Table laid, food ready, husband on his way. How different this was from last year. Her first anniversary had begun as a complete and utter disaster, and despite the fact that it had ended well, Iman was determined that things would be different this year.
She hadn’t bothered to be fancy. A nice meal with her husband was all she wanted this year. She’d said as much to Adam and he’d agreed immediately. He’d been working so hard lately – putting in a ridiculous number of hours to capitalize on his company’s success – that she’d barely gotten to see him.
A nice, quiet night in for the two of them was just right, Iman decided, nodding to herself.
And hopefully this anniversary would pass by without a single tear being shed.
She heard Adam’s key scrape in the lock and felt a grin spread itself across her face.
“Iman?” he called. “I’m home.”
She met him at the door, automatically stretching up so he could kiss her. “Happy anniversary!”
“Happy anniversary,” he echoed, smiling hugely. “I missed you.”
Iman spun around, already in the kitchen. “You were only gone six hours!”
“I missed you,” Adam repeated, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her.
She’d missed him too.
Later that night, wrapped around her, Adam asked. “What was your least favourite part of this year?”
“Least favourite?” She couldn’t think of anything. This year had been the best of her life.
Adam laughed at the confused wrinkle on her forehead, smoothing it out with his thumb. “There must be something you didn’t like. We changed a lot this year. New house, new company…”
“Better us,” Adam corrected. “Well, better me,” he corrected, seeing the offended look on her face.
He was better. Iman still didn’t know quite how but something had helped her husband to see that he wasn’t a lost cause.
“Remember back when you thought Allah was for other people?”
Adam wrinkled his nose. He hated it when she reminded him. “And you told me I needed more help than anyone else?”
It was Iman’s turn to be disgruntled. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled, the old guilt welling up again.
“That’s… probably what finally pushed me over the edge,” Adam admitted.
“Insulting you was motivating?”
“It was shocking,” Adam corrected. “And I needed the shock. What happened after distracted me…” He swallowed hard, pain crossing his expression the way it always did when he thought of his mother. “But… when I did start bugging you to teach me, it was because of that.”
“You never told me that.”
“You never asked.”
It was true. She’d been so excited – and so worried that she’d mess something up – that she hadn’t wondered at Adam’s sudden change of heart. She hadn’t had the time.
“You never answered me,” Adam prodded. “What was your least favourite part of this year?”
Iman thought for a second. “My husband’s company exploded,” she said petulantly.
Adam threw his head back and laughed. “I have been pretty busy lately, haven’t I? I’m sorry.”
“That’s the worst thing that happened to me this year. Having to get used to you being away a lot again.” Iman curled closer to him. “Different, isn’t it?” She ran a hand down the scar on his chest.
“From death and destruction? Very.”
“Do you miss it?” The question slipped out without conscious permission.
“What?” Adam pulled back to look at her.
“Do you miss how things used to be?”
“Not in the least,” he said immediately. “I’m happier than I ever was. By a lot.”
“Do you miss anything?” he asked hesitantly.
“There’s nothing to miss.” Iman put a hand on his chest. “I have everything I want right here.”
Adam smiled brilliantly at her. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Iman replied, knowing down to her bones that this one thing would never change. She’d love Adam Cassim for as long as she lived and, Allah willing, even longer than that.
And, that’s a wrap folks! 68 chapters, a prologue and an epilogue.
It took almost 74 000 words to tell this story and now, it’s done. I was sorely tempted to push it and try to get more out of it, but I know better than to force writing – it always turns out awful.
To everyone who’s liked and commented, Jazakallah khair for your support! It really is encouraging to know that people want to read what I have to offer and I truly appreciate it.