HELLO! I am back with another story, it's AU. Zain + Aaliya aren't cousins but co-workers and the relationship dynamics are a bit different. I just felt like writing something different on Zaya after today's episode! I hope you like it :) It was supposed to an OS but I had to break it down into two parts b/c it's so long! I'll post Part 2 soon too! :)
Sometimes I hated my job, especially when it made me realize how unfair life really was to some people. These people always seemed to be the kindest and most pure-hearted people and yet they get dealt the worse hand in life and people who don't deserve it get dealt a perfect one. I know there is probably a reason behind it, a divine one that is beyond my comprehension but life still sucks, and the papers in front of me reminded me of this ugly truth. There were two parts to my job and I never liked the two of them at once. I was either the news anchor, which let me not think and just sit in front of the camera and tell people what I've wanted to tell them objectively and then there was a journalist, the part I loved on most days - going out and finding a story, tying up the loose ends, talking to people and getting their story out to the world. The former was rather bland but necessary and sometimes fun, the latter was interesting and motivating but sometimes it made you want to rip your own hair out.
When I first started out in the field I was so sure that I wouldn't follow the heinous examples set by today's media, I wouldn't force a grieving person to talk to me when they were clearly in no mood to say anything but the real world didn't work like that. In the real world you had people working over you, your producers and your bosses demanded that you get capture the grief in such a way that it would make people cry and increase ratings and if you don't do it then you're out the door and someone like you will be happy to replace you. I sighed throwing the article down, wondering if I should even think about it.
"You know you are quite unobservant for someone who makes a living out of being observant." I heard his voice. My head whipped up in shock and there he was, standing at my door, leaning against the frame. His hair was messy, not in the usual gelled style he usually wore and I knew for a fact that he hadn't shaved in a week with the amount of stubble that adorned his face. "I've been standing here for the past five minutes." He said walking into my office and pulling out a chair across from me and picking up the file of my desk, he took one look at it and threw it in the garbage, somehow knowing that I wasn't going to expose a victim in this way before continuing on with his meaningless speech as I sat there still shell-shocked. "That was enough time for me to notice that your office is a shade darker than mine, I like this shade of grey better with the black and white furniture, want to switch?"
"You idiot!" I finally let out once the shock wore off. "When did you get back? How could you leave without saying anything? What's wrong with you? What's wrong with your face?" I asked noticing the deep gash on his right cheek.
"Woah woah woah. Here I thought that you would be crying because I am back and you can't hog the limelight to yourself anymore but I guess not. Be careful or I am going to start thinking that you care for me." He smirked.
"Abdullah!" I screamed in agitation, grabbing the first thing my hand found and throwing it at him. He was lucky it was a rolled up ball of paper. He laughed when it flew past him and onto the floor.
"Your aim hasn't improved one bit." He said.
"Zain, seriously are you okay?" I asked again.
"I'm fine, it's just a cut. I'll look better after I shower and shave, it's just been a long week. And before you start yelling and asking, I did text you before I left, we flew to Nigeria right after the terrorist group contacted the officials, it happened over a span of two hours. I didn't even know what I was doing but the journalist in me was kind of working on auto-pilot mode, things got crazy with the bombings and then we somehow found them, the relief on their faces was quite..." He talked calmly like he was talking about what he ate for lunch, and it made my blood boil.
"YOU CAN'T JUST MARCH UP TO A TERRORIST GROUP AND ASK THEM WHERE THEY ARE KEEPING THE GIRLS ZAIN. YOU ARE SO LUCKY THAT YOU ARE ALIVE YOU IDIOT." I yelled, he didn't know how worried I was all week, especially when we lost contact with him after the first broadcast, he just disappeared for two days, I didn't know if he was alive or if he was lying dead somewhere. And for the first time in my life I learnt what it felt like to be absolutely helpless, I refreshed my phone every minute hoping and praying that there was some news of him, of anyone.
"Woah, chill Haider. I am all right okay. You of all people know why I did it, we're reporters for goodness sakes, it's our life." He said nonchalantly. Okay, I understood why he walked into the middle of the field, he'd do anything for a story, and it wasn't the first time he'd done something reckless, he's broken into gun dealings, been held hostage and almost had his head cut off, it was what he did. He was reckless and crazy and it worked for him, Zain Abdullah, at the mere age of 28 was one of the most respected reporters/journalists in the field.
"Are you going to go on the show tonight?" I asked changing the subject.
"Why? Tired of reporting alone?" He smirked.
"Actually, no. I am quite enjoying the limelight and the huge desk all to myself, and Rehan even says the ratings of the show have gone up, he's even thinking of giving us the 7-9pm time slot rather than 7-8pm." I informed him. Rehan, our producer, had in fact said that the ratings of our show had improved but we both knew it was due to this idiot marching into the middle of nowhere with a camera and thus, we had access to a story that no other channel did.
"So the ratings are going to soar because your sexy co-anchor is back. I hope you haven't been sitting on my side of the desk again." He arched his eyebrow.
"Shut up and go make yourself look human."
"All right, I should go home and let mom know I am alive and in one piece." He laughed.
"You haven't gone home yet?" I asked shocked. What the hell? He could have come in later and I knew for a fact that his mother was at home worried sick, hell, even my mom was worried sick because he had her wrapped around his finger ever since he became my colleague about two years ago.
"Uh...I had someone I needed to see." He shrugged. "What are we covering tonight?" He asked, he was deflecting the subject but I let him.
"The elections, what else?" I smiled.
"You've obviously got in touch with all the candidates and analyzed this from every side and have done days of research?"
"Yes, well one of has to be the responsible one, the fewer surprises the better." I replied.
"Ah, the surprises are the best part though."
"Yes, almost getting into a full blown fight with Members of Parliament while we are live on air is so exciting!" I said reminding him of last time.
"Yeah, but that was fun. No one wants to watch a carefully planned show with a script, they want the real stuff."
"What are you trying to say?" I said feeling like he was attacking me and undermining my ability.
"Not whatever you're thinking there, I know you're good at what you do, possibly the best in the business, so don't think I am attacking you. I am just saying that we should sway on the adventurous side."
"We don't ever agree on this, go home Zain." I said from my desk.
"See you later scaredy cat." He said using his favourite nickname for me before walking out the door. I sighed and finally released my hand from the strong grip that it had on the chair. My hand was absolutely red, I flexed it a bit and it started to regain it's normal colour. The urge to hug him as soon as he walked in the door today was too strong but I controlled myself, like always.
Our conversation was our relationship in a nutshell, he was daring, crazy and not the type to stay put and I was the exact opposite and that's why we worked. We got our 7-8pm slot because of the way we view things - always in two different ways. He always stuck with extremes and I played it safe, that was the basis of our whole show, we'd literally sit there for an hour, live and throw ideas at each other. The show also caused a lot of tongues to wag because people found it hard to believe that two people, fresh out of school, had their own show. Our producer believed in doing things differently though, he believed that the only people who could target the young had to be young themselves, hence, in a short time we'd both managed to accomplish something people take their whole career to accomplish.
We got to somewhat choose what we wanted to present and how we wanted to present it. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would have this position within a few months of leaving journalism school I would have laughed, but it happened. There was a catch of course, I had to work with him, Zain Abdullah. I really disliked him at first, he was arrogant and inconsistent, we fought over everything. He hated that I overanalyzed everything and I hated that he just jumped in head first. He loved to make fun of me and most times I didn't know if he was complimenting or being sarcastic when he said something nice to me.
