Okay, I confess! I am procrastinating in finishing Putri. I just can’t help it, I have my notes, but I’m just not feeling it.
So to inspire me a little more, I’ve decided to take my mind off the project and write a four part spin off.
This story takes place four years after the event of Putri. A light, fun, and sexy romance with Ahmed as the leading man. Enjoy!
Rebound Love Part One
“Are you serious?” Winnie almost jumped out of her seat.
“I have to do this, otherwise I’ll lose him forever!” Tia replied with conviction as she observed carefully the wedding invitation in her hand.
“But he’s getting married!” Winnie tried to reason with her.
“And I’m going to stop him!” Tia nodded.
“You know, you’re wasting your money and PTO days just to chase some guy who is in love with another woman? On top of that she’s our co-worker, and these two would have never met in the first place if it wasn’t for you!” Winnie shook her head in disbelief.
“He’s not just some guy. He’s the love of my life, we’ve known each other since we were kids. I know you advised me so many times to be honest to him about my feelings and I realize too that it was my fault because I’ve always hesitated. Even after he began dating Daniyati, I was afraid to confess to him. That’s why I’m not going to make the same mistake again. I’m not going to throw away my last chance to tell him that I’ve always loved him.” Tia explained.
“You’re crazy…you’ve lost it…..” Winnie shook her head. “Isn’t she crazy?” Winnie looked at her boyfriend who was sitting at the desk next to her.
“She’s off the chart crazy!” Ronald agreed.
“Winnie, I can’t just stand here and do nothing while the love of my life ties a knot with another woman. I’m going to fight for him until the very end.” She said with determination.
“I don’t agree, I still think you’re crazy, but if you’re going to make it to Bali before his wedding this weekend, you better start looking for flight reservations, otherwise it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.” Winnie shrugged.
“Ugh, you’re right.” Tia sat back on her chair picking up her desk phone she dialed a number that was written on a post it stuck on her screen, “Hi , I need to book a flight to Bali for tomorrow. This afternoon? I’ll take it!”
“This afternoon?” Winnie looked at her baffled.
“Winnie, I need to run, I saw that Mr. Ahmed hasn’t been in the office all day, I’m sure that there won’t be any staff meetings today. Do me a favor and tell my boss that I’m down with a cold and I need to go home. Please…please…please….” Tia clasped her hands in a begging gesture.
“Oh, fine! Now that you’ve gone crazy, I suppose there’s nothing I can do but help you.” Winnie exhaled while shaking her head.
“Thanks…” Tia hugged her while running out of the office.
* * *
Ahmed paced back and forward in the living room of his apartment, he held the wireless phone in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other. He pressed redial, but the phone just rang and rang. He took another sip at his drink before dialing again. Finally somebody answered the phone.
“Hello..” Ali’s voice sounded annoyed. “What is it Ahmed? Can’t you call at a better time?”
“I desperately need to talk to someone.” Ahmed argued.
He could hear Ali grumble, “Make it quick! The kids are finally sleeping. Between our state duties, our kids and the press, Mita and I at last have some alone time, and I intend to make the best out of it.”
“How can you speak so coldly to your brother.” Ahmed sulked.
“Look Ahmed, it’s not that I’m being unsympathetic to you. But you’ve been ranting about this Daniyati issue for months now, ever since she started dating that Jason guy. How many times have I told you to either try to win her back or let her go. But you didn’t do anything about it, you just complained to me and Hafiz, and that’s not going to help you in any way.”
“I know but she’ going to get married tomorrow.”
“Good, then it’s settled. Forget her!” Ali replied curtly.
“How can I forget her? She was the best thing that ever happened in my life.”
“Well, you should have thought about that before bidding the project here in Jothar, knowing that it would consume all your time. She felt abandoned and lonely, she even came here to look for you, and you sent her back to Singapore without giving her the time of day. You would cut communications for months at a time with her, only concentrating on your job. Didn’t Mita warn you that something like this would happen?” Ali preached.
“Brother, but I was trying to expand the company, I wanted it to grow, and she had her responsibilities towards the company too.” Ahmed defended.
