In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 32: Aiman's Last Smile

“Aiman!!!” Nina shrieked in horror as she saw blood pouring from the bullet wound on Aiman’s stomach. Not long after that, Aiman collapsed in agony on to the ground.

Shinta’s eyes snapped open. She was stunned when she found Aiman lying on the ground. A stream of blood flowed from the gunshot wound on his stomach.

Knowing his friend was shot, Prama pushed Nina over and he, along with Reza and Putra, hurried over to Aiman. The three of them gathered round Aiman now.

“You go on without me, Guys. Take the money and give it to Alya to pay for Dinda’s surgery!” Aiman commanded as he began to cough up blood.

“No, Aiman, we don’t want to leave you alone,” Prama refused.

Putra and Reza also nodded their heads in agreement.

“Please Guys, do it! You have to save Dinda’s life,” Aiman pleaded.

Putra said, “But—”

“Now!” Aiman snapped, cutting him off.

Reza, Prama, and Putra lastly herded together into their car and drove away at top speed, leaving the injured Aiman alone.

Knowing she couldn’t chase those robbers by herself, Brigadier Elisa decided to radio for back up. Meanwhile, she stayed behind in this place to accompany her partner, Shinta.

After the robbers took flight, Nina picked herself up, then rushed over to Aiman, and finally went down on her knees next to her best friend. Tears escaped her eyes and trailed down her cheeks. “Aiman...”

“Tha—that’s all right, Nina.” In spite of his pain, Aiman managed a weak smile.

Nina turned to look at Shinta and shouted at her furiously, “What have you done, Shinta?”

Shinta’s hands started to shake until she dropped her gun on to the ground. Staring at her trembling hands, she asked herself regretfully, “Oh my God, what have I done?”

Nina turned her attention back to Aiman and pressed her hands against his gunshot wound to check the bleeding. “Please hold on, Aiman!”

Brushing aside Nina’s words, Aiman reached out his hand towards Shinta and bade her come closer, “Shinta, please come here!”

Hesitantly, Shinta edged closer to Aiman and squatted down beside Nina.

“Aiman, I’m really sorry,” Shinta said remorsefully. Tears were welling up in her eyes.

He shook his head feebly. “No, it isn’t your fault”

“Aiman...” Shinta squeezed Aiman’s hand, wishing him strength.

“Shinta, Nina, look! If I die, please look after my sisters!” Aiman requested.

“Don’t say that, Aiman! I’m sure you are going to make it and you’ll be able to reunite with your sisters again,” Nina encouraged him.

“Yes, don’t be so negative, Aiman! I’m sure you’ll be fine,” added Shinta.

Brigadier Elisa was moved to tears watching the heart-rending scene in front of her.

“Don’t just stand there!” Nina suddenly snapped at her, “Call an ambulance now!”

“Yes, Elisa. Quick, get help!” Shinta commanded.

Elisa produced a walkie-talkie from her pocket and contact the medic right away, “Send for an ambulance here, quickly!”

“I know I don’t have much time left, Nina, Shinta. So please, I implore you. Promise me that you will look after my sisters for me!” Aiman beseeched.

“Yes Aiman, I promise you that I’m going to look after your sisters,” Shinta made a vow with tears in her eyes.

“I am going to look after Alya and Adinda too, Aiman, I promise you,” Nina said tearfully.

A slow smile worked its way across Aiman’s face. “Thank you,” he drawled and with that he shut his eyes.

Shinta gasped as Aiman’s hand slowly slipped out of her grip and then fell to the ground. “Aiman?” she called his name apprehensively, but he made no response.

“No, Aiman, don’t you dare close your eyes! Stay with me, Aiman! Open your eyes! Please wake up! Open your eyes, Aiman!” Nina slapped Aiman’s cheeks repeatedly with her bloodied hand until his face was smeared with blood, trying to wake him up, but Aiman didn’t want to open his eyes.

Elisa approached them on her own initiative. She crouched down beside Aiman and placed a hand on his muscular neck, checking his pulse, but she found nothing. She then checked his pulse on the wrist, but she couldn’t feel his pulse either.

“I’m so sorry. He’s gone,” she told them regretfully.

“NO!!!” Shinta screamed and tears ran down her face uncontrollably.

Nina shook her head in disbelief. “No, it can’t be. Aiman isn’t dead.”

“Aiman...” Shinta tried to touch him, but Nina pushed her hand away rudely. “No! Don’t touch him!” she bellowed at her.

Shinta was surprised by Nina’s rudeness. But she couldn’t complain, because she understood that Nina was still grieving the death of their best friend.

