It was a bright, sunny morning and Daaem had just received fantastic news – the gorgeous young woman who’d been haunting his dreams was, in fact, Qasim’s sister. She hadn’t spent the night with Qasim and, most importantly, she was completely unattached.
He looked down at the series of texts Qasim had sent him again. The other man had typed out a near essay complaining about how hard he had it trying to find his picky little sister a husband.
Daaem grinned to himself. He was about to solve Qasim’s problems, albeit in a way that would probably make the other man swell like a toad and fantasize about punching him in the face.
He didn’t care though. He wanted Aabirah and what Daaem Shaik wanted, he got.
A bouquet of blood red roses and a diamond bracelet had already been dispatched and would be arriving any minute along with a card that held the number to Daaem’s ‘play’ phone. He couldn’t wait for the call he knew would be coming.
Absently, he wondered what Qasim’s sister’s name was before dismissing the thought. He’d find out soon enough.
Three days later, Daaem was ready to climb the walls. She hadn’t called, she hadn’t even sent back the gifts – for he’d kept sending them after the first one went unanswered.
Aabirah – as he’d finally learned her name was – had completely ignored him. With any other woman, Daaem would have shrugged and moved on. But he didn’t want to do that with this girl. He wanted her to pay attention to him.
A thought occurred to him and he yelled for his secretary. Five minutes later, she’d hurried back into his office and squeaked out that everything had been arranged.
Daaem’s customary grin finally returned to his face and he realized just how out of sorts Aabirah had gotten him. But no matter, he had a foolproof plan now. He would have her. And, thanks to his considerable skills of persuasion, her own brother would be the one to help him.
Qasim had never been able to go against him when they were younger and Daaem was sure the same would still be true even now.
“What did you just say?”
“You heard me, Daaem,” Qasim said, looking uncomfortable.
“I heard something. But it’s so ridiculous, I’m hoping I misheard you.”
Qasim sighed. “It’s not ridiculous. Aabirah won’t be dating anyone. Dad’s got a list of applications on his desk right now and we’ll probably pick someone by the end of the week.”
“This is medieval,” Daaem said flatly. “You’re auditioning grooms.”
“Keep your voice down, will you?” Qasim snapped, feeling eyes on him. The entire restaurant seemed to have noticed Daaem’s outburst.
“Oh, I’m sorry, am I embarrassing you?” Daaem asked in a sickly-sweet tone. “Tough!”
“Look, Daaem, I’m not telling you to marry Aabirah. I don’t think the two of you are a good fit anyway, even if she does like you. I’m just saying that she won’t date you.”
Daaem blinked. “She likes me? How do you know that?”
Qasim shrugged. “She’s my baby sister. I know her. It’s a moot point anyway.”
“Right,” Daaem said distractedly, his mind still stuck on the fact that Aabirah liked him. If only her family wasn’t stuck in the freaking Dark Ages, they could have had some fun.
“Anyway, can we talk about something else please?” Qasim begged. “My entire life seems to revolve around getting Aabirah married recently.”
“Know how you could change that?” Daaem asked caustically.
Then he relented. “Okay, I’ll drop it. I still think it’s crazy but it’s got nothing to do with me.”
Qasim drooped in relief.
Daaem felt a twinge of guilt but it was quickly batted aside – Aabirah wasn’t his responsibility. Slaying her dragons was not part of his job description.
“Do you remember Daaem?” Qasim asked off-handedly, playing with a pen. He kept his eyes on the desk in front of him and not the man sitting behind it.
“The rude boy who didn’t know how to behave?” His father replied disinterestedly, still scanning the documents in front of him. “Vaguely…”
Qasim tried to corral his thoughts into a coherent sentence. “I bumped into him when I was with Aabirah a while ago,” he started.
“Uh… well, it got me thinking,” Qasim trailed off.
“Thinking what?” Then it clicked. “You want him for Aabirah?” Mehmood sounded amused. “His reputation precedes him.”
“He’s richer than all the other prospects,” Qasim explained. “And, he liked Aabirah when he met her. Even tried to get my help to get her attention.”
“Hmm. Well, if he’s willing to pay up, I have no objections. Get the paperwork sorted out with him.” Mehmood turned back to his pile of paperwork, dismissing his son with a wave.
Qasim didn’t move. “I tried to bring up the topic but he didn’t exactly react well. He called the whole situation medieval.”
Mehmood sighed. “I don’t know how you turned out so clumsy. Fine. I will speak to your young friend. If he’s already interested as you said, he is the best option.”
“He is. Daaem is the most selfish person I’ve ever known but he was concerned for Aabirah.”
“Well, we will just have to convince Daaem that this is what Aabirah wants, won’t we?”
Qasim shifted uncomfortably.
“Is that a good idea? If they get married, he’ll find out the truth.”
There was an impatient sigh. “Qasim, the minute Aabirah’s nikaah is complete, she and her husband will be leaving. What he thinks of us after everything has been finalized is inconsequential. He cannot renege on a contract over something as silly as a little lie.”
Qasim kept his doubts to himself. Mehmood Amal had decades of experience and a knack for getting whatever he wanted. Surely he knew better than Qasim.
And if he didn’t, well, Qasim wasn’t the one who would be lying. And Islam even said that one should keep away from things which did not concern them. It wasn’t Qasim’s place to inform Daaem of the truth.
Comforted by these thoughts, Qasim put the whole situation out of his mind as soon as he’d cleared the threshold of his father’s office and spent the rest of the day patting himself on the back for helping Aabirah make the best of her situation.