ASYA FF: Prem Kahani Hai Mushkil (Updated Ch. 130 Page 90 Oct. 11)(Page 66)

Posted: 2016-04-15T00:43:35Z
Originally posted by Klondy

Originally posted by kaju27

when will you update..

Hi kaju27. To be honest I haven't written much and am way behind. I thought that the story was losing traction and that may be I should just take a break. But your post now makes me rethink things. So I might write some more. Let's see. I'm not sure when I'll be able to upload. I do have some ideas but nothing that I'm really excited about. 

Thanks for asking though. Makes me think more about it. 

Take your time hun! Your updates are so well thought out and intricate and I understand why they take so long. And it translates on the "page" how much you love this story. I want an update so badly too, but I want you to be proud of it too EmbarrassedHug
Posted: 2016-04-16T00:08:58Z
Waiting to read more..:)
Posted: 2016-05-07T03:26:13Z
Thank you so much for your reply! 
And a detailed reply too with the link! Thanks a bunch! 

Waiting to hear from you soon! :)
Posted: 2016-05-07T22:48:12Z
Finally managed to read this part...
Very entertaining...
And as always I read with gifsLOL

Asad is the cutest really...

And dining table scene was funny with Dillu mamma's monologueLOL
Posted: 2016-05-08T18:27:36Z

