said Yara whining.

“He hates that!” said Sara.

“Yes, you want to lose him? Do that!” said Osama jokingly.

“Things will have to change. We could’ve lost him!” she said frustrated.

“Well, you’re the wifey now!” said Sara.

“Not just yet but until then, promise me that you’ll take good care of him Sara”

“I promise”

“Ha? How are you feeling now?” asked Nadia as soon as Yara got in the driver’s car.

“Relieved! hamdella

“And how is he?”

“He’s weak. Sorry to keep you waiting”

“It’s fine I was with Osama. I also met Sara, she looks sweet”

“She is. Did Osama tell you about Fahad?”

“Yes and I was shocked! How could he hide something like that”

“I didn’t want to stress him with that now. Will talk about it once he gets better”

“And the x-wife!!”

“I KNOW. What kind of test is this!” said Yara with her hand on her face.

“Don’t worry, I understood from Osama that she’s just a beautiful figure from the outside. What was she doing here?”

“I’m not worried.”

“You don’t feel jealous?” teased Nadia.

“No” said Yara rolling her eyes.

“Sure?”

“Maybe a little! It’s just that.. she looks amazing! I’m just an average looking girl”

“Beauty comes from within” said Nadia in a cliché tone.

“What a day! I’m so tired. I haven’t slept in two days” said Yara yawning.

“You need a good night sleep. Tomorrow will be a better day”

Inshalla” said Yara as she rested her head back and closed her eyes.

“Hello?” Nadia answered an unfamiliar Bahraini phone number.

“Nadia..”

“Mohammed? Are you in Bahrain?” asked Naida shocked.

Yara opened her eyes widely as she heard his name.

“Yes. I’m here for a couple of days” he said.

“Why? Mohammed I begged you not to call me again!” said Nadia in a pleading voice.

“I’m here for work, and I need to see you”

“See me why? No. No. We shouldn’t!”

“Please Nadia. Just see me this time and hear me out and after that you’ll never hear from me again. That’s all I’m asking for”

“Ok, fine. I’ll take your word for that”

“Can we meet tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, do you know Yara’s studio?”

“Not really, it didn’t exist back then” he said in a cheerful tone remembering the past.

“I’ll text you directions now. See you tomorrow” she said and ended the call.

“Hey! My studio is not a dating spot!” said Yara.

“I don’t want to show up with him in public. Where else do I go?!”

“What’s going on? Why is he here and what does he want?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know..” answered Nadia nervous.

“We have to go and visit him” said Sajida the next morning when Yara told her about what had happened to Fahad.

“Visit him? But that won’t be appropriate. Nothing is official yet!” said Yara.

“The man is sick and we are his future in laws. It won’t be appropriate if we didn’t go! We have to show them that we have manners. And it will be a plus point for us, to show concern while they delayed their visit. They will only feel embarrassed” said Sajida mockingly.

“You’re wicked but I like your thinking this time!”

“Alright then, check on your sister, she must come too” said Sajida as she got up and headed to her room.

Yara stayed where she was, curled up on the sofa, thinking of what her mother had just said. A small part of her was worried about meeting his mother and how things will go between the two mums. It had to start somewhere. This was a golden opportunity for them to prove to Fouzia that her impression about Sajida could be wrong.

Nadia was waiting for Mohammed to arrive in Yara’s studio. She was nervous as much as she pretended that she wasn’t. Guilt didn’t allow her to dress up for him, but she wanted him to get fascinated by her beauty just like he always did. She wore skinny dark denim jeans with a dirty pink poncho style top. Her hair was falling on her shoulders in natural waves and she put on some light natural makeup.

She was sitting on one of the armchairs with her attention on her phone screen when he walked in. “Not so hard to find. Good location” he said as he took a step. Nadia raised her head up to see him by the door, flashing his beautiful smile with his Cartier shades covering his dark brown eyes. To her surprise, he was wearing a Grey wintery Thoab.

Her heart started beating fast unexpectedly. She had imagined this moment many times. She was certain that she would be able to rein in all her emotions and old feelings that had come up to the surface lately. But when she saw him smiling in that Thoab, looking as mature as he never looked before, and coming to see her after begging for it, she lost all control.

