Parts of Desire Ch. 02
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This is the beginning of a series written as a follow-up to my story Parts of Desire. I believe the new chapters will work collectively as a standalone, though they’ll make more sense if you read the original story (now Chapter 1) first.
Thanks to Ravenna933 for serving as my editor. Every one of her suggestions made this story stronger.
I felt the g-forces pressing me back in my seat as the Emirates A380 gradually lumbered up to takeoff speed. Out the window, the lights of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport reflected in the freshly fallen snow as the superjumbo gained velocity before rearing back and gently climbing into the night sky.
A year ago, I had fallen head over heels for a Saudi exchange student named Rania Al-Badawi. We had started as accidental roommates forced to coexist in secret while she completed primary research as a visiting student at the local university, before developing a relationship that started as lust and escalated into what felt like it was turning into more. The last few weeks we shared together, in my apartment in the college town where we had lived, were a whirlwind of cuddling and romance and twice-daily sexual encounters, though never proceeding all the way to intercourse. And then, a week before Christmas, her three months in Canada were over, and she was on a plane back to Riyadh. We’d spent our last night together in tears, and the next morning I’d dropped her at the same airport for her flight back home, but our goodbye was muted, a victim of decorum in a world that still enforced certain rules on Arab women, particularly when surrounded by her countrymen in the departures area of a flight to the Middle East.
And that, I thought, had been that. We talked to each other daily over the next month, but with the social pressure to keep our relationship secret, Rania had asked before she left that we not put anything in writing that could incriminate her if anyone were to read her email. I’d respected her wishes, but it meant that the fire had quickly left our relationship, even as we kept the correspondence going. For a year she had kept me up to date on her progression through her Master of Education program, but we existed more as penpals than as a long-distance couple. Even our Skype dates wound up being chaste affairs, with neither of us hinting at being anything more than friends and colleagues.
I’d tried to work through the feelings of separation and loss while still caring deeply for her and not being able to tell her. I went to my job, hung out with friends, and moped. Breaking up with my previous long-term girlfriend and getting out of a long-dying relationship had felt at the time like a breath of fresh air, but this breakup sucked. As the year went on, I dated a little bit, and even had a booty-call relationship of two months or so with a woman I met online, but I couldn’t get Rania out of my mind, and I certainly hadn’t felt like I was over her. We were ten years apart and culturally even farther, but the heart wants what it wants, and while I had tried to move on, I found myself still pining for her every day. Worst of all, I had no way of asking her if she felt the same — I certainly wasn’t going to put that in writing to her, and for all I knew she just considered me a fling, the guy she’d learned about hetero sex with during a “When in Rome” period of her life.
Then, out of nowhere, one day in December, a year after our original parting, I got an email from her. In the middle of a long string of updates about her academics and family, the line stood out like a flashing beacon:
I should be done my M.Ed. by early January, and in celebration my parents are sending my friend Khadija and I on a week’s trip to Muscat in mid-February. If you were going to be in the area, we could maybe discuss my latest research in person there? I know you can’t get a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia as you’re not Muslim, but if you could get to Oman we’d have a reason to see each other again. I would enjoy that very much.
Immediately upon reading those lines, thoughts of all else were forgotten, and I spent the next few hours doing travel research. I had the money saved, I had vacation time available, and before I even really knew what I was doing or how I was going to meet up with Rania, I had a plane ticket booked to a country that I’d never even heard of a few hours previously.
The details of my visiting her were hard to nail down, given her need to keep up the appearance that we were only fellow students meeting up for research purposes. The more looking I did into travel tips for the Arabian Peninsula, the more I realized how daunting the obstacles were in front of us. As an unmarried man, I was not allowed to book a hotel room there with an unmarried woman I was not related to, and my pasty mid-winter white skin and light hair was not going to convince anyone that I was Rania’s brother. Even going out in public seemed like it might be a challenge, and bursa escort it might lead to strangers judging us. But every time I started thinking about the obstacles to being with Rania, I realized that no matter what else happened, I was going to get to see her again, and that thought had me walking on air as I eagerly counted down the days to my departure.
