Koi Khalish Hai Hawaon Mein Bin Tere
"WHAT?" Everyone rushed to the living room where Zoya was arguing loudly on the phone with her Aapi.
"Aapi, how could you do this to me after all that's happened?" She wailed. After a minute, she disconnected the phone and looked up with squinty eyes.
"Ridiculous," she muttered mutinously.
"What happened Zoya?" Asked Phuphi with trepidation. Her next question echoed Asad's biggest fear. "Did Zeenat insist that you return to New York immediately."
Zoya shook her head with resentment. "No phuphi, it's much, much worse."
Everyone waited with bated breath. Asad wanted to rage and pace. Please give me a chance to explain. Please don't go!
"This is so embarrassing," She said softly. "Aapi has put my name and profile on some matrimonial website, because she's decided that I must get married this year."
Asad forgot to exhale. Najma guffawed and then squealed with delight. Dilshad looked at Asad whose head was bent. Tanu liked this bit of news a lot. Things may finally get easier, she thought.
"Waise Zoya, by the way, how about you and Ayaan bhaijaan?"
"WHAT?" bellowed Asad.
Zoya glared at him angrily. Oh, so I'm not good enough for your brother either! It was a good thing that Phuphi and Tamatar were here, or she'd have bashed his skull in.
"Think about it Bhaijaan. Both of them are so similar and get along so well. They would make a perfect jodi. The most fun couple of Bhopal! Just imagine! Mona Darling Weds Raabert! And their kids would be born reciting shayari. How cute!" she clapped her hands merrily.
"Ayaan is getting engaged to Humaira," Asad declared, a bit too quietly, the veins in his forehead nearly popping.
The vision of Zoya's children had him seeing red.
Dilshad saw him walk away to his room and heard the door close softly behind him.
Rolling her eyes and blinking to keep from crying, Zoya spoke to Najma. "Its not funny, Tamatar, Aapi's even sent me some promising' candidates that I'm supposed to check out and let her know."
"I want to see, please," begged Najma bouncing on her toes. Zoya looked at her with a sinking heart and then shrugged.
Eh, it could be fun to rip the clowns to shreds. She needed to feed her anger, or she'd burst into tears right here.
She brought out her iPad and soon both of them were bent over the prospective matches suggested by Aapi.
"Ooh, look this one is a doctor in Delhi."
"Nah! He's already balding."
"Business in Lucknow?"
"But he hasn't even graduated high school!"
"Computer guy in Hyderabad?"
Her email alert pinged.
It was from Aapi.
"Oh no! No! No! No!" Zoya screamed and leapt up on the sofa jumping in agitation. Her iPad and phone slid to the floor. Asad came rushing out of his room, even though he couldn't bear to see and hear more evidence of his world crashing around him. He still couldn't wipe out the image of a pregnant Zoya, or a Zoya holding a baby, from his mind.
That baby was going to be his.
"Ms. Farooqui are you okay?" Even the sight of her hopping on his precious sofa couldn't override the concern in his voice.
"What happened Zoya?" asked Najma. This was such fun.
Zoya bent down to retrieve the iPad and fish out her phone which had gotten lost under the sofa. Her ass waved in the air, and Asad sucked in his breath. He hadn't seen a cuter butt, and if no one else were here, he's just lift her over his shoulder and carry her to his room to get started on making that baby.
"I will kill Aapi!" She muttered under her breath.
"Zoya! Aise nahin kehte hain beta."
"But Phuphi you don't know what she's done." She gesticulated wildly, using air quotes, and nearly in tears.
"She just emailed me that a good friend's son' is in Bhopal and will drop by' tomorrow and take me out for coffee.' "
Asad's heart stopped.
Najma's glee knew no bounds. She clapped in delight. Laughing, she taunted Zoya, "how ironic. Just yesterday you said you won't get married! And today? Boom! You challenged the universe. Now within 24 hours, proposals, ladkas and rishtas. Soon shehnai. Ab to Zoya gayee kaam se." She danced around trying to evade Zoya's punches.
Zoya stomped her foot and then ran to her room. "This is so not happening! I hate this. I'm going to talk to Jeeju."
Najma chased after her. "But what does he do? Is he based in the US?"
They could still hear Zoya ranting. "I'm not going out with some lame guy! I don't care even if he is from the Bay area, and works for Apple!"
"APPLE!!! Zoya you are sooo lucky. Free iPads and iPhones for life! Ask if he has a brother, OK?"
Dilshad turned to Asad who was still reeling from all the bad news ... and what's with Tamatar going on about this loser's brother?
"I'm not going to send her alone with some man we don't even know," Dilshad spoke gravely. "You and Tanu will join them, and make sure that everything is okay."
Oh god, what fresh hell is this? He was to be her chaperone now? Yes, he deserved to suffer for being a total ba*stard to her, but like this?
For the first time in her life, Zoya was not able to talk Aapi out of her decision, or get Jeeju to support her.
She first had herself a good cry.
Then stomping mad, she got ready for the date from hell. She had one mind to apply the smelliest oil in her hair, and braid it in sausage rolls, borrow a pair of granny glasses from somewhere, and wear her most faded shirt and ripped jeans.
Aapi was crazy if she thought that she'd go get a mani and pedi for this.
No way, Jose!
But on finding out that Mr. Khan and Tanu were going too, she decided to take better care of her appearance, even applying make-up carefully to cover up the puffiness of her eyes. Her hands had almost reached out to wear the only salwar kameez she'd packed with her, but no. She wouldn't change who she was.
Not even for him.
That evening everyone, except Asad, waited in the living room. He was in his room, supposedly working on an important project. The doorbell rang. Slamming the laptop shut with unnecessary roughness, he decided to make an appearance after all. One look, and his heart went out to her. She was gripping her hands tight, and her kohl-lined eyes still betrayed some redness.
A giggly Najma opened the door and said Hi to someone shyly.
"No, I'm her friend Najma. Please come in and meet everyone."
"Asalamu Walekum. I'm Omar. Nice to meet you all."
Everyone was checking him out. Head to toe. He stood, shoulders back, hands pushed into his pockets and head co*cked to the side.
Najma instantly approved of the tall, good looking and well-dressed cutie pie. She made eyes at Zoya behind Omar's back with exaggerated head nods while making the sign of A OK with her hand.
Asad seethed with jealousy. He could have thrown something.
Najma stepped forward and introduced Zoya. He shook her hand. "We've met," he said roguishly.
Zoya tilted her head to one side haughtily.
"We went to the same school till eighth grade."
Zoya still couldn't place him.
"Omi the Zamboni," he rolled his eyes and laughed huskily.
"Omi!" Zoya screamed and launched herself in his arms. He laughed and swung her around. They hugged for what seemed like an eternity to Asad. His hands were balled by his side, his face set in a murderous grimace.
"Is it really you? Wow, look at you, you cleaned up good!" Zoya gushed.
"And you? Kim Possible? Not so bad either," he teased.
"But how come, here, after so long?" she asked when they disengaged. Asad had died a few deaths by now.
"Cousin's wedding, and then Ammi called your Aapi, and the rest, as they say, is history! True story!" he answered sheepishly and winked at Najma.
Aw! he's so cute, thought Najma.
Zoya pulled him by his hand to seat him on the sofa, eager to find out more about Omar. She had a million questions.
Dilshad interrupted. "Beta you'll get late. May be you should leave now. Earlier I had thought of sending Asad and Tanu with you, but since you know each other so well, may be that's not necessary."
"No Ammi, we don't mind. This way we'll get to know Ms. Farooqui's long-lost friend better." Asad ground out his words, while glaring at Zoya, car keys biting into his hand.
Dilshad was surprised, but then, not really. She smiled to herself. Hmm, may be this is just the kick in his pants he needs.
Three hours later when they returned, Dilshad could tell by her son's thunderous expression that he'd had a very bad time. He slammed into his room and she heard a muffled growl as the door banged close.
Tanu looked pale, and Zoya, after so many days, looked exhilarated.
In his room, Asad paced and fumed. His jaw and head hurt from clenching his teeth so tight, for so long. If looks could kill, Omar would be dead and interred already.
They had looked so cozy together laughing and chatting about everything American. Some nonsense about In n' Out Burger versus Five Guys. Ribbing each other about the pros and cons of California living and New York attitude. The high-fiving and fist bumps!
Ya Allah! He could have gladly brained this guy.
But he had loved hearing stories of how a tomboy Zoya had tackled schoolyard bullies to save dear little chubby Omi, and how she had even dangled from the meanest, baddest bully's hair, to get him to stop tormenting another lost soul. That bully had now grown up to be an NYPD cop, and still nursed a crush on the spitfire who had nearly scalped him in fifth grade.
He had never seen Zoya laugh so much. How come she never laughed like that with him? No wait, she had laughed like that with him, but just once"-
He was from America. She was from America. May be they would be good for each other?
He knocked the books off the console table in fury and frustration.
