Mazin’s Loves

Mazin’s Loves

Part 1

He saw her from across the room, and he liked what he saw. Her little black dress was elegant  and that was what he found most appealing. He went up to her, totally neglecting the woman he had arrived to the wedding with. And when reaching her table he asked her is he could bum a cigarette off of her as his eyes hit the cigarette pack she casually placed on the table.

She smiled and told him to help himself. So he did, and he even helped himself to the seat next to hers. “You are a friend of the bride’s or the groom’s” he asked. She replied “Both, the groom is my cousin and the bride is my friend, what about you?”. “Both, he said the bride and groom work together and they both work with me”. After a short pause he said “I’m Mazin and you are” “Yasmine” she said. “You look like a Yasmine “ he said “I have this gift where I can guess people’s names just by looking at their face”.

“Charming” she sarcastically, said. “So what do you do when you are not listening to “Charming” men like me ?” Mazin asked. “I am in marketing” she replied while scanning the room and in fact registering that Mazin was the best looking guy there. “And , what about you?” she said “What do you do when you are not trying to guess the names of total strangers?”. ”Good one”Mazin said “ I have my own consultancy firm. It is the busiest in the city, and by the way I don’t actually spend my time looking at people to guess their names because I am a very busy man. When you do something as unique as I do you will be busy”.

“I  stand corrected”, Yasmine said. Then, she said “I like this song, let’s dance” as she really wanted to cut this conversation short.

Upon hearing these words Mazin diligently followed her to the dance floor. Together, they danced, and danced, and danced. But then, the dance was cut short when the woman Mazin came told him she was going home.

Mazin looked at the woman as she left, then he turned back to Yasmine and said “Did anyone tell you that your smile  is the cutest I had ever seen”. She smiled at him and then she said in a more serious tone  “Was that your date?”. “Who, Layal, oh God no. Layal is my best best friend. I tell her everything and she tells me everything”. Yasmine then said “Shall we sit down”. Mazin said “As you like”

For the rest of the evening, the rest of the room seemed to fade away for Yasmine as she liked more and more things about Mazin with every passing hour. He was witty, he was smart, he was good looking, he was funny, and he just knew how to make her feel like she was the only one in the room. He, on the other hand, liked her smile, her little black dress, her long light brown hair, her green eyes, and he liked her laugh. He could tell that the girl was going to be fun to be around, so  he registered in his mind that she was worth knowing.

Yasmine saw Mazin as a great guy and she also registered in her mind that he was worth knowing. By the end of the evening they exchanged phone numbers and they both agreed that they should meet again.

Reaching her home, Yasmine felt great about herself. She met a guy who was really in to her. A guy who said she was smart. To confirm her happiness further she got an SMS from him that read “It was amazing spending the evening with you. Good Night !Mazin”

She replied “I had a great time too” and Mazin instantly knew she was hooked. A few seconds later Mazin got another SMS .This SMS was from Layal . The SMS read “You vile pathetic human being. Why ask me to go with you and be your date to the wedding if you are going to ditch me. Why forget everything between us and behave like we are not even dating”

Mazin replied “I didn’t forget you nor will I ever forget we are dating, you are the only one for me. I think I just lost my head”. Layal replied “Don’t ever talk to me again, no one ever disrespected me the way you did today”. He didn’t reply. But he was thrilled that Layal was out of his life. And that now, he can focus more on Yasmine.

The next morning , Yasmine  got an sms    from Mazin. The SMS read “Good morning beautiful, hope you have a nice day”. “Have a geat day yourself “ she replied.

“Let’s go for coffee later today. I really need someone to talk to” Mazin said. “Sure,” she said and they made plans to meet at a coffee house in Adnoun that evening.  When she arrived to see him, he pulled a chair out for her . She sat opposite him. She told him “You look down what’s wrong?”. “I had a busy day at work, everyone expects things of me, and to top it all off Layal had a fight with me. “ he said these words while looking down , and his eyes revealed a genuine sadness.

That sadness caught Yasmine\s sympathy. She calmed him down, and told im that she didn’t like Layal from the start and that as his friend she should be understanding not demanding. Upon hearing these words Mazin thanked Yasmine for being the only woman who understood him. Yasmine then got a phone call from her friend Abeer. Abeer asked if she could join them, and when she got Mazin’s permission Yasmine allowed her to do so. “Abeer is my best friend , she said. She will cheer you up, she is so funny”

Abeer walked into the coffee house and Mazininstantly noticed her good looks . His face lit up, and he suddenly became the charming guy he was at the wedding. He said jokes, Abeer laughed to. Yasmine felt a bit jelous, but being the girl she was she hid her jelousy. Later that evening he thanked Yasmine again and he told her that they should make plans. With that SmS she was reassured once again that Mazin had eyes for her only. Mazin also asked her to thank Abeer for a great evening assuring her once again . Then he said although he had only known her for two days, he feels he had known her for years. Yasmine was thrilled; she even picked up the phone and told Abeer what a great guy he was.

She instantly then went to his facebook page, and on his face she was that most of his friends were girls, and that he had already added Abeer. But, looking at the SMS she decided not to doubt Mazin, he was a great guy and she was lucky. But who are those girls, she asked herself. Am I just one of many?. She was confused.

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Part 2

For the next 2 weeks following their initial meeting, Mazin and Yasmine spoke about everything and anything. They often. And when they didn’t meet they were sure to talk on the phone. Yasmine, felt she was getting more and more interested in Mazin and she believed that he was feeling the same way. She was happy , as she finally met someone who helped her move from the demands of her day to day job . She often spoke to her friend Abeer about her feelings, but her hopes came crushing down when Abeer informed her during a casual phone conversation that she spends 2 to 3 hours chatting with Mazin online every morning while they are both at work.

The minute Abeer told her this piece of news, Yasmine felt fooled, as Mazin had told her that morning times were off limits for him since he spends them meeting with clients. She even hated her job at that moment, as she found no time there to chat with friends or even to get online. Trying to hide those feelings from her friend she casually said” Yes, he told me that you guys chat” an outright lie she created on the spot to regain her pride. Abeer said “Yes, he is so funny. “ then she afferemd “But, he always says great things abut you. Are you guys seeing each other? He seems into you”

Yasmine said “I don’t know, we meet every day almost and we talk a lot, but I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to see him in that way”. She said these words knowing pretty well that they formed yet another lie, and she even wondered if Abeer could see through these pointless comments the fact that she was  wishing they could be an item.   Abeer then said “He did tell me that all three of us should go out for dinner, what do you think ?”. “I am busy now at work we can plan something soon sure” Yasmine said. ”Anyway sweetie, I have to go” and with that she and Abeer exchanged their goodbyes.

The minute she put down the phone she found herself lost in her bad thoughts “Was he interested in my friend?” she asked herself “Was he interested in me only to get close to my friend ?” or “Is it that he is not interested in me or my friend and he is interested in someone else we don’t know” or “Is he interested in both of us and a bunch of other people ?”.  These thoughts really made Yasmine confused and yet within the confusion she was also angry at her friend. After all, she introduced them to each other, so why are they getting closer to each other ? she wondered. “What if her friend knew she was interested in Mazin would she back off?|. She felt she had to tell her just to avoid any further misunderstandings, so she sent an sms  to her and said “ By the way, I lied . I am interested in Mazin “ . She instantly got a replay from Abeer that said “Sweetie , it is obvious and I know”. She then said “I apologize for asking but are you by any chance  interested in him, or is he interested in you?” .

Abeer said “God No, I can’t believe you would think that of me!” . Then, she called her and gave her a lecture about ethics and how she wouldn’t even consider seeing a guy her best friend was remotely interested in, and that the chats meant nothing to her.  Embarrassed at herself Yasmine apologized, and hung up but her sense of confusion didn’t go away.

Then to top off her confusion, she got an sms from Mazin that said “Hey sweetie, want to go out tonight. Sorry for not talking to you earlier but I had back to back meetings all morning”. She replied that to him that she was busy that night, but that she would love to see him the next day. In fact, she even suggested that Abeer join them. After all, she wanted to see how he acts towards each one of them in front of each other and then to decide accordingly  who he had eyes for.

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Part 3

The restaurant was crowded, yet Yasmine was still able to spot Mazin. To her, in the room full of people he was the cutest, smartest, and most charming. She smiled to herself at that thought, and then instantly after that smile felt fear, a fear that she may be falling for him without even knowing how he felt about her.

“How do I look?” she asked Abeer, and Abeer replied “You look stunning”. And she did in fact look stunning. She had her hair done for the dinner, and she wore an elegant pair of pants and shirt that not only flattered her figure but also her eyes. To her, this dinner was important. She really needed to know how Mazin felt.

Both she and Abeer walked up to Mazin’s table, and just like the gentleman he was, he stood up and greeted them both. Then he complimented Abeer on her hair, a detail that made Yasmine burn with anger.   “What was so different about Abeer’s hair anyway?” she thought to herself “Couldn’t he see what efforts I have been thought to look nice?” she thought. She then sat quietly and a sorrow fell over her the minute she realized that Mazin didn’t notice her.

And, yes the rest of the evening didn’t go any better as Abeer and Mazin shared jokes and laughed, and enjoyed each other’s company. And she allowed herself to fade in the background. She looked at the clock on the wall and realized that two hours had passed. She felt that she was about to cry, so she got up from the table and excused herself to the ladies’ room.

A few minutes later, Abeer followed her and she said with concern “What’s wrong?” Yasmine replied “Nothing” with anger. Abeer said “No, something is up. We are best friends You can tell me !”. Yasmine looked at her with rage and calmly said “If we are best friend’s then what are you doing hitting on the guy I am interested in?”. “If we are best friends then you would trust me and know that I am not” Abeer replied.   “Give me a beak Abeer, you are flirting, joking, laughing, I might as well not even be there to both of you”. Yasmine shouted. Abeer said “You know what, I think he is cute, there I said” it, but when I found out that you are interested I backed off”. “You don’t seem to be backing off to me. Look I am not going to fight over the guy if you like him go out with him” Yasmine said. And with these words they both walked out of the ladies room to re-join Mazin at the table.

Mazin looked at Yasmine and said “You don’t seem ok”. “I am fine Mazin” she said. “No you are not fine” he said. “I am” she laughed “ so now can we change the subject”. “Ok,” Mazin said “By the way, I love the color of your shirt, it is the same color of your beautiful eyes” he whispered to her while giving her a friendly pat on the back. She smiled and thanked him, but on the inside she was thrilled. He noticed her after all. “He does like my eyes, and maybe he does feel she I important to him. “ she thought to herself.

From that point on, the tension in the dinner eased and the three exchanged jokes and laughs together. When she went home, she was thrilled to get an sms from him saying “You made my evening wonderful. Thanks” . Unfortunately, her the happiness didn’t last . As the next mto find that he had sent her a second sms at 3am  that said “Thank you so much for introducing me to Abeer. She is a good friend”

She felt confused. Was Abeer a friend and she more? If she was a friend why is he thinking of her at 3 am. If he sent this sms to her, what sort of sms did he send to Abeer ? These questions circled in her head. She really didn’t know what to think.

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Part 4

The two weeks that followed that dinner were maybe the happiest in Yasmine’s life. She and Mazin were meeting more than ever. They spoke daily on the phone. They were almost inseparable. They exchanged books, movies, DVD’s, and they made plans to eat every meal together. The subjects they spoke about were varied. They spoke about food, drinks, movies, games, and everything else you can imagine. They shared their deepest darkest secrets with each other. And, they surely enjoyed each other’s company.

One day as she and Abeer sat for a cup of coffee at the mall, Abeer even told her that they made such a cute couple. She smiled shyly and said “I know, but the thing is we never said we were dating”. “But you look like a couple and he is such a nice guy” Abeer said. Yasmine replied “I know, he will tell me something eventually. I mean why else would he want to spend al this time with me”. “Yes he will”. Abeer told her.

After that meeting Abeer felt a sting in her heart. Mazin was indeed a nice guy, a guy who understood her jokes, a guy she laughed with all the time, a guy she felt she should have been with herself. The things she had in common with him were many, and he certainly knew how o make her feel important too. Her thoughts started going to a bad place , ”What if Mazin likes me. What if he wants to be with me? What if I win his heart. After all Yasmine is smarter, more sophisticated, and well I have the better sense of humor. He loves everything I say online. Maybe he is with her just because he has to be ” she thought to herself. Then these thoughts made her feel terrible, as Yasmine was her friend and she knew that she should not betray her friend under any circumstance. “But then again, they are not dating, Yasmine said so herself” she thought, but yet she remembered very well how interested her friend was in Mazin.

She then decided that she will continue talking to him online all the time. Maybe if he on his own accord shows interest in her then she will agree to date him. That way, she wouldn’t be doing anything wrong or would she be ? Oh how confusing the whole issue was. Then she calmed her thoughts. She said to herself that if he were interested in Yasmine, he would surely tell her. If he does tell her, then she would by ethical standards back off.

So, with this resolve she decided to be online all the time. The minute he showed up online, she greeted him. He greeted her back. She sent him songs, videos, and shared wall posts with him. And with time, they developed their own sets of inside jokes. He saw her as a funny, cute girl. She saw him as a funny and charming gentleman. They became inseparable online, and they even started talking to each other everyday n the phone.

Yasmine, in the meantime, started sensing a change in Mazin. He called her less. His morning meetings were more frequent and so where Abeer’s. He hardly replied to her sms, and their meetings started to spread out more.

Yasmine was feeling a stronger pain in her heart than ever before. She needed to confide in someone, so she called Abeer and asked to see her. She was almost in tears when she saw her. She told her in great details about the change, and Abeer maintained a blank face and an inner feeling of guilt while watching her friend agonize. After hearing Yasmine out to the end, Abeer told her “Look, I am your friend and I have to be honest with you. If he isn’t talking to you, then he may not be interested. My advice to you is to stop talking to him and see what happens”. Yasmine said, “I know, but I really like the guy”. “You will get over him if he isn’t for you” Abeer said.

And, from that point in the conversation to the moment they parted she did all her efforts to change the subject. But upon arriving to her home, Abeer felt a sense of guilt swipe over her. Her friend’s heart was breaking and she was flirting with the very guy her friend liked. She didn’t know what to do. So in the midst of her thoughts she called Mazin and asked him if he wanted to go out for ice cream. She needed to see him. She wanted to ask him there and then what he thought of Yasmine. She just had to know. She called, and he was thrilled to hear from her, so naturally he agreed to see her.

During their outing, they spoke about everything in life. As usual, their conversation was pleasant. As usual, he looked handsome in her eyes. And she found herself drifting from the need to ask him. “Why should I ask him, he obviously likes me” she thought to herself. Then, out of the blue, her sense of reason kicked in “She had to ask him, she owed it to her need to do the right thing”. She blurted out, “Don’t you see Yasmine, why are you not seeing Yasmine, don’t you like her. Does she like you ?”. And, as soon as the words came out she hated herself for asking. She realized how tactless the question was. She realized that she sounded like the jealous wife, even if she had no intention to. This was not what was meant to be asked and she knew it.

