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Author Topic: sister, stay awhile and listen  (Read 325 times)

Description: Attn: Rehema

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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sister, stay awhile and listen
« on: Jan 30, 18, 12:19:13 AM »
Nailah was working on the preparations for Winsol to prepare the temples for prayer when someone rapped softly on the door of her office. Nailah extended her senses and located Kontar, her baby brother, on the other side. She put down her pen and steeled herself, hoping that her baby brother had arrived with good news.

Enter.” Nailah said, setting the pile of papers on her left. Kontar entered the office and closed the door, then set down the missive on her desk. Nailah took a deep breath and opened it, knowing that there was no harmful Craft upon it. Kontar would have checked it first and wouldn’t have brought it here if there was any chance it would do her harm.

What a sad commentary on our lives that it’s come to this.

Naialh read the note.

I accept.

She accepted. She actually accepted. Do you think she’ll tell Masika?” Nailah asked, looking up to Kontar.

She won’t, Nailah. Just like you and Theoris and Masika, Rehema has her own mind. She’s your sister, too.” Kontar said.

I would believe that, Little Brother, if she didn’t side with Masika on everything.” Nailah said, laying the missive on the desk.

There’s just one thing.

What’s that?” Nailah asked.

She won’t come here. You have to meet her on neutral ground.” Kontar said.

Nailah snarled. “Seriously? What does she think I’m going to do? Hurt her?

No, Nai, she doesn’t think that. However, she said she’d like to talk to our sister and not the High Priestess of Raej. To that end, I’ve made an arrangement with my good friend, Lord Hector. He’s willing to give you a private room at his restaurant so that the two of you can talk.” Kontar said.

Lord Hector? The Dhemlani man whose restaurant you drag everyone to?” Nailah asked, raising a brow. Thus far, she’d avoided going to Casa de Atholi just because she didn’t care for the spice in Dhemlani food.  It seemed, however, that her luck no longer held.

Nailah sighed. “When?

Three hours from now. Give this a chance, Nailah. If you can make peace with Rehema, then there’s a path to make peace with Sika, too.” Kontar said softly. Nailah loved her brother deeply, but his optimism rode the line between inspiring and utterly naive. Some days, she did not know which she preferred. She bit back her replay about peace with Masika since it wouldn’t help.

Three hours later, Nailah had arrived at Casa de Atholi first, and sat down with a bowl of chips and some sort of red sauce. It didn’t burn her mouth, but it made the chips a bit more interesting. She sat and waited for her sister, hoping that Rehema had not backed out at the last minute.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #1 on: Jan 30, 18, 12:24:54 AM »
Kontar was the light in an otherwise very dreary family dynamic. Though she had been overjoyed to find him enter the clinic where she spent most of her days, that excitement quickly dulled once he produced the nearly perfect fold of paper sealed with the High Priestesses marker.  Her eyes drew up to him and before she could utter any protest he insisted she read it and moreover, consider it carefully. He even offered a charming smile which she knew Rehema would especially be hard pressed to deny.

The invitation was simple enough. Nailah wanted to talk with her, not her twin, but her and she wanted to meet to begin the process of healing.  The words felt foreign to her even as her eyes rolled over them a second and a third time, trying to decipher some underlying intention hidden between the lines. There were so few of them. Yet a part of her only considered refusal because it was easiest and what Sika would have expected from her.

“She doesn't want to speak to me, she wants to use me to get to Sika. Come now Kontar, we both know where her interests are.” Nailah and her twin sister Sika had been at each other's throats for as long as she could remember. Their strife poisoned the well for the entire family, turning them at one point against one another. Even Theoris was closest to Nailah and as Rehema shared a face with Sika, they were automatically grouped together as a single unit. For so long Rehema tried to keep the peace, to busy herself with all that needed to get done in order to alleviate some of the stress that befell the family until she merely faded into the background.

Nailah was Theoris’s sister, though the same blood ran through their veins. None of them could be more different. Kontar, bless him asked so little and upon her retiring as the middle man had taken the mantle as messenger to squabbling sisters. He visited her frequently knowing she did not besmirch Nailah but would often inquire about her nephews. Her method could best be summed up as avoidance, and that is where he saw the opportunity.

“Please.” It was all he asked and she sighed, knowing no matter what she decided it would leave her at a loss with one sister or another. Nailah was the eldest, the first to hold her hand, the first of so many and now they were practically strangers a part of Rehema wanted to reconnect with their sister, even if Sika would spit and curse at the mention of it.  Somewhere deep inside Rehema imagined it had to be true for her too. After all, weren't they two sides of the same coin.