“Listen Ahmed, no matter how busy I am, I always make time for my family, and especially for my wife. Like now, I need to make time for her, I can’t keep her waiting alone on the bed……”
“I don’t understand why she couldn’t have more patience and perseverance, at the end of the day my success would be her success. I know that I didn’t do a good job at giving her the sense of stability about our relationship, but she should have understood, that I never had anybody else but her. I never looked at any other woman.” Ahmed explained. “Ali, can you and Mita talk to her? Ali…..Ali….?” Ahmed frowned when he heard giggles and sighs instead of Ali’s answer.
Ahmed threw the handset to the couch, cursing his brother under his breath. Ahmed took another gulp at his whiskey, he put the glass down on the coffee table, he threw himself on the couch, kicking and punching at the air. Grabbing a cushion he covered his face, muffling his own shouts. Suddenly Ahmed jumped from the couch, he rushed into his room, taking out his suitcase he threw in whatever clothes he could grab his hands on.
He picked up his cellphone, “Mama, I’m going to take a trip out-of-town.” He called his mother.
“Ahmed, where are you going?” She asked.
“On a vacation, to take off some steam, I need your help to send someone to clean my apartment while I’m gone.”
“But Ahmed, how long are you going to be away? What about work?”
“Mama, I’m sure the company can survive without me for a few days, but I have to do this. Bye….”
He hung up the phone, before quickly exiting his apartment, closing and locking the door behind him. In front of the building he hailed a cab and jumped in.
“Where to sir?” The taxi driver asked.
“The airport.” Ahmed replied without thinking twice.
* * *
Ahmed got off the plane with his carry on luggage, the hot and humid ambient was familiar to him, but there was this strange and mystical scent in the air that allured him.
He took out his cell phone from his pocket, dialing the office, he realized that even in his most desperate moment, he can’t just let go of his baby and leave it in the hands of others. “Dodi, I won’t be coming in to the office today and tomorrow, and maybe next week too, but I still don’t know for sure. What do you have there?”
“Everything is good here, sir. One of the Project Managers, Tia left the office early today, she said that she was sick with a fever.” The voice from the other side reported.
“Who’s filling in for her tasks?” Ahmed asked.
“I am sir.”
“Okay, if anything comes up, call me!”
He put his phone in his pocket and walked out of the airport, grabbing the first available taxi he gave the name of the hotel where the wedding reception would take place, and where Daniyati was staying.
* * *
Ahmed read the sign with the name of the hotel. It wasn’t a luxurious five-star hotel, the property consisted of several bungalows built between a wide area of trees. Looking around for the front desk, he saw an opened building towards his right hand side, he smiled as he walked to it.
“Good afternoon, sir.” The young woman who was on duty greeted him putting both palms together in front of her chest.
“I’d like to book a room.” He replied.
“I’m sorry to tell you that we don’t have any rooms available at the moment. All rooms have been reserved by a group for a wedding ceremony.” She replied with a kind smiled.
Ahmed gently hit the front desk with his fist, “Did all the guests check in?” He insisted.
“No, but the rooms have been reserved, and they haven’t been released yet.” She replied.
“So there is a possibility that some rooms will become available later today?” He asked wistfully.
“One room, yes.” She nodded.
“What time will the room be released…., if the guest doesn’t show up?” He chased.
Ahmed looked at his wrist watch two forty five, fifteen minutes more. “Can I sit in the lobby while I wait to see if the guest or guests check in?” He asked while pointing to the couch in the corner of the room.
“Be my guest.” She smiled.
“Thank you.” He said as he walked to the couch and restlessly sat down, he grabbed a magazine from the side table and tried to read, although his mind couldn’t quite focus on the articles.
* * *
Tia hopped off the taxi, the driver took out her suitcase from the trunk and put it on the ground. “Thank you!” She replied as she handed him the fare.
“Thank you, miss.” He smiled to her as he walked back to the driver seat and drove away.
Tia observed the hotel looking for the front office, seeing the view, she couldn’t help but shriek with joy. She saw a man walk in front of her, from the name tag on his shirt she could see that he was an employee there. “Excuse me.” She called out, “Can you tell me where the front office is? I have a reservation here.”
