I Am 69

bystickivicki©

This story starts on day three of my summer adventure abroad. I was visiting my favourite uncle and aunt who lives Dubai. My uncle took me shopping to The Mall of the Emirates, we spent all day chatting, shopping and browsing the fabulously expensive and extravagant stores. I had a funny feeling all day, deep inside me that someone had been following us throughout the mall, but I had been putting it out of my mind.

We made our way back to my uncle's white Mercedes Jeep that was parked on level six of the multi-story car park and packed it full with all the wonderful purchases he had bought for me. As we closed the trunk, a black Mercedes with black tinted windows passed us by very slowly before speeding off once it had passed. Another strange occurrence, on an already bizarre day that was about to get a lot more weird.

We left the multi-story car park and got onto the main stretch of road, just before the major intersection where the four roads joined into one; we heard a loud BANG come from the engine compartment. Smoke gushed from the engine as we both got out of the car to check it.

All the cars around us blasted their horns at us, and there I spotted the black Mercedes again, it slowed to a gentle stop in front of us. The driver went around and opened the back passenger door, out stepped an older Arab man dressed in a very fine dishdasha with a keffiyeh; he emerged and walked towards us as he waved his driver away.

"Oh my, you seem to be having some car trouble, yes?" he asked already knowing the answer.

I looked at my uncle then to the older man, as I frowned "Yes we are, it was fine then a loud Bang! We don't know what's wrong...Yet." I sighed as I put my hand in the engine and carried on looking for the problem.

The man looked at me quizzically, I had forgotten women are not meant to speak, let alone know anything about cars. He and my uncle wandered off and continued to speak in English and Arabic, I could understand a little of the conversation but was not entirely sure as they walked further away.

"My driver is at your disposal...he shall take you anywhere you would like. And I shall have your car repaired." he smiled as he nodded to my uncle and shook hands.

The police arrived just as I found the problem, the radiator pipe had been damaged, either accidently or on purpose, who knows. The radiator had lost all water making it explode.

"Come Claire, I'll get the bags and we can get a lift home from this nice gentleman." my uncle pulled my arm.

I did not trust this man in the black Mercedes but he was kind and helpful, I could not be disrespectful to him as he offered us a lift home and to fix my uncle's car. There was something I could not put my finger on about him, but it was there, that little piece of doubt.

"Okay, uncle." I lifted some of the bags from the jeep and placed them in the trunk of the black Mercedes as the driver closed it.

We got into the car with the older man who offered us a cool beverage after being out in the blistering heat, which I graciously accepted. An ice cold bottle of water to quench my thirst. My uncle conversed with the man as I sat across from them both and watched. The man who then introduced himself as Alaa Al Haddad, Sultan of Abu Dhabi. My uncle's face dropped and all the colour drained from it, myself I could not help but smile at him unsure what to do or how to react.

We, my uncle and I were sat in the Sultan of Abu Dhabi's car; in the presence of the Sultan! This had turned out to be a most adventurous day indeed.

My uncle was completely flabbergasted by the revelations; I was left to resume the conversational flow.

"So...you're the Sultan...Do you have a palace?" I could have slapped myself across the face, asking such a stupid question.

"Yes my dear, of course I do." He chuckled a deep loud laugh.

"Would you like to see it?" He raised an eyebrow.

"I would LOVE to." I smiled and nodded as my face flushed a deep crimson colour with my overly eager answer.

My uncle was still in shock, nodding along with the plans as the Sultan and I continued to talk about general things, the weather and such until I asked about seeing him earlier.

"It was you earlier, wasn't it? That drove passed us so slowly then sped off?" I asked as I narrowed my eyes quizzically.

"You do not hold anything back my dear, do you?" he looked at my solemnly.

A few awkward moments passed before he resumed to answer me, once he had realized I was not about to pass the subject over.

"Yes, it was I. I saw you in The Mall and wanted to make sure you got to your car safely..." he trailed off.

"We are almost home, Sultan." The driver interrupted our conversation.

I took a sip of my water, the condensation dripped of the bottom of the bottle, running down my bare chest between my ample bosom and down the deep valley of my cleavage. The Sultan sat across from me watched my every move and traced the line of the water droplet with his eyes.

