HOLA! I am back with an OS, it's been a while since I've written anything, and I know I should be updating my FF but I was experiencing writer's block and the idea for this TS wouldn't leave my head, it was originally supposed to be an OS, but it got really long, so it has two parts now! I hope you guys like it. Please do let me know what you think :) The second part is already done, I just need to edit it and I'll probably be posting it by tomorrow at the latest :)
TS: The Architect and The Corporate Golden Girl
I always arrived exactly ten minutes before an appointment. Always. It makes a good first impression you see. This Friday morning was no different, I arrived promptly at 8:50am for my 9:00am appointment. I sat on the very comfortable sofas sipping on my black coffee, from the Starbucks right in between my office and this one, taking in my surroundings.
The whole floor was buzzing with conversation about what everyone was planning to do this weekend leaving half the cubicles unoccupied. A typical scene at a busy office on the top floor. However, there was something unusual about the way these employees acted. The conversations lasted only until the secretary at the front desk yelled "CODE RED!" which was followed by the ding of the elevator. All of a sudden the office was encompassed in silence as people scurried to their cubicles. I watched amazed as everyone immediately got to work occasionally looking towards the glass doors, uh wall, where the foyer was. I looked up just in time to see a woman clad in a black velvet dress walk through. Her full-sleeved dress was modest but clung to her curves in the most sinful of ways. She was absolutely beautiful. Now I am a guy and I know the bare minimum about fashion, and that too only because of my sisters, but I knew that she was carrying a very expensive Chanel bag in her hand and the sexiest black and red pumps. She literally oozed power and persona. She walked towards the cabin at the end of the hallway, her head held high and an air of indifference about her.
Ah, so this was her, the Zoya Farooqui. The biggest sensation in the business world since Bill Gates himself. In the span of two years she had taken over the almost bankrupt company and managed to turn it around to the most successful in the technology market. Microsoft? Apple? HA. They were slowly losing to Zyco Inc, their shares steadily falling as Zyco climbed and took over every household and workplace. Why you may ask? You know that cool shit you saw years ago, where everything was wireless and clear, no cables, no crap. Yeah, Zoya Farooqui made it possible. And WAY beyond everyone's expectations. Imagine how astonished the world was when a girl, barely 25, comes into the industry and revolutionizes it. No one knew where she came from, or how she did what she did, but everything she touched turned into gold. She was the female Midas, a sexy desi one at that.
She was seen as cold, ruthless and driven, there wasn't anyone who crossed her path and didn't regret it after. She went through employees like tissue, the minute they did something wrong they were out the door and replaced by one of the thousand applicants. There were horror stories of grown men leaving crying from her office. She made the best of business men and lawyers tremble in fear. With the whole world in her hand, she was the corporate golden girl. And she knew it.
And I was the architect she hired to design her new office. A 9:00am appointment and to my surprise her PA called me in at exactly that time. I was never scared or intimidated by anyone, I was the best of the best. Despite having stepped into the architectural sphere only a few years ago, I had managed to climb to the top. But for some reason I could feel my heart race as I got closer to the door.
"Miss Farooqui, Asad Ahmed Khan, the architect for the new office." Her PA announced opening the door.
"Oh right, please come in." She sounded polite but there was no smile on her face, her face was completely emotionless. She looked even more gorgeous up close, her skin was flawless and milky, her bee stung lips just begged to be kissed and her almond shaped eyes could draw anyone in. But what drew me in the most wasn't the beauty of her eyes, but the pain that seemed to haunt them, they looked lifeless, almost empty. And a part of me immediately wanted to erase her pain.
"Good morning." I said.
"Morning." She replied. "Please have a seat."
"Thank you." I said while sitting down on the very comfy chair facing her. She looked so small yet so powerful sitting behind the mahogany table.
"Lets get straight to the point. I hired you because you are apparently the best of the best in the business. So this office needs to be top notch, no exceptions. I am hoping you've surveyed the space already?" She asked.
"I assure you that you have nothing to worry about in that regard. And yes I have, I am thinking you want your office in the top floor in the north wing?" I asked.
"That'd be perfect."
"I have some blueprints, they are just rough ideas now and we can change them to whatever you see fit." I said taking out my iPad. "Can I connect this to..."
"Of course." She said nodding as a knock sounded on the door.
"Excuse me." She said walking to the door herself. Dear lord, the dress was almost backless, exposing the vast expanse of her very toned back. "Ah, Mr Miah, just the man I was hoping to see." Although the words sounded polite her voice was the exact opposite. Her face was once again emotionless, no anger, no guilt or anything.
"I am so sorry. It's just that something came up and-" A middle aged man stood at the door, he was sweating profusely, and shaking.
"No excuses Mr. Miah. I needed the file on my desk by 9:00 this morning, it wasn't there, so you can go pack up your desk, and pick up your termination letter and your check at accounting." She said coldly and slammed the door not listening to the pleas of the man on the other side.
"Don't you think that was a little harsh?" The words escaped my mouth before I even thought to say them.
"I didn't hire you to judge my actions, can we get on with this?" She said authoritatively.
After going over the designs for the next half hour I was dismissed. I understood why people feared her and why she was as successful as she was. That woman was driven, to an utmost extreme, cutthroat and blunt. She didn't beat around the bush. She seemed more like an emotionless robot than a person.
But for some reason it almost felt as if a real person was trapped inside her, suppressed, trying to get out. I don't know why I was reading in to the situation so much, but there was something about her that made me want to...protect her, which was weird in itself because she didn't need to be protected but people needed to be protected from her.
I stepped outside towards the elevators only to be greeted by my brother, Ayaan, a PR Representative at the company, and his colleagues along with Zoya's PA.
"Asad Bhaijaan!" He smiled. "How did you find Cruella?" He asked referring to Miss Farooqui.
"She is...nice." I said.
"Nice?" Ayaan laughed with all his colleagues.
"Quite the opposite actually, she is a tyrant, so rude to everyone. And cold, she doesn't smile or befriend anyone." One of his colleagues said.
"Do you ever wonder why?" I asked. "Maybe she has a reason." I said and they all shrugged and stepped into the elevator going up to the cafeteria and waved goodbye.
"You are the first person that has been able to see beyond the tough exterior." Her PA said as the elevator door going down opened. We both stepped in. "She is a really nice person once you get to know her."
"Why is she so..."
"Cold? She has her reasons. She's been hurt one too many times Mr. Khan."
"I am sorry I didn't ask you your name."
"Humeira." She said stepping out on the third floor and waving goodbye leaving me confused. What the hell was that? Well, for one, I now know the woman my brother has been chasing for the past few months. She was quite a sweet girl. Ayaan and Humeira. Sounds about right no?
"Ammi, you have to listen to the doctor if you want to get better." I said sitting on the plastic chair by her hospital bed.
"I am listening."
"Oh really? You were supposed to go for radiation today but you can't because you forgot to take the medication. That's listening?"
"I got distracted." She smiled. "They'll take me tomorrow. I am almost done anyways. Didn't Doctor Raizada tell you I am as fit as a race horse?" She laughed. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dilshad Ahmed Khan, the only woman in the world that would compare herself to a race horse.
