The Sheikh and the Discipline of the Desert (Part IX)

15May15

desert harem1 desert harem2Part 1 can be found here.

Megan was in freefall. There had to be a way out, but just then she didn’t see it. Maybe the king was just trying to scare her and she could cut a deal. Maybe if she agreed not to write an exposé or perhaps she could get word to the US embassy and… she sighed. Surely all of these had been considered by the king and his people already. If they were just trying to scare her then it had worked and she just needed to sit tight. But why go to all the trouble of kidnapping her if they meant to let her go? She was definitely way out of her league.

Perhaps if she could talk to the New Yorker she had seen whipped. Maybe she could tell her more and help Megan decide how to play it; maybe? Megan didn’t feel that hopeful just then.

An opportunity came a few days following the punishment she had witnessed. The women in the house mostly used a communal shower room in the spa area. Megan had steered clear for the first day or two in case the large mirror was a one-way window, but then she realised that she was not going to get far hiding in her room. Sooner or later the king would send for her and she would be told her fate without really knowing all her options.

So Megan braved the spa room and made full use of it while she watched the others and tried to talk to the Western-looking girls.

A Swedish or Norwegian girl was aloof and in a heavy accent shrugged off most of Megan’s questions. A redheaded English girl with an accent like Daphne’s from Frazier was more help. She was friendly too, but her story was of no particular help.

“It’s no big deal,” she told Megan while uninhibitedly soaping her breasts in the shower, “I came here as a dancer and the palace here made me a better offer. I’ll go home in three years with more money than I could have earned in 20,” she said enthusiastically.

“But isn’t that a bit like being a… well you know?” Megan asked aghast.

The woman shrugged and giggled. “It’s better than giving it a way and besides, I don’t have to do much. I hardly ever see anyone outside of this place, and I hardly ever get to see the king.”

“What about the punishments?” Megan asked.

The Englishwoman pulled a face and shrugged again. “It is easy enough to avoid if you don’t make trouble, but it kind of goes with the territory if you know what I mean. It’s not so bad.”

“So you’ve been, I mean…” Megan whispered harshly.

“Half dozen times or so, so far,” the woman shrugged again.

She turned away in the shower as water fell copiously not quite drowning the conversation. Megan eyed the splendid bottom offered to her and wondered at it whipped. Then she sucked in a breath and a hand stole to her own naked behind.

“What about the American? You know the New York girl?” Megan pressed the English girl.

“Nancy? Yeah she has a mouth on her,” the Englishwoman laughed, “She gets her backside striped rather a lot. Just between you and me, I think she likes it. She and Benji have some sort of thing going I wouldn’t wonder.”

Megan got some small talk out of the girl but not a whole lot more and was just about decided on leaving. Then she saw Nancy walk over.

The American too was uninhibited and dropped her towel without a thought as she took a turn in the shower room. Megan saw the bruising at once and allowed herself a slow whistle.

“Quite a stain this time eh?” Nancy giggled as she shoved her behind out in Megan’s direction. “That Benji has a heavy hand. Only this time I didn’t do nothing,” she said wearily.

“I think it might have been my fault,” Megan said with a wince.

“You…?” Nancy said in a puzzled voice as she gave Megan a questing look-over. “Oh I get it, I was the sacrificial lamb to put you in the picture.”

Nancy didn’t seem too bothered by the revelation and put one leg on the sill to begin soaping her leg for a shave.

“How did you get here?” Megan asked her.

Nancy made a scowl. “I was caught smuggling dope,” she said. “I guess they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Well three years here is better than 10 in one of those jails.”

“You don’t mind?” Megan exclaimed.

Nancy shrugged. “I guess I had it coming, how about you?”

“I was kind of hoping to duck out of the party and head on home,” Megan sighed.

“Listen sister, if you’re here, then you’re here, it doesn’t much matter why, if you know what I mean? Take the best offer you can get and suck it up,” Nancy said dismissively.

