"Would you two just shut up?!" Both my brother's and my head snapped towards the source of the voice. I was shocked on hearing her tone, she was loud, angry, and her voice lacked the self-composure she has always held.
"You guys keep fighting like kids while your parents are probably waiting downstairs. Can't you both just go to them first? They are your parents, not servants who have to wait for you. You guys are here for me, huh? Who am I to you? No one. But still, you fight over me, ignoring the people who love you more than their lives." She almost shouted the last part, making both my brother and I startled. We immediately exchange glances and turn to the teacher, who was getting up from the floor.
"Idiot people. Don't even understand the significance of parents and fighting over stupid things, in front of a stranger, showing her their level of maturity and tolerance." She dusted her dress and pass by both of us, stomping and mumbling to herself.
After a few moments of staring at the stairs, we start walking towards it too. On my way passing through her floor, I couldn't stop myself from thinking whether she is crying again. I have never met a person like her before, who can be stubborn as a stone, yet fragile as glass.
What are you, Hira Arshad...?
My peaceful slumber is broken by the alarm sound. I unexpectedly slept well after crying my heart out and on waking up, I felt much better. Everything that had happened yesterday night on the rooftop is a blur. I don't remember much, except for the fact that I cried in front of them and for this, I curse myself several times.
After praying Fajar, I don't feel like going back to bed, so I went downstairs to the garden for a walk. But instead of walking, I found myself adoring fresh flowers in the light fog and not long, I realize I was already late to catch the bus.
Rushing towards my room, I quickly change my clothes, stuffed my face powder, mascara, Kajal and lip gloss into my bag. But before I could go down, something caught my attention near the staircase - A small bouquet of roses.
What is wrong with Zulqarnain???
Shaking my head, I quickly put the flower in a vase and rushed down, only to bump into my student.
"Argh! Watch it, Miss."
"Sorry, sorry. My mistake." He made a displeased face but didn't say anything and I was in too much hurry to lecture him on Salam elders in the morning, so I skipped it, for today.
I made a cup of tea as fast as I could and grabbed a slice of bread. While eating, my eyes landed on the figure looming against the kitchen cabinets and a smile spread on my face. What held my interest was that person's face, which has a deep frown on it, while he struggles to apply butter on his bread. Besides, Ahmar looks quite cute in his trousers and maroon coloured hoodie. Maybe he just got back from a walk.
But... he can't even apply butter on bread...?
"Let me do it for you." I offered even though I was getting late.
"I can do it on my own." He huffed without looking at me and I had a hard time holding back my laughter. But I am glad that he did it.
After finishing my tea, I got up and walk out saying, "Say Allah Hafiz to Auntie and don't be late."
Walking towards the bus stop, everything that happened last week repeats itself in my mind. It is unfathomable of what is going on with me lately. I have never been an impulsive person, but lately, most of the things I do aren't quite ... well, I am frequently driven by my emotions.
Perhaps Baba's death left me emotionally insecure and weak.
I sighed, glancing at my watch.
I am not late...
The bus came on its usual schedule. I quickly get in and throughout my way to the point where I have to meet Mishal, I kept praying that she would wait for me there, or else she would get bored all the way to college.
Stepping out on my stop, I mentally thanked Allah to see Mishal standing there before me. She waved slowly as our eyes met.
"How are you, Miss Bemaar (sick)," Mishal said, shaking hands with me.
"Better than before, Miss Tandrust (healthy)," I answered, smiling.
"Am I late for the bus?" I asked.
"No, we are on time." She replied, looking at her watch. I hummed in response and narrow my eyes at a figure appearing from the far cut of the road on the left. It was Ahmar on his bike.
He won't be getting late I guess... I thought, looking at his bike.
Bike or bicycle, at least it's better than the torture of buses. Ahmar deliberately came near where we are standing and sped up after showing a little stunt of one wheeling.
"What's wrong with him?" Mishal asked.
"Show off?" I shrugged.
"More like mocking to me." Mishal mumbled.
I agree on that too...
"Wake up..." I heard a sweet feminine voice in the stage of half awake and half asleep.
No, it can't be...
"Hey! Wake up." My eyes shot open when I felt slender fingers slipping into my hair. The figure hovering me gasped and took several steps back. But before my eyes could adjust to the brightness of the room, I heard a very familiar shriek.
"Zee... you startled me!"
A wave of disappointment washed over me, only to be transformed into shock.
"Sara, what are you doing here??!" I was louder than normal and a frown formed on my face.
"Waking you up, Zee." She answered, like it was the most normal thing in the world for a female friend to wake up her male friend in his bedroom.