And, as soon as she said these words Mazin’s facial expression changed, he paused, and looked at her in confusion. And then he replied

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Part 5

“I don’t know how I feel about her”, Mazin replied. His reply naturally disappointed Abeer, as  this was not the answer she wanted to hear. She really had hoped that he would say something along the lines of “She is like a sister to me” or “We are just friends”.

So, seeing the disappointment on her face Mazin then said “Sometimes I feel we are more than friends. Sometimes I feel me and you are more than friends. Sometimes I feel she is just a friend. Sometimes I feel you are just a friend. Sometimes I feel she is like a sister to me, and sometimes I feel you are just a sister to me” he then paused and said in a slightly higher pitch “Why are you asking me this question now. Let’s forget it and have fun”. Abeer calmly said “yes let’s forget it and have fun”.

But for the rest of that evening, Abeer couldn’t just have fun. She felt as if she had been hit by a bucket of cold water.   She turned ice cold. She found that she wasn’t even listening to what he was saying. She wasn’t even laughing at his jokes. Her mind was preoccupied. It was preoccupied by one thought and one thought only “Why does he not like me. Why does he have the slightest feelings for Yasmine?” she silently kept asking herself. Mazin sensed her coldness so he asked her “Abeer, shall I walk you to your car?” She said, “Yes please do”.

As they walked in the night streets of the city  in silence, He tried to hold Abeer’s hand, but she pulled it away. He offered to give her his jacket but she coldly declined , telling him she was not cold. He told her that he wore  this  particular jacket because he knew she liked it. But, she didn’t respond. She couldn’t respond.  She was too angry to.

Being the savvy man that he was, Mazin instantly knew that Abeer was hit with the sting of jealousy.   He felt that he had to do something, anything, to cut the tension. So, when they finally reached her car he said “You know what, I know Yasmine likes me. But you are my favorite. I wasn’t able to tell you before because then I would be wronging Yasmine. ”To those words she smiled and upon seeing her smile he said “Yes, that is the smile I like to see”. “If you really like me then Yasmine should get over it. I really like you and I think we deserve to be together” Abeer quietly replied.

He replied “Give me time sweetie, and I won’t let you down” then he gave her a small peck on the cheek and walked away. Looking back at her he said “You make me so happy”. ”You make me happy too” she said, and then  she got into her car. She was filled with joy. She felt that she had won and that the world was hers.

Mazin also went to his car but he didn’t feel any joy. Instead, he felt the depth of what he had done. He didn’t want to commit, as committing wasn’t for him.  He didn’t feel that he wanted to lose any of the two girls either. Then he thought, “what if he had committed to either one of them and somebody better came along?”

To him, they were both great girls for sure. But if he committed to one, the other would be upset. Then he smiled to himself  and said “I am a real devil, and all women are bound to love me”. He then put on some dance music at  full blast and drove off in his car. As he was driving, he thought “What can I do if every woman loves me. Let these two beauties fight it out and if when they are done I am still interested then I will see what I can do”

Then he remembered that he wasn’t sure if Yasmine was interested in him. He felt she was but he could never tell. So he decided that he needed to find out.

So  as part of his resolve to find answers , he sent Yasmine  a message. The message said “I miss you, I was thinking about you so I decided to say hi. Sleep tight babe”.

Surely enough, Yasmine saw the message the next morning and she replied by telling him that he brightened her day. Then, following a string of flirtatious messages Yasmine and Mazin even made arrangements to meet after work. In the meantime, Abeer called, called, and called him, she sms’d him, she called his landline, and she emailed him, but she got no reply.

That evening he SMS to Abeer telling her that he couldn’t meet her. And over a romantic dinner he told Yasmine that he liked her. He told her, he wanted them to become closer to one another, and that he was now sure more than ever that she was the girl he wanted to be with.

In reality, Mazin didn’t really know whether or not he felt that Yasmine was the one, but he felt that he didn’t have a choice. He didn’t want to lose her. He didn’t want Abeer to tell her about their outing the night before. He needed her to feel that she was the one. He needed both girls to remain interested until he was able to decide what he wanted.

He told Yasmine that he needed their relationship to remain a secret as he needed time to tell his family, and after dropping her off to her car. He kissed her on the cheek. He went to his car and sent Abeer an sms that read he was busy all-day and that he missed her so much. Abeer was thrilled, she felt he cared for her.

Meanwhile, Yasmine was unable to contain her happiness so she called her friend Abeer and said “I was told not to tell but I can’t keep the good news any longer. I have to tell you what Mazin told me today. But, don’t tell him I told you. He will be very upset” and from that point on, she told Abeer all the inner details of the evening.

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Part 6

Throughout Yasmine’s account of Mazin’s expression of love to her, Abeer listened and listened, while only adding the occasional “Really”, “My God”, “Wow”, and “That is so sweet”. As Abeer said these words, her thoughts were racing madly in her head. She kept asking herself how Mazin could tell her and her friend that he was interested in them both. Was he a player? she asked herself. But, as soon as that thought entered her head she instantly negated it. She decided that Mazin was just too adorable to play games, and that her fiend probably pressured him into admitting to something he didn’t feel.

Abeer even felt sorry for Mazin and an annoyance towards her friend. How dare she pressure poor Mazin into committing to her, she thought . Within that thought she suddenly realized that two girls can play the game of pressure and interest. So, she planned to confront Mazin the next day.

Yasmine rambled on, and Abeer couldn’t even bring herself to fake happiness for her friend.
However she did know deep within her heart that Yasmine had every right to be happy. After all, she had true feelings for Mazin and Mazin told her he felt the same way, even if it was only the result of pressure.

But with that development, Abeer also realized that she had become the second party, a development she couldn’t understand especially after Mazin had clearly expressed his interest in her.”Poor Mazin” she thought “Tomorrow I will guide him and tell him how to dump Yasmine, he doesn’t love her. He loves me”

“He did express his interest in me, and he is just too charming to play games.” She thought “And, of course there was the possibility that Yasmine was lying in this case she would find out soon enough.

After coming to this realization, Abeer had to think, think fast. She couldn’t reveal her anger, because then Yasmine will see her interest in Mazin. She couldn’t show an air of carelessness either, because that would make Yasmine think she was jealous. But, then again, she thought to herself that she had every right to be jealous. Mazin deserved to be with her, a girl like her, a girl who understood him and not a serious girl like Yasmine. She was angry too angry to function and she felt she had to end the phone conversation fast, before she siad something she may regret .

“Sweetie I have to go, but I am so happy for both of you dear. This is what you had wanted.” She said“I knew you would be Abeer, that is why you were the first person I decided to tell” Yasmine said” But, please” she paused ”Please what dear” Abeer asked “ Don’t tell Mazin I told you. He wants to keep our love a secret until it becomes official” Yasmine said with urgency. “You know I would never even dream of doing a thing like that” Abeer said “Mazin and you are both great people and you deserve to be happy”. “I knew you have our best interest at heart” Yasmine said. “I am here for you, whatever advice you may need, or anything dear anything. I am here. And I want details, major details. Sweetie I have to go now. But, um when will you be seeing him again?” she asked. “Tomorrow for lunch, he has some work thing in the evening” Yasmine replied and with that she ended the phone conversation.

That night, Yasmine could hardly sleep from her excitement and Abeer could hardly sleep from her anger. In fact, Abeer waited anxiously for the next day to arrive. And, surely enough at 8 am she called Mazin.

The minute Mazin picked up with a sleepy “Hello” Abeer cheerfully said “Morning sugar, rise and shine”. Mazin sleepily replied “It is 8 am. “. Abeer said “Was thinking about you all night, and I couldn’t wait to call you”. Mazin yawned and said “But honey, it is 8 am?”. Abeer replied “I know, sweetie, I know. But, aren’t you happy to hear my voice ?”. “I am always happy to hear from you” he said “But at 8 am?” “Come on !” Abeer jokingly said “ Don’t be a big baby, besides I have news for you, news that will surely wake you up.”. Mazin sat up in his bed and asked “News at 8 am? This has to be good”. Abeer replied it is juicer than you think honey”. While trying to fake enthusiasm Mazin said “Tell me then, I am all ears”. Abeer paused for a few seconds and said “Well, Yasmine thinks you are a couple.” With these words, Mazin was now wide awake, he jumped out of his bed as he said “What, ha? Where the hell did she get such an idea? Is she crazy?”. Abeer calmly said “I don’t know Mazin sweetheart. Why don’t you ask her on your lunch date?”. “What freaken lunch date ?” he asked. “ I don’t know baby” Abeer jokingly said “But, it seems you have not one but two girlfriends”.

Mazin almost pleadingly asked “You know your friend is nuts right?”

Abeer said “hehehehe she could be a tad dramatic”. But with these words, Mazin didn’t feel safe. He felt that Abeer was suspicious. He even felt he had to convince her to trust him so he said “You know you and me have something good going right?”. Abeer said “I do sweetie I do”. You are not going to let a freak ruin it right ? Or ruin us ?” He asked. “Don’t worry Mazin. I never doubted you for a second. I just thought it was a funny little detail to share with you” she replied. Mazin said “Ok then, keep sharing the funny little developments. Have to get up now and get ready work. Have a nice day”.”Wait,” Abeer said “ Want to meet for lunch ?”. “Lunch sure, why not?” he casually replied. “Ok, good, see you then?” he said.

A few hours later, Mazin called Yasmine, and as soon as she picked up he hissed “How dare you, do something I specifically told you not to do. I get a phone call from Abeer congratulating me on our new relationship when I specifically told you not to tell anyone. What is wrong with you? ”. Yasmine shocked at his outburst said “I am so sorry. I got carried away. I guess I was so happy, I had to tell someone. I only told Abeer I swear.”. “YOU ARE SORRY?” Mazin shouted “Honey, I can’t hide anything from Abeer she is my best friend”. “You can’t hide anything from her. YOU CAN”T HIDE ANYTHING FROM HER ?” He shouted “Listen, I am the man in the relationship. When I say something you do it. Never ever will you tell that girl or anyone on this planet about what goes on between me and you. GET IT or is this something you girls do in girl world where you have to share everything with your friends, something that makes women like you turn stupid ?”.

“Mazin, please don’t shout at me?’ Yasmine said while trying to maintain a clear voice, a voice that she hoped had hidden the tears that by now were rolling down her cheeks “ I am so sorry” she said “I never meant to upset you”. “BE QUIET” he screamed into the phone . The scream took Yasmine by surprise. She started crying and couldn’t even hide it in her voice. But she hoped he wouldn’t notice. She didn’t want to appear weak. Mazin did notice and he hated himself for beating at the softness of Yasmine’s heart. He felt sorry for hurting her feelings. He was about to apologize. But then he remembered that he couldn’t apologize if he apologized now she may never take him or his words seriously. She may never realize the importance of keeping things between them private. So instead, he said “Listen” with anger “You hang up now, and you don’t think of calling me, sms-ing me, or even breathing my name to yourself. Until I call you. OK “ and with these words he hung up, leaving Yasmine to cry to herself in her office, while trying to work.

After the passing of a few minutes, Yasmine couldn’t hold in her tears any longer, and she was sure that her boss was soon was going to notice. So, she got off her seat and went into the ladies room where she sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed while keeping her face hidden in her hands to contain the noise. Every time she felt that her tears had dried up, she would remember a part of the phone conversation and the crying would start once again. She had to tell someone, anyone. But, she felt the world wouldn’t understand. The world wouldn’t understand her and anyone would tell her to dump him. Her brain was even telling her to dump him simply for insulting her.

Yet her heart was telling her that she loved him, with all his violence, his mean words, and his heartless behavior. Her heart was telling her that even if he had just insulted her, he had reason to. She did something against his will while he was trying to protect her reputation. She cried some more as she wondered why her friend told him. She cried as she wondered why their relationship had to be a secret. She cried, as she felt more and more admiration for him for being a man. And, she cried for not being to call him to tell him that she was sorry.

Mazin did feel a sting of sorrow for Yasmine. After all, he knew that she was probably crying to herself. But, he had no time for sorrow. He had to teach her a lesson. And, on another note he had to go on a lunch date with Abeer and cancel the lunch date with her for Abeer to believe him.

Meanwhile Abeer could hardly wait to meet Mazin for lunch. She, as always, felt that the highlight of her day was seeing him. And, surely enough the lunch between both of them was pleasant. They both laughed about Yasmine’s situation, as Mazin casually told Abeer how he told Yasmine off for coming between them. Suddenly Abeer panicked.”You told her I told you when she told me not to tell you?” she asked. “You didn’t tell me she told you not to tell me ” he said. “I didn’t did I?” she said. “Anyway, who cares. Now, she knows her place. And, she won’t ever interfere in our relationship again” Mazin said.

And straight after lunch, Mazin stopped by the flower store and sent roses to Yasmine’s office with a card expressing his hear felt apology. He then called Yasmine and told her how sorry he was for being so cruel. She told him how sorry she was for not listening to him, and he made plans to see her the next day as he was busy in the evening.

He then hung up leaving Yasmine feeling thrilled that they were back together. Meanwhile in her office, a few streets away, Abeer was thrilled that he was hers alone. “Let’s see, Yasmine, who had lunch with Mazin today” she jokingly said to herself. Both women were happy and Mazin could finally get soe reast knowing they were both his until he was able to choose which one he liked more. So, in celebration of his triumph and in recognition of his need for causal nighttime fun, Mazin picked up the phone and called Layla.

“We still on for tonight?” he asked. “Yup, can’t wait to see you. It’s been a while” she said. “Pick you up at 8?” he said. “Sure, 8 it is?” she said.

——————-

Part 7

Sticking to his plan, Mazin met Layla at 8:30 sharp. The minute she saw him she said, “You look awesome” . He replied “Don’t I always “ then he paused and said “you look great too, you just get prettier with age”. “How long has it been?” Layla asked “ Three years, I guess” he said. “Oh God, three years since that embarrassing incident”. Mazin smiled and said “Three years since the day you…”. “Don’t” Layla snapped “Don’t remind me, I am glad you ignored my silly moment of weakness when I told you I loved you. Thank God, we are able to put it behind us”. “Thank God, for Ashraf” he said “How is he by the way?”. “Traveling, ever since we got married he hardly ever spends any time here in the city” . “I am here” Mazin said while winking. Layla replied “Anyway and I am married I can’t do anything with the fact that you are here right now,” . Then, to change the subject she asked “To what do I owe this dinner invitation”. “Nothing”, Mazin said “I just want to sit with a girl I don’t have romantic feelings for and who doesn’t have romantic feelings for me for a change”. And, from that point on, he told her about his predicament with Yasmine and Abeer.

Layla listened the whole time while mentally noting in her head the memories she had with him. Her mind went back to the times of confusion, the times when she could never tell what was on his mind. She remembered the time when she found herself so weak that she confessed her love for him and she remembered how she decided to marry Ashraf just to get over him.

And, after the passing of months and the months turned into years, she got over Mazin.

She even learned to love and respect her husband, but here Mazin was now sucking her in just like he had done so in the past. In a desperate effort not to think anything of him and not to hate the two girls who had obviously captured his heart she found herself shouting “MAZIN Stop !” “What’s wrong? He asked in confusion. “You can’t do this “ she said “You can’t ask to see me after three years only to tell me about two girls. You know how I once felt about you and I know how these two girls feel now so stop it.” . “Stop what ?” Mazin asked confused “Respect me and don’t tell me about your love life” she said as she stood up “You know what accepting this dinner invitation was a mistake” and with these words she left.

