Posts tagged “love triangle

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 48

Posted on 03/06/2015

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They hadn’t held hands in ages. At thirty-years old, it didn’t seem all that necessary as it was when she was ten years old. But when Gabriel grabbed hold of her hand and led her down the winding path, Samina felt a peace she hadn’t felt in years. In introspective silence, they listened to the crickets providing an evening melody, the croaking bullfrogs complementing the tone. Gabriel whistled a tune.

 “Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine.”

Her nose wrinkled before he whistled the next stanza. “Dad, that’s a terrible song …” She raised a brow at him. “It’s about a man losing his daughter to drowning.”

Gabriel choked a laugh. “Oh wow.”

She shrugged, leaning into him as they walked the woven path. “I looked up the lyrics when I was fifteen. It changed my life forever.”

He nudged her shoulder. “Drama queen.”

Samina sighed and propped her head against his shoulder. “You heard everything?”

“Not if you didn’t want me to.”

She twisted her mouth. “Do you… think she’s right?”

Gabriel didn’t answer at first, mulling over his daughter’s words. The silence stretched for a few moments before he released a sigh. “I always used to think you were like your mother; headstrong and frustratingly independent.” He chuckled lowly. “In a way, you are… but I see a lot of myself in you too.”

Samina managed a smile. For so long, she always felt closer to him because they were so much alike. “I’m your mini-me.”

He peered down at her. “You’re my mirror.” He squeezed her hand. “Even when you were just a baby, your eyes always watched me, doing as you saw me do. Funny thing was you took your cues from me.”

She remained quiet, knowing he was right. A memory of a trip to the beach, walking in her father’s large footsteps, came to mind.

“I’m grateful that you are our firstborn, Samina,” he continued. “You set the temperature for the house based on how your mother and I were feeling. Your uncanny ability to moderate and set the mood of the family, it amazes me.”

Samina bit her bottom lip as he stopped walking. He turned to face her, his face shrouded and unreadable under the half-cast moonlight.

“But I’m seeing now, that you took on more than a child should have to. Because I got too comfortable with you and your mom being assertive and strong women, you took on a role you shouldn’t have.”

She blinked, wary of his grave tone. “Dad…”

“It is not your job to be your mother’s husband or your siblings’ father. That’s my job. You’re not supposed to be my mirror, or the family’s thermostat.” His thumbs brushed the back of her hands. “You don’t have to be strong or invincible. Even I can’t. Only God can.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “Dad…”

“Embrace your weaknesses as well as your strengths, Samina. They are what make you special, what make you beautiful.” He lifted a hand and cupped her cheek. “It’s okay to say that you don’t have all the answers, or that you’re confused with your life’s journey, or that you’re not perfect. No one is perfect.”

Samina drew in her bottom lip, gnawing at it.

“You’re not me, your mom, Karen or Obadiah. God made you special, unique, beautiful in your own way. There’s no need for you to be someone He hasn’t created you to be.”

She nodded, looking down. “I know that…”

“If you know that, why are you confused?”

Samina looked up, her brow furrowed. “I’m not… confused.

“Ok… what is it then?”

She stiffened. He wouldn’t understand; no one ever did. Her eyes tingled. Don’t you dare cry again.

Gabriel’s hands let go of hers and moved to cup her shoulders. “Samina… Everything you’ll ever need in life, God has provided it for you.”

She refrained from rolling her eyes. “Dad…”

“Delay isn’t denial, you know that, don’t you?”

Samina held her tongue. It sure felt like everything in her life was a loud and firm denial, but arguing with him and God didn’t seem appropriate.

He squeezed her shoulders. “In due time, everything you need, will be met. Stop stressing about what will happen and live for today.”

She smiled wryly. “You sound like a fortune cookie, Dad.”

Gabriel chuckled softly. “Don’t think for a moment that I don’t know about you collecting notes from fortune cookies…”

Her cheeks warmed, recalling the box of rolled-up fortune cookies slips under her childhood bed, representing dashed hopes and dreams. ‘Your future is looking bright’; ‘Love is waiting at the next corner’; ‘Keep on believing.’ She’d been a fool to believe in it all.

He sighed, draping an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. “My mini-me…”

Samina leaned into him, warmed by the endearment. “Yes, Daddy?”

“Enjoy your life. Don’t dwell on the past, on things you can’t change. Live for today because you can.”

