The American

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CHAPTER 7

It feels like it was yesterday I was left to rot at that unknown place. Khloe was able to save me that day. I can’t believe Ethan left me there. I know he was angry, but that is not enough reason for him to leave me there. I should not be surprised anyways because it’s Ethan I am talking about, someone who hates me more than anything in this world. He hurt me a little that night, nothing serious, but I still feel little pains in my arms when I move them. His grip was really tight that night.

I am on my way to class this beautiful afternoon. I get to class and take my seat, waiting for the professor to arrive. Someone takes a seat beside me, but I don’t border to look up from my phone to know who it is. The professor arrives after a few seconds, and the class starts. I close the app I am using and lookup. The person sitting beside me is not someone I want to see after what happened on Saturday. Ethan is sitting beside me. Why is he sitting beside me? I look around to see if all the seats are occupied, but they are not, so why is he. Ethan will never willingly sit beside me; something must be wrong with him today. I don’t say anything to him and mind my business.

I take out my pen from my bag to write, but it falls from my hand. I try to pick it up, but someone beats me to it. Ethan helped me pick up my pen. What is going on? The Ethan I have known for three years now would never help me pick up my pen. Is something wrong with him? I did not realise I had zoned off until Ethan speaks.

“Adina your pen,” Ethan says in a calm voice that I have never heard him use before.

“Thank you,” I say, taking the pen from his hand.

“You are welcome,” Ethan says in the same soft tone he used earlier. Can today get any weirder with Ethan’s behaviour? Why is he behaving like a totally different person today? Ethan would never ever say any polite word towards me, and he just did. Wow, I can’t believe it. I feel like I am dreaming right now. I wonder what is making him act like this. Anyways that is not my problem right now, I have a class that is going on, and that is where my attention should be.

After an exhausting two hours, the lecture is finally over. I am walking out of the classroom when I hear Ethan calling my name. I pretend like I did not hear him and start walking fast. I don’t want to speak to him alone, and he made sure everyone left before he called my name. I can only imagine what he wants to do to me today. I hear his footsteps getting closer, and I increase my speed. Last time he might have only hurt my arms by mistake, but today it might not be so. He was very calm around me, which makes me very scared. There is a saying that when someone is calm, that is when they are most dangerous. If they want to hurt you, they will do it painfully because they are thinking straight and can do a lot. That is why I am running away from Ethan. It’s funny how I am running away from him, and two weeks ago I would have never thought I would. I think it’s because regardless of the number of times Ethan and I have fought, never has he been the way he was with me on Saturday. I am able to outwalk him and quickly get to my car. Alhamdulillah, I was able too.

I am on my way to meet Usman for dinner; I prayed Isha before leaving the house. He has been busy since he came into town. I park my car and walk into the restaurant. I see him sitting with a few papers in front of him. I walk over to join him.

“I thought we came to eat, not for you to work,” I say once I take my seat.

“Is that how you greet your elder brother?” Usman says, lifting his head from the papers in front of him.

“As salamu alaykum”

“Wa alaykumu salam”

“Are you happy now?”

“I don’t blame you; it’s because I love you too much.”

“If you don’t love me, who would love me,” I say laughing while Usman just shakes his head smiling.

“How are you doing sis.”

“Am good, and you?” I say trying to take a bite of Usman’s food, but he hits my hand away.

“Am fine and order your own food.”

“So, how long will you be staying,” I say and signal a waiter to our table.

“The sooner I get the deal signed the sooner I leave, but In Shaa Allah I would stay for only two weeks.”

“Alright, and you said you needed my car to go somewhere on Friday.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Alright no problem, I will drop it off at your hotel Thursday evening since you need it Friday morning.”

“Thank you, sis.”

“You are welcome and better pay for my meal.”

“I don suffer (I have suffered)” Usman says shaking his head while smiling.

“I love you too,” I say, smiling.

Usman and I have finished eating. I walk to the toilet to freshen up before we leave. On my way out, I bump into someone because like always I am going through my phone while walking. I really need to stop doing this. I immediately apologise to the person, but I can’t believe out of all the people in the world, it had to be him. His all too familiar perfume surrounds me with its lovely scent. I can’t believe I have become so familiar with this particular perfume. It seems odd that I would. I continue walking, but stop when he blocks my path. Oh my God, now he is going to make a big deal about it, and I don’t have the time for this. Usman is waiting for me outside. I try to find a way to walk around him, but he keeps blocking my path. I give up and stand still, waiting impatiently for what he has to say. He grabs my hand and walks us into a room. The room is a bit dark, so I can’t really see well inside, but the lights from outside give it a little brightness. We are in a storage room, and I wonder why he brought me here. Does he want to do something to harm me? Ya Allah, I pray he does nothing harmful to me.

