Part 160- Epilogue

So this is it dear readers. My heart is so heavy right now, eyes filled with tears 😭 I didn’t expect this to be SO hard. This has been such an amazing journey, riddled with setbacks. But I’ve learnt so much from my characters, my readers, the friends I’ve made on here. You guys are my memon girl family! Thank you for all the love, patience, support, very heartbroken comments at times that never failed to make me giggle a little evilly 😂 This isn’t the last post, there’ll be a few scenes from different characters lives coming up but that will probably be in the new year. I’m still considering a storyline for a new blog so that’s in the books as well. For now, this is goodbye but not a permanent one. I wish you all an amazing holiday and a very happy new year! Here’s to 2018 🎊💛 I hope you guys enjoy the epilogue as I wrote it without any ideas beforehand, it came to me as I began. I can’t believe I’ve reached the end, I literally wouldn’t have done it without you guys. LOVE YOU SO MUCH ❤️x Please do let me know what you think, as this post was probably the most difficult for me. And also the most bittersweet. So I guess.. this is it. Once again, thank you so so so so so so so much for everything!

Asmaa watched her baby sister saunter down the aisle, with a heart bursting with pride and eyes filled with tears. Ismail discreetly handed her a tissue, “You’re on video, you know.”

She instantly straightened up making him snigger and so she pinched him, that moment would be watched on video in the years to come.

Her mother came over after breaking away from the crowd. “I can’t believe my baby is leaving me. What will I do without both of you?”

“You can keep Madam Nuha, no problem!”

Farhana Jooma broke into a huge beaming smile at the thought of her granddaughter. “She’s only four years old and she made such a darling poised bridesmaid! Oh she reminds me so much of you at that age. I left her to sit with your father and friends you know he loves to show his smallest princess off.”

“I know, I know. Zaid and Attiyah look so happy and well matched! It’s making me reminisce my newlywed says.”

Ismail chooses this moment to intervene, slipping his hand in hers. “And we need to go up and congratulate the newlyweds now! C’mon. Aunty Farhana, have you seen my mom?”

“Sure, she’s sitting with Simi and them on the second table, in front.”

The couple walked hand in hand to greet the newlyweds. Asmaa embraced her sister tightly, tears shining in her eyes. “You are such a mesmerizing bride! Zaid, not too bad either! Oh my goodness do I feel old.”

Attiyah laughed, lifting up her hand to admire her ring. “Awww thank you, good genes huh. Mommy had to wipe her tears with the tablecloth! I wish I didn’t notice that but I did.”

“I have to admit, I shed some myself. You need anything? You comfortable and fine? The night is young, there’s plenty of excited people coming your way.”

“All good for now! Thanks Asmaa for pressurizing me to get things done early, tonight is an absolute dream come true.”

Ismail leaned forward, “I think your dads gonna give a speech.”

Asmaa and Attiyah exchanged a bemused gaze, Asmaa shrugging.

“Assalam-hu-alaykum ladies and gentleman, friends and family, our nearest and dearest. Please allow me to take a few minutes of your time, to share my sentiments regarding the marriage of my youngest. Please bear with me as I’m not one to give speeches usually! Today my heart is filled with pride, joy and a bittersweet melancholy as I hand over my greatest gift to the man of her dreams. Once upon a time, I prayed for sons who would carry my name and legacy but by the grace of our Creator, I was blessed with two beautiful, courageous and sweet little girls. They will always hold my hearts, now I can truly say my job here is done whilst a new one begins as I embark on the journey from a father to a grandfather. Attiyah, my little girl I wish you and your lovely young man a lifetime of love, happiness and barakaat. Jazakallah everyone for your time, the food will now be served.”

And in unison, each sister wiped a tear from their eye exchanging watery smiles.

As the night progressed, Asmaas friends along with their spouses all found their way to the same table. Sarah has given birth to a little girl, Ameera who was now sleeping peacefully in her pram. The only one missing was Azraa, now having moved to Canada after marriage. Fatimah, Naseem and Faheem had even attended basking in the attention of being in their home town. Asmaa leaned over to tickle Faheem who got up and ran away. Fatimah sighed as she watched him go. “My little ruffian. He takes after his father, filled with restless energy! Where’s my NuNus?”

“Circulated from her Nana to her Daadee! She just knows how to charm everyone into giving her sweets. Ismail will deal with her tonight.”

“Nah we’ll just leave her for sleepover by Daadee. I’m beat!”

“There you go, acting like you the bride!”

Fatimah, Sarah, Nadia, Tasneem, Amara and Nazneen all began to laugh at Ismails groan and how he pulled a face at Asmaa. “It’s so nice to see my cousin getting owned by his own wife! Remember these two and their pesky courtship days?”

Amara chips in, “We had our fun in our young days but Tasneem and I made a bet they’d get married before Asmaa turned 21! I won because I said and they’d have a child before 25.”

Ismail gives her big eyes, “You Joomas have always been know if all’s!”

Nobody missed the fact that Asmaa was still blushing. Her husband shot her his infamous smirk and after all this time, her tummy erupted in butterflies..

Asmaa turned to Naseem and Fatimah, “Speaking of courtship days, you two long distanced and yourll teasing us!”

Naseem flashed his crooked smile at the group, “Those were the days. Sshhh Faheem mustn’t hear of this he’s already making eyes at every girl including Nuha!”

Zain put his glass down and grinned, “The history of this group has some strange dynamics, let’s not go there.”

Everyone laughed at this, exchanging smiles as they thought of their single days, different times. Naturally, their intimate bonds had faded away but Asmaa still had a close link to Fatimah and good contact with Sarah and Nadia. Life goes on, but certain friends are family and that’s the truth of it all.

At this moment, Nuha rushed up. “Daddy hello!”

Ismails huge rare smile made everyone smile. “Hey princess. Did you eat?”

“I ate buwffeeeee.”

Asmaa looked at her daughter with the motherly protective look. Nuha had yet to recover her hearing completely, but the couple had high hopes as technology was processing rapidly. “That’s not food, sweetheart. Ismail call a waiter if we can even get some soup down that’s fine.”

As Ismail fed Nuha making funny faces and aero plane sounds, he scowled at everyone laughing at him. “Yaa wait till all you people have kids!”

Azhar stopped laughing and grinned, “Yaa okay I do the same crap every night. Kid drives me mad, but the wife is worse.”

Tasneem shot him a sugar sweet smile. “Keep talking mister, remember I’m the one who cooks for you. I can poison you and make it look like a heart attack!”

