“Your clothes also got wet Alie. I ruined them too,” he stated in a flat tone as she was about to leave the lounge. She stopped in her track and stared at him for some seconds before looking down on her own clothes. Her off-white cotton-silk shirt was a little damp from the front. It was her dupatta that was the most affected, almost fully soaked in water due to his drenched clothes. She sighed softly and pulled her dupatta off carelessly, discarding it on the nearby sofa chair.
“You didn’t ruin anything. Just lie down now, I will bring you something to eat as well. Don’t know if you had anything to eat from the morning, or were just wandering around on an empty stomach.” She muttered lowly and made her way towards the kitchen after placing his marred shoes in the far corner of the corridor.
“I should leave now Alie.” After eating some butter toast and having some hot coffee, he stood up from his place, ready to leave. He wasn’t sure about his mental state at the moment; when he was finally with someone who was treating him like the most important person in this whole wide world. He wanted to feel the warmth, affection and tenderness for which he had been craving for the past month. He was tired of being alone. He wanted to spend some quality time with his only companion, the one whom he could call ‘his’ without any doubt. But he was not prepared to tarnish her reputation for his own selfishness. It was imprudent to be with her at this time of the hour, when the sun had wrapped itself in the saturated and showery sheets of the bleak night. Specially now, when no one was there in the oversized house filled with maudlin silence; when the clouds were adamant to stop pouring down their misery on the appetent earth.
“Stop faking this charade of being gutsy Nazi. We both know you are anything but gritty at this moment.” She pulled him back on the sofa, imploring harshly, while looking deeply at his facial features. He looked back into her deep glossy pools, and finally surrendered himself in her protective embrace.
“I can’t take it anymore Alie. My life has shattered into a million pieces. I just can’t believe that my mother, the strength of my whole life, has left me alone in this world. I am feeling so helpless Alie. I was determined not to marry Asma off before she turned at least twenty, but everything slipped from my palms like dried sand.”
His muffled cries against her bosom made her own tears flow freely down her cheeks. The friction resulting from their sporadic quivering coalesced their souls to the next level of comfortable intimacy.
“I am with you Nazi. I know it’s an irreplaceable loss for you. But please Nazi, you have to be strong. You have your whole life in front of you. You can’t just let your sorrow overtake your whole being and relinquish your future. Please Nazi; be strong for yourself, for Asma. Please, you have to be resolute again Nazi; for the sake of your future, for me Nazi, for the future of our togetherness.” She whispered while sobbing softly, kissing his head lovingly and pressing him securely in her arms.
He slowly lifted his head from her bosom as she loosened the grip around his head. As the reality of their situation hit them hard, a weirdly conscious feeling engulfed both of them. This was the first time they had been so intimate with each other; so much so that their eyelids were heavy with strange burdens. Nazi dampened his lower lip and wiped his face with his palms. He looked up at her, for some moments, and then took her hands in his now warm ones. Slowly leaning towards her dropped head, he placed his lips on her forehead and her eyelids clamped shut of their own accord.
After what felt like an eternity, they opened their eyes to witness the content which they felt in each other’s company.
“I don’t know when this rainfall will slow down,” Nazi said while glancing through the misty glass window. The night had settled fully and the rain showers had increased in their ferocity. The buzzing sound of the thunderstorms was making the atmosphere more secretive and magnified.
“I think I should grab a shawl or something, it’s getting cold,” Alie murmured, standing slowly on her feet and tying her silky hair into a messy bun. Then her eyes settled upon him. He was definitely looking more stable than before. His clothes were still soaked with water, clinging to his hard rough contours.
“I,.. I think you should stay here tonight Nazi. It’s raining quite heavily. Further, I am feeling a little scared. So… It w would be best for bb both of us if you spent the night here,” she stuttered, indicating the stormy weather outside.
He didn’t say anything in response to her offer; just looked at her intently, then closed his eyes and leaned back to rest his head on the cushioned backrest. “Go and change first Alie, you are shivering slightly,” his voice was merely a whisper. She looked at him, and then stepped ahead.
After switching off the ceiling fan and the main lights, she lightened up the chandelier. The golden radiance of the numerous tiny lights spread into the vast lounge, painting the whole room with its dull golden hue. The weather had turned from humid to pleasantly cool as the rainy night had progressed. She didn’t bother to change her clothes as they were not soaking wet. She just grabbed a light pashmina from her wardrobe and started making dinner, which simply entailed the preparation of boiled rice. Indeed, she did not know how to cook anything; except tea, coffee, boiled rice and omelet. Her servant had already prepared some butter chicken in the morning, and left it in the fridge with 5 rotis. They were in the fridge as they had been left, as she hadn’t had lunch at home in the afternoon. She set the dishes, along with the cutlery, on the square coffee table in the living lounge and grabbed the jug of buttermilk from the fridge with two glasses.