Chapter 33 - To Have and To Hold

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THIRTY-THREE - To Have and To Hold

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THIRTY-THREE - To Have and To Hold

THIRTY-THREE - To Have and To Hold

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She was ugly.

For the first time in her life, Laleh could truly say that about herself and mean it. This wasn't one of those fleeting thoughts like when her hair wouldn't lay just right or her winged eyeliner was crooked. No, this time, it was true.

Her cheekbone was broken, blue-black bruising acting as an odd colored blush, and her right eye was swollen shut. One of her incisors was chipped and her front tooth was a little loose, making for a strange sort of smile when she dared to pull her lips back, the chapped skin burning as they moved. But it was the excruciating headache that made her want to close her eyes and never see the light of day again.

Honestly, she could have slept for a year, but she'd been woken a little after dawn by a fresh round of police officers and soldiers hovering over her bed. It was mid-morning by the time they all finished questioning her in a mix of Arabic, English, and a strange sign language that they attempted to bridge the gap with.

"Khalid was defending me," she'd told them, repeating the words the lawyers had murmured in her ear. "He saved us. Amir would have killed us both."

Although the whole conversation seemed to be about Khalid, they had all but banned her from seeing him. The lawyers claimed it was for her own good, that they couldn't risk her jeopardizing the investigation by colluding with her brother. If only these people could have known how they'd colluded to bring Amir to justice, but the only justice he'd ever see now would be at the hands of Allah. From what she'd read of the Quran as a girl, curled against mother's side as her fingers traced the pages, it didn't seem like Amir was destined for anything good.

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