She stood up and he walked slowly to her until they stood face to face. He took off his shades and they stared at each other quietly. He was still smiling and she smiled as she looked into his eyes that spoke a thousand words. Without realizing how, she found herself buried in his arms. Her head was comfortably rested on his chest and her arms were around his back while he held her tight with his head on hers. “This is where I belong..” she whispered with teary eyes.

“I was hoping that we meet in better circumstances” said Sajida sitting next to Yara and Tamara in the hospital.

“This is Allah’s will. Inshalla many more to come and we were planning to meet you anyway” said Fouzia.

“How are you feeling Fahad?” asked Sajida.

“I’m fine hamdella. Happy that we finally got to meet, I heard so much about you” he said excited. Yara stared at him in a confused yet happy look.

“Me too my son” said Sajida as Sara offered her a tray of chocolates.

“Thank you dear I’m on a diet” said Sajida.

“Come on, just one for the gahwa” insisted Fouzia.

“Alright. Can’t say no to this pretty girl anyway” said Sajida as she picked up a piece. Sara blushed and moved to Yara with the chocolate trey. They looked at each other trying to hold a laugh.

“You only have those two daughters ha?” asked Fouzia.

“Yes, I just wanted one child. You can see the huge age gap between the two.” Said Sajida as she took a bite of the chocolate and Fouzia handed Sara the coffee thermos.

“Watch it. You don’t have to explain everything” Whispered Yara to her mother. “What did I say now?” whispered Sajida back.

“Which grade are you in Tamara?” asked Fouzia.

“8th grade” answered Tamara shyly.

“And which school do you go to?”

“Ibn Khuldoon”

“Oh so you studied in a private school too Yara?”

“No, I went to government schools” answered Yara politely.

“Not that we had any financial problems. But Government schools were really good back then” explained Sajida in her usual money talk and Yara hit her leg. Fahad noticed and couldn’t help laughing.

“I was telling Fahad yesterday that we should go out and have dinner together to get to know each other” said Fouzia.

“What about the proposal?” wondered Sajida. Yara hid her head with her hand in embarrassment.

“I think it would be much nicer if we get to know each other first so things won’t get so awkward when we come and propose” said Fouzia nicely.

“Yes you have a point” said Sajida convinced.

“Let’s plan it now then. Where would you like to go khalty?” asked Fahad sweetly.

“I like this boy!” said Sajida looking at Yara.

“It’s up to you, anywhere will do” said Yara out of respect to Fouzia.

“I insist. I want khalty Sajida to pick the place” said Fahad enjoying Sajida’s reactions.

“Hmm, not that I go out much but my favorite restaurant has always been Sato” said Sajida.

“You got it. When shall we go?” asked Fahad.

“Once you get better. How can you decide now when you’re still sick?” said Fouzia.

“I’ll be dismissed today”

“She’s right. We’ll plan it once you get your strength back. And you better do so soon” warned Sajida.

“I’m avoiding you for this very reason. I don’t want to lose control and say things that we’ll regret later” said Nadia as they were sitting on the armchairs.

“I’m missing you insanely these days. Especially after I heard about your divorce”

“But things will only get harder now. We didn’t see each other for years. You left the country and started a family. And in a moment out of time we met by coincidence and everything changed”

“So things changed for you too?”

“Of course. Everything turned upside down. But I had to be dry with you so things won’t escalate”

“I never forgot you. I had to move on. We both had to. I’m sure that you understand what I mean”

“I do”

“Nadia you know that I was never in love with Reem. She was just an available option who had no goals in life other than getting married”

“Don’t say that about her. It’s not fair. She left her whole life here and went with you!”

“But I always wished that it was you Nadia. You were and still are special”

“But I chose my life over you. This could be enough reason for you to hate me” she said sadly.

“It worked for a while, and it helped me move on. But now all I can see is a different life that we could’ve had together. My current life is.. cold. I’m focusing on my career, and when I come home I don’t find the warmth that I need. Reem is a lovely girl. Me and Khalid are her whole life. But she fails to fascinate me, to steal me away from everything just like you do” he said and reached for her hand.

“I recently realized.. that choosing my life over you was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made” she said holding his hand.

He looked at her warmly and got closer, “and you realize that I’m not happy. I am content, but not happy”

“Don’t get me started. What did I get from this life that I chose? Manaf and his betrayal? Being with him was a failed attempt to get over you anyway” she confessed in frustration without looking at his face.

“Look at me Nadia. You think that we still have a chance?” he asked as he held her chin and turned her head to him gently.

