Chapter Sixty Eight
“I’ve been trying to propose for a really long time,” Daaem admitted, blushing scarlet. “I just – it’s hard.” Harder than he’d ever expected it would be.
He fumbled in his pocket and brought out the little box, holding it out to Aabirah.
She said nothing. Was she going to turn him down? Daaem felt ill.
He waited a few moments. Still nothing.
“Aren’t you going to say anything?” he asked desperately.
“You haven’t asked me anything yet,” she said in a peculiar voice.
“What?” Daaem asked blankly.
“Ask me,” Aabirah instructed. Her face was half-obscured by her hair and Daaem could tell nothing from her tone. Was she going to say no?
“Will you marry me?” Daaem asked, mouth dry. “Please?”
She said yes, Daaem realized. “Really?” he asked before he could stop himself, delighted.
Aabirah giggled. “Yes,” she said again, softer.
They stood there, grinning at each other until Aabirah began to shiver.
“Come on,” Daaem said, holding out his hand. “It’s cold and I need to get back to work anyway.”
Aabirah frowned at him. “I thought you said you weren’t busy.”
“I… may have underestimated how much I still have to do for today. But I couldn’t concentrate. And you sounded upset.”
“I was,” Aabirah admitted. “But I feel better now.” She smiled brilliantly and Daaem felt his own lips twitch in response.
“Come on, I want to tell Iman.”
Daaem groaned. “Adam’s going to be insufferable.”
Aabirah looked curiously at him.
“He came to see me today,” Daaem explained. “He’s going to insist that this is all because of him.”
“He… maybe helped a little,” Daaem allowed reluctantly. “I was nervous.”
“I’ll have to thank him then,” Aabirah commented. “I didn’t realize just how much I wanted you to do this until you did.”
Daaem grinned. He’d be thanking Adam himself, just for the smile Aabirah wore at that moment.
Sharp eyed as always, Iman immediately noticed the ring on Aabirah’s finger. She squealed so loudly five different guards came running to make sure nothing had happened to her.
“Oh, finally!” Iman sighed once she’d reassured her security that she was perfectly fine. “How did he propose?”
Aabirah’s lips turned up thinking about it. “He took me for a walk,” she said simply. And he’d frustrated her nearly to tears before finally getting around to asking, she thought fondly.
“There’s more to that story, isn’t there?” Iman guessed, amused.
Aabirah said nothing.
“It’s alright,” Iman assured her. “You should keep that to yourself. It’s special, after all.”
Aabirah nodded in agreement immediately. “It was.” She sounded lovesick even to her own ears.
“So when’s the wedding?” Iman asked curiously.
Aabirah blinked. “He asked me less than an hour ago,” she pointed out. “I haven’t thought about any of that yet.”
“Well, think now.” Iman arched her eyebrows.
Aabirah shrugged helplessly and Iman took pity on her. “Do you want to wait?” Her tone made it clear that she didn’t favour that option.
“No,” Aabirah admitted, blushing. She did not want to wait any longer. “If we could get married tomorrow, I’d want to.”
“You can,” Iman pointed out.
Aabirah stared, confused. “You mean Islamically.”
Iman nodded. “And legally. The paperwork’s very easy to fill out.”
“But…” Aabirah hesitated. “It’s supposed to be an event, isn’t it?” She wrinkled her nose at the thought. Who would she even invite?
“Not necessarily,” Iman shrugged. “But Islamic weddings are quick and easy. We add on the extras that take a long time.”
Aabirah frowned, thinking. “I have to talk to Daaem,” she realized. They’d have to decide together. They’d have to decide a lot together. It sounded wonderful.
Iman came up to Aabirah and the shorter woman hugged her hard. “I’m so happy for you,” she said with a satisfied smile.
“You’ll be able to get your house back to yourself,” Aabirah joked.
Iman wrinkled her nose. “That’s the one thing I’m not looking forward to.”
“You don’t want your privacy back?” Aabirah raised an eyebrow.
“That would be nice,” Iman admitted.
“Then what?” Aabirah was confused.
“I’m going to miss you, silly! You’ve been right across the hall for so long, it’ll be hard to get used to you being somewhere else.”
Tears sprung to Aabirah’s eyes and she sniffed. “You’re gonna ruin my make up,” she scolded.
Iman giggled, wiping her own eyes.
Adam found them that way a few minutes later. He looked between the two women, worried and confused. “What’s wrong?” he asked, immediately going over to Iman and hugging her.
Iman shook her head. “Nothing’s wrong. We’re happy,” she told him.
“You’re crying,” Adam pointed out.
“That makes no sense.”
Iman rolled her eyes and Adam sighed. “Why are you ‘happy crying’?”
“Daaem proposed,” Iman told her husband.
Adam grinned. “Finally,” he said with satisfaction. “I should’ve talked to him sooner.”
Aabirah remembered the comment she’d made to Daaem. “Thank you for talking to him.”
“It was my pleasure,” Adam assured her. “It was getting painful, watching the two of you dance around each other. When’s the wedding?”
“We haven’t talked about it yet,” Aabirah explained.
“Don’t delay it too long,” Adam said absently, glancing at his phone. Abruptly, he sobered. “I hate to do this now but… have you made a decision about your father?”
The colour drained from Aabirah’s face as she remembered the previous night. “No,” she whispered softly. “I haven’t.”
Adam nodded understandingly. “Okay. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’m sorry,” Aabirah said guiltily. “I know it’s urgent.”
“It’s fine, Aabirah. Just… try to be quick, okay?”
Aabirah nodded. Her happiness had drained away and there was a tight ball of nerves in the pit of her stomach.
“I’m going to go upstairs and think about it all for a while, if you don’t mind.” Without waiting for a reply, she made her way up the stairs.
She could hear Iman berating Adam behind her but her mind was too focused on her problem to take much notice. Why did she have to be the one to choose?