Scandalous Ever After | Episode 2


When rivals are forced into an arranged marriage…

Sanam Sajid and Zahid Ahmad were classmates in their final year of college. Zahid was the topper, while Sanam was not even on the radar until the seventh semester.

And then, one class test put her on the map. And that led to a rivalry between the top two students. That was just the beginning of a cold war between Sanam and Zahid.

Zahid would occasionally take a jab at Sanam, but Sanam never responded. Little did they know that one casual bickering about who’s the best would end up in a forced marriage.

This is a sweet and clean romantic short story.


Sanam Sajid

The sweet no non-sense heroine

Zahid Ahmad

The slightly brat hero

Zubaida Ahmad

Zahid’s mother, an entrepreneur


Sanam’s father


Sanam’s mother


Zahid’s friend

Chapter 1 – The Subtle Rivalry

Chapter 2 – The War of Words


It was a cold January night, and Sanam was walking on the ground in front of the girls’ hostel building. The result of today’s surprise class test in Professor Deshpande’s class left her feeling drained and upset. The pressure of performing well was getting to her, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she needed to do more to ensure her success.

As she walked, her breath formed small clouds in the air. The ground was hard and icy beneath her feet, and she wished she had dressed in warmer clothes. The hostel was a large, imposing building, with tall windows and a brick exterior. It loomed over her, almost seeming to mock her with its cold, unfeeling facade.

Sanam wrapped her arms around herself, trying to ward off the chill. She had a lot on her mind, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was falling behind. She knew she had to work harder, but the thought of it made her feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Topping in Professor Deshpande’s subject was her “thing”, and today, Zahid had taken it away by scoring full marks while she lost one mark.

She sighed and looked up at the sky, which was clear and filled with stars. It was a beautiful night, but she couldn’t fully appreciate it. She had too much on her mind, and all she could think about was her studies. With a heavy heart, she turned and headed back inside, determined to do whatever it took to succeed.

Sanam walked slowly on the ground in front of the hostel building, her eyes fixed on the ground in front of her. She was deep in thought, trying to focus on her studies and ignore the mounting pressure she was feeling. As she approached the end of the ground, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread. She knew that the final semester was crucial for her future, and she needed to perform well if she wanted to secure a good job after graduation.

Sanam tried her best, but she just couldn’t shake the feeling of anxiety. She had always been a hard worker and a good student, but the competition for jobs was fierce and she couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Sanam sighed and turned again facing away from the open door of the hostel building, determined to put aside her worries and focus on her studies. She had come too far to let her fears hold her back now.


It was a cold and dark night, and Zahid was standing outside the college hostel, waiting for his friend Shehla to emerge from the hostel building. Shehla had asked Zahid to bring some notes and chocolate for her, and Zahid was too kind to refuse. He had promised to meet Shehla after dinner, and he was feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. Meeting someone at the girl’s hostel so late at night was quite thrilling.

The hostel was a large, imposing building, with tall windows and a brick exterior. It loomed over him, casting a long shadow in the dim light. Zahid shivered and pulled his coat tighter around himself, wishing he had dressed in warmer clothes.

As he waited, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. He had been in a celebratory mood since Professor Deshpande’s class. Topping his subject was a dream, defeating Sanam in Data Warehousing was the best thing that had happened to Zahid in a long time. He was looking forward to talking to Shehla and gloating some more about topping the class test. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the door to the hostel opened and a girl stepped out.

Zahid’s heart skipped a beat as he saw her. She was beautiful, with long dark hair and big, bright eyes.

Even though Zahid was expecting to see Shehla, he was surprised as he recognized the girl walking on the ground. It was Sanam, her rival in the class. He had never really paid much attention to her before, but now that he saw her in the soft glow of the streetlights, he couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was. It was the first time he had seen Sanam without her hijab covering her full head. Sanam had wrapped her hijab, but it did not hide her long dark hair completely. Zahid was smitten.

Sanam seemed to sense his gaze, and she turned to look at him. When their eyes met, Zahid felt a strange sensation in the pit of his stomach. He couldn’t quite explain it, but there was something about her that seemed to draw him in.

Zahid tried to push the feeling aside and focus on Shehla, but he couldn’t shake the sense that there was something special about Sanam. As Sanam walked towards Zahid, he found himself stealing glances at her, wondering if there was more to her than he had ever realized.

Zahid waved at Sanam, and to his delight, she smiled and waved back. They walked towards each other, and soon they were standing face to face.

“Hey, Sanam,” Zahid said, trying to sound casual. “How’s it going?”

“Hey, Zahid,” Sanam replied. “I’m doing okay. How about you?”

“I’m good,” Zahid said. “Listen, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something.”

“What’s up?” Sanam asked, looking curious.

