“Hello, I’m Hani, Hala’s cousin.”
Samir’s leg stopped throbbing, that or he finally decided to ignore it. He knew Hala was up to no good.
Greetings went by here and there, but Samir received the warmest, a very long firm handshake. Hala gave Samir an odd look that he unmistakably understood. She was trying to tell Samir this is the cousin, the one she had told him about. “He’s sweet, smart, loving, and best of all, I suspect he’s gay.” Hala mentioned to him a week ago. Hala was the only one that knew about Samir’s sexuality, she was the only one whom he trusted enough. But she was also the only one who knew Samir was fed up and didn’t want to get into any relationship. He knew no guy was into any serious relationship, all they ever wanted was one night stands. Plus, his bully brother was getting suspicious. And he had all the right to, Samir was reaching his nineteenth birthday and he hadn’t had a girlfriend, not even showing any sign of interest in girls. So he had taken these circumstances to bully and humiliate Samir. He also knew no one but Hala would support or even accept him. His parents would slaughter each other rather than ruin their reputation, specially his father who had a deep hate towards homosexuals. His brother was searching for any reason to disown him. What made matters even worse is that he shared more radical views than his parents regarding homosexuality, boasting that if he were to find a homosexual under his roof, he would kill that person no matter who he/she was. Rasha and Elio had already shunned an old loved friend named Muna because she came out as a lesbian. He had more than enough reason to not risk revealing his sexuality.
Samir was having a non-verbal communication with Hala while Rasha and Elio where getting to know Hani, yet that didn’t stop Samir from noticing Hani’s shy and quick looks he gave him. Samir responded politely with a tight grin, hoping he would get the message, I am not interested.
“Come on, don’t shut him off like that, at least give him a chance. Look at him! He looks so cute when he’s shy.” Whispered Hala persuasively.
Samir looked at her, then at him. Hani was not the best looking guy. The first thing Samir could notice was his body type. He was large in frame yet quite short on height. He was a bit fat, just a bit above average. Then he noticed Hani was not that cute, just (more or less) average; however, looks didn’t matter to Samir anymore. He had tried dating a very handsome guy a couple of years ago, yet he found himself bored with conversations revolving around said guy. Samir found himself thirdwheeling dates between Mr. Handsome and his camera. He was glad he finally found someone to match Elio’s narcissistic ego, and his ability to take 10 pictures of himself per minute. Samir shuddered with the thought of Mr. Handsome and decided that looks should be the last thing he should focus on.
Hani’s looks started to become more frequent and longer, almost becoming states. This made Samir uncomfortable and flattered at the same time. He did not want his friends noticing any suspicious behavior going on. Hala purposedly opened subjects both Samir and Hani found passion in, trying her hardest to hit up a chat between the two. Samir was about to explode, he did not want Hani to get his hopes up. He began opening his mouth to ask Hala to leave but he was interrupted by his mother, coming in with a huge tray full of food and drinks. Samir and Hala rolled their eyes while Elio and Rasha’s were wide open at sight of such “hospitablility“. Hani benefitted from this distraction to take a long look at Samir.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome! Make yourself feel at home. Don’t be shy, take as much as you want. There’s more waiting for you downstairs.” Said Samir’s mother in an artificial rhythim, a tone Samir despised so much.
“Thank you so much.” Said everyone harmoniously. Elio and Rasha were starting to gobble up all the food. Oh how hateful was the sight of rich people gobbling up on food they already had at their home in twice as much quantity, Samir thought.
“So, are you guys all going to Mila’s party. Oh what a sweet girl she is! It’s a big shame Samir won’t be able to go.” Said Samir’s mom in her same usual tone.
Samir and Hala exchanged looks. They knew what they were both thinking. “Mila is, undoubtedly, a very sweet girl. After all, she’s the mayor’s daughter. She can’t be anything but good and sweet.” Slowly, Hala’s expressions started to change into more sly ones.
“Goodness, Rasha! Please tell me you got a special outfit for that birthday. You CANNOT show up wearing just anything. And you Elio, you cannot go there wearing anything people have seen in your Instagram pictures.” Hala bursted out. Samir was confused, he sensed she was up to no good. “You know what this means” Hala continued, “SHOPPING TIME!”
Rasha and Elio were both delighted, as was Samir’s mom.
“You kids go and have fun!” Exclaimed Mrs. Fake (the nickname Hala and Samir have given his mom) as she left with an empty tray.
“Hani, you stay with Samir and entertain him while we go out. You hate shopping and Samir needs someone to stay by his side.” Hala suggested. Samir shot her a glare, she just winked at him as she pushed Rasha and Elio out of the door.
And there they were. Samir and Hani all alone in a closed room.
“Hello, I’m Hani, Hala’s cousin.”