Previous Chapter: 132135348 

Tu Kahe To Khwabon Ka Bana Ke Main Bahana Mila Karoon Sirhane Pe 

Chapter 125 
She had been mad at him. It was one of those typical Miyan-Biwi nok-jhonk that went a bit south thanks to those daily work-versus-home clashes. Add the stress of a not-so-anticipated long trip and the trauma of an oncoming lambi judaii--it was a spark waiting to flare into a forest fire. 
And this after they'd promised each other that they wouldn't be those typical spouses who fought about stupid, incredibly foolish things.
"You've been coming home late every day this week and the last--" OK, may be she had sounded a bit naggy. But could he blame her? All these nights Zoya had seen him come in exhausted and grouchy. Why couldn't he see what he was doing to himself? And her. 
"You know I can't help it." 
"But we'll be leaving soon and I ..." 
"Zoya, stop holding that over my head. You think I don't know that?" 
"If things are so bad then may be we shouldn't go." 
"Obviously I don't mean that! You should go. Everyone's going. Najma and Nikhat are looking forward to this. So's Ammi and everyone else."
"But I don't want to leave you like this! You're under so much pressure and not taking care of yourself."
"Get used to it, Zoya! This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last that I'll be under pressure," he'd growled and slammed the dresser drawer more violently than he'd intended. 
And that's when Asad had known that he'd pushed too far. Her lips had thinned and she'd turned away from him. 
She said nothing. It wasn't that they were shouting at each other. Zaid was fast asleep so they'd kept their voices down. But they may as well have been shouting.  
Zoya slipped out of the room to heat up his dinner. 
She said nothing the next day either.
At work the next day Asad got swept up in new Catch-22s. A materials stoppage, an absconding vendor, and more whats-its and what-nots forecasted a ball-busting day ahead.
He'd left home fully intending to order flowers for Zoya but that slid right out of his mind as phones started buzzing. He skipped lunch and by mid-afternoon a dull headache loomed. 
Zoya worried when she didn't hear from him all day. Was he still upset with her? Because she wasn't talking to him she was getting office updates from Humaira who was getting them from Ayaan. 
She felt terrible when she heard about the missed lunch. Zoya knew he'd have a headache by now. 
"Please eat something," she texted him. "I love you," she added after a second. Her thumbs hovered over the screen. "I'm sorry for last night. I miss you."
When he hadn't responded even two hours later a dark bud bloomed in her. She see-sawed between guilt and anger. Why was he doing this? Didn't he know how both she and Ammi would fret if he carried on like this? Didn't he know that both of them would hate leaving him like this? 
Of course he knew! Then why--
Why wouldn't he let her help him? Why wouldn't he back down from the project? He wasn't superman. Why play the hero? There was no shame in backing away to regroup for another day.
Zoya sighed. This really was putting a damper on the trip. She wished to god that this trip would never happen. 
She'd sent over juice, cut fruit and sandwiches with the driver. An hour later she'd found out from Prasad that yes, sir had eaten. 
But she never heard back from Asad for the rest of the day. Or evening.  
It was past 10 o'clock and Asad still wasn't home. When he crashed through the door almost an hour later she rose from the dining table to greet him. She shut her laptop and felt a pang for all her angry thoughts. He looked almost gaunt--the cheekbones even more defined, lips compressed in a grim line. That pulse in his forehead vaulting--
Asad stared at her from across the room and she stilled. 
She wasn't sure if he even saw her. It was only when he advanced toward her, shedding the computer bag and tie along the way, that she knew. Zoya went to the fridge to pour him a glass of chilled water to delay him. Snatching the glass from her hand he emptied the contents in one gulp. Before she could react he had her pinned against the fridge.
His eyes intent on hers he slowly undid her shirt buttons. Zoya's eyes widened in panic. The kitchen lights were on. Ammi had gone up almost half hour ago but what if she came down? Her hands closed over his.
He shook them off and moved on to the snap of her jeans. 
"Asad, please! Not here, not like this!"
But he'd already yanked her jeans down to her ankles and was kneeling in front of her. Zoya swallowed a moan as she felt his fingers push her panties to the side and his hot tongue slid in. She pressed her knuckles to her mouth even as her other hand gripped his hair.
She wiggled, his mouth trapping her. 
"Asad, oh god!" she whispered as she felt the org*asm hover and mount. 
That soon? How-- 
Her hands gripped the top of the fridge door behind her. 
He rubbed and stroked her crazy and in no time her hips bucked wildly. Asad's hands steadied her and pressed her harder against the cool steel even as he teased her wetter still from another angle. 
Zoya bit down on her lip to keep from keening and waking up the whole household. Or neighborhood. 
Oh god, she'd never felt such a rocky climax implode and pulse through her before. 
"Asad," she breathed. "Asad ... Asad ..."
She didn't know whether it was the fact that he was ravaging her in the brightly-lit kitchen and that they were a step away from being caught, or that her silence was making her nerves scream ... or even that this was the roughness of make-up se*x that her body was begging for.
She'd hardly recovered from the dizziness of the second spell when Asad had her bent over the counter. He'd already pushed her panties down and unsheathed himself. When he entered her she gasped. But even before he entered her he parried at her with shallow brushes and thrusts that threatened to make her go wild all over again. 
"Please," she whispered. 
"Please what?" he asked through gritted teeth. His tip side-swiped her again and her hands slapped on the cool counter.
"Please, take me! Hurry!" Her butt writhed against him. "Don't torment me, Asad please ..." 
A harsh breath whooshed out of him. His hands cupped and kneaded her bre*asts as he moved inside her. But this didn't give him enough leverage. He gripped her hip, his knuckles white against her skin. She'd be bruised there tomorrow for sure. 
His flesh slapped against hers. 
Oh god. What if Ammi heard them? Fear and desire collided within her. Pleasure won out. It ribboned and exploded from her clamping him in its wake. Asad's hips bucked too as shuddered and grunted softly. He too was trying to be as soundless as possible. But that wasn't possible. 
"Zoya!" he couldn't stop himself as he threw his head back and jerked against her.