I inhaled a deep breath and say, "Sara you know, you shouldn't be here. Go to the living room and wait for me there before Ami sees you."
"You're kicking me out from your room?" She asked in surprise.
"I am not, yar. I am just..." I wasn't sure how to make her understand without being rude to her. "Help Ami out in the kitchen. She would be happy."
"Oh...Okay." She smiled and left the room.
She needs some serious training from Hira...
Speaking of Hira, why was I thinking about her waking me up? There is no way she would ever do that. And why would I even want her to do that?
Frowning on my own thoughts, I got up from the bed and went for a bath after taking a pair of jeans and a dull green polo shirt. I was excited about my day off, but now it seems the enthusiasm just vanished.
I wonder how Hira is doing right now. I hope she has recovered from yesterday's emotional breakdown. Suddenly, all visuals of yesterday started repeating itself in my mind one by one. Her bright smile, her teary eyes, the face she put up on apologizing, the way she was gazing at the sea... and how gorgeous she looked in her black frock. Absolutely stunning.
Okay! I should stop thinking about her too much, especially in the shower.
Argh! What the hell. What does it have anything to do with the shower???
I violently shook my head to divert my mind and suddenly something just hit me.
Sara could ask Ami where I was last night...
I glanced at my watch again and sighed. I still have two more periods to take. Maybe it's just my imagination, but the environment seemed a little different of the both I took. The gazes of many students felt like glaring. I recognize a few of these students who I saw that night in the club or whatever that place was.
But what had I done to them???
"Miss Hira?" I heard a masculine voice from behind me and I abruptly turned my face and got up seeing Sir Sajid standing.
"I heard you were ill. How are you now?"
"Much better, Alhamdulillah." I give him a tight smile and a look signalling that I am not in the mood to drag the conversation.
Sir Sajid is a middle-aged man, whose only concern is that he couldn't find true love in his life and is still looking for her in every women or girl. Mishal calls him a dirty old man and I do agree with her. He already has a wife and three teenage kids. I told Saba about him and wondered why he has kids when he doesn't even love his wife.
And her answer was...
"They are two different things, Hira. To women, having kids is a matter of love, but for men, it's more about showing their manliness or whatever you call it."
She left me speechless and disgusted of men for a while. The funny part about it is that I started to avoid both Hassan and Hero until Saba explained Hassan the scenario and he gave me a huge lecture that every man isn't the same and I shouldn't be putting everyone in the same category. I began to calm down afterwards. But, whenever I see Sir Sajid, a part of me still feels the urge to throw a punch to his face.
"Good to hear, but I think you should rest a bit more."
"I am absolutely fine, Sir. Thank you." Again, I give him the look but he wouldn't budge.
What a jerk!
"Madam Hira, Sir Wajahat is calling you." Our coordinator informed me before passing through the staff room door.
"Sir, I need to go." Without hearing his response, I turn on my heels and leave the staff room.
I knocked the Boss's office door and upon hearing 'come in', I went inside.
"Assalam o Allaikum, Sir." I said.
"Wallaikum Asslam, Hira. How are you feeling now?"
"Alhamdulillah, much better Sir. How are you?"
"Alhamdulillah. Have a seat, Hira." Thanking him, I took a chair from across his spotless glass top table.
"Hira, without wasting our time, I will go directly to the point. I want you to tell me what happened that day, what were you doing with the boys and everything from the start. And I would appreciate it if you don't hide anything so that I could decide a fair punishment for everyone involved. Or else you and the boys would be treated unfairly from the view, which I and every other staff members perceive now."
So this is it, the end of my newly started job...
Taking a deep breath, I start telling him the whole story. As well as preparing myself for my new job interviews.
When I finished, there was a moment of silence. Not long after, I was told in a very polite manner that 'I am a fool to have become a toy to them and things could've gotten out of control.'
"I apologise, Sir." That was all I could say to him.
"Now, as for the punishment of the students, their parents will be called tomorrow, but I want for there to be extra punishment for those four." The principal said, leaning back to his chair.
"Any idea what should we do, Miss Hira?" I gulped and shook my head in negative.
"Hmmm... then we will find out by ourselves."
I didn't get why he referred to himself as 'ourselves'.
Slip of tongue...?
It could be... even if it were. It twisted my gut for sure.
"Send them in." My ears perk when I heard the principal saying it.
The boys are here...?
"The boys and I would like to talk to you about something. Therefore, I ask a teacher for your fixture in the next period. Don't worry about the class." He said to me and got up from his seat. Too startled and clueless of what to do, I also copy his movements.
After a light knock, the door of the office opened, revealing three well dressed, middle-aged men instead of boys.