Home » Archive

Articles Archive for February 2018

If You Only Knew Me »

[27 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (43 ◇ Fajer) (Finale) | 1 views]
Dedicated to kn, asm, dee, z, shahad, Jawaher, Shahal, Amna, and the anons that brighten my day with their comments on the story!

Happy reading, 
Cashmere
***

I took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I would get back into this car with a friendship rekindled or if I would come back and have lost a friend.

I got out of the car and went down the stairs that once made me so excited to be with whom I’d thought were my best friends, but now these stairs reminded me of betrayal by people I had once trusted the most.

I saw Danah on her phone through the windows of the lounge.
I took a deep breath again, I just hoped this would end well.

I knocked on the glass door and she turned her head towards me, surprised that I’d arrived on time, before she stood up to open it.
As much as I was frustrated with her I couldn’t not say hi, it felt weird not to especially when I would also hug her whenever I saw her.

“Hi,” I said softly as she opened the door.

“Hi,” she replied, not meeting my eyes.

She looked sad, like she hadn’t slept for days. She wore a pair of gray training pants and a white fitted shirt. She still looked stunning despite it all.

We went to sit on the couches that we had once sat on to gossip and laugh. Where had once watch movies and play board games that took hours to finish.

Now we were here trying to hold onto the last straws of our friendship.

I looked around, taking in the lounge for what might be my final time at. The gorgeous mother of pearl table at the center of the lounge, the gorgeous beige wallpaper that held patterns and textures I’d only dreamed of, the artwork that hung on the walls. They carried so much meaning, so much memory that I just hoped I would leave still being her friend.

There was an awkward silence between us, who should start? I assumed it should be me since I asked to meet her.

“مادري شلون ابدي”
I said as I looked at my hands.

“من منو سمعتي عني انا وحمد؟”
She asked me, cutting through the chase and looking curious.

“نجلا وشيخة لما شافوكم ببيت ماما شيخة…حسو بشي”
I replied. I left my sister out of this.

“ليلحين معاه؟”
I said, feeling my hands gripping the corner of the cushion to suppress my anger.

She placed a tongue in her cheek and shook her head.

“رد حق شهد بنت خالج”
She said and I shook my head in disbelief, was I supposed to feel sorry for her?

“شخبار عبدالله؟”
She said with eyes that were burning with spite towards me.

Our situations were not the same…
 I desperately wanted to tell her.

“ما صار شي بينا..صج ان يمكن حسينا بشي بس قلتله يرد عند شوق وقلتله اني مخطوبة”
I did lie, but I knew it was better than saying the truth. As far as anyone knew we were just coworkers.

“اها اوكي”
She said, and my hand that was clenching the cushion was starting to sweat in rage now. This was a really bad idea.

“وليش ما قلتيلي عن خالد؟”
I said, my voice was quivering with anger now.

“لأني ما صدقت منيرة”
She said and I scoffed.

“شسالفتج وياها؟ ليش تكرهينها لي هالدرجة؟”
I asked her.

“مو شغلج”
She said and I just gaped at her, shaking my head in disbelief.

“والله حرام عليج على اللي قاعدة تسوينه فيها”
I said, disgusted at her. I remembered Muneera’s message to me. She was desperate for answers, and knowing Danah I think I was starting to understand why. It was all making sense now.

Danah rolled her eyes and stood up.

“في سؤال ثاني؟”
She said.

“لا”
I said as I stood up, getting the hint to leave.

She sat back down, not willing to walk me to the door. I turned to her.

“ترى كنتي بحسبة اختي…وليلحين احبج جنج اختي…فقبل لا نفترق بس بقولج انج وايد انانية”
I said, feeling words just leave my body, uttering everything I’d wanted to say.

 ومنيرة مو من perfect وتبين تحسين ان كل شي  your control وادري ليش ما تحبين اختج…لأن تحبين كل شي بحياتج يصير اللي كل رفيجاتج فيها standardsال”
I said and her eyes widened like I knew what she was thinking.

“ادري لأني اعرفج. لاحظت من شلون تتقربين حق شخص من مستوى معيين ومن الناس اللي تطلعين معاهم اكثر شي…كلهم طبقة معينة، ماركات وجمال وفلوس هذا اللي يهمج بس لأن منيرة ,حتى لو اختج, مو نفسهم تحسين انها “مخربة عليج“. ادري”
I said and she got up from the couch.

“بس والله انتي الخسرانة وراح تشوفين ان من انانيتج وتفاهتج الناس بيطلعون من حياتج ومحد بيبقى الا هي”
I said and her jaw clenched, obviously enraged by the truth I’d just said.

“برة”
She only managed to say through gritted teeth, opening the door.

I didn’t say a word and closed the door behind me.

I climbed up the stairs in defeat, knowing I won’t be going down those steps again.
I’d lost a valuable friendship.

I wouldn’t shed tears over it. I was over it.
I got unlocked my car but just as I opened the door, their family car stopped right behind my car. I paused, wondering if Danah’s mother would come out and it would be rude of me not to greet her. But instead of her mother, Muneera walked out with a confused expression before smiling softly.

“اهلا”
I said with a smile as the wind blew her hair away from her face. To me, she was striking. I would give her two more years until she would fully grow into her looks.
She had this unique beauty you couldn’t forget; the diamond shaped face, the high cheekbones, her small bow-shaped lips.
Only her sister didn’t find her so beautiful.
As if it was supposed to matter at all.

“Hi,” Muneera replied as she kissed my cheeks. She looked worn out, like she was exhausted and was so close to giving up. I couldn’t imagine what she had to endure living under the same roof as someone who was judgmental towards her when she shouldn’t be judgmental at all.

Muneera peeked behind me, towards the steps to see if Danah was with me.

“Bil lounge,” I said and she nodded, seemingly relaxed.

“شلونج منيرة؟”
I asked her in a soft tone.

“الحمدلله”
She said with a small smile, sounding unconvincing and down.

“بييون رفيجاتكم بعد؟”
She asked me.

I shook my head.

“لا ما اعتقد…بس كنت بمر اكلم اختج”
I explained and she nodded. I knew she wanted to know what was going on, but I didn’t want her to hate her sister.

“Oh…” she only said, her eyes hardly meeting mine.

“بس عطيها وقت”
I said, finally talking about the subject we had been dancing around and she just nodded.

My phone buzzed in my hand and I knew I needed to leave.

“امم…منيرة سمعي..اذا تحتاجين اي شي، والله اي شي لا تستحين تكلميني”
I said as I placed a hand on her arm and she smiled softly. I wanted her to know that there was someone who was there for her. If it weren’t her sister then I owed her my support especially after what she had told me about Khalid.

“Inshallah, thank you,” she said as I got into my car.

“See you,” I said, as if I would still visit her house. Maybe I would, but not for Danah.

I put my car in reverse and drove away from her house, wondering if I did the right thing by cutting ties off with her.

I continued to drive, blasting loud music to drown my thoughts, memories of me and Danah. Knowing I won’t be listening to her talk about her brilliant ideas, knowing I wouldn’t have their famous house dish, knowing I wouldn’t be able to confide in her anymore, knowing she wouldn’t be the first person I would call for advice anymore.

Yet I couldn’t live in doubt, I couldn’t live with feeling judged by her, I couldn’t live with knowing how pathetic she was and how much it would affect me, even if I wasn’t aware of it. I kept wondering about how she would react if she knew the truth about Lulu and I was more than sure she would slowly but surely cut ties with her, too. The more I analyzed my ex-best friend, the more I realized how sorry I was for Muneera.

I turned down the music as I reached Shake Shack Jabriya where I got out in a hurry; I was ten minutes late. I grabbed my cardholder and keys before dashing towards the entrance.

I walked through the sliding doors of the building and looked around for them and smiled as I spotted them at the table by the corner. I waved and they waved back. Suddenly, Danah didn’t seem so important anymore.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” I said as I hugged Haya and Layan while they were seated.

“Sorry,” I said again to Abdullah, who was standing so I could scoot in and he chuckled. I couldn’t wait to hug him too.

“burgerلا تحاتين تونا واصلين. طلبتلج ال”
He said and I smiled as I sat next to him and in front of Haya, the smell of his cologne was comforting and exciting at the same time. 

“عسى ما يننتك؟”
I said, raising my brows at Layan, who was busy coloring.

“لا والله كلش”
He said with a smile and it killed me…two more years.

The buzzer went off on the table and Haya and Layan let out a shocked gasp.

“خرعكم؟”
I said with a laugh and they nodded together.

“خل اييب الأكل”
Abdullah said, standing up and touching his daughter’s shoulder to walk with him.

“لا انا اييب الأكل”
I said.

“شوفي ليان بس لا تنحاش”
He joked and I chuckled.

“؟your friend خالتي فجر عمي عبدالله”
Layan asked me.  I watched him, looking insanely attractive in a crisp white dishdasha that was folded up the sleeves.

“اي”
I said.

“Best friend?” she asked me, raising a brow.

“لا”
I replied with a chuckle.

“Minu your best friend?” she asked, curious.

“امج”
I said and she smiled her classic Layan toothy smile.

“يالله كل وحدة تاخذ اكلها”
He said as he placed the tray in the middle.

“مشكور عبدالله وايد”
I said with a soft smile and he smiled back.

“حياج”
He said before I watched his smile fade and his brows furrow at me.

“كل شي اوكي؟”
He asked me.

How did he sense it?

I shrugged.

“ان شاء الله”
I said.

Somethings could be better, but other things were just perfect.

***

Thank you to everyone for reading this story and supporting me.
 If it isn’t much, I would like to ask you readers, even the silent ones, to post a comment no matter how small it is. It would mean a lot to hear from you on this final chapter! 
(Comment As, then scroll to Anonymous)

Is there a sequel to this story? 
Yes, definitely!

Will Abdullah propose to Fajer, just like he had promised?
Will Danah and Muneera’s relationship become better? 
Will Fahad be back in the picture?
Will Khalid and Jana still be together?
Will Lulu find someone to save her?
Will Danah and Fajer be friends again?

We’ll see in two years from the story, in other words, December 2018!

PS. Until then, I will continue writing one-shots on Instagram @cashmerepoison!

If You Only Knew Me »

[25 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (42 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy National Day Kuwait and happy reading!

Cashmere

***



“delete تكفييين

I told Jana at the coffee place we usually hung out at, it used to be Danah and her friends’ but since they sort of fell apart, we claimed it as ours.


والله حلوة

She said as she showed me the picture. I looked so pale compared to her fresh tan and professional makeup but she liked it.


She looked so pretty in an oversized white sweater with black tights and thigh-high boots. A bit too mature for my taste but it worked on her.

I, on the other hand, wore a pair of black ripped jeans, black top and white jacket along with a pair of Golden Goose sneakers. I definitely looked like a teenager.


كيفج عيل

I said, rolling my eyes.


جنه قهوتهم تغيرت؟

She said, looking at her cup of coffee.


يمكن لأن راحو دانة وربعها

I said with a chuckle. In my head, Fajer was out of the equation.


اي الحين وايد احلي

She said and I laughed.

She went back on her phone as she sipped her coffee while I uploaded a picture of our coffee cups to my Snapchat story.


I was glad she started to be herself again. I really missed her humor and how she made me laugh with comments my mother would kill me if she heard me say.


صج تعالي شصار عاى دانة؟

She asked me and I shrugged.


خلاص ايست منها

I said with a shrug.


Ever since the hug, which was when I was emotionally exhausted, not much had changed.

We still didn’t talk.

There weren’t even any small “gestures” that would mean a lot:

No “I got you coffee”, no “do you need help on your homework”, nothing.


I gave up on her.


I sighed as I drank my coffee, waiting for Jana to talk since she was so good at finding interesting things to talk about. I watched her eyes wander behind me until they widened and her dark red lips parted in return.


امبيه منّور لا تلفين

Jana said. I froze while her eyes moved to my right, as if looking at something, or someone, in the distance.


“Danah?” I said and she shook her head, her eyes still fixed on the person in the distance.


It couldn’t be…could it?


I saw him from the corner of my eye now, and I watched him order his drink, like a bad accident I couldn’t look away even if I had to.


I missed how his eyes lit up when he smiled.

His jawline was more defined as were his cheekbones, he was getting more and more attractive and the worst part was that he used me.

He broke me.

He didn’t even look interested in looking my way, like lying to me was nothing.


Jana nudged me and pulled me back to reality.


هو حمار

Jana told me and I nodded.

I’d thought I knew him, I really did.

I couldn’t tell Jana that I still loved him, because part of me still believed he didn’t do all of what he did for me just to hurt me…or did he?


امبيه ارف

Jana said as she made a disgusted face.

As if on cue, Rawan walked inside the coffee place, where I assumed she was secretly going to “meet” Fahad.


I so wanted to rat her out to my aunt but after what Rawan did to me, I didn’t want to risk it. The girl had no limits when it came to taking her revenge.


Rawan walked in wearing a pair of ripped jeans, Golden Goose sneakers and a plain fit black shirt, sort of similar to my outfit but she pulled it off better. She definitely looked gorgeous, and I hated it.


Of course Fahad would choose her over me.


She looked around, as if seeing who else was looking at her, but her eyes landed on mine and she glared, glancing at me from top to bottom before she turned to Fahad, who smiled his side-smirk at her. It killed me.

She smiled at him before glancing at me with a devilish smile that felt like a thousand knives digging into my heart, and walked to stand right behind him in the line.


I could feel my heart being ripped to shreds.

She won.

I could hate her all I wanted but she won.

She was prettier, and she won him.


I gulped as I continued to stare, I saw him being on his phone before smiling, while she smiled too and glanced up to look at him. It was obvious they were texting each other.


Did he smile like that when he read my messages?

His eyes lit up, he truly looked like he loved her.


منّور يالله خلنمشي شلج بهاللوعة؟

Jana said as she grabbed my arm.


خننفنر بالديرة شوي ولا تجابلين هالضيم

She said and I gave in, looking at her. Tears was now clouding my eyes and she side hugged me.


I looked at him one last time, just one last time.

I hated myself for looking away from his wild eyes when he was choosing lipsticks for me in Mac. I would do anything for him to look at me that way again. Or at least how I’d thought he looked at me…


I looked for him too long that he now sensed it and my damaged heart started thumping against my chest as he turned to me. His eyes locked onto mine and I froze, everything froze. It was like everyone and everything was blurred out except us…


I watch his lips lift up in a soft smile, but strangely, it didn’t feel like he meant for that smile to make me feel worse about everything. It felt warm, and I didn’t know what his smile meant.


I couldn’t smile back, but I turned as Jana spun me around to leave the coffee place.


قلتلج امشي

She pleaded and I nodded. Holding my cup of coffee, we got out of the coffee place and passed by other coffee places, which were all crowded and we weaved our way through them. I couldn’t help but notice how almost every guy took more than two seconds to look at Jana. She really was gorgeous and she knew it.

She moved a hand through her hair, swayed her hips a bit more as she moved. She knew exactly what to do to make guys stare in awe.


We continued walked to where the driver was parked on the other side of the building.


My phone buzzed in my hand as soon as I got into the car.


I gulped.


No…way.


جنى

I said as I slowed down to read it.

My fingers were shaking as I handed her the phone and my heart was thumping loudly against my chest.


شنو يعني؟

She said.


I read the message again.


Fahad: special


I stared at it again, and gulped.

Did he really mean it?


My heart was still beating rapidly. Jana handed my phone and went through hers excitedly as if she was dying to show me something.


She paused and sighed before looking at me. I was still preoccupied with the text, and I knew I would be for a while.


“…عيل انا براويج شي بس تكفين لا تعصبين

She said as she bit her lip to show me her screen.

I furrowed my brow and looked at her, what did she mean?


I read the name on top of the chat.


Khalid


What?..


I looked at her, confused, then at her phone screen.


I continued to read the messages.


Khalid: enjoy babe gouleely lay reja3tay ilbait. o are you free tomorrow? ilshalaih khaly bedounich


I couldn’t read any more and I handed her the phone.


جنى شنو هذا؟

I said as I looked at her, and her smile faded.


شقصدج شنو هذا؟ خالد كلمني يبي يردلي…اعتذر وكل شي

She said.


I couldn’t believe she was back with him after what he’d done to her. I shook my head in confusion.


جنى ترى قص عليج اول وقاعد يقص عليج الحين

I said and she scoffed.


ليش ما تفرحينلي؟ انتي تدرين شكثر انا احبه…صعب اني اهده وانساه…منيرة سوينا وايد اشياء مع بعض

She said and I knew what she meant by the last part.


مو عشان شي بس الريال لعب على خطيبته شلون ما تبينه يلعب عليج؟

I said and she clenched her jaw.


لعب على خطيبته معاي، اكيد شاف شي فيني عاجبه

She said, sounding convinced. That was when I knew she wouldn’t listen to me.


كيفج…اللي يريحج

I said.

So that was why she was herself again…


I looked at my phone screen again, wondering if Fahad really meant what he sent.


I rested my head, all I knew was I wasn’t going to risk it now he was with Rawan.


I took a deep breath and despite that I still loved him, pressed on Block.


If You Only Knew Me »

[23 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (41 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]


So sorry if the format is off, posting this off mobile so it might look a bit weird, hope to fix it soon! And thank you so much for the comments, love the feedback as usual!
Happy reading, 

Cashmere

***


Thursday, December 29th, 2016…


I trapped a smile as I went up the elevator of Mazaya to the meeting with Mr. Michael, where I knew Abdullah was going to be now that we faced the reality of our relationship.


“After you,” Mr. Micahel said as he held the button for the doors to remain open.


“Thank you,” I said as I walked out, looking at my phone.


No new texts.


We walked together to the meeting room where I carried two huge folders and my notebook.


“Good afternoon,” the foreign men said as they stood up to greet us. I quickly scanned the meeting room and felt disappointed. He wasn’t there.


I set my things on the table and sat down, waiting for the men, and Mr. Michael to stop their chit chat and start the meeting but they continued to laugh and talk some more. Were they waiting for Abdullah?


“I’ll be right back,” I told my boss as I got up.


I walked to the ladies’ bathroom at the end of the hallway to freshen up and check on my reflection. I was wearing a long olive-colored vest with a short black skirt over thick black stockings and an off-white long-sleeved blouse. My hair fell down my shoulders now, growing from its usual short height and my makeup was simple yet a bit more than my everyday office makeup as I was attending a meeting…and I’d thought I would be seeing him.


I took a deep breath and ran a hand through my hair to add a bit of volume before I left, pleased with how I looked.


I opened the meeting room door only to see Abdullah at the the table, looking from his coworker, who was explaining something at the board, right to me and I could see a ghost of a smile on his lips.


السلام

I said softly, even if I realized that only he understood Arabic.


وعليكم السلام

He replied as I sat back down.


The man at the board continued to talk but my mind was elsewhere. I could feel Abdullah reach out towards his phone and I put mine on my lap in case it vibrated loudly.


I was watching the board, but truly my hands were gripping my phone, waiting for a text from him.


“Fajer, where are the minutes of meeting for the last one?” Mr. Michael said.


“Oh, here,” I said as I went through the papers in my binder. My phone buzzed on my lap now and I froze before continuing to rummage through the papers.


“Here you go,” I told Mr. Michael with a smile. As soon as he looked away from me I grabbed my phone to see the message.


Abdullah: thought you won’t be attending


I smiled as I looked at him, but he was looking at the board. I knew his mind was on his phone too.


Me: thought the same about you


I watched his hand move towards his phone, slyly, before he read the message and smiled softly.


I could see him text from under the table now.


Abdullah: focus = 0 now


I bit my smile as I typed back but Mr. Michael interrupted, again.


“Fajer, would you like to explain your work for the past week?”


I gulped and for some reason my eyes ended up on Abdullah, who I knew was holding in his laughter and I looked away so I wouldn’t laugh either.


“Yeah okay,” I said as I stood up.


I walked to the board and began to talk.


“So after much research and calculations based on the data you’ve given to us I’ve concluded that…”I continued to say. I avoided Abdullah because I knew that I would either laugh or blank out. I focused on the men next to Mr. Michael, on the other side of Abdullah, instead.


“Great work,” Abdullah said with a smile.


“Thank you,” I replied, relieved that it was acceptable to smile back.


“One question, can we go back to the first of the month please?” his annoying coworker said.


“Sure,” I said between gritted teeth as I listened to him blabber about the statistics for that month.


I watched Abdullah roll his eyes behind as he asked another question and I had to pinch myself to keep myself from laughing.


“Any other questions?” I said, looking around.


“I think we’re good, thank you, Fajer,” Abdullah said, saving me and I sighed in relief.


I grabbed my things from the table and went back to my seat, where I quickly placed my phone on my lap.


Me: bkhe9ou9 your coworker’s questions??

Abdullah: والله لو تركيزي مو صفر الحين جان شنو بطيتج بالأسئلة…لا تشوفين شكلج وانتي تجاوبينه صج لايعة جبدج


I laughed and realized two men glanced my way when another man was speaking and I felt myself blush. I looked at Abdullah who was trying not to smile at me.


Me: looool fashlaaa!! oo yallah shegny b questions next time;)


I looked up to see him looking at his phone before looking at me with a smile, only his smile faded and so did everyone else in the room. My eyes were trapped on his, and it was like he pinned me to the wall again, only this time I surrendered. I didn’t fear anything. I was with him.

We were interrupted again and the meeting seemed like it wouldn’t end, but we kept stealing glances at each other.

“Thank you, everyone,” Abdullah’s coworker said as he stood up, concluding the meeting. It was usually Abdullah who did that but I guessed he was too distracted to do so.


We all stood up and I joined Mr. Michael right by the meeting room door, but I saw Abdullah smile as he walked towards us.


“Great work, Fajer,” he said, with Mr. Michael smiling at him.

“Thank you for your attention,” I teased and he laughed, while Mr. Michael was so confused.


“Sorry,” Abdullah said to my boss. “But really, you should be proud of her.”


I beamed at him, feeling warm all over now.


“Oh I am! I can definitely see her running the entire office in a couple of years!” Mr. Michael said and I chuckled.


“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Mr. Michael,” I said and he laughed before he said goodbye to Abdullah, leaving us alone.


طبعا تدرين مايصيب الخليج تعبرين الشارع بروحج

He teased, wiggling his brows and I chuckled. The meeting room was empty now.


طبعا

I said, wiggling my brows back and he laughed. He placed his hands in the pockets of his dishdasha and we walked together towards the elevators.


خل اشيلهم عنج

He said, grabbing the files from me.


“Thank you, bas khal asheel my pink notebook,” I said and he laughed.


We stepped in the elevator, which was empty, and I grabbed my notebook from the stacks of binders he was carrying.


“Next meeting tkfa khalny arakez,” I said and he laughed.


اذا عرفتي شلون تركزين علميني

He said and I chuckled.


We arrived at the ground floor shortly after and walked out of the building. He managed to carry the files with one arm to wear his sunglasses.


يالله؟

He said, looking both ways at the busy streets.


I followed his cue and crossed the streets when he did.


By the time we reached the street in front of my building we were out of it.


بكنسل مدربي اليوم

He said and I chuckled.


“Cardio and weights ha?” I said, nodding with my head to the files he was holding.


بالضبط

He agreed.


طبعا تعرفين طقوس ما بعد الاجتماع

He said, wiggling his brows and turning his head to the coffee bar we used to go to and I laughed.


اكيييد

I said, walking towards it.


“Logoتعالي صج دام خل اراويج ال

He said, mentioning the logo of his new business that was in progress. It was an app that helped business owners track paperwork and other things. I was genuinely proud of him for managing all of this while he had his own struggles


We entered the coffee bar and Jason beamed at us.


“Mr. Abdullah! How are you?!” Jason said, shaking Abdullah’s hand.


“I’m great, how are you?” Abdullah said as he placed my files on the counter.


“I’m good thank you,” Jason said.


“Two Spanish lattes and a brownie?” Jason said and Abdullah turned to me. I just replied with a smile.


It was so good to be back.



فأي واحد احلى؟

Abdullah said as we sat down.

He showed me two different logos for his new business.


هذا

I said, pointing to a minimalistic logo on his phone that was precise and to the point. He smiled.


God, I couldn’t get over his smile…he was so pleasing to look at.


كنت اتمنى انج تنقينه

He said with a smile and I smiled back.

I may have lost my friends, especially my group whom I thought we wouldn’t fall apart, but I gained someone I wouldn’t trade for the world.


Two years didn’t seem so bad when I could still be with him during the wait.


He made it worth it.


“Your drinks,” Jason said as he placed the drinks in front of us.


“Thank you,” Abdullah said, handing me my drink first.


He continued to talk to me about his business while I suggested some ideas to help his business grow and he leaned back while crossing his arms.


لا ضروري تصيرين شريكة

He said and I laughed.


“I don’t mind wallah,” I said, taking a sip.


بروح اييب البراوني، تبي شي؟

I asked him.


لا مشكورة

He said as I stood up from the stool.


“Hi Jason, is the brownie done?” I asked him as I leaned against the counter.


“Yes, just a moment,” Jason said as he went to the mini oven, where the brownie was heating up.


“Fajer?” I heard a familiar voice behind me say and I turned around.


“Lulu?” I said.


I was still disappointed that she had betrayed my trust. Yet if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be here right now with Abdullah. I wished it didn’t have to be from that.


شلونج؟

She asked me. She looked a bit sadder than usual. I wouldn’t blame her…maybe us, her friends, were her actual family. I didn’t know how bad she had to endure it at home but I was sure it was bad enough for her to be too attached to the group.


الحمدلله، انتي شلونج؟

I asked her while she tucked a strand of curly hair behind her ear.


الحمدلله زينة. شلون الدوام؟

She said.


زين…زين

I said.


There was an awkward pause between us now.

I should just get the brownie and go, I had nothing to say to her.


فجر مابي احرجج او شي بس ياسمين بتيي عقب شوي

She said and I placed my tongue against my cheek.


حياها…”

I said, what was I supposed to do?

She just forced a smile…and I suddenly remembered how I met her. She helped me on a quiz in class and we didn’t even know each other. Then we got really close, so for our years of friendship I knew I had to say something.


لولو تكفين لا تقولينلي قاعدة تفكرين تتقربينلها عشان تصيرين مع خالد؟

I said, and she looked at me like I’d just discovered the truth.


She was quiet and I knew I had to say all that I knew.


لولو مو قصدي جذي بس كلّش ما انصحج…صج اذا صار شي بينكم بتطلعين من بيتج بس بتدشين بداهية ثانية

I said in a low voice and she crossed her arms as she huffed.


اي شي ولا الحالة اللي انا اعيش فيها

She said, unconvinced.


لولو الريال يشرب ويلعب على بنات ليلحبن بالمدرسة

I begged her but she shook her head.


حقي chance مالي شغل…ويمكن يتعدل…فجر هذا اخر

She said and I sighed, this was going nowhere.


كيفج…بس ديري بالج

ّI said and she smiled softly.


ان شاء الله

She said with a smile.


“See you,” I told her as I went back to the table to Abdullah. I just hoped she wouldn’t settle for him just like what she was doing with Khalid.


“See you,” she said.


We both knew we wouldn’t be seeing each other soon…not for a while.


I went back to my seat and scrolled to the WhatsApp group with my old friends.


Danah and Mariam had already left…there was no way we were ever going to get back together, was there? I could meet up with Mariam and Sarah together as there was no bad blood between us.


Danah, however, felt like an incomplete chapter…and with all that years of friendship I had to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was my best friend.


I took a deep breath as I composed I message.


I need to see you


I bit my lip and hit send, I would deal with the consequence later.


يالله نمشي؟ لازم اوصل هيون باليه

Abdullah said and I nodded, standing up from the stool. I was so glad Yasmine wasn’t here yet to see this, I just hoped I wouldn’t run into her as we left.


I could see Lulu stare at us from her seat in the corner. Knowing her now I was sure it was in envy, but I had faith in me and Abdullah that I wasn’t worried at all.


We passed the tables and walked to the door, with me just one step behind him. I couldn’t help but ogle at the outline of his back muscles under his shirt…two years seemed like a long time now.


He opened the door of the cafe for me to leave first and I smiled at him, now in front of him. Was he staring at my profile like I did his?


We got to the parking where our both cars were parked next to each other with a white defender next to us.

Abdullah’s car beeped twice and I turned to him.


“Defenderشرايك بال

I said, holding in my laughter and he sensed my humor.


ركبي سيارتج بس ركبي

He said with a laugh and I got in.

He definitely was the one.


If You Only Knew Me »

[22 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (40 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Dedicated to anon who was waiting for this chapter!
(Will get back to comments on the previous chapter once I have access to a computer!)

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Thursday, December 26th, 2016…

“Rosegold la2 ta3alay!” I told my dog as I walked her back to the room we kept her in next to the garage.

I took off the leash and went through the door to get inside the house where I had to wash my hands after the sweat from holding the leash for so long.

I went on my Snapchat story to see who had viewed my story, which I hadn’t posted on for a while. It was a snap of Rosegold walking, it was dumb but I just felt like posting something on Snapchat.

I scrolled through the views until I slowed down, realizing Fahad had seen it…as much as I was so enraged with him I couldn’t remove him yet. What if he felt the same way too?
I didn’t know how I would move on. He was so right for and together our relationship was on another level. There was no denying that; did he really feel nothing at all?

I went on the message Rawan had sent me just an hour ago right before I walked Rosegold and read it for the seventh time.

muneera maby minich shay bas aby agoulich ena ily baina intaha. ana kent atheq fech o re7tay wara thahry. o ba3dain mala da3y tgouleen 7ag danah o ildenya kelaha…ana ma3alamt a7ad bly sawaiteeh feeny bas eth6arait agoul 7ag fahad 3ashaan et7eseen bly ana 7asait feeh.
ana me7tarma nafsy 3ashan khalty fa basalem 3alaich 3ady bas men ilyoum o raye7 ana maly sheghel feech…

I shook my head in disgust.
The more I read it the more I hated her.

I scoffed as I replied with:

ok bye

I laughed to myself and hit send. I knew this simple reply was going to piss her off.
I went to the guest bathroom next to the dining room above my sister’s lounge to wash my hands, and as I dried my hands I heard some sounds coming from the basement, Danah’s lounge. They sounded like sniffs, like someone was crying.

I’d never seen Danah cry.
I didn’t know she could.
Maybe Fajer was back again?

I walked down the stairs to peek at the lounge…but there was no one but Danah who had her legs up on the couch with her phone in her hand and her other hand on her face, wiping her tears.

“…دانة؟”
I called out and she immediately snapped her head in my direction before standing up and turning around, wiping her tears so I wouldn’t see her cry.

” ليش ياية؟”
She asked me.

“امم-بس سمعتج تبجين…في شي؟”
I asked her with a shaky voice. I took a few steps towards her.

“please لا، صعدي فوق”
She said, now recomposing herself.

“روان طرشرتلج شي؟”
I asked her and she scoffed.

“لا تاكل خراها هاذي…خلاص قلتلج صعدي”
She said as she turned to me, her face was angry but her eyes were poofy and red, like she’d been crying for hours.

I bit my lip as I contemplated what I should say to her.

“له شغل باشخص اللي كنتي تكلمينه ودخلتيه البيت؟”
I said and she turned to me with her eyes wide open …like she didn’t expect this.

“شعرفج فيه؟”
She asked me.

“ك-كنتي تكلمينه لما يتلج عشان اسألج شي…بس ترى ما اعرف منو هو”
I said.

“عاد مع لقافتج توقعتج تعرفينه ولا مضبطته حق رفيجتج الصايعة هذي؟”
She said and I felt my jaw drop.

“دانة”
I said, but I said it too soft for her to stop.

“روحي دارج لا صج اخليج تتحسفين انج يتي”
She said and I gulped but I spoke, even if my voice was shaky. She couldn’t keep talking to me like this.

“بروحج خسرتي فجر…منو بيساعدج الحين؟”
I said and she scoffed.

“حسبالج بس عندي رفيجة وحدة اكلمها نفسج؟ امبيه لا قاعدة تنرفزيني تكفين صعدي فوق يالله”
She said. She wasn’t crying anymore.

“ليش كل مرة تعامليني جذي؟ ترى تعبت والله تعبت”
I said and my voice peaked as it grew louder.

“انتي شفتي نفسج اول شي؟”
She said and I gulped.

“شكلج ليلحين مصدقة ان اللي قاص عليج يحبج…تكفين منو بينعجب فيج؟”
She said with a scoff, like I was nothing.

Suddenly all the rage inside me that was built up exploded as I placed my two hands on my sister’s chest and shoved her, but she only bumped into the sofa, she didn’t even fall.

I was weak.
I didn’t want to see her reaction, because I didn’t want to hurt her more.

Tears and sobs escaped me as I shoved her again, but she didn’t move. I groaned through gritted teeth and placed my hands on her for the third time, but I was too emotionally drained to move. Memories of Fahad clouded my head…I hated him, no, I hated that I still loved him. I hated who he was making me become.

I pulled my hands off of her chest and I caved. I sobbed into her…tears staining her shirt. My hands dropped to my sides and I hugged her, pulling her closer to me as I sobbed. Our first hug in what seemed like forever…but she didn’t move.

She didn’t hug me back…but she didn’t pull back either.

I felt her turn her head behind her, realizing that her phone was ringing on the table, which vibrated loudly.
I let go of her, using my hands to wipe my tears and I turned around, away from her. It was emotional a moment ago but now it was like we were back to reality, our reality, of having nothing to do with each other.

“الو؟”
She answered the phone. I turned to look at her and she raised her brow at me, as if asking for me to leave, and this time I did.