"Seriously Ammi. She said quite the opposite. That they are going to need to increase the amount of times you need chemotherapy per week." I sighed.
"I'll be fine. I am a strong woman." She smiled.
"Are you going to tell me how you forgot to take your medication?" I asked again.
"I was just sitting in the garden, minding my own business when I saw this girl. And for some reason I felt like talking to her. Ya Allah, I don't think I've ever seen anyone with so much pain in their eyes." She had a far away look in her eyes then. Okay then.
"Is she sick too?"
"No, she comes to visit the children in pediatrics. They seem to love her."
"And?" I prompted.
"What do you mean nothing?"
"What we talk about says in between the two of us."
"Ammi, I am your son..."
"So?" She shrugged.
"Asad, there is no use in trying to get anything out of your ammi." I heard a voice from behind me. I turned around to see my dad, Rashid Ahmed Khan, with a bouquet of white roses in his hands, as always. They were Ammi's favourite. My parents were quite nauseatingly sweet. He walked over to her bed and handed her the flowers before kissing her forehead and sitting beside her.
"Oh please, she'll crack soon." I laughed.
"Hush child." Ammi laughed.
"I'll be going now, I've got to come up with blueprints for the female Satan." I said getting up.
"Female satan?" Ammi questioned as Abbu laughed.
"I have my secrets too." I said kissing her forehead before leaving.
To my utter surprise I ran into Humeira, she was typing away on her phone standing outside the pediatrics ward.
"What are you -" I stopped dead in my tracks looking at what was in front of me. W*F. Inside the room, with a child in her arms, was a SMILING Zoya Farooqui. I had to blink a few times to make sure I wasn't imagining it. She was wearing sweats, her hair up in a ponytail as she talked to the child. And even from this far away I could tell that the smile didn't reach her eyes. But she didn't look like the cold ruthless person from that morning...she looked almost maternal. This girl was giving me whiplash, I don't think I've ever been so confused in my life.
"Who is she?" I whispered out loud causing Humeira to laugh.
"I am still trying to figure it out." She said.
"Why is she here?"
"I have no idea. She comes here every week, I am just told to schedule in a few hours here every Friday evening." Humeira sighed. "How's your mom?" She asked.
"Better." I said giving her a confused look, how did she know?
"Ayaan was quite worried about her last week." She said noticing my confusion and I nodded.
"A Grande Caffe Verona." She said to the barista behind the counter, handing him a $5 bill and moving along. I watched interested as she picked up her coffee and took a sip out of it, cringing at the taste. Obviously not a fan of black coffee. I expected her to put cream in it, but she didn't. She put the lid on and took another sip.
"Why would you drink it if you don't like it?" I piped up as the barista handed me my coffee. It didn't faze her, I thought she would at least give me an irritated look. But nothing. I'd been trying to get her to show some emotion for a while now, but nothing. She was cold and to the point as ever during our meetings and when she came to site. It was really starting to bug me.
"Are you following me?" She inquired.
"My office is across the street too." I pointed out.
"Oh." She said. She looked cold and beautiful, her hair in a tight bun and a pristine navy dress on her.
"Why do you drink black coffee if you don't like it?"
"Excuse me?" She asked sounding almost appalled. PROGRESS!
"You clearly don't like it."
"And how do you know?"
"You can't even drink it without cringing."
"Mr. Khan. I don't know why you are taking so much interest in my coffee. I hope you take as much interest in your work." She said trying to walk away. Not going to let that happen darling. It's been a week since the last time I saw her at the hospital, there were some things I needed to figure out because she was f**king plaguing my every thought. She didn't even leave me alone in my dreams.
"Mind if I walk with you? I was heading over to a meeting with you anyways." I asked, but alas, no reply. Okay, then. "Did you know that the Caffe Verona is a Valentine's Day flavour? It's named Verona because it was the city where Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet?"
"What are you? A Starbucks fact book?"
"My roommate in university was a barista at Starbucks." I said
"Hmm." She mumbled stepping into the elevator.
"You don't speak much." I said as the elevator closed and started moving up.
"Mr. Khan. May I remind you that we are in a professional relationship and I am your employer at the moment, if you can't maintain this relationship I can find another architect." She said.
"How about you teach me how to maintain a professional relationship and I teach you how to smile?" I asked.
She didn't say anything but pressed the "G" on the elevator remote pad. The elevator stopped and then started descending downwards.
"I will have my PA call you and reschedule the appointment. I can't do this right now." She said as the elevator doors opened again, irritation flashing across her face. I smiled at her, I was getting to her.
"Sure thing." I smiled, she gave me a weird shocked look as the elevator doors closed again. I smiled walking across the street to my office finally figuring out how to crack her. Do the exact opposite of what is expected.
Friday evening I found myself standing outside the glass window looking into the pediatrics ward, she was here again, handing out balloons to all the children. Her face adorned with a smile, but it still didn't reach her eyes. I sighed trying to figure out why she was doing this, cold and ruthless Zoya Farooqui at a hospital.
"Asad?" I turned around to see Doctor Raizada behind me.
"Good evening." I smiled at her. "Hot date?" I asked noticing she was out of her scrubs for once and wearing a grey dress. She laughed nodding. "Tell Arnav I said hi."
"I will. But what are you doing here?" Khushi asked.
"Maybe you can help me. Do you know her?" I asked pointing to Zoya.
"Zoya?" She asked.
"Yep." I said popping the p.
"Why does the CEO of Zyco Inc come to the hospital every Friday?" I inquired.
"She always comes here. She's been volunteering at this hospital since we were sixteen. She wanted to become a pediatrician, she even got accepted to medical school, but her parents passed away on the same day she got her acceptance letter, so she took over the family business." Khusi explained.
"Both her parents passed away?" Holy. To lose both parents and that too on the day her dream came true. But why didn't she go to medical school?
"Yeah, in a car crash. She hasn't been the same since, she even broke off her engagement." Khushi said sadly. SHE WAS ENGAGED? To who. Why did she break it off? Did she not love him? Was it arranged?
"Oh." That's the only word that came out while a battle of wits ensued in my mind.
"Why are you asking though?"
"I was just intrigued, she seems so different here." I said. "Let me walk you out. It's dark."
"Always a gentleman."
"My mama raised me right." I laughed. "Plus Arnav would kill me if I let his pregnant wife go outside in the dark all by herself."
Imagine my shock when I walk into my mother's room to see Zoya Farooqui sitting beside the bed on the plastic chair the following Friday. It didn't take long for things to click, this was the girl my mom was talking about a few weeks ago. So I wasn't crazy for seeing pain in her haunted eyes, and I wasn't the only one that wanted to erase it. It was probably a genetic thing. Who am I kidding? I am f**king smitten and want to hold this girl in my arms and never let her go. Luckily they didn't see me, so I backed up behind the little wall. A little eavesdropping was in order.
"You can't run away from life beta." Ammi said to her. Ah, my mother, the psychologist. I am pretty sure Zoya wasn't aware she was talking to a shrink. She was the type that would never go to a therapist in the fear of being weak and a twist of fate lands her in front of a psychologist. Ha.
