Lean on Me – Part 3

Samir wondered what was so attractive about him that made Hani look at him in an almost passionate manner. He was no Mister Universe, just that guy next door. He was a bit above average when it came to looks, but not the head-turning attention-catching kind. Samir knew Hala had dropped some hints around him, maybe even showed him a his picture as she described Samir’s good qualities. Gosh how he hated that thing about her. She had always desperately wanted to be a love guru. Whatever it was that caught Hani’s attention had a strong effect. Hani was tantalized. His eyes gleamed in a way he could not describe. Maybe Hala was right, he looked a bit cute when he was shy. Heck, he looked cute in general. But Samir prevented himself from getting any feelings towards that guy. As the silence grew so did Hani’s blush.
“Y-y-your room is very cozy.” Said Hani, breaking that awkward silence.
“Thanks.” Replied Samir as he pointed towards the odd walls. “Do you like the walls? I painted them myself.”
“They’re beautiful!” Sighed Hani, just as if they had taken his breath away.
Silence began taking over again.
Samir felt it was his turn to break the awkward barrier.
“So, what brings you to this small town?” Said Samir. He didn’t want Hani’s hopes to go up, but he also didn’t want the guy to feel like crap.
Hani was hesitant to answer.
“I wanted to change colleges. So I cjose a place close by to Hala’s.”
“Well, buddy, I assure you that you have made a great mistake. That girl can be very annoying, don’t tell her I told you that.” Joked Samir sarcastically.
They both laughed. Samir noted Hani’s snorts and commented on them. This caused more laughing. This time louder than before. Their loud laughter attracted the attention of the rowdy Naeem. Samir could feel his brother’s heavy boots stomping against the creaking wooden floor. Loud and thundering, they were always a bad omen, like a throng of dark clouds imminent from starting a storm. Each thud that Samir heard sent a jolt of pain to his leg.
The door flew open. Samir felt as if he was the cornered victim in one of those corny horror movies.
“Hello baby brother. How’s your leg feeling? ” Asked Naeem mockingly. “Does Mr. Princess require me to get her a pillow?”
Samir’s blood ran boiling. Were his leg not injured he would’ve stood up against him, even if he was a head taller than himself. Before Samir could open his mouth Hani stood up. Hani was a lot shorter than Naeem, but what Naeem has in height Hani had in width, and not just fat. Samir noticed Hani’s bulky arms and thick torso. Very intimidating.
“Well, well, well. Baby Simio has some company.” Said Naeem as he stared Hani down. Samir felt uneasy. He didn’t want Hani getting involved, he can take care of himself pretty well. Plus this would surely add another reason for Naeem to make fun of him.
“Wait. Is this his boyfriend? Oh my god, Samir I am so happy for you.” Added Naeem in a sarcastically mocking tone. Great! Just what I needed. Thought Samir. His leg was unbearably annoying. He rolled his eyes and caught a glimpse of Hani shaking, his fist clentched up so tight his knuckles turned white. Samir could feel Hani’s nails digging into the palm of his hands. Oh no! Please no thought Samir again as he hoped Hani would not punch his brother. He seemed ready to throw the first blow. Sweat started rolling as the tension grew. They would not stop staring each other down.
“Naeem, habibi, come down for a second to help your dear father.”
Everyone froze in their places, and for the first time in a long time Samir felt that his mother’s voice was a soothing lullaby. His mother called out for a second time until Naeem finally answered. “I’ll be back to finish this, don’t let me catch you here again…” He promised. Samir let out a long sigh. His leg began soothing as he heard the thundering footsteps stomping down the stairs.
“Forgive my brother.” Samir apologized. “He’s kind of a dickhead.”
Kind of?” repeated Hani, still frozen in his place, staring at the absent place where Naeem stood. Samir chuckled, and again he was glad he had that little charm because Hani relaxed and turned around towards him. He had a bright smile that made the atmosphere feel better. And within seconds of talking again it seemed as if Hani had forgotten anything that happened, after all it wasn’t Samir’s fault his brother was an asshole. His leg throbs seemed to synchronize with Hani’s loud heartbeat. Samir didn’t know what was the reason, but he thought that it would be wisest to go out. He needed to get out of this tense atmosphere and get some fresh air.
“Let’s go to the mall. We can go see Hala and the rest.” Suggested Samir.
“Are you sure? Don’t you need some rest?” Responded Hani concerned.
“Yeah, I need some fresh air.” Said Samir with a grunt as he tried to get up.
“Shit!” He exclaimed as he sat upright “I forgot to buy my stilts.”
“Let’s go then, I’ll find you some.”
“But, how will I go?”
“You can lean on me.” Hani said as he extended his arm.


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