Chapter 5: Reunions

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     "It only makes sense for us to pay for our own tickets," Sulaiman said as the Khan clan sat down for a family meeting. Amina shook her head and said, "Now why would you do that when we can more than afford to pay for all tickets?" "Mama, we're adults. We can pay for our own tickets. You're paying for Jannat's wedding anyhow, so why should we add to the cost?" Sulaiman asked. "I second Bhai's idea," Musa spoke up. "I mean we all can afford to pay for our expenses and tickets since we all work." "What do you think, Dawood?" Harun asked as he looked at his youngest. "I'm fine with paying for my own ticket," Dawood nodded. "I have enough money to cover my wedding and my expenses." "You know I don't want you doing that. We paid for all of your siblings' weddings and we will pay for your wedding as well," Amina said furiously. "How could you even think of paying for your wedding?" "Mama, I think you should save your money for your treatments. That's number one," Dawood said simply as he leaned back in his chair. "I can afford to pay for my wedding. I mean if I couldn't do that, I shouldn't be getting married to begin with." "For once I agree with him," Sulaiman said as he nodded.

     Jannat saw the look of disgust Dawood gave Sulaiman and was about to say something when Mariam spoke up, "You all need to get your days off approved at your respective places of employment because I need to forward our travel details to our travel agents." "Do you have anything to add, Jannat?" Harun asked as he looked at his youngest daughter. "All I can say is that I really hope you boys stay civil in Pakistan. We have never met a majority of our relatives there before and I really don't want to make a bad impression," Jannat said. She quickly added, "In fact, if you guys could behave in front of my in-laws as well, I'd appreciate it." "Don't worry," Dawood began. "Ahmed and I have plans for our visit. I'll pretty much be out of everyone's way during the visit. I'm the catalyst for arguments in our family so with me out of the way, you guys should have no problem." "You're not going to be with the rest of the family?" Jalal finally spoke up. Jalal threw is hands up in disbelief before adding, "Dude, going around Lahore with family is the best thing ever." "Not if it's our family," Dawood laughed.

     Mehak frowned at what Dawood said, "You're not the cause of our arguments. Our intolerance is the cause for our arguments." "That is something I can agree with," Aisha chimed. "Does everyone have a plan of what we're going to do? We don't have that much time." "I have the luggage responsibilities," Musa answered his wife and added, "try to limit your luggage to one per person. If you desperately need a second, use a carry on." "I'm in charge of ticketing and accommodation," Mariam said, as she looked at the clipboard she now held. "I'm in charge of showing up," Jannat joked and wrung her hands. "I'm so nervous." "That's perfectly normal, my sweet," Harun said as he gave his daughter a hug. "You're embarking on another leg of your life's journey." "Is Adham flying out with us?" Amina asked Jannat. "No, he's already flown out," Jannat answered. "He said he wanted to get things ready as best as he could for us." "He's sweet," Mehak sighed and elbowed Sulaiman in the ribs. "You used to be like that. What happened?" "Hey, I'm still sweet," Sulaiman said defensively and gave his wife one of his rare smiles.

     Dawood found Sulaiman's smile to be irksome since he had seen a completely different side to him, a side Sulaiman had reserved just for Dawood. "May I be excused?" Dawood said as he stood up. "Where are you going?" Amina asked as she began to stand up. "No, Mama," Dawood said quickly as he rushed to Amina's side, "don't get up. I'm just going to go get some advice from Imam Nedim." "That sounds like a plan," Harun said quickly before any of Dawood's siblings could make snide remarks. "Be careful when you go out." "Yes, sir," Dawood nodded and grabbed his jacket before heading out. "Dave!" Jannat called out as she caught up with her little brother near the house's front door. "Yeah?" Dawood replied as he stopped in his tracks. "What's up?" "Did you and Bhai fight?" Jannat asked quietly. "Which bhai?" Dawood asked with is arms across his chest. "You know who I'm talking about, Dave," Jannat sighed. "You were looking at him like you wanted to hit him." "Our eldest brother decided to tell me how he feels about things in this world, so I've decided to look the other way even if he's choking on his own spit," Dawood explained calmly. "Will you two please be civil in Pakistan?" Jannat asked. "You got it, big sis," Dawood said as he flashed his sister is trademark crooked smile and climbed into the car.

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