It took a while but spending every weekday with him for the past 16 months had managed to turn our hate into respect and awe for each other. But I think I took it a step too far, because this week taught me a lot more than how brave and stupid he was, it showed me that I was worried about him to a point that was crazy, and the thought of something happening to him shook me to the core. I had feelings for him that went beyond friendship for a while but I didn't know they were this serious until he disappeared and now that he was back I felt that strange feeling in my chest loosen up a bit. I am in love with him and I have been for a while but I wasn't going tell him that, he wasn't the type for commitment, he hadn't had a steady girlfriend, ever. He didn't even date anymore, I'd heard that he was quite frivolous when he was younger, but I had yet to see him with a girl in the past year and a half.
I walked into the green room two hours later dressed in a emerald green dress to get my make-up and hair fixed, he walked in late, as usual. His beard was still on his face and he was wearing his favourite pair of jeans and an old beat-up t-shirt.
"I thought you were going to shave?" I asked looking at him through my mirror, my hair was piled at the top of my head in hot curlers as Rashmi, our stylist, put the finishing touches on my face.
"I think it looks good so it's going to stay, and if I recall correctly you once told me that stubble looks good on men." He said nonchalantly sitting down on his chair.
"Go put that suit on." Rashmi said looking at him. "We're going to have to put a lot of make-up on to cover that gash." She said looking at his cheek.
"I hate this." He said to her, like always.
"You have to wear make-up." She shrugged. "Or get off TV."
"Why is the shirt that colour?" He asked looking at the emerald green dress-shirt.
"You are a winter, you look good in emerald green." Rashmi said giving him an exasperated look.
"Abdullah!" I interrupted. "Please stop fighting with her, we're running late as it is." I said.
"Fine." He mumbled. "I don't get why we always have to match." He added under his breath looking at my emerald green dress. I rolled my eyes as I sat on my chair going over the transcript. He emerged only minutes later, clad in a grey-pinstripe suit and my treacherous heart skipped a bit, the man could work suits and tuxes all the time but there was something about that emerald green shirt against his skin that made him look really good. "What is this about a new studio?" He complained sitting back in the chair as Rashmi got to work with him.
"Just a new slab of paint, they changed the desks and added more smartboards." I said taking my hair out of the curlers.
"I still call the left side of the desk."
"Okay, I'll stay on the right side, because we both know I am right all the time." I replied.
"Guys, we're on in 20. Sound check, now." Rehan said bursting into the room. "What's with your face?" He asked Zain as soon as he saw him.
"Thanks for asking Rehan, I am fine by the way. Back in one piece, increasing the ratings of your show." Zain grumbled.
"We'll get to that later, things have changed a bit in the past week, we have a new floor director and he needs to check how you look on the new set." Rehan said looking at Zain, who was looking at me.
"We'll be out in a few." Zain said and turned to me as soon as Rehan left. "What's with the look on your face?" He asked.
"What look?" I asked confused.
"You had a look of clear distaste on your face when Rehan mentioned this new floor-director." Zain said. Why was he so observant? Well, it was technically his job to be observant but this guy took it to a whole another level.
"It's nothing." I said.
"I have never believed your bullshit." He replied.
"He asked me out, I said no, he seems to hold a grudge." I shrugged. "Now let's get going." I said getting up and walking towards the door.
"It smells like paint." Zain said as we put our microphones on in the studio.
"Thank you for stating the obvious idiot." I said, and he did the mature thing, he stuck his tongue out to me. "Sometimes I wonder how people can take you seriously as a man." I pointed out.
"You admire this childlike personality of mine among other things, admit it." He smirked, okay. He was on to me, do not blush Aaliya!
"I do not." I bluffed.
"Oh please, I've seen you admire me on multiple occasions scaredy cat." He laughed.
"You are so narcissistic. Get over yourself." I said.
"Okay, people let's go!" Rehan's voice boomed from beside Zeeshan, aka, our new floor-director.
"Is that the clown?" Zain whispered in my ear causing me to nod. "He looks like a monkey climbed up his ass." He said causing me to laugh.
"Okay, Zain. Sit right there so we can adjust the lighting." Rehan said. Zain did as he was asked, he did roll his eyes before though. I sat on my spot trying to drown out everyone's voices as I went over the transcript one last time. I could drown the whole world out apart from Zain, which is why his irritated voice reached my ears a few minutes later.
"What did you just say?" Zain said, I looked up to see that he was locked in a staring match with Zeeshan who was standing on the other side of the desk.
"Nothing." Zeeshan replied, looking a bit intimidated.
"I am pretty sure I heard something there buddy." Zain said. He was angry, I could tell that much but I had no idea why. "Let me tell you something, you see this woman?" He said pointing to me. "I don't know where you're getting these ideas from but she's got more talent in her pinky than you do in your whole body, so I won't have you waltz in here and say anything about her. And you know what? I also know that this isn't the first comment you've made about her, but she's too polite to tell you to go to hell but I am not. Just because she rejected you doesn't allow you to make undermine her talents or make derogatory comments about her, you're lucky we're in this newsroom or your face would have been black and blue by now."
I looked at the two of them wide-eyed. Zeeshan had been an ass for the past few days but it wasn't anything I couldn't tolerate. Despite being in the 21st century the news business was still a man's court, and douchebags like Zeeshan always had things to say. "Zain, what are you doing? It's fine, really, don't..."
"Shut up Aaliya." He said turning to me, still angry. "Why didn't you say something about this earlier?"
"I couldn't care less about his opinion." I replied. "And I've heard worse things, I am used to it."
"What's wrong?" Rehan asked walking up to us with a sceptical look on his face.
"Is he on a contract?" Zain asked pointing to Zeeshan.
"Not yet..." said Rehan confused.
"Well then, he better not be signing anything. He's been harassing Aaliya for however long he has been here because she rejected him. He had the audacity to suggest that she didn't get this job based solely on her talents." Zain said glaring at Zeeshan who cowered under his glare. What the hell? Wait...what does that mean? How else would I- OMG. Is he implying that there was a casting couch situation?
"Aaliya?" Rehan asked looking at me. "Has he been bothering you?"
"Uh- well..." I started to say but was interrupted.
"He has been." Rizwan, our camera guy and one of our best friends yelled from the side of the room. "I've had to try really hard to restrain myself from slapping him." Rizwan added as I just stood there watching along with the rest of the room.
"Okay then." Rehan said before turning to Zeeshan. "You're fired." He then turned towards Rizwan, "Rizwan! Go borrow a floor director from the morning show or something." Rehan walked away with a moping Zeeshan behind him.
"I can't believe you let other people bother you, that's my job." Zain said turning to me.
"You didn't have to do that." I said sitting back down on my chair.
"Yes I did scaredy cat." He shrugged.
"And we're live in 30 seconds." Shawn's voice came in from our earpieces.
"You haven't forgotten how to do this right?" I teased him.
"Oh you wish Haider." He laughed before turning towards the camera and plastering a smile on his face.
I stumbled into my silent house later that night, my body tired and ready to sleep but my mind wanted to run overtime trying to decipher the changes in Zain. Although we always had bouts where we were nice to each other, we always argued a lot more. He didn't usually stare at me as much as he did today. He was protective of me to some extent but the amount of anger that he directed at Zeeshan today was kind of surprising. I didn't know what to make of it.
