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Zoya tried to put all thoughts away as she got ready. She was dressing up in traditional clothes for the first time since she got here and she wanted to look good. And he would be seeing her ' No. She wasn't dressing up for anyone particular. She just wanted to look nice on Eid. After all, this was no ordinary Eid. It was the first time in 17 years that both the estranged families were going to celebrate this religious occasion together. So, it was a momentous occasion. That was the only reason Zoya triple checked her hair and makeup. No other reason.
She felt a bit awkward as she tried to balance her dupatta on her shoulders while putting on her shoes. See this was one the reasons she didn't wear these kind of clothes too often. So hard to handle. She heard Najma calling her so she hurried up and went outside. Najma needed some help with setting the table so both of them got to work.
"Tamatar, there you are. Ammi is'." Asad trailed off as he looked at Zoya. His eyes widened as they slowly took her in from head to toe, before settling on her face. He gazed into her eyes, which seemed to be shining as she looked at him. Her breath hitched at the intensity of his gaze and it felt as her soul was being branded by his stare. She felt warmth pooling into her cheeks and she was shocked to realize that she was blushing! Oh God, she never blushed. As in never. He seemed to be enjoying her discomfort if the small smile that pulled at his lips was any indication.
Asad felt his heart swell when she shyly looked away from him, the ever confident Zoya now fidgeting. He vaguely heard someone calling his name and forced himself to look away from her.
"Asad bhai jaan!"
"Huh. I mean what Najma?" He brought his mind out of the stupor and forced himself to concentrate.
"What do you mean what? I have been calling your name for the past minute. Where were you lost?" she asked waving her hand in front of his face. He caught her hand in his and pushed it away from him. His eyes narrowed in irritation when he noticed Zoya smirking out of the corner of his eyes.
"I was just thinking of ' of a presentation in office. I came in here to tell you that Ammi needs you in the drawing room. Why haven't you gone yet?"
"What? Why haven't I- But you just told me! Ugghh'" Najma almost stomped her foot on the ground and made her way to outside the kitchen, mumbling something about everyone in this house going crazy. Zoya pursed her lips to control her bubbling laughter as she followed Najma. He narrowed his eyes when he heard her giggles from the hallway.
"So, you found what happened in the kitchen funny, huh?" he whispered into her ear. He had seen her arranging the books on the shelf in the study and had taken the opportunity to spend some time alone with her. He had long given up trying to fight the feelings that she provoked in him, accepting them and making it a mission of his to get her to accept this unique connection between them as well that many people look for their entire lives.
She jumped at the sound of his voice and goose bumps erupted on her skin as his breath washed over her. She tried to move away but his arm came around her body to pull her back, the action causing her body to perfectly align with his. She suppressed a gasp at their closeness and tried to curb the shiver ignited by his touch as his hand remained splayed on her stomach.
"W-what are you doing?" she asked breathlessly. He chuckled under his breath and leaned in closer.
"I asked if you found what happened in the kitchen funny?"
Zoya didn't know what he was doing or what was happening but she did know one thing. She was not used to being flustered like this. One touch of his and she was reduced to a blushing, stammering mess. How many times had she made fun of the girls who acted like damsels in distress in front of guys. She was not about to become like one of those girls. It seems like he wanted to mess with her so she will give as good as she got. She took a breath and answered,
''Of course I did. Its not everyday you get to see the great Asad Ahmed Khan, stammer and startled. Tell me Asad, what exactly put you off balance in the kitchen? I have never seen you less composed."
Asad raised an eyebrow at her teasing tone and moved his hand to pull her hair away from her neck to the other side, letting the tips of his fingers graze her skin along the way. He smirked when he felt her body shudder.
"Hmm I think you exactly why I was behaving like that in the kitchen. Why don't you tell me why you are blushing right now?"
"I am not blushing. I don't blush" she responded in a haughty tone while mentally cursing when she felt her cheeks pool with more blood. Damn. This new found ability of hers to blush was not at all welcome.
She frowned at his skeptical tone and decided to change the subject.
"You didn't tell me how I looked in these Indian clothes. You are always going on and on about how I should wear more traditional clothes while I am here. So how do I look?" She gave out a startled yelp as he turned her around and pinned her against the wall in one fast movement. His hands lay flat against the wall next to her face, effectively trapping her in. She looked at him to find his face only a hairbreadth away.
He stared into her chocolate brown eyes and her flushed cheeks, feeling his entire body tingle with her presence. He stroked her cheek with the back of his, suppressing a groan at how soft and smooth her skin was. He watched as she unintentionally leaned towards his touch and moved his face to whisper in her ear.
"I thought you already knew my opinion on how you look today. I thought you knew that when I saw you in the kitchen, I was so distracted because you mesmerized me. I couldn't take my eyes off of you." He pulled back to watch her reaction to his words. Her eyes shined as she looked at him and a smile formed on her lips. His breath got caught in his throat by the beautiful sight she made.
Just then, they heard their names being called. She turned her head in the direction of the door and frantically pushed him off of her, darting outside the room without a glance backwards. She was breathless when her Phophi came into her sight, slowing down to calm her racing heart lest she suspect something. She plastered a smile on her face.