Later in bed Asad pulled her to him. "I'm sorry for being such a bear. Forgive me?" 
"Umm hmm," she kissed his neck and shoulder. After that scorching kitchen counter encounter she didn't even remember what it was they'd been mad about. Zoya giggled at her own punning skills.
"What?" Asad asked. He was nibbling on each fingertip of hers. Still too wired to sleep.
Shaking his mouth off she slid her hands under his kurta. "May be it's not such a bad thing that you come home late." 
Asad chuckled.
"But only once in a while, not everyday!" She began her own revenge-nibbling.
"Humaira, does anyone, like ... bug you about having a baby?" Zoya asked her sister tentatively the other day. 
Humaira laughed and Zoya's worries fled. That was a good sound, thank you Allah miyan!
"Who has the time, Aapi! Ayaan's Ammi and Abbu are chill and I'm surprised Dadi hasn't brought it up either." 
"And Aunty and Abbu?" 
"Please," Humaira rolled her eyes talking about her mother. "Ammi can't get past making lists of what to do for Zaid. It's all about Zaid this, and Zaidu that."
Zoya giggled. They all knew that Raziya called Zaid Zaidu when she was alone with the baby. And oh boy, the rate at which tiny clothes were being knitted, bought and sown for her son, the Khan siblings better start having babies soon or they'd have to rent out a storage unit for all the mini jumpers and booties and topis and chhadis soon. For a munchkin who couldn't even walk as yet, Zaid probably had more shoes than his mom.
"And when Ammi does take a breath," Humaira continued, "the next thing out of her mouth is, what'll Zoya say? What will Zoya do? Will she like this? How about that?' " 
Zoya sniggered. Truth! Aunty did seem to have a one-track mind these days. OK, one and a half. And when in the Siddiqui house, Raziya and Zaid were as inseparable as Zaid and his Chachu. In fact there was an invisible tug of war between mother- and son-in-law over who'd spend more time with Zaid and who the kid loved more. When Zoya came to her dad's house, she pretty much remained clueless about where Zaid was or what he was up to. Once she was done feeding him she hardly saw him. If he wasn't somewhere gallavanting about with his Chachu, he was probably being fussed over by his Chhoti Nani. 
"And Abbu? He's just too happy and content to ask for anything else."
"Hey, does that make you jealous?" New worries assailed Zoya. It must feel weird to go from being an only child to suddenly be the second child. Zoya loved the attention but what if Humaira resented it? She had heard enough about sibling rivalry-- 
"What? That everyone worships and fights over Zaid? Nah! It takes the pressure off me. Zaid ka lakh lakh shukar hai!" Humaira bumped shoulders with her sister. "And I love having the world's best Aapi, so relax!"
"But you guys aren't thinking about having kids right now?" 
Humaira sighed. And then she giggled. "Honestly, I don't think anyone's in a hurry to see Ayaan as a dad. Dadi says he's got a lot of growing up to do himself!"
"Abhi Zaid pe practice karne do," Rashid had said once when he'd seen his younger son bump into a servant carrying a tray of food and watched its contents go flying.
But truth be told, both Rashid and Siddiqui Saheb wanted their oldest kids to have everything that they'd missed out as children because of their dads' dark cowardice. No one was in a hurry to supplant Asad and Zoya's rightful haq to being the center of attention this time around. 
And then what was the rush, really? 
In Zaid they had found full redemption. Every day with him was god's grace, every smile heaven's mercy.  
"Aww, bechara Raaburt," Zoya sighed. 
"Come on, Aapi, he's no bechara and you know it. Wait!" she cried. "I just remembered." 
Humaira pulled out her phone. She'd updated her device but saved that old photo of Ayaan's where he was bent over and struggling to be a murga to beg for her forgiveness. It was a momento from the night he'd come to woo her back and it was a trophy of her own resurgent spirit when she'd learned to love and be herself. 
"Now, does this look like a bechara to you?"
The girls hooted and high-fived.
"Hey girls, enough with your khee-khee, kha-kha nonsense," Ayaan popped up from behind and they laughed harder.
"It's not khee-khee, kha-kha nonsense, Raaburt. It's haha-heehee therapy. And it's good for a woman's soul." 
"What were you laughing at?" He frowned at them. He had a sneaking suspicion they were making fun of him. Why did Humaira suddenly hide her phone and dismiss a screen? 
They were sitting on the swing outside. He pushed it hard and they squealed.
"Tell me!"
"See?" Humaira said to her sister.
Zoya grinned. "Yeah, he totally needs a lot more practice and growing up. He sounds exactly like Zaidu right now!"
"Speaking of ..." Humaira snorted as she saw her mother walk towards them with Zaid in her arms.
"Oh god," Zoya groaned softly. "Here comes ghee-badam ki stinky dukan." 
"Kya hua?" Raziya frowned at her daughter and son-in-law who were laughing madly. 
"Ammi, woh actually ..."
"Hmmphh," she dismissed the feeble attmepts at the familiar non-explanation. "Yeh lo, he's hungry," she handed Zaid over to his mom and tucked Zoya's hair absently behind an ear after dropping a kiss on her forehead. 
Raziya turned to walk away. 
"Hell--lo?" Humaira complained. "I'm also here." 
"What?" Raziya looked at her in confusion as she remembered to swipe Zaid's chin with a duppatta.
"What about my kiss?"
"Hain? Kya keh rahi ho?"
"Oh forget it, Ammi! You only care about Aapi and Zaid! The rest of us are ghar ki murgis and gaajar-mooli for you." 
Ayaan nodded his head in vigorous agreement. Yeah, and don't forget Bhai! Everyone saw how Mumani treated her older daamad like some shehenshah royalty.   
"Aunty, I think Humaira also needs ghee-badam ki maalish on her head. She's obviously losing her mind! Or she's hungry ... like Zaid." 
Humaira had resisted going on the big, grand, once-in-a-lifetime Khan trip to the US.
"No, you all go. I'll stay back and look after Jeeju." And Ayaan. But even Ayaan knew that when it came to his Bhaijaan, his wife and mother-in-law had their priorities straight.
"Shut up, you're coming." 
"But Aapi--" 
Zoya had held up a firm hand. "Don't even think about it!" If Humaira wasn't going then she wasn't going either. As simple as that. 
Humaira's smile had slipped and Zoya hugged her. She knew exactly how the girl felt. A part of her hated going too. "You've shared all your toys and books and school stuff from when you were a kid, with me." 
She'd spent hours in Humaira's room poring over her kid sister's childhood pictures and treasures.  "I want to do the same. I want you to check out my stuff, hang out with my friends, go to my favorite places. I'll show you the school I went to, where I played soccer ... C'mon Humairiya, when else will we ever get the chance to just be sisters without our husbands? In freakin' New York!!!" 
