PW #341: Young Adult LGBT Contemporary: LOVE, CHAI & CONFESSIONS


Mentor: Natasha Neagle
Mentee: Sabina Khan
Category: Young Adult
Genre:  LGBT Contemporary
Word Count: 83,000


When seventeen-year-old Rukhsana is caught kissing her girlfriend, her conservative Muslim parents whisk her off to Bangladesh in the middle of her senior year. Desperate to safeguard their honor, they arrange her marriage. Now, separated from her girlfriend by thousands of miles and surrounded by family who can’t know the truth, she must fight her way back to love and freedom.


Fragrant tendrils of cinnamon and cardamom tickled my nose as I cradled a warm cup of chai. I inhaled deeply allowing the warmth to seep through me.

I’d better savor this moment.

The second hand on the enormous wall clock above the doorway ticked away, blissfully oblivious to the drama about to unfold right in front of it. It was almost five o’clock, almost time for me to get ready for the party tonight. I couldn’t wait to be with Ariana again, to hold her and feel her soft lips on mine. But first I had to convince Mom to let me leave the house. She walked out of the study after her Asr prayer, absent-mindedly rolling up her prayer rug as she walked into the kitchen.

I took a long sip of my tea before placing the cup on the kitchen counter. “Mom, don’t forget, I’m going to Jen’s house in a little bit.”

She removed her head scarf and draped it over the back of a chair.

“Again?” she asked, deepening the worry lines on her forehead. “Why, Rukhsana? You just went the other day.” She poured herself a cup of chai and took a careful sip before returning her gaze to me.

Fear clenched my heart. Was she suspicious? She couldn’t possibly know about Ariana and me. We were so careful. But what if…

But I wouldn’t let myself think of that.    

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