As narrated by Aara:
And as I was about to bend down I felt a hand on my shoulder…
“Aara what’s going on?”
I turned around….Zainab!!
Me: Zainab! (And I grabbed her and hugged her) are you okay???
Zainab: (looking around) I’m fine…what is all this? What’s happening here?
Immy: (making his way through the crowd) Zainab are you okay?
Zainab: (confused) yeah…about that..Why is everyone asking me if I’m okay?
Zoheb: (barging in and holding me by my shoulders) are you okay?
It wasn’t funny…no it really wasn’t funny..but Zainab started laughing…
Zai: (still laughing) well that seems to be the question of the night!
Immy: (looking at me) let me find out (and he walked into the crowd)
My head was busting….I didn’t even know what was happening…
Me: Zainab where are your parents? Where’s Nazrana? (Zai’s sister)
Zainab: we just went out to the shop so they are around here somewhere..aah there’s Daddy (pointing at her father who was now in the middle of the crowd) let me just go check on mummy (and she walked off to her father’s car)
Zoheb: (cupping my face) baby…are you okay?
Me: (still in shock) he called me…he said if not me then why not Zainab…his voice (and I put my hands to my ears)
And Zoheb engulfed me in one of his warm hugs.
It felt as though everything around me was spinning and I was at the centre of it….
Immy: guys..sorry…Zainab’s neighbour was knocked by a car..hit and run..no one saw anything
Immy: she’s going to be okay…a few injuries but nothing major
Zoheb: he’s trying to scare us…he needs to be found Immy, the next time we may not be this lucky
Immy: Aara where’s your phone?
Me: in my car…
Immy: let’s go get it then
As we walked to my car I couldn’t help but notice the anger in Zoheb’s eyes..
Me: 17 missed calls…16 from Zoheb…1 from a private number
Immy: we can still run a trace…tomorrow morning first thing…come to the station we’ll open a case and I’ll sort the paperwork out for the your service provider to help us…it may not help it may help but a small chance is still better than nothing
Zoheb: we’ll be there…(Shaking Immy’s hand) thanks bro
Immy: anytime…(Looking at me) you’re okay?
I just nodded
(and he walked to his car)
Zoheb:(holding my hand) I’m following you home, you’re going to pack a bag and come and stay with me tonight
Me: (raising my eyebrow) this isn’t London!
Zoheb: Aara…you are coming and that’s it!
Me: what are you hiding from me? I didn’t call you, how did you know to come here?
Zoheb: (turning his head away…in frustration perhaps) I’ll explain everything let’s go
We met Zainab’s family quickly and then headed off.
Once we were in my flat…
Zoheb: let me help you grab a few things
But I sat on my sofa quietly…
Zoheb: (kneeling down infront of me) Aara please…
Me: tell me..now
Zoheb: (his hand on my face) I can’t lose you…I was scared
Me: Zoheb..Aadil said to tell you that you may be protecting me but what about the others…
Zoheb: I didn’t think that he’d go behind the others..
Me: tell me everything please
Zoheb: (looking down) I hired someone to follow you and Nemo…to keep an eye on you, not to spy on you but..if you ever needed help and if I wasn’t there…then he would protect you
I felt those flip flops again…
Zoheb: I love you Aara…I was just trying to do whatever I could to keep you safe
Me: (taking his hand in mine) you’re a piece of work you know that
Zoheb: (squeezing my hand gently) we will find him before he harms anyone…(Kissing me on my forehead) I will kill him before he touches you
And I impulsively hugged him tightly…there were so many emotions so many feelings bursting inside of me right now….overwhelming me…as I held onto Zoheb, as I felt his arms around me. I didn’t want to cry but I could feel the sting of the tears in my eyes..as I thought of the rejection that I had faced over the recent years…as I thought of Aadil’s despicable act…as I thought of the first time I saw Zoheb and how I couldn’t stand him…as I thought of the many moments that we shared on our way to each others hearts…I didn’t want to let go as I thought of the night of Riza’s engagement…the look in Zoheb’s eyes…honest,pure,unadultered…love. And even though I haven’t been able to give him as much time as I should be giving him…he’s been ever so patient and understanding.
