The One

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Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3
I had just two more days left in Italy before I go back to being a book worm. I hadn’t been that happy in like
forever.
I gradually packed up my stuff since I didn’t want to procrastinate for the morning before I leave. it was a warm
sunny day and I loved the weather so much, I had the urge to go out even if there wasn’t any valid reason.
I put on a fitted black gown, a denim jacket and a silk black scarf tied upon my head. Lastly I put on my sketchers
walking shoes, my phone a pouch around my waist and my wrist watch before heading out of the house. the
atmosphere was very light outside, the birds chirped about in the trees since it was spring. I walked down the
path in between the trees.Not too long after, I felt my phone vibrate in my pouch. I took it out to check the caller and it was Edward
Arkansio, my close friend.
I answered eagerly since I hadn’t seen or heard from him in a while.
“hello, Edward!” I squealed happily.
“hey, Carmella! how are you?” he said. He seemed normal, nothing had changed at all, not like I wasn’t expecting
something anyway.
“I’m fine Edward, are you?” I asked.
“absolutely as always “he said then paused.
“so what have you been up to lately? ‘’ he later said.
I was just about to answer when an old man passed me by.” buongiorno!” I greeted and he nodded giving me a
sweet smile like I was his daughter or something. Well, Back to my friend on the phone.
“Nothing much really but I’m in Italy with my family and I’ll be back in two days.” I stated.
“good thing Carmella but to be honest, I know more than you what you’re there for “he said suspiciously. I didn’t
want to let my mind wonder off to what he was thinking but I couldn’t help. I just wish he wouldn’t bring up that
matter now.
“what do you mean?” I asked hoping he wasn’t going for that topic over again. he chuckled.
‘’ you know what I mean, Carm. have you found him?”
“NO!’’ I almost shouted. “that’s not what I’m focused on right now” It was kind of a lie though. I’m a big fan of
fairy tales. with the right person. and if it meant I would wait then there’s no big deal, right?
I’m only twenty-three…...ONLY.
‘’ okay its fine. but take the advice from me. I’m always right you know “he bragged.
“I will Arkansio, I will…. can we talk when I get back? there’s something I need to discuss with you “I lied. But I
knew that something would come up.
“okay, I’ll see you in…….?”
“four days “I said.
“goodbye”
“bye’’
I continued with my walk placing my phone back in my pouch. I began to worry. this was the same me that made
it clear that I was going to get married as soon as I turned nineteen although it was mostly a wish, look where I
was.
Allah knows I was barely looking for the One. Hal made it clear to me that the right person would always be at the
right place at the right time for me to meet.
A thought at the back of my mind made me think about three days ago. does that mean the elderly man who
saved me was at the right place at the right time for me?
I almost choked at that.
I walked casually into the park or rather I thought it was a park. I only realized when someone shouted from
behind me.” don’t go in there!”
I turned to see the person. it was indeed a man dressed in guard uniform. he was the guard at the gates
definitely. He ran towards me.
“you have to pay “he reluctantly said.
I hadn’t brought any money with me. this would’ve been embarrassing.
“I’m sorry but I didn’t bring any money with me. I thought this park was for free ‘’ as soon as I finished, I sleek
black Rolls Royce appeared in front of the gates near us. That was my favorite car in the world, I almost drooled
at the sight of how clean it was and polished. who owned it anyway?
“it used to be” the guard continued. “well my boss is here, I have to go’’
I began to walk away from embarrassment but didn’t make it as I was called upon. “miss?” the guard said.
I turned and saw that the person in the car had whined his window down. my mouth almost dropped open when
I saw the person inside.
The younger guy from three days ago who practically saved me.
He opened the door and came out of the car. “any problem?” he asked looking between the guard and I.
I immediately shook my head. If only I had known that this park belonged to him, I wouldn’t have brought myself
here. I couldn’t get involved with him and now seeing that he even recognized me and sent for his guard to call
was enough knowledge about me and trouble on my side.
He seemed not to have bought my lie and looked towards his guard instead for an answer. The poor guard bent
his head down and answered.
“she had no idea that the park wasn’t free anymore’’ he confessed with his hands behind him like he did
something wrong.
He approached me and I awkwardly stood there like I was planted to the ground below me.

