Preeti woke up to the noise outside her room. She was initially disoriented but soon realised where she was. The previous evening came flooding back and now completely woke her up. She had a disturbed sleep last night thanks to the man with brown eyes who had stolen her heart and he was now Rewa didi’s fiancé? What the hell? The only man she ever trusted with her body, heart and soul and he just trampled over her? Like she was nothing more than a doormat? Tears fell from her swollen eyes. She jerked them away. She wouldn’t cry over an asshole…a …a douche-bag… But instead of hating him, she was hurting…just plain hurting. She clutched her chest as the pain was getting too much to bear. She closed her eyes as if it would remove her memories of last evening. But instead she saw his face staring into her eyes as they came together…
She freshened up and changed into her lavender coloured salwaar kameez . Her hair was wet from the shower and she hadn’t carried her hair drier. So she let it fall into its natural curls and walked downstairs. The family had gathered around the dining table. Only Rewa didi was conspicuous by her absence. As usual everyone was silently eating. She saw the breakfast spread on the table. All her favourite Pyaaz Kachori, Bajra roti, lahsun chutney and sweetened curd… her mouth was watering. She hadn’t eaten since the horrible airport lounge lunch in Jaipur. Maasa gestured to her with her frail old hands and she saw a chair was vacant next to her. Preeti nodded to her father who only slightly nodded back. She then took the chair and served herself. The food was heaven as it melted in her mouth bursting with the varied spices. This was definitely prepared by Budia Kaki…God bless her. How she missed the food all these years when she was away…
The breakfast time was pretty stress free as maasa asked her about her life in Mumbai and she gave subtle hints about her work. Most of it was true. She didn’t have a social life as such in Mumbai. Yash asked her about her work and she gave him tit bits which he heard with interest. Her father and uncle finished their breakfast and Yash too left a few minutes after. Once maasa was done Sita came to the dining table and wheeled her away to her room.
Her mother and tayiji commented about her becoming too thin and hair quality not so good after she had left Alwar. She couldn’t wait before she asked them, “Where is Rewa didi?”
Her tayiji shrugged and said, “She is in her room on the phone with Vikram. Ever since he has been here they have been chatting so much. God knows what they discuss so much. But good in a way…” She sighed as she continued. “…First the girl was not ready to get married. Imagine turning down such a good alliance… who would have married her when she is almost 30? By God’s grace Vikram came along… One meet and she was ready. Thank Mataji…” She joined her hands in a little prayer. Her mother too nodded and joined her hands.
Preeti couldn’t make out what was happening. It was like she was in a nightmare and waiting to be woken up. But she sipped her tea which was very hot and it was a realisation that she was anything but dreaming. Just then Rewa came jumping down the stairs. She was dressed in a beautiful blue salwar kameez and her trademark style of draping the dupatta around her shoulders. It was then she realised Rewa didi was so beautiful. She had missed seeing this aspect of her. Was that the reason Gautam was attracted towards Rewa didi? But as far as she had known him, he wasn’t a shallow person. She couldn’t be such a bad judge of character, could she?
“Ma, I am going out with Vikram later today. We will get back late… um Preeti why don’t you come along. You have been away from Alwar for so long. You can catch up as well….” She said excitedly.
Preeti was in no mood to go but her tayiji said, “Yes Preeti. You should go. I am not comfortable sending her alone before marriage with a guy…even if he is her fiancé. Your Tayaji may not like it as well.” She touched Preeti’s arm on the table and looked at her with earnest eyes and she couldn’t refuse.
Rewa rushed back to her room and didn’t emerge till it was about 4PM and it was time for them to leave. Vikram had promised to send the vehicle to take them to his office and from there they were to leave for an undisclosed location. Preeti got some office work done but all the time she felt low and upset. She didn’t know how she could face him again after what had happened yesterday. But then, he hadn’t committed anything to her isn’t it? Theirs was meant to be a purely physical relationship. So in a way he hadn’t cheated her. But then why did he change his name? What was he doing in Bhivadi acquainting with her family? Why the masquerade?
She got ready to join Rewa at the round foyer of their Haweli. She was dressed in a long orange chiffon skirt and long white full sleeved silk blouse. Rewa lent her a pair of new leather chappals since her pumps were ruined in the flood back in Mumbai. She had put on minimal make up and met up with Rewa. Rewa seemed lost in thought. Seeing that there was no one around, she whispered, “what’s happening Rewa? Are you nuts or something?”
Rewa looked at her frowning, “why? What happened, Preeti?”
“All this engagement…till a couple of days back you were dead against the alliance claiming you loved Suyash…now what?”
“I am happy Preeti…just happy OK? Don’t talk about Suyash please. Vikramji…he makes me happy… that’s it.” Saying she looked away and before Preeti could ask her anything else the vehicle arrived to pick them up. The rest of the ride was in silence. The pot of confusion in Preeti’s mind overflowing all the way. Should she tell Rewa about Gautam and herself? About their so-called affair?
