Standing before the full-length mirror in her tense, cold bedroom, Nouf studied her reflection for the hundredth and last time before she went downstairs to meet her in-laws. Garbed in a pearl-incrusted cream satin dress that draped to her slim legs, making her look shorter and fatter around the waist. With her matching real pearl earrings, ivory sandals and red lips she looked like a younger version of her dear mother, she hated her dress, her make-up and her straighetend-to-perfection hair and with each passing minute more flaws appeared in the woman staring back at her, but she wanted to please her mother so she agreed on wearing what her mother had picked up for her.
She sighed in defeat and with trembling legs and a heavy heart she made her down the stairs and into the grand reception room where her family and his gathered.
The first one to catch Nouf's attention was Sagir's step mother. Sitting across from her own mother and her two much younger aunts, she looked the youngest and to Nouf's shock the prettiest. Clad in an elegant, above-the-knee silk dress, her glistening light brown hair tumbled over her shoulders and back, appearing even prettier against the rich coal black of her dress, the diamond studs at her earrings gleaming furiously with each slight move she made and Nouf couldn't help but admire her. Unlike her own conservative, old fashioned mother, Sagir's mother looked fresh, young and very modern. Next to her, sat his only sister who looked nothing like her mother but equally pretty in a pink, bodycon jersey dress, her black shoulder length hair, framed her small oval face with delicate,tanned features, her face glowed with health and she wasn't even wearing a lipstick, Nouf hated the way she looked even more. Standing before these two stunning women she felt very ordinary and common.
She greated all women politely and sat opposite her future mother-in-law. The woman gave her a cold once-over before muttering a question to bewildered Nouf. " shloonich Nouf, enshalla 6ayba?"
Nouf answered all her questions politely, until the woman began asking her personal, vicious questions starting with the simplest."chum 3omrich Nouf?"
" t-twent f-four" Nouf stuttered.
" ee mashalla, 7isabtich eb 3omir Sagir" She said coldly. " enti teshtaghlayn ma3aah, 3adil?"
Nouf nodded, trying to hide her hurt and bewilderment. " ee walla sayirli eb 7dood el five months"
Nouf knew two things at that moment, the first thing was; she looked nine years older than her real age, the second thing was; her mother-in-law hated her for no appearant reason.
" Nouf mashalla, esamoonha barbie el sharika" Her mother laughed cheerfully. " esmilla 3leha..." And her mother kept chattering away beautiful lies about Nouf, making her own daughter cringe with embarrasment and grit her teeth with fury.
The rest of the evening was disastrous, as Sagir's mother and sister kept asking her questions that doubled her uneasiness, and to her complete horror making her look no more than an ambitious, young gold digger. Her mother's behavior was even more shoking, she kept grovelling to them and muttering nice things that weren't entirely true about her only daughter. Nouf tried her best to hide her annoyance and hurt behind a mask of false merriment and her face ached with the effort it took to smile, she had been smiling the entire time and she was going to keep doing it until the two mean hearted women walked out of this room, and then she was going to explode.
" yumma fashalteeni!!" Nouf cried as soon as they were both alone. " laysh chethi etsaween 7aram 3leech!!"
" haw! eshsawayt feech??? elmara mistansa 3alaych o galat khan7adid maw3id elkhi6ba elrasmeya o elmilcha!! enti shfeech yanna o ga3da?? 3alamich etebachbechaayn?"
" shakli khaysis!! badlity etlawi3 elchabd!! ba7righa!! telgainhom al7een ga3deen yagrithoon feeni!! shefteehom eshgalaw 3anni!! e7asbooni 3aanis!!" She sobbed brokenly. She felt inferior and ashamed although she was fully aware that she didn't know anything wrong." fashalteeni fashalteeeni!! laysh chethi tgolelhom!! laysh etchathbeen?? ma7ad e6ale3ni bil dawam! wela a7ad darah 3anni!! o aslan omma hazi2atnii! 7asbalich laih wasalteeni elsima chethi betghayer rayha feenii??"
