“Preeti…wake up dear… Preeti…”
Someone was shaking her from a delightful sleep. Oh God why can’t they let a girl enjoy her beauty sleep?
She opened an eye and saw Gautam hovering over her with a frown on his forehead his eyes narrowed. “Wh…whaaat?” she drawled in her early morning voice. She had slept like a log after over three days and what was the time? She looked around and sat up on the bed. It was then she saw her shredded top lying on the floor and the earlier nights events flashed before her eyes. She held her palm to her mouth and with eyes wide looked at him. He was standing in only his boxers and hands on his hips.
“Um… What is the time?” She purred.
“Its 5AM… You have to go to the adjoining bedroom. I have got it ready. Kept some clothes for you as well….”
She rubbed her hand over her face all confused. “What…what are you saying?”
“Peeti… you can’t be seen in this room…in MY room. Got it?” he spoke as if annoyed.
“Why? Why… are you ashamed of me? Or are you scared that Rewa didi will see that you are two timing her?” She stood clenching the bed sheet around her.
“Cut the crap Preeti and do as you are told.”
“No…I won’t… I refuse to be treated like a doormat. You have been doing just that right from Mumbai…”
“..Shut up Preeti and go to the other room. I have to wake up Rewa as well before the housekeeper comes in at 6.30AM.”
Tears welled up as she tried to control her anger. “I will not go anywhere from here unless you answer my question” She stood firm
“What is it Preeti?” He spoke clenching his teeth.
“Why?” She asked softly.
“What?” He looked at her confusion written on his face.
“Stop acting Gautam or Vikram or whatever your name is…I am tired of this charade. I just want to know why you… did what you did. Why did you seduce me last evening when … you’re engaged to Rewa didi…?”
“…Haa look who is talking… Was it one-sided? You were in it too isn’t it? So stop playing the victim card and get out of this room…” He looked away his jaw twitching like it did when he was angry.
Preeti was stunned to hear his words. She wiped away her tears and holding the sheet close ran out of the room. She went to the adjoining bedroom where she saw a pair of jeans and a short kurta with matching pair of inner garments laid on the bed. She ran to the attached bathroom and showered trying to scrub away his touch…his feel on her. But what would she do to erase him from her mind and soul?
She was finding it difficult to stop the tears even after half an hour of showering and lying on the bed fully clothed. The memories from Mumbai kept creeping in so did the ones from twelve years ago. But instead of the actual incident she was only remembering him saving her, probably as her coulnsellor had once said that she had to compartmentalise the memories. Separate the good from the bad. Face both and retain the good ones. It was always difficult for her. But he had healed her in few days. She breathed in deeply and decided to leave for Mumbai immediately within the next three or four days. Maasa was completing 94 years in a couple of days and Yash had mentioned a small family party in her honour. She decided to stay till then and then leave. She sat up immediately and started looking for her phone. Oh God it was in the drawing room downstairs. How could she be so careless? What if Rewa Didi saw it? Of course it was locked. But she had taken a pic of them lying together once without his knowledge and it was her background pic on the phone. She didn’t care about what would happen to Gautam or herself but was worried about Rewa didi…how would she react? Preeti was bogged down by guilt. How could she sleep with Gautam knowing that he now belonged to her sister? She rushed downstairs and luckily her phone was on the centre table. Rewa was still asleep. She picked up the purse and turned to rush back to the room when she collided with a wall of muscle. She was about to fall when he held her arms and pulled her towards him.
“Watch where you go Preeti… I won’t be there to save your hide every time…” His baritone vibrated through her body. She pushed him and he released her. She ran to the room and locked herself in. She then logged in to the airline website and booked her return ticket. She even booked a car to take her to Jaipur Airport. She sighed as she shut the phone and kept it in the purse. She knew life would never be the same back in Mumbai but she couldn’t stay here anymore…
Rewa woke up at 8AM with a huge hangover and Preeti got her to drink lemon water. She sat clutching her head.
