A friend of mine and I were once talking and she said to me, "Lemon, I want you to write a cliché romance."

Now, me, being me, was totally like, "Oh no, no, no. I don't do that shizzle."

And she said, "Just once. Come on. Write a story that doesn't have guns and action and mysteries. Just a simple, sweet romance with a bit of drama and lots of cute scenes."

For me, thinking about a simple romance was rather unfathomable. I like complexity. And mysteries and action. But since she was asking so nicely, I decided to give it a go.

I thought and thought and thought. But it just wouldn't come to me. Most of my stories either come to me in dreams or when I go somewhere special like horse-back riding over Lake Saif-ul-Malook. So this was a difficult task for me.

Eventually, I began piecing it together. I thought of characters, a nice plot-line, the minute details. But I was never proud of what I came up with.

That friend and I are no longer in contact. I'm uploading this in her honor. I just wish she could've seen the end product.

Prologue

Aaida watched her mother fling herself over the polished wooden casket and let out a loud, wretched sob. The sky wept with her, dark clouds veiling the brightness of the sun as the rain fell and fell. The grass was matted with droplets and the only thing keeping them dry was the array of black umbrellas lined around the casket. People stood with sober expressions as the widow of the deceased continued on with her dramatics.

"Ms. Aliya," the undertaker spoke while casting Aaida a helpless glance. The casket had been out for too long. It was time to lift the body out and begin the burial procedure. However, with the way her mother was clinging to it, Aaida doubted anyone would be able to remove her so that they could lay her stepfather to rest. Knowing she would have to step in, Aaida took a deep breath and wiped the edges of her eyes. She had already cried enough. She found she couldn't shed anymore tears for a man who had barely been there for her throughout her life.

Walking to her mother, she bent down and wrapped an arm around her shaking shoulders. "Mother, it's time."

Aliya shook her head furiously. "No! No, they cannot take him from me! My husband . . . my poor husband . . ."

Aaida rubbed her mother's back and eased her stepfather's clothes out of her claw-like hands. Aliya wept louder, practically screaming now. It was difficult, yes, but she finally managed to pull her mother away. The undertaker took his chance then and called the men forward to finally lay the poor, old man to rest.

The door of the courtyard flung open.

Aaida looked up. Her eyes widened slightly.

"What do you think you're doing here?" Aliya spat as she shoved Aaida away to stand on her high-heeled feet. It may have been her husband's funeral yet she was dressed to kill. Wearing a nice white silk number that fell to her knees and a large hat with an attached net veil, she looked as ravishing as ever. Her face was done up nicely too and Aaida knew her mother had spent the last few hours fussing over her crimson lip paint.

The man who had entered wore a cold, calculating smirk on his face. He was tall and well-built with black hair gelled to perfection. His strong jaw was surrounded by a stubble and his hard lime green eyes seemed to pierce through her mother. He wore a tailored black suit although his expression showed that he was not there to mourn.

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