Ayaan, Arsalan..Asad & Zoya applauded as Aahil got up from his knee kissing Aisha's hand as he did before enveloping her in a tight hug. Zoya too wiped her tears as she applauded, and Ayaan wolf whistled loudly whilst Arsalan popped open the champagne to celebrate.
Ayaan - (patted Aahil on the back) congratulations bro..she didn't say no. (Aahil side eyed him as he let go of Aisha who chuckled wiping her tears before she spotted Asad and the tears seemed to only increase. Not quite being able to believe that after all that they had been through, she had been through, she was actually here at this point in her life..working as a doctor, her dream profession & getting married to the love of her life; such an amazing guy and she knew that a big part of that was because of and had to do with Asad and so she threw herself in his arms, overwhelmed with happiness & gratitude and Asad who was overjoyed for her kissed the top of her head repeatedly)
Asad congratulations (It took her a few minutes to gather herself before she moved back and kissed his cheek smiling at him and then turned her attention to Zoya)
Zoya - (smiled at her a real genuine smile, actually ecstatic for her and Aahil and that she was going to be her bhabi but it wasn't anything close to an actual Zoya smile, the one Aisha & Aahil wished to see more than anything tonight, and seeing that smile missing caused Aisha's happiness to sim a bit, she held out her arms and hugged Aisha tight) welcome to the family...bhabi.
Aisha - (laughed) I'm honoured..to be called that.
Aahil - hey..don't forget about me (as he wrapped an arm around Zoya, Zoya too took one arm off of Aisha and wrapped it around Aahil.)
Ayaan - (his eyes were crinkled at the corners because of how much he was smiling and how much mischief was dancing in his eyes at the moment. He cleared his throat) before we raise a toast to the (rolled his eye's) soon to become obnoxious couple (Aisha punched his shoulder) I believe as the brother of the bride, Asad should say a few words no? (He stood next to Aahil with an arm resting on his shoulder whilst both Aahil and Asad stared at him with raised eyebrows. Zoya wanted to pay attention to her family but no matter how hard she tried, she wasn't able to. In the span of a few minutes her mind flashed with images of Sameer hovering over her, her ears would ring with his voice and the words tease' and s**t' causing her to become extremely subconscious. Looking down from the V.I.P gallery they were in, she could see the place crawling with men and that only made her more nervous and to add to that she didn't want to worry everyone by the steadily growing paleness of her face but she knew sooner or later they'd notice and realize it.)
Asad - (frowned) uhh..thanks for that Ayaan, I guess? (Ayaan bowed modestly, like it was no problem; his pleasure. Asad who was sitting on a bar stool raised his glass, staring at his sister with the sweetest smile which Zoya couldn't help but stare at. His smile, it broke her heart because of the sheer magnitude of how much her heart ached and yearned out of love for him, even if she didn't realize it was love she felt) Aisha & Aahil may you have the happiest, most prosperous and blessed marriage and lives and may your love be an inspiration to the rest of the world (he saw Aisha and Aahil smile at each other thinking that was the end of his toast and Ayaan's smile only grew deeper. He bit the inside of his cheek knowing it was coming.)
Asad - (looked down momentarily) oh and Aahil..just so you know..(Aahil looked at him and Asad continued to stare at him in the same cool, calm collected manner with a small smile playing on his lips) if you EVER hurt my sister, give her any pain or unhappiness of any sort or make her cry. Just remember, I have anger that is border level psychotic and completely unmanageable, I'm soon going to be Mayor if this town which means my resources and power will be inexhaustible AND I am chief trustee of the hospital that writes your pay-checks, a hospital which is FILLED with instruments that can cause a whole lot of pain..I have 24/7 access to your hospital and those instruments..(seeing the paleness of Aahil's face and the beads of sweat forming on his forehead Arsalan couldn't take it anymore and burst out laughing, whilst Ayaan stomped his foot)
Ayaan - Way to ruin it Arsalan..I was waiting to hear graphic descriptions of how he intended to cause pain..(but Arsalan was too busy howling with laughter whilst Ayaan shook his head, Asad still had that same calm almost sadistic and sociopathic smile on his face and Aahil was legit scared. Asad looked over at Zoya who also after days, finally had the smallest most sweetest smile on her face and it melted Asad's heart, although he also felt burdened by the fact that if it wasn't for Sameer it would've been Zoya who would not stop screaming, cheering, dancing or jumping with joy and doing all such mischief. Unable to resist, Asad dropped a small wink in her direction and Zoya nearly dropped her glass of wine which was still filled to the brim and although it made her blush self consciously his playfulness and blatant flirting also broke her heart now. Because it reminded her of a 1000 broken dreams.)
Asad - to the happy couple
Ayaan - (unable to control himself also raised his glass) to the happy couple
Aisha - (Aahil still standing frozen and numb with shock looked over to Aisha who was calmly sipping her wine, and he realized dono behn bhai psycho hain, she looked up at him calmly. Meaning it. Because she knew Asad was dead serious & meant it) oh I'd take notes if I were you. He's not messing with you.
On the roads of Kasauli:
Anaya sat in the front, whilst Azlan drove them and he couldn't help but look over at her and smile every now and then as he saw her fuss over her makeup and looks, truly excited, happy and content for ONCE probably the first time in her life and by default that meant Azlan too was at peace and content for once.
Azlan - you look beautiful Aapi (Anaya who was fussing over her hair, looked over at him and seeing the sincerity in his eyes she couldn't help but smile. A smile that reached up to her eyes and made them twinkle and as a brother it made Azlan's heart lurch with happiness and sadness at once, knowing her prince charming was soon going to take her away from him - to her new home in Mumbai. He grabbed her hand and placed a kiss at the back of it winking at her) now stop fussing so much
Anaya - (shyly tucking a strand behind her ear as she chuckled, shaking her head) it's the craziest thing but, I actually feel beautiful (Humeira who was sitting in the back rolled her eyes heavenward and back, done with everyone fussing over Anaya) I know I shouldn't need a man to tell me, remind me or make me believe I'm beautiful but all these years..logon ki itni baatein sunne ke baad..kahin na kahin mujhe bhi yeh yakeen hogaya ke mujhi mein kuch haraabi hai..kuch kammi hai (Azlan nodded understandably) but aaj..jab Arsalan ne mujhe mere liye apnaya..toh..I don't know it just..all those reservations and self doubts vanished and I finally saw my own self worth. I realized all I had lost out on due to that self doubt and all that I could be and will be for myself AND for him.
Azlan - (smiled) well it's about time. Meri nahin toh kissi ki baat ka toh yakeen aaya aapko..I mean main saari zindagi bakwaas kar karke thak gaya hoon ke aap kitni khoobsurat ho aur aaj Arsalan ke ek baar kehne pe maan gaye aap.. (Kajol slapped his head from behind) OW! SIDDIQUE!
Kajol - Tumhara inse woh raabta nahin hai na jo Arsalan Jeeju ka hai..she needed him to say it to finally hear what we've all been saying for years but at least she heard it. Besides...your eyes aren't nearly as sincere or compelling as his are.
Zain - (cleared his throat exaggeratedly for a good 5 minutes making Naina giggle all over the place in the back) this is the problem with dating the same girl since kindergarten. Tharki kahin ki har kissi pe line maarti hai mere saamne...
Kajol boy (pulling his ear) you should be relieved that I'm comfortable enough to do it in front OF you and not behind your back..
Zain - (held up his hands to her) dhanya ho aaap..(Kajol held up her hand blessing him)
Kajol - woh toh main hoon (all of them laughed over Zain & Kajol's forever ongoing problems and bickering since preschool) waise Aapi..kya aap bhi iss Naina ke jitni nervous ho Arsalan Jeeju ki behen se milne ke liye...
Anaya - (laughed) I don't see how that's humanly possible (they both turned around to see Naina staring out the back window and biting her nails. Azlan gripped the steering wheel tighter, clenching his jaw to prevent himself from doing or saying something reckless)
Naina - whaaat? Ch..Aapi aapka rishta like 3 ghante pehle jura hai...mera 3 hafte purana hai..okay...I've heard Ayaan talk about how much he and his brothers love their sister..how much they all dote on her and how much she means to them..trust me if I were you I'd be nervous too.
Humeira - (fake chuckled) unhe ghabrane ki kya zaroorat hai..she's going through the Farooqui brothers like kleenex..Aahil nahin to Arsalan..Arsalan nahin toh Asif..Asif nahin toh (smiled sweetly at Naina who just glared at her unable to believe she was actually saying that, wondering what had gotten into her. Azlan was glaring at her from the front and the other 3 were also equally shell shocked, wondering what the hell was wrong with her) samajh rahee ho na main kya keh rahee hoon..if I were you I'd worry about saving my own relationship especially if my boyfriend had been lying about his whereabouts for the last few days (Kajol frowned as she stared at her from the front, seeing the viciousness in her eyes it was obvious the only person Naina should be worrying about coming in between her & Ayaan was Humeira)
Kajol - (her eyes now holding the same viciousness as Humeira's as she saw Naina's face fall and Humeira was mistaken if she thought Kajol was going to let anyone tramp all over her sisters happiness. Azlan had done enough of that for one lifetime) I don't think you understand how relationships work Humeira..you know since you aren't in one (Humeira glared at her head from behind whilst Zain covered his face with his hand trying not to laugh as Humeira got a dose of Kajol's anger) but generally if a guy wants you to meet his family..or such an important part of his life that's a GOOD thing..and as far as lying to Naina is concerned I'm sure Ayaan has a good explanation for that. What I'm failing to understand is why you're doing tagging along? The invitation was for Anaya Aapi and Naina...Zain and I are going to Rogue as a couple on a date...Azlan is going there to probably get drunk and HOPE that Asad doesn't have him tossed out which means there may be hopes of forgiveness there but what...are you planning on doing there as a loner all by yourself?
Humeira - (snapped) it's a club Kajol..Theres an open dance floor-
Kajol - (shrugged) I just didn't think partying alone was your scene (Naina kicked her seat from behind telling her to stop...and then they all sat in silence. The air thick with tension.)
Zain - (randomly, amidst a heavy awkward silence) I think there's more chances of Ayaan throwing Azlan out then Asad- (Kajol looked at him like what are you saying and he just shrugged mouthing "trying to break the tension to her making her role her eyes. Boys. Anaya cast a quick sideways glance at Azlan whose whole body was taught with tension by the constant mentions of Ayaan and she could see him struggling with trying and failing to not look at Naina in the rear-view mirror)
Kajol - I think it's great that we'll finally get to meet the Farooqui Sister..I mean Sapna Chachi ki shaadi ko itne saal ho gaye and I can't believe humme iss saal pata chala ke unki koi behen bhi hai...Zain how come you've never heard of her?
Zain - (shrugged) mom did tell me that she met her earlier this year before Asad's brothers wedding but other than that I've never heard them mention her...then again I'm not really so tight with any of them that I would hear about her. Mom's wedding was such a lowkey affair and I didn't talk to any of them at the wedding due to their chachoo's death..unki behen toh ayee bhi nahin thi and neither of them talked about her..shaadi ke fauran baad Ayaan London chala gaya and I never met any of them after that, you know mom and Faisal Abbu they too aren't the talkative types. I only really talked to Ayaan after he came back from london but that too..in a friendly manner, we ain't bff's or brotherly. We acknowledge each other as step brothers in a distant but respective manner mostly keeping to formal talks (casting an apprehensive glance at Azlan) those two roles..bff's and brotherly are occupied by the same person in his life...
Kajol - (swooning again as she whispered dreamily) Asad (Zain narrowed his eyes at her whilst Azlan sighed wistfully, looking out the window his heart engulfed in overwhelming sadness of his own stupidity that caused him to lose the most precious person in his life; his brother)
Half an hour later - Rogue:
Zoya - (only half aware of what Ayaan was saying and only half reacting because half of her mind was still reeling with Sameer's words in the back somewhere) you...you have a girlfriend? (She almost wanted to cry that she couldn't bring herself to be happier for her brother when she had never in her life seen him look this happy or ecstatic, never had she seen such a big smile on his face. It was as if she had lost all her range of positive emotions as a human, especially empathy or happiness for herself or others)
Ayaan - (nodded, almost blushing shyly as he continued dancing with her up in their V.I.P balcony) and not like a one night stand or fling, like a serious girlfriend who I've been dating for a few weeks now.
Arsalan - weeks? (Looked towards Zoya expecting her to join in on ragging Ayaan for something this grand, it was like a once in a lifetime opportunity that couldn't be missed but Zoya was too busy lost and thinking, obsessing over someone else. Feeling angry and hating herself and by default hating on Sameer for taking that away from her; the ability to feel happy for her brothers, who were going through such important changes in their lives. Achieving such milestones, 2 of them getting engaged and Ayaan having a girlfriend which was the same thing as being engaged) Is that even possible? I mean you sure you're not confusing it with a few hours?
Ayaan - (still dancing with Zoya) no that would be the time lapsed since you got engaged and the time it it'll last if you don't clue in your mother.
Aahil - (rolled his eyes at him) so who is the bechari? Do we know her?
Ayaan - I wouldn't give her that kind of grief.
Aahil - why? Afraid she'll go for the Farooqui brother upgrade..
Ayaan - want me to tell your new fianc that's an option. (Aahil shook his head as he walked off to get a drink after ruffling Zoya's hair and dropping a comforting and loving kiss on Zoya's head knowing she was still struggling, he could see it on her face and he just wanted to help her through it. As he walked off, Ayaan too saw that struggle and he smiled at her, pulling her cheek playfully snapping her out of whatever torment she was letting Sameer play on her mind. And she gave him only a small smile in return, before looking down again as she continued dancing with him) hey, come on give me a real Zoya smile now, you know those are your brothers real strength (But that just made Zoya want to crawl into a dark hole and cry herself numb, everyone expected her to be brave, strong and I guess she couldn't really blame anyone for that when it was her own doing. She had gotten so good with the pretending all was okay act and facade she put up daily that none of them could see that over all these years since loosing Faizan she had slowly, bit by bit been falling apart and now due to Sameer when everyone expected her to continue being their strength she was too broken to even keep up a facade. She was sinking. Ayaan twirled her around) come on, I promise she's nothing but beautiful definitely not a churail like you (but still she continued frowning and continued obsessing over Sameer's words letting them play on a loop in her mind. Of course, Ayaan too knew what was bothering her and that she will still disturbed about what happened and they'd be worried if she wasn't but all of them were trying to cheer her up, nothing more. Not talking about it or giving her a reason to think about it, but diverting her mind to other things just so she'd have something else to think about, smile about and motivate her to move on) Hmm..I think I know what's going on here (Zoya looked up at him startled, he too thought she was a s**t who deserved what happened to her? But he just smiled playfully at her) you're feeling like you're getting replaced..2 of your brothers engaged, me saying the G word which practically makes me married (laughed) you're afraid other girls are coming into your brothers lives who could take your place and become more important to them (shook his head at her placing a soft kiss on the top of her head) you silly kid...that could and would NEVER happen. You'll always be the most important girl in all of your brothers lives, always our #1 priority, always our beloved little Pari..(Zoya crashed her head against his chest, as she felt her eyes fill with tears, her lips tremble and her heart feeling like it would burst. She always felt overwhelmed when Ayaan called her Pari as is because he only called her that in really emotional moments or moments that were filled with utmost love and tenderness and it always brought tears to her eyes but today she had to divert her eyes from Ayaan as he called her that because she just wasn't worthy of such a pure and endearing title. Someone as dirty, cheap, tainted and used, molested as her couldn't possibly deserve to be called Pari. Nor did she deserve to be a Pari to such amazing brothers who ended up losing their lives because of her, ike the one who had originally given her that endearing nickname. Ayaan too wrapped his arms around her tightly, extremely apologetic that she was going through something like this, something so difficult, unjust and undeserving)
5 minutes later:
Ayaan twirled her around out of his arms - as he whistled at Arsalan who was talking to Asad standing by the railing of the balcony.
Ayaan - (smiled at Zoya) their here. (winked at her) be right back (Arsalan too excused himself and he and Ayaan ran off to go meet the Haveli girls and bring them over to introduce them. As the lights flickered and dimmed in the club, Zoya felt a spell of dizziness hit her hard, due to days of starvation, exhaustion both physical and mental, and blood loss she was extremely weak and pale these days and that weakness showed on her face. She swayed on her feet and Asad who was suffering from his own migraine shot up a hand without thinking and wrapped it around her waist unintentionally pulling her into himself letting her crash against his chest, her hair sprawling all over his face as she used her hands against his chest to cushion herself. Asad's eyebrows furrowed with worry seeing her sway like that which is why he failed to see the recklessness of his own actions, or the way she froze against his chest in freight, her breath caught in her throat as he had yanked her close to himself forcefully. She was frozen, suddenly re-living that unfortunate night when Sameer too had forcefully thrown her body around like it had no substance, no weight or dignity, like it meant nothing and it was just for him to use and abuse as he deemed fit as if it was his to abuse, because she deserved to have it abused and he deserved to punish her and teach her that horrendous lesson. Asad then saw the fear in her eyes, the accusation the way she stood frozen in his arms, fearing and actually believing that HE..HE could hurt her. But then again, maybe he couldn't hold that against her when his recent actions had given her every reason to doubt him and believe he was capable of doing so. He suddenly let go of her like he was on fire and stumbled back a few feet in shock and disgust, loathing himself. It was that same disgust and loathing that caused him to divert his eyes and hold up a hand, whispering in a small broken whisper. "I'm sorry before spinning around and turning his back on her. Gripping the railing tightly, out of anger and hatred at Sameer, disgust with himself and pain and apologies for Zoya. Only he knew what it took for him to not turn around and crash her against his chest, apologizing to her for both his & Sameer's actions. Sorry that she had to go through it, sorry that anyone on this earth had to go through something like that because men felt themselves so entitled to sex and women's bodies and god knows he would happily spend the rest of eternity sitting on the floor of that balcony at Rogue doing so. But the moment, he let go of her Zoya had snapped back to reality and had immediately felt relief and an unwavering faith of trust and security wash over her realizing it was Asad, Mr. Khan in front of her and no one else especially not Sameer. It was someone who could NEVER hurt her and nor would he ever let anyone else hurt her so long as he was around. But then she saw him avert his eyes and apologize and then turn his back on her and her paranoid mind these days was fast to jump to conclusions. Conclusions she was supremely easily ready to believe. The conclusion that he let go of her like his hand was on fire not because he didn't want to frighten her by touching her because he felt that someone of his respectable social standing and genuine pureness would become just as tainted and disgusted if they touched someone as cheap, tainted and untouchable as her, and then as he turned around she believed he couldn't even stand to look at someone who was such a s**t, a tease who probably got was she deserved or maybe he even suspected her of voluntarily having sex with Sameer in that dance studio instead of being involuntarily assaulted, because he thought of her to be such a classless cheap s**t and wh**e. Subconsciously she felt her hand lowering down on top of his on the railing but just as it got close enough near his for him to see it out of the corner of his eye she heard him wince before he snatched his hand away holding his forehead and that was the final nail in the coffin. Zoya's own hand shot up to her face covering her mouth and stifling her whimpers and strangled cries as it had been proven. Asad, the guy she was falling in love with, the guy who had come to be more important and matter more than anyone else to her in such a short time span but at what point & how she didn't know, whose thoughts and beliefs of her, whose looks and validations of her, whose emotions of her - appreciation, anger, pride, hate or in this case as she feared disgust, loathing and rejection matter to her more than anyone, It was obvious, he hated her, he couldn't stand the sight of her let alone touch her or let him touch her. He had gone back on his early judgement of her or as she then feared maybe he always harboured the same judgement in his heart even if he didn't verbally say it anymore; she was a tease, a s**t, a cheap dressing wh**e who got what she deserved. Her mind was suddenly numb with pain, she was too broken to take a moment and think logically. Suddenly it was over for her, it was all over for her, the bubble had popped even though ironically, she herself didn't know what exactly was "over between them because she had never consciously realized or admitted to falling in love with Asad. But still, her face wreaked with tears stains, her eyes blinded with tears her hair disheveled all over her face she was running down the steps, half stumbling crying herself senseless with an overwhelming all-consuming need to just cut. She couldn't stand to see Asad or any look of rejection in his eyes. If it was over she wanted to remember him by the look that had first consciously tugged at her heart strings when she saw him talking on the phone by the lake that day on the drive to Mangalpur that day that changed everything for the two of them, themselves, their fate, their worlds their understanding of and feelings towards one another. She wanted to remember him as that beautiful boy she involuntarily and unknowingly gave her heart to who couldn't return the favour with his own heart because she wasn't deserving of someone as beautiful inside and out as him and she needed to be punished for even dreaming or believing that she could. And punish is exactly what she was planning on doing to herself as she continued pushing her way through the crowd her entire body wreaking with sobs, loud painful and heart wrenching sobs. She was truly broken.
The truth was that Asad had only winced and snatched his hand away to
hold his forehead because his migraine had suddenly grown nastier and as he was
right to believe the flickering lights of the club were triggering it and Ayaan
and Arsalan came back to the balcony with Naina and Anaya to find no-one there,
both Asad and Zoya were missing. Asad was being sick in one bathroom and
Zoya was on her way to be sick, sick at herself in another. Unfortunately
as Zoya was pushing her way through the crowd, she bumped into a group of guys
on the dance floor.
One drunken rowdy and uneducated guy - HEY WATCH IT s**t! (Zoya became paralyzed with fear and pain. Another guy had validated Sameer's words and Asad's silent thoughts of her. One of the other guys suddenly gripped her arm as all of them surrounded her, making her blurry with tears eyes go wide with fear as their disgusting eyes raked over her entire body making her feel more cheap, disgusting and tainted, objectified than ever. Her panicked eyes darted around at all their faces that were nothing but a blur to her because as her mind crumpled with pain, exhaustion and stress she was even more dizzy and feeling like she'd be sick more so than before, even though they still continued checking her out from head to toe)
Guy 2 - kahan jaa rahee ho baby? Ek dance hamare saath bhi kar lo na (Zoya meekly tried to snatch her arm free, internally she was screaming to beg them to let go of her, screaming no' that she didn't want to dance and she believed she was screaming it out loud once again but her mouth was open in a silent scream, no sounds were coming through. Suddenly they caged her in even more, stepping more closer to her and closing the circle smaller and tighter, laughing viciously as they began pushing her around in between them. All Zoya felt were laughs around her, hands on her and cruel, vicious faces all around her again punishing her for being a tease by abusing her body in whatever way they felt' necessary. Finally, her exhausted mind begging for Forgiveness begging to stop feeling ANYTHING whimpered a silent but audible whimper of no' stop it' let me go' hoping and praying, begging for someone, anyone to hear her and stop this torment which she couldn't take anymore and someone did hear her. Her Allah Miyan made sure of that.)
Azlan - (standing next to their little circle, his arms folding glaring at them all hatefully and beyond angrily) SHE SAID NO. OR DID YOU NOT HEAR. LET HER GO.
One of the guys - (rolled his eyes) always someone jisse bharaat maan ki betiyon ke liye hero banne ka bauhat shauk hota hai. Jiss baat se aapka koi taluk nahin usse door hi rahiye toh behtar hoga aapke liye.
Azlan - SHE SAID NO. But you all seem to not LISTEN To that...that makes it my business.
Another guy - agar usse hamare saath dance na karna hota, toh woh aise kapre pehen ke naa aati
Another guy - exactly. woh koi bharaat maa ki beti nahin jisse
protection chahiye apne bhai ki. She's a
s**t- (and that did it. Azlan punched the guy and an ugly brawl that left
Zoya more traumatized than ever broke out on the dance floor and she was just
left standing there paralyzed with shock.
