The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can't have.
"Just watch, he probably hid the wound using make-up." Zoya said munching on the popcorn from the bowl resting on her stomach as she lay on her bed beside her best friend watching a movie.
"I doubt that, that could be detected." Asad pointed out from his spot beside her. "I think there are two of them."
"Whaaat?" Zoya asked confused.
"It makes perfect sense if you think about it." Asad claimed grabbing a handful of popcorn.
"And how so Asad?" Zoya said turning her face around towards him so she could hear his explanation, her face was only few inches from his because of how close they were on the bed.
"It would explain all the tricks." Asad shrugged looking down at her best friend and tapping her nose.
"Ah, whatever. OMG! AHHH. I LOVE THIS SONG!" Zoya yelled as the first notes of the song rang out. "I can't believe it's from this movie!" She screamed jumping up from the bed.
"Zoyaaa!" Asad groaned as the popcorn flew all around the room, she had obviously forgotten that it was on her stomach. Asad rolled his eyes as he started to scoop up all he could and put it back in the bowl.
"Ishqqq nazar meinn, ishq basharrr mein, aks mein, raks mein, ishqe nishaanm niishan nishan NISHAAAN." Zoya sang out loud standing on the bed completely ignoring her best friend who was still placing popcorn back into the bowl.
"Seriously Zoya, my ears are bleeding." Asad laughed placing the bowl on her night table. "Now please sit down before you hurt yourself."
"Please, I have an amazing voice." She said flipping her hair.
"Singing is definitely not a profession you should consider."
"Rudeee! I am not talking to you." She said sticking her tongue out at him.
"Oh really?" Asad smirked before he pulled her down. Zoya let out a loud shriek as she fell on the bed beside him. She glared at him and then nodded in the affirmative, she was not going to talk to him. "We'll see about that." He said grinning mischievously.
"Asad, don't even-" Zoya started to say when she noticed the look on his face but stopped when he started tickling her. "NOOO! STOP!" She got out in between laughs but he didn't relent and continued tickling her, laughing just as much as her. "STOP ASAD!"
"Do you forgive me?" He asked.
"Yes!" She gasped.
His eyes lit up and his mood immediately changed as soon as the words left her mouth. He pulled her back into his side and she rested her head on his shoulder as they continued watching the movie.
"You are lucky you are my best friend or I would beat you up for this."
"You are three years younger than me, I don't think that would work."
"Puh-leaseee. Everyone knows that you are terrified of me."
"Yeah, terrified that you're going to fall and break your nose. Again. It's already a bit crooked" He quipped.
"How rude!" She gasped before grabbing a pillow and whacking him with it.
"Stop being violent women. I swear you are like mini Hitler at 16." He screamed as she continued hitting him with it.
Life was so easy at 16, they were the best of friends, spending all day together laughing, joking around, talking and working. The two of them were inseparable; they gravitated towards each other just like magnets of opposite poles. Even back then the two of them realized that they were more than just friends.
A knock on the door broke Zoya out of her thoughts, she looked up to see herself standing in front of the mirror, seven years later. She was decked out in a coral anarkali, the showstopper outfit from Tahiliani's Summer 2014 Collection chosen just for her by her father for this occasion. Her hair was up in an elaborate yet casual looking bun and her bangs framed her face in loose curls and her make up was done to perfection. In short, she looked absolutely beautiful.
But she looked dead, her lively brown eyes had lost their spark a long time ago and the face that was always sported a huge smile was blank. The feeling of smiling and laughing all the time was all but forgotten, she couldn't even remember the last time she had truly laughed, she was a robot, living her life for others because her reason to live couldn't exist in her world. And it wasn't even the fact that he couldn't exist...he refused to be a part of her world despite wanting to and that irked her more than anything else in the world.
"Are you sure about this Zoya?" Zeenat asked, the only one privy to her internal state. "It's not too late to back out. But once this happens...abbu isn't going to go back on his words. You know that."
"What else can I do Aapi?" She whispered forcing a smile onto her face when all she wanted to do was cry, but even her tears betrayed her these days, they wouldn't come. "Is he here?" She whispered, hoping and praying that he wasn't. But she knew he had to be here, he had no other choice, he lived here.