Big help, Megan groaned inwardly. None of this looked good

*

It was dark when Megan awoke. A side glance to the window revealed a hundred million billion stars scattered like beads of crystal water frozen in a snap shot against the deep black. She thought of Ahmed and their adventure and then for some reason of a show she had seen on the Discovery Channel about radio telescopes. The astronomer had made the myriad stars sing, billions of unique songs serenading the galaxy. It had made her feel lonely, but not as lonely as she felt now.

She imagined she could hear the songs and closed her eyes to listen, but all she could hear was the percussion. She opened them again. There was a faint rapping sound, a gentle tap somewhere near. She listened again, this time forgetting the stars and their brooding romance.

Someone was lightly tapping at the door, so gently it was as if a full knock would shatter the peace. Megan almost called out ‘come in.’ Instead she got out of bed and pulled on her robe to go to the door.

Nancy stood just beyond holding a hand to her lips and silently urging Megan to quiet with her eyes.

“Take this,” she whispered loudly, “Go to the end of the hall, that way, then turn right and through the first door you see. It will be unlocked. At the bottom is a parking garage and someone will be there to meet you. Go now and as you are.”

“What? Why? I mean…” Megan spluttered in confusion still half asleep.

“I like it here, they trust me, and so I get around. Someone wants to help you, I got word,” Nancy said quickly still keeping her voice low. “Maybe it is a trap, but I don’t figure that, they already have you and there isn’t much they can’t do already, if you get me. No maybe this is a game, but whoever wants you to leave is connected. Now get going.”

Nancy thrust a cell-phone into her hands with a key and then quickly turned to go.

“Come with me,” Megan urged.

“And miss out on all that severance pay,” Nancy winked.

“But what if they find out?” Megan hissed and gestured to the retreating Nancy to come back.

“I’ll get my tail end blistered is all,” she shrugged, “So what else is new?” Then she was gone.

Megan wasted no time and pulling the robe together tightly she paused only to put on the light canvas shoes they had given her.

Nancy’s direction had been simple and despite expecting a guard or some other hitch she made the stairs without incident and was soon four flights down in the underground car lot.

It was darker than it should have been and at first she could see nothing but a menagerie of expensive cars and some rather obvious security cameras.

“The system has been switched off for a little while,” said a voice. A man in a dark suit and wearing sunglasses despite the gloom stepped from the shadows. “Follow me,” he said, “Quickly now.”

He didn’t wait but cut a path through a row of white limousines and what looked like a 1966 E-Type Jaguar. Megan fancied it was red, but the light was too poor to see.

“Where are we going?” Megan called after the man using a stage whisper.

He just waved at her to follow and jogged on to a dark corner of the garage floor.

The man led her to a door in the far wall and opened it.

“Follow the path to a side gate,” he told her. “The key will open it and then you are on your own.”

Megan gaped and motioned to the phone.

“Don’t use it, someone will call you, there is no help in the city so do not get caught,” he said. “Keep out of sight until you get a call,” and then he was gone.

*

Megan had been running for streets; road after road had been empty and given her attire and the fact that she was western that was just as well.

“There is no help in the city,” the man had said. So what was she to do?

Finally she calmed down. A passing police car helped her focus. Running was only going to get her caught. She had a phone and although she didn’t know who to call, it was at least a comfort. So instead of running she ducked down an alley and hid in a dark door way and hoped someone would call.

She was convinced now that Nancy was an agent of some kind and that the American CIA or someone had a plan to get her out. But why leave her outside in just a robe for so long? She huddled down and wished she had brought some food or water.

Time drags in the darkness and like a teenager waiting for a date, the phone never rings. These two facts alone plunged Megan into a geological age of waiting and she had few personal resources left to stay calm.

Every passing car were the police and somewhere above a helicopter was hunting for her, this although it only passed overhead the once and did not linger in the sky. This was crazy; they couldn’t even know she had gone yet. She scanned the sky. The sun rose fast here, but there was no sign of the day yet.

