It was hard for Khalil to regret his night with Mina. On one hand he felt guilty, as if he were still using her for his own selfish desires, but on the other hand it was almost impossible for him to feel guilty something that felt so good. He was completely conflicted with his own emotions, but he couldn’t pretend that last night hadn’t been the best of his life. Maybe Mina would thank him after all of this was over, she was always complaining about how her parents neglected to treat her like an actual human being, maybe nothing would have to change. Khalil knew it was wishful thinking, but he still couldn’t stop the thoughts from plaguing his mind and the only thing that kept his spirits alive was the fact that it was all almost over.
“Boo” Mina’s soft voice saved him from drowning in the spiraling thoughts of his own brain and he quickly plastered, what he hoped was, a small believable smile across his face.
“Hi” she smiled, her eyes closed as she leaned in and placed a soft short kiss on his lips, but it didn’t feel the same today. “Hey?” she pulled back questioningly and Khalil hoped she hadn’t noticed the guilt written across his features. She wrapped her arms around his neck tightly, ignoring the strange stares and glares she received. “Are you ok?”
“No, no I’m not ok. The police don’t have enough evidence to convict your parents of insurance fraud so now I have to kill them.” was what was on the tip of his tongue, but something told him that conversation wouldn’t go over well, so instead he settled for a simple nod in response.
“I’m fine” he pursed his lips tightly together and, as if for extra reassurance, he bent down to her small figure and returned her soft kiss, which she accepted without protestations.
“Good” she dropped her hands from his neck, her glance falling to the pristine tiles beneath them in hesitation. “I-I thought you were mad at me.” The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on Khalil and he became nervous with sweat.
“Course not!” he exclaimed, interlacing his fingers in Mina’s. “Why would I be mad at you?”
“Because of last night.”
“Well I-I didn’t like- like force you into anything...right? Like I didn’t make you do anything you didn’t want to...did I” She was being serious. She was being serious, and that only made Khalil cringe more. He should be the one ashamed. He should be the one making sure she was ok, not the other way around.
“No. No. No” he couldn’t get the words out fast enough, repeating them over and over again until they were tripping over each other as they feel from his lips. “Mina I- I didn’t do anything that I hadn’t wanted to last night ok?” He tugged on her hands, pulling her closer as he studied her eyes as if he were seeing them for the first time. “Ok?” he repeated, more harshly, this time.
“Ok.” her voice was delicate compared to his. “Hey Khalil?”
“Mhm?” he hummed.
“About- about last night” he eyes had fallen to the tiles again and Khalil grew anxious of the words that fall from her lips next. “Did you-did you think- like-” she broke off flustered, a gigantic sigh escaping her parted lips. Khalil squeezed her hands tighter in his, urging her to go on.
“It wasn’t- it wasn’t like- bad- or anything....was it?” As headstrong and optimistic as the girl in front of him tried to appear, she seemed to be more-self conscious than anyone he had ever met, though she had absolutely no reason to be. She was a people-pleaser. She wanted to please her best friend, her boyfriend, and her parents. She tried so hard to be perfect for everyone around her that she lost herself in the process. He didn’t just need Mina, Mina needed him.
Khalil hadn’t meant to, but he laughed despite himself, and Mina’s eyes came rushing back up to meet his in mere seconds, a confused expression written across her face.
“You’re adorable.” He watched her go from confusion to understanding and finally amusement all in the span of three seconds, and he didn’t have time to think before she was pushing her lips hard against his for the second time, her face warm with a blush.
“Hey?” he quipped pulling back as he noticed a sparkle of emerald green and silver pom poms in the corner of his eye. “Why aren’t you wearing one of those?” he asked, nodding his head to Hailey sporting her cheer uniform across the hall and he chuckled as he watched Mina roll her eyes towards the back of her head.
“I took your advice and started taking my life into my own hands instead of letting my parents live it for me. I quit cheer!”
“Really, so you’re like....done?” he asked, clear disbelief in his tone
“I handed in my uniform to Coach this morning.” she smiled brightly, and suddenly Khalil’s heart sank to the pit of his stomach at the realization of what Mina’s words meant.
“Does this mean you’re not cheering at the game tonight?”
“Nope. I’ll get to be in the stands with you!”
“That is- that is....wonderful.” Khalil managed to choke out while maintaining a distinct smile on his face, but on the inside he was falling apart. He needed Mina out of the way if he had any hope of finishing what he had started tonight, and he couldn’t exactly do what he needed to with his girlfriend breathing over his neck every minute of every second. Plan A had gone down the train and it was time to concoct a Plan B, which meant things were bound to get messy.
Sorry for the short filler chapter, but don’t be sad....because the real action starts next chapter. Just a heads up there are only about four of five more chapters left in “One Murder for Another”