Monday, June 23, 2014

Black Keys Chapter 13

(CozItRunsInMyBlood) owns the plot.
(RobzBeanie) is a lifesaver and she beta this.
(GrandeDame) is my soul-mate and per-reader.
Chapter 13
Isabella Marie
I didn't like the situation I was in. I didn't like her being that way. I couldn't bear it.
Maybe I was mad at her, in a way. Maybe I blamed her for what was happening to me. Maybe I said all I’d said for revenge. To make my brother suffer with her knowledge, and to make her suffer with said knowledge, too. But … I wasn't cold-hearted.
It was such torture.
To have her on her knees. In front of me. All tears. All begging. All pain. It was such torture.
I hated it.
My own tears fell as I looked away from her kneeling-begging form. I pressed on my lips hard and then harder to hold in the words I wanted to tell her but my heart wasn't letting me do it.
"Please, Marie, please," Alice begged. "I can't take anymore, I can't stand you too hating me. I have no one left," she cried.
It broke my heart.
"I'll do anything, please," she sobbed. "Just, please, forgive me. I didn't know. I swear to God, I didn't know."
I couldn't take it anymore.
"I forgive you," I whispered with a shaking voice.
"It's just too much to take in," Alice said, wiping tears. "I still can't believe it."
"Same here," I sighed, resting my back on the armchair شىي ةغ اشىيس خn the arm chair.
g my back on the arm chair.
 form, pressing on my lips to make her suffer with her knowledge, to and my hands in my lap.
After I'd told her that I forgave her, she asked if we could talk for a few minutes. Even if she didn't beg with words for that, she did beg with her eyes – so much, at that. And I just couldn't say no to her; she looked miserable enough.
So, we ended up sitting in the same spot where we’d met the Mother Queen a few hours ago. The prince also had closed the walls once again, giving us more privacy or whatever, while he stayed on the other side.
I wondered what he was doing.
My mind kept drifting back to the minutes I’d spent in his arms and how his embrace had felt. I kept thinking of all of the thoughts that roamed all over my head then, the feelings that filled my heart and … the sensations caused by touching his body, that way.
I had no idea what had gotten me to do such a thing, to need such a thing, to feel such a thing. It was really strange, and I was so afraid of thinking about it, only because I already knew what my mind would come up with eventually as an explanation for my actions. It was scary. And, not right. Wrong.
"It makes me wonder if anything he ever told me was true," Alice sniffed, pulling me away from my thoughts. "I mean, did he really love me at all? Or was it all for who I was? But then again – he didn't know about my family until after we found out about the pregnancy." She touched her stomach. "It can't be true that he played with me that much, could it?"
I didn't reply to her. I couldn't. I didn't know the answer, for I was a lot like her, feeling the same. I didn't know him anymore, didn't know what was real and what was a lie. I didn't know how to find out if it was just a game of his, another way to deceive and betray, or just to fix mistakes and right wrongs.
"I can't help but think that even his converting was fake. God, Marie. That would end me!" she wailed.
I bit my bottom lip and fought tears, shaking my head to shrug them away. Here she was, begging with all of her might for his change of religion to be sincere, honest, while on the other hand, I wished with everything in me for it to be just another lie of his.
I still hoped for anything. I still hoped at least for him to remain Christian – if he was still Christian, that is.
"Why did he have to convert to Islam, anyway?" I asked.
"We're not allowed to marry non-Muslims," she replied.
"Yeah, I heard," I told her. "I mean, why didn't I have to change my religion to be able to marry a Muslim?" I was still Christian and would forever be one; the cross on my chest told everyone here that, the queen knew that, so I didn't think that my brother had lied about it. I wondered why it was different when a Muslim woman married a Christian, than a Christian woman marrying a Muslim?
Alice drew in a long breath and let it out in a heavy sigh, then she spoke. "It's pretty complicated, I don't know how to explain it," she started. "I think it's safe to say that the main reason is that the children follow their father's religion. And another reason is that in Islam we do believe in Christianity and Judaism. We believe that we all worship the same God, that the three holy books were sent from him, the one and only God, but just like Judaism doesn't believe in Christianity or Islam while Islam believes in both, Christianity doesn't believe in Islam but believes in Judaism. And there is a rule in Islam that forbids anyone to force another into becoming Muslim, so no Muslim male would ever force his non-Muslim wife into becoming a Muslim, too. But there is no such a rule in Christianity or Judaism, so you can't guarantee that a non-Muslim husband wouldn't force his wife into converting to his religion, you know? Also, there are lots of things that we practice every day, like praying and so on, and a non-Muslim husband could prevent his Muslim wife from doing this or that, which would affect her relationship with God," she explained.
