Chapter Thirty Nine
“I had an awful time. I thought we were going out to spend some time together. If I’d known that you wanted to hang out with your friends, I would’ve stayed home and let you enjoy yourself with them.”
Zak gaped at me.
Recklessly, I continued. It felt so good to finally, finally, speak my mind without second-guessing myself frantically. “You completely ignored me tonight, did you know that? You introduced me to your friends and then it was like you forgot I was even there!” My eyes filled with involuntary tears. “I just don’t get why you went to the effort of bringing me along just to put me aside, Zak.”
A muscle ticked in Zak’s jaw. “Wow,” he breathed through clenched teeth. “Just wow. I’m trying to be understanding right now, Azraa but you’re not exactly making it easy on me.”
His eyes were darting around the waiting area. “Where is that valet?” he muttered under his breath.
Finally, there it was. Zak slid straight into the driver’s seat. The gallantry he’d displayed earlier had evaporated.
Zak drove violently, with his foot heavy on the accelerator. “Thanks for ruining a great night,” he told me just after we’d gotten to the relative privacy of the car.
“That’s not fair,” I protested, stung. “You neglected me all night. How could you think I’d enjoy that?”
“I didn’t realize you were a child that needed constant entertaining,” Zak snapped. “You know, I wish I hadn’t brought you. But I wanted to do something nice since you seemed to have finally stopped impersonating a slug. And this is the thanks I get.”
“I was sick! I’m having a baby, Zak, it’s hard work.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t ask you to have the damn baby! You decided to do that all by yourself when you brought home those baby clothes and left them lying around for my mother to find.”
Tears began to trickle slowly down my cheeks and I sniffed hard.
“Don’t start crying.” Zak ordered, taking his eyes of the road to give me a nasty glare. “Just don’t.”
I lowered my head.
“Fuck’s sake!” There was a thump as Zak’s fist came into contact with the steering wheel. “Do you have to keep doing this?” he demanded. “Why are you always so selfish? God!”
I hiccuped and Zak rolled his eyes at me. “Yeah, you keep doing that.”
God, why hadn’t I just kept my mouth shut?
I’d learned this lesson a dozen times with Zak already. Say nothing and nothing bad will happen. So why did I keep making the same mistake?
Was something wrong with me? Was that why even my own mother had chosen to use some of the very last moments I spent in her home to remind me not to complain?
“Fix yourself up,” Zak said brusquely once we’d gotten back to his parents house. “If my mother sees you like this, she’ll throw a fit and start lecturing about her precious grandchild.”
I took a tissue from the glove box and began to dab carefully at my face. I didn’t want to hear Shamima lecture any more than Zak did – I was the one who had to deal with him and his soured mood after she was done.
Zak soon tired of waiting for me and dropped the keys on his seat. “I’m going inside.”
I looked at his retreating back. Would he care if I didn’t follow him? Worse, would he even notice?
It was unwise to test his temper again when he was already furious but I couldn’t face going inside. All I wanted was to be alone, somewhere where nothing could reach me.
I closed my eyes and allowed myself to sink into an old daydream that I’d often used to entertain myself while I was still at university.
I was walking through a wide, open field. Snow had covered everything in a blanket of white and my feet sunk into the slurry with every step I took. Looking behind me, I found my footprints already beginning to disappear as they were filled over.
In the distance, I could just make out the outline of a house. Somehow, I knew that it belonged to me. It was my own private little home, for me to do as I pleased and so isolated that I knew anyone who came to visit had not only come specifically for me but had put in a great deal of effort to do so.
It was perfect and I was never going to leave.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Shamima tapped on the window again.
I fumbled for the door handle.
“Is everything okay?”
Shamima frowned. “I should be asking you that. What on Earth are you doing sleeping in the car like this?”
I had a fight with your son and didn’t want to deal with him any longer.
“I just dozed off,” I lied. “It was a bit of a late night for me.”
“Oh, is that all? That’s alright then. Remember to tell your doctor about it, just in case. You can never be too careful with my baby.” She patted my stomach, as had become her habit whenever she was speaking about anything even vaguely related to my pregnancy.
“I’ll put it on my list. Um,” I grabbed Zak’s keys and my clutch. “I’m still pretty tired.”
“Go get some rest,” Shamima said immediately, gesturing towards the house. “I’ve already told Zak he should leave you alone so you can sleep.”
Thankful that for once, her meddling had come in handy, I gave my mother in law a true smile. “Thank you very much.”
“Of course,” Shamima waved off my thanks. “We have to take care of you. You’re making someone very important to us in there.”
Right. Way to make it obvious who she really cared about.
I scolded myself for being overly-sensitive. Fighting with Zak always made me feel raw but it wasn’t my mother in law’s fault. I should be kinder to her, like Mom had said.
A wave of exhaustion crashed over me and I promised myself that I’d do better tomorrow. Tonight, I just didn’t have the energy.
What’s that on the right there? Yes, Alhamdulilah, I have a new novel coming out In Shaa Allah!