Chapter 18: Proposal

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     "Are you in trouble?" Khadijah asked in a whisper as she watched her aunt head towards the mosque's entrance. "I don't know," Dawood replied honestly and looked at Ahmed. "Am I in trouble?" "I don't know. Are you? Rana seemed ticked off? I don't know I couldn't really tell," Ahmed asked as he shook his head. "What do you think, Imam Nedim?" "I think that anytime a woman doesn't have a smile on her face, you should be worried," Nedim nodded. "Don't worry about if she's angry. Just ask her why she's not smiling." "Rana doesn't smile, normally. I get worried when she does smile," Ahmed nodded and heard his phone ring shrilly in his pocket. "Speaking of women, I think that's my wife calling to check up on me." Ahmed glanced at his phone and nodded, "Yup. There she is. Excuse me, gentlemen." "I'll be back, Nedim," Dawood waved and carried Khadijah towards the mosque's entrance.

     Rana had already pulled her pickup truck to the front and was strapping Khadijah's seat in the back of her cab, "Come here, Shehzadi." "Are you mad at Baba?" Khadijah asked after giving Rana a kiss on her cheek. "Don't think so," Rana shook her head and pursed her lips in thought. "Did he eat my last slice of cake?" "Nope," Khadijah shook her head quickly. "I hid it in the freezer so no one would see it." "Great thinking," Rana smiled. "I'm not mad at your baba, my love." "Awesome," Khadijah nodded and held up a thumbs-up. Dawood hopped into the passenger's seat while Rana climbed into the driver's side and roared the truck to life. "Are we heading to the hardware shop on Porridge Street?" Rana asked as she drove towards the interstate highway.

     "Yeah," Dawood nodded. "Rana Baji, are you mad at me?" Rana glanced at Dawood and shook her head with a smirk, "I haven't heard you say that since you were nine, Dawood." "I feel like I AM nine when you get ticked off," Dawood shrugged. "I'm not mad at you. Unless you've done something I should be mad at," Rana said as she drove towards the hardware store. "He hasn't, Aunt Rana," Khadijah called out. "You have a spy in my house?" Dawood asked in mock horror. "Naturally," Rana laughed and glanced at Dawood in thought. "Don't be creepy, Rana Baji. You're being creepy." Dawood said as he rubbed his neck. Khadijah called out in Rana's defense, "You can be a little creepy. Remember, she's older than you, Baba."

     Once they arrived at the hardware store, Rana helped Khadijah out of her seat and they headed towards the pick-up center for their order of lumber. "No funny business, my love. This place can be dangerous," Rana explained and smiled as Khadijah saluted her and said, "Yes, ma'am!" "I can't believe how much I love her," Rana sighed as she watched Khadijah pick up a screwdriver in fascination. "No," Dawood shook his head before Khadijah opened her mouth. "Baba, please?" Khadijah pouted. "It's pink." "Nope. You have six screwdrivers, two special screwdrivers, and a special screwdriver remote. I'm pretty sure you even have a multi-tool without a knife hidden under the sofa that I'm not supposed to know about," Dawood said as he crossed his arms across his chest. Khadijah tried her best to keep her mouth from dropping open, but failed horribly. "Yeah. I'm your baba and I know things," Dawood smiled and heard Khadijah mutter, "How'd he find them all?"

     "Dawood," Rana began as she walked in tandem with the single father towards the lumberyard, "I wanted to talk to you about something." "Shoot, Baji," Dawood smiled and kicked at a bit of mulch that had fallen from a torn bag. "Just hear me out before you go Khan on me, okay?" Rana said as she glanced at Dawood. "You're kind of freaking me out, Baji," Dawood admitted and smiled once Khadijah ran over, now holding two small potted plants. "Baba, I need these," Khadijah said simply. "You don't need these," Dawood shook his head. "I do!" Khadijah insisted. "I always wanted to start a self-watering garden." "Which you can do when you're older. Put them back," Dawood instructed and watched as Khadijah stomped her feet in defeat before putting the plants back on their shelf. "Have you ever thought about getting remarried?" Rana asked apprehensively and winced once Dawood groaned. "Are you seriously asking me that?" Dawood sighed. "Seriously, Baji?" Rana sighed and saw the annoyance that flashed across Dawood's face, "Just hear me out."

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