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Open-mouthed, Mr. Nehal stood at his place.
“I’m….. I’m so sorry sir.” Aariz came forward, apologizing on his wife’s behalf. “She is a very conservative and backward woman. Being a rural girl, she is not familiar with the manners of high modern society.”
Mr. Nehal didn’t stay long after that. From his expression, Aariz could see very well that his mood had turned off.
As soon as he left, Aariz almost ran behind her. By the time he reached his bedroom, his anger was at fever pitch. He wanted to lash out at her, end this damn relation and kick her out of his house and life.
He opened the door with a burst.
Inside, he found Zeest sitting in front of the dressing table, combing her hair.
As he reached near her, his expression became thunderous
“You didn’t shake hands with Mr. Nehal?” His eyes hardened. “What the hell do you think you were up to?”
“Yes, I didn’t.”
“WHY?” unfortunately his weakness was in front of him. Thick, long, straight, shiny and silky hair that belonged to a very charming woman.
Hating himself for liking the sight, he turned his back to her and yelled. “I’m asking you something.”
“I…. I just couldn’t.” She managed to say with great effort.
“Do you know it’s consequences? He is my boss. You’ve probably made him angry. I could even lose my job.”
Asked about the consequences, she replied, “I was not thinking about his anger. I was thinking what if I made my Allah angry? Allah forbids me from shaking hands with strange men.”
As she spoke, Aariz ordered himself not too be impresses by her religious knowledge and divine confidence but he was…….damn it.
He struggled to keep his anger and panic in check; he gritted his teeth, clamped his jaws.
“While you live under my roof, you will take orders from me, not the other way round.”
Sadness welled up inside her on his remarks. She felt as if a hand had clutched her heart. She couldn’t breathe.
“And stop trying to act in front of others.” He added without mercy. “You only pose yourself. You’re an actress, a poser.”
“I am not a poser.”
“That is precisely what you are, Miss. Wife, a poser, a selfish creature. I knew it from the moment you laid your eyes on me. It was perfectly apparent.” His anger was crossing its final limits today.
Zeest hadn’t expected him to be so blunt, and she felt her eyes sting with moisture.
“You’re a dumb, illiterate person, who knows nothing about the manners and customs of city life.” He added in the same horrible tone.
“I’m not an illiterate person…..” She didn’t speak but her eyes did. “If you treat me like one, then I have no option but to be one. I don’t want to be treated like an animal anymore. I just want to be the woman I am.” But the respect she had for her husband didn’t allow her to open her mouth in front of him.
Yet she didn’t keep silent when he raised an objection against her religious principles. “You’re supposed to be my husband, my protector and defender. I’m your respect….your ego…..your pride….” As she spoke, she didn’t raise her eyes. “You should be happy that I didn’t put my hand in another man’s hand.”
“Shut up!” With unexpected violence, Aariz flung back and strode aggressively to the door of his bathroom.
“Don’t try my patience any further or I won’t be responsible for my actions.”
He then banged the door shut, leaving Zeeat staring at him, nervous of the anger she had provoked.
She blushed fiercely. How could he be so cold, so indifferent? Fearful that her torment and yearning lay bare in her eyes, Zeest knew she must get away. If she didn’t go this instant, she’d be weeping in front of him, making more of a fool of herself than she already had.
She left the room quietly in order to clean the kitchen. About twenty minutes later, when she returned to her bedroom, another incident or to be more exact, accident was waiting for her.
She was lost in her worried, when she opened the bedroom door and walked straight into Aariz.
“Oh!” It was a soft sound of delayed shock as she found her arms resting against the solid wall of his chest. She swayed backwards unsteadily, trembling from the unexpected contact with his warm flesh.
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” His drawling voice lowered his pitch to a cold level.
She quickly sidestepped him and made her way inside the bedroom.
“Next time it happens, I’m going to throw you out of my room forever.” His voice trailed after her.
“Damn the woman!” He didn’t think he had a particular quick temper, but she could light his fuse faster than any female ever had.
She didn’t think that remark was worthy of response, so she closed the door on him. Yet, in the quietness of her bedroom, the encounter outside the door started her thinking about how many things they shared besides a bedroom and bathroom. They ate at the same table, slept under the same roof, and drank from the same glasses. She had spent more time with Aariz under a variety of circumstances than she has with anyone except her father. It was an unsettling discovery to realize how much he had become a part of her life in these few months.
It was Eid day. The first Eid after Komal had entered his life. His parents had gone to visit their friends and relatives and when they asked him to accompany them, like he used to do in the past, he had clearly refused. Surprisingly, they didn’t much insisted. All of his servants were on vacation and now when the dark night had finally arrived, his house seemed more silent than usual.
Special occasions like these are the moments when you remember your loved ones more than usual, miss them and your heart crave for them, wishing they were with you. He had not received any greeting from Komal yet, which was making his heart ache and throb with longing.
Without Komal, this is the most boring and worst Eid I’ve ever experienced. He thought painfully.
Thinking about her, he went to sit on the veranda to gaze dreamily at the flickering stars and watch the moon splash its beam across the velvet black of the ocean. He leaned against the smooth white pillar on the veranda. It was 10 p.m and all was finally quiet in his household. He sat there, hands thrust deeply into his pockets, sleeves of his white shirt rolled up his forearms and his feet crossed at the ankles.
The night was perfect, the sea breeze softly and balmy. It lifted the straight black hair from his wide, intelligent brow and made his scalp feel good.
Only then, he heard some voices, like those of children, playing and laughing. Something was up. He shifted his position to gaze down at the lawn of the ground floor and from there he saw a woman, she had her back to him.
