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If You Only Knew Me »

[21 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (11 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Any couple you “ship”? 
Let me know!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Monday, September 19th, 2016

This paranoia was killing me, I was supposed to have a good time picking up coffee with Khalid but all I could think of was what if someone saw us together?

Who cares?…I tried to tell myself.

بالنهاية بيتزوجج 

I really hoped that was true.

“شنو بتطلبين؟”
He asked me.

“Spanish latte,” I told him with a quick smile.
 I looked around the coffee place for any familiar faces but I saw no one I recognized. I did spot two girls, with faces full of makeup staring at me and Khalid, though. Probably because I also had a face full of makeup, I had a dinner party I couldn’t be late to.

I watched him order our drinks and pay before we stood at the other side of the counter to pick the drinks up.

“متأخرة؟”
He asked me, sensing my tension.

“لا عندي بعد نص ساعة”
I said.

“يالله عاد متى تفضينلي؟ هذه ما اعتبرها طلعة اصلا”
He said and I forced a chuckle. I was still nervous.

“مادري والله خالد، اول ما افضى اقول لك”
I told him. My schedule was pretty hectic even if I didn’t work. It was because I didn’t have a job that I was so busy.

My phone sounded off. My mother was calling.

“هلا يما”
I replied.

“ها وينج؟”
She asked me.

“ليلحين مع دانة بالقهوة بس بوصل على ال٧ بالضبط”
I said, feeling bad about lying.

“هو فجر تبدي العزيمة ٦:٣٠”
She said, trying to control her anger.

“من متى؟ سمعت الساعة ٧”
I replied, and Khalid looked at me concerned.

“يالله بسرعة بدوّ ايّون”
My mother said through the phone.

“ان شاء الله”
I said before she hung up.

This day wasn’t going as planned at all and I really didn’t need that addition to my anxiety.

“امبيه وهقة لازم نمشي الحين”
I told him, biting my lip in embarrassment of him. I felt so bad.

“يالله عاد”
He said, looking frustrated.

“والله، اسفة”
I said and he just sighed. I felt really bad now, not for being late but for him. I just had to ruin his fun.

“Number 64,” the barista called and I sighed in relief.

“هذا احنا”
I said as I grabbed our orders. I hurried towards the door to get to his Defender while he followed behind me, not at the speed I was in, though.

I didn’t care if someone saw us now, that was the least of my worries.

“ما راح يمديج تشربينه”
He said as we got in his car. We placed our drinks in the cup-holders separating our seats.

“Wallah sorry, Khalid,” I said as I turned to look at him.

“عادي”
He just muttered in a low voice.

I knew he didn’t really mean it.

This time it was me who placed my hand on his, despite my mind going off about touching him.
He didn’t flinch.

“بيت يدتج بالضاحية بعد صح؟”
He asked me.

“اي”
I replied. His eyebrows were now scrunched together and I knew he wasn’t happy. I couldn’t fix the situation and I felt so guilty.

The whole ride was silent with nothing but Marina FM comforting the awkward silence between us. I tried to think of what to say but I knew nothing would calm him down.

He drove pretty fast that I was worried my hot coffee would spill on my lap so I took my hand off of his and onto the cup of coffee.

“اي قطعة؟”
He finally said.

“٢”
I replied, taking a sip of the scalding coffee.

“شارع؟”

I replied, and he asked for the house number until we were close by.

“تنزلين من هني ولا عند الباب؟”
He asked me as we entered the small street that lead to my grandmother’s house.

“هني زين”
I replied as I opened the door and carried my coffee with me, along with my clutch.

“Thank you Khalid o wallah sorry,” I replied.

“Have fun,” he said with a soft smile that I knew he’d forced.

“I’ll try,” I said, hoping that would calm him down.

My phone rang again.

“يما كاني وصلت توني واصلة”
I told my mother through the phone as I closed Khalid’s door.

I walked in my heels to my grandmother’s house, noticing the rows of cars stuck on the street on the other side. I felt bad for Khalid, he was going to have a hard time getting out of it.

It was all my fault.

I sipped on my coffee before I walked through the entrance of the house. For once the coffee seemed like it would never end. I forced myself to drink it all in a hurry and threw the empty cup in the trash can near by. What a waste.

I took a deep breath before going in and popped a mint into my mouth so I wouldn’t reek of coffee. My heart raced as I heard women talking from behind the door.

How big was this dinner party, anyway?

“السلام عليكم”
I said with a smile as I walked into the house. I didn’t know where to start greeting people as women were literally everywhere, occupying each reception area. It was just 7.

“اهلييين فجورة”
My aunt Aisha said as she kissed my cheeks. She grabbed my hand and walked with me to a circle of other women.

“تعالي سلميّ”
She said, showing me off as usual.

“هذي فجورة بنت اختي شريفة”
My aunt said and I forced a smile. My aunt still didn’t let go of my hand, she was that desperate to get me married. I just wanted her to know that I already had someone who was interested in me, but I knew she wouldn’t accept it.

“اهلين”
I said as they took turns kissing my cheeks.

“يحليلها كلها عليكم”
One of the women said as she stared at me and I just smiled while my aunt joked with her. I so wanted to ditch this and makeup what I missed out on with Khalid.

“كاهي… فجر تعالي”
My mother said with a huge smile as she called me over. My sister Fouz wiggled her brows at me, she was wearing a black jumpsuit I had once wanted and had her hair pulled back in a sleek ponytail, she didn’t look so bad! I still wanted the jumpsuit, though.

“وهذي فجر بنتي”
My mother said, introducing me to another woman.

…بس خلاص عاد

“شملحها ما شاء الله”
The woman, clad in a nice coat and trousers said as she greeted me and I smiled.

“مشكورة خالتي”
I replied politely before the woman turned to my mother to talk to her.

“شفيج تأخرتي؟”
Fouz turned to me.

“حسبالي نكون هني بال٧”
I replied.

“ليّون هني؟”
I asked about my niece as I looked around.

“عشان تفشلني؟ لا عند رفيجتها”
She said. I couldn’t help but wonder if that friend was Haya.

I looked around the house, it was perfectly arranged with lavender everywhere to contrast the walls. Lavender hung on the ceiling of the long main hallway leading to the garden outside. All thanks to Danah, who saved everyone from spending so much on decoration, even if Danah did request an unexpected large amount of money but it was worth it.
Everything was so detailed and perfect.

“هلا ماما شيخة”
I said as I spotted my grandmother.

I kissed her cheeks then her forehead.

“فجورة وينج ما قمنا نشوفج”
My grandmother Shaikha said and I blushed.

“ترى البنات بالحديقة جان بغيتيهم”
She told me.

“ان شاء الله”
I said with a smile.

Fouz joined me as I walked to the bathroom to see my reflection.

“على يوم dress ببوق هال”
She said, eying my long-sleeved maroon dress that was well fit against my body. It was definitely too much for the coffee place I’d went to with Khalid but I had no option and no time to change.

“يصير خير”
I said as I adjusted the light curls of my short hair. My makeup was also maroon based, which contrasted against my tanned skin perfectly. I just loved how well they contrasted against my light ombre hair, like the look was complete.

I took out my perfume from my clutch and pretty much showered in it.

“يالله”
I told Fouz, who was texting on her phone.

“Mhmm,” she said, busy with the chat, but I knew she would follow me anyway.

I walked out of the bathroom and passed through the crowds of women, whom I hoped wouldn’t recognize me before I got to the garden.

If there was a centerpiece to Danah’s designs it would be the garden. The catering was on one side while the seating was on the other. Long tables rested next to each other with lavenders and twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling. Lavenders were also hanging around the door frame and extending beyond it to create this intimate garden feeling before entering the garden.

“Fajouuraaa,” my cousin Shaikha screamed as soon as she saw me.

“Kalba miss you!” she said as she hugged me, her curly hair getting in my face but I didn’t mind. I really missed her.

“Shayouuukh, miss you wallah!” I said as I hugged her back.

I watched my other cousins look my way before standing up to greet me, and maybe even Fouz. Maybe Fouz was late too, il3ayaraa.

“انتي وييينج؟”
My other cousin Hessa, a gorgeous twenty-eight year old rocking a ponytail, told me as she jokingly slapped my back while hugging me.

“كانييي”
I replied only to get another slap.

“Heey,” Altaf, my cousin, who was still in college said as she hugged me. She looked pretty in her short black skirt and silver top.

“شخباركم؟”
I asked them as I sat on one of the few empty chairs next to them.

“والله الحمدلله، انتي شخبارج؟”
Najla, my uncle’s daughter asked me. I’d always felt a bit distant from her, I didn’t know why. It was like my gut told me to be cautious of her. Since she was my uncle’s only daughter she was pretty much spoiled, like brands from head to toe, which wasn’t necessarily bad if she didn’t rub it in our faces all the time.

“الحمدلله، امبيه ما هقيت جذي وايد حريم”
I said as I took a glass of water from one of the catering servers who walked around with trays of water and juice.

“تدرين بدورة توها راحت الصالون تسوي شعرها؟ حسبالها بتقعد بحجابها”
Hessa said and I laughed.

“مسكيينة”
I said as I looked around, still taking in the breathtaking design.

Me: dandouuun ilmukaan jaad khayaaal mashallah you outdid yourself!!

I sent her, although I knew she wouldn’t see it until midnight.

“ما شاء الله الديكور اينن صح؟”
I said, proud of my best friend.

“وااايد حلو، شغل بيبي؟”
Najla asked.

“…لا دانة الن”
Shaikha said, running a hand through her light curly hair. She looked gorgeous in a sleeveless white top with a collar and a black skirt.

“رفيجتج صح؟”
My cousin Sabika said to me and nodded proudly.

Jad I was so proud of Danah!

“امبيه عاد مو لايق”
Shaikha said with an awkward chuckle.

“ليش؟”
I asked her.

Shaikha looked at Najla then at me, as if they were hiding something.

“لا ولا شي”
She said again with a chuckle.

“Shaikha,” I said firmly, wiping the smile off her face.

“ليش؟”
I asked her.

“امبيه قالتلج ولا شي شفيج”
Najla said with a chuckle, pissing me off even more.

“يمكن اصلا تعرف ليش”
Shaikha said to Najla.
 I looked at the rest of the girls, all of them were as confused as I was.
I knew, whatever it was, was best said in private.

“امشو”
I ordered them as I got up from my seat.
They looked at each other, hesitant.

“شيخة، نجلا امشو”
I insisted and they finally got up from their seats.

The two girls followed me by the catering section, where our heels were sinking in the grass. I didn’t care, I just didn’t know what they were hiding and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I wasn’t sure I knew Danah as well as I did.

“شفيكم؟”
I asked them.
I didn’t know why my heart was racing.

They looked at each other, not knowing whether to talk or not.

“تكفون وحدة فيكم تتكلم”
I said.

“اكيد تبين تعرفين؟”
Shaikha said.

“اي”
I replied, taking in a deep breath to sound confident.

“خلاص دام قلتي اي بنقولج”
Najla said. I didn’t know why she pissed me off that I snapped.

“نجلا خلصيني”
I said.

“اول شي شكيت بعمري قلت اكيد انا تفكيري غلط بس جان شيوخ تقول لي اللي انا كنت شاكة فيه”
Najla said.

“انزين؟”
I said, acting like I wasn’t going to believe anything they were going to say.

“‘يا حمد اليوم، ريّل شهد بنت عمي صالح، عشان ‘يساعد شهد”
Najla explained.

“اول شي دانة كانت حيل جدية مع الكل بعدين لما يا حمد شفتهم يبتسمون حق بعض حسيت في شي”

What?
What possibly happened?…

I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to defend my best friend but I couldn’t say anything.
They paused and looked at each other until my silence made it awkward for them not to speak.
My heart was racing against my chest and I felt nauseous. My mouth was beginning to water now with sweet saliva like I was getting sick.

“فجر والله انا شفت شلون كانو يطالعون بعض اليوم ما كان شي عادي “
Shaikha said, and I gulped.

“تخيلي كان بس يساعدها بالورد عشان يجيسها ولما جندست لصق فيها يمكن ثانية وحدة حسباله محد بيشوف؟”
Najla added, getting excited now.
No…no, it couldn’t be. Not Danah.

“خلاص تكفون”
I said in a low voice, finally managing to speak.
My face was burning up now and my fingers dug into my palms.
Had I not met Muneera at the gym I would’ve been pulling their hair and dragging them on the grass right now. But after seeing Danah yell at her sister for talking to me I wasn’t sure who my best friend was.
I wasn’t sure whether I should defend her or not.
Hamad was my cousin’s husband and is blood not thicker than water?

“منو يدري؟”
I asked them.

“محد غيرج”
They said, looking at each other tentatively.

“تكفون لاحد يعرف”
I said.

“عشان ندش بمشاكل احنا؟ اكيد”
Shaikha said.

“انزين انا برد لأن وايد طوّلنا”
Najla said.

“Are you okay?” Shaikha asked me as she placed a hand on my arm.

“Shaikha, please,” I said, still trying to process everything, from what I’d just heard to Danah and Muneera at the gym.