And the most surprising information I'd heard today was from Rizwan who was quite shocked that Zain had shown up at the studio before going home. No one at the studio even knew that Zain was back until he waltzed in before the show. He didn't even go talk to Rehan or anyone. My over-analytic brain came to one conclusion, that he had come to see me. That's why he had changed the subject so quickly when I asked why he hadn't gone home. I tried to come up with a reason as to why he would come to see me before going home and seeing his family and much as I wanted to believe that he missed me, I couldn't let myself get my hopes up just to have them crushed.
I spent the whole night thinking about it despite not wanting to. I had spent many nights of the past few months re-evaluating our relationship. I didn't understand when and how we became friends and although we may not admit it we were best friends, we hung out all the time. And even though we made ourselves think that we only spent so much time together because of work we never actually spent the time working but fighting or just talking as we lounged around. I missed the days where I had hated him, the days where we fought about the smallest things because back then our feelings for each other were clear.
When I think about the time when I first met him, I realize that I always had extreme feelings for him, immense hatred, extreme annoyance and extreme anger, he got under my skin. A lot. I should have been the better person and just risen above it and refused to let him get under my skin but he used to drive me completely crazy. I had labeled him a shallow, annoying, pretty-boy when he had walked into our first meeting late with a cute apologetic smile on his face. He looked like he was heading to a photo shoot for Abercrombie and Fitch in a black hoodie and jeans rather than discussing his future job prospect - completely unprofessional but it worked for him. The ladies in the room had swooned at his boyish good looks, he was tall and built, but not to a weird extreme. He had a jaw line that they wanted to lick and they swooned and claimed that they literally wanted to melt into a puddle when he smiled, his eyes shining. He was gorgeous and the sad thing was that he absolutely knew it.
Imagine my surprise when we were both hired as reporters, but at the point we wrote more and worked behind the scenes rather than the front. And luckily my interactions with him were kept to a minimum because I loathed him.
There was one thing I hated myself for though, I assumed he was an idiot who got the job because of his rich daddy. He was loaded, everyone else our age was paying off student loans and he was driving around the city in cars that cost more than people's houses. It only took a month and him barging into a gun dealing for me to realize how passionate he was about journalism. And he wasn't dumb, when he opened his mouth, he was thoughtful, insightful and completely prepared. It threw me off because I was usually a very good judge of character. Once I got over my supposed prejudice, I realized that we couldn't have a conversation without disagreeing about something or another. We had fights about who won wars that already had a decided outcome, about news stories, about what restaurant was the best, what food was the best or what ice-cream flavour was the best, we fought about anything and everything.
After a while he started messing with me. My books would disappear, he would end up at a scene before I got there, he would take my leads and write the story I was going to write and it pissed me off. We had some crazy fights over that actually, it involved me throwing things at him and a lot of yelling and running.
And then things changed a bit. I had marched into his little office and demanded he give my article back, it was on my desk an hour ago but gone when I went back and I knew he had it.
"Give it back Zain Abdullah or I swear I'll kick you." I said chasing him around his desk.
"You have abused me enough, your kicks don't hurt anymore." He said jumping over his chair.
"Seriously! Just give it back, why do you have a fascination with my stuff?" I screamed.
"I am not covering sports anymore, they've moved me to breaking news now." He smiled. "I was thinking of doing my first article on the Hofferman Murder Trials."
I glared at him while fighting down the urge to do something really juvenile like call him names or start throwing projectiles at him.
"Well I need the file for my article. NOW."
"Seems like our areas of research might overlap a bit. Guess we'll have to just learn how to share the resources." He said smiling.
"I'll use the file first, hand it over." I said holding my hand out.
"So pushy." He said shaking his hand before pulling the red file out of his drawer.
Without taking his beau- uh eyes off my face, he slowly and I mean slowly pushed the file towards me. It pissed me off so I stepped forward and went to pick the file up but his hand shot out like a striking panther and closed around my wrist. It caused me to freeze as a weird current ran through me at the unexpected touch. He was looking at me weird when I looked up. I took a deep breath before pulling my hands out of his and walking out of the room waiting for my heart to slow down.
After that day he started acting kind of weird, he'd always march into my office demanding one thing or another. And he insisted on dropping me home when I ran late on any given day claiming that he was protecting the public from a sleepy Aaliya and her tantrums. It was weird because we still fought but the dynamics changed. It wasn't a full out war but a nagging war.
He started answering my questions and asking his own. My family fell in love with his charm and his parents thought I worked some kind of charm on him because he actually stay put and didn't fly out to some exotic and dangerous destination every month. All in all, we had a weird equation.
These thoughts didn't let me sleep all night which is why I looked like a dead corpse when I walked into the studio the next morning. He was already there, bright and early, which was weird because he was usually sleeping at this time.
"Do you not like staying at home or something?" I asked as I walked over to the Tassimo machine and decided to make myself some coffee.
"Eh, something." He said from behind me causing me to turn around. He was standing so close that it took me aback. I looked up at him to see that he was watching me.
"Is there something on my face?" I asked but he just stared as I stood waiting for him to acknowledge my question. He didn't say anything, but slowly reached a hand up and hooked a strand of my hair with his fingers and pushed it back, his knuckles brushed my cheek and the current passed through me again as he tucked the hair back behind my ear. Why was he touching me though? Not that I minded but-
"Uh...there was something there. " he said, his voice rough.
Oh, okay. But why was his hand still there, his palm pressed against my cheek. I think he read the confusion in my eyes because he pulled his hand back and walked away. It was weird but he'd done it before, just once. A few months ago.
"Some kid walked into a high school classroom and shot about 10 people." Zain walked into my office filling me in before yelling for Rizwan.
"You're going?" I asked him.
"Of course." He shrugged.
"I'll come with you." I said.
"Why can't I? You aren't my boss or my father. If you're going then I have to go, we're partners remember?" I said using his over-used line.
"Haider, can you please listen to me just this once?"
"I am going." I said again, firmly.
"There will be dead bodies." He said.
"I can handle it." I replied. He gave me a long hard look and then sighed knowing that I wasn't going to back down.
"I need footage within the next twenty minutes." Rehan said to the two of us as we bustled out of the door. The car ride across the city with Rizwan and our driver was a silent one.
"Did they arrest him?" I asked watching him surf his phone for updates, he nodded.
"If anything happens out there, don't do something stupid and run towards it okay? Come back to the car." He said looking up at me as we pulled in front of the college. Rizwan rolled his window down and took a peek outside, there were reporters and police cars everywhere. I could hear them all as soon as the windows opened.
"I will if you promise the same thing Abdullah." I retorted looking back at Zain.
"Haider, I swear-"
"They aren't letting anyone in." Rizwan cut him off observing the surroundings.
"Well there are other ways to get in." Zain said. "Pull up to the side entrance." He said to our driver who nodded and backed the car out before turning onto the smaller side street. "Bingo." Zain said. "Turn on the camera." He said jumping out of the car before it even came to a full stop.
"Zain! I swear you're-"
"I am fine, chill." He said as Rizwan stepped out, the camera in his hand. They had a man pinned against the wall, his hands behind his back and many policemen surrounding him.
"Can you make out his face?" I asked Rizwan.
"A bit, I can't zoom in anymore though." He replied.