Humaira had laughed. Exactly. When?
"Please," Zoya said. "If I have to go without my husband then you have to go with me in sympathy!" 
"As punishment?" 
"No silly, as solidarity. It's sisterhood! Hey, may be you can wear jeans there! We'll be the sisterhood of the travelling pants!" 
Humaira's eyes rounded like her nephew's. Jeans and her? She bet Ayaan would love the idea though! Should she? She knew that both Najma and Nikhat wore western clothes in the US. She'd seen pictures on Facebook. Even Nikhat Baaji?
The bags were packed for tonight's flight. Dobby had circled and sniffed and circled them a thousand times by now. He'd even sat on them to test their napability. But he got off in a huff. 
Something was up. 
And he was dead sure that whatever it was he was not going to like it. In blind wild fury he arched and rubbed himself against the bags--if they weren't going to tell him what was up he was going to leave his scent all over these namakool things.
"Dobby!" Zoya scolded half-heartedly. "You'll go bald. Stop it!" 
He ignored her. He was mad at her.
And for once, he sensed that Asad was on his side. 
She kept waiting for Asad for say, "mat jao, Zoya." But as he'd promised, he never did. That morning she put her foot down. Grabbing his collar she whinnied in protest. "Asad, just once, say it and I won't go. I just can't." 
He rested his forehead against hers. "Stop making this worse than it has to be. The sooner you go the sooner you'll be back." For him the countdown had already begun. 
Zoya twisted away from him in tears and stared out of the window, scowling at the morning sun. 
Asad wrapped his arms around her. Head bowed she burst into tears.
"Shh, it'll be OK. We'll survive this. See, I even took the day off to be with both of you."
"That was only because you knew I'd kill you if you didn't," Zoya cried. "How could you even think of not taking the day off?"
Because that was the only way to keep my mind from turning into mush, Asad thought. His heart sank to his feet each morning when he woke up these days. They'd be leaving in twelve days. Eleven. 
Ten ... 
On and on it counted down on a futile treadmill. He'd kept silent through the excited lists and shopping, planning and gift-stocking. He hated himself for feeling cranky. But he hated their excitement more. 
Only one thing had kept him from flying off the rails. 
Thank god, he'd gotten to see Zaid crawl or he'd have done some serious damage. 
And thank god he'd been the first one to see it--that had been the biggest coup. The best prize of all. 
Just last week he'd walked in the front door and seen Zaid playing on the living room rug. Ammi was in the kitchen and Zoya leaning against the couch glued to her iPad. She hadn't even seen or heard him enter.
But Zaid had. And as Asad held out his arms Zaid crawled right up to him as if he was doing this everyday.
"Zaid, mera cheetah!" he'd yelled. "You're crawling!"
Zoya had come alive then. "What? Wait, I didn't see. Not fair!" 
Dilshad came running and squealing from the kitchen. "Kya hua?"
Asad had already swept his son up in his arms by then. Abbu and son were spinning in circles. 
"Ammi, he crawled right up to me!" Once again Asad couldn't contain his excitement. 
"Mr. Khan, put him down! I want to see," Zoya hung on to Asad's sleeve. 
Asad reluctantly put the baby down on the rug. He didn't want Zoya to be upset about missing this milestone like the last one.  
They backed up as Zoya stood by his side and together they called out to Zaid. 
"Come baby, come to Abbu," Zoya cooed softly. 
And he did. Straight as an arrow. No more clumsy attempts or bellyflops this time. By now he'd mastered the rhythm of holding his tiny body up and using his palms and knees to power him forward. By now he'd gathered speed and precision with practice.
But did he know that he was part of his Ammi's and Dadi's plot to trick his Abbu? No idea. 
But he'd seen his mom squeal when she heard Abbu's car door slam outside. She'd picked up her iPad and pretended to be buried in it--weird, just a second ago she was playing patty cake with him. And Dadi too had rushed to the kitchen as though something was burning on the stove.
So sneaky they were. But then Abbu had walked in and Zaid wanted to show him how fast he could move. Like a cheetah.
Abbu went crazy. He hollered and yeehawed like a cowboy.
Just like the last time when Zaid had said Dabbu. Once again Dadi had put kala teeka behind his ear, and Ammi had kissed him on both his cheeks. Would they do this every time he moved or said something? 
Then Dobby climbed up on Abbu's shoulder ... and Zaid touched his own eye and put a kala teeka on his furry buddy.
Zoya sighed as she monitored her son on one of his in-flight patrols. She'd lost count of how many times she'd done this. Had Asad been here he'd have either killed her for letting his son crawl in the plane aisle or keeled over from a heart attack himself. 
But what was she to do? 
Traveling with a hyper-active baby was to already invite the glares of fellow passengers trapped in a metal capsule hurtling through the skies at hundreds of miles a minute.
And Zaid wasn't one to sit quietly during a 14-hour flight. He needed his hourly romps. Now that he was crawling he needed his regular exploration trips. There were all kinds of surfaces to touch, vistas to survey, this thing to poke, and that thing to clutch. And his mom kept grabbing him under his arms to carry him away or point him in the opposite direction--and that too after all his hard work. 
Indedly Folish. 
Sure, he had taken naps, been read and sung to, bounced on grandma laps, tickled and played with, but that took just eight hours. He had even seen all the videos of his Abbu singing to him, reading stories to him ... carrying him on his shoulders. Chachu had also starred in some of the videos. 
But this made Zaid crankier. 
Abbu and Chachu wouldn't reach out and hold him. He couldn't feel Chhoti Nani's kisses or grab Nanu's glasses. 
So here Zoya was, spritzing hand sanitizer on his defiant hands every two seconds, being growled at by her infant son, and still following him about in the business-class cabin. Because if she didn't he was this close to throwing a Jahanpanah-sized tantrum. 
Damn, damn, damn. This was so unfair. 
She missed Asad so much. 
Thank god she had the girls and the parents with her or she'd go stark raving mad. 
Listless, she watched Zaid scoot and trundle ahead and make cooing sounds at the young girl in one of the seats--of course. Being a heartbreaker. Just like his daddy. Hard wired in his DNA, obviously. 
