Chapter 22

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Hisham stared at his sister from across the table, a slight frown on his face. He, Ilham, Hana and the children were eating dinner, and while the children were keeping up a steady chatter about their day, he wasn’t really listening, focusing instead on the sad look on Hana’s face.

She had become increasingly more distant and quiet as of late, to the point where even the children had noticed. Layla had come to him the day before to ask him what she could do to make Khaltu Hana happy again.

He hated to see his sister anything but happy, but before he could help her out, he needed to figure out what was wrong, although he was pretty sure he had an idea what it was. The only difference that had occurred in the past month or so was that Houssam had come back into their lives and had struck up this friendship with Hana.

At first Hisham hadn’t minded, after all, Houssam was four years older than Hana, and there didn’t seem to be any partiality on the part of either one of them. However after Ilham had pointed out that she thought Hana might have feelings for Houssam, he had been paying strict attention when the two were around each other, and it was painfully obvious to him that his sister not only liked Houssam, but she was hurting over it. There was only one solution other than telling Houssam of her feelings, which he wouldn’t do because the man seemed to honestly just see her as a friend, and even though it would be hard for him, he had to do what he had to do as a big brother.

“Habibi you okay?” Ilham asked and he looked up at her startled to realize everyone at the table was staring at him.

“Yes of course. I was just remembering something I have to do tomorrow. So how was your day Hana? How goes watching Kareem?”

Hana smiled.

“It’s good MashaAllah. He’s such a cutie, every day brings a new adventure!”

Hisham smiled.

“How’s Houssam?”

Hisham’s stomach dropped as Hana’s face colored. There was no denying it now.

“Good Alhamdulillah.”

“Baba! Guess what I did today!” Layla exclaimed, and as Hisham turned his attention to his daughter, he watched Hana out of the corner of his eye, observing the sad frown on her face, and he was determined to talk to her about it. After they had finished eating, he told Ilham he was just going to walk Hana to her car, and after they stepped outside, he linked his arm through Hana’s and began to walk towards her bug.

“So habibti, why are you sad?”

“I’m not sad Hisham.”

“Hana,” he said warningly.

“Hisham,” she replied without missing a beat, a smile on her face.

“It hasn’t escaped any of our notice that you seem to get sadder by day. What is it? Did someone hurt you?”

She was silent, staring out into the night, before turning to face him.

“Sometimes you have lows in life, and it’s okay as long as you don’t stay there. Sometimes talking about them isn’t the best thing you just have to wait out the storm.”

“But sometimes there are people who care about you who want to listen to you and help you.” He said gently, and she smiled up at him.

“Thank you Hisham. And really if I thought you could help me I would tell you. But,” she hesitated for a second, “but it’s something I have to overcome with the help of Allah swt. No one can help me.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

He turned to face her, removing his arm from hers.

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