"I am going to go find some answers out front, you two stay here." I said grabbing my recorder and mic.
"Be careful and answer your phone when I call for goodness' sake." Zain yelled behind me as I ran towards the front of the building. I rolled my eyes, he was always worried for no reason when he was the one we should both be worrying about, I knew him well enough to know that he was going to find a way inside no matter how many people stopped him.
The front of the building was in absolute chaos, the police were escorting students out now. There were parents crying everywhere, hoping that their child would walk out unharmed. My heart broke a little thinking about what would happen when some of them realized that their child was definitely not coming back. I hated this part of my job, absolutely loathed it. But I squared my shoulders and walked into the middle of the crowd where a policeman had just begun briefing the media about the situation.
In the span of fifteen minutes, I'd figured out that the guy was 18 years old, an only child that lived his mother, and a high school senior, he was a complete introvert and a fairly good student. No one had any idea why he'd do something like this, he'd walked in with a pistol and managed to fire about 12 shots before the police had stepped in, of the 12 shots fired 10 had managed to hit people. They wouldn't tell us anymore though, I had no idea how many people were dead, who was critical and where they were taking them - dead bodies or alive. The police had now taken to pushing the media back so I decided it was time to find Zain.
"Hello?" I said when he picked up the phone. "Where are you?"
"Inside." He whispered.
"What the hell are you doing inside Abdullah?" I screeched.
"Shut up." He whispered. "Go back to the door where we were before and Rizwan is going to come out an get you." He whispered before he hung up. I ran back to where the car was parked but the host of police cars that were there had now left.
"Aaliya!" Rizwan's voice came from a window to the left of the door.
"What the hell?" I said walking up to it. "Why are you guys inside? Do you want to get arrested? This is a crime scene."
"Haider, go back to the car." Zain's voice came.
"What? You called me here. I am coming in." I said.
"Aaliya, there is a dead body in this room." He said poking his head out from behind Rizwan.
"In-inside this room?" I asked. He nodded. "All of them?"
"Just one." He said.
"I'll be okay." I said.
"You're not going to go back to the car no matter what I say?" He asked.
I shook my head no.
"You are the most stubborn girl in this whole world and the worst thing is that I can't hate you for it because I'd do the same thing if I were you." He groaned. "Fine, climb in. And whatever you do, don't look to the left of the room." Zain said exasperated.
"Okay." I said stepping up on the window ledge and into the room. "Are you okay?" I asked, he looked absolutely stricken, his face almost pale.
"What did you find out?" He asked.
"He was 18, a senior, good grades, quiet guy, he used a pistol, and get this, he fired 12 shots and hit 10 people...with a pistol."
"He's had some kind of practice." Zain said looking to the left of the room and for some reason, despite his earlier warning, I looked too. There was a guy there with a bullet lodged...in his head. He looked so young, he was tall with auburn hair, his green eyes were open and it was almost as if he was looking right at you in shock but his eyes were lifeless. I couldn't make out much else because his face was filled with blood, his body limp and then my vision started to blur as my eyes started watering and my stomach started to churn.
"Shit. Let's get her out of here." I heard Zain's voice from somewhere before I felt the ground move from under me and I was in the air. I didn't know how but suddenly we were outside and he put me down. I ran to the nearest bush as soon as I felt the ground under my feet as my stomach decided to empty all of its contents. He was right there behind me, a water bottle in his hand when I turned around. "I told you to not look." He said.
"S-sorry." I said before gulping down the whole water bottle.
"Are you okay?" He asked, I nodded as my heart returned to it's normal rate and I started making sense of what I had seen.
"He shot him in the head."
"All the others too." Zain informed me.
"But most people aim for the centre of the body..."
"Unless they are experienced." He said. "You have to train yourself to aim elsewhere, if he had just walked in and started firing he would have aimed for the stomach like any amateur."
"Pistols have horrible accuracy, he hit ten people and only missed twice. He was a normal kid, I doubt he killed for a living." I threw the idea out and he nodded.
"His parents?" He asked.
"He lives with his mother, who is out of town right now." I said.
"Tell me you got your hands on his house address?"
"What do you think I am?" I said pulling out my iPhone and pulling up the notes app.
"You're amazing." He said before running towards the van.
Before I knew it we were across town in a small apartment. The building was quiet, which was unsusual, it should have been infested with police by now. The door was also unlocked, which was weirder.
"This is breaking and entering." I pointed out as we stepped into the apartment.
"You know that I don't care."
"I have learnt as much." I said following him into the apartment, it was a completely normal apartment, the living room was a bit messy, just like it should be, it looked lived-in. There was a large picture hanging on the fireplace, of a woman and a teenage boy. "That must be him." I said looking at the picture. He looked...normal. He was a good-looking guy, barely looked 16 but the picture must have been old.
Zain pulled out his phone and took a picture of the picture before sending it off, presumably to Rehan. "We have to hurry, the police is probably going to be here soon." He said opening the door to the room on the left as I walked around the living room taking pictures of anything I found relevant. "Holy crap." His voice came from the room.
"What?" I asked walking across the small apartment and into the room.
"First-person shooter games." He said motioning me over to the shelf inside the room. He had about 10 of them. "He also has the pistol controller that comes with them." He said snapping pictures left and right. "It makes sense now, playing these for hours and hours can teach anyone where to aim and how to aim." He said as I walked around the room.
His room was neat, his desk clean apart from one book. It was left open, it took me a few seconds to realize that it was a yearbook and that there were red crosses through some people's pictures, there was no pattern, it was a mix of guys and girls who all looked different. Different races and different body types. My hand froze when I saw the red cross through the picture on the next page.
"Z-zain." I said out loud.
"What happened?" He asked coming to my side. I just pointed to the picture. "It's that guy isn't it?" He asked.
I nodded, it was the guy that I saw in that room, with a bullet through his head. Zain frantically flipped through the pages. "He had a hitlist." He said clicking pictures of the pages when we heard sirens downstairs. "Shit, let's get out of here." Zain said grabbing my hand and running out of the apartment and towards the stairs when I pulled him back.
"The police is going to use the stairs and the elevator, if we use the stairs it'll look suspicious." I said.
"Good thinking." He said pulling me towards the elevator.
"They're going to question us even if we use the elevator!" I said.
"f**k." Zain said grabbing his hair. "Closet!" He said pointing to the open door. He pulled me towards the small closet and closed the door behind us just as we heard the elevator ding and shoes stomping. I put my ear against the door and heard them talking. We were going to be here for a while. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I realized that Zain was staring at me, and then I realized that we were literally pressed up against each other. I didn't move and he neither moved his body nor his eyes. We just stood there staring at each other for what could have been anytime from a few minutes to an hour. It wasn't until I felt his hand cup my cheek tenderly that I realized the fact that he was touching me, almost tracing my face with his fingers, he almost hovered them over my skin and it sent sparks flying through me. It wasn't until we heard a door slam that I moved away, shocked that he was touching me. He didn't say anything but peeked outside and motioned me out when he realized that no one was there.
Our broadcast that night had been full of surprises for everyone because we had more information than the police had released by that point and to say that the police was furious would be an understatement. No one was happier than our producer though because we had info that no one else did, and that night another truth hit me, somewhere along the way bigshots like Rehan became so consumed with the bottomline and ratings that they stopped feeling. Yes, they were sad about what happened but they got over it so quick that it was almost heartbreaking. Maybe I was like this because I hadn't actually been so up close to victims of a story before, maybe that is why it plagued me.
