Shackled Exemption

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CHAPTER 48

“What did you do this time?” Safan was on the verge of ripping Asfand’s head open. He just couldn’t understand him anymore. He said one thing, did the other and then acted like nothing ever happened. “Let me live man. I am not that old to be dying of stress.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?” Safan stood up and took off his suit jacket. He loosened his tie, unbuttoned his cuffs and top two buttons of his shirt and started pacing around wildly. Asfand watched Safan in amusement until he flipped on him with a glare.

“Why the fuck are you not going home?” He finally snapped. “You made my ears bleed over last month and now you suddenly decided to lounge here.” He pointed to his penthouse. “Just what is it with you man?”

“I don’t feel like going home.” Asfand answered in a bored tone. “For now.”

“Don’t feel like going home or don’t want to confront your wife? I saw how you reacted this morning.” Safan smirked when his blankness morphed into fury. “What did you do this time that you are hell bent on avoiding Dua?”

“You assume too much.” Safan scoffed loudly at this. “Don’t push my buttons wrong if you don’t want me to shoot holes in you.”

“Sounds to me like your pants need some serious attention.” Safan looked at Asfand with raised brow. “Or is it the other way around?”

“Can we get some fucking work done?” Safan placed the files in front of him but kept his expressions intact. “What is Afroz up to?”

“Nothing.” Safan replied coolly. “The bomb Azfar dropped left some serious repercussions for your uncle dear. Two investors dropped out of his project last week. That means two shareholders are out of Globaviations.”

“Who owns their shares now?” Asfand smirked when Safan raised a black file. “Fucking brilliant.”

“We are still far from celebrating” Asfand chuckled and read through the files. “No one know that they have sold their shares to you. Leaving Dilawar Chaudhary and the part Dua holds, there are just five more people. Once we got hold of them, no one can stop you from staking the claim over that company.” Asfand clasped his hands under his chin. “You don’t seem that thrilled to hear it.”

“Something is off.” Safan raised one brow in question. “Something is off about her. She behaved out of her character.”

“And now you are talking about your wife.” Asfand showed no reaction to his taunt. “What do you mean?”

Asfand was not going to delve in details of how he pushed his own willing wife away. Dua was ready to give herself to him. She took the initiative but Asfand walked away from her. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her or go to her. Asfand wanted it to be this way but at that moment, it just didn’t feel right. He felt angry at her. More than that, he felt disgusted with himself for no reason. And this thought forced him to stay away from Dua.

“Do you think she knows?” Asfand knew the moment he looked in her eyes that something was wrong.

“About Saeen? Or that you knew he was the true perpetrator behind her kin’s demise?” Asfand chose to stay silent. “When it comes to your wife, anything is possible. I mean she got to those men in a way no one could have even imagined. She had all of their weaknesses in the palm of her hand and let’s not forget about all those assets. It won’t come as a surprise if Saeen turn up dead one day.”

“It’s not going to be that easy Safan. You know that man. He is more lethal than a python. He will strike in a way that no one could even imagine.”

“Are you worried for her?” Safan scowled when Asfand scoffed bitterly. “What’s so funny?”

“Your question. Why would I be worried for that woman?” Now it was Safan’s turn to scoff. “What’s so funny bastard?”

“Your denial. I can see now why you ran away from your own fucking home and wife.” Safan pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Because you are too coward to admit it.” He raised one finger to stop Asfand from talking. “Hello?” Safan listened quietly and when he faced Asfand again, all humor was gone. “I will ask you one more time.”

“What?”

“Does she really not matter to you?” Asfand scowled darkly. “Your wife might be in some serious danger. I think the python has struck.”

*********

“You need to lay low for some time.” Dua looked at Xian from across her laptop. “Someone tipped the army.” She closed the flap of her laptop and interlinked her hands. “About you being involved-”

“It doesn’t matter.” Dua interjected calmly. “They cannot get anything on us unless we let them.”

“They are trying to monitor our web traffic. They got hold of one IP address that you used to hack into Jian and Wasiq’s phone.” Dua twisted the ring on her index finger slowly. “Ayn was not ready that time, so an error like this was expected. Until we get the whole situation in control, it would be better to not do anything.”

“Does Haider know?” Xian stayed silent. “I don’t want him involved. Do whatever you have to do but keep him and Dar-jee out at every cost.” Xian nodded. “Tell Aya to avoid coming here for time being.”

“What about Asfandyar Sherzai?” Dua opened her laptop again and started typing. “You should strike him now. You have everything that you needed.” This was the topic she wanted to avoid at every cost. Dua didn’t even want to hear his name. Especially after what happened that night.