Asmaa swiveled her head to look at everyone, laughing and content. As she left them to check on her sister she watched them closely, focusing on Ismail caressing Nuhas hair and winking at her. This was one of her top moments, one of those mental images she would cherish forever. Life was not perfect, it wasn’t even close.

But against all odds, she had married her best friend and soulmate and now they had their own family. And in eight months it would have another member, but she would surprise her husband with that news a little later.

Her parents were sitting and watching their daughter lovingly, her mothers head resting on her fathers shoulder. The younger couples all wished that they had a love like that, later on in life. Nana and Nani, the cutest couple of them all!

……………………………………………………………………

In the years to follow, Asmaa gave birth to an adorable little boy that they named Dean, a namesake to the man who saved their lives. Dean was the apple of his mothers eyes, as he had inherited her big golden brown eyes and his fathers mischievous dimples. His sister was a troublemaker and he was an angel. The two were very close, looking out for each other every time their parents were arguing but the most important thing was that their marriage made it through the worst of times and therefore as a family they went through the best of times. The members of this family all shared a great love for traveling, and so they waited eagerly for the end of the year where they would spend four weeks traveling, each person having a say in where they went. Asmaa briefly considered trying for one more child but in all honesty they were perfectly happy with two children. Ismail started his own company, a partnership with his best friend Suhail.

………………………………………………………………

Fatimah and Naseem moved back to South Africa after 16 years in Dublin. In this time, Fatimah gave birth to twin girls, Zahra and Zaneera. The couple had their fair share of problems with Fatimah wanting to move back home to be close to her parents. Eventually Naseem realized that his wife’s happiness was his happiness and it was time to settle down for life, Dublin wasn’t always ideal to raise his children islamically. Fatimah was the forgiving mother, who knew her children’s secrets but only intervened when Naseem found out and gave a strict punishment. She always balanced him, she was his anchor and he was her defender. Their three children loved to watch the couple arguing over small things and their mother eventually calming down their father and always bringing a smile to his face. The family also loved traveling, but they enjoyed the different sights in South Africa the most and had a great appreciation for beauty within their own country.

…………………………………………………………………….

Zain and Nadia had two children, two boys that are three years apart in age. Zayd and Yusuf. Nadia remained to be the calm to her husbands storm, the sunshine in his darkest days. And Zain continued to show his romantic side only with his wife, making her happy at every turn. Unfortunately, Nadia lost her father to prostate cancer in the first year after she had Zayd, the eldest son. This broke her heart and whilst she’s still grieving his loss, her three boys fill her life with color. The family moved up to Joburg and then moved to London. They shared a solid relationship with Sarah, Uwais and kids but mostly lost touch with the rest of the South Africans. Their memories would last a lifetime, stories to tell in the years to come.

………………………………………………………………….

Sarah and Uwais never had another child after Ameerah, due to various complications. Whilst this saddened Sarah, Uwais reasoned that at least they had one child and showed her how blessed they were to have her. The couple travelled to London often, to visit Zain, Nadia and kids. Sarah doted on her nephews and even the quiet, soft spoken Ameera came to life around them. Ameera became a hafizah right before her matric year, bringing her parents a world of pride. Uwais taught Sarah to believe in happily ever afters again, even after her parents harsh divorce. Sarah worked from home, starting a small catering business that proved to be very successful. They lived a simple life, but a good life.

…………………………………………………………………

Azraa Moosa married Mahmood Ismail and moved up to Canada. The two had initially met at Asmaa and Ismails wedding, followed by a few months of going back and forth as they both had big egos and it took a while to settle down. Ismail and Asmaa heard from Azraa every now and then, but she had built a whole new life there. They also had one son and one daughter, Deeyana and Zareef.

……………………………………………………………..

Nazneen and Riyadh, the first to get married had four children. Three girls and a boy. Nasreen, Hafsa, Maleeha and Uzair. The family was a boisterous, fun loving bunch who shared many adventures, international and even in their own backyard. Unfortunately the group reunited seven years later when Riyadh’s electronic shop was held up and he was shot and killed. Nazneen was devastated and broken. Naseem was shocked and horrified at the loss of his best friend, hating to see his cousin so lost and heartbroken. In the months to follow after his death, Fatimah lent her constant support, wisdom and hope. Nazneen never fully recovered but she was the best mother her kids could ever ask for, never making them feel as if they only had one parent. Her four children in turn, loved their mother madly and made sure to make her smile, always making her proud. Uzair was often moody and troublesome as a teenager but as he grew up, he became his mothers protector and never left her alone. Even after marriage, he lived in that house and her daughters lived close as well. She was blessed with four children, her own soldiers. Death was an inevitable part of life, Riyadh had always been larger than life filled with a constant positive energy and his wife held his memory dear. Death didn’t look at age, it took who it pleased and it left behind a devastated family who made dua everyday for their father.

…………………………………………………………….

Tasneem and Azhar had another daughter, Yaseera. The family lived luxuriously thanks to their extravagant mother but their father balanced her out, with his big heart and kind manner. Their mother encouraged her children to do well academically and islamically and their father spoilt his three favorite girls.

………………………………………………………

Amara got married to a soft spoken, but charismatic man Mueen. He was also a doctor and it took them six years to have a child but he was worth the wait. Their son Amaar, was an adorable little boy who brought them so much happiness. Another four years later, Amara had a little girl born with a growing deficiency but this didn’t make anyone love their little angel, Farzana any less. They faced many challenges due to this, hating to see others looking strangely at their little girl. It was Asmaa who taught Amara how important dua and sabr was and made her see the silver lining that was the charm and intelligence of their little girl. Her big brother and father would never let anyone insult her, and her teachers loved her instantly. She lived a normal life, learning how to deal with her deficiency. Farzana learnt the most important lesson of all, that the stigma and negativity attached to the word disability was nothing but another thing society had created. A disability was something you could live with, something that didn’t define who she was but rather empowered her in her journey.

It all began with a blue eyed boy and a girl who fell head over heels in love with him.

xoxo

..

Advertisements

Part 159- The Baby Shower

In the months that followed, Asmaa and Ismail started over with their little sweetheart. At first, it was new, awkward and strange but slowly life fell into a routine that was unfamiliar and refreshing. Sometimes Asmaa would wake up and get a shock to see Ismail in the same bed, sometimes Ismail would come home from work surprised to see somebody cooking for him, caring for him. Asmaa was hosting a baby shower for Sarah, who was finally seven months pregnant. She was extremely excited and nervous about how it was going to work out. She bossed Ismail into helping her sort out the moving of tables and flower arrangements. “Did you fetch serviettes?”

“Yes mam.”

“And did you put up the banner high enough? None of us can reach.”