"Yes." Her Aapi answered. "Maybe he'll do-"
"Don't." Zoya said getting up. "I won't be able to go through with this if I still hold onto that dream." She fixed her dupatta so it fell perfectly across her body before she took a deep breath. "Let's go party with the elite and delinquents of Bhopal." She said stepping out of her room with her Aapi.
They headed down the decorated hallway towards the spiraled staircase that opened into the main hall, where the party was going on. It was her abbu's 60th birthday. Ghafoor Siddiqui's mansion was filled with prominent personalities from all over India at that moment and all their eyes were on the youngest daughter of the Siddiqui household who had been shielded away from their eyes for all these years.
The whispering and gossiping started as soon as Zoya came into sight. She was beyond beautiful, just like her deceased mother. The girls in the room couldn't help but notice how they seemed to pale in comparison to her, her perfect complexion, her designer clothing and the amount of attention she got was beyond their imagination. They envied her, she was rich, smart and beautiful and if the rumors were true she would bag the most eligible bachelor in their society. They couldn't see past the external appearance, for if they could they would have seen how imperfect her seemingly perfect life was, they would be able to see what she had to lose.
The smile on her face never wavered, which was not a surprise for her, she was good at acting. She went to stand beside her father who just nodded at her, her Aapi stood by her side as her silent support system. Zoya's eyes moved across the room, she loved to torture herself. He was there, standing far away with a glass in his hand. She knew it was Jack Daniels, he preferred his whiskey when he was feeling angry or helpless, she was sure he might feel one of the two today. His eyes met hers, and they were full of emotion as always but he held himself back again. She knew what they were trying to say though, she could read those eyes better than anyone else. Her treacherous heart thumped at what his eyes said to her, as it always did, but she knew he would never admit it to her.
He looked away first not being able to stare into those accusing eyes. He knew what was coming. He wanted to yell, he wanted to scream, he wanted to take her from here and leave. But he couldn't. It was his weakness, he just couldn't. He wasn't allowed to leave and he wasn't allowed to stay...with her at least. She finally looked away when her Aapi squeezed her hand. It was time for the show to start.
"Thank you for coming today." Her father's voice rang out through the hall. "On the occasion of my 60th birthday I would like to announce that my daughter, Zoya, will be getting engaged to Akram Miah next month."
And all hell broke loose. Everyone clapped and took their turn to congratulate Ghafoor Siddiqui, his daughter and future son-in-law. The daughter's eyes never strayed from him, he stood still his hand closed tightly around a glass, his face filled with anguish. He knew this was coming, he had known for days but he didn't do anything about it. But the reality of the situation didn't hit him until that moment.
He saw right through her smile, he understood the look on her face. She wanted to say "It should be you" as much as he wanted to say "It should be me." But real life took more than the feelings of two people into account. She died a little more on the inside as he walked out of the room. She didn't even know that she still hoped that he would do something.
"Asad. Where were you yesterday?" Ghafoor Siddiqui asked as soon as Asad Ahmed Khan walked into the dining room the next morning. He had all but disappeared after the announcement and Ghafoor Siddiqui obviulsy noticed that his right hand man had been missing.
"I had to take care of a problem." Asad replied avoiding eye contact with the woman sitting on the breakfast table. He wouldn't be able to hold himself back if he determined that she looked just as broken this close up, if she looked at him with those accusing eyes again he didn't know what he would do. He already felt like shit, his eyes were red - to the world he probably just looked tired but he knew that it was because he was hurting inside. The pain of wanting someone you can't have was swallowing him whole.
"Always taking care of problems." Ghafoor Siddiqui smiled oblivious to the plight of his daughter and the man he trusted more than anyone in the world. "Sit." He ordered motioning towards the empty seat to his right, the one beside her of course. Asad had to sit down, there is no way he could refuse his boss' orders. He didn't miss how her knuckles were white from griping the table as hard as she was when he sat down next to her. He tried to ignore her but his body was hyperaware of her body, it always was.