“Are you crazy? Of course not” she panicked and pulled her hand out of his.

“There must be a way. We can’t let go of each other all over again and repeat the same mistake”

“How? You are a father and you have a stable marriage. Don’t expect me to ruin this for you!” she warned him.

“It doesn’t have to be ruined.”

“What the hell are you saying Mohammed? Please stop, please! We agreed that this will be the last time we talk and see each other” she said and stood up.

“Please wait. Don’t say anything now. Just think about it. Think of a way and I will too. I want to be with you, I really do. And I know that you want that too. Please think about it and be selfish. We have to be selfish and not live our whole life for others!”

“It’s too late. Let’s forget that this conversation had ever happened” She said as she picked up her handbag and walked out.

“She’s not bad!” said Sara as soon as Sajida and her daughters left the room.

Ee walla, I expected her to be much worse than that!” said Fouzia.

“It’s lovely that you liked her but it’s funny how you’re judging the mother when I’m marrying the daughter” joked Fahad. They both laughed, “The girl seems nice. She’s not beautiful though, very average looking” said the mother.

“Don’t be mean mama!” said Sara.

“I’m only being honest” said Fouzia while pouring milk tea in a cup.

“Once you get to know her better you’ll see how beautiful she is” said Fahad with a happy smile.

“But that was a lesson for you mama. You shouldn’t judge people based on what you hear. You should always find out by yourself” said Sara.

“It was obvious that what I had heard through people was somehow true. She said some unreasonable stuff. But I expected much worse” said Fouzia defending herself while sipping some tea.

“Women always exaggerate” said Fahad sarcastically as he reached for his mobile and BBMed Yara:

Fahad: All good. She likes you both.

Yara: Really? What did she say???

Fahad: Doesn’t matter. Are you happy?

Yara: Of course I am. I was so worried that my mum would say something and ruin it all.

Fahad: I LOVED her. She’s so much fun!!

Yara: Wait until you get enough of her.

Fahad: I never will! She’s not bad at all! You just have to know how to get to her.

Yara: That’s what Nadia says!!

Fahad: As long as everything is set for me and you, what do you say about hooking up Nadia with Osama??

Yara: haha why so suddenly!

Fahad: Why not.. and it will be so cool, the four of us hanging out together.. I can imagine Dalal killing herself.

Yara: You just have to go on and on and on with your plans.. we can’t force it.. let it be.. they are old enough to realize it if they have feelings for each other..

Fahad: We should push it.. It will be good for both of them

Yara: Can we focus on us for now? We still have a lot to do!

Fahad: Right. Love you xx

“I was too nervous to meet his mum! She’s not so easy going and I felt that I was being judged. But Fahad said that she liked both of us” said Yara while having lunch with Nadia at Café Italia in City Center.

“Good” said Nadia with a distant mind.

“What’s wrong? You’re too quiet! Will you please tell me what happened with Mohammed!! What did he want?!”

“Nothing. It was more of a good bye” said Nadia quietly.

“Come on! What happened?”

“Can we make today about you only please? It’s a big day for you and I don’t want to talk about my issues”

“But I can see that you’re sad!”

“And I want to be happy for you. So let’s put my issues aside today and I promise that we’ll talk about it tomorrow”

“Whatever makes you comfortable”

“Dalool called me a couple of days ago”

“Oho! What does she want now?”

“You won’t believe it! She was asking if it’s true that Fahad proposed to you!”

“WHAT? How did she know? I can’t believe her. She has sources from all around the country!”

“I know! She tried to make me feel guilty for taking sides”

“So the news spread already?!” asked Yara in shock.

“Can you believe it? But it’s normal since Fahad’s mother asked around about you and your family”

“I guess. I really don’t care anymore. As long as things are ok let the whole world know” said Yara in excitement.

“I’m so happy for you. It’s a dream come true for me, seeing you married to the one you love” said Nadia emotionally.

“Aww. Let’s not get so carried away with feelings now, I’m starving! What shall we order?” said Yara as she opened the menu.

 

“Damn! I got overwhelmed with all what happened yesterday and I totally forgot about the debt!” said Yara and put her knife and fork down half way through lunch.

“What debt?” asked Nadia while eating her penne pasta.

“That man called me and he was really upset! He wants his money back immediately and he threatened to go to court!”

“Oh no! What will you do?”