Ten people died, but that was all forgotten within minutes of the broadcast. But I couldn't forget those faces, all the people he'd shot had gotten into the business program that he'd been rejected to, so he had a motive. I didn't even know that I had started crying as soon as the camera had turned off but I was unable to stop the tears. It was also the first night that he carried me to the car and then into my house. It was the first and last morning when I woke up cuddled into his chest, his t-shirt soaked with my tears. We never spoke about that night, or that day, again for some reason, and I was too much of a "scaredy cat" to bring it up.
Today was a rather slow day at the studio, with the elections around the corner all and any news surrounded that one topic. We got ready as our time to go on air got closer, we matched yet again - this time in navy blue and white. The hour passed quickly due to running interviews and trying to keep Zain in check and softening his blows towards the candidates.
"I'll drop you." He said as I stepped out of the dressing room, back in my comfy sweats. He had taken the navy pinstripe suit off which made me kind of sad, but the man looked good in everything especially jeans and that long-sleeved white shirt, I loved the colour white on him.
I nodded at him and made the all too familiar trek to his car.
"Did you tell Rizwan to drop me home everyday before you left?" I asked as I opened the door to his shiny black BMW.
"I might have."
"Because I don't want you to take a taxi home this late." He shrugged starting the car.
"I can take care of myself you know." I said kind of annoyed.
"I know you can." He said turning the radio on and effectively cutting off any further conversation for the next twenty minutes.
"What are you doing Saturday?" He asked turning the car into the empty parking spot right outside my building.
"Sleeping." I said.
"Fahad Bhai's engagement party is this Saturday, I was going to tell you before I left but obviously that didn't happen." He said shrugging.
"You should have told me before!" I said whacking his arm causing him to hiss. Well, that was new. "What happened?" I asked suspiciously.
"Yeah right." I said pulling the keys out of the ignition and getting out of the car.
"Aaliya Ghulam Haider, give them back." He said cleary exasperated.
"Do you think using my full name is going to intimidate me or something?" I asked.
"Can you just give them back?"
"Inside, now." I said before walking to the entrance and to the elevators. I heard him groan before he followed me. He just glared at me the whole ride up to the 7th floor and while I opened the door.
"If you wanted me to walk you to your apartment you could have just asked rather than stealing my keys. I see you have developed a propensity to steal things." He said.
"Take you shirt off Abdullah." I said closing the front door behind him.
"Did you just ask me to strip for you?" He teased. "This is sexual harassment."
"Shut up and show me what's wrong with you arm."
"Nothing." He said causing me to roll my eyes.
"Yeah right." I said grabbing the hem of his shirt and pulling it over his head as his arms automatically went up. I tried to ignore the fact that Zain Abdullah was standing in the middle of my living room shirtless. I also tried to ignore my body's response to him as my eyes came to level with his pectorals. I didn't know if it was the stubble he had on his face or something else but he looked so good right then and damn, they boy worked out.
"Hey!" He said as I turned him around so I could see his muscular arm, my attention going right above his bicep.
"OMG. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED ZAIN?" I yelled. "WHY IS THIS NOT BANDAGED? ARE YOU STUPID? DOES IT HURT?" I asked looking at the huge wound on his arm, it was a harsh red and very deep. It looked so painful that I wanted to cry and I wasn't even the one wounded.
"Bullet." He said nonchalantly.
"WHAT?" I screamed moving around so I was standing face-to-face with him
"Don't worry, it just grazed my arm." He said looking down at me sheepishly.
"Tell me you've been to the hospital." I said looking up at him, if I wasn't freaking out about his wound I would have taken a moment to appreciate that my face was a few inches away from his and I could smell his cologne mixed in with a woodsy smell that was Zain and I could feel his breath fanning out over my face.
"I am not stupid, of course I have. I just can't bandage it myself and if I tell anyone at home mom's going to start her emotional blackmailing and ensure that I never go anywhere again." He said rolling his eyes.
"Idiot." I said slapping his other arm.
"Woman, can you stop beating me?" He said sounding annoyed.
"Sit down." I said pushing him towards the sofa and going to the kitchen to grab the first-aid kit from the drawer. When I walked back into the living room I saw that he was leaning back on the sofa and I couldn't help myself from wishing that he would always be sitting there when I walked in. I think my hormones were catching up with me or something because I was itching to touch him, his jeans were slung low on his hips leaving his perfect abs and a peek of that V' leading into his jeans, I had seen him shirtless before but never like this. I shook myself out of my lustful thoughts, feeling a bit guilty due to the predicament he was in. "How did it happen?" I asked sitting to his side and taking out the anti-bacterial ointment.
"There was some running and shots were fired and it just happened to graze my arm." He said as I lightly touched the wound, his skin was so warm and soft under my hand.
"You told me nothing happened when I asked you if you were okay." I said rubbing the ointment in causing him to let out a hiss. "Does it hurt?" I asked blowing on the spot lightly.
"A little, and it's not big deal."
"You are so stupid, why do you have to risk your life and do stupid things you idiot?" His eyes were closed, his head leaning against the head rest of the sofa.
"I thought we concluded that I was stupid." He mumbled.
"You are. I can't believe you didn't tell me." I said as I carefully wrapped the gauze around his arm making sure to not make it too lose or too tight. "Okay?" I asked.
"Thank you." He said opening his eyes and looking at me smiling.
"Zain Abdullah doesn't feel pain." He quipped.
I just gave him an "are you serious" look.
"Yes please." He finally sighed and I shook my head, this guy and his ego. I walked back to the kitchen and got a Tylenol and a glass of water.
When I turned away from the sink I almost jumped because he was right in front of me, still shirtless, with not even a foot of space between us. "I-uh- pill." I said trying to hand him the Tylenol. He smirked and opened his mouth. The hell- I gulped as he looked at me expecting me to place the pill in his mouth. I am sure he noticed that my hand was shaking as I placed the pill on his tongue. He grabbed the glass of water from me and took a few sips, all without moving away from me. I gulped as I watched his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed, f**k that was hot, I could feel the pit of my stomach tightening.
"Why are you turning red?" He asked putting the glass down on the counter.
"I-uh, it's warm?" It sounded more like a question than a statement.
"Yeah." I said still looking at him.
"Or is it because you are enjoying checking me out shirtless?" He said with a sly grin.
"You wish." I retorted covering up.
"You are always such a scaredy cat." He whispered before pulling away and walking back into the living room. He grabbed his shirt and put it on, the muscles of his back rippling due to the movement, I was surprised that my ovaries were still intact "Get some sleep tonight." He said looking at me before walking out the door.
I leaned against the counter when the door shut only to open again, he poked his head inside and smiled at me. "Thank you." He said before closing the door again. I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding. What the hell was that?
Scroll down for Part 2 my lovelies! :)Edited by astonm - 2014-06-11T17:47:21Z
HELLO :) Thank you for all those amazing comments you guys left me, I just kind of sit there and go "Oh stop, you're making me blush". You guys are so sweet and I am so glad you liked the first part, so here is the second and last part! Do let me know what you think! :)
It took me a while to fall sleep but I was waking up an hour later because the shrill ring of my phone woke me up. I groaned picking up the phone and sliding my hand across the screen a few times before it finally worked.
