Tia rushed out the elevator, her head was spinning and her eyes were so blurry that she didn’t realize that someone was walking in to the building, she accidentally crashed into this person, “I’m sorry….” Tia apologized.
“Ah Miss, you’re Mr. Ahmed’s girlfriend aren’t you?” The building janitor remembered her from the other times she came to visit.
Tia smiled and nodded wearily, “Yes…”
“How lucky, when Madame Al Rashid arrived, she asked me to buy her some textile stain cleaner for the carpet. But I have to go to the third floor because there is a water leak, can you help me to bring it to her?” He pleaded.
“Wait, Madame Al Rashid is in her son’s apartment?”
“Yes she is.”
“Textile stain cleaner?” Tia thought, she didn’t remember any stains on Ahmed’s perfectly white carpet. Tia growled and snarled in anger. “No problem, I’ll bring it up for you.”
“Thank you, Miss. Sorry for troubling you.”
“Hey, were is the nearest convenience store?” She asked.
“Just in the next block.”
Tia quickly rushed to the nearest convenience store, she hurried to the sweets section and picked up a bottle of Nutella and whipped cream, she peered at the shop attendant, when she saw that it was a woman, she smiled and exhaled in relief. Tia headed to the counter.
* * *
Ahmed cleaned his mother’s finger with disinfectant before putting medicine and covering it with a bandage.
“I really don’t believe in coincidences, and what happened today was too much of a coincidence, what are you up to, mama?” He looked at her suspiciously.
” What in the world are you talking about?” Princess Latifa blinked, “Ahmed, are you accusing me, your own mother of planning everything that just happened?”
“How did you know that I would be home and not in the client meeting?”
“But I didn’t know…” Princess Latifa denied.
“That’s right, she didn’t know.” Ratna defended.
“Right, so you plan to eat three portions of steak alone with Ratna in my apartment. And you just accidentally knocked the wine glass so Ratna’s clothes was stained, and you didn’t do it on purpose so she could borrow my clothes just in time for Tia to arrive and see it?”
“That girl coming here to see you was her own decision, how could you think I had something to do with it?”
“She had no reason to come here? She knew that I had to be in a client meeting, somebody must have said something to her to make her come here suspecting something amiss, probably it’s the same person who can persuade my father to lie to me about a meeting.” Ahmed said.
“Ahmed, how dare you accuse me of doing something like that, I….” The door bell rang, Princess Latifa was relieved, “That must be the janitor with my order, what are you waiting for, open the door for him!”
“We haven’t finished yet…” He warned as he got up to open the door. He didn’t expect to see Tia there.
She pushed him aside and walked in, “Baby, I forgot to pick up something, that’s why I left in a hurry earlier, ” She used her cutesiest tone possible. “Good evening, Madame Al Rashid, Miss Ratna, how are you today?” she asked politely to them. Her eyes spotted the red wine stain on the carpet of the dinning room.
Tia was carrying two plastic bags, she put the one with the stain remover on the floor. Taking the other bag she walked to the kitchen counter, she placed the bottles on the marble top, “Baby, I picked up some Nutella and whipped cream for that thing you wanted to try tonight,” She said while casually throwing the plastic bag on the counter, causing five long sachet strips of condoms to spill out, “Ooops…sorry, how embarrassing.” she smiled coyly.
Princess Latifa’s face turned from pale to red, “Shameless, low life, libertine!” She scowled. “Ratna let’s get out of here, I can feel the air stinking all of the sudden.”
She got up walked to the door with Ratna slamming to door behind them.
“Wow, no one’s ever gone up against my mother like that before…” Ahmed looked at her with admiration.
“I can understand that she’s upset seeing her son dating a woman who she thinks is not good enough for him. But I can’t accept that she thinks she could trick me and make a fool out of me by using schemes and lies. Huh!” Tia frowned.
Ahmed picked up the strips of condoms, “If you were going to buy these many condoms, you should at least buy the ones that are big enough and would actually fit me…”
Tia growled, she marched up to him, grabbed the strips from his hand and used it to hit him several times, “Stupid man, stupid…stupid….stupid….”