He walked out on her. He rejected her.

Dua couldn’t forget the sense of humiliation it brought. She practically threw herself on him but he didn’t even look her properly in the eye. Although it was just a plot, his rejection did hurt her pride. After that, they have been constantly ignoring each other. He didn’t come back to the room and she didn’t bother.

“You cannot look past him now. He knew everything and above all, he know everything about you. What if he has tipped the army? You are an excellent scapegoat for him right now. Army is not only tailing Afroz Sherzai. Asfandyar is in their radar as well.”

“He is not our priority.” Xian fisted his hands. “I know what you might be worried about but he won’t take me out until he has gotten his hands on Globaviations-”

“And you are willing to take chances with him to end?” Dua didn’t answer. “Don’t get involved with him Dua. Don’t let him mess you up.”

“I don’t-”

“He is enemy. You clearly heard what he-” The door to her office opened and in came Sarim with a protesting Iram.

“Ma’am, I told Mr. Chaudhary but-”

“Make sure no ears are outside.” Iram nodded at Dua and looked at Sarim spitefully. Once she closed the door, Dua focused her eyes on the man before him. “Mr. Chaudhary.”

“Colonel Sarim Raza Chaudhary.” Dua smirked when he corrected her coldly. “Ms. Sahi, it would be in your best interest to cooperate willingly.” Xian stood in front of him when he took a step towards Dua. “Move out of my way.”

“Leave right now.” Sarim looked down casually when Xian put a hand on his gun. “You should not be here.”

“It’s alright.” Xian looked at Dua over his shoulder. “Let him be.” He didn’t want to but he stepped back and stood by her side. “So! What is it that you are here for?”

“Ms. D. Almas Sahi” Dua raised one brow skeptically when he placed a paper in front of her. “You are under arrest for being the prime suspect regarding murders of-”

“I don’t want you to dictate out the names.” Dua stood up and fixed her suit. “Are you going to handcuff me? Is there some van outside that will-”

“I’m saving you from all that trouble.” Dua didn’t blink. “You are still-”

“We should be on our way Colonel. I don’t know about yours but my time is really money.” Dua looked at Xian and walked out.

“Don’t do something that could make you regret Sarim Chaudhary.” Xian threatened him calmly. “You are taking her under false allegations and if so much as a single hair is misplaced on her head, you won’t even know what came your way.”

“These threats are only going to add more trouble on her part.” Xian gritted his teeth in anger. “It’s not a civilian matter. So better watch your actions.” Sarim turned on his heels and walked out after Dua. “Du-”

“I would really like to know who tipped the army against me” Dua kept walking without looking at him. “And I would really like to know” she pressed the button to basement and faced him once the doors to the elevators closed on them. “Why did they send you?”

“I know you are innocent.” Dua raised one finger when Sarim tried to step close to her. “And that is exactly why I am here.”

“If you knew I was innocent, you wouldn’t have come here to arrest me.” Dua walked past him and towards his jeep. “I don’t care what intentions you bear but know one thing, you are not getting anything out of this.” Dua jerked her hand away when Sarim grabbed it. “And it would be in your best interests to keep your hands off me.”

“You always take my intentions wrongly.” Dua crossed her arms and looked away. “Fine! If this is the only way then be it.” Sarim took a step towards her. “I lost once. I don’t intend to lose again. If it means I have to expose your reality to get you away from that man, I will do it.”

*********

Dua didn’t even look up when Sarim entered the interrogation room again. He placed the glass of water in front of her and leaned against the table casually. It’s been five hours but the stubborn woman refused to acknowledge his presence or answer any question.

“That’s why I told Xian to watch his actions. You won’t be able to get out unless we let you.” No answer. “Silence is not going to help you. We have proof-”

“Why don’t you use it and stop this buffoonery?” Sarim looked at the dark glass on his left. He knew his team was listening and watching everything closely. Sarim knew he couldn’t mess this up. If they knew he took the matter in his hands for his personal gains, he will be immediately dismissed of this case. And if his grandfather came to know of his doings, another kind of hell will break loose.

“We understand what you might be feeling right now Ms. Sahi but your cooperation is what we need.” Dua looked at him apathetically. “We don’t need to tell you about Asfandyar Sherzai. You are-”

“I thought I was brought here to be inquired about some murders alleged on my name.” Dua looked at him head on.