Aaannhh, Asad! Why couldn't you be here? 
Because TCB. Taking care of business. 
Zoya pouted. Her eyes glazed remembering their steamy night action in the kitchen. A blush stained her cheeks. She'd never see the kitchen the same way again ...
"Abbaaa baa buu," Zaid gurgled. Zoya re-focused and bent to pick him up. 
Poor little guy. He was missing his Abbu too. In his mom's arms he let his displeasure known as he fussed and lunged to be let down. Zaid was tired and fussy but resisted sleeping or being held. 
Rashid motioned to Zoya from his seat.
"Humein de do. I'll watch him." 
Thank god! She dumped her son into her father-in-law's arms. After slathering his hands with sanitizer again. Oh yes, between themselves, Jahanpanah and his chhota shehanshah would keep the industry afloat for years to come.
Zoya slumped back into her seat next to a dozing Humaira. From behind her she heard her Father-in-law softly tell Zaid stories about his Abbu as a little boy. She smiled as she eavesdropped shamelessly. But she turned fire-engine red the next second.
" ... because Abbu had a new tooth. Just like Zaid. And he pushed it with his naughty tongue--this way and that way. Just like?"
Zoya laughed softly at the name her son had christened himself with. 
But she missed that naughty tongue that went this way and that way. Oh god, Asad I miss you so bad!
"And Abbu's Abbu told him: don't do that. Your tooth will get mad and run away. But did he listen?" Zaid shook his head. "And then one day, what happened? The tooth ran away!" 
When Zoya turned back to check on them she saw Zaid clutching his Dadu's finger and staring up into his face with saucer eyes. 
He blinked once.
3 - 2 - 1
He was out like a light. 
With a sigh Zoya sat back too to catch a quick nap. Who knew when chota Jahanpanah would wake up and her 8th shift would start?
Rashid looked down at Zaid and smoothed the itty-bitty forehead. He used to tell Asad the same story--it went on to narrate a grand adventure of father and son on a quest to find the missing tooth that an evil sorcerer had stolen. On the way they encountered jinns and monsters, good samaritans and frenemies. 
Rashid wished his grandson had fought against sleep a little longer--he wanted to continue reliving memories of Asad as a baby. It was the only small comfort to wash away the swell of regret that still managed to choke him every now and then.
The nights were the worst. 
But then he knew that, didn't he? 
No, that's not true. He didn't know how much worse they'd be.
Asad had given in to Ayaan and Raziya's nagging to move to the Siddiqui house till everyone came back. 
So he and Dobby had.
Zoya had begged him too. "I don't want you wandering around in an empty house, not eating, or coming ridiculously late from work. At least do it for Dobby. He'll go insane!"
But it was Siddiqui Saheb's quiet words that had sealed the deal. He'd placed a hand on Asad's shoulder. "Please, humein bahut sukoon milega. They are both really asking for themselves too." He waved toward Raziya and Ayaan. "Having you with us will make us miss all of them a little less."
When Asad nodded Ayaan had whooped. And then he broke into a sher and everyone grimaced. But it was a remarkably sensitive sher. Something about them all being wretched together ... salting and pickling each other's misery with tears. Something more about ... jaanewale didn't forget their bags and suitcases, "par phir bhi unka saamaan reh gaya." 
Asad had groaned. 
... saamaan reh gaya ... What had Zoya said when he'd gone for those two days to Hyderabad? 
        "That dimple of yours has gone into hiding, right?" he'd asked.
          "My dimple went to Hyderabad with you. It must be hiding somewhere in your bag." 
Asad turned on his side on the abandoned bed. Yet again. The shameless pillow next to his was too fluffed up and poufy; undented and pristine, it taunted him. 
Asad punched it. It now had a fist-sized dent in it. 
No, you were wrong Siddiqui Saheb. 
Nothing makes me miss them a little less. 
He wished he was home. 
At least at home he could've groaned and groused out loud. 
He could've punched at his bag ... 
He did groan out loud when he remembered the last time they'd used the punching bag. Zoya had wanted to suddenly learn boxing ...
          "Eyes up here, baby."
          "Asad! I wasn't done!"
          "Oh yes, you're done! I am too. Time for a break."
          And what a break it had been. 
          "Oh god, Zoya! You drive me crazy, you know that, right?"
          "You're welcome!" 
Dobby mewled. He shuffled restlessly in his own bed and broke Asad's reverie of misery.
Asad looked at Dobby, first in irritation, then in sympathy. Poor thing--Dobby had his own issues.
The cat wound around his legs more than usual now. That first night he'd sniffed Zoya's side of the bed and peeped a billion times in the crib looking for his favorite people. He'd looked in all the rooms too.
But suddenly they were gone. Dadi too!
Only two questions remained for Dobby. These questions were like ballsy mice running around in his head and jeering him: 
1) Where had everybody gone? 
2) Why had they left him behind?
There was no baby chatter or a tiny hand yanking his tail these days. No table scraps. Nor did he hear shrieks of "Dobby, shoo! No food for you, you fat boy!"
That night Dobby had lunged at his Abbu and dug his claws in. 
"Ow! Dobby, stop it! What's gotten into you?"
Never, ever leave me! Promise, he'd looked deep into Asad's eyes. Bring them back! Right now. Why don't you do something? They could be hurt! Remember that last time I had to save everyone's butt? What if they never come back? 
OK, so he had a lot more questions than two.
The cat raised his head and looked back at Asad in between licking his paws. Each sighed and looked away.
Asad re-punched his pillow and checked his watch for the thousandth time. They would still be on the flight. It was another five hours before they landed at JFK. Thank god, they'd been able to talk at the stopover in Frankfurt. 
He turned over with another grunt. 
"Missing us, Mr. Khan?"
A half-smile peeked. The chime and tinkle of her voice speared his heart; it lifted him up; it ripped him apart. 
He could imagine how she'd say it too. "Missing us, Mr. Khan?" How her face would light up, how that saucy dimple would deepen and how that pouty mouth would ... 
" ... so much ... " he whispered into the night.
He wished he could take those words back as soon as they were out. Because those words of his would wipe her smile away. Guilt and regret would shadow her face. 
"I'll be fine," he muttered into the dark.
Dobby stirred. Who was Abbu talking to? He hopped up on the bed and sniffed his face. Asad stroked his fur absently. Taking that as an invitation the lonely and confused cat plopped down on Asad's chest and curled himself into a tight ball. 