"Phophi, you called?"
"There you are. Where is As- Oh here he comes? Where were you two?"
Zoya stiffened as he came to stand beside her. She could feel him looking at her but she kept her face forward.
"Nothing Ammi. Zoya was sorting through the books in the study and I went there to make sure she kept them in the right places."
She glanced out of the corner of her eyes to see him looking straight at her. She quickly averted her gaze.
"Yeah Phophi. You know how OCD your son is about everything?" she said with a nonchalant laugh and a roll of her eyes. But it sounded fake even to her ears and she prayed desperately the her Phophi wouldn't notice. Fortunately for her, she didn't.
"Oh you two. I swear you guys never stop. Anyways, I was calling you to tell you that they are about to get here. Well, the kids are anyway. Some important guests came to their house unexpectedly and so it the adults had to stay. They will come by later."
Asad felt his anger simmer at his mother's words. His father strikes yet again. Another excuse, another disappointment to add to his wall of accomplishment. He looked into his mother's hopeful eyes, her glowing expression and prayed to Allah that at least this time, Rashid make good on his promise. Even though he had agreed to try to reconcile with his, the years of hurt and bitterness he endured wouldn't just vanish in a couple of months. No it was not that easy. But both him and Najma had finally relented for their mother and their siblings. Still he couldn't help but scoff in anger while he replied.
"Yeah sure Ammi. Whatever you say."
"Asad he will come," Dilshaad said with firm determination trying to make her son believe her.
"Ok. Fine." He said in an exasperated and walked out of the room. Zoya watched him go, every cell in her body urging her to go and comfort him; to take away his pain. She sighed and went with Dilshaad to help her.
"Come on! Pleeaaase..." Ayaan beseeched his elder brother with a well- practiced puppy dog expression. In fact this face had managed to get him out of more sticky situations than he could remember so it was bound to work on his soft natured brother. And he was right!
"Okay. Fine fine. But only one song. No more than that." Asad replied with a sigh and an amused half smile when the room erupted to into cheers. Ayaan already had both of their guitars ready and promptly handed the instrument to his brother.
Asad strummed the strings in no definite rhythm and felt the same rush of joy fill his body that he always felt while playing. He closed his eyes for a moment to relish the feeling, a small smile settling on his face. He caught Zoya staring at him when he reopened them, flushing under his gaze. His eyes stayed locked with hers when they started playing the guitars and singing.
Zoya's heart felt constricted and a flurry of butterflies erupted in her stomach as she became imprisoned under Asad's blazing gaze. Her body relaxed as his husky voice washed over and she went into a trance. Their surroundings blurred and faded until it felt like they were the only two people in the entire world. His eyes never once left her face and she felt as if he was singing only for her. The sound of clapping infiltrated their bubble and both of them were pushed back to reality.
"That was wonderful boys. Thank you both." Dilshaad exclaimed, her eyes a little misty and a beaming smile on her face at seeing the deep bond the brothers shared between them. Even though the family had undergone a lot of turmoil at least they had been blessed in having a great bond between the siblings.
Zoya tried to smile pleasantly and engage in conversation but her heart wasn't in it. The foreign emotions that had been plaguing her for some time seemed to have multiplied in their intensity recently. Coupled with Asad's unexplainable behavior, her head was going in circles. The effort to pretend that everything was fine and she wasn't completely confused by everything was exhausting. The atmosphere of the room started stifling her and she desperately longed to be alone for a few moments. Eventually, she quietly exited the room giving a bathroom break as an excuse. She wanted to go outside to clear her head but since she couldn't go out into the garden undetected, she headed for the second best option; the balcony.
Unbeknownst to her, a pair of troubled eyes followed her every movement. They had noticed how she had looked uncomfortable and withdrawn. The change had come over her after he had stopped singing and he wondered what could have triggered her suddenly changed mood.
She breathed a sigh of relief as the cold breeze of the night washed over her, enfolding her in its embrace. She inhaled the clean crisp air of the outdoors, closing her eyes to enjoy the peacefulness. Slowly, her jumbled thoughts untangled and drifted along with the breeze, leaving her mind in a state of silence.
"Why did you run away?"
She turned around in surprise, a startled noise escaping her mouth. There, leaning against the French doors casually with his arms folded and his right leg crossed behind his left was the person she was unconsciously trying to avoid.
Her welcomed peacefulness a moment ago was bombarded with an onslaught of emotions when her gaze settled on his questioning one.
"What are you talking about? I wasn't running away from anything." She replied with firmness, moving over to the railing to look out into the garden below. He made his way towards her and settled right next to her, his body inclined towards her. She stiffened at his close proximity and tried to shift away inconspicuously. He felt hurt when she moved away from him, not knowing why she was acting this way. She was fine a couple of hours ago; he hated being in the dark about anything.
"Oh really? I think differently. Why are out here standing alone and not enjoying with everyone else downstairs?" he inquired gently. She felt frustrated at the gentle tone he used, unreasonably angry that he was so curious and concerned about her whereabouts.