The acceptance left her anxious for the rest of the day. Luckily she did not need to avoid her twin, instead leaving straight from the clinic to the restaurant Kontar suggested upon her stipulation. “I will not be lectured or preached to. If I am to do this, its on even terms.” She said, nodding her head curtly as a form of punctuation.  Kontar even suggested a restaurant Nailah wasn't as fond of, just to sweeten the pot. It worked. That boy was too good at getting his way.

Casa de Atholi was a reputable establishment, and easily able to sate anyone’s curiosity with their wide menu of Dhemlan cuisine.  Once arrived, the hist guided her into the back, where a thick velvet curtain was pulled aside and closed behind her to offer the guests some manner of privacy. A steel door might as well have been shut behind her. Folding her hands before her the young healer nodded, looking cautious but otherwise neutral. She wore a baby doll dress in emerald silk, her hair drawn up in a braided bun, a few loose tendrils of hair falling against her neck and exposed shoulders. A thick gold cord wrapped around her waist. “Hello sister.”   The hostess motioned for her to take a seat before placing a menu before her. Rehema sat, drawing her eyes over the exalted Priestess. “You wanted to see me?”

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #2 on: Jan 30, 18, 12:44:59 AM »
Nailah only realized that she’d been holding her breath when she exhaled at seeing Rehema arrive by herself. Until that moment, she’d expected to be met by fire and fury in the form of Masika. Masika, who would call this attempt at discourse some kind of manipulation of their sister. Masika, who would lash out with every barbed word in her vocabulary to provoke Nailah into an angry response of her own. The last time that happened…

Nailah forced herself not to think of it.

Kontar sat at the table with them, taking up his own menu as he leaned back in the chair. Nailah wasn’t fooled, though. Kontar’s stress was sour in her nose. He hid it well, but not well enough to hide it from her. Another scent, more sour than Kontar’s tension but laced with the subtle sweetness of hope, caught her off-guard. Nailah turned her head in Rehema’s direction.

It was her.

Hello, sister. Yes, I wanted to see you. I’m glad you came.” Nailah said genuinely. If Rehema had truly not told Masika about this meeting, she’d taken a big chance today. Masika would see it as a betrayal if she learned of it. Nailah had no intention of telling her, but she knew that Masika and Rehema shared a bond that Nailah would never have a part of.

Kontar says the food here is good. I cannot recommend anything, but I’m sure he has ideas.” Nailah said.

Kontar looked up at both of them and nodded. “I’ll take care of that part. You two should talk.

Nailah looked down at her menu for a moment, searching for words. She never had trouble speaking to her congregations. Words never eluded her when it was time to speak with her sisters in the faith. She always knew what to say to Syeira or Theoris. But as she sat across from Rehema, Nailah found herself at a loss for something natural to say, something that wouldn’t lead to a fight.

How are things at the clinic? I understand that you are very busy.” Nailah said, shifting slightly and crossing her legs beneath the table. She pushed aside a lock of dark hair and summoned for the the confidence that served her well during her Communion ceremonies.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 18, 11:29:36 AM »
“I can't stay long.” She warned, if only because it gave her a convenient excuse to leave if things got heated or if she felt as though Nailah’s intentions were anything but pure.  Even now she could hear Masika grousing in her the back of her mind, recalling every moment Nailah had spurned her. A part of Rehema knew better than to think of Masika as a helpless victim, she had a part in all of this, but she was still her sister. They were always an item, closer than any of the others and the only thing she had left to cling to. Sika had done her own fair share verbal jousting. With practice both Nailah and her twin sharpened their tongues, knowing exactly where to strike for maximum effect. There was enough blame to go around.

Kontar’s presence was appreciated. She knew that while he could not dream of mediating between Masika and Nailah, he stood a chance with her, simply due to her deep affection for him. Still, she avoided his gaze for now, settling across from her elder sister, hands resting on her lap. Long fingertips locating the corner of a napkin she pulled over her thigh and worrying at the pleated corner of it beneath the table.