After about half an hour, they reached a bungalow surrounded by lush trees and bushes. It didn’t look like any office. The car took them straight through the drive way and as soon as the car stopped at the bungalow’s entrance Rewa opened the door on her side and rushed out. Preeti was still blank and before she could react her side of the door was opened by the driver and he stood bending his head. She thanked him and got out and walked towards the house where Rewa had disappeared. The driver drove away. Preeti stood all alone at the entrance of the house not knowing what to do next. The entrance door was open so she stepped inside.
It was a long passage which opened into a drawing room at the end. The passage lights were off. What was she doing here? It looked haunted with no one in sight. Where was Rewa didi? Suddenly as she took a step towards the drawing room a hand shut her mouth and pulled her inside a closet, shutting the door. Preeti was scared out of her wits and struggled in the dark. The light was flicked on and she before she heard him she knew it was him. “Shhh…it’s me. Don’t get scared …”
She shrugged his hands away adjusting her eyes to the extra bright light. He stood leaning towards her his hands on either side of her head. His face dangerously close…
“Aren’t you ashamed mister…whoever you are… ? My sister who happens to be your FIANCE is out there and you are…” She raised her hands to push him away but it was as if she was touching the wall of stone. He was in his black t shirt and black jeans.
He shook his head. “I had warned you against returning to Alwar. Why did you come Preeti?”
“Oh…warned me, is it? Just so that you can sleep around and fool everyone into marrying a docile lady, like my sister who would look the other way and ignore your indiscretion?” she started to raise her voice.
“Watch out what you speak Preeti…I haven’t cheated anyone…”
“…Cut the crap… I don’t want to talk to you anymore. It doesn’t… doesn’t make any difference to me what you do… Just let me go…” He voice cracked at the end of the sentence.
He palmed her cheek and rubbed his rough thumb on her cheekbone, she reflexively leaned against it, her tears now flowing freely. He leaned forward and captured her lips. The world faded away… everything faded into oblivion. What mattered was that he was here and he wanted her. She knew it from the bulge rubbing against her. She kissed him back with the same fervour as if her life depended on him… He held her hips and pulled her towards him grinding his erection to her core. She held his shoulders as he lifted her and carried her to the bedding lying in the corner of the closet. He dropped her and fell on her taking her lips again, his hands fondling her breasts through the blouse. He moved his hands down and swiftly raised his hands through her skirt and tore off her panties. She gasped but didn’t push him away. Instead she pulled his head closer to feel him. She heard him open the belt buckle and pull the zipper of his pant and in the next second felt his hard arousal at her apex. Before she could react to that he thrust inside her…with intensity she had never seen before. He rocked back and forth with a pace claiming her like a man possessed. She had never seen him lose control like he did now. That itself started the wave inside her belly. As he moved increasing his pace she rotated her hips and he grunted into her mouth and fondled her tits. She couldn’t take it any longer and screamed into his mouth as the room around her rocked and she saw stars. He followed her soon after screaming her name and pumping his release inside her womanhood.
They held each other tightly… He was still inside her, his head buried in her neck as he balance his body on his arms and she holding him around his shoulders and kissing them. As they slowly descended from the pleasure peak, realisation sunk in. She released her arms and legs and started to move away… She stood on wobbly legs and finding her torn panty used it to clean the liquid flowing between her legs. He gave her a fresh towel from the rack and she cleaned herself.
She shook her head and said “this…this is not right… We can’t do this again…”
“…No…don’t say anything…please… I can’t take all this anymore. I will leave for Mumbai as soon as possible. I…I am cutting all my ties with you…” Tears streamed down her cheeks and she raised her palm to stop him as he started towards her. “… You should go and find Rewa didi. I am … I will go home… book a cab…”
“… you aren’t going to find a cab here Preeti… please wait for dinner…” He said in a neutral tone.
Preeti looked at him as if he had grown two horns. “Are you… crazy? How can you be so cool about… all this? I am going….”
She turned around to reach the closet door when he pulled her back towards his chest and held her tightly. She struggled for a moment before giving up. She hunched resigned to her feelings. She loved it in his arms… He kissed her on the back of her head and her neck, then moving towards her ears whispered in a voice that sent shivers in her body which was still shaking from what they shared earlier. “Don’t you dare leave like this… I had warned you not to come here. But now that you have, you can’t just leave…”
Her temper rose at his audacity. She struggled to free herself from his hold which she loved just moments earlier.
“Don’t fight me dear…” He continued in her ears tightening his hold. “… I have missed you like hell. Missed this warm softness… I want to claim you all over again…”
She was sobbing as she said, “…In your dreams asshole… I hate the very sight of you… Just…let…me… GO…”
He released her with a chuckle and she rushed towards the door, opening it and straightening her clothes. What if Rewa saw her like that? She picked up her purse which she had dropped when he had pulled her inside the closet and took out her little vanity pack. She went to the nearest washroom and locked herself in. She took a moment to compose herself. She touched up on her make-up and attempted to straighten her unruly hair. She hoped her clothes weren’t creased beyond repair… She then walked towards the drawing room. She didn’t wait to check if he had left the closet as well.
She had made her decision. She was leaving for Mumbai at the earliest and she wouldn’t return for the wedding as well. As she walked towards the drawing room she heard something breaking and realised it was her heart shattering into tiny zillion pieces. She only hoped she had the courage to pick up the pieces…
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