"I wish I could." She replied.
"Do you think they would be happy seeing you like this Zoya?" Ammi asked. They? Her parents?
"I hope they'll be proud of me."
"They will be. But they'll also be sad to see you like this, when was the last time you smiled? Actually smiled?" Ammi asked her. I don't think she knows how to Ammi, I am working on it though.
"I don't even remember." Her voice was barely above a whisper.
"You have to think about the past to get over it. Don't push it away, think about the good times, it'll make the pain that much less."
"I think it was the day they passed away, it was a Friday. Every Friday Abbu would make us pancakes using blueberries as the eyes, a strawberry as the nose and chocolate syrup as the smile. It was something we always did, ever since I was a kid."
"That's cute. And I am supposing you miss it?"
"There is many things I miss. I just don't think about it." She sighed then, followed by a pause. "I should get going. I am sorry for putting all of this on you."
"Hey. Don't say that. I am always here if you need someone to talk to."
"Thank you..." She paused taking a deep breath. "You know you remind me a lot of her...of my mom."
"Oh Zoya." I heard before hearing some rustling. I just had to peek, I had to. She was in my Ammi's arms, a few tears steaming down her face. She looked so broken, nothing like the Zoya Farooqui I knew, and the urge to make those tears disappear, to make everything disappear again was so strong.
I don't know what this broken girl is doing to me, but I know I want to do anything in my power to make her whole again.
"Yes." She said narrowing her eyes, her eyebrows arching, she knew I was going to ask for something.
"Can you answer a question for me? Honestly?"
"Yes." She said skeptically.
"What is wrong with Zoya?" Yes, I came to my mother for help. Sue me. My plans weren't working, she wasn't smiling or responding anymore than before, and the only emotion I seemed to bring out in her was irritation.
She gasped. "How do you know her?"
"Remember female Satan? It's her." I said causing her to whack me. "OW WOMAN." I said rubbing my shoulder.
"Don't you call her that."
"Ammi. Answer my question."
"She's been hurt a lot."
"Why are women always so cryptic?" I said recalling hearing the same sentence from Humeira and Khushi.
"Why are you so interested?" She asked. I am pretty sure I blushed as I ducked my head down. "Oh, so my son finally fancies a girl."
"A girl that hates me. I think." I said causing her to smile, hopeless romantic much?
"Why would she hate you?"
"I leave no chance to irritate her."
"Oh god, you are like a little kindergartner, annoying a girl you like." She laughed.
"Some emotion is better than none right?" I asked. "She is like a robot Ammi, so cold to everyone. But her eyes are so warm, and deep, but they are filled with so much pain."
"I don't know much."
"You know more than me."
"She seems to have shut everyone out after her parents died, her family wasn't the most supportive after...they were trying to throw her away and take over the company. I think it was the suddenness of it all, to go from a girl with a family to someone all alone in this world. She has shut everyone out. It's a defense mechanism."
"She doesn't want to get hurt again." I concluded as Ammi nodded.
I ran into her at Starbucks again, she didn't get the Verona blend, but another dark blend, black. She cringed when she drank it yet again. I didn't quite comprehend this act of hers, it was quite clear that she abhorred black coffee but she always got it, and she didn't get the weaker medium blend either, always a dark one.
"You know, cream and sugar go a long way." I said standing behind her.
"I think I am going to have to find another Starbucks." She replied without even turning around, knowing it was me due to our multiple run-ins here.
"I think the barista would be heartbroken. He seems quite smitten with you." I pointed out. She scoffed as she walked towards the door, and her eyes widened, just a bit, when I opened the door for her. Wow, irritation, disbelief and surprise. I am on a roll today.
"Men are smitten by anything with boobs." She muttered, ah, she also has a problem with males. One more thing to add to the list.
"Good thing too no? It was probably a trait selected for during evolution, to increase procreation."
"I swear I will slap you if you even imply that evolution is the reason for men cheating."
"Well, if we revert back to the time of our early primate ancestors it would be a plausible explanation, more women equals more viable offspring. But in this day and age, men that cheat should be hanged by the balls."
She gave me an astonished look.
"Too crude?" I asked.
"No, I am just debating if you actually mean that or if you are just saying it."
"I never say things I don't mean. Being hanged by the balls seems like an appropriate compensation for the crime." I said, and I swear I saw the corner of her mouth move up a little. "You know, this is the most words you've spoken to me in the past seven weeks, outside of discussing plans that is." I pointed out.
"I think you can call me Asad outside of work."
"I'd rather not."
"Are you being namist? Do you discriminate against first names or something?" I asked. And she smiled. She f**king smiled, a very small smile, but it wasn't fake. And her dimple showed. "You look absolutely stunning when you smile."
"I smiled?" She sounded almost shocked.
"Yep, a real one. Not that fake one that doesn't reach your eyes."
"How do you-"
"I might have seen you around the hospital...I am pretty sure even the kids see through that fake smile. It's sad that you are robbing them from seeing such a beautiful smile." I said, touching her dimple. Her eyes grew wide and she stepped back abruptly. Like I had shocked her. She turned around swiftly and marched away. Not looking back even once.
After another sleepless night of analyzing Zoya Farooqui's actions, I decided an intervention of sorts was in order. I needed to bring her out of her shell, no more small attacks. And lucky for me, I had an appointment with her at the site this Friday morning. And I knew exactly what I was going to do.
I arrived early, and set up a table in what would be her office. The building was almost complete, just a few finishing touches left. I was quite sad about it actually, I would have no reason to randomly accost her anymore.
I sighed and set the plate just the way she described it to Ammi, pancakes with blueberry eyes, a strawberry nose and a smile made with chocolate syrup. I even took the liberty of buying her coffee with cream and sugar.
I smiled as I heard heels click down the hallway. I stepped out so I could see her and she looked impeccable as always. He hair was out today, in loose waves rather than that slick straight style she always sported, it suited her, made her look warmer.
"Good morning." I smiled brightly. I only got a small nod in return, well then. "Welcome to your new office." I said stepping back and motioning her in. She took in the surroundings, the charcoal colour walls with matching tiles. The entire North wall was a glass window, overlooking the busy city. This was one of my favourite spaces if I did say so myself. I watched her face expectantly as her eyes fell to the table in the middle of the room, and the contents on it.
Her eyes grew wide first, her mouth slightly open, and then she looked like she was going to cry. And it hurt, I'd never seen her show weakness, ever other than that day with my mother. But right then, with her watery eyes, her mouth open and her body stiff, she looked...weak. I didn't say anything, not knowing what to say about what I did. I cracked when she let out a little choking sound, all of a sudden I was across the room and my arms were around her. She didn't move, still as stiff as before. She was crying now, tears gently streaming down her face and I honestly felt like someone was piercing my heart.
"Zoya." I whispered but got no response. I waited for her to melt into my arms, for her to lean on me but it didn't happen. She just stood there with my arms around her not moving a bit.
"Why are you doing this?" She finally whispered.