Was she truly glad? Rehema hated second guessing Nailah’s words, she was never a known liar, in fact her words were more than often direct. Forcing herself to take in a breath she nodded softly, studying the woman across the table. High Priestess of Raej, she was the voice of the Mother. Her accomplishments should have been celebrated by them all, but Masika always felt like it was just another excuse for Nailah to lord her station over them.  If she were to know Rehema had accepted the invitation she would be upset, possibly not speak to her for days before curiosity became too much to deny and she plied her with questions hoping Rehema would have something negative to say. She might even see it as a kind of betrayal. Nailah was still her sister, blood, and she deserved her time.

“I haven't been here before.”  She admitted, an attempt at idle conversation that fizzled quickly. At least they had that in common.  The silence lingered a few more moment before Nailah spoke again.  “It is.”  She nodded, the point finger on her left hand rubbing idly on the corner of the cotton napkin. Her lips closed, but she glanced back up, thinking it best to elaborate and avoid awkward silence. “We expanded last year. Kontar has seen it.”  She offered, hoping to draw him in. No. He was intent on them speaking. Fine. “We still see several slaves come through our doors, pregnant women. Ive expanded to a maternity ward, its small, but effective. There's been five births this year. There are three of us now tending to them.”   Rehema paused having said more than she expected. “There is a lot of work to do.” There were so few Healers in Raej that the demand was staggering. “How are Tsekani and Bakari? Growing taller I imagine.”   Speaking of her nephews threatened to trace a soft smile across her lips. Only when Nailah responded did Ema lift her chin regarding her. “I enjoy hearing about them. I do, but I would also like to know why I am here. Do you need something of me?”

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #4 on: Jan 30, 18, 10:50:25 PM »
Nailah forced her expression to remain neutral when Rehema said that she couldn’t stay long. She almost expected her younger sister to get up and walk out, just to remain in solidarity with Masika. Nailah forced herself to think of something other than the anger that welled up in her heart at having her relationship with Rehema poisoned by Masika’s unreasoning hatred. She fought it down and forced herself to remain as calm as possible.

He mentioned that things are very busy there. I’ve meant to stop by and see it, but work has been eventful.” Nailah said, reaching for her water glass. She took a long sip and tried to think of something, anything she could say that wouldn’t sound like groveling or begging for Rehema’s consideration. She was the High Priestess of Raej and she didn’t beg. She demanded.

I hope that I can come and see the clinic soon. The work you do shouldn’t go unnoticed, Rehema.” Nailah said.

She smiled when her sister asked about Bakari and Tsekani. It warmed her heart that her sister had not forgotten them simply because of the difficulties they shared. “They’re good. They’re both good. Always asking me to tell them who is taller. I think that question will follow me into eternity.” Nailah said, laughing.

They ask about you and Masika all the time. I’ve told them you’re both working a great deal, but I’m sure they’d love to see you sometime. Both of you, if it suits.” Nailah said.

I enjoy hearing about them. I do, but I would also like to know why I am here. Do you need something of me?

The smile on Nailah’s face fell away and, while she didn’t frown, it was clear that Rehema’s question had wounded her. She sighed.

Why does it have to be like this, Ema? Can’t I just see my sister without wanting something from her? I’d like it if you were able to see you nephews more often. Mother and Father want to host a Winsol gathering this year. They want to meet the people important to us. I’m trying to make it so that we can all stand in the same room without it being awkward or feeling like a tomb.” Nailah said, taking a deep breath.

What do you want?” Nailah asked, hoping to get her sister to open up just a little.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #5 on: Feb 01, 18, 01:01:30 AM »
When wasn't work...eventful for Nailah Abbassi? Rehema knew that being the High Priestess of Raej was demanding and answerable only to the Queen. However Rehema could not bring herself to imagine that Nailah would have actually considered visiting her clinic. For some reason her preoccupation had always been with Masika and trying to bridge the chasm between them while digging deeper holes into it at the same time. With so much dirt flying around it was no wonder Rehema felt forgotten. Nailah was Dark Jeweled, she was beloved by all save for one and she was her focus, not Rehema. Even though they shared the same face she could not be more invisible to her.

Nodding she reached for her own glass, mimicking Nailah’s movements though she didn't do so purposefully. The water eased the dryness from her throat but it did little to quench the touch of anxiety she was beginning to feel. The conversation was forced, it did not flow as it had when they were younger. There was no rhythm, just long breaks of awkward silence. The only thing filling them was Kontar’s gaze as he bounced it back and forth between sisters and Rehema’s wearing of the cloth napkin on her lap.