Back in her room, Zoya meanwhile was on the phone with Omar. She loved meeting him, but wanted to be very clear that she was not getting married any time soon.
"Because you are in love with that hulking pit bull of yours?" He asked.
"Whoa! What pit bull, and how do you---?"
"Oh, please! Any idiot can tell that the two of you have the hots for each other. Why you aren't together I don't know. And what's the deal with that girl with him?"
"She's his fiance and there's nothing between us, so just shut up!"
"Nothing between you? Stop kidding yourself. He looked like he was imagining fifty different ways of killing me slowly with his bare hands," Omar chuckled, highly amused.
"But seriously, there's some deep stuff going on, and you better resolve it before you both make the biggest mistake of your life."
"Shut up Omar, and mind your own beeswax! You show up not even for five hours and Bam! You're my relationship counselor?" She barked.
"Whatever. His sister though is quite the charmer. Her I could be interested in."
"Watch it. Her brother will really kill you then. For how long are you in town?"
"Two more days, and then I have go to Mumbai. Bye Zoey, I'll tell khala that we just didn't click. But dude, don't mess this up. Put him in one of your famous headlocks and don't let him go till he squeaks."
Zoya laughed at that image while she hung up. Imagine her doing that to Jahanpanah! Jahanpanah six packs!
He would kill her.
But may be she just needed to hang on for dear life, and he would eventually hug her tight and dip his head to kiss her senseless. She sighed with longing, and kicked the footstool violently.
Suddenly she heard a muffled crash, and ran out. Everything looked fine in the kitchen and the living room. Instinctively she knew that Mr. Khan had thrown a fit yet again. Grabbing the first aid box, she knocked softly on his door, and opened it before he could respond.
It was deja vu all over again.
He looked up at her, his eyes pleading. She examined his hands. It was the other one this time.
"Allah miyan! Seriously Mr. Khan, why do you even keep breakable things in your room, if all you do is smash them to pieces in one of your temper tantrums?"
She went to the restroom to wet the cotton ball and applied it to his cut while gently blowing on it. He watched her face as she dressed the cut. Her lips as she blew on his wound, were so kissable. One tug, and he could feast on them and never let her go. His other hand almost moved to tuck her hair behind her ear. Fisting it, he moved it behind his back.
He cleared his throat. "Thank you, Ms. Farooqui, you shouldn't have bothered. It's just a minor cut," he whispered harshly. "Please, just go back to your room."
"You're welcome Mr. Khan. Always such a gentleman," she scoffed, and turned to go, but was grabbed roughly from behind. He turned her to face him.
"Yes, I am a gentleman! If I hadn't been, I would have punched someone tonight." He shut his eyes in embarrassment. God, how dumb did that sound?
Her eyes went wide as she stared at him. So Omar was right.
She felt a bubble of hope bloom in her chest. Zoya brutally squashed it.
"Oh really?" She decided to goad him. "Jealous Mr Khan?"
"Ms. Farooqui, don't be ridiculous, please go to bed," he ground out, pressing his uninjured hand to his forehead.
"Why don't you just admit it Mr. Khan?" She whispered, her voice dangerously close to breaking. "You want me, but think that I'm not good enough for you. Do you like me against your better judgement? If you think I am so irresponsible and insensitive then why do you even care?"
He turned away from her, his shoulders heaving.
"Allah Miyan what's wrong with you Ms. Farooqui," she continued, her voice thick with tears, "of course Mr. Khan doesn't care for you!"
Tears spilled from her eyes. "I'm good enough to punch someone for, but not to spend the rest of your life with, isn't that right? I'm a misfit and not worthy to be your wife, or Phuphi's bahu or the mother of your kids!" She hurled the first aid box at his back and ran out sobbing.
"Zoya! Please don't---" He called out in a strangled voice to her retreating back.
Hating himself and his helplessness Asad slammed his bandaged hand on the console.
Song in Title:
I Hate Love Storys (2010): "Bin Tere"Edited by Klondy - 2015-06-27T14:10:11Z
Tumko Jo Pyaar Kiya, Maine To Sazaa Main Paayi, Tanhaai
Tanu was not a happy camper. She was bristling at Khala's suspicions and recent blocking of her maneuvers. She hadn't taken her tenacity and hyper motherly instincts into account.
Then there was Asad's rude and aloof behavior during the entire trip. She had hoped that a guilt-ridden Jammy would be more attentive to her. But he just seemed resentful, and was behaving like a sulky child whose favorite toy had been taken away.
And now? That coffee date yesterday had been a total disaster.
Here she had thought that Zoya would finally be out of her hair, but then Jammy had to go and act like a pissed off gorilla in heat. Each smile and laugh of Zoya's had made him clench and unclench his fists. He had nearly bitten off the waiter's head and almost crushed the wine glass in his bare hands. He sat, arms crossed stiffly across his chest, scowling at the other two, and didn't even say a word to her. Not a single word or glance!
She would have to make alternate plans. And soon. Khala may be simple and righteous but she was no fool.
Tanu decided to play her cards first by announcing the next morning that she would like to better get to know Jammy's other siblings. Could they all go for dinner so that she could also meet her two other future sisters-in-law?
She hoped that by involving more of the family, Asad would lower his guard, and it would become harder for Khala to break off the engagement. The added bonus would be that Tanu would get a break from Khala's current hawk-like scrutiny. The woman was being a bit too observant for her own good.
Before Dilshad or Asad could shoot this idea down, Najma squealed with delight about how much fun it would be for all the siblings to get together.
She looked approvingly at Tanu, "such a great idea! Why didn't I think of it?" she gushed.
"This way even Zoya can meet Nikhat and Nuzzhat and we can all get to know one another better. It was such fun with Ayaan Bhaijaan during the trip, right Zoya? Please can we go to the new Thai restaurant, please, please Bhaijaan?"
Asad nodded. A part of him felt elated at Najma's warmth and affection for Zoya. He noticed that Najma was happier at the prospect of Zoya meeting their sisters instead of Tanu.
"It would be a good idea, but I don't know if their parents will let them meet us," he said stiffly.
Although he had taken a step toward reconciling with his father, he still hesitated to go the complete distance. But this was all the encouragement that Najma needed.
She reassured him, "don't worry Bhaijaan. I'll talk to Ayaan Bhaijaan and we'll come up with something."
Asad shrugged and got ready to go to work, avoiding looking at Zoya. "Let me know, then I can make reservations."
He too wished that he were introducing Zoya formally to his sisters, not Tanveer. He desperately wanted Ammi's suspicions to be right. But so far, they hadn't been able to do much. They hadn't yet heard from the investigator. His life was hanging in the balance. And Asad knew he was running out of time. Her Aapi's rush to get Zoya married had shaken him to the core. Knowing Zoya, she would run away at the slightest whiff of an arranged nikaah.
But even more than that, he could no longer bear to look at her red-rimmed eyes or her desperately knotted hands. The kohl in her eyes had begun to get darker and thicker. She wasn't fooling him. He knew that she was overdoing the make-up to hide the ravages of daily tears and smudges under her eyes. But it was the bruises he had begun to notice on her knuckles that completely undid him. When he'd first seen the small crescent welts on her hands he'd been puzzled. But then he'd seen her digging her nails in and realized what they meant. This morning those bruises seemed to be covered by bite marks, and he had nearly grabbed her hands in anguish; he longed to hold her to him.
Please don't hurt yourself. I'm not worth it. But he also knew that she wasn't the kind to suffer in quiet. She was fiercely independent, a wave upon the sand that ceaselessly ebbed out of reach.
A blink, and she'd be gone. It was his biggest fear these days.
Asad brooded as he slipped into his suit jacket.
"And Ammi," Najma continued. "When are you going to start making arrangements for the sagaai?"
She didn't notice the sudden drop in the temperature in the room. Tanu could have hugged the little brat.
Zoya didn't want to raise her eyes for fear that she would fall apart. She focused on holding her knife and fork over the plate as straight as possible as she blinked to stop the tears. Do NOT make a fool of yourself, she scolded herself.
As soon as the words exited Tamatar's mouth Asad had glanced up at Zoya and seen her eyelids redden and lips turn white.
"Tamatar, why don't you call Ayaan right now. It'll be hard to get a hold of him later."
Before dashing off to contact Ayaan, Najma called out over her shoulder, "Zoya, may be you can invite Omar?"
She didn't see the scowl settle on Asad's face.
Great! Just bloody great.
"Okay. I'm meeting him for lunch at that new mall. I'll ask him if he can join us," said Zoya, her gaze still lowered.
She didn't miss Mr. Khan slamming the door a bit more violently than usual on his way out.
Good, she thought. Serves you right.
But then she looked up and saw Tanu.
She dug the fork end into her thumb.
At Tanu's suggestion of a family get-together, Zoya had felt a tremor of hope shudder through her. At least she could lose her despair in a big group and she'd get more time with Omar before he left for Mumbai. And then Raabert would be there too. It would be fun to meet Mr. Khan's other sisters too. She had always wondered what it would be like to have so many siblings. It must be such fun she mused: secrets and clothes to share, fights and alliances, and lots of talking and giggling late into the night.
