Chapter Thirty Four
“Mr. Shaik, how are you feeling?” Ameer had finally returned with the doctor.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you had a visitor. I’m sorry for interrupting.”
“He was just leaving,” Daaem assured the doctor.
“No, I wasn’t,” Adam said pleasantly. “I’ll wait outside until you’re done.” With that, he left the room.
Daaem focused on the doctor.
“Mr. Shaik, your test results have come back and it’s clear that you weren’t intoxicated while you were driving. This means that the problem which caused you to pass out could be medical. However, there is one other possibility. How have you been sleeping in the past week?”
“Pretty terribly,” Daaem admitted.
“Had you gone more than 24 hours without sleeping prior to your accident?”
“I’m not sure,” Daaem hedged. “It’s possible.” It was highly likely.
“I’m more than willing to order up a full battery of tests but they are time consuming, and some of them are fairly painful too. What would you like to do?”
Daaem shook his head. “No, no tests. I’m pretty sure I did just fall asleep.”
The doctor nodded then turned to Ameer. “Sir, could you please wait outside for a few minutes? I’d like to do an exam on your son to see how he’s healing.”
After several minutes of being poked, prodded and cross-questioned, Daaem was finally left in peace.
He sighed in relief, laying back on the flimsy pillows.
“Daaem?” Adam had come back in.
Daaem rolled his eyes. “You’re still here?”
“I said I’d wait outside until you were done. Your father very kindly let me come talk to you for a minute before he came back in,” Adam explained.
“What else do you want?” Daaem asked tiredly.
“Just to give you this card. I’ve been where you are, Daaem. I’ve been at rock bottom without any idea what to do next. I was helped and I’d like to pay it forward.”
“I don’t need your help,” Daaem said flatly. “I’m fine.”
Adam sighed. “Well, when you stop being ‘fine’, you can call me. Here,” he left the card on the table next to Daaem.
“Don’t wait by the phone,” Daaem said sarcastically.
Adam grinned, shaking his head. “It’s like looking into a mirror,” he said, amused. “Goodbye, Daaem.”
Daaem waved. “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”
“Sorry, sweetheart, the doctor wanted to see Daaem and visiting hours have finished now. I’m sure they’ll let you poke your head in to say goodbye if you’d like…”
“No, that’s alright,” Aabirah smiled at Ameer. “I said whatever I needed to to Daaem already.” And he’d said whatever he’d needed to to her in turn. Aabirah refused to humiliate herself again.
Entering Daaem’s apartment half an hour later, Aabirah wasted no time in kicking off her shoes, sighing in relief.
Jake was sat in the lounge, amusing himself by fiddling with what looked like a bunch of metal scraps to her eyes.
“You were right,” she told him sheepishly. “I never should have come here.”
“I know,” Jake said smugly. “I’m always right.” Then he sobered. “What convinced you exactly?”
“Being yelled at to go away is pretty convincing,” Aabirah said drily.
“So we’re packing up?” Jake asked.
“No, not yet. I’m worried about my father-in-law,” Aabirah explained. “I’ll stay until Daaem is out of hospital at least.”
Jake nodded. “You’re the boss.”
After a week in a hospital bed, Daaem was finally being released. His father hadn’t come to visit again, something that Daaem refused to admit had upset him. He was fine. He was a grown man and he didn’t need to be checked up on by Daddy.
His doctor hadn’t wanted to release him initially but Daaem had insisted and now, after several dire warnings and a stack of paperwork, he was allowed to leave along with a stack of meds.
He felt disgusting in the cheap clothing the hospital had provided him but the thought of getting home to his own shower was appealing enough to keep him going.
A quick cab ride later and Daaem was home.
Exhausted, he leaned against the wall of the elevator while it carried him to the penthouse. Perhaps it hadn’t been such a good idea to sign himself out AMA…
Finally outside his front door, Daaem paused to fumble for his keys in the see-through little back the hospital’s receptionist had handed him. Nearly dropping them twice, he finally fitted the right key in the lock and turned it with a click.
The door swung open and Daaem gratefully stumbled in, thinking of nothing but collapsing onto his bed and sleeping until he felt better.
He’d barely taken two steps inside, however, when he stopped short.
There was a stranger in his apartment.
Daaem furrowed his brow in confusion. There was no way he could have entered the wrong apartment – his key had worked in the lock.
So who the hell was in his apartment. He voiced this question aloud confusedly, not expecting an actual answer.
“I’m with your wife,” the strange man told him.
What? “My wife doesn’t live here,” he informed the man. “You’re in the wrong place.”
“I’m really not, man. You okay? You look pretty terrible.”
“I’m fine,” Daaem waved his hand dismissively. “You’re not supposed to be here. No one is supposed to be here.”
“I came with your wife, like I said,” the man repeated.
“You’re Aabirah’s?” Daaem asked carefully. He examined the man critically. He was tall and blond. And big. Was this Aabirah’s type? If he’d been blond and big would she have agreed to marry him?
Daaem abruptly felt self-conscious. He was neither blond nor big even though he was taller.
He tugged on the cheap clothes he wore. A thought struck him and he stared at the big blond man. “Why are you here?” he asked.
“I came with Aabirah,” the blond said slowly.
“Aabirah isn’t here. How long have you been here?”
“Yeah, I really wish she was. About a week.”
A week? That made no sense… Wait. “You’ve been living in my apartment?” Daaem demanded furiously.