I walked up the stairs, away from the lounge and to my room where I just sat on my bed, drowning myself in thoughts.
I waited for her to show up, I really did.
But I was getting tired, and sleepy so I crawled into bed and I knew she wouldn’t check up on me.
She just didn’t care enough and I hated that I aimed to please her most.

My phone buzzed besides me, Jana had sent me something on Instagram that I opened to see.

It was a really dumb meme but I smiled anyway, if she only knew the mess I was in.

Me: looool janooouy

I typed before I went back to my inbox.
I saw the DM I’d sent to Khalid and I went on it, before pressing on his profile to check it out.

Fajer was no longer following him and I was relieved.

Was this all because of me? Did I really have that influence to change the course of a person’s life?

I went on Fajer’s profile and bit my lip hesitantly before I pressed “Send Message”.

My fingers typed out my thoughts and I knew it might sound weird or awkward but I hit send anyway. I literally had nothing left to lose.

Me: hii fajer!! shakhbarich?
im so sorry etha this sounds awkward aw shay bs kela knt aby agoulech sorry 3ala ili 9ar weya danah o ma knt adry ina you o khalid were together…

I hit send and went on the meme page Jana had sent me while I waited for Fajer’s reply.
I tried not to look for Fahad’s profile…I didn’t want to see if Rawan was following him when I wasn’t. What was the point? She won, anyway.

Fajer Al-F replied to…

I quickly pressed on it not realizing that I might come off as clingy or weird.

Fajer: ahlan manoura! il7emdillah tamam how are you?
so sweet wallah...bel 3aks wallah you did the right thing o i wanted to thank you for telling me the truth! 

I smiled as I replied to her with a monkey emoji and a heart, plus a “you’re welcome”

Fajer replied shortly after.

Fajer: I’m sorry itha danah got mad at you btw..

I sighed…even she knew about me and Danah. How much did she know though?

Me: dw its nothing new loool…bs fee mara galatlich shay 3any like laish ma etkalemny aw shay? im still confused

Fajer: la wallah she never mentioned you bas Im more than sure she’ll change fa don’t worry

I didn’t know why I felt a bit of relief when I read her message, like I trusted her.

Me: inshallah, thank you fajer

I’d realized Fajer acted more of a sister to me in five minutes than Danah ever did.

I was done with Danah.

If You Only Knew Me »

[21 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (39 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Thank you guys so much for the comments, will reply soon as I’m done finalizing the chapters since I’m traveling soon inshallah and I’m not sure if I would be able to edit them later. Will definitely post though, don’t worry!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Thursday, December 29th, 2016…

I regretted it.
Why did I come here?

This was definitely going to be awkward.

I opened the door of my car and stepped outside my cousins’ chalet. I looked at myself through the reflection of the glass doors. I wore a pair of black leggings with an oversized gray turtleneck sweater and black boots.

I ran a hand through my freshly curled short hair and walked inside to where I heard my cousins’ voices.

“Hello-oo,” I said as I walked into the living room.

“Umbay hiiii!” they practically said in unison as they all stood up to hug me, two at a time. I knew they were acted so enthusiastic to see me because it was their way of showing compassion after knowing my engagement, like they wanted me to know I had them and I really appreciated it. It had been a week since the engagement was off and I still had no regrets about it, as weird as I’d thought.

“تونا بادين فاذا تبين تلعبين حياج”
Shaikha said as she scooted next to Fay to make space for me.

I hated board games but I decided to go ahead and play anyway since they all looked so excited to see me.

“من دوره؟”
I said as I grabbed a bar of KitKat from the table behind me.

“شييوخ”
Najla said.

I looked at my phone while it was Shaikha’s turn, I’d never checked my phone this much

It had been nearly a week since I’d last sent Abdullah the message and he hadn’t read it. Was it because he thought I was still engaged?

But I looked at the message again, not believing my eyes.

Two blue ticks.

He’d red it, I swiped on the message to see more details. He’d read it just two minutes ago.

“فجر دورج”
Najla told me and I put my phone down. I rolled the dice and played my turn only to feel my phone vibrate on my lap.

I didn’t mind that I had to go back a couple of steps, I couldn’t care less.
I picked up the phone as soon as I finished my turn yet I was too nervous to see the notification.

There was another vibration and now I just had to look.

I widened my eyes.
Was this really happening?

Abdullah: 
Sorry I just got to this, busy week. 
And yes.

Yes?
He said yes.
I was finally going to see him again.

My fingers began to type, retyping words that I had misspelled.

Me: Is now a good time?

My breathing felt heavier and my heartbeats were louder. My stomach felt twisted in knots now as I watched him type. I couldn’t read the text.

Abdullah: Not sure, I’m in Bnaider

No. Way.

Me: So am I

Abdullah: Where do you want to meet?

“فجور شكلج كلش مو باللعبة”
Nourah said and I chuckled.

“اي كا الحين بخلص”
I lied.

Me: I’m at my cousin’s chalet but I can leave for a bit

Abdullah: I’m at the chalet, no one else is here if that’s okay with you. 
Or if you’d prefer somewhere more public I’m fine with that as well

Me: Your place is fine. I’ll leave now.

I put my phone away and stood up while my cousins looked up to see me, confused.

“يا جماعة والله اسفة بس بمر رفيجتي وايي، ما راح اطول”
I said.

“انزين ودورج؟”
Shaikha said, looking at my piece

“احد يلعب بدالي عادي”
I said with a smile as I pulled out my car keys.

“See you,” I said as I walked away. I knew they weren’t happy but I was going to return in less than an hour. Thing was, I wanted to see myself in an hour.

Would I still be happy?
Would I have streaks of mascara down my cheeks?

I got into my car and played some music that I knew would calm my nerves as I drove to Abdullah’s chalet just two minutes away. Despite the accelerating heartbeats and the butterflies in my stomach, I didn’t hesitate about going for one second. It all felt right.

I drove past the gates of his chalet and he was right, there was no one else but him.
I took a deep breath in.
I parked next to his Range and sent him a message.

Me: I’m out

Abdullah: حياج داخل

I was more nervous with every step I took. Why was I? He was Abdullah, Abdullah.

 I took a deep breath as I stepped on the steps leading to the door. I knocked and waited and I felt my heart drop to my stomach when he opened it. Looking at him almost took my breath away.

I missed how warm his brown eyes were, how his smile really met his warm eyes, how his eyes got smaller with the smile as it was a sincere one.
I couldn’t help but smile back.

“تفضلي”
He said, opening the door for me to step in.
I was in awe, I did not expect it to be this beautiful. The design of the living area was Moroccan themed with baby blue couches and gold designs complete with arches and mosaics.

“Wow,” I couldn’t help but say and he chuckled, placing his hands in the pocket of his jeans.

“شنو اييبلج؟ ماي؟ اسبرسو؟”
He asked me and I sat down.

“ولا شي مشكور”
I said with a smile and he sat down on the seat in front of me.

He sat silently, clasping his hands together with his elbows on his knees.

I took a deep breath and looked at my hands.

“شلونج فجر؟”
He asked me with a friendly smile.

“الحمدلله، انت شلونك؟”
I asked him and he nodded.

“الحمدلله”
He said, I knew he wanted to say more but he refrained from being “too friendly” towards an engaged woman.

“Busy week?”
I said, remembering his message and he chuckled.

“اي والله…اعتقد انتي بعد مشغولة وايد هالجم اسبوع”
He said.

“انا؟ ليش؟”
I said with a soft smile and a furrowed brow. I knew exactly how to break it to him.

He looked down at the carpet, not meeting my eyes.

“امم مع خطبتج وجذي”
He said shyly and I felt myself blush. I was finally going to tell him.

“عبدالله…انا مو مخطوبة”
I said and he looked up at me, confused.

“كنت، بس فليت خطبتي”
I said and I could swear I saw his face light up but he held his smile.

“فليتو؟”
He said, only managing to say one word out of shock and I nodded.

“طلع مو نفس اللي توقعته…وحسيت اني كنت اقص عليه”
I said.

“وعليك”
I added with a gulp but he just looked at me.
I could get lost in those eyes.

I took a deep breath.
“عبدالله تكفا قولي رجعت مع شوق”
I said and he ran a hand through his hair.

“فج …انا سافرت ويا هيا ثلاث ايام عشان اعيش ثلاث ايام بدونها…ادري ما المفروض اتكلم عنها جذي بس تعبت”
He said.
I couldn’t tell him she exposed us to Danah. I didn’t want to make it worse.

“من شفتج بالمستشفى حسيت انج مو بس وحدة بتساعدني مع بنتي…حسيت انج بتدخلين حياتي وانا مستعد حق هالشي”
He said and I gulped.
He leaned in closer now.
I could smell his cologne, god he smelled so good and I knew his scent was etched in the back of my brain.

“فجر ليش يتي؟”
He said and I couldn’t find my voice.

I looked at my hands trying to find the words to put them into a sentence.

“لأن انا احس باللي انت تحس فيه ولا اني راح انساك”
I said and he leaned back, like he’d expected it. Like he was relieved to hear me say it.

“بس ماقدر احس بشي جذي…عبدالله انت متزوج”
I looked up at him.

“هيونة تصير ١١ عقب سنتين”
He said and I looked up at him, what did he mean by that?

“نعم؟”
I said, confused.

“راح تكون فاهمة بهالعمر وهي من الحين بدت تحس في شي بيني انا وامها…راح تعرف الصج. والصراحة سنتين اقصى شي اقدر استحملهم مع شوق…فحتى لو خذتها شوق عقب الطلاق الا بنتي تعرف الصح من الغلط”
He said and my stomach twisted inside me.

“واذا بتردلها خلال السنتين؟”
I said and he chuckled.

“فجر صارلنا عشر سنين متزوجين وسبعة منهم منفصلين عن بعض ننام بغرف غير عن بعض اتوقع لو ردينا حق بعض جان كان من زمان”
He said.

“عيل ليش شوق ليلحين ما طلبت الطلاق؟”
I said, I had to know everything. I didn’t want anyone getting hurt.

“لأن اذا ردت بيت اهلها اولا لازم تجابل هيا طول اليوم، وبعدين عندها حرية معاي اكثر من بيت اهلها لأني مالي شغل فيها فليش ترد بيت اهلها؟ الا اذا انا طلبت الطلاق هذا شي ثاني واعتقد، واتمنى انها بتقط هيا عندي وايد”
He explained.

“فقصدي فجر…نطريني سنتين…الا اذا ما تقبلين بواحد متطلق وعنده بنت”
He said and I felt my lips part in shock…was it really happening?

“سنتين؟”
I said.

“سنتين، بتنطريني؟”
He asked, and now he was smiling.
He was back.

“سنتين؟ اي انطر”
I said, feeling my voice lower now.

“فبترفضين كل ريّال يتقدملج؟”
He said teasingly as he looked at me, smiling again..

I looked at him and smiled back.

“اعتقد”
I said with a chuckle and he laughed, surprising me with his reaction.

“آسف بس ما هقيت قايم سوقي جذي”
He said and I laughed.

We were back.

“اذا عنّست كله منك”
I said, it was funny how we were laughing about this.

“سنتين؟”
He said again, only more seriously this time.

“سنتين”
I confirmed with a smile while he smiled back, like he too had a heavy weight lifted off his shoulders.
I knew there was something he did to me that no one could ever do. He stirred something inside me and he brought out someone in me I didn’t even know existed. A year with Khalid couldn’t do what months with him did.

How long was two years anyway?
It was how long it took me to get my masters and that seemed like a while…I just hoped it wasn’t.

I stood up and he stood up with me, leading me out of the living room. I looked around at the chalet, which felt so cozy yet it was so so beautiful.

“راح تشوفينه كله بعدين لا تحاتين”
He said with a wink and I blushed all over, but I still managed to smile at him.

“See you 3ayal?”
I said and he nodded.

“قهوة ورا الاجتماع؟”
He said, raising a brow while smiling and I laughed.

“اخر مرة رحت Jason عيّز يسأل عنك”
I said.

“احح رحتي بدوني؟”
He teased.

“خلاص اخر مرة”
I said and he laughed.

“ديري بالج”
He said as he opened the door and I smiled.

“ان شاء الله”
I said with a smile before I left and went to my car.
My heart was racing, but I was happy. I felt like I was above the sky, on cloud nine.

I got into my car and blasted music on the way back, smiling to myself the whole time.

It was really happening.
I was with him, and there was no guilt.
It all felt so right.

I parked my car and went back inside the chalet.

“Hiii” I said as I placed my bag on the couch.

I was over the moon right now.

“شاقة الضحكة اشوف؟”
Shaikha smiled.

“اي مريت ستاربكس”
I lied as I sat down.

“يالله انا ابي اتمشى على البحر لا تصيرون جذي”
Ghaliah, my other cousin said as she stood up, tying her hair in a bun.

The girls started to get up to join her for a walk on the beach and just when Shaikha stood up I took two steps next to her .

“شيخة؟”
I said in a low voice, stopping her.

“نعم؟”
She replied, scrunching her brows.

“شصار على شهد؟”
I said, gulping.

She shrugged.
“مادري والله ما سمعنا شي…مادري اذا تدري ولا لا”

I nodded.
“ترى دانة تدري اني ادري”
I said and she dropped her jaw and held my arm, begging me for details.

“شصار؟”
She said, her eyes were wide now.

“وايد اشياء”
I said with a chuckle.

“بس الحين خلاص ما اكلمها”
I said and she smiled, looking impressed.

“قلعتها هالحيوانة”
She said and I laughed at how she really meant it in her tone.

Yet Danah used to be my best friend. It accounted for something, even if she didn’t treat her own sister well, she would still have some sort of sentiment towards me. I knew I did. I couldn’t hate her. She was like my sister and I treated my sister how I should be treating her.

I walked outside the chalet now with Shaikha and looked at the moon.
The same moon he was probably looking at.

If You Only Knew Me »

[20 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (38 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Dedicated to Anon! 

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Sunday, December 25th, 2016…

I barely got any sleep
I waited for Fahad inside Starbucks at 6:30 when we were planning to meet up at 6:45.

What if he didn’t show up?

I didn’t order anything as I was too nervous…I wanted to know how Rawan knew about the pictures I’d sent him. I was still confused, very confused. And worried.

It was 6:50 and I was starting to feel impatient yet I didn’t want to text him. I would see him in school but here was perfect as there was no one other than us. I rubbed my hands against my navy school pants and found myself just staring at the door, half-relieved half-disappointed when someone other than Fahad walked through the doors.

Then I saw him, finally saw him, walking through the doors in his uniform, which he pulled off and looked around until his eyes met mine. I wanted to embrace him, to feel his touch but now wasn’t a good time.

“صباح الخير”
He said, with a smile. Like I was wrong for being worried at all.

“صباح النور”
I managed to reply.

“تأخرت عليج؟”
He said, looking at the time on his phone and I shook my head.

“لا كلش”
I lied. I just wanted to get it all over with.

“ما تبي تشرب شي؟”
I asked him, looking at the counter and he shook his head.

“لا مشكورة”
He replied as he sat down on the seat in front of me.
Was he nervous too?

It was silent for a moment and I didn’t know whose turn it was to talk.

“فشنو كنتي بتقولينلي؟”
He said, looking straight through me. If he was nervous too, it didn’t show.

Suddenly I regretted asking him to meet up. I was too scared to know the truth; I wished Rawan hadn’t said anything at all.

I cleared my throat.

“امم…فهد…روان قالتلي”
I said and he looked up.

“قالتلي انها تدري عنا…وعن الصور…شلون؟”
I said and he sighed, running a hand through his thick hair.

“منيرة…مادري شلون اقوللج”
He said and I took a deep breath in anticipation at what he was going to say.

“انا وروان…نكلم بعض صارلنا يمكن جم شهر”
He said.

No.

No, no, no…

I didn’t realize I was shaking my head, and in my head I was screaming.

“هذا قبل لا اتعرف عليج”
He said.
What?

“بس-بس قلت ماتفكر تكلم روان”
I said, confused. My voice was shaky now, like I wanted to cry. This was my worst nightmare. Rawan and Fahad.

He couldn’t look at me and I knew he lied about it.

“وشكو تكلمني اذا تكلم روان؟”
I said, angrily and he paused for a couple of seconds before explaining.

“…قلتلها ان شفتج انتي وجنى بارابيكا ومع كل احترامي لكم بس الكل يعرف شنو مستوى جني”
He said, looking apologetic but I let him continue.

“فقالت تبي تعرف شنو مستواج ولي وين بتوصلين وان اذا صج بتكلميني وهي قايلتلج انها منعجبة فيني”
He said with a gulp.
My tears were clouding my vision now.

This couldn’t be true…

“فلما كلمتيني قلتلها وعصبت… منيرة قالت عنج وايد اشياء واللي سويتيه فيها فانا بعد عصبت فقلتلها بكسرج،”
He said.

“ولما طرشتيلي السناب كانت يمي بالشاليه وشافته معاي”
He said, relaxing now against the seat.

Tears streamed down my face now.

“يعني…كل اللي سويته معاي..كل الكلام والطلعات كان عشان تكسبني بعدين تكسرني؟”
I said and he looked away, not answering my question.

“بس انا شسويتلها؟ قوللي شسويت؟”
I said.

“انتي تعرفين”
He said before he stood up.

“لا ما اعرف”
I said angrily and he turned to me.

“يعني ما تذكرين اللي سويتيه فيها؟ شلون كلمتي واحد..ناصر جنه؟ وسويت نفسج انج روان عشان يطلّع عنها حجي؟”
He said and I froze. I gulped.

I still remembered what had happened two years ago and I would always hate myself for it.

It involved Nasser, one of our cousins’ friends that fourteen year old Rawan and I had a crush on.

I hated how he always asked Rawan how she was when he ran into us at our cousin’s mazra3a, but he never once looked my way. I was so jealous that I decided to talk to him on Kik and pretend I was Rawan. I got his Kik off his Twitter page and then we began to talk, he seemed excited to be talking to “Rawan” that it infuriated me even more. We talked almost every day for a month, it started with friendly talks and I knew exactly what Rawan would say…but towards the end it got a bit advanced when he told me he had “feelings” for me and that “I” was the prettiest girl he’d ever met.

I was furious at this point, my plan wasn’t working so I acted as cheap as my fourteen year old self knew how to act. I told him inappropriate jokes, mentioned things I did that I knew some things guys wouldn’t like girls to say or do, just so he’d see Rawan as some cheap girl he didn’t expect her to be.

Towards the end of that month in which Nasser and “I” had talked, Rawan surprised me when we were hanging out at the mazra3a, where Nasser also was.
 She told me that Nasser asked her, in real life, why she wasn’t on Kik as much.
 She was confused because talking to boys wasn’t her thing…back then.
I pretended not to know but she knew someone was impersonating her and she was too shocked and confused that she didn’t tell Nasser it wasn’t her. I panicked, hoping she wouldn’t know it was me who was impersonating her online.

That same night, I could still remember the harsh winter night at the cabin, I was busy playing Uno with my cousins inside, not realizing that Rawan had gotten up to unplug my phone from the charger to plug hers, and of course when she unplugged it,  messages from no other than Nasser, whose nickname was his real name, showed on my lockscreen.
I hadn’t realized that behind my back she went on my phone and had read everything. Even my name that I had written as “R”.

When I turned to see her I could only see her eyes widen in shock before she looked at me and I knew she knew…I knew she saw the messages. She calmly put my phone back in the charger and sat next to me, pretending nothing had happened, but when I checked my phone again she’d obviously read the messages that I hadn’t read before her. I realized she went through my phone and saw everything…yet she didn’t mention a single thing to me and she pretended nothing had happened.

But I knew something was going to..and I didn’t realize it would crush me this much.
I was genuinely sorry, I didn’t think she was still hurt by it, but I was too ashamed of myself to say anything to her and I just wanted us both to forget about it. She didn’t.

No wonder she hated me.

“…كان قبل سنتين”
I could only say while my heart was racing against my chest.

“ما اتوقع الناس يتغيرون وايد خلال سنتين”
He said, shaking his head in disappointment and another tear trickled down my cheek.

“انا غلطانة والله ادري…بس فهد صدقني تغيرت مادري شنو اسوي عشان تصدق اني وايد مفتشلة من نفسي”
I said, wiping my tears away from my face.

“مفتشلة من نفسج وليلحين تأذين روان؟ تبوقين منها بعد؟”
He said and at this point I just wanted the whole talk to end.

“ما شفت شلون كانت تعاملني”
I said.

“لأنج تستاهلين عقب اللي سوتيه فيها”
He said with a clenched jaw.
He hated me, it really showed.

“فهد انا حبيتك من قلب…وليلحين احبك”
I said and he looked away.

“مو مشكلتي”
He said and I could feel my heart being ripped in shreds.

A sob escape my lips and I knew this was just getting worse and worse. I walked past him, almost bumping into him as I ran to my car, hoping no one I knew saw me in this mess.

I got in and burst into tears, with my nanny and driver wondering what was going on.

“Go home,” I told my driver.

I didn’t want to see him today or ever. I didn’t want to see anyone even if I had a final. I chose the worst day to talk to Fahad.

I tried to compose myself on the way home but I couldn’t hold in my tears. This was the worst thing that had ever happened.
I called Jana right as I entered the house.

“ها وينج؟”
She said as she picked up.

“ما راح ايي اليوم”
I said, almost sobbing.

“امبييييه منور شفيييج؟”
She said through the phone.

“روان حيوانة حيوانة والله اكرهها”
I said as I stepped into the dining room above Danah’s lounge for privacy, closing the door behind me.

“شسوت؟”
She said and I put her on speaker to hear her better.

“تخيلي هالحقير فهد بس صار معاي عشان روان تهزئني وتفشلني”
I said with a sob.

“شلون ما فهمت؟”
She said.

“جنى طلع فهد يحب روان…بس كان يقص علي عشانها…صج اني غلطت عليها بس هذا كان قبل سنتين ليش ما كلمتني “عن الموضوع؟”
I cried.

“اي موضوع؟”
She said.

I tried to calm down as I explained to her what had happened with Nasser and Rawan.

“من صجها الحين تنتقم منج؟ خلاص كبرتو”
She said.

“بس مو معقولة اللي سواه فيج فهد…اكيد استانس معاج والله حسيت بينكم شي صجي”
She said.

“لا…كله تمثيل حق روان”
I said, not wanting to say her name again.

“هالجلبة هاذي انا اعلمج فيها والثور هذا بشخله شخال يحصله يلقى وحدة نفسج”
She said and I felt slightly better, yet guilty for thinking what I’d thought about Jana and why she was my friend. She might’ve been “less innocent” than other girls but at least she was being honest about it all.

“Thank you,” I said as I sniffed.

“اخذي اليوم بريك طلبي ريوق طالعي تلفزيون”
She said and I chuckled. I knew I would just end up in my room all day not feeling up for anything.

I realized that I needed to act sick in front of my mother, who usually woke up at 8:30.
I hung up the phone stepped out of the dining room only to see Danah drinking her coffee while using her phone on the couch right by the dining room door. How long had she been here?

She didn’t look up to see me, it was like I didn’t exist anymore to her. I bet if I died she wouldn’t care. She’d just keep using her phone at the funeral without shedding a single tear and use my bedroom as a walk-in closet.

I went up to my room and back to my room where I tried to delete him off everything but I couldn’t…I wasn’t strong enough. I hugged my pillow close and buried my face in it, crying my heart out until I slept.

*

Monday, December 26th, 2016…

I couldn’t focus on anything…I couldn’t eat the whole day and the next nor could I sleep well that night.

I sat at zwara with my cousins but I felt distant. I was so relieved Rawan wasn’t here for now…I didn’t know how I would face her. I tried to focus on my other cousins’ conversations but my mind just went back to me and Fahad’s “argument” in Starbucks. I still couldn’t believe all that had happened.

Jana: yat rawano??

Me: la ba3ad

I put my phone away and just thought of him…the things we did together. The times we laughed, our inside jokes, his generosity…he broke me.
He really did.
He achieved his goal and more.

“Helloooo” Rahaf said as she walked in with a box of desserts that she placed on the table. She was followed by Rawan and just looking at her made my blood boil.

Me: she’s here

I didn’t know what came over me, right before Rahaf and Rawan greeted Badriya next to me I dashed for the bathroom next to the living room and closed the door behind me before I bawled my eyes out.

I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t face her.

I stayed in there for as long as it took me to let it all out, but it just wouldn’t finish. I knew Jana texted me but I was too nervous to do anything but cry.

I didn’t care how long it took me, no one would notice I was gone anyway.

I felt a bit better now that I’d gotten that cry out of my chest, I just hoped it wouldn’t return if I saw Rawan again. I washed my eyes, glad I hadn’t applied any mascara as I usually would and left the bathroom only to see Rawan washing her hands in the sink outside it.

I knew it was intentional that she was here. It was like she was waiting for me.

She locked eyes with me while smacking her gum and smiled a smile that I knew meant victory for her. I felt my hand ball up in a fist. I couldn’t say anything.

“شخبارج منّور؟”
She said with her devilish grin.

I didn’t answer her question.

“روان ليش؟”
I said with a choke.
No, I wasn’t going to cry again, I wouldn’t allow myself to be weak in front of her.

“تدرين ليش”
She said and her smile disappeared.

“بس كان قبل سنتين كنا يهال ليلحين شايلة همه؟ والله اسفة على اللي سويته بس ليش ما كلمتيني؟”
I said, surprised I was keeping my cool.
Or maybe I was scared.

“شوفي عقب سنتين اذا بتنسينه او لا، وبعدين مو انتي اللي تقررين شنو انسى وشنو ليلحين افكر فيه، الصراحة مو كفو احد يكلمج”
She said, turning to me and I felt my throat tighten at her words.

“روان والله انا اسفة”
I said as she continued to chew her gum.

“على شنو بالضبط؟ على اللي صار ويا ناصر؟ ولا حاولتي تاخذين فهد مني؟ ولا تبوقين اغراضي وتقلديني؟ الحمدلله والشكر”
She said, looking disgusted at me.

“Oo by the way, kel your friends min your old school kan miny ana, al7een shoufay mino your friends. Bas Jana, allah o Jana 3ad, khaleeny sakta a7san. 7eta Danah closer ma3ay o tadreen shloun Danah 9a3ba o maya3jebha ay shay,” she said and I felt tears fail me and drop down my cheeks again.

“نعم؟”
I heard a second voice say.

Danah.
She stood by the doorway, crossing her arms and I was shocked. Was she genuinely surprised at Rawan or did she just not care, as usual?

“خرعتيني”
Rawan said with a nervous chuckle.

“قوليلي شقلتيلها توه”
Danah said, nodding her heads towards me but not looking me in the eyes.

What was happening?
Was Danah going to check up on me in the bathroom?

Rawan chuckled nervously again.

“امم لا مو قصدي شي والله”
Rawan said, trying to leave.

“قطي العلج اللي بحلجج بعدين كلميني”
My sister said while blocking the way.

Rawan froze but my sister didn’t look like she was joking.

Rawan looked at Danah as she grabbed a tissue to spit her gum in and crossed her arms.

“قوليلي شقلتي توه”
Danah said again, sounding intimidating that I would definitely be scared if I were Rawan.

“بس خلاص دانة ترى ما تدرين شصار”
Rawan said, and her voice was shaky.

“اعرف كل شي. فيا تعيدين شقلتي او تعتذرين الحين”

Danah heard me talk to Jana.
I couldn’t believe it.

I saw Rawan turn to me like she didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect it either.

“قاعدة اكلمج”
Danah said, bringing Rawan back to her.
I knew Rawan would apologize because if she repeated what she’d said, Danah would really rip her to shreds over Rawan mentioning Danah’s name when she talked to me.

“Sorry,” Rawan muttered and Danah scoffed as her phone rang.

She left the bathroom to leave me and Rawan alone but I left it too before Rawan would say anything else and followed Danah, who was walking hurriedly out my grandmother’s house.

I walked behind Danah to her Ferrari parked outside and she turned as she was on the phone, finally realizing that I was behind her.

“-دانة”
I called out.

“لا تكلميني”
She snapped, as she opened her door.

Guessed she was still the same. She drove out of the street and I sighed, watching her go.
Just when I’d thought we were finally on the same team.

Uncategorized »

[20 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on ice cubes | 0 views]

He slammed the door and stormed into the room, startling her as she read her book.”Bismillah” she said out loud, but his anger clouded his sense of hearing. He didnt utter a word, not even “AlSalam 3laikom”. He didnt look up to see who was sitting in t…

If You Only Knew Me »

[19 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (37 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Hey guys,
I’m so sorry but I’m going to start deleting comments requesting double posts, I’m trying my best to make every chapter long and perfect, it’s really time consuming. If you’d like to drop a comment please make it about that chapter. 
I won’t be doing double posts at all anymore because of how many requests I’ve been getting even after I politely asked my followers to stop.
I don’t mean to be rude, I appreciate your enthusiasm but more importantly I appreciate feedback and comments that make me want to keep on writing rather than pressure me to just post, which I’ve been getting more of than actual story feedback.

Thank you and happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

“يما تكفين خلاص مابي اشوفه”
I said to my mother as she entered my room. I was on my laptop drowning myself in episodes of Friends that I’d rewatched at least ten times but I knew would lift my mood especially after the mess that had happened on Thursday.

“الولد تحت ويبي يكلمج”
My mother said, still annoyed that I didn’t tell her why we broke it off.

“جد؟”
I said as I got up. My head was hurting and I groaned in both pain and annoyance. He wouldn’t back off.

“لبسي شي مرتب على الأقل”
She told me, I looked at my work clothes that I was too uncaring to think much about. A pair of wide legged black pants and a black and blue shirt. I wasn’t here to impress him.
I went downstairs to the reception where he was sitting with Yasmine and they both turned when I walked in.

Khalid looked like he hadn’t slept in a decade and Yasmine looked at me from head to toe judgmentally. I’d already lost enough friends at this point another loss didn’t make a difference. I was mad at her for telling Khalid without talking first.

I’d thought I would feel some sort of empathetic emotion when I’d see Khalid but I felt nothing but disgust with him.

“قلتلك مابي اشوفك ليش تحرجني جذي؟”
I whispered to Khalid, noticing Yasmine walk to the other part of the reception to give us some space.

“فجر انا بسمع اللي عندج واقدر اعدي اللي صار بس تكفين سامحيني…والله انتي ماخذة قلبي وماقدر ارجعه فجر تكفين”
He whispered back and I shook my head.

“اسفة بس لا”
I said and he widened his eyes in disbelief.

“لا؟”
He said, shocked.

“قلتلك لا”
I said, louder now. He looked around, like he was panicking and his plan wasn’t working.

“عقب كل الوقت اللي قضيناه مع بعض، طلعاتنا، ضحكنا…كل هذا بتنسينه بس جذي؟”
He said, looking deep into my eyes.

“اشوفك ما تذكرت كل هذا لما لعبت علي مع بنت ام ١٦ سنه”
I said, furrowing my brows in anger and he gulped. There was no way out of this, I was positive with my decision and I didn’t feel sorry for him at all.

“-فج”
He said and I interrupted him.

“خالد….خلاص، اللي بينا انتهى”
I said and his lips parted again, the idea of us breaking up was still not sinking in.

“فجر…عطيني فرصة ثانية والله بتغير”
He said.

“١٦ سنة…شلون رضيت فيها اصلا؟”
I said, still in shock.

“ما راح اعيدها فجر والله اموت فيج”
He said, closing up now and I took two steps back.

“ما راح تعيدها معاي لأنك ما راح تكون معاي. لا تضيع وقتنا ما راح اوافق ولاني راجعتلك”
I said and his jaw dropped, like he hadn’t been expecting it.
Yasmine looked shocked too, she’d been listening now that my voice was loud.

He looked away, not daring to meet my eyes.

“خلاص عيل اللي تبينه”
He said with a sigh before he walked out the door and I watched him walk away, knowing that this would be the last time he would ever be in my house.

 Yasmine looked at him, making sure he was out of the house and walked up to me.

I looked at her, wondering what she had to say for herself.

“فجر…مادري شقول”
She said, crossing her arms against her chest.

“بس وايد خيبتي ظني على اللي سويتي فيه…ما توقعتها منج”
She said and I scoffed. Was she serious?

“وما شفتي اخوج شنو سوى؟”
I said and she scrunched her brows together in confusion.

“سأليه”
I simply said and she looked out the door.

“وبعدين اللي سمعتيه من لولو ما تيين تتأكدين منّي؟ سيدة تروحين حق اخوج؟”
I said.

“شدراني قلت اذا تخونينه عيل سهل تجذبين”
She said with a snare. What a bitch!

“بعد؟ تبررين حق روحج؟”
I said, raising my brows and she clenched her jaw.

“ما ارضى على اخوي”
She said.

“روحي سألي شسوى بس”
I said, and she was still confused.

We were silent as she looked behind her, as if looking at her brother in the car and sighed before she turned to face me.

“والله حسافة على اللي صار…كنت ابيج تصيرين اختي بس ما الله كتب”
She said and I pressed my tongue against my cheek.

“Bye, Fajer,” she said as she walked out the door.

“Bye,” I said, pissed at her and her brother now. I knew she too would not be entering my house again. I couldn’t deal with her anymore.

I sighed, feeling my headache grow, and went back upstairs to where Fouz my sister and my mother were waiting for me.

“شصار؟”
They asked me, jumping up from their seats.

“خلاص ماكو نصيب”
I said.
I felt a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders; I didn’t know being with Khalid was this exhausting, this draining.

“يالله عاد”
Fouz said, looking at me with widened eyes.

“انزين شصار؟”
She asked.

“فجر شصار بينكم اللي فجأة ما تبون بعض؟”
My mother said.

I couldn’t tell them the truth, they wouldn’t understand.

“هو مو نفس اللي توقعته وانا مو نفس اللي يبيه”
I said.

