Marrying Ameera

Marrying Ameera by Rosanne Hawke Read Free Book Online

Book: Marrying Ameera by Rosanne Hawke Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rosanne Hawke
couldn’t lie so I said nothing. Papa would say even the phone calls were immoral. He must never know about them; that would get Riaz into trouble as well.
    Mum was looking more concerned now. ‘Ameera?’
    ‘I was there, but it was innocent. I went with Maryam.’
    ‘It was a boy’s party. You cannot go to boys’ parties. It is not seemly. Everyone will think you have a relationship.’ Papa said ‘relationship’ as if it was a swearword.
    ‘Hassan, stop. Ameera is a good girl.’
    He swung around on me then, so close I thought he’d hit me. I flinched, but his next words hurt more than hishand would have. ‘You are not a good girl.’ He spaced the words so I wouldn’t miss any. ‘You have brought dishonour to this family. Where there is smoke there is fire. Chello, go to your room. I will decide what is to be done.’
    What did he mean? I understood the dishonour part—though I disagreed—but what had to be done?
    Mum was the one who voiced it. ‘Hassan? What do you mean? What are you going to do?’
    I didn’t get to hear an answer, for Papa shouted, ‘Go!’
    I ran to my room like a disgraced little girl.
    I didn’t know if it was Raniya who had told her parents about the party—for my own good, no doubt—or her brother. Someone had said it and that was enough. I’d never seen Papa so angry and I felt sick with fear. What was he thinking of doing? Two months in my room with only bread and water? Would he do that? No computer or phone for a month?
    My phone. I began erasing Tariq’s messages. I could hear the warmth of his voice even in the texts. His beautiful words. I was crying as I read each one before I hit the delete button. Then the music. It was like cutting my heart out. But Papa must never know I spoke to Tariq late at night.
    No one came near me that first night, not even Mum. Fortunately, I had my own bathroom and toilet. It wasn’t until Papa went to work in the morning that she brought me breakfast. I fell into her arms and sobbed. She cried too.
    ‘I’m so sorry,’ she said. ‘I never thought it would come to this.’
    ‘You don’t think I’m bad, do you, Mum?’
    She stroked the hair away from my face. ‘Course not. But you do need to tell me what’s happened so I know what I’m dealing with.’ She raised her eyebrows.
    I knew Mum would still love me even if I’d slept with Tariq, but I’d be too ashamed to ever tell her something like that. With relief I said, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong. I haven’t even kissed anyone.’
    Mum looked sideways at me as she pulled me to sit next to her on the bed. ‘What about the party?’
    I bit my lip; I knew what she’d say next.
    ‘You didn’t tell us it was Natasha’s brother’s party. You led us to believe it was hers.’
    ‘I’m sorry, Mum. I just wanted to go. Maryam went.’
    ‘She’s not Muslim, love.’ Mum sighed.
    Nor did Maryam have a father like mine. Mum wasn’t about to say that to me, but I could sense her disapproval wasn’t all directed at me.
    ‘What’s Papa going to do?’
    She frowned. ‘I don’t know. He did have a surprise for you, but I don’t know if he’ll follow through on that now.’
    ‘What sort of surprise?’ I could tell by Mum’s tone she didn’t think I’d like it. What if he stopped me from going to uni and I had to join the carpet business? I didn’t want to do that any more than Riaz did.
    ‘You’ll have to wait and see. Ameera, I need to know.’ She put her hands on my shoulders. ‘Do you feel something for Tariq?’
    ‘Will you tell Papa?’
    ‘Not necessarily, but I need to know how serious it is.’
    ‘We just talk. He’s nice, Mum.’
    ‘I already know how nice he is. I presume it was you who arranged his visit to Riaz that night?’
    I nodded slowly.
    ‘What if your father arranged a marriage with him?’
    I tried to appear deadpan but my eyes betrayed me. Mum dropped her hands from my shoulders and rubbed her forehead. She looked at me and I saw that

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