The wind which blew across the middle eastern desert slapped sand particles painfully against the skin and blew ferociously hot, but somewhere in the vast Arabian desert not far from the city, in the tent of Omar bin Khalid bin Aaban, the wind outside was like a cool winter breeze compared to the tension that stretched thin within and fanned a burning heat which was slowly developing. He stood tall a little distance away from his father who sat on a soft cushioned pillow, legs crossed and eyes closed, anger evident on his old wrinkled face. Omar was being impossible.
"I called you to come home and you bring to me an American?" Sheikh Khalid spoke to his son with calmness although he could not deny the fact that he was greatly disappointed.
"I am sorry if it upsets you father, but I am going to marry her and I will!" Omar voiced out, his back to his father and his palms in a fist.
"Marry her?!" Khalid fumed and his eyes shot open. "Have you forgotten so soon? You are my son! The only son of Sheikh Khalid bin Aaban! You are Omar bin Khalid bin Aaban, did you forget that you are of a royal lineage and as such can not be tangled up in such... union. I forbid it!"
"You cannot forbid it! She is my choice!"
Megan Walker was his choice, she had always been, right from the moment he first saw her in the large American mall in New Orleans. The small woman had been standing rooted to a spot, her mind had been somewhere else, somewhere painful he could tell that much because she cried. He chose to first watch her from a distance, wondering how someone could be so lost in thoughts, despite the sea of people bustling around her and even with the noise he was sure she could not hear.
He watched her from his position inside the Brit café, sitting at his favorite spot which was by the window. He leaned back on the chair and blew on his coffee, the rich aroma went into his nostrils with every breath he breathed in. He took a sip and fixed his eyes on her, not for once looking away.
She stood facing the glass walls and clutching the camera which hung on her neck by the strap. Her brown hair was tied up in a cute messy bun, exposing her slender and spotless neck which he had found tempting to bite. He coughed and looked away briefly, blinking away the thoughts before bringing his eyes to look back at her.
She sighed and shifted her weight away from one leg to the other, tilting her head slightly to the right. She wore loose fitting clothes but one could easily tell that the big leopard printed shirt couldn't hide the comfortable swell of her breasts. The shirt was tucked into matching brown pleated pants that outlined her curvy hips and reached down to her ankles where the brown boots finished her outfit.
Omar studied her face, studied her expression. Her eyes were sad and teary and her lips were slightly apart, so pink and just full enough, she was not on any makeup and yet she could capture his attention while looking so natural. She was indeed beautiful. He noticed a tear glistering in the sun light, it inched its way down her cheek from her left eye and clung to her jaw without her knowing it and she sniffled.
He knew he had fallen in love with her then and he had loved her till the moment she had accepted his proposal and even now that his father vehemently discouraged their union, she was still his choice.
What? A thirty four year old Arabian man couldn't make choices for himself? Why, because he was the Sheikh's son? His only son?
Sheikh Khalid bin Aaban was silent and his eyes now remained closed. Being the Sheikh, there was nothing more to say, Omar was his son by blood and he had to do accordingly to the words of his father's mouth, it didn't matter by hook or by crook, he would have to. He breathed in and out to calm himself because he needed to be calm or he would have blood on his hands. The blood of an American. The blood of a simple American.
When he had called for Omar to return to Saudi Arabia, the reason was to prepare him for the marriage he had arranged, he hadn't told Omar the reason because he felt he didn't need to but he surely hadn't anticipated that Omar would bring a woman with him, a woman he claimed he wanted to marry. And she had greeted him nicely in the Arabian manner, something he was sure Omar had taught her to in order to impress him but the Sheikh had been somewhat disgusted.
He had ignored her and allowed them for that day. Now he had told Omar his mind, not for his son to approve but to do as was told.
Khalid waited, a message was supposed to have reached him by now. His frown deepened, he clenched his fist taking much deep breaths. He remembered how easy his daughters had been, how willing, how obedient. He had married them off at the ripe age, all at nineteen.
He could have married them off when they had turned sixteen but for some reason which he wasn't quite sure of himself, he had decided to wait and he had been pleased with his decision. Not one of them had voiced out in rebellion, they knew the kind of man their father was and he would not have thought twice before punishing them.