There was a soft wistful lilt to his tone that had Samina peeking up at his shadowed face.

He sighed. “For more than thirty-something years, I lived with regret and wished I could turn back time. I wished I could’ve told Odetta that I feared failing her, or not being the man she thought I was. That’s why I worked hard, knowing that if I didn’t, I might lose her to Jeremiah.”

She frowned. “Uncle?”

Gabriel grunted. “I knew he loved her too, maybe even more than I ever could… and it ate at me every time she talked about what a great and smart guy he was. In a way, I’d made him my yard stick on how to be a man. And even long after Odetta, I still found myself doing that. Seeing how he treated Sheena like she was his precious gift and finding myself wanting.”

Samina bit the inside of her cheek.

“And because I had my eyes on what he was doing, I hurt your mother with neglect.”

Samina had a sneaky suspicion that this was beyond fatherly advice and more so overdue contemplation over his past failings. She slipped an arm around his waist. “Daddy…?”

“Hmm?”

She hesitated. “You… love Mom, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.” His voice shook a little. “It’s a matured love that endures in spite of frustrations and insecurities because she’s my precious gift. No matter what, we’ll face every circumstance and struggle together.”

Samina swallowed hard.

“I wish I could say it was love at first sight or that I was head over heels in love with your mother… But I wasn’t. I was still hurt from Odetta’s betrayal and didn’t trust women. But your mother was enduring, patient and stubborn.” He chuckled dryly. “It’s funny; the very thing that attracts you to someone is often the very thing that drives you nuts.”

Samina paused, wondering what about Ezekiel attracted her and drove her nuts at the same time. Gabriel’s hand on her cheek caught her at mid-frown.

“Your sister is right, Samina.” Gabriel brushed her cheek with his thumb. “I rather you wait until you’re sure before you jump into anything in life. Career and in love. Even if you have to wait a while, wait and decide what you really want. When times get tough, and you’ve taken that much-needed time, you won’t regret waiting.”

The peace that had settled in her at the beginning of their walk was long gone, an unsettling feeling resting on her as they made their quiet walk back to the camp. She watched as Gabriel crossed the camp fire to where Deidre sat with Sheena and Jeremiah. With a wistful smile, she watched Gabriel reach for Deidre’s hand and tug her to her feet.

Deidre cocked her head curiously as Gabriel took the seat and patted his lap. Jeremiah and Sheena chuckled, Deidre smacking Gabriel’s shoulder before perching on his lap.

Tamping down a sigh, Samina turned away once the elder couples continued their murmuring and turned to where Karen and Ezekiel’s girls sat together, Beulah leaning into Karen as she re-braided her plaits while Adelaide nibbled on a graham cracker.

Samina snuck away to the tent she shared with Karen, intent on sleeping the cramps and fatigue away. A twig snapped to her left and she hurried into the tent, snapping the flap close. It could be Ezekiel, seeking her response. Or Topher…

She couldn’t face either one right now; not when her thoughts were a discombobulated mess.

Wiggling into the sleeping bag, Samina turned her back and squeezed her eyes tight. The last thought on her mind before drifting off to sleep was what Odetta must’ve felt making her decision.

Topher stood at the bank of the river, his brow furrowed slightly as he took in the orange and pink hues in the sky. The night passed too slowly and with Samina on his brain, he couldn’t sleep. It didn’t help that Obadiah’s guttural snoring was way worse than Nadine’s wheezing. By three in the morning, he’d given up trying and took a long jog around the river, trying to organize his thoughts and his feelings.

He wished to forget what he’d seen earlier that evening; the picture of Ezekiel kneeling before Samina.

“I thought I was the only one who couldn’t sleep past five.”

Topher’s jaw hardened. Though he didn’t know the man long enough, he found himself recognizing the voice of Samina’s boyfriend Ezekiel.

The man stifled a yawn as he came to stand at Topher’s side.

In the wake of their silence, bullfrogs hiding in the reeds along the bank croaked out their melodious beat.

“There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors,” Ezekiel continued, his voice light and cheery.

Topher grunted. It was too early in the morning for merriment.

After a brief pause, Ezekiel spoke again. “I heard about your parents. I’m sorry for your loss.”

He kicked a shoulder, not wanting this man’s sympathy.