“Yes mam!”

“Now we have to fetch the food. Tell Happy to start setting the tables and putting the party favors on each plate. Oh who put this tablecloth so untidily?!”

“Babes chill! We have to go fetch the food so I can nibble some on the way back.”

This caused her to smile and pinch him. “My mother is bringing Nuha for a little while later, I love her but she’s such a little ball of energy and everything’s so fancy here I hope she doesn’t create chaos.”

He laughed at this, getting the familiar sparkle in his eyes whenever he saw Nuha or discussed her. “Leave my poppet alone.”

“Stop using that word it’s cringey! I can’t believe madam Nuha is already six months! I remember the day I found out I was pregnant like it was yesterday. I kept touching my stomach over and over again wondering if I’d feel her heartbeat.”

Ismail is silent, regretful that he wasn’t around at that time. “When I saw you for the first time since you fell pregnant, you were easily the most beautiful you’ve ever been to me.”

She raised an eyebrow, leaning over to ruffle his hair. “Sweet talker. You missed the turn, by the way.”

“Nuha said something that sounded like daddy this morning!”

“She’s her daddy’s girl and mommy’s spoilt brat. Oh I do hope we get a son but also a girl, because every girl deserves a sister.”

“So two more children?”

Asmaa smiled at her husband, thinking about them with a big family. “Who knows? You know I had a tiny amount of dread when I was pregnant. I didn’t think I was ready for motherhood, it seemed so difficult and terrifying. And now.. I’m so glad she came when she did.”

Ismail squeezed his wife’s hand before he runs in to fetch the food. When he came back, he drove her back to their house as the baby shower was being hosted in their garden. “This is a LOT of food.”

“I know! Blame my mother, she’s obsessive about the food and desserts.”

Once they’re back home, they get back to setting up and Asmaa lets out a long sigh. “I miss Nuha, already! I can’t do this separation thing for even five minutes.”

Ismail wraps his arms around his wife from the back, “I know, I feel the same way. As if I want to keep her with us every second and nobody else must even touch her.”

“Now that’s a tad extreme. Thank you for all the help! And for putting up with my OCD.”

She kisses his cheek and he kisses her forehead twice, both of them exchanging a smile before he leaves. Baby shower gave all the men an opportunity for a guys day, no mention of what that entails.

But as far as Asmaa Moosa is concerned, her husband and her are a solid. A team.

People start to arrive and soon Asmaa is lost in a sea of florals and pastels, reminiscing with old friends and reliving her younger days. When it’s time for Sarah to arrive everyone quietens down and she walks in with a curious expression as everyone screams ‘surprise!’. “Oh wow! This is.. wow!”

And in true Sarah style, she tears up and embraces Asmaa and Nadia tightly. “You guys are the absolute best!”

“Anything for you, my darling sister in law!”

“Any excuse to spoil my god child S! Now come in let’s eat before everything else.”

“You pregnant again Asmaa?”

Asmaa replies by rolling her eyes at Sarah. “My child is only six months at least give me a year or two to recover.”

Amara and Tasneem come forward to greet and congratulate. Tasneem looks at Sarah’s belly and smiles. “Wow you’re growing so nicely! Did you find out the gender?”

“No. Uwais refuses, he says let’s leave it as a surprise for the first child at least. By the way congratulations Amara on your engagement!”

Amara smiles shyly at all of them. “Thank you! Now you guys better attend all the functions and keep me sane otherwise I won’t survive.”

“How’s my dolly Amaanah, Tasneem?”

“You mean Queen Amaanah? Because that’s what she makes us call her now. You and Ismail owe us Capetownians a visit! You can then leave Nuha behind with me.”

Azhar got a job offer in Cape Town that he couldn’t refuse and the family of three had moved up there. It was bittersweet, looking around at the circle of friends. Amara was going to be a bride soon as well as Azraa who would be moving to Canada after marriage. Life was moving so fast, but they all felt rather lucky to have friendship and memories that would last a lifetime. Asmaa spotted Azraa and waved her over. “Hello there, my favorite Canadian!”

Azraa laughs at this, her cheeks turning pink. “I’m hardly a Canadian yet! Mahmood only gets the cute accent, not me.”

“Please, you have all the other cute characteristics! So how’s the wedding planning going? You need anything?”

“Nah it’s going well, my mother dumped it all on the wedding planner and all I do is stress over my gown! At least they agreed on a small function, but you better come calm me down on the day you know how I get!”

Everyone was busy eating after that and the games began..

Sarah groaned when she saw a game where you have to guess the purity flavor. “EEWW! I’m so not doing this I have nausea as it is.”

Asmaa and Nadia exchanged amused looks, “Sorry sister in law but you have to go at least one time as the baby mama!”

Everyone was torn laughing at her disgusted expression.

Sarah had one of the most amazing days of her life, filled with an unimaginable happiness knowing that soon she would have her own little one running around.

As Asmaa worked with the helpers to clean up, her best friend came and embraced her tightly. “Thank you for everything! It was nice seeing everyone again.”

“Anything for you, baby mama! Only Fattoo is missing. I miss them so much.”

“Same here! Anyways is everything sorted? Uwais is packing the gifts.”

“Sure, don’t worry! I left desserts out for the guys.”

Ismail came up behind her and squeezed her shoulders. “Look whose here!”

Asmaa turned to greet her daughter and husband. “Hey sweetheart! Aawww why so sad, you’re hungry? Let Mommy feed you.”

“Either that or she’s teething. Can you hold her? I’m hungry too.”

Asmaa held out her arms and lifted Nuha. “I missed you I missed you!”

Ismail winked at her, “I know you missed me.”

He walked away and Asmaa sighed as she went to fee Nuha, “Your daddy and his conceit. You ready for a late lunch hmmm?”

Asmaa fed her and put her down for a nap, also falling asleep. She was awoken by an amused Ismail. “Good morning sleepy head.”

“Crap! I didn’t even get to go greet everyone and say bye.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll catch up with them at the weddings. You feeling okay?”

“Yeah, I’m so tired! Nuha and her teething is killing me slowly.”

Ismail started to laugh at her huge yawn and out of nowhere leaned over and kissed his wife’s cheeks. “Let’s all go on a little holiday.”

“Where to?”

“Anywhere you want, love. It can be Nuhas first strip!”

They discussed it all night, a new possibility of traveling with Nuha looming on their horizon. Love was what they began with, compromise and faith is what they invested in their marriage every single day.

Part 158- Rebuilding

ONE MONTH LATER..