Wow! How did she even understand what she was saying? It was really complicated. But I had to admit, it made sense and was somewhat convincing.
I nodded my head slowly as I tried to take everything she'd said in. Glad to know that they had such a rule, because religion wasn't something you could shove down someone's throat. It's a belief. Comes from the heart and to the heart. It was good to hear that no one was going to think of forcing me into changing my religion while I stayed here, because God knows I wouldn't do it even if it cost me my life.
"Why did he have to change his name?" I asked after a moment of silence.
"He didn't have to," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. "It's optional as long as your name isn't offensive to Islam. His old name wasn't, but he wanted to change it, anyway."
"How was it even possible to do all of that in such a short time? I mean, you're still in your first trimester, right?" I wondered.
"It's not a huge deal when you're royal, Marie. All of the legal papers and so on were taken care of in one day, no big deal," she said. "As for his converting, it only takes the person saying, 'There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his servant and prophet,' to become a Muslim – after that comes the practicing and stuff. God is the only one who could judge what's in your heart, though. Not people."  A tear escaped her eyes, and I knew why it was there; she had begun to doubt everything about my brother after what I'd told her earlier. I didn't blame her. And I could only imagine what she was going through right now.
Yes, I was betrayed, as well. Big time. But for her, the guilt of her mistake that had caused all of this was topping all of it. She must've been really suffering.
It didn't escape me that she'd put all of her pain aside and took the time to explain things to me, because I was completely clueless about the whole thing. About Islam all together, to be quite honest. I didn't know if it was because of what she felt for me. Because 'it was killing her' – like the prince had put it – what her actions did to me, causing me to witness things I would've never thought I would face in my life. Or if it was the pure kindness of her and she was genuinely that nice and that was a part of her nature – to put her feelings aside for others.
This or that, the weight of the world of sadness and sorrow was filling her chocolate-brown eyes, and I felt the undeniable urge to try to ease it somehow. Her pain, I wanted to ease.
"You do realize that he did all of what he did for you, Alice, don't you?" I asked in a low voice.
A new round of tears attacked her cheeks as she cried her pain.
"I didn't mean to. I'm sorry, I swear, I'm so, so sorry."
"No, no. I didn't mean it that way. Please, don't misunderstand me." Way to go, Marie. You upset her even more! "I meant that he went through all of this just for you, because he loves you, Alice. He really does," I assured her.
She looked at me with her tears-clouded eyes. "Does he, really? Why don't you believe he only did it out of pity? He knew they would've killed me if we couldn't get married. I wish he would’ve let them do; I wouldn't have let you and my brother suffer because of my own mistake."
"Hey, don't say that," I said. "No one deserves to die – to get killed – because of a moment of weakness," I found myself assuring her.
"Marie, you can't imagine what I've been through since that day," she sobbed. "It had only been bad and worse. I've been to Hell and back. Several times. I lost the little respect I had from my own family. Mazen was my everything. IS my everything. And he can barely look me in the eyes. Do you have any idea how that makes me feel? He had to give up everything for me, and now to discover that you didn't even want it, and that he knows it? It's breaking my heart into pieces. I could've never imagined that my actions would hurt the one I love the most that way."
I swallowed.
Give up everything as in … his cousin?
"My father had a stroke when he found out about my pregnancy. He's been lying in bed since then, God only knows if he'll ever recover from it." She wiped more tears with the side of her pointer finger.
The King was sick? How bad? What did that mean for the prince? Would he be the next King if his father died? But … his heir. He didn't have one. What did that mean?
"If it wasn't for Mazen, Emad would've beaten me to death. I could only be thankful that Mazen was there when he started hitting me and I ended up with few strikes on the face instead of broken bones and a miscarriage – he was so mad."
Oh, my God! Her other brother hit her? That's horrible!
What is wrong with some brothers?
"My stepmother couldn't hate me more, and after what happened had caused Mazen, she could only wish they did kill me instead of the trading," she wept. "Oh, my God! I'm sorry, Marie, I didn't mean it that way – it's just she wanted him to marry another, it's her sister's daughter an-"
"It's okay, Alice," I interrupted her. "Don't worry about it."
It wasn't like I cared who the prince would've married if he wouldn't have had to marry me.
I just couldn't understand the swell in my heart at the mention of him marrying another.
It was stupid.
I shouldn't have felt anything.
It wasn't right.