“I don’t know, I really don’t. But I really really need to get done with this even if it will mean selling the studio”

“Why don’t you talk to Fahad?” suggested Nadia and took a sip of her diet coke.

“Not now. He will feel responsible since we are practically engaged and he will insist on paying. I really don’t want that to happen”

“True. Finish your food now and we’ll think of something to do. There must be a solution”

Just when they paid the bill, Yara’s phone rang. It was Fahad. She answered as she was putting her wallet back in her classic Louis Vuitton spy bag.

“Where are you?” asked Fahad angrily.

“City Center. What’s wrong?” asked Yara confused.

“City Center? Really? I am sick in the hospital and you are roaming around City Center?” screamed Fahad.

“What is the matter Fahad? Calm down”

“How considerate of you! I’m extremely disappointed”

“Calm down this is not good for your health! Why all the anger?”

“Come here right now!” he said pissed off and ended the call.

After leaving the mall immediately and heading to the hospital nervously, Yara entered Fahad’s room to find him lying on his bed calmly with a smile on his face. She stared at him with a blank face. He laughed out loud on her reaction, “come here” he said.

“What happened to you? One minute you’re yelling and the other you’re laughing! You will drive me insane!” she said too confused as she walked to his bed.

“Sit down” he ordered.

She shook her head, sat on the edge of the bed with her hands folded on her chest waiting for an explanation.

“Close your eyes” he said and reached for the drawer next to him, opened it and got a small jewelry box out of it. He then reached for her right hand and pulled it towards him, “open your eyes” he said.

The moment she opened her eyes he placed a sparkling solitaire ring in her ring finger that took her breath away. She gasped and put her left hand on her chest with her eyes glittering. “Now you’re officially mine” he said as he lift her hand up and kissed it.

Chapter 14, Delay

It was hard for Yara to understand Fahad’s sudden change of behavior. All those months she was the one with the uncertainty and unrevealed emotions while he was always frank and direct. Is this a new side of him that she hadn’t seen? Was he being too protective about his family to the extent of lying? She was sitting on one of the faded armchairs in the studio and playing with her hair. It was 8pm, she was absent mined and distracted all day that she couldn’t do much work no matter how hard she tried.

Her phone rang and brought her back to life, “Hello?” answered Yara, not recognizing the number.

“Alo, Salam Alaikum

Alaikum elsalam, who is it?”

“It’s Anwer, your dad’s friend.”

“Oh”

“I have received your cheque. Thank you very much”

“You’re welcome. Inshalla you will receive the rest as soon as I can arrange it”

“This amount you sent is very small. It’s not even half of the amount” said the man upset.

“I know, I’m very sorry but this is all I could do right now” she said nicely.

“And I’ve been very patient with you. Tell me how much longer shall I wait?”

“I really don’t know but I’m doing my best right now” said Yara politely.

“I really need that money. Managing it is your problem. Get a loan or even steal if you want. But I need that money by next month maximum. Otherwise I will have to go to court!” said the man and ended the call.

Nadia walked in the studio an hour later while Yara was still sitting in the same spot drowning in thoughts.

“Why aren’t you answering my calls?” said Nadia angrily.

“I don’t feel like talking. Can’t I be on my own for one day?”

“But I got worried! You could’ve picked up and said that you don’t want to talk instead of ignoring!” said Nadia as she sat on the other armchair.

“Don’t make a topic out of this now please!” said Yara annoyed.

“Did you talk to him?”

“No and I don’t want to!”

“He didn’t call either? Or come to the café?” asked Nadia confused.

“Nope!”

“Maybe he’s.. embarrassed..and he doesn’t know what to say or do” said Nadia trying to think of an explanation.

“Whatever! He started it and he’s the one who should fix it”

“What about your mum? Did you tell her?”

“No. I’m avoiding her. How can I tell her that the guy that we’ve been speaking highly of is a liar! ”

“You know her better than that. She won’t care! As long as she’s convinced that his family is the kind of family that she is looking for, she won’t care. Yesterday she was upset because she really wanted it to happen and it didn’t”

“You have a point. Anyway, let’s not talk about it anymore. What’s new with you?”

“I’ve been working in the shop all day. That’s it!”

