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 returning right away."
"I'm afraid that isn't an option." He whistled and more men came into view fully armed. "We were told to use any means necessary to make sure the two of you are brought back to the tent."
"The two of us? Why?"
"The Sheikh has his own reasons, who am I to say?" Taheem replied.
Omar frowned, holding Megan's head to his chest and cursing at his luck. He hadn't been careful enough and it didn't cross his mind that they could follow him here and they had, he had led them straight here without him knowing and now they had her.
"You followed me?"
"We have to bring you and the American back as per the wishes of the Sheikh."
"And you come to me fully armed?"
"We are trained to always be armed Omar. A guard is always armed and ready."
Omar knew what he said was true but he hated the guts of the man, he had dared to call Megan "the American".
"The American has a name Taheem." But Taheem didn't respond, instead he stood still, never for once tearing his gaze away from the two of them.
The man's eyes bore holes into them and Omar felt Megan shiver, he knew she was afraid and he understood why she should be, especially of Taheem. The man was a human robot, loyal and devoted only to the Sheikh and the only person whose presence made Omar uneasy.
Taheem would willingly use 'any means necessary' to carry out the Sheikh's orders, Omar wasn't afraid of the man but he feared for what they might do to Megan is either of them resisted, they would not dare harm him. His father didn't have her best interest at heart and Taheem was obviously no different.
He smiled at Megan and kept her close to his side, deciding not to fight back for fear of Megan's life and like sheep to the slaughter house, they were led back to his father.
"Omar." Megan called, still cuddled in his arms as they walked back.
"My father wants to see us. Let's just go for now." He smiled at her.
"Hai howa aamen? (Is it safe)?" She couldn't help but ask. The stiff man frightened her.
"Look at you! Your Arab speaking is getting better!" Omar smiled widely and ruffled her hair, earning a frown from her. "You are safe with me. Be rest assured." He kissed her forehead.
The emotions in his eyes denied the smile on his lips and he looked away from her to Taheem who walked ahead of them. He absent mindedly rubbed Megan's arm while he thought of how he would face his father. He would have to keep her safe no matter what.
Khalid paced in the tent, he could not let his son go astray so easily, no not at this point. Now that he thought about it, he now understood his wife's fears for sending him abroad to school but he had dealt the woman a hard slap for questioning his decision. If she were here, she would have started her nagging, talking about how right she had been and how she had seen this happening and tried to avoid it. But she wasn't here, Allah bless her soul, she had died five years back in a plane crash.
As much as he bullied her, he liked her the most; of his four wives she was the boldest, never one to shy away from speaking up which she did on a regular. At first, her unnecessary boldness got on his nerves but in time he adjusted and came to admire that part of her. Now he had to deal with her son - their son. The stubbornness he had gotten from his mother and his attitude was his father's blessing. Khalid smiled. He would marry his son to Mariam. Timid little Mariam of royal lineage.
People craved for many things, some impossible things and some realistic and most would do whatever to get that which they wanted. For Khalid, it was power, he couldn't be satisfied. Getting his son to marry Mariam would bring him to his goal, a bit closer. The only princess to the King of Saudi Arabia getting married to the Sheikh's son. He breathed in contempt.
Taheem walked into the tent, breaking Sheikh's Khalid's train of thoughts and bowed in greeting. Khalid smirked when Omar walked in, holding the American to his side. He watched the girl, her disheveled look as a result of the harsh desert winds and the fear which registered in her eyes he recognized as her fear of him. She looked away.
Khalid looked at Taheem without speaking a word and he understood, the man reached out and grabbed Megan's other arm, yanking her free from Omar and pulled her to himself tightly.
"Omar!" Megan screamed, the grip on her arm was firm and painful, the man's other arm crossed her shoulder, keeping her in place.
"Father!" Omar seethed. He couldn't wrestle Megan from Taheem without hurting her so he turned his anger to the Sheikh.
"I have a proposition for you Omar bin Khalid." Khalid spoke, ignoring his son's anger and walked towards his supposedly claimed bride, rubbing a thumb across her cheek which felt like dried pasta and fought the urge to just slap her hard across the face.
"She remains alive and well as long as you fulfill a simple wish of mine."
"A wish..?" Omar knew his father. The Sheikh was not a man of many words but each one he spoke, he kept them. A 'wish' as he called it, would be a compromise. He knew it.
"You wishes are forever always against mine." Omar spat.
"As true as that may be Omar, you will have to do as I say." Khalid was relatively calm and he smiled to his son.
"And what are your wishes?"
"To get married."
"Married? But I have..."
"You will marry the princess Mariam, the bride I have ordained for you."
"Or..." He glanced at Taheem who grabbed Megan's hair, tightly pulling back so that her neck was exposed and he placed a knife there. "....or you watch..."
Taheem dragged the knife ever so slightly, tearing the top of her skin and drawing blood, she yelped in pain, careful not to move too much. Her eyes stung from all the dust and crying and she looked to Omar for help.
"Tawaqaf! (Stop!) What are you doing?!" Omar desperately wanted to put a thousand bullets into Taheem's robotic head. He was so angry that he felt his eyes begin to tear up.
"Taheem is only holding back, doesn't mean he wouldn't. You've seen what he can do, haven't you?"
Omar knew, he had seen the man kill without emotions and without remorse. One word of approval from the Sheikh and Taheem would not hesitate.
"Why are you doing this?" Omar kept his voice low but his father didn't reply. He looked away in defeat and anger. He just had to be born as this man's son. "I will do as you have said."
"Good. We will return home tomorrow, you should get some rest."
The Sheikh smiled, then sat back on the cushion, folded his legs and closed his eyes. His plan was falling into place.
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
It had not been long since Mariam had been excused from the discussion between her father the King, Omar and the Sheikh, she had returned back to her room in anger and just plopped herself down on the bed. The men would still be downstairs talking of the marriage and what not, she didn't want to be stuck in a marriage with the proud and pompous Omar bin Khalid bin Aaban, only son of the Sheikh.She laid down on her bed staring up at the ceiling and not paying any attention to the chattering of Saadiya and Parvina. They had been talking non stop of Omar, most especially Parvina who had made her intentions crystal clear about him; if the marriage didn't work out between him and Mariam, she would convince her mother to talk to her father about the matter. She was after all the daughter of the Queen's step brother, so she stood with just enough chance of getting him as Mariam."So Mariam, what happened? How did it go?" Parvina asked excitedly."Went well." Mariam kept
Megan paced the room, she had been in here for two days without stepping out and was bored already, she really just wanted to leave not just this room but the house as well and possibly leave Saudi Arabia. Was she really going to be locked in here until after Omar's marriage to the princess was completed? The wedding was now only seven days away. She wondered if Omar was really going to marry her? What if he refused and didn't go through with it, what would the Sheikh do to him? More still, what would he do to her?What could he do anyway, being an American citizen had its perks, but she still could not help the fear that claimed her heart whenever the Sheikh was near. She held her chest to feel her heart beat and knew that just by thinking of the Sheikh, it had accelerated a bit. She managed to smile weakly and crashed on the bed tiredly.She just wished Omar would come and assure her that all was well and that he would never leave her. Call her clingy or whatever