Fiction: The Art of Mutual Destruction Chapter Thirty Two

Chapter Thirty Two

It was only when Adam was pulling into the driveway of her grandfather’s house that Iman noticed they’d driven in the wrong direction to get to his apartment.

What are we doing here?” she asked dumbly.

Adam turned to look at her. “I thought you’d want to be somewhere familiar,” he said softly.

Iman shook her head. “Not here.” Not with her grandfather and Shaida already on a hair trigger.

Adam frowned. “I don’t want to leave you alone,” he said gently. “And more importantly, you need to get checked out by a doctor.”

Iman coloured and ducked her head. “He didn’t… he didn’t get a chance to do anything.”

Adam looked relieved. “Good,” he said softly. “That’s good.”

Iman ignored the voice in her head that whispered, this time. It had been a dream. It had to have been a dream. She clung to the delusion, refusing to even consider the alternative.

She would have known. If he’d done that… If he’d raped her… She would know. She would have felt it.

Adam looked at her in concern. “You’re still shaking,” he said, again in that soft voice as though she was a frightened animal that needed soothing. “I really think you should see a doctor,” he persisted.

But-”

Please. If you want it to be a stranger, I’ll take you to a hospital. But they’ll ask more questions than someone in your grandfather’s circle.”

He was right.

Traumatic events often result in shock.

A line from one of the many textbooks she’d read on emergency first aid came back to her. Adam thought she was in shock. That was why he was being so persistent.

Was she? Was that why she couldn’t seem to think properly? Why the world kept fading in and out of focus?

Okay,” she found herself saying.

Adam put the car in reverse and she automatically put out a hand to stop him.

His arm was so warm. She spent a good few moments just enjoying that warmth, until he cleared his throat softly. “Mmm?”

I need that arm to drive.” He began to tug it away and she let out a sound of protest.

No, you don’t.”

Adam’s brow furrowed in confusion.

You don’t have to keep driving,” Iman explained, slow and careful. “I’ll go inside.”

Are you sure?”

Why did he care, Iman wondered.

Iman?” Adam called her name gently.

He’d asked her a question.

What was it?

She couldn’t remember.

Iman nodded her head anyway.

Okay.” Adam unbuckled his seatbelt. “Let’s go.”

Adam looked down at his wife worriedly. She was still unsteady on her feet and he hadn’t been able to resist picking her up and holding her to him when she’d stumbled over the gravel.

She was so out of it he was beginning to worry that she’d been drugged. He wouldn’t put it past her disgusting excuse for a stepfather to do something so underhanded. The weak bastard probably wouldn’t have been able to hold her without drugging her.

Thank God she’d agreed to see a doctor at her grandfather’s. Adam would probably have had to kidnap a doctor otherwise. He didn’t have any kind of ID for her, real of fake. Yet another clumsy, careless mistake.

The guards at the door took one look at Iman before ushering them through, one of them running to summon someone – probably Khan. It only took a few terse words to the other to get him scurrying away for a doctor after he’d hastily pointed Adam in the direction of Iman’s bedroom.

He set her down on the bed and made to leave, wanting to go and find her grandfather before he found them, when her soft voice called him back. “Could you give me my box, please?”

Box?” Adam scanned the room.

Iman pointed to the table on the other side of the room. “My box,” she repeated. “From my Dad.”

Adam lifted the carved piece of art and brought it to her. He was struck by the beautiful expression it brought forth in Iman. If this was what it moved her to after such an awful night, what would she look like on a normal day?

He’d never seen her look even remotely this happy before and he couldn’t contain his curiosity. “What’s in the box?”

Letters. From my favourite person in the world.”

Jealousy choked him, hot and bitter. “Yeah? Maybe I should go get him for you.”

That beautiful smile vanished. “You can’t,” Iman said dully. “He’s dead.”

Shit.

He died before I could walk,” she continued. “He only just got to see me being born.”

Adam had barely opened his mouth to try and apologize when the door was flung open so hard it nearly bounced off its hinges.

A familiar looking woman rushed in, pausing to give him a suspicious once-over before she seated herself next to his wife, taking one of Iman’s hands in both of her own. “Sweetheart, what happened?”

She caught sight of Iman’s ripped collar and her eyes narrowed in fury. “What the Hell?” she breathed.

She’d sprung to her feet and closed the distance between them moments later. Adam finally noticed her protruding belly and placed her. This was the woman who’d hovered over Iman throughout their wedding day, the one who’d slipped her a knife just before they’d left if he wasn’t mistaken.

He’d just braced himself to take the hit – he refused to lay a hand on a pregnant woman – when Iman called. “Shaida, leave him alone.”

The pregnant woman – Shaida – looked even more furious. “Your dress is ripped and you have blood on your mouth, Iman. The only place I’m leaving him is in a coffin.”

Adam recognized an ally when he saw one. Now if only he could convince her that he wasn’t the enemy.

It wasn’t him,” Iman said quietly. “It was… my mother’s husband. Adam – he helped me.”

Shaida lowered her hands. “You helped her?”

Adam nodded sharply.

Did you kill the bastard?”

Not yet. I needed to get her out of there.”

Shaida’s eyes flashed with something that looked like approval and she gave a nod. “Good.”

He knew it was foolish to ask but he needed to check. “You’ll take care of her while I go and finish things?”

Shaida, to her credit, controlled her offence. “Of course,” she said simply. “Kill him slowly,” she instructed, looking back at Iman.

Adam followed her gaze, seeing the bruise that had started forming on Iman’s jaw. “It would be my pleasure.”

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