Asmaa decided it would be best if she doesn’t attend the trial, seeing Elena is a trigger for her. A reminder of all worst fears, nightmares and heartbreak. She remembers that night, so clearly. Elena’s shot had missed all of them because Dean had shoved her over. Unfortunately the gunshot was too close to Nuha, and because she was a newborn the sound was far too loud and it damaged her eardrums in her right ear. She would have to wear a hearing aid, perhaps in a few years she could go for a surgery to gain back what she had lost. Asmaa and Ismail had vowed, as long as they lived they would look up and try to find any and every doctor who could help them.

Each parent blamed themselves for their baby’s misfortune, but the truth was it was circumstance. Nuha was playing on her mat, letting out the occasional squeal and Asmaa lifted her daughter up and smiled. “Good morning, little princess. You having fun at Daaddees house?”

Another thing Elena had done was start a fire in hers and Ismails house, fortunately only the kitchen and Nuhas nursery was damaged and it was in the process of being sorted out. Ismail, once again, was building up what was destroyed with his own two hands.

Asmaa knew her husband was fighting her back, wanting their marriage to be what it once was. One month ago, when Elena was dragged away kicking and screaming and she sat on the floor with a screaming Nuha, Ismail came to her with his heart on the line. He broke down and cried, pleading with her to forgive him. In that moment she had been unable to and after much trepidation, the couple decided on a temporary separation until the trial was over.

Each one went to their parents houses, it was convenient because Ismail could see Nuha whenever he felt like. Asmaa knew that she needed to give Ismail a hint today as to where their marriage is going but she still has no clue. Fatimah was in town and coming to visit today, so Asmaa put on a cute little white dress for Nuha and then wrapping her in a blanket. When the doorbell rang it was Faheem who pressed it repeatedly. “Fatttoooo! Oh hi handsome boy.”

He smiled shyly and Fatimah set him down as he walked unsteadily in. “Ohhh give me Nuha right now! Hey NuNus, you always so wide eyed and alert.”

Asmaa embraces her best friend tightly, “Remind me again when you leaving.”

“A week from now!”

“Oh please don’t go. Please stay.”

Fatimah laughed at her best friend, hugging her again. “I miss you more than you miss me! Lucky your NuNus gave me the perfect argument to come to Durban when I argued with Naseem! Shame it really is so costly, but he’s enjoying it here also.”

Asmaa leaned over and gave Faheem a kiss on his cheek. “Say Asmaa!”

“Amaaaaaaaa!”

Asmaa cooed and kissed him again. “You’re such a darling little boy.”

Fatimah sighed, “He’s a typical Kadwa. Always charming the ladies.”

“You want anything to eat or drink? My mother cooked specially for you, otherwise you know Farhana Jooma isn’t about the culinary lifestyle!”

“I think I take after her in that case.. Naseem can cook that’s why I married the man.”

They sit to eat leaving Faheem to play with Nuha whose lying on her play mat. Both mothers watch as Faheem leans over and kisses Nuha. “Oh my god! Faheema Kadwa are you pulling the moves on my daughter?”

“Your daughter made eyes at my little boy first!”

Fatimah turned to Asmaa with laughter in her eyes, Did I just say that? I sound like a typical aunty already.”

“Nah we still young until these ones are going off to college or something.”

“So.. how are you?”

Asmaa sighed and stirred her soup again and again. “I’m hanging in there. Everyone’s at the courthouse for the trial and it can be Elena’s final triumph that I was too frightened to come. I can’t help it. She’s.. insane. The obsessed way she looks at Ismail, the constant rage and excitement she has.. I literally can’t watch her. It’s all too sad, remembering Faizah my roommate and matching her up to the cruel Elena.”

“Trust me it won’t be a triumph for her, she’s never going to see any of you again.”

“Well, one can hope.”

“What about you and Ismail? He and Naseem went out with all the other guys last night and Naseem said he was.. lost.”

Asmaa sighed and massaged her temple with her fingers. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I want to give our marriage another chance but I didn’t expect him to walk out on me, never in a million years. While I was pregnant too. That was a.. turning point for me. And I don’t know if I can turn the clock and go back.”

Fatimah squeezes Asmaas hand tightly, her eyes concerned. “Then don’t. Now it’s all about moving forward. Now there’s Nuha in the picture and a very regretful Ismail. All obstacles are gone, it’s time to face the reality of a future with or without your husband.”

Her words had the greatest impact on Asmaa, making her repeat them to herself over the next few hours. When Ismail returned, he came over to see Nuha and seemed surprised that it was Asmaa who opened the door and let him in. That’s until she saw how worn out and shocked her husband seemed. “What happened?”

He clenches his fists and sits down on a couch, not looking at her. “It’s.. Elena. She was placed in a facility for criminals like her who weren’t just cold killers, but they had mental demons that drove all their actions. It was just a tad more nicer and comfortable I guess. Anyways the guard went to collect her.. and she was lying there completely disfigured and dead. It’s.. unclear whether she killed herself or somebody did that to her.”

Asmaa gasped, her hands flying to her mouth her body trembling. She never thought she could feel anything for Elena except hatred but right now she feels an awful heartbreaking sadness for a girl who could have had a normal life but fell into the wrong hands. She sat down next to Ismail much to his surprise and placed her hand in his. That’s where Fatimah found them when she brought Nuha down an hour later. “Look who woke up! Wait.. what happened?”

“Elena’s dead.”

Fatimah looked at Asmaa wide eyed, “Oh my god!”

She set Nuha down on Ismails lap and squeezed Asmaas shoulder comfortingly. “You two need anything?”

“No thanks Fatttooo. Thanks for staying with me today, I wouldn’t have managed. Let’s all go out for supper tomorrow maybe, kids free.”

Fatimah smiled at that, “I haven’t seen my crew for too long! That would be so nice. Love ya.”

They hugged and she left with a sleeping Faheem in tow. Ismail was playing with Nuha, who let out a giggle. Her parents froze, exchanging a surprised look. “Did she just?”

“Come over here, let me see if she does it again!”

So Asmaa joined her husband as he pulled faces at Nuha and she did it again, she giggled. Ismail and Asmaa both smiled, Asmaa began to tear up. Ismail squeezed her hand. “It’s over, my love. It’s okay. We’re all okay.”

And they were all here.

Before Asmaa could say anything, he kept speaking. “Aslam and Fareed have a life sentence.”

“They deserve it.”

“I made some changes to.. our house? Do you want to come see it now? My mommy won’t mind keeping Nuha.”

“Okay.. let me go change.”

He smiled, “You know you look fine in your sweatpants.”

She frowned, “I’m still so fat.”

“You’re not! You’re a yummy mummy.”

