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The Marriage Demands By NSH_SHAHEEN Characters: 20570

Updated: 2018-09-12 12:24


10 years later

AYESHA ISLAM

"Well that's it for today. Please complete your assignments by Friday and submit them." Ma'am Huma announced but we were all too busy wrapping up our stuff.

Thank God! Another boring day at school is finally over.

"Hey birthday girl!" My friend Hira chirped from behind me as I packed my bag.

I turned around to face her and smiled at her. She was so lovely with her auburn blond hair and sparkling turquoise eyes.

"What are your plans for today?" She asked.

I shrugged nonchalantly. "Nothing special I guess." I said and jumped to my feet.

"Then come and chill out with me. Mum also said to invite you over." She said. I blushed hard and ducked my head as I pursed my lips together. You see, I had no problem visiting Hira's home. Her parents were so nice and super rich but the problem was her older brother, Ibteshaam. He was my crush since forever. And it was so hard for me to be around him especially since he's so aloof and mischeiveious. His twin sister Iqra is cool and I'm good friends with her too. Even their younger brother Haroon is sweet, but not Ibteshaam.

I believe he's my one and only. I fell in love with him at first sight when I was thirteen even though I was great friends with the twins since kindergarten. And lately, Ibteshaam has been avoiding me for some reason whenever I visit them at home so I decided to give him some space.

But today I had really hoped he would come over to the academy and say hello or at least wish me on my birthday. Or maybe I'm just being too hopeful.

"Well? What do you say?" Hira's shrill voice pulled me out of my thoughts.

"There you are!"

I stilled upon hearing his voice. I carefully turned around to face my crush who was walking in our direction. Oh my God, oh my God! Did Allah just hear my prayer? If so then I'm so grateful.

My heart did a little flip as I locked eyes with the dashing guy. He was only three years older then me and I was already head over heals in love with him.

Ibteshaam is attending IBA university. Of course, a jock like that, with a lean yet muscular body, brooding looks and piercing brown eyes, would never look at a kid like me. Yeah sure I had the Caucasian features that I inherited from my dad but I was very plain looking.

"Bhai!" Hira squealed and jumped in his arms. Ibteshaam doted over Hira. She was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was two years old and since then, Ibteshaam has been very protective of her even though she's still in remission.

"When did you get back?" She asked. He kissed her forehead and patted her head. "Just now, I thought I'd pick you up too since I was headed home anyway." He told. He raised his eyes from his sister and nodded in acknowledgement in my direction. I think my heart stopped just now.

"Oh okay well Ayesha was coming with me. It's her birthday."

"Oh, " Ibteshaam exclaimed and gave me a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Happy birthday."

I blushed. I couldn't help but smile. "Thank you, " I mumbled.

"So are you coming?" Hira inquired.

"Oh, well I'll go and ask permission from my dad first."

"Cool, I'll wait for you in my car."

I nodded and headed out. I could feel his heated gaze on my back as I left.

I headed downstairs towards the Principal's office. My dad was the principal.

I passed by the hall which held my mother's portrait.

I stopped to take a good look at her. It's times like these I wish mom was with me. I'm having guy troubles and I have no idea what to do.

But I guess you don't always get what you wish for.

My mother was a great woman.

This academy, Shaheen academy, is her greatest achievement. My mother is a martyr. Maybe that's why this academy is hailed so much. I don't remember much about my mother. All I remember of her was that I used to be very close to her before she died. I was seven at the time. I was literally heartbroken.

For months dad didn't tell me and my brother and just took us to America.

My aunt Aaliya told me that my parents were madly in love with each other, especially my dad. He was literally heartbroken when mom died. He didn't have the courage to tell me and my brother about our mum's death. And when he told us, I was the one who couldn't accept it. Even now when I think about mom, my heart hurts.

We came back to pakistan and since then we have been here in Karachi.

My grandparents are here with us as well. They shifted to Karachi for us. My grandparents from New York visit us once or twice in a year especially on holidays.

My dad raised me and Zeeshan. Even though we didn't have a mother figure around, dad never made us feel any less. He's both our mother and our father. There isn't anything I don't share with my dad; I even shared about Ibteshaam with him and he's so understanding yet protective about it and that's when i wish that mom was with me. But I don't blame dad at all.