"It's only Mazen I care about. I wish he could forgive me someday," she sniffled. "But he said that it wouldn't happen in this lifetime," she said with sorrow, looking down at her hands in her lap.
"You're so important to your brother, Alice. He told me so himself."
She smiled sadly. "I’ve never doubted his love; I owe him my life. But for him to forgive me … I don't think he ever will. And now with everything – I'm glad I still get to breathe the same air he's breathing, for another one would wish me death instead of what I'd brought on him."
"When Jaser told me that you were excited about the idea of marrying my brother, I about died out of happiness. I couldn't believe it myself. I really thought that death was what was to come for me next, and in one day, with your approval of marrying Mazen, I found hope again," she told me. "I had that niggling feeling that it wasn't true, that it was unbelievable for an American, independent young woman as beautiful as you to accept an arranged marriage, but I shrugged it away and told myself to just be grateful.
"I was brought to life again; I couldn't have been any happier. But I didn't know that it was all fake. I had absolutely no idea.
"Jaser told me that I had to prepare everything for you myself because we wouldn't have time to wait for you to come to the kingdom then start preparing. I bought you everything I had bought for myself and a bit more. When I liked a piece of clothing, I bought two of them, one for me and one for you. And if I could find only one of it, I'd put it in your closet instead of having it for myself. I arranged everything in our wedding with only you in my head. I wanted you to have the best of everything; it was the least I could offer you after what you were doing for me.
"I was surprised that only you and Jaser came in the plane, and only half a day before the wedding day, but again Jaser told me that you two were each other's only family, and that your job and your busy lives left no time for friends or anything like that. I was upset you missed your Henna's night, but there was nothing I could do about it. I made sure that my cousin would be with you the whole day. Kareen is my best friend, and I was sure she could make you feel as welcome as possible better from anyone else. I then made sure that at least half of the princesses in the kingdom were there beside you instead of being with me because I didn't want you to be alone at your own wedding.
"I tried, Marie. I really tried. I wanted to do anything to make you happy. I had no idea that you were just about to get that destroyed. And all because of me. God! I'm so sorry," she cried. It seemed like her tears would never dry.
My heart ached for her. Her words, her kindness and her actions … it all made it so easy to see why my brother was head over heels about her. She was so easy to fall in love with.
An angel.
My hand reached out and touched the back of hers. "Stop it with that, Alice." I told her gently. "No more apologizing, I've already told you I forgive you."
Another sad smile that reminded me a lot of her brother's. "Thank you," she whispered, and after a pause of silence she spoke again,
"When he came back after handing the sheet to my servant the morning after the wedding sporting a black eye, he told me he fell." She chuckled humorlessly. "His lies didn't stop even after the wedding; it hurts me even more."
I shook my head slightly. No wonder the prince was calmer when he came back yesterday – he had taken his rage out on my brother.
Served him right. I wasn't even slightly upset about it.
"Why did you need to give them a sheet, anyway? Your family already knew that you weren't a virgin!"
"Um, yeah. Only my brothers, father and stepmother, but not the rest of the family. God forbid, they know!"
"So, you had fake evidence of a virginity loss on your sheet, as well," I sighed.
Alice looked at me with a questioning look in her eyes. I knew she wanted to ask something; it was very clear in her eyes. But instead, she only bit her bottom lip and looked down again.
"Yeah. Thank God 'Common Deflowering' is no longer practiced nowadays, as it was before. Or I would've been dead by now when they practiced it on me," she said, her face paling as she spoke the words.
What the heck is 'Common Deflowering'?
"Common Deflowering?" I questioned.
"Trust me, you don't want to know," she said, shuddering slightly.
"No, really, tell me," I insisted.
Alice sighed. "It's a very old habit that some had practiced forever. On the wedding night of whomever, they would bring some women from the families of both the bride and the groom, and they would, uh …" She bit her lip, her already-flushed cheeked reddening even more.
"They would pin the bride down roughly while one of them took her virginity with her – uh, her white-cloth-covered finger while the groom watched, and the rest of the women obviously."
My eyes widened and my jaw dropped to the floor. "That's freaking disgusting!"
"I know! It's horrible." Alice shook her head. "If the bride turned out not to be a virgin, they'd kill her on the spot and consider her as if she was never born."
My God!
"But, thank God it's fading away with time; you hardly hear about it anymore other than with the Bedouins who still practice it to this day. It hasn't happened in the royal family in decades, though."