The mid-winter cloud cover meant that the twelve-hour flight to Dubai was more-or-less spent in sensory deprivation. Emirates’ food was excellent, and the seat-back entertainment system had a surprising number of new movies available to watch, but mostly I tried to sleep. About forty minutes before landing, the cloud cover finally broke open without warning, and I saw the Persian Gulf and the twinkling lights of seaside Iranian towns out my window as the sun set. I’d never been this far from home before, and I was mesmerized by the supertankers floating off shore and the endless sand and rolling hills off in the distance. The massive airplane descended, and as we made the turn to line up with the runway, I saw the lights of Dubai for the first time, with low boxy houses in the foreground and massive illuminated skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, in the middle distance. Then, after an entire day’s worth of travel, suddenly we were on the ground. We’d seen the sun rise and set from the airplane as we flew nine time zones to the east; my Friday night through Saturday night was spent entirely in the air. We landed just after dark on Saturday night in Dubai, though my internal clock still registered it as lunch time.
Dubai Airport was quite possibly the most impressive building I’d ever been in, reminding me of the Citadel from the Mass Effect video game series. In the main shopping concourse, you couldn’t even tell you were in an airport, as the gates were far off to the sides beyond shops catering to an oil-rich lifestyle. Gucci, Prada, Fendi, a place selling souvenir camels and magic lamps, an enormous duty-free store. The place felt like the crossroads of the galaxy, with people from all over the world in all kinds of dress — businessmen in suits, all varieties of Arab and African and Indian traditional dress, casually-dressed tourists like me. All signs were in English and Arabic, thankfully, as I didn’t have a huge amount of time to make my connecting flight to Muscat.
In what felt like no time at all, I was once again on a wide-body airplane for the fifty-minute flight to the Omani capital. It was now night in the desert, and there was blackness as far as I could see out the window; the horizon invisible between (I assumed) desert and sky. Only occasionally could a line of street lamps be seen stretching across the desert in a flat, straight line, illuminating a route that seemed empty of travellers. And as soon as we’d gotten to cruising altitude, we suddenly were descending again, and I was on the ground in another country, wandering in a sleep-deprived daze through immigration in an old, tired airport terminal and then out into the night. It was my first time outside since leaving the bitter cold in Toronto, and to my immense pleasure, the night was warm, with a slight breeze. I picked up the Toyota Land Cruiser 4X4 that Rania had asked me to rent, drove to the nearby hotel she’d instructed me to book, and then collapsed into bed.
I slept for countless hours. When I finally awoke, disoriented, mid-morning light streaming in through the blinds, I looked around at my surroundings, a completely generic hotel room that could have been anywhere in the world. I pulled out my phone, still laying in bed, and connected to the hotel wifi. An email from Rania popped up as soon as I was connected.
Ryan — we’re in room 324. Feel free to come knock on our door. Make sure the coast is clear before knocking. Rania
I quickly had a shower, threw on some fresh clothes, and made my way down the hall. The hall was empty of people, thankfully, and nervously I knocked at the door.
It had been over a year since I’d seen her, but it all flooded back in an instant — her olive face, delicate features, the scent of the perfume she always wore. Rania smiled at me, wordlessly, wearing the black headscarf and familiar black abeya robes meant for public display, and motioned hurriedly for me to come into the room. I did, and as soon as the door slammed shut, she leapt into my arms, wrapping her legs around me and kissing me like there was no tomorrow. I could feel the pent-up emotion bubbling through me as I kissed her, my arms struggling to hold her up by her bottom as my knees weakened. I could feel my cock come to life in my pants as I ran my fingers through her hair, dislodging the scarf as I did so.
At some length, she finally disengaged. “Hello Ryan, or saalam alaikum as we say here. I’ve missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you too. I have so many things that I need to say to you.”
