Desert lover.

Najiur felt elated. She thought she would have spend the whole night hiding and playing catch-me-if-you-can, when she’d been told that her family was invited to the weeding of the country’s Sheikh daughter, knowing  that the Sheikh was close friends with Mahad’s family.

She had danced, enjoyed the food and she couldn’t hide her smile as she dragged her best friend Nawar to one of the Persian mats filled with stuffed cushions to cater for the guests comfort.

“I love it, I always heard about these weddings but I never knew the real thing was so different.” She gushed. Nawar settled herself on the floor cross-legged and leaned on the red silken cushions sighing.

“I know right. I went to another wedding a few years ago but this gives that wedding a run for its money. I mean it’s the Sheikhs daughter getting married and they have money, but still, it’s beautiful, glorious, breathtaking…”

“Nawar, if you keep going you’ll kill the buzz for your wedding, to come in a few years time” Najiur said with a smile and her friend just rolled her eyes.

“Speaking of weddings, when are you going to find someone and get engaged then we can start planning your wedding?” Nawar asked her.

“Not any time soon. I just finished my degree and I want to move to Dubai and do something with my life before I start thinking of settling down.” Najiur replied toying with the thin material she wore under her eyes to hide her face unlike her friend who had just worn a silk scarf. She tugged at the thin strips holding the top thin material over her eyes and looked somewhere, anywhere and not at her best friend’s eyes. She hoped Nawar didn’t bring up Ahad’s name up.

Eyes narrowing Nawar made a sound and Najiur eyes snapped back to hers. “Is there something you are not telling me?” her friend asked.

“Why? If there was someone you would be the first to know.” Najiur replied.

“Still maybe you’re keeping it a secret for a while then you’ll tell me when I least expect it.”

“As if I could hide something so monumental from you.” She murmured.

Suddenly Najiur felt a niggling feeling at the back of her neck. I t was as if she was being watched. Turning to her left, she tipped her head up and her eyes connected with Ahad’s. He was leaning on the front balcony of the palace. He had on a golden robe, lined with red on the lapels and down the front where three buttons anchored it. His shoulder length dark mane framed his face. Sharp features, so acute and handsome. Suddenly she was remembering the times she had entertained the thought of ever being around him than time allowed but in the end she had escaped the prince and gone to Europe to further her studies after begging her father in the name of wanting to see another world other than the beautiful Moroccan desert her whole life.

“I have to go. Um… I’ll be back.” Najiur said as she rose and began to walk towards the dining or the place that had been turned into a huge dining place. Needing to hide. How the hell had she believed that Ahad wouldn’t be at this wedding? His family was close to the Sheikh, but maybe after not seeing him for half of the night she had lied to herself about his presence. She walked around the palace and found a place near a fountain with green overgrowth and sat on the cushions.

“Why are you running?” she heard a deep voice ask. She jumped and screamed before her eyes locked with Ahad’s and she felt as f someone had sucker punched her. Her knees felt weak, her mouth lost any moisture, and her heart threatened to pump out of her chest.

“I…I…I’m not running, I just needed some fresh air. All that dancing, the food.” She squirmed under his eyes and blew a deep breath as if to empathise how tired she was from the dancing.

“You danced very well” he said out of the blue. She just gaped, with her eyes wide.

Ahad walked towards her then bend his legs to a squat his loose trousers rustling. Their eyes were now level. His dark and heated as he looked into hers. She loved the long eyelashes that fanned his cheeks when he blinked.

“Um… you were watching me?” she stuttered. Gosh how had she made this mistake? She could have stayed at the dining place. Lots of people there.

“Yes, it’s hard to miss you. The bronzed tan, the beautiful golden galabia, the way you moved, even your eyes give you away although they are hidden.” he said, his fingers brushed her cheek lightly and she had to hold herself from moving towards the touch. “I haven’t seen you dance like that for a while.”

“I wasn’t around, I just finished my studies in Europe and I came back three months ago.” She said as if mesmerized. The moon glinted off his face leaving one side dark and the other bathed in silver.

“But you’re back.” He said. That statement alone said more than she wanted to think about reminding her why she had fled. Yes she admitted it. She had fled to Europe to escape him and now she was back and he seemed determined to get her. She wasn’t going to let the thought of him having thought she had needed time to grow-since he was two years older than her-and that he’d waited patently.

“Yes, I’m back.” She replied clearing her throat.

“Then now you have no excuse to not want us to pursue our relationship.”

“What?” Najiur squeaked.

One eyebrow quirked up and she felt her cheeks heat up at the intensity of his gaze. She couldn’t mistake the desire there. Her eyes accidentally moved to his lips, surrounded by a short beard expertly trimmed. Red, inviting. The corner of his mouth moved up and she felt her lips part behind the thin material covering her face. Oh she was in trouble and this time she couldn’t run away from the young Sheikh.


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