Too numb to speak or move. Eventually as a crowd began gathering
on the dance floor around the fight she got pushed back in it and stumbling and
falling, walking blindly she eventually somehow found her way to Ayaan's
office. Even though, with her frame of mind which was in a haze, she wasn't
present in reality anymore but was floating on a bubble in which she didn't
realize how or when she reached that office, how she walked to the bathroom and
locked the door, how she opened the tap to the sink feeling like she was going
to be sick, how she fell to the floor and pulled out that blade...staring at it
with wide wild and panicked, deranged eyes, her worst fears come true, just
like her jeeju anyone else who dared to protect a s**t like her would end up
hurt or losing their life like that stranger outside who got into a nasty fight
because of her. She didn't catch a look
at his face and neither did he and nor did she stand back around long enough to
know that the fight broke out almost as soon as it started and no one got hurt
because the bouncers threw those guys out once Azlan and a few other people on
the dance floor told them they had been harassing some girl. All Zoya saw
was Asad's rejection and disgust of her, her jeejus death because of her and
the smiling and happy faces of her brothers in love who would possibly meet the
same end because of her. All she heard
were Sameer's words and this guy in the clubs words s**t' tease' wh**e' as
she cut herself, over and over and over again and unleashed not just days but
years of suffering and pain through her angry tears and cries, wailing as if
she was mourning over everything she had lost, her jeeju, her respect and
dignity, her smile, her heart her confidence and personality...her soul, her
self, as she continued cutting herself and then ended up cutting her wrists a
bit too deeply enough that blood was oozing out of her wrists and she was
suddenly too weak and too dizzy to even hold the blade up and so she fell to
the floor along with her blade in a puddle of her own blood and water from the
tap she had left running until the white ceiling first turned into white dots
and then darkness engulfed her. No one knowing if she did it
intentionally or her tears and pain, her blurred eyes made her cut so deep
unknowingly and by mistake.)
Bathroom - Rogue:
Azlan walked into the bathroom and heard someone violently being sick in one of the stalls, throwing up evidently. He cringed a little but walked through wondering what was going on in Rogue today? Then conspiring of throwing this in Naina's face just to argue for the sake of arguing (which he missed doing with her) and also to justify his dislike for Ayaan. He could argue that Ayaan ran a good for nothing club in which he had no managerial skills; people got sick from his alcohol, girls were unsafe and getting harassed on the dance floor and maybe he could make a thing or two up. Just as he was plotting his vengeance, the door to the stall opened and Azlan had to do a double take to realize who that was. That it was in fact, his own brother, it was Asad emerging from the bathroom stall drenched in sweat, a bit peckish and extremely pale, almost green in the face he looked like he was about to pass out and judging by the way he was swaying on his feet, there was a high chance of him actually fainting. Using the wall, he stumbled over to the sink and opened the tap to rinse his face and wash his mouth, urgently and desperately shrugging out of his Armani jacket which felt like it was suffocating him and was only rising his body temperature. For a few second, Azlan stood too stunned to react and understand what was happening but then the words which were second nature to him croaked out nonetheless stunning Asad too.
Azlan - are you okay? (Asad who had just splashed his face and had water dripping from his face, stopped midway in between splashing his face again. He didn't think he was hearing this right because this was the last place he had expected to see Azlan. His head jerked in the direction of Azlan's voice and ignoring the sudden bout of dizziness and heavy headedness that hit him due to the sudden movement he stood up straighter his mouth nearly hanging open in shock, desperation ki bhi had hoti hai. Azlan who could see the contempt, anger and disbelief. He immediately shut the tap and snatching his jacket from the countertop began storming or more like, stumbling his way out of the bathroom and Azlan could do nothing but watch worriedly. As Asad brushed past him, knocking his shoulder against Azlan's angrily Azlan couldn't resist though. The fact that he had bothered to knock his shoulder against Azlan's instead of just brush past him like he didn't exist, like he could care less, the anger meant that there was still hope, a chance of redemption and remediation. As Asad passed by, almost near the door Azlan couldn't hold back and ask the question he had no right to.)
Azlan - how are you Asad? (His head hung low in shame) I mean...your..injuries-
Asad - (spun around on his feet, ignoring the spell of dizziness that hit him) Na Uh. You don't get to ask me that. NOT NOW. NOT EVER. OKAY..MAIN JEEYON YA MARUN (Azlan's elder brother authority seeping through in his voice as he bellowed feeling angry and wounded hearing Asad talk about his death so casually but Asad had no regard for his right or authority or even "love of and as an elder brother)
Asad - (still screaming, now even louder than before) TUMHARA ISSE KOI LENA DENA NAHIN HAI OKAY. WE'RE DONE. YOU STAY THE HEL AWAY FROM ME AZLAN AHMED KHAN AND YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY WORLD. (Saying what he had to, he turned around and fled the scene. Angrily storming away, pushing his way through the crowded dance floor and over to Ayaan's office as he left a voice note for Jay to come and pick him up as he was in no condition to drive. As he stormed out, Anaya who was on her way to the ladies room next door and had heard and saw Asad storm out couldn't help but peek in through the door knowing who she'd find in there and true to her doubts, there he was; Azlan sighing resigning to his fate. He saw her and couldn't help but smile as he shook his head)
Azlan - I think our little brother has an anger management problem...he just can't help but throw these temper tantrums.
Anaya - Nawab hai woh..chota nawab..jiss mein ironically baaki sab barre nawabon ke hisse ka bhi ghussa hai...
Azlan - (shook his head, staring into the distance and Anaya could see and hear the worry in his eyes and voice) Bauhat bauhat zyaada ghussa hai uss mein..he's too angry. At himself, at his mother, at his step father at our father at all those who've wronged him, at this world and..(sighed) at me.
Anaya - (nodded) can you blame him? (Azlan shook his head, walking out with her and Anaya sighed) hua kya?
Azlan - he wasn't well and I just asked him how he was aur (winced) apparently it was the wrong thing to do
Anaya - Well you knew he'd be here, it's his territory and world you were trespassing in uninvitedly...I mean you were counting on him being here so I don't think you can be shocked. How else did you expect it to go?
Azlan - (shrugged) I knew it was a long shot but (shook his head) meri choro...aap batao did you meet your to be sister-in-law?
Anaya - (frowned) actually now that you mention it..no (Azlan frowned) apparently Aisha and Aahil took off long ago..after calling Dilshad Aunty in Delhi so we didn't meet them and her brothers couldn't find her and this whole time they've been assuming she was hanging with Asad I..I should probably let them know that she isn't with Asad and that Asad himself isn't well..I think I last saw Ayaan and Naina on the dance floor (and judging by the way Azlan's angry, fire spitting contempt eyes were glaring at the dance floor it was obvious that's where they still were, laughing and dancing next to Zain & Kajol. Anaya excused herself whilst Azlan continued burning a hole in the dance floor)
Azlan - I think I need a drink.
In no way, was Asad ready or would he ever be ready or prepared to face the unfortunate reality that awaited him in that office that day. Feeling immensely sick, unwell and weak, his grave and still fresh and painful injuries not making anything easy for him and neither did seeing Azlan and get a nasty reminder of how he got those injuries, he dumped his weak and tired, sick body unto the couch in the room, after neatly laying his jacket on the chair next to him, even in this situation his O.C.D taking precedence over everything else. He tossed an arm over his eyes his jaw still clenched with anger at Azlan as he willed himself to fall asleep. As his brain began relaxing a little, and just as his body began loosening up, relaxing a bit instead of being taught with tension since the minute he saw Azlan and just as he was feeling drowsy, about to drift off to sleep his ears caught sound of something. Water, dripping non-stop from the bathroom and it sounded like it had been dripping for a while because the bathroom sounded like it was flooding, and some water was even seeping out from under the door coming in to the office. Asad was frowning wondering what was going on and who was in here because only he or Ayaan were allowed back here and he had just passed Ayaan dancing with Naina, then who? At that precise moment his cell phone pinged and pulling it out of his pant pocket he squinted due to his migraine to read a message from Ayaan, the dimmest brightness on his phone still disturbing him...but evidently not as much as Ayaan's message: "Have you seen Zoya? She's been M.I.A for quite some time and last we left her with you. We've assumed she was still with you this whole time since both of you disappeared. Please tell me she's with you. Suddenly Asad's heart sank deep. Nearly stopped beating. He knew something was terribly wrong, his face paled and he immediately knew what that wrong was. He knew what Zoya had foolishly done even before he flew across that office and in two swift and easy kicks knocked in Ayaan's bathroom door and although he knew what he'd find, there was no way he was prepared for the sight that greeted him as he kicked it in. Zoya laying pale as a ghost, nearly not breathing on the bathroom floor in a pool of water and her own blood. Her wrist covered in blood and a blade lying next to her head, one wrist more bloody than the other. Her cheeks stained with tears, her hair plastered all over her pale face. Asad just stood there too numb with shock to react. He just blinked slowly, in disbelief, feeling bile rising in his throat, more pale and feeling more sick and nauseous than he did earlier. His mind was in as much free fall as his heart, in a haze unable to realize this was real and very much happening now. Unable to feel Jay next to him, unable to hear him screaming or shaking him, unable to see or hear him panicking, unable to feel him bending down and picking Zoya up still screaming, unable to hear him telling him to hold unto Zoya as he shoved her into his arms whilst grabbing his phone and keys and hurrying to unlock Ayaan's offices back door. He just knew once Zoya was in his arms that he had to rush, for her sake and his, especially his own he had to rush out of there, and into his car so that Jay could get them to the hospital ASAP. So that's what he did, still not understanding or accepting or back in reality, his eyes glued and never wavering from Zoya's beautiful face he rushed out that door with her limp and cold, pale body in his arms, continued staring at her face in a trance as he sat in the back with her whilst Jay rushed to the hospital and he continued to remain in that trance as he rushed into the hospital carrying her in his arms, staring at her beautiful face in complete numbness, disbelief and shock whilst Jay screamed for a doctor and continued to remain in shock as Aahil and Aisha came running up to them, and broke down into screams and cries, demanding explanations and not understanding or believing how this happened or why and when it happened when they had just left her fine at Rogue to come celebrate their engagement with their patients and staff, effectively ending that celebration as well.
Continued in next post...
Aisha sat on one of the hospital chairs next to and hugging Ayaan who was crying inconsolably, totally broken down in her embrace. Aahil sat across from them in another chair in complete shell shock and Arsalan too stood by the window at the end of the corridor, in equally as much shock and disbelief over the fact that Zoya had "tried to commit suicide or "harm herself out of pain/depression/misery they still weren't sure because the doctors were still trying to save the life she at the moment had no care for and hadn't had a chance to come speak to her family about it. Asad sat on the ground next to the hospital operation theatre staring at his hands which had her dried up blood on it, his rolled up white shirt sleeves, and the front of it too all were painted red with her blood and he simply couldn't stop staring at it in complete shock and disbelief. Zoya? Zoya who's NAME stood for light and life, who had come barrelling into his life like the light and life that was missing from it to guide him back from the hole of misery and depression he was sinking in. Zoya who shined brighter than all the stars, glitter and moonlight, than anything else in the world, Zoya who had given him a ray of hope and possibility that things could be better if only he saw the scope of them and wanted them to, who made him want to see the good in the world and other people, Zoya who's eyes could shine up any room she walked into with the mischievous and spunky twinkle in them, whose laughter could make even the most stone hearted guy's head turn and yearn, that Zoya, his Zoya was laying in a hospital currently fighting for her life because she didn't want to live anymore? SHE didn't have the courage and strength to wake up each day and face the cruelty of this world. She who was the strongest girl he had ever known...wanted to give up and call it quits. She who had given HIM the strength and hope to fight through his demons instead of giving into the unbearable pain it caused him to wake up each day and get a cruel reminder of all that this world especially this city had taken away from him. SHE had found it so unbearable and hard to go on and face this world because one low-life scumbag had unfortunately had the audacity and was sick enough to hurt her, A LOT! But still..she? He just couldn't believe it. He sat there replaying each and every word she had said to him about strength, hope and courage her 7 minute fandaa and lecture on smoking playing in his mind on a loop, her dancing mantra, her running like a paagal in the chilling cold of the night, screaming to get all the pain out, their SCOREBOARD and all that it stood for, and with that his blood stained hands clenched into painful fists and he only came to one conclusion. She was a fraud. A fraud. Nothing more. It was all a fraud, a lie, a sham, none of that was true. There was no it gets better' no tomorrows a new day' no such thing as hope and strength. This world was a cruel, evil and disgusting place where bad things happened to good people, that was the only reason to explain why Zoya who could never bring harm to anything except Asad's sanity was lying in there fighting for life and death. Because one of the countless beasts in this world simply couldn't stand to watch her shine bright and illuminate the world with her charm and twinkle that was just her, and so decided to take it upon himself to so cruelly thwart and snatch her golden and pure heart and that twinkle of hope, positivity, love and happiness away from her and dull down her aura to match the harmony of the rest of this cruel world. Suddenly, when the ocean of emotions he was sinking in became too much he rushed to his feet, gripping the jacket of his suit right along. He didn't know where he was headed but he was suddenly stalking out of the hospital, still in a daze still floating out of reality almost having an out of body experience. He didn't quite know where he was going or why he just knew he had to get there if he wanted to breath again. The helplessness, anger, devastation he felt in that moment was strangling him, suffocating him and even as he haphazardly not quite knowing what he was doing pulled at his collar he couldn't find that relief or breath of air that he was craving that he needed or wanted. That breath of air would only be Zoya's twinkling eyes staring back at his dark, empty, devastated and broken ones. He walked out and embraced the cold harsh winter storm and heavy rain and thunder. He couldn't help but laugh at god's irony. It seemed even the heavens above were crying and with Zoya in her pain, which is why they had opened up and let the rain which Zoya loved so much pour down. Feeling like the pain and emotions in him at the moment would eat him from within, he held out his hands in front of him, hands that were filled with her blood and let the rain she loved so much wash it away. Evidence of the pain, this universe had let an angel like her undeservingly and unfairly go through. One of the many betrayals of this world, of life. Standing out there, letting the rain wash over him and hopefully lessen some of the suffocating pain within he couldn't help but chuckle slightly finally getting it. Finally understanding what Zoya would constantly chat his ear off about when he was only half paying attention. Smoking had nothing on letting the rain take away some of that excessive pain life had so cruelly and unfairly thrown your way. The pain and fear, the hurt and betrayal which at this moment, filled his heart in such increased and overwhelming magnitude that once he was soaked head to toe, there was no telling which precious pearls on his face were drops of sorrow from the heavens above, or drops of sorrow from his haunted eyes.
Meanwhile somewhere in the middle of nowhere: Zain paced the street around the driver's side whilst Azlan (drunk) was hunched over out the back door, hurling on the side of the rode...as Anaya held his back...and soothingly rubbed his shoulders worriedly and Naina sat in the back seat staring at him just as worriedly, her heart hammering in her chest)
Humeira - (rolled her eyes from the back) is he done yet? God tonight was such a waste
Kajol - (through clenched teeth. She had so had enough) again who asked you to come? (Shook her head, beyond annoyed and leaning out of the window she snatched Zain's cigarette away from his hand just as he had raised it to his lips, needing it desperately if she was going to bardaasht Humeira during the rest of the car ride home.)
Kajol - (letting out a much needed breath of air) did you ever find out what happened with the Farooqui's Naina? What the emergency was? Why Ayaan had to run out so suddenly.
Humeira - (scoffed) emergency. You two really are clueless
Kajol - (snapped) YES. EMERGENCY...because Ayaan didn't run out of Rogue alone...he and Arsalan both ran out together..now if you don't mind I was talking to my sister.
Naina - (shook her head, staring at Humeira the entire time though, not appreciating her constant digs and insults, they were really starting to upset her) no...I have no idea...I just know that...Asad called and..(shook her head recalling back) God I've never seen Ayaan look so devastated or broken before...aisa lag raha tha jaise uski poori dunya ujhar gayee ho...he dropped his phone in shock too and just said..emergency I have to go...phone bhi mere paas hai..I don't know how to contact him...I just hope everything is okay.
Kajol - (turned around and smiled sportingly, holding her hand) It will be..Inshallah.
Anaya - (wiped the sweat and hair off of Azlan's face as he was finally finished hurling) god Azlan...apni haalat dekho..kya zaroorat thi itna peeni ki..what happened to you? (Azlan just looked over the headrest of his own seat at Naina who couldn't hold his eyes, his sad, loss and pain-filled and empty eyes for long and had to look away whilst Azlan fell further into his seat chuckling dryly and an ironic chuckle/scoff, pain filled laughter, next to Kajol who cowered away from him holding her nose and his laugh said everything, he himself didn't)
"There was once, a beautiful angel in red, who sat across from me in this Mazaar. Right across from me...right here..an angel Ya Allah, who believes in you...who prays to you...and who has faith and hope in you. Each and every time you hurt her...you give her pain that she doesn't deserve..she still has faith...she still believes and she still prays. For all the hurt and pain you give her...she just...she only fills others with more light, more happiness and more love. She...Ya Allah...she burns so bright...her laugh...it chimes so bright..her eyes shine so bright...they hold the power to bring even the deadest darkest of hearts to life...to love..to hope...and to pray..to you. Back to you like she brought me...today, here...begging you, praying to you, having faith in you that you won't take this angel away from us, from me...because we...(closed his eyes) I..need her. (Confessing to himself alike) I...want her...I lov-"
Asad's eyes opened, as his heart lurched, the word said and yet unsaid, nearly having rolled off his tongue. He stared at his trembling hands open in front of him and the uncontrollable pain and helpless tears that had rolled off his own face and into his hands. He looked up and around himself at the dark and deserted Mazaar, and he could literally see her..his angel in red sitting across from him, with that beautiful intricate black shawl around her head, he could almost see her tears and almost feel his heart constrict the same way it did that day. Feel his heart skip the beat it did that day when he had first laid eyes on his beautiful angel who had come crashing into his life like the storm outside tonight, and had changed everything about it, had changed him too, so much that he, who had no faith and no belief had found his feet lead him nowhere else but this very mazaar where he had first seen Zoya, where the most beautiful experience and change of his life had begun. Drenched head to toe from the rain, his tears and raindrops on his face untellable from one another, he had climbed the steps of that Mazaar with trembling legs, unsure and uncertain, unable to believe what he was doing. His breaths were coming in short panicked breaths, feeling like he couldn't breath due to his estranged, angry and strained relationship with god, he opened another 2 buttons on his shirt and completely pulled off his tie letting it slip from between his fingers and get crushed beneath his feet as he nearly fell to his knees in unsurprisingly but ironically the same place he had snuck in and blended in on that day in an attempt to save his own life. Unknowingly, he didn't even realize that the same God/Allah he held a million complaints against had saved him in more ways than one that day, through the same angel he had sent for Asad to bestow his eyes upon, the same angel, who today Asad was begging for him to save so she could continue saving him. But he didn't even know or remember how to pray. Remembering it like it was a different lifetime all together, he thought back to the time when Ayaaz had beat him so mercilessly in childhood, with his belt and he was crying inconsolably as Dilshad tried to mend and tend to his wounds, crying inconsolably as well. When Asad wouldn't let her touch him with the alcohol swab she had scooped him off the floor where they slept and had wrapped both her arms around him tightly and protectively, she had held him as they cried together and he complained about how much pain he was in breaking her heart. Thinking back to that memory, one of his most prized treasures with his Ammi several of the tears that mixed with the raindrops and tears for and because of Zoya were tears for his own suffering, for what had been made or become of him and for what had become of his relationship with his Ammi. He then remembered back to that memory again and how Dilshad had forcefully opened his hands out in prayer ..and how they both had prayed for the exact saving that Allah had sent him some 20 years later in the form of Zoya...and 20 years later he found his hands trembling and shaking as they opened up and prayed for the same angel Allah had sent him. Praying for her, for him, for them.
Arsalan - (now pacing the hallway) how, how could we have missed this? What (his voice breaking) what kind of brothers does that make us? Our..our sister was suffering and we didn't..we didn't even..know?
Aahil - (staring hard at the ground) I was too pre-occupied in my proposal, in getting married-
Ayaan - in making you guys meet Naina and none of us...none of us even thought for a second...she was hurting so much that she'd..that she'd (he couldn't even say the words, and Aisha put an arm around him again, hugging him and he leaned into her hold, holding his breath, pale as a ghost waiting with a baited breath for the doctor to either make or break their entire world)
Arsalan - I swear to god..I SWEAR to god I will kill that bas***d who did this to Zoya with my own hands..with my-
Aahil - (shook his head, holding the chair) usse toh hum maar hi daaleinge..par once Zoya wakes up..she is going to get the yelling of a lifetime..I mean how...how could she do this? To herself...to US-
Aisha Aahil (she gave him a small sympathetic smile as he looked up from the ground and shook her head, urging him to think like a doctor) No..Aahil...that's not what she needs-
Aahil - what she needs...WHAT ABOUT WHAT WE NEED? WHAT I NEED-
Arsalan - (seeing Aisha's face pale as he glared at her angrily he put a hand on Aahil's shoulder to make him snap out of it. To remind him that Aisha wasn't the enemy and she wasn't against him. Whatever she was saying was for his own benefit)
Aahil - (sighed, running a frustrated hand down his face and through his hair) I..I'm sorry Aish I didn't mean to lose it like that...it...it...(he felt so frustrated and helpless that he just held his face between his hands screaming into them hopelessly and angrily and Aisha let go of Ayaan running over to him and enveloping both her arms around him, hugging him)
Aisha - (whispered) I know...I know
Aahil - I just...I need her
Ayaan - (staring at the ground. All cried out, there were literally no tears left in his empty and broken eyes) I need her to be my crazy, annoying but adorable little sister again..
Aisha - (running her fingers through Aahil's hair as one tear fell after another) and she will be. Guys, trust me she will be back to the Zoya we all adore and love...beautiful inside and out, we just...we just have to be patient with her. We have to be strong for her..be there for her...and instead of getting angry we need to understand her-
Arsalan - Yea but Aisha..that is what we were doing up until now no? We weren't talking about it or emphasizing what happened we were trying not to suffocate her or make her think we were pitying her...we were trying to act as normal as possible thinking that the less she thought about it or talked about it the faster she'd move on-
Aahil - I guess she was thinking about it every minute anyways...because look where it got all of us today..Zoya is in there fighting for her life..and the 3 of us who claim to love her so freaking much couldn't do a thing to prevent it or save her now..despite being a doctor I can DO NOTHING (kicked the chair across from him angrily as he stood up, too angry and agitated to process this) to save my own little sister..(kicked the chair again cursing under his breath)
Aisha - STOP berating and blaming yourselves guys, there is NOTHING you could have done to prevent this. We all assumed Zoya was stronger than this, I mean (laughed) she always put up such a brave front that none of us would have suspected this in our wildest dreams.
Ayaan - (scoffed shaking his head) yah..she's really good at that. Putting up fronts...her smile had us all fooled.
Aisha - but...(shook her head) she's still human...and she's not the first girl to risk something like this after what she went through. Again guys...when she wakes up there will be NO yelling...there will be no pity and no sympathy...only understanding, compassion and love okay. You all need to behave like the elder, more responsible and doting brothers that I know you to be okay. Remind her, of how loved and needed she is...how valued and appreciated she is and trust me that will be the biggest weapon at our disposal and her greatest healer.
Arsalan - (in a small meek whisper, after minutes of silence, he dared to voice the question that they were all thinking in their heads) she...she will wake up right?