“It doesn't.” Dark eyes lifted to regard Nailah, her words pungent with pride. Surely she did not benefit from recognition from the Court but the people she cared for in Kemet where grateful. “You can visit. See it for yourself.”  That would be a first and also as close to an invitation as Nailah would get. A part of her wanted her sister to see what life was like for others outside of Court Healers, it might even help ground her. Both of them were favored by the Darkness and while they used what gifts were given to them in differing ways, they could benefit to learn from those who were not so lucky. In the end the compassion that Nailah showed her parishioners was the same as that Rehema used to tend to the infirm. “I would like that. Perhaps you can bring them to Mother’s, we visit at the end of the week.”  The twins were a light in her life and one she sorely missed. Though it had not been too long since she last saw them, it was brief and she found she could not face their confusion. The tension between sisters was so great it was palpable and the boys were old enough to notice.

What did she want?

She felt the stirring of words in her chest draw her lips apart in preparation for the onslaught. What did she want? She wanted to be at peace. She would like it if Nailah would own up to the hurt she caused and realize how it has affected her sisters. She would like to be seen, for one damn time as someone other than the house stepping stone. She wanted to leave and never tell Masika she came, she wanted to lean over the table and shake Nailah for no other reason than because it might jar some remorse from her proud little head.  Mother and Father wanted to host a gathering and yet this was the first she had heard of it.  Why was she not informed if she visited them so often? Her jaw clenched, but she couldnt be angry at them for wanting to host an event for the Holiday, she could however be bitter about the fact that she was left out of the preparations when Nailah was not. Did Masika know?

“I want...” her voice was low, but her eyes drew back up to her sister. The constant worrying of her fingers stopped, her hands curling into loose fists on her lap. High cheekbones carried the tension or release of her lips all the way up to her eyes. That same structure made her expressions so intense and profound whenever they changed. “I would like that my sister remember that while Masika and I were born at the same time, we do not one person make. I would have liked it if while I was watching after our parents, tending a house you left long ago, and building a clinic, that either one of you would have taken a moment, just one moment to notice my accomplishments...” Her voice raised with each desire, jaw squaring with frustration and anger. “.. or that someone else was in the room at the very least. I want my older sister to notice me and not feel as though any time she calls its to ask me to speak to Masika on her behalf. I want to stop the squabbling and the anger but none of that will change  as long as both of you stay so stubborn in your ways. You hurt her Nailah. You know you did. I can't open wounds with as much precision than the one that you administered and Masika, well she is not going to soften just like that. It's not in her nature.” Rehma sank back into her chair, her frown creasing and drawing close to pained.It disappeared though, her leg shaking slightly beneath her, an old habit from childhood. “This is the first time you have invited me to see you in what? Months? I don't even know anymore. I know you reached out to her twice and she came to see you and that ended in the way I expected, which is to say horribly.”  Chewing on her bottom lip, she glanced over to Kontar. Was this all his idea? She wasn't sure anymore. Kontar understood her. “So I thought you wanted to reach out to me for the same reason.”

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #6 on: Feb 01, 18, 02:46:17 PM »
The moment that Rehema started speaking, Nailah wanted to refute her first point. Of course she knew that she and Masika were different people! Rehema was a good person and Masika was a raging bitch who pushed everyone away while calling herself the victim. Nailah actually felt a stab of pain at her sister’s accusation, one that doubled when Rehema said that Nailah never noticed any of her accomplishments. Nailah’s mouth opened to counter her argument.

*Don’t.*

Kontar’s psychic voice was as sharp and authoritative as she’d ever heard it. In fact, he’d never spoken to her that way before. Her head turned in her brother’s direction. Kontar fixed Nailah with a pointed stare.

*You haven’t even heard her out, Nailah. If you start arguing her points, you will drive her away. You asked her a question. Listen. Let her answer fully before you speak.*

So Nailah returned her attention to Rehema and sipped her water again, the better to keep herself from speaking out of turn. It was clear, however, that the High Priestess didn’t enjoy this turn of events, especially when Rehema’s frustration and anger increased with each word. Nailah shifted uncomfortably in her chair, forcing herself to remain quiet. Even when Rehema accused her of only speaking to her to get to Masika. She had a harder time biting her tongue when Rehema spoke of that day, the day when Masika’s verbal vitriol had grown so nasty and hateful that Nailah had summoned the most venomous things she could muster to cut her sister down to size. Things that she would never have said to Kontar, or Theoris, or even Rehema, she loosed upon Masika with malice. She was not High Priestess then, but she refused to allow herself to be disrespected by anyone, even her own sister.