Thinking of sleepovers and late nights, her mind automatically swerved to that fateful sleepover the first night in this house, when she had inadvertently mistaken his room and bed as hers. She had been fast asleep and then found herself flying through the air and landing hard on the floor thanks to his freakishly quick reflexes.
She'd been sore for days afterwards.
And Mr. Khan hadn't stopped pulling the rug from under her since then, she thought with a pang.
How many times had she imagined that scene being a lot different? He would have pinned her on her back with his rock hard body. Her eyes would have snapped open in alarm, and then drooped with desire as they continued to gaze into each other's eyes. He would have slowly and deliberately laced his fingers through hers over her head and kissed her neck, his lips slowly moving up her chin to her lips.
He would have kneed her legs apart and settled between her thighs still kissing her senseless. The sounds of their sighs and moans would have filled the room as their bodies moved against each other more urgently.
She nearly moaned out aloud.
Even dreaming of it right now in the middle of the living room, made her insides clench and tighten and desire nip her in the gut.
"Stop it," she scolded herself, "he can go to hell for all I care," and she fled to the privacy of her room.
But in her heart she knew that her cursing him out was just a pathetic ruse to block out the real pain: Tanveer would be a member of the family that Zoya had wanted to be a part of so badly. So many sisters, a brother, an Ammi like Dilshad, and an Abbu like Dost. All her life she had yearned for this. And the love of a man like Mr. Khan.
It was time to lock herself in the bathroom and stuff her knuckles in her mouth again.
Song in Title:
Dil Chahta Hai (2001): "Tanhayee"Edited by Klondy - 2015-06-27T14:22:48Z
Nange Pairon Pe Angaro Chalti Rahi, Haaye Chalti Rahi
Ayaan had loved the idea just as much as Najma.
By noon he'd concocted a foolproof plan to get clearance from the elders in the family.
He first told Dadi about Bhaijaan's upcoming engagement and convinced her to help him with his plans. While saddened by not being able to share in her first grandchild's big moment and joy, she was pleased that at least the children kept in touch, and were eager to get together and share in each other's joys.
The older generation could learn a thing or two from them.
She was already planning which earrings of hers she would give as a saugat to her oldest grand daughter-in-law.
Dadi next talked to Shireen to facilitate the meeting between the siblings. "Now that Nikhat and Imran are engaged, it would be a good idea for Imran to get to know his sister- and brother-in-law better. Why not send the children out for dinner so that they can all get to know one another."
Shireen though it was a great idea.
Dadi delegated her to approach Siddiqui Saheb with this suggestion.
After much fuss and coaxing from Raziya, who never passed up an opportunity to push Humaira and Ayaan together, it was decided that Ayaan and Imran would take the three girls out for dinner and that they would all return home by 10 o'clock sharp. Details of the venue were demanded with repeated reprimands for the children to carry their phones and leave the restaurant's number at home.
Ayaan mentally rolled his eyes but he was thrilled that he would get to spend more time with Bhai and Najma and especially Mona darling. His sisters and Humaira were already jealous of his Ajmer-Jaipur-Agra trip and had noticed a new spring in his step lately. He strummed his guitar more, and was trying to learn some old songs.
Imran was told the real reason for the outing, and was asked to cross his heart and swear that he would never let anyone know about who they were really meeting at the restaurant. Ayaan had decided that if anyone did find out about this clandestine meeting, he would pass it off as them just happening to run into his brother and family at the restaurant.
He rubbed his hands in glee. He was awesome. Ayaan raised his collar and brushed the tip of his nose with a definite flair and flourish.
He called Asad at work to give him the all-clear.
"Ho gaya! But we have to be back home by 10. Can you believe that? I'll be able to squeeze another half hour or so," he promised smugly. He knew he could charm his way out of anything.
"But Bhai, what a genius idea! Zaroor Mona Darling ka hi hoga haina? Just like the road trip was her idea too. Bahut maza aya tha. We should definitely do something like this again. By the way, Dadi wants us to bring a gift from her to your fiance, so remind me when we get there. I might forget." He returned with full gusto to the previous subject.
"Kya Bhaijaan, kahan chhupa ke rakha tha aapne Mona ko? For so long I had been asking you to introduce me to your guest. And you kept putting me off by calling her your musibat and what not."
He nattered on, not paying any attention to the bristling silence at the other end.
"If I had met her even sooner---"
"Ayaan!" Hollered a seething Asad.
"Bakwas ki baatein mat karo! I have a lot of work to do before we meet. As it is, because of our dinner plans I'll have to leave work early. I'm hanging up now."
Asad pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes and sighed hopelessly. It hadn't escaped his notice how both Najma and Ayaan loved Zoya. His stupid misconception that she wouldn't be suitable for his family had become a recurring taunt that played in his head on an endless loop.
To endure another get-together from hell.
More torture to see her laugh and chat with someone who was just as fun-loving as herself. Najma's words about how she and Ayaan would make a perfect couple were still giving him ulcers. Could Ayaan really be romantically interested in Zoya? Why was she even in love with Akdu Ahmed Khan who had only grief to offer?
But Ayaan? How could he want to punch his own brother?
He called up Prasad and gruffly told him to expedite the investigation. "I don't care how much extra he charges. Send someone to Kanpur. Just do it, dammit! I want results."
He called Dilshad next. "Ammi, we are meeting everybody for dinner tonight. Humein ghar aate aate 10:30 ya 10:45 ho jayega. Can you do something while we are gone?"
"Haan Asad, bolo."
"Ammi, I know this is going to sound terrible, but while we are gone, can you check through Tanu's things carefully for any clue that we may be able to use to discredit her claims?"
"Accha hua tumne keh diya. I was thinking of doing the same."
"Take pictures of anything suspicious Ammi. And call Prasad if you need anything. I want to end this soon."
Hanging up Asad buried his face in his hands. This was becoming unbearable. He was this close to marching up to Tanu and calling the whole thing off. But what if the child was his---
Would he really be able to walk away from his own child?
Asad pushed his chair back violently; it slammed against the wall and a framed picture came crashing down.
"Sir?" Prasad came rushing in. "Are you all right? Is everything OK?"
Asad glared at him.
He had made the reservations for 7 o'clock so that they would have enough time to talk and enjoy a leisurely meal. Ammi would have enough time to do a thorough look around.
He sighed heavily. The same thoughts circled like buzzards in his head. Omi, the bloody Zamboni would be there. Check.
Sit through the Mona Darling and Raabert banter. Check.
And to add insult to injury, Tanu would be introduced as his fiance, and Zoya as their guest, while he stewed in jealous and silent misery. Check.
Not that he would ever know, but for Zoya this would be much harder. He could enjoy the luxury of scowling and brooding in silence, and no one would think twice about his behavior. But Zoya was known by Omar, Najma and Raabert to be the life of the party. Her silence would be a dead giveaway.
After her crying jag, she decided to do some yoga and a lot of deep-breathing meditation to calm and center herself.
She would need all her strength reserves today, and if it didn't kill her, she'd be even stronger tomorrow--gee thanks, Nietzsche miyan.
Song in Title:
Aaja Nachle (2007): "O Re Piya"
Edited by Klondy - 2015-07-30T11:16:19Z
Ek Din Kabhi Jo, Khud Ko Taraashe, Meri Nazar Se Tu Zara
At 6:30, everyone gathered in the living room to leave for the restaurant. Najma was admiring Tanu and complimented her on her exquisitely embroidered anarkali.
"Ooh what a great bag, Tanveer. Is it new?"
Tanu was thrilled with all the attention, and hoped that Asad would notice too. She was perfumed and coiffed to the nines. Good, that Ms. New York was in her usual jeans.
No competition tonight.
When Asad came out of his room, Najma eagerly pointed out how nice Tanveer looked. He complimented her politely and greeted Omar stiffly.
How or when it was decided that Zoya would ride with Omar on his bike, and Najma and Tanveer would come with Asad he never knew.
Zombie had a bike? Where---! And Zoya ride with him! What the hell? What was wrong with riding with all of them in the car? And why was Omar even being invited to this shindig?
He was shell-shocked at the speed with which Najma had taken over the planning of the whole evening.
Dilshad hid her smile. Love and heartache had made her son putty in his baby sister's hands. Najma yammered on about how much fun it would be and how lucky Zoya was. How she wished she could go on a bike ride too.
Could she may be, get a ride on the way back?
Tanu spoke up on a still-dazed Asad's behalf and firmly told Najma, no.
Najma pouted, but was soon diverted by Omar asking her about her plans for the summer. He promised her a bike ride around the neighborhood later if her mom and brother permitted.
Tanu sought Asad's approval in handling a childish Najma, but he was preoccupied.
But thank god! At least she wouldn't have to sit through any more of his rear-view mirror gazing.
Asad meanwhile turned to glower at Zoya and his breath caught.