“You might really want to answer my question.” Sarim gritted lowly. “What do you know? Might be possible that Asfandyar Sherzai put you on the line.” Dua twisted the ring on her index finger. “Would you mind telling us about-”

“He is my husband and a successful businessman. A little on the ruthless side but he has to since business world is not for softhearted people. That’s all I know apart from his age, height, built, eye color, likes and dislikes. If that can help you solve the mystery named Asfandyar then be my guest.”

“That is one tough woman.” Sarim heard his subordinate through the earpiece. “No wonder she is giving boss a hard time.”

“Don’t test our patience too much Ms. Sahi.” Dua showed no reaction to his invasion in her personal space. “Just because we are being patient doesn’t mean we don’t know how to coax the truth out.”

“Like I said, be my guest” Dua watched him kick the table back. She palmed her hand that got caught in his onslaught and held it tight to keep the bleeding at bay.

“No one will interfere” Sarim boomed at the black glass and turned to Dua. “If that is what you wish. I will come meet you once you agree to cooperate on your own terms.” Sarim walked out of the room and entered the monitoring area. “Drop the temperature inside to minus five.” His subordinates looked at each other. “We are done showing mercy.”

“But sir-” one of his man looked at him, perplexed. “She is not really a suspect. We were just ordered to manipulate her into giving a statement against Asfandyar.” Sarim glared at him. “We haven’t received any commands-”

“Let me know when she begs to be heard.”

*********

“Why the fuck is it taking this long? It was a false arrest.” Xian smashed the I-pad across the floor. “What do you think we pay you for?” He snarled at their lawyer who visibly paled at the look in his eyes. “You good for nothing piece of shit.”

“Xian!” Aya palmed his chest before he could have shot the poor lawyer. “You need to calm down.” He glared at her murderously but she was not in the least bit fazed. “Make sure you have the papers ready in next hour else” Aya looked him dead in the eye. “You won’t even know what forced you six feet under the ground.” They watched him scurry away from them in fear.

“It’s been twelve hours Aya. They have blocked all our accesses. I don’t know what the fuck they are doing to her in there.” Xian racked his hair wildly. “I should have known better than letting that bastard take her. It was not even an official warrant.”

“I can go-”

“No.” Xian shook his head at her. “We are being kept eyes on. One wrong move can land us in unnecessary situations.” He closed his eyes and inhaled sharply. “We need to do it in a way that they won’t suspect.” Aya watched him silently. “What?”

“Does Asfandyar know?” She raised one hand to stop him from booming at her. “Hear me out first. He might get her out-”

“If he wanted, he would have.” Xian bit back acridly. “That bastard might have known it all along and it won’t come as a surprise if he was the one who tipped them off. He fucking knew the killers of her family all along.” Aya pressed her lips together. “I told her, warned her but she didn’t listen to me.”

“That’s your speculation-”

“He has been preparing to strike us Aya” Xian snapped at her, “and this was a fucking golden opportunity for him. This was exactly what I warned Dua about.”

“But he helped when Kuo Wang-”

“He had his own motives to do that. It’s not like he cared about what could have happened to Dua or Shah’s. He is no different.” Aya kept watching him. “Forget about him, we-” Xian looked at his phone with a frown. “Dilawar Chaudhary?”

*********

“Having a change of mind or do we need to get more professional with you?” Dua could tell Sarim was on the verge of snapping. “You are one tough woman, I give you that” Sarim leaned next to her on the table and looked at her folded hands. “If it was someone else, they would be begging on their knees right now to be taken out of this room.”

“How unfortunate.” Dua chuckled humorlessly, “for you.”

“Do you even know how many hours it has been?” Dua didn’t blink. “No one is coming for you Dua.” Sarim leaned down for only her to hear. “He is not coming to take you out of here.”

“I guess you finally got the cavalry off your back since you confessed your real motives just now.” Sarim smirked. “But for your utter disappointment, I don’t care.”

“You are freezing.” Dua looked away with a scoff. “Just give your statement and-”

“I don’t know anything.” Sarim fisted his hands in anger. “And I really wasn’t expecting you to misuse your power and position like this.”

“Whose fault is that?” He boomed at her. “I would have done everything I could to help you but you chose to stay with Asfandyar Sherzai. Why Dua?” He slapped his palm against the table and snarled in her face. “He is the enemy, isn’t he? Then why?”

“It doesn’t concern you.”

“It will.” He replied darkly. “I know your real identity and I know how many motives you held to murder all those people. It was unfortunate on your part that you-”

“Do the fuck you want” Dua hissed coldly. “I have seen worse.” Sarim was taken aback by the hollowness of her eyes. For the first time, he saw something that he failed to notice before. Her thirst for blood.

