Chapter 15.

“There’s just no rhyme or reason…

Only this sense of completion…

And in your eyes I see the missing pieces I’m searching for…

I think I found my way home.”   
I Knew I Loved You – Savage Garden     


“Yes?” I heard Layla’s voice coming from the intercom of her house after I rang the bell. “Guess who?” I replied. “What took you so long? And why didn’t you call instead of ringing the bell like this? You scared me. I’m a little bit nervous,” she said in an anxious voice. “Don’t be. I’m only ten minutes late because I forgot something and had to go back home for it. Anyhow, get down. I’m waiting.” “Just a minute.”        

I was standing in front of the house holding a bouquet of flowers in my hand when Layla opened the door. A dozen lilies, which Layla loves, with a couple of red roses look more beautiful than what you would imagine. I stepped in and said good morning. “This is for you. I’m sorry I’m late but having these done took longer than I expected.” I handed her the flowers and she gave me a gentle kiss. “Thank you,” she said. She pointed towards a large suitcase sitting in front of the inner wooden door and said, “That’s what I’m taking.” “Don’t you think it’s a little bit too much for a weekend? What do you have in there? Your entire wardrobe?” I asked. “Stuff!” she replied. “Hopefully all the lingerie I didn’t see yet.” I winked at her. She blushed and said playfully, “You’ll see.”    

It was Wednesday around 10 a.m. and the weather was perfect for the beach. The sun was up and blazing hot but there was this slight breeze in the air. I loaded her suitcase into my car and we headed towards Al-Durra. We had told our parents that we were going to be spending the entire weekend there with our friends. Of course, our close friends knew about that lie so they could cover up for us just in case of the unlikely event that our parents decided to check up on us.           

I had begged my friend, Abdurrahman, to lend me his private villa at Al-Durra for that weekend. He agreed after I told him why I needed it. I came once during the previous week and gave Ameen, the Pakistani man who takes care of the villa, a 100 Riyals and asked him to clean it thoroughly before the weekend.

The road was smooth and we sang along to the songs on the radio with the windows rolled down. When we reached the villa, Ameen was waiting for us and helped us carry our bags into the living room. After he left, we took a quick tour around the place and unpacked a few things. I asked Layla, “What do you think?” “It’s very nice. I think we’ll have a great weekend, starting from now.” She then took off her Abaya and changed into her swimsuit.

There were only a few kids with a maid on the beach when we first got into the water but half an hour later, a group of guys came and disturbed our peace. They would not stop staring and making comments about us. I wanted to say something about it to them but Layla would not let me because she thought antagonizing them would only push them to annoy us more. Luckily, a couple of girls showed up after some time and the guys completely forgot about us and turned their attention to the new comers.            

At night, we just stayed in and watched a couple of sitcoms then a movie during which Layla fell asleep in my arms half an hour before it ended. I carried her to the bed and lied next to her. I do not remember when I fell asleep but I remember we both had smiles on our faces.

“Wake up, sleepyhead!” I opened my eyes slightly to recognize Layla lying next to me trying to wake me up. “Come on. I made you breakfast,” she said. She kissed me on the cheek then jumped off the bed. I yawned then I lifted my head and sat up straight. After a minute, I yelled, “Breakfast! I knew I forgot to bring something!” I hit my forehead with my palm then continued, “I wanted to make you pancakes and bring it you in bed just like the movies.” Layla laughed and said, “It’s ok. I wanted to make you something sophisticated too but I looked around the place and couldn’t find any ingredients. The breakfast I made you is a bowel of milk and cornflakes.” “Thank you,” I said. I went to the bathroom, washed my face, and headed to the kitchen table. Layla was sitting wearing the t-shirt I had on last night. I went to her and hugged her. “You know, I could get used to this,” I whispered into her ear.