"Making me feel weak, making me feel things that I've tried to repress for years." She whispered.
"To help you." I whispered back.
"How'd you know?"
"I overheard you talking to my Ammi."
"Ammi?" She asked confused.
"Dilshad Ahmed Khan from the hospital." I informed her.
"Oh. I see." She said stepping away.
"You heard my sob story and felt pity for me didn't you? You thought you could "fix" me or something. You know what Mr. Asad Ahmed Khan, I don't need your pity. Or anyone else's. So please stop doing whatever you are trying to do." Her voice was sharp again.
"You're getting it al wrong. It's not that I feel-"
"What story did you hear? That both my parents died in a car crash or that I killed them to take over the company? Someone probably also told you that my fiance left me? Is that why you felt sorry for me?" She asked. "Well let me inform you that none of it is true, so I don't need your pity." She let out a cold laugh.
"I don't pity you."
"Of course you do, that is why you did all of this."
"No. I did this because the first day I saw you I saw a girl stuck inside the robot you're trying to be, I saw the pain in those brown eyes, I saw past that tough exterior and for some reason I wanted to get to know the girl behind the exterior, I wanted to make the pain go away. So yes, I tried to find out everything I could about you, where you were from, what you did and why you are like this. Not because I felt pity for you, because I couldn't stop myself from thinking about you. I don't know when it happened but I fell for you. Hard." My voice was even and strong despite being quiet, because I meant every single word I said.
"Don't waste your time on me. I am not worth it and I could never be what you want me to be." She said turning around.
"I don't need you to be anything, just yourself. The real Zoya Farooqui." I called after her.
"The real Zoya Farooqui died a long time ago Mr. Khan, if she was alive she would have been killed or she would have died on the streets, people would have stepped all over her." She said walking out and leaving me standing there, I had no f**king clue what I needed to do.
I found myself by my mom's side a few hours later, I was so lost that I had no idea what to do. She didn't come to the hospital, she didn't pick up her phone and Humeira said that she cancelled all her appointments and went home. I begged for her address but there were somethings that even Humeira couldn't do. So of course, I went to the only person that could fix this, my mother, and relayed our conversation to her.
"Did I mess up?" I asked her, the guilt creeping through me.
"It didn't work though." I whined.
"Did you expect her to fall into your arms and change just like that?" Ammi scoffed.
"Yes." I mumbled only to be whacked on the head. "OW, Ammi, I swear I've lost a billion brain cells because of you hitting me."
"Yeah, seems like it." She said rolling her eyes. "You really thought she was going to let go of who she is made herself to be over the past years just because you do one nice thing for her."
"Well when you put it like that." I said suddenly feeling stupid.
"I don't know what's happened to her Asad, there is a lot more going on there than the death of her parents, something happened. And she is trying to repress it the best she can, she doesn't want to deal with it. I don't think she even had time to properly grieve over her loss. She's shut herself off from the world and she doesn't want anyone to get in. Especially you."
"What do you mean especially me?" I asked.
"Well, she may have mentioned that a certain architect has been plaguing her mind and annoying the hell out of her for the past few weeks. And no one is as annoying as my son." She laughed.
"So she likes me?" I felt like a kid in a candy store, that's the best news I'd heard in the past few weeks.
"I think so." Ammi laughed. "Now do something about it rather than moping."
I intended to, I would crack Zoya Farooqui, no matter what.
The next part is in Zoya's POV and will be up soon! Please lemme know what you think.
HELLO! Here is part two! Sorry for the lateness, my boyfriend confiscated my laptop after b/c I am apparently overworking myself. LOL. Anyways, YOU GUYS ARE SO AMAZING! The response for this TS is overwhelming! I am so glad you liked it. So here's the second and last part! Do let me know what you think.
The Golden Girl
You could spend years building up walls around you, you could build up a suit of armour and wear it so that nothing can hurt you again. But all it takes is one irritating person to wander into your life and do something completely dumb. Like smile at you, or talk to you, to actually talk to you and make you smile and all of a sudden the walls want to crack and let him in. It is the worst feeling in the world because it goes against everything I've made myself to be. I am strong and emotionless, I don't let anyone get to me. I learnt the hard way to not trust anyone, and I wasn't going to let him in and let him hurt me. I couldn't. But a part of me, the part of me that I never listened to, told me that he wouldn't hurt me. A man that could go to such extremes just to make me smile couldn't hurt me.
I knew he was trouble the first day he walked into the office with that beautiful face. Why? Because for the first time in five years my heart thumped. I didn't look at men, I absolutely swore of them and I never really noticed them or found my heart to beat for any of them. But my f**king heart couldn't ignore how gorgeous he was, and how nice his smile was. I couldn't ignore this sense of familiarity I felt around him.
I could have suppressed that part of me again, if he didn't show up EVERYWHERE I went, he even plagued my dreams. And he irritated me to no end, I never let my emotions shine through when I was around people, it showed weakness but he was just so UGH. He was a charming smartass, he said the weirdest things and he made me smile for the first time in many years.
If that wasn't enough, he pulled the pancake fiasco and told me he liked me. Yes, my heart f**king melted into a puddle when he said that, but I contained myself because I couldn't let him in. I won't let him in. You think he would have given up? Me too. But starting the next day I started getting flowers delivered to my office every single f**king morning. Everyone on the floor was shocked beyond belief, who would be sending "Cruella" flowers? I was just as shocked as them.
Day 1 - Not Convinced
The first day came a bouquet of purple Irises and the f**ker was smooth, he actually sent a note with it. Guys always make the mistake of sending flowers without a note, but not him. He sent one and he was all sweet about it too.
Irises symbolize faith. To believe in the impossible and never give up on the dreams of your heart. I hope you have faith in yourself and me. I was wondering if you would like to go to dinner with me tonight? Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
The flowers along with the note went into the garbage. I don't date. I like being alone, at least that way no one can hurt me. I thought that he would get the hint after not getting a call and stop.
Day 2 - Mild Acceptance
But that didn't happen, the next day came purple lilacs with yet another note.
Liliacs symbolize youth. So let your inner child run wild! Remember the days when you were carefree and happy and know that you can still be like that, if you want to. I am thinking the last note got tossed in the garbage? I hope you weren't that mean to the flowers though. I was wondering if you would like to go to dinner with me tonight? I swear I'll be a good date. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
The note once again went into the garbage but the flowers were too pretty to throw away, as much as I hated to, I took them home with me. And they kept reminding me of him, if my mind even needed a reminder. I knew for a fact that I couldn't let him in, I didn't want to and I didn't know how to. I hadn't opened up to anyone after they died, no one even knew what happened that day or the days that followed. And it was okay that way, I didn't need to cry about it and let the world feel like they could trample over me, I didn't need the pity.
Day 3 - Denial
The next day came pink lilies with yet another note.
