Introduction.

Haverly Close was like any other middle class dwelling, neat lawns; neat buildings and neat families. Plus the mandatory twitching curtains no Asian neighbourhood was complete without.

' It will be our little secret' said mum. ' No one else will know the truth Rasoul just leave everything to me'.

I watched my mother reasoning away my actions, mistakes that could be brushed under the carpet. Consoling herself more than either her husband or daughter. The immaculate Hayat reputation still intact. No aunties or bhabis looking down on the prestige she held so dear.

' But she will be showing in a few weeks Bibi. A swollen belly cannot be hidden forever', my father spoke almost in a monotonous tone.

He was not shouting or screaming Rasoul Hayat spoke in calm measured tones. As the epitome of traditional asian values he was formidable. The round friendly face belying the ferocious anger within.

' We must abort the child if we want to stand a chance of surviving her shame', it was spoken as a statement not a request.

Bibi watched her husband of thirty two years, the anger bubbling inside her barely contained. Abortion! did the fool of a man think that she Shah Bano was retarded, getting rid of a five month foetus. The little whore had planned their fall from grace with great precision. Timed perfectly for when noor would be safely from the grasp of both parents. Too bad the ungrateful bitch had the rug pulled out from under her feet.

' A major procedure like that would damage her, and what good would a banj daughter do us'. Bibi spoke deliberately in calming tones. She'd be damned if her husband beat her over Noor.

It was like a blur mom and dad screaming at each other, almost forgetting their heavily pregnant daughter was there. The baby inside upset with all the stress she and her mother were being forced to endure. Noor got up and headed for her bedroom on auto pilot. No one stopped her as the outside world was more dangerous then the fiends she could not escape.

' Everything should have been different today', Noor complained to the walls. The posters and foreign landscapes refusing to answer.

All of a sudden the entire house seemed to suffocate her. It seemed as if a invisible force had a vice like grip on her head, the pressure increasing every second . The desire to lash out and take actin was intense. But there was also fear, what if I screw up? which path is correct? Will I make the wrong choices?

The baby inside her demanded certainty. However, their was no reassurance to come. Shah Bano who only ever looked at her with disgust would never let her granddaughter breath oxygen. Death seemed like the easy option now self pity overpowering her. But like the coward Noor Hayat was she leaned on the mountain of cushions and let sleep take her instead .