Back at home Layla felt awful about the whole dinner incident. She felt that her behavior was unreasonable and that Mazin was a friend she didn’t want to lose. So, she sent him an apology. He replied “No worries! Let’s go out for breakfast”. Layla replied “I am married “. He replied to that last sms by saying “Married women eat breakfast too”. His sms was convincing to her,. After all, she and Mazin were only friends. Her husband was out of town and she was feeling a bit bored.

With this analogy, Layla agreed to the breakfast invitation. And, upon agreeing she felt the same excitement she used to feel when they used to meet three years ago. She thought to herself that he must have come back to her life for a reason. After all, he was confused and in need of her help.

That night, Mazin lay in his bed feeling unsure as to why he contacted her. He contacted her only because he remembered how reasonable she had always been and how he was in need for reason. These thoughts were interrupted though by his sms alert going off . He looked at the screen and read an sms from Abeer that said “Hope you had a good business dinner”. Half an hour later he got another SMS from Yasmkine that read “Good night and sweet dreams”.

He wished both girls a very good night and he told Yasmine that he was busy in the morning but that he would love to have dinner with her. He told Abeer that he was busy and that he can’t see her the day after. With these arrangements he felt relaxed. He even fell sound asleep.

The next morning, Layla found herself dressing up , wearing make up, and really making an effort to look her best. She met Mazin and she couldn’t remove the smile off her face with every word she said. After the breakfast they drove off together to a hilly area outside the city. And overlooking the fabulous view of a valley of green, she and Mazin talked and talked. They laughed about old times, and he found himself enjoying every moment of her company. She found herself remembering exactly why she found him charming . As the minutes went by, her husband kept fading deeper and deeper into her memory.

Then. Mazin asked her the one question that made her weak “Did you marry Ashraf because I didn’t love you?”. Layla got defensive and said “I married Ashraf because he is a great guy, how dare you even say that”. With these words Layla knew very well t that Mazin had her figured out. “I have to go” she said.”What do you want from me?” she ten asked while the tears rolled down her cheeks” I don’t know “ Maxzin said. “But, I know that me not saying I loved you back then was wrong”. “I love my husband” she said “No, you don’t” he said “If you did , you wouldn’t agree to go out with me. You wouldn’t be here. You are smart, you know what could happen in such outings”.

With these words, Mazin realized that he might be in love with Layla but he also loved the feeling he got from Abeer and Yasmine fighting over him. Originally he wanted the wisdom that Layla had in her. He wanted advice from her. He didn’t plan for this to happen. He didn’t plan for his meeting with Layla to make him more confused than he already was. “Maybe we need to leave” he said . “We need to “ she replied.

Back in the city and before leaving the car she said “Mazin, we shouldn’t see each other”. To these words, he didn’t reply and drove off.

Layla couldn’t stop crying that day while he went about his day to day life of work, a date with Yasmine, and a plan with Abeer to see her the next day. Despite these activities, Mazin still felt empty that day.

That night Layla felt guilty, so she spoke to her husband who as always was nice and loving. He told her he was returning in a week and she was thrilled. She was regaining her balance. Telling Mazin not to talk to her was the right thing to do, she kept telling herself.

But then, her balance was thrown off again when she heard the SMS alert. She read that the sender was Mazin.

——————-

Part 8

With eagerness Layla read the message. She smiled, as it contained the words she was dying to hear from Mazin for the last three years. The message read “Leaving you was a mistake. Leave Ashraf, we deserve to be together”

Layla was flattered by Mazin’s confession but yet she was annoyed by his rudeness. How could he just assume she had no regard what so ever for her husband and that she was just going to leave him on demand? . So, she picked up the phone and wrote “I am married, I love my husband, you are too late, stop talking to me”.

Convinced she did the right thing, she then put her phone on silent mode and enjoyed a good night sleep.

The next morning, Mazin woke up and demanded that Abeer take the day off to spend it with him. Flattered by his sudden influx of emotion, Abeer agreed. He met her for breakfast and then drove off with her to the Dead Sea.

To avoid receiving a phone call from Yasmine, Mazin told her that he was going on a business trip to Lebanon and that he will be back the next day .

Sticking to his plan, he even sent Yasmine an sms a few hours later telling her that he had arrived safely. Yasmine , wished him luck on his trip, yet she felt that something was shaky about his whole trip to Lebanon. After all, she was with him the day before and he never even told her about a trip.

Not wanting to sound untrusting, she decided not to comment. Instead, she went to the newspaper to check flights coming to and from Lebanon. Surely enough, she found out that there was no early morning flight leaving to Lebanon on this particular day. Yasmine also deduced that Mazin couldn’t have possible gone by car only to arrive only three hours later in Lebanon. Mazin is lying again, she thought to herself. And, she was determined to find out where he was.

She dialed Abeer’s number but surely enough Abeer canceled her call and wrote her an sms saying “in a meeting”. After sending that message Abeer then put the phone on silent mode and gave herself fully to enjoying her day with Mazin.

Together Abeer and Mazin swam, they laughed, they ate, they danced, and they had a romantic moment or two. Mazin, had a way of making women feel like they were special. And, sticking to form he made Abeer feel so special that she found herself unable to refuse anything he asked of her that day.

Around sunset, Abeer decided to take one glance at her mobile screen. On it she saw 12 missed calls from Yasmine. “I should probably call her” she said to Mazin and surely she did.

After the customary greetings Yasmine asked “By the way, have you heard from Mazin?”. Abeer replied “No, I have been too busy with work”. “When you didn’t reply, I called your office and they told me you called in sick!”. Yasmine said. “Wow, Yasmine, are you checking up on me?” Abeer jokingly asked. Yasmine replied “No sweetie not at all, but I was just worried about you”. Abeer said while laughing “I am flattered, you see I did call in sick but that was because I was working for another company on a freelance bases and I didn’t want my boss to find out. I even left Amman and went to the Dead Sea to get some time alone and meet with the managers of this other company I am working for” . “Oh ok” Yasmine said. Then, in urgency she said “I think Mazin is fooling me” “Really?” Abeer said. “Yes really, what shall I do?”. “Relax, he is crazy about you” Abeer said, and with these words she excused herself and hung up.

“Dump Yasmine!” she looked over at Mazin and said. “I want to, but it will take time.” He said, then after a brief pause he whispered “Let’s spend the night”. Abeer said “hahaha very funny, not that kind of girl!”. He gave her a peck on the cheek and said “What makes you think I am that kind of guy, I meant in separate rooms of course”. “Not even” she said as she flirted with her hair. “Come on!” tell your parents something came up and that you had to travel. “Yes my parents will believe that!” Aveer said sarcastically. “Ok, you are staying late at work” he said and we will rent two rooms until midnight. “No” she said as she stood up.”I have this proposition” he said “Stay just till 10 pm with me here no rooms, no nothing, on the beach and I will dump Yasmine tomorrow morning ”

Abeer liked the idea, but she didn’t know what to decide. Staying late will cause her problems at home. It will also cause Yasmine heartache. But yet, she wanted to enjoy the romantic scenery with Mazin. She wanted him to dump Yasmine. If he was to dump Yasmine he would be hers alone, after all, she didn’t know about Layula. She didn’t know what to decide.

Meanwhile, Mazin got an SMS. He looked at the screen and it was from Layla it read “If you love me you would fight for me”

Ignoring it he looked up at Abeer and said “Well, what’s it going to be? Stay or leave?”

—————————-

Part 9

Abeer paused for a few minutes and then said ”No, I really should go home”. To these words Mazin smiled and replied, “Let’s go then”, and together they walked silently to his car. As the dusk fell on the track Abeer felt herself soul sink deeper into a sense of confusion. She wondered if he was happy that she decided not to stay. And, she pondered as to why he didn’t even convince her to stay the night.

She looked up at him only to find that he silently looked ahead. She searched in his face for any sign of regret, but his face was blank. She was in desperate need of an indication, any hint that showed her that he wanted her to stay, but unfortunately such deliberations were lost behind the dusk breeze, the silence, and the setting sun.

With every passing second, Abeer felt the silence cut deeper into her core. She felt herself sink deeper into a guilty train of thought, a train of thought she never allowed herself to think of before that moment. She couldn’t help but wonder what the night would have been like should she have agreed to stay.

Would they simply sit and talk by the sea, or would they spend a wild night partying? Would they simply sleep and go home the next day, or would they…..?Then at that last thought she stopped herself from thinking. There was a wall in her mind; she wasn’t going to even allow herself to think beyond. But did Mazin think beyond that wall? she wondered.

He probably did, she thought. He probably thought about the issue so many different times and regarding so many different women. But was she ever one of those women ? she wondered.

She suddenly felt disappointed at the fact that he didn’t even try to make her stay. She looked up at him and found him staring blankly as he opened his car. She felt desperate, she needed to know if he wanted her to stay or not. She felt she had to say something, anything to break the silence, so she suddenly said in a soft voice “ Mazin” and he said “yes”. “Did you want to”, and he turned and looked at her with his perfect features, his wide eyes, his tanned face, and his slick hair and he calmly asked “Did I want to what ?” , she said “Did you want to…..” and then she found that all she saw was his face and that his face was enough to keep her tongue tied. She needed to finish her sentence, to say anything, because his look, the silence, and the surroundings were getting too awkward.

To make things worse Mazin asked, “Sweetie, what is it?”. She said “Nothing”. He said “No, you wanted to say something what is it ?”. She thought to herself yes she did want to say something but what was it that she exactly wanted to say. Was she to ask him if he loved her? Was she to ask him if he wanted her to stay? Was she to ask him if she is the only woman he would ever want to stay? What will she ask?. She was scared of getting a reply that would ruin her mood so she simply said “Would you like to at least stay here for dinner”. He told her “I thought you wanted to go home”. She said “No, I want to stay for dinner, only dinner”. He smiled and said “I thought you would never ask”.

He instantly closed the car door, put his arm around her, and they walked back to the restaurant. As they walked she felt for her cell phone in her bag and switched it off. And, true to form, Mazin made sure the dinner was perfect. He spoke to her as If she was the only woman in the world for him. He ordered the most expensive item on the menu, and she found herself falling deeper and deeper for everything about that evening with every passing minute.

Then, at 10 pm, she felt the urgency come upon her to leave, even though everything about her surroundings were luring her to stay. Pulling herself from his grip she said, “I want to stay, but I have to go, my parents would be worried”. He said “yes, I understand”. And, like a gentleman he walked her to the car.

In the car, he told her “How will we remember this evening. I wish something would remind me of this evening” and without further notice, he made everything about the car seem just as romantic as it would have been should they have stayed.

She allowed herself to let Mazin in her life. She allowed him what was promised within the bounds of her self respect.

As they drove back to the city, Abeer felt that she had no regrets about anything to do with that day. She felt that Mazin loved her, and to her all was fair in the name of love and war. She lost her head at some point in that evening. But, she let herself lose her head for Mazin. More importantly she felt that Mazin would honor his promise and leave Yasmine for her.

After all, she did stay with him for dinner, and she did reach her house half an hour before midnight and in her mind their romantic moments couldn’t be but a declaration of his true feelings for her. So, to her it was almost as If she had stayed. She believed she had every right to claim the promise and to hold him responsible for honoring it.

The next morning, Abeer sent Mazin an sms saying “Morning gorgeous, I just want to wish you good luck on your day, and my heart is with you as you dump Yasmine. Tell her about us, you are more important than my friendship” and this was her pushy way of reminding him of the promise.

She got no reply to that sms. A few hours later she rang him but still she got no reply. She left him a message on his voice mail, but she got no reply. Mazin was no where to be found.

He had silenced his phone after Layla had showed up at his doorstep that morning announcing that she was upset that he didn’t fight for her.

She explained in great detail her concerns as she shouted “At least , show me that you care” and to that statement Mazin replied “I do care” Then he put his arm around her as she cried and he said “I always cared but what about Ashraf?” Layla wiped her tears in his shirt and replied “I don’t know, we will figure it out. He is out of town most of the time, and you came back into my life so that changes things”.

“Well I am confused” Mazin said “So, are we friends, best friends, or more?”. “I don’t know” Layla replied “How about we go out today and have fun and then we can label ourselves some other day. I just want you in my life. I can’t figure out how”. Mazin nodded and offered to take her for drive.

In the car while driving with Layla towards a place far from the city, Mazin felt guilty. He remembered that just the night before he was with Abeer and now here he was with Layla a married woman, whose husband Is a good man. He didn’t know what to do, but he really wanted to know what Layla had in mind. Was he a fling, an affair, or a true love? To find out he tried to kiss her, but she pushed him away and told him “I meant good clean fun, I am still married”. He nodded and said “Yes, I forgot” , knowing instantly that they were just friends.

Layla on the other hand didn’t know what they were. She wanted them to be more, but she also didn’t want to hurt her husband. So for now, she was satisfied with the drive knowing she was near him. She simply put her fate in the hands of time.

Later that evening, Abeer called Yasmine to see if she had heard from Mazin. Yasmine replied that she hadn’t. She told her that he was busy, and that he was sweet enough to send her roses. After saying these words , Yasmine paused and then she coldly asked.”Why are you so interested in where Mazin Is? ” Abeer replied “You are my friend and I care about you. I just know how fragile you are, so want to open your eyes to the fact that he may be lying to you. If you were in a good relationship you would know where he is right?”.

Trying to hide any hint of anger in her voice Yasmine replied “I trust him” and with these words hung up.
Within her heart Yasmine knew she didn’t trust Mazin at all. She even felt terrible about asking her friend who worked in a resort in the Dead Sea to follow Abeer the evening before and to check if she were with him or not. She even felt terrible about sending the photos of the two of them by email to her friend, but she was not going to be fooled. She simply refused to be taken for a fool.

It would only be a few hours before her friend arrives to Amman to tell her what she saw. But, Yasmine knew for a fact that they were together as her friend told her that much. She didn’t want to confront Abeer, instead she wanted her to boil in her suspense.

Abeer, furious at Yasmine’s tone and even more furious with Mazin for not dumping her grabbed the phone and sent Mazin an SMS saying “You didn’t dump her after all I did for you last night. You promised, and I did everything you wanted me to do!”

Mazin did send her a reply, but three hours later. His replay said “You did everything you wanted to do. None of what happened last night was against your will. You are a grown woman; I never forced you to do anything”

Abeer then picked up the phone and dialed his number. The phone rang, and she waited . She didn’t know what she was going to say. As she was lost in her thoughts, he picked up .

————————————-

Part 10

She heard his voice and screamed into the receiver” I can’t believe what you just replied.”, and to these words Mazin coldly replied “I replied the truth and that is what is bothering you right?” Abeer heard these words and she turned from angry to furious; she shrieked, “ Who do you think you are? You made me do it. You did, you made me“ and then she paused and in a softer sob she said, “You made me, “ “ I made you what Abeer?” Mazin calmly asked, and these words sent her into a trance of silence.