Ayaan - (after moments of silence again, his eyes filled with fresh tears again as the very real fear of losing his sister came crashing upon him once again) (his voice breaking) should we...should we call Aapi...Asif?
Aahil - (after another few moments of silence, in which they all pondered about it for a few moments) let's just...take a few minutes to- (but luckily, the doctor came out of the OT before they made that rash and devastating decision to call Zeenat but there breathing stopped and throats all went dry nonetheless as the moment of truth doomed over their heads. The moment when all could be destroyed or saved forever as they all rose and stood with their shaking and trembling legs, seeing spots before their eyes as their hearts constricted and breathing stopped out of fear.)
Doctor - She's fine (Ayaan whimpered as he pressed his hands to his eyes before walking a few feet away and bending over, clutching his still trembling knees and nearly dry heaving, his tears of pain, of love, of fear and happiness all falling freely. Arsalan sank into a nearby chair, burying his face in his hands crying similar tears whilst Aisha held unto Aahil's arm, both of them too had tears of relief running down their faces as Aahil shook the doctors hand) another inch too deep and uh...we could've lost her (Aahil closed his eyes never wanting that to be a possibility) but uhh...(her brothers hearts constricted fearfully again and they all looked up to the doctor's frowning face with berated breaths again) no it's just uhh...I didn't know if you were aware or not (hesitated, not knowing exactly how to say this, or break the news to them) but this isn't the first time Ms. Farooqui has cut herself...it seems like your sister is an impulsive and obsessive cutter. Her wrists are full of blade marks that run quite deep..my guess is...several years deep. It's a...a coping mechanism but not a healthy one. She's an emotional cutter so it's hard to say if...if this was a suicide attempt or...an unplanned mistake. Either way...Aisha Aahil (the senior doctor looked towards his two juniors, trying his best to deal with them as not just his doctors but the family of a patient as well) needless to say she will need to be put on a suicide watch and her emotional healing will be needed to taken care of...I would suggest you get your sister the help she needs. Maybe talking to someone or (Aahil was in too much of shock like his brothers to speak so Aisha nodded on his behalf)
Aisha - Thank You Dr., we we'll make sure that that is the last time...a blade reaches her wrist...
Dr. - (nodded) Once again...I'm sorry for whatever it is she's going through (Aisha nodded and the doctor walked away and Ayaan flew off the handle. His tears were now angry tears, he was FURIOUS at Zoya to say the least. He kicked the chair repeatedly in front of him...screaming an angry f**k', before falling unto that chair itself and breaking down and Aahil and Arsalan too...too broken and stunned slid into chairs whilst Aisha held her head leaning against the wall...none knowing how to process or deal with the news that had just been broken to them. None however, were more shocked than Asad who stood at the threshold of that corridor having arrived at the same time as the doctor had and the tears of happiness and relief as well as shock and confusion regarding whether or not it was HIS prayer that had been answered or his prayer that had brought his Zoya back to him, weather or not it was him that god was bestowing this blessing or favour upon all remained unanswered as he heard the rest of what the doctor had to say)
An hour later:
Zoya tried and failed multiple times to open her heavy eyelids. She had her eyes closed and yet she felt the world around her spinning because she was that supremely dizzy and weak. She had no idea where she was or why, what day it was, but she could tell she wasn't alone...there were people around her. Even in her state of supreme weakness and half consciousness paranoia and fear gripped her in such strong magnitude that her entire body jolted. She felt her body begin shaking uncontrollably and cold sweats begin to break out all over her as she tried but failed once again to open her eyes. A whimper escaped her as she clutched the sheets around her tighter, fearing the worst; Sameer had kidnapped her, drugged her and whilst she was unconscious who knows what he did with her: Finished what he started alas? She tried but failed to call out to someone, her throat was so unbelievably dry and even in her state of semi consciousness she wasn't surprised that the name on her tongue was Asad's. She couldn't feel his presence nearby, and automatically her mind linked that with her being in an unsafe and dangerous situation. Just as soon as she began hyperventilating and her panic attack was triggered however, she felt someone softly stroking her hair. At first, it made her entire body jerk violently with fear but then as she heard faint but familiar voices calling her name, she realized it was someone of her own.
Aisha - Zoya...
Aahil - Come on Zoya, open your eyes beta...(& Zoya wanted to. She still wasn't sure where she was or why, or what had happened and why they were asking her to open her eyes, but she knew that she wasn't in danger. She was safe, with her loved ones...who could NEVER bring her harm and with that, using everything she had inside her, Zoya fought through it and slowly her eyes fluttered open. Seeing her eyes opening, brought tears to Aahil's eyes as he sat next to her stroking her hair and formed a lump in Arsalan's throat as he stood at the foot of her bed watching her. Still, Zoya felt a splitting headache come on, as if the weight of the entire world was suddenly on her head. As she opened her eyes the lights in the room only further triggered that headache, but as her eyes opened for a split second, she could tell from the bed, the window, the wires and tubes around her, the soft prick of a needle in her and the machines connected to her that she was in a hospital. Her forehead ceased in confusion as she tried to wonder why. She felt people shuffling next to her and the loss of warmth next to her left side for about 10 seconds, before someone else was sitting next to her..As that someone held her hand, she suddenly felt more safe and more protected and so she fought with whatever little energy she had inside her and opened her eyes and found her Arsalan bhai sitting next to her, on her hospital bed holding her hand and placing a soft chaste kiss on the back of it and then she saw it. The thick bandage on her wrist, the tears in Arsalan's eyes and it suddenly came crashing back to her and her eyes were wide open at once, even though it fatigued her and took all, every ounce of energy in her to fight and keep them open instead of give in to the weakness and exhaustion that was making her incredibly nauseous and dizzy. Sameer, and then...someone had called her a s**t and, the fight...and she was cutting herself at Rogue because...Asad-...her eyes suddenly darted around the room unsurely whilst everyone kept watch over her, Aisha, Arsalan and Aahil smiling softly at her but her eyes searched for him, and him alone. But he wasn't there. Right. Why would he be? Asad Ahmed Khan would want nothing to do with a s**t and disrespected girl like her. Someone whose own parents didn't want her, then why would anyone else in this life ever?
Aahil - Zoya? (She closed her eyes again, as tears rushed to them fought against them and against the sudden lump in her throat and braving the massive crack in her heart she once again, flickered her eyes open...and seeing Aahil smile at her, softly stroking her face and hair she couldn't help but smile back. Guess, there were some people in the world after all, who loved her regardless of anything and everything.) beta (Zoya looked over to Arsalan who cleared his throat and smiled through his tears, as he stroked her other cheek with his knuckles)
Arsalan Pari (Zoya lowered her eyes not feeling worthy of that nickname, her lips trembling as she realized what this meant. They knew. About the cutting, and about the defeat she had accepted in the bathroom of Ayaan's office. About the suicide. They knew it all now, her darkest secret she had tried so hard to hide for all these years...was out in the open now and she didn't know how to face her brothers. She didn't even now how she felt about the fact that her life was saved and she was still alive. She had been so close to the sweet release of death and had felt all the pain that she had been hiding all these years, that had finally caught up with her and become so unbearable, being left behind. But...but she was alive, and she didn't know what to feel? Happy to be with her loved one's or miserable that she would have to face all he cruel realities of this dark world. Realities like Sameer, Faizan Jeeju's death, of being unworthy of love, and belongingness after-all that is why her own parents didn't want her, Shazia Naani and her family didn't want her (barring her brothers), Asad didn't want her. There had to be something wrong with her then which made her so unlovable and unbearable.)
Aahil - Pari? (A tear escaped hearing that name again, and she felt someone catch it as it fell. Looking up she saw Aahil smile at her through his own tears, and the damn broke..guess no matter how unbearable the pain, the love of her brothers and Zeenat made up for all of it and if that is the only love she got in this world then she would hungrily soak up each ounce of it they had to offer. Aahil shook his head as his own lips trembled and Arsalan kissed her hand whilst Aahil hugged her semi-raised head against his chest. Stroking her hair still and kissing the top of her head. Her whimpers and soft mumbled apologies breaking all of their hearts.)
Zoya - I'm...I'm sorry bhai. I'm sorry I...I...(and then she was hyperventilating again. Aahil moved her head back shaking his head, wiping her tears whilst Aisha helped her drink a glass of water sitting by her. When she was done, she looked towards Arsalan and was on the verge of crying again but he too moved forward shaking his head, and in that moment all the grudges and anger he held abandoned him as unimaginable relief that his sister was ALIVE and healthy and sitting in front of him, that he was able to see her, touch her, hug her was more than enough & he would spend the rest of his life being grateful for that.)
Arsalan - (clearing his throat but his voice still broke) you're okay...you're going to be okay. We're okay. We...(sighed) we're not mad...we're...(shook his head) we'll talk about it later. (Saying so he wrapped his arm around a relieved Zoya, and stroked her hair too, kissing her cheek and letting the last of his tears fall. There was no reason to cry. His sister was okay, his Pari was...she was going to be okay. As Zoya hugged him back just as fiercely needing and greedy for all the hugs and love she could get from her brothers, her eye caught Ayaan standing in the corner, with his back towards all of them staring out the window. Not at them, but out the window. She could tell by his body language which was taut with tension, trembling with rage that he may not be as okay with what..she had done as Aahil or Arsalan were, or were at least pretending to be. Suddenly her heart sank with fear, anger seemed to be radiating off of him in waves.
Zoya - (let go of Arsalan, her body trembling partially due to fear of Ayaan's anger and partially out of weakness. She found his name tumbling before her lips before she knew, in a meek whisper, more like a meek question.) Ayaan?
Arsalan - (exchanged an apprehensive glance with Aahil who looked from Ayaan's back to Aahil clearly also having no answer) uhmm...Zoya it's...it's late..why don't you get some rest. Hum kal subah baat karte hain..(but it didn't seem like Zoya was listening to him. She just blinked slowly, still staring at Ayaan's back, posing the same question)
Zoya - Ayaan?
Aahil - (tried to make her lay back down forcefully but even in that weak state when she was determined and when it came to love, none were as fierce as Zoya was, and no one could reckon with her) Zoya come on...you're body's exhausted just-
Zoya - Ayaan? (Aahil sighed, giving up. He looked towards Arsalan who looked towards Ayaan's back that was even more taut now, he looked like he was on the brink of exploding and they didn't want to subject Zoya to that wrath right now..not when she was already so fragile.)
Aisha - Zoya...come-
Zoya - Ayaan?
Arsalan - (angry now) Ayaan- (and that did it. Ayaan Spun around, his bloodshot eyes wild with anger, endless tears of devastation, of betrayal and anger still falling from them and without wasting a second, he unleashed the wrath they were so afraid of him unleashing)
Ayaan - NO ONE'S MAD MY ASS. SPEAK FOR YOURSELF AAHIL...BECAUSE SOME OF US ARE DOWN RIGHT FURIOUS.
Zoya - (whimpered, as tears filled her eyes) Ayaan-
Ayaan - SHUT UP ZOYA. JUST SHUT UP- (Aahil put a strong protective arm around her staring at Arsalan in alarm who had shot out of bed and was holding Ayaan back. Aahil felt Zoya's body tremble seeing and hearing rage like she had never seen or experienced from Ayaan towards her before but Ayaan was unstoppable today. He had been burned and betrayed and he had warned her before too of hiding things from him and yet, YET she had hid the fact that all these years she was basically trying to end herself one cut at a time) SHUT UP. ARSALAN AND AAHIL CAN PROTECT YOUR DELICATE FEELINGS ALL THEY WANT...BY LYING TO YOU THAT THEY AREN'T MAD WHEN INTERNALLY THEY ARE JUST AS FURIOUS AND JUST AS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU AS I AM (and that broke her heart. Disappointed. The people she couldn't stand to disappoint, they were all disappointed in her) ACTUALLY SCRATCH THAT...YOU CAN'T BE DISAPPOINTED IN STRANGERS...AND YOU KNOW WHAT (laughed) THATS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE TO US, TO ME NOW. A STRANGER. KYUNKI APNE WAISA DHOKA NAHIN DETE JAISA TUMNE DIYA HAI...SISTERS DON'T BETRAY THEIR BROTHERS THE WAY YOU DID. THE WAY YOU HAVE FOR GOD KNOWS HOW MANY YEARS. TELL ME ZOYA..WHAT..WHAT IS SO FREAKING UNBEARABLE IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU FIND THE NEED TO CUT YOURSELF?!! HUH? (Feeling her body tremble in her hold, her face growing paler, and her fists clench, obviously with the need to cut herself as tears plagued her eyes which she was fighting hard to hold back Aisha looked to Aahil in alarm who looked to Ayaan)
Aahil- THATS ENOUGH AYAAN. SHUT UP. STOP.
Ayaan - YOU SHUT UP. I want to hear this...I WANT TO KNOW WHY? WHAT IS IT THAT IS SO PAINFUL IN Her life THAT SHE NEEDS TO CUT HERSELF? IS IT NAANI? HER WORDS? HASEENA CHACHI? Huh? Is it the fact that you CHOSE to move to New York and then ended up feeling lonely there? YOU KNOW MAYBE-
Arsalan - AYAAN SHUT UP.
Ayaan - MAYBE I could've understood and MAYBE, MAYBE I could've forgiven it if you cut yourself just this one time...after what happened after what a STRANGER, A bas***d DID TO YOU...MAYBE THE PAIN OF WHAT HE DID TO YOU OUTWEIGHED THE YEARS OF LOVE WE GAVE TO YOU BUT THE FACT THAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS...SLOWLY PLANNING THIS-
Zoya - (spoke in a meek whisper, her jaw set tight) I wasn't planning anything.
Ayaan - (slapped the tray table at the edge of her bed startling all of them and this time both Aahil and Arsalan yelled at him, but he simply continued glaring at Zoya...right in the eye) THEN WHY THE f**k DO YOU DO IT-
Zoya - BECAUSE I KILLED FAIZAN JEEJU!! OKAY!! BECAUSE I f**kING KILLED THE ONE PERSON I LOVED THE MOST IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD AND WHO LOVED ME THE MOST IN THIS ENTIRE WORLD. OKAY HE DIED BECAUSE OF ME...AAPI LOST HER HUSBAND AND FIRST LOVE BECAUSE OF ME. NAANI LOST HER SON BECAUSE OF ME!! HE DIED BECAUSE OF ME!! HE (hyperventilating again) ME...I...I KILLED H...(Ayaan still stood glaring at Zoya, breathing heavily, his eyes still as wide and enraged, his body still shaking with rage as he watched Zoya sob uncontrollably into her hands as Aahil and Aisha tried to comfort her, but he still wasn't satisfied. Fine, he didn't expect to hear that...and he didn't know that and maybe the pain of it was so unbearable that she had to cut herself but what he couldn't believe is that she ACTUALLY believed this. That...Shazia Naani's words had such an effect on her that she ACTUALLY had begun believing this bullshit that HE died because of HER? and had believed it all these years too. Arsalan and Aahil were stunned to hear that too but at the moment their prime concern was for Zoya. Her health, her sanity and her stability and her breaking down wasn't accomplishing any of that.)
Arsalan - (grabbed Ayaan's arm and glared at him once he did, Arsalan shook his head in utmost disappointment and bit out only 2 words and that too, immensely angrily) Get OUT.
Asad was already quite drunk & yet, the buzz wasn't enough to dull the pain. Not tonight. He thought back to the prayer he had so foolishly done for Zoya at the Mazaar and couldn't laugh at the irony that for once god heard him, yet as it turned out the one he prayed for didn't even want that prayer. He thought back to all the times he had prayed in childhood and it wasn't accepted. He still, day after day prayed to not feel pain that night, or the night after that. Night after night he prayed and night after night he somehow found another reason to piss his drunken stepfather off and night after night he bared the brunt of it. His whole body shuddered violently as he heard and felt the belt whip across his back..he still had the wounds of it as proof on his back and chest. If it wasn't him beating him drunk there was some form of pain or another. Child labour, hunger, watching his mother bare the abuse, his step fathers equally drunk but even more worse friends...and then finally came the night when the prince of the Haveli; his father had beat him so mercilessly that he understood. God hated him, and there was nothing but pain written in his fate and so he stopped praying. He stopped believing, stopped hoping and stopped praying. Until Zoya came into his life. Until tonight and it turns out she didn't want to live. She...she wanted to die, on him. He swung back another sip as that reality constricted his already bleeding heart further. She cut herself, for years, all the time and no one knew. He didn't know. She was suicidal, and no one knew. He didn't know. Because she didn't let anyone know or suspect. She was always there, with the brightest smile...the loudest laugh and the chirpiest and cheeriest personality. Guess that should've been the sign right there. His silence, his eyes and the darkness that engulfed him was his scream and cry for help. Her laughter, her twinkle and the blinding light that surrounded her was her scream and cry for help. She was overcompensating this whole time, hiding her cracks and demons when the whole time, it was nothing but a cry for help. As he drank his pain away as always, he felt someone fall into the stool beside him, someone VERY angry and he noticed them grab 4 shots sitting at the bar and down them all. He knew who it was. There were only so many people in Kasauli going through as much pain as him tonight.
Asad - (cleared his throat, as an image of her in that black shawl at the Mazaar flashed before his eyes again) how...how is she?
Ayaan - (sucking on a lime) does it matter? She's probably angry and regretting that you saved her life AGAIN..probably planning her next cutting party (scoffed, shaking his head grabbing another drink. Asad thought back to all the times he had saved her life and thought...what if she had the same regret then too? What if internally she abhorred him for saving her and went running towards trouble for the same reason. To find release. Alternative methods of suicide. He wasn't entirely wrong subconsciously she did end up running towards trouble because she didn't care...she was so numb with pain that she didn't even realize what she was getting herself into and the repercussions of it. She didn't end up getting the name of his Musibat for no reason after all. Disturbed by that realization he cleared his throat snapping back to reality and hearing what Ayaan was saying)
Ayaan - couldn't stay after that..Arsalan threw me out of the I.C.U
Asad - (frowned) what happened?
Ayaan - (sighed, staring at him. His only regret were the tears in Zoya's eyes..that's it) I...was angry..and disappointed..I felt betrayed and I couldn't hide it. I didn't hide it...(sighed) I just...I said it all everything..made her cry, made everything worse and...yah (held up his drink, smiling through his tears) cheers to my suicidal sister.
Asad - (his eyes closed on their own accord hearing suicidal') did she...did she say why-
Ayaan - (scoffed)...that's the best part (he looked over to Asad) you don't...didn't know my uhh...youngest chachu...Faizan Chachu
Asad - (nodded) Bhabi's husband
Ayaan - (nodded) he died...before we were friends (sighed) he...(his eyes filled with tear. His heart feeling like it would BURST from pain remembering the gem of a man that Faizan was...and the loss. The loss and the gravity of it on Zoya both which he knew and which he didn't, which he was finding out today) he absolutely ADORED her...Zoya. Like you have NO idea. The love that we have for her..Arsalan Asif Aahil Azhar me...our love has nothing on his love for her..your love for your sisters probably has nothing on his love for her. (Trying to talk through the lump in his throat) He was like..Her father, mentor...Jeeju..friend confidant her entire world...he loved her enough to fight the world for her and he did. He even...(shrugged) he even broke his ties with our entire family and took Aapi and her to New York when Naani's taunts and torments got too much for Zoya. (Asad frowned) She..didn't approve of Zoya. Because she wasn't HER blood..she was adopted and so...(shook his head) you know the sick brown mentality..yeh kis ka gandha hoon hai "manhoos hai bla bla bla...each time Aapi had a miscarriage she blamed Zoya..she blamed Zoya for everything that went wrong in our house..in our lives...she even...physically hurt her a couple of times (Asad's hand immediately and subconsciously clenched into a fist on the bar, hearing that, the possibility of Zoya being in pain of any kind) she tried to send her to boarding school man she did..EVERYTHING she could to make Zoya's life miserable. Eventually..he moved her and Aapi to New York and...that just made my daadi even more furious. She begged him to come back..and she was..good for a while...she didn't love Zoya or welcome her with open arms but she left her alone...(shook his head) I think...that hurt Zoya more...it drove her more insane...(drawing circles on his forehead) you know thinking the same question over and over again till it drives you mad..WHY? What was her fault? Why was she so unlovable that her own parents didn't want her..and now Daadi didn't want her. My Chachi's were just like her..taunting her every chance they could get..my dad and chachoos NEVER spoke up against the women of the house and Zoya never showed that she was suffering. (Shrugged) you know how good she is at that. (Asad sighed taking a sip of his drink, oh he knew it alright) but apparently as she informed us tonight...she too believes what my Daadi and Chachi (gripping the glass so tightly there was a chance of it breaking and cracking right there in his hand) have been saying since he died, that it was HER FAULT.
Asad - (cleared his throat) how...uh..how did he die?
Ayaan - (frowned) I don't know the entirety of it because I was already in school in London but apparently there was some guy...who was harassing her and wouldn't take no for an answer..jeeju talked to him a few times he still wouldn't listen. Then he uh...(taking a deep breath) he tried to assault her..(Asad closed his eyes, knowing it was coming but still it didn't make it any easier to hear. God, what..what did this girl, this poor innocent soul have to go through. She didn't deserve ANY of what she got, she deserved the WORLD, LOVE, COMFORT, PROTECTION SUPPORT. She deserved to he spoiled rotten and instead all she got was thorn after thorn) and..uh things got ugly..Jeeju went out in anger..to teach him a lesson and...he never came home. And (closed his eyes as tears fell from them again)...and Zoya's been broken ever since..and now..it's reached the point where she can't hide it...or fake it...she needs...needs for someone to hold her, and prevent her from falling apart. (He gulped his drink whilst Asad sat there staring into nothingness for a few minutes and then he abruptly got up, rushed and anxious. Like he was running out of time and needed to be somewhere else right this minute. Which he did.)
Asad - (feeling Ayaan's stare on him) I have to go. (He had to go prevent Zoya from falling apart. From taking her own life and to let her know that he was there, here, and he NEEDED her & WANTED Her, to be here...for him & with him)
Continued in the next part...
Part 29 Continued...
Back at the Hospital - Late that night:
Asad stood outside Zoya's hospital bedroom door, firstly unable to believe that he was in fact standing outside her HOSPITAL room and then debating and fighting yet another internal battle with himself of whether to go inside or not. It seemed though that he had already lost half the battle because his shaky hand was already up and holding the knob. He wasn't even surprised anymore when he lost the other half of that battle as well, letting his heart win over his mind and better knowledge yet again and pushed open the door to her room. He instantly regretted his decision and wished to just walk out before he walked in and couldn't take it back, couldn't undo it and reached the point of no return. However again, that thought abandoned him just as soon as it entered his heart and once again he found himself stepping further into her room. Thankful, and relieved that the lights were off, there was no one in the room..except him and her and she, his heart constricted and broke seeing all those tubes, wires and needles connected to her...seeing the paleness of her face, his whole body shuddered as he saw her laying there asleep. Being honest he was relieved that she was asleep because he didn't know how he would react or what he would do if she were awake but then again being really honest he didn't really know what he was doing here to begin with. He just had such an overwhelming desire to see her, to lay his eyes on her and never look away, after all that Ayaan had told him he wanted to protect her and ensure she was safe and wanted to make sure no one EVER told her she was unloved, unneeded or unwanted, because all those people would have to come and say the same to him. His eyes alone would let them know that he needed her, he wanted her and there was no need for anyone else to need her after that. His need and want for her would be enough for 10 lifetimes. Again, he didn't even know when or how but he was staggering towards her in his drunken stupor, towards her pale body...her pale face which was marked with the darkest bags under her eyes and endless tear stains on her cheeks. Even now he could see her eyes restlessly moving beneath her lids and some wetness gathered at the brim of her lids even though they were closed, he could tell she had cried, a lot and she repeatedly broke his heart. She broke his heart when she whimpered in her sleep and she broke his heart when his eyes fell on the thick wad of bandage wrapped around her wrists sticking out of the edge of her hospital gowns sleeves. He cast a casual, disappointed and angry, betrayed and hurt but more than anything apologetic half sideways glance to her peacefully resting face and his trembling fingers casually touched the bandage. He heard her whimper again, a soft cry escape her as if she was communicating her pain to him in her sleep, as if she knew he was there and judging by the way her entire body relaxed, and she fell into true peaceful slumber only once and after he came, the way her eyes stopped roaming suddenly would only suggest that yes, she did know he was there. Asad ran his fingers down the length if one of her bandages before he took a hesitant seat next to her on the hospital bed, his fingers still subconsciously and involuntarily stroking her bandage and he had no idea that they were. Touching her, had become such second nature to him. He gulped away the lump and tears of heartbreak as he very gingerly and hesitantly slightly raised the sleeve of her hospital gown up and saw the length of the bandages. They were reaching up to her elbows meaning that's how much she had cut herself, that's how much blood she lost and it broke his heart, nearly killing his alcohol buzz. He sighed shaking his head blinking his tears away as he let go of her gowns sleeve.
