Samyaza Chapter 24, Home and a Difficult Decision

The Circus
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Arpingstone.

Afarin opened her eyes. There was a bright light behind the curtains, and she could hear Jean-Claude in the kitchen.

This is my house. There are many like it up here on the hill, but this one is mine.

He came upstairs with two mugs of coffee and a piece of toast and sat on the bed, “Do you know what time it is?”

She took the mug off him, “I’ve no idea. And don’t you dare get any crumbs in my… Our bed.”

He took a bite of toast and said with his mouth full: “It’s after ten.”

“So what? We’ve nothing to do, now you’ve done all the difficult bits. Clearing the garden and painting,” She leaned towards him and kissed him, “Thank you so much, for everything.”

Jean-Claude took a swig of coffee and looked at her with a strange expression, “Afarin?”

“What is it?”

“When are you going to make peace with Alan Bartlett?” She sighed and lay back on the pillows, staring up at the ceiling.

“I don’t know. I found the whole thing was a terrible humiliation and I still can’t believe that he would condone that.”

“Afarin, the others were hurt as much as you were.”

“I thought you would understand, Jean-Claude.”

“What I understand is that Alan is deeply upset and the atmosphere where we work is toxic. Please, Afarin, make your peace or resign. We can’t carry on like this.”

“That’s it, isn’t it? You want me to go because I’ve become an embarrassment to you all. I’ve rocked your cosy little Vauxhall Cross world.” She resorted to her favourite tactic of tears.

Jean-Claude stood up and started to get dressed.

“Where are you going?”

“Back to my flat. I can’t stand this.”

By now she was sobbing, “Oh Jean-Claude, please don’t go. I need you.”

“You don’t. I’ve done my bit, painted, and brought furniture and tolerated as much as I can, of the burning martyr routine. For God’s sake, stop bloody crying! You have decided to operate in your world and all Alan wanted was the best for you, to give you the best chance. He may have made a bad judgement call, but he is still my boss and I have to work with him.”

“I am not a burning martyr. How dare you say that to me.”

He put on his shoes, “Afarin, I’ve had enough of your moods and tantrums, so I’m going home.”

“You heartless bastard!”

“I’m the only real friend you have, and you insult and swear at me,” he dragged her out of the bed and stood her in front of the mirror, “What do you see? Tell me!”

“I see an ugly little Afghan bint. Worthless and stupid and everybody hates me.”

“Do you want to know what I see?”


He pushed her onto the bed and sighed, then said in a gentle voice: “I see a beautiful young woman. I don’t see the colour of your skin, your heritage, or those bruises because they are part of you. I see a mind that can suck in and process information, and yet that mind is unable to see shades or nuances in people and that the world is not black and white. You have met truly evil people, but you can’t see the good in other people. They are not looking at you because they think: disgusting Paki. They are looking at you because you are a beautiful woman. Get rid of that bloody face veil and join humanity.”

“Are you really going?” she asked in a small voice, “I can’t bear being on my own.”

“Will you stop wallowing in self-pity?”

“I’ll do anything for you, you can have me any way you want, beat me, treat me like a whore, but don’t leave me alone.”

“I don’t want you to feel like that… Don’t start bloody crying again! Our relationship is about more than sex, it’s a wonderful act to show what we think of each other, but there are other things, companionship, trust and genuine affection. You are not some common prostitute and I am not a punter. I care for you deeply and can’t bear to see you this way.”

“Please come back to bed, Jean-Claude. I’m so sorry.”

He undressed slowly and slid in next to her. She hugged her to him.

He should have told her the truth, that he loved her. But he didn’t, which was a mistake. He could have made a difference to her life, but he was too fearful to say the simple words.

“Why didn’t you make love to me last night?”

“Because you’ve been away for over six months and we’re getting to know each other again. Plus, I didn’t want to assume.”

“Every part of me is in the same place as it was when I left. Where have you been sleeping when you were painting and doing the garden of the house?”

“In the spare room. It seemed like the proper thing to do.”

“Despite me telling you to sleep in our bed. I would have liked you to sleep in this bed, not relegated to the spare room.”


“Because… Because…” And she should have told him that she had fallen in love with him, but she didn’t. She was too timid and frightened of being rejected. It was as though they both knew because there was a long pause.

“What shall we do today?” Afarin asked.

“I think you need to get a couple more bits and pieces for the house and afterwards, we can have a meal in Bath.”

“What’s Bath like?”

“Nice river and the Roman Baths are worth a visit, but otherwise slightly overrated. There is, however. A good Bengali restaurant there.”
She was in a languorous mood and in no hurry to get dressed. He ran his finger gently around her nipple and she sighed.

“The sooner you get dressed, the sooner we can go out, come back and say proper hello after six months.”
“What do you think the house needs?” she asked.

“A bathroom cabinet, some utensils for the kitchen, more than a single, pathetic saucepan. You need a hoover and a dish washer if you want one. We’ll just look around.”

“Jean-Claude, is Alan really angry with me?”

“He’s not angry. He’s very upset. When the relationship between the agent and handler breaks down, then you have each lost confidence with the other.”

“What can I do?”

