Faiza nibbled on her lower lip unhappily.
She felt awkward and slightly foolish – Taahir didn’t seem to be very impressed with her new look.
She was disappointed.
She hadn’t expected him to be bowled over – even though she would have liked it – but she had expected something more than what she’d got.
Sighing, she gave her attention over to her food.
All of a sudden, Faiza felt eyes on her. She looked up to find Taahir staring at her, seemingly lost in thought.
“Taahir, is everything alright?” she asked uncertainly.
“What? Yeah, everything… everything’s fine.”
Then he shook his head.
Faiza waited for Taahir to finish his sentence but he stayed silent.
Butterflies filled the pit of her stomach.
‘What is it?’ she thought to herself. ‘ He must have something awful to say if it’s taking this long to get it out!’
“Taahir, just tell me!” she said impatiently.
“I love you,” Taahir blurted out.
Faiza’s mind went blank.
“What did you just say?” She gasped.
Taahir grinned. “I love you,” he repeated. “I’m in love with you, Faiza.”
Faiza felt dizzy. Taahir was in love with her?
It felt like a dream.
She’d never in her wildest dreams imagined that she would hear him say such a thing to her.
The most she’d hoped for was that they could become good friends and care for one another.
But now, he was telling her that he loved her.
Faiza suddenly realized that her cheeks were starting to hurt from the broad smile on her face.
Taahir was looking uncertainly at her. She had to say something. But what? What did one say to a declaration of love. Her mind had gone blank.
Taahir stared anxiously at his wife. She was smiling – he’d never seen her smile so brightly – but she wasn’t saying anything.
Then, she spoke.
And promptly clapped her hand over her mouth in horror.
Taahir couldn’t help it – her expression was too funny for him to control himself. He burst out laughing.
She looked so adorably flustered.
“I – I didn’t mean… I mean, I did mean – but I didn’t mean like that. I -” She groaned in frustration.
“I do love you. I’m sorry it came out so… indelicately.”
Taahir shook his head. “It was perfect,” he assured her.
A week later, Saeedah came to visit. The second she clapped eyes on Faiza, she cackled, pushed past her friend and ran into the guest room.
A few seconds later, she popped out and tackled Faiza.
“It’s empty! You didn’t even tell me! Faiza!”
Faiza giggled. “Some things are meant to stay private,” she scolded.
Saeedah pouted. “You could have at least told me my makeover worked.”
“Your makeover more than worked! Sae… He told me he loves me.”
Saeedah squealed. “Seriously?!”
Faiza just nodded.
“Alhamdulilah! I’m so happy for you, Fae. Shukr to Allah.”
Then Saeedah paused. “He… He didn’t tell you that because of how stunning you looked, did he?”
Faiza shook her head immediately. “I was worried about the same thing at first,” she confided. “But when I spoke to Taahir about it, he said it wasn’t the way I looked that made him so happy, it was the fact that I went to do much effort for him.”
Saeedah cooed. “That’s sweet.”
“And… He told me that he’d been trying to find a way to tell me how he felt for weeks. Sae, he even asked his mother for advice on how to confess his feelings.”
Saeedah giggled at the image of tall, serious Taahir asking for romantic advice from his mother.
“So… when’s the baby coming?”
Faiza’s mouth fell open in shock.
“Saeedah!” She turned fire-engine red at the question.
“You know all the aunties are gonna start asking that soon – you have to be prepared.”
“The aunties will ask, that doesn’t mean you have to!” Faiza huffed. “And they’ll come when they come. There’s no need to rush.”
Saeedah nodded approvingly. “Very good,” she said. “Now, enough about husbands and babies. Let’s talk about the truly important stuff – food. You said you were trying a new recipe?”
The rest of Saeedah’s visit was filled with desserts and sweetmeats – Faiza had been experimenting on several new things.
By the time Saeedah had to leave, the two women were stuffed and both swore they’d never touch anything sweet again which, of course, was a lie.
Faiza packed away her leftovers with a smile. She’d thoroughly enjoyed trying out new recipes and she almost felt confident enough to even share them.
The old desire to write a cook book rose up again and this time, instead of ignoring it, she resolved to speak to Taahir about it and see what he thought.
Maybe. In Shaa Allah, she thought to herself.
Muneerah Mahomed was on cloud nine. Taahir had phoned her a few days previously thanking her for her advice and she’d had a feeling that the young couple had resolved whatever misunderstandings had been coming between them.
This was the first time she had seen them in a few weeks and the difference between her son and daughter-in-law was palpable.
For a start, the two were hovering around one another like they’d gotten married the day before. Every time Taahir’s eyes landed on Faiza, he smiled as though he couldn’t help doing otherwise.
The best part had been when Faiza had come up to her in the kitchen and thanked her happily for her help.
She thanked Allah (SWT) softly, thinking about the pleasant changes in her son since Faiza had come into his life. He was so much happier, so much more open. They had truly been blessed to find Faiza.