I LOOKED ON AT THE APPROACHING FIGURE OF SHAKEEL AND SMILED, it took everything in me to remain seated on the bench, he raised his head and looked around probably looking for me, the school was filled with visitors I waved in his direction “Shakeel” I called out his name, he smiled back when our eyes met and hastened his pace so he could get to me, he was only a few paces away from me then turned to the other direction, I furrowed my brows in confusion and turned to the place he was going, Don stood there with his cane in hand wiggling it in the air, in Shakeel’s direction “Shakeel come back here” I called out sternly but he didn’t turn “Shakeel” I called out again my voice turning desperate he stood beside Don Omar laughing like a loon, “Shakeel that man is bad news please come back, please…….., Shakeel don’t leave me alone you’re the only one I’ve got” I uttered between hiccups he shook his head and started walking away with Don, I couldn’t rise from the chair and when I forcefully rose up I fell on the floor, my breath ragged up as his figure disappeared with Don’s, “Shakeel…Shakeel” I croaked out “Marie” a distant voice called, “Marie you have to… ” I couldn’t make out the words, “Marie wake up, I know you can hear me wake up”, my eyelids felt so heavy, I felt a hand around my body but I still couldn’t open my eyes Shakeel was gone my life is now meaningless he’s my everything and without him I’ve lost everything, “You have me” the voice that had been calling me replied, “I want Shakeel back, I want him back, he can’t go to that man he’ll ruin him just as he’s trying to do me”, I was met with silence this time around then out of the blue the voice cooed “Open your eyes” the voice was so soft I felt obliged to comply, I opened my eyes to an unfamiliar place, the ceiling seemed to be going on for miles, and it was stark white, my eyes felt too heavy to move around, “Welcome back” a familiar voice muttered, my throat felt too raw to reply, I slowly turned my head to the direction of the voice and met with the mesmerising eyes of the stranger, my frown deepened, “water” I croaked out he turned to the night stand, the sound of the liquid being poured out invaded the quietness of the room. I bucked myself up a bit resting my head on what felt like a mountain of pillows, I opened my mouth meekly and he placed the glass between my lips, it felt so refreshing I pushed his hand away causing the water to drain on my body and nose, I coughed as it choked me. “Sorry, I’m so sorry” he cooed patting my back as I coughed. “Who’s Shakeel?” he asked throwing me offguard after I had settled down I blinked rapidly as the dream I had invaded my thoughts once again.”He has him, I have to leave” I said as I tried to climb off the bed, “No you’re not in the right state of mind or health to leave this place” he said in a stern voice, “I don’t know what kind of agreement you had with Don but I’m not for sale and I think I’ve already overstayed my stay here” he shook his head in disapproval, “I won’t have you hurt yourself at my expense, and this has totally nothing to do with Don, you’ll stay in bed until I see you fit to leave”, I blinked back the tears that stinged the back of my eyes, my head throbbed loudly silencing me from replying, I bit my lip as another wave of pain hit me. “But –don’t– let him get to Shakeel- I beg of you” I forced out of my trembling lips. My vision became blurry but I could make out his profile as he nodded.
“Who is this Shakeel she’s been mentioning his name in her sleep, and asked me to keep him away from that man who owns the club, he’s Don Omar right?”,I pressed my ear to the door but couldn’t make out what the other person was saying, their voices were hushed now, I retraced my steps and entered another room. Then came out when the door was opened, it was the stoutly built man, I blinked my eyes trying clear the guilt I felt for eavesdropping on them, “Uhm I’m kind of hungry, but couldn’t make out where the kitchen is?” I lied looking around, he gave me a skeptical look, I felt like he was looking right through me, “the kitchen is this way ma’am” “Can I have a word with the boss?” I asked looking behind him at the huge wooden door, he nodded and turned around turning the knob, then motioning for me to enter “Thanks”.
He raised his head shaking it in disapproval “You should be in bed” he muttered in his hoarse voice, “Uhm I just wanted to thank you for all you’ve done for me, but I’d really like to take my leave now, I’ve been here for almost 24 hours or probably more” I complained my stomach growled”That’s after I’ve eaten” I added when I noticed the look he was giving, “Join Adam outside he’ll take you to the kitchen we’ll talk some more after you’re done you can see Zak isn’t here to take you back” I smiled and nodded at his words ‘he was going to let me go home’ I squealed internally.
I nodded when he turned to his laptop, and slowly left the room, I smiled and nodded at Adam following his lead to the kitchen, I looked behind me at how long the hallway was, “We’re here” he said when he got to the door and noticed how I ogled the place, the kitchen is a whole different issue, I was practically drooling the kitchen, I snapped my mouth shut when he cleared his throat”What’d you like?, we have sandwich of you want something light, soup, and then we have spaghetti bolognese, “I’d take the soup then the spaghetti afterwards”, I replied if he was surprised he didn’t show it. He placed a bowl of a strange looking soup in front of me, then placed a spoon on a saucer next to it, I took the spoon and scooped a little bit of the soup scrunching my nose as I placed the spoon between my lips, I closed my eyes as the soup hit my taste buds, I licked my lips and placed the spoon on the saucer placed beside it then lifted the bowl to my lips, I swallowed every bit of the soup before putting the bowl down, I closed my eyes and sighed holding my hand to my lips when I involuntarily burped, “Sorry” I apologized as I burst in a fit of giggles, I held my chest trying to sober up, ‘It’s been so long, I couldn’t even remember’ I burst into tears, I never used to believe in this irony, laughing and crying at the same time. “Are you ok ma’am?” Adam asked worriedly, I fanned my face trying to stop the tears that had welled in my eyes then wiped the small ones that had made it beneath my eye lid.
“I need to get out of here” I whispered to myself.
I hurriedly left the kitchen in search of his office, I shook the knob and ran into the office “Sir I don’t know the kind of agreement you had with Don, I want to leave I have things to tend to” “I thought I told you we’d talk when you’re done eating” he replied rising from his desk, I nodded suddenly feeling intimidated by him, “Uhm I have things to do back at home and I only work at the club at night, I need to go back, I have work to do, and I’m missing a lot on my studies, please you can have Adam bring me back here when I’m done, please I’d forever be indebted to you”I pleaded on the verge of tears. He nodded “You can leave with Adam I’ll give you tonight off, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow evening by” he clicked his laptop and looked up at me, “5 pm that’s all I’m giving you but” I swallowed hard when he added that “You can’t go back to the club, or entertain any other man for that matter, I’m trusting you to not do that, but be warned if I find you doing otherwise you and that old man will regret ever crossing path with me” I clasped my hand tightly and kissed it “Thank you so much it really means a lot to me, I’d never in a million years even think of doing all those things behind your back, but where can I find my purse?” I added the latter gnawing on my lip. “Adam will bring it in”. I nodded and waited for Adam.I could finally see Shakeel “You can sit” I shook my head and smiled “In I’d rather wait for him here” he shrugged and turned back to whatever he was doing.
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