Hearing her laugh makes him smile. There hasn’t been much to laugh about recently and maybe the worst is finally over. Ismail and her return to the house and go inside, Asmaa is pleased to see everything looks fine again. Ismail leads her up the stairs to Nuhas nursery and opens the door and Asmaa gasps. From the burnt room, covered in ash and dirt there’s now a beautiful nursery that’s pink, grey and white. Two walls have wallpaper, there’s a huge wooden grey cot and white marble drawers. It’s simple, and because it’s simple it’s absolutely gorgeous. “Did you do this?”

Ismail smiled sheepishly and ran his hands through his hair. “Yeah I kinda did. I bought her a little wooden playhouse for the corner and I thought maybe you and I could build it together for her..”

“It’s amazing. I feel so bad you’ve been working so hard and I’ve done nothing.”

“You mad, you just gave birth! You’re going to rest as much as you can until you fully recovered.”

Asmaa gave him a small smile, and they went into their own room and she looked around wistfully. Ismail is right behind her and gently places his hands on his wife shoulders, solid and comforting.

A reminder that it’s time for a new beginning.

“What do we do now?”

She thinks about the past month. Ismail wrote her handwritten letters leaving it on her seat by the pool everyday. Not typed, but handwritten. He gave her the space she needed, when Nuha was crabby he took her and stayed up all night. He sorted out Nuhas essentials, checked up on Asmaa through her parents and Attiyah and provided her with necessities and drove her to her doctors appointments even when she gave him silent treatment. Her husband didn’t push or plead. He made genuine effort and sacrifices.

After all what’s the most important thing in every swingle marriage?

Compromise.

She knows he’s not talking only about the house, but everything it symbolizes.

Their home, family, their marriage.

The love they have for each other.

Her husband was willing to lay his life down for her, no questions asked.

The couple have grown individually, and now it’s time to grow together and raise their little girl in the best way they can. And it all begins with a seed of forgiveness.

She turns around and looks at him, the hope, the pain, the nostalgia in his expression. She stands on her tiptoes and presses a kiss to his cheek. Once, twice, thrice.

“We rebuild. Our home, our lives and our marriage.”

Part 157- Baiting the devil

Asmaa lies in bed that night, deep in thought. Not for a split second, did she second guess that Ismail may have cheated on her but what she said to him tonight caught her off guard. The truth is she has no idea where her husband was for so many months. Who he worked with. What he was forced to do under the circumstances.

Whether he is still the honorable man she married.

She shuts her eyes, lying on her side and facing Nuha. In PMB she had often met up with one of the moulanas wives, a brilliant woman who always gave her priceless wisdom. Asmaa clearly remembered the day when she was leaving and the woman hugged her and said, “Always make Sabr. Sabr is the strength of the soul that teaches it not to break when it has been bent.”

This was one of her biggest tests and most painful hardships. On one hand, the greatest joy of her life lay right by her side and the one causing her the greatest misery was one room over. But as a true matter of her heart, her husband was still someone she loved more than anything.

So was their marriage over?

She had no answer to that. She only knew that she was terrified of the man he had become while he was away.

The next morning Amara, Azhar, Tasneem, Simi, Zain and Nadia came to visit. They all brought a multitude of gifts ranging from cute baby growers to gorgeous little shoes. Asmaa was awestruck and touched. “These are so lovely. Nadia, I just knew you were going to buy something Gucci! Called it.”

Zain missed his agreement, “I can’t tell you how long she spent agonizing god knows what’s going to happen when it’s her own child!

Nadia laughed at this, tickling Nuhas chin. “I’m going to spoil my Nunus the most! I can’t get over how beautiful she is.”

Zain looked at her worriedly, “She looks like a real life potato. I’m sorry but honestly!”

Everyone was torn with laughter at how awkward he was. Ismail came into the room, saw everyone and turned to leave looking awkward. Asmaas heart squeezed painfully, no matter what her husband was her family. “Ismail can you.. bring her blanket from the lounge? Please.”

“Okay.”

As predicted when he returned, he got caught up talking to everyone and sat down. Asmaa noticed Azhar shooting her a searching look and she shook her head at him. She would have to look out for herself. Amara turned to Asmaa and smiled, “She is literally a perfect combination of you two. Her eyes are so perceptive, I bet she’s a good listener.”

Simi fussed over Asmaa and Nuha, “I’m so happy for you my baby. Now you have your own baby! She is so precious, so precious. So fair and gorgeous, you better make sure she stays this gorgeous!”

“Jee Simi Masie. Where’s Amaanah?”

Azhar looked at Tasneem and laughed, “With my in laws, they got a swing set and the kid is planning to move in there!”

Ismail chimed in, “Yeah I want to put a small trampoline and jungle gym here in a year or so. I don’t want her going to a public park.”

Zain shot him an incredulous look. “What you gonna do, homeschool her?”

Even Asmaa laughed at this and she caught Ismails gaze. She knew he was afraid, every single moment. And so was she.

Tasneem tickled Nuha who let out a little squeak. “Oh my god I forgot how precious newborns are. I just want to smother her.”

Simi beamed at this, “Yaaa yaaa now I can get another grandchild isn’t Tasneem?”

The helpers serve some drinks and snacks and the afternoon passes like this, leaving behind just Zain and Nadia when everyone’s gone. Zain and Ismail are watching a game downstairs leaving Nadia with Asmaa. Nadia squeezes her friends hand, fully aware of Ismail and Asmaas forced smiles.

“What’s going on with you two?”

Asmaa knew not too divulge too much about her marriage, as it was between them but Nadia was also a concerned friend who she could still vent to with limits. “I wish I knew. But until Elena is found, I don’t see us sorting this imbalance out. How do I know he won’t walk out again? I hate the thought of him breaking Nuhas heart.”

Nadia and her both looked at Nuha playing with her hands, peaceful. “I saw the way he looked when you just gave birth. I hope you know that he loves you two till the ends of the earth.”

Asmaa smiles knowingly, “Sometimes love alone, simply isn’t enough.”

At that moment her phone lets out an alert that’s all too familiar to Asmaa. “Hello? Dean?”

And a voice that’s certainty not Dean comes through, cold, calm and terrifying. “Hello Asmaa.”

“E-Elena?”

Nadia and her exchanged a glance and rushed to the window to look out where Dean and Jasper usually parked. Instead her bodyguard was nowhere to be be seen but she saw a single figure leaning against the bonnet of the car. She turned to Nadia and pointed downstairs mouthing “Call Ismail.”

“Did you miss me, Asmaa?”

