Double Trouble

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem


Some people are talkers. They can talk themselves out of most things. They can talk when they are in a strange environment. They can talk when they are in trouble. They can even use their talking when they find themselves in a situation that is… let’s say… less than favorable.

Now for one, I was not that kind of person. I never was. Yes, I was tough and I was always up for a challenge… but talking was not my forte.

So of course, when Ahmed stormed up to me, wondering what was going on, who the baby was and why there was a strange male in the vicinity… I obviously did not know what to say. Instead, I just waited for him to say the first thing before I put my foot in it.

He walked up idly past the flashy Ferrari sports car in the driveway, looked at me, and then cast a disgusted look at Rubeena’s brother.

“Who are you?” He said, not even making any effort to sound polite.

Of course, I wouldn’t have expected any more from Ahmed. He was tough by nature and made no secret of it. He didn’t see himself as rude. For him, he was just being direct.

Adam was frowning slightly as he saw my brother, and in the streaky sunlight I can see his brown hair looking a little less informal than the last time. He wasn’t all gelled and business-like today. He looked like he was a little calmer than the last time… also less intimidating… except , he was looking annoyed too.

He stood up straight and looked at Ahmed squarely.

“Who are you?” He asked just as directly,  raising his eyebrows at Ahmed questioningly.

“What’s going on Khawlah?” Ahmed said, not liking the response he was getting and narrowing his eyes at me. “Is this your boyfriend?”

Of course, at this point, I literally wanted the floor to open up and transport me to some other space and time. I did not, for the life of me, know what to say.

”No no,” I said, a little worried that this Adam guy was also going to jump to conclusions about me.

Maybe he would think that I was some kind of desperate young girl who was making false allegations. Maybe he thought I was trying to set him up. It was just a wonder that whilst they were busy bickering, none of them noticed the baby in my arms.

“I was wondering if Khawlah had gone mad,” Ahmed muttered, almost to himself.

“And so what if I was?” Adam was saying, now taking on an entirely different approach. His body language has now gone on the defensive and I could see that he was getting angry.

I opened my mouth, slightly agape, knowing that I had to say something.

“Hey!” I shouted at the pair of them, trying to get their attention. “Didn’t you’ll even notice that there’s a baby here in my arms?”

They both stopped and looked at me, frowning slightly.  I knew they thought I was gone mad, but they were acting crazy too.

“I need help,” I confessed desperately.  “Zaydaan has a fever and I don’t know what to do. I’m kind of panicking.”

I looked at Ahmed with pleading eyes, knowing he would understand why I brought him here.

“Do you want to take him to a doctor?”

I nodded, then shook my head.

A doctor? I couldn’t. Even though it would be a great plan… I just needed someone to put this all in perspective for me. To help me think.

“Wait,” Rubeena’s brother said, actually speaking so softly I wasn’t sure if he was. He ran his hand through his hair and looked at us both.

”Let’s try a cool shower,” he suggested, his eyes lighting up. “And I’ll try for Rubeena-“

”I did,” I said, cutting him short. “She’s not answering.”

”As usual,” he muttered.

He shrugged it off and hastily took the sleeping child from me. He was still hot to the touch and I could tell that his uncle was just as worried as he felt him. He hastily took him to the bathroom while I busied myself in trying to sort the other kids out. Their nails were long and the sand had gotten underneath. I knew that Rubeena could be home at any time, and even though she hadn’t given me many instructions about the kids, I knew she would expect everything to be perfect.

Athough I loved looking after kids, Rubeena wasn’t always easy. Her expectations were high and I had always exceeded them.

I sighed, annoyed that I had always been so ambitious. I ushered the kids to the bathroom, determined to do a quick wash and get them looking neat and clean in record time.

Ahmed, on the other hand, was looking at me inquiringly, probably wondering what on earth I called him for. He knew nothing about kids, and even if he did, he was certainly the type to act like he didn’t in case, by my chance, he looked a little less macho than he wanted to. He tentatively entered the doorway of the house, looking around curiously at its expensive interior and raising his eyebrows.

He was definitely bought.

Unlike the rest of my family , Ahmed had this strong inclination towards ‘the good stuff’. He liked nice things. He liked fast cars. Expensive watches. The best perfumes.


Ahmed loved it, and it was one of the biggest tests he had to fight off since Abba could no longer afford all the good stuff he used to.

So, although he was a bit peeved at Rubeena’s brother for being here, when he clearly didn’t want him to be near his sister, the fact that the house was beautiful and there was an unmentionably expensive sports car in the driveway, was already changing his entire perspective.

He looked at everything around him now with a hint of interest, already letting me know that he had something else to focus on besides my emergency. He was consumed by ty splendor… looking like he was being devoured by its materialism. Ahmed was very much occupied.

