Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty One

There was a weight on her chest, making it hard to breathe. Iman didn’t bother to open her eyes as she planted her hands firmly and shoved. There was an irritated grumble and the pressure eased.

It was strange, how quickly they’d adjusted to sharing a bed. Adam had a tendency to sprawl out and roll on top of her in the night which had initially been fairly alarming. Iman had screamed so loudly the first night she’d woken up surrounded by darkness and pinned underneath Adam’s considerable weight that his immediate reaction had been to grab the gun he kept next to the bed.

Now, just over a week later, the weight barely fazed her. She’d grown accustomed to it, just as she was growing accustomed to Adam. The apartment was large but sharing a bedroom should have had them bumping into one another. Instead, Adam manoeuvred around her so smoothly it had felt like coincidence at first.

He used the guest bathroom and left the en suite to her – Iman still did not understand how the apartment had two fully equipped bathrooms but only one bedroom – and spent the rest of the day holed up in his office.

The only time they interacted outside of the bedroom was during meals. Every day without fail, Adam would cook, then come and find her. Iman’s stomach growled just thinking about it. Every meal she’d eaten in the past week had been fantastic.

She was pulled out of her daydreaming by an insistent buzzing. It sounded like a large, angry insect. The bed shifted and Iman followed Adam’s outstretched arm to the source of the noise; his vibrating smart phone.

She watched him answer sleepily, then abruptly throw the covers off and leave the room, pulling the door closed behind him.

What was going on?

Adam was not having a good day. As was becoming the norm, he’d been shoved awake at the crack of dawn by dainty little hands.

Fair enough. He’d rolled on top of Iman and squashed her. He couldn’t exactly hold a grudge against her for wanting to breathe.

But unlike every other day this week, today Adam hadn’t been able to just roll over and drop back off.

Today, he’d been just about to fall back asleep when he’d been rudely awakened by the buzzing of his cellphone. And now, he stood yawning and shivering as his stepfather played his favourite game of babbling nonsense in between hinting at actual important news.

Could you just get to the point?” he snapped finally, now thoroughly annoyed.

There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment. When Ali spoke again, his voice was poisonously sweet.

Do you have something more important to be doing than listening to your employer?

Adam suppressed the urge to bang his head against the wall. “At six in the morning? Yeah, I do. It’s called sleep-”

Don’t be uncouth!” he was admonished.

Huh? Adam frowned down at his phone.

Everyone is well aware of what you’re doing with your wife right now. Mentioning it is tacky.”

That’s – that’s not-! Oh, my God.” Adam put his face in his hands. “That’s not what I meant. We’re not even-”

He took a deep breath. “Why did you call me?”

You’re ‘not even’ what? Are you having problems in the bedroom?” Ali sounded genuinely concerned.

I thought it was uncouth to talk about,” Adam said innocently.

Ali growled. “Adam, don’t be a little brat. Is something wrong? Do I need to call you a doctor?”

Adam experienced a moment of horror. Ali would call a doctor and he’d be as obnoxious about the whole thing as possible. Adam would have an entire compound of people commenting on his capabilities by noon. He shuddered. “Nothing is wrong!”

Are you sure?”


There’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

I know!” Adam yelled. “Why did you call me?”

Hmm? Oh, yes. You have a new assignment. I need you here to discuss the details.”

Why can’t you just send a file?”

I don’t feel like it,” Ali said blandly. “Be here by nine.”

Adam pulled the phone away from his ear and checked the time. “I’ll have to leave right now to make that.”

Yes,” Ali agreed. “Get going.”

Adam scrunched his eyes shut and worked on not screaming. “Fine,” he hissed, through gritted teeth. “Anything else?”



Bring Iman. Your mother would like to see her.”

Adam gaped at the phone. “Wh-No!” It was too late. Ali had already hung up.

He growled in frustration. Ali was petty enough to send him right back into the city if Adam tried to arrive without Iman. His stepfather was the world’s most obnoxious control freak.

He should have just let the stupid call go to voicemail.

Iman was still awake when Adam returned, the scowl on his face so deep it looked permanent. “You need to get dressed,” he told her. “Quickly.” The corner of his mouth twisted. “We’re already late.”

What are we late for?” Iman climbed out of bed and went to her side of Adam’s closet.


Iman glanced at her phone. It was barely seven.

We’re driving for a while,” Adam elaborated, answering her silent question. “To my mother’s house.”

He came over to the closet and reached over her head. “Try to be ready in the next ten minutes,” he requested. “The later we are, the longer my headache will be once we get there.”

He sounded so put out about being scolded, it made Iman giggle.

What?” Adam glanced down at her.

I’m sorry.” She pressed her lips together. “Nothing.”

You’re laughing at me?”

No!” Iman lied, trying to suppress the laughter. She hiccuped.

You are laughing at me.” Adam frowned at her. “What’s so funny?”

You’re pretty worried about your Mom yelling at you.”

The lines of Adam’s face softened. “I’m not worried about my Mom. I’m worried about my stepfather. And,” he leaned forward, starting to grin. “I’m not worried about him yelling at me, I’m worried about him shooting at me. Don’t forget, ten minutes.” With that reminder, he grabbed the little stack of clothing he’d been accumulating and headed for the door.

Iman gaped after him.

Adam is a TROLL!

In other news, you may have noticed something… Yes, no more ads! Alhamdulilah, I was (quite out of the blue) gifted the money I needed to secure an original domain and remove the advertising on this website. I’m thrilled and I hope you are too.

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