Lilies symbolize a new life, no matter what has happened in the past there is always a new tomorrow. So I am hoping you let me be your friend at least, although I would like to be more someday. But only when you are ready. I am still wondering if you would like to go to dinner with me tonight. Please, I am starving and I also found out that you love pizza. We could always go grab some. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
Okay, so maybe he was getting to me. Again. And for some reason I couldn't ignore this idiot like I had with the other guys over the years, although most of them backed off because I scared them, it didn't work with him as much as I wanted it to work. I wanted him to leave me alone in my misery, I didn't need him. I was broken and I didn't need to be fixed. I didn't want to talk about it or rely on anyone. Yes, there were times when I think about talking to all the people I left behind again but then I stop myself. I can't let anyone in. Especially him, because even though he doesn't know it, he holds power over me, no one has made me think and feel as much as he has and I barely know him. I couldn't let him in. Yet, I couldn't stop myself from touching the flowers over and over again. I put the note in the drawer this time, with the other crumpled ones that had somehow, magically, made their way out of the garbage.
Day 4 - Hurting
The next day came poppies, and not the hideous red one, but pink ones.
Poppies symbolize imagination. I hope you open your eyes and see all the opportunities you have. I am serious about getting pizza, as friends, for now. Let me in Zoya Farooqui, I swear I won't hurt you. Ever. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
The problem was that I could see the opportunities he was talking about. I could see myself as a normal person, someone who wouldn't shut the world out, someone who could trust people again. I could see a life...with him. And it scared me, because every single scenario that ran through my head ended with him leaving me for one reason or another, and I was sure I'd break if someone else left me. But I couldn't stop reading the note, over an over again. Every time I would open my drawer it would be there. And it would remind me of him, which would make me realize that I missed him. A lot. Which made me feel weird because I wanted to know why I missed him. I wanted to know why I dreamed about him every night, I wanted to know why I was yearning for his arms around me. And there were rumors going around the office that I had gone "soft" because I hadn't fired anyone in the past few days. Sigh.
Day 5 - Tears
The next day came a lotus bouquet, I wasn't even sure that they sold these. Especially in bouquets. Where was he getting all these flowers from? I had never seen a lotus before, but they were quite beautiful, and of course there was another note.
The lotus symbolizes purity. No matter how damaged you may be, you need to know that your soul is pure. What other person in your position would spend every Friday night at the hospital and donate millions to charities? You're perfect just the way you are, stop hiding that perfection. I am still serious about grabbing pizza, I think you've noticed that I am highly...consistent by now. I'll write to you tomorrow, again and again until you actually call me. Even if it takes forever. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
Maybe, just maybe, I felt a tear stream down my face. I don't know how I stifled the urge to call him that day.
Day 6 - The Pursuit of Happiness
The next day came sunflowers, bright and yellow. They hurt my eyes. I knew what they symbolized, a concept so foreign to me, yet I had to read his take on it.
The sunflower symbolizes happiness! Stand tall and smile. You know you have two little dimples that I am sure would turn into killer dimples if you actually smiled. I am pretty sure my imagination isn't doing your smile justice. Now I swear I'll try my best to bring it about if you actually let me see you. If you are not digging going out for pizza we could try something else. I am kind of desperate now, I'll even eat caviar if you like it despite hating it as much as I do. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
I wasn't even sure why he was imagining me smile, it made my stomach fill with butterflies. What was this man doing to me? Could he really mean the things he said? Do I really need someone to talk to? Would it feel better to talk to someone? No right? But why did I feel like talking to him? Why did I imagine being in his arms and crying while he held me? Why did I want his arms around me again?
Day 7A - Denial at its finest
The next day came orchids, my mom's favourite flowers. Seeing them alone made me shake.
The meaning of this flower is appropriate in this context, it means "beautiful strength", and you fit the description perfectly. You are beautiful and you are probably the strongest person I know. I don't know your reasons for choosing the business world over your passion but I would love to hear them though. No matter how sad or painful, I want you to talk to me. I am guessing it was a no to the caviar too? You know I called my phone company today just to make sure that everything was okay with my phone and I wasn't missing your calls or something. But I was sad to here that it's perfectly all right. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
He plagued my thoughts all day that day, because I was trying to justify staying away from him. I was destined to spend my life alone, I didn't need anyone. I couldn't risk everyone leaving me. Not again. But why was I still missing him? Why couldn't I forget him? Why couldn't I find it in me to throw the notes away?
Day 7B - Acceptance
The same day, later in the afternoon, came a mixed bouquet of red and yellow roses, which was unusual because he always sent one type of flower. And he never sent more than one bouquet per day. What was going on?
I guess you are wondering why I am sending you flowers again and why there are two different flowers? Well, as for the first question, today is Friday. I need to compensate for the weekend somehow right? Unless you want to give me your address so I can send them to your house. And as for the second one, you see, the red one stands for love - and I am pretty sure I am halfway in love with you- and the yellow one symbolizes friendship. You can choose whichever one you want or neither, I can just be a stranger you open up to, if you don't want me in your life after that, I'll leave, no matter how much it hurts me. Just talk to me Zoya. Please. Can we just try this once? I swear I am going to start showing up with the flowers starting tomorrow. Call me. 9179349346
Asad Ahmed Khan
I didn't miss the fact that he ended with "Love, Asad Ahmed Khan" instead of just his name this time. I also didn't miss what he was trying to do, he was trying to be there for me, in whatever way I wanted him to be. As a friend or someone I could see myself with, or both. I sighed. What do you do when everything you planned goes down the drain?
What do I do Mom? I need you. I need someone to talk to. I miss you. So so much. Should I let him in Mom? Would you like him, would you approve? I watched amazed as a red rose somehow fell off its stem and to the floor.
I sighed picking up the phone and sending him a text. I couldn't talk to him over the phone. I needed to see him. Ironically, today was also Friday. We were going to meet in the garden outside the hospital, why? Because it was my comfort zone and I needed some familiarity as I ventured into the unfamiliar. I dressed in my old jeans, I hadn't worn jeans in the longest time, they almost felt foreign against my legs but comfortable. I felt like I was in my skin. I left my hair out, straight, like it naturally was. Looking in the mirror, I didn't see the Zoya Farooqui, I saw the old Zoya, and it freaked me out.
He was there, on the bench, his eyes whipping around left and right probably looking for me. It took me a moment to realize that the weird feeling in my chest implied that I was happy to see him. I quietly went and took the seat next to him, I saw his head whip around in my peripheral vision, a small smile on his face.
"Hi." I whispered.
"Hey." He said back. He sat patiently, waiting for me to say something. I was trying but it wasn't working. Nothing was coming out, I didn't know what to say, what to tell him. I didn't know what I was doing and I am pretty sure he noticed. "Take your time Zoya. How about you introduce me to those kids in pediatrics? I am pretty sure they missed Miss Zoya last week." He smiled. I turned around to him and nodded, a bit shocked that he wasn't forcing me to talk. And of course he picked up on that too. "I am just glad you finally called, well texted, and came, all in one day. I am not compelling you to do anything more than what you are comfortable with. We can take little steps." I nodded again, getting up and leading him towards the pediatrics ward. I stopped right outside the door, taking a deep breath and putting a smile of my face.
"It doesn't look real. At all." He said stepping closer.
"I don't know-" I started to say but he put his hand over my mouth, I felt my eyes grow wide with shock at the feel of his hand on my face. I was tempted to push him away, but I refrained.