The black Mercedes drove up to the palace entrance, black steel gates with the solid gold royal seal on it, the Royal Khanjar's crossing one another in a circle, the gates effortlessly opened for us.

"Ah, come my dear. I shall show you my home. David? Will you come inside?" he paused for my uncle.

"...Yes...yes Sultan." my uncle opened the car door, stepped out and held it open for The Sultan.

"After you my dear..." he smiled.

"My name is Claire...... Sultan." I shot him a half smile as I went to get out.

"I know, call me Al...Claire" he touched my hand as I clambered out the car like I was drunk.

"Okay...Al" I smiled as I stood looking at him as he gracefully emerged from the car.

We walked up the cascading mountain of marble that was the stairs, passed the identical water features on either side of the grand and lavish staircase. We strolled along a long solid marble hallway and into the entrance room which was more marble, floor to ceiling; with the most magnificent chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. It had ornate carvings in the marble walls, a huge self portrait of the Sultan on a twenty foot wall. Plush silk sofa's with matching curtains and throws cushions big enough to seat 40 comfortably.

We stopped at a double doorway that opened to reveal a huge solid wooden table; it could have been 100 feet long with at least 60 chairs. It was overflowing with fresh fruit, water, coffee, tea, confectionary, everything you could ever want and more.

"Please, help yourselves." The Sultan motioned to us.

"Thank you, Sultan." My uncle Dave stammered.

"Thank you...Al." I replied.

"You know, it feels very strange calling you Al." I said quietly.

"Well...what would you rather call me Claire?" he enquired.

"Oh no...I wasn't meaning I should get to call you anything else, I just mean everyone else is calling you Sultan and I'm calling you Al." I scrambled to explain, blushing again.

"You are very cute, when you're flustered Claire..." he laughed.

My uncle intervened by coughing to let us know he was still there.

"Well...I think it's time myself and Claire was getting home. My wife will be worried about us." he announced.

"Oh, okay. Well my driver can take you home." he snapped his fingers.

"Ramey, take Mr. Bale and Claire home."

"Yes Sultan!" he replied from nowhere.

The Sultan walked us out to the car where we said our goodbyes, thanked him for rescuing us and for a lovely afternoon at the palace. We figured that, that would be the last we would be seeing him.

A week later...

A phone call from the Mercedes dealership to say the car was ready to be picked up, worked out to be the chance meeting with the Sultan again.

My uncle was at work when we received the phone call so my aunt drove me to the dealership to pick the car up; as we approached I spotted the black Mercedes again. Butterflies fluttered deep down in the pit of my stomach.

He was here, I smiled inside.

I went inside to get the keys when I saw the Sultan, our eyes met as he was speaking to the owner of the dealership. Everything seemed to slow down; everyone seemed to be watching my every move towards the Sultan and the owner.

"Salaam aleikum, Sultan." I nodded.

"Wa aleikum as-salaam, my dear." He smirked at me and walked passed grazing my hand with his index finger.

I did not turn to follow him, I continued over to the owner to get the keys and paperwork for the car. He stopped as he realized I was not following him outside, the owner looked at me with a worried look on his face.

"Go to him..." he whispered as he handed me the keys and documentation.

I shook my head as I turned on my heels and walked out of the dealership, passing the Sultan on my way out. As I stood by his Mercedes outside, he emerged from the garage looking angry and amused.

"No one has ever disobeyed me...EVER..." he growled and smiled.

"I am not yours to control and you didn't give me any orders or ask me to follow you." I looked into his eyes as I spoke to him with a deadpan face.

He stared at me in shock; it was as if I had taken all the air from his lungs.

"Well...we'll see..." he cackled as he got into his car.

*****

My uncle and aunt had been summoned to the palace for a business meeting; it lasted all of 15 minutes if you included the security at the gate. When they returned home my aunt was so unhappy and distressed, no one would tell me what had happened or what was going on. I was kept in the dark about the whole situation that was about to erupt.

The following day I woke up early and saw my aunt sat on the foot of my bed, watching me sleep.

"What's wrong Liz?" I asked sleepily.