“I found something in the storeroom today. Might be interesting for you” said Yara as she walked to her desk and got a shoebox that was full of pictures. She opened it and gave Nadia a batch of photos with an elastic band around them. The first photo was an old photo of Nadia and Dalal in Chili’s, “Oh my God, I look horrible, look at my blond highlights!” said Nadia as she removed the elastic band and moved to the next photo. To her surprise, it was a picture of Mohammed. Her heart dropped for seeing him the way she knew him back then. Not in London, not with a son, not with a wife; but just the guy she once knew and loved. “Wow. You still have these!” she said as she stared at it. Mohammed was wearing a white French Connection t-shirt, which was in fashion back then. He had a dirty beard that covered his white cheeks and his hair was brushed to the back with a little bit of gel.

“You grabbed my camera from me and took this picture” said Yara smiling.

“I remember..”

“Do you want it? Or shall I get rid of it?”

“This comeback is scaring me..”

“Comeback? What comeback?”

“Seeing him, his beautiful words that messed me up, these photos…and…his call” said Nadia.

Fahad and his sister Sara were sitting on the floor at the sitting room with parcels of Tikka and Kebab placed on a mat in front of them. They were having dinner and Date Night was playing on DVD but they weren’t paying attention.

“Maybe she had the right to refuse to go and propose that fast. But she had to be more careful and stay home” said Fahad.

“I think that you shouldn’t have lied at first place.” said Sara.

“What was I supposed to do? I had no other choice!”

“You should’ve thought of something better. I know how much you love mama and respect her, but you shouldn’t have allowed her to come between you and Yara.”

“I wasn’t planning on lying. I just called her and it was the first thing that came to my mind”

“It happened anyway. Fix it. These days are supposed to be the most beautiful days of your life. Call her and apologize. What you did was wrong.”

Their mother walked in the house at the same time. “Here you are! Join us please.” said Fahad sarcastic.

“I’m full, had so much finger food at the society meeting” said the mother as she took off her hijab and walked through the hall.

“Mama what were you thinking when you went out last night?” said Sara in a mixture of politeness and disappointment.

“Why? What’s wrong with it?” wondered the mother as she sat on the sofa behind them.

“They saw you! You were supposed to be sick remember?” said Fahad.

“Who saw me?”

“Mama! Shfeech? Yara and her mother were at Traders last night and they saw you!” said Sara.

“Out of all the restaurants in Bahrain you’re telling me that they were there too?” said the mother in shock.

“Yes! And even if they weren’t, Bahrain is small and people talk! Anyone could’ve told them that you were there” said Fahad.

“And what did they say?”

“It was too obvious to cover up” said Fahad.

“So they know that we lied?” gasped the mother.

“Yes..” said Fahad nodding.

“This is embarrassing. Why didn’t you cover up? You could’ve said that I got better”

“And make it worse by lying again?” said Fahad trying to remain calm.

“She’s not talking to him already!” said Sara.

“Are they changing their mind? Maybe it’s for the best!” said the mother.

“No Yumma! I will not change my mind even if they do.” said Fahad.

“THEN DO SOMETHING!” screamed Sara. “You are not the Fahad that I know! You are acting like a teenager! What happened to you?”

“This stage is out of my control! It’s all in the family’s hands!”

“Quiet both of you. I think that we should meet them unofficially and get to know them. You can suggest that we go out for dinner with them this week. Just us 3, the girl and her mother”

“That’s a start!” said Sara.

“Make sure you mention that you just want to introduce us and it’s nothing official.” Said the mother firmly.

Yara was driving back home and listening to Majida Al Roumi. It’s been a while since she listened to her and she felt the need to do so. Habibi was playing when her phone rang. It was Fahad.

She stared at the phone screen hesitantly. As much as she wanted to pick it up and hear his voice, listen to his explanation and tell him how much she missed him, she couldn’t. “Not tonight, not tonight!”, She thought as she put the phone back in the cup holder and raised the volume of the song.

“Is Yara with you?” asked Fahad as he called Nadia.

“No but I was with her a while ago in the studio”

“I called her a couple of times but she’s not picking up. Is she ok?”

“She was pretty upset” said Nadia honestly.

“So you think that she’s ignoring me? She doesn’t want to talk?”

“She was in that mood yeah.”

“But I have good news for her.”

“She’ll have to forgive you first. You know her and her stubbornness.”

“Can you please call her and convince her to talk to me?”

“Sure. I’ll try but no promises” said Nadia.

“Is Fahad sending you to talk to me?” guessed Yara as soon she picked up Nadia’s call.