“Tell him how you feel. No petulance, no drama just calmly explain how you feel, and this is the important bit: listen to what he says.”

“Will that help do you think?”

“What have you got to lose? You have no idea the pressure Alan is under from various departments. They want results. It’s a bloody dog eat dog environment at Vauxhall Cross. He wanted to bring you home early, but the Israelis requested you stay on to complete the mission. He wasn’t happy about you going into Egypt, Julian told me on Monday afternoon when we were playing squash.”

“Oh. I had no idea.”

“We don’t make a habit of talking about you, but Julian thought you had been traumatised and was genuinely worried about you. He said that Alan Bartlett didn’t say a word when they were driving back to London.”

For once she didn’t fall back on tears but was quiet and thoughtful. Jean-Claude put his arm round her, “Come on. This is a mope free zone. Let’s go out and get your stuff. No bloody hijab.”

They went out to a couple of out-of-town outlets and bought a few items for the house. By the time they had finished, it was late afternoon and Jean-Claude drove west towards Bath. He managed to park in the town as the shops were closing. They walked to the Crescent and spent some time admiring the architecture.

“Do people live in them?” she asked.

“Yes, there’s a waiting list. Expensive though.”

Then walked back to the river and Pulteney Bridge and the weir. She found the Roman Baths fascinating but wasn’t so enamoured by the sulphurous smell of the water. Jean-Clause couldn’t smell anything.

They went to the Bengali restaurant and enjoyed a mix of dishes, sharing each other’s, dipping bread in the sauces. He insisted on getting the bill and paying for it, by cryptically saying: There are other ways of paying.

They walked back through the town, arm-in-arm like the lovers they unwisely would not admit to being and he drove back after having had a single small bottle of beer.

“It was lovely seeing your hair frame your beautiful face,” he told her.

Back at her house they went to bed, where he straddled her and kissed and nibbled her neck, working his way downwards. It was wonderful seeing the top of his head disappear under the bedclothes and she sighed with satisfaction as he got to work.

Both the husband and the wife can enjoy each other’s body as they wish. Allah Says (what means): {They (your wives) are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.} [Quran 2:187]. Allah also Says (what means): {Your wives are a place of cultivation [i.e. sowing of seed] for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves.} [Quran 2:223].

Except they were not married and at that moment, she couldn’t give a toss. Afarin wondered how old he was, and she reckoned he was in his thirties. Why was a good-looking man in his thirties still unattached? She reasoned that there was a great deal more about Jean-Claude for her to learn. She reached down and played with his hair, while he attended to more significant matters.

She could feel her climax building and he stopped.

“You sod, why have you stopped?” And she felt he was rock hard.

There was no need to coax or show the way this time. He knew what he was doing and possessed her, six months of passion had built up and he wanted her so much. Afarin gasped and stared up at him. It was wonderful feeling him and seeing the beads of sweat on his face and it seemed to go on for ever.

She screamed an oath in Pashtun and there were barely any tears this time, she was all cried out. She remembered to breathe, and her eyes stared blankly at him.

“Afarin, are you all right?” he asked, concerned.

She took a while to answer, “I’m OK. You’ve wrung me out though.”

“I waited a long time, and I’ve missed you terribly.”

She put her hands against his face, “Jean-Claude, why are you still single? You are a lovely man, kind, knowledgeable and patient and gentle. I would have told me to fuck off, if I had to put up with me. And why are you so fit, your body so hard?”

“Because I work out at the gym at Vauxhall Cross. I like nothing better than working out in front of a mirror with Julian, wearing a posing pouch, then we flick each other with towels in the changing rooms. Seriously, I told you about my stint at the embassy in Moldova and the French lady from their embassy. I really loved her. She was beautiful and we wanted to make our lives together, but the FCO had other ideas and ruined our relationship.”

“You resigned and were snapped up by Alan Bartlett?”

“Pretty much. She had gone back to France by then and I’ve never seen her since. No more breakfasts in bed, long, relaxed lovemaking. Wine tasting and visiting the architecture in Chisinau. Gone for ever and I really do miss her.”
Afarin didn’t ask him her name, because she could tell he was still very upset, years later.

“But what do you actually do?” she asked him. “Do you have a licence to kill?”

He smiled, somewhat coldly she thought, “I’m a glorified data analyst. We look for trends and current threats. Oh, and we run agents.”

“Have you got an agent, Jean-Claude.


“What’s he like?”

“She. She’s rather beautiful but can be a bit demanding.”

“Have you ever…?”

“Oh God yes. All the time.”

“How nice for you,” Afarin said rather bitterly, “I must cramp your styles when I’m at home.”

Jean-Claude shrugged, “One does what one can in the service of one’s country.”

“Am I allowed to know the name of this paragon of service to our country?”

“Only her code name. We call her Samyaza.”

“What does that mean?”

“Samyaza is a fallen angel in Abrahamic versions of the bible. She is the head of the watchers.”

“I don’t know how you can tear yourself away from the beautiful Samyaza. I must be a dreadful bore to you.”

“Not really, when I’m here I can keep a good eye on her. She can be a bit weepy after we’ve done… Well, you know.”

