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 you wanted to wear it, you couldn't just go anywhere on your own and even your friends were selected and it was much worse when you were born into the family of a high status. There were things expected of you and you had no room for flip ups. You couldn't let anyone down.

She was grateful that she had friends, Saadiya and Parvina. She used to have more but they were married of and married women had no time for friends or social gathering except during wedding ceremonies or when they accompanied their husbands to events. But even so, you couldn't just wander off on your own.

Mariam sat in front of the open window after the wreckage she had caused in her room, staring out into nothingness. She had flung out all her dresses from the wardrobe onto the floor and scattered the bed, ripping off the bed sheet and tearing open the pillows. The tiny feathers littered the top of the bed and every where around it. She didn't cry, she was not sure that she had any tears left to cry and she had taken out her frustration on the pillows.

The evening sun glowed a dull orange, blending into the blue sky and causing a layer of pink to stretch across. She watched the birds fly off into the evening, most of them in pairs and she couldn't help the sigh that escaped her lips. 

She had received the news of her engagement to the Sheikh's son and she took it well - at least that was what her father saw so yes she took it very well indeed. Nodding and agreeing while looking extra dolled up in front of him. 

She couldn't dare meet his eyes, she wasn't supposed to. Not like he would mind because he usually encouraged her to do so, saying it showed how confident she was but she had felt uneasy at that time so staring down at the floor and listening to him was the only thing she could do.

"His name is Omar bin Khalid and he is the Sheikh's only son. Have you heard of him before?"

"Yes father." She had, the man was the rumor amongst the girls and Parvina had been her source.

"You have? He is quite a popular person isn't he?"

"The rumors carry a lot about him father. I have heard what they carry."

"So you have also seen him?" 

"No father, I do not leave the palace so often and I have no business to take me there."

"Hmm... Well, I think he would make a good husband for you. What do you say?" He had asked.

She knew he only asked out of courtesy but what could she say? She couldn't refuse anyway, not like she had a say in matters concerning her own future.

"I believe you will make only the best selection for me father. I have no objections." 

Her father had been pleased by her reply, like he was expecting her to say any thing different and in contrary to what he had said.

Most girls did not have the privilege of talking with their fathers concerning their marriage or who they were to get married to. All they were to know were his name and the wedding date but Mariam had a cry close relationship with her father but even at that, the man didn't take insubordination lightly, not even from her.

She sighed again and kept staring out the window, a lone tear fell from her eye but she didn't bother to wipe it, right now all she wanted to do was to cry. She had practically spent her entire life being groomed up for an unknown man that would come and move her from this grand cell and into another and the only person who could cure her aching heart had been gruesomely killed in her presence. 

As much as she did not want to think about it, she could not help the memories that flooded in, for the first time in her life she had witnessed the death of a human and it sent all kinds of fears through her body. 

For someone to be alive and breathing this minute and in the next, his head was rolling on the ground, totally detached from the rest of his body while the blood spilled continually from the neck. 

Father had ordered the beheading after finding out of their secret love affair, she fainted immediately the deed had been done and had woken up in her room. She had never seen this ruthless side of her father before and it scared her to the bone. 

After that he didn't talk to her for weeks and no one was allowed to visit her. She had cried, pools of tears, endless streams and for days she had been locked up in her room, only servants were allowed in to deliver to her food and water. 

Yes, she had been in love with a "mere man" as father had put it, incapable of acquiring the finer things in life to be able to keep her in comfort, but she found true comfort in his heart and she rested her head on the soft pillows of his love, until she had cause him to be killed. She would forever blame herself.

Omar, the Sheikh's only son, she knew of the man but had never seen him, rumors say he was as handsome as the setting sun over the pools of Al Lith, graceful and diversely educated and had never lived a full year in Saudi without traveling. His age she didn't know but she would be turning twenty in six days and her engagement would be two days after. 

She was grateful that father had let her stay till she turned twenty before getting her married off, most girls she knew were married at the age of sixteen and some at a lesser age. Some like Zayna. 

Zayna had been married off at thirteen, much to the protest of her mother but like the girl, she also didn't have a say in her father's decision and in the end, Zayna was given away to a seventy three year old merchant as his sixth wife. Zayna didn't get to Fourteen, she didn't even stay a week because the third day into her marriage she died, apparently her husband had forced his way into her and she practically bled to death. 

Mariam cringed at the remembrance, her body vibrated when she thought of herself being in that situation, causing her to develop a fear of getting married. She had lived her sixteenth year in dread that her father would one day speak to her of her marriage, but it never happened. Then she turned eighteen, many of her friends had gotten married at that age but she wasn't, so it some how didn't come as a total surprise when her father made mention of her marriage now that she was turning twenty. She knew it had to come, sooner or later. 

She thought of Aadil, her lover and the gruesome way he was killed and she wept, vowing never to love Omar bin Khalid. She would hate him.

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