From the veranda, he saw her playing, dancing with children. She was dressed in a white Saarhi, but a white, silky veil covered her hair and upper body, presenting an interesting but graceful picture.
Suddenly she started to sway as though listening to some inner beat. Intrigued, Aariz continued to watch, unable to tear his eyes from the beautiful vision she made.
She swayed from side to side, her hands clapping in a rhythm. Aariz wanted to know who she was and what she was doing in his house.
In between all those children, she looked like a beautiful butterfly surrounded by several colorful flowers. Smiling, laughing, clapping, they were looking so cute, so innocent.
And then, her angelic face turned briefly to her right, giving him a quick glimpse of her beauty. As he saw her face, he felt his entire body covered in goosebumps.
She was Zeest! Her innocent grin was charming, though he hated to admit it.
This aspect of hers was new to him, and this was the time, when he realized that he had never actually seen her in detail. The massive shield of hatred and anger had always covered his vision, never letting Zeest’s beauty enter his mind.
Suddenly, her veil dropped down to the floor
He sucked his breath in harshly, his eyes unnaturally large in his face, his heart pounding erratically, unable to tear his gaze from the enticing movement of her well balanced and perfectly proportionate body.
He watched speechlessly, as her dark long hair was lifted in soft breeze and swirled about her head like a shimmering dark cloud. The whole scene looked like a movie moving in slow motion.
Zeest was so absorbed and drowned in her own wonderful world that she couldn’t notice her veil falling, and after-all, no one was there except for those innocent children and above all, she was inside her home, her own boundary wall.
But someone was definitely watching her, observing her unconsciously.
With his eyes open but mouth closed, he saw her for the very first time in great detail.
He had formed a picture of her in his mind; a typical conservative-kind of lady without any figure or shape, who doesn’t even know what beauty means and what does the word ‘fashion’ stands for. But ahead of him, was no conservative, backward lady.
She was a complete symbol of ‘touch-me-not’ for others when she was in her Hijaab. But now without Hijaab, she was a dazzling symbol of ‘touch me’ for him. (Hijaab: covering/veil).
She was stunning. A totally in-revealed figure had been revealed to him now. He stared at her curvaceous body. She was sensual, attractive and glamorous inside that Hijab of hers. Two more things of great attraction in her god-gifted body was her waist length jet-black shining hair, big and provocative, very provocative eyes. Her skin was milky, her black hair was like sheer dark rainy clouds. With every swaying of her head, her black tress spread all over her scarlet face making her no less beautiful than a fairy.
Aariz’s blood heated up, catching him off guard. He found himself gazing at her hair, thinking what it would feel like to thread his hands through her silky black hair. He was amazed at his own reaction to her.
As he saw her like this in her privacy, dancing before him with the innocent children inside her protected, sheltered home, Aariz felt a strange, weird feeling of dominance and uniqueness. He realized that she was so genuine, so real, and so original inside that Hijaab of hers and only he as her husband, was capable of sharing this great beauty of hers.
No doubt, she was irresistible beneath her Hijaab.
“But, Oh God, she’s beautiful.” A voice inside his head said in irreverent amazement.
A hint of confusion darkened Aariz’s already dark black eyes and, nibbling his lower lip, he wondered why the mere sight of bare hair, on a woman he considered cold was so distracting. How was it possible that this ice woman—always careful to display such rigid perfection in her elegant Hijaab and Abaaya—-could have such a sensuous body, with that soft, silky fair skin and beautiful shape of ups and downs of her body just begging to be touched and caressed.
A new feeling of possessiveness rose deep inside his heart. Yes, only he had looked at her body like this. She had never given a single chance to any other man to stare at her like this.
He continued to watch her, forgetting at the moment that this was the same girl whom he had cursed and hated the most.
Oh yes, no doubt he was Aariz Ali but he was a man too. He simply forgot to take his eyes away.
She had a body of a Goddess, sensual, very feminine. Suddenly, one of the children screamed and this brought him back to himself from her.
What was he looking at? He looked away and then looked back at her. Then away again, and then back.
“Don’t look at her like that, you love someone else.’ His mind warned.
“So what? She’s your wife.” His heart whispered seductively. “Absorb her fresh beauty as much as you can, as you have every right to do so. You’re her husband, her beauty is only for you. She has keep it reserved and safe for you, only for you.”
He was not the only one affected by the child’s scream, as Zeest felt someone’s eyes going slowly over her body and she felt a pang of alarm. Her body had burned with a thrilling awareness, almost as if……
Sensing something through her sixth sense, she turned suddenly, and bent down to pick her veil from the ground.
Quickly, he forced his legs to move, taking a stumbling step backward. But it was too late.
She saw him.
She saw him in a quick glance, as she lifted her veil from the ground. The realization made her skin break out in Goosebumps, and made her face flush. Total blood of her body came to her face, as she put the veil back around her body and hair.
He was still there, watching her, hypnotized by her beauty and mesmerized by her charms.
She looked away and then looked back. Then away again, and then back.
“You shouldn’t let him see you like this, he loves someone else.” Her mind warned her.
“So what? He is your husband.” Her heart whispered teasingly. “Absorb his admiring glance as much as you can, as he has every right to do so. You’re his wife; your beauty is only for him. You have kept it reserved and safe for him, only for him.”
But she couldn’t take his eyes anymore. Unable to stand there, she ran. And then, as suddenly as she had appeared, she was gone, and it was like she had never been there at all.
Suddenly, realizing he was still staring after her long after she’d disappeared from view, he closed the door of his room with force after he got inside, the set of his jaw rigid.
Now, this was not the most boring and worst Eid, he’d ever experience. Was it?
To Be Continued…