"Mano, what are you doing?"Kanwal asked, looking at the stairs so she won't fall from Mahnoor's dragging.
"We are going to take a selfie."Mohanoor answered excitedly and kept dragging her.
"On the rooftop at night? It will be dark." Being alone with Mahnoor at her home is fun but Kanwal would never guess the crazy ideas she has in her mind. That's why Kanwalis always a bit hesitant about doing as Mahnoor says.
"Just be quiet and come. It's not dark there, we have lights."
"But why do you suddenly want to take a selfie?"
"Awain."Mahnoor replied and Kanwal sighed, avoiding of asking more questions.
Once they got on the roof, Mahnoor took out her mobile phone and took more than a single selfie.
"Ary...!" Mahnoor shrieked, making Kanwal jump in surprise. "Yar, wait here. I think I left the stove open. I will be right back."Mahnoor said and rushed towards the stairs.
"Oye! What will I do here alone? I am coming too."Kanwal shouted and starts taking steps to follow Mahnoor and abruptly halted as her eyes saw the figure coming up from the stairs.
Kanwal's eyes forgot to blink and her heartbeats start to accelerate when she saw Ahad approaching her with his usual mischievous smile.
"Assalam o Alaikum!" He said in a hushed voice, standing in front of her.
"Wa-Wallaikum Assalam."Kanwal mumbled, lowering her eyes, unable to meet his gaze and a blush start to creep over her face.
"Surprised to see me here?"Ahad asked, with a smug look and Kanwal nodded in response.
"How did you know I was here?" She inquired.
"Ummm... Actually, both Mahnoor and I planned this meeting." He answered, sliding his hands into his pocket and Kanwal's head snapped towards the stairs where Mahnoor went, but she found the criminal herself there standing and showing her thumbs up.
Wahiyat Insaan! (A foul person)
"Oh! She is here. Guarding us, your chowkidaar (Gatekeeper/ guard)."Ahad said, turning his face to Mahnoor. "I don't understand. Is she overprotective of you or doesn't trust me?"
"She trusts you."Kanwal abruptly denies his assumption. Ahad turned back to Kanwal and chuckle.
"Her presence there says something else."
"Listen, if you guys are planning to have a long chat, then I will be downstairs."Mahnoor shouted from her place.
Both Ahad and Kanwal said at the same time.
But Mahnoor chose to ignore what Kanwal said and went down saying, "Take your time, lovebirds."
Kanwal's jaw dropped open and quickly closed it back, remembering her fiancé is standing in front of her, observing every movement of hers.
"So... she really does trust me."Lowering his face to Kanwal, he continues, "What are you going to do Kanwal, now that your Chowkidaar is gone."
Startled by his nearness, Kanwal quickly took a step back.
"You haven't told me why you are here..." She asked.
"So cold, Kanwal... Is this the way you talk to your fiancé?"
"I wouldn't have talked to you like that if you have come to meet me in front of everyone."
"Taking a mental note. I will always meet you in front of everyone. But... Right now, before you get mad, take this."Ahad held out a box to Kanwal.
"What is it?"
"I got my first pay this week, so I just thought..." He answered, scratching his neck and a wide smile is spread on Kanwal's face.
"Thank you..." She shyly accepted the gift, the first gift of his fiancé's money.
"Okay....! I better go now, or your chowkidaar will come again... Allah Hafiz."Ahad said abruptly and left, leaving a sweet smile on Kanwal's face. WhetherAhad would admit it or not, she could tell that he was nervous, not as much as she is, but quite a bit.
This shyness and nervousness weren't there before, it came after their engagement with the thoughts of the future with each other.
"Kanwal...... Ahad Bhai has been gone several minutes ago, what are you still doing up here now?" She heard Mahnoor's bore voice from downstairs and shaking her head, Kanwal made her way to her.
After almost an hour, Mahnoor was examining the bracelet Ahad gave her and Kanwal is reading the small note which he wrote to her.
'A promise of future, to make you a part of everything that happens in my life....'
"I would've punched you if you were five more minutes late." Natasha said, glaring at Ahad before giving him a side hug. He arrived late at the airport to receive Natasha.
"I wouldn't give you that chance."Ahad smiled and Salam her.
"WallaikumAssalam. Now, where are you taking me for lunch? I am hungry."
"Ossiano?"Ahad starts leading Natasha towards his car.
"Argh! Not that place. It makes me sick eating seafood and watching them swim right before my eyes." Natasha made a displeased face.
"Seriously yar, I felt those sea creatures swimming in my stomach all night when I first ate there." She said, putting a hand on her stomach like she is feeling the same thing again.
Ahad laughed before saying, "Armani then?"
"Too crowded." Natasha waved her left hand in negative.
"How about At.mosphere?"
"Save it for your wife."
"Then where would you want to go?"
"Umm...Let's go home. I will make my special omelette and chapatti." Natasha winked and ordered the driver to turn towards home.