"It should never happen at all," I told her, disgust filling my voice.
"True," Alice said. "Islam promises whoever does something as horrible as that towards a woman with hellfire, but I guess religion is not their priority when it comes to honor, just like the killing itself if it’s proven the bride wasn't a virgin. It's a grave sin."
"That's really sad," I said. If their religion wasn't supportive of it, why couldn't they obey it? Nothing in the whole world justified killing another soul. Let alone for a mistake or a moment of weakness.
"It is."
"They should make a law against those who do that, it's not right!" I said.
"Oh, Marie. I wish," Alice said sincerely.
It was like I had forgotten everything the two of us were going through at the mention of this subject matter. It was such a terrible thing to do and I couldn't believe that some people still practiced it.
"If it has nothing to do with the religion, how did it start, then?"
"I don't know. Some people say that in the very old days the enemies used to deflower young girls and teenagers in front of their fathers and brothers to humiliate them, to let them see how they could do whatever to their girls right in front of their eyes without them being able to do anything about it." she explained. "They say that they even used to do it using a sword or a knife."
"Oh, my God!" I gushed.
"Yeah. So, the families after that used to deflower their girls themselves to prevent them from facing that fate or make them less appealing to the soldiers, you know? It's like that saying, I'm not sure what exactly it was but it’s something along the lines of 'I'll kill my children myself instead of handing them to some evil hands' – something like that."
"Yeah, yeah, I know what you mean."
"So basically after that people kept doing the same thing, thinking it was a sign of honor or whatever."
"That's really, really nauseating," I told her, still not able to process everything she was saying.
"Some people say that ancient people used to do it to satisfy the Gods of Evil, giving them something of the bride, and what is more precious for a girl than her virginity, right?" A wave of sadness washed over her never-seeming-happy-again face as she said that.
"Some others say that the ancients did it to control the girl's lust, by circumcising her once she was barely aware of things around her, then once again on her first night of her adult life, because they believed that the soul's discipline comes only from pain and humiliation."
"Okay, seriously, we need to stop talking about that because I'm really going to throw up." I wasn't lying.
Those people were nutcases!
"I told you so."
"Remind me not to doubt you again."
Alice offered me a small smile – of course it didn't reach her eyes, but it was there anyway.
Such a young, beautiful girl with a heavy heart and troubled features.
 May God forgive you, Jasper. I never would.
"There is something I don't understand, Alice," I said after yet another minute of silence, and she waited for me to continue. "Was it convincing to you and the family that I would just give up everything including my parents' company and come live here just like that? Wasn't it a bit strange to any of you that I would easily do something like that?" I asked.
"No, of course not. Like I told you, I had some doubts, but Jaser never said you'd give up your share of the company or anything. He told us that you would take care of the company's branch here until it was finished, then you'll be the manager of it from then on while he takes over the management of the main company in New York, which made sense and made it even more believable."
I nodded. At least he wasn't going to try and take the company away from me. Because when it came to that, he could only try. It was my parents' company. I would've killed for it.
"I can't stay here, Alice," I told her honestly, finding her to be the only person I could tell this to because no one else would understand, just like I knew she found me to be the only one she could open her heart to because no one else would listen. "This is not my home. You have no idea how it's hurting me that I'm away from my country and my people."
Alice's troubled features turned into wretched ones. She looked like someone who was in great pain, like someone was pulling her heart out. Slowly. And I was really upset that I had once again reminded her of what her actions did to me. The prince's words found their way into my head yet again, 'It's killing her', but before I could apologize once again or remind her that I’d forgiven her, she asked,
"Do you want to get a divorce?"
"Obviously," I replied, rolling my eyes.
"What did Mazen say? Or haven't you spoken to him about it yet?"
"I did. He said we had to wait for six months. But, Alice," I looked her in the eyes. "I can't stay here for six months. I'd die."
Our eyes stayed locked together in a strong stare, only to be broken with another tear from her eyes falling onto her cheek, matching the same motions that my own tears made.
"I'll fix my mistake, Marie," Alice whispered.
I looked at her with questioning eyes, frowning.
"I'll get you out of here."
Thank you so much for everyone who reviewed, it makes writing more fun for me. I adore each one of them. Thanks a lot.
See you next week.