Asmaa rushes inside and wrapped her arm around Nuha, her body shaking. “What the hell did you do to Dean and Jasper?”

“I obviously let out some screams that sounded like you. Oh and then I locked them in the house along with all of you.”

At that moment, Nadia, Zain, Ismail, Jasper and Dean burst in and Ismail motions her to put the phone on loudspeaker. Ismail clears his throat. “We’ve checked every window and door in the house. What’s the point of locking us in? We can just call the police.”

“Oh Ismail. Have I missed you. That’s the fun part! You won’t call anyone because I’m tracking your calls, and I will blow your house up. Poor Nuha, so young to go like this.”

Asmaa felt it then, a violent rage, a brutal terror that made her feel ice cold. Ismail evidently shared the feeling because he picked up Nuha and pressed her to his chest, using his other hand to hold his wife’s hand tightly. Jasper ran his hands through his hair, looking unnerved. “Okay Elena. What do you want?”

“Ismail are you there? I just want you to pack a bag and prepare to leave with me. Also I’d love to meet your little one. Maybe Asmaa can bring her out to say goodbye to Daddy and Aunty Elena hhmm?”

Ismail flinched, “You’re not getting anywhere near my baby!”

“Oh Ismail. I just want to say goodbye as opposed to me blowing your whole family up. The choice is yours. Thirty minutes. Tick tock.”

And she hangs up. Asmaa can’t breathe, her body starting to tremble. Her husband kisses his daughter, and then reaches for her. “Asmaa. ASMAA! We have to do this okay?”

Asmaa looks at him, livid. “Where DOES IT END? She’ll come back again when she’s bored of you, her own personal pet who goes running when she calls! And eventually she’ll use Nuha to punish me. She needs to be PUT AWAY. CAN YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?”

Ismail is staring at his wife in shock and horror. He sees it in her eyes, the anger, the hatred, the hurt, the disbelief. The disgust.

The disgust she feels for him.

Dean clears his throat and steps between them. “I have an idea. See she’s tracking everyone’s phones here, we don’t know how or what she’s doing to do so. But Dean and I have burner phones that are untraceable.”

Asmaas head swivels, “Really? You two are brilliant! But what if she does something when she hears the cops coming?”

Zain looks at Dean and Jasper, thoughtfully. “Unless they come quietly but when she does realize it will be too late.”

Asmaa looks down at her baby and takes a deep breath. “Ismail, Nuha and I can go out. Act as a distraction.”

Ismail pales and he stares at his wife accusingly. “You want to use our daughter as bait?”

Asmaa looked away coldly. “Got any better ideas?”

And he had to admit he didn’t. It was planned that the same minute Elena was distracted with Ismail, Asmaa and Nuha the cops would emerge and capture Elena.

It was no foolproof plan, there was SO much that could go wrong. But for everyone in the room, only one thing was important and it was to ensure Nuha survived. The two of them walked to the front door, Asmaa clutching Nuha her whole body trembling. “What are we doing? This is Elena. She’ll kill Nuha.”

Ismail spun around and kissed his daughters forehead. “As long as I’m breathing, Elena will never hurt either of you. We’ve fooled her once, we can do it again. You said it yourself, we can’t sit idle and wait for her to end our lives. We fight back.”

Asmaa stares at him until he wonders if she’s backing out. “I have to.. I have know this now. Did anything ever happen between you two? The way she looks at you..”

He looks at his wife, with all the sorrow expressed in his eyes. “I’ll never look at another woman, leave alone touch them. It’s always been you. For me, there’s only ever been you.”

The sincerity in his eyes tells her what she needs to know and before she can change her mind she presses three kisses to his cheek. He embraces her, after forever. She his his hope, his strength and his soulmate and if he takes his last breath tonight at least he would know that she loves him.

He phones Elena back, his expression colder than she’s ever seen it. “Asmaa, Nuha and I are at the front door.”

As if she was waiting right outside the key turns in the lock and she lets them out. Asmaa starts to tremble again, seeing Elena again. Beautiful, cruel and excited.

“Mr and Mrs Moosa, my darling junior Moosa. Oh hello precious.”

Nuhas eyes opened and she let out a small squeak s Elena ran a finger on her face, tracing her features. Asmaa backs away. “Ismail-“

He presses his hand to the small of her waist and shakes his head at her. “I’m ready to leave, Elena. Are you?”

“Oh let me hold your little one first.”

Ismail and Asmaa shook their heads firmly and Asmaa spoke first. “No way. No. You’re getting Ismail to go with you quietly. You’ve already taken everything from me, Elena.”

She instantly knew she made a mistake when she saw Elena’s eyes turn black, the most eerie sight she’d ever witnessed. “Oh Mrs Moosa. You live like a queen, you always have. You have no idea what’s been taken from me because of your husband. It’s time to get everything I deserve!”

And she reaches out and slaps Asmaa, a hard backhand that has Asmaa reeling. Ismail stands in front of his wife, angrier than she’s ever seen him. “Lay a finger on her one. more. time. And I will murder you with my bare hands.”

Asmaa reaches out and squeezed his shoulder to remind him that they could make it out alive. Elena seems subdued, her expression cautious. And that’s when the sound of a police wail breaks the awful silence and Asmaa sees the gleam of a revolver being pulled out of Elena’s jacket.

She’s not sure if she screams, until she hears herself. Shrill, loud and terrified.

The next few moments are a blur, of bodies, handcuffs and yells.

Elena pointing the gun at Nuhas head.

Ismail letting out an enraged yell, jumping in front of his wife and daughter as the sound of a gunshot rings through the air.

And then.. silence.

Except for Elena’s laughter.

Authors note.

My beautiful readers, my blogger friends. I literally don’t want to type this post because it’s like saying it out loud- it makes it real. Sadly, the time has finally arrived for memon girl to reach the end 😭 I literally can’t believe after four years it’s almost over. I’m attached to my characters and my readers. You guys are everything ❤️ Honestly, I can’t tell you how many posts there are left because I don’t know. I have literally no clue how I’ll conclude but it usually comes to me as I write. The reason I’m writing ‘new style’ is because the end is near anyway, I want you guys to see my writing progress if any. There will definitely be an epilogue, but basically the story must conclude otherwise it becomes too long drawn out and loses a lot of the true essence. I probably won’t be able to write my final posts without shedding a few tears 😂

I also have this idea that AFTER the epilogue I’ll write a series of posts, throwbacks that happened during the time jumps with any character so it could be those who you literally never notice but basically I want to give everyone a name and story, a personality.

Thoughts on this idea?