"He wants you! He wants to..." My aunt burst into tears as she flopped onto bed at my legs, hugging them tightly.

I eventually got her to calm down after a good crying session, hugs and a cup of tea I finally got it out of her.

I was to become his number 69.

His newest Odalisque in the Imperial harem.

I was to be sold and trained in skills he found attractive in a lover, wife and potential mother of his children. If I was a well-rounded, skilled Odalisque I would make my way up the harem hierarchy quickly, with the potential to become a Kadin, a favoured one, a wife.

The Sultan's plan and mines were two very different things altogether.

My escape plan...

He would not take no for an answer, so my only hope was to run. I would take my aunt's car, drive to the next country to try to escape his clutches. I had three choices Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Oman but which to choose...

As I rushed around trying to pack things into bags, there was loud banging at the front door.

"Don't answer it!!" I screamed to my little cousin, but it was too late.

He opened the door to reveal four army officials, there on behalf of the Sultan, there for me. As I stood at the top of the three story marble staircase, I stared down at them as ascended the stairs towards me in a hurried fashion.

I backed away from them towards my bedroom but before I could get to my door they were right in front me, they grabbed my arms and held me where I stood.

"Going somewhere, Claire?" one of the men asked.

"We shall pack the rest, sit there and do not move or speak." the same man demanded.

I was sat on the edge of my bed, I was in shock; I watched the men pack all my belonging, I was not sure what was happening.

'Where was my aunt?' I thought to myself.

Then it hit me, they sold me! ... ...No, my uncle sold me!! That is why my aunt was so upset.

That bastard!!!

Taken by the Guards...

I was taken to the palace in the back of a white Rolls Royce, with a two army vehicle entourage that carried all my belongings. We arrived at those same black steel gates that opened seamlessly again, this time I was not excited. I was fucking terrified.

The car door was opened quickly as I was grabbed by the arm, dragged from the car then practically bodily lifted up the mountainous marble stairs. I tried to fight them but it was useless and pointless, I was a woman in an Arab country; I was worth less than a goat here.

I was sat in the same lounge as I saw the first time I had visited with my uncle, the doors were locked and I was alone for the first time in my life. I was scared shitless.

Hours passed before I heard any movement; a side door opened and a woman appeared wearing a black burqa that covered her completely from head to toe. All I could make out was her pale white hands that carried in the silver tray with tea and food on it.

"Shukran..." I whispered to her.

"Your welcome Claire ...I'm Natalya..." she said before she scurried back out the door.

I drank the tea and ate most of the food, I was famished as I was taken a little before breakfast and it was now almost dinner. I heard raised voices outside the main doorway before hearing keys jingled in the lock, I sat as far back on the sofa as I could and placed a cushion on my lap as I tried to blend in with it. The Sultan stormed in as he was still yelling at the men outside the room in Arabic.

"My dear, Claire...I'm sorry you were treated in such a way..."

I could not speak, I sat staring at him as I blinked furiously with my mouth open, a little unsure of what to do or say.

"Claire...speak!" He demanded as he sat next to me, he searched my face for an answer or sign of life.

"I... I don't know what you expect me to say. You either bought me or had me kidnapped! What am I supposed to say to that?" I blurted out in a rage as I threw the pillow down beside me.

"You have been grossly misinformed, my dear. Your uncle GAVE you to me, as a gift for investing in his company. I would never try to buy you, let alone kidnap you! He told me you agreed with him about the arrangement..." he informed me.

"I was not informed at all! Your men came barging in, grabbed me and threw me around like a piece of meat! And no I am NOT in agreement with it!" I screamed at him forgetting he was the Sultan, the ruler of the land that I am a visitor in.

"I will have my driver take you home..."he said with a sad, grim look upon his face.

"Wait... If I stay, I don't want to be your whore. I want to be your wife, or like your wife." I suggested.

"Well... No one is ever that direct with me, my dear. I think that is why I like you so much. Stay, while I think it over, please?" He raised his eyebrows at my suggestion as he rubbed his chin in contemplation.

I nodded in acceptance to his offer.

A week passed...