“Why are you ignoring the guy?”

“What part of I-don’t-feel-like-talking do you not understand?” said Yara in anger.

“He really wants to talk to you. He said he has some good news!”

“He can’t take back what he said! Please tell me that he’s not expecting me to forget what had happened and get excited for whatever news he has!”

“Talk to him and see how he explains it!”

“I can’t. I can’t. I’m just too frustrated, disappointed and I need some.. time away.”

“Time away?”

“This is marriage Nadia. It’s not a game. And I’m.. terrified.. after what happened. Yesterday I was 100% sure that he’s the one. But after the way he behaved yesterday I’m having second thoughts..” confessed Yara.

Just when Nadia put down her phone, it rang again. “It just won’t stop ringing today. Hello?” answered Nadia without looking at the phone screen.

“Nadia!!” said Dalal.

“Dalool?” asked Nadia shocked.

“Yes! I miss you!” said Dalal right away. Nadia was taken by surprise and she didn’t know how to react, “shloanech?” she asked politely.

“I’m good I really miss you. Why don’t you ever call me? Why are you boycotting me too? Have I ever caused you any harm?” asked Dalal in her usual whiny tone.

“It’s not that..”

“I know I know. No need to go through it again. Tell me, is the news that I’ve heard true?” asked Dalal curiously.

“What news?”

“Come on don’t act dumb. I heard that Fahad is proposing to Yara! Is that true?”

“Who told you that?”

“It’s Bahrain dear. News travel faster than light”

“Nothing happened yet and no one knows about it! I wonder how it spread!”

“It’s good news anyway. Please send her my warmest regards”

“Dalool, stay out of this! What you’ve done caused them enough trouble so please stay away” begged Nadia.

“You’re mean! You pushed me away out of your life and now and that I’m being nice you’re being rude to me!”

“My God. It was the sudden change in you. I didn’t push you away for no reason!”

“You didn’t even talk to me about it!” said Dalal whining.

“Not a good time. I have to go now. And please stay away” said Nadia as she ended the call and huffed. It wasn’t good news that the word spread about Fahad and Yara. She decided to keep that from Yara and spare her the tension. And just before she receives any other frustrating phone call, she put her mobile on silent and went to bed.

Yara didn’t get much sleep that night. She went to bed early to get away from the thoughts that haunted her all day, but she couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t about his lie or what he said about her mum. It was much bigger than that by now. She doubted if they were really doing the right thing by moving to the next step so fast. By the time it was 7am, she decided to get out of bed and start her day.

She fixed herself a cup of tea and two fried eggs. She placed them on a tray and headed to the living room. Breakfast had a different taste early in the morning and in front of TV. After finishing her breakfast and watching an episode of Wheel of Fortune, she lay down on the sofa and fell asleep peacefully without planning to do so.

“Why are you sleeping here?” asked Sajida curiously. Yara opened her eyes to see Sajida’s figure right in front of her.

“What time is it?” asked Yara as she hardly opened her eyes and stretched her arms.

“It’s 10!”

“Wow, I slept for two hours!” said Yara as she sat straight yawning.

“What brought you here? And you had breakfast already!” said Sajida as she sat down staring at the trey.

“I don’t know. I Just woke up early” lied Yara feeling flattered that they were finally having a normal conversation.

“What happened to the proposal?”

“You were right. They were lying”

“They’re not changing their mind are they?” said Sajida worriedly with her hand on her chest.

“I don’t think so. But…I’m having second thoughts!” confessed Yara.

“What second thoughts? You will drive me crazy! What happened so suddenly to all that love? What happened to I’ll either marry him or no one else?” wondered Sajida sarcastically.

“What they did is a big thing. What kind of marriage starts this way?”

“So what? It’s a stupid lie! They wanted to delay and they couldn’t think of a better excuse!” said Sajida coldly.

“But don’t you think that there is a reason behind that delay?”

“Who cares! You complicate things! Go show them that you are ok with it before they completely change their mind!” said Sajida as she got up and headed to the kitchen.

Without paying any attention to her mother’s words, Yara changed her clothes and went to the studio. The door was not locked, meaning that Santosh was already there. The moment Yara opened the door, she saw something on her desk that made her freeze where she was; it was a beautiful flower arrangement. She walked closely to it and dropped her handbag on the chair.