Asad - (sighed, shaking his head looking out the window of the darken room.) Zoya. (The name from his lips sounded like a complaint, gratitude, and a prayer all in one. The sound of her steady heartbeat on the monitor, sounded like music to his ears and he wanted to never stop hearing that melody, only sound that was reassuring him that his Zoya, his angel was still with him...that there was still somewhere, some hope left in him. He sighed, as once again, without him even realizing it or consciously making the effort to do it his fingers raised up and very softly and tenderly moved a strand of hair off her face before he ran two of his fingers down her face and then let his knuckles stroke her cheek for a few seconds. Letting himself dwell on how much peace, Zen and happiness it brought to him and evidently Zoya too. She sighed softly and contently and leaned into his touch making him smile before he felt like he was undeserving of touching an angel as pure as her and let his fingers drop to his side. He shouldn't be dwelling on his dreams, they were hopeless and would bring him nothing but eternal misery. There was no way someone like him was worthy of such an angel. Sighing dejectedly, he stood up from her bed, without looking at her again and walked towards the edge of it, leaning against the footboard and staring out at the storm. As soon as the warmth, comfort, love and protection of his touch abandoned her Zoya's eyes constricted and a whimper of fear escaped her again, before her eyes fluttered open..in search for that cocoon of hope that was Asad's touch. As Zoya's eyes fluttered open, for a few seconds she laid there thinking she was imagining or dreaming it all...but it had felt so real. Mr. Khan walking into her room...sitting next to her, touching her bandage...her hair, and as she thought about it..subconsciously her own hand was touching her hair too. Her eyes darted around the room towards the entrance door and then darted right back towards her own feet, and sure enough as she blinked and blinked again slowly...his silhouette wasn't just her imagination..he was actually there, sitting on/leaning against her footboard, holding it with both of his beautiful hands and staring out of the window at the moon. But she still couldn't believe he was actually there. Her heart was beating a mile per minute, she thought he wanted nothing to do with her then...then what- slowly sitting up
Zoya - (his name, a reflex, falling out of her mouth before she could even think straight..) Mr. Khan? (She saw how he visibly stilled hearing her name and she lowered her eyes, fearing that he wouldn't want her calling her name with her filthy tongue or maybe couldn't stand to see her filthy face. She wondered what he was doing here..paying her a compulsory pity visit to keep up appearances just so his mother or sister didn't tell him off..or maybe he dropped by with Ayaan? Either way, as she saw him slowly pull his body off the footboard and slowly, hesitantly..his heart hammering just as insanely as hers turn around to face her, her whole body shuddered before she pulled herself in closer, folding her arms closer around herself and lowered her shameful eyes. Asad blinked, the booze catching up with him. Relief washed over him wave after wave as he saw her sitting up, her eyes open...and...speaking. But with that relief the pain of betrayal..anger and hurt FOR her and because of her only intensified and he too found the words tumbling from his mouth before he could stop them. He didn't plan it..but the time for confrontation was now.
Asad - (his voice, a mere whisper broke none the less as he pointed a shaky accusatory finger at her) you...you're a fraud. (Zoya's surprised and confused eyes raised to his face and he gritted his teeth, clenching his jaw tightly as he pointed that finger more confidently this time..his eyes brimming with angry tears) YOU'RE A FRAUD.
Zoya - (her voice breaking..she didn't understand..nor did she know how to respond to that..what, what was he accusing her of)
Asad - You go around smiling, laughing singing...dancing and making it all seem so easy. Giving ME lectures on pain..and pain management..you lecture me to quit smoking..quit drinking..go running against freezing cold wind screaming like a psychopath thinking it will lessen the crushing pain I have to live with EVERY single breathing moment and yet the WHOLE time you've been (pointing to her bandages, his eyes bloodshot and wild with fury and rage) the WHOLE TIME THIS IS HOW YOU'VE BEEN MANAGING YOUR OWN PAIN...(shook his head) how many kicks did you get that night when you made me run in the cold wind ACTUALLY falling for all that crap and BELIEVING that it worked..BELIEVING that you were trying to HELP me.
Zoya - (wiped her tears with a careless hand as she closed her eyes crying unable to believe what he was accusing her of. It was only partially true. Yes, she was a fraud but she was genuinely trying to help him when she told him to try all that) I WAS trying to help you..
Asad - THAT'S ANOTHER LIE. (Zoya shook her head, internally fervently praying for him to believe her, needing him to believe her) If you CARED ABOUT ME...IF YOU WERE TRYING TO HELP ME..YOU WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS.
Zoya - (pulled her knees up and rested her head on them, crying into her hands) I...I'm sorry..I...I'm sorry..sorry...okay I'm SORRY I couldn't help it...the PAIN was just too much...(There was silence in the room for a few minutes, the silence was only filled with sounds of Zoya's heart wrenching cries and Asad's heavy breathing as he tried, and failed miserably to try and not..go over to her and comfort her..to not wrap his arms around her and refuse to ever let go. Instead, he staggered over to her, his drunken eyes drooping as he did..and standing next to her watch her cry..he had to tuck his itching hands into his pockets to prevent himself from hugging her, and perhaps foolishly and compulsively allow his heart to sway and do much more, all that it craved)
Asad - (scoffed and smiled, shaking his hand standing next to her) I know pain...I HAVE pain...pain which I spend my days smoking away..and nights drinking away...pain which...you brought your smile along to cure...(Zoya's surprised eyes looked up at his face and he shrugged, his eyes screaming out the disappointment in his heart but Zoya was least concerned by that or worried, instead her heart and face was filled with relief...and tears of happiness...of disbelief..of hope..his beautiful words and his beautiful voice echoing in her ears, drowned out the sounds of all the dark, degrading and tormenting words of Sameer Anand and instead filling her with unimaginable peace and life...the WILL and the POWER, the STRENGTH to get over this..to live. She nearly laughed as she watched him retreat his steps, his eyes still fixated on her..shrugging as he did..but she didn't stop him, correct him or clarify anything to him. It didn't matter...he didn't hate her, he didn't loathe her...he didn't...)
Asad - (whispered) you're a fraud. (Saying so, he shrugged one last time..before his steps took him out of the room and turning on his heels he staggered out and walked away, leaving her...suddenly cold and alone staring after him..at the light filling in the room from the hallway where ironically he, the light that had just lit up her entire world, her face..her life..her existence just stood seconds ago. It didn't matter..nothing mattered anymore because there was faith..there was hope...and her only regret now was that she had let down everyone she loved MOST in this world and had HURT THEM...but no more. He wasn't worth it. He wasn't so much worth as a spared thought from her and here she was wasting her time, her tears, her blood..her LOVE, her attention her LIFE on him...and disappointing all those who mattered. The boy who actually mattered. The only one who did. She knew it wouldn't be easy..but she was going to try to be stronger and live by the words he accused her to be a fraud for. She was going to try, for him, for her..for them. "pain which...you brought your smile along to cure
The Next Morning - Haveli:
Shireen - (dropping her fork in shock, as she joined the rest of the family elders in staring at him like he was playing some disgusting joke) Tumhara Dimaagh toh haraab nahin ho gaya Azlan?
Razia - Tum apni behen ki shaadi uss insaan ke bhai se karna chahte ho jissne tumhari behen ko thukraya..jissne hamari izzat ki dunya ke saamne dhajiya uradin...jo ab tumhari behen ko chorke uss DAYAN ki beti se shaadi kar raha hai-
Azlan - (smacked the table in anger) TAMEEZ se baat kijiye...WOH BHI meri behen hai.
Razia - Ab main bolongi toh bologe ke bolti hai par yeh achanak tumhe uss behen pe apni iss behen se zyaada pyaar kabse aane lagga...(shook her head eyeing Shireen and rubbing a sympathetic hand over her shoulder, knowing that's ALL she had to do to push her over the edge) lagta hai fresh fresh jaadu hua hai Shireen...Tabhi toh tumhari beti chorke..Aahil itni jaldi uss dayan ki beti se shaadi karne waala hai-
Maya - Bhabi (glaring at her) baat ko keenchna ki koi zaroorat nahin hai..lets just focus on what Azlan is saying-
Javed - (trying to process what he heard) tumhe yeh idea aaya bhi toh kahein se aaya Azlan?
Azlan - (sighed) Yeh mera nahin Arsalan ka apna idea hai...he says has been thinking about it for a while..ever since Aahil and Aapi' engagement talks were on but Aahil confided in him that he and (eyed shireen and Razia and rolled his eyes because he had to sugar-coat it as much as he could just so they wouldn't focus on the unnecessary details and completely miss the point, which they did anyways) Aisha Aapi may...be falling for one another-
Razia - Tauba Tauba Tauba...dekho toh zaara..yeh Dilshad ne apni beti ki kaisi tarbiyat ki hai..matlab tabse iska aur aahil ka chakkar chal raha hai...chchch sharafat ka toh zamaana hi nahin raha-
Azlan - (looked towards Kajol and Zain and then back at Razia and he only shut up for Kajols sake..she was like a sister to him and he couldn't insult her like that but how he wished to THROW it in Razia's face - ZAIN & KAJOL Had been dating under their roof since childhood) WOH KOI CHAKKAR nahin chala rahee thee..THEY FELL IN LOVE-
Razia - (adjusting her dupatta) ache se jaanti hoon main yeh love shuv ki bolti...(muttered under her breath but ensured it was loud enough for everyone to hear) kaun jaane 9 mahine baad patah chale ke baat kuch aur hi thi- (Azlan was on his feet, red in the face ready to blast her before she finished spewing such disgusting words but Javed held up a hand and held him back whilst everyone else stared at her appalled as well, everyone secretly wishing she had said that to Asad's face. What a treat that would be seeing Razia subjected to some classic Asad Ahmed Khan treatment)
Salman - (glared at her) zubaan sambhalke baat karo Razia..yeh mat bhoolo ke tum iss ghar ki ek beti ki baat kar rahe ho-
Shireen - (crying, making Azlan roll his eyes heavenward) AUR MERI BETI BABA!! HUNH!! Jo beti iss ghar ka hissa nahin hai uski toh bari fikar hai aapko...par jo yahan aapke saamne baithi hai...USKI NAHIN-
Salman - Shireen..relax..Azlan ke kehne se kuch nahin ho raha..hum kal hi Anaya ko rukhsat toh nahin kar rahe..of course hum soch samajh kar hi koi faisla kareinge
Razia - KYA MATLAB FAISLA KAREINGE AAP LOG? Aap aisa SOCH bhi kaise sakte hain? Sochiye toh kitni badnaami kitni besati hogi hamare khandaan ki jab sab ko yeh pata chalega ke humme apni beti ke liye aur koi nahin milla..toh hum chale hain uski shaadi uss ladke ke bhai se karne jissne usse takraya hai...hamare itne bhi burre din nahin aye hain..main dhoond rahee hoon na Anaya ke liye..Inshallah (lowering her eyes sniffing dramatically as if Anaya was some gruesomely injured or ill animal she was talking about and not a human being who could understand what she was saying and have an emotional response to her words)
Shireen - BHABI bilkul theek keh rahee hain (what a surprise. Literally everyone at the table rolled their eyes and Azlan had to clench his own hair just so he didn't scream in agony over the tragedy that was his mothers thinking) AISA HO HI NAHIN SAKTA
Anaya - (scraped her chair back and stood up angrily. Angry tears rushing her eyes. She had had ENOUGH. She was done feeling sorry for herself and done with everyone else feeling sorry for her too. DONE with everyone looking to and referring to her as some sort of extra molded furniture in the corner of the house they simply couldn't wish to get rid of but didn't know which dumpster to throw it at. She was done sitting around waiting with a baited breath till someone made an even worse decision for her life. Arsalan had given her hope for something better and something more and she would be damned if she didn't get the hell out of this dungeon and live the fairy-tale that began afterwards) Well AISA HI HO RAHA HAI..AUR AISA HI HOGA. MAIN already Arsalan ko haan bol chuki hoon and it's MY LIFE so yeh faisla karne ka haq bhi sirf MERA HAI (glaring at Razia) main aapki fikar ki bauhat respect karti hoon but I have to say thanks but no thanks..kyunki aap jo bhi rishta layengi..NONE of them..will even compare to Arsalan Farooqui. This is the END of the discussion for MY marriage..aap please APNI betiyon ki fikar karein. As for me..main Arsalan se HI shaadi kar rahee hoon...behtar hoga aap log yeh news mere baap ko de dein...(her voice holding utmost disgust and shame as she said those words) you know..jab unka nasha uttar jaye..(Saying so she stormed out of there and Azlan whose eyes danced with merriment a smug and proud smile on his face glared at Razia once before he too followed his sister out and Salma, Salman, Javed and Maya all lowered their heads ashamedly...how could they not be when Anaya's accusation was 100% true. Rashid was nothing but drunk each moment of the day ever since he found out the truth about who the kid he beat all those years ago was, a memory that had haunted him for years as is, the cries and blood, the pain of that child suffocating him and eating away at him well before he knew it was his own blood..his own son, his own Asad. As for Shireen, she had never felt more scorned in her life and Razia had never been more excited for upcoming twists and plots)
Zoya turned her head towards the door, as she heard it open and saw Aisha walk in, with a lab coat on and stethoscope around her neck, bright chirpy and fresh for duty.
Zoya - (smiled) Morning Doctor Bhabi..
Aisha - (stalled in her walk toward her) aww there's that million dollar smile thats been missing for days...(Zoya chuckled softly) is that a laugh? (Smiled back at Zoya) I've missed it...(took a seat next to her on the bed, holding her hand weaving her fingers through it) I've missed you...
Zoya - (pouted) to be honest...I've kinda missed me too.
Aisha - (laughed slapping her head playfully) you're never allowed to do something that stupid or reckless ever again...warna I'll have to start using my power as your Bhabi to torment you..
Zoya - (laughed) I'd love to see you try. You don't have a single mean bone in your body Aish Aapi...(smiled a sweet smile at her) it's what I love most about you...and it's what I love most about the fact that you're going to be my Bhabi (held her fingers, carefully analyzing her ring) I didn't get a chance to see this properly last night...but WOWZA...Aahil must really love you to buy you this ring (Aisha smiled and blushed at once) but I wouldn't get used to it if I were you..he's a really big cheapster...
Aisha - (rolled her eyes) just because he didn't buy you that THIRD milkshake once Zoya doesn't make him a cheapster it makes him your brother who loves you very much and wants to see you take care of yourself..AND it makes him a good doctor.
Zoya - (made a gagging face) you sound just like him..you really are made for each other..Mr. Boring and Mrs. Bore. (Aisha grabbed one of her pillows from the side an playfully smacked her face with it)
Aisha - don't push it lady or I'll slip you a tranquilizer...(Zoya giggled)
Zoya - can I...tell you a secret?
Aisha - always.
Zoya - I...I've wanted you as my Bhabi since the first time I met you..that night at your house..(Aisha smiled) initially I had this full on plot planned out full on Indian Serial type you know..slipping oil on stairs so you fall into each others arms...and purposely drugging both of you and don't even get me started on the dupatta scenes-
Aisha - (laughing hysterically) I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if you actually did. Can I tell you a secret.
Zoya - Always.
Aisha - You're completely crazy..
Zoya - (giggled) I know. (Smiled at Aisha) but the good thing is that Aahil duffer ko akal aa gayee and he fell for you..or maybe he just realized how out of his league you are and wanted to snatch you up before someone else came along..either way it worked out well for us and we get to be sisters FOREVER (Aisha and her both shrieked hysterically and excitedly at that and people walking by stopped and stared into the room fearfully making both of them burst out laughing) mere kuch kiye binna everything worked out. Allah Miyan ne meri sun li.
Aisha - (pulled her cheek) he usually does listen to his Angels you know...Angels with the biggest most beautiful hearts...Angels who (holding both her hands in her own and staring at her seriously and sincerely through slightly wet eyes and Zoya lowered her head ashamedly) we really need on this earth. Angels who we LOVE and ADORE no matter what..and Angels who will REMAIN angels no matter what anyone says or does to them...or no matter HOW hard they try to take their Halo away..They will ALWAYS remain an Angel. YOU will always remain the angel..of our home..of your brothers lives..your Aapi's life..My life...Ammi's life..Malik uncles life..your friends lives and...(bit her inner cheek playfully seeing the anxiousness and eagerness in her voice to hear that ONE name..and one name alone) my duffer brothers life as well..(and she purposely didn't clear which brother)
Zoya - (her mouth fell aghast seeing the smirk on Aisha's face. She had literally stepped into that one. Seeing her get up and begin doing her doctorial duties, checking her vitals and charts and IV Zoya pouted. The sudden mention of Asad suddenly increasing the pain and yearning, the longing in her heart for him. She missed him, it was as simple as that. She missed his handsome face & the permanent scowl and anger that might as well be plastered unto his face..she missed his eye rolls timed every 2.5 seconds a day, his anger tantrums..the ability for anything and everything to annoy him and make him do the cute thing where he pinched the bridge of his nose and take a deep breath...Zoya hadn't even realized she had began smiling endearingly as she thought about him and with a slight pinkish hue on her cheeks was blushing as she daydreamed about him..and what she loved most about him. The smallest dimple of his that had finally managed to crawl out of it's hiding spot now that she had managed to get the simplest smiles out of him..but as she thought about his anger issues and the poker face of epic disbelief he gave her each time she did something Zoyaish before sighing exasperatedly had her chuckling to herself and Aisha raised an all knowing eyebrow at her)
Aisha - what's so funny?
Zoya - (sobered up immediately, blushing even deeper) oh uhh..nothing. When can I...when..can I come uh...(hesitance in her voice) home..
Aisha - why? Missing someone..(Zoya's surprised eyes snapped to her face but Aisha was acting nonchalant like she hadn't implied or meant anything by that as she came and took a seat next to her on the bed again, with her serious doctor face on)
Aisha - Zoya. (Sighed) I uhh..theres a reason I came in here today...instead of..
Zoya - (smiled sadly..her eyes brimming with tears) their all still pretty mad at me huh?
Aisha - (laughed nervously) pretty much...(seeing Zoya's smile die down and the earlier playfulness abandon her Aisha held her face up) I will talk to those idiots..hmm. You know how slow they are.
Zoya - (smiled) thanks. I know...Aisha I know..I hurt everyone and let everyone down..including you-
Aisha - (shook her head) No babe. YOU didn't let anyone down..this WORLD let you down. Trust me..I've been there. I was there..for most of my life. I...(shook her head) the guys..they've never and they never will experience the pain..that it sometimes is to be a woman. They're mostly not even upset with you their upset with themselves. You know how our brothers are (they both rolled their eyes simultaneously and Zoya nodded her head) BEYOND overprotective. They just need time to forgive themselves more than they need to forgive you. They feel like they've failed you..but Zoya..they really will have failed you..if...if you let him win..(Zoya closed her eyes painfully at his mention...it all came crashing back to her) I'm sorry I don't want to bring him up but..please..please don't let him win. Now..your attendee is willing to let you go home today..since your vitals are good but..
Zoya - but?
Aisha - we're not sure whether that would be the best thing for your mental health status at the moment- I mean..frankly speaking your brothers want to put you under 24/7 house arrest and suicide watch-
Zoya - (laughed) sounds like them. (Aisha nodded) but...theres no need for that (her eyes suddenly were so strong and fierce...that Aisha had no doubt of her words for the twinkle and glimmer of the old Zoya she saw ensured her that they were carved in stone.) I won't let him win..(Aisha held her face..nodding with tears in her own eyes)
Aisha - I know you won't..(shook her head) have I ever told you how strong, courageous and brave I think you are.
Zoya - not really...
Aisha - (chuckled) well you are..and once again Zoya...I'm so sorry for all that happened...(She wrapped her arms around Zoya hugging her tightly and Zoya hugged her back just as tight...her eyes filling with tears...as still somewhere in the back of her mind Sameer's face and words lingered like a dark shadow)
Zoya - can you uhh...can you ask the driver to take me to Jeeju's grave on the way home. I haven't been in a while and..(her eyes filling with tears, one of which spilt over as her voice broke) I really miss him.
Aisha - (nodded swallowing the lump in her throat) of course...
Zoya - I uhh..I wanted to talk to him about..a couple of things so...you could have him pick me up in a few hours...(Aisha stared at her hesitantly and Zoya gave her a small smile) I'm not going to..(lowered her head ashamed) I swear it..(Aisha cupped her face sportingly as another tear escaped her eye).
Later that evening - Graveyard:
Zoya was still sitting at her Jeeju's graveyard. The sun had set and left behind a cold winter night. Zoya had been sitting there since late afternoon when Asad's driver had picked her up from the hospital. Aisha had let her believe that she was letting her go alone but the truth was that she and Zoya's brothers had discussed it and Arsalan had followed her all the way to the graveyard and was keeping his distance but was watching her from afar the whole time just to be sure that she was safe and alright..and that whoever it was that had hurt her before wasn't still trying to hurt her or that she herself wasn't trying to hurt herself either.