The truth to the matter was that Abeer simply didn’t know what to tell him. After all, she was the one who asked him to go to dinner. She was the one who made him return back to the restaurant after reaching his car. She remembered that Mazin was ready to leave and that she was the one who asked him to stay. She asked him to stay out of desperation. She asked him to return back to the restaurant out of her need to know what he felt for her. He didn’t need to know that and that is why she didn’t know what to tell him. “I made you what?” he repeated in a more harsh tone. “You “ she said and then she passed.

She tried to find a clue in her mind as to what it is he made her do exactly. On the emotional level she knew that he made her fall for him, but in the here and now, and in the practicality of it all, she had nothing to say to him. She couldn’t reply with anything logical.

“You know what ?” Mazin said “I” Abeer replied “To cut a long story short, I am really disappointed in you Abeer.”. “Why?” she asked in depuration. “Why are you disappointed in me?”

“ Our special moments are something I made you do? Seriously, Is that what they are to you? “ He asked. Abeer was speechless. Could Mazin be acting this way because he is hurt? Could he have not dumped Yasmine because she made their moments feel cheap? She asked herself, and then she found herself instantly changing her tone. “No, I never meant it to sound this way” she said. “The last thing in the world I would do is hurt you” she pleaded.

“I don’t know” Mazin firmly said, “The trust is broken, I don’t think we should be so close”. Abeer pleadingly replied “ You came to this conclusion because of one mistake, Mazin I”. Mazin interrupted her and coldly said “I have been hurt by women before and I don’t want to be hurt by you”. Abeer cried and said “I would never mean to hurt you, I love you”

And, the minute she said those last three words, she regretted doing so. She even wished that she could turn back time. But, there it was out in the open. She couldn’t take it back. “I am about to be damped and I blurted out the words that would freak any guy out” she thought.

Interrupting her thoughts, Mazin said “You don’t seem like you love me. You don’t trust me. You scream at me. If I don’t do one thing as you like you cause an issue. Some strange notion of love. I was about to fall for you but…….””No!” Abeer shouted, “I am so sorry, give me another chance please. That night was so special to me. You are so special to me” she said as she cried.

”Fine” he said “But let’s get one thing straight, you don’t ask where I am. You don’t ask me why I am busy. You simply trust that I am not with Yasmine or any other woman. And, maybe with time we will go back to where we once were”. In her desperation, Abeer agreed to those terms. ”I will do anything to make you trust me again” she said.

“Ok, then we will try it out again” Mazin said “But, if you ever do what you did today, it’s over I can’t take it again”. Abeer promised that she wouldn’t disappoint him. Yet, she wanted to ask him if he loved her . She wanted some form of reassurance, yet she was scared to ask for it. She was scared he would think she was too possessive.

So, instead Abeer cut this conversation short. She cut her losses. She said good night and hung up.

That night she didn’t sleep. She felt stupid for telling him that she loved him, and Mazin couldn’t sleep either. He knew Abeer loved him and he knew she would not do anything to upset him. He suddenly felt terrible for her. He knew that he drove her to say more than she wanted to. He felt awful for not reassuring her. So, he picked up his phone and sent her an sms saying “Abeer, you are a special girl to me. Thanks for the phone call and for caring. You are like no one I have met before ”. But, with those words he couldn’t bring himself to say he loved her.

He didn’t know if he loved her or not. However, he did know that for some reason, he would miss her if she weren’t in his life. That was his reason for not duping her that evening.

A part of him didn’t want to love her or any other woman. His past taught him that love is the equivalent of loss of control. And, Mazin simply didn’t want to lose himself in love. He didn’t want to lose himself in the weakness of needing anyone or anything in his life. He felt that way towards women all his life and that is what kept him going, powerfully and triumphantly. This understanding was his source of power , and indeed he found a new found sense of power in his new situation.

He found himself face to face with a new win/win situation. Abeer loved him. She wouldn’t upset him. And, this gave him time to think about what he wanted from the other women in his life. “Who needs love when you can get everything else in life” he said to himself. And this last comforting notion, made him sleep calmly for the rest of the night.

The next morning, he woke up to an sms from Abeer. The sms read “Are you angry with me?”. While reading that question and realizing it is 7 am, Mazin really felt bad for Abeer. He knew that she probably didn’t sleep that night. So, he called her instantly and reassured her that he is not angry with her. Instead he swore to her that he was too busy to see her for the coming day and a half.

He then remembered Yasmine. He didn’t want to lose her so called her to apologize for not seeing her for two days. The night before his call, Yasmine had a long talk with her friend from the resort. During that talk, she found out exactly where Mazin and Abeer had been. However she remained true to form. She spoke politely to him on the phone. “I hope things went well in your meeting” she asked. He replied “I think that after a long struggle things will work out fine. I am now free today, would you like to go out for lunch”. “I am so busy, sweetie” she said. “May be some other time”. “Busy?” Mazin thought to himself. “She was never busy for me.

“How about dinner?” he asked. “Sorry, I am busy then too with family” she replied. ”How about breakfast tomorrow?” he asked. “Will get back to you on that, honey. I have to go now, have a nice day” she said and hung up.

While getting ready for work, she found that she couldn’t stop her tears from falling .

She was so upset from the fact that Mazin cheated on her. She was angry with her friend who cheated her also. But, she was not going to show the world any of it. She resolved not to show him any of it. “Two can play this game” she said to herself and after she said those words she continued to cry until there were no tears left. She then wiped her eyes, applied her make up, and put a smile on her face and prepared for another harsh day at work.

Mazin, was bewildered. Something about Yasmine’s distance suddenly made her more desirable to him. Every girl he knew made time for him, and here Yasmine was telling him she was busy and that she will get back to him about a date. Could she have found out about him and Abeer? He wondered. In his urgency he sent her an sms saying “Are you angry with me for not being around. Is that why you don’t want to have lunch ?”. She replied “No Baby, I just had pre-set plans with Abeer for lunch”

And indeed, she made plans for lunch with Abeer. She really needed to see her. “Can I come?” he asked. “I always like to have you with me, but it is more of a girl thing. Abeer wants to talk to me about something?” she replied “Ok, sweetheart” he said. And, with these words she turned off her phone and she cried some more. She felt that anything about these two individuals caused her tears to fall. But yet, she also felt she had to be strong.

To make matters worse, Layla called Mazin that same day. She caught him in the middle of his dilemma, and with her call he simply felt that he had no time for her. He couldn’t deal with her. He had enough on his plate. So, he told her he was too busy to talk, He needed a break from the women. So, he resolved to spend a night out with his guy friends for a change.

In her pushy nature, Layla wouldn’t take no for an answer. She needed to tell him what was on her mind. She realized he was too busy to talk, so she sent him a message instead. The message said, “I know that as a married woman I shouldn’t tell you this but I keep thinking about you. Help me. Tell me what I should do. How can we be together without hurting Ashraf”

———————

Part 11

Reading Layla’s message Mazin didn’t know what to do. Until that moment in time he had all the respect in the world for her for but “Was she suggesting they have an affair?” . “She would be harming herself” he thought. As a guy in this Middle Eastern society he knew well enough that he had nothing to lose. Should they have an affair, shoe would be the one who would have initiated it.

He wrote a reply to her message, and just as he was about to send it he stopped himself. “I am going to send this reply two hours later” he thought “Let her wait a bit. She wants me and she won’t change her mind”. And, two hours later Layla did get his reply. The reply read “I will be at your place at 12 midnight. The neighbors would have all gone to sleep by then and no one will see me”  .

She replied immediately that she will be waiting, knowing very well that she was now officially in the wrong.

“Ashraf is out of town” she thought to herself “Every girl is entitled to some emotions in her life. I would never want to hurt him. But, he should be here and it is his fault that I am going to do this” she thought, almost as if she was trying to defend her actions. Her eyes then fell on her wedding photo that stood proudly on her coffee table and it was then that the guilt consumed her” Mazin’s visit will only involve coffee and a talk. We won’t do anything more” she said to herself as she looked at the photo.

From his end, Mazin realized that he had a lot of time to kill before meeting Layla at midnight, so he made plans to meet four of his buddies for some argeela (hubbly bubbly) at a guy coffee shop in Jabal Amman that same evening at 8.

Meanwhile, Yasmine did meet Abeer for Italian pasta. The two girls exchanged pleasant greetings. Abeer complimented Yasmine on her new haircut and Yasmine complimented Abeer on her outfit. They spoke about shoes, bags, the movies, and the friends they knew, but then Abeer took on a more serious look as she said “Yasmine, I have a problem”. “Really?” Yasmine asked “Yes, it involves a guy” Abeer said. “A guy!” Yasmine said in faked excitement “Yes, you see I am falling for him. We have been seeing each other for some time. He has another woman in his life, but he won’t leave her. I don’t know what to do“. Upon hearing the worry in Abeer’s voice Yasmine thought “Is this girl seriously asking for advice from me? She really thinks I don’t know that she and Mazin have been together at the Dead Sea?”  Then she smiled and said “Sweetie why are you seeing a guy who has another girl in his life.”. Abeer said “Because I love him. I am right for him. The other girl is so not right for him”.”How dare she just assume that” Yasmine thought.

But then she said “Well, I am sure Mazin has no one but me in his life. He even told me that he is falling for me. I would never give him a chance if I knew he had someone else on his mind. He is sick of all the girls following him. He told me about this one girl who is practically a stalker” She said these words knowing very well that they are not true. But to her they were worth saying just to see the color of Abeer’s face change.  “There is more”  Abeer slowly said “He doesn’t want me to call him. He said he will decide when to call me. He doesn’t want me to ask where he is. And, I am scared he doesn’t want me”

“I am sure he does” Yasmine clamly said “But don’t let him order you around like that. Call him a lot. Let him know you are still around. Ask him where he is like all the time. Pretty soon, he will realize you are the woman for him and he will dump that other girl”. Yasmine told Abeer to do those things, knowing very well that they will push Mazin’s buttons. She wanted to hurt her friend who had no regard for the fact that she was interested in Mazin. While sitting at the table,  Yasmine even sent Mazin an sms,  the sms read.” Wish you were with us. Me and Abeer are having so much fun. Oh and the broken hearted Abeer says hi. Have a great day” . Reading those words Mazin got nervous. Could Abeer have been silly enough to tell her about his relationship with her.”Call me when you are done babe” he replied. Yasmine looked at the SMS and smiled.

“That is Mazin” Yasmine said “He says hi oh and that he misses me”. Abeer pretended not to care and she causally said to Yasmine to say hi back.

“So, does your guy have a name?” Yasmine asked “Yes,” Abeer slowly said “His name is……………. Majed”.

“Majed and Mazin” Yasmine said jokingly.”Maybe me you Mazin and Majed should go out on a double date. I will make plans with Mazin now”. “Don’t” Abeer said in alarm.”Majed is travelling for a week. We can do it when he gets back” . “Good we will do it then” Yasmine cheerfully replied.

After that lunch Yasmine did call Mazin .”So, what did you girls talk about?” He urgently asked. “A lot of things sweetie. We talked about shoes, bags, clothes, and the Man in Abeer’s life” . “Really?” Mazin asked while trying to hide the panic in his voice” Oh ya, some heavy stuff” Yasmine said “But anyway I am busy now we will talk later”.

.With those words Yasmine hung up, and then she couldn’t stop her tears from falling. She couldn’t get over the fact that they both cheated on her. But, she was also satisfied, satisfied that she was now confusing Mazin.

Mazin instantly called Abeer and as soon as she picked up he said “How dare you”. “What?” Abeer said in panic ”How dare you tell her about us” he screamed.”I didn’t “ she panicked “I needed advice, she is smart , she gives good advice” . “I named the guy Majed. I swear she doesn’t know it is you”. Advice for what “He screamed “Advice on how to make you happy, because I really want to make you happy. I am doing everything you want me to do. I love you” Abeer said as she cried in the phone.”I don’t know if I love you” Mazin said as he hung up.

Abeer sobbed for the rest of that evening. She couldn’t tell Yasmine what had happened because Yasmine would then find out it was Mazin.  Mazin worked calmly for the rest of the afternoon but then he suddenly felt terrible for what he had said to Abeer . Around five pm, he sent her an sms that read “I am sorry. I have strong feelings for you, but I have trouble expressing myself“. Abeer read those words and she instantly replied that she forgave him . She was thrilled once again.

Sticking to his plans, Mazin went out with his buddies later that evening. He told them boastingly that he was about to meet a married woman in her home at midnight. He also told them he was not sure what will happen . “You don’e know what will happen?” his firend Emad said “A woman alone at home at midnight is expecting one thing from you and one thing only”. His other friend Adham said “Well you won’t be playing chess for sure” and they all laughed . After a few more drinks, Mazin excused himself as it was getting close to midnight. His friends cheered him on for being the stud. He left them and in the dark of the night he went over to Layla’s house.

He parked his car far from the building so that the neighbors wouldn’t see it. He rang Layla’s doorbell, and she opened the door wearing a long , elegant, black, backless dress. She then ushered him into a candle lit living room and just as he was about to sit down she said. “We are only going to talk and have coffee. “ in a defensive tone. Mazin replied calmly “Relax, who said we are going to do anything else. Come sit next to me and let’s…… Talk”

———————-

Part 12

For the greater part of that evening Layla and Mazin talked. They talked about the good old days , and that happy time when they first met. They remembered the inner jokes they shared. They spoke about the embarrassing moments they lived through together, and things were going great until in the midst of the conversation Mazin paused and stared at Layla intensely.

After the passing of a few awkward seconds of silence Layla asked, “What are you thinking about Mazin?”. Mazin put his hand on her shoulder and replied, “I am thinking about you.”. She looked at him in astonishment and he continued “ You know, when you first told me that you were getting engaged to Ashraf, I felt like a part of me had died?” he”Mazin, you know you drove me to do that?” Lasyla calmly said.

“You told me you don’t see me as more than a friend. You made that so clear. You even started to get irritated by my calls. At one point, I even felt that you made it your plan to flirt with every female around just so I get the hint”. Her tears started to fall “And, well I got the hint. Ashraf proposed and I accepted.” Mazin said “Ya, I was an idiot once won’t be again” and just as he was about to lean closer to kiss her, Layla pushed him away. “I said we were just going to talk” she snapped as she got up to sit in another chair. “I don’t understand you, you just called me here to talk ?”. Mazin said. in shock. “What did you think?” Layla said with anger. “Look, I am not going to lie to you and say the idea of us more than talking didn’t cross my mind, but you know what Ashraf doesn’t deserve this” she said in urgency, an urgency that was a call from her soul to hide her personal desire. “WTH, Layla!. If Ashraf doesn’t deserve this then why is he out of town ?” Mazin shouted. “Don’t you dare say anything mean about my husband” she said, while also wondering why Ashraf is always out of town herself. “Yup, he is lucky to have you” Mazin sarcastically said

“But, consider this. He won’t be coming home anytime tomorrow. Look, Haven’t you ever smoked a cigarette behind your parents back when you were little. You inviting me here tonight is the same thing. If it isn’t wrong you wouldn’t have chosen for us to talk during midnight. If you only wanted to talk, you wouldn’t have created this beautiful setting with the candles, and oh you wouldn’t be wearing this skimpy dress. You see we passed the point of right and wrong and we started cheating on Ashraf the minute I walked through this door. We might as well enjoy it. Since, no one will know right? Cheating starts with a thought and we both thought about cheating so the cheating happened already. So what do you say?” he asked.

