Neither Kareem nor I move. Keenly feeling the drama of the moment, I shout out, "When the beast is cornered, the hunter is in danger." The thought enters my mind to ram into his stomach with my head, and I am considering this option just as my oldest sister, Nura, takes center stage and quiets us all with her calm voice.
"Enough! This is not the manner to solve a problem." She pauses, glancing at Father and Ali. "All this shouting! The servants will hear every word. Then we are in a true dilemma."
Nura is the only female child of my father who has gained his love. Father motions for everyone to be quiet.
Kareem leads me by the arm and we return to our chairs.
Father and Ali continue to stand, both quite speechless.
Since the book's publication, I have been weakened by my fear. Now, for the first time in weeks, I feel absolutely fierce, recognizing that the last thing the men want is to turn me over to the authorities.
The meeting continues much more calmly, with serious talk of how to keep my identity a secret. We understand that there will be much talk and speculation within the kingdom as to the identity of the princess in the book. My family decides that it will be impossible for the common men of Saudi to uncover the truth, for they are outside our family circles. And there is no real danger from male relatives within the extended Al Sa'ud family, for females and their activities are carefully guarded from male view. In Father's mind, there is genuine concern regarding close female relatives, since they sometimes participate in our intimate gatherings.
There is a moment of panic as Tahani remembers that one old auntie who was closely involved in Sara's calamitous marriage and divorce is still living. Nura calms their fears by revealing that our auntie, just a few days before, had been diagnosed with a disabling brain disorder that affects the elderly. Nura says that our auntie is rarely, if ever, coherent. If by some remote chance she hears of the book, nothing she says or does would be taken seriously by her family.
Everyone breathes a sigh of relaxation.