A month had passed since Amira’s health scare yet every day since that day, Zara had not been able to get Maleek out of her mind. Inwardly she wanted to run into him somewhere just to know what would happen next. But her pride and fear from all that her past had taught her quenched any other feeling each time she allowed them to creep into her mind.
Her mother had noticed a tell-tale spark between them that day and unknownst to Zara had taken the doctor’s number under the guise of some medical advice she would later need for her grand-daughter.
Frankly she was tired of seeing her daughter waste away because of the callousness of one man, and wanted a new, fresh and happier life for her with someone more suited; a potential father for her grand-daughter if possible. Four years was enough time to leave the past in the past; she had to do something about this and fast.
It had been six months since they’d all met Maleek, and Zara couldn’t believe that her mom had managed to get him more and more involved in their lives as she sat across from him, keenly listening to his every word.
First, it was a casual lunch treat for her and Amira and she’d walked into the restaurant to find Angie and Maleek engaged in a hearty conversation, laughing away as though they were old friends. She remembered how her heart had skipped a beat at seeing him again but kept a cool exterior; one which was definitely worlds apart from the inferno of emotion blazing deep within, threatening to engulf her.
It still amazed her how she’d managed to get through each meeting without reaching out to touch his sinewy forearm which was usually left bare from his rolled up shirt sleeves, or run a finger along his cheek each time he smiled to feel just how deep those dimples were. Her mother’s intentions became clear to her at the third invitation to eat out the previous month again, with him, but she’d played along and enjoyed every bit of the old lady’s rusty matchmaking antics.
Something in Maleek’s expression at dinner that night signified that he knew too. Zara loved how extremely easy it was to talk to him; conversations on any topic were both mentally and emotionally stimulating and it made her wonder which parts of her he could stimulate as well. He wasn’t the least bit shy to express himself sexually albeit subtly, but was quick to watch his words when Amira was with them. That night however, Angie soon realized she was fast becoming the only hindrance to the surging emotions that had been kept well bridled for reasons best known to the two adults.
“Zara dear. I’d like to check on my grand-daughter and relieve the babysitter. It’s getting a bit late and I remember her saying she has a bit of chores to get done at home. Why don’t you two go on and stay out a bit longer? I’m sure Maleek can spare a few more hours of his jokes,” Angie said with a sly smile and a glint of mischief in her eyes.
“Ma..” Zara begun, but Maleek placed a firm but gentle touch on her hand to stop her.
“No problem Angie. I’ll have the queen home by midnight”, he said with a wink and a soft laugh. Zara flushed slightly and looked everywhere else but into his eyes as he stared at her.
“Great! Settled then. I’ll see you in the morning Zara. Amira and I should be asleep by the time you get in. Good night Maleek. It’s been a lovely evening as always”.
Maleek got up and kissed her on the cheek as she left.
“Well. My mom certainly knows how to get her point across”, Zara said with her head slightly bent, a tinge of embarrassment lacing her voice.
“And which point would that be Z…?” he asked, his voice low and deep.
Zara looked up and met a penetrating stare which got every single inch of her feeling all sorts of things she’d thought herself incapable of feeling ever again.
“Never mind”. She cleared her throat nervously.
“So. What would you like to do now that mommy is away?” he said with laughter in his voice.
Zara laughed softly at his jest and decided that the next few hours wouldn’t be that bad after all. He offered two options; they could leave the restaurant and she could decide what to do next while they drove around, or he could surprise her. Not too sure of how she’d handle whichever surprise he had in store, she decided to play it safe and chose the former.
They got into his modest SUV and drove in silence for about ten minutes before he broke it.
“Still waiting madam. What would it be? Your wish is my command.”
After a few moments she made her request. “I’d like to get to know you. Obviously a bit more than what you’ve shown my family and I. I want you to show me who Maleek is. Can you do that?”
The look in his eyes told her all she wanted to know; she’d managed to surprise him. He recovered quickly and smiled so broadly his dimples deepened more than ever. When he turned to look at her again however, something told her she had fallen right into his trap.
He simply nodded and let out a “sure thing”, and drove on. Within fifteen minutes they were at the exit route that led to the south of town. Zara realized where they were headed and felt a slight shiver up her arm. That pier…
She closed her eyes briefly and willed the painful memories away. Her present had so far held more laughter than tears, and she had to focus on that. He pulled over suddenly and that drew her out of her battle. He had a look of concern on his face and she realized he’d caught her with her eyes closed.
He drew closer to her, freed her from the seat belt and pulled her into his arms. “Whatever it is, it’s gone and I’m here. Just focus on me. Nothing else.” He pulled away just far enough to be able to place a little kiss on the tip of her nose.
He pulled away completely, turned off the engine and got out of the car. He opened her door and led her out gently by the hand.
“Walk with me” he said, “I’d like to show you a bit of my world”. She allowed him to lead her down a little path close to the pier and out into a clearing. As they walked he let his bun loose and for the first time Zara got a good look at the long, lustrous locs which framed his face with perfection. She sucked in her breath at this Adonis by her side and for a split second wished that this adventure would present the type of stimulation she’d been starved of for so long.
She took her eyes off him and right in front of her was the most serene yet captivating cabin, illuminated by nothing but the moonlight. They walked hand in hand to the front door where he flipped a switch. And suddenly, the fine textures of the cabin came to life under the glow of what seemed like a hundred lanterns lining the walkway all the way to the front porch.
“Wow”, Zara breathed, taking it all in. Maleek pulled her closer and caressed her cheek. With only enough room to feel each other’s breaths on their lips, he whispered, “This is where you begin to know me. I only hope you can handle it all”, and with that opened the front door and ushered her in…
……TO BE CONTINUED