Something about his words carried a logic in them, and as always Mazin could see Layla’s inner thoughts. She knew that he could see how much she wanted to be with him. He knew he wanted to be with her at that moment. He paused and waited for her reply. And a few seconds later he got the reply “ Yes” Layla quietly said “The cheating happened already”.

Then, three hours later, and just before sunrise, Mazin left Layla’s house knowing very well that their lives won’t be the same. Layla knew also that their relationship had shifted from the realm of the innocent, to the realm of deceit, of lying. She knew that a great deal of implications rode on what had happened that evening. She was aware of the potential doom that lay in store for herself, her home, and not to mention the heartbreak she may give a man who had always been good to her.

But, the events of that evening also gave her a sense of adventure. It was nice to have a little secret that she herself was part of. An identity that was hers with a man she had always loved. “Ashraf doesn’t have to find out” she said to herself, and suddenly this confirmation made what had happened between her and Mazin seem ok to her. With this realization she got out of bed later that morning and went about her day to day chores as if nothing had happened.

Mazin momentarily felt bad for Ashraf too, but then again he thought that he didn’t force Layla or any woman to do anything she didn’t want to do. He merely convinced her of the facts and she got convinced. After all, she sent him the sms in the first place. She agreed to meet him at midnight, a time inviting for any activity other than talking, and he knew very well that she didn’t just want to talk. He didn’t want to just talk either, so as two adults they simply did what they both wanted to do. This train of thought made him feel that everything that had happened that evening was ok. And with this realization he got out of his bed later that morning, he showered and headed off to work.

Meanwhile, Yasmine got curious about her conversation with Abeer the previous day and what it led to between her and Mazin or Majed as Abeer liked to fool Yasmine by calling him. So she sent her an sms askingabout her. Abeer replied that things between her and Majed were not good. She then asked Yasmine how things were with her and Mazin, and so Yasmine replied that things were just great.

Yasmine knew very well that things were not great with her and Mazin and she didn’t even know herself if she wanted to be with him. But, all she did want at that moment was that she wanted to annoy Abeer. And, that was motive enough to keep Mazin by her side. True to form she picked up the phone and called Mazin. The minute Mazin saw her name on the screen he realized that he had missed her. So, he picked up and said “Where have you been?” in true sincerity of longing.

She said “I have been thinking about you, but I knew you were busy so I decided to leave you alone”. Feeling her high level of consideration, Mazin suddenly felt an admiration for Yasmine and guilt at the same time. She knew that this was the effect this statement will get especially after giving Abeer the advice to act in the exact opposite annoying way.

Indeed, he suddenly liked her more than Abeer as she left him to be and she didn’t really need him that much. Realizing his new found admiration for Yasmine, Mazin made plans to have lunch with her. She agreed and after hanging up, she was sure to casually mention that fact to Abeer.

Boiling with anger, Abeer asked if she could come. Yasmine wanting to annoy her some more said to her that she could. In reality, Yasmine was angry at the two, and she wanted to give them both a lesson they wouldn’t forget.

Abeer angry at Mazin and his agreement to have lunch with Yasmine after promising to dump her, picked up the phone and called Mazin. He didn’t pick up. Instead he sent her an sms saying “Busy”. She sent him an angry reply saying “I am joining you and Yasmine for lunch, she invited me. How come you are going to lunch when you said you were busy?”.He replied, “You don’t listen Abeer. I told you my life is not your business. But , do show up for lunch. I think you can learn a thing or two from Yasmine”

And, at lunch, Yasmine did everything in her power to show what a happy couple she and Mazin were, and Abeer had no choice but to sit and observe. Yasmine flirted with him, touched his hand, looked in his eyes, and told Abeer a great deal of interesting facts about him.

Abeer unable to hide her anger excused herself and left. “I wonder what got into her?” asked Mazin “Hmmm, maybe she is jelous “ replied Yasmine.”Say, can we go out tonight?” Mazin asked her. She said “No, sorry busy with friends”. “Can I come?” he asked. She said “No, sorry sweetie, but it is a personal thing. “.

Free for the evening , Mazin picked up his phone and called Layla and it was with Layla that he made plans to “talk” again. Layla informed him that this time they will only talk and that she was home. He said he would be there in an hour, and that until then his phone woud be out of reach since he will be in an important meeting. Layla was happy, she couldn’t wait, she got all dressed up, but her happiness shattered when 30 minutes after their call, she found Ashraf standing right in front of her in their bedroom.”Surprise , surprise” he said “You are early” she said . “I missed you and had to see you, he said while kissing her”. She didn’t know what to do. Mazin was due in 30 minutes and his phone was out of reach.

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Part 13

“You look nice” Ashraf said, “Were you going out?” . Trying her best hide the panic in her voice Layla replied “Oh no no sweetie, I was just trying on this dress to see if it fits”. “It looks stunning on you” Ashraf said while moving closer towards her. But, She took a few steps back, glanced at her watch, and realized that Mazin was due at her door step in less than ten minutes. So, she excused herself and went into the master bathroom. In the master bathroom she grabbed her mobile phone and dialed Mazin’s number, but she realized that he still could not be reached.

So she went out, and cheerfully said to her husband “Sweetie, I want to take you out for lunch”. “I just got here, and I am tired” Ashraf said “Honey,” she whined while putting her arms around him “You, have to learn to be more spontaneous. Let’s go to lunch”. “Dinner you mean” Ashraf said “It is six in the evening”. “Six in the evening !” Layla screamed “That is when Mazin is due” she thought to herself. “Grab your car keys” she said “Better still, I will drive. You just got here you are tired “she said as she grabbed his hand and walked quickly to the door . “Layla, what is wrong with you?” Ashraf asked “Nothing” she shouted “I am just so hungry and I want to eat, and you showed up, and I didn’t cook, and I am so happy to see you” she leaned over and kissed him “So, let’s go!” And it was with these words that she ran with him outside the building.

Just as she thought she was safe she saw Mazin getting out of his car, right in front of her building. “Mazin” Ashraf cheerfully said “Ashraf what a surprise” Mazin said “Yes, Layla is so surprised she is practically dragging me out to dinner” Ashraf said while putting his arms around her. Mazin stared and Layla and Layla gave him a shy smile. “So, what are you doing here?” Ashraf asked. Mazin glanced at Layla and said “Well I was here because Layla called me to….. to see what was wrong with her laptop. “. “Ya, honey” Layla said to Ashraf my laptop isn’t working anymore, and I know Mazin is good at these things. So, I told him to see it for me” she said quickly “Silly me, I forgot and was about to go out for dinner and leave you standing here” she said to Mazin. Ashraf said “Do, join us since you are here”, but Mazin said “No, I can’t” . “I insist” Layla said, as she saw this as a golden opportunity to see both men next to each other and to figure out what she wanted.

So, together the three of them went to an Italian restaurant in Western Amman. And , it was during that dinner that Layla’s admiration grew for her husband. He was kind, he was charming, he was ok looking , and he was just so good to her. But, then she looked at Mazin and, Mazin was just so handsome, so classy, so attractive. He was just more fun to be around.”Everyone has a right to be happy” she thought to herself. She and Mazin stole glances at each other the whole time, and in her mind she was remembering the details of the previous evening, while Mazin was remembering the details too. While they were sitting at the table Mazin sent her an sms saying. “Does Ashraf being here change anything”. She looked up at him and shook her head when Ashraf wasn’t looking. “Tomorrow at ten, meet me in my office we need to talk”, he wrote. And, indeed Mazin wanted to talk. Seeing her with her husband, he wasn’t sure if he wanted this affair to continue. Did he want to wrong an incent man ?. And, he also thought to himself that if she was ok with wronging her husband, then one day she would cheat on him too.

Meanwhile, Layla felt that Mazin was the one for her. And, if he decided to be with her and only her, she would ask her husband for a divorce .But, knowing Mazin, she knew that he wasn’t the type of guy who could commit. He didn’t commit to her three years ago, but could he have changed? She needed answers so she wrote him an sms when her husband wasn’t looking that said “Yes , we need to talk!”

Later that evening, and while getting ready for bed Ashraf looked at Layla and said “I don’t like the way he looks at you”. “Who?” Layla innocently asked “Mazin, who else”. “Honey don’t be silly, he is like a brother to me” she said while hoping that her tone of voice would hide what Mazin really meant to her “I am not silly, I am a man and I know that look. I don’t want you seeing him.” He screamed. “Sweetie, don’t work yourself up, if you don’t want me seeing him, I won’t see him” she calmly said. Realizing that he blew up at his wife, Ashraf lowered his tone and said “You are just to innocent and you don’t see these things. I will take your lap top tomorrow to the guy and fix it”. “Ok” she reluctantly said, and to really kill the laptop she spilled coffee on it at night.

Meanwhile, Mazin went home. He placed his phone on his charger and switched it on, only to instantly get 7 messages from Abeer asking him where he was. After all, Abeer was following Yasmine’s advice. And Yasmine told her to constantly ask about her man. He chose not to reply since he had enough on his mind. It was at that moment that he also realized that he got no calls or messages from Yasmine. So, he called her. She saw his call and let it ring. Then an hour later he called again. She picked up and told him that she couldn’t talk simply because she was out with friends. Then, hanging up, she continued watching her favorite movie on TV in her pajamas at home. He simply didn’t have to know that she was alone at home, she thought. Let him think she has a life with or without him.

And indeed, he really did start to wonder if Yasmine had found someone else. That thought angered him. So, he made plans to see her the next day. He really needed to know if he was still the one for her.

—————————-

Part 14

The next morning, Layla watched Ashraf while he got ready “Where are you going? “ she asked “Layla, did you forget. I am going to meet friends, then I am going to fix your laptop”. She nervously kept glancing at her watch, hoping he would leave befoe 10:00 am, the time she had agreed to meet Mazin at his office.

While Ashraf was at the door, he turned around and asked her, “What will you do today ?”. She said, “Nothing much, I will go grocery shopping”. “Where?” he asked her “At Cozmo” she said while wondering to herself why he was asking too many questions. “Did you cancel your appointment with Mazin?” he asked. “What appointment?” she replied while trying to hide the startled panic in her voice. “Layla he was supposed to come fix your laptop remember ?” Ashraf replied while picking up his car keys. “OOOOOOOOOh” , she sighed “No, but he knows you are fixing it”. “Cancel it” Ashraf snapped “I don’t want him coming to see you. I thought I made this very clear”. “Relax sweetie, I will call him now”. “Good” Ashraf said and with that last statement he gave his wife a peck on the cheek and left.

Layla then put on her jeans, a t-shirt, and her sneakers. She wanted to look as if she was going grocery shopping, but she also applied some make up, as she wanted to look good for Mazin. Waiting a good 15 minutes to ensure that Ashraf was well on his way, she got into her car and drove over to Mazin’s office.

She politely knocked and walked in only to find Mazin on the phone shouting “Look,I can’t do this. I cannot tell you where I am 24 hours a day. …… It is really none of your business who I go out with and when?…… Yes sure , sure we are………… but Abeer do I ask you where you are?” he sighed and then banged his fist on the table as he said “LOOK I THINK WE NEED TO MEET THIS EVENING AND DISCUSS WHAT YOU ARE AND ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO…………NO I AM NOT, I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO ONLY HAVE YOU IN MY SCHEDUAL………….. NO I DIDN’T ….. TONIGHT…. I SAID TONIGHT… “ he screamed in into his mobile. “Don’t call me before 6” he calmly said while nodding to Layla to sit down and closing the receiver. Then, looking up at Layla he smiled and said “Hey, gorgeous, give me one minute, I have to make this phone call” and with these words, he excused himself to his meeting room.

“Hey , babe!” he said “We are still on for lunch today………….. sure ………… I love Chinese too…………sure, meet you at 2?…………. ok my sweet sweet Yasmin, bye” .

Walking back to his office, he found Layla sitting with her hands crossed. Seeing Mazin, she asked “How many are they Mazin?”. “How many what” Mazin asked, “Women, Mazin women, how many women do you have in your life?” she said with anger. “Let’s not get into that’ Mazin said “I want to get into that” she demanded.”How many?” she asked once again only this time, she used more force than before. “You are married, I’ve got women, what’s your point?” He said. “I am married because of you. Tell me now that you will be faithful and I would…… I would….” She said but was stopped by Mazin who gently put his hand on her mouth and said “Ashraf is a good guy. You won’t get a divorce from him.” “Then what are we doing here !” Layla asked “Am I your affair, your………..”. “May affair” Mazin asked “God no, I never ever ever meant to disrespect you. I love you and you love me, and we are doing what we can do since society is preventing us from being together” Mazin calmly said as he got up to put his phone on silent and lock the office door. “Where are you going, we are not doing anything today!” Layla demanded.

“Look, calm down, since you and me can’t be together, let us enjoy our time. Someday I will marry too but at least I will know that I and you have a great love” . “We said we won’t repeat what happened at my house again” Layla calmly said. “But?” Mazin said “But” Layla repeated, and with that but one thing led to another and they ended up doing what they had promised themselves not to do.

“I don’t think we should see each other” Layla said as she was leaving, but then the tears fell down her cheeks.”I can’t do this to Ashraf. You are a great guy but he thinks I am going out buying groceries, and yet I am here, cheating on him!”. “Yes” Mazin said “we can’t do this to Ashraf. I will always love you and may you always be happy in your marriage”. Layla looked into his face in search for a sign , any sign that he was hurt like she was. But seeing him as handsomely blank as ever she left in a breakdown of tears. Part of her was angry, ”Why isn’t he fighting for me” she thought to herself. “He said he loves me, but why isn’t he at least begging me to stay”. Then she thought “He is probably broken hearted too. But, he is so selfless and he doesn’t want me to ruin my home”.

Back in his office, Mazin felt a pain in his heart too, yet the pain he felt was towards Yasmine. He was cheating on her with two women and she was clueless, he thought, of his actions. His mind then wondered to Abeer, and oh how he felt an annoyance towards her for not leaving him alone. He was lost, he felt that he needed stability and Yasmine was the most stable woman in his life. She was the woman who wouldn’t give him one headache after the other. She wasn’t married and she wasn’t clingy. So, he decided that he should try to be with her more often.

His guilt drove him to order a bouquet of flowers to be sent to her office, and with it he ordered a card that said “Thank you for giving me a purpose in life”

Receiving the bouquet, Yasmine picked up the phone to “check” on her friend Abeer. As soon as Abeer picked up the phone sobbed “It didn’t work, your advice didn’t work” she said in a weepy voice “I called him and asked him to define our relationship and he blew up at me. He wants to chat with me at six, Yasmine is he dumping me” Abeer cried. “Look, “ Yasmine said “If he dumps you that would mean he doesn’t deserve you. Be strong and make your demands. You are chatting online right? Since Majed isn’t in the country” Yasmine fakely and naively asked. “Yes, yes. But what will I do if he dumps me” Abeer cried, and to that question Yasmine said “ I am sorry sweetie, but Mazin is calling me on the other line. He is probably downstairs, we are going out for lunch” and with these words she hung up.