“The older I get,” Ezekiel mused aloud. “The more I realize what a small world we live in. It seems everyone is connected somehow.”

He rolled his eyes. What did Samina see in this talkative, annoying fellow?

“That we’re all related in some way, it’s bizarre.” Ezekiel chuckled. “To think that Samina’s friendship with you allowed you to meet our fathers who were your parents’ friends… It’s definitely God.”

Topher bristled inwardly, wishing the man to leave.

Ezekiel then turned to face him. “I’d like us to be friends.”

Topher arched a brow. Did this guy think they were in kindergarten?

“I can see Samina cares for you. A friend of hers is a friend of mine.”

He wanted to laugh. Even with Ezekiel’s warm expression, Topher knew better than to take this man’s words at face value. Just as he stood at Samina’s side, occupying every moment of her time since they arrived at the camp, he was now verbally staking a claim over Samina. Topher felt his lips curl upwards. He did always like a challenge. “And if I don’t agree?”

Ezekiel’s smile froze. “Agree to what, Samina’s feelings for you?”

Topher grinned wider. “The latter. Do we really need to be friends to co-exist in her heart?”

Ezekiel’s smile changed. “I’m not good at sharing.”

“Neither am I,” Topher answered easily, shoving both hands in his pockets. “But this isn’t about sharing a cookie or a toy. Samina’s heart isn’t a toy.”

Ezekiel’s face hardened. “Samina loves me. Always have, always will.”

Topher smiled effortlessly. “Good for you.”

“I plan to marry her.”

He nodded. The image of Ezekiel kneeling was clear as day in his mind. “I know.”

“She will be my wife.”

Topher cocked a brow at Ezekiel’s face now taut with increasing irritation. The self-assuredness he’d assumed earlier was now absent in his expression. “Is that merely an assumption or a known fact?”

Ezekiel narrowed his eyes then, lips pursed tight. “Don’t confuse her.”

“What, you’re scared she’ll refuse?” Topher raised both brows. “That she has a better option than the one you’re proposing?”

Ezekiel scoffed. “You’re joking. Do you know her at all?”

“Do you?” Topher smirked as Ezekiel’s smile waned. “So what she had a crush on you? Does that give you full reins of her heart?”

Without warning, Ezekiel grabbed hold of Topher’s collar, face darkening with a scowl. “Who are you to say that? What do you know?”

Unaffected, Topher just stared down at him. “And who are you to decide what she wants?”

Ezekiel’s fists tightened on Topher’s t-shirt. “Shut your mouth.”

Topher breathed a laugh. “I’m not in the mood to repeat history here. Let go or I’ll make you.”

A round of claps alerted both men, the raging fires within sizzling as they turned to see Samina standing in the clearing. Ezekiel’s hands loosened around Topher’s shirt and he quickly stepped away. Topher didn’t blink as Samina walked forward, clapping her hands slowly.

“A round of applause,” Samina drawled out, stepping fully out of the shadows. “What an awesome performance, gentlemen.”

“Sam, I can explain…” Ezekiel stepped forward.

“Explain what exactly?” Samina glared at both men. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you two were kids fighting over a toy.”

Topher swallowed a curse. Ezekiel inhaled sharply. She’d heard everything.

She folded both arms across her chest, her brow furrowed. “So what were you going to do, fight knowing your daughters could walk in on you two?”

“No one was going to fight,” Ezekiel insisted, his tone growing agitated. “I was just…”

“Warning him off? Making veiled threats?” Samina turned to Topher before Ezekiel could explain but could only shake her head. “I don’t recognize either of you.”  She turned away, hand to her head.

Ezekiel stepped closer but Topher grabbed his shoulder to stop him. He scowled when Ezekiel shrugged him off and closed the distance. He glared at Ezekiel as the man draped an arm around Samina’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, baby,” Ezekiel murmured, loud enough for Topher to hear but soft enough to sound contrite.

Topher wanted nothing more than to grab Ezekiel by the collar and push him away from Samina. Instead he stood and waited in silence. It wasn’t his place to interfere, even if he desperately wanted to.

Samina elbowed Ezekiel to keep her distance. “Stop.” She glared up at him. “Even now, you’re still doing it. Stop it, for goodness’ sake.”

Dumbfounded, Ezekiel gaped at her. “Sam…”

“I’m not a toy, Ezekiel.” Samina snapped, indignant. “I decide what and who I want, not you.”