"Aaliya?" Rehan's voice came from the other end, he sounded really tired.
"Hmmm." I replied still half-asleep, willing my eyes to open.
"Sorry to wake you up, but you need to get here within the hour, pack clothes for about two days, I am sending a car. We've got some news." That was all it took to wake me up, I shot up in my bed and blinked a few times. The clock to the right of my bed told me that it was 1am.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Earthquake off the west coast, there is a whole lot of damage, they aren't predicting any afterquakes but that's the only good news I've got." Rehan sighed. "Everyone is disoriented, no one has ever seen anything like this before in this part of the world."
I was whipping around my apartment as soon as I put the phone down. I threw a pair black leggings and jeans into a bag with two shirts and a cardigan before getting myself into a pair of yoga pants and runners with pullover. I had no time to fix my hair so I just threw it up in a bun before putting my toothbrush and other toiletries in the bag and rushing out of my apartment. The ride to the studio took less than the usual twenty minutes because it was the dead of the night and the roads were completely empty. I literally ran into the studio, which was bustling with activity. Everyone was running around either on their phones or surrounding anyone who yelled that they had an update. They didn't even look up and wave at me as I made my way toward's Rehan's office, I could see that he was talking to Zain through the glass walls. They looked like they were arguing about something.
"She doesn't have to go, she can stay right here and take care of other things. It's going to be horrid out there." He was saying to Rehan when I walked into his office, I tried to push down the feeling of hurt I felt settle over me. It had been a while since he'd pulled something like this, when we first started working together he'd told me that I got in his way more than I helped him but I thought we'd moved past that. What did he think I was going to do? Faint when I looked at the chaos, was I still not up to the challenge in his eyes? I didn't go running into situations head first like he did but I wasn't a chicken.
"When do we leave?" I asked announcing my arrival to Rehan while completely ignoring Zain.
"What do you mean we- you can't." Zain started to say but stopped when I turned towards him.
"I really don't want to talk to you right now, I don't know what your problem is but I am going, I can handle it." I said glaring at him.
"Within the hour, we're sending Rizwan and Shawn with you and two sound guys. Sahir and Sana are already there so you have them too. The company jets are taking you as far as they can go, Sahir and Sana have arranged transport from the airstrip, we're in a state of emergency so the troops and everyone else is going to start landing there soon." Rehan said and then turned to Zain. "We are not going to do anything to get in their way, no breaking into buildings, no walking into the middle of a sink hole or anything like that, please. Don't make their job harder than it is. And stay close, you have satellite phones but anything can happen, so for goodness' sake stay close." He said before walking out to brief everyone else.
"Aaliya, can't you just-"
"Don't even say it. I won't get in your way and you stay out of mine. And despite your blatant belief that I can't handle this, I'll have you know that I think I am more than capable of it." I said.
"Are you serious right now? Do you really think I-"
"Yes." I said.
"Wow." He scoffed. "This is not about that, this is about the fact that is f**king dangerous out there and it's not sane for the two of us to be out there."
"Fine, then stay here. I am going."
"You are going to be the death of me." He groaned before walking out. And that one phrase confirmed everything I needed to know, he thought I was going to get in his way and he'd have to come rescue me, like always, even when I didn't need to be rescued.
"What's up with you two?" Rizwan asked an hour into our plane ride as we stuffed ourselves with breakfast. We hadn't spoken a word to each other after he had walked out of the office. "Okay then." Rizwan said when we didn't reply. An awkward silence settled over the whole plane as we neared our destination, everyone scared about what they would see. It wasn't until we looked out of our windows as the plane started descending that we realized the extent of the damage, there were no buildings left standing, the whole area was covered with grey. We had just landed in hell, I knew it was going to get much worse as we got closer to the center of things.
As we stood waiting for the jeeps that I realized how quiet it was. It was eerily silent, it was now 6am in the morning, birds should have been chirping but there was nothing, there was no wind either. It was so calm that it was scary, it amplified every other sound tenfolds, which is why we heard the jeeps before they even came into sight.
Everyone headed towards the jeeps as soon as Sahir and Sana stepped out and helped everyone with their stuff. I was going to walk towards the jeep but I was pulled back by my hand and was turned around to face Zain.
"Can you listen to me for a minute please?" He asked almost pleading. I wanted to walk away and ignore him but I nodded, because frankly, I was tired of not speaking to him no matter how pissed I was at him.
"I am sorry about what you think I said." He started off. "I didn't for a second mean that you aren't capable of handling it, you're one of the strongest people I know. So stop thinking whatever you're thinking in that pretty head of yours."
"Then what exactly did you mean?" I asked.
"I know you, you are going to try to help every person out there without caring for your life and you're going to be absolutely devastated when you realize that you can't help them all. You haven't ever seen what we're about to see now. When I saw something like it the first time I was absolutely shaken because it's so overwhelming. So please, for the sake of my sanity, don't get involved and stick by me or I am going to go crazy thinking about something happening to you, okay?" He said grasping my face between his hands. I don't know how long I stood there before I just nodded, thoroughly confused at what was going on before following him towards the jeep.
Sana smiled sadly at me, she looked absolutely shaken. "Are you okay?" I asked hugging her.
She shook her head. "It's horrible out there." She sighed before we got onto the jeep.
"We have the satellite trucks up and running." Sahir said as we drove towards the center of the action. "No one has been able to get to the epicenter yet, so what we're seeing is probably paradise compared to what happened there. We have all the satellite trucks set up and going, Rehan wants you two to do a live cast in about an hour." He informed Zain and me. We nodded.
I felt my eyes tearing up and my heart sinking as we traveled through the debris, there wasn't a recognizable structure in sight, just piles of concrete. Seeing them alone made me realize that there number of survivors was probably scarce. "Are the rescue teams here yet?" I asked Sahir, he shook his head sadly.
"Many of the people in this area have been presumed dead, those that survived along with everyone that has made their way here already have been looking for other survivors for the past few hours, we don't think we're going to find anymore but we're trying." Sahir sighed clearly stricken by this. "But the good news is that a large part of the town had awoken when they felt the first tremor and headed outside to the large park in the middle of the town. They survived, they've been moved to city hall, the one building that's left standing."
We pulled up in the middle of a large empty field about 50 minutes later where the satellite van was set up.
"Guys! There are people over there and they are alive!" A guy yelled as soon as we got out of the van. Sahir literally ran towards where the man was pointing and Zain was about to make the run behind him when I caught him by the hand.
He sighed and turned back around, cupping my face again. "I'll be okay, stay put and get ready for the broadcast okay? Rizwan is here with you and so is Sana, I'll be right back."
"You can get rid of me even if you try." He smiled at me.
I nodded letting go of his hand but my heart was hammering in my chest as he ran away from me.
"Are you ever going to tell him?" Sana's voice came from behind me.
"I don't know."
"You know he is in love with you too." She said.
"You two are the most oblivious people in the world." Rizwan said setting up the camera. "We go live in two." He said.
"Okay." I said re-tying my hair and pulling on my sweater.
"Do you hear that?" Sana asked suddenly freezing.
"Listen, it's like a kid is crying." She said turning her head around, trying to listen. Then I heard it too, it was a faint noise but it was definitely someone. I tried to locate the source of the sound, it took a while but when a sharp cry ran through the air I knew that it was coming from across what was once a street.