After hanging up, Yasmine, felt awful for her friend. She realized that her friend was in love with Mazin more so than she was. Ever since Mazin had cheaed on her, Yasmine lost all love and respect for him. But, yet, her sympathy disappeared when she remembered that Mazin had cheated on her with Abeer. “Two can play the game of hurt, “ she said to herself and any guilt she had towards her friend had disappeared wit this realization.

Arriving at her home, Layla wiped her tears but then she realized that she had forgotten to pick up the groceries she said she was supposedly going to buy. So, she ran out of the house again and went back to Cozmo. And on the other side of the city, during a romantic lunch, Yasmine casually asked Mazin “How is Abeer?”

————————–

Part 15

Mazin paused. He wasn’t sure how to respond to Yasmine’s question. Could she have possibly discovered that he had once cheated on her with Abeer? He wondered to himself if this could be the end of his blossoming relationship with her. After all , Abeer was her friend too and he couldn’t help but wonder why she asking him about her? While those thoughts raced in Mazin’s head, Yasmine was enjoying the view. She was laughing on the inside as the expressions of confusion bore their imprints on his face.

To confuse him further, Yasmine calmly said. “I am worried about her. I feel she is hiding something from me” . She said these words as she calmly took another sip on her sweet corn soup. “I hope she is ok” Mazin carelessly said. “I mean if she didn’t tell you what she is hiding, why would she tell me?” he then asked. “I don’t know sweetie” Yasmine replied and then after a paused she said “It is just that you guys have become good friends, I was thinking she might have confide it in you. She is having troubles with Majed”

“No, she didn’t tell me anything. We hardly talk” Mazin said. “I even had an argument with her” he blurted out. “An argument with her, why?” Yasmine asked in shock. “Well it is because ,…… because she wanted me to be more than friends. She neglected the fact that I am with you . She is not a good friend. There I said it, I didn’t want to tell you but I did. If I were you I would stop talking to her “ Mazin replied.

“I think you miss-understood” Yasmine said “She said she is with Majed. But you know, it is funny how me and her are friends and we both ended up with guys with similar names, right?”.

Mazin was getting more nervous by the minute and Yasmine was enjoying it. To her, this was her sweet revenge. She wanted to see him on edge as a compensation for all the hurt he had caused her through his cheating. And, surely enough the trick was working. Without him noticing, he snapped “Can we not talk about her. She makes me angry. She stalked me at a point. She thought we were more than friends. We are just friends” and his face reddened as he took a sip of water.

“Ok, sweetie ok. If the topic gets you that angry we don’t need to talk about her. Let us talk about something else” she calmly said.

“Yes let’s talk about something else” he repeated. “It is just that she is my friend, she is unhappy , and I am worried about her. She isn’t sleeping and isn’t eating”. Yasmine said. Mazin coldly said “I have no sympathy. Whatever she did to Majed must have pissed him off to the point of cruelty. She probably drove him nuts. “

“Oh look at the time, I have to run back to work “ Yasmine replied as she got up from her seat. But just as she was leaving she said “Mazin, I know Abeer Is annoying to you but think about this. Is a girl’s mistake enough to make a guy feel cruelty towards her? Whatever Abeer is doing to Majed she is doing out of love. Couldn’t it be that he gave her a promise he didn’t keep. Or he gave her signs, he just didn’t live up to, or maybe just maybe he changed”. After saying these words, she realized that she was speaking in her friend’s favor and her friend didn’t deserve it. But, she knew that Mazin was just as responsible as Abeer for the cheating. She felt it was unfair to blame her alone. She just knew that Mazin was being unfair. So, she just had to give him s peice of her mind, and now that the mind game was played, she left him in the restaurant to sit with his thoughts .

Alone in the restaurant, Mazin found himself lost in his thoughts. Yasmine’s last words echoed like the voice of reason. He didn’t want to know that Abeer was in pain over what he had done. He knew that he promised her a relationship. He knew that that time in the Dead Sea was special to her. He also knew that she acted this way out of confusion. But, he had no choice. He just did not want to need anyone. He couldn’t see his life needing anyone or anything. He was in tis position of weakness before and he planned his life so that he is never in this position again.

At present, all he knew was that he felt a fondness for Yasmine. To him, she was so calm and collected. She didn’t bother him with the emotional outbursts that women had bothered him with in the past. But, he wasn’t even sure if Yasmine was even the one. For now, he just didn’t want to lose her and he worried that she didn’t care about this relationship as much as he did.

He ordered a cup of coffee and sent her an sms saying “I enjoy my time with you always’. She replied “Thx” with a smiley. “You don’t enjoy your time with me too?” he replied “Sure” she sent in a text.

Seeing that a conversation between him and Yasmine is not going to happen at that moment, Mazin’s mind then wondered to Abeer. She was not eating and not sleeping? Because of him?. He felt sorry for her. He felt bad for her. He just didn’t want to be with her, yet she wanted to be with him. He didn’t know what to do, so he sent her an sms saying “I am so sorry for all the pain I caused you”.

Thrilled at the sms, Abeer replied “No worries, nothing you can do can upset me. You have a good heart. And, I forgive you”. He felt relieved. She felt relieved. Yet, she couldn’t fight the hurt she felt towards the way he had been treating her. She was sure that their relationship was not right.

She knew that all is fair in love. But, her self respect was on the line. This shouting, bad mouthing, and rudeness from Mazin’s end had to stop. So she politely asked Mazin if she could meet him the next day.

Mazin agreed to meet with her, as he too had some things he wanted to discuss.

Meanwhile Layla arrived home to find an angry husband waiting for her. “You reached the driveway and left again” he said “Where have you been?”. “What is wrong with you Ashraf, I have been grocery shopping” Layla calmly replied as she carried the plastic bags towards the kitchen. “For 5 hours?” Ashraf shouted. “What’s with all the questions honey?” Layla asked. “If I wasn’t grocery shopping, where do you think I was”

And in response to her questions, Ashraf then threw a glass towards the wall and shouted “FOR GOD SAKE LAYLA STOP LYING TO ME YOU WERE NOT GROCERY SOPPING AND YOU KNOW IT ”

—————

Part 16

With Ashraf’s outburst, Layla’s face changed color. Her features became cold, bland, and expression less, as she asked him. “Where do you think I was Ashraf?” She didn’t know what to else to ask, as she was only hoping to buy time, time for her to think, and time for her to hide the monstrosity of her actions. Ashraf still maintaining a harsh tone said “You want to convince me that you were shopping for 5 hours? You drove your car in the drive way and then you drove it right out, where were you I WANT TO KNOW NOW?” he screamed. “Relax Ashraf, I simply forgot that we need some meat, so I went back to Cozmo to buy meat” she replied, then after a pause she calmly said “Frankly, I am disappointed in you Ashraf, you don’t believe me. You spy on me; you create a problem just because I drove back to Cozmo to get some meat”.

Ashraf couldn’t but withdraw from his outburst, as it was all based on a gut feeling, a feeling he had the minute her face changed when she saw Mazin at their doorstep, and a feeling that stemmed from her cold attitude towards him ever since he got back from his travels. He needed proof, as he was pretty sure that Layla was cheating. But, without proof he can’t accuse her of anything, so he simply apologized for his actions, while simply claiming that he had lost his head. Secretly he vowed to find out what his wife was up to , even if it meant hiring a detective.

“Fixed your laptop” he said in a deliberate attempt to change the subject, it seems you spilled Nescafe all over it, but………….. you don’t drink Nescafe, so I found that strange”. “Ashraf, you have been gone for two months, in these two months , I gained a liking for Nescafe, are you going to make a big deal about that too?” Layla asked “No, not at all, you are right things change Ashraf said” and for the rest of the day, the two spent their time avoiding each other. She was heartbroken over Mazin and he was confused over him.

She picked up her mobile more than once just to check if Mazin had sent her an SMS, an SMS that said “he can’t live without her” or something along those lines. She needed something, anything to make her ever growing longing for him justifiable. Ashraf spent the rest of the day figuring out how he was going to find out about his wife. He decided that he will be well aware of everything she does.”No one fools me”, he said to himself. And, that is the commitment he made to himself from that moment on.

Meanwhile, Abeer did go to meet Mazin as promised. After exchanging a few pleasantries she said “Mazin, let us not beat around the bush, I am here to talk about something specific. I am here to talk about us.” “Go ahead, I am listening” Mazin said in a pleasant tone “Ok then I will” Abeer said “Whatever I have done or said, it doesn’t give you the right to shout at me whenever you like. It doesn’t give you the right to insult me, and yes I am going to go ahead and say it, it doesn’t give you the right to promise me that you will dump Yasmine and instead get closer to her. You are wronging me and her.”, Mazin smiled and said “You are right, it doesn’t give me the right, and yes I have wronged you deeply. But, when it comes to our little situation with Yasmine it is a totally different story. Remember sweetheart, I met Yasmine first.”. “What does that have to do with anything!” Abeer abruptly asked “Oh but it does” Mazin said “ while we are on the subject of right and wrong, it isn’t right for you, to move in on your friend’s boyfriend?”. Her face changed colors, as she realized how badly she had wronged Yasmine “Don’t be so hard on yourself” Mazin said “In our moments of weakness, we all make mistakes. If it were up to me, I wish I can date you both without problems, but that isn’t going to work. I have to choose right?”

Abeer began to panic, was this the end? Was he dumping her? He can’t dump her. She loved him. She loved him more than any other girl could? She thought to herself as the tears began streaming down her eyes. “I think we both have to do what is right” he said “I am sorry, me and you can no longer be, but we can be friends”. “No, no ,no that isn’t what I meant at all” Abeer quickly said. ignoring her completely, he got up to leave. She walked after him , realizing how pathetic she must look at that moment. She stood at the door of the café and told him “Don’t go!” and then she said while trying to maintain her sobs “Don’t go please. I am sorry, I have been bad, I will do anything. I can live with you dating Yasmine, I don’t want you to go, because I love you”. He turned back and for a moment, she saw pure evil in his eyes. “Please” she said, but he coldly replied “I don’t love you!” as he walked away leaving behind him a girl in a total breakdown.

Back in his car, he put his head on the steering wheel as he thought about what he had done. He knew that Abeer was deeply hurt by his actions, but he had to leave her. She was strangling him with her closeness and he had to be free. “Why do I do this to women, why!” he thought as he drove away. Her face couldn’t escape his vision. As remembered her crying and begging him to stay he felt a longing to turn back. He wished he didn’t hurt her, but he just couldn’t be with a girl like her, a girl who needed all of him by her side.”It is better for me and her this way” he thought convincing himself yet again that he was right.

In her confusion Abeer staggered back into the Café, she got a hold of her mobile and dialed Yasmine’s number “come quick” she cried as soon as she got a hold of the receiver and then she gave her the address as she put down the receiver and cried into her hands.

—————————–

Part 17

Hearing the panic in Abeer’s voice, Yasmine rushed over to the café. The minute she arrived, she quickly walked over to Abeer’s table where she found Abeer crying franticly. “He dumped me” she said “Mazin dumped me!” the minute she saw Yasmine. “You mean Majed?” Yasmine said. “I can’t lie anymore, I have been an awful friend, I was dating Mazin, your Mazin the whole time, and now…… now he dumped me!” she sobbed.

Yasmine paused for a minute and then she said, “I have to be completely honest with you too. I knew you were the whole time. I was just waiting to see when you would actually act like a real friend and tell me .I wasn’t expecting him to tell me, but I was expecting you to tell me at least.” She said calmly . Abeer looked up at her with startled eyes, a horrified look, and in utter shock she said “You knew?”.

“Yup, I did, and frankly I am not too upset that this happened to you.” Yasmine replied “I am not gloating or anything, but you were simply dating a cheater , you were being a cheater for cheating me, your friend, so how do you expect me to react.”. Abeer said defenselessly “I don’t know what to say, you should have told me instead of letting this happen to me”. Yasmine replied while trying to maintain her inner anger “For God sake Abeer, what do you expect from me? Do you expect me to sympathize, do you expect me to go tell him to dump me to be with you? Do you expect me to comfort both of you? What the hell do you expect “ Yasmine said “Look, while I don’t like to see this happen to any girl and I wish I can find it in me to be comforting and understanding, I just can’t help but ask why did you call me here Abeer?”

“I needed some one to talk to, I am not thinking straight. I love him Yasmine. Do you hate me, am I wrong ? I love him, I love him more than you love him” Abeer cried. “Then, I am not the person to talk to Abeer. “ Yasmine said , as she got up “Yasmine please don’t leave me, I might die” Abeer pleaded. But , Yasmine had a stone look of firmness on her face as she said “Look here is the thing, are you wrong for loving him? no he could be lovable, but you are wrong for even being interested in someone your friend is interested in yes you are. Think about that my dear.” And she picked up her bag to walk away.

“But, I am your friend, he seduced me! He made me love him and now he doesn’t love me. You were wrong for not telling me you knew. Please don’t leave me here. He isn’t good for you dump him, before he dumps you” Abeer started shouting as she grabbed the tip of Yasmine’s jacker “please” she pleaded “dump him”.

Yasmine was now furious, but true to form she only said calmly “Abeer, don’t you dare tell me I am wrong, I have been trying to keep my cool with you for the last couple of months. You are an adult, so don’t say he just seduced you, no one is that pathetic” “But…” Abeer said before Ysasmine instantly cut her off with more words to say “And by the way, whatever I do or don’t do with Mazin is not your business, as for friendship, I think that term wasn’t in your dictionary when you went off with him to the Dead Sea”, “We are best friends, friends stand up for each other” Abeer said. “Now you call me to be your friend when the guy dumps you… I don’t think so. I have seen rude, but not this rude. This mess you will have to clean up yourself.” Yasmine shouted, as she pushed Abeer’s hand off her jacket. “Yasmine!” Abeer said “I am leaving now goodbye” Yasmine said as she left Abeer in the café alone to deal with her meltdown.

Abeer in a rage of fury got a hold of her mobile phone and dialed Mazin’s number, when he didn’t pick up she sent him an SMS saying “You love Yasmine , wait and see what I will make Yasmine do to you! She won’t stay with you for long and that way, you will have to come back to me . You just never know who really loves you and who wants to play games” and then she switched off her phone, went to the pharmacy, bought some sleeping pills, and went home to sleep.

The minute Mazin saw Abeer’s SMS he asked himself in alarm “Could she have possibly told Yasmine”, and then without thinking he dialed Yasmine’s number. Yasmine didn’t answer, she simply was unable to deal with him. For the remainder of that evening he kept dialing Yasmine’s number but he got no reply. He really got worried, so he sent her an SMS saying “Can we meet tomorrow first thing in the morning. I have something very important to tell you”. Half an hour later she replied “Sure babe!”. “Why are you not picking up” he SMSd her asking, “Busy” she replied.

Seeing those, short replies, Mazin was really getting worried. He needed to ensure that she was his. Her commitment was the most important thing to him. He realized then and there that he needed her, or did he?. He wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he was sure he wasn’t going to let Abeer make him lose her. With this realization, he ran out to the jewelry store and got her a ring, a ring that demonstrated how serous he was about her.