Fouz sighed. My mother was still in shock as she sat back down again. I remembered how happy she was at the engagement party and I hated the fact that all of that was over because of how sad she looked right now. Like it was totally unexpected.

I bit my lip as I tried to avoid looking at her.

“بطلع باخذ قهوة وارد ابي اغير مزاجي”
I said before going to my room.

“بيي معاج”
Fouz insisted.

“صج؟”
I said.

“هو ليش لا؟”
She said as she grabbed her purse.

“يما امشي”
I told my mother.

“لا والله متعيزة اطلع”
My mother said, still looking sad and I sighed. I just wanted to tell her everything, but I knew she wouldn’t understand.

Fouz and I left the house got into my car.
 I bit my lip trying to figure out where to get coffee from.
I knew the perfect place and I smiled to myself.

Fouz and I didn’t mention anything about Khalid during the ride to the coffee bar but I knew she would bombard me with questions once we ordered our coffee. Instead, we played some Majid Al-Muhandis and sang along softly all the way to the city, where I parked my car above the sidewalk.

“وين بنروح؟”
Fouz asked me, raising a brow.

“انتي نطري”
I said as I unbuckled myself and got down from the car.

 We walked to the coffee place that I hadn’t been to with him…not Khalid.
The other him.

I opened the door and the familiar scent sent memories of me and Abdullah grabbing coffee rushing through me, but I didn’t try to suppress them as I’d always done. Instead, I embraced them.
I owed Khalid nothing anymore.

I saw Jason, the barista wave to me from the counter and I was happy to see him.

“Good evening,” he said.

“Hi Jason,” I said with a smile

“Mr. Abdullah is coming?” he asked me with a smile.

I froze, hoping Fouz hadn’t listened.

“No, I don’t think so,” I said with a chuckle.

“منو عبدالله؟”
Fouz asked curiously and I could feel my heart pound loudly against my chest that I was sure she was hearing it too. I knew she’d know about Abdullah, I was planning on telling her, but I didn’t expect it to be so…soon?

“امم واحد كان يشتغل معاي”
I said with a chuckle.

“وكنتي تيين هني معاه؟”
She said, confused. She didn’t sound suspicious of anything, and I knew that was because she knew me.

“طبعا لا، لا بس اصادفه”
I lied.

“Two spanish lattes please,” I said.

“No brownie?” Jason asked me.

“Umm…okay,” I said.

“Where is Mr. Abdullah?” he asked me as he accepted my Visa, trying to make conversation.

كلش مو وقته

“I don’t know,” I replied.
 I knew my sister was suspicious.

“He didn’t come for a long time,” he told me.

I haven’t seen him in a while…I wanted to tell him.

“Yeah he must be busy,” I just said as I paid.

I walked away from the counter and sat at a table nearby.
Two guys walked in and ordered after us.

“اول مرة اسمع بهالمكان”
She said as she looked around.

“يم دوامي”
I said.

Jason walked to us and placed the two iced lattes on our table.

“Thank you,” I said with a polite smile.

“Send my regards to Mr. Abdullah,” he said.

If he said his name one more time…

“جنج قلتي ماكو كويتيين معاج؟”
She said, scrunching her brows together, still confused that I hadn’t mentioned his name before.
I knew I couldn’t keep it from her any longer.

“بس اتعامل معاه”
I said, stirring my cup of iced coffee.

“اها…عبدالله الشنو؟”
She asked me.
I bit my lip.

I had to tell her…I just had to.

“….عبدالله الي”
I said and she looked up.

“نعم؟”
She said, raising her brow.

“….عبدالله الف”
I repeated.

“لا يكون ابو هيا؟”
She said with her eyes wide and I nodded.

“ما قلتيلي انج تشتغلين معاه”
She said as Jason placed the brownie in the middle with two forks.

“نسيت عيل”
I said, not meeting her eyes. I knew my face was turning red and my face, as Fouz knew, would rarely ever turn red.

“…فجر”
She said as she looked at me.
She was the only person who could read me so well.

 “نعم؟”
I said, avoiding her eyes.

“صار شي؟”
She asked me and my eyes widened as I finally looked at her. I knew she would never accuse me of anything, but I must’ve shown something was up on my face because she knew something was up. She definitely knew it.

“…اممم”
I said and she dropped her jaw.

فجر
She said, a smile also forming on her surprised face.

“لا…اي…مادري”
I said with a sigh as I placed my elbows on the table.

“فجر شصار؟”
She said as she leaned towards me. She didn’t look angry but curious now, like I knew that smile had %100 curiosity behind it.

“سالفة طويلة…بس لازم اشرحلج كل شي”
I said, taking one last sip of my coffee before I explained to her everything

I told her what I’d told Lulu only with more details.
About how I took care of Haya at the hospital when he was there.
How I ran into him frequently after the hospital visit, and how we really hit it off at the birthday party.
I told her how distant Shoug was.
I told her what he was like at work, and how our attraction was obvious to us both.
I told her about the fight he and Shoug had at the chalet, that she wasn’t there for her daughter and how she embraced him in front of me so I would be jealous.
I told her about our coffee outings after the meetings.
I told her of how we finally confronted each other about how we felt and that led to a fight so we didn’t see each other for a while until the conference in Dubai.
I told her about the conference in Dubai; that was the tipping point, when we knew we both really liked each other but I told him I was engaged and how he should return to Shoug for Haya’s sake.

“ويا حمارة ليش ما قلتيلي؟”
She said, after I was done.
She looked like she had taken in a lot, like she was so shocked all of this had happened under her nose.

“مادري كنت خايفة”
I said with a shrug.

“انا خنت خالد صح؟”
I said with a sigh.

“شدعوه خنتيه…بس طلعتي مع عبدالله مرة وحدة لأنكم بدبي وبس وبعدين انتي وقفتي الشي اللي بينكم عشان ما يكبر”
She said and I nodded, feeling slightly better even if I was glad Khalid and I broke it off.

“وشلون على شوق؟ قالت حق دانة عني مادري عند منو بتفضحني”
I said.

“عاد يت على شوقو هذي اللي ما تدري وين بنتها نص الوقت؟ تدرين كل طلعات ليان عند هيا مع عبدالله؟ شوق ما تدري عن احد غير نفسها وانا سمعت ان هو لاعت جبده منها لأن بس مصاريف على الفاضي وما تجابل شي وما يبي يطلقها عشان بعدين ما تاخذ بنتها وتوخرها عنه”
She said.

I widened my eyes.
This was exactly what he had told me.

“فما سويت شي غلط صح؟ الا عشا دبي؟”
I said.

“…تقدرين تقولين”
She said as she took a bite of the brownie.

“ياحمارة خلصتيه عني”
I said and she shrugged.

“بس عبدالله صج محترم يعني اتوقع لو صج مع شوق جان كلش ما عطاج ويه”
She said and I agreed.

“تدرين اني توظفت منه؟”
I said and she looked up, surprised.

“جذااااابة”
She said and I chuckled.

I regretted not talking to her from the start, maybe it was because I knew she was my sister so she would be harsh on me. But not so much so, and she would do it for my sake.

I explained how I got the job because of him and how we’d see each other at meetings.

“!امبيه ترى حده اينن”
Fouz said, widening her eyes and I smiled, feeling myself blush again.

“اي والله صج ما قصر معاي”
I said, sipping the last couple of sips from my coffee.

I bit my lip hesitantly as I spoke about something else next.

“شهد وحمد…شلونهم مع بعض؟”
I asked her, not meeting her eyes.

“مادري ما سمعت شي…ليش؟”
She asked me and I bit my lip.

“سمعت من شيخة ونجلا انه قاعد يخونها”
I said.

“ادري”
She said and I froze.

“نعم؟”
I said.

“شفتهم مع نجلا وشيخة”
She said, sounding relieved that I’d opened this topic.

“دانة وحمد؟”
I said, feeling disgust swarm through me and she nodded.

“ليش ما قلتيلي شي؟”
I asked her.

“لأنها رفيجتج حيل مادري منو بتصدقين”
She said calmly. I hated that she thought I’d believe Danah over her.

“امبيه فوزو مو صج! اصلا تدرين عصبت عليّ ليش عرّفت البنات على اختها الصغيرة لما شفناها؟ مو صاحية”
I said and she raised her brows.

“هوّ؟”
She said.

“فيها شر والله حسافة عليها”
I said with a sigh. She was a gorgeous girl. A gorgeous, talented, and selfish girl.

I picked up my phone and went through my messages until I reached her name. I couldn’t bare go back to the conversations in which we’d once been best friends. I contemplated whether or not I should delete our chats to clear my mind but I decided to sleep on that decision.

I left that chat and my eyes landed on Abdullah’s name.
I gulped.
Should I?

I pressed on his name and went into the conversation.

I started to type:

Can I see you?

I pressed the arrow button and all I had to do now was wait for the two gray ticks to turn blue.

If You Only Knew Me »

[18 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (36 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

“امبيه حدي يوعانة”
Jana said as we sat at a table in the middle of The Breakfast Club. She took off her leather jacket to reveal her wool off-shoulder shirt that really flattered her curves.

“شنو بتطلبين؟”
She asked me as she flipped through the menu the waiter placed on our table.

“جني مو يوعانة”
I said.

I still couldn’t believe Danah exposed me like that and more importantly, what had happened with Fahad? How did he know about the pictures?

I talked to him like I didn’t know Rawan knew. I wanted to talk to him on Thursday, the day after the Gathering, but he told me he wasn’t feeling so well so he was going to miss school.

Fahad: bl3afya o salmay 3ala janaa gouleelha bedait aghaar may9eer

I would smile…but I was still shaky about the whole thing.

Me: haha inshallaah

If he knew I knew, he didn’t show it..

“فهد يسلم عليج”
I said to Jana as I put my phone down on the table.

“اوه ليلحين تكلمينه؟”
She asked, surprised. She turned to the waiter to order.

“One Lotus pancakes please and a bottle of water,” she said.

“Nothing for me, thank you,” I told the waiter before Jana turned back to me, placing her arms on the table like she was ready to listen.

“ليلحين ما كلمته عن الموضوع”
I said as I bit my lip.

“منّور مو من صجج! ادري صعب تصدقين انه قاعد يقص عليج بس انا من دريت ان هو يكلمج شكيت بالموضوع لأن كلّش ما يعطي احد ويه”
She said, twirling her brown hair with her finger.

“توّج تقولينلي؟”
I said.

“شدراني قلت يمكن هم حبّج عقب ما تعرف عليج”
She said and I sighed.

“بس شلون درت روان عن الصور؟”
I asked her and she shrugged.

“ضروووري تكلمينه باجر”
She said and I remembered it was a Saturday. I wasn’t ready.

“حيل خايفة”
I said.

“عيل كيفج قعدي على حالتج”
She said.

“جنوي مابي اعرف جان زين لو روان ما قالتلي”
I said, running a hand through my hair.

The waiter came and placed the plate of pancakes in front of Jana, who dug in instantly.

“امبيه خيال…اكيد ما تبين؟”
She asked me and I shook my head.

What if Fahad actually loved Rawan?…
I wouldn’t accept it. I never would.
He was mine and I made sure of it…she had everything I wanted she couldn’t have him too.

“امبيه ويع”
Jana muttered as she glanced to her left before forcing a smile and standing up.

“Hiii,” she said, kissing two girls that looked a bit older than us.

“شخباركم؟”
Jana said.

I went on Snapchat while I waited for her to finish her small talk with the two girls.

“يالله سلمو”
Jana said before she sat down again before continuing to eat.

“منو هذيلا؟”
I asked her.

“My cousins,” she said.

She’d rarely spoken of her family.

“اوه صج؟”
I said.

“ايي”
She replied.

“لحظة عندكم زوارة او شي؟”
I asked, hoping I wasn’t being nosey.

She chuckled.

“اي بس يالله اروح…حده ملاقة وامبيه يحسسوني جني صايعة هناك”
She said with a laugh.

“لا جد يعني لازم كل ما اروح يعلقون عن لبسي فكل ما اروح احرهم زيادة والبس شي اضيج”
She said, laughing some more.

“امج ما تقول شي؟”
I asked her and she shrugged.

“حاولت بس عقب ايست يعني خلاص انا جذي شسوي”
She said, cutting her pancakes.

“ساعات ودي يصير عندي اخت عشان ندافع عن بعض والله”
She said, taking a mouthful and I scoffed.

“صدقيييني ما ودج”
I said.

“I think Danah is an exception,” she said.

“جان زين عندي اخو والله”
I said and she shook her head.

“امبيه لا وييع اخوي حده حسباله انه هو ريال عليّ حتى اخوي الكبير ضابط ماله شغل فيني يغث”
She said.

“لحظة جم اعمارهم؟”
I asked her.

“وهاب ٢٦ وراشد ٢٣”
She explained, placing her fork and knife together.

“لو راشد خوش واحد جان ضبطتكم بس ويع حقير”
She said and I laughed.

“امبيه مو صج”
I said before I sighed.

“ابي اكلم فهد ضروري بس خايفة على اللي بيصير”
I said as I looked at my phone and bit my lip hesitantly.

“حبيبتي بتعرفين يعني بتعرفين”
She said and I nodded. She did have a point.

She ordered the check while I stared blankly at the chat, wondering if I should go ahead and talk to him or not.

I remembered Rawan telling me about Fahad and how he was using me…I didn’t confront him about it because I was too scared to. But if she knew about us then he really was using me.
How could I be so stupid this whole time?
I knew I just had to talk to him.

3ady tlageeny bacher eb Starbucks Nuzha gabel ilmadrisa? i really need to talk to you

He lived in Nuzha, he had no excuse not to show up.

“يالله؟”
Jana said as she stood up and wore her jacket.
We walked down the escalators to the main entrance of Kipco, where her driver was parked.

As I got in, my phone buzzed and I gulped. I just knew it was from Fahad.

Fahad: inshallah, everything ok?

I didn’t know why but I felt like bursting into tears.
Did he really care or was it part of his “faking it” plan?

Me: not really. bagoulek tomorrow. 

I put my phone in the pocket of my black jeans while Jana took control of the music that I was in no mood to listen to.

“بكلمه باجر قبل المدرسة”
I told Jana, who was busy on her phone probably on Snapchat.

“قوليلي شيصير اول بأول”
She said, ready for the drama.

We arrived shortly at my house and I hugged Jana.

“See you bacher,” I told her.

“Good luck!” she said, with her hand on my shoulder.

“Bye,” I said as I left the car.

I got in through the main door, ignoring Rosegold’s barks coming from the garage. As I entered the door I could hear yelling coming from the lounge downstairs.

I gulped and walked hurriedly towards the lounge, careful not to be heard or seen.

I almost gasped when I saw her…Fajer.

Danah had told her the truth. Fajer was in hysterics and I couldn’t believe my eyes; best friends just yelling at each other; I was too shocked to hear what it was about but until I could finally concentrate I heard Fajer scream:

“ما راح اسامحج”

It was all because of me.

فجر ترى مو من دانة…مني انا”
I blurted out.
“انا اللي قلت حق دانة عن خالد وفجر”
 I would never forget the glare Danah gave me that made me wish I hadn’t come down here at all. 
I knew Danah didn’t tell her about Jana; the fight wasn’t about that.

Fajer stormed out, leaving a very enraged Danah alone with me in her lounge. It was silent…for five seconds until Danah snapped my way.

“انتي شكو تبطلين حلجج؟”
She yelled and I didn’t know what to say at all. I was frozen to the ground.

“ح-حسبالي كنتو تتكلمون عن جنى وخالد”
I said, feeling my voice crack as I spoke.

“انتي مالج شغل! شفتي شلون خربتي علينا؟ بقى شي ما خربتيه؟”
She yelled and this time she walked towards me.

I couldn’t say anything.

!خلاص وخري عن ويهي مابي اشوفج! بروحج مفشلتني بكل مكان”
She said and I felt my jaw drop while my tears were rolling down my cheeks.

“-دانة ما كان قص”
I said and she ran a hand through her short hair.

“انتي ما تفهمين؟”
She said in a low voice with a mocking chuckle but it hurt more than anything and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I couldn’t keep it in.

“ليش تكرهيني لي هالدرجة؟”
I blurted out but she just looked at me.

” دانة ليش خاشتني طول هالمدة من رفيجاتج؟ ادري اني مو حلوة نفس كل اللي تحبينهم بس انا اختج وما عندي غيرج ولا عندج غيري”
I said and my voice was getting louder and louder as my tears fell on the carpet under our feet.

She only glared at me before she stormed past me towards the stairs, leaving me all alone with my tears.

Now I realized it: I wasn’t good enough and no one wanted me.

I sat down on the couch of my sister’s lounge and just cried.

Danah probably hated me for the same reason. I wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t good enough for anyone and it killed me.

Fahad playing me wasn’t such an unlikely thing to happen. I wasn’t special.

Jana? It was probably because I was the new girl who knew nothing about her and she needed a new friend since everyone stopped being hers from her bad reputation.

My parents loved Danah more, everyone loved Danah more even if Danah was the most intimidating and harsh person I’d met.

I wiped my tears that didn’t seem to stop and went up to my bedroom, where I laid on my bed and tried not to sob but I did so anyway. Everything just hurt and everything felt so heavy, remembering what Rawan had told me made it even worse and remembering how Danah exposed me made my heart ache even more.

I sat up straight and went on Instagram and went on Danah’s profile, just to find something to pick on her for myself. It was private but I couldn’t stop staring at it with the perfect profile picture of her…over 1,206 followers and she didn’t think of accepting her sister’s request.
I knew she hated me but I didn’t hate her. I couldn’t.

I took a shower and got dressed into a pair of shorts and t-shirt before I slid into bed.

I turned off the lights for my meeting with Fahad.
Everything was coming to light now.

If You Only Knew Me »

[16 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (35 ◇ Fajer) . | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

I texted Khalid in the reception below where he would often meet me when he would come over.

Me: okay bas dish 3adyy wallah 

Khalid: fajer please bas rekbay sayarty o akalmich

Me: lool inzain laaish?

Khalid: ra7 t3arfeen laish

Me: inzain bs wain bnrou7 3ashan a3aref shalbes

Khalid: what you’re wearing bas bakalmich in my car mara7 nrou7 mukan

I found it weird.

I took a deep breath and paced around until he told me he was right outside my house where I walked to him. I was wearing a pair of dark fitted training pants and a black shirt.

“Hi,” I said with a smile as I got into his Defender. His smile was weak.

“Okay?” I said with a nervous chuckle but he didn’t crack a smile and his eyes were on the street ahead of us.

What was going on?…

“خالد شفيك؟”
I said, my smile was instantly gone when I saw how firmly he gripped the wheel.

He took a long deep breath and turned to me, he didn’t really look at me how he usually did.

“اعتقد تعرفين شنو”
He said and I was confused.

“ما فهمت؟”
I said, shaking my head in confusion and he sighed. He placed his tongue against his cheek.

“سمعت شي وابيج تقولينلي اذا صج هالكلام ولا لا”
He said and I froze in place.
Did he know?
Even so, whatever it was between me and Abdullah was long over.

“…سمعت انج تعرفتي على واحد غيري وحبيتيه”
He said.

He knew.

I felt sick, like I could throw up right now.

“ش-شنو؟”
I said, feeling my voice fail me.

“بس قولي اي ولا لا فجر”
He said, his eyes weren’t on me now but on the street ahead of us.

I gulped.
I couldn’t lie, I really couldn’t.

“-مو جذي بس”
I said, and my voice was shaky.

“بس كان في شي بينكم صح؟”
He said, looking so disappointed in me.

I was silent…there was something between me and Abdullah, even if we stopped things early there was something. I couldn’t lie to him.

He returned to look ahead.

“مشكورة”
He said and I heard the car doors unlock.

He inhaled and exhaled heavily like he was trying not to explode.

“خالد اسمعني والله وقفته وما صار شي…خالد انا احبك”
I said, pleading him to have me back. We’d been together for a year now. A year. I wouldn’t throw it away just like that and neither could he.

“فجر رجاءا طلعي وخليني افكر شبيصير علينا”
He said in a low voice and I nodded. I knew not to talk any further as he would definitely be even more pissed off.

I didn’t say anything. My heart was pounding and bile went up my throat while tears started streaming down my cheeks. I ended it, I ended it all with Abdullah and I was ready to move forward with Khalid but he didn’t listen.

How would he know?

I stopped in my tracks while Khalid sped off and I realized there was one person that could’ve told Yasmine who would’ve told Khalid.

Danah.

She talked to Shoug at the wedding and they had a meeting the next day. Shoug knew Danah knew me so she definitely must’ve said something to Danah.

I was furious now. I stormed inside the house and grabbed my keys before speeding off to Danah’s house that was just five minutes away. I wiped away my tears with my sleeves. My heart was racing now, a bit too fast that I was starting to feel lightheaded.

I parked by their driveway, relieved that her car was parked in her house even though part of me was a bit hesitant about confronting her.
I went down the stairs to see her through the high windows of the lounge on her couch laughing on the phone. I took a deep breath and knocked on the glass door. I saw her shoot her head in my direction before standing up, confused and shocked at my presence but I wasn’t smiling.

She hung up and opened the door for me to come in.

“فجر شفيج؟”
She said, looking at me up and down like I’d just walked away from a car accident.

“-انا وخالد”
I said as my voice was breaking up and she hugged me immediately while I helplessly sobbed into her arms. I didn’t expect to react like this.

“جد؟ شلون؟”
She said in disbelief, acting like she didn’t know anything.

“فجر اكيد؟ يعني يمكن بتردون حق بعض…انتو خالد وفجر اذا انتو ما تكملون عيل منو بكمل؟”
She said and I stood up straight now, not needing her support after she’d stabbed my back.

“دانة ادري”
I said, a bit louder this time and she lifted her brow in confusion.
I wiped my tears away and looked at her, knowing my eyes were burning with rage.

“شنو؟”
She said, confused now.

“ادري انج قلتي حق ياسمين وياسمين قالتله”
I said and she still looked confused.

انا؟ شقلت؟”
She said.

“تعرفين شنو”
I said, my voice was quivering from anger.

“فجر فكري قبل لا تتكلمين عشان ما تخسريني انا بعد”
She said and my jaw clenched in anger.

“كله منج، شكو تقولينله؟ وشكو تسمعين من شوق ولا تتأكدين مني؟”
I said and she dropped her jaw.

“فجر تكفين لا تقولينلي قاعدة تلوميني”
She said, shaking her head in disbelief.

“قاعدة الومج لأن ادري انج قلتيله…ماكو احد غيرج”
I said.

“استحي على ويهج فجر، انا رفيجتج اسوي فيج جذي؟ اي كنت ادري عنج انتي وعبدالله بس تعيميت لأنج رفيجتي ليش تظلميني جذي؟”
She said.

“لأن ما حبيتي اني عرفت اختج؟ لأن في اشياء ما كنت اعرفها عنج وكنت اشك انج نفس الدانة اللي اعرفها…فعشان جذي ما استبعد انج فضحتيني وقاعدة تجذبين علي”
I said angrily while hot tears ran down my cheek. She clenched her jaw hard as she looked at me, her breathing was deep now like she was trying to control her anger.

“طلعي برة”
She said.

“ترى ادري عن حمد وما قلت حق احد بس انا الحمارة اللي ليلحين ساكتة عنج”
I said and she looked like she’d been slapped.

“فمالت عليج على اللي قاعدة تسوينه ببنت خالي”
I said.

“يعني انتي ما سويتي شي بشوق؟”
She said and I looked away. She would never understand.

“على كل هذا بس ترى مو انا اللي فضحتج واللي بينا انسيه وتفضلي طلعي برة”
She insisted.

“ما راح اسامحج”
I said as I shook my head in disappointment.

“فجر ترى مو من دانة…مني انا”
A second voice appeared at the stairs by the lounge.

“منيرة سكتي”
Danah snapped at her sister, who looked scared.

“نعم؟”
I said, ignoring Danah.

“انا اللي قلت حق دانة عن خالد وجنى”
She said and Danah froze.
I was confused now.

“م-منو جنى؟”
I said and Muneera’s eyes widened while she glanced at her sister and froze. It was like she blurted out something she wasn’t supposed to say.

“امم…رفيجتي”
Muneera said and I looked at her, wanting to know why she was relevant.

I was so confused that my head was starting to hurt.

“شفيها هي وخالد؟”
I said, aware that my heartbeats were speeding up again.

“-امم”
Muneera said, looking at me then at Danah who was glaring at her sister.

“منيرة؟”
I said, hoping I didn’t intimidate her.

“ما كنت اعرف ان هو خطيبج وكان هالشي قبل لا يخطبج بس كان…كان مع رفيجتي و..وصار شي بينهم”
She said, looking at the floor and I felt my blood boil.
 It couldn’t be true…even if I didn’t know Muneera that well I believed her.

“ش-شنو صار؟ لحظة هي كبرج؟”
I said as I shook my head. I was trying to swallow the information that I had a hard time grasping.

“اي هي كبري…كان يكلمها ويطلعون مع بعض”
She said and I felt my eyes water. She looked away, apologetically.

She was telling the truth: that Khalid cheated on me…and with a sixteen year old.

I felt like throwing up.

I looked at Danah.

“كنتي تدرين؟”
I said.

“ما كنت ابي اخرب عليج”
She said and I scoffed again.

“خالد كان يخونني مع وحدة كبر اختج وما تبين تخربين علي؟ ما تخافين على البنت؟ ما تخافين ان هم يكمل يخونني حتى عقب ما نتزوج؟”
I spat out.

“انتي خنتيه بعد”
She said…if she only knew I had no control over my feelings and that we actually isolated ourselves from one another to stop.

“مو نفس الشي! ما تدرين شصار وشكثر بعدنا عن بعض، دانة، اللي حسينا فيه ما كان بأيدنا وبعدنا عن بعض عشان ما يصير شي! مادري شخربطت شوق على راسج بس قلتله ينساني ويردلها بس صدقي اللي ودج تصدقينه
I said.

“مشكورة منيرة”
I said as a tear trickled down my cheek. I smiled at her softly through them, to let her know that I truly appreciated her telling me the truth.
I stormed out of the house, unsure of whether I was glad I went through it. I knew something that would definitely ruin my relationship with Khalid.

I wouldn’t want to chase Khalid back.
He was over.

I couldn’t bare calling him…his voice would disgust me. I composed a message as I walked to my car.

adry 3an jana. illy baina insah

I hoped muneera was telling the truth. I hit sent and got into my car and a thought cloud over me…there was another person I trusted with my secret…but it couldn’t be her, could it?

I gulped and tried to compose the message.

 lulu i need to talk to you

My phone buzzed. It was from Khalid.

Khalid: i didn’t love her…i loved you and i always will. 

I scoffed. I hit block and put my phone away.
I didn’t want to lose any more tears over him.

I knew if I’d let him engage with me physically then this might have not happened but it didn’t mean anything, I had my limits and he had to respect them. It wasn’t my fault.

Lulu texted back.

ee sure 3an shinu

Me: i need to talk one on one

Lulu: 3ady tomorrow? lana it’s too late al7een

I looked at the time. 9:30

Me: its urgent, basf6 b baitichh o we can sit in my car.

I’d just realized I didn’t know where she lived. With all that friendship I’d never went to her house nor dropped anything off.

Lulu: wallah mo 3an shay bas 3ady tomorrow?

I bit my lip.
If it was her then she didn’t deserve my respect and after Danah I wasn’t giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Me: its really urgent lulu please

Lulu: i know bs magdar omy ma3ay belbait mara7 tertha

I sighed.

Me: amur baitkom o we can talk in my car. its really important, please lulu

I stopped at a traffic light and waited anxiously for her reply.

Lulu: ok

She wasn’t pleased but I didn’t care.

Me: send the location please 

The light was green now and I didn’t know where to go, I was stuck until she sent me her location.

I opened the google maps link.
It had to be a mistake…she was far away from the residential areas next to the city.
I decided to follow the route anyway, which would take me twenty-five minutes to get to.

I was so confused. It would be 10 PM by the time I would reach her but I still needed to talk to her.
I sped up a bit, blinking my headlights at any car that went slower than 120 on the highway in front of me, I was just too anxious and enraged.

Memories of me and Khalid swarmed my mind as I drove and I tried to brush them away but it was too hard to. I remembered how we first met when Yasmine introduced us at a coffee shop in which we’d run into each other. Then Yasmine would continue to “run into” me with Khalid until we eventually got to know each other. Memories of our car rides, memories of him sending me my dream Birkin  on my birthday, now it all meant nothing. He cheated on me and with a sixteen year old…I would never forgive him for that.

Memories of Abdullah clouded my head now, and I couldn’t hold them back. I’d lost him too…I just hoped he was happy with Shoug for him and Haya’s sakes. I didn’t want to ruin anything, I just really didn’t.

I finally arrived at the remote area and roamed through the streets to her house, which I was sure was not the right house as it looked so old.

The bricks, which were a sad combination of dark green and brown, looked like they hadn’t been painted in twenty years. There were dirty windows with metal bars in the middle of the house that looked like they were from the 60’s, the house was tiny too and all the lights were off like no one lived there.

Lulu drove a Range, it didn’t fit with where she lived.

Me: please send me the right address

I texted her, pissed. Only I lifted my head to see her white Rover…parked at the house.

I gasped.
Did she really live in this house?

Lulu: it’s the right house. al7een a6la3lech

“Shit,” I said to myself as I placed a hand on my lips and looked at the house again. She always looked like she was well-off with her designer items and the way she dressed. Nothing made sense…

I waited for her and parked next to her car.
I felt so awful…I bet that was why she never let anyone see where she lived.

Soon enough she walked out of the gate in a pair of training pants and white shirt. I lowered my window as she walked to my door.
I was enraged but somehow I contained my anger as I looked at her, tucking a strand of her loose curly hair behind her ear.
She turned around my car to get to the passenger’s seat.

“Hi,” she said as she got in. She looked uncomfortable. Like someone found out her secret and I knew that because I felt that way too.

“Hi,” I said, my heart was pounding again. She now looked confused.

“ادري الوقت متأخر فماراح اطول عليج”
I said and she nodded, still looking confused if not a bit worried.
I took a deep breath and licked my lips.
It was the moment of truth.

“لولو اللي قلتلج عنه يوم الاربعا…قلتيه حق ياسمين او خالد؟”
I asked her and her eyes widened…

“ش-شنو؟”
She said and I bit my lip.

“بس جاوبي اي او لا please لولو”
I said, just tired of all the drama that had happened in the span of two hours.

She looked at her hands and bit her lip before looking at me and I sighed in disappointment.
I knew it, I should’ve never told her.

“من حقه؟”
I said and I tried to control myself now.

I’d trusted her.
She was the only one I trusted and she broke my trust. No one was worth it anymore.

“…ياسمين”
She said and I ran a hand through my hair.

I stayed quiet to contain my nerves and sighed as I looked at her.

“عادي اعرف ليش؟”
I said calmly but on the inside I was boiling up. Sort of like how Khalid had been talking to me back in his car.

She sighed and looked up in front of her, facing the brick wall of her house fence.

“…ماقدر اقول”
She said and I scoffed again.

“الحين انتي تقدرين تفضحيني بس ما تقدرين تقولينلي ليش فضحتيني؟”
I said, feeling my voice getting louder and louder and she gulped.

“ما راح تفهمين”
She said softly.

“يمكن راح افهم”
I said angrily and she bit her lip while looking at her hands. She sighed and looked up at the gate again.

“فجر انتي الحين شفتي وين انا ساكنة صح؟”
She said.

“اي؟”
I said, acting as if I didn’t care about it. I might still be enraged with her but I wouldn’t want to hurt her like that, over something she had no choice over.

“فعرفتي ليش ما اخليكم تيون عندي وتمروني”
She said, looking at me with tears in her eyes and I felt my lips part.
I didn’t know if she was stalling but I wasn’t going to leave without an answer so she could take her time.

“ماله شغل”
I said.

“حقج…بس حق دانة وسارة ومريم بطيح من عينهم”
She said with a gulp.
It was true, the basis of our friendship was based on looks first, money second.

“شعليج منهم؟ الشي مو بإيدج”
I said, feeling a bit calmer now that she was opening up.

“انتو كنتو اقرب ناس لي ترى…ليلحين اعز ناس علي وادري شنو بتقولين”
She said, but I wasn’t going to say anything.

“فجر انا لايعة جبدي من وضعي، مو مشكلة البيت بس، هم من اهلي”
Tears trickled down her cheeks and I felt my heart being pulled apart…why hadn’t I known any of this about her?

“فجر امي لي يومج تطقني، تحذف علي اشياء وكله معصبة انا مليت”
She said, her voice now cracking.

“ولا شي يمها الا الكشخة والماركات ترى علينا ديون شكثر…ابي افتك خلاص زهقت”
She said.

“فقلت ما يصير اثنين يحبونج وانا حتى واحد ما اقدر احصل،..علمت ياسمين عنج عشان يمكن بعد تتقرب مني وتعرف خالد علي وافتك من هالمأساة اللي انا فيها”
She said, wiping away her tears.

I was shocked, I didn’t expect her to tell me this at all. Even if she was wrong, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her…

“مادري شاقول”
I said.

“عادي لا تقولين شي، مو الا”
She said, looking away like she was ashamed of me.

“بس ترى خالد مو نفس اللي تتوقعينه…عرفت شي عنه اليوم وانصدمت فما انصحج فيه”
I said. I wasn’t so angry at her…I actually felt sorry. Maybe if Muneera hadn’t said anything then this conversation would’ve went somewhere else but it didn’t.
I was glad this all happened.

We sat in silence for a minute until I checked the time on my phone.
10:15 PM.

“لازم ارد، تأخر الوقت”
I said and she nodded, opening the door.