"There!" I said pointing towards the house on the opposite side of the street. I don't know what possessed me to do it but I was running towards the house before I knew what was happening and Sana and Rizwan were left yelling behind me. The crying got louder as I got closer, it was definitely a kid, I had no idea how old but he/she was alive. "Hello?" I called out. "Can you hear me?" I asked, the roof of the house had caved in, but the right side of the house was still intact, the roof precariously lying half way down the wall of the house, but there was absolutely no way into the house.
"Mommy?" A little boy's voice croaked out and my heart broke into a million little pieces, he sounded so scared.
"Hey buddy. My name is Aaliya, what's yours?" I asked to keep the boy talking so I could find out where he was as I looked for some way into the house.
"Ayaan." The voice came from the right side of the house, the part that was thankfully somewhat intact.
"Hey Ayaan! Do you see a big window in front of you buddy?" I asked looking at window which was now broken, the collapsed roof reaching half way down it. But it was open, and I knew that it was the only way into the house.
"AALIYA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Rizwan's voice came from behind me. He had the camera in his hand, we were live? Seriously?
"There is a little boy here! His name is Ayaan and he's by the window." I said to him before walking towards the window, I sent out a thanks to the heaves because there was just enough space for me to fit inside. "Ayaan, can you move?" I asked.
"It's dark." He said starting to cry again.
"Shhh, I'll come get you okay, but I need you to not cry. Okay?" I said.
"Aaliya, you can't just go inside." Rizwan said, right behind me now.
"There is a kid in there, if I don't go in he might die." I said holding the frame of the window and sliding both my legs in.
"AALIYA?" Zain's voice came from behind Rizwan, he was running towards the house with a crazy look on his face. "Are you stupid? I thought I told you to not do this, come out, I'll go in and find him." He said with a breathless Sana behind him, she had obviously gone to get him. I was kind of stuck half inside the house and half outside the house as he came up to me, I turned my face to the side so I could see him.
"I am the only one that's going to fit into this window, so unless you have some other way to get in there is no way you can get in here." I said looking him straight in the eyes.
"Oh, of course not." He groaned sarcastically. "There would just be one flipping window, and it would just be prefect for you to slide in. I am going to lose my mind." He said before turning around. "GET ME A FLASHLIGHT." Zain yelled to no one in particular, Sana grabbed one out her hoodie and gave it to Zain who turned it on and flashed light inside the house. "The roof has caved, you're going to have to crawl, and don't move anything, crawl around it or whatever but be careful."
"Got it." I said before slithering through the window with the flashlight in my hand, the roof had caved in and there was barely four feet of space between the floor and the ceiling. "Hey Ayaan, buddy, where are you?" I called out.
"Under the table." He said. I flashed the light around the room and there it was, a dining table in the middle of the room. And under it was the cutest little boy I had ever seen, his eyes were red and his face stained with dried tears. He couldn't have been a day over 4.
"Do you see the light?" I asked him.
"Can you walk towards it?" I asked him.
"My feet hurt, something happened to them." He said.
"Okay, I am coming to get you all right." I said as I crawled through the debris, I am pretty sure my hands and knees were walking over glass but I was beyond feeling pain, I just wanted to get to this kid.
I had to crawl around the chairs that lay broken around the room, and it took a while before I got close to him. "Hey buddy." I smiled at him my eyes tearing up, his feet were bleeding, there was glass in them, that is why he couldn't walk.
"Do you know where my mommy is?" He asked.
I shook my head no.
"My daddy is over there but he's not waking up." He said pointing to the far right of the room.
"How about we get you out and then we can come and get your daddy okay?" I asked. He nodded.
"I am going to turn around now and you are going to climb onto my back and hold this flashlight, okay?." I asked handing him the flashlight.
"Like a horsie?" He asked.
"Yeah, exactly like a horsie." I smiled turning around. He wrapped his arms around my neck and climbed on. "Now stay really close and don't move your head okay?"
"Okay." He said as I felt the side of his face against my upper back. I crawled back around the way I had come until we got to the window.
"Aaliya?" Zain's relieved voice came through the window as we got closer.
"I got him." I said, Zain stuck his head into the window and smiled at the boy.
"Hey buddy, can I help you come outside?" Zain asked.
"You can let go of me now, he's going to help you okay?" I said and felt Ayaan nod.
"Get closer to the ground Aaliya." Zain said and I complied, a few seconds later Ayaan was lifted from my back and was in Zain's arms, he passed Ayaan to Sana before turning back to me. "Come out." He said.
"His dad is still in here." I said looking at Zain.
"You can't pull a grown man out of the window Aaliya." He groaned. "Where is he?"
"Right against the far wall."
"Is there something over him?" Zain asked.
"He's under a pool table." I said flashing the light to the right of the room.
"Perfect, we can take the roof and walls out and pull him out. So you come outside." He said poking his head through the window again and grabbing my hands before his eyes widened. "You are bleeding." He gasped.
"There may have been glass lying around." I said sheepishly.
"This girl is going to kill me one day." He mumbled before pulling me out the window, head first. I sighed in relief when I felt my feet touch the ground. Before I knew it I was engulfed in a warm hug.
"I asked you not to do this, you have no sense of self-preservation you crazy girl." He mumbled against my hair before pulling back and staring at me. "Are you okay other than the hands, of course?" I couldn't help but notice the familiar look in his eyes, it took me a while to place but then I realized it was the same look I'd seen it every time I looked in the mirror after he'd disappeared for a week.
"Uh guys, we're still live." Rizwan said causing Zain to let go of me before turning back to the camera.
"Sorry, uh, as you can see my crazy colleague is okay apart from some cuts and bruises which she is going to go get looked at right now." He said looking pointedly at me and then towards Sahir who was standing behind the camera. I decided it was best to not mess with him and follow Sahir back to the van.
I sat on the grass beside Ayaan after I had been bandaged, his feet were now bandaged too and he'd dozed off on my lap after they'd found his parents. The two of were only unconscious and were inside the make-shift hospital set up behind us as medical support started showing up, they were hooked to an IV but were expected to recover with minor injuries. I was happy that they'd survived but I couldn't help but think about all the kids that probably lost their parents or parents that lost their kids all around this area. It sucked.
I didn't see Zain or Rizwan for the rest of the day, he was probably running around talking to people. Sahir and Sana had gone further towards the epicenter with the troops and medical care units and we were supposed to join them in the morning. The death count by now was declared to be over 8 000 people and they weren't even 10% into the search, I wouldn't be surprised if the number eclipsed 50 000.
"His mom is awake." A voice came from behind me, it was the nurse, I think her name was Jenny. I smiled and picked a sleeping Ayaan up and carried him inside to his mother. She was crying when she saw him and the smile on her face made my heart warm up. He snuggled up to her as soon as I put him down and the two of them drifted to sleep.
Zain was standing outside the tent when I stepped out.
"Hi." I said.
"Hi." He said looking at my bandaged hands then at me, he didn't say anything though and it made me uncomfortable.
"What?" I finally asked.
"I am debating if I want to yell at you or kiss you right now." He said.
"W-what?" I asked shocked, did he just say that he wanted to kiss me? Wait what?
"You can't ever listen to me, can you? It's like you do the opposite of what I tell you to do, and I should be so pissed at you for pulling that stunt but I am f**king amazed at how brave you are." He said. "You're going to be the death of me."