“I’m Mr. Arsenio Sheriff Ahmad‘’ he held out his hand from his pocket to shake mine.I gave him my hand shakily and he took. I assumed it was only going to be a handshake but he took my hand fully
in his and kissed the back of my palm softly. The feeling of his lips on my hand made me feel very uncomfortable.
So it actually wasn’t only my Muslim family that followed that tradition. He also followed it. he let my hand go.
I saw as he looked at me confidently while I still shook like I was in huge trouble. The look said introduce yourself
but I still stayed quiet until he said it himself.
“what’s your name?” he asked finally.
I hesitated before speaking. ‘’ I’m Carmella …. Othman’’
He nodded his head at me in silence and placed his hands back in his pocket.
‘‘I’m sure you remember me” he stated looking at the ground.
I nodded.
‘’I need to get going” I said expecting him to nod me off.
“well, if I recall, you were trying to get into my park, Ms. Othman ‘’ I thought he was trying to tease me but the
absence of a smile made me think otherwise.
‘’yeah but I’m changing my mind’’
He shook his head slowly. “no need to miss, come with me ‘’
So I was in between going to a nice park with a mafia member or walking away rudely and embarrassed not to
mention that I was even frozen.
He didn’t seem like a bad person first of all and he was offering me a visit to his park for free. Was there a
problem?
I got out of my trance when he walked passed me after waiting for my answer and seeing that I gave him none.
I followed him from behind.
‘’ who would resist that offer? ‘’he whispered loud enough for me to hear.
‘’Is this park now some kind of golden place that everybody wants to be that you’re …. huh?’’ I exclaimed mid-
sentence on seeing it. It wasn’t a golden place but it should be indeed somewhere everyone would want to go.
‘’See for yourself ‘’ he almost sounded boastful but I saw a half smile on his face meaning he was a very proud
person as I would’ve assumed.
The park had a few tall story buildings at the far side. I spotted a small lake consisting of a few specie of water
birds and a bench right beside it. That side was beautified by about six trees aligned behind the bench to provide
shade, a lamp post, a waste bin a little far from the bench, beautiful green carpet grass and a small hotdog van
which was closed. The other side was a playground, a large pool and what seemed to be a mini zoo for children.
It was all incredible but why did he transform the park from its old self though? That question stayed at the back
of my mind since I barely had the confidence to ask.
“let’s go’’ he commanded. So now he was commanding me. I followed anyway.
We stopped at the lake side and sat on the bench, me sitting quite a distance from him.
‘’ you want to know something?’’ He asked after looking at the distance between us on the bench.
‘’what?’’ I said without looking at him.
“you dress up like that to go out and all of a sudden you’re sitting far away from me like I’m a virus because you
don’t want to get close to Haram’’ he bluntly said.
I began to look down at my dressing what exactly was wrong with it? I didn’t dress like this much but when I did, I
heard comments.
“what do you mean?’’ I made sure my frown was visible.
“this!” he pointed “shows too much of your physique as a Muslim lady. Haram will be when you make every man
you pass by look at you” he shrugged. he said all that without looking at me.
He was nobody to judge me, or my dressing or anything I did. He was speaking like we’ve know each other before
now.
“you’re judging me” I said irritated and in annoyance. ‘’what do you want from me?” I turned to look at him.
“nothing! Really, to be honest. it’s just a coincidence that I’m meeting you again on my property”
“I was leaving, Mr. Arsenio”
“I sense fear” he said bluntly again and he was right I was scared of him and I knew I wasn’t good at hiding it.
I stayed quiet no answering him.
‘’Excuse me, who isn’t scared of a mafia member?” I almost yelled. “you most probably have a gun in your pocket
or a knife, or or just something that can cause harm and I shouldn’t be afraid?”
he laughed a little at my outburst. One thing he didn’t know is that I wasn’t joking. I shouldn’t have followed him
in here and I would’ve walked away long ago if this place had people and I knew he didn’t have any weapon on
him because he would easily shoot me If I acted crazy. So I was stuck sitting down there.
‘’ I’m not just any mafia Ms. Carmella. see those buildings over there? They’re for the homeless. I provided that
home for them out of my own will. I turned the lane you walked into three days ago into mine and my men’s
simply because I didn’t want my working there to make women uncomfortable or afraid” he said in a low tone.
He sounded honest.
“but I still believe that you like making people scared of you “
“With fear comes respect” he shrugged. He is so ignorant.
Oh Allah, please help people like this.
I remembered suddenly that he said something about his men in the sentence. might he be the leader?
“And you said your men. are you the leader or what?”
He hesitated before nodding his head slowly and silently while I felt all the nerves in my body freeze.
He was the mafia leader everyone always spoke about but have never met. I was now sitting beside him without
even knowing.
He waved his hand in front of my face and I came out of shock.” are you okay?”
I nodded “yes “.
‘’so where do you school? ‘’ he began a casual conversation like something crazy didn’t just happen.
“London’’ I replied.
‘’Oh have you heard of that popular bakery and restaurant -, I’ve forgotten its name but everyone goes there and
it’s quite new “
He had no idea. Maybe it was my time to give him a shock too and tell him that I owned it but he would never
believe, I knew that.
I didn’t tell him. instead I behaved like I only knew about it.
“yeah. I’ve heard of it. I think the name is Armelle, it must be owned by an Italian” I said unable to hide my smile.
but thank goodness he didn’t look at me or he would’ve seen it.We sat in comfortable silence as we were finally able to relate on a topic.
“I have to get going, nice meeting you “I said breaking the silence while getting up from the bench. I felt
uncomfortable only because he had judged the way I dressed earlier. He stood up too following me.
“here’s my card if you think we’re friends now” he said handing me his card.
I took it and thanked him. He smiled at me for the first time ever since I met him.
He escorted me to the gate and said “goodbye, Amica ‘’. I replied with a wave and a small smile before walking
back home alone.
Only Allah knows that I can’t stop thinking about all that has happened in just this one walk to the park but I’m
not complaining either.


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