“Fajer wallah sorry,” she said, looking genuinely sorry, and I smiled softly. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her…

Did I even know anyone well anymore?

***

I hope this was the chapter you’ve all been waiting for!

If You Only Knew Me »

[15 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (34 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016…

“لا، وخري، لا تجيسيني”
I told Rosegold who my maid was walking as I went to the car.

I got in and replied to Fahad’s text.

Fahad: ay wa7ed a7la?

He’d sent me pictures of two Nike shoes for me to pick from, which I thought was so cute of him to do.

Me: awal wa7daa akeeed 7ail laygatlek!!

Fahad: khala9 3ayal bakheth awal wa7da. akhethlech shay ma3ay?

Me: laa thank you wallah so sweet!

Part of me was still wondering if I should’ve sent him those pictures. I guessed I was so scared that I might lose him, that he might want more and think I wouldn’t give it to him. I didn’t regret it now that he was still the same, if anything he was talking to me much more often and I loved it.

Jana was calling me now.

“Heeey,” I replied as I checked  my reflection in the driver’s mirror.

“Guess mino tawny shift bl Makan?” she said and I gasped.

“لا تقولييين”
I said.

“…تخيلي…طبعا سوى نفسه ما يعرفني…منيرة شلون يسيوي فيني جذي؟ وتخيلي ان خطيبته معاه”
She said and I gulped…how was I supposed to reply to that?

“والله لو قدرت اتكلم جان قلتلها شي بس تنحت بمكاني”
She added.

“جنى والله لا تتحسفين عليه ترى هو حمااار “
I said and she sighed.

” بس الحين انا بالحمام ناطرتهم يمشون…وتخيلي انا مع اخواني يعني لو يدرون جان ذبحوني انا وياه، افف ابي ارد البيت”
She said.

“واي لو مو هاليمعة جان ييبت عندج او قلتلج تيين عندي”
I said, looking at my watch. It was almost 8:15, I was 45 minutes late.

“اي صج يمعة شنو؟”
She asked me.

“مادري بنات خالي يبون يتيمعون يقولون من زمان ما قعدنا كلنا مع بعض”
I replied.

“Fun,” she said. I’d never heard her say she was visiting anyone and this was probably the first time she told me about going out with her brothers.

“صح؟”
I said.

“tumblrواحد ب I stalk انزين يالله بكمل”
She said before she hung up. I hoped it was just a “moving on” thing and not a rebound one.

I arrived at my cousins’ house in Adailiya soon enough and took a deep breath before carrying the box of mini sandwiches up with me to the steps. I stepped inside and handed the box to one of the maids by the door and checked on my reflection in the mirror at the entrance.

I was wearing a pair of leather leggings with knee-high boots and a gorgeous royal blue top I found online. My hair was in loose waves and my makeup, which I had applied, really flaunted my features. I pulled out Rawan’s perfume and sprayed it on myself.

I took a deep breath before I walked to the main reception just three steps away, they were already laughing and the gathering had started long ago.

“السلام”
I said as I smiled and walked in.

“Oh hi!” my cousin Nourah said as she stood up and hugged me. I noticed it wasn’t like all of them stood up at once but they only stood up to greet me when I called their names as I passed them.

“Hi,” Rawan simply said as she sat down and waved at me.
“Sorry maly khelg agoum,” she said with a laugh that I ignored.
She looked pretty in an oversized black sweater dress with fur sleeves at the end. I hated how she always managed to look pretty with her gorgeous hair and perfect makeup. I was slowly catching up though and I was proud of that.

I turned to greet the rest of my cousins, along with their friends. This was bigger than I’d expected. Danah and Rahaf, Rawan’s sister were at the end. Danah looked stunning in a simple black cardigan, black top and black pants.

“Hi,” I told Rahaf before she hugged me.

“الله كلونيتج تينن” she said while Danah was busy on her phone as usual.

“مشكورة”
I said.

“شسمها؟”
She asked me but in a friendly tone.

“نسيت والله”
I said with a chuckle.

“جني شفتج ترشينها بالدخلة؟ اشوي تذكرت”
She said with a chuckle and I faked a laugh. My heart was pounding, I was definitely exposed.

I fished inside my bag and took a step to my right so I would be blocking Rawan’s view.

I pulled out the perfume and Rahaf responded with an “aaaah 3araft’haaa”

“وانا اقول وين شامتها من قبل! روان كانت تحطها”
She said as she took a look at the bottle. I watched Danah look up from her phone and then at me. She was glaring now and I felt my heart speed up…she knew.

“منيرة بكلمج شوي”
My sister said as she stood up. I watched her walk to Rawan and call her over.

No, no, she couldn’t tell Rawan…

“منيرة”
Danah called to me again, she really looked pissed off.

Danah, Rawan, who was confused, and I walked to the dining room next to the reception.

“راويها كلونيتج”
Danah snapped at me. I only gaped at her…how could she do this to me? I was her sister.
I might’ve done something wrong but she wasn’t supposed to involve Rawan in this.

منيرة”
She snapped again and I pulled it out. I watched Rawan’s eyes widen and her lips part in realization that I was holding her perfume.

“روان هذي كلونيتج اللي ضاعت؟”
Danah asked her.

“امبيه اي”
Rawan said.

“اخذيها”
Danah said.

“مو مالتج؟”
Rawan said, looking at me.

“قوليلها”
Danah said, crossing her arms now.

“لا…مالتج. انا اللي خذيتها”
I said and Rawan scoffed. She grabbed the perfume from my hand.

“انزين مو مفكرة تعتذرين او شي؟”
Rawan said.

“انا برد بس منيرة بكلمج بروحج”
Danah said.

“Thank you, Danah,” Rawan said while Danah guided me to a more isolated area.

“شسالفتج مع البوق؟”
She snapped and I gulped.

منيرة
Danah said and I was sure the other girls heard her scream my name.

“…بس-بس كنت بحرها”
I said as I was mumbling.

“اها وانتي كنتي بتحريني يعني؟”
She said about her necklace and I shook my head.

“كنت برد قلبج”
I said and she scoffed.

 “طبعا بتردينه عقب ما تنجكين. والله ان شفتج بايقة شي من احد بفضحج جدام الكل حمدي ربج ما فشلتج جدامهم كلهم”
She said, I opened my mouth to say something but she stomped away and I was left alone with Rawan as I walked back to her.

I was completely screwed.

“ناوية تاخذين كل شي مني يعني؟”
She snarked while raising her brow.

She was back, no more sweet Rawan.

“شقصدج؟”
I said, did she know I stole her lipstick?

“فهد”
She said and I gulped.
My heart just skipped two beats in a row and I felt my stomach twist in knots now. Did she know?

“ن-نعم؟”
I said.

“لا تسوين نفسج ما تدرين…اعرف اللي بينكم وقالي عن الصور اللي طرشتيها”
She said with a devilish grin.

My body was burning up now and I was starting to feel light-headed.
How did she know?

“ش-شدراج؟”
I said.

“حبيبتي ترى هو قاص عليج…اعرف كل شي بينكم. تبيني اعلم دانة او خالتي عن شنو طرشتيله؟”
She threatened and I shook my head.

“عيل وقفي هالحركات معاه”
She said, was she jealous?

“ليش؟ قمتي تغارين؟؛”
I finally fought back and she scoffed.

“يا ماما اغار من شنو؟ انتي تقزورة  حبيبتي لا تصدقين عمرج بس قاعدة اقولج وقفي عشان سمعتج لأن الولد قاعد يفضحج”
She said.

My eyes were clouding with tears while my head was heavy, this could not be true,

“كنتي تدرين ان انا حاطة عيني عليه وانتي وقواة عينج حاولتي تاخذينه قطيعة والله حمدي ربج ما فضحتج عند دانة”
She said as she looked at me up and down in disgust before she brushed past me to the main reception area.

I was lost.
How did she know about me and Fahad?
How did she know about the pictures I’d sent him?
But Fahad…my Fahad…was he never mine all this time?

Tears streamed down my cheek and I ran to the bathroom right behind me only to break down in tears. My shaky fingers twisted the faucets open as I washed my face. I couldn’t dare look at myself in the mirror. I was so ashamed and so disgusted with myself.

No wonder Danah didn’t like me and no wonder Fahad was playing all along.

If You Only Knew Me »

[14 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (33 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Sorry for the late update, my days have recently been so busy! 

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016…

Lulu and I sat at our usual coffee place, waiting for the rest to come for our usual Wednesday meetups. She stirred her iced coffee with her straw before her phone buzzed.

“دانة تقول ما راح تقدر تيي”
Lulu said looking at her phone. She ran a hand through her thick curly hair that I just adored. I begged her not to get a treatment since she was thinking of relaxing it.

“اعتقد وايد يوها عقب دزاين عرس منيرة”
I said.

“ايي لايق صح؟”
Lulu said, taking a sip of her coffee.

We’d gotten closer now that we arrived at the same time at the gym, earlier than the rest of the girls. She picked me up for when we met up, and car rides made connections way stronger.

“على طاري عرس منيرة ما لاحظتي شلون تنرفزت لما سلمت على اختها؟”
I asked her.

“بيني وبينج”
I said, looking at the door just in case someone walked in.

“ايييي امبيه كنت بسإلج شالسالفة! ودانة شكلها حيييل تنرفزت”
She said, and I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders when she took the words right out of my mouth.

“مادري والله…ولما سألتها ماتبي تقوللي ليش ما تبينا نعرف اختها…وترى اختها لما شفتها كانت وااايد حليوة يعني شوي غير عن دانة فمادري اذا له شغل”
I said with a shrug.

“يمكن خايفة اختها تفضحها بشي”
Lulu suggested.

“والله يصير تصدقين؟”
I said. If Muneera knew about Hamad, I did too.

My phone pinged on the table.

“Sorry,” I said to Lulu who seemed really interested in our topic.

Khalid: babe adry it’s wednesday bas bamur akhthech min ilgahwaa o net3asha bara okay?

I bit my lip.

Me: ee sure, meta betmur?

Khalid: 30 mins?

Me: khoush I’ll be waiting xx

“خالد بيمرني عشان اتعشى معاه”
I said and Lulu wiggled her brows.

“Exciting wallah,” she said and I shrugged.

“Wallah a7esa he’s head over heels ma3aach!” she said and I chuckled but her smile faded and she furrowed her brow.

She sensed something was wrong.
I did a terrible job at faking my chuckle.

“قلت شي غلط؟”
She asked, placing her fingers over mine.

“لا كلش”
I said, chuckling again.

“…فجر في شي؟”
She said and I bit my lip tentatively.

“لا ماكو”
I lied and she rolled her eyes.

“فجور، عن الجذب يالله…شصاير؟”
She said, placing her hand on mine.

I really needed someone to talk to, and my sister Fouz was already so busy with her own life that I couldn’t burden her.
I didn’t trust Danah anymore so I only had Lulu to talk to. I was closer to her than to Danah now.

I sighed gave in.

“لولو اللي بقوله خليه بيني وبينج تكفين لا يطلع”
I said and she nodded vehemently, ready to feast on the secret.

I took a deep breath before I spoke.

“فقبل يمكن ست اشهر تعرفت على شخص ما المفروض احس شي معاه…”
I began, not looking at her.

“وبين كل فترة وفترة اشوفه وكل ما اشوفه احس بشعور غريب…وايد ارتحتله لولو واعتقد اني ارتحتله اسرع من ما ارتحت مع خالد”
I began to say and her eyes were wide in shock now at was she was hearing. I paused, worried she would scold me for being so stupid with how I felt.

“انزين؟”
She said, pausing for me to continue.

 “اللي بينا كان وايد واضح عقب فترة وادري اني مستحيل اكون معاه فتهاوشنا عقب ما قلنا شنحس فيه attractionال”
I said, looking at the door every five seconds hoping none of the girls would walk in.

“بعدين شفنا بعض بدبي…بالمؤتمر وسألني اذا نقدر نتعشي مع بعض وقلتله اي…لأن ادري مستحيل اخلي شي يصير بينا بس هم انا الحمارة غلطت وطبعا تهاوشنا اخر العشا عقب ما استانسنا فيه لأن مستحيل نكون بس رفجان والحين احس بشعور يلوع الجبد واني خنت خالد بس لولو والله مادري شسوي عشان انسا هذاك والله ابي انساه…انا مع خالد خلاص”
I said before I sighed.

She ogled at me for three seconds before speaking.

“امبيه فجر ترى دام وقفتي نفسج حده عادي ما تقدرين تتحكمين باللي تحسين فيه…الحين يدري انج مخطوبة؟”
She asked me.

“اي قلتله على اخر العشا”
I said with a gulp.

“خلاص عيل…لازم يحترمج ولو كان يبيج صج جان تقدملج صح؟”
She asked me.

I bit my lip.

“صح”
I said, I held back the “married yet single” part.

“It’s messed up…adry. Bas wallah I’m trying to move on…” I said.

“لا ادري…بس كلش ما اشوفج غلطتي دام نهيتو اللي بينكم”
She said.

“Wallah just give it time o you’ll move on,” she said and I nodded.
I was so glad she didn’t scold me or make me feel even worse than I’d felt about the whole thing. I smiled at her before my eyes landed on the door that was being opened.

Sarah and Mariam walked through the door now and greeted us with their usual “Helloooo’s”. We hugged each other and Lulu and I acted as if we hadn’t just discussed my deepest secret.

They sat down in their usual seats while Lulu and I immediately started talking about Muneera’s wedding to change the subject in front of them.

“؟giveawaysاي امبيييه تدرون جم دفعو حق ال”
Mariam said and I honestly couldn’t care less.

Khalid: love I’m out

“يا جماعة انا استأذن بس بطلع اتعشى مع خالد”
I said with a smile.

“وااااي يا ملقج”
Sarah said, rolling her eyes and I laughed. My eyes caught Lulu’s but her lips lifted into a smile, like my secret was safe with her and I smiled back.

Another weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I walked outside the cafe and into Khalid’s Defender.

“Hey,” I said as I got in.

“ها مداج؟”
He asked me.

“اي اشوه لحقت على باجي البنات…وين ودك؟”
I asked him as he started to drive.

“امشي ناكل بالمكان؟”
He said.

“اي خوش”
I said with a smile.

He parked his car by the sidewalk and we went inside the restaurant, I could feel eyes on us now and my stomach was in knots until I remembered that our engagement was out. Some people still might find it wrong that we were going out together and we weren’t married but at least our relationship was out there.
 The smell of coffee comforted me as we climbed up the stairs to the main seating area. Khalid looked nice and casual in his dishdasha, with his sleeves folded up. I remembered Abdullah at the office…I couldn’t stop remembering him.

“Table for two, please,” I heard him tell the waiter and we were guided to our table. I looked around as if worrying I’d run into Shoug or Abdullah, that would be disastrous.
No one but teenagers and college students.

Khalid sat in front of me and looked around before his eyes landed on mine and I smiled softly.

“عارفة شتطلبين؟”
He asked me.

“Caesar salad,” I said with a smile.

“وبعد؟”
He asked me.

“Spanish latte وبس، شاربة”
I said.

“فجر تكفين لا تسوينلي هالحركات وطلبي شي بعد”
He said with a teasing tone, but I knew there was a hint of seriousness in it and I fought myself from rolling my eyes.

“مادري انت اطلب وانقنق”
I said and he deeply exhaled now like he too was holding his annoyance. He called the waiter and ordered my salad along with two fries and two different burgers which I knew one of them was for me.
Abdullah didn’t do that.

…قجر خلاص انسيه
I told myself.

I looked at Khalid, who was leaning back in his chair and was busy with his phone.

“يالله ناطرتك تسولف”
I teased.

“ماكو والله”
He said, looking up at me for a second.

“وايد حلو شكلج بالعرس على فكرة”
He said, finally remembering something to talk about. I raised my brow.

“شلون شفتني؟”
I said.

“Story Yasmine?” he said like it was obvious. She didn’t ask me for permission to post it on her story where I knew she had other guy cousins on it. I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it, I thought it was just a private snap.

“ما كنت ادري حطته بالستوري”
I said.

“وليش ما تحطه؟ الصورة كانت حلوة”
He said, raising his brows before returning to his phone again.

I was getting more and more annoyed now.
Was it a sign?

“فيه؟ guy cousins ادري بس مو عندها”
I asked him.

“اي بس كلش ما احاتيهم لأني اعرفهم”
He said. That was a very unconvincing excuse.

“انزين؟ بس انا مو مرتاحة”
I said.

“خلاص اكلم ياسمين ولا تزعلين”
He said, leaning in.

“Sorry,” I said, feeling a bit harsh.

The waiter arrived with my salad now and the fries. We ate in silence as I tried to think of things to say but I was afraid that in the mood we were in we would just be more annoyed with each other.

“Burgers, sir,” the waiter said as he placed the two in front of us.

“يالله اخذيلج واحد”
He said and I raised my hand to decline politely. I was full from the Caesar salad.

“اخذه معاي واكله بعدين حدي شبعانة الحين”
I said.

“spanish مرة ثانية عيل لا تاخذين”
He said, clearly trying to hold in his annoyance.

I sighed. I tried to make conversation while he was eating but it was hard with his mouth full so I went on Snapchat and watched stories.

He sipped on his coke turned around to call the waiter and all of a sudden I saw his head shoot straight back at our table. His eyes were wide open like he was taken aback. I looked at the entrance, there wasn’t anyone I knew. Just two guys with a  teenaged girl.

“شفيك؟”
I said with a chuckle.

“لا ولا شي”
He said before he waved to the waiter to come over to our table.

“I’ll have the check please, quickly, ha?” he said and I furrowed my brow in confusion. He didn’t order anything to go and I was worried that if I mentioned that part to him it would make him even more anxious than he was.

“لا صج خالد في شي؟”
I said.

“بس ناسي شغلة لازم سويها بالبيت”
He muttered.

He paid with cash, not bothering to wait for the change and I had to speed walk to keep up with him as he stormed away to the car.

“خالد شوي شوي”
I said as we reached the car.

“آسف”
He said, unlocking the doors. He took a deep breath.

“اعوظج والله”
He said with a chuckle and I smiled in return.

“لاحقين لا تخاف”
I said back.

Why did I feel like he too was hiding something from me?

If You Only Knew Me »

[13 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (32 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Friday, December 9th, 2016…

I hoped I wouldn’t run into Danah or her friends at the bathroom again, it was awkward the first time. I walked back to the bathroom, with three women fixing there makeup but none of them were Danah’s friends.

It was really sweet of Fajer to say hi even if it made things more awkward for the rest of the girls, but it was still nice. She looked a bit distracted…not sad but it was like her mind was somewhere else.
Did Danah agree to tell her? No, Danah didn’t care enough.
Did someone else tell her?
Should I tell her? Danah would kill me if I did, yet Fajer had to know the truth.
I was too scared to say anything at this point. Should I send her a message on instagram? No, it was too serious for a DM.

I sighed and reapplied my lipstick, one of the three Fahad had gotten me and the one he thought was perfect for weddings. He knew me too well.

I finally had a mirror to myself to I opened on snap and struck a pose in my thin-strapped red dress before I sent it to Jana and Fahad. I would never send this to any other guy, though. I was more “exposed” than when I was going swimming and I knew my mother would kill me if she knew I sent a picture of myself to him.

I thought I looked nice in the lighting with my red dress that really flattered my figure as it wrapped my waist.

I captioned it with “lips from my F”

Jana sent me a reply just seconds after I’d sent it.

Jana: manouuuuur hot hot hoooot wallah send to Fahaaad beyiiiiiin!! umbay t3a8deeeeeen!!

She said and I laughed, feeling a hundred times more confident with how I looked.
She was still not over Khalid…and I wouldn’t blame her. She was a bit more lively now but I hoped it wasn’t just a facade, that she was actually getting over him.

I left the restroom and poured myself some tea from the tea section at the “lounge” area outside the restroom.

I saw my old school friends taking pictures by a tree that was part of the decor, they were really loud. I didn’t really miss them much now that I had Jana, who was way cooler. I’d only hung out with them because Rawan did, but truthfully they all just hated each other.

“دوري الحين”
Nouf, my old friend said as she joined the girls for a picture.

I could see Salma, Rawan’s best friend notice me, looking me up and down before she smiled. She looked, unfortunately, stunning in her long black one-shouldered dress.

“منّوووور”
She called out to me.
I kept remembering that time she threw a party and invited everyone but me because she “forgot”, and Rawan actually got Danah to help out. I was never invited.

Me?

I forced a smile, was she actually calling me to join their picture?
I knew my attempt to look pretty was paying off now.

I walked towards her with a smile, pretending nothing had happened between us at all.

“امبييه شخبارج؟ تشوقيين”
She said as she eyed me up and down.

“-مشكو”
I began to say but she cut me off.

“Please 9awreena,” Salma said and I could sense my smile fade. I grabbed her phone and walked a couple of steps back so I could fit all seven girls in the picture.
Typical Rawan and friends behavior.

“One, two…three,” I said as I took a picture for her snapchat story.

“عطيني خنشوفها”
Salma told me as she extended her hand. I obligingly gave her her phone, which she snatched out of my hand. Rude, much?

“Okay thank you,” she said loudly as she looked at me with a dismissing expression.

“منور هذي انتي؟”
Nouf said and I smiled.

“اي”
I replied with a smile.

“!امبيه وايد محلوة”
She said and I beamed.

“مشكورة”
I said, tucking a strand of curled hair behind my ear..

“-شخبارج نوف؟ عاد صج من زم”
I was starting to say but Rawan cut me off.

“انزين امشو ابي ارقص فيني رقص”
Salma said, ignoring me as she grabbed her friends arms and dragged them away from the tree

“!اكلمج بعدين sorry”
Nouf said as Salma tagged her arm and I nodded with a shrug.

I knew she wouldn’t but I didn’t care. I had two people who I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I looked at my phone to see that I’d gotten two snapchat notifications.
Fahad replayed and replied to my snap.

Fahad: shinu hathaaaa manouraaaa!! ga3da tyanineeeni entaaaaay!
jameela jameela jameelaa mashallah egray 3ala nafsech wallah!!

My lips parted into a smile as I texted back.

Me: 7abeebyy Fahad thank youuu

Rawan?
She wasn’t so much competition anymore. I’d won.
Suddenly everyone else didn’t matter anymore.

I went back to my seat, sitting next to my younger cousin who was almost asleep. I got a notification from a new text from Fahad on snap.

Fahad: 3ad rega9taay??

I laughed, he knew how much I hated dancing at weddings.

Me: oooofff 7eta shar8y rega9t

I answered sarcastically.

Fahad: laaa 3ad elaa hathaaa ma ar’6aaa may9eer bs 7agy

I laughed and blushed all over at his reply.

Me: loool khalas no shar8y

Fahad: hehe 3ad raye7 al7een ilshalaih chan zain lo agdar amurech

Me: jaaad yabeelaa wallah!! 

Fahad: 3ala yom enthabe6ha enshallah

Me: eeeh lazem!!

I got a picture of him, looking dashing in his backward cap and plain gray shirt with a smile, his gorgeous gorgeous smile that drove me crazy with his two dimples, and he captioned it with:

 م ج ن

I hid my screen, hoping no one would notice him and I captured the snap.
My initials.
Those were my initials!
The best part?
It was on his story.

Me: ف ي ب! احبك والله يا بختي فيييك

I sent him.
The ballroom suddenly dimmed and I put my phone in my clutch.
It was announced that the groom would be coming in so almost everyone covered themselves up either in just their shawls or in their hijab and abaya.

 I saw Danah and her friends across the ballroom. Danah was stunning, as was Fajer, I couldn’t help but stare at how gorgeous she was. I couldn’t help but envy them, they looked like had everything they could want…from afar. I knew something about Fajer that would have everyone feeling sorry for her. Not everything was as it seemed.

We waited for the groom to come in then take pictures with his family and the bride’s family before they went off to the buffet, akheeran!

I sent the capture of Fahad’s story to Jana and added “umbaaaaay!!!”

People started to leave the ballroom to go to the buffet, and I left the stands to meet up with my mother to leave.

I looked around for her, but I couldn’t find her.

I did find Danah though with a circle of girls around her age, each one more gorgeous than the other. Tall, skinny, drop dead gorgeous with the most beautiful dresses that cost more than I could imagine.
There were exactly the type of people my sister only befriended, people who seemed like they had it all.
Now I understood.

“يالله منيرة خلنمشي”
My mother said as she appeared next to me.

“ودانة؟”
I asked her.

“بتروح عند رفيجاتها”
My mother explained as we walked together to the car.

Danah was in control of everything. She didn’t have curfews anymore…and I wasn’t convinced it was freedom that my parents gave her as much as it was how headstrong she was. She really was intimidating.

“واي يالله خلنرد ننام”
She muttered mostly to herself as soon as she sat down.

I went on my phone and refreshed my snap stories. .

“ما شاء الله شحلوها فجر الف…هي اللي مخطوبة صح؟”
She asked me.

“اي”
I replied.

“محد قالج شي؟”
She asked me.
I gulped.
She knew about Khalid too?

“نفس شنو؟”
I asked her.

“ان شكلج حلو او بدلتج حلوة؟”
She asked me and I sighed in relief.

“امم…بس فجر”
I told her with a chuckle, laughing at the irony.

“وشعرفج فيها؟ خبري دانة ما ترضينلج تقعدين معاهم”
She said, as if this behavior was completely fine.

“gymاي بس معاي بال”
I explained.

“ايي”
She said with a nod.

We finally got home and I said goodnight to my mother before I went to my room, where I sat in my bed.

Jana: umbaaaaaay chathabaaaaa manouuroo shemsawya feeeeh??

Me: 9aaaa7? eyanin eyanin wallaaah

Jana: redeeelaa b shay qawi!!

Me: janouuuuy maby aftha7 nafsi ashkara ra7 ybayeeen o y3arfoun ilnaas

Jana: laa ya bgara bas 7agaaa

I was confused.

Me: shinu ghasdich?

Jana: send him shay chethyy sexy o 7ag bas 5 seconds!!

I bit my lip tentatively. The most “intimate” we’d gotten was drinking from the same straw and that was it.

Me: madry wallaah 

Jana: 5 seconds bas nazlay wa7ed mn your dress strap 9adgeeny beyin 3alaihaa bas oo pout your lips!!

Me: umbay madryy bas okk

I went on snapchat and  I reapplied my lipstick so my lips seemed plumper and colorful. I inhaled as I let one of the straps of my dress fall against my shoulder and focused the camera right below my nose so my whole face wasn’t showing. I parted my lips so they’d appear fuller, pouted slightly and took the snap.

Jana was right…it really was sexy.

I took a deep breath and counted to five before I sent him the picture and waited for his reply.

Fahad replayed your snap!
Fahad is typing…
Fahad sent you a message!

My heart was thumping loudly now behind my chest.

Was this really happening??

I beamed at the screen before I counted to thirty and opened his message.

Fahad: la la la….
Fahad: entay shinu ga3da etsaweeen feeny
Fahad: lat3athbeeny chethy muneeraa
Fahad: ga3ed amouuut!!!

I smiled and felt my body rush with adrenaline at the excitement and my brain was so warm and fuzzy from his words. I remembered wanting his approval and now I had it.

Me: janooouy yan 3alaihaaa!!

Jana: send him shay sexier…khaleee eyiiiin

Me: nafs shinuuu??

Jana: kentay labsaa fur coat aw shay?

Me: eeeh laish?

Jana sent me an image of a woman, photographed from the lips down covering herself from the chest down with a fur coat.
It looked perfect and I smiled. Too much? I was so over the moon that I would do anything to get that feeling again.

I felt a rush of excitement run through me and I unzipped my dress, letting it fell to the floor and grabbed my fur coat.

I bit my lip as I hesitated to take the next picture, but I remembered how much he liked the last one and how he was traveling in a few months…and I didn’t want him to leave me. He was all I had.

I placed the phone above me as I got ready to take the picture. I took a picture of me from the nose down and to just below my breasts, which I covered up with my the fur vest. I did the same pose as the last picture I’d sent him so the contrast of my dark red lips and black fur was amazing.

I inhaled, bit my lip and sent it to him with a time limit of five seconds.

I didn’t know if I regretted it but what was for sure that I was avoiding his reaction, what if he thought I was cheap? I wore my pajamas and took off my makeup before I sat on my bed again to see the notifications.

Fahad sent you a message!

Fahad: ….
Fahad: manoura madry shagoul…
Fahad: ga3da tyaneneeeny wallah
Fahad: akhhhh akhhh basss ashwanich mo yamyy wala chan ma mesakt nafsy!!
Fahad: manouuuuuurr intaaaaay dinyitiiiii wili feehaaaaaa a7ebeeech!!

I smiled brightly, feeling relieved as I read his message.

Me: wallaaah i loveyou so muuuch!!

I sent him.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.

If You Only Knew Me »

[12 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (31 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Sorry for the late post, didn’t realize I would be out for this long!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Friday, December 9th, 2016…

I was never this nervous for a wedding before.

It was the first wedding I would be going to since my engagement was announced, and I knew people would point me out. If there was news about you, people would stare you head to toe and comment on everything they think about you to whoever it was they were gossiping about you to.

That was why I had to look my best tonight. I wore a jumpsuit that Danah specifically overlooked the design of for me. It was made of expensive gold material with intimate detail, that was mind blowing. It was snug on my body, bringing out just the right amount of curves. It was sleeveless, so my mother’s turquoise shone brightly on my chest. I parted my hair in the middle and straightened it for once, but I made sure to trim the ends to guarantee my hair would all be the same length.

My makeup was gold themed and perfectly applied, contrasting against my dark brown eyes. I wore a pair of 6-inch gold heels and absolutely loved how I looked, I had Danah to thank for it.

I walked with Lulu, who picked me up, and checked out our reflection in the lobby before the ballroom. Lulu looked so pretty in her orange one-shouldred dress that looked incredible with her curly hair, her hair was definitely a part of her look.

“يالله؟”
I said, as soon as I ran a hand through my hair and was convinced with how I looked.

“اي يالله”
She said, ushering me to walk first so she would follow me. Typical Lulu.
We walked into the ballroom, greeting the line of the bride and groom’s close family members. The bride was my friend Muneera from college, who also happened to be Danah’s distant cousin.

“بالمبارك”
I told the bride’s mother, whom I recognized.

“الله يبارك فيج حبيبتي، بنت نادية، العروس؟”
She asked me and I smiled brightly.

“اي”
I said.

“انا اقول، يا حلوج والله سلمي على الوالدة والله يوفقج”
She said.

“يوصل ان شاء الله مشكورة”
I replied with a smile .

I didn’t know why I got a pang of guilt each time someone congratulated me. My mind went back to Dubai with Abdullah…a memory I tried to repress.

I had to move on…I just had to.

“وين نقعد؟”
Lulu whispered to me as I looked around for my friends. Each time I looked at someone I caught them looking right back, my theory was right. The attention was a bit too much. I caught a girl chewing gum and snaring at me, while staring up and down.

I guess I looked that good and I smiled to myself.

If only Abdullah saw me…

I thought.

I froze in my steps.

Khalid.

If only Khalid. saw me…

I tried to convince myself, I was so confused.
So beyond confused.

My eyes fell on girls waving their arms at us.
I saw Mariam and Yasmine sitting in the middle row with beaming faces.

 “كاهم”
I said to Lulu as I smiled to them.

We walked towards them and they got up excitedly to greet us.

“!!فجر”
Yasmine screeched as she suffocated me in a hug.

“!كلبة تشوقين”
I told her, admiring her black and white cocktail dress.

“wow شوفي منو يتكلم بس، جد”
Yasmine said as she looked me up at down and I blushed under her gaze.

“من الحين best dressedطبعا عارفين منو ال”
Mariam said as she hugged me.

“Waay Mariaaaam!” I said as I hugged her. She wore a gorgeous maroon one-shouldered gown, her hair was up in an elegant ponytail.

I watched them hug Lulu before we all sat down.

“ما شاء الله كل شي يعقد”
I said as I looked around.

The ballroom was dressed in pink and gold vines, along with some light shades of green. It was so pretty to see and I couldn’t help but wonder what my wedding would be like.

“جنها سارة اللي هناك؟”
Lulu said, pointing at a girl wearing a short white dress.

“اي”
I said as I waved to her.
We watched her walk up the steps to join us in the seats.

“Hellooo!” she said as she hugged us all.

My phone buzzed on my lap.

Danah: minu ya?

I texted her back,

ilkel yaa. wainich??

Danah: yam the coffee area, just fixed the decor. I’m coming now.

I saved a seat for Danah next to me as I watched some women dance to the songs while I clapped my hands to the beat of the music.

“كاهي دندون كلبة تينن”
Yasmine said, looking at a gorgeous Danah by the door. She was wearing a long sleeved black dress that was also off shoulder, showing off her prominent collar bones. Her super short hair was pulled away from her face, while her makeup brought out her feminine features. She looked breathtaking.

“Wow,” I said.

“صح؟”
Lulu agreed.

“اهلا اهلا”
Danah said as she walked by us. I could hear girls behind me say her name.

“شهالزين دندون”
I said as I hugged her.

“امبيه فجور طلعت خيااال”
She said as she looked at my jumpsuit, and I smiled.

“دانة الديكور ف-ضييييع”
Yasmine said.

“اي يعقد، دانوه”
Lulu agreed as she looked around.

“Thank you!” Danah said.

“يالله قعدي نبي نمدحج بعد”
Lulu said as she scooted for her and Danah chuckled.

“لازم اسلم وبعدين اجييك على مكان البوفيه”
Danah said before she turned around and said a loud “Hi” to some woman waiting to greet her.

“Celebrity wallah,” I told the girls as I sat down with a chuckle.