Omar being the only son he had, had been allowed much more freedom than the girls. He had felt it deserving because Omar was his only successor so he had spoilt the boy silly and he had also sent him abroad to school, it was like another jewel added to his crown. But now this jewel was rusting, the boy had adopted the Western life and forgotten his duties. No worries, he would teach his son so over again. He breathed deeply.
The curtain to the tent was suddenly thrown wide open and a messenger rushed in, stopping in front of the Sheikh and bowing his head to the ground.
"As-salamu alaikom." The messenger greeted the Sheikh. Khalid smiled, the work was done. The family's blood had never in history been tainted by any bond with a non Islam worshiper, not by outsiders, much less not by a simple American. He was saving his family the disgrace and he would never regret his actions.
"Is it done?" He spoke calmly but with a stern voice and without opening his eyes.
"The lady was not found in her tent Sheikh, she's escaped." He opened his eyes now. Omar spun to face his father and the messenger, baffled at what he had just heard.
"Find her and send her back to where ever she came from...." He grabbed the messenger's arm forcefully, "...if she or anyone resists my orders, send her back in pieces if need be. Go."
Omar watched in horror as the messenger nodded and left the tent in a hurry then he faced his father, slowly approaching where he sat.
"You have been hypnotised by the simple American whom you claim to be in love with." Khalid cut him off, speaking calmly and without remorse. "What I do now, I do for the greater good, to preserve the untainted blood of the family. You! will not ruin that. I spit on your unholy relationship!"
"Unholy relationship? She is a human being! What is unholy about that?"
"She is not..." Khalid paused. "You are not allowed!"
"I am a grown up man for crying out loud let me make my choices!"
"A grown up man who knows nothing of tradition! Your choices... are not in accordance with mine."
"They don't have to be! It is my choice to love her and want to be with her. I love her father! Why can you not see that?"
"Love is pointless in the long run. In two hundred years would you remember the youth in her eyes? Or the way she smiled? Or probably the way her touch makes you feel. What you thought is love is nothing but a fling and it's time to end this nonsense charade. You have a marriage to prepare for."
"Two hundred what...?" Omar was frustrated. "Yes father! Yes, maybe I will! I will remember everything, because I know that what we feel for each other is not a fling. I love her, I am in love with her. You will not touch my bride!" He raced out of the tent, he had to find Megan.
Megan only left the tent when Omar had asked her to and that was when he had been called by his father."I'll need you to wait a few minutes first before you head out." He had said."Head out, but why? Is there anything wrong? Why am I to leave?""You're not leaving dummy." He laughed and caressed the back of her hand. "I want to take you out!""Take me out? Out where?""Shhhh..." He hushed her. "It is a surprise.""You don't tell me you want to take me out and say it's a surprise Omar." She laughed."Ok, then it's a secret place."She had been confused. "There is nothing but sand out there.""Remember the small cave I had showed you yesterday? You still know how to get there?"She nodded."Head to that place, after I must have finished with my father, I'll come meet you there then we can go sight seeing, how about that?"She smiled and closed her hand together in excitement. "Really? I would def
Omar grabbed Megan to himself as soon as he heard his name and raised his head. It wasn't his father who had called, it was him, Taheem, the head of the Sheikh's guards. He stood menacingly, one hand on the hilt of the sword that hung on his waist and the other hand by his side in a fist. His gurtha flapped wildly around his head, disturbed by the desert harsh winds. Omar eyed him, his presence was never a good sign, nothing about him was a good sign."What is it?" Omar asked, clearly disturbed by his unwelcomed presence.Taheem had been around for as long as Omar could remember. The man was strict and never smiled, carrying out the Sheikh's orders without questioning and without falter even if it meant to take a life. He was as loyal as he was scary and he was the only one bold enough to look Omar in the eye and give orders like he was about to do now."The Sheikh orders..." Taheem began but Omar interrupted him with a hand."Tell my father that I won't be r
The room was tidy, much too tidy. It was supposed to be this way, she was supposed to be used to it and she was, this was her room after all but today she didn't like how tidy the room was kept. This was how her life was right now, like how it was supposed to be; neat, arranged and perfect as expected of the only daughter to the King of Saudi Arabia.Things were to be placed in accordance, to the taste of the beautician, to be arranged and coloured to perfection, that was how spotless her room was and that was the exact way she felt her life had become, she being the room and her father the beautician. She had been set up and arranged, ready for someone to come and move into her life, continuing from where her father had stopped as her husband, to rule and control and order her about, but Mariam was not used to being ordered about.She knew that being a girl, being a woman meant you had little or no freedom, you couldn't wear whatever you wanted to wear whenever yo