Zoya - (sitting there with her knees pulled up and her bandaged arms wresting atop of them she was staring at his grave where she had put multiple fresh bouquets of flowers of all different kinds to make up for all the days she hadn't visited him..when she was mourning losing him all over again. When she was mourning all that Sameer had taken from her..then and now. She had a thin hoodie and jacket on..and given how weak her body was she was shivering but the grief that had been eating away at her since the day she lost her Jeeju..the grief that was still eating away at her was so much for her that she could barely feel any other pain.) I'm sorry...for what I did Jeeju...I...I..I'm supremely sorry for it. I know...how disappointed you'd be in me if you ever found out...what I...(smiled as more tears fell from her eyes) but that's just the thing...you won't ever know and I...I don't think I could ever forgive myself for your death...for losing you. Ayaan..Aahil..Arsalan Bhai Aapi they can say it all they want the truth is Naanima was right. Whether directly or indirectly..I did cause this to happen. I did...(slightly hyperventilating) you did go out that night to face him because of me..for me..and you (her voice broke) never came back that night..or any other night..because of me either. (Closing her eyes as tears continued to stream down her immensely pale face..which had become so much smaller in a span of just a few days..her eyes had intense dark circles beneath them and she had lost significant weight making her even more weak than she was due to the bloodless and stress) I'm sorry..I..chose to honour your death..the life you lost because of me by...(subconsciously touching her bandage) by...hurting myself and I know everyone's angry at me for it Jeeju but they don't know...you don't know...sometimes..pain is so unbearable that...that it's not worth enduring..sometimes..you just..you have no choice but to give up..give in..(shook her head) aapko khone ka dard itna hai Jeeju ke main laakh koshish kar loon...I just...I can't...deal with it...I can't deal with everything that he's taken away from me Jeeju..or all that he still might take away from me. I...I'm scared...and..I'm afraid. You're not here to protect me against anyone who dares to even look at me and..and I can't ask anyone else to protect me like you do...(smiled painfully..and whispered in a small voice) did. I won't lose anyone else the same way I lost you..the same way I lost myself...because of him. I won't. I...I can't...I just...I can't (and then the lump in her throat and the pain in her heart grew so much stronger that she couldn't bring herself to deal with it. She couldn't speak..and get out all that was in her heart no matter how much she tried. Normally when she was in so much pain she'd cut herself to suffer through it..to focus on anything else but the actual pain or grief she was suffering from but now...she didn't even have that old convenient comforting friend. Lucky for her, her Allah sent her something even better. Asad had arrived at the graveyard a good 5 minutes before and was standing at the gate ever since.. seeing her sitting there in a dark graveyard so broken, so fragile so alone..it made his steps falter. He was still angry at her..hurt by her..but in this moment he was more concerned for her. This was the first time he was truly seeing just how much pain she was carrying around with herself over her jeeju's death. The tears..the pain etched on her beautiful face that as far as he was concerned was only meant and destined for smiling broke his heart. He suddenly didn't have the heart or strength to go up to her even though just a few minutes earlier he was supremely eager to see her..talk to her..touch her, having missed her as much as Zoya had missed him..but he felt like he was now..invading a rather intimate moment between her Jeeju and her. Taking into account the fact that Asad avoided graveyards and never stepped foot into one, all it took was seeing Zoya shiver and tremble in the cold and the steps of his that were never able to step into a graveyard were suddenly walking in, rather shakily but they were walking in nonetheless. For her. Asad swallowed hard as he caught sight of graves from the corner of his eyes but he made sure of it to not look around and keep his eyes focused on Zoya. It didn't make it any easier but his thought was..the sooner he got to her, the sooner they could get out of here. He took a deep breath and then shrugged out of his jacket...before taking one more step towards her and then just stood behind her. Zoya was so wrapped up in her own grief she didn't realize his presence or hear him walk in. In her defence though Asad was as stealthy as a ghost..owed to his experience as a "hawk who may as well be called ghosts. As Zoya shivered again and he heard her sniffle...he took one more deep breath knowing she was suffering and he just couldn't bare the thought of her hurting or suffering like that. He didn't know if he could EVER do anything or say anything that could lessen the overwhelming and unbearable pain and grief of her Jeeju's death she carried around for so many years now but he knew he'd be damned if he didn't at least try. Little did he know, that simply his presence alone..was more than enough to heal her wounds and slowly but surely put all the broken pieces of her heart and soul back together. With a heavy conflicted heart...beating a mile per minute Asad bent down and very softly and gently put his jacket over her shoulders. His heart broke as he saw Zoya jump in freight and fear..he could see it in her wide wild eyes as she turned around and faced him..she feared it was someone trying to hurt her again...but immediately..as soon as her eyes saw his that fear abandoned her and her body relaxed in an instant..knowing she was safe, knowing she was protected. Given that yes, she didn't have any blood ties with him he was still just her brothers best friend or her Aapi's devar at most but she didn't fear him like she feared every other adult male who she wasn't related to. Him, just him alone..she trusted, with her life. As Zoya closed her eyes taking deep breaths to calm herself, eagerly clinging to the warmth and solace his jacket provided (the smell of his cologne and musk more like it) she sat back in her original spot before her jeeju's grave as comfortably as she was before. Asad who had expected her to just get up and follow him out stared at the top of her head blankly but didn't move. Did she expect him to take a seat? His heart hammered even faster. A cold sweat breaking out on his forehead, bordering on the verge of a panic attack. Asad did NOT do graveyards.)
Zoya - (cleared her throat but her voice had never sounded more broken or more hoarse from crying, to him ever) aap...what..are you doing here?
Asad - (his eyes darting around at the ground below unsurely) uhmm...Aapi..sent me..to get you. None of the drivers were available.
Zoya - (frowned) you have 5 drivers. Phupi's in Delhi..Aapi's at work..
Asad - (his eyes darting even faster even more desperate) they all annoyingly decided to take holidays together..and uhh..Karim Kaka went to get Aapi from the hospital and Aapi forced me to come pick you up.
Zoya - (nodded her head, still sitting in the same spot) I uhh...I still need a few moments with him..so uhh..you can go and I'll-
Asad - (the words were out of his mouth before he even knew they were coming) not a chance. (Before he had even realized what he had blunderingly said Zoya's surprised and confused eyes snapped up to him and he desperately avoided her beseeching eyes which held a million questions. A million accusations. Accusations which he didn't have the heart to face and questions which he wasn't ready to hear let alone answer) I mean uh..your uhh..Your brothers gave me strict instructions and they didn't include letting you come home on your own. (Racking his brain urgently. Unable to believe he was even willing to make up such bullshit lies for this girl. She really had done a number on him.) They uhh...said that if you didn't comply they would call Bhabi in Delhi and tell her everything.
Zoya - (scoffed) they still care? I thought..I thought they hated me (Hearing the pain and hurt in her voice Asad remained silent. He had a LOT to say, but he didn't have the heart to hurt her anymore than she was already hurting)
Asad - (tucking his hands in his pockets he awkwardly kicked away a few rocks as he stood behind her, DESPERATELY avoiding eye contact with her at all costs) I don't think they..hate you. I don't think they ever could. I just...I feel..like their just angry, confused and hurt (as Zoya's desperate eyes filled with tears flickered up to his, he didn't have the courage to look away..and he could see the doubt and hope in them that by "they he was speaking on his behalf more than anyone else..and he had to avoid his eyes, because he was) more so than anything else. (There was silence once again, in which Asad stared at the top of her head and Zoya stared at the grave ahead knowing and feeing his eyes on her. More than half her shudders had nothing to do with the chill of the night)
Zoya - I've never told you about my Jeeju have I? (She didn't wait or need for him to answer that..and Asad didn't have to see her Jeeju and her together to tell the extent to which Zoya loved him and grieved him. Her broken shell that sat before him today, the broken voice that spoke to him today was more than enough to know) when I was really small uhm..he had this (smiled fondly at his grave as she remembered the memory like it was yesterday..as she remembered her beloved and doting jeeju) he had this overwhelming fear of pain. Not pain of his own..but my pain. The idea of me being in pain..destroyed him. He wouldn't let me play with the guys too much because he feared they'd play rough or be too careless and I'd end up hurt. He didn't let me ride a bicycle till I was 12. He would never let me use scissors for any of my art projects..even when I was a teen he'd sneak into my room at night and stealthily put pillows all around me because I had a habit of falling off the bed. I took so much advantage of that fear and that love to get the guys in trouble...(Asad smiled despite the fact that he was in physical excruciating pain seeing her in so much pain) aur phir..phir ek din..khud mujhe zindagi ka sabse bara dard..sabse bara zakhm deke chale gaye..Aisa zakhm jiska koi marham nahinn hai (her voice broke as she held up her bandaged arms and wrists) today..today I can cut and cut and cut..but he..his tears, his love there's nothing there to stop me- (she broke down crying then, her face buried in her hands)
Asad - (without thinking or even realizing he fell to his knees next to her..right beside her, and his hand was in her hair..holding the back of her head steadily and strongly, as a vow of protection..as he tried to peer at her face, his own voice breaking..his own eyes brimming with tears..but she wouldn't look up) I'm HERE. I'm here okay..I'm here to stop you. To protect you..to...to save you even if I have to save you from yourself. I didn't know your Jeeju Zoya...but I know..he loved you...and I know he too knows how strong you are.. he wouldn't have left you if he didn't know. Zoya...(stroking her hair know...his fingers selfishly, greedily and softly weaving and stroking through her soft locks and he didn't even notice. But they did the trick..they comforted her like nothing else. Like not even his words could) you're the strongest girl I know..and right now..we all need you to be that girl. For our sake, your sake...For your Jeeju's sake. (Zoya cried harder, and Asad continued more than happily but subconsciously stroking her hair for comfort.)
Zoya - (a few minutes later, she slowly but just slightly lifted her face from her hands and wiped her tears...giving Asad a chance to breath and provide some relief and lift that crushing pain from his heart seeing and hearing, watching her cry like that) Mr. Khan..(her voice still broken and hoarse as she wiped her tears) will you do something for me? Please...(in that moment she could've asked him for his life and he would've given it to her..no questions asked. Her earnest, pleading and sad eyes broke his heart a million times over..and caused his eyes to brim with tears as they bore into his)
Asad - (cleared his throat, but the lump in his throat didn't let him speak in anything but a mere whisper) anything...
Zoya - (resting her head on her knees, still staring at him sideways..) sing me something. Anything. Please just..(sighed) just something. (Asad stared at her for a few moments..before he gave her a small smile..his fingers still weaved through her hair as they sat side by side in that graveyard on that cold winter night with Zoya staring at the grave ahead and Asad staring at her..with his whole body facing hers)
Asad (singing in a whisper just to her, just for her) I wanna rock-n-roll I wanna give my soul I'm wanting to believe I'm not too old (Zoya closed her eyes relishing the sound and comfort his soothing voice always provided her. It had both the potential to completely undo her..and to completely put together all her shattered broken pieces)
(He playfully flicked her cheek with two of his fingers making her smile with her eyes closed and head resting on her knees..whilst he still continued to stroke her hair..as much for her, as it was for himself) Don't want to make it up Don't want to let you down I want to fly away But I'm stuck on the ground (Tilted his head, resting it on his own knee..as Zoya opened her own eyes and let their eyes bore into each others, say the words for them, which they themselves were too afraid to say but desperate to hear) and So, help me decide Help me to make up Make up my mind Wouldn't that save you Wouldn't that save you Wouldn't that save you...(he gave her the smallest most miserly Asad smile, the smile that had managed to steal Zoya's breaths, her heart herself from herself and Zoya too smiled back..before diverting her eyes and staring at her Jeeju's grave..wiping her tears getting ready to say goodbye. Meanwhile Asad's eyebrows had furrowed in a classic Asad manner. He was fighting an internal battle..wanting to ask something or say something but he wasn't sure if he should or not. In the end, he seemed to decide on asking it nonetheless. He opened and closed his mouth repeatedly before the words..tumbled out before he could stop. He didn't want to hurt her more than she already was as he saw her touching her Jeeju's grave with her eyes closed..saying goodbye but he didn't have the strength to not ask. To continue suffering both himself and letting her suffer too.)
Asad - (he spoke in a soft whisper but Zoya could hear the underlying anger, the underlying hate...the underlying threat to destroy him in his voice nonetheless) the guy who...was in the dance studio that day...(Zoya's body completely tensed and froze as he mentioned Sameer. Zoya wasn't ready to hear about him, talk about him, or face him and she ESPECIALLY did not want to hear or talk about him with Asad. She immediately feared the worst. Her paranoia not giving her a chance.) he killed your Jeeju didn't he? (Zoya didn't need to answer that. Her shocked, tear and fear filled eyes...the way her head jerked in his direction..the way her entire body froze and tensed as he asked that question...the fact that he could see the anger, disbelief and regret in her eyes that he had figured it out in her eyes and more than anything the fear in her eyes, the shudder in her body...and then the pain on her face it all answered his unanswered question for him. He was. Zoya tried, but failed..words abandoned her as she tried to lie..tried to tell him otherwise..tried to save his life and not let Sameer make him his next target but the truth was she was tired. She was hurting more than she could bear and she just wanted it to be over..she wanted Sameer to be punished, wanted her Jeeju's death avenged..and for some reason..after seeing the extent of Asad's strength bravery and power she just wanted to lean on him and let him fight her demons like she knew he could and trusted him to. So she remained silent, and stared ahead at her Jeeju's grave and Asad stared at her never once looking at the grave..for if he did, he would've seen the date of death on it.)
Continued in next post...
Part 29 Continued...
Zoya and now an equally disturbed Asad climbed reached home in Asad's sports car. Asad had parked it at the side of the house and Zoya was making her way to the steps of the house when she turned around not feeling Asad's presence behind her. She saw him just now stepping out of the car..that too slowly when she was already halfway up the driveway and towards the steps. He looked lost in his own thoughts..disturbed almost, like he had seen a ghost, like he was going to be sick. She didn't know but he had seen a ghost..a ghost of his past that haunted him every living breathing moment of his life. Even as he locked his car from the remote and followed her up the path to the house..he seemed immensely disturbed and lost in his thoughts..he didn't even realize her presence as he passed her on the steps of the house. Zoya was almost too afraid to ask what had happened when he had helped her to her feet in the graveyard so they could leave. She had seen the physical change in his entire being..everything from his tone, to his eyes, to the colour of his face even his posture changed as if he had just then realized where he was. Like as if he had been so preoccupied with comforting Zoya that he hadn't even realized where he was the entire time..and she had seen the haunted look that had a permanent home in his beautiful eyes and nested there return to them more intense than she had ever seen it. Clutching his jacket tighter to herself as if her doing so would provide comfort, warmth and solace to not just herself but Asad too. It broke her heart to see him so haunted, so broken..so alone, and so disturbed she climbed the steps after him and as she did her eyes caught something at the side of the house. Her mouth fell ajar in disbelief as she climbed the steps faster and walked over to the wall hurriedly. Asad was still slowly climbing the steps still mulling on over whatever thoughts were haunting him tonight, whichever demon was haunting him tonight. Zoya looked from the scoreboard pointed to the side of the house to him, back to the scoreboard and then back at him in complete and utter disbelief and shock. She cleared her throat loudly to get his attention and that finally made him snap out of whatever dark thoughts were consuming him whole in that moment long enough to spare her a glance. As he looked at her, she looked to the scoreboard and then back at him by way of asking him an explanation..and Asad Shrugged noncommittally as his explanation. He tucked his hands into his pockets walking over to the scoreboard where there was paint all over her score-points.
Asad - I was angry and you deserve it. (Glared at her out of the side of his eyes, regardless of if he was speaking to her or not he was making his anger and hurt blatantly obvious.) Fraud.
Zoya - (frowned..the disbelief in her voice, the concern for HIS mental stability etched in every notch of her tone and every word) so you bought paint and neatly painted over all my points?
Asad - (smiled sheepishly, letting relief wash over Zoya regarding if he was okay or not seeing that dimple poke out the side of his magnificently sculpted cheek) well no first I slashed them out with black paint in anger but...(cringed) I couldn't breathe staring at it so I had to...(then seeing the concern regarding his mental stability only mount on Zoya's face he stopped talking)
Asad - (shrugged) I'd start making amends if I were you..(pointing to his points, smiling a small smug smile at her which made Zoya narrow her eyes at him and Asad's heart to beat rapidly as he saw a glimmer of his old feisty Zoya return just a smidge) you have a lot of catching up to do
Aisha - Asad? Zoya? Kahaan ho tum log (walking out the side door) main kabse wait kar rahee hoon. Asad (frowned) kaka bole tumne unhe mujhe lene bhej diya aur khud (Asad's face turned tomato red as he avoided eye contact with both of them especially as Zoya looked at him with a raised eyebrow as he got caught in his own lie. What a loser. If he did come to pick her up..what was the point in lying? Why couldn't he simply admit that he missed her or was worried for her which is why he came to get her?) Zoya ko lene chale gaye..Maine tumhe bataya toh tha main Aahil saath ghar aa jaongi..(shook her head) 2 ghante ho gaye humme ghar pe intezaar karte hue..kahan the tum log?
Zoya - (rolling her eyes at Asad who was still staring at the pool as if it were the most mesmerizing thing he had ever seen) woh..Aapi I just needed some more time alone..with..(Aisha frowned)
Aisha - toh tum kya do ghante gaari mein baithe rahe Asad? Phone hi kar dete ek baar..
Zoya - (shook her head) no he was..with me at Jeeju's grave (Aisha's face paled..as she looked to Asad's suddenly paler, almost greenish face..his haunted eyes and weak almost shaking demeanour as he stared at the ground and avoided eye contact with them still. Aisha stared at him and then back at Zoya..trying to find her voice)
Aisha - (her concerned eyes still fixated on Asad's face) uhm uhh...dinner's ready-
Asad - I'm..I'm not hungry...excuse me- (Aisha immediately side stepped letting him go..but Zoya saw her concerned and worried eyes following him towards the door and it made Zoya's heart clench with worry and pain..for him, for his pain. What was disturbing him so much? What was concerning Aisha so much?..Worried for him Zoya acted on impulse and blurted out the first thought of protection and care that came to her heart)
Zoya - (frowned defiantly) Aggar Mr. Khan nahin khaa rahe toh main bhi dinner nahin kar rahee. (Asad who had stopped in his tracks turned around, his eyes wild with disbelief and mouth hanging open in surprise, the audacity of this girl after the stunt she had just pulled) That's not fair..I'm not hungry either (Aisha was about to say something when Asad beat her to it and Aisha just stayed out of it as those two were back to their usual bickering routine so she let them at it and within the span of 3 seconds they were at each others throats.)
Asad - excuse me.
Zoya - you heard me. How come you get away with not eating if you don't want to.
Asad - (clenched his fists in annoyance) because I do. Because I can. (An Angry and Annoyed, Aahil stepped out of the house with overwhelming worry for Zoya obvious on his worn out face)
Aahil - what's going on?
Zoya - (frowned and glared back at Asad) that's not a real answer you know.
Asad - too bad. I'm not the one who just got discharged from a hospital..so suck it up. You're getting what you deserve. (Zoya stuck her tongue out at him. Aahil looked to Aisha for an explanation)
Aisha - Asad's not hungry so he's refusing to eat and Zoya's arguing that if he can get away with eating then why can't she.
Zoya - (shrugged stomping her foot) too bad..if you won't eat..I'm not eating either.
Aahil - (stared from both of them, his eyes wide with disbelief and then looked back to Aisha) are you serious? (Aisha sighed and nodded..not even the least bit surprised over their childishness)
Asad - (pinched the bridge of his nose sighing exasperatedly before taking a deep breath to calm himself) trust me Ms. Farooqui you don't want to push it with me. Not tonight. Just go have your DAMN DINNER AND THEN GO TO BED.
Zoya - I WILL IF YOU WILL-
Asad - DAMN IT ZOYA WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM-
Zoya YOU!! YOU ARE MY PROBLEM!! GIVING EVERYONE ORDERS BUT NOT FOLLOWING ORDERS FROM ANYONE ELSE-
Asad - WELL THATS JUST THE WAY THINGS WORK AROUND HERE SO TOUGH. DEAL WITH IT-
Zoya - I WON'T DEAL WITH IT. YOU- (Aahil glared at both of them and then in one swift second he grabbed both of their arms and began dragging them into the house much to Asad's chagrin)
Asad - what..what do you think you're doing? what the hell are you doing let go of me- (Aahil dumped them both in their respective seats at the dinner table)
Aahil - SHUT UP BOTH OF YOU. YOU'RE WORSE THAN CHILDREN. I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER WORD OUT OF EITHER OF YOU JUST SILENTLY EAT YOUR DINNER NOW. (He watched as Asad glared at him, narrowing his eyes..and seeing that Asad wasn't eating as he turned to glare at her from the corner of his eyes gripping his fork in a deathly grip Zoya very well aware that she was playing with fire by pushing not just Asad but Aahil too crossed her arms and looked away huffing exaggeratedly. She was doing it out of concern and love for Asad, now she may not know what was eating away at him like that but she did know that she would NOT let him go to sleep on an empty stomach. Arsalan strolled into the dining room and stared around at the table.)
Arsalan - nice of you guys to show up. So are we finally having dinner or not? (They all glared at him and then went back to their respective positions of Zoya glaring at the table, Asad glaring at her.. Aahil glaring at both of them and Aisha staring at him worriedly) I'll take that as a no.
Asad - (glared at Aahil) you know..I'd watch it next time before daring to pull a stunt like that..it might cost you your wedding to my sister...(Aahil although a little scared by his threat knowing as far as Asad was concerned it was as real as it could get but he was so tired, exasperated and worried that he just didn't know what else to do or say to get Zoya to eat. If getting Asad to eat was all it took then..he looked to Aisha pleadingly who sighed before looking to Asad with concern.)
Aisha - (put a comforting hand on Asad's shoulder and whispered in a soft voice) Asad...please...thora sa kha lo...(Asad desperately avoiding looking at the table laid with foods feeling like just the auroma of it would make him hurl he looked towards Aisha with pleading, broken and haunted eyes and Aisha had to avert her eyes unable to see the pain, the demons that resided in them)
Asad - Par Aapi...
Aisha - I know. (Gave him a small smile through watery eyes as she cupped his face) par...(she then looked over at Zoya and Asad's eyes slowly flickered upwards to her angelic face as well, which at the moment was supremely pale and supremely weak as was the rest of her body..Asad could see how fragile, how broken she was even as she just sat at the dinner table glaring at the food pointedly. Then Asad's gaze snagged to her wrists and he gulped closing his eyes as the nausea increased, but the sight of those bandages that haunted him each second...reminding him of what horrendous truth lay beneath them was all the convincing he needed. He felt Aisha's comforting arm on his hand..as Zoya's hesitant and doubtful eyes flickered up to his and the pain within them, mirroring the pain in his own couldn't let him leave the table even if he wanted to..seeing him sigh and close his eyes averting them...Zoya smiled victoriously and happily)
Aisha - (patting Asad's arm) thora sa...(Zoya meanwhile focused on the sight of her plate which Arsalan had loaded up, food was literally falling off of it..she looked up at her brothers ready to complain whine and rant but one piercing look from them, daring her..simply waiting for her to say a word or refuse to eat it made her effectively shut up. She sighed, knowing it wasn't good to push them at the moment after what she had just done..she managed a small smile at them and both of them didn't return one back. Although it hurt her, she knew she had hurt them more and so she would have to deal with the consequences of that hurt and anger..and seeing the food before her once again, well she might as well get started on that)
After Dinner - Zoya's Room:
Zoya walked out of the washroom after getting ready for bed and changing into her pyjamas to find Aahil, Arsalan and Aisha standing in her room. Aisha was helping one of their many maids to set up a makeshift temporary bed in the corner of Zoya's room.
Zoya - what..what's going on? (Aisha looked over at her and then to Aahil and Arsalan and without saying anything she resumed making the bed choosing to stay out of their family matter. Zoya looked towards Aahil and Arsalan and she could see the tension and anger on their face but as they purposely avoided eye contact with her, hurting Zoya further. She knew they were angry but she didn't know they'd be so angry that they would refuse to even look at her let alone talk to her) bhai?
Aahil - (turned around and crossed his arms glaring at her) what's going on Zoya is that you tried to kill yourself. Okay, that's whats going on. So until we decide otherwise either Arsalan or myself will be sleeping here in your room with you. In fact you can be damn sure that we will be shadowing your every move and every action and you will be under 24/7 suicide watch..(he saw Zoya stare at him in disbelief, like he was joking. Like they couldn't possibly believe or expect her to go along with this..it was a breach of her privacy but again, his eyes dared her to defy him) oh and uhh..if you feel angry or annoyed at us and want to cut yourself again...(smiled sweetly at her) you should know that we ransacked your room whilst you were in the hospital and got rid of all your (his eyes flashed with anger and hurt) MANY blades..and all things sharp so I'm afraid screaming into a pillow is all you've got to let the tension..frustration and anger I'm sure your feeling out. Good night sis..you're most welcome..(saying all that he had to say to her he turned around and stormed out of her room leaving Zoya standing there in tears as she watched Arsalan silently get into his own bed without saying anything to her and close his eyes. Aisha gave her a small comforting and sympathetic smile communicating through her eyes, telling her to hang in there before she followed Aahil out.)
