Chapter Forty One
“Hello?” Aabirah said cautiously into the phone. Who on Earth could be phoning her? It wasn’t Daaem or her father-in-law…
“Hi, Aabirah. This is Iman Cassim, I’m not sure if you remember me?”
Aabirah frowned in confusion. “I don’t, I’m sorry. How did you get my number?”
“I asked Daaem’s personal assistant,” the woman admitted. “I’m sorry for going behind your back but I didn’t have any other way to contact you. Um, you came to my house a few months ago with Daaem for supper?”
“Oh!” Now Aabirah remembered the woman. “I remember now,” she said, smiling. “Hi.”
“Hey,” Iman said happily. “I just wanted to find out how you’ve been doing with everything?”
“Everything?” Aabirah asked, puzzled.
“With Daaem,” Iman elaborated. “Adam told me what happened and I couldn’t believe it. You must be finding it hard,” she went on sympathetically.
Aabirah didn’t know what to say. “I’m alright,” was all she said in response.
“If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. I know a bit about being in this kind of situation and I promise I won’t judge if you need someone there while you’re ranting or crying.”
Aabirah squirmed uncomfortably. “Thank you, I appreciate it.” She wouldn’t spoil Iman’s kindness by telling the other woman the truth – that far from fretting over Daaem, she’d instead begun to hate him and wouldn’t have mourned had his accident been fatal.
Over the past few months, Aabirah had done a lot of soul-searching and, after a long, hard look at everything, she’d realized how silly she’d been. She had Daaem to thank for much of it – if he hadn’t been so unfailingly terrible to her, she would never have realized what a doormat she’d become for him – what a doormat she’d been for every man in her life to walk over.
Aabirah was tired now. She’d decided to take her fate into her own hands, fed up of being tethered to one powerful man or the other and at their mercy. Immediately after she and Jake had flown out of the city, she’d asked him to start preparing for her to leave the way he’d done for Qasim.
She knew it was dangerous but the idea of being able to start afresh and having complete control over her own life was intoxicating and she couldn’t resist. She was leaving and the sooner the better, in her opinion.
She was ridiculously glad that she’d never done anything with the money Daaem had paid her to attend events with him – it had been essential. Without it, she would still be bound to him. It irritated her to have to use money that was coming from Daaem but she comforted herself with the fact that she’d earned it.
Holly came into the library and handed her a package. “This just arrived via courier,” the housekeeper told her.
Aabirah tore into it. She’d bought several things over the past few weeks, wanting to be as prepared as possible when she left.
She upended the package and a pretty leather-bound notebook tumbled out. “Oh, my journal!” she cried in delight.
Holly smiled. “I’ll leave you to it.”
Aabirah pawed at the plastic and came up with the pack of pens she’d ordered with the journal.
Decisively, she opened both, turning to the first page. She’d always wanted to keep a journal… But how to start it?
She began with the date, then paused. She was at the end of a horrible chapter of her life… Maybe it would be better to wait until she’d left?
No. Daaem deserved to be immortalized as the warning lesson he had been. And writing everything down would make sure she never again made the same mistakes.
When I was little, I always dreamed about the day my Prince would come and sweep me off my feet, rescuing me and taking me away to his palace.
Well, a Prince did come. There’s just one problem. He’s a demon prince and I hate his guts.
“I don’t know what to say to her,” Daaem admitted. He’d been thinking of Aabirah all day and when Adam had popped by for his daily visit – or ‘Daaem-minding’ session, as the idiot called it, he’d begged for advice.
“You need to apologize,” Adam said matter-of-factly. “You did a lot of terrible things to her. And yes, you weren’t the one who trapped her initially, but you didn’t make it any easier on her. And you didn’t let her leave either.”
“I don’t want her to leave,” Daaem whispered. “I don’t know why but I can’t handle the thought of her leaving.”
“I know why,” Adam commented.
“You do?” Daaem whipped his head around. “What is it?”
Adam shook his head. “Nope. I’m not giving you all the answers. You’ll figure it out in the end.”
Daaem rolled his eyes. “You haven’t given me any of the answers.”
“You’re a big boy, you don’t need spoon feeding. Just a smack upside the head a couple dozen times a day.”
Daaem sighed. “So I have to go back to the estate,” he said morosely.
“Why do you hate it there so much?” Adam asked, puzzled.
“It’s my mother’s estate,” Daaem explained. “Every time I go there… She really loved the place, I spent most of my childhood there. It’s just painful to be there and remember that she can’t be any more. Not ever again.”
“What happened to her?” Adam asked softly.
“She killed herself,” Daaem said shortly. “She was fighting with my father and she threatened to kill herself when he wouldn’t do… something, I don’t remember what. It was a habit of hers. She knew that if she threatened herself, he’d drop everything and come running. This time… he was late.”
“God, that’s awful. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Daaem blinked hard. “It was a long time ago – fifteen years this year, actually.”
“Still. Pain like that scabs over but it never really turns into a scar. You can still rip it open on a bad day.”
“Yeah,” Daaem agreed. “It never really goes away.”