(temporary recap)

          I pressed send and then looked up at Aiken. “I’ll do it.” I whispered, regret already pooling in the pit of my stomach. “I just want all of this to be over…”

 

          Aiken’s face lit up with hope. “You don’t have to worry. He’ll keep you safe.” Badriyah added with encouragement. I nodded, not feeling the least bit encouraged.

 

          Aiken smirked with a new light in his eyes that reminded me so much of Cole. “So here’s what we’ll do…”

Diamonds & Pearls

Before You Read: Hey guys! Quick reminder here! If you're delaying a prayer right now to read this story, stop whatever you're doing and go pray! Don't let anything take you away from Allah. Especially not this story. Now if you're all prayed up, go ahead and enjoy this chapter.

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR- The Plan with Repercussions

            Aiken did his best to help me get Rafiq inside. It took a lot since Rafiq isn’t exactly the lightest guy in the world. He laid Rafiq down gently and lightly ruffled his brown hair in a sort of nostalgic way. Then Aiken turned to me, a knowing look in his eyes. “You don’t have to do it.” He said all of a sudden. “It’s dangerous...it’s reckless. You could get caught.”

            “I know that.” I muttered, sitting on the edge of Rafiq’s bed. It squeaked under my weight, piercing the quietness of the empty basement. “You don’t need to worry. I know what I’m getting myself into and I don’t change my mind after I’ve made it.”

            Aiken stayed quiet for a while. “You know what to do?” He asked mainly to reassure himself.

            “I do,” I responded, nodding slowly but not looking at him. Rafiq began to stir.

            “I’ll see you Saturday then,” He whispered, looking me straight in the eyes. We stared at each other for a long second before Rafiq made a loud groaning sound. I quickly looked down at him to see that his eyes were slowly fluttering open. I looked back up at Aiken only to see that he was gone. I hadn’t even heard the door open or close, that’s how silent he’d been. It was almost as if I’d bumped my head and imagined him being there at all.

            “Daleela,” Rafiq choked out, sitting up so quickly we’d almost bumped heads. He looked scared until he saw me sitting right beside him. His eyes widened in relief and he pulled me into a tight hug. I tried to breathe as he embraced me but it was a tad impossible. “Ya Allah, I thought they took you. Are you okay?”

            I hugged him back, already feeling like I’d betrayed his trust. “I’m great,” I reassured him. “I’d be better if you would stop choking me.” I snickered lightly.

            “Oh, I’m sorry.” He murmured, pulling away. I noticed the confused look in his eyes as he looked around his dark room. “How did we get here?” He questioned, looking to me for answers. It was time to lie…again.

            “I got us here by cab.” I said with a soft smile. His brows were knitted and the confused expression did not disappear from his face.

            “No, that doesn’t make sense. We were running and t-those men were chasing us.” He exclaimed and then sucked in a wisp of air as he held his head in pain. “They grabbed you, I remember. You can’t tell me I imagined all of that. The fact that it feels like a horse kicked me in the head is proof.”

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