Her smile would return slowly. Surely watching Dobby would get her to smile again. 
"Aww, is Dobby Miya-oon taking good care of you? I gave him special instructions to do so." 
Asad strained his neck to look down at the cat. 
"Hmm ... kind of. He's missing you both ... Like me." Like crazy.
"Shh, close your eyes."
He did. His eyes burned.
"What do you see?"
I see you.
I see you ... like I saw you that first time at the dargah.
Asad felt just as hollowed out as he'd felt that first day when he'd opened his eyes and she hadn't been there. 
He dared not open his eyes now. She wouldn't be there.
Sh*it. May be he should have said, "mat jao, Zoya," like she'd asked. Then she wouldn't have gone. She'd have stayed back for him.
"What do you see, Mr. Khan?"
I see you when I said goodbye at the airport twenty-two hours ago. 
Asad squeezed his eyes tighter to blot out the memory of a crying Zaid and his nearly teary mom. Zaid had sensed the coming separation and had stretched his arms toward his Abbu. Like Dobby he couldn't understand what was happening and why. He too had questions that rattled around in his head. Zaid hollered in confusion. Fat tears rolled down those plump cheeks.
Zoya had almost caved in then. 
And Asad had smiled and reassured them: it'll be OK. You'll be fine. I'll be fine. Just a few days. We'll chat and facetime every day. Who's a good boy who'll take care of his Ammi? The best and bravest in the whole wide world? You'll have so much fun you won't even think of me. Iloveyou. 
He had the unwanted job of pacifying two distraught souls before bidding them goodbye. Actually three. But who was counting. 
Bidding goodbye ... how do you say bye to a part of you? Your hand. The crook of an elbow. Your chest where a head rested every night. Your shoulder that a tiny arm held tight. Your neck that siren lips brushed ... A thumb that a perfect little hand curved around in complete trust ...
"What do you see," Zoya's voice whispered in his ear again ... it hovered in the air. Her breath fanned--
No, it couldn't be. Could it? He must be losing his mind.
"What else do you see?" 
I see us. You. Me.
I see us in that ridiculous supply room in that Thai restaurant when I first told you I love you ... Because I couldn't bear to wait another second and not tell you. When I really held you in my arms even though you'd fallen into them a million times before. 
I love you, Zoya ...
Haunted and restless, Asad shoved Dobby off his chest and rose to get himself a glass of water from the kitchen. 
This was getting ridiculous. 
He walked through the darkened hall trying hard not to bump into something or send some other thing crashing. 
"Asad ..."
He closed his eyes and came to a standstill. He couldn't fight it.
"Anything else you see, hmm?"
I see us in this pool ... the thin mist that rose to wrap us in a heated veil ... I'd made love to you here. You were still pregnant. In that white bikini ... and then the red one ...
          "Say it!" I'd begged when I was inside you. 
          "I love you, I love you," you'd breathed and thrashed.
          He couldn't help himself from plunging into that memory ... deep and deeper he went ... 
He let it  wash over him ...
That night her breathy litany in his ear had punctuated each grateful thrust as he'd hitched her hips closer, impaling her deeper.
          "Keep saying it," he'd shaken her when Zoya's strangled words faded. 
          "I can't, oh god, Asad I ca--!"  
Asad swore under his breath. The dark hall ... the moonlight had spotlit them that night. It spotlit emptiness now. Then, he had swallowed her soft cries to hush her. Now, he swallowed the ashy lump in his throat.
His fingers dug into his palm pressing her initial deeper into his flesh. 
But Asad grinned the next instant. A merry memory came bubbling up to slice through that pall of longing. 
That night she'd forgotten her bra by the side and had made him run to retrieve it. She'd shaken him awake at 4 the next morning. 
Yep, that's what she'd turned him into: a besotted retriever who ran at command to fetch a bikini top. 
A lovesick, horny retriever ... who had no wags left to give. 
A half hour later Asad dropped into an exhausted nap. 
Well, at least missing his family had made him forget about the cluster of escalating crises at work. The physical ache had temporarily devoured that daily unease. 
"Asad, I can't tell you how much I've ached for you!"
Finally they'd been able to facetime in private. Zaid had fallen asleep in her arms. Zoya rubbed her cheek against his head as she looked at Asad. She rose to place the sleeping boy on the bed before returning to chat with his father. Their seeking fingers pressed the screen from across oceans and continents. It was futile. 
Fingertips flattened against cold panes.
Ached? Asad chuckled. If they were competing, he'd win hands down. Because she didn't know how his ache had stirred up hallucinations so vivid that he'd felt her breath on his ear, her hand on his heart. 
"How're you?" Zoya asked.
Asad smiled a half-smile. "Not good." 
"You too?"
"Umm hmm." 
Their gazes clung. 
"How was it for Zaid?"
She sighed. "He was mad as heck that he couldn't find you. And believe me, he looked everywhere."
Asad laughed. "Dobby too." The cat climbed up next to him to peer at Zoya. Dobby meowed softly. Did he know that Zaid was asleep and didn't want to wake him up? Asad grabbed him before Dobby settled down on the keyboard. 
"Tell me about work." Zoya bustled about picking up Zaid's clothes. "Any good news for a change?"
"Sit. Let me look at you fully," Asad said softly.
Zoya did. Their hungry gazes re-collided and searched the other's for tired lines and hollows.
"I loved the message you recorded for me," she murmured. 
It had been a complete surprise. And such a pleasure. 
She's seen it only at the airport at Frankfurt. And then in the craziness of a two-hour stopover, changing Zaid who kept trying to escape, and getting something to eat, she'd forgotten to talk to him about it. 
She'd gasped out loud when she saw it. 
Deja vu had never been so sweet.
It was the same time of night. 
Against the same window in their room (it had been his room the last time), in the same kurta, this time too Asad had struggled between yearning and self-control. 
He must've recorded it after returning home from the airport. 
Two years ago his voice hadn't been as certain. 
His voice was still husky this time but it expressed so much more than he would have in person. Before they left for the airport and in fact even at the airport, she knew that Asad was putting on an all-smiles-don't-worry-about-me front. She'd let him get away with it because not doing so would've meant a public scene and a sorry sobfest.
