Shackled Exemption

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CHAPTER 5

“D. Almas Sahi”

Twenty-four years old Sahi is an only child and has always lived in America. They have no other relatives and only ties they established over time were with Shahs. Their business wasn’t big initially but six years back, their share prices and stock value skyrocketed, making FourClove a big hit. Her parents, Irtiza and Rumaisa Sahi, died in a car accident a year later. She was a sophomore at Harvard at that time. The whole empire was placed on the shoulders of young Sahi who not only excelled at her studies and completed her degree but also managed her rising empire in a phenomenal way.

She doesn’t have many friends and isn’t seen associating much with anyone on social platform. She is a philanthropist, supporting many NGOs and Trusts but likes to keep to herself. Her I.Q is 200. Her interests include horse riding, firearm sports, and literature, have interest in bikes, know taekwondo and aikido, love tattoos and had one on her left shoulder blade. Zero relationships or affairs. She has been to many dangerous expeditions and also participated in an illegal street race once. She has been to world tour but has never set foot in Pakistan.

Asfand tapped the pen on the table in a lazy manner while watching the candid pictures of his next venture blankly. This was his third meeting with the detective in two months. He got everything he wanted. But his being doesn’t seem satiated. He couldn’t put his mind off that woman, not after what transpired between them on the auction.

D. Sahi was not just a pretty face and sexy appeal after all.

“You are quite something” Asfand muttered under his breath while observing her picture keenly. She was leaning against her bike, holding helmet against her waist while looking sideways. Those curves were to die for. “Is that all?”

“There is nothing scandalous about Ms. Sahi. We dug everything we could but there is no dirt on her name.” Asfand just leaned back in his chair.

“Is D. Sahi her real name?”

“Yes.” But his instincts were not ready to agree. Asfand wasn’t expecting her to be this Machiavellian. That is exactly what caught his eye and now, he was restless and his restlessness was making him irrational. He needed to get hold of his prey. So, he spent millions in order to achieve the accurate information about Ms. Sahi. His intuition told him the woman was not entirely what she showed and posed herself to be. There are two sides to the coin. The world only knew the business icon D. Almas Sahi. But who was D. Almas Sahi, no one knew.

“You can leave.” The man left the data with Asfand who has his eyes transfixed on the woman before his eyes. He went to the front and leaned against the table with arms crossed over his chest. His eyes never left her face as he took every little detail the candid picture was offering him. Her eyes, her rosy cheeks, her deep burgundy hair, the shape of her face, the curves of her body and finally they came back to her kissable lips that seemed to lure him even through the picture.

Asfand was amused by his own introspection. Never before he had ever paid attention to any woman. And to this extent. He never had to because they threw themselves at him. For his money, looks and power. He just took without offering anything in return. But the case reversed in D. Sahi’s case.

Does she ever wear any color other than this ominous one?

In time Asfand was in New York, he never saw Dee in any color other than black. She was a complete American, from her accent to her dressing. There was no eastern touch in her. And her clothes, they were too bold and Asfand knew what kind of women the bold ones were.

An arrogant smirk appeared on his lips when his eyes locked with the static ones of her. She does have beautiful eyes. That of a eagle. And the way she looked at others. Ready to tear them to pieces if needed. The woman was indeed beautiful beyond words. A mix breed, if he was not wrong.

“You need to attend the coming gala by Thompson.” Safan came to his side and raised a golden embroidered invitation. “They knew of your arrival and insist on meeting you before you leave. For the ties they had with elders. You know what I am pointing to, don’t you?” Safan shook his head with an irritated sigh when Asfand made no sign of taking the invitation or listening.

He knew what path his asshole friend was treading and he dreaded it the most. He needed to take Asfand back before he embarked on a journey that led to destruction of everything they have been working for. “And once you are done, you need to go back to Pakistan. The matters regarding Asphalt are overhauled without the merger. There is no need for you to-”

“What happened to what I asked?” Safan wanted to shoot this bastard right now for his stubbornness.

“What are you trying to get at? I don’t get you seriously.” He threw the card on the table and ran a hand through his hair wildly. “What’s with this sudden interest that you are willing to go out of your way and do things like... Whatever. Are you shitting me?”

“Did I ever?” Asfand finally turned to him with a vicious sneer. “That woman is too conceited and I cannot forget the humiliation I faced at this tiny bird’s hands. But then” he faced away from Safan to look at Dee’s picture one more time. “She is a woman. I just want to test her extremes.”

“Asfand!” Safan tried but one look from him and he backed off. “Just don’t be too reckless.” Asfand was not paying any heed to what Safan was saying. His mind was formulating and weaving a web to trap his new prey.

Once she was in his hold, he was going to inveigle her so bad she won’t be to flap her wings ever again.

***********

A light rap on the door and Sharlene walked inside. Dee watched the perplexed look on her face whose source became clear when her eyes landed on what was being brought along. “Ma’am!” Sharlene gazed at the black tray the attendant was carrying and looked towards her boss expectantly. “I tried but his men were persistent.”