“جد”
Lulu agreed.

“يا جماعة شرايكم نروح نرقص دام بدى ينترس الميد؟”
Sarah suggested.

“اي يالله”
We agreed before we got down to dance to

“فجر”
Yasmine yelled in my ear while she grabbed my hand.

“امي تبييج تعالي”
She said, taking me to my future mother-in-law.
I kept a smile on my face as I knew my mother-in-law was definitely pointing me out to her friends or relatives as we walked to her.

“هلا خالتي غنيمة”
I said as I kissed her cheeks, she held me by the arms as she looked at me lovingly like I was her second daughter.

“اسم الله عليج لا قوة الا بالله تهبلين”
She said and I smiled, feeling a blush appear on my cheeks.

“تعالي سلمي على عمات خالد وبنات عمه”
She said, holding my hand to guide me through the seats.

“هذه عمته هدى”
She said, pointing me to an older woman who was still watching me like the rest of the women I was going to be introduced to.

 His mother showed me around, announcing my name loudly and looking around to see if anyone was noticing me. I was a bit uncomfortable with the unwanted attention but I guessed it was part of being a bride-to-be.

“امشي رقصي معاي”
Khalty Ghanimah said as she grabbed my hand to pull me to the dance floor, where I knew Khalid’s relatives would still be watching me. Did they know he drank? He told me he would stop and I honestly trusted him, especially with how he looked at me when I broke down. He really thought it was only because of the drinking but it wasn’t.

I forced a smile as I danced next to my mother-in-law and I was lucky to know how to dance. I would die if I didn’t.

Lulu wiggled her brows at me as she passed me and I lightly nudged her, to which she laughed.
The song seemed like it wouldn’t end as I continued to dance next to my mother in law, and Yasmine joined us last minute.

“شعلييج جنج صكيتي على دانة”
She muttered to me.

“شفتي؟”
I said.

“Welcome to our family,” she said with a chuckle.

” ناطرينج تيين الزوارة my cousins والله ترى كل”
She said and I laughed.

Guilt set in deeper. I wanted to go sit down, as I felt trapped between Khalid’s mom and sister.

This is where I belong. With Khalid, I’m a perfect fit and they all love me already…

I told myself.

The song finally ended and I didn’t feel so suffocated anymore. I went back with Yasmine to the girls.

“كبرنا ها؟”
The girls teased as I sat down, knowing my face was beet red by now.

“جب جب بس”
I said as I looked at my feet.

“واي ما بغيتي”
Mariam said as Danah sat next to us, finally.

“اي خلصت، ترى العروس بتدش”
She told us.

“اخيرا”
Yasmine said and I chuckled.

I looked around the huge ballroom. It was now full. I could see girls with me from high school in one corner and girls with me from college in another. I also thought I spotted my distant cousins somewhere.

هب السعد started to play and the bride walked in, smiling and looking beautiful in her wedding dress. Her train was the longest and prettiest I’ve seen. She smiled at the cameras, and then at the guests. If she was nervous, she didn’t show it at all.

That would be me in a couple of months’ time. That really would be me.

Danah stood up and walked to the bride, who was her cousin, Muneera.

“هذي وين بتروح بعد؟”
Sarah asked as we watched her walk down the steps. Danah started to even out her cousin’s train, since it was really long. I knew a lot of people were watching her and I couldn’t help but wonder how if what I’d heard about her with Hamad were actually true. Both my cousins Shaikha and Najla confronted me about it…and that had to mean something.

“فجور صفقي شفيج”
Lulu muttered to me as the clapping part of the song was playing. I was pulled out of my trance but then I started to clap, and smile. The bride’s cousins, including Danah encircled her as she stood by the kosha. They were a large family so it was really cute seeing everyone so happy.

Would my wedding be like this?
I couldn’t help but wonder…

We clapped as the زفة finished and the guests went back to their seats, Danah included.

“امشو خلنروح الحمام”
Danah said as she stood up.

“انتي ما تركدين؟”
Sarah said.

“ما تشوفينها عصلة؟”
Lulu said.

“قومو بس قومو”
Danah replied as we stood up.

We followed her out of the ballroom to the restroom, which was perfectly decorated too. They paid so much attention to the decoration that even the soap dispensers had gold and pink vines wrapped around it.

“Wow Danah,” I said, impressed that the theme was everywhere, and she just smiled, like she was so used to compliments.

A girl in a purple cape dress smiled at Danah before she walked out of the bathroom.

“تعرفينها؟”
Lulu asked her and Danah shook her head. We looked around to notice we were pretty much the only ones in this section of the restroom.

“بدلتها تضييق الخلق”
Sarah said and the girls laughed.

“انتي طافج المكياج الضيم بس”
Danah said, making fun of the girl who just smiled at Danah.

“حرام ترى شكلها حليوة”
I said.

“لا حبيبتي شكلها يضييق الخلق”
Sarah said again and the girls laughed again. I didn’t and pretended to be busy with my lipstick.

A girl in a short red dress walked in with a smile on her face as her hands were on her phone. She looked familiar…until I realized who she was.

“منيرة؟”
I couldn’t help but blurt out. She looked up to see me and smiled, before widening her eyes as she realized Danah was right with us.

“Hi!” I said warmly, if not enthusiastically.
“شخبارج؟”
I said as I hugged her anyway. I could sense Danah glare behind us but I couldn’t care less.

“زينة”
She said with a nervous smile, and I noticed she was trying not to look at Danah.

“ما شاء الله تشوقين”
I said, looking at her outfit top to bottom. She looked really pretty…I liked how unique her features were…she would look stunning in a couple of years, to me, at least. The almond shaped eyes, the uniquely shaped nose and her small bowed lips were all memorable.

“Thank you, intay ba3ad”
She said and I smiled before joining the girls, who were staring at us weirdly. Muneera left the restroom and I knew it was because she felt uncomfortable being around her sister and her friends.

“فجور منو هذي؟”
Sarah said and I looked at Danah, who was reapplying her lipstick.
كيفها.

“اخت دانة”
I said and Lulu gaped at me, wondering if I did something wrong.
I was only saying the truth.

دانة دانة؟ يالله عاد”
Mariam said.

“اي”
I said, not going back on my decision to show them who Danah’s sister was.

“من متى عندها اخت؟”
Mariam asked?

“من ١٦ سنة”
I said but the girls didn’t seem to believe me. Danah was straight up glaring at me now and her jaw was tense.
I couldn’t care less.

“دانوه صج هذي اختج؟”
Sarah said.

“اي”
Danah said with a sigh as she stood up and put her lipstick back in her clutch.

“يالله عاد”
Yasmine said.

“Mmm…”
Danah only said, and her face was unreadable. Lulu only looked at them and then back at me, wondering if I had done anything wrong.

“انزين يالله امشو”
Danah added.

The girls all walked outside the bathroom, while Danah waited until they left and I were the last two.

“شكو تسلمين عليها جدامهم وتقولينلهم انها اختي؟”
Danah said in a low voice, she looked really pissed.
Guess what, I was equally pissed too. Especially after how terrified Muneera looked.

“متى ما اسلم عليها اسلم عليها، وهي مو اختج؟ انا بس قلت الصج”
I said. I really couldn’t hold myself.

“Danah, Fajer yallah!” Yasmine yelled as the girls squeezed in for a picture. Danah rolled her eyes at me as she walked past me to the girls and I followed, standing at the other end of where she was.

I forced a smile as each of the girls took photos from their own phones, except me and Danah.

“please الحين بس انا ومرت اخوي”
Yasmine said, and a pang of guilt hit my stomach and a wave of nausea ran through me. We weren’t married yet and she was already calling me her in-law.
She wrapped her arm around my waist and I did the same as we posed for the picture. My mouth was starting to hurt and that was when I knew I was genuinely faking it.

“اتينن”
Mariam said and Sarah, next to her agreed.

“يالله انا وياسمين الحين”
Lulu said with a smile and I walked away from them to go back to my seat. I didn’t realize Danah was walking right next to me and I grabbed her hand.

“ليش ما ادري؟ my best friend انزين عادي افهم ليش الموضوع وايد حساس عندج؟…دانوه انتي”
I asked her,

“ماكو شي”
She snapped.

“دانة”
I said again.

“فجر تدرين اني اعزج اكثر منهم”
She said, looking at the girls still taking photos.

“فتكفين لا تخربين علاقتنا عشان هالسالفة”
Danah said, looking at me with an annoyed expression.

I didn’t say anything back.
How could I trust her if she kept so many things away from me? Especially those that really showed who she was as a person.

“Danah?” a woman wearing a black and white dress stopped Danah.

“Oh hi!” Danah said as she hugged her.

I looked at my phone, wondering if I should wait for Danah or go back to my seat.

“Danah mashallah I was just telling ikhty shloun everything is perfect,” Danah’s friend said. I’d definitely heard her voice before.

I looked up and gulped.

Shoug.
Abdullah’s wife. Or ex. But officially, his wife.

She looked at me and parted her lips for two seconds before she turned back to Danah.  Her light brown hair was in a bun with a part in the middle. She was more tanned than I’d last seen her. Even Danah noticed that there was something in the air…tension…or aggression?

“…،اوه شوق هذي فجر الف…فجر هذي شوق الخ”
Danah said.

“اهلين حبيبتي شلونج؟”
She said as she extended her hand. I could feel her eyes burn into mine…like she was trying to intimidate me and the worst part was that it was working.

“الحمدلله بخير انتي شلونج؟”
I said as I took her hand in.
It was so cold.

“الحمدلله”
She simply said with a fake smile before she turned to Danah again.

“Dandoun let me know when we can have a meeting 3ashan I can organize it with my staff o we have to grab coffee 3ala youm!” Shoug said, glancing at me.

My stomach really hurt now.

“Perfect,” Danah said.

“See you,” Shoug told her before she walked away, giving me one last glare.
My heart was really racing now against my chest I didn’t know how I seemed calm.

“منو هذي؟”
I asked Danah, hoping to know something I didn’t.
How did they even know each other?

“Shoug Al-K…..”
She explained.

“اي بس منو هي؟”
I said.

“Interior designer, o I think fashion designer ba3ad,” she explained.

“اها، ويهها مو غريب علي”
I said as we walked back to our seats.

Would she tell Danah anything? Did she already tell Danah anything?
I felt my breath shorten as a response to my heart beating faster. It was cold but heat was soaring through my body in panic.

There was no one I could say anything to…no one could know.

I sat back down in my seat and grabbed my phone to calm myself down.

I went on Snapchat to watch stories of tonight’s wedding. Apparently lots of people I knew were here too, but I didn’t see them. Or maybe I was too worried about everything to.

I loaded Yasmine’s snap story and my stomach did that same twist as it did whenever I felt immense guilt in me.

love you 7amatyyy!!

She captioned. I captured the snap and replied to it with “I love you too” out of decency, but truly I deleted the picture right after I screenshot it and stuffed the phone in my clutch.

Whether it was from my lack of sleep, the coffee, or my worrying, I didn’t know where my head was at at all, I didn’t know where my heart was either.

•••

So I have to ask you guys, who’s your favorite girl character and who’s your favorite guy character from the story?

If You Only Knew Me »

[11 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (30 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Thank you all for the comments on the last post, can’t wait to read your comments again xx

Dedicated to my faithful reader Z! 

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Thursday, December 8th, 2016…

“اهلا، اي انا وصلت…وصلت؟”

I said to Fahad over the phone. I held my black clutch tighter as I looked around the Palms, slightly nervous for this “date” with him. I real did not want to disappoint him. I just wanted it to be perfect, more for him than for me.

“chocolate bar أي كاني جدام 


He said and I looked around until I saw him, looking dashing in a pair of dark jeans and gray shirt. His lips pulled up into a smile, which were framed by his two deep dimples as he looked at me through his warm eyes.


I hung up as I walked to him, feeling confident in my pink jacket which I paired with black pants and a white shirt and pair of ankle-high boots. My hair was curled at the ends and my makeup was simple yet it brought out my features. I had to wear one of his lipsticks, of course.

I watched him look at me up and down as I approached him and I smiled, but to myself. I couldn’t believe he actually liked what he was seeing…actually I was just starting to. I truly felt beautiful when I was with him.


“شكلج حلو”
He said with a smile, looking up to meet my eyes. 


“وكل مرة لا؟”

I teased and he laughed.


“اليوم بعد احلى”

He said and I smiled.


“شكلك حلو بعد”

I said and he smiled, and maybe it was dark but I thought I saw him blush.


“وين تبين ناكل؟”

He asked me and I looked around, indecisively. I remembered Jana when she told me that guys liked a girl who knew what she wanted and made things easy. I just had to be that person. 

“chocolate bar تشوقت جنى ودي”

I said.


“أي تصدقين انا بعد”

He agreed.


I was glad he chose this spot because I was more than sure we wouldn’t run into anyone here. He opened the door for me and I walked in before him with a smile. We walked up the stairs and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was staring at my body as I walked up the stairs. I hoped he found me attractive. 

“وين تبين؟”
He asked as soon as we reached the first floor. 
I gulped as I looked around, wondering if there was anyone we knew. The coast was clear. This was risky but it gave me a rush.

“هني؟”
I said, walking to a corner window seat and he sat in front of me.

This was really happening. The waitress welcomed us and placed the menus in front of us but I already knew what to get.

“Pink pasta?”I suggested.

“Oo fries,” he agreed and I smiled.


“اكيييد” 

I said.


He called for the waiter to take our orders, ordering a chocolate milkshake for him and a Diet Coke for me.

He put down his phone to look at me and I felt goosebumps rise up and down my hands. 

I had a good feeling that I was never going to get used to how he made me feel when his eyes were locked on mine. How the corner of his lip went up when he saw me. It was those little things that sent waves of attraction washing over me and I couldn’t get enough of them.


“مرة ثانية يا تاخذني معاك او لا تخليني فترة طويلة”
I taunted and he laughed.


“الحين خمسة ايام فترة طويلة؟”

He teased.


“طبعا”

I said and he smiled.


“عيل شنو بتسويين لي سافرت أمريكا حق الجامعة؟”

He said and I immediately sat up straight.


“!فهد لا تذكرني”

I said and he smiled.


“بس عشان تهيئين نفسج…”

He said and I bit my lip.


“راح تنساني صح؟”

I said and he leaned in.


“انا انساج؟ انسى نفسي قبل لاانساج”

He said and I felt my lips part as his sentiment. 
He really was everything.


The waiter arrived with the drinks in front of us.

“لا تفكرين شنو بيصير، استانسي الحين”

He said and I nodded, but part of me was dreading the future. How was I going to deal with him being gone?


My phone vibrated on the table.


Jana: manouur shloun the date??


I felt guilty when she called it that but I guessed it really was a date. I told my mother I was going with Jana to the cinema and I didn’t know how she trusted me, not after Rawan had told her about me and Fahad at the carnival.


“ما تفكرين تدرسين برة؟”

He said and I shrugged. 

“ان شاء الله اهلي يرضون, تخيل لو الحق عليك السنة الياية؟”

I said and he smiled.


“جد حاولي…انزين يالله متى بتيين الشاليه؟ يبيلنا سباق جت سكي”

He said.


“الوضع صار bucket list”

I teased and he laughed.


“اوووف بس ترى والله وايد ارتاحلج واستانس معاج”

He said and I smiled…he couldn’t be real!


“ليش جنج مو مصدقتني؟”

He said, wiggling his brows and I laughed.


“مادري لأنك فهد الب….”

I said.


“وانتي منيرة الن… شنو يعني؟”

He said and I smiled. He literally could have any girl he wanted yet he chose me. I bit my lip as I asked him the next question I’d been wondering for a while.



He took a sip of his milkshake.

“عاد طلبته بهالبرد؟”
I teased.

“شسوي لذيييذ”
He said with a chuckle.

“عليك بالعافية”
I said.

“جربي وقوليلي اذا يسوى تطلبينه بهالبرد”
He said, pushing the glass lightly towards me and I froze. 

There was no second straw. 

I placed my lips on the straw that once touched his and took a sip.

It really was amazing and I knew it wasn’t just because of the milkshake. 

“جد لذيذ…اخذه قبل لا اخلصه عنك”
I said with a laugh, pushing it to him and he smiled.

I watched him drink from the straw again and goosebumps ran up my arms. It wasn’t because of the cold. The waitress arrived with a plate of fries and placed it in front of me. 

I bit my lip hesitantly, wondering if I should ask him the next question.

There was no better time than now. 

 “فهد كله بسألك شرايك بروان بنت خالتي؟”

I asked him as the waiter placed the dish of pink pasta right in front of us.


“من أي ناحية؟”

 He asked, grabbing my plate to place some pasta on it before handing it to me.


“مادري يعني كان بينكم شي؟ لأن كله تسولف عنك”

I said and he looked at me blankly before bursting out in laughter.


“انا وروان؟ يصير خير. شفتي اخوها اول شي عشان اقرب صوبها؟ تبيني اموت؟”

He said and I laughed. Her brother, my cousin, was a large guy.


“بس لو مو محمد جان صار شي؟”

I said, taking a bite of the hot pasta. It still tasted good.


“لا ما اعتقد…يعني هي حلوة بس ما شدتني لدرجة ان ودي اتعرف عليها. قاعدة تحاتين؟”

He asked me, raising a brow.


“لا والله كلش بس لأن لو تشووف شلون تتكلم عنك بس.”

I said.


“انتي وايد معاها عيل؟”

He asked me and I shook my head.


“اول أي لأن كنا بنفس المدرسة بس الحين لا، صايرة ما تنبلع”

I said as I poked the pasta with my fork and he burst out laughing.

“انزين دام اني بطلت الموضوع خل اسكره وافتح موضوع ثاني، شرايك بمبارة مدريد امس؟”

I said and he looked up, surprised.


“تشوفين مباراة؟”

He asked me, raising his brows.


I didn’t. I just knew he loved Real Madrid so I kept myself updated for him.


“أمم أي؟”

I said, in the most “duh” voice possible and a smile formed on his face while his eyes relaxed, like he was liking me even more.


“منو تشجعين؟”

He asked.


“Real Madrid 6ab3an!”

I said and he laughed, impressed by my answer.


“كفو والله”

He said.


I knew him now, I knew him better than Rawan ever did and more than anyone else would. 

“مالك وايد الحين صح؟ your tumblr سؤال ما تستخدم”
I asked him and he nodded.

“الوضع صار مصخرة شوي”
He said.

“صح؟”
I agreed.

“…مالج blogبس حبيت ال”
He said as he chewed on a french fry.

“وايد حلو وماكو خرابيط حب وجذي نفس باجي البنات”
He said and I laughed. Rawan reblogged pictures of couples making out all the time. I was loving every moment of this date.

“اها وما تحب سوالف الحب؟”
I teased, placing my arms on the table and leaning in towards him teasingly.
How did I get so good at this? Maybe it was because of how easy it was to talk to him.

“كلّش”
He said with a wink.

“اكيد يعني friends احنا بس”
I teased again and this time he couldn’t hold in his laughter.

“قلتلج ما ينفع معاج المغازل”
He said with a twinkle in his eye and I smiled.

“ها نطلب حلو؟”
He asked.

“لا مشكور انا حلّيت”
I said, holding in a smile as I looked at him.

“طلبي بس طلبي يالله”
He teased and I laughed.

“وتقول انا ما ينفع معاي المغازل؟”
I said.

“Oo aby gooey cake please,” I added with a wink and he laughed.

“حاضر”
He said as he called the waitress to order our dessert.

“ها وين المرة الياية ان شاء الله؟”
I said with a smile.

“قلتلج الشاليه”
He said, leaning in towards me.

“اها وايد سهل”
I teased and he chuckle before leaning back. He looked at me, like really looked at me as if he was admiring my features that I’d once hated.
With him, I felt different.
With him, everything felt right.

“ما قلتلي شصار باللنج؟”
I asked him as soon as his eyes wandered elsewhere and his face lit up in excitement as he began to tell me about the speedboat he’d been dreaming of getting. I watched his eyes light up as he talked about it, how his hands moved to express his feelings and I had to smile at his passion. I wondered if he would ever talk about me that way.

“Gooey chocolate cake,” the waitress interrupted us as she placed it right in front of us.

“الله يستر”
He said as he looked at the dessert and I laughed.

We devoured the dessert together, fighting here and there with our spoons over the last few drops of ice-cream that was melting in the dish.

“امبيه شتبي انا خذيته اول”
I said.

“توج ماخذة لا تجذبين”
He said as his spoon flicked my spoon away.

“نطلب واحد ثاني؟”
I teased with a smile that I knew what covered in chocolate and he laughed.

“يالله عاد يالله”
He teased back and I put my spoon away. My stomach was going to explode.

“امبيه خيال”
I said.

“…ان حاشني حارج يا منيرة”
He said and I laughed.

“بس على الأقل بتذكرني صح؟”
I teased and he laughed this time.

I looked at my phone, it was almost 9:30 and I knew I had to go.

He paid for the dinner and opened the door for me, like a true gentleman.


“See you youm ila7ad, wallah I had fun!” I said, I was careful about not being seen with him in front of the driver so he wouldn’t rat on me. Or maybe I was paranoid…


“انا اكثر، لازم نعيدها”

 He said and I smiled.



“اكيد”
I said before I turned around. 

“سايقج وصل؟”
He asked me.

“ما اشوفه تصدق؟”
I said, standing on my tip toes. 
I called Freddy only to learn that he was stuck in traffic. 

“امبيه يحر قلتله يكون هني على ال٩ وربع”
I said.

“ميخالف خل نمشي نهضم شوي”
He said.

“عن الحارج ها؟”
I teased and he threw his head back in laughter.

“عن الحارج”
He said as he placed his hands in his pockets and I followed him with a smile. 

The weather was not too cold but perfect for walking outside since we were both well dressed.

“عادي تتأخرين ولا لازم ٩:٣٠ بالبيت؟”
He asked me.

“اي حقي انا لازم”
I said while rolling my eyes.

“وباجي اخوانج شلون؟”
He asked with a chuckle.

“اختي طبعا ماكو حدود”
I blurted out with a chuckle.

“ليش جم عمرها؟”
He asked me.

“٢٥”
I replied.

“اها…عندج خوان غيرها؟”
He asked me and I shook my head.

“عيل اكيد انتي وايد معاها”
He said and I laughed, but he scrunched his brows together in confusion.

“Sorry bas 7adaa la2,” I said.

“شلون؟”
He asked me.

“مادري…وايد شايفة نفسها وبس منفسة”
I ranted and he laughed, surprised I was talking that way about my sister. 
We reached the end of the strip now so we turned on our heels to walk back. My eyes were locked on a group of teenaged girls who were clearly judging me and Fahad. 

I smiled at them slyly…

He’s mine, all mine…

“انت شلون اخوانك؟”
I asked him.

“انا بالنص…بس وايد مع بعض لأن احنا بس ٣ اخوان”
He said.

“اشوه ان ما عندي اخو”
I said and he raised his brows.

“افاا ليش؟”
He said and I smiled.

“عشان ما تخترع منه وتوخر عني”
I said, wiggling my brows and he laughed.

“…والله عيارتج”
He laughed again as he shook his head. 

We were right in front of Chocolate Bar again and my phone rang before Freddy hung up to inform me that he was right outside.

“سايقي وصل”
I said as I turned to him and he bit his lip…looking so crazy attractive doing it. 

“جنه بسرعة؟”
He said, tilting his head.

“للأسف”
I said and he smiled, showing off his pearly whites.

“مشكور وايد”
I said.

“حياج منيرة….اشوفج الأحد عيل”
He said ad I nodded.

“الأحد”
I repeated before I turned on my heels to walk to the car.

I hurried as cars behind Freddy were honking for him to move and I was pretty much making them late. As soon as I got in the car I sent a voice message to Jana about my “date”. 
I got a reply back almost instantly…but it wasn’t from Jana. 

wayed wayed estanast ma3ach muneera. youre a very special girl


I was going to burst out smiling.

wallah thank you sooo much fahad it means a lot o you’re the most special person I’ve ever met


He was online, and it was a matter of seconds before he read my message.

Fahad: a7bech wallah


He said it. 

He said it.

Not literally but he wrote it so that had to be true…and he was online while I texted him which meant he was nervous about texting me that. I couldn’t stop smiling as I replied to him.

Me: mo kethry…

The driver park and I walked outside to the garage where I played with Rosegold for a while, still not in disbelief at what Fahad had sent me. I was head over heels in love with him right now.

My phone buzzed in my pocket.

Jana is calling…

“امبيه جنوي لازم اقولج شصار”
I said as I walked into the house.

“تكفييين! امبيه يالله قولي”
She said but I bit my lip as I walked up the stairs to my room.

After her and Khalid I wasn’t sure if it was considerate of me to boast about my relationship with Fahad. It wasn’t fair to her.

“-اكيد؟ اخاف تزعلين عقب امم خا”
I said but she interrupted me.

“امبيه منور من صجج؟ حيل عادي والله يالله سولفي”
She said. I wasn’t entirely convinced but I started to tell her what had happened anyway.
I listened to her screeching every ten seconds and “cuuuute” every five.

“شوفي شنو طرشلي”
I said as I sent her a screenshot of his text to me, but I cropped out my reply.

“جذاااابة”
She said, screeching too.

“عاد منّور تدرييين جم وحدة حاولت تييب راسه؟ يالساحرة شسويتي يما منّج؟”
She said and I laughed, but deep down I was wondering what he saw in me that made him like me this much…I would never know.

What mattered was that we really enjoyed each other’s company. We understood each other. Our conversations were so easy and endless we could get lost in each other’s thoughts.

Jana and I continued to talk until she told me she had to go because her KFC dinner had arrived and she did not want it to get cold.

“bye امبيه تغثين يالله”
I said as we hung up.

I reread Fahad’s text again and I smiled to myself.
He liked me. He really did.

I sat up from my bed and got changed into my pajamas, which were a pair of shorts and oversized shirt. I snuggled into bed to watch Netflix to end the day just right, but much to my luck the Wifi in my wing was really slow due.

“Ufff!” I huffed as I grabbed my macbook air and went outside my room to the living room, hoping for a better signal.

Still nothing, just slight improvement that didn’t do much at all.

I slipped on my house slippers and went downstairs to the guest reception area where I knew the reception was the best in the house. It was already dark as all the lights were off since it was almost 11, except for the ones coming from the stairs leading to Danah’s floor below me.

I was finally able to play the latest episode of Orphan Black.

“لا يالله عاد”
I said, my macbook was on %9 now and I forgot my charger upstairs. I huffed again and unplugged my earphones to get up and slipped on my house slippers again.

As I approached the stairs I kept hearing chuckles coming from Danah’s floor downstairs, and not just her’s but the sound of a man’s too. I gulped and inched near the stairs, careful not to make a sound.

“مليت انحكر يا ببيتي او بشاليهك خلاص ابي اطلع معاك cruiseامبيه حمد يالله كلها قهوة و”
I heard Danah say and I gulped.

“حتى انا والله بس واذا احد شافنا؟ كلّش مو حلوة”
He said.

“شعليك؟ ومنو اصلا بيشوفنا؟ انا بطلع يعني بطلع اذا بتقعد المكان مكانك”
She said and I heard the sound of keys now.
I walked closer to the stairs so I could see them now. I saw Danah, wearing a black shoulder cut-out sweater with black leather leggings that framed her model-like legs with him, Hamad, who looked pretty handsome in a pair of dark jeans and black sweater. Of course she got the good-looking guys.
Then I remembered, I did too.

“راسج شنو يابس”
He teased, placing a hand on my sister’s head and shaking it while she laughed and pushed him away before he wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her forehead.

Who was he and why had he not yet proposed if he was this in love with her?

“اسوق سيارتج؟”
He said, grabbing her keys.

“تعرفلها؟”
She teased and he slapped her from behind and she yelped before he laughed while placing a finger on his lips.

I wasn’t believing my eyes.

The last I saw of them was him opening the door and her blocking his exit as he walked out of the house. Her face was in front of his and a sly smile played her lips as her eyes looked up and down between his eyes and his lips. But before I could see what she was going to do, the door closed, isolating my view from them and I was glad.

I felt sick now. My sister really didn’t have limits with this man, just like Jana didn’t with Khalid. Even if my sister and I weren’t talking I just wished he wouldn’t be playing her just like Khalid did with Jana.
I knew no matter what she would never listen. She never did. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[9 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (29 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
This might be my favorite chapter of the story. I really really enjoyed writing it!


Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Monday, December 5th, 2016…

“Hi Mr. Michael,” I said through the phone as I walked into the crowded hotel lobby. I had to cover my left ear to hear him well.

“Hi Fajer, how is everything? Has the conference started?” my boss asked me.

The conference, in Dubai, was packed with people from all over the world. I had a hard time maneuvering through the crowd at the entrance, especially when security needed to see my badge to let me in.

“Not yet, no,” I said. “It’s really crowded.”

“Yeah, it always is. Have fun! I go every year but I said to myself this time you should go. It’s really interesting!” he said.

“Thank you, I’ll give you my review when it’s over,” I said.

I went on my group chat and complained.

Me: umbay this conference bynba6 waaayid nas o kelhum ajanib ana shayebniii??

Lulu: cham yom?

Me: ashwa just today, galy Mr. Michael mo ila a7thr the workshops

Sarah: betridden tomorrow??

Me: eeee:( omy magdarat tyi 3ashan mama ghanimah o fouzo kshetat feeny akher la7tha:)))

Mariam: wain Khalid waina aaakhhh

Me: looooool 3ashan ubouy yethba7ny??

I put my phone aside as I found a chair by an Indian woman dressed in a pencil skirt and blazer. I felt over kashkha in my reception-level makeup, black jumpsuit, heeled boots, and a black fur vest.

“Hi,” I said as I sat beside her.

I took out my notepad and pencil from my silver YSL bag and went on my phone as I waited for the lecture to start.

“اوله”
I said as I read through all the companies participating in the lectures. At least twenty from all over the globe. I couldn’t spot any from Kuwait, though. This was going to be very long.

Me: Khalid the lecture ymken 3 hours long itha i don’t reply lat7atyy 7abeeby

Khalid: wish I was with you…

I smiled, and I didn’t feel so ashamed about it. We were public and I still had a hard time believing it, like it was finally here.

Me: me too wallah, miss you already

Khalid: miss you more 7ayaty

I smiled as I put my phone away, the lights dimmed and people started to clap.

A guy walked on stage to introduce the conference and later the companies. I wanted to leave already, I could feel my eyes closing but I was paid to come here.

I wrote down notes as much as I could and downed espressos from the coffee machine near me. It was only 2:30 PM…

Me: bamout malaaaal

Danah: layshoufech your boss enich online bas

Me: loool bagoula break…1 hour left 3ala the break bas babchy ilwagt maymuur

Sarah sent me a picture of her with Danah at her office.

Me: tabouny a9ekum block wala shenu??

It took an hour ages to pass, and I had three pages worth of notes down, which was good for someone who wanted to sleep every second.

I was more than sure they were really bad notes but at least I took them. I could tell Mr. Michael the content this year wasn’t that good and it really wasn’t.

The lights came back on and people around me stood up, me included. I was headed towards the coffee machine but it was too crowded and I was stopped in my tracks.

“Hello,” a guy a bit older than me said with a smile. He looked middle-eastern for sure with his thick accent and thick mustache.

“Umm hi,” I said.

“Which company are you with?” he asked me, trying to look at my name on my badge.

“It’s not on the list,” I said with a nervous chuckle as I tried to walk past him, jad maly khelga.

“Oh, then which one?” he asked me, still insisting on talking to me.

“Umm, sorry my husband is calling me from over there,” I said as I pointed right behind him and he actually turned around but I quickly dashed the other way.

“Excuse me,” I told a group of people blocking my access to the coffee table. I needed my coffee.

“امبيه وخرو”
I muttered, I was really really grouchy.

I actually pushed a guy to move since he didn’t get the hint and he didn’t even turn to see who pushed him. I thought of ditching the rest of the lecture so bad but I would feel pretty guilty.

The coffee table came into sight now…and I gasped.

My eyes fell on him…

Abdullah.

He was laughing with a guy in a suit next to him, while he was perfectly clad in a dishdasha, probably the only person dressed in a dishdasha in this whole conference and he looked perfect.
His eyes were still warm, his stubble was a bit darker but it complimented his sharp jaw and masculine features.

Should I?
Could I?

He was walking my way and I couldn’t move.
He didn’t even see me, until he was five steps away and my jaw was still dropped.

He froze in his place too, furrowing his brows as he looked at me.
His eyes looked right into mine, sparking the fire I had tried to put out for so long.
Memories came rushing back to me like a flood that didn’t seem to put out that fire in me. It only made it stronger.

استحي على ويهج انتي مخطوبة
I told myself.

“فجر”
He said as he walked towards me, like he was relieved to see me.

“عبدالله”
I said, not believing my eyes.

I wanted to touch him, to see if it was really him in front of me.

I didn’t care if we ended on unknown terms…and he didn’t seem to care either.

“شتسوين هني؟”
He asked, confused. A smile was turning up his lips.
It was like our “fight” never happened, like we were both really happy to see each other. And it wasn’t because of the conference.

“Mr. Michael sajjalny,”
I said.

“I’ll talk to you later,” the guy next to him said, giving up to get his attention. It was like Abdullah was broken from his trance, he tried to call him back but the guy was far away from us now.

“شرايك فيها؟”
I asked him.

“ملل”
He said and I chuckled.

“جد”
I replied with a smile.

“شلون هيونة؟ من زمان عنها والله”
I told him and he smiled.

“هيون زينة والله لاعبة فيني لعب، كاتبتلي لستة العاب تبيها من هني”
He said, I chuckled.