Oh..Preeti…my head is splitting…as if someone’s hitting the walls inside…”
Gautam walked in with a cool wet cloth and offered it to Rewa. She smiled coyly as she took it and held it to her face. Preeti was annoyed at the gesture and Rewa’s reaction. Wait…was she jealous…NO ABSOLUTELY NOT…
“Didi, why did you drink so much when you have barely had a drink in your life before?”
Rewa removed the cloth from her face and had a dreamy look… “its…its just that…” She looked at GAutam. “…I was super happy yesterday… Vikramji…” She held his hand in her palms. “…Thank you so much for a lovely time…”
Preeti saw the exchange of communication between them. Something unsaid passed between them. She couldn’t take it any longer. Blinking back tears she said, “Didi we have to leave now. We have to go home. Bapu and Tayaji will be annoyed…”
“…Preeti I don’t care about them anymore…I am happy that’s all matters now…” Rewa declared.
Soon they had a quick breakfast of bread and eggs prepared by the caretaker and left in the car that arrived for them. It was the same one which had brought them here. As soon as they reached home, Preeti got busy with office work she was remotely managing. She thanked her stars for the job…it kept her sane in such circumstances. Before she knew it was evening. She had only taken a break once for lunch which was a private affair with the ladies. Rewa as usual didn’t make it and was sleeping.
Dinner was simple Kadhi chaval as the men were having a business meeting with a client and were to dine outside. Preeti was glad because she was in no mood for etiquettes. She excused herself and retired to her room. Just two more days here and she would be back to Mumbai, back to her life… She would never come back to Alwar… she didn’t know if her heart could handle it.
As she sat on her bed preparing to sleep, her phone buzzed. It was an unknown landline number. Who would be calling her at this hour? The clock on her table indicated 10.30PM. Frowning, she answered the phone.
“Ms. Sengar? Preeti Sengar?” the rough voice on the other end spoke.
“Um…yes. Who is this?”
“Ms. Preeti, if you remember, about twelve years ago, following the incident…er… we had come over to your house for investigation. I was one of the inspectors present. Tanveer Raisingh… ring a bell?”
She did remember the young enthusiastic inspector. He had a kind face. She had wanted to confide in him and tell him everything at that time but was confused herself and emotionally traumatised as well.
“..Um yes…I remember you… why…why are you calling me?”
“Ms Preeti, I was told you are back to Bhivadi. I would like to meet you…”
“Um… Meet me? But why?”
“Ms Preeti, I can’t tell you over phone. Come over to RA tech park which is just down your lane. Be there by 8AM tomorrow. Show everyone that you are going jogging. No one…I repeat…NO ONE should know that you are coming to meet us. Check into 4th floor office number 410. You will be allowed to walk-in…”
“…Wait…why should I come over? What is happening?” Preeti cried out.
“Don’t you want to know what happened twelve years ago? Don’t you want closure?”
“Yes I do… but…”
“…Then just come over. Tomorrow morning 8AM.” And he hung up.
Preeti stared at her phone heart thumping loudly. It was as if she was transported back by twelve years. The flickers of fear pushed to her subconscious was rearing its head up again. But if this is what it took to get her closure then so it be. She had to move on in life…she had to close that chapter permanently this time.
She shut the lights and went off to sleep.
She had barely slipped into light slumber after lots of twisting and turning when she was woken by a noise. She was disoriented as she sat up. She looked around suddenly sacred. She knew there was someone in her bedroom and she didn’t have to second guess who it was. Her breathing calmed. The shadow moved across the room towards her bed. She folded her legs at the knees and hugged them close to her body. Gautam stood before her hands on his hips and dressed in complete black. The security for their home was nothing like in the old times. Business was hit hard and even when she had lived here the security was reduced to half. Today there were only 2 guards. Anyone could enter through the backside. All he had to do was just jump the compound wall and crouch though the overgrowth. There were no cameras either. What was her family thinking? As she was lost in thought he moved towards her. She held herself tightly and looked away blinking tears.
“Why…why are you here? At…at this time…” she spoke in a breathy voice. Not that anyone would be awake but maasa sometimes didn’t sleep at nights and her room was right below Preeti’s. Even at this age her hearing was good. Nonetheless, Preeti was cautious.