I was so confused, and at the same time I was scared to say anything to Danah.
I wasn’t sure who she was.

My phone buzzed in my hand.

Danah: Thank you babe, so glad you like it!

I stared at my screen before switching off my phone.
I didn’t want to be reminded of her until my mind was clear again. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[19 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (10 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Don’t forget to follow me on my snapchat for updates @cashmerepoison

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***


Saturday…
I looked forward to school tomorrow.
To see him.

Jana was right…he did follow me back. Was that supposed to mean anything?
I still didn’t message him and he didn’t message me either. Maybe following a girl back was as far as he could go.
Jana: updates??

“Rosegold ta3alay,” I said to my dog as I placed the leash on her in our garage.
I typed back with one hand:
Laa chan dagait 3alaaich!!
Rosegold kept stalling since she sniffed every five seconds she walked.
“امبيه يالله”
I yelled to her, I didn’t even leave my house and she was being so slow. I saw headlights come from a car behind me that stopped right in front of our house, but I couldn’t turn since it was awkward. 
“الساعة جم امرج؟”
A man’s voice said.
“مادري ادق عليك”
A girl’s voice replied. It didn’t sound like Fajer’s, no.
“سايق انا؟”
The guy replied.
“جب جب”
The girl said.
“انزين ياسمينوه بجم الحلو؟”
The guy said. 
“مادري اسأل ماما هي اللي طلبته”
The girl replied before closing the door after her. Brother and sister.
I hadn’t heard about a Yasmine, though.
The car started just when I was about to cross but the driver stopped and motioned for me to pass. Only he looked familiar, and he realized that I looked familiar too. I saw him lower his window and I gulped. Should I go talk to him?
I circled the car until I saw that guy from Arabica, Jana’s crush, smile at me then at Rosegold.
“Arabica?” he said, squinting his eyes as if trying to remember where he had seen me.
“Eeh!” I said with a chuckle. He opened his door and I felt my heart race for a second, what was he going to do? I calmed down once I realized my sister knew his sister, what could he possibly do?
“وانا اقول”
He said with a chuckle before he crouched to pet Rosegold, who was wagging her tail at him.
She usually hated strangers.
“شسمها؟”
He said.
“Rosegold,” I replied.
“خوش اسم”
He said with a smile as he looked up to see me and I smiled back.
“،Lily بعد yorkie عندي”
He said.
“اوه صج؟”
I said.
“شرايج؟ play date ايي، اذا هذا قوليلي نسويلهم”
He said and I nodded.
“رفيجتج ما عندها جلب بعد؟”
He asked, not looking me in the eye as he continued to pet Rosegold.

He meant Jana. She was going to freak out if she knew. 

“لا والله، بس تحب الجلاب فاقولها تيي بعد”
I said, I knew what his message was.
“خوش”
He said with a smile.
“Hatha my instagram account, just DM me whenever you’re free o we’ll walk around the neighborhood, shrayich?” he said, showing me his phone.
Khalid Al-H.
I sent him a DM, 
Test
I didn’t follow him though, it was too much for someone I’d just met. Some guy I just met. 
“Hatha my account,” I told him as he unlocked his phone.
“Perfect, nice to meet you Muneera. Rifeejtech shesmha?”
He asked, sounding super interested in…
“Jana, Jana Al-R,”
I said.
“والنعم فيكم كلكم”
He said.
“مشكور”
I said, forgetting he actual reply.
“See you,” he said before getting into his car.
Five seconds after he drove off I called Jana.
“Rosegold yallah!” I said as she stalled me some more, she finally walked in a straight line.
“بشري؟”
Jana said as soon as she picked up.
“ابشرج، اسمه خالد الح…..ويبي يمشي جلبه معانا”
I explained, my voice was bursting with excitement.
“لحظة شيطلع هذا ووين فهد؟”
She asked me.
“!خالد اللي شفناه بارابيكا”
I said.
“ج-ذااابةةةةة”
She yelled through the phone.
“يالنزغة شسويتي؟؟”
She screamed again and I had to contain my laughter before I explained exactly what had happened.
“ولو تدرين جم مرة سأل عنج بس”
I told her.
“امبيه لا لا وناااااسة”
She said, overcome with joy.
“بس ضروري بسرعة school night تكفين حتى لو”
She added.
“ان شاء الله”
I told her before we hung up.
“يالله امشيييي”
I dragged Rosegold. 
The whole walk around the block was a blur, my mind kept thinking of endless scenarios at school tomorrow with Fahad, Jana and I walking with Khalid. It felt a bit overwhelming, but what if it all went wrong?
No, I was with Jana and Jana always knew what to do. It didn’t take knowing her for a short period of time to realize that.
I approached my house again and I could see new cars parked at the driveway. I decided against going in and just going for another walk instead, not after Danah yelling at me for talking to Fajer. I should’ve told Fajer something about Danah being too controlling and private. Her words still rung in my head.
“شكو تكلمين رفيجاتي؟”
She’d said. That was the first thing she said when I picked up the phone.
“ما كلمتها هي كلمتني اول وما اقدر احقرها”
I’d replied, hoping she didn’t notice the quiver in my voice.
“اها، بس تدرين اني قايلتلج ما تيين على ال٦ عشان هالسالفة”
She’d retorted.
“اوكي بس ليش؟ ماني فاهمة”
I’d gotten the courage to say.
“مو شغلج، ماله داعي تسإلين”
She’d said.
I was so close to mentioning the guy she’d met up with but I’d bitten my tongue instead.
Before I got a chance to say anything or defend myself, she’d hung up on me. 
Did I regret continuing to talk to Fajer? No. She was one of the friendliest people I’d met.
If Fajer knew anything about her sister not wanting anyone to talk to me, it didn’t look like it. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[17 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (9 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Don’t forget to follow me on my snapchat for updates @cashmerepoison

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***


 Thursday, September 15th, 2016


“Fajer yallah,” Mariam said as I huffed and got up from my seat while the rest of the group gossiped about some girl with us back in college getting engaged. Mariam and I walked back inside Vol 1 and stood by the pickup area to pickup our drinks which the servers gracefully put in crates.


I looked at my reflection against the window. My gray skirt reached right on my knees while my matching gray short-sleeved shirt looked nice against my tan which I was going to refresh at our chalet tomorrow. My short ombre hair reached right under my shoulders in loose waves, just the way I liked it. Mariam looked pretty in a pink dress, while her long hair was curled at the ends. She looked gorgeous in her usual day makeup that highlighted her wide eyes.

I looked at the message Khalid had sent me

Khalid: mategdereen teg3edeen shwaya akthar? baye in twenty minutes

I sighed and texted back.

Me: la wallah 7abeeby 3endy ghada 3end mama shaikha ams dagat 3alay galatly atghada

Khalid: bas chenich tawich ray7a?

I bit my lip, I really wasn’t making excuses and I hoped he didn’t think I was.

Me: eeeh i know wallah bs ma gedart ared’ha. I’ll let you know awal ma I’m free

Khalid: mo trou7een ilgym o taksheteen feeny! 

I chuckled.

Me: tabeeny i get fat??

Khalid: la la khala9 7afthay 3ala jesmich wallah khayaaaal akhhhh

I smiled while Mariam eyed me before rolling her eyes, knowing who I was talking to. 

“انتي شيلي هذا”
She said, handing me a crate, which I took in return.

“ما راح تطيحينه؟”
She asked me.

“شايفتني ثولة؟”
I retorted and she chuckled. 

Right when I was about to turn around and follow Mariam back to our seat, a familiar voice called out behind me

“فجر؟”

I gulped, it was him. 
Abdullah, looking dapper in his dishdasha. He looked happier now, like he was relieved Haya was out of the hospital. 
He smiled as he held his cup of iced coffee.
“اوه اهلا”

I said, placing my crate of drinks back on the counter. I tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear. 

“هلا فيج، شلونج؟”

He politely asked me.
“الحمدلله تمام، انت شلونك؟ وشلون هيونة؟”

I asked him, I watched Mariam pause by the door to cock her brow at me before walking back to our seats outside.

I hoped she didn’t get the wrong ideas. 
I was with Khalid, still was and would always be.


”الحمدلله كلنا بخير، ها عندج بريك بعد؟”

He asked me. 
I was confused for a second until I realized that it was 1:30 on a Thursday. Lunch break.

“لا والله ياية مع رفيجاتي”

I said, realizing my answer was basically irrelevant to his question. My face burned up in response to this realization.

يالله عيل لا اطول عليج”

He said and I smiled and nodded, grabbing the crate of coffee. He opened the door for me and I thanked him.

“سلمي على ليون، ولهانين عليها”

He said with a smile and I chuckled.

“ان شاء الله يوصل”

I could only say. I could feel my face redden up and right when I walked back to my friends I noticed they were all staring at me.

“فجر تلعبين على الحبلين؟”

Sarah teased and I jokingly punched her shoulder.

“اشتبييين”

I said as I sipped on my coffee, my face was still burning up. 

“منو هذا؟ ويهه مو غريب”

Danah asked me as bit on her straw.



”ابو رفيجة ليون”

I explained.

“اوله وانتي شكو فيه؟”

Mariam asked, flinging her dark hair behind her shoulder.

“وايد اشوفه مع بنته وجذي”

I simply said, hoping they’d change the subject. I didn’t want them to know he was the man from the hospital; I didn’t want them to judge him.

“7ail cute,” Lulu said and I just smiled.

“Giltoulhum wiya skimmed milk 9a7?” Danah said, looking at her coffee suspiciously.

“Ee,” Lulu said.

“ماني مصدقة”

Danah said as she got up from her seat to go back inside. She looked attractive in a pair of leggings and a blazer, her go-to look for work. Her pixie short hair was neatly pulled away from her face, exposing her glowing flawless skin that didn’t even need makeup. She was drop-dead gorgeous as she was.

“الله مو كاتب نتيمع بقعدة سنعة”

Sarah said with a sigh. 
I pulled out my phone, realizing Khalid had sent me another text.

Khalid: still here?

Me: eeh, wainek??

Khalid: 10 minutes o akoun 3endich 6alabtech ta2akheray shway wallah aby ashoufich

Me: madry wallah ilshuware3 za7ma now akhaf at2akhar wayed fashla…feek cinema ilyoum? 

Khalid: maby cinema bara ta3alay baitna o netyama3 nshouf netflix..and chill;)

I had to chuckle.

Me: loool y9eer khaair, ok perfect 3ayal I’ll tell Yasmine. 8?

Khalid: shit la barou7 arabica weya cham wa7ed at 8 bs akhale9 bser3a o ayeekom. tell yasmine

I scrolled through the chats, looking for Yasmine’s name until I subconsciously reached Abdullah’s chat, realizing that I still had him saved as Sdfsdhl. I chuckled and changed it to his real name; I was going to delete his number but maybe I would need it for emergencies, just maybe.

*
Later that day,

It felt like a weird day, I just didn’t know why. Or maybe I did and didn’t want to admit it.

I walked into the gym a bit earlier than the rest of my best friends since I wanted to do some walking om the treadmill.

“Hello Miss Fajer,” Irma the secretary welcomed me.

“Hello Irma, how are you?” I asked her as I walked past her to the main machine area of the gym. I joined the empty treadmill next to the girl who thankfully changed the treadmill she had used last time. I guessed Danah really did tell her.

She looked familiar like I had seen her before but I wasn’t sure where. She also looked bored as she walked while scrolling through her phone.

“بس انا شايفتج من قبل صح؟ sorry “
I blurted out and she turned to me, sort of confused.
I pressed my usual treadmill settings and began to walk.

“نعم؟”
She asked me, and I repeated my question.

“امم يمكن”
She said shyly and by the way she smiled softly I knew where I had seen her.

“امبيه لحظة انتي اخت دانة”
I said, pointing my index finger her way. Her eyes widened and her lips parted like she was caught doing something bad.

 “اي”
She said shyly.

“وأنا اقوول”
I said with a chuckle, trying to see the resemblance to her and the little girl I used to see come home from school. Her eyes weren’t so small yet they weren’t so big, her nose was just the right shape for her diamond-shaped face. The only resemblance she and Danah had were probably the same hair and eye color, and that was it. Yet she was still a pretty girl.

“الحين؟ تكفين لا تقولينلي الجامعة grade بأي”
I said, I first saw her four years ago and I last saw her around two.

“La eb Grade 11,” she corrected with a blush.

“ما شاء الله”
I said with a chuckle.

“اي مدرسة؟”
I asked her. Was I being too talkative? It was just weird that Danah, my best bet friend, never talked about her or called her over.

“**S” she said.

“No way! Ana kent feeha!” I said and she smiled.

“؟senior year شلون”
She asked me, starting to make conversation now.

“امبيه احلى سنة، بس طبعا لازم تدرسين”
I said and she nodded, looking hopeful.

“ما كنتي تيين هني أول صح؟”
I asked her and she shook her head.

“بالفريج بس قلت خل اشترك هني بعد my dog بس كنت امشي مع”
She explained.

“La7tha Rosebud?” I asked her and she chuckled.

“La Rosegold!” she said, and I felt the ice break up a little bit.