“Listen, I got you something and I hope you like it. I had intended on giving it to you Friday morning before we leave but I figured I’d give it to you now especially since our friends are coming over tonight,” I said to Layla late afternoon. We had invited many of our friends to come and join us on Thursday night. We had brought board games, playing cards and asked them to bring along anything fun they wanted. We were going to celebrate our anniversary with everyone but we insisted that no one brings us gifts of any kind. The cake, beverages and the big stereo would be more than enough we told them.           

About a month ago, I purchased a diamond solitaire ring to give to Layla as our anniversary present. It cost me 4000 Riyals half of which I saved over the last couple of months while the other half was a loan from my mother. I was worried I would get the ring’s size wrong so while Layla was away I went into her house since I had the keys to the outer doors and to her room and I took a ring from her jewelry box and asked the jeweler to adjust the ring I bought to that size. I thought it was very beautiful and would only look more beautiful on Layla’s delicate hand.  

I took the small wrapped box out of my pocket and put it on the living room’s table. “What’s that?” she asked. “Open it up, please,” I said. She took it and opened it slowly. “Oh my god, it’s beautiful! You really didn’t have to. This is too much,” she said but I could tell she was happy with it. I was glad and proud. “Happy anniversary dear,” I said and kissed her. I took her hand in mine then. “Would you let me do the honor?” I asked. She nodded her head. I took the ring and gently placed it in her right ring finger. “Now everyone can know that you’re spoken for,” I said then kissed her forehead. “I love you,” I told her. “I love you more than you know,” she said. 

“Let me bring you your gift. I’m sure you’ll love it,” she said. She came back with a red box that had a small teddy bear on top. Inside the box, there were three things. The first was a photo album that contains many of our pictures together in addition to many of hers ever since she was a baby. The second thing was a red boxer. The third was a book. The cover was of the sun setting on a beach. “They Were in Love,” the title read. I looked at Layla with a questioning look so she took the book, opened the index page and pointed at my name printed there. “My friend’s uncle works in a publishing company and she told me they were publishing a poems’ book about lost love all of which are written by various young poets. She had read some of yours before and thought they were very good. Therefore, I took some of them and sent it to her uncle who picked two to be included here. This all happened two months ago but I wanted to wait till now to tell you. I know you’ve always wanted to have your poems published and now you are officially a published writer,” she said. “You are one of a kind, do you know that? That’s why I love you. Who else would’ve thought of this? This is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better gift. Thank you.” I hugged her.        

At night, we had a small celebration. Layla kept the ring on and showed it to everyone. I did the same with her gifts. Many of our friends came and we had a great time. One of the rather unexpected yet wonderful results of that evening is that my friend and the owner of the villa, Abdurrahman, ended up marrying Layla’s friend, Rana, only a year later.      

Friday morning as we were packing to leave so we can go home, Layla asked, “What if my parents saw the ring? What would I say?” “Well, don’t wear it around the house. It’s as simple as that. It’s your mother you should be slightly concerned about but not your father. He probably won’t even notice you’re wearing a ring. Only wear it when you go out. Unless you don’t want it then I could return it,” I joked. “Oh, you’re so funny!” she said and hit my arm lightly with her fist. I took her in my arms and started tickling her until we both fell on the nearest sofa laughing.

Even though we had many anniversaries in the years to follow, that anniversary will always remain in my heart as the most special one of all. It was the first time we watched a sunset together, the first time we went to a beach together, the first time we slept a night next to each other and the first time we woke up in the morning next to each other. The ring, the photo album and the book that contains my poems will always serve as simple reminders of what a magical time we had then and how young and crazy in love we were. We thought we were invincible. Sometimes I wish I could go back to that weekend.

11 thoughts on “Chapter 15.

  1. Hi Doc 🙂

    Happy new year 🙂

    As usual very great .

    and my hat is off to u sir 😉

    I wish to u and to Laila the best ,great,beautiful and wonderful time and life .