“Good morning Madame. These got delivered for you this morning” said Santosh.

“It’s alright Santosh. Go back to your work”

She stared at those fuchsia pink roses and white lilies, hoping that it’s not from him as she didn’t want anything to affect her decision. She reached for the small card nervously and pulled it out of the envelope:

I’m sorry.. Let’s start the rest of our lives together..      Fahad..

She held the card tightly and sat on her chair while remembering her mum’s words. Is she finally making sense? Am I complicating things? She wondered. How can I ever doubt his feelings? She thought with flashes of the past months playing in her head. She took her mobile out of her handbag and started dialing his number slowly. And just when she was about to press the call button, a girl walked in the studio.

“Hello Yara” said the girl. Yara observed the girl. She was petite with white skin, her hair was light brown, layered and reached up to an inch below her shoulders. She was wearing a short black dress with black stockings and a long woolen black jacket on top.

“Sara?” said Yara.

“Yes! You know me!” said Sara as they both walked to each other and kissed twice on each cheek.

“Of course I know you! Glad to finally meet you, I heard so much about you” said Yara as she led her to the two armchairs.

“Me too and I’ve been begging Fahad to introduce us for a while”

“I’ve seen you in pictures but you look even prettier in real life”

“Thanks. How are you doing? It’s a lovely place by the way” said Sara observing the studio.

“Thank you. Don’t you ever come to the café?” wondered Yara.

“Not really. When I have the time I’d rather go somewhere lively or new. I also try to stay away from the family business”

“So I’ve heard” said Yara smilingly.

“I think that you know why I’m here” said Sara sweetly.

“Tell me. I’ve been listening to myself only and I need to hear something else”

Sara laughed, “I know that guys are horrible when it comes to explaining. So I’m doing my brother a favor, not that he knows that I’m here”

“It’s fine. I’m finally starting to let go of what happened”

“But we owe you an explanation. I’m really sorry. I was against delaying from the beginning, but you know mothers.”

“I understand. I just wish that he didn’t lie”

“He didn’t want to, trust me. He argued with my mum about it and he tried hard to push her to go. But she won. My mum has a strong personality. I’m sure that you know how she and Fahad are close to each other so he would never upset her”

Yara smiled and remained quiet.

“I’m not pushing you to forgive him or do anything against your will. I just felt that you deserve an explanation. And be sure that he loves you a lot. I haven’t seen him fighting for something in years”

“I understand why your mother got hesitant. I’ve been getting some thoughts too. Will our families be ok with each other? Will the marriage work with both families uncertain about each other?”

“Of course it will. Those are normal disputes. If it means anything, it only means that your marriage is normal!” said Sara with a flashing smile.

“Thank you so much. I really feel much better now” said Yara.

“She’s such a nice girl! I’m so happy that I met her. Things will be easier now” said Yara as she called Nadia and told her about the flowers and Sara’s visit.

“I’m glad to hear that but I need to steal you right now. I’m picking you up and we’ll go work on my shop. I have so much to do and I really need your help.” Said Nadia.

“Yeah sure I want to get busy anyway”

“Come out, I’m only three minutes away”

“So when are you planning to contact him?” asked Nadia once she picked up Yara.

“Soon, today but not now”

“Why are you still delaying it?”

“I want to be completely clear headed when I call him. So I better wait for Sara’s words to erase every single doubt or fear I have in my head”

“But what if he calls you before that?”

“He won’t. She said that he told her that he won’t push it and will give me space”

“That’s good. Shows how mature he is.”

Nadia and Yara spent the whole day working on Nadia’s shop; receiving deliveries, hanging and re-arranging items. They didn’t get a chance to have a lunch break. Yara called Pizza Hut and ordered one large Super Supreme that they had to eat between all the cartoons and packaged stuff. By the time it was 7pm, they both were extremely exhausted and they decided to continue what’s left the next day. All day long, Yara was thinking of all the things she’d tell Fahad once she calls him at night. The conversation was getting repeated in her head with modifications every time she thought about it.

When Nadia was driving Yara back to the studio for her car, they saw an ambulance speeding with the Siren on. As they parked in front of the studio, they noticed a bunch of people standing outside the café with the waiters and waitresses. Yara left the car and walked hurriedly in concern to the waiters, “What is going on?” asked Yara scared. “It’s…Mr. Fahad” said the waitress in panic with her hand on her mouth.