"I was meaning to talk to you yesterday." Ghafoor started. "I am sure you understand what must happen now, the day we never wanted to see has arrived, everyone knows about her now. Her life is in constant danger until she is married and leaves for New York." He said looking towards his daughter. "She is my weakness and in this business my weakness is their biggest strength. I need you be with her 24/7, you are the only one I trust with her life Asad." He said.
"Okay." Asad said, he wanted to say a lot more. He wanted to refuse, he couldn't be around her all the time and stay sane. He knew she wouldn't be able to either, but there was nothing he could do.
"I don't need a babysitter." Zoya piped up from her place at the table.
"He is not your babysitter. He is making sure that you don't walk out and get shot in the head, or get kidnapped and tortured to death. I've tried to shield you from this life for as long as I could but it is time you realize that your life has always been in danger, you've been so close to getting killed many times."
"I didn't choose this life for me, you chose it for all of us."
"And this is why I am getting you out of this Zoya, you'll be off to New York after this and no one will find you."
"You do realize that you're marrying me off to someone who is well known to your companions and enemies, they won't have a problem tracking him down."
"I'll take care of that. No more discussion on this topic Zoya." Ghafoor Siddiqui got up and left then, leaving his daughter and Asad behind. They sat there in silence for a long time looking towards the wall. Her body still hummed because he was so close, she had hoped that this pesky problem would disappear. She had thought that her heart was too broken to thump, but it somehow managed to despite being in tiny little pieces.
"He's doing this to protect you, the further you are from this the safer you'll be."
"I am guessing that you include yourself in this'."
"Anwar is a nice guy." Asad said changing the topic, his voice pained as he stared down at his plate.
"You need to practice that, it doesn't sound sincere." She whispered staring off in front of her.
"Are you okay with this though? Are you happy?" He asked looking up at her.
"Are you happy?" She asked back, still not looking at him.
They both knew what the answer was, despite the absence of the word, "no" seemed to be ringing out loud and clear through the silent room.
"We need to go pick out engagement cards." Zoya said out loud as she opened her bedroom door so Asad could hear her across the hall, his room door was open. "Anwar is meeting me at the shop."
Asad appeared in his doorway and nodded while grabbing his sweater. "I'll wait outside." He said before walking away. Zoya nodded and closed her door shut and leaned against it, her body sliding down against it until she fell to the ground sobbing. What was she doing with her life? She felt like she was sitting in a house watching a fire start yet she couldn't move for some reason and sat there watching the fire consume everything.
Zoya got dressed in a pair of black leggings and her oversized grey NYU hoodie, her hair was up in a bun and her bag hung across her body. She picked up her RayBans to hide her bloodshot eyes before heading downstairs. She walked out of the house and he was there, leaning against the car looking as sexy as he always did in a pair of jeans and a black sweater.
He sighed sadly when she came into sight noticing that she was wearing sunglasses even though it was a cloudy day out - she had been crying. But he didn't say anything and opened the car door for her, closing it behind her and walking around to the other side, he hesitated for a moment not knowing if he should sit beside the driver in the front or with her at the back. But he realized that he loved to torture himself and sat in the back. She noticed his hesitance and wondered what he would do if she crawled over to the middle seat and leaned on him like she used to. But she didn't do it, she knew he would just push her away. So they both looked out their respective windows as the driver pulled out of the driveway.
"Life is funny isn't it? We are going to go pick out engagement cards but not like I imagined." She said sadly after a few minutes, not being able to stand the silence any longer.
"It was wrong for us to imagine in the first place." He answered.
"I don't think my heart anticipated the consequences like your brain did." She said.
"You should have washed your eyes with cold water, your eyes will be red even when you take those off." He said knowing that she had been crying the minute he saw her.
"I thought I ran out of tears, but they seem to be working again." Her voice broke on the last part and he yearned to turn towards her and hold her in his arms. But he couldn't, so he sat there and let her words pierce him. He made her cry, he always did and he always would.
"They'll stop one day." He finally said, time heals all, she would forget him soon.
"I think they would have stopped in the past seven years if they were going to stop. Maybe they'll stop the day you stop worrying about me."
"That's never going to happen." He said before he could stop himself.
"I know." She said, knowing exactly what she meant, she was never going to not be in love with him.
