Chapter Sixty Three
Arms grabbed her from behind and Aabirah squealed as her feet left the floor. She was spun around and then toted towards the lounge where her attacker unceremoniously fell back, still clutching her against his chest.
Aabirah could feel the laughter vibrating through his frame and it made her begin to giggle as well. “What are you doing?” she asked, fond and amused.
“I wanted to hold you,” Daaem informed her. “And you weren’t there so I decided to come get you.”
Love for him made her chest ache. She reached up and cupped his cheek. “I’m glad you came to get me,” she told him seriously.
The scene shifted and she was suddenly curled up in bed, decidedly not alone. Daaem lay half in her lap, humming contentedly as she stroked his hair. “Love you,” he whispered drowsily, shifting to make himself more comfortable.
“I love you too,” Aabirah replied tenderly, continuing her petting. He was uncomfortably hot and she’d push him to the side in a few minutes, but for now she just wanted to enjoy the feeling of her husband falling asleep in her arms.
Another shift and she was wandering through the trees at the estate, face tilted toward the sky and enjoying the fresh air. There was a tug on her wrist and she turned to Daaem. He tilted his head towards the left. “Let’s go this way, I wanna show you something.”
There was a noise from the right and Aabirah turned automatically. When she’d turned back, Daaem was gone. She looked around frantically.
Where was he?
She caught sight of movement on the far left. There!
She hurried forward, a sinking feeling in her stomach. She had to get to Daaem! She didn’t know why but she knew with certainty that if she didn’t catch up, he’d be gone forever.
Suddenly, she was running outright.
“Daaem, slow down!”
He shook his head, a cruel smile twisting his lips. “It’s my turn to run away now!”
Daaem frowned worriedly at the woman seated next to him. Aabirah was busily digging in her handbag for something or the other, giving Daaem a chance to look at her properly. What he saw worried him greatly. Aabirah had been acting strangely for the past few weeks but when he’d asked, she’d laughed it off so well that Daaem had been convinced he’d imagined it all.
Now, though, he knew that something was wrong. There were dark smudges under Aabirah’s green eyes and harsh lines around her eyes and mouth that had definitely not been there a month ago.
She looked up finally and caught his gaze. Daaem knew his worry was clear on his face but he couldn’t bring himself to care.
Aabirah lifted a delicate hand to cup his cheek. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
Her brow furrowed in confusion. “What?”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” he continued. “I just know that something is.”
Aabirah looked away. “Nothing’s wrong,” she whispered.
Her shoulders were rigid and she refused to look him in the eye. The frustration Daaem felt made him sympathize with his father and Adam. Had he been this difficult to get answers from?
He took a deep breath, praying that she would trust him. “Please let me in.”
Aabirah looked around at the restaurant they were sat in and squirmed. “Not here,” she said quietly.
Daaem followed her gaze and cursed himself silently. Obviously she’d want privacy! “I didn’t think,” he explained apologetically. “I’m sorry.”
Aabirah shook her head. “It’s fine. Can we go?”
In response, Daaem looked around for a waiter.
Five minutes later, as they sat in the car, Aabirah began to speak. “I’ve been… I’ve been having some bad dreams,” she explained. “That’s why I look so raggedy. They’re different but they’re all… they’re about you.”
Daaem flinched. She was having nightmares about him? He swallowed hard and tried to clear his throat enough to speak. “I’m so sorry.”
Aabirah laughed wetly. “It’s pretty pathetic, I know,” she said as she wiped her eyes. “But I can’t seem to get back to sleep once I wake up from them.”
“It’s not pathetic,” Daaem snapped.
Aabirah drew back, her eyes wide in shock and Daaem immediately felt contrite. “Sorry, I’m sorry!” God, he was still scaring her. He needed to explain.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he told her as he reached for her hand, overjoyed that she let him have it. “I – I used to think the same way not too long ago. When I -” Daaem’s voice gave out. He cleared his throat. “When I tried to kill myself, I thought that constantly. That I was pathetic for not being able to hack it.”
Aabirah’s hand tightened in his. “You tried to kill yourself?”
Daaem blinked. “You didn’t know?”
“No!” Aabirah cried. “When did this happen?”
“Last year. I’m alright now,” Daaem hurried to reassure her. “I haven’t tried again since that last time. Adam, he and my father, they helped a lot. They refused to let me give up.”
“I had no idea,” Aabirah whispered. Her eyes were huge and shiny. “You could’ve died and I wouldn’t even have known.”
“It’s not your fault. I was being awful to you then, remember? You even came down to see me and I yelled at you until you left.”
“That was it?” Aabirah gasped. “I thought you’d been in a car accident!”
“I was,” Daaem explained. “After that. I – I slit my wrists,” he admitted, shamefaced.
“Oh my God,” Aabirah had a hand covering her mouth. “Oh, Daaem, I’m so sorry! Are you sure you’re alright now?” she asked tenderly.
Daaem winced. He’d made the entire conversation all about himself. “I’m fine, I promise. We were talking about you, remember? I – I can’t… I don’t even know how to apologize. I had no idea that I’d scared you enough to make you have nightmares. But I was so awful to you, it makes sense.”
He took her other hand and looked straight into her eyes. “I promise, I promise I’m not going to hurt you again. I promise. Do you believe me?”
She was shaking her head. Tears jumped to Daaem’s eyes but he refused to let them fall.
“Tell me what I have to do to make you believe me. Please, whatever it is. Tell me what to do,” he begged.