Few weeks later, Mahmud was up on his feet. He was doing much better with her help. He dressed up in his uniform ready to go back to work. He walked down the stairs and met his step mother five sisters waiting for him. Their last born, Intisar rushed to her brother and engulfed him in a hug. He picked her up and hugged her close. She kissed his cheek, "don't forget about the toys you promised," she reminded. "Roger that," he said and chuckled. He dropped her down.

"Masha Allah. Please do take good care of yourself and always pray. Pray, always pray Mahmud," she kept repeating. "May Allah bless you and protect you."

"Ameen Umma, thank you." He thanked her. He bid his sisters goodbye before stepping out. He entered his car and drove to Alhaji Mahdi Kirfi residence. He parked his car at the parking space just beside her car and hopped out.

He walked calmly to the entrance door. She opened the door beaming as always. He smiled back at her. "Good Morning," she greeted. They walked into the house same time her parents were walking down the stairs. He knelt down in respect and greeted them.

"Your father told me you're leaving today," Daddy spoke beaming at him. His head low, "yes daddy. I'll leave in an hour."

"May Allah bless you and protect you," Daddy prayed and they chorused. Mommy accompanied her husband outside while they headed to the dinning. She served him breakfast and sat opposite him. He was halfway through his delicious meal when he noticed she haven't touched hers. He sighed and kept his fork. "Why do you always get moody when I'm leaving?" He queried. She looked up and smiled that never reached her heart.

"Don't just smile and ignore my question," he said sternly. "It's nothing," she said shaking her head sideways. "I know you'll be busy with work and I know we won't get to talk much and only God knows when you're coming back..." she sighed looking away. "Manha," he spoke softly, sending chills down her spine. "Look at me," he insisted. "I thought you would get used to this by now. You know how my work is, it needs so much attention. Or do you want me to quit and stay home with you?"

"I will kill you if you do that," she said and they both laughed. He stared at her for brief seconds. She gives him joy no one every does. "I have to get going now else my copilot would chop my head off," he said standing up from the chair. He threw the car keys at her and she caught it. She adjusted her veil and labcoat and they headed out. They drove to the airport while she warned him about his health and also her gifts. She dropped him off and left to the clinic.

• •

"Tell me the truth, you and Yaya Mahmud are in love," Aydah said teasingly. "I am going to throw you out of my car if you don't shut up Aydah."

Aydah laughed at her reaction. "Your reaction says everything. You like him," she said and smirk. Maryam sighed and continued driving home.

They arrived at Aydah's house same time Mahmud's sisters were coming out of the house. "Hey Fadila, karima, how are you guys?" Maryam said politely. "Oh dear!" Fadila sighed. "When will you get it in your head that we don't like you? Not one bit. We get it, our parents are close but we know it's cause of our brother you're doing all of this bullshit," Fadila spoke bitterly. "Don't waste you're time on this brat," karima said dragging her sister away. "I don't even know what he sees in her," she added as they walk away.

Aydah sighed feeling embarrassed about her sisters behaviors. "Come let's go please. Yaya Mahmud will deal with them don't worry," she said holding Maryam's hand as they walk inside the house.

"Umma is out with intisar and Ummukulthum. Daddy is probably still at work and Yaya Mujahid might not be around too so we have the house to ourselves."

"Wait Mujahid? He's back?" She asked. They entered Aydah's room and settled down on her bed. She pulled her teddy bear close and hugged it. "He got back last night," she shrugged. "Hungry?" Aydah asked getting up from the bed. "Very," Maryam said chuckling. "I will be right back," she said and sauntered out.

It's been long since she last saw Mujahid. Oh her day one lover. When she was a  teenager, she thought it was just a one time crush but it's been ages now and she still likes him but he has never noticed it. The only thing he was good at was bullying her. She never cared about how he was very mean to her and showed her pure hatred. She had tried many times to erase him from her heart and head but it was impossible. His voice, his deep voice is what she loves the most. His mesmerizing brown eyes and well built body. She could feel the heat growing in her cheeks.

"Mozzarella Sticks Bacon Double Cheeseburger and a cold glass of Chapman," aydah interrupted. She kept the tray on the coffee table and moved it close to her.

They had their lunch and talked about nothing but everything till it maryam was ready to leave. Aydah accompanied her to her car.