“Well…” Rania started, then turned bursa merkez escort her eyes deeper into the room. For the first time, I noticed another woman standing there, seemingly trying to disappear into the floorboards with an uncomfortable look on her face. It was hard to get a sense of what she looked like in the shapeless Arab dress she had on, but I could tell she was heavier than Rania, though not overweight, with a pleasant round face and dark, expressionless eyes giving no hints as to what she was thinking. “This is my best friend Khadija”, Rania introduced, pronouncing the name with the Arabic glottal ‘Kh’ sound, so that the name came out to my ears like ‘ha-DEE-ah’. “Khadija, meet Ryan.”
“Pleased to meet you”, I said, feeling awkward.
“You as well”, the girl spoke.
“We’re almost ready to go, but Khadija still needs to have a shower”, Rania said as Khadija resumed rummaging through her suitcase, pulling out clothes and toiletries. Presently, she walked towards the bathroom and closed the door. As soon as the door closed, Rania attacked. She pushed me down on the bed aggressively, hiked up her robes, and dropped her panties from under them, then climbed on me, straddling me as she started undoing my fly.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked her as I heard the water turn on in the bathroom. “What about your friend?”
“I’ll explain later”, Rania said, out of breath. “But the short version is, you know how I mentioned I had a special friend that I sometimes, you know, fooled around with?”
“Of course,” I answered, remembering how Rania had told me that, given that casual sex between the sexes was forbidden in Saudi Arabia, occasional gay and lesbian hookups of convenience happened.
“Khadija is that friend. I have a lot to tell you about her and about the plan for this trip, if you’re up for it. But for right now I need to cum on your penis again. It’s been a year and I’ve really missed it.”
With that she released it from my jeans, and then lowered herself against it. I could feel her wetness instantly coat the underside of my cock as she started grinding against it in rhythm, without penetrating.
In less than a minute, I could feel Rania’s body start to shake, the familiar sign that she was close to an orgasm. I lay back and watched her using me as a sex toy as she stifled a moan and exploded, quaking violently, then collapsed into my arms, still lying on top of me. I felt her hot breath panting in my ear as memories flooded back to me — how she alternated between dominant and submissive, how full of life and expression her lovemaking was, how quickly and easily she reached orgasm the first time.
As she caught her breath, she pulled up and stared into my eyes, face flushed with exertion. “Ryan, I didn’t say this to you last year because I didn’t have the experience to understand what I was feeling. But a lot has happened in the last year, and I’ve given this endless thought, and I want you to know this: I love you.”
“I love you too, Rania”, I said. “I’ve missed you so much.”
The look on Rania’s face was pure relief. “I was so nervous telling you that. You’ll have to tell me if that’s normal too. Your guidance on how dating and relationships work has been life-changing for me and I have so much I need to talk to you about. There has been so much that I haven’t been able to tell you. But first, I want you to cum too.” With that she took my cock in hand and started stroking with the expert touch I had taught her the previous year.
I was starting to get close when I heard the shower shut off. “Do we have to stop?” I asked Rania.
“We probably should”, she responded. “Khadija isn’t your typical Arabic woman, any more than I am. She is the only person in all of Arabia who knows the entire truth about you, and about us. But this isn’t the best introduction.”
With great reluctance I tucked my erection back into my jeans as Rania smoothed out her robes and pulled her panties back on. In a few moments Khadija re-emerged, wearing the black abeya robe, but surprisingly, not a headscarf. She had long dark frizzy hair that was hanging damp down her back, just past her shoulder blades. Now that I could see her entire face, at first glance she was more cute than beautiful, with black eyes, a bigger Roman-style nose and a dimpled smile. Her skin tone was noticeably a shade or two darker than Rania’s, brown sugar to her friend’s milky tea complexion.
“Ryan, I need to discuss some ground rules with you before we go out and sightsee”, Rania said. She took a seat on the bed with Khadija and I helped myself to a chair.
“First of all”, she began, “Oman isn’t Saudi Arabia. At home, two Arab women in public with a Western man wouldn’t be acceptable unless he was employed by her as a driver or something. Oman is far more tolerant. The people here follow a different form of Islam than the rest of the Muslim world. They’re conservative, but the bursa sınırsız escort only way they’ve survived over the past fifteen hundred years is by not getting involved in the Sunni-Shia battles that have consumed Islam since the beginning. As a result, Oman is pretty accepting of pretty much whatever, within reason. There are more women in medicine, law, government, etc. here than anywhere else in the Arab world. It is a friendly, tolerant country.
