-125: dilwale dulhanya le jaye ge (the big-hearted will win the bride)

The smell of fresh ground coffee dazzled me from sleeping slumber to a zone where I was between sleep and in the world of awake. I put on my slippers and glanced at the watch. Omar was wearing his jeans and a yellow sweater with a basketball on it. I wasn't sure if there was gel on his hair, but quickly slithered into my seat when Amir gestured me to sit with a cup of coffee in his hand. As I settled down, he placed the said coffee along with pancakes in front of me.

They were chocolate chip pancakes. My favorite.

Amir leaned down and pecked my cheek, "Good morning, love."

I smiled up at him, feeling a sweet ache at his endearment.

The door bell rang just then. Amir went to answer it and came back with an unexpected guest. It was my brother Shan, whom I hadn't seen for the longest time. I got up from my seat and rushed over, happy to finally see my brother, my best friend and my advisor for the longest time.

"SHAN!"

He chuckled before wrapping an arm around me, "How are you, sis?"

"Doing great, considering," I replied before searching his eyes. Did he know about what happened yesterday.

He answered my unspoken question by a nod, "Amir called us in the morning asking about you. We were worried, so we started our search when we hadn't heard or seen you after a few hours. You know how dramatic Dad is. Erm, we came by last night, but you were asleep. Are you alright?"

I was about to answer when Amir spoke up, "Why don't you stay for breakfast, Shan? I'm going to drop Omar off at school now."

Smiling graciously at my husband, I lead Shan to the kitchen just when I heard Omar race off to grab his bag and rush to school. I was glad that he was enthusiastic about his school and knew he was popular within his group of friends.

What? Just because I had problems didn't mean that I was a preoccupied mother. If anything, I paid more attention to my son, seeing as how the little brat sneezed trouble.

I handed Shan half of my pancakes before asking, "You guys came last night? So you know that…he's being held by the police now?"

Shan nodded, "Yes. The police officers would like to get a statement from you as soon as possible. They've gotten from all of us, but I told them you needed to rest first," he paused for a minute, before hesitatingly asking, "So, how are you, sis?"

I glanced around the kitchen, not realizing that I was smiling, "I feel a little better. Not as shell shocked as before. I'm glad I saved another girl's and countless lives he would have destroyed."

Shan nodded, before saying, "I love you, sis. I know I don't say that, if ever. But you know that I'm here. Even if I'm busy with work or whatever, I'm there for you."

"Thanks," I thought for a while, before blurting, "Do you think Amir's having an affair?"

"Okay, then," Shan said in loud voice, "I'm off. I'll see you around!"

I took hold of his arm before he escaped, "You know that he's seeing another woman despite being newly married to one - "

"My crazy sister!" Shan cut in, "And no, he's not having an affair. But you should talk to him."

"But," I sputtered, "What does he do? At exactly seven, he leaves! What does he have that's so important then?"

"Talk to him," was his cryptic message before he smiled, "People to see. Things to do!"

He pecked my cheek and ran off before I could 'Taledo.'

I took my brother's advise to heart and after a long talk with my mother, I decided to confront my husband. It was time he tell me what was going on and I so needed to hear the truth.

I had just tucked Omar in bed when the sound of the door being opened alerted me to an intruder's presence. Silently I walked into the foyer to see Amir taking of his jacket and stamping the snow of from his boots. He froze when he saw me and sent a brilliant smile that spoke of a deceitful lie, "Hi, honey, I'm home."

The endearment tugged at my heart and I felt myself melt when he walked over to hug me. I was surprised at the show of affection, but managed to keep my stern stance in place. "Where have you been?"

"Out," was his reply. He walked over to the fridge, "Man, I'm starving. Do we have we anything to eat?"

So, was I his food supplier now?

I brushed away my tears before he saw them, "At midnight?"

He paused before going into our bedroom, "Yeah. Are you okay? What are you doing up so late? You have to work early tomorrow morning!"

"I want an answer, Amir," I held my irritation at bay.

"Answer to why people are starving all over the world," he was being purposely obtuse, "I'd like to know that too."