We talked some more, mostly me doing the talking about my old dogs in our farm in Wafra. She was a great listener though, and she laughed easily which was something to admire in people.

“Lazem arou7, say8i we9al. Bas it was nice to meet you,” she said as she stopped the treadmill.

“You too, see you soon,” I told her with a smile as I watched her get down. She was definitely more approachable than Danah if anyone didn’t really know them well.

I walked another ten minutes until I knew I had to save my legs for spinning. I walked to the reception and filled my glass with cucumber water, and waited for the girls in the lounge. It was almost 5:50 PM which was when we would be at the gym.

I went on Instagram and for some reason I felt like finding out more about this girl that was kept so hidden from me. I found her after three searches. Muneera B Al-N.
She didn’t have a bio but her profile picture was of her from afar with the sea as the background, it was nice.

What was weird was that I didn’t get the “followed by” note, not even Danah followed her.

“Hello-o,” Danah said as she walked in with Lulu. She startled me and I almost dropped my phone in the process. I pressed the home button repeatedly until I was no longer on Instagram.

“شفيج اخترعتي؟”
She said with a chuckle as she sat next to me.

“كنت مندمجة بفديو”
I lied, readjusting my ponytail.

“my usual bike الصراحة انا بسبقكم واحجز”
Lulu said, leaving me and Danah alone.
I knew it was only moments later that Sarah and Mariam would be walking out of the elevators so I had to say something now if I wanted to know why Danah was so secretive about her sister.

“عاد تدرين اني شفت اختج هني؟ مشت قبل شوي”
I said, adding a chuckle to make things more normal. She snapped her face towards me.

“جد؟”
She said.

“اي، قلتلها اني شايفتها من قبل فلما قالتلي اسمها عرفت انها اختج”
I said but she wasn’t smiling.

“اها”
Danah said, she wasn’t amused.

“شفيج؟”
I asked Danah.

“ولا شي”
Danah said, faking a smile that was obviously forced.

“Ha yallah?”
Sarah and Mariam walked towards us with their gym bags that contained basically nothing they can’t carry in a tiny pouch. They just loved the look of it.

“يالله بس اييكم عقب دقيقة”
Danah said with a sour smile as she walked away from us and into the glass consultation room.

“اليوم active فجور حدج”
Sarah said, wrapping an arm around my neck for a couple of seconds. I wasn’t with her at all. I looked  behind me to see Danah pacing around on her phone, but she did not look happy. She was now yelling through the phone, but I couldn’t hear anything from the glass walls.

I didn’t know if I made the mistake of telling Danah or if I made the mistake of trusting who Danah really was.

We went to the spinning studio and I got on my usual bike, which was next to Danah’s. She walked in with her nostrils flaring like she was really really pissed.

“Everything okay?” I asked her.

She just nodded as she got on the bike and I bit my lip wondering if I was the cause of it all.

The instructor got on the bike and music started playing for us to start spinning and by the end of the class I was panting so hard and I was so out of breath I just wanted to go home and take a long shower, only I had the movie night with Yasmine (and later, Khalid) to go to.

“You guys lazem amshy al7een,” I said as I pulled out my car keys from the compartment on the spinning bike.

“جد؟”
 Lulu said with a frown, her curly baby hairs were sticking out of her face now but she still looked cute.

“اي والله”
I replied.

“عقب ما نرد البيت نتسبح ونبدل Little Ruby’s قلت نروح نتعشا ب”
Sarah said and I smiled.

“-والله حيل ودي بس”
I began.

“هو شفيكم البنت اشكره بتشوف خالد يعني فهمهوها”
Danah said, knowing me well, and I laughed. Too bad I was starting to feel like I didn’t know her at all.

“ايي صح صح”
Mariam said winking at me and I nudged her.

“Yallah see you,” I said with a wave before I left the gym.

I got to my car and hurried home where I showered and got dressed in an oversized tee that reached just above my ankles paired with light black tights and my black converse. I put my half-wet hair up in a bun and accessorized a ton to look better. It was such a last minute look but I liked the result.

I added some eyeliner, light blush and a nude lipstick before I showered in perfume and left the house to go to Khalid’s, just ten minutes away.

Yasmine: wainiiich

She sent me as I stopped at a red light in Damascus.

Me: kany omw!

Yasmine: you3anaa tabeen na6leb rockhouse??

Me: eeeh yallah makalait min ghada mama shaikha o ray7a spinning mayta youuu3

Yasmine: yallah khal a6lebb

I parked at their house, which was a very modern house with the most incredible outdoor lighting and got through the gates to the duwaniya which was now used as Yasmine’s movie night since Khalid didn’t use it much often.

I looked up at the house, knowing that I would be coming here every week in the future to visit his family, who were going to be mine too.

“Hiii,” I said as I opened the door to see Yasmine on a beanie bag using her phone.

“Heeey,” she said as she stood up to hug me. “Allaaah you smell fresh!”

“عسى شعري ما يكش بس”
I said with a chuckle as I sat on the beanie bag next to her.
She looked nice in a simple pair of boyfriend jeans and sleeveless top with her light brown hair falling down her tanned skin in long waves. Her eyes were light like Khalid’s too, no wonder guys fell for her so easily.

“شنو بنشوف؟”
I said, grabbing a bottle of water.

“Endless Love?” she said as she pressed play.

“لا خنحط شي يضحك شوي”
I said.

“7abeebty I just went through a breakup okay?” she said and I chuckled.

We continued to watch the movie that I watched at least three times, 7efathta. When would Khalid be coming home?

Her phone buzzed midway.

“Foooood,” she yelped as she got up from her beanie bag to go outside.

I texted Khalid while I waited for her.

Me: meta betrid? waiting for you xx

“جد بموووت”
Yasmine said as she walked back inside with a large bag in her hand. She divided the sliders and fries between us while she pressed play.

“امبيه خيااال”
I said as I took a bite of the slider in my hand. I was so hungry and it tasted more incredible than usual because of it.

My phone vibrated on my lap.

Khalid: count to ten

I smiled and counted backwards in my head.

Just as I reached 2 the door opened.

“One,” I said and he laughed, holding two cups of Spanish lattes which he handed to me and Yasmine.

“بقعد هني عادي؟”
He said, pointing at the beanie bag next to mine.

“البيت بيتك”
I said with a smile as he plopped down next to me.

“وبيتج”
He said with a heartwarming smile.

“عادي تقصرون صوتكم؟ قاعدة اشوف الفلم”
Yasmine said.

“هذي من صجها قاعدة تطالع”
Khalid teased his sister and she stood up.

“فهمت النغزة خلاص بطلع”
She said as she got up and unplugged her laptop from the screen.

I took a sip from the spanish latte as I laughed.

“حراام”
I said to Khalid while pouting and he smiled slyly like he was up to something. He got up from his beanie bag and turned to face me, his body right above mine, separated by only centimeters away from each other as he plopped a hand right next to me to keep him steady.

“عادي اخذ؟”
He asked me, pointing at the fries next to me and I nodded. He stood up now and grabbed the fries before sitting back down.

“قلتلج ما راح احوشج”
He said while wiggling his brows and I chuckled.

“كنت بتحوشني”
I said as I ate the rest of my slider.

“انتي بتذبحيني على يوم”
He said with a smile and I smiled back softly.

“اسم الله عليك لا تقول جذي”
I said as I took another sip of the latte while he chuckled and relaxed on the beanie bag, his light eyes never leaving mine.

He scooted over just until our shoulders were two fingers apart. I could feel his body heat radiating against me, while his cologne that I loved teased my senses.

Should I let my guard down? We were going to end up together anyway, so should I be this strict with him?

I decided to get up before I did anything I would later regret.

“لازم امشي”
I said, placing the leftovers in the bag.

“لا تمشين”
He begged.

“وصلني البيت عيل”
I said with a smile and his eyes widened while he shot up from his seat.

We walked side by side to the garage and got in our cars, I drove ahead of him while he followed me all the way home to make sure no one really bothered me.

I parked at my spot in the driveway while he lowered his window and a smirk appeared on his face.

“تصبحين على خير فجورة”
He said and I smiled.

“وانت من اهله”

If You Only Knew Me »

[17 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (8 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Don’t forget to follow me on my snapchat for updates @cashmerepoison

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Thursday, September 15th 2016

“هذا اينن مع هالجاكيت”
Jana said as she went through my closet while I was still dressed in my robe.
She took out a white black shirt with an olive green bomber jacket that I’d never worn and pair of ripped black jeans. I never thought of this combination.

I quickly changed into them in the bathroom of my bedroom and when I’d just left, she pulled out her bag of makeup and wiggled her eyes at me.

“امبيه لا كلّش مو متعودة”
I told her as I sat on my bed.

“حبيبتي بتشوفينه هناك، غصبا عليج بتحطين مكياج. يالله غمضي”
She told me and I did as I was told.

We were going to Arabica, where according to Jana, Fahad would hang out every Thursday at 8PM. It was 7:30 now.

“يمدي جنوي؟”
I asked her.

“اي ماني حاطتلج مكياج عروس بس شي بسيط”
She said as I felt her work on my eyes.

“متأكدة بيكون هناك؟”
I asked her.

“حبيبتي انا كل اسبوع هناك بعد”
She said.

“بطلي”
She told me and I opened my eyes to see her smile, which were a very pretty pair of almond-shaped eyes framed by thick lashes and thin, well-cleaned eyebrows.
Her nose was small and her lips looked bigger than what they would look like naturally. Definitely fillers but who cared?
She looked hot.

“Perfect, n6ray ma khala9t”
She said, now working on my cheeks then my nose. I was worried we’d be out of time.

“Lipstick and we’re done,” she announced as she uncovered her Mac lipstick from her bag.
She lined my lips first before filling them in.

“امبيه تشوقين”
She said.

No one had ever told me that.

I hurriedly ran to the mirror and I was surprised, it was me but ten times prettier. My eyes were wider, my nose was smaller, my lips looked plump and attractive while my cheekbones were more prominent. I was so surprised and happy that I hugged her.

“لازم تعلميني thank you جد”
I said, I didn’t need Danah anymore when I had my own stylist and makeup artist for a friend.

“شدعوه ما سوّيت شي، انزين يالله خلنمشي”
She said as I stuffed my feet in my Golden Goose to tie in the car.

We ran to her car which was parked outside my house. My yorkie Rosegold barked as she saw us walk to the car.

“Bye Rosegold!” I said to her.

“Umbay itshawiiig,” Jana added.

“9a7?” I replied.

Thank God my father loved dogs and approved of the idea of having a puppy outside the house. My mother was still not happy and Danah…well, she was Danah. She didn’t care about anything that didn’t affect her.

“Arabica,” she told the driver and he nodded, familiar with her usual destination.

“امبيه اموت على هالأغنية”
She said as she plugged her phone into the AUX cord.

Rashed blasted through the speakers as she sang along to the song loudly, and I hoped we wouldn’t get chased by guys from how wild she was acting, but she was definitely fun.

I went on snapchat to check my stories, pressing on Rawan’s.

Happy birthday ghalooouy

She captioned, celebrating our friend’s birthday party, which I wasn’t invited to. Out of sight, out of mind. This time, I wasn’t jealous.

I was off to see Fahad.

The driver slowed down as soon as we reached the street leading to Arabica. It was crowded right outside it and I felt insecure again.

“حنى صج صج شلون شكلي؟”
I asked her.

“من صجج؟ اقولج تشوقين والله”
She said as she took off her jacket, sitting in a short sleeved low-cut stretch shirt tucked in a pair of skinny jeans that really flattered her figure and curves. We got out of the car and walked together to Arabica, my heart was racing. Would he recognize me from school? Would he find me attractive?

My eyes roamed around all the guys standing outside until they fell on him…Fahad.

He looked really attractive in a pair of jeans and a navy long sleeved shirt. He was laughing with a pair of his friends and drinking his iced coffee, not bothering to turn left or right. Was he really that uninterested?

“شفتيه؟”
Jana wiggled her brows at me and I giggled.

“انتي عجيبة”
I told her and she shrugged.

“ادري”
She said as we reached the entrance now.

I could feel people stare at us, but mostly at Jana. She was gorgeous and attractive especially with showing off her curves by the way she dressed. My heart was beating faster and faster as I approached Fahad who was standing at the door. I could feel him turn to us now and so I avoided his eyes, looking anywhere but at him until we reached the entrance.

He actually turned…

“شقلتلج؟ امبيه شوفي ويهج شلون قلب احمر بس”
She said with a chuckle.

“جب جب”
I said as I nudged her in the ribs.

We walked though the line of people waiting and passed the tables right next to us to get to the back of the line. However, a guy who looked to be in his mid twenties waiting before us strayed from the line to say hi to some guy behind me.

Jana looked at me just as confused as I was, should we wait for him or should we wait in line anyway?

Jana grabbed my hand pulled me away from the line until he returned, and he looked at us confused. He was pretty hot with his light eyes and strong jawline. I felt Jana’s hand grip mine tighter.

“تفضلو”
He said with a smile, extending a hand for us to join the line before him.

“مشكور بس انت كنت ناطر اول”
Jana said and he smiled brighter.