"Think about something that makes you happy." He whispered. What makes me happy? I didn't really know, and once again it seemed like he read right through me. "Think about me holding a puppy..." He started, I quirked my eyebrows at him. "It's a cute sight, isn't it?" He asked. "Now imagine the puppy kicking me in the face with his legs." That was an interesting mental image, I let out a little sound that sounded foreign to my ears, a giggle. "There we go." He whispered pulling up the sides of my lips. "I was right, my imagination wasn't doing your smile justice." He said poking my dimple. "Let's go." He said opening the door.
"MISS ZOYA!" Came the voice of all the little munchkins as I walked in, and to my surprise it was followed by "MR ASAD!" I turned to look at him confused and he just shrugged.
Michelle, a bubbly little three year old redhead came up to me and wrapped herself around my legs. "Whewe wewe you wast week?" She pouted looking up at me. I leaned down and picked her up.
"I am sorry, I had to go somewhere." I told her, tapping her freckled nose with my finger.
"Mr. Asad told us someone was a meanie to you so you had to go home because you were sad. You want me and Mikey to beat the meanie up?" Michael, the cute little four year old said from his bed where he was propped up with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Michelangelo aka Mikey, and a book. He was holding the book upside down, which made me smile a little.
"No, it's okay. He wasn't a meanie, I was sad about something else." I said, more for Asad's benefit than Michael's.
"Why were you sad Miss Zoya?" Katelyn asked from across the room. I walked over to her bed, placing Michelle on her own bed.
"Sometimes people feel sad when have a hard day." I explained. "What did you do last week?"
"Mr. Asad came and played with us! He told us you sent him. Is he your boyfriend?" The cute little four year old Raj asked. W*F was he telling them?
"Of course I am." Asad said winking at me. I could feel my cheeks turning red, since when did I start blushing? What is wrong with me? I don't blush.
"Awww." Michelle said causing me to giggle. Since when did I giggle? But it was cute that a three year old knew where to appropriately aww. I turned around to see Asad staring right at me with a smile on his face. I turned around again, sitting beside Katelyn.
"Mr Asad. Are you sure girls don't have cooties?" Michael asked causing Asad to laugh, I felt my lips pull up at the corners again.
"I am sure." Asad replied.
"Pinky promise?" Micheal asked holding his pinky out.
"Pinky promise." Asad said entwining his huge pinky with Michael's little one. This was quite unusual, although I always felt happier in this room than I did anywhere else in this world, today was different. It was almost as if today was my first time in here for a while, I was actually feeling content.
"Can you wead us a stowy?" Michelle asked.
"Sure sweetie." I said as she stood on her bed ready to jump off. "Don't-" I started but was stopped when Asad casually strolled over to the bed and took Michelle's hand.
"Miss Michelle, can I take you to the bookshelf?" He asked causing her to giggle.
"Yes pwease." She said as Asad picked her up and carried her over to the bookshelf. My treacherous heart skipped a beat. She picked out Sleeping Beauty, as always. It was her absolute favourite. The next hour was spent reading the story, pausing to show all the kids the pictures. Asad sat in the corner, just staring at me-which made me quite uncomfortable. The nurse walked in with dinner just as I finished the book. I waved bye to the kids and headed out, feeling a lot better than I had when I first got here.
"You went last week?" I asked Asad as soon as we stepped outside.
"I think it was my fault that you weren't here, they kept looking at the clock waiting for you so I decided to go instead." He shrugged.
"That was sweet of you."
"They are quite adorable."
"You like kids?" He asked.
"You wanted to be a pediatrician." He said it more as a statement than a question.
"There were a lot of things I wanted." I said more to myself than him.
"How about you tell me over pizza or coffee and pancakes?" He asked.
"Coffee and Pancakes? This late?"
"I know a diner just across the street that serves breakfast all day."
"Merle's?" I asked.
"You know of it?"
"It used to be my favourite place." I admitted.
"Well then, breakfast for dinner it is. Small world." He said leading me outside the hospital. We walked towards the diner in comfortable silence, the butterflies in my stomach growing after every step. He held the door open for me as we stepped into the diner. It hadn't changed a bit over the years, the same paintings were up, the walls were still a horrid blue that didn't match the brown "leather" seats in the booths that lined the walls. This place brought back so many memories, happy ones that I didn't even know I remembered. It was pretty empty, so we were seated in a booth by a pretty blonde waitress who didn't look a day over sixteen. We both ordered coffee and pancakes and she left slowly, giving one last longing look towards Asad, he didn't notice. He didn't say anything as we sat there, the silence was kind of awkward, he just sat back and stared at me, which made me feel conscious.
"Why are you staring at me?" I finally asked.
"Because you are beautiful and I haven't seen your face in a week." He replied nonchalantly, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Why was he so straightforward? How do I respond to this? Why does he want to spend time with someone as broken as me? I can't even have a normal conversation.
"I-uh. I should go." I said.
"Too much? I'll tone it down." He said placing his hand over mine on the table, as if to keep me from leaving.
"I don't know what you are expecting me to do but-" I started but was interrupted.
"I am not expecting anything, if you want to talk to me you can and if you can't today then it's okay, we always have tomorrow and the net day and the next and so on."
"Why are you doing this?" I asked. Why do you want to talk to me? Why do you send me flowers everyday? How could you start to like someone like me?
"I think you already know the answer to that." He smiled at me. "And if you've forgotten, it's because I like you. There is this weird feeling of...uh, what's the word?"
"Familiarity?" I asked.
"Yes! Familiarity. I feel like I've known you forever, and the funny thing is that I know nothing about the real you and I want to know. So badly. Because you've started to plague my every thought." Why was this so easy for him? How do you confess to something like that without even hesitating once? He smiled at me as the waitress walked over with our food. Asad thanked her before grabbing milk and sugar and pouring some in my cup.
"What are you-"
"You hate black coffee, don't deny it." He said mixing my coffee. I sighed. How did he even know that? Why was he so observant? "Why do you drink it?" He asked, sipping on his own coffee.
"It's just something you are supposed to do, every CEO I have ever met drinks their coffee black." I shrugged.
"So you followed the herd despite hating the taste?"
"There is a lot of things I do to create a certain image." I admitted.
"Of this driven, powerful business woman."
"Doesn't seem like an image to me but a reflection of the truth."
"I am not as tough as I look on the outside."
"I think you are even tougher. You don't give yourself enough credit." He said taking a bite out of his pancake.
"Is this what normal people talk about?" I asked truly curious as to what...well what we were at first and if this was appropriate dinner conversation for whatever we were.
"Normal is overrated. And I think we're anything but, I spent the last few weeks to get you to open up and you spent them shutting me out, and now we're in the middle of a diner and we are having pancakes for dinner and talking about how weird we are. That sounds more fun than normal, no?" He smiled causing me to smile. "You honestly have the most beautiful smile in the world." He said causing me to blush. Why was he so smooth? I felt like a bumbling idiot. No serious conversation ensued after, he didn't pressure me to talk or anything. He said the most random things and for the first time in years I actually felt like I was enjoying myself. I actually smiled and laughed.
