No Matter What: Chapter Eleven

10:12 AM

Being the equestrian person he was, the stables were his favorite place to be. Horses and hay filling the large field, the place was magnificent. His piercing black eyes and sharp Arabian features were distinct to one certain family. He had an amazing touch and attitude with the horses. His skills and god given talent caused a stir in the community of horse lovers. Rumors around the stables surfaced that he was a horse whisperer. It helped a lot when time came for horses to be put down or treated for some disease and even when time came for a mother horse to give birth. Taimur's relation with everyone was that of sincerity and kindness. He made a special connection with the head veterinarian Jawad. He was Fajr's closest and favorite sibling out of them all. Jawad pampered Fajr a lot and would do anything to see a smile on her face. Fajr entrusted Jawad with her secrets and vice versa. They had one strong unbreakable bond which many of her friends envied. Given that the culture and norms around were that of a brother scolding a sister, every girl who knew Fajr adored and loved how she was treated by her older sibling. She was thankful to be blessed with such a brother regardless of how tough and fast they had to mature. ‘We don’t have but each other’ was always the slogan they followed. Ever since their parents passed away when Jawad was just in his last year of high school, he took it upon himself to ensure that the family remained united and as loving as they always have been.  

With Fajr being a horse lover herself, she always whined to her brother for not taking her with him to the royal stables. The place where the most attractive beautiful horses were kept. ‘Those are royal horses Fajr, I can’t risk my job for you’ she always heard those words during her times of whimpering and bawling. She tried to convince him so many times she lost count, but he never budged into her pleas nor give in. Until one day Jawad decided to surprise his loving sister with the biggest birthday surprise of all. Driving his car, he smiled unable to hide his amusement and imagined how Fajr’s reaction would be to the surprise.  ‘I’ll just go in for a sec to grab something okay?’ he said trying not to sell his plot. ‘Okay’ Fajr replied frustrated that they were going to be late for the so-planned lunch with their family. 

A quarter of an hour later, ‘So you aren’t coming with me?’ Jawad asked. ‘Where? Here?’ Fajr pointed to the stables’ entrance. Smirking he nodded his head and awaited Fajr’s screams deafening his ears. ‘No way. Are you serious?’ she replied all happy and screaming as she ran to the stables.   Jawad brought her to meet Al Fahl. With his white long hair, a long contour and the body of a strong young juvenile, this white Arabian horse was Fajr’s love. She has adored Al Fahl from the moment she laid her eyes on him two years ago in a magazine. Al Fahl was the feature of that issue and he was a horse racing champion in the country.  ‘Can I take him for a ride? Please pretty please?’ she asked as her puppy eyes blinked in front of him. ‘You can sniff, touch, brush his hair and do whatever you want to, but taking him out of the stables is something I’m not authorized to do’ Jawad said firmly. ‘But, it’s my birthday and I...’ Fajr got interrupted. ‘Anything for Jawad’s sister, she can take Al Fahl for a ride if she wants’ an anonymous strange voice she heard speaking. Turning around as she grinned happily hearing the pleasant news, their eyes met. She suddenly felt her stomach turn so many times that she lost count. The happy dance she was about to perform was drawn to a halt when she saw him in front of her.  Feeling light headed while cherry red colored her cheeks she opened her mouth to speak. ‘Thanks but… but no thanks’; she walked away as fast as she could. He froze in his place and couldn’t move it was her again, the girl with the most amazing smile and eyes.  Jawad surprised at what just happened followed his sister to ask what took place in Al Fahl’s stable. ‘He’s the guy’ her face turned white as she gulped her spit nervously. ‘What guy?’ he asked confused. ‘He’s the guy that’s…’ Fajr stopped talking as she remembered that her brother knew nothing about this; she hadn’t talked to him about what happened yet. ‘That’s?’ her brother asked again. ‘Who is he again?’ she asked trying to change the subject even though she knew that her insidees would turn again from the mentiong of his name. ‘My friend Tamur’ he said as her cheeks started twitching.  ‘The so called horse whisperer I was talking to you about?’ Jawad said chuckling about Taimur’s nickname. ‘Oh no’ her brain started screaming as she realized. ‘He’s the owner of Al Fahl’ her bag fell to the floor from the shock. She understood everything. She now could identify with his actions and approaches to her. He was royalty and could do what he wanted. Growing tenser by the second, Fajr left her bag laying on the floor and excused herself to go home. ‘I can’t believe this. All this time and I didn’t know’ she kept blaming herself under her breathe as she paced to the car.

Chirping birds, bright rays of light, and the barks of the neighborly Labrador was always the way people of this household woke up. Lovely smiles, happy faces and good spirit were always the motto.

'Good morning'
 '9aba7 el 5eir'
 'Assalam aleikum'

The greetings of everyone who were gathered around the dining table for breakfast. A family they were where every individual always made sure to have time for family gatherings and their normal chit chats around their dining table. Though one of them was missing, 'Where's Shihab?' everyone asked as they saw him coming down the stairs. In threadbare clothes coupled with an unshaved rough beard and unclipped long dirty nails, he sat down after greeting everyone a quick hello. Shihab didn't feel as happy as he was once upon a time; he was in agony but promised himself not to cut off his family regardless of what happens. The entire family understood his frustration and have offered their shoulders for him to cry on, but Shihab was stubborn and the type who kept everything inside. He did not want to share his misery with anyone, especially his siblings who all had their own troubles behind their happy faces and smiles. 'We made you French toast with strawberries' his sisters told him as they passed on his plate. It was his favorite breakfast meal, a meal he would most happily have forever if he could. He smiled and thanked his sisters as he dug onto his plate, he was starving. Everyone was glad and happy to see him finish his plate and ask for a second helping. This was a first, Shihab usually never ate a second serving at breakfast, but today was different; he was famished to the extreme. He felt like he hadn't eaten for what seemed like days, which was true. The only time he would eat was when he was at the café writing to her.

'Sir, your phone is ringing' the housemaid came down to inform Shihab. Knowing that it could never be Noor calling he dismissed the idea of answering the phone and continued eating and making small talk with his siblings. It was Fajr on the other end of the line trying to inform Shihab about Noor.

'Shihab once you get this, give me a call. It's concerning Noor'

She sent him a text message as she hurried to the hospital hallway with her brother, Jawad. 

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