Ezekiel’s mouth opened and closed, eyes blinking.

“What do you want then?” Topher heard himself speak.

Samina turned to him, eyes sizzling. “I thought I knew but now… I don’t know.”

Ezekiel frowned. “But—”

“And until I’m sure, I don’t want to talk to either of you about it.” Samina hitched her chin. “And don’t you dare follow me or try to change my mind. Punch your stupid heads in for all I care. Good day!” She spun on her heels and stormed off.

Ezekiel puffed out an exasperated breath in her wake and dragged a hand over his face.

Topher slowly released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding all this time.

Grunting, Ezekiel turned to him with a ‘now what’ expression and Topher did everything he could to keep from laughing. He was not in the mood to fight anyone, especially not now.

With a sigh, Topher turned to face the lake just as the sun rose above the trees.

<<Chapter 47 || Chapter 49>>

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Samina’s Chance: Chapter 44

Posted on 21/05/2015

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They met under the passageway between the two stairs in the church lobby. Samina couldn’t help but smile at the radiance on Ada’s face, her mocha skin sun-kissed from her honeymoon in Monterrey Bay. The two friends embraced for a brief moment before Ada leaned back to study her friend’s face.

Samina’s smile remained, eyes sweeping over Ada’s warm features. “You look radiant.”

“Thank you kindly.” Ada’s winking smile waned a little. “And you look tired.”

“Thanks…” Samina muttered, dropping her hands from around Ada. She didn’t need a reminder of Topher’s rebuff just hours ago. Avoiding Ada’s probing eyes, she scanned the lobby for sign of Jaxson.

“Don’t bother. He stopped by the hospital to see Nadine.” Ada’s brow furrowed. “I thought they would be back in Edmonton by now. Any idea what happened?”

Samina shrugged. “How will you get home if he took the car?”

Ada arched a brow at Samina’s deflecting. “We drove separate cars.” Her smile was wry. “I’m still getting used to all of it, to be honest. Me, a married woman.”

“Ada, please…” Samina refrained from rolling her eyes. “You’ve been practicing your new last name long before you got engaged.” She smirked when Ada nudged her shoulder.

“Anyway…” Ada smacked her lips. “Now that the wedding is done, I can concentrate on you and Topher.”

Samina scowled. “Don’t bother.”

Ada cocked her head. “What—“

“Aunty Sammie!” a girl’s shriek halted Ada’s words and turned their attention to a young girl tearing across the lobby, puffy pigtails flying as she ran.

Seeing Beulah’s toothy smile invoked Samina’s and she bent at the waist, arms open. “Oof! Hey Beulah.” She planted a kiss on the girl’s temple and lifted her head to see Ada squinting at her. Clearing her throat, she looked down at the adoring eyes of the five-year-old beaming at her.

“Papa and Laide are coming,” Beulah announced, showing off her smile. One front tooth was missing and the sight endeared her to Samina.

Pushing aside every troubling thought of Topher, she caressed Beulah’s soft cheek, then lifted her eyes to Ezekiel and Adelaide headed their way.

Laide greeted both women with a polite hello, though she reserved a shy smile for Samina. Ezekiel winked audaciously at Samina, drawing a querying stare from Ada.

“We’re coming to your house, Aunty Sammie!” Beulah proclaimed, grinning wide.

Samina met Ezekiel’s eyes and he nodded, though his smile was wry. “My parents are already on their way to your place.”

“Oh?” She frowned, anxiety nipping at her. “For what?”

Ada’s gaze bounced between the two of them, brow creased with confusion.

“Lunch.” He kicked a shoulder, his knowing eyes skimming over her. “With the girls there, I’m sure everyone will behave.” Then he smiled. “We’ll stop by the house first though, so you’ll have to hold it down till I get there.” His gaze twinkled with mirth. “Think you can handle it?”

Samina hitched her chin. “We’ll be fine.”

Ada squinted as Ezekiel and his daughters walked away. She folded her arms and turned to Samina. “Explain.”

Picking at her cardigan, Samina sighed. “Our fathers got into a fist fight.”

Ada scoffed incredulously. “First off, I was asking about Ezekiel, but this is even more bizarre. Why were they fighting?”

