by pinkangel2868 10/04/12
I just recently realised how many comments there were left under each chapter, I originally thought there were only five comments after chapter 8, so I'm really sorry.
I was originally planning on posting a chapter 12 to conclude this story, or else I might turn into a silver-screen drama queen writer and introduce past lovers, WWIII and basically a whole bunch of irrelevant situations for Cordelia and Rafiq to overcome.
Due to the fact that many comments were left as 'anonymous', I can't actually message fans on what they want to read more of. I've got writer's block, and every time I start to write, I end up typing up something that is reminiscent of another Literotica story and Fifty Shades of Grey, which I need to read again cause I've basically forgotten the book (I read it when it was still sixth on the NYTimes Bestseller list so no judgment!).
In the future, if anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment, and preferably with their username or else it can be quite challenging when you'd like them to elaborate. Or just be very precise on what you imagine if you'd prefer to stay anonymous.
And I'm also very sorry about how long this Notes field is, I just noticed when I scrolled up the box.
"Cordelia, are you sure you are all right?"
"Grandfather, I am ﬁne," Cordelia ﬁbbed as she turned away from him to prevent him from seeing her tears.
He had arrived unexpectedly that morning, just after Rafiq had left to visit the stables, anxious to ﬁnd out how Cordelia was for himself.
"No, you aren't," he insisted, coming up to her and turning her towards him. "You are crying. What's wrong?" he asked sternly.
Cordelia bit her lip. She still felt seared, scorched, shamed by her memories of the previous night! And there was no point in her trying to mentally blame Rafiq! She had been the one to instigate things . . . even if he had carried them . . . and her . . . to a point . . . place . . . she had never imagined existed!
She was furious with herself for her weakness, unable to accept her own behaviour. How could she have been so weak-willed as to give in to temptation? Why couldn't she make herself stop loving him? Especially when she knew there was no future for them; when she knew she couldn't trust him.
He didn't love her. He might have returned early from his business trip. He might have made love with her last night . . . he might even have stayed with her until she had fallen asleep. But he had never made any attempt to talk to her, to tell her . . .
To tell her what? That he loved her? But she already knew that he did not, didn't she? She already knew that he had been forced to marry her!
They were trapped in a marriage which could only cause them both misery. And now, thanks to her behaviour last night, there could be additional complications. What if this time she had conceived his baby?
"You are not happy," her grandfather was persisting.
"You are too thin . . . too pale. This was not what I expected when you and Rafiq married. You are so obviously suited to one another in so many ways." He started to frown.
Cordelia stared at him. Suited to one another! How could he think that?
"In your eyes, perhaps," she told him unhappily. "But no . . .! We should never have married. Rafiq feels nothing for me. He doesn't love me and . . . I—"
"Cordelia, what nonsense is this?" her grandfather demanded immediately. "Of course Rafiq loves you! That has never been in any doubt! It is quite obvious how he feels about you from the way he talks about you, from the way he has behaved towards you."
"No!" Cordelia stopped him in disbelief "You're wrong! How can you say that he loves me? The only reason Rafiq married me is because he . . . he had to!"
"Had to?" To Cordelia's consternation her grandfather actually laughed. "What on earth gave you that idea? It was most certainly not the case at all!"
He gave her a wry look. "It is, of course, true that the pair of you would logically be expected to marry, having spent so much time together unchaperoned, but I can assure you that there was no obligation for Rafiq to marry you other than his own desire to do so! And I can also tell you that that desire sprang entirely from his love for you!"
Her grandfather shook his head. "And, besides, Rafiq would never have allowed himself to be involved in such a potentially compromising situation if he had not been passionately in love with you!"
Her grandfather spoke with such conviction that Cordelia was dumbfounded.
"There is only one reason Rafiq married you, Cordelia," he repeated. "And that is quite simply that he loves you."
"If that is true then why has he never told me so himself?" Cordelia asked emotionally, reluctant to allow herself to trust what she was hearing.
"Have you told him of your love for him?" her grandfather challenged her gently.
Biting her lip, Cordelia had to confess that she had not.
"But you do love him?" her grandfather persisted.
Cordelia could not bring herself to reply. She could see that her grandfather was frowning.