“Well, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you didn’t top the class test,” Zahid said. “I guess you are losing your touch now… I’ve just been really busy with my studies, and I haven’t had much time to hang out with anyone… And…”

“Yeah, you are not sorry,” Sanam said interrupting Zahid’s wallowing. “We are working hard, and we are all busy with our studies.”

“I know, but I still feel bad,” Zahid smirked.


“I am feeling the lowest already. I don’t need you to instigate me further,” Sanam said in a sad voice.

“Is that so?” Zahid quirked one of his brows. “How have you been doing? How does it feel to come in second?”

“I don’t lose my sleep over a test,” Sanam said, trying to play it cool.

“Come on, don’t be modest,” Zahid said, teasing her. “I know you must be bummed. You always do so well in Professor Deshpande’s class. What changed? Didn’t you study?”

“Well, I study as much as I always do. I was confused about one answer and went with my gut instead of following the logic, and that’s where I lost one mark,” Sanam admitted. “I also thought that nobody could beat me in Professor Deshpande’s class, but I still have a long way to go before I’m where I want to be.”

Something in Sanam’s tone moved Zahid. He got serious

“Hey… Don’t fret about it,” Zahid said. “I understand that sometimes we are all confused. And I also understand that you are upset about losing that one mark and especially about coming in the second position. But you should still be proud of yourself. You’re one of the smartest people I know.”

“Thanks,” Sanam said, blushing slightly. “That means a lot coming from you.”

“I mean it,” Zahid said. “You’re always so focused and driven. It’s inspiring.”

“Thanks,” Sanam said, smiling. “I appreciate that. But enough about me. How do you feel about beating me for the first time?” she asked. Zahid could sense that she was just being a bit playful.

“It feels pretty awesome!” Zahid smiled. He knew it was just a friendly argument about who was the better student.

“Come on, Zahid, you know I’m the better student,” Sanam said, teasing him. “I always get the highest grades in Professor Deshpande’s class.”

“Well, I may not have the highest grades in Professor Deshpande’s class, but I’m a better overall student,” Zahid countered. “I’m more well-rounded and I have a better understanding of the material.”

“Oh please,” Sanam said, rolling her eyes. “You’re just trying to make yourself feel better. I’m the one who’s always putting in extra time to study and make sure I understand everything.”

“That’s because you’re a girl, and girls just mug up the material without understanding it,” Zahid said, laughing.

That infuriated Sanam to no limit, but she controlled her temper.

“That’s right. Whatever the reasons, I beat you in Professor Deshpande’s subjects until now…” she said with a sweet smile.

Zahid sensed that the argument was becoming more feisty and less friendly, so he quickly changed her stance.

“Seriously, I think we both have our strengths and weaknesses. You may excel in some areas, but I have my own talents too,” he said tooting his own horn.

“I suppose you’re right,” Sanam said, conceding the point. “We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It’s what makes us unique.”

“Exactly,” Zahid said. “We shouldn’t try to compete with each other. We should just focus on doing our best and supporting each other.”

“You’re right,” Sanam said, feeling a sudden wave of affection for Zahid. “I’m glad we’re past that bitterness.”

“Me too,” Zahid said, smiling. “I wouldn’t mind sharing my notes with you… Together, we can create a new record of scoring full marks… we can be there for each other, no matter what.”

Just as Sanam and Zahid were having their heart-to-heart, the door to the hostel suddenly swung open, and the warden stepped out. She was an older woman with a stern expression. She saw them together and immediately saw an opportunity to assert her authority—a boy at the girl’s hostel so late in the night, she could report them to the higher authorities.

“What are you two doing here?” the warden asked, her voice laced with suspicion.

“We were just talking,” Zahid said, trying to sound casual. “I came here to give her these notes and a little token of our friendship,” Zahid added and showed the notes and the chocolate in the shopper bag that he was holding.

Sanam glared at Zahid. The notes and the chocolate were for Shehla, and Zahid had embroiled her in a risky situation. The warden gave Sanam a once-over as if judging her hijab-clad personality.

“This is the girls’ hostel, young man,” the warden said sternly. “You have no business being here at this hour.”

“We’re classmates and we are only discussing our class test,” Sanam said, trying to defend them. “We didn’t mean any harm.”

“That may be, but the rules are the rules,” the warden said. “I’m going to have to report this to the higher authorities. You two should go home and get some rest.”

Sanam and Zahid looked at each other, feeling embarrassed and ashamed. They had never meant to cause any trouble, but now they were in hot water. Sanam apologized to the warden and quickly made her way back to her room. Zahid, on the other hand, jogged to his car and drove, promising himself to be more careful in the future.  



You can read the complete story here

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Shabana Mukhtar