Samina hesitated replying. No doubt Topher would tell Jaxson about their twisted fate, which he would then relay to Ada. She chose the easier topic. “What about Ezekiel?”

“You two looked a little too cozy right there.”

Samina shrugged. “Sure. We’re dating.” For some reason, acknowledging this felt odd.

Ada’s eyes grew wide as saucers. Her mouth grew slack. “What?” she eked out. Then she shook off the shock, her brow furrowing. “What about Topher?”

“What about him?” Samina knew she sounded surly but Topher’s last words still affected her. She sighed, snuffing out the irritation. “Look, we’re not meant to be. He’s…” she shrugged, at a loss for words.

“He’s what?” Ada eyed her carefully.

Samina adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “As you heard, there’s a crisis I have to avert, so let’s talk later. Greet Jax for me.” She spun on her heel and started for the door.

“This isn’t over, Sammie!” Ada called after her.

Waving over her shoulder, Samina hurried away before she said something regrettable.

Although Deidre and Sheena chatted freely while prepared the lunch, their husbands sat on opposite ends of a sofa, watching the televised basketball game in stony silence. Obadiah sat between them, stoically watching the game, though he was on referee duty.

Samina bit her bottom lip as one of their favorite players scored a three-pointer and neither cheered or high-fived each other as they usually did on game days. She glanced over her shoulder at the two mothers. “Shouldn’t we do something?” she frowned at their indifferent expressions. “Wasn’t this supposed to be a reconciliatory lunch?”

Deidre rolled her eyes. Sheena offered Samina an assured smile. “They’ll loosen up once there’s food in their bellies. Come help me cut the pie.”

Breathing out a sigh of resignation, Samina moved around the counter to unwrap the sweet-potato pie.

Karen swept in behind her. “I’ll do it. Go sit down.”

Samina’s face heated under Karen’s pointed stare. “I’m fine.”

“Go…” she nudged Samina aside and grabbed the knife.

“By the way, Sheena, did you know your son and my daughter were conspiring behind our backs?” Deidre snapped a celery stick in half. Samina cringed at the heated glare directed at her.

Sheena chuckled softly. “You mean with them dating?”

Deidre whipped an accusing glare to Sheena. “After what we talked about, you went behind my back?”

“Really, Deidre?” Sheena sprinkled the cheese into the salad bowl. “Can we stick to what’s important right now?” She pointed her chin at their husbands.

Mumbling an incoherent but unfriendly reply, Deidre snapped a few more celery sticks with gusto. Sheena tossed Samina a wink.

Just then, the doorbell rang. Samina drew in a breath and moved to the door. “I’ll get it,” she announced for everyone’s benefit and pulled it open. Her heart stopped beating. Her eyes widened at the sight of a somber Topher stood in the doorway.

What was he doing here?

“Who is it?”

At her mother’s loud inquiry, Topher’s striking gray eyes bounced off her face to over her shoulder.

Samina’s fingers curled around the doorknob.

“For goodness’ sake, Samina.” Deidre was now by her shoulder and she nudged her aside. Her eyes widened in surprise. “Topher?”

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Wells…” Topher replied, his deep timbre hesitant.

Samina snuck a glance over her shoulder and stifled a groan. Both Gabriel and Jeremiah were now on their feet, eyes riveted to the open door.

“P-please, come in.” Deidre stumbled back, stepping on Samina’s foot. Topher stepped in.

Samina held her breath as his gaze paused in the direction of the two men, his father’s friends, and his face hardened slightly. She clocked Jeremiah’s look of shock and Gabriel’s surly expression.

“Well I’ll be…” Jeremiah breathed incredulously. He took a step forward. Topher’s shoulders stiffened as Jeremiah came to stand before him. “You’re Odetta’s boy.”

Topher swallowed hard. Then he looked Jeremiah in the eye and replied. “And you are Mr. Dames.”

Jeremiah shook his head, gaze glistening with revelation. “Please call me Uncle Jeremiah.”

Surprise flickered on Gabriel’s face before it was snuffed out completely in a scowl. “Uncle? Don’t you mean father?

Sheena inhaled sharply. Deidre glared at her husband.

Both Topher and Jeremiah turned to face him, wariness in Topher’s, confusion in Jeremiah’s.

Samina bit her bottom lip and squeezed her fingers together. It made sense now, her father’s anger. He’d believed all these years that Jeremiah had stolen Odetta and that she’d given birth to his son. That Topher was Jeremiah’s kid.