“I don’t understand. I can’t seem to comprehend why you did it. It does not make total sense to me why you would” Ethan says, staring at me intensely with a lot of curiosity in his eyes.

His questions take me by surprise because I don’t know if he is asking why I bumped into him or something else. For some reasons, I don’t feel like it has anything to do with what happened a few seconds ago. The curiosity and confusion in his eyes tell me it has to do with something more profound and much more connected to him dearly.

“Ethan I don’t know what you are talking about?”

“Tell me Adina why, why, why, because I cannot understand why you would,” Ethan says, ignoring my questions and gives me more stunning and confusing ones to answer.

“Ethan, I can only answer your questions if you explain to me exactly what you are asking me.”

“I don’t want to believe it. It can’t be possible that there is actually one of you who is different. That’s impossible, you all are the same”

“One of us? We are all the same? What are you talking about?” I say getting more confused by the minute

“Adina are you truly what Mrs Grace says you are. Are you really not like them? Are you really different from them and does not hate me” Ethan says, grabbing my face in his palms as he stares deeply into my eyes.

I try to turn my face away, but he holds it in place, making sure I stare back into his eyes. I also try to remove his hands from my face, but it feels like I am touching a brick wall. I don’t know why Ethan is behaving or asking me all these questions. I am baffled as to what he is talking about.

“Tell me, Adina, do you hate me?” Ethan says, staring into my eyes with so much wonder in them. I wonder why he wants to know deeply if I hate him. Why do I feel Ethan’s reason for hating me is not something little. Ever since I saved him that night, I think it left a profound impact on him, and I don’t know why.

“No, I don’t hate you,” I say honestly while staring back into his eyes, wondering why it’s so vital for him to know if I hate him or not.

It might surprise people that no matter how much Ethan and I don’t get along, I don’t hate him. I feel hate is a huge word, and it can’t be used to describe what I feel towards Ethan. Yes, I dislike his character, but hate is a far too big of a word to use and describe it. And also as far as Ethan does not rudely speak to me or insult me. We are totally fine with each other because I don’t have any other reason to loathe him.

“Oh, my God!” Ethan says, dropping his hands from my face and grabs his hair in a tight grip. “I can’t believe this,” He says, walking up and down the room, looking very deep in thoughts. I am truly lost, and I wish I could understand what is going on.

“Ethan,” I say, trying to get his attention.

“I need some time alone,” He says and walks out of the room. Leaving me with all these questions and thoughts to wonder why

he asked them this night.

A week has gone by since those incidents between Ethan and I. A lot has changed in the past week. Ethan no longer picks unnecessary fights with me. He practically does not speak to me anymore. It’s like he is a totally different person which is a bit scary. Sometimes I even catch him staring at me from afar, and unlike him, he does not have any hatred in his eyes anymore. I wonder what caused him to change his ways, but I am also happy he did. I prefer an Ethan who does not speak to me rather than one who makes my blood boil every time he opens his mouth. I also have not been able to come up with any answers or reasons to the questions Ethan asked me at the restaurant. My mind can’t make up any reasons to why I was asked those questions.

After a long day of classes, I go back home to rest. I am just stepping out of the shower when I hear the house door opening. Khloe must be back from her classes. I walk into the living room, and it’s not Khloe that is standing there. It’s Ethan, what is he doing here? Why is Ethan here? Wait, Ethan is here, Ethan is here. Oh My God. I look at myself and what leaves my mouth is a piercing scream.

“Ahhhhh, I am just in my towel. What are you doing here?” I say screaming while trying to cover as much of myself as I can with my hands.

“I cam....” Ethan says, trying to explain himself, but I could care less right now. I am half-naked in front of him, oh my God Subhan Allah.

“I don’t want to know, get out!” I say screaming while I throw a pillow at his face to shield his eyes from my body.

“I will wait outside while you change,” Ethan says chuckling while walking out.

Oh, Allah, I can’t believe what just happened to me right now. How could this happen to me? Oh my God, I feel so ashamed. Ethan saw me only on my towel. Why, why, Ya Allah why? I feel like disappearing due to how embarrassed I am right now. But how did he get inside, maybe I forgot to lock the door when i came in. How will I even face him after what just happened? I am brought back from my train of thoughts when I hear Ethan ringing the doorbell.

