The Gift (Part-8)



To read the previous part of this story, click here.

As they were talking, A.J, the office boy told Syakirah there was a phone call for her. It was from her stepmother back at home. Her grandmother (her late mother's mother) was sick.

"Mom, it's not easy for me to leave my classes in the middle of the week like this. Can't it wait till this weekend?" explained Syakirah. She and her stepmother had grown to love and respect each other since the elder woman became a member of the family.

"She really wants to see you, Syira", her stepmother sounded pleading. Syakirah felt guilty for taking this lightly. "Okay, Mom. I will try to get 2 days off, In sha Allah".

"I'll tell her you'd be coming home very soon dear", her stepmother sounded relief.
"I'll see you then Syira, In sha Allah. Assalamualaikum". Syakirah hung up and told Yasmin about the call. Yasmin agreed that her friend should go home.

The telephone rang and Ani picked it up. "Hello, Ani's Boutique".
"Assalamualaikum, Ani. It's me."
"Oh, Sal. Waalaikumussalam. How're you today?"

"Good, Alhamdulillah. In fact I've never felt better." Saleha replied in a cheerful voice.
"You really are in a good mood today. Alhamdulillah".

"Alhamdulillah and I'm anxious to know what you have found out from your niece". They both laughed. Ani felt glad to hear her friend was so happy ever since they came back from her sister's house. "Ani, I don't want to talk about this over the phone. So, do you think you can come over sometimes today? Besides I need to discuss a few other things too...".

Ani chuckled and finished her sentence, "...about her, right?".
"Well, yes...just come over when you're free, okay".

"In sha Allah, I'm closing the shop in an hour. I'll drop by your house around 5 p.m., In sha Allah. Is that fine?"
"Great, In sha Allah. I'll be waiting. See you then, Assalamualaikum".
"Assalamualaikum". Ani put down the phone and smiled to herself. She had not heard her friend this excited for a long time. She thanked Allah for His blessing and making Saleha happy again. Ani looked at the clock and continued with her work.

Saleha sat on the couch thinking of how to break the news to Imran but she needed Ani's help to think of the way to do it. She knew Imran wouldn't like this but also remembered that her son had always listened to her. She just hoped that Imran wouldn't feel like she was doing something against his will. She had a feeling that her son would like this girl. She hadn't met her yet but from what she had learned so far, she felt she was going to like her. She didn't plan this to happen. It all began when Ani was just teasing her in front of Sarah, Ani's younger sister. They were talking about their children.
"Sarah, do you think may be Sal could find a wife for Imran ....", Ani said with twinkling eyes and a small laugh.

"Ani....", Saleha interrupted looking a little embarrased.
"Well, I'm just trying to help. Don't worry Sal...this is just between the three of us. Right, Sarah?", continued Ani. Sarah just smiled at her elder sister and Saleha.

"I don't know, Ani. Who am I to suggest anyone for Imran.", Sarah said. "I'm sure Sal knows better the kind of person for her son. Well, Sal...?", Sarah asked while looking at Saleha with a questioning face. Saleha remembered she was blushing at this time. Just then Sarah's face showed she remembered something.

"Oh...but you know what? I've just remembered someone...Maria's friend. Her name is Syakirah Sulaiman. She called an hour ago to congratulate Maria. They've been close friends since primary school. She's teaching in KL...a very nice girl. She cannot attend the wedding but her grandmother might come". Saleha and Ani listened to Sarah with much interest.

"Every now and then she comes to visit when she's back home...a little quiet but very friendly once you get to know her", added Sarah.

To read the next part of this story, click here.

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