This woman knows how to boss people around...
Ahad smiled, shaking his head.
He admires this woman from the first meeting they had alone. Not because Natasha introduced him to the world as though he's her cousin, but the fact that how boldly she faced her past. Moosa never told him about her past, it was Natasha herself who opened up everything to him. She told him how she blackmailed the big icons of the business world, great politicians, and bureaucrats about the fact that they have illicit relationships with her in past, to enter into the elite class society.
'I was afraid, so they took advantage of my fear. Now it's my time to make them fear and take advantage of it.' Were her words.
Ahad was stunned at her confidence. He has never faced this type of woman before... So revengeful, yet so ambitious about turning wrong to right. After listening to her story, what impressed him more was that she didn't try to justify herself in the name of fate.
After escaping from her previous life and settling down, she went to see the man who she once loved and left her family because of him, Waqar. At that point, Natasha could have lived on without looking back, but it wouldn't be her. She could not forgive the man who destroyed her life.
She met that man's wife and introduced herself as his childhood friend. Waqar's family welcomed her warmly - A perfect family of two daughters, two sons, a husband and a wife. She could've had such family too if Waqar didn't betray her with the false pretence of love.
Natasha's family never liked Waqar and wanted her to marry someone else. So, she ran from home, hoping that her lover would embrace her and they would marry. But Waqar didn't hold her hand, the love he had for her, is because of family background, without it, she was useless to him. Therefore, he got rid of Natasha by selling her to another man.
Waqar ruined an innocent girl's life without a second thought and when he saw the same person sitting in his house, chatting with his wife and daughters, he got worried. For the first time in his life, he was scared that what he did to Natasha could be happening to his daughters. She could be here to take her revenge. Because the woman sat in his house wasn't the vulnerable girl as before, she wasn't Nabila anymore, she is Natasha a.k.a.Nats, a famous Icon of the fashion industry and with the reputation of becoming one of the most influential personalities in the city.
He was also afraid that Natasha would reveal everything about their past and he will lose his family. They will hate him. His sons may not be old enough to understand anything, but his daughters are. It would be a matter of minutes for Natasha to take everything from him.
Waqar sat stiffly on a sofa, the day when his wife asked her about her husband and kids and Natasha told her everything, except for the name of her lover. Waqar couldn't be less thankful to her, but he couldn't do anything but to change his position restlessly when his wife and daughters started cursing the man who did such a horrible thing to her.
He begged Natasha not to mention his name to them and to keep it a secret. Watching him on knees, Natasha agreed to it on the condition that he will not stop her from meeting his family. Reluctantly, Waqar agreed to it, but it became the most torturous decision of his life.
Revenge was never Natasha's intention. She just wanted to shake his soul, and she did. It wasn't like Waqar never regretted what he did to her, but watching Natasha almost every week in his house, the guilt started to eat him more than ever before.
As a middle-aged man, he had learned the lesson that what goes around comes around. The grave he dug for Natasha, could become his daughters' too. Waqar was afraid of the memory that kept coming to his mind - Natasha screaming and begging, is now heard by him as he's around his daughters and with each passing day, the sufferings got stronger.
Unable to confide about it to anyone, he tried to fight and put up a normal face for fear that, if his family got to know the truth, they will be disgusted by him. And one day, when he couldn't take the burden anymore, Waqar ended this madness by taking his own life.
The news reached Natasha and left her shattered. That day, she cried helplessly on Moosa's shoulder. She knew that Waqar was a man with weak resolve, but she never thought it would come to this. She didn't want him to die.
That man left Natasha in the guilt of snatching a father of four kids and a husband to a wife. Once again, on that day, her life took a one-eighty-degree turn. The clouds of hatred faded and a new Natasha was born, who is free of hatred. Since that day, it became a mission of hers to help out Moosa in the quest he promised to go alone. She became his guardian angel, as he became her shield.
Natasha never went to Waqar's house after his funeral as it was painful to be in the presence of the sorrowful eyes of his family members. But sometimes she still visits his grave and prays for his forgiveness, not because she forgave him, but because his death had given a reason to her life, or else it might have gone wasted in hatred.
"I hope that one day Allah will give me the strength to forgive him."Natasha often said this to Ahad and Moosa.
"Ahad Bhai." The cook came running towards Ahad.
"Nats Api kicked me out from the kitchen."
"She said I don't know how to cook, so she will do everything by herself." He said like he is confessing a crime.
"Oh! Means you have the day off."
"You're off for today. Go now."Ahad waved his hand, dismissing him and strides towards the kitchen.
"Nats, do you need help?" He asked, standing at the entrance.
"Of course, yar. Who's going to talk to me?" Nats arched her brows and Ahad came in mumbling.
"Inshaallah, you will forgive him soon."
"Hm? ... Did you say something?" Natasha gave him a questioning look and Ahad just shakes his head in negative.