  1. OMG
    I really hope that Bella find a friend in Alice
    Together one can help the other

  2. Dun dun dun!
    Ok that chapter was awesome! Oh god what's going to happen now?
    Can't wait for the next one!

  3. I love the progression of this story. I can't wait to get more Mazen! I'm so glad that Marie forgave Alice; she really is innocent in this. I feel so bad for all three of them. Jasper is so, so selfish! The killings and deflowerings mentioned make me sick. I can't believe that really happens in today's world. Another great chapter Rosalinda! I'm excited for the next one!

  4. Hearing that makes me want to give Jasper or a Jaser another black eye. Yes, I agree he does truly love Alice, but wow, the lengths that he went to our unimaginable. Looks like her closest allies are Mazen & Alice.

    1. *are not "our" ... I need to proofread my comments. LOL

  5. This is my second try to post a review here... :( I think it would be more prudent for Marie, Alica and Mazen to talk this over together to come up with a solution that benefits the three of them. Jasper/Jaser should have NO input on this! He betrayed his sister and lied to his wife and brother in law to get what he wanted. He had no regard for the feelings or honor of the other three people in this situation. They need not to care about him in the solution. He made his bed and now he should have to lie in it.

    Jeri Solberg/Motherthing

  6. Oh I am SO loving this story. I am glad that Marie and Alica have found a way to form a friendship. Can't wait to get more Mazen time.... :)

  7. I love this story!
    A big thank you from Bremen/Germany

  8. I am worried that Alica is willing sacrifice her own life to help Marie now. I really hope that doesn't happen.

  9. Yes, I hope that she won't sacrifice her own life just for Bella to leave. I know this is a shock to Bella, but she really seems cold and callous, maybe a little bratty about what's happened. Everyone involved( Alice, Mazen, & even Jasper) have had to make sacrifices.