"If I have misjudged your feelings, Cordelia, then you must say so," she heard him telling her with gentle ﬁrmness. "Much as I like and respect Rafiq, you are my granddaughter. If you have discovered that you do not love him, if you are in any way unhappy, then you can come home with me now and I shall speak to Rafiq if you wish."
Cordelia's eyes darkened with emotion.
"I feel so confused. There is so much I . . . I believed . . . I thought . . ." She stopped and took a deep breath. "I thought that Rafiq married me because of the ﬁnancial beneﬁts our marriage would bring him," she confessed, blurting out her despair.
"The ﬁnancial beneﬁts?" Her grandfather looked be-
mused. "Cordelia—" he began, but Cordelia stopped him, rushing on ﬁercely.
"Kateb told me everything, Grandfather. You mustn't be cross with him. He didn't realise that I didn't know there was a . . . a plan to have me marry Rafiq—whether I wanted to or not! Kateb hero-worships him so much that he thought I would be pleased . . . thrilled. I know all about . . . everything. Even my godfather seemed to think it was a good idea. So much so that he abandoned me here without my passport so that I couldn't leave . . ."
"Cordelia, Cordelia. My dear child. Please! You are distressing yourself so unnecessarily!"
Cordelia fell silent as she heard the pain in her grandfather's voice. "Come and sit down here beside me," he commanded her gently.
A little reluctantly she did so.
"You are right in thinking there was a suggestion that you and Rafiq should meet one another, and that it was felt that . . . that you had a great deal in common—but you must understand that a suggestion was all it was, made more in jest than anything else. Kateb obviously eavesdropped on that conversation and leapt to incorrect assumptions . . ." He frowned. "You may be sure that I shall have some strong words to say to him about his behavior and his actions in passing on his totally unfounded assumptions to you. As you say, he greatly admires Rafiq . . . But I can assure you that Rafiq immediately insisted that what was being suggested was totally out of the question.
Rafiq has far too much pride, too much of the same spirit I can see so clearly in you, to ever allow anyone else to make that kind of decision for him," he told her ruefully. "As for your godfather." He gave a small rueful shrug. "He is a statesman and a diplomat—who knows what such men think? Intrigue is their bread and meat. If it does not exist then they create it!"
Cordelia had to acknowledge that there was some truth in his assessment of her godfather, even if his description of him leaned towards the slightly over-cynical.
Shaking his head, he continued, "After losing Mija there was no way I would ever want to repeat the mistake I made with her. There was only one reason I wanted you to come to Zuran, Cordelia, and that is because you are my grandchild and because I longed so much to see you!"
"Grandfather, I know that you and Rafiq are in business together," Cordelia persisted. "And that he is dependent on the patronage of the Royal Family! I know that there were diplomatic reasons . . ."
Cordelia stared at her grandfather as he started to laugh.
"Why are you laughing?" she demanded, offended.
"Cordelia, Rafiq is a millionaire many times over in his own right, from the inheritance left to him by his father. We do have business interests in common, yes—and indeed the Royal Family are great admirers of his work—but Rafiq is dependent on no one's patronage!"
Shaking his head, he added huskily, "Cordelia, I did your mother a terrible wrong, but the price I paid is one I shall pay to the end of my days. There is never a sunrise when I do not think of your mother, nor a sunset when I do not mourn her loss."
Cordelia blinked, her eyes wet with fresh tears. Instinctively she knew that her grandfather was telling the truth.
"Are you still feeling unhappy? Do you want to come home with me now?" he asked her. "I shall speak with Rafiq for you, if you wish. The decision is yours, but it seems to me that it would be a pity if two such well-matched people should lose one another through a simple matter of pride, and lack of communication and trust."
Her grandfather made it all sound so easy!
"No . . . No, I do not wish you to speak to Rafiq," she answered him.
"I . . . I . . . can do that myself . . ."
The smile he was giving her made her color self-consciously.
"It isn't for me to interfere, but you are my granddaughter," he told her gently. "It seems to me that you and Rafiq are very well suited. You are both strong-minded, you are both proud, you share a spirit of independence; these are all good things, but sometimes such virtues can lead to a little too much self-sufﬁciency—claimed not because that is what a person necessarily wants but because they believe it is what they have to have in order to protect themselves. I think that both you and Rafiq are perhaps afraid to admit your great love for one another because you fear the other will think you weak and in need."
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