Behind Closed Doors : Prologue :
"Oh my Allah, she didn't just do that?!" Sabera's jaw dropped as she re-scanned the note in her hand as if looking at it might change the words on it.
"She did! Now what?" Zaheeda, the only family to the sister that did the disappearing act on the day of her nikah, groaned in frustration.
The duo stared at each other in disbelief. What were they going to tell the groom and his family, who were to arrive at any moment?
The ringing of the bell echoed in the old double story house and Zaheeda outwardly cringed.
Neatening her peach bridesmaid's dress and adjusting her hijaab slightly, she let out a shuddering breath before Sabera pulled her toward the front door.
"Just remain calm, we will think up a plan. Just breathe." Sabera comforted her, but Zaheeda's insides were twisting with nervousness.
The door was pulled open and the entire Chohan clan stood there with huge smiles on their faces.
After greetings were done and hugs were made, the womenfolk were lead to the huge sunken lounge by Sabera, while Zaheeda waited on the men who were still coming through.
"As-salaamu-alaikum Zaheeda..." the greeting alone had Zaheeda turning red in the face.
"Wa-alaikum-salaam Mahir..." she returned softly to the man that was to be her brother-in-law.
After all the men were seated outside in the tent with friends and colleagues of the bride, Mahir asked for a minute of Zaheeda's time and she literally closed her eyes and bit her lip before she turned to face him with her gaze lowered.
There was no way she could look him in the eye if he enquired about her sister.
"Is... Is everything okay? You look abit too flushed. Or is it the peach colour of your dress?" he asked lightheartedly to try and ease the tension, but he failed.
"Ma...Mahir, um, everything is..." she paused uncomfortably.
"Oh here you are! Thank Allah you broke the news to him before the nikah!" Sabera yapped away, not noticing the thoughtful look on Mahir's face as he watched Zaheeda turn from peach to tomato in a second.
"Broke the news?" the soft question was aimed at Zaheeda and she found herself blurting out everything, from the time she got up that morning, to the time her sister's note on the bed was seen not too long ago.
"What the Jahannam? Are you serious? My entire family has driven for miles to get here, they're expecting a nikah to take place and you tell me this now?! Look, you better get your sister here before the time of Asr sets in or I..." he removed his topi and ran his fingers through his hair. wedding dresses in peach color
"I don't know where she is... We only just discovered her note not too long ago." Zaheeda mumbled out, her nerves on edge.
Mahir looked crestfallen, he had a haunted look in his eyes and her heart went out to him.
"Come here..." he grabbed her arm roughly and pulled her toward the sunken lounge and pointed to his mother, who was smiling widely at something one of Sabera's aunties was saying.
"Look at my mother, look at her smile... Not once did I hurt her in the thirty two years of my life, she's a heart patient, she can't take shock easily... What do you think this news would do to her? You better find a way out or I promise you..." his eyes darkened with anger and threat.
"I promise you I will make your life hell!" the warning was given and he walked away.
Zaheeda swallowed audibly, she was too wired up to know what to do, what to say to the whole situation that her sister left her in and her tears fell unbidden.