“Adina, can I come in now?” Ethan says while ringing the doorbell. So now he knows how to knock.

“I am coming,” I say and walk to my room to get dressed. When I am modest, I invite him in.

“So why are you here,” I say as soon as he steps in. I just pray he does not say anything about what happened earlier. I still feel very embarrassed about what just happened.

“I came to return this” Ethan says, bringing out something from his pocket. It’s my earring, the one I was wearing the day he abandoned me in the woods. I lost one pair that night. I totally forgot about it.

“Thank you, I thought I lost it for life,” I say collecting it from his hand. He must have gone back and seen it, but why would he go back. Did he go back to find me? Maybe he felt guilty for leaving me and came back to find me. I guess he is not so heartless after all.

“You are welcome,” He says and stands up to leave. He is about to walk out the door when I remember something.

“Ethan wait, I have something I would like you to give Grace,” I say, walking over to the kitchen.

“What is this” Ethan says as soon as I hand him the box.

“Doughnuts, I baked doughnuts and left a few for Grace. She told me last time how much she loves them”

I was planning on giving her tomorrow, but I could just give him to give them to her.

“Alright, I will give them to her”

“Thank you.”

After Ethan leaves, I realise this is the first time Ethan and I ever spoke to each other without any hostility, hate or anger. We actually had a conversation for more than a minute without one annoying the other. I am starting to feel I might actually be able to for fill that promise I made to Grace.

I am currently on my way to drop off my car with my brother. He was supposed to use it last week, but the date of his meeting got changed, so I am taking it today. I park my car and walk inside the hotel. I walk into the elevator and take it to his floor; I knock on his room door and wait for him to answer.

“As salamu alaykum,” I say once Usman opens the door.

“Wa alaykumu salam, come inside,” Usman says and move for me to step in.

“How are you doing today,” I say, dropping down on the couch in his room.

“Am good and take your shoes off. If you want to lie down on the couch” Usman says, but does it himself when he forcefully removes my shoes himself

“Thank you,” I say, smiling.

“You are not welcome, and before I forget, on Saturday I have an event I am attending, and you are coming with me.”

“What if I say I won’t come?”

“You would because I heard it’s a top chef that is preparing the food.”

“Aha, what time is it starting,” I say smiling because one of my favourite things to do is to eat food.

“I knew that would make you come because food is the only thing you know.”

“And so.”

“I wish you were fat so that I could make fun of you.”

“Alhamdulillah am not.”

“Anyways, Amina made a dress that she thinks you would love to wear for the event,” Usman says and walks towards the bedroom. Amina is a fashion designer. He comes back with a beautiful dress in his hands.

“It’s beautiful; I love it,” I say admiring the dress. The dress is a nude degrading to Capri evening dress with a round neckline on an embroidered bust.

“That’s good, and I will see you on Saturday when I return your car and also pick you up for the event”

“No problem, bye,” I say, walking towards the door.

“Bye”

I take a taxi back to the house, and I also call Amina once I am back to thank her for the dress.

I am on my way to class the next day when I hear my name called from a distance. I turn around to see Ethan calling me. I stop in my tracks and wait for him to reach where I am.

“Hi,” We both say at the same time, causing both of us to giggle. Ethan smiles, and this is the second time I have ever seen him smile. He has a lovely smile; he should smile more often.

“How are you?” I say

“Am good and you.”

“Am fine.”

“That’s good; I wanted to give you this” Ethan says, handing me an envelope.

“Oh, what is this,” I say and open the envelope. Its movie tickets, the same movie I wanted to watch last time. Why did he get me them? Does he feel bad for making me miss the movie that day? I think Ethan is changing, which is a good thing. I am so happy that he is.

“Thank you,” I say, smiling, feeling happy. Ethan is trying to write his wrongs. I don’t know why I care about Ethan’s behaviour, but I do. I am so glad he does not behave hostile towards me anymore.

“You are welcome,” Ethan says and starts walking away, but I stop him. I have two tickets, and I know I have no one to go with, so that’s why I said the next words that came out of my mouth without overthinking about it.

“Do you want to come with me?”

“Go with you?”

“Yes, to the movies.”