“غالي والطلب رخيص”
I said and he smiled.

There was a pause between us, and he stepped closer to me. I gulped, I forgot how empowering his presence was. It wasn’t intimidating…but it was like I was scared of what I might do.

“؟conferenceعقب ال we catch up شرايج”
He suggested, like our “fight” had never happened.

“Umm…” I said with a nervous chuckle.

“ولا عندج مشاريع ثانية؟”
He said, raising a brow.

If there was any perfect time to meet up and clear the air between us it would be now. Today. We wouldn’t risk running into anyone seeing us together and getting the wrong ideas.

I bit my lip.

“لا ما عندي. يالله، وين؟”
I asked him and he smiled.
My mind was elsewhere when he was this close.

“Hukama ib The Address downtown, ٧:٣٠؟”
He said.

“Perfect,” I said with a smile.

The lights dimmed.

“خرا فيهم بس هذا البريك؟”
He said and I laughed, completely caught off guard, and he smirked at my reaction.
I missed him. I missed everything about him and I hated that I did.

“See you,” I said, as I turned my heels around to go back to my seat.

I didn’t even need caffeine to keep me awake anymore, the excitement kept me on my feet.

Yet I was engaged and I knew Khalid would be so disappointed in me. Everyone would.

I bit my lip as I sat back down in my seat, but my mind was elsewhere, I didn’t even bother taking notes. I took a deep breath and stood up; knowing where to go.

I left the ballroom, promising myself to make it up to Mr. Michael when I was back. A cab parked right in front of the hotel and I got in.

“Dubai mall, please,” I said.

I had nothing to wear for tonight, I’d just had my plane clothes to wear, and I sure wasn’t going to wear my clothes to the conference to the hotel. Might as well look good anyway.

*

I sighed as I looked at my reflection against my hotel mirror.

 I didn’t know how lucky I was that I found this complete ensemble in my size in Dubai Mall. It was like it was made for me.

I wore a pair of black slack pants with a velvet blazer and black blouse underneath. I wore a pair of  Louboutins that I also got from the mall, which I hoped would fit in my suitcase later on.
I took a deep breath and patted my sides as I looked in the mirror, turning at almost every angle to see how I looked. I smiled to myself, I liked my look.

I applied my makeup, which I loved since I used a new eyeshadow palette. I sprayed perfume on myself before I grabbed my clutch…which I also got from the mall…and left the room.

I walked into the lobby and I could sense some guests turn towards me. I felt invincible now.
A taxi was waiting right outside, which I got into.

“The Address, burj Khalifa,” I told him.

I looked at the time on my phone.
7:23. Perfect.

I went on WhatsApp and felt a pang of guilt as soon as I read Khalid’s name on my screen.
I tried to calm myself down:

I’m just seeing Abdullah as a friend. Nothing more. I just want to know how he’s doing and that is it.
I’m engaged, and I am going to act that way. 

I was not going to let my emotions get in the way. It was going to be strictly platonic.

I exhaled as I got by the Address. It was 7:31 already.
The doorman opened the door for me as I paid the taxi and I walked out, making my way inside to the lobby then the elevators to the restaurant.

Was he there?

What if he stood me up?

The elevator stopped to the floor and I walked into the dark restaurant that overlook Burj Khalifa.

“Good evening Ma’am,” the guy at the front greeted me.

“Good evening,” I replied.

“Do you have a reservation?” he asked me.

“I think it’s by the name of Abdullah?” I said.

“Ah, yes, he’s here. This way, please,” the guy said and I walked behind him.

 With each step my chest felt tighter and tighter and I felt like my stomach was squeezed up.

I could see him now, looking at his left to the view of the fountain right next to us. He still looked so handsome in his dishdasha. He sensed me approaching and he turned, standing up and smiling as I walked towards the table.

He looked me up and down, as if taking in the last time he would ever see me.

“اهلا”
I said as I stood in front of him.

“اهلين”
He said as we sat down.
He looked at me the way I knew a friend wouldn’t look at another “friend”. How would he react if he found out I was engaged? What if he already knew?

I didn’t realize that I missed him; missed how well we clicked, how well he understood me. How I didn’t have to talk for him to know what I meant.
I felt guilty, I knew I was going to hurt someone.

Either him, or Khalid, by being here. I didn’t care if I hurt myself, I deserved it.

“Thank you,” I told the waiter as he placed the menu in front of me.

“؟conferenceها ريحتي عقب ال”
He asked me.

If he only knew the shopping hell I went into just to find the perfect outfit for tonight.

“شوي، انت؟”
I asked him, lying about the sleeping part just to sound like I wasn’t nervous about our meet-up.

“بعد meeting لا والله كان وراي”
He said.

“الله يعينك”
I only managed to say and he smiled. I really appreciated that he still made time for me, but the guilt started to sink in.

Keep it professional, Fajer…

“؟ ما لحقت على آخر ساعةnotes صج خذيت”
I told him, flipping through the menu.

“رحتي تنامين؟”
He said and I laughed.

“لا والله رحت اتسوق….لا تطالعني جذي يعني انا بنت وبدبي شنو تتوقع؟”
I said and he laughed this time.
So much for keeping it professional.
I realized I’d just contradicted myself when I told him I’d slept after the conference and I hoped he didn’t notice.

“مالوتي بس ماكو مقابل؟ notesاطرشلج ال”
He teased.

“خل هالعشا عليّ”
I said and he raised his brows teasingly.

“روحي زين”
He said and I chuckled.

This being professional plan wasn’t working…

“Ready to order?” the waiter asked us and I looked at Abdullah, who looked back at me so I would order.

“I’ll have a beetroot salad please,” I said.

“I’ll have a fillet mignon please, medium well,” Abdullah said, handing him the menu. He didn’t pressure me to have something else like Khalid did and I actually liked that.

خلاص لا تقارنينهم انتي مخطوبة

“فبأي اوتيل قاعد فيه؟”
I asked him.

“برج العرب”
He said and I put down my glass of water.

“جد؟”
I said and he nodded while furrowing his brow, trying to see what he said wrong.

“اول مرة اسمع احد صج قعد ببرج العرب”
I said with a chuckle.

“business trips لا خوش اوتيل والله احبه حق”
He said.

“توّنس نفسك شوي؟”
I said with a smile and he chuckled.

“Sad?” he replied and I nodded before he raised his brows and laughed.

“على الأقل ما طلعت من مؤتمر عشان اتسوق”
He said and I gasped in surprise before laughing.

“لو ادري جان ييت بهدومي المطار وما شريت بدلة حق الليلة”
I joked and he chuckled before scrunching his brows together to look at me.

“شريتي هالبدلة حق الليلة؟”
He said and I gulped, realizing what I’d hinted.

“لا وهم كانت عاجبتني”
I said and he didn’t really sound convinced.

“اشكره غيرت دشداشتك لأن مو معقولة ما تعفست”
I taunted back and he looked down before he smiled at me.

“طبعا غيرتها”
He said, like my point was invalid.

Just as I was about to retort his phone rang on the table and I saw him smile at the phone.

I inhaled.
Did he make up with Shoug?

All I knew was that I shouldn’t be caring this much.

“هيونة جنه المفروض تكونين نايمة؟”
He said and I smiled, looking at how his expressions warmed at the voice of his daughter.

“حبيبتي انا بعد ولهان عليج…اهااا يالعيّارة داقة تسألين عن الالعاب ها؟”
He said as he looked and me and I smiled.

“لا باجر ان شاء الله….العفو يوني بس نامي الحين ولا بنسى اييب لعبة”
He said with a smile.

“Goodnight,” he said before he hung up with a chuckle.

“ما شاء الله تهبل ووايد عاجل. ان شاء الله ليّون ما تخربها مع شطانتها”
I said and he chuckled.

“اي شطانة تكفين”
He said and I smiled.

My phone buzzed next to me.

Khalid is calling…

No, no, no….wrong timing.

I felt guilt rush through me like I was snapped out of my trance and I realized how wrong all of this was. It wasn’t Khalid’s wrong timing to call, this whole meet up was wrong. As friends? Who was I kidding?

“اسفة بس دقيقة-“
I said as I stood up from the table.

“الو؟”
I said through the phone.

“افا سافرتي ونسيتيني؟”
Khalid said and I smiled, but guilt was eating me up.

“انا انساك؟”
I said as I walked by the elevators outside the restaurant.

“يمكن لي شفتيني تذكرين…وينج الحين؟”
He asked me.

“The Address”
I said.

“؟Four Seasonsمو حاجزة ب”
He asked me.

“امبلا بس…امم طلع رفيجتي ياية هني بعد وطلعنا نتعشى”
I lied, hoping I convinced him.
I was a horrible person.

“لا تشبعين تكفين”
He said and I furrowed my brow.

“ليش؟”
I asked.

“لأن انا ياي دبي بعد”
He said with a chuckle and my heart skipped two beats in a row not just one.

He was here?

“صج؟”
I said, pretending to be enthused.

“اي قالتلي عمتي ان محّد عندج والصراحة خفت عليج فييت…متى بتردين الفندق؟”
He asked me.

“اممم مادري والله عقب ساعة الا ربع؟”
I said.

“خوش ناطرج عيّل”
He said before we hung up.

I took a deep breath. This was not good.

I pulled on my poker face and walked back to the table like nothing had happened. He was on his phone but put it away as I sat down in front of him and he smiled.

“حماتج تحبج”
He said and I looked up, confused until I realized it was a metaphor since our food had arrived and he actually didn’t know anything…yet.

“Oh,” I said with a chuckle.

“Water?” the waiter asked me and I nodded through my salad. I was glad it didn’t have lots of stems since I wouldn’t look so elegant eating it.

“شلونها؟”
He asked me.

“لذيذة والله…تبي تجرب شوي؟”
I asked him and he raised a hand to decline politely.

“الستيك وايد ترف جان تبين تجربينها؟”
He asked me.

“Thank you,” I declined with a smile.

He was so sweet that I wondered how his wife acted recklessly.
She didn’t deserve him.

I took a sip of my water and he looked at me.

“عيل مفكرة تيين المؤتمر السنة الياية؟”
He said and I shook my head immediately while he laughed.

“عيل تخليني بروحي؟”
He said teasingly, raising his brow.

“الاقيك حق العشا بس”
I teased back and he laughed before drinking his water.

I couldn’t bare seeing him look at me the way he was looking at me now, like I was the most beautiful person he’d ever seen. Like everything was finally right, because I was feeling this way too even if everything was wrong.

He leaned back now, looking at me the way he’d looked at me in the meeting room only this time he had a bit of teasing in his eyes. He knew what he was doing was attractive to me and I was pinned, as usual.

“عبدالله لا تطالعني جذي”
I said, my voice was weak yet humorous at once.

“اطالعلج شلون؟”
He said, lifting his chin, making him instantly more attractive. 
I couldn’t catch my breath.
My phone buzzed on the table again.
Khalid is calling…

No.

My lips dipped down in a frown and my eyes looked away from his as my expression turned serious. I knew he was confused.

“عبدالله ماقدر”
I said as I sat up from my seat. I couldn’t see him now,

I grabbed my clutch ready to walk away, but I felt his hand on mine, turning me towards him.

I looked at him, surprised at his action.

He looked shocked at himself, he looked at our hands and pulled away.

“فجر شصار؟”
He said, confused.

“لا ما كان المفروض ايي”
I said.

“-فجر اذا سويت شي غلط”
He said, standing up from his chair.

“عبدالله انا مخطوبة”
I said, tears forming in my eyes.

It looked like someone slapped him on the face. He sat back down, completely taken aback.

I couldn’t see him, not how his face twisted up to the news.

He was in disbelief.

“مبروك فجر”
He said, causing me to look at him. I could see a smile on his lips, but it didn’t reach his eyes.

“الله يبارك فيك”
I said, my voice was shaky.

Why did I agree to this?
 Why did I come here?

“ان شاء الله يعرف قدرج”
He said, and at this point tears were falling down my face and I was too hopeless to do anything.

“…بس ليش خليتيني احس باللي احسه فيج؟ وانتي قلتي حسيتي بشي بيننا”
He said, confused and I shook my head.

“شفت شلون كنت تطالعني؟ شلون كنت تكلمني؟ شلون كنت تعاملني؟ عبدالله ما قدرت اتحكم باللي احس فيه. ادري اني المفروض اوقف عند حد معين بس عبدالله انا ضايعة…مادري شنو المفروض احس فيه”
I said, feeling more tears run down my cheeks.

“عبدالله انساني…انا غلطت على حقك انت وخ-خطيبي…تكفى رد عند شوق وانساني”
I said and he shook his head in disbelief.

He was too shocked to say anything.

 I felt more for him than I did with Khalid after all the time together. Did he feel the same about me too with Shoug?

“لازم اروح”
I said, but I really didn’t want to leave.

“الله معاج”
He said before sitting down again. I couldn’t look at him because I knew I would hate myself more for it.

I was wrong coming here.
I only made things worse.

I walked hastily to the elevator and tears rushed down my cheeks immediately.
I couldn’t control my tears nor could I control my feelings.

I got into the taxi and went back to the hotel, making sure to fix my face before seeing Khalid as I didn’t want him to notice that anything was wrong.

Me: on the way back, wayn alageeek??

Khalid: halaa blghalyaa…ana bil cafe ta7at

Me: okk coming 

I paid the cab driver before walking inside the lobby where I was greeted by the receptionists. I walked towards the cafe he mentioned, pushing the memory Abdullah away in the deepest pits of my mind. It was unsuccessful.

I saw Khalid smile and stand up when he saw me. A smile appeared on his face as soon as he saw me, making his light eyes shine under the warm lights of the lobby.

“اقدر الّمج بسرعة؟ محد يعرفنا”
He said, raising a brow and I laughed as he took a step towards me but I sat down and he grunted jokingly.

The guilt was ripping up my insides now.

“متى وصلت؟”
I asked him.

“توى قبل لا اكلمج بنص ساعة”
He said, lifting a glass of red liquid to his lips.

Was that alcohol?…

“شنو قاعد تشرب؟”
I asked him. Any traces of a smile faded from my lips and I knew my face was serious because his was too.

“فجورة ترى هذا ما يسوي شي لا تحاتين عادي”
He said with a chuckle, continuing to drink.

“ما كنت ادري انك تشرب”
I said.

Maybe my emotions with Abdullah were appearing again because a lump was starting to form in my throat.

“بس لما اسافر وشي بسيط لا تحاتين”
He said and I placed my tongue in my cheek.

A tear escaped my eye and made him panic, placing the glass on the table.

“خلاص حياتي والله الحين الحين اوّقف بس لا تبجين”
He said, leaning in towards me.

I would’ve just talked to him, maybe argue if I were really angry but I would never cry.

“امشي ردي غرفتج ونامي يومج طويل”
He said, taking my hand to help me stand.
The same hand that Abdullah held for me to stay.

I had to forget Abdullah, I just had to.

***

Thoughts?

PS. I keep getting around 300 views per post but I don’t see much feedback, I really like reading comments from you guys and it would mean a lot to me if you commented below! 
(To comment, choose comment as: scroll down to “Anonymous”!)

Thank you so much!

If You Only Knew Me »

[8 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (28 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Thursday, November 17th, 2016…

“He’s still not here?”

I asked my nanny as I waited in the living room downstairs by the door. It was 8:30 and the dinner party for my cousin’s engagement at my grandma’s house started two hours ago and was ending in an hour because my grandmother slept early.

“No, still,” my nanny said.

اففف

I replied.

Danah told my mother she wasn’t going to pick me up and my driver was out to the chalet to help my father.

I looked at my outfit for the 100th time. I wore a short sleeve navy dress with light black tights and black flats. My hair was perfectly curled and cut at the salon and my makeup was perfectly applied in smokey.

I was so proud of myself and I mostly had Jana to thank for it. I sent her a picture of my look.

Me: shrayich??

I continued to wait in the living room until it was almost 8:40.

كنتبموت

“Muneera he is outside,” my nanny said.

اخيراً؟

I muttered to myself before I got into the car.

Jana: hooootttt, send to Fahad!!

I smiled, she was starting to become herself again, bit by bit. I knew it would take her a lot of time to get over him as she was in denial a lot of the time. But small progress is progress, anyway.

Me: nooo aste7yy!!

Jana: looool kaifech bs wallah byestanes!!

I decided to save that for days when I looked even better. I texted him something else instead.

Me: fahaaad shloun switzerland??

I missed texting him regularly and him being abroad with barely any wifi made me miss him even more, even if he was just gone for five days.. I just hoped he thought the same about me.

The driver parked outside my grandmother’s house and I could hear soft music being played in the background like there was a live Arabic music.

I went inside the house to get to the 7oush in the back and I looked around, it was actually well designed!

There were more than five catering stations in the outdoor garden where my cousin Areej’s engagement party was. There were lights wrapped around the palm trees and as I had guessed, a group of musicians playing in the background. Round tables were spread around everywhere in the garden, each fitting around five of my relatives and their friends too. It was surprisingly bigger than expected but I didn’t care; I thought I looked good anyway.

I took the first step towards the table right in front of me.

السلام

I told my uncle’s wife, Nawal, as she was texting.

منّورة اهلينشلونج؟

She said, looking me up and down.

الحمدلله زينة

I said.

“!ما شاءاللهمحلوّة! صايرةتهبلين

She said and I smiled. Where was Rawan to hear this?

امبيه منيرة؟

My twenty-something year old cousin Asmaa said as she stood next to us.

اي

I said with a chuckle as I greeted her.

“!حدج محلوةجد! وااي كبرتي تشوقييين

She said and I smiled, maybe it was the glow from being with Fahad. 

ترى البناتداخل

She told me. I nodded and went to greet my grandma who was sitting at the table with my aunts and mother.

اشوا لحقتي

One of my aunts said.

اي

I said with a chuckle.

والله ضعفانةمنّورةتهبلين

One of my other aunts said.

مشكورة

I replied with a smile.

مو بردعليجيمّا؟

My grandmother said.

لا عادي

I said. I couldn’t wait to go inside, even if it wasn’t that cold. I looked good and I wanted to show it off, especially to Rawan.

I skipped the buffet and went inside, crossing the small living room to get to the larger one, where around twelve of my girl cousins and my sister were. Rawan included.

“Hi,” I said with an awkward wave as I walked into the room. They turned to me and replied with a low “hi” and a surprised look on their face.

I knew I looked good, from my hair to my makeup to my whole outfit I could tell they weren’t sure if it was me or not. 
I felt like I got a makeover.

“!مبروك أريج

I said as I hugged my cousin who was now standing up to greet me. The rest of my cousins stood up to greet me too, finally.

منورة  wow”

My cousin Nourah said as she kissed me and looked me up and down. I just laughed, it felt good. Especially in front of Rawan, who was right next to her.

Rawan gave me a sour look as she kissed me, but the second cheek was with her kissing the air and not my cheek. Shsalfat’ha hathy?

I had to admit, she smelled amazing.

Danah was sitting down on her phone so I skipped her to greet my other cousins, who also complimented me before we sat down.

ما شاءاللهمنورةتيننين

My cousin, Rahaf, Rawan’s sister, said to me with a smile.

مشكورة

I said with a smile.

لا والمكياجبعدحركات

She added and I felt myself blush.

“Thank you,” I said.

“برة خيال set upما شاء الله ال”

I said.

“أي جد”

Nourah agreed with a nod.

“اكيد بعد شنو تتوقعين من دانة؟”

Rawan said, obviously sucking up to my sister who just smiled softly.

I didn’t even want to bother with her.

Me: jadd malat 3ala rawanooo

I sent Jana.

انزين دندونوينتنصحينياروحاجهز؟تركياولاوين؟

Areej said.

Danah bit her full lip in concentration.

يمدحون تركياحقالتجهيز

Rawan said. 
She was literally sixteen. What would she know?
اي وايد

My sister agreed.

I felt like I was on fire. My sister was giving my bitch of a cousin more attention than she ever gave me. My thoughts went back to when I’d told Danah about Fajer, her best friend. Would she still have reacted so coldly if Rawan had told her?

شرايكم نروحالصالةالثانية؟جنهقمتههني؟

My twenty-three year old cousin Fay said. Her light brown curly hair was long and reached to the middle of her back, while her face was a mix of sharp yet feminine features. She looked gorgeous.

اي يالله

The other girls said as they stood up.

They all left their bags and I waited for them all to leave before I looked around, making sure no one would see me, and opened Rawan’s clutch. I took out her perfume, which was sort of big but it smelled incredible and placed it in my bag before I took it with me to the other room and smiled.

I couldn’t help but wonder if she ever noticed that her lipstick was missing.

My phone pinged.

Jana: loool shinu sawaat ba3aad??


I replied immediately.
Me: esloubha mithil wayehhaa chenha shayfa nafs’ha 3alay o elly y7er ena Danah ta36eehaa wayh akthar menyy

I went back to sit in the other living room, pretending that nothing had happened. As the girls saw me with my bag they all went to get their stuff too, laughing at how they just wanted to escape from the heat that they forgot their bags.

؟ يعقدyour clutch روان منوين

Danah said as she crossed her legs and eyed Rawan’s clutch.

“Thank you mayighla! Min an instagram account I’ll DM it to you al7een,” she said.

“Shiftay the boots that I DM’ed you?”

Danah said. I was heating up. I reached in for the stolen perfume and held it to calm my nerves.

“!اييي امبيهبالضبطالليكنتادورهم

Rawan shrieked. So they were instagram buddies now?

ويع خلاص.

Jana: umbaaay 6aaf wallaaah ethainat’hum bugaar may3arfoun 8eemtiiich!! O 3an rawano al7een minuu ma3a fahaaad?;))

I smiled. She was right.

وين موبايلي؟

She said as she unzipped her clutch. I contained my smile.

She took out her phone from her clutch but furrowed her brow as she stuck her hand inside it. This was too funny I was surprised I was still holding in my laughter.

وين كلونيتي؟

She said.

“You guy a7ad shaf my perfume?”

She said as she stood up to look for it, she was panicking now.

It’s nowhere near you…

دانة بتقعدين؟

My mother said as she walked into the living room.

بطلع عقبشوي

Danah said as she looked up from her phone

يالله منيرة

My mother told me and I nodded.

يمكن بالحمام

I told Rawan as I stood up with a shrug.

My phone pinged again.

Fahad: wallah its good bas mot baard…shakhbarech?

He sent me a selfie of him in a ski mask in the mountain and I couldn’t help but gawk at the picture. He was hot.

I bit my smile as I walked past her. 


I had her perfume, and now I won her crush over. 
I was still too shy to send him one of myself.

“Yallah bye,” I said to the girls, whom I had a hard time interacting with.

لا جدوينكلونيتيواللهكنتحاطتهاداخل

Rawan said as she searched for her perfume again.

By the time I left the room I was laughing, and the best part was there was no one around to hear it.

2-0

If You Only Knew Me »

[7 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (27 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Dedicated to Shahad M, you’re one smart lady!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Sunday, November 13th, 2016…

I was so nervous. Dead nervous.

Even with my best friends around me I couldn’t be calm.

He was on his way to me now with his family and I was fidgeting in my long sleeved white and black dress that I’d gotten custom made from one of Danah’s close friends. My short hair was curled to my shoulders and my makeup brought out just the features I wanted.

The official engagement party was today and I couldn’t believe it.

My phone had been freezing since the announcement last week and we had so many flowers delivered to our house we hoped they wouldn’t die in time for the engagement party. Of course Danah worked her magic and made the reception exactly how I wanted it with the contrast of marble and flowers everywhere, it went well with the theme of my engagement post. She’d really thought about every single detail.

“في حمرة بضروسي؟”
I said as I smiled to Danah and Lulu, and they shook their heads.

“جنهم وصلو؟”
Sarah said, peeking out the window of our reception.

“امبيه”
I muttered to myself, something felt missing, I just didn’t know what it was.

“شصاير؟”
I said, running a hand through my hair, which me sister slapped my hand for; I was ruining how I looked.

“كاهم يايين”
Lulu whispered to me and I took a deep breath.

“Fajouraaa jad I can’t wait!” Yasmine said as she hugged me. She was my sister-in-law soon enough and I couldn’t wait either. She wore a one-shouldered pink dress that looked really cute on her, definitely a sister-in-law look!

I heard mutters next to the door and my aunts ma ga9araw bel yebaab of course, I didn’t see him yet and I was blushing already.

I was so nervous that Fouz kept reminded me to smile, and each smile was forced until I saw Khalid walk in…

He looked so handsome in his dishdasha, with his light brown hair and charming light brown eyes. He smiled brightly at me and suddenly there wasn’t anyone in the room but us. He walked towards me, and the noise around me silenced as he leaned over above me to crown my forehead with a kiss and my friends aww-ed which made me heat up a million times more.

But Fouz’s surprised expression, especially with her large eyes and parted lips brought me back to reality; his family was way more “open” than mine. Khalid sat right beside me and suddenly, like his kiss was medicine, I was relaxed. I smiled, gladly, at the cameras and at my friends and families phones, who were busy taking pictures of us.

“راحة ها؟”
He whispered in my ear and I chuckled while nodding.

It really did feel liberating not having anything to hide anymore…to some extent.

Khalid and I barely got any chance to talk and it was so hard to do so when all eyes were on us.
I could see Lulu wiggling her brows at me and I couldn’t mouth anything to her because most of the attention was on me and Khalid, who seemed more relaxed than I was.

“هذي ليان عدل؟”
He said with a smile, pointing at my niece who for the first time in her life looked shy and innocent.

“اي بس العيارة مسوية نفسها بريئة ولا جنها ميننة الدنيا على شكلها اليوم”
I said with a laugh and he smiled, calling her over.

She looked at him with puppy eyes that lured him into loving her. She was that smart.

“ليان شلونج؟”
He said and I noticed Fouz smiling over him doting her daughter. I couldn’t help but wonder how he would be with ours.

“زينة”
She said with a smile in which two of her teeth were missing. She still looked cute.

“تعرفين انا منو؟”
He asked her.

“اي زوج خالتي فجر”
She said and I blushed.

“تقدرين تقولين”
He said and I smiled.

“انزين شسمه؟”
I asked her, holding her wrists into my palms.

“اممم…مادري”
She said with a shrug which resulted in him laughing but she blushed. She never blushed, il3ayaraa.

“خالد”
He said with a smile

“عمي خالد”
I corrected before I whispered into his ear.

“حط حدودك من الحين لأن هذي بتيننك”
I teased and he laughed.

My mother smiled before interrupting us, she looked a bit nervous as usual since she was a perfectionist. I definitely got her genes.

“تفضل خالد”
She said with a smile to her future son-in-law.

“ان شاء الله عمتي”
He said with a polite smile.

We stood up, finally, and walked outside to where the garden was set with a buffet and a large cake that said الف مبروك ف و خ along with a gorgeous floral backdrop with the same initials on them. I was in awe.

My friends and family along with Khalid’s started pouring into the garden now and admiring the set up.

“ما شاء الله شغل عدل”
Khalid’s mom, Khalty Ghanimah said as she looked around with Yasmine.

I looked at Danah who was busy taking pictures until she turned to me.

“Thank you,” I mouthed. As much as I was recently cautious of her, she was still sweet enough to do it for me for free, and she smiled back.

“فجورة”
Khalid said and I turned to him immediately. He pointed at the camera in front of us and I blushed before I smiled. I felt him get closer until his dishdasha sleeve brush over mine. I could smell his cologne that I knew very well from our car rides together.

It made me realize how much we really progressed together. I was going to miss the days when we would go for short car rides just to be alone together, but now he could visit whenever he wanted.

We took a picture together then he called for our mothers to join us, then Yasmine and Fouz until it was a large family picture and he realized he had to go since a lot of my cousins and friends wanted to take pictures too.

“اكلمج بعدين”
He whispered in my ear before he smiled.

“يالله في امان الله”
My father said to the women, he walked up to me and kissed my forehead too.

“الله يوفقكم”
He said and I hugged him to which he squeezed back and I smiled.
He was really really happy.

My older brother Aziz hugged me too before leaving with the guys and I turned to see Khalid looking at me with a shine in his eye and a smile that I knew made me believe he was truly in love with me because that was exactly how it looked. I smiled back and he nodded before he joined the men outside our house.

As soon as all the men left, loud music started playing and the garden transformed into a dance floor with my aunts dancing like no one was watching.

“وين العروس؟”
My aunt said and I blushed before she grabbed me by my arm to the dance floor, where I joined her and then my friends in dancing.

“تكفون لا تخلوني بروحي”
I told Mariam and she laughed, dancing right next to me. She looked pretty in her sleeveless red dress.

“It’s your night 7abeebty akeed inattention kelha 3alaich!” she said and I realized that was true. It was my night and I knew there would be other nights entirely devoted to me. The milcha, the bridal shower, and more importantly, the wedding.

I might as well get used to it.
I started to dance more loosely now as I got used to the music and Lulu danced right by me, looking gorgeous in her off-shoulder royal blue dress and signature curly hair.

My eyes met my cousin Shaikha’s eyes, and then Najla’s as they watched us from the distance. I noticed that they weren’t looking at me, but at Danah. They weren’t just looking, but glaring.
I couldn’t really think about what they had seen, not when she’d done everything for me without me even asking her to.
Or maybe it was selfish of me? I knew I was making a mistake by not confronting her about it for the sake of my cousin Shahad, who was now laughing at the coffee station with Fouz and some of our other cousins.
I felt so torn apart now; first with him, now with Danah.
Yet I couldn’t confront her, not now nor soon after all she had done for me.

“فجر شفيج؟”
Lulu said as she grabbed me by the shoulders.

“امم…لا ماكو شي”
I lied, adding an assertive smile.

“انسي اللي ملهيج الحين الليلة ليلتج فرقصي يالله”
She said as she pulled me back to the dance floor and I laughed, following her lead.

The rest of the night was amazing, everyone danced with me, hugged me, took pictures with me. I heard my name being called every five seconds by two different people for pictures.
I felt so much love and appreciation towards me that I didn’t think it would be this emotional at all.

“الف مبروووك فجورة”
My aunt Latifa said as she kissed me, followed by her daughter Ghaliah.

“الله يبارك فيج خالتي مشكورة”
I said with a smile.

“هو لطيفة تعشي يالله عاد”
My mother said as she grabbed her sister’s hand to drag her to the buffet and I smiled.

“مبرووووك”
My cousin Nourah said as she hugged me.

“الله يبارك فييج نورو ولهانة علييج”
I said as I hit her shoulder.

“mastersشسوي والله بعض الناس ليلحين بال”
She said and I smiled.

“فجر”
Danah said as she smiled at Nourah before whisking me away. I knew that if it were someone other than Danah Nourah would be offended, but because it was Danah she was actually okay with being interrupted.

Danah was intimidating, and I realized that. She was that girl who wasn’t afraid of anyone and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

“boomerang اوقفي هني، بسوي”
She said as I stood in front of the backdrop.

“One…two…three,” she said and I turned to see the backdrop so it would be the perfect movement for boomerang.

“I love it,” Danah said as she showed it to me. It really was amazing.

“Send please!” I said.

“يالله هوّ دانة اكلي عاد عقب لويتج اليوم مع الحديقة يبيلج كورسين”
My mother said and Danah chuckled politely.

“ان شاء الله خالتي مشكورة”
She said before she turned to me.

“انا بصور”
She said and I nodded. I’d never seen her eat…not once, but I didn’t put that in mind until now.

“خياااال pastaامبيييه ال”
Lulu said as she grabbed me by my hand to the buffet. If there was the perfect distraction at the right time, it was Lulu. The girl knew just when to lift my mood.

“Sushi?!” I exclaimed, staring at the sushi bar in front of me.
Sushi was my weakness.

“ببدع شوي عادي؟”
I told Lulu as she stuffed a salmon roll into her mouth and nodded. I laughed and filled my plate with it.

We danced, ate, and danced again until all the guests had to leave, except for my friends. We sat around each other at the swing bench just when the catering company started to pack up, the music died down and all that was left were the backdrop and twinkle lights all around the garden.

“عاد فجور مو تلهين عنا على بو تزوجتي”
Sarah said, running a hand through her short hair as she swung on the bench.

“not available من صجج؟ اهم شي انتو. اصلا قلتله يوم الأربعا انا”
I said and they chuckled.

“عفية عفية”
Lulu said.

“والله صج احب قروبنا”
Mariam said and I smiled.

“عاد مو كنت قايلة ان فجور اول وحدة فينا بتتزوج؟”
Sarah said, wiggling her brows.

“يالله منو الثانية؟”
Danah asked, taking a sip of her iced coffee.

“لولو”
I said, wiggling my brows at Lulu and her jaw dropped.

“امبيه لا يالله عاد شكو! سارون اشكره”
Lulu said.

“انا؟؟؟”
Sarah exclaimed and we laughed.

There wasn’t anything better than late night conversations with great friends and good food.

We talked and laughed until 1AM and at this point we, including myself, all had to leave.

“next يالله يا جماعة والله حدي حدي كيّفت…الفال للباجي وانا اقول مريوم”
Sarah said as she hugged her coat.

“شتبييين؟”
Mariam said, nudging her.

“ما سبيتج امبيه”
Sarah said, nudging her back.

“تكفووون وصلوني ولا فجور والله بنام بفراشج”
Lulu said as she stretched.

“لا يدري خالد بس”
Mariam said and I gasped before laughing.

“لا جد خلاص كل وحدة ترد بيتها رسمي”
I said.

“طردة؟”
Mariam said.

“ناوية تنامين هني بعد؟”
I said and she wiggled her brows before standing up.

“Wallah thank you so much,” I said before hugging the girls again.

Danah smiled as she hugged me.

“Thank you wayid Dandoun, an8athteeenaa” I said.