“Open it” Sharlene opened the black box immediately, only to gasp. Dee watched the glistening big diamond embedded amidst others in the beautiful necklace. Its shine was enough to tell the fortune it can cost a person. Maybe more than a fortune. But knowing that man, getting such a piece of fine and rare blue diamond is just like getting a piece of cake. “Interesting” Dee mused while leaning back in her chair leisurely and twisted it around. “Send it back.”

“Ma’am?” Sharlene was gobsmacked by her response. It was third gift straight in a row. Classy, rare and expensive than rest. But her boss was not wooed, not even a little. “It’s-”

“It’s a waste of resources that could be put to better use as well as my time. Return it with a small courteous note but don’t forget to mention that sending such things is proving itself to be a nuisance and disturbance. Unless they want us to take some legal action, Mr. Sherzai should stop. It hasn’t been more than a month their repute has been restored.” Dee turned back to her laptop and Sharlene towards the exit. Once the door to her office closed, Dee looked up and clasped her hands in front of her mouth. Her entwined fingers were twiddling the ring restlessly and her expressions contorted to a mixture of many.

Asfandyar Sherzai was becoming a plight she couldn’t manage. Unless she get her hands dirty. He didn’t confront her directly after the auction but his random gifts afterwards alerted the alarm in her head. It was good she didn’t have to do the merger with him. He rectified Asphalt’s reputation and position within a week after his arrival. He proved he was self-sufficient for anything. That in itself was enough signal that Dee needs to steer clear of him. He was a dangerous man with a nasty stature. She knew of the things he did or was capable of doing. That was why she cannot let that man interfere. At all.

But he was making it very difficult at moment.

She wasn’t getting why he suddenly became so keen on getting acquainted with her. These random gifts started from the phone and moved up every time she refused them. A Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero, the Atelier and now this necklace. His behavior was really odd regarding what he was doing.

But she couldn’t trace the hidden agendas.

A brief knock on the door and Xian walked in. He placed a golden embroidered invitation before Dee and retracted two steps with hands clasped at his back. Dee picked the special invite under her name for the Annual Gala by Thompson and leaned back in her chair.

“That little problem at our hands is becoming quite outrageous.” Same feat these shams pose every year and never get tired of it. She wanted to scoff at their pathetic attempts to get her attention. They will get it. She threw the card away with a file. “And Asfandyar Sherzai hasn’t left. You said two weeks but it has been more than two months.”

“He has citizenship Ms. Sahi and his business is as vast as yours around the globe. We can do nothing because a step towards or against him can stir a lot of unnecessary turbulence. He is not only an infamous businessman but also an ill-famed mafia king with many political connections. We cannot make an enemy out of him.”

“I don’t care either way-”

“Your restlessness will only lead him to things you are trying to keep from.” They stared at each other. One with fire in her eyes and other calmness.

“What about the girl?” Xian didn’t argue further because he knew his boss. Not that she was coward but the mere reminder could lead her to do things that could prove fatal for the future that was still uncertain and cloaked in darkness.

“She was going to be sold in auction just like other girls. But this one was caught by mistake. She was a spy sent by Cabinet Intelligence to get Intel on human trafficking and abduction cases from Japan. The mission was collaborative. She went missing after the operation failed. The Intelligence declared her dead two years ago.”

“Send her back.”

“She insists on meeting you.” Dee looked up at Xian. “She feels indebted to you. I placed the offer before her but she refused. She is dead anyway.” Dee clasped her hands again and watched Xian carefully. Not a single line on his stoic face shifted an inch. He sure had it under control. Dee mused and tilted her chair to look at the chessboard on which lay various pieces in move.

“Is that so?” Picking a pawn, she turned to Xian and raised it between them. “What do you think?” Xian watched the piece in her hand carefully. There was a haunting smile on her lips indicating the move was already made. “You know what to do.” She placed the piece back on the board and turned to her laptop.

And without further ado, Xian was on his way to do the bidding of his boss without a second thought or question.

***********

The coldness of the night bit in her delicate skin but Dee paid no attention to its brutality. The entire rooftop of La Bain was booked tonight. No one was allowed to go up unless they were being expected. The metal pits containing wood and lava stones were arranged to keep the environment warm and cozy. But all this extravagant set up did not show any effect on its valued guest who was too deep in thought.

The mild cold breeze blew her hair, exposing the broken wings tattoo on her left shoulder. The tattoo in itself was telltale, untold and buried within the confines of impenetrable darkness where no one ever dared to reach. No matter how much presumptuous the gateway to that doom’s pit made them.

Dee gazed at the unobstructed view of city but her eyes were looking elsewhere. Some place far away from the realm of actuality. She was seeing things but not seeing anything at the same time. Her eyes closed and a sharp breath escaped her rosy lips.

It was peacefully quiet but only she could hear the voices buried in the very wind that carried them. Outside, it was calm but no one knew what mayhem lay inside. A placid rhythm in everything but no one knew the restless tremors that shook its very core. A complacency was on the front but no one knew what malaise it hid behind.