She is not even afraid of what might happen to her. Sarim thought to himself. “D-” The door banged open with a lot of commotion and Sarim was pinned to the wall with an angry Asfand snarling in his face.

“Look who walked to the death on his own two feet” Sarim sneered at him. “Finally developed a weakness, eh?” Asfand slammed him back again. “You are done for now.”

“How dare you, you fucker.” Dua couldn’t even blink. He barged inside, just like that? Dua knew what it could do to him. This was what they wanted. Yet, here he was. Why? Dua stood up slowly from the chair and watched the ruckus he created.

“Asfand!” Safan tried to pull him off Sarim. “Don’t create any more trouble.” Safan looked at all the officers that had their guns aimed at them. “Asfand! Fucking listen to me.”

“The fuck they can do” His hold around Sarim’s neck became choking. “I know the dirt they have swiped under their rugs. If they have decided to mess with us then be it. They won’t go unscathed as well.”

“Enough!” Every head turned except Asfand when Dilawar Chaudhary walked inside the room with Xian. “Lower your guns and leave right now.”

“But sir-”

“You knew nothing about today.” Dilawar glared at his men who lowered their gazes and left the room within a blink. “It is enough” but Asfand didn’t let go of Sarim. “Asfandyar! I said it is enough.”

“Why don’t you tell this to your grandson?” Asfand finally let him go and faced the old man. “I expected more from his upbringing.”

“Careful young man” Dilawar warned calmly. “Just because a mistake was made, doesn’t mean you can act as you please. It would be in your best interests to watch your actions here. You already stepped on the mine.”

“You think I care?” Asfand snorted loudly. “You lot can do whatever but know one thing” Asfand stepped closer to him menacingly. “You can’t do shit at my watch.”

“We are not here to discuss our age old strife” Dilawar looked at Dua with softened gaze. “I apologize for all the inconvenience my grandson has caused you.”

“Grandp-”

“Colonel Sarim Raza Chaudhary!” Sarim pursed his lips and stood straight with hands behind his back. “I will see you in my office.”

“But-”

“You are dismissed.” Sarim walked out on them without looking back. “Are you okay?” Dua nodded. “I made a promise to Jahangir yet you suffered something unpleasant at my watch.”

“I’m fine Dilawar uncle. It was-”

“Go home child” Dilawar patted her head affectionately, “you need rest.” He looked at Asfand. “I hope if you can risk coming here to take her out, you will make sure she returns home safely?” When Asfand gave no reply, he huffed. “Just take care of her. She needs it.”

“Shaheer is-”

“I will take her back” Asfand stepped in front of Xian. “You do what you should be doing.”

“This is army’s headquarters” Dilawar snapped angrily. “Keep your cross swords outside the premises. Mr. Wang! A word?” Xian gave a curt nod without looking away from Asfand and walked out with Dilawar Chaudhary.

“I will get the car.” Safan looked between them. “Yeah, right.” He rubbed his neck and looked around uncomfortably when Asfand and Dua showed no acknowledgment to what he said. They were too lost in each other that they even forgot where they were standing right now. “I’ll see you outside.” Once Safan left, Asfand walked closer to Dua.

“You sure know how to grate my nerves.” Dua didn’t blink when Asfand loomed over her. “You really should stop messing around with me janaan." Asfand waited but Dua gave no response to his mockery. Her eyes and frame was too still. “Dua?” Asfand palmed her cheek and another kind of anger took over his eyes. “What the fuck!” He palmed her forehead. “Why are you cold-That bastard!” He looked around the room angrily.

“Asfand!” Dua rasped lowly and grabbed his hand that was palming her cheek. “It-” Asfand grabbed her bloody hand to examine the injury. It was deep. Her hand was swollen and blue and the temperature only worsened it.

“Who did this to you? Who hurt you Dua? Tell me.”

“Why are you here?” Asfand’s jaw twitched in anger. Even he didn’t know why he risked himself for her. “You are so confusing.” Asfand caught her against him when she fell forward. “Stop doing it-” Her arms fell and she went limp in his hold.

“Dua?” But she didn’t respond. His heart dropped when he checked her pulse. “Hey, open your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. The fuck!” Asfand carried her in his arms and rushed out.

“You took your-What the fuck!” Safan was startled when he saw Asfand carrying Dua. “What-”

“Get in the fucking car Safan” Asfand carefully placed Dua in the backseat and got in beside her. “Call the fucking doctor.”


Hello folks,

Yes, surprisingly three chapters in a row because I might not be able to update in coming days. Hope you like and enjoy them. I thank you for the love and support you show to this story. It really means a lot to me.

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