“But there are still a few rules that are going to be different from back in Canada. No one should give us any trouble sightseeing together; we could be work colleagues or something, as there are a lot of expats working here. But no public displays of affection, and anywhere we go, we have to be in separate hotel rooms. That doesn’t mean that we can’t see each other after dark or have fun, just, no holding hands or anything. Even in Oman, there’s no Western-style dating, and Muslim women are forbidden from marrying non-Muslim men.”
“Though not the other way around”, Khadija added, rolling her eyes. “It’s only us that need protection, or lack free will.”
“So basically, we just have to cover ourselves here”, Rania continued. “But we should be fine sightseeing together.”
Both women started to dress for public consumption. “Did you rent the Land Cruiser?” Rania asked.
“Good, go pick it up and we’ll meet you at the front of the hotel after we’ve both checked out”, she answered.
I left the room, quickly packed up my suitcase and took the stairs down, checked out, and helped myself to a small cup of cardamom-scented Omani coffee and a few dates on a tray by the door. Oh, my goodness. I’d never had dates that fresh before, and they tasted heavenly.
As I walked out into the sunshine, warmth overtook me. It was sunny and warm but not hot, probably 26 or 27 degrees Celsius, lightly humid, with a few fluffy white clouds dotting the sky. I had to remind myself it was February. We were staying for the first night in an airport hotel out in the suburbs of Muscat, some 30 miles from downtown. The view in front of me was one I was unprepared for, having not really been awake enough the previous night to take it all in. Rows of buildings, each about three storeys high and painted various shades of white, cream and tan, dotted the horizon. Each was surrounded by an outside retaining wall and an ornate gate, each one individual to the house, some wrought iron, some painted with decorative scenes or tilework. Palm trees swayed in the warm, gentle breeze. On the horizon I could see the dome and minarets of an enormous mosque, the only building visible taller than four or five storeys, and beyond that, layers of mountains, jagged, brown, imposing. My mental image of Arabia included the Aladdin-style buildings and palm trees, but also mile after endless flat mile of rolling sand dunes. There was no sand here, and who knew there were mountains?
In short order the girls appeared, stowing what seemed like an unusually large amount of luggage in the cargo area. Once secure, we piled together into the Land Cruiser. Rania had told me by email that she was planning the entire trip, so I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. She directed me onto the highway, and we started driving east, towards the city.
“So what’s the plan for today?” I asked.
“First, we’re going to see Muscat”, she answered. “Khadija has been here once before and has a girlfriend she’s meeting for lunch downtown, but I’ve never been either, so once we drop her off we’re going to start with the Sultan’s Palace and the National Museum. Then the souq reopens at 4:00 and we can go shopping together. That should cover us until suppertime.”
As we drove, I finally gathered the courage to ask the question that had been on my mind since Rania left Canada more than a year previously, the one question that had been mentally holding me back from falling in love with her hopelessly and completely. “What about your fiancé?”
“Fiancé?” Khadija asked with a start, glaring at Rania. “You don’t tell your best friend these things?”
Rania looked crestfallen, sitting quietly for a few moments before speaking. “Ryan, I owe you an apology.”
I sat, waiting, unsure what to think.
“We spoke of my engagement the first day I was in Canada”, Rania started, looking out the window at the passing homes and businesses. “I was disoriented, full of culture shock, in a strange place where I knew no one, and in a situation where, if it had been an Arab man, he would have thought it was an invitation to take advantage of me. I was scared to death of being in your apartment, because all I had ever known was the culture that I grew up with, and my mother’s warnings not to ever put myself into a situation like that. So, I told a lie, hoping that being engaged, and invoking the name of my father as matchmaker, would dissuade you from taking advantage of me. It took me a month to start to feel comfortable around you, and to realize that life in Canada wasn’t like what I was used to, and that you were a good man that wouldn’t have done that anyway. I probably should have realized it earlier, but it took me time to overcome my culture and the way I was raised.
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