Omar stared out the window of the black Mercedes as it made its way through the streets of Jeddah, heading to the Sheikh's mansion. Frustration was evident on his face and anger was boiling in him towards his father who happened to be riding in the same car and chose to remain silent throughout the journey. Omar did the same, not uttering a single word, his mind went to Megan who rode in the car behind theirs along side Taheem.The fact that she was in the same car with Taheem made him uneasy and he wondered what was going on in there. What conversation were they having if at all they were having any. He was sure they weren't, Taheem wasn't one to indulge freely in conversations, most especially if it happened to be with a stranger, much less someone he was to hate.Omar had agreed to marry Mariam in exchange for Megan's safety and now he wasn't sure he should blindly trust his father, the man was unpredictable and had so many secrets surrounding him. Although the
The car she was in felt tight and stuffy because she had to ride with Taheem. His presence made her feel vulnerable, made her feel like a prey caught by a hunter's trap and left out in the open for the predators picking, so when the car continued driving past the car Omar was in, heading to the back of the mansion, she panicked."Get down." Taheem had said when the car came to a stop as he himself got down, but Megan who had been thinking up the different ways they could butcher and hide her body, hadn't heard him at first.They would let me live for Omar's sake. I can't...no, can't be killed. The Sheikh had promised. I'm not.... where is Omar!Her mind swam wildly and her heart beat was so loud she felt she would have a heart attack. She panicked, she needed to breathe and there was no air in the car, her hand came to the window as she struggled to find the handle.Taheem, who had stepped out since and was already heading for the back door, stopped when he n
The day came too fast and Omar was up and ready even before his father was but he remained in his room. Today he would be going to the palace with his father, to be introduced to his bride to be. He was to behave sensibly and maturely to get the approval of the king to be his daughter's groom. He could not help but feel like a ram being led into the market to be sold, and honestly that was what it was. He was literally being sold off and this marriage was the payment.The only person gaining from this was his father, the Sheikh and Omar couldn't help but feel that there was more to this. He knew that his father was a greedy person and his greed had always been for power and he was hard to satisfy. The man always craved for more and his marriage to the princess was that more that the Sheikh had been yearning for.Omar wondered for how long his father had nursed this in his heart, for how long he had planned for him to get married to the princess. The plan was
Mariam was dressed exceptionally heavy in anticipation of her would be groom and father in law. She knew nothing about them asides from the fact that the man she was to marry was Omar bin Khalid, the only son of the Sheikh, his father Khalid bin Aaban. Omar, as she was told by Parvina who had gathered information from the rumors circulating, had lived most of his life abroad, getting his Masters degree, bachelor's degree and Ph.D, but the rumors that went round boasted more of his fine looks and physique than of his intelligence.She scoffed, such people were bound to be proud and arrogant. She knew that because he would not be the first of his kind to come for her hand in marriage, each one was prouder than the last man before him and absolutely none of them had impressed the King. Absolutely none of them had impressed her.Being the only Saudi princess to His Highness King Jaan, it was of utmost importance that the man impressed the King and not just by the amoun
Omar had been to the palace on several occasions and mostly in the company of his father but this was just the second time he would be seeing the King. He sat on the soft cushioned sofa, leaning on an elbow which dug into the arm rest and with his legs crossed. Khalid sat upright with his back straight, his focus towards the stair way which the King with emerge from."Omar, sit properly!" Khalid cautioned."I am sitting comfortably."Khalid turned to his son. "I've gone this far for you, it's up to you to...""I do not know why you bother when the marriage has already been finalized, or hasn't it?" Omar cut him off.Khalid frowned and he glared at Omar. This boy. "Omar, you will need the...""Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness King Jaan bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, of Saudi Arabia." The messenger's announcement interrupted Khalid's talk. The two men rose to greet the King."Assalaam 'alaikum your highness." Kh