“مشكورين”
He said as he went ahead of us and Jana mouthed “hot” as soon as we looked at each other. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

My eyes went back at Fahad by the door, busy talking to his friends. Was he really that hard to please? In a way it did make sense, he would be all over Rawan or Jana by now.

“بنات شنو بتطلبون؟”
The hot guy in front of us said and Jana and I looked at each other.

“نعم؟”
Jana said, shaking her head in confusion.

“خلوها عليّ والله اخرتكم”
He said and Jana gaped at him.

“لا والله عادي مشكور”
She said.

“لا لا ترديني”
He said with a smile, placing a hand on his chest. Jana definitely melted at this point.

“Umm, a spanish latte?”
She said to the barista.

“ورفيجتج؟”
He asked, looking right at me.

“Me too, I’ll have a spanish latte please,” I said.

“Thank you wallah,” Jana told him with a smile.

“حياج”
He said as he handed his credit card to the barista.

He joined his friends at the table behind us while we waited in the corner.

“امبيه اللي صار صج ولا لا؟”
Jana said, biting her lip.

“صح؟؟”
I said, but my eyes darted back at Fahad, who was busy on his phone, while Jana kept sneaking glances at her new crush.

I pulled out my phone and went on his Tumblr that I was too scared to follow.

“؟tumblrاطرشله شي ب”
I asked Jana.

“لحظة تعرفينه؟”
She said with her eyes wide open, and a sly smile appeared on her face.

“لا قصدي فهد”
I said with a chuckle and she huffed.

“اي كيفج”
She said.

“امبيه شنو اكتب؟”
I asked her and she grabbed my phone from me. She began to type into my phone before handing it to me.

“Good?” she asked me.

3ash min shafekkk!

“Umm I guess,” I said.

I took a deep breath and handed the phone back to her.

“امبيه ماقدر”
I told her.

“it’s anonymous شفيج يالخبلة”
She said and I nodded, hitting send. I gulped.

This was so nerve-wracking.

I looked back at him through the window but he wasn’t on his phone. I hoped he wouldn’t see this too late.

“Spanish lattes?” the barista said, and we walked to get our orders. The guy who paid for us came over at the same time.

“بالعافية”
He said with a smile, mostly to Jana. Of course, why would he be interested in me?
Maybe if I dressed how Jana was dressing he’d look at me too.

“الله يعافيك”
She replied with a grin and a pair of flirtatious eyes. The girl was good and I knew with her I might, just might be able to get Fahad.

“عادي نوقف داخل؟ ادري فهد برة بس بتشوفينه بالمدرسة هذا مادري اذا بشوفه مرة ثانية”
She whispered to me.

“اي اوكي”
I told her. I was a bit bummed though, I wanted Fahad to turn towards me to figure out who this mystery sender was. I guessed Jana really liked this guy. I followed her to the end of the coffee shop where we found a table to ourselves.

“Tara he’s really hot,” she gushed, and her cheeks were turning red.

“Oooo,” I said as I wiggled my brows.

“Chub chub,” she said, rolling her eyes. I was facing the wall so I couldn’t see him.

My phone pinged on the table and I grabbed Jana’s hand to squeeze it.

“رد؟”
She asked me.

“ماقدر اشوف”
I said as I handed my phone to her.

“بس قال عاشت ايامك حتى ما سأل منو”
Jana said.

“جد؟”
I replied, snatching the phone from her hand.

“قلتلج ما يعطي ويه”
Jana said.

“شسوي؟ “
I said, I also wanted to brag about him in front of Rawan. To let her know that I won him over.

“انا اعرف، امشي معاي”
She said with a smile and I gulped, what was she going to do? I followed her anyway, even past the guy who got us our drinks until we left the coffee place. Fahad was on my right now and Jana suddenly gasped and turned to a guy a bit older than us right behind us.

“لا غلطان اخوي”
She said loud enough for Fahad to turn to us. The guy who Jana was talking to looked so confused.

“نعم؟ شسويت”
He said, shocked.
Did anything really happen or was Jana making this all up?
If she was, that was a bit cruel.

“تعرف شنو”
She said and Fahad began to approach them, closing in on me to the point where I could smell his cologne.
God, he smelled so good too.

“جنى شصار؟”
He whispered to Jana, and by now everyone standing around us was glancing at us.

“خلاص مابي اكبر الموضوع، وين السايق؟”
She said. The guy gaped at her like he was still shocked but she walked away from him, and I walked with her past Fahad but he followed us, Jana anyway. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“منور كلمي السايق”
She said as she handed me the phone that was dialing anyway.
 He picked it up within two seconds.

“الو؟…اي بليز تعال جدام ارابيكا”
I told the driver through the phone before handing it to Jana.

“فهد والله ارجع ماله داعي توقف معانا”
Jana said as she looked at me and I thought I saw a ghost of a smile on her lips.

“انتو بس ركبو السيارة وانا ارد”
He said, but I noticed that he never turned to look at me.

“اوه فهد هذي منيرة معانا بالمدرسة، حولت هالسنة”
She said while wiggling her brows at me.

“هلا والله”
Fahad said, as he turned to me, but he was uninterested.
The way his eyes met mine sent shivers up and down my spine yet I felt warmth rush through me at his glance…everything felt right again.

“امبيه لحظة جنه هناك؟”
Jana interrupted, and all of a sudden she walked away, leaving me alone with Fahad.

I couldn’t help but stare at her.

“مادري قصدها الحقها ولا اوقف بمكاني؟”
I said out loud and he chuckled to my surprise.

Suddenly her driver pulled up at the sidewalk in front of me.

“هذي وين راحت؟”
I said as I looked around and he chuckled again, amused at the whole thing.

“!لا تضحك”
I blurted out to which he laughed even louder and I started to laugh too. Jana now approached me and slowed down as she saw us laughing together, but then a playful smile appeared on her face.

“يالله منّور”
She said as she looked at me, like she was dying to know what was going on.

“يالله”
I said.

“مع السلامة”
I told Fahad.

“Thank you!” Jana said.

“حياكم”
Fahad replied with a smile.

“يا حمارة قوليلي كل شي الحين”
She said through her teeth as we walked to the car. I felt my face burn up…

We sat in the car and I told her what had happened, to which she gasped and gushed.

“جذاااابة”
She said, and a huge smile appeared on her face.

“والله”
I said.

“عطيني موبايلج دقيقة”
She said.

“ليش؟”
I replied.

“بتشوفين”
She said. I unlocked my phone and handed it to her.

“follow back الحين بيطلعله ودام عرف منو انتي لازم يسويلج ،follow والحين سويتله…unfollow سويتله”
She said, handing me my phone which was on Tumblr.

I looked at her and I felt my jaw drop.
She was good.
Would he follow me back? I couldn’t wait to know. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[15 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (7 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
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Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Sunday, September 11th 2016,

اهلين شوق، معاج فجر الفبنت اختي ليان ودها تشوف هيونةيناسبكم اليوم؟

I sent a text to Shoug off the number Haya gave to me last night. I was in my G-Class with Layan in the backseat.



“امشي يالله”
I said to Layan.

I waited for Shoug’s reply while I took Layan to Pick to get frozen yogurt, where I held her hand to get to the store. She had the habit of getting too excited and running off on her own.
We entered pick, which was almost empty except for two other people waiting for their orders. 
I walked with Layan to the counter to order.

“Small original, with pistachio sauce and extra choco biscuit,” I told the woman Layan’s order. “And I’ll get one small parfait to go please.”
I was so tempted to have one now.

We waited, hungrily, until our orders were ready and checked my phone, seeing if there was any message I’d missed. 

Shoug still hadn’t replied. 

I sent a message to Haya’s father, made it very formal and sent it.

He replied just a minute later.



 وعليكم السلام فجر، هيونة ليلحين بالمستشفى زاد عليها العوار الفير، بس حياكم راح تستانس . غرفة ٥٠٦

He replied.

“خالتي فجر ترى خلص”
Layan said excitedly as she picked up her yogurt, ready to eat it. 
I grabbed my parfait, hoping I wouldn’t make a mess in the car while eating it. 

“يالله ليان اكلي بالسيارة”
I told my niece as I ushered her to the car.

 I drove to the hospital with Layan busy eating her froyo and singing Taylor Swift songs. 
We parked and carried Haya’s presentwhich was a pretty expensive interactive handheld Layan insisted on getting. I would make it up when I had a job, no worries.

My phone buzzed.

Hi Fajer! She is in room 507

I had to scoff. I let the English and her very ‘blunt’ response go, but “she” and “507” when her room was 506? I couldn’t believe it.

I checked my reflection against the elevator mirror; I insisted Fouz to let Layan wear anything but dark colors. I was dressed in a bright pink skirt and a blue and pink battered blouse coupled with a pair of navy and silver heels to match my outfit. My hair was down my shoulders in waves and my makeup was light and simple. Layan looked cute in her blue skirt and white shirt and a pair of silver sneakers.

I walked with her hand in hand and knocked on the door of 506, taking a deep breath. A curly-haired girl of around fifteen opened it with a confused look on her face. Maybe Shoug was right.

“Layoun?” she suddenly said and Layan gave me the present before hugging her. I smiled and walked in, saying ilsalam.

Shoug was wrong. 
Two women, one who looked in her mid fifties and a younger one, in her thirties, stood up to shake hands.

يا هلا مرحبا

They said, the most formal greeting people can ever say. They seemed confused, like I obviously looked too young to be a mother of a seven-year old. I went over to Haya and kissed her forehead and smiled at her.

“Hi Hayouna,” I said as I caressed her hair while she looked shy.

” الحمدلله اليوم ردت روحتها شحلوها صايرة

I said to Haya’s father in front of me, whom I forgot to say hello to.
He was wearing a white dishdasha with his sleeves folded up.  He looked more relaxed now and I could finally see his true features; he had a sharp jawline with equally sharp features; bold eyes with neatly arched brows, a nose that wasn’t big nor small and a pair of average-sized lips that hid a bright smile. 
اي الحمدلله، شترت دام شافت ليون

He said as he looked at my niece, who was now on the sick girl’s bed.
“Layan!” I called out in embarrassment.

شوفي شنو يبتلج!”

Layan said, ignoring me. She began to tear the wrapping paper off Haya’s present and I couldn’t utter a word from how embarrassed I was.

I sat down and stared at Haya beaming at the gift before she let out a gasp.

شيقولون؟

Haya’s father said, with a smile on his face.

مشكورة

Haya said a bit shyly.

وجنه في وحدة هني ما سلمت علي؟

He said and my heart stopped beating, he couldn’t mean me, could he? 
Layan suddenly stood up on the bed, making me gasp, and hugged Haya’s father while he laughed and hugged her back.

I covered my eyes with my hand in embarrassment, thanks to Layan.

ابيه انا جدا اسفة

I said and the two women laughed.

يحليلها اختج؟

The older woman who had a friendly face asked me.

لا والله بنت اختي

I explained.

اي ما شا الله

The woman simply said.

عيل اتدلعينها ها؟

The younger woman said with a smile on her face and I chuckled.

لا والله امها تدلعها اكثر مني

I joked and they laughed.

We watched Layan and Haya play with the handheld, with Layan right next to her. Haya’s father was looking at them play too.


My phone buzzed in my hand. Khalid was calling, I put it on silent and stuffed it in my phone.
تفضلي

The teenage girl told me as she held out a tray of chocolate. I took one and thanked her.

شكلها خوش لعبة

The younger woman said.

اي هيون عيزت تدورها الله يعافيكم لقيتوها

Haya’s father said and I smiled as I unwrapped the chocolate.

عليها بالعافية

I said with a smile and his eyes landed right on mine. A knock on the door interrupted us before two women in their thirties walked in with a guy around my age. It was definitely our cue to leave.

“Layan,” I called out for my niece, who was still on the bed. She groaned and got out with the help of Haya’s father, who carried her out of the bed. 

I shook hands with the two women, who looked like they were wondering who I was.

يالله مع السلامة

I said to the two women I’d greeted first. 

“فرصة سعيدة حبيبتي”
The younger one said, making me smile. 
“وانا اسعد”
I replied.

I waved goodbye to Haya, who was now comfortable enough to wave back. 
Haya’s father escorted us politely outside the hospital room and closed the door behind him.

مشكورين على اليية وعلى الهدية

He began to say as he walked with us through the hallway of the ward.

ما سوينا شي وتستاهل هيونة اكثر

I said, listening to the sound of my heels click and clack loudly against the linoleum floor.

“Yallah bye Layoun,” he said as we reached the elevator.

“Bye 3ami Abdullah!” she said as she hugged him and he chuckled, patting her back. So I finally knew his name.

مع السلامة

He told me, with a friendly smile on his face.

Before I could reply, the elevator doors opened and a whiff of familiar perfume filled my nose. The woman inside walked out with a driver holding a tray of chocolate and flowers. She looked stunning in a black jumpsuit and a bright scarf hanging on her shoulders, with voluminous curled hair and perfect makeup.

Shoug.

I couldn’t help but watch Abdullah glare at his wife. I grabbed Layan’s hand and dragged her inside before she ran off to say hi to Shoug and make it more awkward. The elevator doors closed and the last thing I saw was Abdullah calling out her name.