“Ah, of course, follow me.” He replied, “May I help you with your bag?”
“Thank you…” She replied.
The man picked up her suitcase and walked in front of her. Tia followed closely after him. her eyes shined as she saw the front office. The staff led her to the desk, putting her suitcase on the ceramic floor.
“Good afternoon.” the receptionist greeted her.
“Good afternoon, I’m Tia Chang, I have a reservation.” She said.
“Certainly, you’re just in time, we were about to release the room,” The receptionist explained, glancing to Ahmed who was looking towards the front desk with an upset face. “Although the published rate is per person, but the room price is for double occupancy, so you will have to pay the two pax coverage.”
Tia sighed, this mission was going to cost her a lot of money.
Ahmed observed the young woman who was checking in, he recognized her from someplace, he finally realized who she was, he slammed the magazine in his hand to the desk and walked towards her.
“Good afternoon Miss Tia Chang, how is your fever doing?” He asked tapping her shoulder from behind.
Tia turned around, she became pale when she realized who he was, “Mr. Ahmed….” She said looking guilty.
“So you skipped out on work to come here.”
“I’m sorry. Look I have a good explanation for this…” She tried to fix the situation.
“Actually, you don’t need to tell me your reason, all you have to do is let me have the hotel room and I’ll let you off the hook.” He bargained.
“No!” Tia insisted, “I came all this way and spent so much money for a reason, and I’m not about to give it up for anything in the world, not even if it would cause me to lose my job!”
“Is that so?” Ahmed’s brow arched. “And what reason is strong enough for you to risk losing your job over?”
“Love!” Tia replied with security, “I have to stop Jason from marrying Daniyati.”
“You’re here to stop the wedding too?”
“Too?” Tia looked at him in surprise.
Ahmed glanced at the two hotel employees who were looking at them, “Come here for one minute,” He said while grabbing her wrist and dragging her away.
“I can walk by myself.” She protested, almost falling forward.
Feeling that they were far from the employees, he stopped and turned to her, “You’re saying that you’re here to stop Jason and Daniyati from marrying, why?”
She looked at him suspiciously, but she considered that this maybe her one and only opportunity to reason with him, “Jason is my childhood friend, I’ve always had feelings for him but I never dared to tell him about it, because I didn’t want to damage what we had, but this is my last chance, sir. If I don’t tell him now, I’ll never get another chance, please….please….don’t make this difficult for me.” She begged.
“Hmmm……” Ahmed rubbed his chin, “Okay, since I’m also here to stop Daniyati from marrying that man, I understand how you feel. Maybe we can help each other out.”
“How do you propose we do that?” She looked at him hopefully.
Ahmed thought for a while, ” I definitely need to stay here, if I go to another hotel, I would never get a chance to talk to her, because if I hang out here all day without being a guess in the hotel I might get arrested for stalking. On the other hand, if you succeed in winning Jason’s heart and stop him from marrying Daniyati, she’d be heart-broken, and guess who’d be there to console her…” He smiled devilishly.
“You’re right!” She agreed, “What do you suggest?”
“Simple, we’ll share the room.” He decided.
“What….?” She looked at him in disbelief.
“We both have to be here at the hotel to increase our possibilities to talk to them, and since there’s only one room left in the hotel, we’ll have to share it.”
“How do you pretend I can win Jason’s heart by sharing a room with another man?” She shrugged her shoulders and put her hands on her waist.
“That’s just details, come on, let’s check in.” Ahmed grabbed her wrist again to drag her back to the front desk.
“Hang on a minute, I never said that I agree.” She pulled him back.
Ahmed looked at her, his business senses told him that he had to convince her first before he can start his plan to win Daniyati back, “Listen, if you’d share your room with me, you get to keep your job, and I’ll pay for your expenses during your stay here.”
Her eyes gleamed, “That sounds reasonable. I agree, but only if I get to use the bed!”
“Fine!” He replied with annoyance, “Now let’s continue with the check in.”
They walked back to the front desk, “We’ll take the room!” Ahmed said to the receptionist while handing her his credit card.