He sat next to her on the bed and she shifted to give him place. He straightened his legs straight up on the bed and rested his head behind on the cot’s headboard.
Preeti waited for a while and asked again. “Why are you here at this hour?”
“I couldn’t sleep.” He replied tersely with a sigh.
“You have come to the wrong room Gautam… Rewa didi’s room is at the other end.” She said every word weighing heavily on her heart. She was finding it very difficult to control her tears.
“I am in the right room.” He said softly and took her hand in his rubbing his thumb over her palm.
She tried to snatch her hand away but he held it tightly. She could hold it no longer and started to sob. He pulled her towards him and without a word she went into his arms as they closed over her. He pushed her gradually on the bed and lay next to her still holding her towards him. They lay facing each other her head dug in his chest and her hand clutching his back as if her life depended on it. He kissed her head and rubbed her back softly. Sniffling she looked up towards his eyes.
“Why…did you do this Gautam? Rewa didi? of all the people in this world?” she couldn’t wait to ask.
“Would it have mattered if it was anyone else?” he asked back
“I am not a fool Gutam. I have barely known you for a few days but I actually KNOW you for the last twelve years. I know whenever you are around. I feel the connection between us. I can’t explain it, but I do….” She got her hand between them and felt his chest. She felt his heart beating wildly as they lay in the dark. “… I have always felt you around me watching over me, protecting me…both here and in Mumbai. I have known whenever you were not around as well… I don’t know how you managed to keep an eye on me, know about me in spite of being so busy….I…I didn’t know when I fell in love with you…” she felt his stiffen and held his t shirt in her grip. “…I was in love with you even before I actually met you that day in the elevator… I could give myself to you only because I trusted you…I still do. I know you haven’t committed anything to me… but Gautam… I can’t stand this… I can’t imagine you with Rewa didi. I am going back to Mumbai day after tomorrow. And I don’t think we should meet henceforth….”
“…YOU are NOT GOING BACK SO SOON…” he growled into her ears.
Preeti had enough. She pushed him but as always he was too strong for her. He put his leg over hers and held her close. In spite of being in her senses to judge right from wrong she melted into his embrace. His musky odour was killing her. She tipped her head again and he leaned down claiming her lips. She slipped her hands inside his t shirt and raised them up exploring his chest. She found his nipples and pinched them. He groaned in her mouth, a deep guttural sound that shook her insides. His erection was threatening to burst out of his pants. He suddenly separated from her and took off his clothes. She removed her gown. She hadn’t worn anything beneath the silky gown. She saw his eyes widening in the little light from a lawn lamp. The very next moment he was on her pinning her to the soft bed and took her lips again. Though they just had been together the previous night, she felt everything was new. This time it was as if he was unleashing raw energy, he was losing control. She was losing it too…she always did when he was around. She jerked up her back when he thrust inside her without warning. He was kissing her face, forehead, ears… she felt his warm breath as he thrust in and out. The pace increased and he fondled her waiting tits before she burst into a million pieces. He followed soon after and collapsed on her body. He lay besides her pulling her towards him hugging her and giving tiny pecks on her head. He kept gripping her palm every now and then. What was troubling him? Why wouldn’t he talk to her? Should she tell him about her meeting with the local police tomorrow morning? The cacophony of thoughts ran overdrive but he finally spoke in her ears.
“Preeti sweetheart… I…I don’t deserve you…” He hugged her tightly her back touching his chest. She was thrilled to hear an endearment from him for the first time. She wanted to turn to look at him but he didn’t let her. He buried his head in her hair and he clasped her hand in his tightly.
“…Gautam…” She spoke softly.
He suddenly released her and left the bed. She instantly missed his warmth. Within the next minute he was all dressed and walked towards the large window his back towards her. She didn’t move. He gave her a last look before he climbed off her window and disappeared. Did she see emotion shining in his eyes as he looked at her? She wasn’t sure she did but something about him was totally different toady. For the first time she felt he was vulnerable too….
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