“Shoug,” he called out.

So many things can happen behind closed doors, literally.


I called Khalid right as we got to the ground floor. 

“الو”
He said once he picked up.

“Hi, you called?”
I said as we walked to my car.

“اي ليش ما رديتي؟”
He asked me.

“كنت مع ليّون عند رفيجتها بالمستشفى”
I said.

“Oh, betrou7een ilgym?”
He asked me.

“Eeh lazm I’m there in thirty minutes madry shloun byamdy”
I said as I got into the car.

“يمديج حبيبتي بس لا تستعيلين، وقالتلج ياسمين؟”
He asked me.

“لا عن شنو؟”
I said, now revving up the engine.

“بنطلع اليوم على العشا، ثلاثتنا”
He said.

I was already busy enough.

“خالد مادري شلون بيمديني ولازم اتسبح”
I said.

“يالله عاد طلبتج فجورة لا ترديني صاير ما اشوفج”
He said, making me feel guilty. I bit my lip.

“ان شاء الله”
I said.

“I miss you ،اخليج عيّل …اشوفج ان شاء الله”
He said.

“I miss you too,” I replied with a smile before we hung up.

“منو خالد؟”
Layan turned to ask me.

“عيب ما يسألون هالأسئلة”
I told her, what else was I supposed to say?

I drove to her house me7tarma nafsy bil speed until I dropped her off then I basically drove a minimum of 140 all the way to the gym since my usual spinning class with the girls was in ten minutes. 

I dashed through the parking and elevator to the changing area then the studio, where I was late two minutes and everyone was already on their bikes.

“وين كنتي؟”
Danah hissed at me as she spanned.

“لوية”
I said as I strapped my feet to the pedals and joined in on the exercise that I just couldn’t keep up with no matter how often I did it. It was really draining and knowing I had to dress up again to go to dinner tonight stressed me out even more. I was already exhausted. 

As I was spinning my mind couldn’t help but wonder about Abdullah and Shoug. What really was their relationship like? I saw the way he looked at her, like he had just given up on her and she didn’t really care at all.
Was this going to be me and Khalid when we got older?

I spun until the class was finally over and we all but Danah found ourselves panting by the end of it.

“امبيه شدعوه”
Danah said as she sipped on her water. 
We walked around the gym to get to the changing area and passed by a girl using the treadmill that a woman once threw up on and we found ourselves giggling.

“Shhh…” I told the girls and they quieted down but Danah went to talk to the girl, who looked familiar now that she turned around. Where had I seen her.

“دانوه من صجها بتقولها؟”
Mariam said with a chuckle, walking to the changing area.

“امبيه جد مادري”
Lulu replied.

“يا جماعة انا لازم امشي”
I said as I grabbed my gym bag that contained my old clothes and walked out of the gym. 

I got to my car and threw my bag in the trunk. Just when I was about to get in I felt a car slow down next to me and lower the window. I didn’t even want to look that way.

“يا حلوة”
The guy in the car said and I smiled, turning to see Khalid inside with a grin on his face.

“شتسوي هني؟”
I said with a chuckle, surprised to see him.

“بس قلت اشوفج دام ما عندي شي، توني طالع من الدوام”
He said, flashing me yet another one of his smiles. 

“ركبي خل نفتر شوي”
He said.

“خالد لا شكلي يفشل لا تطالعني”
I said.

“حياتي انا راح اشوفج بأسوء حالات ركبي بس ركبي”
He said and I chuckled as I got in and he wrapped an arm around my seat, with his fingers just touching my hair as usual.

“جربتي القهوة اللي قلتلج عنها؟”
He said as he maneuvered around the parking lot.

“لا والله كلّش ما عندي وقت”
I said and he chuckled.

“وانتي لو كان عندج دوام جان شسويتي؟”
He said condescendingly.

“شسوي؟ قدمت وسويت اللي عليّ”
I replied defensively.

“اتغشمر يبا والله اتغشمر”
He said with a chuckle and I blushed.

“Sorry,” I said.

“حياتي انتي”
He said as he went down the slope leading to the lower floor. I felt his hand roam closer around my hair now.

“احبج فجورة”
He suddenly said and it feels like my insides just melted. Warmth rushed all over me and I felt my smile radiate against him. 
“انا اكثر”
I said, and he smiled back.
He finally said it, and I finally did too. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[12 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (6 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
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Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Sunday, September 18th, 2016…

Sleep deprived and hungry.

That was what I felt like when I got out of the car to my new school. I also felt sick, that was another thing to add to the list. I was beyond nervous…

What was a mixed school like? Would I make new friends?

Suddenly I regretted getting out of my old school but at least Rawan wasn’t in this one, even if it meant that I was all on my own. I walked into the gates of the school, looking at all the groups of friends hugging each other after not seeing each other for three months or so.

I noticed how good they all looked in their school uniform. The girls all had perfectly curled hair, which I didn’t know was allowed, and wore expensive jewelry on their necks and ears i.e. Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpel’s. I had basic earrings on that I’d gotten from Bershka five months ago. They also looked so perfectly tanned and fit. 
I saw some of Rawan’s cousins from afar, who we often ran into. Though I was sure they were like Rawan, well dressed and could pull off even a school uniform. They were all naturally so gorgeous with their soft features and gorgeous hair, I wondered if they were actually as harsh as Rawan, even if they came off as sweet whenever I bumped into them.

I hated that I missed my chance at my “makeover” before going into my new school. I didn’t want to be noticed by anyone until I was confident enough to show my face so I kept my head focused on the ground below me until I almost bumped into someone.

“Sorry,” I said to a guy who was almost double my height. He almost scoffed at me before he went to his friends who were chuckling at his reaction. I bet if I were attractive he wouldn’t have the same reaction. I was more than positive.

It was so weird seeing guys with me in school, I was so shy around them and didn’t know how to act at all. Yet I gulped as I found a familiar face in the crowd.

Fahad.

Of all people…Rawan’s crush.

I sure as hell wasn’t going to let him see me like this. I made it a mission not to cross his path unless I was fitter with a clear-skinned face and some Cartier necklace on my neck. I knew he could get any girl he wanted and I had a long way to go but I was ready for it anyway.

I walked to my homeroom class and sat on any chair I could find. It was funny how no one paid attention to me, the new girl, but I wouldn’t blame them.

I thought no one would, until I sat next to a thin girl with long wavy light brown hair and a freckle by her lower lip. I couldn’t help but notice that her fitted shirt was unbuttoned until the deep line that separated her rather large boobs, maybe she wasn’t aware of it.

“You’re new 9a7?” she said, looking at me.

“Eeh,” I replied with a smile. Did she really notice me?…

“انا اقوول، كنتي بأي مدرسة قبل هني؟”
She asked me, inching closer to me. I could smell her perfume now, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, my favorite.

“A**” I replied while she bit her lip.

“تعرفين احد هني؟”
She asked me.

“cousins my cousin اممم بس”
I told her and she tilted her head inquisitively.

“منو؟”
She asked, interested.

The teacher walked into the class now.

“…كادي وريما الص”
I said.

“Ahaa…intay close wiyahum?”
She asked me and I shook my head.
The teacher started to take attendance now.

“your guide عيل انا بصير”
She said with a smile and I smiled back.
I was quick to judge, she actually seemed pretty sweet.

“….جنى الي”
The teacher said.

“نعم”
She replied loudly.

Now I knew her name.

We bared the Arabic class, with her talking to me every now and then to ask me if I knew people she knew in my old school, fortunately the teacher didn’t shut us up.

“اخيراُ يعني؟”
She said as soon as the class was over. I followed her outside to the main court where all the other highschoolers were.

“Oh hi, shakhbarkum?” she said passing a group of girls, but they didn’t seem so excited to see her. In fact, no one did.

Whatever, she was the only one who noticed me and offered to keep me company.

“انا كله اقعد هني”
She said as she sat in a spot by a column on the field where I plopped right next to her.

“؟lunch شنو عندج عقب”
She asked me.

“Physics,” I said.

“Wow,” she replied, impressed.

“A7isich A student,” she said and I laughed.

“A student لأن اختي كانت  disappointed  كلّش لا…اهلي حدهم”
I replied.

امبيه سكتي
I thought to myself…

“كانت؟”
She asked me, curious.

“اي الحين تشتغل”
I replied.

“شكبرها؟”
She asked me.

“٢٥، اعتقد سامعة فيها…دانة الن…..؟”
I said and she shook her head.

Did she really not know my sister?

I bit my lip to keep from smiling, but I didn’t know why I was so excited. Maybe I finally found someone who wanted to hang with me for me and not my sister.

“Oh, she’s a designer,” I said nonchalantly.

I felt two figures pass by us and my heart stopped when Fahad walked by while laughing with his friends.
 He was insanely attractive in real life no, he smiled a side smile, bracketed by two deep dimples. His dark eyes were piercing and framed by thick lashes.
His nose was long and straight, above a pair of soft-looking lips and a strong jaw. His skin was tanned as if he’d just gotten back from a weekend at his chalet, and I bet under his shirt was a washboard stomach that he cared enough about.
I bet he wanted his girl to be the same, gorgeous and fit just like him.

Jana started laughing next to me and I turned to her, embarrassed.

“امبيه لا تشوفين شكلج وانتي تخزينه”
She said while laughing and I gulped. I hated how my face was an open book.

“Bas eeh he’s hot, o 7ada maya36y wayh,” she added, and I looked at her.

“اشكره يحب وحده عيل”
I said.

“لا بس هو جذي مليق، صدقيني جربت فيه حيييل يغث”
She added and I chuckled. She was pretty open about it, like she didn’t have anything to hide.

“امبيه جنه وايد حر؟ خلنقعد داخل”
She said as she stood up.

I was so grateful for Jana now for keeping me company. I couldn’t imagine where I would spend Lunch or with whom, definitely not Rawan’s cousins.

Maybe that friend I wished for was right next to me.

*

My stomach was growling in the car and my mouth was dry from the heat. I could swear I felt homesick and was relieved when the car parked at the driveway. I ran inside and washed my face before going to the dining room downstairs where my parents where having lunch. My sister never had lunch with us since she usually got home at 5:30 from work. I didn’t know how she had the time for her own business and the time to socialize, but she managed.

“ها شلون المدرسة؟”
My mother asked me as she placed some rice on her plate.

“زينة”
I lied. I was honestly too tired to speak.

“شفتي أحد تعرفينه؟”
My father asked me as he stirred his soup.

“أمم اي بس بنات عم روان بنت خالتي”
I explained as I added a bit of salad on my plate.

That was all they asked me, no more details or other questions. I wouldn’t blame them. They had trouble having kids so after Danah, the model daughter and talented designer; she was everything my parents would want in a girl. Then there was me, nothing special whatsoever but a waste of years of treatment. I knew my parents wished I were a boy, at least maybe I would’ve been someone successful or worthy in their eyes.

We ate in silence, of course, and I savored every bite of the salad I could unit it was done. I was still hungry, but after remembering school, more importantly Fahad today, my appetite shrunk all of a sudden.

I excused myself and went up to do some homework that was assigned to me, which was light, fortunately, before I got dressed and ready to go to my first day at the gym.

While I was in the car on the way to the gym my phone buzzed against my lap.

Rawan: shloun your first dayyy

Why the sudden interest?

Me: good shway i need to adjust but its gd

Rawan: ahaa shftay a7ad t3arfeeenaaa?

Me: no don’t think so

Rawan: ahaa

Did she mean Fahad? I had no idea.

“Stop here please, and come after one hour,” I told my driver and maid as they parked by the building that included my gym.
I was having second thoughts and my heart was racing already.
I pressed on the elevator button to the floor my gym was at and introduced myself to the receptionist.

“Hi, my name is Muneera Al-N?”
I told her.

Looking around, I felt so conscious in my black workout leggings, oversized black shirt and neon sports bra strap that poked out of my shirt no matter how hard I tried to fix it.

“Muneera Al-N, okay. Do you want to join classes or personal trainer?” she asked me as she handed me a form.
“Just classes,” I said as I started to fill in some information.
“Do you want free consultation?” she asked me and I shook my head. I was just here for the classes and machines maly khelg tifilsif ba3ad.
I watched as girls looking gorgeous in their workout clothes walk past me and I couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty. This was going to be me one day.
I paid for the membership, almost backing out last minute. 100 KD gone so easily.

I walked, slowly, to the large space that included rows of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, stairs, and every machine I’d never thought I would try out. I didn’t want to look at anyone else; I was already disappointed and envious enough. I just had to work on myself. It was so busy and I knew there were at least five different people judging me.

I walked on the treadmill for ten minutes before I jogged for two minutes until I felt like my heart was going to give out. I was panting like crazy. I decided to walk with an incline for twenty. I just walked, and walked until I’d burned half of my lunch probably.

I stepped off the treadmill and sat on the bike, which was so uncomfortable that I had to switch to an elliptical, which I loved. That was definitely going to be my machine, it worked my whole body, burned more calories and felt so effortless.

A couple of giggles behind me surprised me as well as a “shhh”, I turned to see a group of five girls who were laughing to themselves.