I walked over to him, and stared into his olive colored eyes, "Where were you?"

"Why do you care?" he asked, but not in an patronizing tone, but almost as if he was curious to know the answer.

"How could I not care?" I practically screeched at him. Was the man suddenly daft?

"I don't know, Ames," he shrugged, "You practically threw me away last time I wanted to love you. You pushed me away when I wanted to help you. You cry each time I touch you. How am I supposed to guess that your tears weren't of pain? How am I supposed to be with you if you have this wall between us?"

My tears were freely escaping and I desperately tried to brush them away. Amir didn't look intimidated by them, in fact, he looked down right tired.

"Don't do this," I silently begged, "Please, don't."

He looked away, "I think we should have a divorce."

My world shattered.

Divorce…

I didn't think then about how my parents would have reacted to that. Nor did I give an inkling of care to what people would think, or how they would automatically throw me out of the house. All I thought was how I would have to spend the rest of my miserable life in the shadow of the happiness I could have had with Amir. Now, with sudden clarity, I realized that I truly would have not minded spending every waking minute with him.

Desperately, my hands held onto his shoulder and gasping I begged him, "Don't. Please don't."

He was my anchor. If I lost him, where would I be?

His voice was as agitated as mine had been not a minute ago, "What do you expect me to do? I love you, Amina Iqbal Mahmood. But you're too blind in your pain to see that. I don't want you to be unhappy because of me."

"I love you, too," I replied back.

His eyes softened, but the hurt was still there, "Prove it."

I knew, without a doubt, how he wanted me to prove it. I placed my hand on his cheek, cradling it before saying, "I don't…I don't know if I'll be any good."

He smiled, but didn't reply. I stared up at him for a good four minutes. He didn't move, just waited to see what I would do. I didn't back away, I just stared up into his eyes and touched him. I cradled his cheek, pushed away his hair from his eyes and curled it behind his ears. My hands drifted down his neck and his shoulder, but still he didn't move. It was almost as if he was a statue. The only indication that he was alive was when he held my hands in his, an innocent gesture but one that helped me to take a step out of my shell and into him.

I didn't kiss him right away. Instead, I leaned in closer to take in the vague scent of his cologne, gum and something that was vaguely Amir. I felt like there was a beat to this adventure, and as he held my hand innocent, I fingers trailed traces on his palm. I leaned against him, unconsciously pushing against him. He sat on the bed obediently and for a moment I was puzzled at the difference of height. Then I realized that I was straddling him.

Good Lord.

I was about to leap away from him when I caught the look in his eyes. The look that demanded my presence here with him. So, I obeyed for once and continued my quest on him. When I took off his shirt, he still didn't move. Just looked at me, and that made me feel more daring. My breath caught at the sight of his lean body. I knew he worked out, and I had seen him shirtless before, but for some reason, look at his bare chest…Before I knew what I was doing, I leaned down and pressed my lips against the hollow of his throat.

I thought I heard him sigh, but I couldn't have been sure.

It was a slow exploration. Amir was extremely patient throughout this seduction of mine. When I finally kissed him on his lips, he was already naked and so was I. Our union wasn't the least bit painful and all I could do was feel the joy that only a woman felt when appreciated by a man.

But…was another woman privy to this feeling as well?

I pushed that question back as I lay, sated, against my husband. He was nuzzling my shoulders, pushing my hair back and whispering sweet promises.

Did he say these same promises to someone else?

I found that I could not take that lightly, so I risked ruining our first sated moment to ask him jerkily, "Are you…are you seeing another woman?"

"What?" was his outraged answer. He pulled me even closer, "No! Of course not! Why would you even think that? God, Amina! Are you crazy?"

"I didn't know what to think!" I replied back defensively, then attempted to push him off of me. His arms though kept me in place, and I gave up. My hands were on his slick chest and I refused to let thoughts of what we did earlier into my head. I held onto that anger. Exactly where did he go at seven o'clock everyday?

"I was in therapy," he whispered quietly. Pulling away from me gently so that his back was against the bed post, he brought the blanket closer around us, wrapping us in a universe that was exclusive to only us.

