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"You heard him say what?", said a shocked Asad. He couldn't believe what his brother was telling him. The fact that someone remotely connected to his family was planning murder…had already committed murder was disconcerting to say the least.
"Ayaan, listen to me carefully. Repeat what you heard slowly and clearly…DO NOT leave out any detail. Do you understand?"
"Ji, Bhai-jan", said Ayaan. Ayaan couldn't believe the morning he was having. He always knew that his uncle was a strange one but he had never, not even in his craziest nightmares, ever thought that his Mammujan would be a murderer and a serial one at that.
He calmed himself down as best as he could. He needed to tell his brother everything in detail and clearly. Some ones life depended on it.
"Bhai-jan, I don't know who he was talking to but whoever that person was, he was confirming the plan they had made to murder a woman. It's supposed to take place at 1 at the Bazaar. I think Mammujan said they were taking her somewhere because she had to know who he was…Bhai-jan it sounded like he had tried to kill her before."
Asad could not believe what he was hearing. Hadn't Zoya told him and Ammi that she would be going to the Bazaar at 1 on Yusuf's bidding? Surely she wasn't the woman Ayaan's Mammu was talking about…it couldn't be, could it? The more he thought about it the more plausible the scenario was becoming. What if Mammu is Zoya's father? Why is he trying to kill her if he is…and Yusuf…Yusuf the supposed best P.I in Bhopal was clearing not a man to be trusted. He needed to speak to Zoya.
"Ayaan, I'll call you back. I think I know what is going on. Don't tell anyone anything until I tell you to, ok? I have a plan."
Asad was on his way home. He had been frantically trying the landline. Nobody was answering. Allah, please tell me she didn't leave already! Asad was worried and where was his Ammi? He knew Najma would have left for college but his Ammi surely she would be at home. It suddenly struck him that he should try Zoya's mobile phone.
"Zoya! Where are you? Why is nobody picking up the house line? Please tell me you haven't left the house!"
"Asad, I just came out from a shower. Phuphi has gone out for some shopping. She won't be home for sometime. Why the questions and why do you sound so worried?"
"Zoya, listen to me, do not leave the house. I am coming back home and I have something very important to tell you. Please don't leave the house."
On any other day Zoya would have laughed off the restriction that Asad was seemingly putting on her movement but today…today there was something in his voice that told her that whatever he had to say was indeed of utmost importance. So, she didn't make a fuss and agreed to wait for him.
Asad was glad that she hadn't put up a fight. He knew she would have liked to. He didn't know how he was going to break it to her. That her father was potentially Ayaan's Mammu and that he had another family and daughter?!? Of course, that wasn't all that he would have to reveal to her. He would have to tell her about what Ayaan overheard and that her father was plotting to murder her…and this wasn't the first time. Her heart was going to break and he didn't think he could bear it.
He made it home in record time.
"Zoya, where are you? Zoya?", shouted Asad. Had she left? She wouldn't have when she promised him, would she?
He searched the house for her, finally looking in the guest room. He found her there, listening to music with her headphones on, dancing like she didn't have a care in the world. How was he going to tell her? He gently walked towards her, tapping her shoulder, alerting her to his presence.
"Asad, sorry I didn't hear you", said Zoya blushing a little at being found dancing around the room.
"Zoya, I told you, I need to tell you something important but you are going to have to sit down."
"Sit down? Why so serious Asad?"
"Just sit…please Zoya."
After Zoya had taken a seat on the bed, Asad took a deep breath. He didn't know where to start but he was going to have to try and tell her what he knew as best as he could.
Zoya was in shock. Her father had tried to have her killed when she was a toddler. He had set fire to her house and taken her Ammi away from her. Not only that he was now plotting to finish the job. She suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe. Her body was shivering. She didn't even know if she could get a coherent sentence out.
"Asad…Asad…", she whispered brokenly. She was broken. She wasn't wanted and apparently she never was.
"Zoya, look at me." Asad didn't know what to do. He had watched the only woman not related to him that he cared about fall apart in front of him…he didn't know what to do. "Zo.."
"He murdered my Ammi? And he wanted to kill me…? Why Asad? Why? What could Ammi or I have ever done to him?...WHY?" Sobs racked Zoya's body. She slid to the floor rocking herself, trying to find some comfort!
Asad couldn't stand it any longer. He rushed towards Zoya, holding her and whispering sweet nothings of comfort in her ear. She turned, hugging him, crying against him. She curled her body closer to him seeking the warmth and comfort only he could give her.
"Asad, make love to me…make me forget…make love to me."
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