I froze as my eyes locked with Danah. I watched her expression turn from confused to enraged in a matter of seconds. Even when her face was makeup free and red from working out, yet she still looked pretty. Why did I get the bad genes?

“شتسوين هني؟”
She hissed to me as she turned to make sure her friends weren’t seeing her with me. We watched them go to the changing area right ahead of us.

“Umm working out,” I said. I gulped, she was even more pissed.

“تدرين اني ايي هني صح؟”
She said.

I honestly wasn’t seeing the problem here. Her friends didn’t even know I was her sister.

“-اي بس قلت ان مالنا شغل بب”
I began to say but she cut me off.

“مو انتي اللي تقررين”
She said, her voice was getting louder.

“Latyeen Sunday, Tuesday, o Thursday min 6 to 8,” she threatened before she walked away, probably worried if anyone, not just her friends, would see her associated with me.

I felt a lump form in my throat. Today was going so well until she showed up.

I replayed all the scenes from Wednesday night with Rawan and today, turned all those negative emotions I felt into pure energy as my legs and arms raced on the elliptical. Two minutes were easy, five minutes weren’t a problem either. Adrenaline was rushing through me, I was going to show them all.

My workout was interrupted by a missed call from my maid Lisa, had it been an hour already? That felt like nothing.

I grabbed a bottle of water and walked to the exit, only to see Danah and her friends sitting at the lounge drinking fruit-infused water. I felt some of them look at me for a couple of seconds before I walked away; did they recognize me from Friday night? Forget it,  I wasn’t memorable or distinctive in any way.

I got into the car and checked my Snapchat story; Rawan was having coffee with two of our friends from school. I guessed she only needed me for when her driver was busy.

But I didn’t need her, I had Jana.

If You Only Knew Me »

[10 Jan 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (5 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
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Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Saturday, September 10th, 2016…

My sister Fouz decided to invite her eight-year-old daughter’s friends to our house and of course, I had to help out since I knew my sister would have a lot of responsibility on her hands as they were seven kids altogether.

” بليز فجور تقدرين تجيكين على عشا اليهال؟ والله تعبانة اليوم اول يوم حدي متكسرة”
Fouz asked from the living room next to the playroom as she groaned in pain.

I sighed.
“سبحان الله موقتتها عشان انا ابتلش فيهم”

I teased and she smiled playfully.

“والله I’ll make it up”
She said as I rolled my eyes. She never did.

I went to the dining room to check on the girls who were all busy eating chicken nuggets, fries, and pizza. Fouz did the bare minimum, fast food was healthy food when she needed something quick and plentiful.

“ها بنات في شي ناقص ولا كل شي اوكي؟”
I asked as I looked around the table, lots of ketchup was on the nylon tablecloth and the smell was just awful.

“خالتي فجر عادي نشرب كولا؟”
My niece, Layan said, her curly hair was wrapped in a once-neat ponytail.

“McDonald’s و Pizza Hut طبعا لا، حمدي ربج قاعدين تاكلون”
I retorted and she groaned.

My eyes fell on a girl with short dark brown hair who didn’t look so good. Oh god I hoped it wasn’t the food. Her face looked like it was drained of color yet her food looked untouched; she was hunched and quiet, like she was scared too.

I furrowed a brow as I approached her and bent down to her level to talk to her.

“Hello,” I began as I smiled at her. She did not look okay at all.

“حبيبتي في شي يعورج؟”
I asked her.

“Auntie Fajer galat she’s sick o she vomited two times elyom gabil la tiyi,” Layan said, in a bragging tone for some reason.
I hoped she was just joking but the way the girl looked, it didn’t look like it.

“حبيبتي شسمج؟”
I asked the sick girl as I tucked her hair away from her face.

“اسمها هيا”
A girl sitting next to Haya said. I saw Haya put a hand to her lips and I immediately new this wasn’t a good sign. I grabbed an empty plastic bag and placed it right under her lips as she heaved into the bag.

“ويييع!”
The girls cried in unison, and I yelled at them to eat their dinner silently or help her out; the poor girl didn’t have to be embarrassed on top of it. I carried Haya, who was barely a weight to carry to the bathroom as she still heaved in the bag and called Fouz.

“الو”
She calmly replied.

“انتي شكو تعزمين وحدة مريضة؟”
I whispered in the phone as Haya threw up into the toilet.

“شكو، محد مريض”
She said.

“امبلا، وحدة اسمها هيا، فوزو البنت قاعدة ترجع الحين”
I replied as I caressed Haya’s back to comfort her. Her vomit was clear, there wasn’t anything in her system. I knew I had to do something.

“امبيه حلفي؟”
Fouz said.

“يعني اجذب؟ على الآقل قعدي مع اليهال”
I replied.

“الحين بنزل okay”
She replied before hanging up.

“ليش في دم؟”
Haya said, her voice weak and filled with tears.

I forced myself to look at her throw up again, there was some bits of red in it and I knew that wasn’t good. I had to take her to the hospital. I prayed it was just blood from how dry her throat was.

“هيونة تعرفين رقم امج؟ “
I asked her and she nodded, grabbing my phone weakly as she punched in the number. While it was ringing I helped her wash her hands and mouth before leaving the bathroom.

No answer.

“فوز بوديها السلام لان رجعت دم وترى الام مو قاعدة ترد”
I said to my sister as I grabbed my car keys and purse from upstairs, I didn’t even care about how horrible my outfit was. I was wearing my favorite Free City pants, which were at least three years old, and a plain black shirt while my short hair was in its natural wavy state.

“جد؟”
Fouz said and I nodded.

 I slipped on my Balenciaga runners, the closest pair of shoes to my bedroom door and went downstairs to Haya, who was still in shock. She looked exhausted.

“هيا تعرفين رقم ابوج؟”
I asked her as I sat next to her on the couch by the door. She nodded and punched in the numbers, which I saved. I hoped these were the right ones. I carried her to the car and buckled her in the front seat so she’d be next to me and placed a plastic bag in her lap. She looked like she was out of it.

I called Fouz who said that she texted her mother but she still didn’t receive a reply.
I had to drive slowly so Haya wouldn’t get motion sickness on top of it as I looked for her father’s name which I saved as “Sdfsdhl” in hurry.

He replied on the fourth ring and I sighed in relief.

“الو؟”
He said, sounding suspicious at the unfamiliar number.

“السلام عليكم، حضرتك ابو هيا؟”
I said, trying to sound calm as I stopped at the traffic light. I looked to my right, she was out of it. I gulped and my heart began to race.

“اي نعم منو معاي؟”
He asked.

“…امم انا اسمي فجر الف”
I began, taking a deep breath.

“بنتك هيا كانت زايرة بنت اختي واستمرضت تكرم حاشها ترجيع فالحين انا بطريجي لي السلام وهي معاي”
I said, hoping I didn’t cause him to panic. The light was green now and I kept flickering the lights for the guy in front of me to speed up.

He was silent for a good five seconds that I had to check if I accidentally hit the “end” button.

“كاني يايكم الحين. كلمتو امها؟”
He asked.

“لا والله دقيت عليها وما شالته فطرشتلها مسج”
I replied.

I heard him mutter something under his breath.

“مشكورة فجر، الحين يايكم. شلونها؟”
He asked, his voice was shaking now in both anxiety and a bit of anger.

“الحين نايمة بس قربنا فالله يسهل”
I replied.

“ان شاء الله، ادق عليج اول ما اوصل”
He said before hanging up.

I quickly parked my car next to the emergency entrance as I carried her from the passenger seat; she was really out of it. A nurse placed her in a wheelchair as he pushed her to the emergency area.

A Filipina nurse asked me about her and I just told her what I knew; her name was Haya, she was around eight years old, constant vomiting and her father was on the way.

They wheeled her to a bed where they laid her on it. She was definitely out of it now even if I heard her moan in pain. I wrapped her up in the blankets and moved her hair away from her tiny face. Suddenly I heard:

“I’m looking for my daughter Haya, she came with a lady?”

I pushed away the curtain divider as I looked at a man who looked around thirty dressed in a pair of jeans and a white shirt. He ran a hand through his short hair nervously as he looked around. His eyes landed on mine and it was like he knew I was exactly who he was looking for.

“فجر؟”
He said as he walked to me and I nodded.

“ها شلونها؟”
He said, leaning towards his sick daughter as he wiped and kissed her forehead.
The nurse walked in and interrupted him.

“Sir the reception wants you for her file,” she said and he nodded.

“ممكن تشوفينها؟ ادري تعبناج والله”
He said, looking very out of it, like he was confused and trying so hard to make sense of things.

“اي اكيد”
I could only say as he stormed out to the reception.

“The doctor is coming to check on her,” the nurse told me.

“Just wait for her father please,” I said. My phone buzzed, it was a text from Fouz.

Fouz: Sh9aar?

Me: manadry wallah. the doctor will see her in a bit. omha radat?

Fouz: la takhayilay. obouha rad?

Me: Eeh shakla 7ail mitdodih maskeen yana ilmostashfa

Fouz: allah y3eena

I put it away as her father walked in with the doctor.

“والله دكتور سامحني بس انا توني ادري انها مريضة، ييت سيدة من المطار”

He said with his arms crossed. His face was red, probably with anger or maybe even embarrassment. Or both.

“جم مرة رجعت عندكم؟”
He asked me.

“مرة وحدة”
I replied.

Haya finally woke up, confused at first but then she started crying when she saw her father as he hugged her frail body.

“حنومها ليلة بنسويلها تحاليل وبنشوف ايه المشكلة؛ ان شا الله بس فايروس بسيط يعني ما تإلأوش”
The doctor said and Haya’s father nodded.

“شكرا دكتور”
He said.

“فجر مشكورة والله وسامحينا خليناج تتعتين وتعبناج”
He said apologetically.

“ما سويت شي بعد زايرتنا على ذمتي”
I replied with a soft smile to reassure him, watching Haya go back to sleep as the nurse walked in to transfer her to another bed.

“،ترى انا كلش ما كنت ادري انها زايرة ولا جان ما خليتها”
He said, shaking his head in disdain. I wanted to tell him to stop making excuses and that he should know where the hell his daughter was. I was already pissed at her mother.

We followed the bed to the elevator.

“فجر والله ردي بيتكم ماني متعبج اكثر من جذي”
He said, holding Haya’s hand and I shook my head.

“ما عليك مني انا ياية اتطمن”
I said and for the first time I saw a soft smile on his face, one that brought life to his dead eyes and colorless face, like he too was sick.

We followed them to her room which was a private room with its own bathroom as they prepared to draw blood from her.

Haya woke up just as they rubbed alcohol on her hand and her once lifeless body suddenly sprung up and a loud scream escaped her small body in defiance.

“هيونة حبيبتي ترا ثانية ويخلصون”
Her father tried to calm her as he pinned her down. I rubbed her forehead and tried to hush her as they injected her with the needle and the girl let out another scream, with tears streaming down her face in pairs.

“!خلاص خلص”
Her father said, trying to cheer her up as he kissed her cheek.

“بابا ابي اروح البيت”
She said in between sobs

“ميخالف حبيبتي بس يوم واحد بعدين بتردين البيت وتشوفين هدايا، صح؟”
He said in a positive tone, trying to cheer her up.

I noticed she never asked for her mother.

“تقدرين تقعدين معاها شوي بس بسوي مكالمة”
He said.

“اكيد”
I replied as I sat on the chair next to her, watching her drift back into sleep. She was a pretty girl, and I noticed she had the same mouth as her father.

I heard him outside the door, I didn’t mean to overhear but it was hard not to. There wasn’t any sound except his.

“Jen why did you lie to me? You said she’s with madam now she’s in the hospital and I cannot reach madam, where is she?” he yelled, I looked at Haya, thank god she was still asleep.

“No, tell her when she’s home to call me, do you understand? My daughter is in the hospital because of you and her! No one told me she is sick!” he yelled. I gulped.

Haya twisted in her bed and groaned but I held her hand, and she grabbed mine. I sent Fouz a text.

Me: Obouha tawa rad min ilsfar mayadri inha mareetha ma7ad galla

Fouz: Ana m3a9ba 3ala hal um ilchalba shako twahigni?

Me: wahigtich intay? haha 7lwa. Radat?

Fouz: laa2:)

It was not until five minutes later that Haya’s father walked in and ran a hand through his hair.

“سامحيني طولت عليج” he said, apologizing again. I actually felt bad for him, he really looked shocked and confused.

“لا والله كلش” I said with an assuring smile.
” الحمدلله نامت على الاقل. انا مرة صار فيني جذي ومن العوار ما قدرت انام. الحمدلله دام نامت يعني ما يعورها”

I tried to calm him down and he nodded as he looked at the floor. It seemed like he was a bit calmer.

“الحمدلله” he said.

I stroked Haya’s hand, while her father caressed her head and said some prayers.

“نسيت اييب هدومنا حق الصبح والليل،”
 He said, he was definitely tired and confused.

“اسف كلفتج وايد بس يصير تشوفينها على ما اروح البيت وارد؟ ما راح اطول”

I nodded.

“اكيد”
I said and he dashed for the door. I waited for the mother to arrive but still no sign of her. I checked my phone; it was almost 10PM. I texted the group.