I can’t say that I never thought that I’d fall in love again…but I will say that I never thought that I’d fall in love so hard. After Nemo, I lost hope on the kind of love it was that I craved for…I consoled myself to believe that it only happened in fairytales or in movies. But Riza and Laeeka forced me to believe differently…
Because only one human being can love you more than your best friend without any expectation…and sometimes you wonder how…where did this person suddenly come from…and one can look for hundreds of reasons to justify why this new person shouldn’t be trusted, why a person with whom you have no history with shouldn’t be given importance…and the reason why this person stands on that spot in your heart where no one else ever stood before that, is because…he is your history…he is your beginning…you both had to go through life’s obstacles before finding each other again…before appreciating each other…because the connection you share is not of this world…it’s the link that was written by the hand of destiny.
I packed my bag…Zoheb wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was so not in the mood to meet his sister…if she couldn’t get along with her own brother, what were the chances that she would get along with me?
Me:( as we drove into his yard) I still say…I’m perfectly fine at home
Zoheb: (smiling his trademark smile) I know you’re strong and brave but…my tummy is still in knots after tonight…I don’t want you to be alone and since we won’t exactly be alone it won’t look bad…
Me: (walking into the elevator) I’m grumpy…I’m not going to be the best of company
He hit the “stop” button in the elevator and smiled at me.
Me: (trying to suppress a smile that always pops up when I see his dimples) what?
Zoheb: (still smiling) what?
Me: (covering my face) you know that I can’t handle it…stop smiling!!
Zoheb: (coming closer to me) but you’re the one who said that I should smile…you even said that my dimples might just be the doorway into someones heart…
Me: (playing along) I did, didn’t I…I must have been mistaken :-p
Zoheb: (still smiling and coming closer) really now?
Me: yes really now…
Zoheb: (resting both his hands on the walls of the lift on either side of me…I was sandwiched)what have you done to me Aara… I don’t know how you did it…I don’t know how you came so close…I don’t know how you melted me and I don’t know how you manage to make me feel the way you do…but woman I am totally wrapped around your little finger(closing his eyes and resting his forehead against mine)
I bit my lip and looked down…flip flop flip flop…so this is what it feels like…just us and nothing else..
And just as he was about to probably close in for a kiss…I hit the button on the elevator and his dimpled smile reappeared as he closed his eyes again…
Zoheb: one of the many reasons why I love you…you’re so amazingly unpredictable!
Me: (I really couldn’t suppress my smile) everything in life is earned you know…
Zoheb: yes mam
And I leaned forward, taking him totally by surprise…and kissed him..
And the elevator doors opened…and closed…and opened…and closed…
Nothing stood between or around us as the doors opened and closed…we were in our own little world that had just been created and it was beautiful…
Me: (catching my breath…and holding my hand out to him) shall we?
Zoheb: oh we shell…(And he lifted me up into his arms,kissed my cheeks and carried me to the door)
I was seriously floating way above cloud 9…
Me: you can put me down now(even though I didn’t want him to)…your sister remember
Zoheb: oh crap..(putting me down) why did she have to be here..
Me: (nudging him) she’s your sister-behave!!
Zoheb: uh uh she’s more like Cruella Devil!
And as we entered his flat, there she was, her back turned towards us.
Zoheb rolled his eyes and moved his hands towards her neck as if he wanted to strangle her and I had to try really hard not to laugh!
And as she turned to face us, he put his hands into his pocket!
Zoheb: Aara this is Maaherah, Maaherah this is Aara
I looked at her in complete disbelief…I was shocked…No ways! No frikking way! I never thought that I’d see her again! She was as mean, if not worse, than Aadil!!! SHE was Zoheb’s sister??????
Special Once Off Request by a Reader:
“To my best friend , my other half and partner in crime , MNM (u must be know who I am because I only call u MNM):I couldn’t resist to say this to you, so here goes :I wish you a very Happy 16th Birthday , I praise this day because you were born today, May this year bring u hapiness , fulfillment and love. May you be blessed with many many more years. May Allah keep you happy, healthy , strong and grant all ur wishes and duaas and may He guide u on the straight path and never lead you astray . May ur journey in this temporary world be one of the best. Ameen
No matter where life takes us , No matter how far we are from eachother, the memories of our friendship will remain in my heart forever.Thank you for being my best friend, I am so blessed to have a friend like u, u are a wonderful person and I hope u stay the same and never change, I am glad that u entered and were a huge part of my life.
I know you are upset with me but don’t break the 15 years of our friendship because the friendship that we share is special, its one in a million. Please accept my apologies , I’m sowweeee 😀
You know you can’t stay mad at me ;)Hope this day is as awesome as you r , enjoy ur day 🙂
HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!! (once again)
From your one and only Crazzziest Bestest friend :p”