He burst into laughter circling his arm around her he kissed her cheeks again and again.
“Stop that!” She tried to pry open his arms, “I have to go home now.”
“Don’t go!” He whispered in her ears.
“I can’t stay here after what just happened with your mother and Ratna. It would make me feel ashamed of myself.” Tia explained.
“I promise I won’t do anything to you, I swear! A lot has been happening to me lately with my parents, I’m depressed, confused and angry. All I need from you is for you to be by my side. Stay here tonight, you can’t imagine how having you as the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up brings peace to my heart.”
She turned her head and looked into his eyes, seeing his sincerity and pain she nodded in agreement.
* * *
“I can’t believe how insolent and shameless that girl is!” Princess Latifa paced back and forward o her bedroom.
Her husband peered at her from behind the newspaper. “What are you ranting about?” He scolded.
“That girl who Ahmed is seeing, she dared to challenge me.”
“People like her only understand 1 language.” He said coolly.
“What language?” Princess Latifa didn’t understand what he was getting at.
“Money! But don’t talk to her, she’s young and the young are usually idealist, perhaps even stubborn. Go and offer money to her parents. Pay them off to send their daughter somewhere far from Ahmed and to leave him alone.”
“You’re right.” She nodded. “I’ll do that.”
* * *
” You said that you’re having a lot of problems with your parents, is it because of me?” Tia asked as they laid on the bed, she clasped Ahmed’s hand that was embracing her from behind.
“A very small part of it, yes. But not significant enough to depress me. The problem that’s wearing me down is the way they see me. My father said I was a nobody if it wasn’t for him and the company, he always sees me as useless, I’m never good enough for him.” Ahmed confessed.
“Then why don’t you leave the company? Show them that you can achieve great things without them.” She advised.
“It’s not that easy. I’m their only child, if I don’t stay by my father’s side and support him with his work, then who will? He’s getting old and his health is not as good as when he was younger, if I leave him to face all the company problems by himself, it might be too much for him.” Ahmed explained.
“What does your mother think about the situation?”
Ahmed shook his head, “Her priorities are different. She only thinks of the family’s name, reputation and status.”
“Wow, you know I never thought that rich people would have problems too.” Tia exhaled.
“You know I work hard so they would see that they were wrong about me. I dedicated all my time and effort to the company, and I’ve always obeyed my parents without ever questioning them. But now I have something that I want so badly and I’m not willing to let go, not even for them.”
“Oh really? It’s good that you have other ambitions, what is the thing that you don’t want to loose?”
“Not what, but who. And that thing is you, I want you and no one else…..”
* * *
“What is this garbage?” Omar Al Rashid threw the document at his son. “Does it even make sense? The numbers don’t look right, they’re too high, if I present this report, I might get accused of fraud.”
“Pa, these are the numbers that you gave me the other day, when I asked you why it was so high, you told me to use it any way.”
“Are you trying to put the blame on me?”
“Of course not, I’ll ask accounting to run the numbers again.” Ahmed took a deep breath.
“If you dedicate more of your time to your job rather than some easy social climbing gold digger, maybe you can do something right for a change.”
“I dedicate 20 hours of my day to my work, and I don’t know any gold diggers. Please excuse me…” Ahmed got up from the chair and left the room.
When he was out of his room, he clutched his fist and punched the wall in front of him. It was getting too hard for him to handle.
* * *
“Is this their house?” Princess Latifa asked her driver when he parked in front of a humble house.
“This is the right address ma’am,” He replied.
“Okay, wait for me here.” She ordered, as she got down and observed the house, “This should be easy.” She thought.
She had her driver open the gate for her and she walked to the door. She pressed the bell twice and waited. After a few minutes a woman opened the door.
“Yes…” The woman replied.
“I’m looking for the parents of Tia Chang, is that you?” Princess Latifa asked.
“I am her mother.” The woman nodded.
“I am Princess Latifa Binti Abdullah, wife of Omar Al Rashid, the mother of Ahmed.”