Aisha - that was a little harsh don't you think.
Aahil - (turned on her, glaring at her like he couldn't believe she could even say that) as opposed to what her kind, considerate and sweet attempt at suicide?
Aisha - (sighed holding his arm) no Aahil that's not what I meant..you know that's not what I meant I just don't think this is the right time for you guys to be angry at her-
Aahil - well I am. ANGRY. and I'm HURT..okay..(shook his head) I'm I'm really tired so...I'm going to go home...I'll see you tomorrow morning at breakfast (saying so he angrily walked away leaving Aisha sighing behind his back not knowing what to do)
Back in Zoya's room:
Zoya wiped her tears from her eyes as she lay in the darkness of her room in silence even though Arsalan was laying just a little bit away from her. She knew they were hurt and she knew they were angry..and she probably deserved the treatment she was getting from them but that didn't make it any easier to endure it. She HATED absolutely HATED Having her brothers mad at her, there was nothing she hated more. It messed with her brain and her heart and her ability to function in life. She raised a hesitant head from her pillow and bit her lip nervously as she stared at Arsalan's silhouette on the make shift bed at the foot of her bed.
Zoya - Arsalan Bhai...(silence. Her voice broke hearing his silence.) I'm sorry bhai
Arsalan - (his eyes filled with tears as he stared out the window, remembering the minute Ayaan said those three dreadful words that shattered his world. Zoya. Suicide. Hospital. And the pain he felt in those 3 seconds made it a bit easier to be angry, rude and show some tough love to Zoya who was really in need of it) it's late Zoya. Get some rest. (Saying so, he continued staring out the window..whilst Zoya closed her eyes crawling into herself on the bed as more tears fell from her eyes and she tried to get some sleep even though it was far from her eyes. So instead she occupied her thoughts with the thoughts that came easiest and most naturally to her. Asad..and wondering what was wrong with him)
Ayaan slouched lazily on Asad's couch sipping his beer, listening to Asad hurling and being violently sick in the washroom. His condition looked no better than his brothers, Asad's or even Zoya's. He looked like he hadn't eaten, slept or shaved in days. There were dark rings beneath his eyes, his hair was unkempt and messy like he had spent all day running his hands frustratedly through them which he had. He simply couldn't understand why or moreover HOW Zoya did what she did. He sat up a bit straighter and more worriedly as he saw Asad stagger and stumble back into his room from the washroom..and his gaze followed him all the way till he collapsed unto his bed looking even more pale and weary, green in the face and immensely weak than when he had gone into the bathroom.
Ayaan - (eyeing him as he sat on his bed, with his head back sucking an ice cube to help with the nausea) you shouldn't have gone into the graveyard dude..
Asad - (opened his eyes slowly, and stared ahead as if he was seeing a ghost before him. His haunted eyes seemed to be begging for mercy) I know..(looked over at Ayaan) but..she..(staring at the bowl of ice cubes before him as if they were the most fascinating things in the entire world) Zoya..
Ayaan - (smiled, seeing him struggle to admit the fact that she needed him, and he NEEDED to be there for her) you really care for her hunh? (Asad's surprised and startled eyes snapped to his face..and Ayaan continued to calmly and casually sipping on his beer like it was no big deal that he had confessed what Asad was idiotically betting and hoping on no one ever picked up on or realized including the two souls in question. So, it was THAT obvious? Seeing a flicker of merriment dance in Ayaan's eyes he looked away as a deep hue appeared on his cheeks, in contrast to the paleness of his face)
Asad - (eyed him out of the corner of his eyes) there's uhh...there's something else (Ayaan seeing and hearing the pensiveness in his voice and stance slowly lowered the beer from his lips. What now? Hadn't they been through enough in these past few days?) I uhh...(looked towards Ayaan) the guy who (chewed the word out through clenched teeth, and his fists clenched right along with Ayaan's as he said that word reminding them of that unfortunate tragedy) assaulted Zoya...he uhh...(closed his eyes taking a deep breath regretting informing Ayaan before he had in fact informed Ayaan knowing the kind of catastrophic effect it could have on him, on anyone..he then looked towards Ayaan with apologetic eyes.) he's the same person who...who murdered your chachoo. (The beer fell from Ayaan's hand and spilled and crashed, shattering to pieces all over the ground. Ayaan looked towards Asad in disbelief..his hand which was holding the beer seconds earlier frozen in shock as was his mouth, he blinked slowly unable to process what he had just heard...and Asad looked away unable to see the pain that flashed on Ayaan's face as he processed what Asad had told him) I'm sorry Ayaan.
Ayaan - wa...what...(tried to breathe, but he felt his heart crush beneath the weight of the pain of what Asad had told him. He tried but failed repeatedly to process that information) what..how..who told you?
Asad - (playing with an ice cube in his hand) Zoya..(Ayaan's eyes widened..Asad looked towards him and shook his head) not explicitly.
Ayaan - define implicitly then.
Asad - (shook his head) I asked her point blank and she didn't deny it-
Ayaan - (stood from his spot on the sofa suddenly, his eyes enraged and his entire body shaking with fury) AND SHE'S STILL PROTECTING HIM. SAVING HIM. NOT LETTING HIM ROT IN JAIL. SHE STILL WON'T GIVE UP HIS NAME? (Asad sat up straighter on his bed as Ayaan said that. Shock etched on every inch of his face) FIRST THIS SON OF A BITCH KILLS FAIZAN CHACHOO THEN HE LIVES TO ASSAULT HER WHAT MORE WILL HE DO BEFORE HE FINALLY GETS WHAT HE DESERVES-
Asad - you mean...(his voice too etched with disbelief) you mean you don't know who it was? who it is?
Ayaan - NO. The only two people who knew were chachoo and now Zoya..we didn't even know then that someone was harassing her..just like we didn't know now. We found out after he died. She refused to give up the name then saying she was afraid he'd hurt someone else in our family.
Asad - (shook his head frowning..disappointedly and angrily) Well she's still not giving it up.
Ayaan - (marching towards his door) LIKE HELL SHE WON'T-
Asad - (Zoya's sad, pale..and weary face her broken eyes haunted him as he urgently yelled out a panicked-) NO
Ayaan - (raised an eyebrow as he spun around halfway out the door) NO?
Asad - (shook his head) don't...(averted his eyes from Ayaan's not wanting to see the merriment dancing in them again as he got caught in a moment of his blatant care and concern for Zoya) it wouldn't be good for her mental or emotional health if you went in there bombarding her with questions or demanding an explanation. She..she's...(closed his eyes as the sight of her bandages haunted him as did the reminder of what they stood for..how she got them..the fact that she was an emotional cutter and this whole time he had taken her for granted as a spoilt, carefree and obnoxious free spirit who couldn't possibly know the meaning of pain haunted him) she's fragile right now.
Ayaan - TOH? Iska kya matlab hai ke main..yunhi haath pe haath rakh ke baitha rahoon..KUCH nahin karrein hum? Asad you just told me that this person who assaulted my sister ALSO killed my chachoo
Asad - AND now that we know HIM..WE CAN FIND HIM.
Ayaan - HOW? It's taken the police over 5 years and they haven't found him-
Asad - (smiled supportively and sympathetically at him) but that's just it. We're not the police. And if you remember clearly we became warriors just so it wouldn't take the police 5 years to find one murderer..(frowned deeply as Zoya's bandages haunted him again) so that those murderers didn't roam freely and..(clenched his fists as he closed his eyes again, speaking through clenched teeth) didn't get a chance to assault anyone-
Ayaan - (shook his head) you don't know these people...their very well off very well connected and powerful..I know..(he stopped talking as he saw Asad give him a suggestive smile)
Asad - that's just it. There are only a handful of families in Kasauli who are well off. (Ayaan who was about to argue further stopped..taking into prospect what Asad had said..thinking on it. He was right, this was the only lead they needed to search in all the right places and find that scumbag)
"A 4 year old Zoya sat in a tiny little treehouse which was engulfed in darkness. The darkness of the treehouse reflecting the darkness within her. Her innocent, pure and beautiful little body had been marred with bite marks, lip marks and scratches of a notorious and heartless animal. The words "s**t "wh**e "tease had been carved into her body all over as if with a blade. Her forearms were covered in deep-cuts and were bloody all over. She sat broken, defeated and in pain, covered in her own blood with her head bowed down in shame on her knees. As her innocent twinkling laughter of her childhood echoed in her ear, along with that of another mans. Her beloved Jeeju's. It was obvious that the two of them were playing in the lavish Farooqui gardens outside, surrounding the Farooqui House.
Zoya's eyes scrunched in pain as she itched her forearms over her bandage. Small beads of sweat forming on her forehead before she tossed and turned her side confusedly. Why were there many bruises, cuts, bite marks? on her? why were those words carved on her? Why was she so broken and alone in the dark? Who had done that to her? and how could she both simultaneously be sitting there in the treehouse, be asleep here in her bed? and be playing outside in the garden with...Jeeju she tossed unto her side again simultaneously afraid to see what happened next but also equally eager to dream on if it meant she caught at least a glimpse of her jeeju. She was parched for just one glimpse of him. Arsalan hearing her tossing and turning cracked open his eyes and looked over at her, wondering if she was okay. But he saw the frown between her eyebrows disappear and almost a small smile to appear on her face as she slept so he also turned his side and went back to sleep. What he didn't see was the wetness around her eyes or the reason behind it.
"Faizan - Pari..Pari Pari...I'm gonna catch you. I'm going to catch you..Here I come..Pari GOT YOU You little shaitan. Pari. (Zoya whimpered in her sleep hearing him whisper her name like that. Like a whisper, like he was so close to her, which he was. It wasn't him playing with the Pari outside in the gardens, this time it was him sitting before her in the dark treehouse holding out a lighter which gave the faintest of lights, in between both their faces. Slowly, Zoya lifted her face, which was covered in tears but the hope in her eyes that he was actually there, sitting in front of her, with her and was alive was more heartbreaking than any amount of tears on her face. The disbelief, the fear of that hope breaking was even more heartbreaking. She slowly raised her shaky arm, full of blood and deep blade marks and very hesitantly and fearfully reached out to touch his face to make sure it was him and as she did, and she felt that familiarity of his warmth, his features beneath her fingers her heart broke as did the dam and endless tears began falling from her eyes. She crashed into him and hugged him so tightly like she would never let him go, and he held her back just as strongly and resiliently, the fierceness of his hug vowing the same.)
Faizan - (whispered into her hair) Mera Bacha..
Zoya hugged her comforter closer to herself to feel some of the warmth her 4 year self she was extremely envious of was able to feel. A tear fell from her eyes at the reunion of two souls who had been very cruelly ripped apart from one another. Zoya moved back from her Jeeju, her eyes still overflowing with tears..her whole face covered in them and her heart hammering against her chest.
Zoya - Jeeju? Aap kahan chale gaye the...kyun chale gaye the..maine aapko kitna pukara..kitna yaad kiya kitna dhoonda maine aapko..par aap nahin aye. Aap mujhe bachane nahin ayee..dekhiye uss monster ne mere saath kya kiya? (Pulling her shirt down from her neck to show him all the bruises and marks) ussne mujhe yahan bite kiya, (touching herself all over) yahan lick kiya..yahan kiss kiya..har jagah bite kiya...(pointing to the word wh**e, with a world of pain in her eyes) ussne mujhe yeh bulaya...ussne mujhe itna hurt kiya..aap...aap mujhe usse bachane nahin aye..mujhe kitna hurt hua aapko pata hai? (innocently holding up her wrists) dekhiye usski wajah se mujhe khudko kitna hurt karna parra..dekhiye
Faizan - (wiped away his tears as endless tears fell from his own eyes too, swallowing the lump in his throat) I know Pari, I..I..(holding out his own wrists which had cuts and marks which identically mirrored hers..and Zoya gasped as another whimper escaped her of pain seeing his cuts and at the prospect of the pain that may have caused him. She ran her fingers over his blood and looked up at him.)
Zoya - how?
Faizan - (cupped her face and smiled at her through the tears in his eyes) I...I think you know the answer to that.
Zoya - (looked down ashamedly) I...I..did this? I hurt you. (Shook her head) I'm the most worst person ever Jeeju, why did you ever ad..adopt adopt me? It was the worst decision ever-
Faizan - (shook his head smiling as he pulled her entire broken frame into his lap and kissed the top of her head whilst little Zoya wrapped herself all around him and clung to him refusing to ever let go, lest he leave her again because she wasn't sure if she would be able to bear it. Not this time.) I walked into that house that day hoping to find my Queen...and instead I found a Queen and a Princess. (Chuckled) you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen...(whispered) don't tell that to your Aapi okay. (Zoya chuckled naughtily along with him which they frequently used to do when plotting against Zeenat or her brothers) you were this..tiny little shaitaan..trying to breakdance at the age of 3 in nothing but your diaper and your Aapi's converse...with chocolate smeared all over your face...and I knew it in a heartbeat, before I even walked over and joined you in the best hip hop this world has ever seen, that I loved you...with everything that I had..I loved you & I still love you..
Zoya - (playing with the chain in his neck) that love cost you your life..Naani is right..main..main hoon hi..manhoos...
Faizan - (shook his head) hey, now you listen to me okay. I NEED you to hear me once and for all...Zoya. Mere paas wakt bauhat kum hai..aur kehne ko bauhat zyaada hai okay..so I need you to promise that you'll be my strong...and samajhdar little Pari..for me-
Zoya - (clung to him harder) not if it means losing you again jeeju. (burying her face in his chest) I..I couldn't..I..I can't.
Faizan - Yes..you can. I know you can. I knew it the moment I first saw you..& I continue to know it.
Zoya - (shook her head, mumbling into his chest) meri wajah se aapki death hui Jeeju...aur iske liye main kabhi apne aapko maaf nahin kar paongi..
Faizan - NO Zoya. Tumhari wajah se KUCH nahin hoya. Trust me, aggar uss pehli mulakat mein hi mujhe apne end ka..apni maut ki khabar hoti naa ke woh kaise hoyegee aur kitni jaldi hogi..main tab bhi kuch na badalta. Aisi Dunya ki koi takaat nahin hai jo mujhe tumhe adopt karne se..aur tumhare jeeju banne se rauk paati Pari. Trust me, I wouldn't change a thing. I have no regrets...but the fact that...(looked down at her innocent face as her big wide brown eyes shined back at him, full of tears and pain) that I won't get to walk my little pari down the isle real soon. (Stroking her hair) that...that I didn't get to spend enough time with you and Zeenat, that I didn't get to make it to your graduations..or...(smiled with a twinkle in his eye) taste that sweet coffee from your hand, or save you from Monsters like Sameer Anand...but pari, I'm here protecting you and saving you...more than you know. I have my angels fulfilling the promise to love you and protect you forever.
Zoya - angels? what angels? (Faizan simply winked at her)
Faizan - (stroking her chubby little face with the back of two of his fingers) trust me..I have no regrets with what happened and how it happened. But I would've have had regrets if I had survived and instead Sameer Anand got away with hurting you..
Zoya - (curling further into him) He did hurt me. He took you away from me.
Faizan - (staring off into the distance) not as much as he wanted to. I will regret it, if you continue to carry this pain and burden with yourself any longer that you're responsible for my death...beta, you couldn't hurt someone even if you wanted to..(he touched her beating heart) my pari's heart is too pure. I will regret it if you loose your smile, because then he really wins. I will regret it if you...(ran his fingers tenderly over her cut marks and as Zoya winced, he winced right along with her) if you continue to hurt yourself...and in turn...(held up his own cut up arm too) hurt me too. I've been gone a long time Zoya..but I still haven't found peace...and I need to..I..I really want to..find peace (staring off into the distance again and that's when little Zoya looked up at his face closely, imploringly..and it was true he looked so aged, so worn out, so...exhausted) and I won't be able to find that until you find peace..until you find happiness like you found for your Aapi. I..I thought I had raised a daughter who was strong, who was fierce and independent and who never backed down in the face of any adversary and who especially didn't give into a bully
Zoya - (shook her head, with tears falling again as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tight) You did Jeeju. You did. Main aapki beti hoon...aur main aapki tarha strong hoon. Bauhat strong hoon.
Faizan - (shook his head) then I'm going to need you to prove it. For my sake. I'm going to need you to stop hurting..to start healing..to...(his voice broke) to please let me go. (Zoya began crying in his arms too) To..to please..stop harming yourself (He held up his own arm and placed it unto hers) it hurts too much beta...(he held her face again kissing her forehead before moving back and smiling at her, a smile that lit up his eyes just like Zoya's smiles lit up hers) Zoya...jaan...(shook his head) you're my jaan..my jahaan..my whole heart...my everything...you..you're destined for so much greatness Zoya..you..you have so much to offer the world, so much beauty and love to offer..your smile (poking at her dimple) dimple can light up this whole world..and this world needs you my jaan. You burn stronger than the sun...and shine brighter than the stars..I just...I need you to stop living..and start living..for your sake..for my sake..for our sake. (Against Zoya's protests he pulled her out of his lap and stroking her hair soothingly preparing her for his departure again) Please Zoya, mujhse vaada karo sirf apni nahin balke meri hisse ki khushi, mere hisse ki hassi, mere hissa ka pyaar...mere hisse ki zindagi bhi jiyogi tum. Please Zoya (and then the flame went out and Zoya panicked as she felt like her heart would burst with the pain of losing him again)
Zoya - (feeling around blindly, her cry panicked and overwhelmed, pain filled) Jeeju!
Faizan - (his voice more distant) please Zoya mere paas waqt bauhat kam hai..promise me.
Zoya - (shook her head crying) I..I can't jeeju...it hurts too much. Everything's dark, everything hurts I'm all alone.
Faizan - Yes you can Zoya, I wouldn't have left if I wasn't sure that both my girls were the strongest women to have walked the earth...and I knew they wouldn't just be able to take it, they would've flourished from it..stronger, and brighter than ever. Promise me Zoya-
Zoya - (her voice breaking again) I don't want you to go. I..want you to take me with you Jeeju...please-
Faizan - (shook his head) it's..it's not time for you Zoya. But it's time for me. I need to go. I need for you to let me go, let the pain in your heart go..and fill your heart with light, with love..with life again.
Zoya - (shook her head, resting her head on her knees like earlier again) there's no one who could love me as much as you did. (Staring into her darkness with her empty eyes) Not now, not anymore...
Faizan - Yes there is Zoya. There is someone who loves you more than I love you.
Zoya - (crying in frustration, not wanting to say goodbye to her jeeju again. Feeling like it would break her, like she'd die from the pain of it this time around)! AISA ISS DUNYA MEIN KOI NAHIN HAI.
Faizan - hai Zoya. hai. Tumhare bilkul saamne hai. You just need to open your heart to the possibility of it..and I want you, I need you...to let me go. Please. For your sake, for my sake...please..promise me you'll let me go.
Zoya - (shook her head, crying inconsolably) I...I promise...I'll try.
Faizan - (smiled in the dark as he lit the flame at the threshold of the treehouse he was standing at) Goodbye Pari.
Zoya - (whimpered, trying to reach out to touch him in the distance with her shaky fingers but she no longer could) I love you.
Faizan - I love you too. (Saying so he turned around to go but then stopped midway and turned back around with a crooked smile on his face, his eyes twinkling mischievously) Oh and Zoya..try to take it easy on Asad...trust me, he's exactly the kind of and (shrugged) well the only Raj Kumar I would allow you to walk down the aisle for..(as Zoya's eyebrows furrowed in confusion at that random comment, dwelling on what it could possibly mean the real life, adult Zoya shot up in bed..her face smeared in tears her hand shot out in the same way as little Zoya's trying to hold Faizan back..but once again she was met with the coldness and emptiness of the bitter and harsh reality that he was gone. Instead she was alive and alone, facing the darkness yet again in her bed...at the Khan Mansion. She hugged herself closely, as endless tears fell from her eyes and she felt more broken than she ever could. An overwhelming urge to cut herself like never before enveloped her and she felt like she couldn't breathe. That's when she heard it, the familiarity of that hauntingly beautiful but heart wrenching music Asad would play in his worst moments coming from somewhere far off in the mansion..and it broke and simultaneously put the broken pieces of her heart back together. Reminding her, that she wasn't the only one who was falling apart bit by bit, second by second, tear by tear. There were others who were suffering just as much, if not more than her. Closing her eyes and listening to Asad play that music she took a few deep breaths and the pain subsided. She stopped itching her bandage as the need to cut herself subsided. Just the thought of Asad alone subsided her pain which just a second ago felt like it would destroy her. Zoya's eyes snapped open as Faizan's words rang in her ear "he's the only one I'd allow you to walk down the aisle for what...what did that mean? She was about to panic but for all together different reasons when the music suddenly stopped just as soon as the Azaan (call for prayer) for Fajr (morning prayers) began going off. Taking it as nothing but a sign and suddenly feeling lighter than she had in years, Zoya closed her eyes again as yet another tear escaped them.
Zoya - (wrapping her arms tighter around herself as she whispered into the dark) I promise Jeeju..I promise to let you go..for your sake..for my sake..for our sake.
Continued in next post...Edited by DailyDaisy - 2018-02-25T21:21:09Z
Early The Next Morning - Asad's Room:
The sun had barely come out and Asad's room was engulfed in darkness, the lights out and his blackout curtains drawn. Asad however, stood wide awake watching the grey skies and the drizzle outside with yet another drink and a cigarette in his hand. His ash tray was overflowing with cigarette stubs and yet, there he was taking yet another drag of yet another cigarette. It was no surprise that he hadn't slept yet again, he looked more haunted than ever before. His eyes were wide and bloodshot red, his face pale and worn out and his hair tousled. He had a white vest and track pants bottoms on, his pajamas and yet ek pal ki neend bhi naseem na hui iss badnaseeb ko. A worried and apprehensive Aisha took a deep breath standing outside his bedroom door before she lightly knocked on his door and to no one's surprise there was no response. Typically after a night like last when Asad was suffering so much he would always refuse to talk to someone and it killed Aisha to see him suffering like this..she knew he wouldn't talk to her and the condition she might find him in both scared her and broke her heart. Upon hearing no response she opened his door a crack and immediately began coughing uncontrollably due to all the smoke. Asad cast barely a half, uninterested glance at her before taking another sip of his drink and Aisha who was always bothered by his drinking and smoking habits averted her eyes clearing her throat. That, and she didn't have the courage to stare into his broken eyes. None at all.
Aisha - (cleared her throat to rid herself of the lump in her throat) uhm..breakfast is in-
Asad - I'm not hungry.
Aisha - (closed her eyes expecting that answer) But Asad-
Asad - I said I'm not hungry. (Shook his head) if..if Ms. Farooqui plans on pulling the same stunt as dinner last night please tell her I'm at work or something because I'm seriously not in the mood.
Aisha - (still avoiding looking at him) Are...are you alright Asad? (Asad could almost laugh at the irony of that question. Where would he begin to answer that question and where should he end? Would he ever be able to end? There wasn't enough alcohol in the world to drink away the pain and burden of that answer. He blinked his eyes to rid himself of the tear and swallowed the remainder of his drink to wash away the painful lump in his throat.)
