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That was how it all started. Saleha was wondering why she was not married yet. Sarah did not know much about that. After her father remarried she concentrated on her career. Saleha thought this girl reminds her of Imran. This makes Saleha curious about her. She wanted to ask for more information but decided to wait. The next day during the ceremony, Saleha met Syakirah's grandmother and sister. They were nice and friendly and so was Saleha's thought of Syakirah after meeting the two women. Several times she stopped herself from putting up hope too high. But she could not stop thinking about this girl. Now she wished she could meet her.
As Saleha was so occupied with her thoughts she heard a car pulling into her front yard. She went to check and it was Imran and his friend, Umar. Somehow today he came home with Umar. Usually he came home at 6 p.m. but it was only 4.30. Saleha was hoping to have a quiet time with only Ani. She went to open the door to welcome them in.
"How are you Aunt Saleha?", Umar asked.
"Alhamdulillah, Umar. I'm fine. How's family…the children?"
"They are great, Alhamdulillah.", answered Umar.
As they were walking towards the living room, Saleha said, "Imran, you're early today?".
"Oh, we have a game…tennis… today. I left my car at the office. We're here to get some stuff and change.", explained Imran. Saleha was relief in a way.
"May be we all can have some tea before you leave . Umar...?"
"No thanks auntie, I just want to use the restroom and pray solatul Asr. Then, we're off."
"Well, while you two do your Asar prayer, I'll ask Mak Yam to prepare tea."
"Okay, auntie". Umar smiled at Saleha as he followed Imran to his room.
As Saleha was waiting for Imran and Umar to have tea, she heard Ani's car. Immediately she went to meet her outside.
"Ani, Imran's home but he's leaving in a while. I don't want to say anything yet to him. Anyway he's with Umar", Saleha blurted out as soon as Ani got out from the car.
Ani looked at her friend and laughed a little. "You're funny, Sal. You look like a small kid who's done some bad things and is trying to hide them".
Realizing Ani was right, Saleha laughed too.
As they walked into the living room, Imran and Umar were walking down the stairs to join them. "Assalamualaikum, aunt Ani. When did you arrive?" Imran said.
"Waalaikumussalam. I've just got here...to visit your mom. And I see that you're leaving", Ani replied.
"Yeah, Umar and I have a tennis game today." Imran and Umar both smiled at Ani.
"Hmm... you've spent too much time at the office. It's good that you're going out for a game."
"You're right, aunt Ani. I've been trying to get him out of that office for sometimes", Umar joined the conversation. "The last time we played was what Imran... ....two months ago, I think...".
"Hey, c'mon Umar. You know I've been busy these past couple of months".
"Imran...work is work...take time to relax as well...", Ani said.
"As if you don't know my son, Ani....", his mother interrupted. They all laughed. While having tea Imran told Saleha that he might stay at Umar's place for a while after the game. Shortly after the two men left, Saleha and Ani went to sit in the garden.
"So, what did you find out about Syakirah?", asked Saleha.
Ani told Saleha what she had learned about Syakirah. When Ani mentioned where Syakirah worked, Saleha looked disbelief.
"Did you say Pine College?" asked Saleha.
"SubhanAllah…This must be destined because that's where Hidayat is studying at".
"Oh...now I know why it sounds familiar when Maria mentioned it to me".
"Do you think maybe I could meet her? Ani, my appointment with Dr. Norman is coming soon", Saleha asked smilingly with a suggestion written on her face.
"That can be arranged when we're ready but is Imran?". The question somehow took away the smile on Saleha's face. She didn't know the answer. She just knew that she had to try. " Ani, I would wait if I have the time but...". Saleha stopped and Ani understood what she was about to say. "I know Sal. I pray to Allah that he is", Ani said and forced a smile to make her friend feel better.
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