She was reversing when she almost hit someone. She stepped on the breaks and rushed out. "SubahanAllah are you..." she trailed off when their eyes locked. He was about to start raining insults at her when he recognized who it was.

Mujahid had never much noticed Maryam before, she'd been his sister's friend since they were kids. He'd done so many mean things to her over the years, treating her like she was another pesky sibling to keep in line. Everything stopped when he got transferred to London. She wasn't a little girl anymore. She'd filled out a little, just enough to give her curves and a fuller bust. Mujahid felt his mouth go dry. This wasn't like when they were kids. Maryam looked his way, her mouth forming the perfect smile, "salamu Alaikum, Yaya Mujahid..."

"Wa'alaikumus Salam, Maryam. It's been ages since I last saw. You've grown now, so Masha Allah," he said and returned a smile. His voice; it did many things to her. She couldn't find her voice. She felt her cheeks flushed hot, and her stomach was heavy. Her heart pounded in her throat, threatening to break out. His eyes wandered around her body. Hers stayed locked on him. How many love songs had she heard that said, 'He takes my breath away?' Now that line made a lot sense. Her body numbed as he smiled again.

"Uhmm I... yes. How are you?" She chuckled nervously smoothing her wet palms on her abaya. "You look lovely," he complimented. They stared back at each other for what seemed like hours until she finally dropped her gaze, "I have to get going," she murmured.

"Alright then I'll see you around and oh please be careful next time okay?" She bit her lips, smiling and nodded.

She sat in her car replying the scene. She never expected him to be nice to her. He looked ten time handsome and attractive. He complimented her. Oh she's already thinking of what to wear for their wedding. She closed her eyes beaming. He watched her from afar, smiling.

"She's perfect," he whispered to himself.

She got home safely and took a bath before praying Maghrib. She sat on her praying mat, silently doing her azkhar while waiting for Isha. After she was done, she had her breakfast and went to her father's study to speak with him about an important case at the clinic.

She met him conversing with his wife. "Toh, Toh you've come to disturb my husband with your hospital talks right? I'm definitely sure that's what brought you here."

Daddy laughed at his wife response. "Wait let's hear what she has to say. It might be something else, right my dear?" He asks. Maryam grinned from ear to ear and shook her head no. "Mommy is right I want to talk to you about some few things concerning some patients..."

"Maryam, your father just got back from work. All he needs now is my attention and rest. Now get up and go, you will tell him whatever it is when you get work tomorrow."

"But mommy," Maryam whined and pouted. "Alhaji zanyi wa yarka aure ga duk wanda naso wallahi (I'm marrying off your daughter to whom ever I wish to)"

"Haa'an leave my man alone," mommy warned. Maryam stubbornly got up from the couch and started walking towards the door. "I'll fill your ears up with 'my husband' when I get married don't worry," she replied and quickly rushed out.

Her phone started ringing the moment she stepped into her room. She picked the call excitedly. "Captain M," she started. "Manha, hmmm someone sounds happy to speak with me."

"Pfft, not that I miss you or something," she said and rolled her eyes. "Oh really? Oh well, I have to get going now I just wanted to make sure you're okay," he pretended as if he was going to cut the call.

"No, wait... I miss you please don't cut the call," she whined. He laughed a bit. Her tantrums is what he missed. "How are you? And work?" He asked with much concern. "I'm fine and work is stressful as always but I love my job. How's Thailand?"

"We would be leaving by tomorrow. I miss you so much Manha," he spoke softly. She beamed biting her lower lip. "Which reminds me, Yaya Mujahid is back. I saw him today," she sighed dreamily. "Hmp! Really? Hope he didn't knock your head," he said teasingly.

"Oh don't be ridiculous we're grown ups now. And everything is in the past." She defended. “Hmm... Manha are you sure he didn’t knock your head today,” he teased again. She whined which made him to laugh. “Okay I’m sorry. How are you? I’ve missed you a lot. I’ve missed your sweet whiny voice.

She giggled through the phone, “I’ve missed your deep voice that’s always making me go crazy... I miss you a lot Capt.

His heart softened and he smiled. “Trust me, if you knew how much I’ve missed, you wouldn’t argue with me.” She laughed heartily and argued more with him.

Without them realizing, the spent an hour speaking about how much they’ve missed each other and how their life has been going with being together.

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