She wore her signature jeans which she'd topped with an elegant white kurti with zari work on the collar and cuffs. He had thought that she looked good in red and pink. She was ethereal tonight in white with minimal make-up and accessories.
Her bitter words and sobs from last night still slashed his soul.
He hadn't slept a wink.
He had yearned to go to her room and gather her in his arms to tell her that she was the most perfect and precious thing in this whole world, and that he was unworthy of her.
Zoya too stole a glance at Jahanpanah under her lashes. Her heart stopped seeing him in a grey suit with a white shirt and no tie. While he looked good in anything, even a towel (she mentally slapped herself), seeing him in a suit always made her knees go weak and heart race. He looked good enough to eat.
She shook her head and finger-combed her hair to hide her blush. God, she better stop fantasizing about him. One of her worst fears was that one night she'd cry out his name in her sleep, and everyone would hear her.
"Zoya, I love your heels!" Exclaimed Najma suddenly, just as they were leaving. Everyone's eyes traveled to her feet. Impishly, Zoya stuck out her foot and lifted the pant leg, exposing a slender ankle wrapped in the thinnest silver anklet. She wore strappy silver slingbacks studded with crystals that perfectly set off her toenails painted a hot pink.
Asad couldn't take his eyes off those toes. They looked adorable enough to suck. If he ever did manage to get her in his bed, he'd beg her to only wear those heels, nothing else. He would hold her by her ankles, bite and lick them while gazing intently into her eyes, and pound into her till kingdom come.
Swearing under his breath Asad stalked off to his room, trying, but failing miserably, to control his breathing. He took deep breaths thinking that he'd explain his abrupt departure by saying that he'd forgotten his keys. When he stepped out, the living room was empty.
Good. Bullet dodged.
Striding toward the main door he heard a door open and shut. He turned around to see Zoya rushing out at full speed. She was carelessly stuffing her phone in her bag, and as usual wasn't looking where she was going.
He grabbed her wrist to break her momentum and she crashed into his chest.
She struggled to break his hold on her wrist.
Something snapped in him.
He couldn't let go.
"Mr. Khan," she ground out through gritted teeth. "Please let me go."
"So that you can go ride with your precious Omi the Bimboni?" He sneered, not realizing that he was slowly stroking the inside of her wrist with his thumb.
Oh god, she bit back a moan. Did he even know what he was doing to her?
"It's Omar, and aapko iss se kya? Are you jealous, Mr. Khan?" She lashed out at him trying to free her hand.
His grip tightened. Again he was unaware of the bruises he'd leave on her. Yes, goddammit, he was jealous!
Damn, he smelled good. C'mon Zoya Farooqui, get angry or you'll melt into a messy puddle right here.
"What is it that you want? Why are you doing this? You're engaged remember? Phir mujh par kaisa haq?" she taunted, her voice rising.
Zoya continued to struggle and he continued to thwart her attempts at digging her nails into his fingers to make him release her. This time she'd leave a mark on him too. Her fury could not be dammed any more. It was real now. She wanted to stomp all over him.
"What is this, Mr. Khan?" She stopped struggling and moved her face closer to his. Asad's eyes widened and he held his breath. "Some kind of an admission that you have a thing for me? Will you kiss me now?"
His body leaped in response and desire made him taut.
"You think you can officially get married to Tanveer, and keep me on the side for booty calls? Will you become your father's son after all?"
"ZOYAAA!" He thundered and flung her wrist away nearly making her spin and lose her balance.
"Chillayiye mat mujhh par! I am badtameez in your eyes, so different from you and your precious tehzeeb or lihaz, right? That is why you say hurtful things, but then you give me these mixed messages. Make up your damn mind!" She dashed the gathering moisture from her eyes.
Asad almost smiled. He loved this sight of her: chin lifted proudly in battle and fire raging in her eyes. She didn't even realize how sexy she looked. And now that she'd mentioned it, he just wanted to grab and shut her up by covering those lips with his. His eyes fixed on her lips and his head bent an inch as if drawn by a magnet. One touch, a bite, and he'd thrust his tongue in when she parted her lips and have her brand him forever.
His half-grin infuriated her even more.
Oh really Jahanpanah? This is funny to you?
"Why does my friendship with Omar bother you, Mr. Khan? Doesn't it prove your view of me as a jeans-wearing sl*ut?"
"No! Zoya, please don't---!" His sexual haze dissolved to be replaced with anguish; he tried to hold her by her forearms to stall her self-flagellation. He didn't mind the sting of her words against him but he hated that she was cutting herself to the quick.
Her eyes blazed black. Zoya violently jerked his hands off and held up a hand to shut him up.
"Meri baat abhi khatm nahin hui hai!"
She was beginning to run out of steam, and given another second, she would start weeping.
But she would have the final word even if it killed her.
"You know aapki problem kya hai? You don't think that what we could have had is worth fighting for. You don't have the guts to fight for a love that Allah gives only once in a lifetime. You use your seventeenth-century Jahanpanah-mode ideas as an excuse to hide behind because you're scared of being happy; because you feel that you deserve to be miserable."
"Ms. Farooqui," he growled softly. Asad crossed his arms across his chest and looked at her patiently. "Are you done?"
"Don't! Just bloody don't, OK? I'm a strong girl and will get over even this, because you," and she stabbed his chest over his folded arms with her finger repeatedly, "are not worth it!"
She ran out of the front door.
Oh lord help him, she was gorgeous!
Only she could speak to him like that and diagnose everything that was wrong with him in a second.
"Tabhi aap itne badtameez hain!" In a flash he remembered their first meeting and the first of many fights.
"Aapne poori koshish ki mujhe marne ki, lekin main tab bhi bach gayee."
Asad smiled wryly.
Oh no, Ms. Zoya Farooqui. Ab aap mujhse nahin bachengi. You can't wear your f*uck me heels and walk away from me this time. I won't let you!
Song in Title:
Ye Jawaani Hai Diwani (2013): "Subhanallah"Edited by Klondy - 2015-06-27T20:50:46Z
Ab Jo Ghalat Tha, Wo Bhi Sahi Hai, Behosh Bhi Hoon, Pee Bhi Nahin Hai
At the restaurant everyone was introduced to one another.
Ayaan hugged Najma and then bent to give Zoya a quick side hug, while loudly greeting her: "Mona Darling! I missed you!"
She laughed up at him, and tried to disengage herself by playfully elbowing him.
"Hi Raabert! I didn't miss you at all!"
Nuzzhat and Nikhat couldn't believe their eyes. Who was this girl in western clothing that Asad Bhaijaan had brought, and who Ayaan Bhaijaan was so friendly with?
They sneaked a peek at Asad and saw him frowning. They sensed some undercurrents there, but dismissed it thinking that Bhaijaan didn't approve of girls wearing jeans.
But who was she?
Little did they know why their Bhaijaan was looking so grim. On reaching the hotel entrance he had seen them come in on that wretched bike.
He felt punched in the gut.
Zoya was in the front actually riding the bike! Omar had his arms around her, his hands on the handle bar too. Their bodies touched shoulder to thigh. They both laughed as she shook off the helmet. In blind fury, Asad had marched up to rage and rail at them, just barely having recovered from the near-heart attack.
"Ms. Farooqui! How can you be so reckless?"
He savagely turned on Omar, "How could you let her ride? What if she'd had an accident?"
Omar had held up his hands defensively, "hey buddy, you try saying no to her!"
At those words Asad had looked guiltily at Zoya's crestfallen face.
He knew exactly what she was thinking.
"He already did."
His impotent fingers curled around his car keys punishingly.
When he looked back at her a few minutes later he saw her head bent, hair curtaining her face, and shoulders stooped. Omar had his arm protectively around her and was leaning toward her as if trying to comfort her. She had been momentarily happy, and he had stomped all over that too like a rampaging elephant in musth! He should be hanging his head in shame, he chided himself.
C'mon Zoya, stay mad at me, he silently urged her. Please!
Meanwhile, Humaira's heart sank as she laid eyes on the kind of girl she knew Ayaan always liked. She noticed with dismay how his gaze lingered on her, and how he eagerly jumped to sit next to her at the table.
In all of this, no one noticed the pall that had fallen on Tanu's face at the sight of Imran. He too had paled when being introduced to Asad's future fiance.
Soon everyone was seated at the large round table set away from the main dining room providing more privacy for bigger parties. Nuzzhat wanted to know everything about America, and both Zoya and Omar filled her in. Whenever Zoya flagged, Omar picked up the conversation thread. They painted such a fun picture, that she wanted to go right away. Ayaan self-importantly promised her that he would take her there one day.
Omar was pissed at Asad and glared at him for the stunt he had just pulled in the parking lot. Zo had only just begun to smile after leaving home. He knew something had happened before they left. He had a good mind to rake him over hot coals for being a complete jerk to Zoya.
But when he looked at Asad again, he noticed pain etched across his face.
He shook his head in disbelief.
What was wrong with these two? What was the hold up?
May be, he needed to push Zo's Mr. Khan over the edge.