Me: you guys wa7da yabat bnt-ha 3ndena belbait o al7een ana ma3aha blmstashfaa:) hows your thursday

Lulu: looooool 7araaaam

Mariam: ditch them intay shakoooo

Me: madry wain omha haldaykha. obouha ra7 eyeeb hdoumha. hathy akher mara I’m going to babysit 7ag ikhty:)

Lulu: it’s ok next thursday n3awthech 3adil

Sarah: eeeeh your choice!! 

It took her father, who’s name I still didn’t know, around forty minutes to get back. He was fast, and pissed when he walked into the room. I was sure he expected her mother to be here by now. He set the suitcase on the floor.

“خل اساعدك” I said as I took out Haya’s pajamas, which were a smart choice: button-downs for easier changing, and a fresh pair of underwear. I hanged her clothes for tomorrow, which was a simple dress for her to wear and placed the toiletries in the bathroom while her father hung his clothes up. I still didn’t know his name.

“نبدلها احسن؟” he asked me, hesitant and I nodded. She’d played and thrown up in these clothes, she definitely needed a change.

We called the nurse to take out the injection so we could change her, and I held my breath as the nurse carefully took out the needle. Haya was still out of it and I exhaled in relief.

I mostly managed the change as her father’s hands were shaking and he looked like he was scared he might hurt her. We had to take her shirt off together as it was sort of tight around the neck. He tugged at the collar while I pulled it over he head and through her arms.

It took us a good ten minutes to change her and thankfully Haya slept through it all. We were either very careful or she was very out of it.

“Mission accomplished, huh?” I quipped as we sat down and her father smiled as the nurse placed the injection back into the tube. Haya squirmed but it was nothing to be worried about.

Before we knew it a woman, dressed in a white dress with a beige Gucci belt, a pair of Louboutins, and a Kelly bag in one hand walked in. Her blonde ombre hair was in perfect waves down her back and her face was accentuated with perfectly applied makeup. The room filled with her perfume as soon as she walked in.

“!هيونة”
 She cried out as she almost woke the sick girl up with her loud voice.
“حياتي شصار فيج؟”

I didn’t need to look at her father’s face to know he was pissed.

“شوق، بس بكلمج برة ثانية”
 He said in a low voice which I heard, it was obvious that he was trying to contain his anger.

“!وي سوري حبيبتي سامحيني ما شفتج! وعليّه تعبناج معانا”
She said to me as she walked outside, she also did a quick wave.

I scoffed when she left the room and closed the door behind her. I couldn’t hear anything, fortunately for me, but I knew he took her to the emergency stairs to berate her for lying to him and leaving her sick daughter in the care of strangers.

I updated the group.

Me: abasherkum il om w9alat. full makeup o elsha3ar fair 3rous 

Sarah: leeeave shna6raa

Mariam: 9arly sa3a shagoul?

They walked back in; her father’s face was red, he had reached his limit while the mother’s eyebrows furrowed together like she was pissed too, pissed at anyone but herself, that was.

I stood up. It would be awkward if I stayed some more, not with them being angry like that.

“اساعدكم بشي؟ في شي ناقصكم؟”
I asked them. I could feel Haya’s mother stare at me from head to toe. Was she seriously judging my outfit right in her daughter’s hospital room?

“لا والله مشكورة فجر، سامحينا على الازعاج”
Her father said politely.

“اي مشكورة”
Her mother said. What a joke.

“لا كلش ماكو ازعاج. ما تشوف شر هيونة”
I said before leaving. I was pissed at her mother, what kind of mother was she?

If You Only Knew Me »

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***

Friday, September 9th, 2016…

It was the final Friday before school began and I didn’t know how to spend it apart from staying in bed all day and browsing Tumblr and Youtube.

What Rawan had told me on Wednesday still resonated with me. What if it were true, that no one would find me appealing or worthy of their time at all?

I made a list of things to improve on:
-Outfits
-Makeup
-Workouts

I saved outfits on Instagram from some local fashion accounts to sort of copy. I watched at least ten makeup tutorial videos and signed up for a gym by phone.

I was on Rawan’s blog now and I went through her posts.
She definitely looked flawless even without showing her face. Her hair was perfectly curled in all pictures, her skin was always tanned and her outfits were definitely above-average.

I really envied her.
She was the type of girl guys like Fahad went after, not me, and I was sure he noticed her at some point.

I went back to the main blog and scrolled through the posts until my eyes landed on a username with “Fahad” in it. Could it be him?

In the picture, he was perfectly tanned and laying on the beach with his arms plopped up against the sand, showing off his toned back. I couldn’t see his face but I knew it was him. I just felt it. I clicked on his username and went on his account, and I was right.

I clicked on his profile picture which was of him in a plain white t-shirt that brought out his tan, his hair was covered in a cap worn on backwards, making him twice attractive. His eyes were large and almond-shaped, while his nose was straight and small. His lips were well sized and his smile…it killed me. Perfectly aligned whites that I knew were even better in real life. Dimples appeared on each cheek, and before I knew it, I was already crushing on him.

I went through his posts. I saw lots of pictures of him at his chalet: swimming, wake boarding, jet skiing, and chilling on the beach and pictures of him abroad, mostly Marbella.

He definitely looked like an interesting person and I really wanted to get to know him, but what if he rejected me?

I definitely needed help in that department, and I knew the best person to ask was my sister Danah but honestly she intimidated me.

It didn’t hurt to try…
I thought.

I got up from my bed and left my room to go to her studio downstairs next to her lounge, where I knew she would be. She was always there.

“Danah is in the studio?” I asked my nanny Lisa as I approached the elevator.

“Yes she’s there,” Lisa said as I got in. I took a deep breath and looked at myself in the mirror. I was chilling in a pair of dark gray sweatpants and a black long-sleeved shirt. My naturally wavy hair was up in a top knot bun and my face didn’t even have moisturizer on it.

I gulped as the elevator doors opened and I reached her floor. Her floor, she had her own studio where she worked as well as a lounge for her guests.

I heard her laughter coming from the studio and I hesitated. Should I go ahead?

“جد؟ لا مو معقولة”
Her voice was getting clearer with every step I took towards her until I was right at the door.

She was sitting on her desk chair with her face to the wall as she spoke on the phone. She wasn’t aware of me yet.

“No way,”
She said again with a chuckle

I took a deep breath and knocked on the door to grab my sister’s attention and she turned to look at me. Her brows knit together in confusion and she whispered to the phone.

“دقيقة دقيقة”
She said.

“نعم؟”
She said to me, placing her hand over her phone’s speaker.

I regretted coming here already.

“امم بس كنت بكلمج بموضوع وكنت ابي رايج فيه”
I said.

“بس حدي مشغولة sorry”
She said and I bit my lip hesitantly.

“Okay kamil?” she said, returning to her conversation and turning her back to me.

I didn’t know my parents were perfectly fine with her having guy friends she could talk to. They didn’t allow that for me and gave me this whole lecture before I switched schools. Maybe they just couldn’t control her anymore or maybe she just didn’t care what they thought.

“I miss you too والله حدي مشغولة هالاسبوعين…جد”
She said and I raised my brows. Who was she talking to?
My phone beeped, informing me of a new notification. It alarmed her too as she snapped back to me.

“لحظة”
She said again to the person on the phone.

“ما تفهمين؟”
She said with a chuckle that made me feel ashamed of myself.

“Sorry,” I said as I walked away, but I pressed my back to the wall next to the door opening.

“لا محد، لا تحاتي”
She said with a chuckle.

“انزين ترى حدي ولهانة عليك”
She said again in her raspy voice.
Who was she talking to?

“قلتلك حدي مشغولة والله….اي اكثر منك شفت شلون”
She added with a chuckle.

“5 minutes مر عليّ الليلة افضيلك”
She said.

“اي والله”
She said, chuckling again.

“I’ll see you tonight خلاص عيّل”
She said before she hung up.

Music resumed in her studio and I started to walk away, not wanting to get myself into any more trouble. I walked up back to my room and sat back on my bed.

Who was she going to meet tonight?

I sat on my bed and went on Instagram, typing in my sister’s name.
She had her business account, which was public and with 55k followers, and a private one, with 1,204 followers and I wasn’t part of them. I did request her, but she didn’t accept it yet. She didn’t even follow me back.
She followed Rawan though, and Rawan followed her.
Rawan, my gorgeous cousin who was also a bully to me, but I guessed Danah didn’t care.

I wanted to talk to someone about all of this, what I heard downstairs, what Rawan had told me. I did have friends, but the closest to me was Rawan and I was starting to actually fear her as much as I hated to admit it. She, like my sister, was intimidating. I needed a friend I could confide in, a friend who would laugh with me and not at me.
Not Rawan.

I just hoped I’d find one in my new school.

I was desperate to know who this person coming over was. What was his relationship to my sister?

It was almost 11 PM, my parents were off to sleep, of course, as were the maids, and there wasn’t anyone awake in this house but me and Danah.

Grabbing my phone with me I tiptoed quietly against the marble floor to go to the stairs leading to Danah’s floor. I was positive he would enter through the door leading from Danah’s floor to outside.

I made myself comfortable on the marble floor as I sat down on the first step leading to downstairs. I knew I was dead if she caught me spying on her, but was I really spying? I was concerned.

I almost gave up waiting until I heard her voice.

“كاني الحين بفتحلك الباب”
She said and I gulped, I saw her walking towards the door, looking gorgeous in a simple pair of leggings and black shirt. She was effortlessly gorgeous.

I tried to see the guy as he walked in but I couldn’t because my sister jumped on him and hugged him while he lifted her off the ground and twirled her around and she yelped in return. I couldn’t help but gape.

She was definitely not the same person around me.

She pulled his arm above her shoulder and dragged him to the lounge, where I could not see them. What I did notice was that they didn’t talk anymore and I knew I had to leave before I would be even more shocked.

Who was he?

And more importantly, who was my sister?

If You Only Knew Me »

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Cashmere


***

Friday, September 9th, 2017.

“هذي من صجها نامت؟”
Mariam said, nudging a sleeping Lulu on Yasmine’s couch.

“Grey’s الخبلة تقول سهرت لي ال٦ تطالع”
Sarah said as she ate a bag of chips

“يالله متى توصل دانة؟”
I said.

“واحنا مو تارسين عينج؟”
Yasmine teased.

“طبعا لا”
I teased back and she kicked me gently on my thigh.

“آآآي شتبيين؟”
I said, kicking her back.

“والله حسستوني انكم ١٤ مو ٢٤”
Mariam said, rolling her eyes.

My phone vibrated on my lap.

Khalid: 7ayaty 5 mins o akoun 3endich

I gaped at the screen, what was he talking about?

Me: 9ej?? wain benrou7?

Khalid: Starbucks akeeed..yallah tezahebay

Me: fashlaa magdar akhaly my friends

Khalid: babe awalan ekhty 3azmat’hom mo intay o thaneyan nakhethlehum drinks

I smiled.

Me: perfecttt

Khalid: yallah get ready mo t2akhreenaaa

I slipped on my Golden Goose sneakers immediately.

“وين وين لا يكون زعلتي؟”
Mariam said and I rolled my eyes.

“اي دمعتي على الطريف، خالد بيمرني بناخذ ستاربكس ونرد، احد يبي؟”
I asked them as I stood up.

“Cuuute,” Sarah gushed.

“انااا”
Lulu said as she stood up straight.

“امبيه هذي فجأة قعدت”
Yasmine said.

“iced white mocha وابي”
She added.

“بطرشلج مسج”
Sarah said and I nodded.

My phone vibrated again, Khalid was outside.

“كاهو برة”
I said, I wondered if my friends found it weird that I went out with him on quick stops. Did they think we did anything beyond that? I was sure they’d ask me, and they knew that riding alone with him was the pushing it for me.

I checked my reflection in the mirror. The tan I’d gotten earlier this morning at the beach contrasted perfectly with my shoulder-length ombre hair. I wore a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans with a white and pink shirt. I wore a pair of silver hoop earrings and stacked my neck and arms with necklaces and bracelets. I sprayed on some perfume and smiled at my reflection in the mirror before I left to see his Defender parked right outside, with him smiling at me from the driver’s seat and I smiled back.

He looked so handsome in his plain white shirt that too brought out his tan, and a pair of washed out jeans. His hair was light brown and his eyes were of a light hue too. He smiled his sideway smile that always took my breath away.

“جذي الناس يتغلون؟”
He asked and I smiled.

“شلون عيّل؟”
I replied as I got in.

“اخخ ودي الّمج..ثانية وحدة بس”
He said teasingly as he leaned towards me and I pushed him away.

“!خالد لا”
I laughed.

“عيارتج والله ادري، اعرفج”
He said, sounding annoyed that I still didn’t allow him to embrace me.

“اي ما شاء الله”
I said with a smile.

“انزين يالله ابي قهوة لا تلهيني”
 He said as he revved the engine.

“شخبارج؟”
He said as he looked at me, he wrapped his arm behind my seat and I knew he sort of meant to touch my hair but I let him. I didn’t want to be too rigid about it, we had a solid relationship and a good future, anyway.