I was treated like a princess all week, anything I wanted I was given with no questions asked; it was like a dream come true. I knew it would all come to an end eventually and it came one night that week before dinner. I received a note from the Sultan asking me to dress in formal wear for dinner that evening.

I chose to wear the blue and gold sari the Sultan had bought for me the previous day; it fit my curves perfectly and showcased my flat stomach, wide hips and heaving chest. I had my amber tresses pinned up high as I was going to wear the sapphire earrings he had given me that matched my deep blue eyes. My eye makeup was done in the style of the Egyptians, and my pale skin made somewhat paler with the hue of the blue from the sari.

As I walked into the dining room I could see the look in his eyes and on his face, he liked my outfit. It was the first time he had seen the sari on my body, and the first time he had really seen my body. He stood up, walked to my chair and pulled it out for me before sitting back down. We were alone at the table for 60 and I wondered why I had to dress formally for just the two of us.

"Claire...I have taken time to think our situation over...I have discussed it with my advisors and I have made my decision." he reached for his gold cup of water.

I sat looking at him as he paused for a drink of water to wet his pallet before he went on to tell me his decision, the decision that could change my life forever.

"As I said I've thought long and hard and I want to ask you a serious question. I want you to be my wife..." he paused seeking my reaction.

"Really...?" I squeaked.

"Of course." he said sternly.

I squealed excitedly as I bounced up and down in my chair.

"We must go through the proper courtship rituals, you must have a chaperone with you always and you must be examined by my private physician to make sure you are a virgin and that your well." he smiled wickedly as he walked towards me, kissing my head, before he walked away waving his hands at the servants as he gave out orders.

The Sultan's private physician was called to the palace that night to check that my womanhood was still intact before anything was arranged or announced. After a thorough examination I was given a certificate of purity, to prove I am still pure and a clean bill of health.

The engagement was announced to the city and within a matter of hours it had become worldwide news, I telephoned my parents first to tell them beforehand so they knew all about it before it went global.

The wedding was planned for six weeks, the invites were sent out to all the dignitaries and political allies of the Sultan from all across the world. My family and friends were being flown in from across the Atlantic a week before the wedding to be shown around and to be fitted with the proper attire for the wedding. I was having a red and gold hand stitched silk sari custom made to match the Sultan's attire for the ceremonies, he also had my jewellery specially made as a surprise for me; which I had to wait 'til the day of the wedding to see.

I spent all my time with my chaperone and the Sultans' mother Tahirah, going over details for the henna night, the ceremony, wedding party, my dress, the rings and the first time being alone with the Sultan.

*****

The day of the wedding was fast approaching, the night before was the Henna night where I would get my palms and feet decorated with Mehendi while all my female family and friends got to meet the Sultans' female family. There we would see each other for the last time before the wedding ceremony, the Sultan would come so we could be Mehendi'd together and he would offer me my mahr, my gold.

Everyone was sat around me; everyone watched and chatted as my Mehendi was being applied, enjoying the music and the company. I looked up and saw the Sultan stood in the doorway watching me as I was smiled and chatted with the women. I beamed a huge smile at him as I bowed my head towards him and winked, everyone turned to see what had made me smile so much.

"Sultan..." an echo from everyone.

"As you where ladies, it is good to see you all so relaxed. I think I shall sit next to my bride to get my Mehendi if you do not mind..." he suggested as he walked towards where I sat on the floor, before sitting next to me and touching my chin.

Everyone watched with bated breath, no one had ever seen the Sultan in this light before, he looked almost smitten.

"Come now, I do not have all day. Let's get to going." he held his hands out to the woman; she started applying the henna to his hands scrolling my initials on his palms.

I watched with a tiny smile on my face as he looked completely innocent and so peaceful, sat there surrounded by our family and friends on the eve of our wedding.

"Well...I shall see you all tomorrow. Especially you, my dear..." he said as he kissed my head, taking a deep breath; inhaling my scent.

"Tomorrow...Al." I shot him a big smile as I stared directly into his deep brown eyes.

We continued the Mehendi party until my hands and feet were complete then I was sent off to bed to get as much rest as possible; for tomorrow would be a long day, and I would not be getting any sleep tomorrow night.

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