May be just a tad.
He looked up and noticed Ayaan looking at him funny.
He chuckled to himself. Whoda thunk it? Zo sure had made many conquests here.
He covered Zoya's hand with his, and deliberately leaned in intimately. From the corner of his eye he noticed Asad nearly shoot out of his chair.
Good. Eat your heart out buddy.
Or man the hell up.
Nuzzhat just had to know how Ayaan knew Zoya so well, so he and Najma (who, by now, was an expert on the topic as well), regaled everyone with the story of their conspiracy against Bhaijaan. They competed with each other on reporting how Bhaijaan would get so annoyed, and call her a musibat and gairzimmedaar because she would always argue with him and challenge his decisions.
Zoya's heart constricted at those words and broke into a million pieces as she ducked her head and tried to bite her lips to keep them from quivering. Shit. C'mon Zo, don't you dare crack up here. But she couldn't help replay Mr. Khan's words, his anger, his loathing for someone like her.
"Mujhe uss din ka intezaar hai ki kab aap meri zindagi se ruksat hongi," he'd said in Mangalpur.
He was right, wasn't he? She was a musibat.
She wanted to run out and keep running. Only gripping the table's edge and letting its sharp side dig into her palms was keeping her here. Once again she'd made a royal fool of herself in front of him at home. Why couldn't she just shut her stupid mouth? Each time she opened it, she blurted out her heart.
Asad was sitting directly opposite her. His heart slammed against his chest as he felt helpless seeing the spark in her eyes dim.
For a second, her alarmed gaze had skittered to him, and her widening eyes had pooled with anguish. She was biting her lips now. They'd be swollen soon. He groaned. He wanted to rub his thumb over them and cradle her head in his arms.
Asad saw Omar's hand tighten on hers and Zoya turn to him gratefully.
He couldn't take his eyes off their clasped hands. It burned a hole in his hollow chest. He should be holding her hand! He would lift it to his lips and kiss it. He's go down on his knees and slip a ring on her finger promising to do right by her forever.
Asad squeezed his eyes shut and sighed.
He could only flex his arm and clench his fist in frustration. She shouldn't have to sit through a recounting of how, for months, he had viewed her so negatively and been so vocally critical of her. It was wrong. If she only knew what he thought and felt about her now.
But how could she? The only side of his he had ever shown her was that of a prickly and judgmental ass.
He quickly distracted Ayaan by mentioning Mukka Ahmed Khan, and whether he wanted an action replay of the Operation Pyaasi Atma climax.
Ayaan held his ears.
Omar wanted to know what Pyaasi Atma was all about so Najma filled him in shyly. He looked at Zoya in amazement, and wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
"Seriously? The more things change the more they remain the same, right Zo?"
She laughed up at him.
Thank god, Omar was here.
With his other hand he covered hers and squeezed it comfortingly. He let his hand linger on hers.
Across the table, a water goblet tipped over.
The drinks and appetizers soon arrived, and the dinner order was being placed. Zoya overheard Asad's order and panicked.
He probably had no idea about Thai food.
She cleared her throat and looked at the server. "Doesn't that have peanuts?"
Asad caught on, and quickly told the server about his allergy. The waiter assured him that he would tell the chef and that they would take the utmost care with his order.
Asad stewed. He was such a fool. How could he have forgotten something so important? She had remembered even though he had bitten her head off and made her cry the last time when he thought she had deliberately fed him peanuts to keep him from testifying against his father.
What was she made of? He'd just yelled at her and here she was already looking out for him. How was he ever going to be able to make up for everything he had done to hurt her?
Tanu felt like choking Zoya. Why couldn't she have thought of that? She felt like kicking herself. One more reason for him to behave like a lovesick puppy now, she fumed.
She needed to salvage the situation quickly.
Placing her hand possessively on his arm, she exclaimed, "thank goodness for Zoya! Jammy, you have to be more careful about your health. Zoya won't always be here to remind you each time. She'll be leaving pretty soon. Though she must have remembered how it was her food that led to your last allergy attack. That was the most severe attack you've had, right?"
He hated Tanu right then, and moved his arm out of her grasping claws.
Asad looked at Zoya and saw her hide behind the leather-bound menu card.
He felt anger bubble up inside him.
"No, it wasn't Ms. Farooqui's fault then, because she didn't know about my allergies. In fact, her quick thinking saved my life that day. And apparently today too. I should have remembered, it was really careless of me."
Omar raised his eyebrows and silently approved.
Now that's what I'm talking about, Mr. Khan!
Tanu fumed. This was not going well at all. First, to have to sit at the same table as Imran, and now Jammy becoming Zoya's gushing cheerleader.
Still, all was not lost.
She began to imperially question Nikhat and Nuzzhat about what they were doing in college.
Nikhat replied in hushed tones.
The men talked stiltedly about sports and politics.
Zoya couldn't believe her ears. Jahanpanah had actually stood up for her in front of everyone! She wanted to do her happy dance. She looked up to see him watching her anxiously, and beamed her full dimpled smile at him.
His ears reddened.
Looking away, she noticed that Humaira seemed lost and heartsick. She asked Ayaan to switch places with her so that she could be next to Humaira.
After settling down, she asked her how she'd done in the fashion show.
"How do you know?" asked Humaira in bewilderment.
"I was there. Don't you remember how nervous you were?"
"You were the one in the burqa who gave me the confidence to go up on stage!" exclaimed an excited and grateful Humaira.
Zoya blushed. "I didn't do anything. It was all you. You looked beautiful by the way. And the idiot who didn't see that isn't worthy of you," she said making a face at Ayaan who was talking to Omar.
Omar saw her looking his way and winked at her impishly. She narrowed her eyes at him playfully. She looked across at Mr. Khan and saw that he was openly staring at her. Not with anger or guilt or even jealousy, but something else entirely in his eyes.
She dragged her eyes away.
Humaira went on sadly, "I don't know what I was thinking. That's not me at all. I prefer to dress more simply. But Ayaan seems to like girls who dress smartly like you."
Zoya sensed a kindred spirit and her heart went out to this young girl smarting from being neglected by the one she obviously loved. Here was someone feeling exactly the same as her: inadequate and lacking, and unable to be the kind of girl that the men they had fallen in love with, liked.
Damn those Khan brothers!
She held Humaira's hand under the table and when she looked up, she said softly, "isn't it funny? The person I ... I like, doesn't really like that I dress this way. Nor does he approve of what I do or think, for that matter. But I've only just begun to stop feeling sorry for myself."
She squeezed Humaira's hand, "and you know what helps? Getting mad!"
They both smiled at one another with watery eyes. Zoya picked up her Diet Coke and saluted her sister in arms with it.
Humaira laughed and picked up her Orange juice and did the same.
They clinked their glasses and took a sip to toast their strength.
Zoya began to ask her about her classes. Nuzzhat joined in too, and somehow she and Humaira were talking of the episode in college when Zoya had entangled with some eve teasers who were bothering Najma.
They didn't realize that the conversation around them had come to a stand still.
Humaira was on a roll and spoke with admiration, "but you were so brave that day! We heard how you saved Najma from those goons and how the principal mistakenly had you arrested. In fact we organized a rally the next day to protest against it and demand those boys' suspension."
She didn't realize that everyone was staring at them.
"That was you?" exclaimed Ayaan gleefully. "Mona Darling that was so awesome! You are such a Jhansi ki Rani."
"Jail!" croaked Omar in splits. "Too much! Apun ki Buffy the Vampire Slayer! How many did you send to the hospital?"
He dodged the napkin she lobbed at him, nearly wheezing with laughter now. "But that was badass! You're awesome, you know that? I love you!"
There, that should light a fire under the jackass' butt.
Zoya guiltily looked up at Mr. Khan. What the hell was Omar up to? And oh my god, Mr. Khan would go apesh*it over this jail story!
She and Najma had decided not to tell him of Najma's involvement in that incident when he had bailed her out of jail with barely repressed anger. She saw him grip the knife on the table and noticed that his knuckes were white. Her heart plummeted. Was he thinking the same things he'd said to her that day? Because if he said another angry word to her she would probably burst into a million tears right here and make a complete ass of herself. He stared at the plate in front of him, not meeting her glance or looking at Najma. Both she and Najma were terrified that Asad would explode in anger at hearing this recap.
But he remained silent.
Nuzzhat and Ayaan gushed on about how the whole college had admired the courage of a girl who had dared to stop those hooligans, when they were the ones who should have been jailed.
Everyone wanted to know what had happened afterwards.
Zoya and Najma looked at each other in alarm remembering Mr. Khan's volatile temper and harsh words.
Najma tried to make light of the whole thing by comically telling them that Bhaijaan was really mad and how she and Ammi were terrified, she rolled her eyes and clutched her heart dramatically, but how even then, Zoya wouldn't back down as she had demanded that he apologize to her for being rude.
Everyone raised their eyebrows admiringly at Zoya's spunk. One did not go up against Asad Ahmed Khan and live to tell about it.