So yeah I’m basically preparing you guys for the goodbyes ahead.. it’s been a long, long road but depending on where my future takes me this could even be the beginning of a new blog.. who knows? 😉

Love you all. 💖

Part 156- Separate lives

Ismail woke up at 3AM to hear his little angels cries and he snuck into his and Asmaas room to see her wide awake in the cot and his exhausted wife was in a deep sleep. He’d been staying at home again, but Asmaa made it clear things between them were not okay and may not return to that way. He lifted Nuha in his arms and she quietened down and stared at him, wide eyed. “It’s not your playtime kid, it’s your snooze time as your mother calls it. Why are you awake huh?”

He felt ridiculous to speak to a baby but she let out a small squeak making him smile. “Oh so you’re nocturnal? You better not disturb your mommy again. She already fed you thrice tonight!”

He rocked her and hummed to her until her tiny eyes closed, her long eyelashes resting on her cheeks. Perfect. She was absolutely perfect. He kissed her forehead and placed her back in the cot. Nuha was two weeks old and her hair had been removed, so Asmaa kept a hat on her head constantly. Personally he thought she looked like a very cute potato. His eyes landed on his wife, an ache spreading in his chest. He’s finally home, close to her but he misses her so damn much. Unfortunately the light in her eyes has gone out when she looks at him.

He knows he really hurt her this time.

He leans over and plants a kiss on her forehead. “I love you. I always will.”

She stirs but doesn’t wake up, and he goes back to the guest room. He lies on that bed, feeling exhausted. Its been months since he slept properly. Ever since that night when Aslam and Fareed were arrested, he’d been hiding out in a hotel in Balito doing what he could to track Elena but to no avail. Elena knew how to disappear and stay hidden. He had endless security in place for Asmaa and Nuha, when Elena inevitably came back he would be ready. They would all be ready. Asmaa has turned down the offer to stay with her parents, needing some space for a few days to think for herself which Ismail figured she meant she needs to think about him.

Since she got discharged, they live under one roof and lead separate lives. Unless it’s to do with Nuha, they don’t see each other or talk to each other. She still cares for him in her usual way, cooking and cleaning but she barely even looks at him.

He has no idea what will become of their marriage. When he wakes up in the morning, he realizes it’s Saturday and he can stay in bed for a while when he hears Asmaa cry out. He jumps up and goes to his wife whose seating on a closed toilet seat, pale as a ghost.

“What happened? Where’s Nuha?”

“In her cot. I don’t know, I just had pain in my stomach and back and now I can’t get up.”

“Can I help you?”

She hesitates for a moment and then nods slowly. “You’re over exerting yourself. You need to rest more, Asmaa!”

She sighs tiredly as he lifts her up and carries her to her room, slumping against him. “Nuha is fussing she won’t let me put her down. Your mothers coming to help us out later.”

“Maybe she can knock some sense into you.”

She ignores him and he puts her down on the bed, his arms still around her and she doesn’t look at him till he sighs and let’s go. Nuha lets out a shriek from her cot and Ismail picks her up. “And the mini drama queen started now also! Is she hungry?”

“No, she just fed! Maybe a bath will help her feel better.”

Nuha stops shrieking and presses her cheek to her fathers chest, her eyes fluttering shut. Ismail smiles down at her and his wife almost has a change of heart right there. But the moment passes. “I guess we can wait till my mothers here to bath her.”

Asmaa gives him a strange look. “You’re scared of her being in the bath aren’t you?”

He says nothing and then nods. “I don’t know how you do it.”

He sits on their bed rocking Nuha for a full hour until his mother arrives. “Dadeee is here! Where’s my NuNus?”

“Mommy tell your daughter in law she needs to rest!”

“Asmaa my darling I wish you’d come stay with your mother! Please rest!”

Asmaa narrows her eyes at Ismail, turning to smile at her mother in law. “Can you bath her Mommy? Your son is incapable of doing that much.”

Ismail smiles at this, their little jabs at each other are so familiar.

Nuha is ten times more peaceful and content after she has a bath, feeds and goes to sleep.

Asmaa and Ismail are left alone for supper, finally the visitors have lessened. Ismail sets the table hoping his wife takes the hint and has a meal with him. She says nothing but warms the food and brings it to the table anyway. “This is all your mothers cooking. I still have to eat mild baby food practically.”

“You don’t want a screaming baby all night but.”

He thinks about how that was a dumb thing to say. She doesn’t respond and they eat silently until Ismail realizes he needs to man up. He has to at least give his marriage his best shot as it’s the most important part of his life. “Can we at least adress the elephant in the room?”

“I’m not that fat, anymore.”

He smiled and she sighs. “I’m sorry but we can’t. We can talk about it all day, break head. But Elena is still out there. I have no guarantee you won’t go running off to save the world leaving me behind. But now there’s my daughter in the picture and I owe it to her to be there for her, always. I never want her to experience the isolation I did and therefore no, we can’t adress this because you may be gone tomorrow leaving me to fend for myself and her.”

“Asmaa, I messed up. But I’d never leave the two of you, if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the last ten months it would be that the best way I can protect you two is by being here.”

“You realized that a little too late.”

She gets up to leave and he grabs her wrist, when she turns to him there’s tears in his eyes. “Please tell me this isn’t the end of our marriage.”

She pulls her wrist away, her expression cold. “If the roles were reversed would you be able to get past it? Not knowing where I was? Or with WHO?”

He froze, unable to speak or breathe. He saw it in her eyes then, something between them was broken.

Maybe even beyond repair.

The look she gives him is the saddest look he’s ever seen. “That’s what I thought.”

Part 155- My perfect little princess

Hey guys 💁🏼 I just want to clear up a quick misunderstanding that when I asked about the different styles of the blog I meant my actual writing style, it wasn’t about me never completing the story 😂 This has just created a bigger confusion but anyway I made up my mind to test out the styles and which is easier for me to write, I’ll decide based on this. If your comment is demanding a new post, kindly unfollow this blog and never read it again 🙂 Thank you! X And for everyone else, who have loved the throwbacks and didn’t mind the sequence of my posts, I have no words for how appreciated you are! ❤️ Tell me what you think about the new style on this post 😘

Asmaa was having one of those restless nights again, tossing and turning unable to sleep. Being so heavily pregnant made it almost impossible to really rest. Just as she finally dozed off she woke up with a strange feeling. Maybe she was going to be sick. She stood up in a rush and swayed on her feet unsteadily. And that’s when she realized there was a puddle at her feet.

She stared at it uncomprehending until it occurred to her. Her waters broke. She let out a cry of shock, Attiyah was sleeping over at a friends. But Dean and Jasper were outside and she paged Dean. “I need to go the hospital. Now.”