Therapy. He was in therapy.

"Until midnight, everyday?" I asked, "Why?"

"I go to therapy everyday from seven to nine. Then I go somewhere with Sam. Last night we went to a football game. Before that, to a meeting that he had to go to…"

I slowly digested this, stroking his face that seemed so dear to me now, "Why?"

He understood what I was asking, "After New Year's eve… I just couldn't take it anymore. I had a hard time building up my business here, I was seeing my son less and less, no one paid the slightest attention to me because of my accent…well, no one understood me. They were all too dazzled. Not to mention Mom's health issues, Dad's anniversary coming up, I was going blind. And then, when you pushed me away so many times… I just…had a break down."

There was no doubt that I felt guilty then, but Amir continued, "Then you were kidnapped, again, by the same guy. What were the chances of that ever happening? It's like being struck by lightening twice. It never happens."

He sighed, watching a strand of my hair twirl around his fingers, "I'm supposed to protect you and I couldn't even do that. So, I'm getting help."

"I'm sorry. I…"

Amir kissed me, effectively stopping what I was saying, "You needed time. And a little push."

I smiled, "Was I…was I any good?"

He grinned, "Oh, yeah."

There was silence for a moment. Then I cleared my throat, "Aren't you going to ask me?"

Amir shook his head, "I don't need to. I already know the answer."

It didn't take a genius to figure out that he was being arrogant about it, the prick. I punched him playfully before leaning over to kiss him. I couldn't keep my hands to myself and for a moment wondered why I so dreaded this.

My eyes drifted over to a picture of Mahwish, which was next to bedside table along with a picture of Omar and me in the playground playing baseball. For a moment I felt a pang of sorrow before pushing it away.

True, that I loved a man who lived in the shadow of his dead wife. I loved a man who couldn't possibly love me to the extent that he loved his wife, nor would I presume him to.

That didn't mean I was going to be blind. I knew he loved me in his own way while I loved him with the whole of my heart. He had my heart in his pocket to do as he pleased and I knew he would treasure it for the rest of our lives. In a way, this bittersweet ending (or beginning) has made me happier than ever.

How could I not love this unselfish man?

The End.

Author's Note:

A little abrupt, the ending but it feels right to me. In the beginning of this book I mentioned:

"When discussing the possibility of the marriage, I imagine living my life being totally dependent on my said potential husband. As if that's not bad enough, I would have to wake up seeing him and go to sleep with his face imprinted in my head. Everywhere I went, he would be there much like a never ending nightmare. Hell, even if I was living with my parents, I was independent."

Well, and then here I mentioned how Amy wouldn't mind spending the rest of her life with Amir, even if he's half blind. And also, the fact that they are not the perfect couple, (Amir needs to get over Mahwish, Amy needs to move on with his life) and they don't fit in with society….okay, I'll shut up now. Anyway, let me know what you think of this story, chapter, characterization and plots. Do you think it was weak at some points? Where?

Anyway, as usual criticisms are always welcome. Please, have a reason to criticize. If I see a review saying, "this is crap" I'm automatically going to refuse to look at it. Give me a reason why it's crap.

I was going to have a sequel with Rani, but at this point I'm completely overwhelmed by school. As if it is, I've got another supernatural story in my head and I need to edit BIG MUCH. Updates will resume sometime in December (which seems such a long time from now, but watch time fly). In the mean time, short stories will pop up so keep an eye out.

I couldn't update earlier than this because of fiction press improvement. I love it. It so much easier to use. If you want me to review any of your stories, don't hesitate in letting me know. I love reading, and my goal is now to raise my reviews up to 500 (it is sadly in the 200s). So let me know.

Special Thanks to:

Luisa aLejandra, Lady Knight Bella, Garnet-earth-Princess and sofiya05 for reviewing every (if not most) chapters. I looked forward to seeing your reviews and hope to see them in the future. If you guys need me to look over your stories, let me know. I love you all!

Thank you:

Alenor, synonym, sofiya05

Special Note to THOSE WHO READ BUT DO NOT REVIEW:

Come on guys! It's the last chapter. I know you're there…. :D