Omar did an exaggerated slow clap, "good girl!" He even got up and stood behind her chair to hug her tightly. He looked at Asad, issuing him a direct challenge by kissing the top of her head.
If this doesn't do it, then that tight-assed moron doesn't deserve her.
Najma went on to tell them, rubbing her hands with glee, how Zoya got her revenge. When Bhaijaan refused to apologize, Zoya tampered with his phone and added a voice password so that each time he took a call, he had to say, "I am sorry Zoya," to unlock his phone.
Everyone roared with laughter.
Omar slapped his palm on the table with glee. "That's my girl!"
Zoya breathed a sigh a of relief and smiled slightly, even laughing when Ayaan turned toward her and bowed waving both his hands in front of him in her honor.
Asad felt his world tilt. She had not just saved Najma from gundas that day, but also silently borne his apoplectic lashing out against her without uttering a single word to implicate his sister?
It was something he would have done for Ayaan or his sisters.
He stole a look at her and nearly wept to see her laughing with Omar, Ayaan and Humaira. That was the day that he had nearly blurted out, "main aap jaisi ladki se nafrat karta hoon."
He had been so furious at her, that he had yelled at her about her being a negative influence on Najma. He had raged against her lack of a decent upbringing and how her parents must have been too busy to teach her any manners or, raise her right.
He deserved to say "I'm sorry Zoya," a million times, to her face, for the rest of his life.
Asad noticed that she had left the table to go to the restroom. Excusing himself to make an urgent phone call, he decided to follow her. He didn't care how it looked, or whether anyone would wonder at their absence.
He had to talk to her.
He would break Omi's bony touchy-feely ass later.
Asad missed Omar's smirk behind his back.
Song in Title:
Son of Sardar (2012): "Yeh Jo Halki Halki Khumariyaan"Edited by Klondy - 2015-07-30T11:17:18Z
The sense of urgency to talk to her, to plead with her, was overpowering. For days now, he had sweated bullets, worried that he'd wake up one day and find her gone. He slept too lightly, starting at the merest sound. Was that her, sneaking away from him forever? He kept a fearful watch, a daily vigil, because her independence scared him. If he didn't talk to her now, he'd lose her forever. If she still stayed on, it was only because she hadn't yet found a way to leave ... him.
But she would leave.
Of that he was dead sure.
Even now, a part of him agonized that she had already left. Thanks to him, the multiple blows of this evening had to have had reached a tipping point for her. He swore under his breath and his hands fisted.
Asad saw her in the corridor. Thank god! He grabbed her hand and pulled her into a semi-darkened room that seemed to be stocked with restaurant supplies. She was about to scream, but went still when she saw that it was him. Her eyes went wide with anxiety and worry as he backed her against the wall and covered her mouth. Asad quickly removed his hand but still held her.
"Miss Farooqui, I am really sorry for behaving so rudely that day." He whispered through a choked throat.
"I had no idea that you were protecting Najma. I can never thank you enough for being so brave. I was a total jerk for saying those awful things to you."
Her eyes began to fill up. Zoya raised her hand to cover her trembling mouth as her body was racked with sobs.
He couldn't bear to see her cry so brokenly. He gathered her in his arms and held her as she cried. She struggled weakly to free herself but he wouldn't let go. Resting his chin on her head he kept murmuring into her hair, "I'm sorry Zoya, I am so sorry baby. Please forgive me for every cruel word and act."
And she cried even harder.
Someone tried to open the door from outside, but Asad blocked it with his shoulder still holding her tightly and stroking her back while raining soft kisses on her head. It killed him to hold her shuddering body in his arms knowing that he was responsible for this.
When she was done sobbing, he pulled out his handkerchief and handed it to her while he wiped her tears with his thumbs, and gently brushed her hair from her forehead.
Her tears still wouldn't stop. Zoya continued to hold a knuckle to her mouth to control the tapering sobs.
So that's how she got those bite marks! He involuntarily yanked her hand from her mouth and kissed each bruised knuckle softly. He swooped to suck her tears and kissed her face still whispering I'm sorry, his own eyes damp.
How and when her arms crept up his neck she didn't know or care. She sought the warmth and comfort of his strong embrace and clung desperately to him. As she hugged him he bent to kiss her gently on her mouth.
But once their lips met there was nothing gentle about the all-consuming kiss that jolted both of them to the core and made them fuse their bodies even closer. Her fingers tugged his hair painfully as she stood on her toes to be devoured by him.
She wanted to punish him and surrender herself.
His arms and lips crushed her to him.
As she gasped for air he slid his tongue into her mouth to stroke hers and she moaned in the back of her throat. They came up for air and Asad nuzzled her neck. Her pulse was racing a mile a minute. And his hot breath on her neck made her knees turn to water.
"Mr. Khan---?" Zoya whispered, shrinking away.
I don't want your pity ... or charity. Please!
"Shh," he hushed her, capturing her lips with his again, this time sucking on her lower lip erotically and molding her hips to his. He deepened the kiss and held her face with both his hands. He would break contact and then swoop in again at another angle before she could even regain her breath.
Molten heat pooled between her legs as she instantly throbbed and swelled in response. She ground against his hardness unconsciously. She dug her nails in, raking his nape before biting his lip, and heard him suck in his breath.
Asad broke away and trailed kisses to her ear.
"Don't. Please don't." She wept, horrified at what had just happened. Zoya pushed herself away from him and pressed her fingers to her swollen lips, nearly doubling over with the pain.
"I'll go away. You'll never ha---!"
"No!" He roared.
He closed the distance she'd forced between them and held her urgently by her forearms, "Don't ever leave me! I--- I love you Zoya."
Her heart hammered. What? Did he even know what he was saying?
He held her face gently with both his hands and gazed into her eyes, his own moist. "I wanted to come tell you that night itself but ... but, something happened. I've been such a fool. You were right. I'm not worthy of you," he said ruefully.
Asad continued stroking her cheeks and lips with his thumbs, unable to keep his hands off her face. When not touching her face, his hand would re-tuck her hair behind her ear.
"Oh God! It killed me to see you in so much pain! I deserve to be flogged for everything I've said and done. Forgive me Zoya!"
Zoya's hand came up to cover his mouth. He hugged her tight, almost lifting her off her feet. When he set her down again, she smiled through her tears looking up at him, truly and deeply happy. For so long she had been the outsider looking in; now she was home.
No questions or doubts remained.
"I promise you, I'll fix this, and no one will ever come between us again," Asad vowed tenderly.
She closed her eyes in prayer and whispered back, "I trust you Mr. Khan. I love you too."
At the simplicity of her confession, he lost all remaining control. Groaning, he folded her in his arms while grinding her into the wall, and kissed her till they were both deliriously breathless.
After many more overdue promises sealed with hundreds of kisses, he rested his forehead against hers reluctantly, "now go back there and I'll join you all in a minute. And remember, I love you."
He watched her rearrange her clothes and hair, smiling as she used his handkerchief to wipe away the tear streaks and errant lipstick stains on her mouth first, and then his.
He touched her swollen lips with his thumb and almost kissed her again. Zoya kissed it though she wanted to bite his thumb and suck on it. She took out a small mirrored case, and handed it to him to hold it up for her while she touched up her eyes and lips. He looked on, smitten and mesmerized as she pressed and rubbed her lips together for even coverage.
"Zoya---!" he groaned, bewitched and insatiable.
She smiled, mischievously licking some of the lip gloss off her lips.
He let Zoya go ahead of him. But only after punishing her for teasing him so wantonly.
As she left, Asad grabbed her in a quick hug, "I'm really sorry for everything," he whispered. It was hard to see her walk away even when everything was all right between them. More than all right!
She pressed her hand to his lips to stop him for berating himself. He kissed her palm and she blushed as she turned to leave.
He tugged her hand again and twisted it behind her back, "and one more thing. The next time you ride a bike, it'll only be with me. I want you leaning into my back, your arms around me, and your thighs tightly gripping mine."
"Jealous, Mr. Khan?"
"Like hell," he growled in her ear sending shivers down her spine.
"But," she pouted and widened her eyes, "what if I want you holding me from the back with your thighs pressing against mine?"
"Zoya!" he sighed. He knew he was beat.
"You can ride it too, but Just. With. Me." He punctuated each word with a kiss.
"Yay!" But he silenced her again.
As she stepped out, she saw Tanveer having a muffled but agitated conversation with Nikhat's fiance, Imran. She had an open file in her hands and was pointing at something. She ducked back into the storeroom and closed the door behind her.
Asad looked up from stuffing his handkerchief in his pocket, and his eyes hooded with desire.
"Mr. Khan," she whispered, tugging his arm. "Tanu seems to be having an argument with Nikhat's fianc right outside."
"What? Let me check."
He poked his head out and saw the same thing. They both had their heads together as they whispered furiously. It was clear that these two knew one another from before.
He stepped back in.
"Why did they behave like strangers when everyone was first introduced?" Asad wondered aloud, hands on his waist.