He rushes in the house, his gun raised. “Dean I’m not harmed, I’m in labor.”

And for the first time since she’d known the stern but kind man, he smiled. “It’s time. Right then, you have a bag packed?”

“Yeah it’s in the closet by the front door, the grey one.”

He grabbed it and they walked out, Asmaa was shaking all over. “Mrs Moosa-“

“Please. Call me Asmaa. Get Jasper to go fetch my parents.”

He nods and watches her getting into the car, wishing he could offer her a hand but he knows better. As they drive to the hospital, Asmaa gets a sharp pain that seems to radiate throughout her body. She cries out, arching her back to make it go away and it does. For now. Dean doesn’t say anything and she stares out of the window, tears of anxiety building in her eyes.

It should have been her husband here. Coaxing her, calming her, worry in his gaze and excitement in his heart.

But Ismail was nowhere to be found since that awful night. Aslam and Fareed were awaiting a trial, behind bars where they belonged. When they reach the hospital her parents are already there to fuss over her and the pain hits again and this time she screams. She barely hears what her doctor is saying but she hears the word ‘epidural’ and she begs for it immediately. Her attention flits to her father murmuring quietly to Dean and Jasper.

“Don’t any of you dare to call Ismail. I’m fine, I can do this without him.”

Jasper looks away and she’s being wheeled away. That look is enough to tell her, her husband is already fully aware. She doesn’t have his hand to squeeze, to blame for her pain right now.

Her broken heart still hurts much more than the pains of labor. Four hours later, she is ready to start pushing. She gasps with the effort, tears streaming down her face as her body strains to push. She’s vaguely aware of her mother and mother in law encouraging her, motivating her. Right as she pushes for the last time she reaches out and squeezes her arm and when she turns her head a pair of familiar blue eyes watch her worriedly. He says nothing as she cuts of the blood circulation in his arm, he remains silent as she screams one final time which breaks off when she hears the scream of a baby.

Ismail and her, in unison break down crying. But Asmaa is starting to lose focus, unable to hear much. She sees pure fear in her husbands eyes before it all fades away. Her eyes open, some time later and he’s still sitting there watching her. “She woke up!”

A nurse arrives and starts to check her vitals and Asmaa looks around confused. “But.. where’s my baby?”

Ismail smiles at her, his eyes alight with joy. “She’s fine, they took her for her bath.”

“She?!”

“You gave birth to one perfect little angel, Mrs Moosa. Congratulations.”

The nurse beams at her and she beams back. “But I want to see her now.”

Ismail looks up at the nurse, “Please bring her in, my wife hasn’t even held her yet.”

Asmaa and him wait, without really talking. After not seeing her husband for so many months, with the exception of one night Asmaa is numb to the fact that he’s here. All she wants is her baby.

The nurse brings back a little bundle wrapped in a pink blanket. Asmaa lifts her to her chest and stares down at the sweet little face that takes her breath away. Everything in the room fades away and she stares awestruck as the baby opens her eyes. Identical blue eyes like her father. An upturned nose and pointy chin like her mother. A shock of thick black spiky hair.

She’s perfect. Asmaa is unable to control her tears of pure joy. Ismail wipes his own eyes and looks away. He wants to hug his wife, to kiss his wife to tell her he’s never loved her as much as he does in this moment but he is terrified that she hates him. Instead he gently caresses his daughters cheek and she blinks her eyes moving to him, making both parents smile. Ismail looks at his wife, hopefully. “Did you think of any names?”

“Not really. I think all along, I was picturing a son.”

“Our mothers both liked the name Mariam, which is really nice. But I like Nuha.”

“Yeah but then everyone will call her Nunus!”

“She is very nunus.”

Asmaa actually smiled at this, her attention back to her baby. “Nuha Moosa. That does sound lovely.”

She kissed her daughters forehead, cradling her to her chest. Ismail thought his heart would explode, he gently placed his hand on his wife’s arm but she instantly stiffened. “Asmaa-“

“Don’t. Don’t say anything. Can you call my mother? And Aunty Ayesha? I want to tell them we named the baby.”

He nodded at her and went to call them, giving her a moment alone with her child. She looked down with tender affection at her baby. “It’s okay, little angel. I’ll never leave you. I’ll love you enough for both of us.”

Ismail walked back in at this moment and heard her saying this. His heart broke into pieces when she realized he was there and froze. Her mother, Aunty Ayesha and Attiyah all came in cooing and congratulating her. Attiyah hugged her sister tightly. “She’s beautiful. I can’t believe I have a niece!”

Aunty Ayesha was next, kissing both her cheeks. “She reminds me of you as a baby. So perfect.”

Her mother hugged her and rubbed her back. “How you feeling my darling?”

“Like I’ve come back from war with all my battle scars. But it was worth it. And hungry.”

Ismail quickly called a nurse. “Are you still serving the soup? My wife is hungry.”

Asmaa noted the way Aunty Ayesha’s eyes darted between them and she watched Ismail lovingly. If Asmaa had been heart broken when he left, his mother had felt that pain magnified. Her mother continued to rub her back. “You passed out after you gave birth due to dehydration and pure exhaustion. Asmaa you should have been taking better care of yourself, you gave us all an awful scare.”

“Sorry Mummy. Oh! We settled on Nuha for the name. What does it mean?”

Ismail smiled one of his rare smiles again. “Intelligence. It’s always a name associated with success.”

Aunty Ayesha embraced her son. “No wonder you liked it. Oh, your father would have been so proud.”

They all have a moment of silence and Asmaa looks up into Ismails eyes, who doesn’t lift his gaze from her. He looks away to hide the pain in his expression and she knows he wishes more than anything his father could share this moment with them. He clears his throat, “Sarah and Nadia are dying to see you, they’re outside.”

She gives her baby one final kiss as they wheel her away for baby viewing and she turns to her mother. “Can I see daddy quickly before my friends?”

Her father walks in and tears up when he hugs her gently. “I can’t believe I’m a grandfather now!”

Asmaa kisses his cheek and smiles, “I’m still your favorite little girl. Daddy.. can we get extra security for her at least until I’m home? I feel uneasy when she’s not here with me.”

“Ismail already sorted that out.”

Asmaa still doesn’t look at him, she’s busy with her friends after that and even when they speak to him she doesn’t say anything.

He takes it as a good sign that their daughters name was chosen by him.

For a little while, the couple enjoys their bubble of love, family and happiness.

Completely unaware that a nurse with a mask concealing her face has been watching.

She’s been watching all along.

Waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

Just a memon girl discovering a beautiful, twisted fate,