How tempestuous.

“Ma’am?” the mild intrusion broke her chain and she tilted her head slightly. “They came for you.” What she didn’t expect upon turning was the huge bouquet of beautiful and healthy roses, redder than blood, being presented to her by the hesitant manager. “I apologize for interrupting but-”

“Leave them on the table.” The manager signaled the waiter to do so and turned to leave as soon as they were done bidding their part. “Make sure no more intrusions occur for the night. When I said, I don’t want to be disturbed, I meant it.” The manager opened his mouth but Dee’s phone began to ring at the precise moment. “And you should know how to deal with such matters.”

“We will be careful” With a slight nod, they left Dee to tend to her business. Dee picked her phone and turned back to look over the horizon.

“You sure are one persistent caller.” She mused while leaning over the glass railing and watched the twinkling lights of the surrounding buildings that ate away the bright stars of the sky. “To what do I owe this pleasure of having you calling me Mir Haider Shah?”

“It’s more difficult and near to impossible to get hold of you than any celebrity Dee. When will you actually grow up?” Haider got up from his chair and moved to the huge window behind his table. “You still know how to grate the nerves of your caller by just watching the poor device bleed its own speakers.”

“Always the dramatic one.” She turned around lazily and watched the bouquet lying over the table. “I came to have some peace but you people sure know how to ruin it for me.”

“You are going this year.” Dee chose not to say anything. She knew what was coming and so did Haider. But enough was enough. He did his best to get this mess turned as civilly as possible but he knew, it would all be in vain. She was, after all, his sister. “Care to tell why the sudden change of heart?”

“Just felt like being generous.”

“You know that man and his interest in you. He has kept their eyes on you all this time. His invitation is not an open arms welcome to something fruitful but a trap to get to the core of matters he has been trying to unveil.”

“You worry too much Hadi.” Dee walked to the table and picked the bouquet, observing each flower carefully. “What will he gain even if he solve the puzzle? Nothing but a labyrinth of his own mind.”

“Careful!” Haider tone took a warning note, “Let things cool down or else. It hasn’t been long since Nawab died and Mikhailov handed his business to an anonymous buyer. Don’t underestimate their noses. They will sniff you out if you moved too fast.” Her grip on the bouquet tightened and unadulterated rage coursed through her body and reached her eyes, igniting the coldness to burning amber.

“Let the cruise sail Hadi.” She went to one of the pits and lowered the bouquet in rising flames. The more she watched those roses, the more hatred thumped in her blood.

“What do we know when the soaring turned to sinking.”

While Dee was busy avowing to herself, someone watched her very avidly from afar. Asfand wasn’t expecting her to be this fierce. She was proving him wrong in every aspect which was making this chase more arousing for him.

“I told you not to take that women lightly.” He lowered the binoculars with a chuckle and turned to Safan. “If flowers, cars and castles were enough to sweep that dark princess off her feet, many would have achieved this task before you.”

“Should I have sent thorns and python instead?” Safan growled inaudibly and walked to the bar to make himself a drink. “I knew she was hiding something.”

“And whatever it is, has no concern with you bastard.” Asfand sat next to Safan and poured himself a scotch. He downed it in one go before going for the next round. “You are forgetting Asfand.” After downing another glass, Asfand got up and wore his suit jacket. “Where the fuck are you going now-”

A bullet hit the glass behind Safan, missing his temple by a mere brush.

“Learn to put a lid on that hole Safan. Or I will have to make some permanent arrangements before it starts reeking.” Asfand lowered his gun and put it back in its holster beneath his jacket. “Until this rare fish takes my bait, an Irish one waits in my bed.” He smirked arrogantly and walked towards the elevators. “Because a hunter never stops hunting.” He stepped inside and pressed the button to his floor, giving one last wink to Safan’s overwhelmed form.

“You fucking asshole” Safan was spitting profanities at the closing doors on Asfand’s chuckling. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at his reflection through the shiny mirrors of the four walls surrounding him.

Soon myaen janaan, very soon.

***********

“I will talk later Hadi.” Dee disconnected the call and walked back, all the while watching the roses turn to ashes. Her fists clenched to her sides and she leaned against the table with a thump.

What a minacious color it is.

Dee hated it. The color and the very existence of it. If it was in her hands, she would eradicate the very source of it from this world.

But alas! Some things could not be taken charge of, no matter what power you hold.

And that thought alone was enough to fuel her already rising anger and hatred. A single tear slipped her eye when those memories became her choker once again. With a suppressed scream, she picked the glass and threw it across the lounge where it shattered with a crashing sound.

“I want them to follow the trail and come to me.” Dee wiped the lone tear and raised her hand to see the trail of blood flowing down her wrist. “I want them to hunt for me.”

Because if they won’t, how will I get what I want?


myaen janaan- my darling

Don't forget to drop your thoughts <3

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