I tried to ignore the crying from the bathroom and hurried to the room to take out some clothes for the kidswhile I had a few minutes free, letting the two big ones dress themselves. They didn’t always do it perfectly but I loved that they tried and were getting better every time. I was so absorbed in them that I didn’t even hear the door opening behind me.

I almost jumped as he spoke, in a hushed voice.

“It’s gone,” he said, hesitating as he saw my shocked expression and takin a step back. I didn’t expect him to come here. I didn’t exactly know what to say, so I just  nodded.

”Wohere can I leave him?”

Zaydaan was finally sleeping peacefully and my heart felt so much more at ease. I pointed to the camp cot outside the playroom, and I watched as thier uncle carefully settled him on the pillow.

I wondered how he knew so much about babies. He seemed young. I mean, he was older than me, but  barely old enough to have his own. I wondered if he had babysat a lot of Rubeena before.

He had seemed so busy. Before when I had met him… I didn’t think he had time for kids. He seemed tired. Fed-up. Annoyed.

But today… today, he had surprised me. Today, he had literally saved the day.

I smiled stiffly, not exactly at him, but hoping to seem appreciative .

“Thank you,” I said, not very loudly, but just audibly.

I knew he heard me because he looked up slightly as he stepped away fro the cot, and looked at me, probably for the first time, with a  more interest than before.

“Welcome,” he said indifferently, looking away quickly. It was a bit strange, and even though I always knew that I didn’t have much time for boys, this wasn’t a usual conversation that any girl would have. Well, so I thought.

“What’s your name again?” He asked, and then I knew that I was going into a danger zone.

Instead of this just being precise and a means to get out of a situation I had been in, it was becoming a little more friendly that I liked. But how could I ignore him?

”It’s Khawlah,” I said hastily, turning away to leave and wondering where Ahmed was. Hopefully he would take me home and not go without me.

“Are you leaving?” He asked, and I hoped he wouldn’t go on complaining about the kids like he did the last time.

I prayed that I could escape silently and he would just take over. I jus had to get out of this conversation with the least effort on my part.

Now, one thing most people knew about me was that I was a reader. I loved my books, and since I loved them I much, I would go out of my way to find educational and informative books on Islam. Not always, but I loved to read about different aspects.

I remembered what I had read once. As I was getting older, I had become more aware of myself and interactions. Now aware of boys, especially during the past few months, I knew that there was a certain way to act. I knew there was a certain way in which I should speak as a Muslims girl, especially when it came to guys.

Allah (SWT) said in the Quran; “then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner”.

And I saw it all the time. Girls who would talk to boys at school… or even on the phone. It was so weird how their voices and tones would suddenly become annoyingly sweet and sugar-coated when there was a guy involved. To keep our voices as low and unattractive as we could was the only way to keep away trouble and unnecessary sin.

There were alarm bells ringing in my head and I knew that I had to get away. Adam’s gaze was boring into the back of my head.

”I have to go,” I murmured, almost to myself, turning around again to retreat.

“One minute,” He said, almost convincing me that there was something important I had been missing.

I glanced at the kids. They looked neat enough. I looked at my watch.

It was time for Rubeena to be back, and it wasn’t the first time that she was late. I knew that I would have to leave now, and I didn’t feel bad because her brother was here. What was annoying me the most though was that this guy thought I had all the time in the world to be here.

I turned back slightly, offering a tiny wave to the boys who were watching, making it known that I was on my way out. Their uncle was more than capable. If Abba comes home before us, I knew we would have a lot of explaining. I would have to spend the drive home convincing Ahmed to let it be for a little while longer. Just to buy me some time.

I was caught by surprise when Rubeena’s brother’s voice called out again.

“Will I see you again, Khawlah?”

I almost stopped in my tracks as I heard him, feeling a little ruffled and slightly unnerved by his audacity.

He was clearly not just asking out of my own concern. There was an underlying hint of interest in his voice, and I could tell that he was quite experienced in this kind of chatter.

Of course, it had to be at that precise point that my brother chose to come and look for me, and him hearing it made me me want to run and hide. I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. His penetrating gaze moved from me to the guy, and back to me. I was already scared… worried. Hoping he wouldn’t think that I was actually flirting with this outrageously confident guy.

He gestured for me to follow him, without saying a word, and I blindly followed, looking down and trying to appear as innocent as I could. I didn’t do anything wrong, but I wasn’t sure how it would explain it all to Ahmed.

I could tell that his mind was already working, and his amber eyes were filled with an obscured emotion that I just couldn’t put my finger on.

We had just reached the car, and Rubeena pulled in. I waved at her as I got to the car, gesturing that I would call her later.

The look she gave me back wasn’t very convincing, but I just hoped that she would understand my predicament when she knew the full story. I couldn’t really worry about her right now, because all I could think about was the onslaught I would probably get in the car.

I could already tell that Ahmed was revving up for something, and it’s wasn’t just to drive his car.

Maybe my little adventure was a little more trouble than I had anticipated…


4 thoughts on “Double Trouble

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s