"I don't know! Why are you here huh? Shouldn't you be downstairs as well." He was taken aback by the unexpected anger in her voice and replied in a soothing tone.
"I came her looking for you. I was worried when you suddenly went upstairs."
"Why Asad?" she exclaimed staring at him with eyes filled with anger, watching his features draw together in confusion.
"Yeah, why? Why are you so concerned where I go or don't go? Why do you feel the need to check up on me if I suddenly flee a room? Why have you been acting so strange recently?"
She finally voiced all the questions that had been boiling inside of her. She let loose her frustration and confusion in her inquiries to him which were making her so restless.
"You know why." He replied in a matter of fact tone. His eyes were challenging as he started taking small steps forward to move closer to her. She raised her chin in indignation and replied shortly,
"No I don't."
"Yes you do." He was now only a couple of inches away from her and she suddenly realized how close he was. She started walking backwards and replied hesitantly, his closeness throwing her off guard,
"Yeah you do."He cut her off, moving forward while she continued to back away. "You know why I am so concerned about where you go. Its because I cant stand it when I am not near you. I am overcome with worry and restlessness when I don't know where you are or if you are okay. I can't bear it when you in pain. It feels like a knife is piercing through my heart. And the reason why I have been acting so strange?"
He had her backed into a corner and her movement was hindered when her body contacted the wall behind her. She was trapped as she looked at him with wide eyes, watching him moving closer to her, stopping only when every inch of their bodies was perfectly aligned. He placed one hand on the wall beside her while the other moved to caress her cheek. He brought his face closer to whisper quietly as she closed her eyes when his warm breath washed over her.
"It's actually your fault. You are so beautiful that whenever you look at me, I can't control myself. You make me lose all control."
His lips grazed her cheek as he spoke, making her tighten her hands which now rested on his shoulders. She had no idea how or when they got there. In fact she wasn't aware of much except of the feelings he was inciting inside her. He moved his face back to watch as she slowly opened her beautiful eyes that had been the cause of many sleepless nights for him. In those eyes he saw the reflection of everything he was feeling at the moment.
He moved his thumb to brush her lips, first tracing her upper lip and then her lower one. Her lips parted instinctively under his touch and her warm breath on his skin send tingles throughout his body.
Her heart was pounding so hard in her chest that she felt like any second now it would leap out of her body. Her belly was full of knots and butterflies were performing an Argentinian tango in her stomach. Heat spread though his finger to her entire being. His hand moved down further until it was running along the column of her neck. She moved her head back to grant him greater access and seeing the smooth skin exposed of her neck like this made him loose what little control he still had. He moved his face forward, doing what he had fantasized about for so long.
She heard herself gasp when he sucked on the spot where her shoulder and neck met. He placed heated kisses along her skin moving upwards to her jaw before moving back down and repeating the circuit all over again. Coming to her ear, he sucked her earlobe in his mouth, causing her grip to tighten. She knew that without his body balancing her against the wall she would have fallen by now. She moved her hand to the back of his head and ran her fingers through his hair. As he bit down on her neck possessively and then licked the spot to sooth the skin, she grabbed his hair and pulled. He groaned gutturally at the sensation, and moved his head back to look into her eyes. His breath caught when he the saw the passion there, sure his eyes were displaying the same emotions.
He slowly moved his face closer to hers until their lips were almost touching. He paused to give her a chance to back out. But she shocked him as hell when she closed the distance herself and firmly planted her lips on his. He quickly recovered and started moving his mouth against her, moaning internally at their rose like softness. He felt as if he could kiss her forever. The reality was so much better than his fantasies.
She felt as if she had died and went to heaven. Her whole body felt like it was on fire and she experiencing feelings that she had never imagined before. His hands had moved to her waist now and they grabbed her fully and pulled her closer towards him. His lips moved frantically against hers and his tongue came to trace her mouth. She tentatively opened her mouth to grant him access.
Both of them moaned loudly when they tasted each other for the first time. One of his hands moved up to grab her hair and guided her mouth to deepen the kiss further. They became lost in each other and the age old dance of tongues and lips. It's unknown how long they would have stayed like this, inside their private little world if the sudden assault of a strong breeze hadn't caused the balcony doors to bang loudly.
The loud noise started the couple out their embrace. Asad moved his face back and watched with growing dread as Zoya's eyes widened in realization before moving towards him in horror. She abruptly pushed him away from her and sprinted back inside before he could stop her. He watched helplessly as the woman he was in love with ran away from.
She didn't stop until she reached her room and quickly closed the door once she was safely inside. She leaned against it breathlessly, trying to make sense of what just happened. Her hand moved towards her face and touched her mouth which was swollen from the recently experienced kisses. Her body flooded with heat as her mind replayed everything in vivid detail. She ducked her head shyly even though she was alone in the room and a small smile played on her lips. She slowly slid down to sit on the floor as she recognized the strange feelings running through her. Love. It was love. She was in love! She was in love with Asad Ahmed Khan. Damn it, she did not see this one coming.
*~* The End *~*
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