“Aiman, wake up! Please wake up! Open your eyes, Aiman! Wake up please!” Nina shook Aiman violently by the shoulders in a desperate attempt to get him up, but Aiman still didn’t wake up.

“That’s enough, Miss! He’s gone. You have to let him go!” Brigadier Elisa advised.

“No, Aiman is still alive. He is just unconscious,” Nina said in denial. Afterwards, she began to shake Aiman’s shoulders again. “Aiman, wake up! Don’t leave me, Aiman! Please wake up!”

Shinta touched Nina by the shoulder. “Please stop it, Nina! Aiman is gone.”

Unexpectedly, Nina pushed Shinta over. Springing to her feet, she bellowed at Shinta, “How cruel you are, Shinta! Aiman is our best friend, but why did you kill him?”

“I’m sorry, Nina. I have no intention of killing Aiman. I just wanted to stop him from running away. I never expected that it would end up like this,” Shinta tried to explain to her.

“I will never forgive you for what you did to Aiman, Shinta! You not only have murdered my best friend, but also have killed the only man I love,” Nina snarled.

Shinta looked up at her best friend in astonishment. “Nina, so you—”

“Yes, I love him too,” Nina butted in, “I’ve been carrying a torch for Aiman since we were teenagers. But I was willing to let him go because I knew that Aiman only loved you, Shinta. But look what you’ve done to the man who loved you sincerely! You killed him mercilessly.”

Shinta knelt in front of Nina and begged forgiveness for what she had done, “Nina, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to kill Aiman. I am so sorry.”

“Sorry?” Nina sneered, “It’s too late to say sorry now. Your remorse can never revive Aiman, Shinta.”

“I know I’m wrong. But please forgive me, Nina! I beg you!” Shinta implored.

“You can beg to me until hell freezes over, but you’ll never be able to get my forgiveness, Shinta. I hate you,” Nina flared. Her voice was full of venom.

“No, Nina, please don’t hate me! What shall I do so that you can forgive me?” Shinta asked desperately.

“Like there’s nothing you can do to save Aiman, there’s nothing that can make me forgive you either, Shinta,” Nina retorted.

Shinta looked desperately around for the gun that she dropped a few minutes ago. Once she found it, she got to her feet, crossed over, and bent to retrieve her gun from the ground. After that, Shinta came over to Nina and shoved her gun into Nina’s hand.

“Here take this! You can kill me if it’s the only way that can make you forgive me.” Shinta stated firmly.

“Shinta?” Nina gazed at her in disbelief.

“Kill me, Nina! Kill me!” Shinta screamed, provoking her, “I have killed our best friend. Kill me now so that you can avenge Aiman’s death. I deserve it. Come on Nina, kill me!”

Nina stared at the gun in her hand. “What shall I do now?” she wondered.

Nina admitted that she was furious with Shinta for killing their best friend, but could she kill her to avenge Aiman’s death?

“What are you waiting for, Nina? Come on, kill her now! She has murdered your best friend and the love of your life. You must kill her to avenge his death. She deserves it,” Nina’s evil side provoked her.

Overwhelmed by an intense rage, Nina lifted the gun and levelled it at Shinta’s head.

Shinta closed her eyes. She realized that she deserved it. That’s why she didn’t mind if she had to die in the hand of her best friend.

With trembling hands, Nina attempted to pull the trigger. But then all of a sudden, memories of the happiest moments she had spent with Aiman and Shinta came flooding back to her mind.

Nina lowered the gun while shaking her head slowly from side to side. “No, I can’t do this,” she sobbed.

Even though Shinta was wrong for murdering Aiman, their best friend and the man she loved most, but Nina realized that she could not bring herself to kill her. Like Aiman, Shinta was her best friend. Nina loved her friends so much and she didn’t wish her friends any harm, including Shinta.

Hearing Nina’s words, Shinta opened her eyes slowly and stared at Nina in puzzlement.

“I have lost Aiman,” Nina went on, “so I don’t want to lose you too, Shinta. I can’t lose two people I love the most.”

“You said you love me, Nina? Does it mean you don’t hate me?” asked Shinta tearfully.

“You’re my best friend, how can I hate you, Moron?” Nina retorted.

“Do you want to forgive me now, Nina?” Shinta inquired hopefully.

“Yes, I forgive you, Shinta.” Nina gave her a slight, sad smile.

“Thank you, Nina.” Shinta hugged Nina, and she hugged her back straight away. The two best friends lastly cried in each other’s arms.

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