"Why do you keep saying that?" I asked confused.
"Because you don't even care about yourself and do things like this and I literally just sit there and worry about what's going to happen to you and I feel like I am going to die of an heart attack one day."
"Are you seriously asking me this?" He groaned before pulling me towards him and wrapping his arms around my waist. "I am in love with you, Aaliya. And I am going to die if something happens to you." He said causing me to freeze. The f**k did he just say?
"What did you just say?" I asked shocked.
"I love you?" He said making it sound like a question.
"I mean I thought you said that, but I wasn't actually sure...but you just said it again so maybe I am not hearing things...but then again this may just be a dream and I-"
"I am going to kiss you right now." He said interrupting me.
"Huh...Oh, okay." I said my eyes still wide as he stared at me, his eyes dark yet tender as they seemed to trace every inch of my face. I felt my breath hitch in my throat as I looked at him.
"Breathe." He whispered placing a kiss on my nose before he moved his lips to the corner of my mouth, I thought he was going to kiss me but he nuzzled my face instead, his stubbly face tickled my skin and at the same time made current flow through me. His very soft lips made a trail from the corner of my mouth up to my ear, my eyes shut on their own accord as my whole body screamed. He trailed his kisses down my neck and back up the other side of my face, I felt myself shiver and opened my eyes.
"I thought you were going to kiss me." I whispered, surprised that I could string a sentence together when my mind and heart were all over the place.
"Do you want me to kiss you?" He asked against my ear, his lips moving against the sensitive skin there causing me to shiver.
"Please." I whispered, my hands travelling from his sides and into his hair. He moved away from me a bit, a smile on his face before he brushed his lips gently against mine causing me to let out a sigh before I kissed him back. Kissing him was way better than I had ever imagined, my dreams couldn't do justice to it. I didn't ever think that his lips would be so soft, or how his hands would feel around my waist, or how his lips would move against mine and I definitely never thought that my knees would want to give up from under me. He pulled back a minute later and leaned his forehead against mine and I thought it was time to tell him something too.
"I love you too Zain." I whispered, I watched amazed as his eyes widened and a smile spread across his face. His hand came up to caress my cheek before he pulled my face towards his again, our mouths crashing together. He bit my bottom lip causing me to moan and my lips to part, his tongue slid against mine and a battle ensued. We couldn't even kiss without fighting but I didn't mind it one bit. I pulled back gasping for air but his lips never left my skin, his kisses travelled down my neck, kissing and sucking the delicate skin right above my collarbone. I felt like my whole body was on fire, the heat burning deep to my very core.
"Since when?" I managed to murmur out as he trailed his kisses back up to my lips.
"When I fell in love with you? Or when I realized I was attracted to you?" He murmured.
"Both." I said.
"Do you remember that time we got into an argument over who would get the left chair?" He asked and I nodded.
"I wanted to kiss you so bad so you'd shut up. And then I started realizing that I just really wanted to kiss you and it took a while for me to realize that it was because I was in love with you." He smiled. "What's with the look?" He asked.
"Just surprised that you actually love me." I said.
"Why do you think I've been beating guys off with sticks? They'd be half in love with you within hours, and they'd realize that you're crazy after and leave you but still."
"I said they would leave, I knew you were crazy before I fell in love with you." He smiled.
"Why didn't you tell me before?" I asked pulling back.
"You didn't tell me either." He replied.
"I wasn't sure that you felt the same way."
"I guess we're both pretty dumb huh?" He asked causing me to laugh. "This is not how I planned on telling you either." He said looking around, it took me a minute to realize what he meant, we were in the middle of a disaster.
"Is it bad that I forgot all about this for a few moments?" I asked.
"No, it's perfectly normal." Zain said.
"I guess we have a little happiness to take back with us." I smiled.
"Hmmm, now go fix yourself, we go live in ten and try to keep your hands off me."
"HA. Don't worry, there will be no problems there." I said sticking my tongue out at him.
"That's a joke coming from you."
"Oh, I see where this is going, you want me to make you shut up."
"See, when you say things like that I really want to punch you Zain." I admitted.
"Ah, punching is physical contact, not the type I was hoping for but it's a start." He waggled his eyebrows.
"Don't do that again, it's creepy." I said.
"Well, you're going to have to live with it because I am your creep now."
"Is there a refund policy if I am not satisfied with my purchase?"
"Final sale only." He said winking at me before walking towards Rizwan.
"Are you really f**king kidding me right now? Why should I do that?" He yelled.
"Because it's the only way it's going to work Zain."
"Are you doubting me?"
"How could you?"
"Because I know how this is going to end!"
"I can't believe you seriously think I am incapable of this." He said gasping.
"IT'S JUST A CRIB MAN, READ THE STUPID MANUAL IF SHE IS TELLING YOU TO. GOD." Rizwan said bounding up the stairs. "Is this some kind of weird foreplay for you guys? You're always arguing."
"Yes." Zain nodded. "Now go entertain our families."
"Your dad keeps staring at me." Rizwan said to Aaliya.
"Yes, because you want to marry my sister."
"He loved me from day 1." Zain said smiling at Rizwan.
"Not helping Zain." I said whacking his head.
"Most wives don't beat their husband like this." He said rubbing his head.
"Most husbands listen to their wives."
"Everyone was right, wives become tyrants after the first year." He said sadly.
"Do you want me to whack you again?" I asked.
"Rizwan-" Zain said turning towards the door of the nursery but he wasn't there. "He left."
I just stared at Zain, the manual still in my hand. "Use it."
"I can do it without the manual." He pouted.
"If you use the manual it's faster, and then we could kick everyone out and... do more enjoyable things." I said winking at him.
"Hand it over." He said taking the manual out of my hand. "I like the way your mind works Aaliya Zain Abdullah." He said waggling his eyebrows.
"I thought I told you to not do that, I will cry if our baby has your eyebrows." I said putting my hand over my ever-growing stomach, it was a cute little baby bump at five months.
"My eyebrows are very sexy all right?"
"Nope." I replied.
"Fine, I am very sexy."
"You are. Now get assembling." I smiled.
"I think I deserve a kiss for all my hard work."
"You just opened the box." I said looking around the room.
"Yeah, it took a while to open." He said seriously. "I think I deserve two kisses."
"You are insatiable."
"Only when it comes to you." He smiled. He was so smooth that I couldn't not kiss him.
"I love you." He smiled kissing me before kissing my stomach. "I love you too princess, you're going to the cutest little girl in the world." He said to my stomach.
"It is a boy." I said.
"It is a girl."
"Seriously, it's in my stomach so I know it's a boy."
"Well, it's 50% my baby so I know it's a girl, I passed on my X chromosome."
"You can't know which chromosome you passed on Zain."
"But I know. I am a genius."
"Shut up Zain."
"Wow, most wives don't tell their husbands to shut up."
"Most wives don't have Zain Abdullah as a husband."
"You love me." He smiled.
"I do. Now get to work." I said pointing towards the disassembled crib. "I am going to go to the kitchen and find some ice-cream, your baby demands it." I said rubbing my stomach.
TADA! If you want you can check out my other Zaya stories here:
And if you want a PM for any future Zaya works leave me a comment, I am going to have to create a separate PM list for Beintehaa because I am thinking of writing a short story! :) ADIOS FOR NOW BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE! :)Edited by astonm - 2014-05-24T20:12:03Z
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