"I know you wanted me to say it. I wanted to say mat jao, Zoya a thousand times over, but I couldn't. You needed to go and I needed to make my peace with that. But each day without you will be dark, each cold night the boulder on my chest won't let me breathe. Come back home soon. And never leave me again." His voice became gruff. 
It made her eyes sting. "Never," Zoya would promise each time she watched the video. She had watched the first video more than a hundred times too. 
"I'm never traveling without you again," she said to him now. Zoya rested her face on her folded arms. "If you don't go, I don't go." 
"What did you eat?" 
"Don't remember." 
"Asad, you better be eating well! Or I'll have to talk with Aunty."
"I'm eating. I just don't know or care what it is."
She hmphed in impatience.
"Zoya ..." 
Even now love felt fragile. It could be gone in a day, an instant even. Why was it still handcuffed by borders, visas, air travel, time zones: by mornings-here and evenings-there? By IST and EST? 
How lucky they were and how unlucky. 
To have and to hold, and ... to not have and to hold. To see each other, face-to-face, to be so close to almost touch ... but to touch the terror of loss and taste the spasms of separation instead.
Asad gazed at her through the screen and bit off an oath. 
They were trapped in twin screens that were wirelessly handcuffed to each other. ... twin heartstrings beat one beat.
A sudden Mangalpur memory pricked her. "Mujhe laga ki main abhi bhi apse se bandhi hui hoon." 
Asad saw the gathering sheen of moisture in her eyes. "Zoya, no babe--" But it was like lying to himself.
She smiled a watery and trembly smile. "Remember Mangalpur?" 
Asad sighed and rubbed his forehead. "Vividly. Every minute and every second. But why would you want to remind me of that?"
Zoya giggled. "No, I meant Mangalpur Part 2!"
Asad smiled too this time. 
Mangalpur Part 2--when Zaid had been with them too. And the whole family. When they'd been able to get back at the damn panchayat and play Batman and Wonder Woman. Where he'd given her a brand new charm for her bracelet: a pair of miniature handcuffs. 
And when Zaid had kicked for the first time. 
The paradox of distances and the paroxysm of nearness melted for the briefest of moments. They grinned at each other. 
Zoya shook her bracelet to show him.
"You're wearing it again?" Asad asked in wonder. 
"I decided to bring it with me--I wanted to show it to Aapi and Jeeju and my friends. It was fun to tell Zaid stories about some of the charms on the flight. He likes the sound of it tinkling."
Her bracelet was getting even more crowded. Aapi had gifted her a charm of a pair of baby shoes engraved with Zaid's name in the back.
"I miss you," she blurted out. Her hand rushed to cover her mouth--she didn't want to say it out loud and remind him of it again. She started to cry quietly. 
"Shh, Zoya," Asad soothed.
"I'm sorry," she wiped her cheeks. "I didn't mean to just say it out like that and upset you. Of course I miss you ... I miss you like ... like a ..." 
"Like a heartbeat that feels off, a car that won't start? Like someone ripped my heart out and put it in a shredder?"
She gasped and then nodded. "Put it in a blender and set it on high. Oh god, Asad I don't know how I'm going to survive the next few days."
"We will, babe. We will. We have to." 
She turned the computer sideways so he could see a sleeping Zaid. He was fast asleep, lips slightly parted and arms thrown over his head. The tiny chest rose and fell. Asad reached his hand out to try and cup his son's face, rest his palm on that tiny chest and recite Allah's name 99 times. He remembered the heartbeat they'd heard and recorded in the doctor's office so many months ago. 
He'd listen to it after they finished Facetiming.
"He was so mad that he couldn't find you," Zoya whispered. "All through the flight ... he seemed anxious. He used a lot of his Zaidwords to ask us where you were. Why weren't you with us? Oh god Asad, it was so sad and cute at the same time. Only your Abbu could calm him down when he got really miserable."
"Umm hmm. Abbu would tell him stories about you as a baby. I learned so many things about you that I never knew before!"
"No!" Asad looked embarrassed.
"Yes! I finally came to know how my Akdu came to be my Jahanpanah! That he went on dangerous quests and adventures for missing baby teeth. That this was all the training he needed when he rescued a certain damsel in distress." 
Asad grinned. "A damsel that was more distress than in' distress!" 
"Mr. Khan!"
"Oh god Zoya, I've hungered to hear that! No one scolds or sasses me like that."
"Good, no one better do that either! It's my registered trademark and nobody better steal it!"
They sighed as they ran out of things to talk about. 
"I talked to Abb--" 
"Aunty and Sidd--"
They spoke at the same time. They laughed. 
"What were you saying?" Zoya smiled. 
"Before dinner we watched videos of Zaid and Aunty started crying. She's really missing Zaid," Asad told her.
"Aww! So sweet. He's wondering where Chhoti Nani's too. And his favorite Chachu!"
"So he got a lot of gifts, I bet."
"Don't ask! And even after I'd told Aapi to not over do it. How am I going to bring all this stuff back?" 
"Simple. Leave some of the things you took from here behind."
"Please, Mr. Khan. There you go being all practical and all! I was planning to get some of my stuff from here." 
"Like what?"
"Some school stuff I wanted to show you. Albums. I wish I could bring my trophies too--I don't have as many as you. But still! Favorite books ... toys ... you know, random stuff." 
"We'll have everything shipped over," Asad decided.
"Not everything! Don't be ridiculous!"
"Everything. Especially that princess costume you wore when you were 7."
"Very funny! You're talking as though you know everything about me."
"I do," he said huskily. 
Zoya's breath caught. She rose to turn the lights off. Only a bedside lamp threw a soft glow in the room.
"Let me see them," she whispered. "Take off your kurta."
Asad's smile froze too. His breath quickened. In one fluid motion he threw it off and Zoya's hungry gaze drank him in. She had left countless love bites on him to punish him for all his Akduness and as payback for the kitchen ambush. She started counting them now in the same order that she'd marked him in. That night she'd started at his neck and feathered down to his collar bones. She'd even left some on the inside of his upper arms. Then she'd detoured to each bump of his six packs ... and made her way to the inside of his thighs ...
"Does it hurt?" she asked when she'd done a careful re-count.
"Only that you're not here." 
"Asad ..." 
"I love you ... I miss you, and it hurts like hell!"

