If Adam didn’t stop fretting, Iman was going to feed him a sedative. She loved her husband madly but even love had weaknesses. It turned out that Iman’s love suffered from not being able to tolerate Adam hovering while making cryptic dire pronouncements and insisting she have a guard breathing down her neck at all times.
She was in desperate need of the freedom the next few weeks would bring. Iman was used to security and even supervision – she’d been subjected to it most of her life, after all – but Adam had been pushing it and they were due a long conversation about boundaries soon. Especially if he thought she was going to indefinitely allow the men he’d hired into their bedroom.
Whatever was putting him on edge, they needed to deal with. Iman wasn’t particularly happy with the idea of discussing such serious issues when they were meant to be unwinding but she didn’t have the patience needed to wait.
Especially not when Adam had decided to pack a mini armoury in their car. She watched him arrange and rearrange bags and cases stubbornly, determined to make them fit. Eventually, he gave in and grabbed a suitcase, placing it on the ground and to the side.
Iman wanted to throw her hands in the air in exasperation but all she did was walk down the driveway so that she could talk to Adam without having– or giving into the temptation – to scream.
“Do you expect me to walk around naked at Aabirah and Daeem’s?”
Adam looked put out. “They can afford a washing machine, you don’t have to bring half your wardrobe.
“Fine,” Iman conceded. She grabbed the handle of a suitcase and tugged until it slid free. “Leave this one behind.”
Adam took it from her. “That was easy. Why’d you go through the effort of packing all that if you don’t need it?”
“I thought you’d want to wear clothes too. But you can live in that shirt if you want to,” Iman grinned. “Just don’t come near me.”
Adam hefted the two bags that stood at his hip. “We’ll take a bigger car.”
“Or,” Iman suggested, stepping in front of him. “Or, we could just get rid of one of those cases.”
“No,” Adam said flatly. “We can take the Rover,” he decided. “Go back inside, it’s hot.”
Iman retreated. She wouldn’t get to the truth of what was upsetting Adam by needling him even if it would ease her own frustration. She’d have time enough to nudge him on the long drive. Flying would have been faster, easier and more practical – and Adam had flown with weapons before, he was licensed exactly as he needed to be.
Throwing Iman into that mix was riskier than he was comfortable with, however and Iman saw where he was coming from. Bigotry didn’t reach her often with the big, intimidating men she was surrounded with but she’d seen everything from pity to fury from complete strangers since she’d begun covering her face and it had begun to worsen rapidly recently.
With Adam’s mood at the moment, Iman didn’t want to test it against screening and searches. She was in no mood to watch her husband start brawling in the middle of an airport because someone had muttered a comment about her and he couldn’t let it go.
Iman wasn’t happy with him. His wife thought he was being paranoid, hovering over her. Adam called it listening to his instincts, and he’d keep doing it and endure her bad mood if he had to. He wanted to be paranoid – it meant that they were safe and he was overreacting. The alternative… that was what had him ready to barricade them both in their house for the foreseeable future.
A small hand covered his and he took his eyes off the road. “Don’t tell me to relax,” he told Iman before she could say anything.
She squeezed his arm. “Fine. Stress.”
“Don’t tease me.”
“I’m not teasing. Stress all you have to, I won’t say a word. Just tell me why.”
This again. He didn’t know how to convince her that he wasn’t hiding anything. “I don’t know.”
Iman sighed. She was gritting her teeth, he knew even without looking. She always did. “I don’t,” he insisted.
“Alright,” Iman shifted, pulling her hand away and turning her head to look out her window.
Adam flicked his turn signal.
“We don’t turn here,” Iman corrected him. “Is something wrong?” she asked anxiously when he turned into the parking lot of a coffee shop.
“Come on,” Adam clicked his seatbelt. “Let’s talk.”
Iman stared. “In there? With the people?” She pulled out the niqab she’d tucked into her bag.
It wasn’t ideal, but neither was parking in a car and not moving for however long it took them to hash things out. “We’ll talk softly.”
They chose a table in the corner and Iman took a quick glance at the menu before ordering for them both. Adam suspected she’d picked the first things her eyes had landed on.
“This isn’t helping convince me that you’re not hiding anything from me,” she pointed out once their waitress, a nervous-looking teenager, had disappeared to put in their order.
“I’m not. I don’t know how to prove it to you, but I’m not. I’d ask you to trust me,” Adam added bitterly, “but clearly you don’t.”
“That’s not fair,” Iman whispered, looking hurt. “Of course I trust you.”
“I don’t lie to you,” Adam reminded her.
“You really don’t know what’s worrying you?” Iman looked lost.
“It’s – it’s a feeling. A bad feeling,” Adam explained, feeling foolish. He sounded like a little kid.
But, finally, Iman seemed to get it. “Okay. Okay, I’m sorry.” She squeezed his fingers. “Now, can we change our order to carryout please and eat in the car?”
Their tinted windows meant she wouldn’t have to constantly hold her niqab out of the way.
Adam flagged down their waitress in answer.