Sheikh's Untouched Woman(2)

By: Kylie Knight


“A man doesn’t marry his mistress.”

It was that moment when her world stopped spinning and Serena had to grasp the sturdy wooden table to keep her standing. Mistress. This whole time she had been his mistress and she, stupid girl that she was, thought they were falling in love. She was numb as she looked around the room, failing to recognize what her life had become, who she had become. It was all a mistake. She had to move, start moving to piece together the new future that awaited her. “Okay,” she said absently as she scanned the room in search of her belongings, not the toys and frill bought for a mistress. “Okay,” she repeated in the bedroom as she pulled her casual student clothes from the drawers.

“Serena,” Raffi tried to plead with her as she moved slowly around the small apartment. “Please just stop.” He grabbed her shoulders to stop her moving but her gaze focused on a spot just past him.

“Yes?”

“Dammit Serena don’t make this harder than it has to be. Do you think I want to give you up?”

Yes I do. “You are so you must.” She pulled out of his grasp and fled to the kitchen, filling a glass with water while her hands shook too much to allow her a drink. “I’m not in the mood for company tonight.” She turned her back and closed her eyes, not moving until she heard the heavy door shut behind him.

Then Serena allowed herself to cry for the love that never was and for the baby she would raise on her own.





Raffir al-Jazzari waited impatiently for the private jet to touch down at the Wellington International Airport. He’d come to New Zealand on business both for him and Maju-ul and he was glad to be away from his homeland for a while. His father was not happy that Raffir had yet to pick a bride and take his role as leader of Maju-ul and was threatening to choose a bride if he didn’t choose soon.

He blamed Serena O’Brien for his inability to choose a woman to stand beside him as he ruled the land of his birth. The day after he’d told her he needed to find a wife he’d come to apologize because it was obvious he’d hurt her feelings. Her pale face and trembling body told him she hadn’t realized she was just a mistress, and that had gutted him. What he found though wasn’t Serena still crying and heartbroken. He found nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Inside, the apartment was far from empty. All the furniture and appliances were still there as was the laptop he’d bought because her old one was practically antique. Inside the closet he found all of the clothes he’d bought for her. Dresses, gowns, lingerie, shoes and casual wear all hung there mocking him. The drawers on the dresser were empty. All of her own clothes gone. Just like her.

He’d gone to her old apartment only to find she wasn’t there and no one at her school would give him any information on Serena’s whereabouts. He’d searched Paris high and low looking for his sweet Serena but she was gone as though he’d imagined the past year with her. Like she was just a figment of his imagination. Months later he’d returned to Maju-ul and begun his search for a wife.

Mothers and grandmothers paraded their beautiful and not so beautiful daughters, talented, rich, desperate, social climbing and indifferent daughters. It was exhausting and Raffir couldn’t get excited about a single one of them, too occupied was he with thoughts of Serena. And now here he was doing business in her homeland. Chances were slim he’d see her since his business was in Wellington and she was from Auckland, but he’d be lying if he said every woman with wild auburn curls didn’t immediately steal his attention.

For months he’d seen her in every flame haired woman he came across. But they were never her.

Now he had six months to find a bride or he’d spend his life with a woman chosen by his father. No way was that going to happen. He would spend the next month in Wellington on business. It was time to expand his fashion empire into this part of the world, while bringing the vibrant silks and handcrafted patterns that made Maju-ul famous, to another part of the world. He would partner with a famous mid-range French boutique in this new venture and despite his father’s objection, Raffir knew it would be lucrative for him and his country.

A glance at his watch told him he had less than an hour to meet with Francois and his interpreter. After that he would seek out the company of a woman and lose himself for a few hours.



~



Serena was running late. Her son, Rafael, was very fussy this morning and he still wasn’t used to being without Serena. When she’d left Paris she took advantage of her language skills and took a job as an interpreter because it paid well and offered plenty of time to spend with her son. It was the biggest perk of her job. Well that and learning about all the new business ventures popping up in New Zealand.