And Rehema wanted her to apologize?

Nailah piped up again.

Kontar kicked her under the table. Nailah almost choked on her water that time. She didn’t drop the glass, but she did set it down, her expression growing flat. She fought her initial instinct to retreat behind the her title, to cut her sister off and shut down every single point that she disagreed with, which was all of them, and to explain to Rehema the truth.

But Rehema spoke of how long it had been since Nailah spoke to her and that drew the eldest Abbasi sister up short. Months? Had it really been that long? Surely, Rehema was mistaken. She was wrapped up in her anger, her perception of time clouded. Nailah thought back on it, just to be sure. Only when she did, she honestly didn’t remember the last time she’d seen Rehema. She could count, to the minute, when she’d last talked to Theoris. Just this morning, she’d told Kontar that it had been too long since she saw Theoris, though it had only been a few weeks. She remembered the last time she saw Masika, because she’d nearly reached into her Red and smited her sister for her callous words about Badru’s death and her sons. She saw Kontar every day. She even saw Rais on regular basis.

Wait. She did remember the last time she’d seen Rehema.

Are you sure you can’t just ask Masika to come to dinner? I mean, it’s not like she has to give up a whole evening. she'd once asked Rehema.

Nailah looked down at the tablecloth for a moment.

It doesn’t feel like it’s been so long since we last spoke. But now that you say it, I realize that you’re right. I didn’t understand that I’d wounded you so. That was never my intent. For that, I am sorry.” Nailah said softly.

I didn’t call you here to talk about Masika. She and I…” Nailah rolled her wrist, as though searching for the proper term, before abandoning the idea, “too much has passed between us. Too many ill words. My hope is that it is not too late for you and I to find common ground. We’re family, Ema.” she said.

I don’t want to fight with you, too.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #7 on: Feb 01, 18, 11:05:07 PM »
If Rehema would have been aware of the conflict Kontar and Nailah were waging mentally and under the table she would have stopped speaking all together. Where Masika was willing to argue her points at nauseum Rehema wasn't. All she had to do was to remind herself that she was here at her own behest. There was no door and she could leave at any time if Nailah decided that being right was more important than listening to her. It would only prove her point.

Her dear sister asked her a question that required a response. She might grow to regret the question. If she believed it or not, these were not the only grievances Rehema could muster, just the ones that came readily available. Already she could see Nailah’s expressions shift from anger, to offence, to the all too familiar stubborn pride that creased her brow and forced her jaw to bulge out with the clenching of her teeth. Perhaps that is why it felt so important to get it all out at once and release the nervous energy that threatened to compress inside so tight until she burst.

The table jostled, and Rehema paused for just a breath. The attention was on her, all of it and its weight nearly made her sink back into her seat sooner.  Neither Nailah or Kontar gave any indication they had noticed, except for the fact that her sister kept looking toward their brother as if asking for permission to interject. This only annoyed Rehema further as she locked her gaze with Nailah willing her to finally take notice of her presence. This was an argument she heard before. All that was left were excuses. She started it. She was meaner. She hurt me, I shouldn't have to reach out.  If Masika and Nailah could only realize how similar they were it might ease some of the tension. Or at least make them see how ridiculous they were being. Only they stood their ground, even as it eroded at their feet, caring little about others once the battle line was drawn. She could agree that Nailah had at least tried to make an attempt, Ema couldn't take that away from her, but the effort came with no offering. There wouldn't be a better man because neither of them wanted to risk their neck, and she couldn't blame them. Masika would take a hacksaw to Nailah the moment she saw potential weakness and Nailah might respond with smug superiority thus lighting the fire all over again.

There was more, the last request was simple enough. Rehema wanted Nailah back, but she didn't know what that meant, or what form it would take anymore. They were strangers linked by blood and it was heartbreaking. The reminder no less painful than the truth.

As she waited for the rebuttal, her neck stiffened, though her leg continued the steady shake that was almost soothing.  Nailah looked down, and Rehema moved to pluck her glass from the table to wet her throat. Running her tongue across her upper lip, it tucked back into her mouth, lips tightening to suckle the moisture from them.

“ I realize that you’re right.....wounded you....I am sorry.”