He's such a strong person. It's because of him that I believe In true love. I heard stories from my grandparents and aunts. Aunt Haleema told me that my parents marriage was an unorthodox one but they ended up falling in love.

And even though my mom has been gone for years, my dad still loves her dearly. On her every birthday he would celebrate and tell us about her. He doesn't realise it, but me and Zeeshan we always caught him celebrating his wedding anniversary in secret in his bedroom. On the day of her martyrdom anniversary, he would take us to visit her grave.

Even now he's very much dedicated. And it's all because his love is true. And I want a love like that too.

I knocked on the door and waited. Manners.

"Come in." I heard his voice and immediately opened the door.

As soon as his blue eyes landed on me, he beamed brightly. At the age of 43, he's an extremely handsome man that people couldn't tell that he's the father of two teenagers. My grandma and aunts wanted him to get remarried but he always declined their offers, always putting me and Zeeshan first. And even though that's amazing of my dad, I still feel like my dad deserves his happiness.

"Meri pyaari guria, (my beautiful do

esigner. I couldn't follow up with my dreams and aspirations but you know what, I don't regret it. It wasn't my decision because I wasn't allowed to make one. I didn't have many choices in my life. I was always trapped either in traditions or society norms. I do not want that for you or for your sister.

Zeeshan, I want you to have those choices. I know you are just like me in that regard. You give more preferences to others' opinions about yourself over what you truly want. I do not want that for you. I want you to follow your heart. Dream big and try to follow them. Don't be like me: don't let others dictate what you ought to be rather then what you want to be.

That decision will always be yours. My advise to you my son is that you try to be a little expressive about what it is that you really want. Be strong and be free. I know there are many things you are passionate about so try to follow them. Don't let confusion, doubt and fear hold you back. Those were my weaknesses. Don't let them become yours.

If you thinks it's strange or awkward then don't because it's not. It's just a part of being normal. Don't always work with your head my boy, listen to your heart as well. Make your life with the colours of your feelings. Make your own mistakes and learn from them. Let me tell you, it's okay for you to do so.

Be a gentleman and be a good man just like your father. Be what you want. No one should tell you otherwise.

May Allah always guide you and give you lots of happiness.

I love you with all my heart.

Yours lovingly, Your mama.

I don't know why but my eyes welled up with tears and my chest tightened. I reread the letter again and again.

Thank you mama, you just cleared my heart and mind.

**********

ZAKRYA ISLAM

I smiled when my eyes fell on the grey tombstone.

???? ????? ????

????-

(Amber Islam Shaheed

1979-2016)

It's always so overwhelming for me to see it as tears swell up in my eyes. I fell on my knees and gently laid down her favourite roses.

"I hope you're well my sweet, " I started as I touched her name.

"It's been years. I still miss you and love you. I did what you wanted. I just gave Zeeshan his letter. I thought I ought to come and tell you."I said and smiled ruefully.

"They have grown up so well. You'd be proud at how I raised them. They are such nice kids. I'm so grateful that you left them behind with me." I sniffed and wiped my tears away.

"You know Bree. Life has been so strange. One moment I was so happy with you and the kids and then another moment, I'm raising them all by myself. It was hard at first but it's okay. My happiness now lies in it. With our kids. I hope I raised them right to be great just like you." I claimed.

With a smile, I raised my eyes to the clear morning sky. "You don't always get what you want. Allah always has bigger plans for us. We didn't know each other yet Allah had fated for us to marry and have a life together. I hope your watching me from up there." I smiled to myself at imagining her smiling face and her twinkling black eyes.

"And even though you made those marriage demands, I'm still glad I married you. I fell in love with you. I had two beautiful kids with you. You gave me everything Bree. For that, I am so grateful." I looked down at the stone.

"Sometimes I would blame Allah for taking you away from me. But not anymore. You left early. Now I hope that Allah unites me with you soon." I said in silent prayer and sighed.

"Well, " I chirped and jumped to my feet. "I have to go. Zeeshan and Ayesha are waiting for me. I'll see you again next week my love." I told her and leaned down and laid a kiss on top of the stone. I recited Surat Fatiha and prayed to Allah for her forgiveness.

That's just how things are: life.

It's unpredictable.

It's amazing yet strange. And it always goes by. It's our choice to whether stick with the past or keep moving forward towards the future.

I guess that's what Allah wills for us humans. And that the beauty of it.

And I suppose, I wouldn't have it any other way.

THE END

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