    Reply
  2. Greetingsifications…

    I admit and UNgrudgingly for that matter – that your blog is a smooth read BaSSeM (if i may take the liberty of addressing you as such)…

    Though I won’t pretend to be an expert at spotting potential writers…a question does hover around the insides of my brain while I read you and yours….

    Is it that smooth? Is love that smooth? – especially here? Or is the smoothness of the sequences of events fanciful thinking on your part?

    Of course…perhaps…well…you write to write of a bettered world?

    Whatever the case…I’m simply curious…

    Other than that….encore monsieur…continue….by all means…do continue…

    over & out,
    art thou,
    bow wow…

    Reply
  3. i couldnt help noticing that u said ur friend Abdulrahman married her friend Rana a year later “even before u did”

    is that a clue to what might happen or is that possibly a slip??

    Reply
  4. beautiful, i had to read it in two parts but it left me guessing for 2 days and it was worth it! quick write the next:D:D

    Reply
  5. Bassem, I hate you!

    When I got to the part of the solitair ring; I colsed my eyes & dreamt of being someone’s Laila!

    I am so 2nding erada’s questions BTW!
    Is love that peachy & creamy?? 🙂

    But I know it’s fiction after all! 🙂
    I’m just accepting it as is & really enjoying it 🙂

    I have not been commenting on the previous parts, although I eagerly await them, that’s only becuz I prefer to look at the large picture 🙂
    Nonetheless, cannot deny how your style & writing skill just enchanted the reader! 🙂 mashallah 🙂
    The flashback style is my favorite & you really know how to work it dude! 🙂
    Keep up 🙂

    & I’m waiting fot Noura as well.. didn’t forget that! 😉

    Reply
  6. red admiral, hello and a happy new year to you too 🙂
    thanks for your kind words
    i think you should read the previous episodes and Who’s Laila to understand a couple of things about the story 😉

    erada, welcome here and yeah feel free to call me Bassem or whatever u want 😛
    thank you for your nice comment.. i don’t consider myself a professional writer either.. and if u like what i write then that’s all i could hope for
    and regarding your question, love isn’t smooth.. if u read previous chapters you’d notice there were some bumps alongs the ride..
    love everywhere is smoother in the beginning but then as you go along you are faced with many hardships that test your love and then you’d realize if it’s meant to be or not
    still there r many events that will happen that aren’t pleasant but it’s a fact of life
    yes, here it’s a little bit harder in some aspects than it’s in some other places but then it’s natural and you can go through them
    believe if i’m to write of a bettered world it would be different than this.. please read all of Laila and hopefully you’ll understand some of what i say
    thank you and please keep reading 🙂

    Reply
  7. 3anoda, well when i wrote it, it was a slip but when i was re-reading it i said let’s just leave it.. i had said before that Laila and I will get married eventually so it doesn’t matter if ppl knew now 😉 of course life doesn’t stop at marriage!

    c’est la vie, 😉

    sous, lol that made me smile! thanks

    mealongme, that’s hate for a good reason then!
    i was going to buy someone a solitaire ring once but then i never got the chance.. i guess that’s a good thing because now hopefully who will take it from me will be worth it 🙂
    i hope you find your someone too

    i replied to erada’s q.. but then don’t forget it’s not all fiction and these things might be happening in front of your eyes
    and u don’t have to keep commenintg because i know you’re reading and that’s more than enough 🙂
    thank you for your sweet words

    and no i didn’t forget about Nora either.. one day inshallah when Laila reachs its ending

    anon, Nora is another story that i intend to write about one day

    Reply
  8. Hey Bassem,
    Great as usual, but I do have a question if I may ask……….. I don’t get it why do you and everyone else refer to Khalid’s character as being you. I thought that this is a fictional story.

    Anyway love the story……Now on to chapter 16 🙂

    Reply
  9. Damara, read Who’s Layla and you’ll understand a few things regarding the story…. and as to why many refer to me as Khalid. it’s simply because the story is written in first person narrative format as if I’m telling the story… confusion could happen!

    Reply

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