" e7tarmi nafsich o chub!" Her mother grabbed her elbow hard and Nouf cried harder. " enti mat3arfeen masla7tich...tawich yahil o safeeh, sim3eeni 3adil, ma7ad ghayyar rayhom feech ella ana, latgoleeli el rayyal yabeeni! elrayyal etha omma erfith'tich mayegdar eghayyir rayh'ha bes ehi shafatny san3a o shafat khalatich eshloon tharbeen, fa ghayirat rayha, al7een mabii asma3 minich wela kilma, thilfay 3n wayhe"
Nouf wiped her tears with the back of her hand. " baroo7 akalim obooy, tisbi7een 3la khair"
She went to her bedroom, closed the bed softly and then she walked to her bed, sat down and burried her face in her hand and wept. An hour later, she couldn't push the awful events of the evening away from her feverish mind and damn it all, she already hated her fiance's family and even her own mother for her shameless behavior. Nouf was fully aware that they were ten times richer than her own family, she also knew that his step mother would have picked another more sophisticated bride for her half son if the choice was her's. She decided to take a hot shower to calm her nerves and by the time she was finished, she was down right exhausted and dead to the world in scant minutes.
Nouf awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of her phone. She reached for it between the damp pillows and pressed it to her ear. It was Sagir.
" Aloo, akheeran radaitai" His voice came, gruff and angry in the other end.
It took her a moment to register that she wasn't sleeping anymore and that he was really there talking to her. "hala" She muttered huskily, her exhausted voice, a mere whisper sounded so strange to her own ears.
" feech shai? you don't sound well" His voice suddenly softened.
" kint nayma" She muttered with an enormous effort.
" ga3id adig 3laych min taqreeban 11 ella robi3, it's 3 now" He murmured.
" I'm sorry bes ethahir nimt oo ana madrii, I miss you" She said.
" me too darling, esh'saar 3la elyom..er..ams?"
The mortifing memories of the day before came rushing back to her tired brain and she shut her eyes emmediatly as if she could stop the thoughts. " madrii" She said.
" hmmm, 7adich malich khilg" He chuckled. " bes baghait agoolich that we already set a date 7g gas elmahar, o I can't wait to get it over with, lo mansawii 3irs b3d a7san" He teased.
" khosh walla!!" Nouf sat bolt upright, the sleep was finally leaving her heavy lids. " lazim asawii 3irs or else, ommi ra7 titbarra mini..., mabii shai wayid kibeer, 7afla sgheera-"
" darling, you will have a big wedding" He stated calmly. " ommi elli mara7 etkhaleech"
She sighed heavily. " emsh enroo7 vegas o nis7ab 3lehom!"
"hmm I had very interesting fantasies about you" He muttered huskily.
" stop it!! you're gross" She giggled.
"you love me"
" you're not suppose to say that, you know...you're supposed to say something else!"
" et7ibeeni, etmoteen 3ley"
She laughed. " you're so romantic mashalla"
Three months later and before their wedding day in one week Sagir came to visit his bride. He was waiting for her in the living room, fumbling with his phone when he looked up and saw her coming towards him. His bold eyes moved appreciativly over her face and body and a hint of proud possesiveness gleamed in his smoldering eyes and Nouf's stomach made a nervous back flip. He had never looked at her this way before, she realised, with this strange sexy possesiveness.
He reached for her as soon as she was within arm reach of him and pulled her into a fierce hug while burying his face in her soft hair. "Hmmm I can't wait to..." He murmured in her ears while his hand reached for shirt ,loosening the first button.
Her hand laid automatically on his chest, drawing him slightly back. " eshga3id etsawi!" She whispered fiercly. " ommi ehni ga3da et7oos lo etshofna 3adii nit6alag gabil la nitzawaj!"
