He was a thief!
And like the thief he was, he’d come, skulking, unseen and nimble-fingered.
How she’d not known he was a thief, Amina did not know. He’d come when she’d least expected it… But then, whoever expected the coming of a thief?
He’d stolen from her; robbed her of that which she treasured most. That rare treasure, the most priceless of jewels, she’d been saving, preserving for the one deserving of it.
But could she have stopped him?
Amina flapped her hand-fan, her swing aimed at the fly that buzzed by. She would have reinforced her defense walls had she known what he was. She would have locked the gates and stood as sentry against any false entrance, if she had anticipated his intentions.
The thought, and the imagery, soothed her and her hand flailed to fan herself.
But he had been coy.
His tongue had been costed with sugar-sweet words and like a wordsmith, he had known what to say, how to say it and when to say it.
She should have averted her eyes and blocked off her ears. Amina hissed, flapped her hand-fan and beat at invisible flies. She should not have been over eager to listen his words and to clutch at them with her tender, naïve ears.
A liar, with no truth upon his tongue.
And yet, she had believed him.
She had, at the cajoling of his words dripping like sweet nectar, thrown open the door and allowed him to enter, confounding her more with each plunge, he was careful and steady to make.
Sated, he had become blasé. And with indifference borne out of constant knowledge and over use, he had walked through the door… and he had not looked back.
A thief and a charlatan!
But she knew better now. Amina narrowed her eyes, steadied her hand and waited for the perch. Then she swung the hand-fan and caught beneath it, the fly that dared to want a piece of her.
Thief! She would allow him no more. She was wiser now, steadier of mind… and of resolve.
“My priceless jewel.”
Lying words from a sugar-coated tongue. Oh, but why did they have to sound so sweet?
Amina slowly raised her head. And there he… her thief.
“Thieving scoundrel!” She cursed, and wished she carried more venom in her voice.
“I couldn’t stay away from you, so I returned.”
“You returned because you could not find any who would serve you honey from their garden without settlement.”
The words, spoken by her with more punch than the first, were a slap at her pride more than a sneer at him.
“I returned because I could find no one like you. No one as beautiful, as tender, as sweet.”
Liar! She should turn him away. Have none of him.
Amina opened her mouth to do just that. She was, after all, wiser now.
But if she sent him away and no one else came? She no longer possessed the treasure that made her truly priceless, did she? She’d given it freely… to him.
He was a thief and a charlatan. But he was now the possessor of her priceless jewel.
“You will not leave again?” Her voice pleaded even as she demanded.
“I will stay as long as I have you.”
She knew better, but she allowed her heart to cling to the lie. She knew better, yet Amina set down her hand-fan, and opened her arms to him.