“امبيه ما سوّيت شي. ان شاء الله ملجتج وعرسج عليّ بعد”
She said with a wink.

“The best of the best,” I said and she chuckled before waving goodbye.

I watched them all get into their cars and then wave at me before leaving. I hated it when the party was over, maybe the leftover food was the best part but it was the company that I would miss.

I went upstairs and slid into my warm bed, immediately surrounded by the scent of bukhour. I grabbed my phone, which I was surprised to see didn’t crash from all the Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat notifications.

I captured all my friends’ and cousins’ posts on Snapchat that included me with them in the pictures.

I smiled, this was real. It really was happening!
Yet my mind couldn’t not remember him…he was always in the back of my mind, taunting me like an incomplete project.

I went on whatsapp and scrolled through my +70 unread messages, looking for Khalid’s name, which was third from above on my recent chat list.

الله لا يخليني منج يا احلى ما في الكون 
مستعد اعيش كل ثانية من حياتي معاج يا اغلى ما عندي
احبج

If You Only Knew Me »

[6 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (26 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Dedicated to kn & asm for their amazing feedback on the blog! 
They are the type of readers that really keep me motivated to post!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Monday, November 7th, 2016…

1:34 AM


I couldn’t sleep.


How was I going to tell her?


What was I going to tell her?


I went on Instagram and tried to remember whose account I’d seen the post on. Was it a story or an actual post? I remembered it was from someone I never even knew was close enough to Fajer.


I went through all my stories again until I found the person who posted the engagement post. 
My second cousin, another Muneera, had posted it on her Instagram story. I remembered she was with my sister in college but I didn’t know she was sort of close with Fajer. Or maybe she was one of those people who stuck herself to the pretty, popular ones just to feel special.


I read the engagement again.



…خالد الح


It couldn’t be him, could it?


The same Khalid as Jana’s Khalid?


I went on the tagged profile, Fajer’s and bit my lip hesitantly. Would she accept my follow request? Would Danah notice? 
Maybe I could just see who she was following and it would answer my questions…and ruin everything.


Yet she was a really sweet person from what I’d seen. If Jana’s Khalid was the same as her Khalid then they both deserved someone better.



My heart was palpitating against my chest and my mouth felt sweet from the nausea rising up, I didn’t want to know yet I had to. Even if with me knowing it might ruin everything…for everyone. 
Should I?


I took a deep breath and just did it. 
I pressed on the follow button and got a “Requested” notification. Just how long until she would accept me?


I turned my phone off so I would sleep and hugged my pillow, waiting for it to be 6 AM just so I could check my phone again and know the truth.


*



Monday morning…


Fahad: Good morning. Barou7 Arabica, shinu ayeeblich?


I smiled, at least I had someone to make me feel happy again.


Me: 9aba7 ilkhaaair. Thank you wallah maby shay!


Fahad: akeeeed?


Me: eeh wallah thank youu


Fahad: masawait shay


I was really falling for him. I got out of the car and into the school, checking my phone again. Fajer still hadn’t accepted my request. What if she didn’t want to or if she found my request weird?

I went to our usual spot in the field where I spotted Jana sitting with her textbook in her hand, revising for an exam she had soon.


“Good luck,” I said as I placed my backpack on the ground. She looked up.


She did not look good. Her eyes were dull and lifeless and her skin wasn’t as glowing as it usually was. She didn’t even have her daily gloss and inner eyeliner applied so she definitely looked paler than usual. 

“جنوي شفيج؟ شكلج تعبانة”
I said as I sat crisscrossed next to her.


ما فيني شي بس متوترة من الامتحان”

She was lying. I knew my best friend, exams were the least of her worries.


جنى شصار مع خالد؟”
I said, looking at her. Did she know?


ماكو شي”

She lied again.


“امتحاني عقب شوي”

She added, standing up.


“Good luck,” I said again and she walked away. I wouldn’t blame her.


I would be terrified if Fahad just stopped talking to me altogether and we didn’t even gave any physical relationship along with our emotional one.


 I looked at my following list again, maybe I didn’t get notified. I searched for her name but it wasn’t on my following list. Maybe she was just super busy.


“صباح الخير”

Fahad said, smiling above me. He extended an arm out to hand me an iced Spanish latte.


His eyes squatted against the sun while he flashed me a bright smile. His tanned skin contrasted against the white uniform shirt and his hair looked a shade brighter under the sun, but his eyes were my favorite. I just got lost in them.

فهد لااا”

I said, smiling at his sweet gesture.

“ما احب احد يقوللي لا”
He said, wiggling his brows and I smiled.


“Wallah thank you,” I said as I grabbed the latte. Our fingers brushed and I smiled. Any attraction between us had increased just by that. Now I understood Jana and why she was so physically involved with Khalid. You just couldn’t help it…but Fahad wasn’t like Khalid. And as much as I loved Jana, I wasn’t like her.
 It just wasn’t our thing.


“بالعافية، عاد وراي امتحان الحين ف-“

He said.


“Good luck,” I said. My mind kept wondering about how I would feel if he embraced me in arms, what his forehead kisses would make me feel, how his fingers would brush not just the tip of mine but places he wouldn’t dare brush now. 

 “وصليني”

He said and I was stunned. 
He really wasn’t ashamed to be seen with me. I knew I was beaming as he smiled at my reaction.


If only Rawan were here to see this…


We walked side by side, doing little talking as he was focused on his notes, which he looked so cute doing.


“قوللي شسويت اول ما تخلص”

I said and he nodded.


“ان شاء الله”
He said with a smile. I spotted Jana in the last row of the classroom focused on her notes. I just hoped whatever it was with Khalid wouldn’t distract her.


I headed back to my classroom and I just couldn’t focus. I kept checking my phone every five minutes to see if the request was accepted.



“Muneera, this is your last warning,” my Chemistry teacher said as I checked my phone. I gulped and put it back, resisting the urge to check my phone even if the suspense was killing me.


It wasn’t until the class before lunch that I got the notification.


 Fajer (@f*******) has accepted your follow request.


I couldn’t believe my eyes.


I gulped, just when I’d wanted it to happen that I didn’t want it to happen. 
This was the moment that could change everything. 
The moment that I would know something no one but Khalid and I would know.


I took a deep breath and placed my phone in my book and went on her followers list. 
My fingers were shaking while my breath was trapped in my lungs and my stomach was twisting and turning in knots.
I scrolled through the followers, realizing Rawan was following her from some reason, but that wasn’t important now.
I gulped and realized I was searching the wrong way.


I went on my DM’s and found Khalid’s username when we were planning to “walk our dogs” together with Jana. I memorized his username and went back to Fajer’s followers.


I began to type @kjal


Before I got the chance to write his full username his name showed up.


It was him.

I felt my jaw drop and I gasped hard enough for the people next to me to turn to me.

“Sorry,” I said as I put my phone away before the teacher could confiscate it.

My heart was racing and I felt sick. 
I really couldn’t focus.



It was him…the same Khalid.
Jana’s Khalid was Fajer’s Khalid and I didn’t know what to do.


The bell rang and I raced outside the door to find Jana.
 How was I going to tell her?


I waited for her at our usual spot in the field as I ate some cucumbers and carrots I’d packed with me. She finally showed up, but with her head in her phone and she sat down by me.


“شلون الامتحان؟”
 I asked her.


“Not bad,” she said, taking a sip of water from her bottle. I counted until twenty before I said anything Khalid related.


“جنى عادي اسألج شصار مع خالد؟”

I said, and she turned to me. 


She took a deep breath and bit her lips before talking.


“ليلحين ما كلمني…مادري شفيه. بس بعرف شنو سويت غلط؟”

She said, finally talking about him.  
He didn’t tell her…she didn’t know.

I gulped, how was I going to tell her?


She deserved to know the truth and it was better to hear it from me than to see it somewhere else.

“جنى براويج شي…بس راح يزعلج”

 I said and she looked at me blankly, confused and worried.


I sighed and went on the screenshot that I took of Muneera’s story and showed it to her.


“جنى والله sorry بس قلت لازم تعرفين”

She stared at the screen blankly then looked up at me. Her eyes were brimming with tears now.


She sat up straight and leaned back against the wall, looking right ahead numbingly.
I was worried at her reaction, it was like she was in denial.

“Are you okay?” I asked her, brushing a strand of hair away from my face. 


“اكرهه”
She uttered as she still looked ahead, her eyes transfixed on the gates ahead but I knew her mind was elsewhere, somewhere with Khalid. Trapped in all those memories that she now realized were all a lie. He just talked to her so he could use her. We both knew that now. 


A tear trickled down her cheek and I didn’t know what to do.


“اكرهه اكرهه اكرهه”

She said and I pulled her into a hug where she sobbed into my shoulders just like I sobbed into hers last time.


I knew she still loved him. I knew she would have a hard time getting over him. He was all she wanted and he lied to her.
I couldn’t imagine what Fajer would think if she knew…she couldn’t know when it was too late.

I knew what I had to do.


*



Monday afternoon…

I didn’t tell Fahad about Jana as much as I wanted to. It wasn’t my story to tell.


Me: ma geltlyyy shloun ilexam?


Fahad: bayekh loool cham ghal6a sakheefa. Emti7anech bacher 9a7?


Me: eeeeh oo many gadra arakeeez


Fahad: 6ab3an etha ga3da etkalmeeny ya3ny


Me: loool wallah shway o asaweelk block!!


Fahad: khala9 khalaa9 wallah. Ana raye7 slider, tabeen shay? Choud etrakzeen shway


Me: wallah betmateny entaaa laa thank you o enjoy

Fahad: min metnich entaay? 9ayra 3’6aaam


Me: block block


He sent me laughing emojis and I smiled. I remembered when Rawan warned me I was getting fat and no one would find me attractive…but that was then and now the guy of her dreams was calling me skinny. Karma really was a bitch. My bitch.


My alarm went off. It was 8 PM.


I’d promised myself I would talk to Danah at 8. Now that it was time I was actually too scared to do it, but I had to for both Jana and Fajer’s sake.


I took a deep breath and walked to the elevator, pressing on B to get to Danah’s studio. I tried not to think too much about it because I knew if I did then I would press the elevator button back to 1 and I’d be in my room again.


The elevator came to a stop and I gulped. I walked to her studio…but she wasn’t there. I went to the lounge…she wasn’t there either.


Of course she wasn’t, she was barely at home before 11.


I sighed and went back to my room to continue studying, feeling slightly relieved that I didn’t have to tell her now.

Me: janouy how are you feeling al7een?
I sent Jana.


I wanted to give her her space yet I wanted her to know that I was there if she needed to talk.

I continued studying but I was barely focused. I was starting to get sleepy as it was approaching 10 but I made myself some coffee and continued to revise my content again and again just to pass time. My phone buzzed, I thought it was me 11:20 alarm.


Jana: im ok thank u. exam bacher?


Me: eeh English bas shway easy il7emdillah


Jana: il7emdillah


She wasn’t the same Jana. She seemed distant and tired, the old Jana wasn’t. I wouldn’t blame her…but I hoped this wouldn’t affect her so bad.


My phone sounded off. It was my alarm again…but this time I wasn’t so nervous. Talking to Jana just made me angrier at him and I knew I had to do something before it was too late for Fajer.

I went back to Danah’s wing downstairs and I heard her voice coming from her studio. I just hoped she was alone.


“Okaay?” I heard her say and then chuckle.


I stopped by her door, which was open and knocked on the door. She turned around in her chair too see me and her smile died down.


“دقيقة حمد”

She said, not afraid to hide her “secret” from me. She placed a hand over her phone.


“نعم؟”
She said, looking fed up already.


“أمم…دانة ابي كلمج عن موضوع”
I said and she scrunched her brows together.


“شنو؟”

She asked me.


“خالد خطيب فجر”

I said and she looked even more confused.


“ادق عليك عقب شوي”

She said to Hamad, whoever he was, before she turned the phone off.


“شعرفج فيه؟”

She snapped and I gulped.



“قصة طويلة”
I said with a nervous chuckle and she just raised her brow.
Why was I so nervous?
I cleared my throat and began to speak, letting it all out.


“أمم….قبل يمكن شهرين انا وجنى رحنا ارابيكا وشفناه هناك. دفع حق قهوتنا وعقبها بجم يوم شفته يوصل اخته عندنا وشافني بالممشى مع فقال يبي يمشي معاي المرة ثانية وويا جنى.”
I said.
She was still listening, but her expressions were still confused. If not furious.

“انزين؟”
She snapped.

 عقب هو وجنى بدو يكلمون بعض ورحنا شاليهه وشفت شنو كان يسوي بجنى يسوي قيها أشياء ولا جنها 16…وجنى حبته وحسبالها ان هو يحبها…بعدين فجاة وقف يكلمها والحين شفت اعلان خطبته…وحق فجر”

I said with a gulp. She stared at me blankly.

My wish had finally come true; we were having this deep conversation with one another only she wasn’t so amused and pleased with me.

“قاعدة تجذبين صح؟”

She said and I felt my jaw drop. Did she not believe me?


“والله لا…ليش اجذب؟ خطيب حبيبج لعب بوحدة كبري…ليش اجذب؟”

I was starting to feel angry now for once.


“شسوى بجني؟”

She said and I gulped again.


“أشياء”

I said.


“نفس شنو؟”
She insisted and I gulped.



“أشياء”

I repeated, too embarrassed to say what. 

“نفس شنو؟”

She snapped and I took a deep breath. 

I told her the truth. 

“-امم…كان يجيسها ويح-يحبها بكل مكان…هذا اللي شفته بالغلط وقالتلي ان امم..سوو-سووها بس من”
I began to say but she cut me off. 
“عرفت عرفت، الصراحة جنى اللي غلطت ماتعرف تقول لا؟ محد قال لها تبيع نفسها”
She said.
Was she serious?

 “-بس هم هو غلطان وخان فج”

I started to say but she stood up.


“منيرة”

She snapped and I felt my eyes widen in fear.


“صارلهم سنة مع بعض طبعا يحبها فرجاءً لا تخربين عليهم وخللي هالسالفة ببينج وبين نفسج”

She said.

How could she?


“بس خان-“
I said.


“!منيرة خلاص”
She snapped and I knew better than to say anything.


Danah might be one of the most successful and talented people of her generation, but she was a terrible sister and a horrible friend.


She could say all she wanted but I knew I was right.


I went back to the elevator while I heard her laugh again through the phone. Even her laugh pissed me off now.


I pressed on 1 and went back to my room where I laid in bed. I couldn’t say anything to Fajer. It was all on Danah now. I grabbed my phone next to me and went on Fajer’s Instagram page.

It was mostly pictures of her with her niece, or her graduation, or tagging someone else for their birthday or graduation. She seemed genuinely sweet. I saw a picture of her with Danah, in candid at a wedding with the caption:


So proud of my best friend, love you Danah 

If only she knew.

If You Only Knew Me »

[5 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (25 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Sunday, November 6th, 2016…

I took a deep breath. This was finally happening.

I adjusted my dress which was a black and white ensemble that wrapped my body perfectly. My hair was down to my shoulders in voluminous waves while fine jewelry hung on my ears and neck.

I’d told my parents about Khalid last week and because we’d already gotten to know each other, and because Khalid was in a rush, our khe6ba was so soon.

“ما اصدق خشيتيه عني انا بعد”
Fouz said as she helped me zip up the top part of my dress that I couldn’t reach.

“شسوي خفت”
I said.

“يالغبية احنا نعرف اهله من زمان وامي تعرف امه وابوي يعرف ابوه”
She said and I gulped.

“بس ترى امي ليلحين مصدومة انكم تعرفون بعض هذا غير انكم تحبون بعض”
She said as she turned me around to face her. I looked at her now, she was definitely the best sister I could ask for, even if she could be a pain sometimes. I still couldn’t imagine what Muneera had to deal with. I hadn’t seen her at the gym in forever, even when I arrived earlier than usual.
I just hoped she didn’t stop coming because of Danah.

“شلون شكلي؟”
I said as I took a deep breath.

“تيننين”
She said with a smile. I was too nervous to smile back.

It was almost time now and I’d requested that only my close friends keep me company while the engagement would be announced, and since everything was so soon my mother decided to have the engagement party a week later so there would be time to organize a really great one. We all just got dressed up for the snapchat and instagram posts, of course.

A knock on the door got us gasping before my four close friends walked in and we laughed.

“امبيه تكفون بروحي مخترعة”
I said, taking turns to hug them.

“مصختوها over من شنووو؟ امبيه ترى”
Sarah said, rolling her eyes. She looked nice in her pink dress that showed off her slim figure and her short brown hair was wrapped in a low bun that brought out her small face.

“جد”
Danah said. She looked gorgeous in a black one-shouldered dress that was above her knees, it was simple but she pulled it off. She could pull anything off.

“؟post انزين شرايج بهال”
She asked me, showing me a gorgeous design that I didn’t know how she thought of…it was really beautiful with all the pops of color that blended well together and hints of gold around the border. Danah really did it well.

I read what was written on the post and smiled.

اللهم بارك لهما واجمع بينهما بالخير
تم بحمد الله وفضله خطبة
…فجر يوسف الف
…كريمة نادية بدر الس

على

…خالد جاسم الح
…نجل غنيمة ناصر الش
الله يوفقهم

Finally…

“امبيه دانوه يعقد”
I said, feeling guilty for all the negative thoughts I’d had about her. She obviously spent so much time making the announcement and she did it for free.

“يالله نحطها؟”
Danah said, turning to the rest of the girls and I smiled, sitting down to loosen up a bit.

I twisted my Cartier ring on my finger and remembered Abdullah…no, no, no…

بس خلاص شفيج؟

I told myself.
Khalid was the one.

I hadn’t seen Abdullah at any of the meetings since our “fight” in his office. I didn’t know if it was because he was avoiding me but it was better for us both that way.
I really did not want to see him again.

“شتفكرين فيه؟”
Lulu said, wiggling her brows. Her curly hair looked so good as usual.
I chuckled awkwardly…if they only knew.

“بعد تفكر بشي غيره؟ يالله ماني قادرة انطر..متى بنعلن؟”
Mariam said, impatiently.

“نطرو امبيه نطرتو سنة ما تقدرون تنطرون جم دقيقة؟”
Fouz said teasingly and I laughed.

I got a text from Khalid and my heart skipped a beat.

Khalid: no more hiding…can’t wait to hold you 

Me: 7abeeebyyy wallaaah I can’t wait either!! 

“يالله ترى خلصو الريايل”
Fouz said and I smiled.

“حطيته”
Sarah announced.

“Snapchat o Instagram!” Lulu said.

I laughed at their enthusiasm, and a heavy weight was lifted off my chest now that my “secret” was not such a secret anymore.

But why did I still feel like it wasn’t totally gone?

If You Only Knew Me »

[5 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (24 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016…

Fahad: yallah na6rech…coffee??

Me: eeeh yallah. next tuesday? only day I’m free bidoun studying

Fahad: eeeh khoush 3ayal

Me: i miss you wallah!!

Fahad: mo kethry manoura…

I smiled. I loved it when he called me by my nickname.

 I was still not over him and the fact that almost everyone saw us together at the carnival really meant something. He wasn’t ashamed to be seen with me. I truly felt worthy when I was with him, and Rawan was so jealous she called her mother to tell her about us.

It was so worth it, even if I almost got my phone confiscated. Jana was only over at my house because we were supposed to be working on a project together.

“امبيه مو قاعد يرد على اي شي، ادق عليه يطلعلي مشغول”
Jana said.

“من متى؟”
I asked her.

“من امس بالليل…طرشتله مسج وشافه ولا رد. امبيه منّور تهقين مل منّي؟ سويت شي غلط؟”
Jana began to panic.

“جنوي يمكن بس وايد مشغول عادي، باجر بيرد عليج”
I tried to keep her calm.

“…لا منور…اتوقع لأن شسمه”
She said, lowering her voice.

“شنو؟”
I said confused.

“فهميها”
She said.

It couldn’t be.

“جنى تعرفيني، مادري شنو قصدج”
I said bluntly.

She sighed, only giving me this look and I realized what she’d meant. I only gawked at her.

“من صجج؟”
I said, surprised at her.

“منور بس خلاص صار اللي صار وترى عادي وايد يسوونها ما تأثر”
She said.

“…جنى”
I could only say.
I never knew I knew people who were okay with doing these things. I thought it was only people I didn’t know, but I guess we all had our secrets.

“ادري لا تقولين اني غبية بس منّور شسوي والله احبه احبه ما ابيه يهدني عقبها”
She said, almost tearing up.
I couldn’t make her feel guilty anymore. She already felt bad about herself and Khalid wasn’t picking up.

“جنوووي اصلا يحصله وحدة نفسج، وقلتلج بيدق لا تحاتين”
I said, forcing myself to comfort her.

Before we knew it the door stormed open and Danah barged into the living room before she walked to…my room?

“دقيقة”
I told Jana as I walked hastily to my room.

Danah was now pulling open my vanity drawers and jewelry box.

“دانة شقاعدة تسوين؟”
I asked her.

“وينه؟”
She said. Her face was red now, fumed with anger.

“وين شنو؟”
I asked her.

منيرة لا تستهبلين! وين السلسلة؟”
She yelled and I gulped. I knew Jana could hear everything.

She yanked open my button-up blouse, sending buttons flying to the floor and exposing my undershirt…and her necklace.

“هقيت والله. فصخيه”
She said, trying to control her anger.

Tears were starting to roll down my cheeks.

“رفيجتي هني”
I said and she scoffed.

“ما تفهمين؟”
She yelled again and I gulped. My fingers quivered and I struggled to take the necklace off. Tears continued to drop onto the floor.

يالله”
She yelled.

“كا”
I said, handing her the necklace.
I was terrified of her.
She turned to the door and pointed.

“وهالبنت هاذي ماتدش بيتنا مرة ثانية…من رافجتي هالأشكال بديتي تصيرين نفسهم…وطبعا ما تأسفتي “
She said and I gulped. Tears were clouding my eyes now.

“اسفة”
I said with a shaky voice and Danah scoffed.

She was wrong about Jana. If anything, Jana really brought me out of my shell. It was because of her I was with Fahad and it was because of her that I actually had friends at all.

Danah just glared at me and stormed out of the room, putting the necklace back where it belonged. On her neck and not mine. 

I was left with nothing but a torn blouse and nothing on my neck. I went to my closet to pick out a new blouse I could wear.

“منيرة؟”
Jana said as she walked into my room.
Her eyes widened as she saw me and I was helpless, she walked hurriedly to me now, because she sensed I couldn’t hold it in any longer.

I broke down.
I hugged her and cried on her shoulder.

“ما احبها ما احبها”
I said as I sobbed.

I meant every word of it and now I was sure the feeling was mutual.
Danah actually felt something towards me and that was hate. For once I wished she didn’t feel anything towards me. 

If You Only Knew Me »

[4 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (23 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Monday, October 31st, 2016…

I looked at my reflection in the office bathroom mirror as I freshened up for the meeting. The tan I’d gotten from self-tanning was contrasted against my hot pink blazer.

I wore a white sleeveless blouse underneath it with a pair of black leggings and platform black and silver shoes. My makeup was heavier than my usual office makeup but I guess I needed to represent the office well. Silver hoop earrings dangled from my ears and silver and gold necklaces were stacked on my neck under my blouse. My short ombre hair was perfectly curled at the ends. I knew I looked good and I was so happy I might as well post a picture on Instagram, not the story, the actual post. 


I sprayed on my favorite perfume, Chanel N5, and walked out of the bathroom to my cubicle. I grabbed my Marc Jacobs laptop bag which contained everything but a laptop; notebook, folder, and pencil case. I smiled at my boss as I walked with him, without any other colleagues apparently, to the elevator. 


I was nervous, and I didn’t know why. The whole walk to Abdullah’s building was just me trying to calm myself down mentally. I breathed in and out but even that didn’t seem to work. Why was it that I was relaxed with him at some instances and nervous at others?


I remembered him at the chalet, and accidentally overhearing his conversation with his wife whom I knew he was in a private split from. 

I also remembered Khalid telling me he was ready to take our relationship seriously and that he was ready to propose. He was going to do so within this week and I was ready to tell my mother and sister about him.

Taking another deep breath, we walked into the elevator.


“Got everything ready?” Mr. Michael asked me. I nodded.


“Actually it’s too late for that question, unless you’re okay with running back to the office,” he added with a chuckle and I was too nervous to chuckle back. What if I messed up?


We walked into the meeting room again, and this time Abdullah wasn’t there. He said he was going to be there last week, didn’t he?
…اشوه مو موجود
I tried to convince myself. 
I hastily greeted his colleagues, who were about six foreign men, before I sat down next to my boss. 

“We have the data you asked from us the last meeting,” Mr. Michael said as he took the files from me.

Before we knew it the door suddenly swung open and Abdullah walked in, muttering a low “excuse me”.
He looked pissed off; I could see it in the way his brows knit together, the way his jaw was tense and how his hand was curled into a fist. 


Shit…I thought. I really couldn’t mess this up.


His eyes landed on mine and for a split second I thought I saw him relax, but maybe it was just my imagination. 


“Fajer, board?” Mr. Michael apparently repeated himself, but I was too distracted by Abdullah to hear him the first time. 


“Sure,” I said as I stood up to walk to the whiteboard.


…يدري شكثر اشتغلتي
I tried to calm myself.

 Fortunately my fingers weren’t shaking as I wrote down some figures on the whiteboard which I was copying from the spreadsheets I had done last week. 


I turned around to face the men who were looking at the board, except for Abdullah, whose eyes were set on mine. I gulped. 


“Go ahead, explain, please,” he said. His tone was new: it was a bit cold, if not a bit harsh. 


“Umm, these are some of the numbers that I concluded from the spreadsheets done based on the requests from the last meeting,” I began to explain and he nodded as I spoke. I showed them figures, handed them various copies of the spreadsheets. I looked at my boss who was beaming at me proudly. I exhaled in relief but Abdullah still carried the same expression. 


“Thank you,” he simply said and I smiled hastily before I sat back down. 


“Good job,” Mr. Michael whispered to me and I smiled. 


I looked up to see Abdullah looking at me, with a pen rested on his lips. He looked so powerful, so powerful and attractive that I didn’t feel so nervous anymore. I felt a rush of warmth spread through my body, almost like he knew what his gaze could do to me. His eyes didn’t look away from mine, and it felt like no one in the room was there but us, like our gaze was endless. 



His eyes were burning with desire as his lips still rested on his lips and shivers ran up my spine the same time a surge of heat rushed through me. The way he made me feel hot and cold at the same time made me want to surrender and lose myself to him. 


He made me feel pinned to the wall from how he looked at me and I couldn’t look away, and he didn’t seem to want to either. 

It was all in his control. 


It was only when his colleague asked him a question that he looked away, almost annoyed that he was interrupted. My stomach twisted and turned in knots. I was getting way too deep with this, it was only supposed to be professional but he was making this so hard. Furthermore, I was already taken as was he. 


I tried listening to the other men as they discussed important points but my mind was elsewhere, very much elsewhere and I couldn’t look at his direction again.
I was relieved when the meeting finally came to an end, but Abdullah stormed out of the room before us all, just muttering a quick “thank you”. 

Was he feeling the same way too?

Was it something I did? I knew I was supposed to look away, but he made it hard not to. 


“Thank you,” Mr. Michael said as he stood up and I stood up with him. The last couple of minutes of the meeting were a blur; my mind was still preoccupied with him.


Mr. Michael looked at his phone and turned to me.


“Abdullah wants you in his office,” he said, reading the message he’d received.


What?…

“Oh…okay,” I said, my heart was racing loudly against my chest that I was afraid Mr. Michael heard it. 

“I’ll meet you in my office once you’re back so we can discuss what to do next,” he said with a smile.


“Great,” I said, I was starting to find difficulty in breathing. 


He walked out of the meeting room and I followed him until I reached the secretary to ask her about Abdullah’s office. She guided me to the upper floor, with my heart beating faster and faster as I approached his office.


I stood outside his office, while the secretary knocked on his door.


“Fajer Al-F is waiting for you here. Shall I let her in?” she asked him.


“Yes,” I heard him say and I inhaled deeply.


The secretary smiled and opened the door wide enough for me to enter through. 


I took a deep breath again. 

I could see him now. Standing by his desk, looking at the cluster of papers on his office. His window was a whole floor of its own with glass walls overlooking the skyline and beige marble tiles covering the inside walls and floor. It was breathtaking.


“تفضلي استريحي فجر”

He said as he looked up from his stack of papers and I smiled politely, making my way to one of the two seats in front of his desk.

His qitra and 3qal were off, showing off his clean cut hair and his sleeves were folded halfway up his arms, showing off his watch and strong hands. 


…خلاص فجر


I told myself, I looked at my hands instead.


Why was I here?


“آسف اخرتج بس كنت ابيج تشرحينلي هالجدولين وشنو قصدج فيهم”

He said as he turned around the desk to sit in front of me. 

He set the papers on the coffee table that parted us and I began to explain to him what each chart meant. I didn’t know how I was able to focus and say everything perfectly, not with him looking at me through his thick glasses that made him even more attractive. They way he looked at me was still powerful…like he knew what I was thinking and what he was making me feel.


“وتحتاجين هالأوراق؟”

He asked me as he extended his arm to give me the papers. 
The tips of our fingers brushed against each other and I felt a flood of heat rush through me again. What made things even worse was that he immediately looked at me and I looked at him. We both knew what we were feeling and the feeling was mutual.

“امم..مادري خل-خل اشوف”

I said. My thoughts were scattered in separate corners of my brain that it was a miracle if I was able to put together a sentence that made sense. 

I read the paper but even the words on it didn’t make sense. I couldn’t focus. I looked up at him to see him relaxed on the seat with his thumb tracing his bottom lip and I couldn’t help but stare. I could see him trying to trap a smile from showing.


“Umm…” I said with a chuckle, I looked anywhere but at him now and he chuckled back.

Did he sense anything? 
Was he testing me?

“اطرشلج نسخة منها”

He said with a smile.

“اي احسن…مشكور”

I said.

“طرشيلي ايملج مسج ما عليج امر”

He said as he went on his phone and I felt my trapped breath leave my chest as his eyes were finally not on mine.

I hadn’t felt this way with Khalid…what was going on with me?


I looked up his name on Whatsapp and sent him my email address.


“هذا مال الدوام عدل؟”

He asked me.

I looked at my email that I sent him. I realized I’d sent him my uni email that I hadn’t used in a while. How did I type it up without realizing? 


“Shit laa, sorry,” I said…then I realized I’d sworn so I covered my lips with my fingers and he started to laugh, amused.


“مو مترقعة”

I said as I looked at my phone to send him my work email. My face was burning up.

“شكله في شي لاهيج”

He said with a chuckle…did he sense it?
Did he know?

“يمكن”

I said with a chuckle and he looked at me again. Would he quit? He knew how powerful his gaze was.

There was a moment of silence between us before I spoke again.


“عيل ما راح اطوّل عليك…تامر بشي؟”

I asked him as I stood up and he stood up too…

“ما يآمر عليج العدو…مشكورة، خل اماشيج لي دوامج لا تمشين بروحج”

He said.

I couldn’t say no…it was dangerous and I couldn’t walk alone.


“مشكور”

I said, not looking at him in the eye. He took off his glasses and grabbed his sunglasses. We walked out of his office and into the elevator…I hoped we wouldn’t be alone.

We were.


There was nothing worse than being alone with someone in an elevator…especially with someone you were having some sort of attraction towards when you shouldn’t be having attraction at all. 


I stepped in while he held the doors open before getting in. He smiled politely when we made eye contact again, an accident on my part and the elevator doors closed.


“اسفة بمشّيك وايد”

I said with a chuckle.

“لا والله بالعكس احب امشي بالديرة”

He said and I felt less guilty.

The rest of the ride was silent and it surprisingly wasn’t awkward. The doors opened and he signaled for me to leave first, before he followed me until we were walking next to each other. 


“زاهبة؟”

He asked me as we both put on his shades. And I thought he looked attractive with his reading glasses on…

فجر انتي مع خالد لا تصيرين حمارة


I thought to myself. Guilt was setting in again.


“يالله؟”

He said and we crossed two streets. 
He was an expert, stopping cars when the street was too busy and I trusted him on it. We arrived at my building after much walking and crossing, but we made it safe and sound.

“الله يعينك على الردة”

I said with a chuckle.

“باخذلي قهوة اول واروح. حياج” 

He said, looking at the passageway that led to the coffee shop.

No, I was being too friendly for someone who was almost engaged.


“مشكور بس لازم اكمل شغلي بدعت”

I said apologetically, the wind was blowing my hair into my face now and I had to brush it away.

“اكييد؟”

He asked me, raising a brow. 
“Iced spanish,” he said with a smile, tempting me.

“امشي اخذيلج ما راح نطوّل”

He said and I chuckled. I knew he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“يالله عيل”

I said, following him to the coffee shop where we entered. 

“Hi Jason,” Abdullah said as he leaned on the counter.


“Hello Mr. Abdullah,” Jason said, shaking his hand.


“Two iced lattes please,” Abdullah said.


“No brownie?” Jason said.


“Not today, we’re in a bit of a hurry,” Abdullah said as he glanced at me, while I smiled.


Jason went on to do our coffee while Abdullah paid for the drinks.


“ليان زارتنا امس”

He said as he pulled out his phone.

“الله يستر شسوت؟”

I said and he laughed.

“شوفي شسوّت بهيا”

He said as he showed me pictures of Haya with the most awful makeup possible and I gasped.

“لا لا لا”

I said as I held his phone to look at the pictures. His screen changed to Shoug is calling…and his phone started to vibrate.

“Umm…” tuwahagt so I handed him the phone. 


His face tensed up.


“دقيقة”

He said as he picked up.

