Transfer Complete, the pop up window informed him.
Daaem slammed down the laptop’s lid in disgust. Once again, money had crept into a place it didn’t belong. He’d just bought Aabirah Amal. His only condolence was the fact that the gorgeous Ms. Amal was not only aware that she was for sale, she’d been the one to decide her own price tag.
Daaem resisted the urge to scream as he thought of the circumstances surrounding his engagement. It had been reduced to a business deal, no different from the dozens he conducted every month.
He knew that he was making a bad decision, knew that it was insane to treat a marriage like a business deal. He’d seen first-hand what a terrible idea it could be with his own parents, for God’s sake!
He knew better. But he’d gone ahead and done it anyway.
It was no use trying to ask for advice either – he had no one whose advice he could trust. The closest thing he had to a confidante was his secretary and she only listened to his problems because he paid her overtime for it.
No mentor. No friends. No family, even. Not any that counted for anything, anyway.
His father was the only blood relative he had left and the old brute hadn’t spoken to him in years. He’d probably keel over of a heart attack if Daaem did attempt to reach out.
It would be pointless to go to all that effort anyway. Daaem knew exactly what his father would have to say – the same thing he’d always said when Daaem messed up:
‘I’ve told you a thousand times not to be so impulsive! Try to think for once – every single time you do something else stupid, you make me look bad by association. People think I can’t control my kid – do you know how embarrassing that is? It makes me look bad, it makes the company look bad…’
That was always the chief concern, not that Daaem had done something wrong but that his actions reflected badly on his father. God forbid people know that they weren’t perfect.
Long before Daaem had left his teens, he’d begun to do the most impulsive, outrageous things he could just to infuriate his father. Clubbing, drinking, wrecking cars.
Eventually though, his antics lost their shock value. The world became desensitized and his father stopped caring. As long as his empire’s bottom line wasn’t affected, he’d left Daaem to do as he pleased, even handing the reins over to him without a fuss in the end.
“Mr. Shaik? What time are you planning to leave this evening?” His secretary poked her head into his office, blinking at the sudden lack of light. She reached for the light switch.
“Leave it,” Daaem instructed. He hadn’t bothered to get up and turn the lights on when it had gotten dark and his eyes had long since adjusted.
“I’ll leave in the next few minutes, Emma. I’m not driving tonight, call a car.” With the mood he was in, driving was a decidedly bad idea. He’d most likely end up killing either himself or someone else.
“There’s one waiting for you outside the lobby, sir.”
Emma handed him his cell phone. “It looks like someone was trying to contact you, sir,” she said pointedly.
Daaem glanced at the screen and quickly dialled his voicemail. Mehmood Amal had called him six times in the space of an hour.
‘Maybe he changed his mind,’ Daaem thought morosely. ‘Maybe this entire thing was a complete joke.’
‘Or maybe not,’ Daaem grinned widely as he listened to the message he’d been left.
Emma frowned at him. “Mr. Shaik? Are you alright, sir?”
“I’m fine, Emma. Don’t worry about it.”
“Yes, sir. Is there anything else you need tonight?”
“Yeah. Clear my schedule for Friday. I’m getting married.”
“I-what?” Emma stuttered in shock.
“This Friday. I won’t be available. Move everything I had scheduled,” Daaem spoke slowly, trying not to roll his eyes. Surely, he said more shocking things before? A complete shut down of his secretary’s brain was a complete overreaction.
“Yes, sir.” Emma turned to leave then hesitated and turned back. “Will you just need the one day, sir?”
Daaem frowned. “Weddings don’t take that long.”
“Ah…” Emma blushed. “I meant a honeymoon, sir.”
“Oh.” Did he want a honeymoon? Would Aabirah? Daaem resolved to ask her.
This brought another problem to light – he didn’t have her phone number.
Qasim pulled the phone away from his ear and winced. Daaem. He really should have looked at the caller id before answering.
“Hey, Daaem, what’s up?”
“I sent you a couple of messages, did you see them?”
No, Qasim hadn’t. Qasim had, in fact, very carefully made sure to leave Daaem’s messages unread.
“No, I didn’t. Sorry, did you need something?”
“Aabirah’s number,” Daaem said simply. “Send it to me please.”
“Uh… Aabirah’s number?” Qasim stalled.
“Yeah, that’s what I said. Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine! Why do you ask?”
“Never mind. Just send me your sister’s number please.”
“What?” Now Daaem sounded annoyed. “Why not?”
Was there a way to say ‘our father’s locked her in her room and confiscated it because she tried to tell the media she was being sold’ without sounding completely insane? Qasim didn’t think there was.
“Our father’s very strict,” he said eventually. “He wouldn’t approve.”
“You realize that I’m marrying her in two days?”
“I know. But still. It’s the principle of the thing, you know?” Qasim said.
“Well, can you pass on a message for me?” Daaem asked irritably.
“Sure,” Qasim said immediately, jumping at the solution.
“Ask her where she’d like to go on honeymoon.”
“Nowhere!” The thought of how easy it would be for Aabirah to disappear in a different country made Qasim’s blood run cold. And she’d do it too. His sister was being completely unreasonable about the whole situation, she wouldn’t be above running away like a child too.
“Uh… how do you know?”
“Aabirah hates travelling,” Qasim lied. “Listen, I have to go! I’ll talk to you tomorrow, bye!”
Qasim hit the end call button and tossed his phone away. Aabirah’s marriage was becoming far too stressful for him. Thank God it would all be over soon – he needed a break!