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A Quiet Drive

His arm rested around my shoulders and his fingers softly stroked my cheek, occasionally tracing the lines of my ear, twirling around a loose strand of hair. We were in the back of a cab, riding through the streets. The city lights were overwhelmed by the persistent fog which had yet to let up. It had been weeks since the cold had hit the city.

“I think you remind me of blood flowing over gold,” his quiet revelation shook me out of my reverie, “or maybe a stream of blood intertwining with a stream of gold.”

I lifted my head from his shoulder to peek at him.

“Where’d that come from?” I asked him.

He took some time before answering, eyes flickering towards the driver. He needn’t have worried. The driver was long past the point of eavesdropping on us, probably as lost in the traffic as I was.

“You’re the dearest thing to me. You know that don’t you?”

I sighed in contentment. It was perhaps the only thing I was certain about.

“I think I want you to wear red and gold when we finally go through with the larger wedding.”

I nodded in agreement. We had considered the process of a full wedding tedious and unnecessary but it was one of the conditions set by both of our parents for allowing us to be quietly married in front of our god before moving in together. We’d had a small Nikah ceremony, with only a few of our closest friends and our parents.

“If I’m wearing those colors so are you,” I told him, nudging his cheek with my nose. I felt him smile before I saw it.

“Ask and thou shalt receive,” he whispered to me.

So, I asked for comfort.

He obliged by softly brushing his lips over my own. I exhaled in relief and pressed closer to him, repeating the movements over and over again. He arranged me closer to him, his fingers weaving into my hair, angling my head just the way we liked it. My hands rested on his chest as the world disappeared around us. I could only taste him, smell him, feel him.

This very moment, in the backseat of car, driving through the cold streets of the city where we’d met, was perhaps the best moment of my life. I had no fears about being torn apart by family disagreements, nor of other people stealing him away, and definitely nothing of the religious sort.

We pulled away from each other but remained close. From the corner of my eye, I saw the driver angling the mirror in a way it wouldn’t catch our reflection. I nudged my boyfriend – no – my husband in the driver’s direction.

The man was young, and probably from the northern areas, if his white skin, light eyes and hair were any indication. Right now, his skin had turned to a firetruck red, probably because he’d caught us pawing at each other.

We both looked at each other and giggled like the school children we were when we first met. In another cab, a long while ago, he’d kissed me for the first time. Now, he met my lips as the man I had loved for years and the man to whom I belonged, and who was mine for as long as the world lasted and us within it.

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