Then Jeremiah burst into laughter. Gabriel growled and started for his friend’s throat.

Samina shot forward just as Topher placed a hand between the two men, barring Gabriel from reaching for Jeremiah’s collar. She glanced up at Topher’s tense features.

“Dad, please,” Samina beseeched her father as she stood at Topher’s side.

Gabriel halted in step, taken back.

Hysteric laughter waning, Jeremiah shook his head and wiped at his eyes. “You’re a fool, Gabriel. A big fool.” He waved a hand over Topher. “Are you that blind with resentment not to see the resemblance?”

Deidre covered her face, stifling a groan.

Samina quickly moved to her side, perturbed at how Deidre trembled against her. “Just listen…”

Gabriel frowned up at Topher, confusion and wariness etched in his face. Then something eased the tension in his furrowed brow as realization hit. His brown eyes searched Topher’s face. Then he drew in a measured breath. “Maurice.”

Jeremiah nodded, dropping a hand on Topher’s arm. “Odetta and Maurice eloped. The day you saw us, she was asking for my help to tell you because she was too scared to hurt you.”

Deidre stiffened. Samina squeezed her shoulder. When Deidre ventured to look at her, Samina offered her a smile.

Gabriel dropped his head, touching a finger to his temple. “I don’t… understand.”

“Maurice and Odetta were married, Gabriel.” Jeremiah didn’t bother hiding his impatience. “She’d tried telling you for months that she wanted to break up, you were too focused on your thesis to notice she was unhappy.”

Topher finally turned to Samina, eyes narrowed in slits. “Is this why you summoned me here? To make things clear for everyone?”

Samina bristled at his accusing tone. She could feel the weight of everyone’s eyes on her and hitched her chin at him. “I… I didn’t summon you.”

He squinted at her, his jaw tight as stone. “Check your phone.”

She scowled. “What are you insinuating—?”

“Uh, sis…” Karen interjected with a contrite expression as she stepped forward. “I texted him.”

“Why would you–?”

“Wait,” Obadiah cut in. “So he’s not our brother then?”

All eyes bounced to him. Gabriel scowled. “What on earth would give you that idea?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Deidre folded her arms, stepping one foot closer to Gabriel. “Perhaps the fact that you act shady every time Odetta or Abbeville is mentioned.”

“That’s because you always get upset when I mention anything about my past,” Gabriel growled, frustrated.

“What woman wants to hear about her husband’s past loves!?”

“People, please!” Sheena called over the noise. “Enough already. This isn’t about you guys anymore, but about Topher.” Samina held a deeper respect for the older woman as she offered Topher a warm, welcoming smile. “We’re just about to eat. Will you join us?”

Samina held her breath.

Topher breathed a sigh. “If that’s okay with you…”

“Of course it is!” Jeremiah slapped his shoulder, smiling. “Maurice, your father, was our best friend. Isn’t that right, Gabe?” he slanted a pointed glare at Gabriel.

Gabriel blew out a breath and jerked a nod. Samina felt sorry that he’d been blindsided on every turn; back then and even now. “Yeah…” He managed a weak, distracted smile. “Join us.”

All breathed a sigh of relief and started for the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Samina moved around her mother and pulled open the door.

“Aunty Sammie!” Beulah screeched with delight, wrapping her arms around Samina’s waist. Laide snuck around them inside. Then Beulah disengaged and moved around Samina, lunging into her grandfather’s arms.

Ezekiel raised a brow as his father introduced his youngest granddaughter to the stoic, formidable gentleman standing beside him. He turned to Samina with a crooked smile. “What did I miss?”

“Don’t ask.” Samina offered him a weak smile and turned. She stiffened as her gaze collided with Topher’s.

Oblivious, Ezekiel draped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer. “We don’t have to hide anymore, do we?” he whispered in her ear.

Her frozen tongue couldn’t form an intelligible response as Topher’s eyes narrowed briefly before he turned away to give Beulah one of his rare smiles. Her stomach did a somersault and not from the light kiss Ezekiel pressed on her forehead.

In silence, Samina watched Ezekiel saunter over to greet Topher, her heart pulsing violently in her throat.

What am I going to do?

<<Chapter 43 || Chapter 45>>

  

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