The penny was starting to slowly drop, and her face changed from one of jealousy to one of annoyance, “You are a bastard, Jean-Claude.”

“Admit it, you were jealous.”

“A bit, well no, a lot,” she realised he could play her like a fiddle

He cuddled her and she suddenly felt tired, “Thank you for doing the stuff round the house. You didn’t have to do so much. What are the neighbours like?”

“They asked me to sign a petition when the found out who was moving in.”

“Oh you…”

He went down to the kitchen and made two hot chocolates, taking them up to the bedroom, but she was asleep. He sat in a chair, sipped the hot drink, and watched her. Then he slipped into the bed and fell asleep next to her. She sat up in the night, breathing fast. She had been dreaming she was on the submarine again. She lay back down until her heart rate came down and went back to sleep, touching his body.

For the next five weeks they turned her house into a home, planting dwarf apple trees and a fig on the south facing wall. He would have to go into London to attend to something in the office and she spent the time exploring the area and finding running routes of varying distances. She discovered the Ridgeway and Barbury Castle, enjoying watching the kites flying, taking her back to a childhood she had never had.

One week while Jean-Claude was in London she bought a set of watercolour paints and had a dabble. The first few were pretty rubbish, but she finally got the hang of it with a watercolour book to help. She enjoyed laying down the washes, once she had learned to dampen the paper first. There was an extended landing, which was more like a mezzanine floor, where she set up an office for her laptop and printer and gallery. It was well lit by natural light, and she enjoyed working up there in the buff. Somehow it seemed to stimulate her creative juices.

The next Thursday she heard his car pull in front of the house, as hers was in the drive. She hurried downstairs from her little studio and waited for him to open the door.

“Surprise!” she said.

She was wearing an old Desert T-shirt which stopped where her pubis began. He looked at her with shock, “Afarin, it would appear that you have decided to go au natural.”

“I love the freedom and the feel of the breeze on my body.”

“And what would you have done if I had been a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

“I would insist they embrace my way of life before I read any of their literature.”

He carried his small bag upstairs to the spare room and she followed him. He paused in the area she had turned into a studio and looked at the watercolours.

“Is this a new hobby? Did you paint these?” he picked up a limited palate painting of Barbury Castle and admired it, “This is really nice. A good choice of subtle colours. You are really talented at this. Now go and put on some bloody clothes otherwise I won’t be responsible for my actions.”

He had noted just how much trimmer she had become since she came back from Israel. He abs were firm, her legs and arms more muscley, without being a Romanian shot putter. Her backside was smaller and the muscled in her back were well defined. He could have got lost in her breasts. He swore that if he ever developed a pair like Afarin, he would never leave the house.

She pulled on a long, baggy Norwegian shirt that seemed to extenuate the body under it, rather than hide it. He kissed her and they lay together on the bed.

“How was your week?”

“The usual. Moving bits of paper around and preparing a report for our Dweeb of a Foreign Secretary.”

“I’ve realised that I can’t bloody cook.”

He looked at her and smiled, “That’s because no one sat down and taught you. What about your mother?”

“She was more interested in getting me cut and marrying me off to an old cousin in Afghanistan, than teaching me how to cook.”


“Female genital mutilation. Very popular in the old country, and we bring our stone age values to the new country.”

He stared at her looking puzzled, “You seem to be all present and correct down there?”

“My father stopped them, my mother and elder sister arranged for an Iman to perform the act, with a scalpel rather than an old razor blade, lucky old me. He sent him packing and warned my mother, that if she ever pulled a stunt like that again, she would be divorced and heading back to Helmand Province.”

“Do you ever see your family now?”

“No. They disowned me when I joined the Air Force. My father died and I’ve seen none since.”

She seemed matter of fact and tearless. Jean-Claude put his arms round her because in truth, it was such a sad story that he felt like crying. Despite all the histrionics and tears, she was a hard little cookie.

“I’ll teach you how to cook, Afarin.”

And then he suddenly remembered what Bartlett had asked him to do.

“Alan Bartlett has asked you to meet him in London, Monday of next week. He wants to know what your plans for the future are. This is an ideal opportunity for you to tell him just how you feel, and then listen! Give him a chance, Afarin.”

“Is he getting rid of me? I wouldn’t blame him. I’ve got so much baggage.”

“No. He wants to know what you intend to do in the future. You still have so much to give. Come up the night before and stay with me. You get the train to London Victoria, then get on the District Line to Richmond. I’ll give you a key in case I’m not in.”

“What are we doing this evening?”

“You put on some clothes, and I’ll begin to teach you to cook.”

“OK,” she said and pulled the Norwegian shirt over her head.

He looked at her with a strange smile. “Afrin, why do you shave your pubic hair?”

She tried to think of the best way to put it: “Islam teaches us to shave pubic hairs regularly, which has many reasons and many benefits, especially related to health and hygiene. For the time to shave the pubic hair, it is recommended to be done regularly and not later than 40 days. I personally find it more hygienic in hot environments and easier to wash down there

“Oh,” He leaned forward and kissed her neck. They didn’t do any cooking that day and that night; he rang for a takeaway.

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