The woman opened her eyes in surprise, “Ahmed is the son of Princess Latifa?” She mumbled. “What can I do for you?”
“I need to talk to you about your daughter!”
“Please come in.” She showed her to the living room.
Princess Latifa sat on a chair, she crossed her legs, placing her hands on her knee. “I’ll get to the point.” She said.
“Please, by all means!”
“My husband and I are not happy about your daughter’s involvement with our son. As parents, we aspire that he will marry a woman from our own social group. Obviously your daughter is not a part of that.”
“What are you trying to say?” Tia’s mother kept her voice calm.
“I’m saying that, both my husband and I think that your daughter is not a person that we consider worthy of being our son’s life companion.”
“Actually, I came here to give you a good solution. I can give you some financial help, I understand that you have another daughter. We can offer you some money that will cover the rest of he University education, as long as you agree for Tia to stay away from Ahmed.”
Tia’s mother laughed sarcastically, “So you’re saying that you want me to sell my daughter’s heart and feelings for a miserable amount of money?”
“Listen her, Mrs. Chang….”
“Madame, my daughter might not be from a rich family, but it doesn’t mean she can be looked down at. She graduated Civil Engineering from Cambridge, her sister is finishing her undergraduate here, but she will be taking her Masters’ abroad. We can pay for their education without the money from you.”
“Fine, your family, has the capability to pay for good education overseas…. I will double the offer as long, as you keep your daughter away from my son.”
“Princess Latifa, luckily my husband isn’t here, otherwise he might drag you out of our house because of your insults to us. After knowing that Ahmed is your son, I’m not too happy either that he is with my daughter, but if they are in love with each other, who am I to stay in their way. You may leave now, you are not welcome here.”
“You’re not happy? Your daughter is a shameless harlot, who doesn’t mind spending the night at a bachelor’s apartment, she keeps chasing him around and seducing him. My son is a very sensible young man, but if a woman keeps offering herself to him, naturally he would be tempted.”
“You have no rights to come here and insult my daughter!”
“You don’t know what you’re saying, you should take this offer, otherwise you’ll regret your decision.”
“Princess Latifa! I can’t believe that after thirty years, you still haven’t changed your attitude and behavior.”
“Thirty years?” Princess Latifa furrowed, “Who are you?”
“It doesn’t matter who I am, I won’t let you do any harm to my daughter! Now please go!” She stood up and opened the door for her.
Princess Latifa observed her carefully, she couldn’t remember who the woman was. Although this woman seemed to know her. She walked out and left the house lost in thought.
* * *
Tia’s mother picked up the phone and made an international call.
“Hello Jiejie, its me, Wendy. You’ll never guess who came to my house to insult my daughter and try to bribe me to keep Tia away from her son.”
“Who is this woman who dares to insult my niece?” The woman from the other side of the line asked.
“Yes, she came here on her high horse and started humiliating my family, especially my daughter, she even called us poor and tried to offer money to end Tia’s relationship with her son.”
“Tia is with Ahmed?”
“Oh, do you know Ahmed?” Tia’s mother asked.
“Yes I do, he spent sometime as a guest at our house, he’s an excellent young man, even though he’s the son of that viscous crone.”
“What do you think I should do, Jie?”
“Hmm…Meimei, I’ve been meaning to visit you in Singapore, I think this is a better time than any. Besides, I have an old score to settle with that cunning old snake.”
“Thank you, Jie.”
“We’ll talk later.”
“Bye.” Wendy Tan put the handset down ending the call. She was grateful that she had her cousin who was more like an older sister to her. Her cousin will definitely be able to help her in this problem.
* * *
“Abang, I’m going to make a short trip to Singapore.” Raden Nabila said to her husband.
“Why all of the sudden?” Raden Hamza asked.
“My niece Tia, is having some romantic problems.” She didn’t want to specify about his ex-wife, “My cousin called me to ask if I could help.”
Raden Hamza nodded, “Of course, we should always try to aid when we have family in need.”
“Thank you, Bang..” She hugged him tightly.