“Why would you invite me to go with you?” Ethan says confused

“Because I don’t have anyone else to share this movie ticket with,” I say, hoping I don’t sound lonely to him. I am not lonely, but no one shares the same interest in the movie I want to watch. I am sure he does because he was able to enter the movie hall last time, which could only mean he was there also to watch the movie.

“And you will want to go with me, me of all people.”

“Yes,” I say, wondering if I asked too much from him.

“That’s amazing; I would love to,” Ethan says, sounding happy I invited him to join me.

“Alright, then see you later tonight,” I say smiling,

I went to class feeling happy that day, for reasons I don’t know about.

Nighttime came, and I am getting ready to meet Ethan at the cinema. I just finished praying Maghrib, and I am putting on my outfit. I am wearing a pair of grey plaid pants, a white blouse, black vans, a black veil and a grey bag. After I am done dressing Khloe drops me off at the cinema.

I walk inside to look for Ethan so we could get popcorn before the movie starts. We are watching IT 2. I look around a little, and I can’t seem to find him anywhere. I decide to call him; this is the first time Ethan and I are going to be talking over the phone. Most times, we just send messages to one another while we were doing our project.

“Hi, where are you?” I say as soon as he picks up

“I am close to the popcorn stand,” Ethan says in the same calm voice he has been using around me lately.

“Oh, I just left there. I am coming back.”

“Alright, I am waiting for you.”

“I can see you now,” I say spotting him.

“I can see you also.”

“Hi,” I say smiling, once I step in front of him and end our call.

“Hello,” Ethan says with a beautiful smile on his face, showing his dimples.

“I hope I am not late for our movie,” I say, checking my wristwatch for the time.

“No, you are not, and here I got you popcorn,” Ethan says, handing me a bag of popcorn.

“Thank you,” I say, noticing all these beautiful changes in Ethan. It’s like he is a totally different person these days. He was thoughtful enough to get me popcorn; It shows he has a sweet side to him. I don’t know what caused him to change these days, but all in all, the effect is good.

“You are welcome, and are you ready to go in.”

“Yeah sure, but where is your popcorn,” I say noticing he has none in his hands.

“Yours was the last one available.”

“Really, that’s sad.”

“I guess.”

“Then we should share mine,” I say the first thought that comes to my mind without thinking. I don’t know why I just said that.

“Really,” Ethan says, sounding a bit shocked about what I just said.

“Yeah,” I say praying to clear whichever doubt he has.

“Don’t worry; there won’t be any need for that.”

“No, I insist.”

“I don’t want to reduce yours.”

“I want to share it with you.”

“Alright then, if you insist.”

Ethan and I enjoyed the movie; it was really nice to watch the film with Ethan, who has the same love for the types of movie I like. I never thought Ethan and I would have something in common, but you never know. Sharing popcorn with Ethan was a bit awkward at first, but after a few dips into the popcorn bag, we both became comfortable sharing. It was nice to share with him; I am happy I offered to share. We are currently walking out of the cinema to go our separate ways.

“I really enjoyed the movie,” I say smiling.

“I too,” Ethan says, smiling too, showing off those lovely dimples of his.

“Alright then, see you on Monday,” I say, walking towards the entrance to pick a taxi.

“Where did you park, I would like to walk you to your car,” Ethan says, stopping me in my tracks.

“I did not come with my car.”

“Oh, then follow me,” Ethan says and starts walking somewhere.

“Where are we going?” I say following behind him

“I am dropping you off at your house.”

“Oh, thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.”

This is the third time I have entered Ethan’s car, and this is the only time I actually know where I am going. It feels different to be in his car, and not wondering if he is going to take me somewhere to rot, even though he did last time. I doubt he will today after having a great time at the movies. It felt really nice to do something with Ethan and not have a single fight while doing it.

We arrive at my house, I am about to step out, but Ethan stops me.

“Adina” Ethan says, rubbing the back of his neck in a shy way. What could Ethan possibly be shy of? I have never seen Ethan shy once in my life. I wonder what he wants to tell me that he is feeling shy about.

“Yes Ethan”

“Hmm, you remember the doughnuts from last time.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you have anyone’s left; Mrs Grace really loved them last time.”

“I don’t have any right now, but when I bake again, I will give you some to give her.”

I am actually surprised that was what he was shy to ask. Why would he be shy to ask me for more doughnuts for Grace? Maybe he thought I would think he wanted them. I doubt he ate them.

“Alright, that would be wonderful.”

“Yeah, and good night Ethan.”

“Good night Adina.”

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