"It looks really fishy. And they seem to be disagreeing about something. Neither seems very happy," added Zoya.
Their eyes met and both saw hope and determination reflected in the other's eyes.
He sat her down on a box of linens, knelt in front of her, and told her every miserable detail of what happened that fateful night. He also told her of the doctor confirming her pregnancy and Ammi's suspicions.
Zoya was furious. She jumped up and nearly charged out the door. He had to restrain her by grabbing both her arms. Holding her by her forearms he again rested his forehead against hers as he smiled down at her.
"Shant meri Jhansi ki rani," he spoke through suppressed laughter.
He loved that she felt so protective of him. Where was this girl all his life? And why didn't he grab her the first day he saw her?
"We have to be really careful about what we do next."
"But Mr. Khan, she obviously spiked your drink that night so that she could seduce you. I will kill her!" Zoya squirmed and hissed.
"How could you even believe that anything happened between the two of you? Do you remember that night in the farmhouse? Nothing happened between us even though we were clearly attracted to each other."
Hands on the wall on each side of her face Asad effectively trapped her by slowly moving his lower body against hers and arched an eyebrow, "were attracted? The things I wished I could do to you that night! Do you know how often I've kicked myself for not acting on that attraction? And the times I've dreamt of what I would have done?"
Allha Miyan! Where had this Mr. Khan been hiding?
She blushed, but soldiered on trying not to be distracted by his amorousness, or her own body's heated response to his closeness, "you could never do anything as revolting as she alleges."
He couldn't believe how lucky he was that she loved him.
He grabbed her roughly by her waist, dragged her against his hardness and running his tongue along the curve of her ear, whispered, "not even with you?"
"Mr. Khan! Behave!" But her body's full-blown arousal was betraying her. Oh god she was so ready, it would be so easy to give in. She was a hair's breadth away from grabbing his head and begging him to take her right here, right now. Whimpering, she wrapped one leg around him. This was all the invitation he needed. He cupped her bottom and lifted her up. She crossed her legs behind his back squeezing him to her as she clenched her thighs.
Still pinning her against the wall he played with her hair and trailed his knuckle against her lips. Her lips! So long he had waited to touch them, trace their outline with his fingertips, and then his tongue. He had imagined their plump softness under his as he nipped and teased before sucking on them. He would never get enough of those lips.
She held his tormenting hand before he drove her completely insane and reluctantly climbed down.
"And now she'll try to pass off her pregnancy on you,"
Zoya tried to regain her temper and an upper hand. She stomped her foot but ended up kicking the box which scattered all the tablecloths and napkins.
"How dare she?" She struggled out of his grasp straining to get to the door.
Asad couldn't resist this vision of outspoken passion and flaming attitude. With a soft laugh he tugged her to him and kissed her. He snaked his tongue in and she moaned. Still incensed at Tanu and frustrated with his tackles, she pushed against his shoulders. They both tumbled onto the heap of gleaming white linens as he dissolved the remainder of her feeble resistance with his mouth and tongue. He slowly let his hand roam from her pert bre*asts to her butt, pinching it and then grinding into her to let her know how aroused he was.
"Oh God Zoya! Do you know how hard it's been keeping my hands off you!"
"Allah miyan, what's wrong with you Mr. Khan! Everybody must be wondering where we are." But even she knew that her feeble protests were just a token. She wanted to push his shirt aside and run her hands over his chest and tight stomach.
He raised his head, intoxicated and hungover.
Asad looked down on her flushed face and whispered, "You are so beautiful. And hot as hell. Marry me."
"Oh really? Musibat magnet? Iss misfit se aap nikaah karenge?"
He stroked her dimpled cheek tenderly and looked deep into her eyes, "haan, ab har musibat qubool hai. And you aren't a misfit. I was an idiot. You? You are perfect just the way you are."
"Told you!" She pushed back against his shoulders, straddled him, and poked his chest.
"Zoya Farooqui kucch bhi kar sakti hai. Jahanpanah six packs ka sakt dil bhi mom kar sakti hai!"
He grabbed her stabbing finger and bit on it. She hissed and her thighs clenched around him.
"Ahem," he grinned devilishly as her hands roamed over and explored his chest and abs. He grabbed her hand in one of his and drew her close while molding her butt intimately to make her rub against his erection.
He heard her breath hitch and teased, "dil to mom kar sakti hai, lekin niche, ulta assar?"
"Mr. Khan, you are so bad!"
She leapt up and ran out, cheeks flaming, his soft laughter following her.
Song in Title:
Aaja Nachle (2007) "O Re Piya"
When Tanu saw them return to the table she knew it was all over.
Dang! This was not good.
Zoya blushed when Omar looked at her with a lop-sided grin and a raised eyebrow.
On the way back home, Asad couldn't resist looking at Zoya in the rear view mirror. She caught him looking and smiled shyly but looked out of the window for most of the ride.
At the restaurant, Najma had kept begging Asad to allow her to ride back with Omar since for some reason Zoya wasn't going with him. Asad, gently but firmly, told her that she could come home on Ayaan's bike. It made no sense for Omar to come back to their place. After all there was enough room in the SUV for all of them.
Omar however, was not to be dismissed so easily. He looked directly at Asad and said, "Hey I'll join you all, since the party is moving back home. I'm totally free."
Zoya nearly snorted. Jahanpanah's tehzeeb wouldn't allow him to be rude!
"Zo?" asked Omar indicating his bike.
"Umm, Omar, I'll ride in the car." And she gave him a look. He grinned and shrugged.
"Okay, I'll see you all at the house in a few."
And that is how the cavalcade with a twin motorcycle escort proceeded to the Khan Villa.
In the parking lot, Asad had politely opened the passenger seat door for Tanu, and then the back door for Zoya. As she raised her leg to get inside, he had pinched her butt painfully. She exhaled and nearly giggled out loud. He had thrust something in her hand and then closed the door after her. All the way back home, her fingers had lovingly traced the outline of a velvet box. She didn't want to think of what could be inside.
Instead she wanted to savor everything that had happened in a little room an hour ago. She had closed her eyes and replayed his touch on her body, the feel of his lips against hers and their hot grinding and friction that had set her nerves aflame and brought her close to coming. Head thrown back in surrender she had smelled her own arousal in that tiny space.
She was wet again. For that matter, she had been wet all evening. Oh god, if Tanu weren't in the car she would have been in the passenger seat. She would have boldly placed her hand on his thigh to feel his muscles bunch in anticipation. She would have slowly moved her hand up and tried to unzip him.
He would hold her hand tight to stop her.
She would lean closer to whisper in his ear, "please."
Nipping his ear she'd purr, "Jahanpanah, you are all mine now." Would he groan with desire and press her hand to cup him?
"And this kaneez will have her way with you," she would tease huskily. He would definitely leap against her hand, and she would laugh throatily.
She'd thrust her tongue in his ear and lick and suck his ear lobe. He would have groaned and his grip on her hand would loosen, passion fast overcoming his reserve. She would unsheath him and he would gasp.
"So tell me Mr. Khan," she would have breathed against his mouth, snaking her tongue out to lick the corner of his parted mouth while stroking his length. Slowly rasping a fingernail up and down his pulsating ridge and running her thumb over his wet tip, she would finally push him over the edge, "uhmm, do you want me to swallow?"
"Zoyaaa!" He would growl and hiss through gritted teeth hotly, taut with desire, and she would go down on him.
He better have good control over the car when she did do this for real, she thought through her haze.
She stirred restlessly and looked up to see him staring at her in the rear-view mirror. She blushed. If he just saw what was on her mind he would probably run and hide in his room like all those times before. But no, she had seen a much bolder, mouthier, and handsier side of him in that storeroom.
Oh god, that storeroom. It was her favorite and happiest place in the world right now. She would make him bring her back to this restaurant again and again, and he'd better not waste anytime in mounting her and making her eyes roll back in her head by pounding her brains out in that same storeroom. Her thighs clenched and she throbbed in frustration.
Back home, Ayaan and Omar had stayed back for coffee and the cake that Zoya had baked yesterday. Tanu and Dilshad had gone off to their rooms pleading tiredness. While Ayaan horsed around with Najma and Zoya in the kitchen, Omar cornered Asad.
"So, Mr. Khan, I'm glad to see better sense has prevailed after all?"
Asad tilted his head to the side in confusion.
Omar sighed. What did Zo see in this bugger?
"Looks like you both have scratched whatever itch it was that needed scratching, and finally worked things out. I'm happy for Zo, but it will still take me some time to forgive you being a total jerk to her. Do that again, and you'll have her Jeeju to answer to first. And Aapi and Jeeju have me on speed dial."
Asad smiled and held his hand out. Omar shook it and then handed him the keys to his bike.
"Go on, I know you're dying to. I'll send her out with some excuse. This will give me some time to get to know Najma better," and he looked directly at Asad, daring him to say no.
"You know, Omar, you're not half as bad as I first thought," Asad said good-humoredly, palming the keys.