" I don't care" He circled his arms tightly around her tiny waist and pulled her closer to him. A jolt of desire shot through her as her legs colided with his hard, muscular thighs and her heart began to pound in erratic confused beats when his lips touched the corner of her mouth. She thought he was going to give her, one of his hot, demanding kisses but he didn't, he stepped away slowly leaving her confused and shaken.
" I got you something" He said, and took out a small velvet box out of his pocket. " put it now, and don't ever take it off, ok?"
A small heart-shaped diamond necklace rested against the black velvet.It was beautiful and it made her heart swell with emotion.
" enzayn laysh etzif?" She supressed a giggle. She was fully aware that her future husband was a wild panther by nature and she meant to tame him.
His face reddened and he changed the subject. " fillay sha3rich, ma7iba chethi.." He commanded.
" haw! don't you like my pony tail? arya7 chethi.." She said.
He reached for her hair and slid the elastic band from it. " gitlich filleeh"
" you're unbelievable"
"you're still marrying me"
She rolled her eyes heavenwards.
" How do you feel?" He asked softly, contradicting his gruff, authorative nature.
" the same way I look"
" that good?" He teased.
The warmth in his gruff voice and the softness in his eyes warmed her heart at once and she felt her cheeks flushing. " I'm pleased to marry you"
" But ofcourse" He said with satisfied arrogance. " I've to go now, salmai o namai 3adil don't worry, everything's going to be...perfect. o adrii mara7 etkhaleeni ashofich again layh youm el3irs, ra7 olah 3alaych.., give me a kiss"
She leaned up on tiptoes, put her arms around his neck, and brushed her lips on his freshly shaven cheek and then she stepped back with a mischevious smile on her face, she left him dissapointed, wanting and very eager to see her again.
Later that night the unexpected happened and Nouf couldn't decide what to feel exactly. Just before getting ready to bed, her phone began ringing frantically and when she didn't recognize the number and refused to pick up, a message was delivered to her, a very unexpected message. She was overwhelmed with mixed emotions as she reread the message several times. It was from Faris, the man who mercilessly jilted her, without giving her a proper reason or even a proper goodbye. The man who hurt her dignity and pride and simply walked away without saying a word.
'' tara shifitch last week egbal shalaihna, yal khayna kil hl sexiness min warai? u were striking...I miss you too ;)" She reread the offending message for one last time and then Sagir came to her mind, her beautiful Sagir and the anger and digust suddenly subsided, replaced by mixed feelings of gratitude, pride and a strange sense of victory. She was going to marry a wonderful, honorable man in less than six days, she came along way and a simple, stupid message wasn't going to break her. Her heart burst with pride it almost ached and she reached for her phone and absently dialled his number.
" Aloo, Sagir esma3 ana a7ibik amoot 3layk."
Clutching the bouquet of vibrant red roses to her chest, she made a step further.Unable to decide which shook more her small, french manicured hands or her legs. Sheikha came rushing to straighten the train of her best friend's wedding dress and stand beside her before she made her grand entrance into the ballroom. "bamoot min elkhar3a! yadroon enni badish?" She asked Sheikha worriedly, her heart racing harder by the second.
" eeee 6abee3i enich etkhafen Noufa, now come inside o ba3dayn ensolif ok?" Sheikha assured her.
" etyanineen, I'm so proud of you" Her friend squeesed her hand tightly and then Nouf made her way inside the glittery ballroom and Sheikha followed behind, holding the train of Nouf's dress.
A sudden bolt of anticipation shot through the five hundred wedding guests, as glamourous heads turned to take their first look of the beautiful bride. Clad in pearly white, strapless wedding gown that clung to her slender frame perfectly,her long dramatic veil fell delicately over her bare shoulders and arms, contrasting the smooth golden color of her skin and the glittering diamonds on her small earlobes and throats outshined and completed her entire look. She was an exotic beauty with her shiny, brown hair pulled up in an elegant chignon, framing soft, vulnerable features.
No one looking at her would have believed that the confident, cheerful bride was having a panic attack.
No she wasn't ready to do this, she wasnt ready at all!
to be continued....