Asad - I...(cleared his throat) I don't wanna talk about it. (She didn't but he looked towards her and feeling his gaze on her she couldn't help but look up as well and the unbearable and torturous pain in his eyes, the tears in his eyes broke her heart.) Please...just leave me alone Aapi. (She could see him breaking, falling apart beneath the weight of the pain he was harbouring, beneath whatever demon it was that had haunted her brother for so many years that no amount of love, comfort, happiness could lessen the pain or haunting of it. Her own love, her own comforting and loving arms even if she wrapped them around him to prevent him from falling apart would fall short in comparison. There was nothing any of them could do or say to lessen his torment and it killed them. A soft whimper and a tear escaped her as she averted her eyes having no choice but to leave him alone as they did when he was having such a day, not knowing that the remedy to his pain they had searched high and low in this world for was watching the same sky, the same sun rise as the clouds cleared up to let the sun trough from the same house, just across the hallway.)
Across the Hallway:
A sleepy Arsalan cracked open his eyes as the first rays of sun cracked through the window. He checked the time and saw it was really early, the sun was just beginning to rise. Checking on Zoya, he found her bed to be empty and he immediately shot up in bed in panic and alarm. Suddenly wide awake, his heart beginning to hammer fearing the worst at once. But looking around the room, he saw her dressed in a beautiful white shalwar kameez, freshly showered...looking so unbelievably pale and weak it broke his heart. He saw the prayer mat out and he sighed in relief, with hope. She was praying..that had to be a good sign. A positive sign. A sign of healing. Seeing how young and innocent she looked in the glow of the rising sun he couldn't believe how unjust and cruel the world they lived in was that someone as young and pure hearted as her had to go through so much undeserved and unjust pain and heartbreak like she had. Not feeling like giving her the third degree or ignoring her first thing this hopeful morning he sighed, and getting out of bed walked up to her. He stopped before her leaning against the other frame of the window and crossing his arms. He raised an eyebrow seeing the wetness around her eyes and tears in them. Zoya looked over at him and gave him a small smile before without wasting another second she wrapped her arms around him and rested her head against his chest hugged him..alarming and worrying him at once.)
Arsalan - (wrapping his arms around her too, weaving them through her hair) Zoya? Is..is everything okay?
Zoya - (gulped the lump away in her throat, before moving back and wiping her tears chuckling slightly) I'm sorry...I'm just..I'm being silly..
Arsalan - (taking over wiping her tears as he shook his head) no..no you're not being silly. But..what are you doing up so early? Namaz ke liye uthi thi?
Zoya - (gave him a small smile as she shook her head feeling the painful lump return and feeling like her heart would burst into a million pieces any second from pain and with it, so would she) no...I..I was awake so I..I decided to pray..I..I had a lot on my mind..I had to talk to Allah Miyan about a lot of things
Arsalan - (nodded with a small smile at her innocence) did you get the sense that maybe he too might be angry with you like the rest of us? Feel as betrayed?
Zoya - (gave him a small smile hanging her head shamefully, nodding) Allah Miyan ko yaad karne ka kya faida aggar unki di hui zindagi ki hi kadar naa karo toh. (Arsalan nodded, hoping those weren't just words and she had learnt that lesson STRONGLY. He looked over at the serene and peaceful sunrise that morning that brought with it an abundance of renewal, hope and faith all of which they could use. Zoya closed her eyes before looking down shamefully and guiltily...In a small whisper) Bhai...(Arsalan looked towards her and saw her lips trembling, sure sign of tears to come) I..I'm (her voice broke) sorry. I'm sorry I hurt myself...I'm sorry I hurt you...I didn't mean to...I...it was never my intention to hurt any of you...aap jaante ho ke main aap sabse kitne pyaar karti hoon...I could never hurt you...but...(shook her head) I'm sorry..
Arsalan - (sighed, his own eyes filling with tears..Ayaan's words from that night at Rogue after he got that phone call still haunting him) mujhe tumhari sorry ki zaroorat nahin hai...(looked over at her with tears in his eyes) mujhe tumhari zaroorat hai Pari...(and that brought a strong wash of tears to Zoya's eyes remembering and still hearing Faizan call her that)
Zoya - (nodded, fighting the lump in her throat) and...and you will have me around. I promise. I...(closed her eyes taking in a deep breath for strength) I promise to be better bhai...I...promise to never hurt myself again no matter how unbearable the pain..I promise to never hide anything from you ever again...I...(and then her voice broke as did she) I promise to try and let Faizan Jeeju go...and fill my heart with light, (her voice trembled hearing Faizan's words about Asad again) and love...again. For..for your sake, for my sake...for..for his sake...(and before she could finish, Arsalan whose own eyes had filled with tears grabbed her and crashed her against his chest, as his lips trembled with overwhelming pain)
Arsalan - (whispering into her hair as he hugged her fiercely, the pain, the fear of losing her as real today as it was at the hospital that day) I love you...and I miss him
Zoya - (closing her eyes full of pain) me too
A half hour later - Zoya came out of her bedroom, still not quite looking like her old self and not quite ready to either but at least she wasn't wearing her brothers oversized clothes either. She was half way in between. Coming out of the room she smiled at Arsalan who was messaging someone on his phone and put it away at once.
Zoya - (smiled seeing his smile) is that bhabi? (Arsalan blushed and nodded) if she can get you to smile like that...I can't wait to meet her.
Arsalan - (nodded) I can't wait to introduce her to the (pulled her nose) most precious piece of my heart either..
Zoya - (chuckled) careful..say that in front of her and you'll land yourself in a pickle
Arsalan - (shook his head) no...she's going to know exactly what you mean to me and the place you hold in my heart, in my life and in my world..trust me..she'll understand. Her brother loves her..almost as much as I love you...
Zoya - (put her most innocent pout forward) love enough to by me an audi? hmm..maybe a ferrari? an aston martin?
Arsalan - (chuckled) easy there tiger. I meant love more along the lines of forcing you to have breakfast (Zoya cringed and Arsalan chuckled) come on...
Zoya - uhm...actually bhai...I..I was wondering if..well since I know you won't let me out of your sights..maybe you could take me a few places..(she saw Arsalan about to tell her off so she rushed to explain) and uhh..one of them is Asha's so we can just have breakfast there.
Arsalan - (frowned) why do you want to go to Asha's?
Zoya - I have work...
Arsalan - (shook his head) oh come on Zoya...you just got out of the hospital..I'm sure Asad will give you one day off...
Zoya - (shook her head) He might but...(avoided looking at him) I don't want to...I want to keep myself busy to avoid thinking of all that happened and to avoid feeling tempted to...(held up her wrist and Arsalan who didn't need any reminders of that nodded his head understandingly)
Arsalan - (sighed, not wanting to give her permission, against his better judgement but needing to take her reasoning into account) are you sure your up to it? Your okay? Not feeling dizzy or weak or-
Zoya - (rolled her eyes) Bhai! I'm pouring coffee not building houses...I need to get back into my old routine and habits as soon as I can,you can sit there and baby sit me for 4 hours if you want..
Arsalan - (raised an eyebrow) what made you think I wasn't already going to. (Zoya rolled her eyebrows at him) fine..but we're going to stop by the hospital first..If Aisha and Aahil say it's okay..Then you can go to work..
Zoya - (smiled sheepishly) that was actually the second stop on my list anyways...(Arsalan frowned) had to apologize to Aahil Bhai too...(Arsalan nodded)
Arsalan - (pulled out his keys) alright madam driver haazir hai..(Zoya giggled) what shall be first stop then? Lemme guess Milkshake and fries?
Zoya - (gave him a small smile shaking her head, her eyes welling up) the graveyard...(and Arsalan's own eyes welled up too as he nodded in understanding, knowingly)
5 minutes later:
Zoya had grabbed her bag and was rushing out of her room when she caught sight of Asad's closed bedroom door. Faizan's words echoed in her ear erupting a strange and foreign feeling within her heart just as Asad's broken, haunted and sad eyes from last night after the graveyard and then that hauntingly beautiful tone he played, plagued her mind. Her breathing shallowed and her heart hammered against her chest at once as an overwhelming feeling of protection, of a need to comfort and soothe, of care filled her heart. An overwhelming NEED to know that he was okay. But she didn't know how. She also knew that Asad wasn't the type to talk about his feelings or respond favourably when he was angry, hurting or upset which meant always but that wouldn't deter her. It never did. She was Zoya Farooqui, she could accomplish anything in this world like her jeeju had very lovingly reminder her last night. She looked around the room desperately, looking for some alternative method of communication. She spotted her phone on the bed, but for some reason it just didn't feel right, or personal enough. Feeling demotivated, her face crestfallen she was just about to pick up her phone to text him when her eyes fell on her study desk and the bright colourful sticky notes sitting on top of her text books and immediately a 100 megawatt smile formed across her face. As she remembered not too long ago when a sticky with Asad's beautiul and elegant handwriting had slid beneath her door asking her the same.
Asad had just emerged from the bathroom after showering. His eyes clearly showing his ordeal and the fact that he obviously hadn't slept and was thus a little more unhinged than usual when he spotted the bright green colourful note slide beneath his door. Pulling the countless cigarette from his mouth he blew out smoke as he curiously walked over and then bent down to pick it up...and within one second the pain, the struggle, the insufferable demon that haunted his every breath was cut down by half and he found he was able to breathe just a little..his heart was able to rest just a little..his head was able to think just a little, come up for air from the imaginary but very real pool of darkness he was drowning in and which only Zoya could save him from, just like she was doing how.
"Akdu Ahmed Khan, are you okay? - (annoyed emoji). The smallest, softest most adorable and yet heartbreaking smile formed on Asad's face as he read and re-read her note. This girl who had his whole heart at the mercy of her smile was clearly something else. So unbelievably pure, innocent, unpredictable and adorable. Never mind absolutely insane and very very hat ke and unique. Of course as her annoyed and impatient knock reminded him, also very feisty and fierce. Nothing short of a lioness, his queen.
Zoya - Mr. Khan...are you going to answer me ya main Malik Uncle ko phone lagaon? (Asad shook his head to himself at the handful he had standing outside his door before he walked over to his desk and grabbed a pen, his smile growing with each second as he very carefully, trying to savour the note, the moment and the memory as much as possible, savour her care, concern, thoughtfulness...her..as he craved and hoped for more than anything as he heartbrokenly curved a message unto the back of it just as Zoya went on round 2 of knocking and he feared she would call the station and report it as a matter of life and death to Malik Uncle which we all know she was capable of. He sighed, his smile just a little bigger, just a bit more heart wrenching as he stared at the back of it and read it out loud once before he closed his eyes and saw his angel in red, laughing, her twinkling eyes mesmerizing him, her laughter haunting him but in a beautiful way, her smile alone holding the power to answer her question
Asad - hopefully, one day soon.
Zoya stood at the foot of Faizan's grave where she had just laid a set of fresh new flowers.
Zoya - (wiping her tears) I promised you I would try to move on, and I will Jeeju...I promise you I will try my best to (closed her eyes as more tears fell from them remembering that night in the dance studio again) laugh again..to live again..to love..(Faizan's words rang in her ears again "he's the only one I would walk you down the aisle for) to (whispered the word, as her eyes widened) love...(she looked down at her Jeeju's grave in shock. What was he trying to tell her? Her and Mr. Khan? Never in a million years could that be a possibility? ...or could it? Her treacherous heart wanted what it wanted but her mind was fighting against it..it just, it just couldn't happen. Mr. Khan wouldn't want it to happen, Phupi wouldn't let it happen. What Faizan had suggested was absurd, neither did she love Mr. Khan and surely he did not love her. She shook her head trying to get the absurdity of his suggestion out of her mind...and sighed) I know it won't be easy Jeeju...some days it might even seem impossible and on those days...on my darkest days Jeeju please guide me like the light that you have always been in my life please hold your Pari's finger and guide her through it...(shook her head) she needs you now more than ever. (Smiled as she leaned down and touched his grave before touching the hand to her heart, closing her eyes breathing deeply whilst her heart felt like it would burst with pain..she opened her eyes and looked up at the sky as her eyes flowed with tears) I love you..and miss you...so, so much. (Arsalan who had been standing at a distance watching her walked up to her and wrapped an arm around her neck kissing the side of her head...Zoya looked up at him with her tear filled eyes and he turned around properly wrapping both his arms around her neck and enveloping her in a hug)
Arsalan - (stroking her back comfortingly) I know.
Arsalan looked towards Zoya who sat with her head bowed, and then towards Aahil who sat looking as worn out as the rest of them, exhausted completely. Aahil was facing his table, pensively when Arsalan discreetly tapped the table. Aahil looked up at him and Arsalan frowned at him looking towards Zoya, urging him towards something. Aahil frowned back.
Aahil - okay...(Zoya looked up towards him with wide hopeful eyes unable to believe that he was actually forgiving her)
Zoya - (the hope in her voice unmistakeable) for real?
Aahil - yah...(nodded, giving her a small smile) okay Zoya..I accept your apology
Zoya - (grabbed his hands over the table as a tear of relief fell from her eyes. 2 down w
2 more to go, it was like she could finally breathe again) thank you bhai...thank you so much...and I'm so so sorry again...I...(looked down ashamedly again) I promise I won't do it again...I won't ever...ever harm myself again I promise...(Arsalan smiled at her and ruffled her hair whilst Aahil simply patted her hand on top of his)
Aahil - (nodded, still pensive) that's good. Good. But I have two conditions. (Zoya looked up startled towards her and then looked towards Arsalan who looked towards Aahil just as confused as Zoya) 1. I want you to talk to someone...a professional. (Shook his head) these kinds of things are easier said than done..I know...I see it all day everyday...you may have the intention of quitting this habit Zoya...and I'm not doubting your intention or your will...I know how strong my sister is...(shook his head smiling at her through his tears as the sight of her bloody arms as Asad ran through the hospital corridors holding her, still haunted him) you put the 5 of us to shame...but..(held her hands tightly) yeh dunya bauhat kutti cheez hai beta...the smallest thing can be a trigger for you at this point and I...I just...I don't want you going through this alone. Obviously you have us...we are here for you HOWEVER you need to talk to someone. The kind of pain..the kind of grief and trauma...you've been holding unto...over losing Faizan Chachu it's not healthy Pari...it...it's not...(he looked towards Arsalan for help helplessly as Zoya began crying and Arsalan wrapped his arms around her, stroking her hair)
Arsalan - shhh...
Zoya - (crying) main pagal nahin hoon bhai
Aahil - (stood from his chair and walked over to her, kneeling by her feet in a heartbeat and holding her hands tightly in his) I know pari...I know...this is just to help you..to help you deal with Chachu's death..to help you come to terms with it-
Zoya - (snatching her hands back and burying her face in her hands) I COULD NEVER COME TO TERMS WITH HIS MURDER-
Arsalan - no no...thats the wrong way to put it...we just want you to talk to someone so it's not weighing down on you as much...so it's not the biggest thought on your mind every second of every day...so..so you can at least think of moving on in life Zoe...to open up your heart...(and it was those words "open up your heart that got Zoya to stop crying inconsolably for just a second as she heard Faizan say the same words to her again..open up your heart and Arsalan and Aahil took that as an opportunity)
Aahil - at least think about it Pari...baaki...if you're not comfortable...toh no one will force you...
Zoya - (wiping her tears, swallowing the lump in her throat) aur doosri shart..
Aahil - (stared at Arsalan, communicating to him to back him up on this) we want you to tell us who killed Faizan Jeeju...(The way Zoya's panicked eyes snapped to his face, it reassured them that Ayaan's suspicion was right. It was the same guy.) Ayaan's figured it out that the guy who murdered Faizan Chachu...and the guy who tried to rape you are one and the same and THATS ENOUGH ZOYA...I don't know why you're doing it but ENOUGH protecting him ENOUGH letting him get away with it...(shook his head) how can you let him walk free and not avenge Chachu's death...
Arsalan - (looked from Aahil in shock to Zoya, unable to find his voice or the words as he tried to process this) is this true?
Aahil - (stood up straighter and glared at Zoya, and spoke to her in a no nonsense tone) WHO IS HE ZOYA? (Zoya itched her bandage, as an overwhelming need to cut herself consumed her again)
Arsalan - (stood up in shock, joining Arsalan) HOW COULD YOU ZOYA?
Aahil - ZOYA MAIN DOBARA NAHIN POOCHOONGA...AS IT IS MY PATIENCE WITH YOU IS RUNNING VERY LOW...SO DON'T PUSH IT WITH ME, WHO IS HE? .
Zoya - (panicking) I DON'T KNOW OKAY...I DON'T KNOW- (she stood from her chair in agitation, as another panic attack came on, and she struggled to breathe) I...I don't know. (Both Arsalan and Aahil glared down at her breathing heavily and angrily whilst Zoya fell back into her chair crying inconsolably and struggling to breathe. Meanwhile Aisha who had just walked in and had heard the last of the fight stared at Arsalan and Aahil..)
Aisha - what...what's going on here? (She stared from Aahil's livid and helpless face to Arsalan's who simply walked out to get some fresh air and then her eyes fell unto Zoya and her mouth fell aghast) WHAT...THE HELL are you guys doing? (She glared at Aahil who also simply walked out leaving the two of them alone whilst Aisha shrank into the chair next to Zoya and let her crash against her, and cry it all out whilst she simply held unto her and comforted her)
Half an hour later:
After Zoya was all cried out, her tears had dried...she sat on the examination table whilst Aisha changed her bandages...and Zoya was suddenly more sullen than she had been all day...
Aisha - (stared up at her, as she continued her job) you know why they're doing this right? Why their behaving this way? (Zoya sighed, looking down at her wrists..the answer laid right in them) it comes from a place of love, their just worried about you..
Zoya - (nodded and whispered) I know..
Aisha - (cast an apprehensive glance at her) you know...don't you? Who he is?
Zoya - (closed her eyes hard to get the image of Sameer out of her mind, and it was as if Faizan had agreed to continue being her guiding light..because the very next second that image was replaced with Asad's ruggedly handsome face smiling back at her, that stingy but deathly but breathtaking smile of his..and Zoya's eyes snapped open in alarm..Faizan's words ringing in her ears again. She looked towards Aisha and cleared her throat awkwardly) what was up with Jahanpanah last night? (Trying to mask her concern) Zaroorat se zyaada khadoos ka mood kharaab lag raha tha...
Aisha - (tried to hide her smile knowing very well what Zoya was trying to do..who was she trying to fool really?) I think Zoya..(snapping the bandage in place) ke tum aur tumhare jahapanah dono ek hi mitti ke banne hue ho...(mimicking Asad in response to Zoya's clueless expression) we don't like to talk about it...(she shook her head standing up) no wonder ya'll get along like a house on fire...(Zoya was flexing her wrists to adjust the bandages as Aisha said that and at once her surprised, hopeful but astonished eyes snapped up to Aisha' face and Aisha winked in response..leaving Zoya breathless. What was with today's day...and all these indirects about her and Asad. There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING between her and Asad, and nor could there ever be. & she was a fool to believe that)
Meanwhile - IMA:
A livid and clearly unhinged Asad stormed up the stairs of the main administrative building and began storming towards the main office labelled "Principle. He was like a predator who had his prey in sight, target on lock and was set out to hunt, he wanted blood. His visit to the graveyard last night, a night spent drinking and smoking in his disturbed state of mind, and then the sight that wouldn't let him breathe, sleep or attain peace and he simply couldn't get out of his mind...Zoya laying with her wrists cut, in a pool of her own blood at Rogue. The security guard obviously spotted how unhinged he looked because he stood up startled, recognizing him at once but not trusting his intentions or mental stability (and he was right not to).
Guard - (speaking in a meek whisper) Sir..Sir...Sir aap andar nahin jaa sakte...aap..(but then seeing Asad paying no heed to his words he tried to block his path and prevent him from walking forward but to no avail, Asad shoved him aside with one simple shrug of his shoulder and threw open the door to the principals office startling him. The Principal dropped the file he was holding just as soon as Asad stalked into the office and flicking his cigarette away stalked right up to him as his his eyes flashed with anger, and pure pagalpan. &...his all consuming love for Zoya.
Asad - (grabbed the principal by his collar and smacked him into his chair, kicking it hard so it smashed against the wall behind and just as the principal broke a sweat believing today would be his last day alive, Asad was all up in his face holding his collar again and staring into his face, HARD. What the principal didn't realize in that moment is that he wasn't getting a visit from Asad, he was being paid a visit by Shaan.) KYUN? KITNE PAISON MEIN BECHA TU NE APNA..IMAAN?
Principal - Asad..Asad kya-
Asad - (yanked him hard by his collar again) WHO IS HE?? HUNH?! KYA LAGTA HAI WOH TERA..KISKO BACHANE KI KOSHISH KAR RAHA HAI TU..AUR KITNE MEIN-
Principal - Asad beta please-
Asad - MAT BULAO MUJHE BETA. ISS LAFZ KI TERE JAISE BEKAO AADMI KE LIYE KOI AHMIAT NAHIN HAI. (& then his voice broke as Zoya's cut up wrists flashed before his eyes again) WOH TERI BETI KI UMAR KI HAI...TERE COLLEGE MEIN USKE SAATH HUA HAI YEH SAB...ISS SABKA GUNNAH TERE SAR PE HAI-
Principal - HAAN...HAI BETA..MAIN QUBOOL KARTA HOON KE HAI...Zaroor hai- (he whimpered as his eyes flashed with unbelievable fear as in the very next second Asad pulled out a knife and pressed it to his neck)
Asad - I.WANT.THE.TAPES. (The principal who was shaking all over in fear and didn't trust Asad AT ALL in that moment because he could clearly see how disturbed and unhinged he was, his eyes held a world of a psychotic mess in them, and moreover he could smell the alcohol on him)
Principal - (trying to plead to the rational, more reasonable and respectable Asad he knew and was fond of, instead of the Asad whose friend had nearly been raped in his college. If only he knew she meant SO was so much more to him. She was Everything to him.) Asad beta...(looking down ashamedly) trust me aggar mere paas woh tapes hotin toh tumhe mujhse maangni hi na partin...main khud sabse pehle tumhe offer karta...par...(closed his eyes shamefully) main bauhat afsos se aur sharam se tumhe dobara bata raha hoon...these cameras..there just..there for show now...pichle saal budget mein government ne security measures ke sabse zyaada funds kum kardiye...(averting his eyes) I'm sorry...trust me no one feels more horrible about what happened to your friend than I do par main sach keh raha hoon..(shook his head) iske ilaava meri jo madad chahiye ho..main karne ko tayaar hoon.
Asad - (glared at him, pressing the knife just a little harder. He knew he was telling the truth but the psychotic break he was experiencing in the moment, he needed someone to blame, ANYONE, someone to break) for your sake I hope your telling the truth...kyunki aggar mujhe pata chala ke aisa nahin hai...(pressed the knife just a little harder and the principal whimpered, his knuckles gone white from gripping the chair so hard out of fear) toh trust me..agli baar tumhara bhi utna hi khoon bahega jitna uska baha hai...(chuckled as he let go of him and the principle struggled to breathe) and no one will ever know...after-all (pointed to the security cameras around the office before calmly proceeding to light another cigarette whilst the principal, the security guard and Jay all stared at him as if he were mental (well Jay already knew that)) they don't work (saying so he spun around and stalked out of there, grabbing the security guard by his collar as he mewled in fear and he tossed him at Jay)
Asad - he's coming with. If that bas***d wasn't a student than someone knew it..someone helped him lurk around college property and my bet..(turning around just as he felt Jay and the security guard behind him hearing the guard whimpering..however all that stopped and the guard went completely still and silent as Asad turned around and blew his smoke out unto his face) is on him. (Robbing the guard of his ability to breathe out of fear as Jay began dragging him out)
Sheila - OH.MY.GOD. (She dropped the muffin she was taking out for the customer and removing her apron, tossing it aside she was out from behind the counter and in front of Zoya who smiled tenderly at her. Within a second Sheila had enveloped her arms around Zoya and was hugging her to death as was Zoya) I MISSED YOU.