"And thank you, for everything."
Omar laughed. "Sure, no problem, and I'm extending my stay by the way, so you'll be be seeing a lot more of me."
Asad walked away shaking his head. But Omar wasn't a threat anymore. Though he'd have to watch him around Najma.
Two minutes later Zoya came running out and they zoomed off into the night. Her hands gripped his chest tightly, the side of her face pressed into his back and her thighs cupped his intimately. He took one of her hands and laced his fingers through hers. As they stopped at a red light, he flipped the visor open and pressed her hand to his lips. She slid even closer and he could feel raw heat radiating from her on his butt. His blood rushed and he throbbed in sync with the bike.
As they thundered off again he held her hand over his heart. She couldn't tell whose heart she could hear beating but that, and the bike were making her horny as hell. She wanted to run her hands over those abs and dip even lower. Unconsciously, she started to grind against him. He took one of his hands off the handle bar and stroked the inside of her thigh.
The bike stopped. Zoya raised her head groggily to peer around her. They were back home. She sighed regretfully. She got off and was suddenly lifted to be placed in front of him. He slid back to make room for her and started to slowly and sensuously stroke the tops of her thighs.
"Your turn," he murmured in her ear before putting the helmet on for her and gently buckling it and securing the strap under her chin. He let his fingers feather on her neck.
She twisted around and spoke through the raised visor. "Mr. Khan, I won't be able to do it."
"Why?" his hands were already on her waist, kneading her hips and he was pressing his erection against her butt. She wiggled her butt making him groan.
"That's why. What if we have an accident?"
"No we won't." Wrapping his arms around her waist, he bit down on her shoulder and purred in her ear, "c'mon Ms. Farooqui, take me for a ride."
And this time it was her turn to be in control while losing complete control. He would ocassionally have to steady the handle whenever she swerved too much while in the throes of passion.
It had begun to drizzle softly and a smoky haze rose from the darkened streets.
In a nearly deserted alley, she stopped abruptly and twisted around to face him and sit astride his thighs almost in his lap. She took off the helmet not caring whether it stayed on the handle bar or fell. She hugged him and growled fiercely, "Mr. Khan, you've been driving me crazy all day. I need you."
Asad's heart leaped. She was such a tiger!
"Zoya, we are in the middle of the street!"
"I don't care. Just kiss me please, Asaadd!"
The way she slurred his name completely undid him. He swooped to kiss her pressing her back onto the bike and cradling her head on the handle bar. He ravished her mouth with his teeth, tongue and lips. Kissing the dew off her face and neck he let his hands cup her bre*sts and flicked their erect peaks with his thumbs.
Placing her hands beside her head, she gripped the handle bar for leverage and raised her hips. Her legs gripped his waist as she writhed against him seeking release.
"Zoya," he groaned breathlessly, his hips hitching in primal response, "ride me, baby."
Throwing her head back with a guttural cry, she came.
Sing in Title:
Ghar (1978): "Bahon Main Tere"
Dilshad had already noticed something different about Asad as soon as he had walked in the door last night from the restaurant"there was a spring in his step, a gleam in his eye. She had breathed easier and given thanks. Glancing at Zoya she had smiled wider, thankful to Allah that finally things were looking up and right between these two; they deserved all the happiness in the world. She just wished that Tanveer's villainy would soon be exposed. Then she'd throw herself into her son's nikaah celebrations.
Before going down for breakfast in the morning, she texted Asad to come up to her room.
She hadn't seen him look so relaxed in ages. He gave her a sanitized version of his reconciliation with Zoya; his body tightened with desire just thinking about last night. Asad ducked his head self-consciously when he saw his mother looking at him smugly. Dilshad glowed to see him blush. Shukranallah!
He rushed to tell her about how they had caught Tanu and Imran whispering angrily among themselves.
Dilshad texted Zoya to join them in her room as well. Bring your iPad, she added.
As Zoya closed the door behind her, none of them noticed a shadow slinking along the hallway.
Asad was on the phone again with Prasad. This time he wanted a background check on Imran as well. If what they all suspected was true they needed concrete evidence. It wasn't just Asad now, but also about Nikhat's happiness.
When he got off the phone he saw his Ammi hugging Zoya and knew that he was doing the right thing.
"So what do we do now?" Dilshad asked as they separated.
He couldn't take his eyes off Zoya. Asad noticed that she avoided his gaze and her face flamed red. Was she feeling shy or regretting last night?
Zoya, look at me, he silently urged her.
She pretended to fuss with the damn iPad.
He sighed with uncertainty but turned to Dilshad. "Ammi, did you find out anything last night?"
"I found some things but am not sure if they mean much. First of all I didn't find any reports related to her pregnancy."
He glanced at Zoya in misery.
She had her head bowed but he saw her clasp her hands together and squeeze her eyes shut.
Look at me!
"But I did find some suspicious things which could be promising. Zoya did you get your iPad?"
Dilshad showed them a picture she had taken of a packet of medicines. The label was partially torn off with only the word unitrazepa' visible. Zoya tapped away on her iPad while Dilshad showed Asad pictures of a nearly empty bottle of pre-natal tablets. She had also taken shots of Tanveer's address book and a partially open box of dry crackers, bottle of pickle and packet of curried tamarind.
"The bottle held 60 pre-natal tablets and now there are only about 15 left. The foods packets are not brand new. She's been snacking from these for some time."
When Asad looked askance at the food items she said, "for the morning sickness."
He still looked confused so she explained, "in the first few months many women get sick and can't keep food down. So they eat bland foods like crackers or dry toast. And many women also crave tart and tangy things to keep the nausea down."
Zoya looked up suddenly. "Like when Tanu had run to throw up when we had fish for dinner?"
"But that was more than a month ago!" Asad exclaimed.
"Exactly! This means that she's been pregnant for over three weeks."
He remembered being annoyed with Zoya when she had seemed overly nosy about Tanu's new aversion to fish.
He felt guilty again. Zoya's instincts had always been true. He looked at her wanting to re-plead forgiveness.
But she still had her head bent over her iPad and was running her finger over the screen.
He wanted to hold her tight and feel her heart beat against his chest. But her shutting him out like this was a fist slowly squeezing his heart.
Zoya squealed. "Found it!" While reading, she gasped indignantly. "That bi"! ... witch! That chemical name stands for Flunitrazepam which is the active ingredient in Rohypnol, a date rape drug!"
"But such drugs are banned in India," said Asad.
Aww, Mr. Khan was such a straight shooter. A perfect by-the-book kinda guy. She loved him so much! But she was so embarrassed about last night that she could die. She didn't know what had gotten into her that she had acted like a complete wanton and brazen hussy. He must think I'm such a sl*ut! That I'm from the US and must do this with anybody. Good job, Zoya! Ruined everything even before it started. Moron! Gadhi!
"It says here in this Times of India article that this drug is still actively used in India and often ordered over the internet or through tele-marketers."
"Phuphi, did you look through her trash?"
Dilshad slapped her head. "No!"
"We need to check her room again. If she was already pregnant before all this happened there have be doctor's reports and prescriptions."
Zoya avoided looking at him and spoke to Dilshad instead, "she was showing Imran some file. Where did that come from? I don't think he had anything with him when he came. It must be hers ... I know, that bag of hers! It was big enough to hold a file that size."
"But why would she carry it around with her? How could she have known that she'd meet him there?"
Everyone pondered that question.
"She probably feels that she can't trust us here." Dilshad spoke quietly"Tanveer was being extra cautious because she suspects that I'm on to her little game. That vile tramp!
Asad was getting really alarmed now. Why won't you look at me?
"May be she always carries her important documents with her?" continued Dilshad.
"But even if we can prove that Tanu has been pregnant for longer than she says, how do we connect her to Imran? I don't want Nikhat marrying that scumbag if he's associated with this sordid mess." Asad asked distractedly.
They collectively mulled this over in pensive silence. Asad kept stealing looks at her but it was as if he didn't exist.
"We need to get a peek inside that bag. That's the key. If only I could get my hands on her phone ..." Their glances entangled and Zoya looked away again.
"How?" Dilshad's amused tone broke the spell.
"I'll check her room this time, but one of you has to call her in your room so that I know I have enough time and won't get caught," Zoya said. Her mind was racing with ideas to entrap Tanveer. How dare she! Could she put some kind of a bug or trace on her phone? A hidden camera in her room?
"Ammi, let me call her to my room." Asad offered. "This way both of you can look in her room together."
"Mr. Khan, when she enters your room give me a missed call on my phone. And same for when she leaves."
He felt hope bloom when she said his name, but when he looked up at her, she had turned her face away again.
Please?! What happened? Tell me.
Sighing, he called Tanu on her cell. "Tanu I want to discuss something important with you. Can you please meet me in my room after breakfast?"
He looked back at Zoya. She still refused to meet his gaze.
Song in Title:
Jab We Met (2007) "Tum Se Hi"
Topic started by dixeij
Last replied by -jass-