Meanwhile, Ashraf waited until Layla fell asleep and he then went frantically to look through her emails. To his bad luck, Layla was smart enough to clean out her inbox. He then went to check her mobile phone , but he also found all her messages deleted, her calling lists deleted, and her contacts stored in secure folders. “Why would she delete all her records?” he wondered to himself and it was with this wondering that he was even more sure that his wife was cheating.

While the mobile was still in its hand it vibrated. He saw she got an SMS, so he went to the other room and opened it. “I need to talk to you dear” it read and the sender was none other than Mazin. Now, Ashraf was furious. So, he replied “Don’t ever send messaged to this number again” . But surly enough , Mazin sent an SMS again “Babe, I need to talk to you about us, after all what we have been though, at least you owe me this”. Ashraf by now was unable to say anything. He put the mobile phone , where he found it and decided to deal with his wife first thing in the morning. But, then Mazin sent a third SMS that said “We can’t continue what we are doing. I love Yasmine. You don’t know Yasmine, but I think I want to be with her”

Ashraf, trying to hold his anger decided to put the phone on silent mode and he went to sit in the living room alone to gather his thoughts. In the meantime, Mazin lay in bed confused “Do I love Yasmine?” , “Do I want to be in a real relationship with Yasmine?” he asked himself. Then, he pictured his life without her and he thought “I don’t want to lose her for sure, but is she the one?” He wasn’t sure if she was the one, But what he did know was that he was tired of this drama. He knew he can’t deal with all these women at once. He was tired of the meltdowns, the sneaking, the cheating, and he just needed stability. His thoughts put him to sleep, with only one hope, the hope that things will go well with Yasmine the next day.

——————————————

Part 18

The next morning, Layla woke up and kissed her husband on the cheek as she cheerfully bid him a good morning. Ashraf, unable to hide his feelings, responded coldly. At first, she ignored his cold demeanor dismissing it as a simple case of morning blues. She even asked him what he would like for breakfast, and to that question, Ashraf replied “How about a morning dose of Mazin, that is what I would like to have for breakfast”  . “What was that?” Layla replied in alarm, “oh and yes, he really needs to talk to you Layla, he said so in his late night SMS, along with a lot of other things”. “How dare you spy on me!” Layla defensively replied “Why were you looking through my mobile”.”Are you serious Layla!, you are only worried about the fact that I spied on you. I knew something was up the minute I walked through that door, and you can only say I spied on you, YOU CHEATED ON ME IT IS A GOOD THING I ONLY SPIED ON YOU !” Ashraf shouted. At  that point in the conversation, he was unable to dismiss his anger. “If you were here, and if you showed me some love, I may not have cheated” Layla said , simply because she had nothing better to say. She was wrong, she knew she was wrong, but she had only this sentence to say in her defence.

“Yes, and if I was here I would have known what I was married to!” Ashraf said with utter hurt. “I don’t know how to deal with this.” Ashraf said, as his face was heating up with anger.”Ashraf, let us talk about this” Layla said, while aain realizing how pathetic she was sounding. “ Right now, I am wondering should I kill you, should I kill Mazin.” Ashraf said .”Calm down Ashraf, you are always reasonable” Layla said “Tell me Layla what should I do, or forget that don’t tell me anything. I can’t look at you or listen to you right now”. Ashraf hissed.

“If this is how you feel, divorce me.” Layla said coldly. “Are you serious !” Ashraf replied “You are hardly in a position to  breathe even let alone talk” 1”Look,  I think you are a decent man and you don’t deserve me. I don’t love you. Yes I don’t love you. I never have!. If  I loved you, I wouldn’t have cheated on you. I ” and it was then that she broke off into tears “didn’t mean to hurt you. It just happened, you are a good man, but Mazin, is well I love Mazin. He loves me”. “Then you too deserve each other, you have a lot in common.” Ashraf said. “Ashraf” Layla cried “Go, I can’t look at you right now. Pack your things and get out of my house. And, I mean YOUR things, the car is mine, the house is mine. The furniture is mine. Get the hell out of here, with your clothes and only your clothes” “Ashraf, I never meant to hurt you” she said . “If you are not out of here in an hour, I will create a scandal. Get out of my sight ”  His expressions were stern. His look was harsh, leaving Layla with no choice but to obey.

While she packed, Ashraf sat in the living room, smoking one cigarette after the other. He considered leaving the house, but he worried that if he left, he would actually kill Mazin. But, he wondered if Mazin was to blame, as Mazin was single or so it appeared to him. Layla was the one who was married. She committed the bigger sin in his eyes, his mind, and his heart. At that point in time, he only wanted her out of his life. He was too hurt to consider love or any other emotion that would keep her around him.

He wondered what he would tell her parents. Would he tell them the truth? But then , her brothers would kill her, or better yet, they would worry about him disgracing their sister. He wondered if she was even worth the effort. He even tried to go  over the episodes of the last two years of marriage in his mind. Did she ever love him? He wondered. He tried to figure out  when the sanctuary of marriage faded in her mind? He tried to figure out what Mazin offered her that he didn’t And, he realized that Mazin was simply there when he wasn’t. So, was this his fault? Was he  wrong for taking a job in the Gulf to secure a better life for them? Wasn’t that love?. These questions and many more raced in his mind.

Ashraf was weary with thought. He was paralyzed with anger.   But yet, he felt helpless. He felt she was worthless, and all he wonted was to get her out of his life with as little mess and as little hassle as possible. He lived two years without her, in the Gulf. He could  live many more, he thought. The pain would eventually go away but them together would never feel the same.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Layla wheeling her suitcases. She reached the living room and looked at him “Ashraf, I wish this didn’t happen” she said. “Is there no way we can at least talk/ Or use this time apart to think about what each of us really wants”. Is this how you will say goodbye? Ashraf, please say something anything to me. I can’t stand you silent”. “Just go !” he said.

And , with these words she left the house, leaving behind her a husband lost in his thoughts.

Meanwhile, Mazin met Yasmine. And, after laughing, joking, and talking about day to day issues with her, he took on a more serious tone as he said “I miss you”. “Thanks “Yasmine replied.” Thanks, is all what you can say” he said cheerfully. “What do you want me to say sweetie” Yasmine replied. “That you missed me too” he said as he leaned closer to her.  “You see, I don’t know what you have done to me. You changed me. I can’t seem to get you out of my thoughts. “Yasmine looked at him with utter shock while thinking to herself, where these feelings were when he was cheating on her. “I want to settle down. I am tired of roaming around. I found in you the calmness I can’t seem to find in anyone else. I want us to take our relationship to the next level”

“The next level,!” Yasmine said in shock.” Yes, the next level” he confidently repeated, as he took a little velvet box out of his pocket and revealed a ring. “I want to meet your parents. I want to make us official. Make a decent man out of me what do you say? ”. And as he said these words, his phone rang. He glanced at the screen and saw that it was Layla who was calling him. He gently put the phone on silent mode, as he looked at Yasmine and said “Sorry about that. So, what do you say? Will you accept me as your husband?”

Yasmine looked at him. Her thoughts were collecting in her mind. Then she knew her answer. Her answer was clear. She smiled and then she gave him her reply.

——————–

Part 19

“I don’t know”, she said. “You  don’t know?” Mazin replied in shock, ”I know this comes as a shock to you, but just relax and tell me  what you are thinking. I want you to be honest” Yasmine remained silent for a few seconds, as she wasn’t really sure what to tell him. Then, moving closer to hr he said, “Why the blank expression? Just say anything . Did I shock you that much?”.
Regaining her state of mind she replied coldly “You want me to be honest?” “Yes, sweetheart be honest?” he replied . She paused and then said “I can’t do this”. ”You can’t do what?” he said. “I can’t lie to you and say I am happy with you.”

“Calm down” he said. “Calm down? You want me to calm down,  when I know you cheated on me with Abeer”. “Me?” he replied in disbelief. “Come on Mazin, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. You went with her to the Dead Sea and I know it”.
“But that was a long time ago, before I knew you were the one.”, he said “We were together for God Sake” she shouted. “But, I wasn’t sure what I wonted” he said. “And I was?” she replied sarcastically.  “God Mazin, nobody knows what they want at the beginning of a relationship , but the minute they decide to start dating someone, they at least have made the commitment to make an honest effort to be faithful”
“If you knew I was cheating, why didn’t you say something sooner?” he said. “I was too into you to say something.” She replied “ I kept thinking to myself that maybe you will see what you did for yourself and you would come back, and really love me.”. “And I did ! I am here now with a ring for you. I broke my other ties with all other women. Isn’t that enough.?”. “How do I know that you did?” she said. “Would I lie to you” he replied.,

Then, hearing these  she looked at him with disbelief while wondering to herself if he was seriously asking her about his honesty. “You have to trust me?” he replied. “Trust you, you seriously want me to trust you?” she said. Then taking on a stronger tone she said “You don’t love me Mazin. You love the idea of me. You know the type, you see in me  the no strings attached girl, the girl who doesn’t call, the girl who is comfortable to be around.” “You have me all wrong” he said.
Oh I don’t think so.  You can’t stand anyone clinging to you and that is why you dumped Abeer. “ she said.
“No , you don’t know the reasons” he said
“Oh but I do. Abeer’s only crime was that she actually had feelings for you and she wanted to be with you because you made her believe that she meant something to you. “. “I didn’t make anyone believe anything” he replied defensively.
“That is just who you are, you let girls fall for you and then you dump them. I think Abeer is awful for cheating me, but I think you are worse because you were actually dating me. I think you are worse for making girls fall for you, for making me fall for you.” She said as she got up.

Then as she was leaving she said “I don’t hate you Mazin, God knows I wish I did, but I don’t, In fact, I feel bad for you. I wish I can believe you and say yes,”
“Then why don’t you?” he askrd “Because I simply can’t be with someone who keeps me wondering whether or not h is faithful, and I can not commit to someone unless I am sure that he loves me, not the idea of having me as if I were some trophy he won. . I wish you find what you are looking for, I know one girl who would give anything to be with you and who is now suffering over you, think about it ”
And with these words, she walked towards the door only to come face to face with Layla , who instantly ran to Mazin and said, “I left him, or he left me. He found out about us and I told him I didn’t love him, I looked all over for you until I saw your car parked outside and then I walked right in”. Yasmine walked back to Mazin and said  “You are together? Just how many are they Mazin that you cheated on me with ?”. “You must be Yasmine” Layla said in horror ”This is Yasmine, the girl you sent me an SMS about? she is so pretty, but I left my husband and ”, but then Yasmine interrupted her and said “And the guy you left your husband for just asked for my hand in marriage” Layla gasped in shock, but then Yasmine interrupted her and said” Don’t worry, I am just leaving. I’ve  seen enough for one day” and she left.

“This is Yasmine!” Layla looked at Mazin and said. “You just had to  send me an SMS which Ashraf read about her? I don’t have a place to live now and my suitcase is in the car, I have nothing. He kicked me out for her, for that………..”.
Mazin cut her off in the middle of her sentence and said “ Don’t say anything about her. I am not responsible for your mess”. “But you are” she cried “You made me love you” By this point Mazin got angry, he shouted” I am not responsible for anything.  You invited me over, and you knew what you were getting in to.” And he stood up to leave but then he turned to her and said “What is with you women, you always claim you are the victims. I had enough. “. “You had enough ?” she shouted “  you are not in a position to say , you had enough. You owe me. You said you love me. I am in a mess because of you” she said.
”This is your mess. You deal with it.” He screamed “ You women suck, when a guy decides to not get attached you blame him, and when he does they reject him. Damn you all”. And he stormed out after passing by the cash register to pay the bill.

He ran to his car, and almost mechanically switched on the engine and drove. He wanted to get out of the city, so he drove to the other side of the kingdom. He needed to be alone. He just needed to think. He was tired, emotionally tired from all that has happened. He kept wondering if he was in fact to blame for Abeer’s heart ache, Yasmine’s disappointment, and Layla’s broken home. ‘Am I that evil” he kept asking himself. Then in his desperate search for an answer, his mind wondered back in time to the relationships from his past.  He remembered how he loved before, and how he was cheated.  He remembered his first real love whom he found with another man and how vulnerable and powerless he had felt over the pain.

He remembered how he had promised himself never to be attached to anyone after that point, and how he had decided to live for the sake of a short term good time. “This is what I had always wonted” he said to himself “I have always wonted to be able to turn around and leave whenever things got tough. So,  I should feel happy, “ he thought to himself, after all, no woman is depending on him. He tried to even convince himself that he should celebrate Yasmine’s rejection of him , but it was then that he realized that he was all alone, and that in fact he wasn’t as thrilled as he had anticipated. He knew the feeling, but he couldn’t find the reason behind it. “Is this what I really wonted,” he wondered” and then he tried to convince himself that it was while he drove back to Amman.

Earlier that morning and after her encounter with Mazin, Yasmine drove back home, that day raging with anger. She too convinced herself that she was better off without Mazin. And around the evening time, she picked up the phone and called Abeer. She had a lot to say to her friend. She was too angry and she wonted to get everything off her chest.

But then, Abeer was too happy when she picked up. She told her, come quick  . I have great news to tell you!”

———————–

Part 20, Last Part

Yasmine, went over to Abeer’s house just as Abeer had told her to. She wasn’t really interested in whatever Abeer had to say, but she decided to be a good friend for one last time. After all, she thought that she had seen the worst from her and that she had finally become immune to any story, breakdown, or Mazin related issue Abeer may have to share.

The minute Abeer saw her she joyfully said “He came back!”. “Who Mazin?” Yasmine asked. “Yes, apparently I am the one.”. “When did this happen?” Yasmine asked in shock while wondering how a person could ask for one girl’s hand in marriage, cheat with a girl who apparently is married, and then claim less than 24 hours later that a third girl is the one. “Does it upset you?” Abeer asked “ I am telling you coz he told me you are not interested in him and that it won’t bother you that we are together. I refused to go a step further with him before clearing it with you”.”No, it doesn’t bother me at all” Yasmine calmly said “May you two be happy together”

Abeer then said “He simply realized that no girl could love him like I did. Which is true, I mean I so love him, oh and he told me to give you this” she said as she handed her a sealed envelope. “Open it alone” he told me to tell you.

Yasmine took the letter and murmured “Thanks”. “Cofee?” Abeer asked. “No thanks, I have to go “ Yasmine said, “Oh and congratulations. You two have a lot in common so I am sure you will be happy together” she said, as she gave her friend a hug and left.

Later that evening, Abeer started to wonder if Yasmine’s last phrase was a compliment or an insult. Did Yasmine mean that they two have similar personalities or that they were both cheaters? Could this mean that she and Yasmine would never be friends? These thoughts saddened her for a few moments, but then they were interrupted by yet another romantic SMS from Mazin. After reading the SMS, Abeer realized that she didn’t care at all about Yasmine’s feelings. She was with Mazin for the time being and that was all that mattered. Her friendship with Yasmine didn’t matter, the world didn’t matter, she wanted to be with this guy and she was.”If Yasmine was the one, the universe will find a way to bring them together” she thought “But she is simply not the one, and so the universe worked against her” she resolved as she sat comfortably in her bed and replied to Mazin’s SMS with an even more romantic SMS.