Zoya - (cherishing the normalcy of what was once her life, as she stared around the familiar settings of the cafe) Me too.
Sheila - (moved back and glared at her) where the hell have you been? (Zoya stared at Arsalan who stared back at her just as weirdly before Zoya looked towards her again)
Zoya - Jay didn't tell you?
Sheila - (frowned) tell me what?
Arsalan - (jumping in) that I'm starved. Subha se I've been chaperoning Zoya on an empty stomach...(shook his head) Asad ke ghar ke naukron mein bhi uske jitni hi akkad hai...arre aggar khud bhook bhook na chalao koi poochta hi nahin hai...(Sheila laughed just a little however her scrutinizing gaze was on Zoya the entire time, analyzing her head to toe)
Sheila - sab...theek toh hai na Zoya? Itne dinon se kahan thi...aur yeh...(touching her face) kya halat bana rakhee hai...rang kaise pheeka par gaya hai...and girl if you get any skinnier I'm gonna beat on you...(shaking her head...but seeing Zoya uncharacteristically quiet her smile also faltered) Zoya?
Zoya - (gave her a small reassuring smile) yes I'm fine...perfectly fine, I've just been unwell...
Sheila - (gazed at her scrutinizingly again) why do I find that so hard to believe?
Zoya - (sighed) there is more but...(shook her head) I'm just not ready to talk about it yet...
Sheila - (her heart jerked in fear..she looked to Arsalan who gave her a slight discreet shake of his head but Zoya knew nonetheless, her brothers weren't as discreet as they thought themselves to be. Sheila then touched Zoya's face warmly) well..whenever you want to talk...you know where to find me..(looking around the cafe) especially if you want to gossip...because I live for that.
Arsalan - Will someone please feed me? (Zoya and Sheila both rolled there eyes)
Sheila - (turned towards Zoya) tumhare saare bhai tumhari tarah hi bhukar hain kya...(Zoya giggled and nodded and Arsalan playfully punched her before taking a seat at one of the barstools on the counter) as your friend I'm thrilled to have you back...but not as thrilled as I am as your manager. You ARE taking your shift right? Cuz I really haven't seen my man in days.
Zoya - (shook her head) thanks for the warm welcome back Sheila...I'm so touched
Sheila - your most welcome...(threw an arm around her walking her into the cafe)
Malik looked up over his glasses as he heard the rowdy noise of Asad's car zooming up his driveway recklessly. He frowned worriedly as he watched a drunken Asad stumble from it once he haphazardly managed to park it half on the grass half on the driveway. The lit cigarette and the half drank beer was visible to him from afar..he sighed and shook his head hopelessly before turning his attention back to his guests, Azlan and Zain whilst Asad managed to stumble his way into the house drunkenly, screaming for "Malik Uncle, someone who didn't turn his attention back to the meeting was Azlan...who had risen from his seat as he saw Asad stumbling from his car..worried that he may fall or hurt himself and more importantly over the fact that he was driving, drunk.
Zain - (eyeing Azlan, as did Malik with a raised eyebrow. Zain cleared his throat) Sir, if you want...we could always come back.
Malik - (frowned) why?
Zain - no I...it..just looks like you have company...(Azlan meanwhile finally chose to sat down, but the worry was still etched on his face)
Malik - (shook his head) woh mera beta hai...yeh uska ghar hai...woh apni marzi se aata jaata hai...he's not a guest who needs attending to..we need to finish up here..already theres a lot of backlog at the station due to your suspensions I need you to bring me up to speed on all your cases so I can reassign them and unfortunately (checking his watch) I don't have much time-
Azlan - (not having heard a word of what Malik had said, his attention was still inside the house and towards his brother. He hung his head down ashamedly, afraid of the backlash he would get from Malik for asking that question but he just couldn't hold himself back. He NEEDED to know) is he...alright? What...what's wrong-
Malik - (the anger in his voice unmistakable as he flipped through the files before him) how far back do you want me to go Prince Khan? (Lifted his annoyed eyes at him for a split second) I would advise you to focus on the matters in front of you..instead of matters inside my home...(without spending any more time discussing Asad he began discussing the case files again and Zain gave Azlan a small sympathetic and understanding smile before he too shifted his attention back to Malik and the files, Azlan however, no matter how hard he tried (not very hard, he didn't care to nor did he want to) his attention remained rooted inside the house and more specifically at his clearly disturbed brother.
An hour later:
Malik stood up, adjusting his kurta and removing his glasses as he stood whilst Zain also stood, fighting the urge to say something. Azlan was still looking towards the house worriedly, internally subconsciously praying for Asad to make an appearance just so he could be rest assured that he was alright and could maybe breathe again.
Malik - something to say Inspector Malik?
Zain - (nearly jumped, startled) hunh? No..no sir (Malik raised an eyebrow at him and Zain sighed, taking a deep breath to gather his courage) it...it's just that sir...you could always...(shrugged) reinstate us instead of going through all this difficulty (Malik stared at him, before simply turning his head away)
Malik - Thank you for your advice Inspector Malik.
Zain - no no sir..it wasn't advice it was..it was just a suggestion I-
Malik - have a nice day...(saying so he crossed his arms, letting them know theur business was concluded and it was time for the two of them to go. Zain sighed and nodded, lowering his head turning to go. Looking at Azlan though, he may as well have left him there because Azlan wouldn't even have realized. Zain grabbed his arm, and turned him around)
Zain - (staring him in the eyes, hoping to get the message across) time to go...(Azlan looked towards Malik and then back to Zain and then nodded once before he turned around to walk away and seeing the pain in his eyes Malik finally took some pity on him)
Malik - Azlan...(Azlan turned around with hopeful eyes thinking Malik was finally going to sympathize with him and put him out of his misery..by telling him that his brother was okay and Malik was not able to break that hope...he gave him a sympathetic smile) just...just pray for him, alright. It's the most you, me or anyone can do for him...(However, Azlan was left more disappointed and worried than before with that reply because he could see the fear that swam in his eyes, reflected in Malik's eyes too. Fear OF Asad, Fear FOR Asad.)
Meanwhile Inside the House:
Malik sighed as he walked into the living room and found Asad passed out on the sofa, the room wreaked of cigarette smoke and alcohol and there was still an unlit cigarette dangling between Asad's fingers in the hand that dangled off the sofa. Malik walked up to the sofa and saw the weariness, exhaustion and paleness of his face...the dark circle underneath his eyes and the frown on his forehead as he slept or lay unconscious on his sofa.
Malik - (sighed, shaking his head as he patted Asad's head) what's going on with you kid?...(he sighed exasperatedly, pulling up the throw and covering Asad with it before walking away)
Later that Evening:
Asad jerked up awake, from yet another nightmare drenched in sweat and looking even more spooked and disturbed than before. He sighed holding his face and running a hand through his hair as a stressful and pained look flashed on his face remembering bits of his nightmare. Laughter, a gunshot, laughter, a scream, a dark alleyway where he saw himself hiding like a coward and then a graveyard..
& a graveyard is exactly where he found himself sitting an hour later, drinking himself senseless as he stared at the graveyard sat in his car, looking more spooked then the graveyard he was staring into, haunted and disturbed, pained beyond belief.
Zoya smiled and waved goodbye to the last of the customers before she pulled the dishtowel from her shoulder and sighed staring out at the mess.
Zoya - (sighed, shaking her head) can't believe how much I missed this and am actually looking forward to it. (She grabbed a bin and began picking up the dirty dishes as she walked around the cafe. However, no sooner than she had cleaned 3 tables did she feel a gush of wind sneak up on her, the hair on the back of her neck stand up and goosebumps to erupt on her skin. Someone was watching her, she was sure of it...and, it could...it could really be..she dropped the entire tub of dishes and all of them shattered to pieces as she let out a small fear filled scream..holding unto the edge of the chair to get a grip on herself)
Zoya - Bh...Bhai? I...is that you? (But there was no response...only the creak of the door, and the strong blows of winds from outside. She was gripping the chair so tightly her knuckles were ghost white. She gulped fearfully as tears of immense and overwhelming fear filled her eyes and dread consumed her body..she was struggling to breath and felt another panic attack coming on...just thinking of saying his name, thinking it...daring to say it had her heart struggling to jump from her chest)
Zoya - Saa...Sam..eer (her eyes widened and her heart filled with a very small glimmer of relief as she saw a knife sitting on the table before her, making a sudden grab for it she spun around with it out to attack, and do some damage, just as she felt like her heart would explode with fear...but the very next second the knife dropped from her hand and a cry escaped her, before a chuckle of relief as she found no one to be there...just the door rattling with the wind. She both laughed and cried, painfully cried with relief over her own fear and paranoia, that Sameer had left her down to nothing but a bundle of untrusting, nervous and fear consumed nerves. However, just as she ran up to the door to lock it, which she did in a jiffy she gulped staring out the window..someone was definitely watching her. She immediately flicked off the lights and grabbed her phone.
"How far away are you - Zoya
"10 minutes - Arsalan
Zoya breathed in relief, leaning back against the wall holding a hand over her rapidly beating heart and trying to catch her breath. Gulping nervously, with shaky hands she moved the blinds apart just a smidge and stared around the street ensuring that he nor any of his followers were lurking around stalking her, and she was relieved to find no one there. She slid down against the ledge of the door, crawled into a corner with fear...as one after another a tear fell from her eye...Asad removed his hood and took a drag from his cigarette as he stepped forward from the dark alleyway across the street from where he had been stalking her, to make sure she was safe & seeing her sitting there all alone, in the darkened cafe...crying...shattered his already shattered heart to pieces.
15 minutes later -
Zoya was staring out the window of Arsalan's car still breathing heavily, still trying to tame her rapidly beating heart and still unable to believe what Sameer had reduced her to, that from such a strong, independent and confident girl she was reduced to a meek, afraid..untrusting and paranoid girl..and it killed her, it was eating away at her. She just...she wanted so badly to go back in time and be her old self again. How was she supposed to move on in life, when she couldn't even be herself.
Arsalan - (his worried eyes more on her than the road) what..what's going on with you? You okay? (Zoya wiped away an errant tear not wanting to give her brothers any more reason to worry, she could see the worry and exhaustion catching up with them..they looked as tired and sleep deprived, worn out as she did)
Zoya - yah...just tired I guess.
Arsalan - (shook his head) I knew you were overdoing it, letting you go back to work so soon was a bad idea..you need to take it easy and not exert yourself like that..
Zoya - (shook her head) not like that...it's just...(sighed) I think I got too comfy restricted to my own bed these past few days...(Arsalan gave her a small smile before he ruffled her hair)
Arsalan - so...you want to go straight home or...you wanna grab dinner? We could go to Freddy's...I could kill for some of that beef lasagne...(rolled his eyes) I'll even let you be gross and order a milkshake for a drink
Zoya - (smiled) maybe after...uhm...can you actually take me...to, (her smile turned sad) your house...Faizan Jeeju's house?
Arsalan - (snapped his surprised eyes to her face) w..hat? To do what? Meet Naani? I...No way..thats not the best idea Zoya I don't want you anywhere near her and that kind of negativity not in this kind of fragile state I-
Zoya - (shook her head) I..I..don't want to meet her..I just..(stared out the window again as she felt tears prick her eyes) I just...I wanted to get something from...my treehouse- (however that didn't make Arsalan feel any better)
2 hours later - Farooqui Mansion:
Zoya sat in the small, darkened tree house which was completely barren inside and quite small for her. She had clearly outgrown it a long time ago. The treehouse was on the far outskirts of the Farooqui property and had been locked up after Faizan's death. Zoya didn't have the heart to acknowledge it, let alone visit it until now. She had spent the last 2 hours cherishing, honouring and remembering her Jeeju...trying and failing in finding a way to say goodbye to him, letting him go...like he had asked her to. She had cried herself senseless...her eyes were all dried up now and her face was streaked with tears, her eyes puffy and red...with enormous dark circles beneath them. She was clutching something silver in one hand and she dialled her phone with another hand whilst resting her head on her knees pulled off.
Zoya, cleared her throat as she heard the ring but her voice was still hoarse from all that crying.
Dilshad - hello?
Zoya - (feeling a pang of pain and a fresh set of tears fill her heart) Phupi...(there was silence on the other end but Zoya was sure she heard her gasp) itni naraaz ho gayee ho aap phupi ke Delhi jaake aapne ek baar bhi phone nahin kiya
Dilshad - (crying inconsolably) nahin Zoya...naraaz nahin, sharminda...mujhe laga ke jo kuch maine Asad ke saath kiya uss wajah se tum bhi mujhse naraaz-
Zoya - Phupi...Mr. Khan aapke bete hain...aap unhe daante, unse naraaz hoon even aggar unhe maarein...jo ke (she couldn't help but make use of every opportunity to take jabs at him) frankly he deserves...(Dilshad laughed at the other end) woh aapka haq hai...mujhe ya kissi aur ko uss mein naraaz hone ka ya savaal uthane ka koi haq nahin hai...
Dilshad - matlab...tum apni phupi se naraaz nahin ho?
Zoya - Disappointed maybe...naraaz nahin
Dilshad -(closed her eyes painfully, still haunted by the image of her son that she had seen on TV and which refused to stop breaking her heart ever since. Her voice broke as she asked Zoya the question that no matter how many times Aisha answered her wouldn't bring her heart any peace) Asad...kaisa hai?
Zoya - (sighed) still mad at the whole world
Dilshad - still mad at me...
Zoya - no phupi...I think he's more broken by that than mad..
Dilshad - (nodded, trying to talk over the painful lump in her throat as she tried but failed to wipe her tears and stop crying) toh tumhe aaj meri yaad kaise aa gayee...Asad se phir jhagra hua hai kya?
Zoya - (chuckled, shaking her head...as she stared out into the darkness of the 4 walls that felt like they were closing in on her...oh how she would kill to have a full blown out fight with Asad just to feel a sense of normalcy again)(whispered) I wish...(Dilshad's heart constricted in worry, her maternal instincts coming forth in full swing as she frowned hearing the pain and longing in Zoya's voice...she really didn't sound like herself)
Dilshad - Zoya...sab theek toh haina? Tum sab theek ho? Kuch hua hai kya..kissi ne kuch kaha-
Zoya - no phupi...(trying but failing from breaking down completely..her tears brimming with tears and her heart feeling like it would burst with pain..as she felt Faizan's presence all around her) bas...ek maa se baat karne ka dil chah raha tha...(A tear escaped Dilshad's eyes hearing the pain in her voice as she said that)
Continued in next post...
Arsalan and Zoya slammed the doors of his car as as they finally arrived home after a long hectic day.
Arsalan - (held up a few bags) I'll tell Kaki to warm up dinner and find out Asad, Aisha and Aahil's whereabouts...(A gush of wind swept past her making her shiver and as she pulled her cardigan tighter around herself she spotted something in the distance. Asad sitting alone in the distance on the bridge, one of their many spots, staring into the small creek running below it, drinking STILL, his eyes as empty, as broken...as haunted as the rest of him & it broke Zoya's heart. What were these demons that refused to abandon him? That were so merciless? She sighed closing her eyes as she felt her heart breaking seeing him like that, hurting and alone)
Zoya - (cleared her throat, trying to find her voice and the strength to talk over the lump in her throat) you just figure out where Bhabi and Bhai are...I've got Mr. Khan handled...
Arsalan - (looked from her to Asad, & then back to her and chuckled) well someone sure needs to..don't be long though okay...it's getting cold (Zoya smiled and nodded and he climbed the steps to Khan Mansion two at a time. Zoya took a deep breath...trying to gather her courage and be prepared for whatever anger, tantrum, forlorn behaviour Asad was going to throw her way. She knew how he got when he was in one of his moods, she just hoped he would tell someone, ANYONE, preferably her what was eating away at him like this. After mentally preparing herself as much as she could she walked over to him with shaky steps and as she got closer, she could see even more clearly just how disturbed he was...his red rimmed eyes that refused to stop staring at the stillness of the water scared her. He was so lost he didn't even realize when she took a seat next to him...Zoya who was taken aback by that stared at his drunken, unkempt and very very uncharacteristically messy and ragged lost self extremely worriedly...she stared at him head to toe, at the beer bottle in his hand that made her cringe..and then back at him...before sighing and crossing her legs...staring out at the water herself too, wringing her hands together nervously)
Zoya - (her head lowered, she spoke in a small whisper) I'm sorry...
Asad - (nearly jumped out of his skin hearing her next to him, the way his body jolted violently and he jerked back, staring at her with wide fearful and shocked eyes it was as if he had seen a ghost. As if he really had NO clue of her presence..Zoya who was just as surprised and bewildered by his reaction shot out a hand unknowingly and involuntarily to touch him and comfort him, remind him that it was just her...but he seemed to jerk back fearfully even further at that, the fear in his eyes breaking her heart...he thought SHE would HURT HIM? Why? How? Zoya recoiled her hand back and she would be lying if she said that didn't hurt. Asad closed his eyes, trying to catch his breath and calm his rapidly beating heart as he sat up straighter, next to her..still struggling to breathe)
Asad - (speaking breathlessly, in a small hoarse whisper) when...when did you get home?
Zoya - just..just now...(Asad nodded, still trying to catch his breathe and took another sip of his beer, which further added to Zoya's worry he looked pretty drunk as is)
Asad - (nodded, looking away from her) what're you doing? It's cold..you should get inside...(but Zoya could hear it in his voice...the lack of conviction in his voice...the silent hope that she wouldn't go, that she would stay, with him here, in this moment...forever, for it was the first moment all day when he felt his demons not eating away at him)
Zoya - (trying, but failing to hide the smile both on her face and in her voice at his need of her, much like a reflection of her undeclared need of him) uhm...I uhh...I've been making rounds of apologies all day...and you're 2nd last on the stops.
Asad - (taking another sip) well...I guess it beats being the last stop but uhh...(shook his head still staring at the water) you don't owe me an apology...(staring up at the sky through his haunted empty eyes) you don't owe me anything...
Zoya - (closed her eyes, hoping he hadn't said that, at least that he didn't mean it) Yes I do...and that's why I'm here...I...(shook her head looking away from him this time as she whispered the words in the most inaudible voice but he heard it nonethless) I'm sorry Mr. Khan...(Neither Zoya, nor Asad spoke for the longest time after that, they both listened to and took solace in the soft and comforting noise of running water...of soft winds and the stillness of the night)
Asad - (took another sip before he cleared his throat...still avoiding eye contact with her) for...for what?
Zoya - (closed her eyes...as a tear escaped them recalling Asad's encounter with her in the hospital, the accusations ringing in her ear. They were all true) For uhh...for being a fraud...(Asad's surprised, partially ashamed and apologetic eyes snapped to her face and Zoya knew he was looking at her but she didn't have the courage to look back at him...she hung her head shamefully) for...for almost leaving you...(and then mustering all her courage, afraid of his rejection..she very hesitantly looked up at him through her shy, tear filled eyes and he didn't blink or look away and slowly, that fear of rejection abandoned her in that moment, on that bridge in the silence of that cold winter night amidst the solace of the still waters)
10 minutes later -
The two had fallen into a comfortable silence in which Zoya was dipping her hand and playing with the water in the creek below whilst Asad still sat as disturbed, pained...silent as before, still drinking.
Asad - (still staring at the water through his wide, red and empty eyes, he spoke in a small voice, a whisper and caught Zoya's attention but Zoya wasn't sure if he was even talking to her, he was that far away, there with her and yet not at all at the same time)...do you ever feel like.. running away...running away somewhere so far and so fast that no one...(his voice broke as he said it and along with it Zoya's heart. What was killing him?) nothing could find you...could catch up to you...(Zoya knew EXACTLY what that feeling was like, she had come so close to actually fulfilling it so many times...but what broke her heart was the fact that Mr. Khan knew what that feeling was like. Why? It just...wasn't fair. She nodded slowly, her eyes brimming with tears for both HIM & HER)
Zoya - (cleared her throat to speak over the sudden painful lump in her throat as she wrung her wet hands together again, staring out at the water just like him) I'm actually...thinking...(closed her eyes, the pain of leaving him just too much) of going back to New York- (no sooner had she finishing saying those words that felt like drops of acid on his heart did his shocked, heartbroken and appalled face snapped towards her, but she wasn't looking at him, his eyes flashing with disbelief, his heart beating rapidly and his breaths abandoned him. He opened and closed his mouth trying but failing to find the words, the courage to say something, anything...to stop her, forbid her from going, throw a tantrum ANYTHING to stop her from leaving, HIM. He saw her crying silently and in a heartbeat those tears of pain transformed into tears of anger)
Asad - (his voice, a whisper, holding as much anger as hie eyes) So you ARE leaving (careful to avoid the word "me in that sentence.)
Zoya - (shook her head, still staring at the water, not at him, having not even the slightest cue how her decision to leave had broken him) not forever..just for a small break...I feel like I really just need to get away from here for a few days..that (sighed heavily) it would do me a world of good. Besides...I love New York during Christmas time...theres no other place I can even imagine being...it's just not the same here without the decor, the festivities, the holiday warmth and feeling...(closed her eyes as her voice broke) it...it's the only time I don't feel completely and utterly alone...(and he knew EXACTLY what that feeling was like, he felt it eating away at him each living breathing moment of everyday ...but what broke his heart was the fact that she knew what that feeling was like. Why? It just...wasn't fair..Zoya looked back at him, through her own eyes shining with just as many tears...and it both killed her and brought her back to life with hope seeing the same tears in his eyes and she just couldn't help but say what was in her heart to him, giving him a small smile that brought him back to life with hope as well)
Zoya - I'm not leaving you Mr. Khan...I'm just...(shook her head) trying not to drown...(Asad closed his eyes, again...hating that she knew that feeling he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy and Zoya closed her eyes wiping away her tears and shaking her head trying to pull herself together) but...unfortunately we can't run to New York and this (snatching the beer away from him glaring at him angrily much to his chagrin) isn't helping anything...(as he continued glaring at her which she was least bothered about she got up to her feet and grabbing his hand tried yanking him up which was quite a joke, in the end he had to get up himself still glaring at her.)
Zoya - (smiled suggestively at him and at once he felt like all his demons were tameable) what should we say...gate and back again?
Asad - (sighed exasperatedly shaking his head) not this pagalpan again.
Zoya - you got a better idea BOOZY? (Glaring at him angrily and he glared back at her at a loss for words making him smile triumphantly) I thought so
Asad - (crossed his arms in front of his chest grumpily) your just jealous of the scoreboard and want to earn back your points..
Zoya - (backtracking like the cheater that she was) Koi Shaq? (She turned around and took off running off the garden and down the long pathway towards the front gates, against the wind, letting it freeze her till her last bone, and at first Asad continued glaring after her grumpily but then having tasted the drug and knowing the high it was too tempting not too...he simply couldn't handle the pain that was suffocating him since last night and so without wasting another second he took after her running as fast as he could against the wind letting it lift the crushing weight off his chest so he could MAYBE, MAYBE breathe again. Zoya who was trying to outrun her own demons couldn't help but stare at him as she watched him EVIDENTLY run so hard, so fast and so furious it was as if he was trying to throw off a demon who was actually clinging unto him, the pain his eyes, in his creased forehead, in his movements his run all broke her heart as he outran her in a heartbeat, screaming at the sky in pain and turmoil at the victory line. As usual, Zoya was right...there was no high like it.)
Topic started by DailyDaisy
Last replied by Always_asya