Megan was still focussed on the last car receding into the distance and didn’t hear the tap of footsteps until the flashlight burst into her face.

“You finally decided to stand still long enough for me to get a fix on you,” the masculine voice chuckled.

“Ahmed,” Megan squealed and exploded into his arms.

“No time,” Ahmed told firmly, but he hugged her back nonetheless until it was Megan who let go. She had never been so glad to see anyone in her life. She realised now that all along she had been hoping that he would save her, but it had been too painful to think on it in case he didn’t care.

“My car is near and we have a long drive before daybreak.”

*

The drive across the desert in the Landrover was just like old times, but the sun had lit up the horizon before either of them had spoken. By then they were two or three score miles out into the wilderness.

“What happened, to me I mean?” Megan said at last.

“My grandfather happened,” Ahmed replied, his voice grim. “He found out about us and your book.”

“Does he kidnap and threaten all your girlfriends?” Megan said angrily.

“Only those who are American journalists who write books about his country,” Ahmed said bitterly.

“I wasn’t going to name any names, I only…” Megan gasped in exasperation.

“I know, I know, but he worked out that you and I were closer than just that, he was worried that you…” Ahmed grimaced.

“What do you mean closer? I was just another girl to you right?” Megan asked, but the moment hung on end and suddenly the next words from Ahmed’s mouth seemed more important than any she would ever hear.

“He knows,” Ahmed snapped rounding on her as if she were quibbling over details, “Don’t you know what that means?”

“Knows what?” Megan said as casually as she could. She knew, she thought she knew, but she couldn’t believe it. Maybe it was just wishful…

“That I love you,” Ahmed said, but his tone was of hopelessness.

Megan gaped and felt her heart race. She had thought of nothing else since their desert adventure but surely..

“You can’t, I mean, you just can’t… I am just…” she blurted.

“Oh I know you don’t love me, but my grandfather doesn’t know that,” Ahmed shrugged.

“How do you know I don’t love you? You haven’t even asked,” Megan yelled.

The car came to a screaming halt and Ahmed turned to face her.

“Do you?” he said sharply.

Megan gulped and bit at her lip as she pondered. Of course she did, she knew. She nodded.

“Well it doesn’t change a thing,” Ahmed said angrily and punched the steering wheel. Then the car pulled away again. “I have to get you out of this country and back to America.”

“You tell me you love and then you say I have to go?” Megan asked incredulously.

“You don’t get it do you, if my grandfather catches you now…” The car picked up speed and raced into the growing daylight.

Megan drew a line with her mouth and sat back in her seat in a state of consternation. She wondered if Ahmed had a harem like his grandfather, maybe they were hiring, she thought bitterly. For a moment the thought didn’t seem so crazy.

“I am not going anywhere,” Megan said firmly.

“Oh you damn well are,” Ahmed growled. “In hour we will be over the border and you can take a plane from a neutral airport. I have a passport in an assumed name, so there is little immediate danger that my grandfather’s people will reacquire you. But once back in the states you will have to lay low for a while, not for too long hopefully. I have arranged some money and…”

“I don’t want your money,” Megan sighed, “Can’t we talk about this?”

“No,” Ahmed said, his eyes were iron.

To be continued…



9 Responses to “The Sheikh and the Discipline of the Desert (Part IX)”

  1. 1 paula

    I really loved this one. The series of stories is good too👍

    • 2 DJ

      A new line in romances although… there is a limit to the plots in such stories… hmmm

  2. 3 Pixiebelle

    Best story ever…..

  3. I love this story so much I’ve read it 3 times.

  4. 7 Lisa Layne

    Awesome story, please let me know when it continues. Loved it!!!!

  5. 8 Em J

    Loved this story, hope there is more

    • 9 DJ

      Its now out as a novella – but not considering a follow up just yet.


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