From Abeer’s house, Yasmine , went home and sat down to read the letter. She didn’t know what to expect but given the current situation between her and Mazin, she couldn’t expect the letter to say anything good. Never the less, she opened it and she was right, it read;

Dear Yasmine,

I was doing some thinking and you are right. I can’t be with you simply because you enjoy having people and then hurting them. I cheated you but I came back to you so that means that technically my actions with Abeer don’t make me a bad person. When you think about it, me and you are not that different, you cheated too. You cheated my feelings.

You pretended you didn’t know about me and Abeer when you did. You pretended nothing was wrong when actually you were hurt. You pretended you were into me when you were looking for a time to dump me and you did dump me right when I was pouring my heart out to you with a commitment only made to you. You proved to me that no woman should be trusted, as you are all driven to hurt people with your competitions and jealousy . I just can’t be a part of this sort of thing.

As for Abeer, you will find out that we are together and while she doesn’t move me like you do at least I know that she won’t hurt me. And, as for love, part of love is forgiveness and she forgave me when you didn’t. So, she deserves me and you don’t. And, with time I will learn to love her.

Please don’t show Abeer this letter
I wish you all the best
Mazin

Yasmine sealed the letter and put it in her drawer. The words in it hurt her. She thought about her actions, and she wondered if it would have been better if she had confronted him up front. She wondered if it would have been better if she had ended the relationship the minute she found out about his infidelity?.

Maybe then, she would have saved herself the emptiness she was feeling at that moment and maybe she would have shielded her heart from the sadness she was yet to feel. She tried to satisfy herself with the thought that she had gotten her revenge. She rejected him just as she had always dreamed of doing so, but yet this revenge wasn’t as sweet as she had thought it would be.

For the first time in the last months Yasmine actually felt that Mazin was gone and that there was no turning back. And, it was only then that it dawned on her that the only reason she was so angry with him was actually because she was disappointed in him. After all, if he meant nothing to her, he wouldn’t have caused her to violently react. She even dared to wonder if she was in fact in love with him, but then her pride let her reject the thought as she refused to admit that she had allowed herself to fall for a cheater, a person who disrespected her. She dreaded the realization that she loved Mazin as loving him was so wrong in her mind, even if her heart said otherwise.

Just as her thoughts of despair where getting deeper and deeper, her rationality kicked in to save her. She thought to herself that smart girls don’t cry, and because she was a smart girl she should simply forget Mazin completely and move on. With time, she allowed her heart to become as hard as rock and to even reject men, love, and romance. She decided that all men were awful and that she will focus all her energies from that day onwards on work.

Meanwhile, and after days of wondering Layla decided to go home and beg Ashraf for forgiveness. But her pleas were in vane as Ashraf was mortified by what she had done. “Let us try it again. I can learn with time to love you” she said, but to Ashraf this was not enough. He felt that he just couldn’t be married to a woman whom he had to convince to love him. So they divorced a month after that day. And, he moved back to the Gulf for good.

After overcoming the initial sadness of her situation, Layla decided to see this incident as a new beginning. She decided to go back to school and pursue a Masters Degree. She even got a job as a secretary in a reputable company.

Her family never knew of the real reasons behind her divorce, all they knew was that she and Ashraf were not happy together and that they decided to end the marriage at this point and when there were no kids involved.

And, within the few empty moments of her active new life, Layla often remembered Ashraf as the good man whom she just didn’t love. She remembered him as the man who did everything in his power to make her happy and in the best way he could. She remembered him as the man who didn’t give her the emotions she so missed and needed but she didn’t blame him as she too probably failed him with her emotions.
As the months went by, she hoped that some day she would meet a good man she loved . Marriage to her is founded on love and she knew she couldn’t be happy in a marriage that lacked it.

And, almost a year later, when Yasmine had finally allowed herself to get over Mazin and Abeer, she began to accept that Mazin was gone for good and happy. She was sad when she remembered him, but she just believed that there was no use in being angry over something she couldn’t change. She even started to view life as a series of situations one has to live though.

But then just as she was beginning to get herself used to living emotionlessly, life sneaked up on her with a surprise.

It was on one fine spring day that she heard a knock on the door , so she looked up from her desk only to find Mazin at the doorway. “I know you are probably wondering what I am doing here” he said. “Yes, what are you doing here” she asked, “And maybe, today will turn out to be a mistake” he said “It is “ she said in anger “But never the less, I don’t want to hate myself for not saying the words I have to say.” He said “I don’t want to hear anything from you. It is a mistake, can you please leave because I can’t stand seeing you” she said, as the tears rolled down her eyes.

“ I know I hurt you and for that I am sorry. I even tried to blame you and all other women for the way I was, when in fact it is all my fault for allowing one woman to affect me . I am not a great person. I even tried to be with your best friend, just to make you jealous. I said the awful things I said to you in the letter just so that I can hate you, and it all didn’t work”.

“I don’t want to hear this. Just because you are lonely or because you have issues, or whatever it is this is not my problem. I got over you and it was hard to get over you. I don’t want to do this again” Yasmine said. “Let me finish” Mazin replied “You probably think I am cheating on Abeer but I am not. I am done cheating. I am done cheating, because I realized that I can’t live this way, I am just not happy, and I want to be happy ”.

“Why should I believe you? Why should I care? What about Abeer? Did you hurt her too?” Yasmine asked “ I am not exactly in a position to ask you to believe me, but things between me and Abeer ended after a month. They ended simply because I just didn’t see her as my wife, or the mother of my kids. We are friends and she even knows I am here”

“What do you want from me.? ” Yasmine asked while crying “Go lay your issues on some other girl” “I could but I don’t want to, I want to lay my issues on this girl in front of me. I want a chance to start again” he said ”I am not asking you to trust me, but the fact that I can’t get you out of my mind has to mean something. Let us see what it means and I know you can’t get me out of your mind otherwise you wouldn’t have listened to me for this long right ? You could have called security and forced me to leave but you didn’t and that means something, you are crying and that means something. Don’t you owe it to yourself and to me for us to see what it means?”

And indeed he convinced her, and she did give him a chance, a chance where she kept a check on him for months before allowing herself to believe that he changed. And, one day she even apologized to him for leading him on. And, when she asked him what drove him to change himself he said “I was sick of revenge, I was sick of the games, I was sick of the momentary victory I got from women being hurt by me. I just wanted to be happy and when you find out who makes you happy you have to make an effort to be with them right?”, and from that day on they lived happily ever after, but every once in a while Yasmine did check his mail and mobile just to make sure that his old habits didn’t come back to haunt him.

———————

Part 20

Yasmine, went over to Abeer’s house just as Abeer had told her to. She wasn’t really interested in whatever Abeer had to say, but she decided to be a good friend for one last time. After all, she thought that she had seen the worst from her and that she had finally become immune to any story, breakdown, or Mazin related issue Abeer may have to share.

The minute Abeer saw her she joyfully said “He came back!”. “Who Mazin?” Yasmine asked. “Yes, apparently I am the one.”. “When did this happen?” Yasmine asked in shock while wondering how a person could ask for one girl’s hand in marriage, cheat with a girl who apparently is married, and then claim less than 24 hours later that a third girl is the one. “Does it upset you?” Abeer asked “ I am telling you coz he told me you are not interested in him and that it won’t bother you that we are together. I refused to go a step further with him before clearing it with you”.”No, it doesn’t bother me at all” Yasmine calmly said “May you two be happy together”

Abeer then said “He simply realized that no girl could love him like I did. Which is true, I mean I so love him, oh and he told me to give you this” she said as she handed her a sealed envelope. “Open it alone” he told me to tell you.

Yasmine took the letter and murmured “Thanks”. “Cofee?” Abeer asked. “No thanks, I have to go “ Yasmine said, “Oh and congratulations. You two have a lot in common so I am sure you will be happy together” she said, as she gave her friend a hug and left.

Later that evening, Abeer started to wonder if Yasmine’s last phrase was a compliment or an insult. Did Yasmine mean that they two have similar personalities or that they were both cheaters? Could this mean that she and Yasmine would never be friends? These thoughts saddened her for a few moments, but then they were interrupted by yet another romantic SMS from Mazin. After reading the SMS, Abeer realized that she  didn’t care at all about Yasmine’s feelings.  She was with Mazin for the time being and that was all that mattered. Her friendship with Yasmine didn’t matter, the world didn’t matter, she wanted to be with this guy and she was.”If Yasmine was the one, the universe will find a way to bring them together” she thought “But she is simply not the one, and so the universe worked against her” she resolved as she sat comfortably in her bed and replied to Mazin’s SMS with an even more romantic SMS.

From Abeer’s house, Yasmine , went home and sat down to read the letter. She didn’t know what to expect but given the current situation between her and Mazin, she couldn’t expect the letter to say anything good. Never the less, she opened it and she was right, it read;

Dear Yasmine,

I was doing some thinking and you are right. I can’t be with you simply because you enjoy having people and then hurting them. I cheated you but I came back to you so that means that technically my actions with Abeer don’t make me a bad person. When you think about it, me and you are not that different, you cheated too. You  cheated my feelings.

You pretended you didn’t know about me and Abeer when you did. You pretended nothing was wrong when actually you were hurt. You pretended you were into me when you were looking for a time to dump me and you did dump me right when I was pouring my heart out to you with a commitment only made to you. You proved to me that no woman should be trusted, as you are all driven to hurt people with your competitions and jealousy . I just can’t be a part of this sort of thing.

As for Abeer, you will find out that we are together and while she doesn’t move me like you do at least I know that she won’t hurt me. And, as for love, part of love is forgiveness and she forgave me when you didn’t. So, she deserves me and you don’t. And, with time I will learn to love her.

Please don’t show Abeer this letter

I wish you all the best

Mazin

Yasmine sealed the letter and put it in her drawer. The words in it hurt her. She thought about her actions, and she wondered if it would have been better if she had confronted him up front. She wondered if it would have been better if she had ended the relationship the minute she found out about his infidelity?.

Maybe then, she would have saved herself the emptiness she was feeling at that moment and maybe she would have shielded her heart from the sadness she was yet to feel. She tried to satisfy herself with the thought that she had  gotten her revenge. She rejected him just as she had always dreamed of doing so, but yet this revenge wasn’t as sweet as she had thought it would be.

For the first time in the last months Yasmine actually felt that Mazin was gone and that there was no turning back. And, it was only then that it dawned on her that the only reason she was so angry with him was actually because she was disappointed in him. After all, if he meant nothing to her, he wouldn’t have caused her to violently react. She even dared to wonder if she was in fact in love with him, but then her pride let her reject the thought as she refused to admit that she had allowed herself to fall for a cheater, a person who disrespected her. She dreaded the realization that she loved Mazin as loving him was so wrong in her mind, even if her heart said otherwise.

Just as her thoughts of despair where getting deeper and deeper, her rationality kicked in to save her. She thought to herself that smart girls don’t cry, and because she was a smart girl she should simply forget Mazin completely and move on. With time, she allowed her heart to become as hard as rock and to even reject men, love, and romance. She decided that all men were awful and that she will focus all her energies from that day onwards on work.

Meanwhile, and after days of wondering Layla decided to go home and beg Ashraf for forgiveness.  But her pleas were in vane as Ashraf was mortified by what she had done. “Let us try it again. I can learn with time to love you” she said, but to Ashraf this was not enough. He felt that he just couldn’t be married to a woman whom he had to convince to love him. So they divorced a month after that day. And, he moved back to the Gulf for good.

After overcoming the initial sadness of her situation, Layla decided to see this incident as a new beginning. She decided to go back to school and pursue a Masters Degree. She even got a job as a secretary in a reputable company.

Her family never knew of the real reasons behind her divorce, all they knew was that she and Ashraf were not happy together and that they decided to end the marriage at this point and when there were no kids involved.

And, within the few empty moments of her active new life, Layla often remembered Ashraf as the good man whom she just didn’t love. She remembered him as the man who did everything in his power to make her happy and in the best way he could. She remembered him as the man who didn’t give her the emotions she so missed and needed but she didn’t blame him as she too probably failed him with her emotions.

As the months went by, she hoped that some day she would meet a good man she loved . Marriage to her is founded on love and she knew she couldn’t be happy in a marriage that lacked it.

And, almost a year later, when Yasmine had finally allowed herself to get over Mazin and Abeer, she began to accept that Mazin was gone for good and happy. She was sad when she remembered him, but she just  believed that there was no use in being angry over something she couldn’t change. She even started to view life as a series of situations one has to live though.

But then just as she was beginning to get herself used to living emotionlessly, life sneaked up on her with a surprise.

It was on one fine spring day that she heard a knock on the door , so she looked up from her desk only to find Mazin at the doorway. “I know you are probably wondering what I am doing here” he said. “Yes, what are you doing here” she asked, “And maybe, today will turn out to be a mistake” he said “It is “ she said in anger “But never the less, I don’t want to hate myself for not saying the words I have to say.” He said “I don’t want to hear anything from you. It is a mistake, can you please leave because I can’t stand seeing you” she said, as the tears rolled down her eyes.

“ I know I hurt you and for that I am sorry. I even tried to blame you and all other women for the way I was, when in fact it is all my fault for allowing one woman to affect me . I am not a great person. I even tried to be with your best friend, just to make you jealous. I said the awful things I said to you in the letter just so that I can hate you, and it all didn’t work”.

“I don’t want to hear this.  Just because you are lonely or because you have issues, or whatever it is this is not my problem. I got over you and it was hard to get over you. I don’t want to do this again” Yasmine said. “Let me finish” Mazin replied “You probably think I am cheating on Abeer but I am not. I am done cheating. I am done cheating, because I realized that I can’t live this way, I am just not happy, and I want to be happy ”.

“Why should I believe you? Why should I care? What about Abeer? Did you hurt her too?” Yasmine asked “ I am not exactly in a position to ask you to believe me, but things between me and Abeer ended after a month. They ended simply because I just didn’t see her as my wife, or the mother of my kids. We are friends and she even knows I am here”

“What do you want from me.? ” Yasmine asked while crying “Go lay your issues on some other girl” “I could but I don’t want to, I want to lay my issues on this girl in front of me. I want  a chance to start again” he said ”I am not asking you to trust me, but the fact that I can’t get you out of my mind has to mean something. Let us see what it means and I know you can’t get me out of your mind otherwise you wouldn’t have listened to me for this long right ? You could have called security and forced me to leave but you didn’t and that means something, you  are crying and that means something. Don’t you owe it to yourself and to me for us to see what it means?”

And indeed he convinced her, and she did give him a chance, a chance where she kept a check on him for months before allowing herself to believe that he changed. And, one day she even apologized to him  for leading him on. And, when she asked him what drove him to change himself he said “I was sick of revenge, I was sick of the games, I was sick of the momentary victory I got from women being hurt by me. I just wanted to be happy and when you find out who makes you happy you have to make an effort to be with them right?”, and from that day on they lived happily ever after, but every once in a while Yasmine did check his mail and mobile just to make sure that his old habits didn’t come back to haunt him.

The End

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