Song in Title:
Bachna Ae Haseenon (2009): "Khuda Jaane"

Next Chapter:  134004205  

Edited by Klondy - 2016-05-19T20:37:42Z
Posted: 2016-05-08T22:10:22Z
awww this judai track is making me cry...
zaid roaming in plane in search of his abbu and rashid telling him was like I was watching that for real...
then asad's hallucination...that was so saddening ...don't drag this judai track for too long...
asya facetime chat was enduring...
Posted: 2016-05-08T22:43:23Z
OMG! This was such a terrific yet heart shattering update! 
And WOW! It was a huge update! Thank you so much for that! Loved reading each and every word. 
In the beginning I thought probably their fight would stretch on for endless days, seeing the way things were going! Asad neck deep into his torturous work and Zoya miserable about the upcoming separation. But Zoya surprised me by actually not stretching it far. 
The kitchen will never seem the same now! A totally hot encounter! 
Zaid is such a hot property! Ayaan as a chachu seems much better than being an abbu! I mean just imagine if his son turns out to be like the old Asad all akdu and rigid, we will end up wondering who's the dad? 
Ghee badam ka stinky dukan surely left me in stitches! But honestly chotti nani should give it a break else no girl will ever come close to him! 
Dobby is so adorable! The way he rubs himself against the bags! I simply love the way you write about their point of view! 
Zaid crawled? But I quite didn't get the trick when you said that Zoya and dilshaad rushed for the sofa with an iPad and kitchen. 
I can totally imagine Asad going hopping mad over Zaid crawling in the flight! 
Indedly folish? Haha too good! How do you come up with all this?! 
I'm sure Asad's OCD will definitely never let the sanitizer companies go out of business! 
I could totally feel the frustration and disappointment of their separation! Chotta jahapanah is surely a lot of maintenance! So much pepping to do before finally he doses off! 
The flashbacks are so amazing! So many memories! Poor Mr. Khan and Mrs. Khan. How will they survive for so many days? But wait... How long will they be in New York? 
And what's with the deal Asad's working on? Why the heck is it so problematic? 
'A damsel that was more distress than in distress' lol this one! Totally true except she meant only well.
Love bites as punishment? Brilliant!  I doubt I myself can bear this separation anymore! The way you've written it is simply amazing! This was totally a mind blowing update! 
Though there were a lot of flashbacks, it felt really nice recalling those memories! And they perfectly fit well into the pace and mood! 
And thank you so much for the PM! I personally find it a boring task but you make sure to send one each time you update! Thanks

Posted: 2016-05-08T23:14:42Z
Oh man this was so painful
They are so far and craving for each other
Dobby nd zaid are so confused and angry with all this too
But very beautifully written
Update soon

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