Rehema looked up, thin brows furrowing. She studied the Priestess carefully. This was the first time she had apologized, to any of them. Not that she was solely responsible for the family’s current state. It was the first time Nailah had looked to her, and listened to what she had to say instead of speaking at her. Some of her perceptions could have been skewed by Masika’s influence she realized, though she was not yet ready to admit such to either of them. Maybe to Theoris, but she felt it was something she might already understand. “You know what you have to do. After that, it is on her to decide if she will cling to her burden.”  That was exactly what anger was, a self inflicted consignment that became heavier with time. It took too much effort to hold on to so much pain, and though Rehema often said this to her beloved twin, it fell on deaf ears. With Nailah she wanted to believe there was a chance.

If she wanted to be thought of as her own person, she needed to make her own choices. Even if that meant upsetting Masika. She could not cut off her nose to spite her face. Nailah was her sister as much as any of them. She wanted her back, so badly.  Swallowing she nodded softly in agreement. They were family.  Hearing Nai call her name with affection weathered at the shields she erected to protect herself. “I don't want to fight with you either.”  Dark eyes lifted, sincere but cautious. “We can find it, but only if this stays about us. I don't want to be in the middle anymore and I am willing to say the same to her. I just want you back in my life Nai, but I don't know where to start.”

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #8 on: Feb 10, 18, 02:30:03 PM »
Nailah nodded at Rehema’s words in understanding. She’d worried, at the start of this meeting, that Rehema would dismiss her overtures out of hand because of her loyalty to Masika. But her younger sister’s earnestness, combined with her seemingly genuine desire to find peace with them thawed some of the chill around Nailah’s heart. Not all of it, but some. Nailah still believed that any attempt to reach out to Masika would end in dismal failure, just as the previous attempts had. For a woman who could gain loyalty and compliance among her sisters in the faith, Nailah found it startlingly difficult to find the same among her siblings.

Very well, Ema. I never meant for you to be in the middle with Masika and I tearing you apart like a toy. That ends now. Our relationship is about us, you and me. That’s all I want.” she said, reaching across the table to take her sister’s hand. She met Rehema’s eyes and tried to show sincerity in her own.

Can the three of us have lunch? Right now? I do not have any idea how to reach Masika right now, so that will require time to think and find a solution that will work. When I find it, I will reach out to her and make the attempt.” she said, hoping that Rehema would understand that she meant every word she said to her right now.

Right now, though, I would like us to eat together and just spend a moment in each other’s presence that isn’t marked by argument or anger. I just want to spend time with you, Ema.” Nailah said.

May I do that?

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #9 on: Feb 16, 18, 05:22:32 PM »
Nothing would change between the sisters if Nailah didn't make the first move. It wasn't necessarily fair, not that Rehema would admit it to her eldest sister, but simply how it was. Masika was harsh, she had always been, though there were moments of tenderness and genuine affection, Rehema never doubted her twin loved her. Maybe she even cared for Nailah in her own warped way.  The pain they inflicted on one another would not be so potent if there wasn't some measure of love there. For a Healer, tending wounds was her specialty, watching them stitch together and become hole again, but there was nothing she could do for the gaping lesion in this family. It took some time and a whole lot of stress for her to come to terms with it.

Rehema knew she was powerless so she simply did what was expected of her. Coming here was a risk, but one she hoped would pan out. Carrying this malformed anger and resentment toward Nailah was not healthy, not for any of them. Yet she could not find a way to simply set it aside, not yet.  After saying her piece and receiving the apology, she settled, awaiting the next steps to this awkward situation.  Kontar was little help, simply sitting there listening intently while pretending to overlook the menu. How many times had he come here before? She didn't know.

Nailah spoke but even more telling, she reached out. Rehema barely had a chance to accept the contact before unfamiliar fingers slipped around the back of her hand. There were so many things she should have been feeling at that very moment, but none sprung immediately to mind. Relief, caution, fear, happiness, it was just some jumbled mess that if she thought to hard on would simply unravel. Meeting her sister’s dark eyes she sought confirmation. If that was truly what she wanted, a relationship between them, then that was something to strive for, a start. The lingering bitterness still cling heavily in her throat. Time lost could do that to a person, but they were here now.

“Yes.”  She agreed, her hand slowly turning over to tentatively squeeze Nailah’s hand. Still unfamiliar, but very much wanted. Her skin was warm, her grip needful, a physical representation of her earnestness. Slowly she pulled her hand away tolerating the contact that should have come so easily between sisters. Was touching her like reaching out to Masika? Their contemptuous relationship had always been so confusing. Each despising one another, granted, Masika more than Nailah, but they always found a way back to the same place to lock horns once more. “We can have lunch, together, if Kontar stops looking at us like two lions ready to throw claws.”  Arching a brow at their brother she smirked. “You are so inconspicuous little brother.”  Turning her eyes back to Nailah, she had hoped to lighten the conversation, though she still did not feel completely at ease. “We can do that Nai. One step at a time.”

