“Did you take the appointment?” Shahzeb asked after washing down the remaining bits of his breakfast with some fresh fruit juice.
Zoya, who was having her tea, looked at him with a perplexed expression. The cup she was holding shuddered in her grip, causing the hot liquid to quiver and fall on her hand. She moaned with pain as the stinging sensation hit her senses.
“Madam, are you okay? Should I get some ointment for the burn?” the maid, who was standing at the corner waiting for her master’s order, immediately came forward and took the cup from her.
Zoya looked at her, and shook her head. “It’s okay, I will be alright.” She looked at the pink patch which had arisen on the creamy back of her hand. Zoya deliberately smiled at the middle aged woman who was standing beside her. The maid immediately retreated back to the kitchen as the tension in the room could be visibly noticed.
Shahzeb looked at her with blank expressions. He then stood up from his chair and settled himself beside her. Taking her burnt hand in his hand, he examined the burnt patch, which had slightly swollen by then. Zoya tried to snatch her hand from his grip but he held it firmly. Looking at her somber eyes, Shahzeb took her hand and lightly brushed the affected skin with his lips.
“Did you take the appointment?” he asked, still holding her hand and looking directly into her teary eyes. “I want you to get off with it, as soon as possible. Look Zoya, please try to understand me, tha…”
“Try to understand what?” She cut him off and snatched her hand from his grip with such force that the fragile skin on her hand crumbled with its intensity. She didn’t flinch or cry with pain, because the pain Shahzeb had given her was more acute then her external wound.
“Tell me, what do I need to understand? That you are asking me to kill my baby, your baby, because you are not prepared to take up the responsibility?
You know what Shahzeb; this is the most ludicrous excuse I have ever heard.” She stood up from her chair, but before she could escape from her insane husband, her wrist got caught in his lethal grip. She stilled on her place.
Shahzeb slowly stood up in front of her. He looked at her face; her cheeks were streaked with a rosy tint with unmasked anger. He could see the tension in her composure, which was almost explosive. But he couldn’t care less. All he cared for at this moment was terminating his cursed bloodline. All he wanted was to save his child from the humiliation, which he/she would endure in the future. He couldn’t risk his offspring being identified as a bastard’s child. No… he wouldn’t. Not at least until he finds out about his true father.
“Listen Zoya, and listen carefully. I don’t have the habit of repeating my wishes, and you know that, so don’t make me say this again.” He grabbed the shoulders of her paralyzed form. “I don’t want this baby, period. If you really value our relationship, then do as I have told you to. If you want to live with me, you have to choose one of us.”
“It’s not only about your wishes. You can’t order me around as if I’m nothing but your slave. You can’t decide it alone whether we should keep the baby or not. You should have thought about it before; if you weren’t ready, you should have taken care of it beforehand. You can’t expect me to be as ruthless as you for my baby. My baby was not conceived in an illegal relationship. It is not an illegitimate child. It has been conceived under the sacred bond of matrimony.”
“I was careful damnit. If we don’t count that first time when you had literally thrown yourself on me just to save that scumbag Manjeet, I was careful.” Shahzeb roared with utmost brutality without thinking about the cruelty of his words. Zoya had hit him unknowingly where he was the most vulnerable.
He looked at Zoya who was standing dead. He locked his fingers in his hairs and cursed under his breath. As soon as the words spilled from his mouth, he knew he had crossed the line. But she had done even worse. Spoken words are those sharp arrows that can’t be taken back once they are shot.
“Listen Zoya, I didn’t mean t…” he came forward to hold her.
“Stop!” Zoya whispered with a measured calmness, holding up her trembling hand in front of him.
“I choose him.” Her voice was devoid of any warm emotion. “It was me who had made my bed, I understand it now. It had always been me. I was the one who acted like a… like a total slut. iii I gggot it now.” She spoke the foul words with such agony that Shahzeb felt as if his soul had shattered into a million pieces. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes.
“iii ii choo choose my baby.” Zoya’s voice shook uncontrollably. “Yo you are free from everything, everything that we have shared in the past, which was unfortunately nothing more than a heated fling.” She harshly wiped the tears from her wet cheeks.
“I will not harm my baby; because he is the only person in this whole world whom I can proudly call mine. Exclusively mine.” She announced with determination and walked out from the dining lounge, leaving him alone, and shattered.
He covered his face with his palms; the hurt which was pooled in Zoya’s eyes now stung his own eyes. He stumbled on his knees. He felt he had lost the last battle of his life. And now he had nothing; he had lost everything. And the reason was ‘Alisaba Nawaaz Meer’; she was the reason behind his downfall. If only she could have kept her dignity unharmed. If only she wouldn’t have been so desperate for her lover. Shahzeb felt a strong urge to find his pathetic excuse of a father, who had left him in a hellhole for his entire life. Not only his father, but everyone who had made his life a curse for his lifetime, would have to pay for their deeds. Every single god damned person who had snatched his name, his identity, his happiness, and now his woman, would have to pay.
With a steely resolve, he wiped the wetness on his face, and stood up purposefully. Taking out a cigarette from its packet, he ignited it with a lighter and took a long drag for calming his raging pulse. He took out his phone and dialed a number from his speed dial list.
“Did you reach the office?” He asked as soon as the phone was answered. “Great, call Mr. Shah and tell him that we are not meeting in our office. Arrange the meeting somewhere more private, like a hotel or restaurant, where the crowd is less.” He spoke with authority; his eyes had a dangerous glint, veiled with animalistic atrocity. He cut the call and threw the butt of his cigarette in an ashtray.