"I haven't had pancakes since the day they died." I whispered as he walked me back to my car outside the hospital. He didn't say anything as we stopped in front of my car. He stepped closer and placed a kiss on my forehead. It was so unexpected that my breath hitched and my eyes closed as I felt a current run through me. Actually, I think that would have happened even if it was expected. He stepped back causing my eyes to open.
"I have two tickets to a carnival tomorrow, would you like to come?" He asked, his eyes hopeful. Carnival? What the f**k was I supposed to do at a carnival? I don't go outside apart from work and the hospital.
"I don't think-"
"I think you should try." He whispered. "I'll bring you home as soon as you feel uncomfortable, I promise." He said.
I looked at him confused, how does he know how to read me? I nodded.
"How about I pick you up?" He asked.
"I'll need your address Zoya unless you live in your office." He laughed.
"Oh yeah. I'll text it to you."
"Text it to me now, I don't want you to go home and overthink this like I know you will." He said. I sighed knowing he was right and took out my phone texting him my address. He smiled when his phone chimed. "I'll see you tomorrow. Bright and early. Good night beautiful." He smiled.
"Bye." I said opening my car door and starting the car. He stood there until I pulled out of the parking lot. I didn't notice that my heart was hammering away in my chest until it started to slow down. What was going on with me? What was this feeling? And why were the walls around me breaking so easily?
Day 8 - The Story of My Life
He texted me bright and early the next morning, telling me that he was at the door with breakfast. I was f**king mortified, I couldn't face him looking like I just woke up. I told him to wait in the car but he started whining about how cold it was and that he was going to break the door in so I had to let him in. He had a bright smile on his face when I opened the door.
"You look beautiful." Was the first thing he said.
"Hardly." I scoffed.
"This is what the real you looks like, without any pretenses. And it's perfect." He smiled. My heart started hyperventilating again and my stomach filled with butterflies. "Though, I never pegged that you would sleep in Winnie the Pooh pajamas..." He laughed causing me to blush. "Where do I put this?" He asked holding up a tray with two coffee cups and a bag.
"Oh...follow me." I said leading him towards the kitchen. He put the coffee on the island and pulled out a chair for me. "Would you like to have breakfast at breakfast time with me?"
I, of course being socially inept, just nodded and sat down.
"I hope you like blueberry muffins." He said handing me a bag.
"I do." I hadn't had one in so long but I loved them, any type of muffin actually.
"Good." He said while taking a bite out of his own. "Oh, I put cream and sugar in your coffee already."
I rolled my eyes and took a sip out it, it tasted heavenly and he noticed that I liked it because his smile grew wider.
"You know...I thought you would have a fit if I showed up at your door, you seem to be handling this pretty well. I thought I would go home with one hand broken and my clothes ripped. Like me that much already?" He waggled his eyebrows causing me to laugh and for coffee to fly out of my mouth, just like a spit take. My eyes grew wide as I turned to him, his were just as wide but a grin started creeping up on his face before he burst into laughter, and I don't why or how but I couldn't stop myself from laughing either, before I knew it were both laughing like idiots, clutching our stomachs. It took quite a while for us to calm down and that is when a realization hit me. I hadn't laughed for the past three years, ever. But all it took was for him to waltz into my life and all of a sudden I felt like smiling and laughing. And the realization scared me beyond belief.
"Stop thinking whatever you are thinking." He said as he sipped on his coffee.
"You get this contemplating look on your face before you start pulling away." He said.
"Why do you notice so much?"
"I think I pay a bit too much attention to things that concern you." He shrugged.
"Can I ask you something?" I asked.
"You just did." He laughed. "Sorry. I couldn't help myself, continue."
"You said that you...like me." I said slowly. "But- what if I can't like you? I don't think I can like anyone."
"I think you already do." He didn't say anything after that, but I kept looking at him in shock. "You wouldn't have come yesterday if you didn't, you wouldn't have let me into your house today and you wouldn't even talk to me. You're not as broken as you make yourself out to be, you just need to start letting people in. Do you know how happy you looked when you laughed just now? And I am not forcing anything on you, we can be friends for as long as you want, and if that's all you ever want then so be it." He shrugged. "Now, you want to get your pretty self ready so we can leave?" He smiled. I nodded getting up and going to my room. Why was he so perfect? No one is that perfect right? Why do I feel like I trust him?
The carnival was interesting...there were teenagers everywhere, along with families with little kids. There were rides and booths, and lots of food. It was an experience that I usually missed out on, I was too engrossed in getting good grades in high school to enjoy much and my abbu was never home to take us to these places.
"You know I haven't been to a carnival since I was seven." I said.
"Well then, this is perfect." He smiled grabbing my hand with his causing my eyes to get wide. "I don't want you to get lost." He said as an explanation. "How do you feel about Ferris Wheels?" He asked as we stood in front of perhaps the biggest Ferris Wheel I had ever seen.
"I'll take that as a I am so okay with it.'" He said dragging me to stand in line. "I am going to assume you are not scared of heights since your office is on the top floor."
"That would be interesting." I smiled. "So you can't be a CEO if you have a fear of heights, I have never met one who wasn't situated on the top floor."
"They could buy a one story building." He pointed out.
"Tell me more about yourself." I said, I was tired of always focusing around me.
"Well, you've already met my mother." He said.
"I-Is she okay?" I asked, she was such a sweet woman, and she reminded me of my own mother, but I didn't know why she was in the hospital.
"She has uterine cancer, she had her operation a few weeks ago, she's doing chemo now, she'll be fine." He said.
"She is a strong woman." I said.
"She is. And she has all of us behind her."
"All of us?"
"I have a big family, there is Ammi and Abbu, my brother Ayaan, who works at your company, my twin sisters Nikhat and Najma and our littlest sister Nuzhat. I am the only sane one, the rest of them are brats." He laughed.
"You love them a lot." I said, he sounded so happy talking about them.
"What about you? Any siblings?"
"Nope, I was an only child. It was usually just my ammi and me, abbu was usually out for business trips so I didn't see him much. I always wanted a big family." It was one of the things I always wished for.
"You can borrow mine." He smiled. "I am totally serious, if and when you feel comfortable I'll introduce you to them." He sounded so...committed.
"Are you really thinking that far?" I asked.
"I think long term. And I plan on bothering you for the rest of my life." He said as we got on one of cabins. It was just big enough for two people. He was right against my side and it made me hyperventilate, internally of course. "I always wonder what you are thinking when you don't say anything." He said.
"You are pretty good at reading me. Really good actually."
"That is good to know." He smiled. "I am just glad you are speaking more than a few sentences to me."
"You are highly...what was it again, consistent." I smiled.
"Oh look at you, you have a sense of humor." He laughed as the ride started. I didn't know I still had it actually.
"Thank you." I said turning to him. "For everything. I-Just...spending time with you is making me realize that maybe I haven't changed as much as I thought I had...that maybe I can be just Zoya again, one day."