They had to start somewhere. So far this conversation, aside from the wilting anxiety that she had felt moments ago had gone better than she expected. “Perhaps, tomorrow you can come by the clinic. I would love to see the boys.”  It was an invitation, one she hoped her sister could squeeze into her impossibly busy schedule. “You can see what we do.”

Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #10 on: Feb 27, 18, 11:43:37 PM »
Ema.” Kontar said, laying his menu on the table while he regarded Rehema with soulful brown eyes. The same eyes that managed to get whatever they wanted when Kontar was of a mind to apply his charm. After all, he’d managed to get two of his warring sisters into the same room at the same time without undue threats. And the building was still standing after twenty minutes. Nailah was the High Priestess of Raej, venerated and revered for her skill at listening to and interpreting Mother Night’s wishes.

But as far as Kontar Abbasi was concerned, he was a Night-damned miracle worker.

You and Nailah are making excellent progress and it warms my heart to see it. I know that you two will not come to blows because what connects you is greater than what separates you. We’re family, all of us. Theoris and Masika, too. We share blood and parents, and a common home. We all came from the same place and we’ll all return there when we die. I want us all to remember that.” he said, looking between them.

You two are taking the important first steps. Once Masika sees that you and Nailah have made peace, she will hate being left out. She always has.” Kontar said.

The Dhemlani male, Lord Hector, arrived with bowls of warm chips and spicy salsa. Kontar ate with gusto, importing his sisters to join him.

Now that we’re talking, we should discuss Winsol. I’m bringing someone to the family gathering and I want you both to meet her. Well, two someones.” Kontar said.

Rehema, I found my Queen recently. She is Lady Raet Neith, ruler of Asyut District. I think you would like her.” Kontar said.

She wants to have dinner with all of us soon.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #11 on: Mar 01, 18, 10:17:33 PM »
Kontar was a charmer and his sisters were only slightly immune to it. Either way he managed to get what he wanted, if not with one then with another.  Rehema would not have been surprised to learn that the entire reunion had been orchestrated by her brother though glancing at Nailah she doubted he had much convincing to do. Was she hesitant? Did she do it because it felt like the most direct course to Masika. Again, she was allowing herself to be suspicious of her sister’s intentions, it was hard not to after so long. There was hurt there, much of which she cared not to express further at the table. The way Nailah had reached for her wasn't false, she wanted to be closer to her. Ema wasn't sure what to do with this information other than take it a day at a time. The invitation was left open for her to visit the following day. If she agreed, if she had time, maybe they could make some strides. Ema had worked so hard on the clinic to make it what it was with such limited resources.

Kontar folded his menu and rested it on the table, a clear sign that whatever he was about to say was serious. When he mentioned coming to blows her brows knitted together in confusion. Was that option on the table? Though she couldn't help it she glanced over to  Nailah in silent question before looking back to their brother. That was behavior befitting Masika. Though she was sure that Nailah had no interest to recall one of a few unfortunate incidents growing up, it was not exactly an uncommon occurrence.

Kontar’s faith in Masika’s pride was well placed, but for some reason Rehema wasn't certain she would fall into old patterns this time.  Things had been...strained in the house. Sika was restless and kept strange hours. There were times when Ema would come home to an empty house after a late night in the clinic. When she asked her sister of this she would brush it off or not give her a clear response. "We will see."

Folding her hands on her lap, the shaking of her leg stilled. Lord Hector approached the table set down chips and salsa on the table. Taking one, she dipped it into the angry red sauce and took a bite. It was pleasant, tangy, salty at first. Then it was punishing which forced her to retreat to her glass for a sip of water.

“Two someones?”  She asked arching a brow, but blinked at the big news. Not every male found their Queen, Kontar could now be counted as those fortunate to meet his pair in the Darkness. Clearing her throat, she smiled softly. It was both fortunate but bittersweet news. She would become his focus above all else. Kontar had grown long ago, but in a way this took him farther still. Remembering that this was important to him she grinned gently. “Thats blessed news. If you think I would like her, then I'm certain I will. I am happy for you. Do we know when mother and father want us to get together?” She asked looking between them a moment. It surprised her to know that Lady Neith would wish to come to such a familial gathering. Considering their dysfunction, Kontar was certainly taking risks.  This could go very bad, or good. “Have you met her Nailah?” Surely her elder sister’s position allowed her a certain degree of recognition within the courts.

Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #12 on: Mar 18, 18, 11:12:32 PM »
I know of Nima, but I have not met her. Her brother and I have worked together in recent times. Kontar would speak better to Nima as a person than I could.” Nailah said, taking a moment to frame her relationship in a vein that Rehema would understand. He was not fully her lover but she could not classify him as merely a friend. In the end, Rehema did not come here to hear the details of her love life and Nailah was not ready to share them with her yet. Someday soon, maybe, but not this day. They were learning to relate to each other without Masika as the barrier between them and that needed its own room to breathe.

We will all have spend the evening together on the longest night of the year, as a family. Mother and Father are already looking forward to it. Kontar has taken the initiative of getting us together this year. I would like you to mention it to Masika, if you think she’ll be receptive. There’s no need to press her, but I know that everyone would prefer to see her there.” Nailah said, taking a sip from her water glass. She reached out to take up one of the chips and dipped it in the salsa. She bit into it and her eyebrows rose at the gentle kick of spice it presented before settling into contentment with the chosen snack.

Will you be ready for us at the clinic tomorrow, Ema? Bakari and Tsekani are already excited. I just told them and they can’t wait to see you.” she said, leveling a warm smile at her sister.

They are lively, but I think learning about what you do will make them happy. They’ll probably want to try escorting you as well. If your normal escort would not take it ill, perhaps you’ll allow them the chance? They like to practice the things they’ve learned from their uncle.” she said, looking to Kontar.

Kontar smiled, but said nothing for the moment.

Offline Rehema Abbasi

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Re: sister, stay awhile and listen
« Reply #13 on: Mar 20, 18, 08:55:47 PM »
Rehema nodded making a note of the woman’s name that Kontar would be bringing to dinner. However it surprised her that Nailah did not mention the Queen. Perhaps it was purposeful, but she wasn't sure why. Looking between the two she couldn't sense any tension. “As an escort?”  she asked curiously, also it afforded her some reassurance that Nailah was taking care of herself. Last she had heard Kontar had been her shadow for some time now. “And of Lady Neith? What of her?” She asked, clearly Nima was not as interesting a conversation topic, though if she were more comfortable with Nialah she might inquire as to her brother.

It had been just a short time since the death of Nialah’s beloved, so to hear her associating with any male outside of her Priestly duties was intriguing. Luckily Rehema was not one prone to gossip, between the twins she was the one who was more tight lipped. Masika had a way of extracting information though so she knew even this meeting would not be a well maintained secret for much longer.

Nailah asked her to speak to Masika about coming to the gathering. Of course she was welcome, it was a family event. However Kontar, knowing Ema better than her elder sister might notice the way her eyes shifted to to the salsa and the the subtle tension at the corner of her lips. It was not a big favor to ask, but by the same token she had specifically requested not to be placed in the middle of any potential confrontations between Masika and Nailah. It wasn't as if Nai hadn't already asked her, did she think the answer would be softened by Rehema being the one to ask? Once again it placed her in an uncomfortable situation. Glancing up at Kontar, she blinked a few times before gathering another chip and directing it toward her mouth. Asking her to join the family for the celebration meant admitting that she had met with Nailah and Kontar. “We will see.”  It was a noncommittally. “Again I would prefer to not be placed in the middle. I know that isn't your intent here, but we know how Sika is. Perhaps if Little brother joins me the united front might soften her mood?”

As much as she wanted to express how Masika had changed and with it their relationship, she knew this was not the place. Trust was not yet within their grasp, at least not between the sisters. If Rehema felt that any complaint would be met with sympathy rather than judgement over Masika’s strange behavior she might have been more willing to speak on it. Perhaps later, she could speak with Kontar.

Looking up suddenly she nodded. Nai sent a thread to the twins. Excitement smoothed away the anxiety she felt and once again she smiled softly back at Nai. It had been some time since she had seen the boys. “Of course. I will be ready to receive them. Will either of you be joining or stop by?”  she asked, unsure what further preparations would be needed. Kontar had seen the clinic, but she always appreciated the visit. This would be a new experience for Nailah and her nephews. Having her family take interest in her work suddenly felt more important and if that afforded her an opportunity to spend time with the boys, then all the better. “What exactly have they been taught?”