“الو”

He said and left the coffee shop.

Jason handed me my iced spanish latte.


“Thank you,” I said. I turned to see if Abdullah was back but he was by the window with his jaw clenched as if he was trying not to explode.


I looked away, focusing on my drink. I should get going but I didn’t want to seem rude in front of Abdullah.


I waited for him patiently until he stormed back and I pretended like nothing had happened.


“طوّلت عليج”

He asked me as I took a sip of coffee. I shook my head. 

“لا”

I said with a smile.

“مشكور على القهوة”

I added.

“حيّاج”

He replied before I left the coffee shop without him. I guessed he really needed to cool down. I didn’t know what was going on between him and Shoug but I sensed it wasn’t good at all…

I went up to my office, hoping I didn’t take too long with Abdullah and went back to my cubicle to work. I hid the cup of coffee from my coworkers since I didn’t want them to think that I ditched work to grab coffee…which wasn’t the whole story.


Yasmine: heeeyyy…betrou7een 3end danah elyom?? 


My stomach was starting to hurt, not from the coffee but from guilt. How I was feeling about Abdullah wasn’t fair to Khalid. It didn’t matter that we didn’t do anything over the line, even if some might find getting coffee to be unnecessary…but that was it. It wa all thoughts.


Me: ahlaaan…eeh inshallahh!!


Yasmine: khouuush 3ayal agoul 7ag khalid ymurech we7na bel 6ereeej


I was starting to feel sick…how did I allow myself to accept Abdullah’s coffee invitation? How did I allow myself to get lost in his gaze…that stupid gaze of his that left me pinned and helpless.


My bond with Yasmine and Khalid was strong, it was like we were already family. It would hurt them if they found out.


I put my phone aside and went back to work.


“Ah, you’re back,” Mr. Michael said as he stood by my office.


“I am,” I said with a chuckle, hoping he wouldn’t see the coffee.


“Here are some more files I’d like you to check out. You have a great eye for detail,” he said with a chuckle.


“Thank you,” I said as I accepted the file. I had so much work to do it wasn’t even funny. I wasn’t sure if I would be awake enough to make it to Danah’s gathering, which would save me from feeling further guilt in the car with Yasmine and Khalid.


I started reading the reports Mr. Michael gave me and later the reports he’d emailed me.


I opened my email to find one new email…from Abdullah.


Of course, the paper he wanted me to check out. At least it was professional.


Fajer, 


Attached is the report I’d shown you in my office. 


Regards,


Abdullah


It ended with a signature of his name, position, and company name along with work phone numbers.

I looked at the document and realized I might be needing it later.

Perfect, I’ll need it for future reference.


Thank you,


Fajer


I sent him the email and printed the document he’d emailed me.

My phone buzzed on the desk.

Abdullah: Is this yours?


He sent me a picture of a Cartier ring on a desk…I looked at my finger. How did I take it off? Well to be fair, I didn’t know what I was doing when I was with him.


Me: Yes!! So sorry, can I pick it up after work?


Abdullah: Not a problem, I’ll be in my office


I sighed in relief, everything was professional. 


I continued working until it was five. I was going to work overtime but I also needed to get my ring in case he wasn’t working overtime.


“Mr. Michael I’ll just move my car and come back,” I told my boss whom I almost bumped into while getting some papers for my printer.


“You can leave it for tomorrow,” he said and I shook my head.


“I’m almost done with a file,” I said and he nodded understandably. 


I went down the elevator to the parking area and then to Mazaya, where I gave my car to the valet to deal with. I was exhausted. 


I bit my lip hesitantly and texted Yasmine while I waited for the elevator to arrive.


Me: heeey, don’t think I can make it tonight…I still need to work 


Yasmine: laaa yallah 3aaad!! 7awlaay please :(


The elevator doors opened but at the same time Khalid was calling, and I couldn’t put him off.


“هلا خالد”

I said.

“اهلين، فجورة ياسمين قالتلي ما راح تروحين بيت دانة؟”

He said.

“لا والله”

I replied.

 “انزين شلون اشوفج اليوم؟ ولهان عليج”

He said, sounding annoyed.

“خالد مادري والله ما خلصت شغلي وبعدين برد البيت اريّح”

I confessed. I couldn’t push myself to go out with anyone…not even Khalid.

I heard him sigh.


“حياتي اذا دوامج جذي بيفرقنا جذي عيل تكفين غيري مكانج ما اقدر اشوفج تكرفين وتردين البيت تعبانة مالج خلق احد”

He said and I sighed. I was growing a headache now and I didn’t want anyone condescending me.

I felt like a bitch but it was a long day for me.


“اعوظها ان شاء الله”

I could only say.

“يصير خير”

He said before he hung up. Guilt rushed through me again and I got into the elevator to Abdullah’s floor. I sent a message to the group.

Me: heey lel2asaf i don’t think i can make it tonight layl7een ma khala9t dawam o ta3banaa..see you tomorrow at spinning!!


Sarah: fajouuur yallah 3ad ta3alay!!


Danah: Fajer we did the house gathering because you can’t come to spinning…


I gulped…I was feeling more guilty now. First Khalid, now them.


Me: wallah I’m sorry i’ll try bas enkaraft today at work lo adry chan geltlekum go to spinning


Danah: Next time please tell us earlier


I bit my lip, guwat 3ain. I really started to feel for her sister now…Danah was surprising me every day.


I arrived at the floor of Abdullah’s workplace and looked around, the employees were almost all gone. Was it too late? It was 5:09. 


I walked to his office and took a deep breath before knocking on the door.


“تفضل”

I heard him say so I opened the door to find him on his iMac before he turned to see me. He smiled softly as stood up from his seat with the ring in his palm.

“والله اسفة مادري شلون فصخته”

I said with a chuckle as he dropped it into my palm, avoiding contact.

“لا عادي الحمدلله ما ضاع”

He said and I smiled.

“جنج تعبانة؟”

He said, looking at me intently.

“يوم طويل” 

I said.

“وايد طويل”

He agreed.

“وكان وراي يمعة والكل متنرفز منّي ليش كنسلت…ومادري ليش قاعدة اقولك”

I said, feeling my face burn up and he laughed.
I was saying too much.

“…اهم شي راحتج والله، ردي وارتاحي”

He said.

“ان شاء الله…عسى ما طولت عليك؟”

I said, looking at the time on my phone.

“لا كلّش”

He replied. His phone buzzed in his hand and I read Shoug’s name again. He sighed and put the phone in his pocket.

Right when I turned around to leave Shoug walked in and we stood face to face. Her perfume lingered in the air surrounding me. 


I felt my eyes widen and my lips part in surprise.


“اها وانا اقول ليش ما ترد”

She said with a devilish smile, looking at Abdullah.

“تحت عقب ما تخلص lobbyبتلقاني بال”

She said before she left, glaring at me for a second before leaving.

I turned to Abdullah who inhaled with his eyes shut, as if trying to control himself from exploding.


“فجر انا اسف”

He said and I looked at the marble floor below me.

“امم…لا ما صار شي”

I said.

“لا كل مرة يصير شي”

He said.

I gulped, what was I supposed to say?


“مو غلطتك”

I said and he sighed. He walked to one of the seats by his desk and sat down, placing his elbows on his knees and his hands in his hair, looking right at the floor.

He did look exhausted and I felt completely silly for complaining to him about my friends.


“عبدالله…مادري شنو اقول بس اساعدك بشي؟”

I asked him, sitting in the seat in front of his.

He smiled and looked up at me with a smile on his face, an exhausted smile and shook his head.


“مشكورة…ساعدتيني بوجودج”

He said and I felt my lips part…what was I supposed to say?

“…عبدالله ما اقدر”

I blurted out as I stood up.

“ما تقدرين شنو؟”

He asked, confused. His eyes knit together this time, not in anger but in confusion.

“3ala hal mixed signals,” I confessed. I was completely out of the professional line but I couldn’t control myself.


He looked up now, as if he was relieved one of us finally opened the subject.


“شلون يعني؟”

He asked me.

“ما لاحظت شلون كنت تطالعني اليوم اذا مو كل ما اشوفك؟ ومرتك قاعدة تنطرك تحت بعد؟”

I said and his opened his mouth to speak but froze for two seconds before he did.

“-فجر ان”

He said but I interrupted him.

“انت متزوّج وانا غلطانة اني عطتك ويه”

I said. I couldn’t mention Khalid now.
Abdullah shook his head as he stood up. 

“فجر انا وشوق من زمان مالنا شغل ببعض…بس اسمنا متزوجين عشان هيا ولا انا مالي شغل بشوق”

He said and I gulped.

“بس ناطر هيا تكبر عشان انفصل عنها لأن اذا انفصلنا الحين الحضانة لها وانا مو مستعد اضيّع بنتي”

He explained, he couldn’t even look at me.

“وليش دقت عليك اليوم؟ وليش يت دوامك؟”

I said, I wanted to make sure he was up to what he said.

“هيا ballet show بالمدرسة وتأخرو عليها لأن شوق تبي السايق والحين بنروح نشوف half day هيا كان عندها”

He said and I bit my lip, he really was saying the truth.

“…عبدالله مادري شقول”

I said, looking at the floor now.

“فجر انا ادري انج حاسة بشي بينا بعد”

He confessed and I looked up at him. 
He could read my mind, I was sure of it.
Bile rose in my throat as Khalid’s image popped in my head. 

“مابي اخّرب بيت احد”

I said, my voice was soft now.

“ماكو بيت عشان تخربينه”

He said and I shook my head. Guilt started rushing through me and a tear escaped my eye.

“عبدالله تكفا..ماقدر. يمكن اوضاعك مع شوق تتغير حق الأحسن عشان هيا بس مابي اكون سبب ان هالشي ما يصير”

I said.

“اوضاعنا ما راح تتصلح”

He said, like he was sure of it and I bit my lip.

My phone buzzed in my hand. Mr. Michael.

I’d told him I was just going to move my car.
I was so stressed from everything.

“لازم اروح”

I said and he nodded understandably.

“شنو نسوي الحين؟”

He said.

“مادري”

I said, I couldn’t look at him.

My phone was still buzzing.


“Bye,” I said as I left his office.


I went down the elevator and to the ground floor where I could sense Shoug glare at me. Even if they were separated, according to what Abdullah had told me…I wouldn’t blame her.


I was a selfish and horrible person and I didn’t know what to do about anything.


***

Team Khalid or Team Abdullah?
Comment below!

If You Only Knew Me »

[2 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (22 ◇ Muneera) | 0 views]
I usually rely on the blog comments below for questions but some requested my Sarahah:

Link to Sarahah

I’ll be posting the answers on Snapchat & Instagram, but if you’d like to comment anonymously here to get a permanent reply just swipe through the “Comment as” options below to the end where you’ll be able to post as anonymous!

Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016…

“امبيه منور شوفي حدنا متأخرين”
Jana told me as she looked outside the car window. The street outside Sirbb Circuit was packed with cars and people my age getting out of the cars to the carnival. We could hear the loud music from inside the car and I couldn’t be more excited.

“مادري منو اللي قعدعت ساعة تحطلي مكياج”
I told her.

“اي عشان بعدين مو تقولينلي ليش ما قلتلج تتسنعين حقه”
She said and I shut up, she did have a point.

“يالله خل ننزل”
I told her. We got out of the car in our Juniors – Volunteers yellow shirt and skinny jeans plus Golden Goose, of course. Jana’s jeans were skinny enough to show off her underwear line, she was that extra. We walked inside the gates and I couldn’t help but stare at the scene in front of me: the booths, the young people walking in groups, the music…the atmosphere was definitely one I was waiting to experience. Like I finally belonged.

“امشي خنروح عند لمى نساعدها”
Jana said as she grabbed my arm to walk to Lama, who was sorting out some medals.

“Lamaa!” Jana said, hugging her. She introduced us to one another before we were assigned a task to sort out the medals in boxes.

Jana started to sway her body to the music now, moving her butt up and down. She was grabbing attention from the girls next to us as well as some guys but I started to laugh at their reactions.

“امبيه شدعوه؟”
Jana said as she looked around.

“والله تعرفين”
I told her.

“شرايج عيل؟”
She said with a wink.

“امبيه هذي مو روانوه؟”
She told me, and I loved how she called her “Rawano” when she hadn’t even met her.

I turned my head and felt my jaw drop.

“امبيييه اي”
I said. She was accompanied by two other girls I didn’t know plus Kadi. The pink coat on her shoulders was starting to slip so the two girls actually adjusted it like they were her minions.

“من صجهم؟”
Jana said and I laughed.

“امبييه”
I couldn’t help but say.

We put the boxes aside, which we finished, to watch.

“طالعي صوب المدخل”
Jana said and I did as she said.

Khalid now entered with his phone on his ear and Jana’s phone rang. He looked cool in a pair of jeans and gray shirt and I knew Jana was over the moon. I turned to see her with a huge smile on her face.

“كاني يايتك اشوفك لا تتحرّك”
She said.

“شوفي وراج”
She said with a wink before she dashed off.

I did as she said to see Fahad right behind me checking out the booths, still not aware that I was in front of him. He looked so handsome in a pair of white shorts, white shirt and a light black cardigan plus a cap worn backwards. He had his sunglasses on and I couldn’t help but gawk at how hot he was.
And the best part?
He was mine.

I watched his neck turn towards me and he slowed down before he smiled at me, showing off those cute dimples of his.

“Volunteer ha?” he said as he leaned on my table. The volunteers next to me were definitely looking at us now. He looked too good not to look at.

“Mhmm,” I said. “A36eek tour?” I said, remembering when Jana asked Khalid for a tour of his chalet.

“Yallah,” he said and I smiled. I noticed Rawan was walking towards the booths on my side now and I smiled to myself. She was going to have the surprise of a lifetime.

“فهني عندنا البوثات، طبعا”
I said with a chuckle loud enough for her to realize it was me. And it worked, she snapped her neck towards me and I could sense her looking at Fahad. She lowered her sunglasses to make sure she was seeing things right then she looked back at me as he followed me. The best part? He paid her no attention.

I beamed to myself.

“race trackوهني طبعا ال”
I said and he started to laugh.

“شفيك؟”
I said.

“Arda tour guide sheft’ha,” he said.

“Chub I’m trying!” I told him, almost nudging him and he started to laugh.

“وفوق شنو طبعا اكو؟”
He mocked me.

“خلاص ماني مكملة زعلت”
I joked.

“خلاص خلاص والله اتغشمر كملي”
He said and I glared at him before smiling.

“خل اراويك باجي البوثات”
I said and he followed me.

We walked around the different booths, of course each girl looked at Khalid then at me, wondering what I, a junior, was doing with the hottest senior.

“خلووود وينك؟؟”
One of Khalid’s friends suddenly said and I kept my distance.

“والله قعدت افتر، خوش كارنفل ها؟”
He said, he turned to me quickly and mouthed “خمس دقايق” while he walked with the guys, leaving me alone.

I wondered where Jana was. Just as I turned around I came face to face with Rawan. There was no escaping now.

A sour smile appeared on her lips.

“Oh hi,” she said, hugging me quickly.

“اهلا، شخبارج؟”
I said.

“تمام”
She said and her eyes moved to my right.

“روان صح؟”
I heard Fahad next to me say. Rawan’s jaw almost dropped.

“امم اي…فهد؟”
She said, as if she didn’t stalk him.

“اي…شخبارج؟”
He said, and I felt him inch near me. I was dancing inside.

“الحمدلله تمام”
She said before she looked at me, confused.

“اممم احنا بنكمل ف….نشوفج”
I told her before I turned on my heels and walked away from her with Fahad right behind me.

He snickered as soon as we were away from her.

“شفتي شلون خزّتج؟”
He asked me and I smiled. We walked up the stairs now to see the racetrack better.

“اشكره محترة”
I said with a wink and he chuckled. We walked on the platform and leaned against the barrier to look at the track under us.

“ليش ما سقت؟ احس تعرف”
I asked him. Cold wind was starting to run through my hair now.

“قلت امشي معاج اونس”
He said and I smiled. I wasn’t afraid to show it.

I inched closer to him until our shoulders were almost touching and I looked up at him. He looked back at me and smiled softly. I knew what we were both thinking.

“حاطة الحمرة اللي خذيتيها معاي؟”
He asked me, he lowered his sunglasses to look at my lips.

“يمكن”
I said, raising my brows and he chuckled.

Was he going to make a move like Jana had said?
Maybe it wasn’t his thing…our skins never even touched on purpose.

I watched the people walking below us now and saw Jana walking alone now while Khalid was walking past her; I guessed he needed to go.

My phone vibrated in my pocket.

Jana was calling.

“شوفي فوق”
I said and she looked up before seeing me and Fahad, who was waving at her and chuckling.

“وين بيروح خالد؟”
I asked her.

“زوارة”
She said.

“انزين امشي معانا”
I told her.

“اي يالله”
She said before she hung up.

“عادي؟”
I asked Fahad with a cheeky grin.

“عيل تعوظيني بطلعة”
He said.

“اهاا ما شبعت مني؟”
I teased and he chuckled.

“شلون اشبع منج؟”
He said and I blushed.

My phone buzzed again and I felt weird. Jana was usually the only one who called me, other than my mother.

I looked at my phone: my mother was calling.

“الو؟”
I said once I picked it up.

“وينج في؟”
She asked, sounding a bit angry. My heart started to race.

“المدرسة carnival بسرب حق”
I said.

“ردي البيت الحين”
She said.

“-يما شلون ارد قلت حق السايق ير”
I said but she cut me off.

ردي البيت الحين منيرة بدون نقاش
She yelled through the phone and I gulped. She hung up and didn’t give me a chance to speak.

“لازم ارد الحين”
I said.

“جد؟”
Jana said and I nodded. Fahad just looked at me.

I called the driver and told him to pick me up again.

“جنى بتردين معاي؟”
I asked her.

“اي يالله، بس خل سايقج يوصلج اول اخاف اأخرج”
She said.

“انا بعد لازم امشي، ربعي ناطريني تحت”
Fahad said.

I sighed, I just wished we could stay longer here.

We walked around the booths five times before my driver gave me a missed call.

“امبيه مادري ليش امي معصبة”
I said as I got into the car.

“يمكن على دانة”
Jana said, sitting next to me and I scoffed.

“صدقيني محد يزف دانة”
I said.

“امبيه انا اتمنى احد يزفني”
She joked but I knew there was some truth to it. She almost never spoke of her home life but from the little hints she dropped here and there I sensed it wasn’t a good one.

“ليش؟”
I asked her and she shrugged.

“امي كله مسافرة وابوي لاهي بشغلة فأسوي اللي ابيه…وناسة بس مو وناسة”
She said.

“Oh…” I said.

We played music on the way home and my heart started beating right when the driver stopped in front of my house.

“Good luck,” Jana said before she hugged me.

“Thank you,” I said as I got out.

I entered my house, which was dead quiet and walked up the stairs to my room.

Should I look for my mother? Should I just stay in my room? I didn’t know. I sat on my bed instead and went through my social media apps as a distraction.

My bedroom door opened, only instead of my nanny walking in, as usual, my mother walked in and she didn’t look happy…

Her eyebrows were knit together, bringing out the wrinkles in her forehead.

“انتي شمسوية؟”
My mother asked me.

I gulped, what was she talking about?

“ما فهمت”
I said.

“ما فهمتي بعد ها؟”
She yelled.

She stormed towards me and before I knew it she slapped me hard on my face.

I nearly fell off the bed. I was so caught off guard…I wasn’t expecting this.

ماشية مع صبي وتضحكين معاه وحط ايده عليج؟
She yelled.

Rawan.

It had to be her that told my mother, and I knew she had to twist the truth…but my mother wouldn’t believe me.

“انا وابوج ما قطينا عليج عشان تحوسين عند صبيان”
She said and I couldn’t say anything, I was shocked. How did she think this of her own daughter?

“يما قلتل-“

“!انتي جب ولا كلمة”
She said and I stepped back, fearing that she might slap me again.

“شنازل عليج؟ ولا يكون حسبالج الحين صج ميتين عليج مع لبسج الفاصخ؟ صايرة زبالة”
My mother told me and each word was like a knife piercing through me. I was wearing a pair of ripped jeans but they weren’t too tight either…were they?
Danah went out in more revealing clothes but she still won my mother’s approval.

I wasn’t Danah…I could never be her.

“من اليوم ورايح من المدرسة سيدا لي البيت لا طلعة ولا شي، مو كفو شي”
She said.

“ان شاء الله”
I said.

“ترى انا كلّش مالي خلقج انتي وسوالفج”
She said before she walked out and slammed the door hard behind her. I could still feel the sting of her slap on my cheek, it really hurt.

If You Only Knew Me »

[1 Feb 2018 | Comments Off on If You Only Knew Me (21 ◇ Fajer) | 0 views]
Happy reading, 

Cashmere
***

Friday, October 21st, 2016…

My niece Layan smiled at me before placing a +4 card on top of my +2 one as we played Uno.

“جد؟”
I said and she wiggled her brows at me.

“حقيرة”
I muttered before I grabbed six cards from the stack.

“ليووون يالله ناطرينج هناك”
Fouz said, coming out to the balcony of the chalet. The sunset was just breathtaking against the surface of the sea ahead.

“Okay 3ugub halgame shway o afouz,” Layan said.

“لا خلاص بقوم”
I said, standing up from my chair.

I turned to Fouz.

“وين بتروحون؟”
I asked her.

“معزومة عند شاليه هيا الس….رفيجتها. عفية توصلينها؟ كلش مالي خلق”
She said and I froze.
That was where Abdullah was.

“الحين locationاطرشلج ال”
She added, not giving me a chance to say no. I worked with him.

“Thank you thank you,” she said as she grabbed my shoulders and I smiled. Layan dashed inside to leave the chalet and get to my car.

“انا حمارة”
I muttered to myself as I got into my car.
I placed the phone on the phone holder and went on Google Maps to get to the chalet, which was just five minutes away.

“انا فزت عليج صح؟”
Layan boasted, still not over her winning.

“اي ليان”
I said, focused on the road. I arrived at the chalet, which was a gorgeous series of similar modern buildings next to each other. I found one that said.

….عبدالله الس

“هذا هو”
Layan said as she took off her seatbelt.

“Layan!” I said but she opened the door and dashed for the gate.
I left my car and followed her inside just so they would know I dropped her off. By they, I meant Abdullah and Shoug, yet I couldn’t find either of them. I walked past the large parking area, where his Range was. I followed Layan and tried to call out to her when she walked to the chalet next to theirs but she’d already went. I followed her until I saw the same woman from the hospital greet Layan.

“ليونة حبيبتي شلونج؟”
She said, kissing her cheeks.

“السلام عليكم”
I said with a shy smile and she turned to me and smiled back.

“وعليكم السلام، هلا والله، خالة ليان عدل؟”
She said with a friendly smile.

“اي، خالتها فجر”
I said with a chuckle, kissing her cheeks.

“ما شاء الله فيها منج”
She said and I smiled.

“ايي يقولون نفس البوهة”
I agreed.

“اسفة انتي عمة هيا ولا انا غلطانة؟ اذكر شفتج بالمستشفى الله لا يعيد الشر”
I said.

“اي عمتها مها”
She said with a smile.

“اي يا هلا فيج”
I said, brushing a strand of loose hair behind my ear.

We were interrupted by the loud noise of a dirt bike, which Layan was watching with Haya and a couple of other kids, roaming around a special mud track.

“عيل شوق او عبدالله هني؟”
I asked her. I immediately regretted saying Abdullah’s name. Usually fathers weren’t so relevant, were they?

“شوق والله طالعة بس عبدالله كاهو”
She said with a smile, pointing ahead.
I couldn’t see him.

“اسفة وين؟”
I said and she laughed. The motorbike stopped right at Haya before the person on the bike took off his helmet.

Abdullah.

Now I knew what she meant and I laughed too.

“هلا فجر شلونج؟”
He said, raising his hand at me before he hauled his daughter in front of him and put the helmet on her.

Please stop finding him attractive…

” خالتي فجر عادي اركب مع عمي عبدالله بعدين؟”
Layan yelled to me and the woman next to me laughed while Abdullah smiled.

“امم…اي”
I said as I cocked my brow while looking at Abdullah, who was laughing now.

“لا تخافين انا اتحمل المسؤولية”
He told me.

“!اي بعد عقب ما قامت ببنتك”
Maha teased next to me and I blushed.

“لا والله ما نبي تعويضات تكفون”
I joked and they laughed.

“يالله عيل انا اخليكم، وان شاء الله امرها على ال٩”
I said with a smile.

“خوش عيل حياج حبيبتي”
She said as I walked away.

I kept remembering Khalid and Yasmine…the guilt was setting in now as I walked towards my car. I huffed as I got in and just sat in my seat…looking right ahead. What was I doing?
Why was I making things harder on myself by coming here?
I should just quit my job and stay away from anything that involves Layan and her friends.

Me: hi 7ayaty wainik?

Khalid: shalaih. we9altay?

Me: eee I just dropped off layan at her friend’s chalet. 

Khalid: agdar amurech? i miss you

I smiled, the guilt sinked in deeper.

Me: ana akthar wallah…wayed mga9ra ma3ak. ana greeba yam shalaihek, ayi?

Khalid: 3endy rab3y al7een bas 7ayach a6la3lech

I pulled my car out of the driveway and went down the familiar road that led to Khalid’s chalet. It was almost the same design as Abdullah’s with its huge windows and sleek modern design.

Khalid promised me this chalet would be ours and only ours someday. He really had everything set.

I texted him that I was out and he walked out shortly in a pair of gray track pants and a white shirt, which he easily pulled off.

“شعرج حلو جذي”
He said as soon as he entered. He looked at my hair that was pulled up into a messy bun I’d done while looking for my phone in the car.

“Thank you,” I said with a chuckle and he smiled.

“الجو اليوم خيال”
I said as I looked out the window, then at him.

“اي ما شاء الله”
He said, only his mind seemed preoccupied with something else.

“شتفكر فيه؟”
I asked him with a soft smile.

“فيج”
He said, taking my hand into his.

“اها؟”
I said, smiling slyly now.

He took a deep breath and turned to me.

“فجورة انا ابيج…بالحلال”
He said, like he’d been waiting the whole day to say it.

I was stunned. Was I hearing him right?

“فجر انا جاهز اني اطق باب بيتكم واتقدملج”
He said, and I felt a smile cross my face…then his smile appeared too.

“اكيد؟”
I said, still shocked.

“نطرنا بما فيه الكفاية…ولا تبين وقت؟”
He asked me.

“لا انا جاهزة بعد”
Words spilled from my lips uncontrollably.
I was ready…I tried to convince myself.

He lifted my hands to his lips and kissed it, and I couldn’t dare pull away. Blood rushed through my veins at this moment. Guilt creeped in again…how dare I think about Abdullah that way? Shame on me.
 I was Khalid’s and Khalid was mine. That was that.

Khalid’s phone rang and he silenced it.

“حياتي ناطريني داخل…اكلمج الليلة قبل لا تنامين؟”
He asked me and I nodded. He smiled brightly, flashing me his classic Khalid smile before closing the door behind him.

It really happened.
I wanted to call Danah and tell her but Fouz’s words rung in my head. I couldn’t trust her. Lulu? I would, but Danah was smart and might be mad I told Lulu first and not her.

I headed back to my chalet, my heart was beating fast and my mouth tasted sweet from nausea. Why was I so scared?
I couldn’t tell Fouz; she wouldn’t approve of a before marriage relationship and I didn’t think she’d be too pleased at first if I told her. I just wanted to tell someone I could trust.
Suddenly, right as I parked by my chalet, the nausea was gone and I felt elated, like I was over the moon.

Me: can’t wait to be yours 

I sent it to Khalid with a smile across my face.

I got down from my car and into the living room.

My phone buzzed in my hand.

Khalid: you already are 

“شاقة الضحكة اشوف”
Fouz said, raising a brow and I gulped.
Did she know?
How would she know?

“اي قاعدة اكلم حبيبي”
I played along.

“انتي فضي نفسج اول عشان تفضين حق حبيب”
She said and I laughed, harder than I should have to that she raised a brow.
I bit my lip and sat back at my seat where I hauled the laptop on my lap, but then I got up again to grab a plate full of food.
I watched Suits and ate an ungodly amount of fatayer before I had to pick up Layan again when Fouz told me to.

I didn’t want to go.
Yet I knew I had to, maybe I could just put an end to things this time. In my head of course, trying to find something against him that would kill my attraction to him. 

I grabbed my car keys and went to the parking lot of the chalet where I drove down the now familiar road to Abdullah’s chalet.

I parked my car in the driveway next to Abdullah’s Range, with a Maserati on my right. Probably Shoug’s.

I took a deep breath and got out of the car. I could hear loud voices and laughs coming from the chalet next door but it would be really intrusive if I went there straight away instead of checking for Abdullah first.

I went up the steps to the main entrance and froze in spot as I heard voices coming out of the door.

“قلتلك قاعدين ينطروني من ال٩”
I heard Shoug say.

ادري، بس هم بنتج تنطرج من الصبح وهي تزهب حق عيدميلادج. ادري مالنا شغل ببعض بس لما يخص هيا هذا شي” ثاني”
Abdullah said.
I felt my jaw drop, I really should be leaving but my feet wouldn’t let me.

“!قلتلك بقعد خمس دقايق واروح”
She yelled.

“ما له داعي تكلميني جذي وبعدين قاعد اقولج تقعدبن حق مصلحتج انتي وهيا. رفيجاتج يقدرون يخلونه يوم ثاني”
He said.

“خمس دقايق…لا تخليني ما اروح خير شر”
She said.

“يعني بتحريني؟ بتحرين بنتج وطبعا انا اللي اقولها انج ليلحين تحبينها لما تسألني وينج”
He said. I gulped.

“!خلاص زين”
She yelled and suddenly my feet were free so I quickly moved to the side to hide behind a wall. The door opened and Shoug, overdressed as usual walked out the chalet before slamming the door loud behind her. She walked in her heels to the chalet next door, the other way from where I was, fortunately.

I felt so horrible for overhearing everything but I was literally frozen, I couldn’t move until it was too late.

I counted to sixty before I walked to the chalet, where Abdullah was and knocked the door.

“ها شنسيتي؟”
He said angrily before he opened the door.

His face went from beet red with anger to fallen once he looked at me. His eyes widened in realization of what had happened and his lips parted; he looked so off guard if not a bit embarrassed.

“نسيت بنت اختي”
I quipped and he chuckled, loosening up.

“آسف”
He could only say.

Please stop finding him attractive…

“لا انا اسفة طوّلت عليك”
I said. It was almost 9:15.

“لا كلّش، اليهال عند شاليه اختي مسوّين عيد ميلاد صغير حق شوق مرتي”
He said with a chuckle before stepping out of the chalet.

“Oh cute,” I said, following him to his sister’s chalet next door. I didn’t want to sound too friendly.
Birthday decorations were on the walls and a cake was in the center of the table with pink plates and cups all around as well as a whole dinner table for the kids.

Shoug took pictures of the cake and then one with Haya, who looked so happy her mother had showed up.

“Yallah thank you 7abeebty,” she told her daughter, who looked so confused now. Shoug waved to Haya before she passed us.
Abdullah was definitely tense next to me.
She stopped in her tracks to eye me from head to toe again before she looked at Abdullah.

“كل عام وانتي بخير شوق”
I said, forcing a smile

“تذكرينها؟ فجر خالة ليان اللي ودّت هيوني المستشفى”
He said.

“اوه ايي، شخبارج؟ عبدالله انا رايحة اوكي حبيبي؟”
She said, placing a hand on his shoulder. I could feel her look at me for a reaction but I kept on looking forward.
Abdullah didn’t so much as flinch.

There was so much tension in the air that I had to pretend I was distracted by my phone until minutes later I heard him mutter

“…لا لا لا”
Abdullah said as he ran to Haya, who was now starting to cry in front of the untouched cake. I saw his fingers press on his phone as he hugged his daughter.

I went up to them and Abdullah looked at me.

“تشوفينها دقيقة؟”
He said and I nodded. His face was red with rage now. He walked away with his phone stuck to his ear.

Layan was patting Haya’s back to comfort her but Haya was still crying and sobbing. His sister joined us.

“وين عبدالله؟”
She asked me.

“تليفون”
I told her, we looked around but he wasn’t to be found. He must’ve gone somewhere he knew he wouldn’t be heard.

Maha, Layan and I comforted Haya as we waited for Abdullah to come back and when he did his looked even more pissed than when he’d went. I watched him shake his head to Maha and she sighed, hugging Haya closer now.

“آسفين اخرناكم”
Abdullah said, trying not to look at me. I wanted to tell him it was okay…it wasn’t his fault.

“لا ما ورانا شي، اخاف طوّلنا”
I replied, wrapping my arm around Layan’s shoulder.

“لا والله بيتكم ومحلكم”
He said with a soft smile, finally looking up at me. He looked at me with the same grateful eyes he saw me with at the hospital and it warmed me up.

“يالله هيّون شرايج نشغل فلم ونسوي بوبكورن؟”
Abdullah said to Haya, who was looking better. Poor girl.
She nodded and smiled at her father, liking the idea.

“UNOيالله عيل استانسو، انا بباري ليون ب”
I said, looking at my niece who was now beaming.

“فزت عليها اليوم”
Layan said cheekily while Abdullah looked amused and raised his brow at me.

“لعبنا جد”
I said and he laughed, making Haya smile.

“حدها ماتعرف”
Layan added.

“Layan!” I said and Haya started to laugh, to which Abdullah smiled at and he lifted his head to smile at me. Goosebumps ran all over my body now and it wasn’t because of the cold winds.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.

***
Edit: 

Sarahah