"You are welcome." He smiled. "You know, sometimes just thinking out loud can make you feel a lot better. Just pretend I am a statue, a very realistic one."
"You could pass for one-" I said but then stopped, blushing.
"Are you implying that I am gorgeous?" He said waggling his eyebrows again.
"You should really not do that." I giggled. "It makes you look not as handsome."
"I don't think I'll stop, it makes you laugh." He said.
I took a deep breath, I could do this. I didn't have to look at him while I talked. I looked outside, at the city line appearing as we rose higher and higher. "I was 21 when my parents died in a car crash, it was a Friday and I got my acceptance to NYU Med, I was so happy. It was my life long dream to become a doctor. I was so excited that I literally skipped home, no one was home though. I thought they might have gone out so I baked chocolate cake and everything because I was that happy. It was 6:00pm when there was a knock on the door, I opened it with a huge smile on my face, but they weren't outside. There were two police officers, and they both had their hats off and a solemn look on their face. I knew right then that something happened to my parents. I zoned out after I heard that they passed away on impact, a truck had hit them head on, the driver died too." I took a deep breath again and I felt his thumb wiping away a tear on my cheek, I didn't even realize I was crying. He put his arm around my shoulder as I talked again. "My dad's family is...power hungry. And they thought this was the time to take over everything he had, which wasn't a lot at the time, he had just finished designing the computers that are now on every single desk. When the family found out that everything was left to me...things got ugly. My own family tried to get rid of me, to send me away to medical school and as much as I wanted to go, I couldn't. Zyco was my dad's dream, he worked night and day for it and I wasn't going to let it drown. So I left weak and emotional Zoya behind, that first year changed me so much. I learned early on that emotions made you weak, in order to succeed I had to become this. I left all my friends behind, because I didn't trust them anymore..." I took a deep breath again debating if I should tell him the next part.
"You don't have to say more if you can't." He said and it made me want to tell him that much more, no one knew about this, no one. It was something I would have taken to my grave but it was something I wanted to tell someone.
"My abbu had gotten me engaged to one of his partner's son. We grew up together and we were pretty close, we went to the same school and everything. I didn't know who to go to when this happened, so I went to his apartment." I took a deep breath again. "He was sleeping around with my best friend, and he had been for a while. I walked in on them, and I stood there shocked. He panicked when he noticed me, but I just took the ring off and threw it at him and walked out. I haven't seen him since. It made me not want to trust anyone ever again, my family, my best friend and the man I was supposed to spend my life with all betrayed me within a week of me losing my parents. What as I supposed to do? I built walls around me and I didn't let anyone through, until you walked in with your stupid perfect smile and weird sense of humour." I sighed.
It felt a lot better to get all of that out, like a weight had been lifted off my chest. He was the only one that knew what actually happened now, and I thought I would regret telling him but I didn't. He didn't say anything, but just listened. He didn't tell me he was sorry for me, or that I did something wrong or right, he just sat there beside me, rubbing soothing circles into my hand. And he let me cry. On that Ferris Wheel was the first time I actually properly grieved all I had lost.
It took Zoya 2 months after that day on the Ferris Wheel to decide she would act only in an official capacity for Zyco Inc and would hand off the company to her manager and go to medical school. It took her 8 months after the day on the Ferris Wheel to admit that she loved me, and I only had to say "I love you" 10 854 times for her to say the words back that day. It took her another two months after admitting she was in love with me to build up the courage to meet my family. It took another year from the day she met my family and 99 proposals before she actually agreed to marry me. The only thing she didn't spend too much time on was medical school, why? Because my fiancee was a genius and fast-tracked medical school. She was working at the same hospital she volunteered at now, doing what she loved. And she smiled all the f**king time, it was the most beautiful thing in the world. We were married two years after I proposed, in a small ceremony with just my family, which was technically our family since my mother and siblings had practically adopted her and gave me away. Our wedding was on a Friday morning. I will admit that I cried that day, because I was the happiest man on Earth.
Over the years I have learned that it is not time that heals would, but love. It takes one annoying person to waltz into your life and make you whole again. I didn't think I was capable of so much love, but my love for him grew everyday. Especially when he cried on our wedding day and today when he held our daughter, Zara Ahmed Khan, in his arms for the first time and looked at her with a look of awe and love. She was the second luckiest girl in the world, I being the first. He looked at me sitting on the hospital bed and smiled the widest I'd ever seen him smile. And that moment, right there was perfect. He teared up again when our son was born two years later. Rehan Ahmed Khan was an exact replica of his father and was just as charming. That day in the hospital for the second time I also realized that if God takes something away from you, he gives back more than you could ever hope for. He gave me my best friend, the love of my life, my husband and my protector all in one.
The Husband and the Father
"HI DADDY!" Zara's little voice yelled over the phone. I smiled as her voice rang through my car over Bluetooth followed by the sounds of a gurgling Rehan.
"Daddy, when awe you comin home?" She asked, I could tell she was pouting on the other end of the phone.
"Soon baby, I am almost home."
"DADDY! We wanna pwactice something on you." She said sounding proud of herself.
"What is she practicing love?" I asked Zoya.
"Pick up lines." My wife laughed.
"WHY?" I yelled, she was barely four, why was she practicing pick-up lines.
"Ayaan Chachu was practicing them for Humeira and Zara wants to practice them too. We could always call Zach from next door, I am sure he wouldn't mind." Zoya laughed.
"No!" That little five year old devil had a crush on my little girl. "Go ahead."
"Okay Zara, go." Zoya laughed.
"Awe you tiwed? Becau you been wunning thwough my mind all day." Zara giggled.
"Princess, you are supposed to stop and wait for me to say 'no, why'." I laughed, it was quite amusing because she couldn't even say her "r"s properly yet.
"Aw man. Mamma you twy." She said.
"Yes, you should pick me up Zoya." I laughed.
"I don't think anything I would use would be age appropriate." She giggled.
"Tsk Tsk." I laughed.
"Mamma! Do the snowflake one!" Zara said.
"I must be a snowflake, because I've fallen for you." Zoya laughed.
"I am pulling up onto the driveway." I said, it was followed by a squeal and the door was thrown open as Zara rushed outside with Zoya behind her, Rehan in her arms.
"Hello ladies." I smiled picking up Zara and giving her a kiss before giving my wife a kiss and taking Rehan from her. The little monkey started flailing around trying to climb onto my head.
"Hey daddy. Did it huwt?" Zara asked.
"What?" I asked as Zoya laughed.
"When you fell fwom heaven." Zara giggled high-fiving her mom.
"I think that's enough for today." I said. "Now can we go inside and eat, because I am starving and I might just eat you munchkin."
"DADDY NO!" Zara yelled.
"NO!" Rehan yelled after his sister.
"Let's go inside my little monkeys." I laughed walking inside.
I felt like this part wasn't nearly as good as the first one. Sigh. But do let me know what you think.
Awesome story...was very different from other stories!Zoya is a tough woman who lost everyone and was living her life as a robot!Asad is trying to make her smile and bring happiness in her life!...Update soon!waiting...Edited by manognasai - 2013-11-25T13:14:25Z