It was a cold, winter night in Istanbul. Most of the residents were either gathered around the fires, or whatever source of heat they used to shield them from the near freezing temperature. Others took the chance to cozy up to their significant others in restaurants, and inside movie theaters.
This road in particular was more deserted than the main roads, it was a desolate route that not many people knew about, which led from the sea-shores, and some of the cafes that still dared open by the shore in this weather, to the residential parts of the ancient city. But it mainly led to low-income housing; before the more upscale houses would come into view.
Fetune Karahnli was a popular singer, a respected member of society, and a devoted mother. She loved being on stage, her smile shining bright when her fans cheered her on, her eyes glinting happily whenever she walked into a store, or passed a car and heard her own voice filtering through the speakers. But as happy as she was with her career, nothing brought her more joy than the man sitting in the driver's seat, expertly maneuvering the car through the winding, deserted road.
Fajr Karahnli, her son, her pride and joy, her miracle.....her second chance.
She smiled adoringly at him, as she thought back to her own childhood, and how different it was from the one she provided for her son. She was by no means poor growing up; her father being one of the textile mongols of the country had established their place in the highest ranks of the social pyramid, and set her up for a life of luxury from the day she was born.
Her mother, Karima Karahnli, had taken that position far too seriously, instilling discipline and decorum in her daughter since the day she could walk. Her childhood was not cheerful, and carefree like one might assume in light of all the money they possessed. Because her mother had always insisted that image was everything.
She was never allowed outside of her room in her sleep clothes, casual wear was something she never even dreamed of owning, let alone wearing, and everything ran on schedules. She had sworn at a very young age, that if she ever had a child of her own, that she will never do that to them.
For eventually, in an attempt to keep up the family's image in the public's eye, her mother's almost-tyrannical streak had cost her much more than her childhood.
She smiled as she remembered her mother's horror when a four-year old Fajr had strutted down the stairs in his sleepwear, unceremoniously climbing onto his mother's lap, before he even attempted to tell her he was not feeling well. Her smirk had grown when she remembered the daggers she sent her way, when Fetune didn't even blink in surprise at her son's behavior. Merely combed his hair back, pressed a soft kiss to his forehead, before she greeted him, and asked him to greet his grandmother.
She had her own share of money now, separate from her inheritance from her father, thanks to her singing career, and she had insisted that she raised her son in as a healthy environment as she could under the spotlight, and give him the childhood she never had.
And looking at him right now, barely even twenty-six of age, and already a successful architect, she couldn't be prouder of him, and she guessed that she lived up to her promise.
"Thanks for the evening, sweetheart," she said softly, and he smiled brightly at her, as he took her hand into his, and kissed it softly.
"Anytime, Mom. It's the least I can do. I know how much you love that place by the sea, and we haven't been out like that in a while."
"Yeah, well, you're Mr. Hot-Shot Architect now, you don't have time for your poor old mother," she teased gently.
He chuckled, knowing her well enough to know that there wasn't any real venom behind that comment. "I always have time for you, Mom. You're my number one," he vowed adoringly, his eyes flickering over to her briefly, the love shining in them warming her heart, and an almost sad sigh escaped her lips, as they both turned their attention back to the road.
Fajr frowned slightly, and turned the knob on the radio, lowering the already soft music that was humming in the car, to a barely audible level, as he craned his neck, and squinted into the darkness.
"What is it?" he heard his mother ask, but didn't answer her, simply stepped on the gas pedal, before slamming the breaks suddenly.
"Fajr!" she exclaimed in both surprise, and horror alike, but he didn't hear her, as he practically jumped from the car, and her own eyes widened in horror as they now settled on the cause of her son's distress.
Three men, who didn't look that much older than her own son, had a young girl trapped between them, and tried to restrain her, but she seemed strong enough to put up enough of a fight to keep all three of them off of her.
Fajr rushed over to them, swiftly landing a right hook onto one, sending him into the wall, and incapacitating him for the time being, as he now turned his attention to the other two. They seemed to be drunk, barely having enough energy to stand straight, but no coordination whatsoever that might help them fight off the angry stranger. He easily pried the girl away from their hands, and pushed her towards his mother - who had exited the car - and quickly gathered the now shaking girl into her arms, and ducked both of them inside the car, swiftly locking it behind them.
She looked over to her son, and saw him fighting off the two still standing, who were stupid enough to try and get in a few punches of their own, which he easily dodged.
She turned her attention back to the shaking girl in her arms, who was now clinging to her coat, as shallow, ragged breaths escaped her trembling lips.
"It's alright, sweetheart, you're safe now. Just try and take a deep breath," she soothed, one hand instinctively pushing the hair that was sticking to her sweaty face behind her ear, and gently cupping her chin to lift her face to try and catch her gaze, hoping that it would ground her. "It's okay, it's over. They can't get to you here," she tried again, her thumb moving gently over the girl's cheek.
The girl seemed to calm down a bit when she saw her, and her eyebrows knitted together slightly. "Yo....you.....you....."she stuttered through her ragged breaths.
"Shush, honey. Don't try to talk right now, just focus on getting your breathing under control for now," she countered gently, her eyes flickering over to her son once more, and saw him giving a warning chase after the guys, who had taken off running.
"You're Fetune Karahanli!" the girl rasped out, and Fetune smiled gently at her. "Yes, I am. And you are?" she inquired gently.
"Asya. Asya Demir."