The rest of the car ride was absolutely silent as was the elevator ride up to the 10thfloor where Akram was already waiting for them.
"That's an interesting choice of attire." Akram said looking at Zoya obviously not pleased by her laid back style. But that's who she was, she didn't care to wear designer clothes, she liked being comfortable. Asad stifled the urge to punch Akram's face in, it was fairly obvious to him that he was all wrong for her. Zoya just shrugged, she didn't really care for his opinion.
Asad stood behind them as the eccentric wedding planner threw idea after idea at Zoya. Beach theme, traditional, royal. Personalized engagement shoot pictures. But Asad noticed Zoya's eyes stray over the Taj Mahal design over and over again. She loved the Taj Mahal, something he never got. It was a tomb after all, but she always found it romantic, she had for as long as he'd known her. It was something they argued over plenty of times, Asad understood that it was a fine piece of architecture but he didn't see what was so romantic about a man building an elaborate tomb for his wife.
Asad waited for Zoya to announce that she wanted the Taj Mahal card and nothing else but it never came, she didn't say a word but stared off into space like she was thinking about something really hard. He wasn't wrong in his assumption, Zoya was in fact thinking about something. She was thinking about how nave the 18 year old Zoya was, oblivious to her father's illegal business and totally unaware of the fact that he had dragged Asad into it. 18 year old Zoya was in love with her best friend, and in her heart she knew that her love was reciprocated, she knew that she would get married to him in a few years, in a small wedding with just her family. Sitting there and picking out fancy cards wasn't what she wanted, a big wedding was not what she wanted and the groom was definitely not the one she wanted. She felt like she was suffocating as she sat there, like she was climbing to the top of never-ending stairs and was out of breath.
"Can we do this another day? I don't feel so good." She said getting up abruptly and turning around before anyone could say anything. The wedding planner and Akram sat there stunned, she had all but run out of the room. Asad ran after her towards the elevator, the door was about to close when she stepped in but he managed to get to it before it closed shut. Her face looked ashen.
"What's wrong?" He asked pressing the emergency stop button and looking at her.
"You know perfectly well what wrong."
"Don't. Why are we doing this? Why can't I- you pushed me away for as long as I can remember. But I know you want to be with me. I spent the past eight years hoping that one day we would be okay. That you would finally accept what we have...but- I am in love with you, I've always been in love with you, ever since I was thirteen. This was supposed to be our wedding, we were supposed to pick out cards- and..." She sobbed staring at him.
"I- it can't happen Zoya." He said sadly looking away from her accusing eyes.
"Why?" She cried pulling his collar. "LOOK AT ME DAMN IT. AND TELL ME WHY!"
"Because I work for your father, because you can't live here. Your life will always be in danger, your dad is the -"
"WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH US?" She screamed tugging on his collar again.
"Everything. I can't play with your life like that, I don't know if I am going to be alive at the end of the day. Or worse, if anyone ever finds out about you they will hurt you. You are my weakness, I can't watch you die too." He said, he would rather she stay alive and away rather than with him and in danger.
"I hate this. I hate you." She cried falling against him causing his heart to break again. He always hurt her, no matter what he did.
"I am sorry. I tried. But I can't leave, I owe that much to your father, he took me in when I had no one. He wants you to marry a normal guy and go somewhere safe." He whispered.
"I don't want to be with anyone but you. I won't be able to live." She said.
"You're going to have to."
"What if I told you to go marry another girl, could you do it?" She asked looking into his eyes. He didn't answer but she knew the answer was no. He couldn't.
And that's part 1, I know it's a bit different that my usual fluffy + happy stories, but well...you'll find out if it really is that different or not with the next part. And that is all I shall say about this. Do let me know what you think my lovelies!
Omg this is soo heartbreakingly good , the perfect amount of angst . Is Gaffur part of the Indian mafia or a drug lord or something I hope we're getting a happy ending I wish this was gonna be longer than a TS , but I'll take what I get , looking forward to the next part . Oh and I love the banner ! x And thank you for writing this , I miss my Asya bbs Edited by Peeves. - 2014-08-15T17:55:54Z