“والله ماكو، وانت؟”
I said.

“ابشرج خذيت اللنج”
He said with a beam and I gasped, sitting up straight in my seat.

“No waaay, mabrouuuk!”
I said with a smile.

“الله يبارك فييج، عاد حلفت انج اول وحدة تركبينها معاي”
He said and I beamed.

He moved his hand from the gear shift and onto mine, grasping it and I let him.

“يحلمون؟”
He said with a smirk, hinting at our song.

“يالله”
I said as I laid back on the seat as I looked at him. He looked so handsome with his manly features, the thick brows, harsh nose yet so beautiful at the same time with a pair of soft lips and thick lashes.

“شفيج؟”
He said, noticing me staring.

“بس اتحلى عليك”
I said with a smile and he smiled too, grasping my hand tighter under his. I knew how much he wanted to touch me, to hold me and I held him back. He snuck around touches disguising them as accidents and they teased me. Maybe I should just let him go ahead and touch me but part of me, even after half a year of knowing him, still told me to stick to my values. He was pretty much open, but I wasn’t. I didn’t even know how I got into this relationship with how strict I was about guys, but maybe he was the exception and the right one.

“..خلي بالك انت ليّه”
He started to sing as he looked at me and I laughed, covering my ears. He knew how much I hated his singing voice even if I loved him.

“شفيييج يالله غني”
He said, nudging me.

“!بغني بروحي”
I retorted.

“تدرين ان على يوم لازم تتعودين على صوتي صح؟ والله يحصلج”
He said.

“اسفط اسفط”
I said while laughing as we reached Starbucks ra7al.

We got out and I walked right beside him, hesitant to be seen by anyone. The only people who knew of us were my close friends and my older sister Fouz. I kept dropping hints at my mother, who I only prayed was accepting, but she still didn’t seem to get the hint.

He pulled open the door for me and I got in, greeted with a lot of turns from guys and girls alike before they stared for two seconds and looked away. I knew Khalid and I both looked good, and together, we killed it.

“ترى البنات طلبو بعد”
I told him as I bit my lip apologetically. He sighed and nodded, waving with his hand for me to join the line.
I organized the orders on my phone, cursing Yasmine for such a complex order. Two shots of caramel up and one shot down? Really?

“بلصق يمج لأن في واحد بس قاعد يخزج”
He said as he stuck his hip next to mine. I glanced at the guy he was telling me about, he definitely looked younger than I did. He looked like he hadn’t showered or slept for days and I found myself inching next to Khalid for support.

“Next please,” the barista asked us.
Khalid ordered his cold brew first before I bombarded the barista with our orders, which we had to repeat twice and took two minutes to get right.

“Thank you Khalid,” I said with a smile as he paid.

“حيّاج”
He said before he sneakily brushed his hand against my thigh to put his wallet inside his pocket.

We waited by the pickup counter, which was flooded with other young people who were mostly in shorts and t-shirts. Plus they looked way younger.

“-لو يشوفوا شوي قلبك فيه اسمي ي”
He began to sing and I had to nudge him.

“!خالد”
I said with a chuckle but he just wiggled his brows at me.

“Cold brew for Khalid?” the barista said and Khalid picked up his order.

Yasmine: wainkooom 6awaltaaw!!

Me: wallah ma7ad akharna ‘3air 6alabich ily sh6oula!

Yasmine: hehehe 

I chuckled. I definitely looked forward to her as a sister-in-law.

“هلا والله”
Khalid said as he shook hands with a guy his age, older than me in three years.

“شخبارك بو جاسم؟”
He said to his curly-haired friend who was also wearing a pair of swimming shorts and a black shirt. I held in my breath hoping he wouldn’t realize we were with each other, but he didn’t seem to care, or notice.

“Fajer?”
The barista called, placing four drinks into the crates and one on the counter.

“Thank you,” I said, before Khalid joined me to pick up the drinks.

“مسكي هذا”
He said, handing me his cold brew. We walked to the car, with him opening the door for me again like a gentleman and we got back into the car.

“والله ان طيحتيهم توبة اوديج ستاربكس”
He said as he switched on the ignition.

“!امبيه لا”
I said and he quickly snapped to my direction while I laughed at his reaction.

“فجوور يالله عاد يالله”
He said as he nudged me while I was still laughing.

“والله احب اطفرك”
I confessed and he pinched my chin, ignoring my limits.

“والله بتشوفين على يوم، انا اورييج”
He taunted as I sipped my iced white mocha.

He plugged the AUX to his phone as he played more Majeed on our way back to the chalet, with him fortunately for me not singing along. Just us keeping each other company. I inhaled the scent of his cologne, one that I always remembered him by and I wondered if he did the same with me.

“تقدرين تشيلينهم؟”
He asked me and I nodded.

“Take care 7ayaty,” he said and I smiled. I loved it when he called me that.

“Inshallah,” I said before I closed the door with my foot and watched him drive away.

Yasmine opened the door, probably after hearing the slam of the door and wiggled her brows at me.

“لا تشوفين ويهج الحين”
She said.

“ياسمين جب ولا بطيح القهوة”
I told her as she grabbed the crate of coffee from me.

It was even worse when I got inside as the girls woo’ed when I walked in.

“امبيه انتو مستحيل”
I said as I sat down on the couch with my coffee.

“لا بس والله حدكم كيوت”
Sarah said as she took a sip of her coffee.

“بدا يدفى شفيكم طولتو؟”
Mariam said.

“اي صج شفيكم طولتو؟”
Sarah said as she wiggled her brows and I felt my body heat up.

“والله انتو….انزين شصار على دانة؟”
I said, hoping they’d change the subject.

“قالت ما تقدر تيي”
Lulu said.

“وااي تحر”
I said, hating how busy my best friend was.

My phone buzzed on my lap.

Khalid: babe gouleely meta bte6l3een o to9leen ilbait, aby at6aman 3alaich

Me: inshallah, wain raye7?

Khalid: chalet Bader Al-K

Me: have fun love

Khalid: i’ll try, love you

Me: love you too 7abeeby

I smiled.

If I only knew that day would be the last day with only him on my mind…

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Happy reading, 

Cashmere

***

September 7th, 2016…

I hated going out to those hip places where I knew I had to look good. 

I usually felt so judged and self-conscious. I knew I didn’t have that much of a sense of style nor did I know how to apply makeup that suited my face. My cousin/best friend Rawan, on the other hand, was a master of it all. I often made mental notes of her style choices, which were always on point. I only copied her outfits when I wasn’t with her since I knew she would mock me for it or find it creepy. 
We walked into the coffee shop with Rawan in front of me as usual. She was dressed in a pair of black leggings with a white stripe down each side, a light olive green bomber jacket and a pair of gold Golden Goose sneakers; it all looked well put together with her perfectly curled hair and subtle yet well-applied makeup that framed her delicate feminine features. I on the other hand was dressed in a simple blue dress that I paired with a layered necklace. I’d thought I looked good but I was wrong once I saw Rawan. 
To make matters even worse, through the crowd of the industrial-looking coffee shop I spotted my older sister, Danah with her friends in the center table and I knew Rawan was heading for them. 
I gulped, should I avoid them or should I join Rawan? I felt my feet head where Rawan was going. 
“Heeey!” she said as she hugged my older sister. I stood next to her, feeling my fingernails dig into my palm in nervousness. 
“Rawoun ahlan!” Danah said as she hugged her. Her eyes landed on mine and I looked away, while she looked like she didn’t even recognize me. 
Danah was pretty much the opposite of me; her black hair was pixie short, she was taller, thinner, fairer in complexion, also prettier. 
Much prettier. We had nothing in common and we never really talked because of it, besides what would a successful twenty-five year old designer have in common with her average-everything sixteen year old sister? 

I sometimes wished my relationship with my sister was like my cousins’ or friends’ relationships with their sisters: best friends, inseparable, caring and honest. 

We shared no “inside jokes”. We never went out together, we never had movie nights or salon dates together either. Nothing.

It wasn’t that we hated each other. I actually wished sometimes that my sister hated me so at least there was some sort of emotion she felt towards me, but there was nothing. Not even hate, just
…disinterest. 
I heard Rawan say a quick hi to the rest of the table and I just stood there, trying to smile but no one was looking my way at all, why would they? 
I sighed in relief when Rawan walked away from their table and to the line of people waiting to order their drinks. 
“شنو بتاخذين؟”
Rawan asked me as she texted on her phone. 
“Spanish latte,” I said as I looked at the menu.
“Eeh me too,” she agreed as she looked around then looked at me from head to toe. I knew she was judging me but I pretended I didn’t notice. >
“مابي اضيق خلقج بس جنج سامنة ولا يتهيآلي؟”
She said, tilting her head at me. I was dumbfounded. 
“Umm,” I just said with a chuckle. 
Before I could say something it was our turn to order and Rawan waited next to me as she pressed her phone against her ear to listen to a voice message. I could only look at the floor; I was worried my eyes would land on my sister’s table.

We waited for our order and I could only look at my phone. I didn’t want my eyes to wander around my sister’s table nor I didn’t want to look at anyone else because I felt like they would be judging me, especially after what Rawan had said..
I followed Rawan to a table right next to the entrance, it was right at the corner so we had our own space to talk and drink our coffee without being affected by the crowd in the coffee shop. 
“امبيه لذيييذ,”
 I said as I took a sip, tucking a strand of my naturally wavy hair behind my ear. 
“Mhmm,” she said half-heartedly as she scrolled through her phone. 
“الصراحة خوش طلعه” 
I joked and she leaned in. I gulped, I hoped she wasn’t going to tell me off.

“بالطاولة اللي يمنا hot لا تلفين الحين بس في واحد حده”

She whispered. I was dying to turn around. 
“follow on Tumblr رفيج محسن ولد عمي شفته مرة بالشاليه وسويتله”
She gushed, her light brown eyes were shining in excitement under the bright cafe lights. 
“اقص ايدي اذا ماتعرفين اسمه”
I joked and she beamed and started typing on her phone before showing me his name. 
…..فهد الب
I looked at Rawan, impressed at her research skills. 
“لحظة يتي هني لان تدرين بيكون موجود؟”
I asked her and she smiled.
“شعبالج”
She said with a shrug before adding:
” عشان جذي قلتلج كشخي وترتبي مو نشوف اوادم سنعين حبيبتي بس ما تطيعيني”
She ran a hand through her soft hair, while her lips carried a devilish smile. I could feel my stomach tie in knots again. 
“dress اممم ترى لابسة”
I told her, looking down at my dress. She scoffed.
“يعني الحين هذا عندج كشخة؟ سوري بس شعرج مبين مو مسويته وما اشوف مكياج ابد” 
She said. 
I gulped, feeling a lump form in my throat. 
“ترى انا قاعدة اكون صريحة معاج عشان مصلحتج، يوني وايد بنات يسآلون اذا انتي ودانة صج خوات لان جنة مالكم شغل ببعض. اصلا ما شا الله مادري شلون انتي مو هامج. لو اختي دزاينر وكشخة ومادري شنو استحي اطلع جذي.” 
She said, I could feel my lips quiver so I covered them with my fingers as I took a sip of the coffee to cover up my frown. 
” لا صج ترى كبرنا فلازم تعتنين بشكلج. ما لاحظتي ان حتى دانة ما عرّفت رفيجاتها عليج يعني الصراحة ما الومها”
She said, God she was harsh. I felt tears cloud my eyes until one finally dropped down my cheek and I quickly wiped it with my hand.
 “عقب جم يوم mixed بس عشان مصلحتج يعني ولاتنسين ان بتروحين مدرسة harsh سوري ادري اني”
She said again and I nodded. 
I was so nervous about my school change; my whole life I’d been in an all-girls school. A british all-girls school when I was in elementary, an american all-girls school when I was in middle school up to grade 9 and I was now going to a mixed american school. My time for change was up and I felt so bad and angry at myself for not doing something about the way I looked during the summer for school next week.

“La thank you wallah, I understand,” I said and she looked away as she waved to a girl she knew and ran off to her. I glanced at the guy next to us, Fahad. 
She was right; god he was hot. He was tall and tan skinned; his face was a combination of a sharp jaw, perfectly arched brows, thick lashes, and naturally red lips. 
God, he was so out of my league. 
She was right again, there was no way a guy like him would even look at a girl like me but more like someone like Rawan or even Danah, my sister; the type guys would instantly be interested in and attracted to.
 I looked at my reflection through the coffee shop’s window against the dark sky. 
My eyes, were smaller than my sister’s and were almost too close to each other. My nose wasn’t big but it wasn’t small either, but definitely bigger than Danah’s delicate nose. Unlike my sister’s naturally full lips mine were completely average in shape. Danah was thin, like model thin, I was nothing close to it.
I knew I could have potential if I really gave it my all meaning I would spend hours watching makeup tutorials and looking up style inspirations as well as taking care of my frizzy hair and getting in shape. Maybe I could get someone like Fahad to look at me, better yet getting someone like Fahad to look at me first instead of Rawan for once. 
What if I got Fahad to like me instead of her? Maybe then she’d see that I wasn’t as ugly and careless as she thought I was. 
That would show her. 

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