Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Ten

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Chapter Ten

The second summons was identical to the first. A pretty white card requesting his presence. The fancy design struck him again and Adam laughed bitterly. It had been and still was far more appropriate than he’d originally realized. He wondered if Khan had deliberately chosen the cards as some kind of sick joke. It seemed like the kind of thing the crazy old man would do.

Adam looked at the large bag of food he’d carried in with him and felt ill. He’d discovered the card on the way back in from picking up some lunch and now he was deeply regretting the decision to open the dumb letter before eating.

He sighed, getting to his feet and picking up the still hot sack of food. He’d give it to a beggar. There was no way he was going to eat it. Not after opening that letter.

He took a cab this time and didn’t bother arming himself before leaving. His weapons had been taken from him the last time and there was no point carrying them just to have to surrender them to a stranger at the door again.

He arrived all too soon and, once again, was escorted to the same library.

Congratulations,” Ibrahim Khan told him, a twisted smile on his thin lips. “You’ve been chosen.”

The old man was stood behind the same heavy desk he’d sat at before. “Sit,” he instructed, gesturing at the chair opposite him.

Adam didn’t move. “I think I prefer to stand.”

Khan shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He picked up a folder from the desk. “This is a list of all the people who will become your enemies as soon as your marriage to Iman is made public. You should memorize it.”

Adam moved forward to take it. “It’s thick,” he remarked, eyeing the many pages.

I have a lot of enemies,” Khan said blandly.

And when’s the…thing,” Adam finished lamely, the word wedding getting stuck in his throat. He still couldn’t believe this was happening.

Immediately.”

What?!”

Khan arched an eyebrow. “Is there a problem?” he asked mildly.

Yes!” Adam said savagely. “Yes, there’s a problem. I can’t get married right now! If I had it my way, I wouldn’t be getting married at all… But never mind that. I can’t get married without telling my family about it first.” Though how he was going to tell his family was still unclear.

Of course,” Khan nodded decisively. “That’s fine. You can do that in the week.”

Adam blinked. “Thanks,” he said cautiously.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday then.”

Right,” Adam nodded. “Wait, that’s six days away.”

Yes. Is that too far away?”

Adam caught the veiled threat. “No! No, it’s fine.” Six days. This was madness.

Good. Now, a few ground rules,” Khan paused. “Are you sure you don’t want to sit down? We’ll be here for a while.”

Ground rules?”

Yes. You didn’t think I’d let you have my granddaughter without putting some rules in place, did you?”

What was I thinking?” Adam said sarcastically, just barely refraining from rolling his eyes. He was beginning to wish that Khan had just shot him in the head that day. It would have been more merciful than these insane mind games.

Sat comfortably behind the second door to the library, leaning her head against the thin piece of wood, Iman heard every word exchanged between Ibrahim and Adam.

Some of the topics made her cheeks burn with embarrassment and still others made her giggle. By the time they were done, her stomach was growling in complaint and her butt was numb. But she felt a rush of love towards her grandfather for being so thoroughly protective of her.

Iman knew that Ibrahim hadn’t forgiven himself for leaving her and his behaviour stemmed largely from guilt. But she would take what she could get.

It was so nice to be taken care of again that she didn’t particularly care why it was being done. She was too busy appreciating the fact that it was happening at all.

Iman wasn’t aware of falling asleep. It felt like she’d just closed her eyes for a second and her grandfather was there, leaning over here and shaking her shoulder.

An armchair is a terrible place to fall asleep,” he told her as he straightened up. “Go up to your room.”

Iman nodded blearily, stretching her arms above her head.

Oh, and congratulations,” Ibrahim added with a sad smile.

Iman smothered a yawn with her sleeve. “Thanks,” she mumbled. “When’s the wedding?”

Saturday.”

A shock jolted through her. “This Saturday?”

Ibrahim sighed. “I need to get you out of there as soon as possible. We won’t be able to have a huge event but those are a nightmare to try and secure anyway. I know this isn’t necessarily what you wanted but it’s the only practical option. And I don’t want you in your mother’s house a second longer than necessary.”

Her mother. Would Aasia be pleased that Iman was leaving so soon or would she throw a fit at not being consulted? Knowing Aasia, she would do both.

Iman? I’m sorry.” Her grandfather was looking sadly down at her.

It’s fine. I always wanted a tiny little wedding anyway,” Iman lied.

From the look he gave her, Ibrahim knew she wasn’t being truthful but he let it go. “I’ll call your mother in the morning before you leave. That way she can get the worst of her mood out of the way before you get there.”

If only it was that easy. “Don’t tell her,” Iman said, surprising both of them. “I’ll do it.”

Ibrahim looked down at her, frowning in concern. “Iman… Is that really a good idea?”

Probably not. “It’ll be fine. This is good news for her, she’ll be happy to hear it.”

Ibrahim’s lips pursed and he shook his head. “I don’t think-”

I need to do this,” Iman interrupted. “I want to do it. I promise, it will be fine.” She reached up and kissed her grandfather on the cheek. “Trust me.”

6 thoughts on “Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Ten

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