Angie alias Simrat straightened the bedsheet to free it from the wrinkles. She looked at Manpreet’s sleeping form and her heart broke. His tears had dried on his cheeks. He had been furious yesterday at being dragged away from his ‘new friend’. He had barely stuttered before her but yesterday his speech was filled with blocks and facial contortions as he struggled to express himself. He had thrown a tantrum and flailed his legs as he had come home. He wanted to go back to his ‘friend’. No amount of cajoling had helped and she was at her wit’s end. Man[reet had never given her any trouble from his birth till date but this kind of tantrum was new to her. She was stern at her workplace and got things done easily but this little charmer couldn’t be handled. She had eventually slapped his back and he had retreated to the bedroom shocked at her use of corporal punishment…for the first time in his life. Ever since she had been miserable and unable to rest at a place. Manpreet had cried himself to sleep and her sleep was miles away, as she twisted and turned in her bed yet again staring at the dark expanse of the sky outside her window. Usually, the roar of the waves calmed her soul but today it did nothing to reduce the pace at which her heart galloped away…
She had died multiple deaths today, when she had got the call from the police… she had reached the hotel early after finishing her errand and the call had come. Fortunately, Inspector D’Lama knew her well and he had recognized Manpreet. If something were to happen to Manpreet then she wouldn’t have been able to survive.
All these years in Goa she had struggled to stay in hiding without being promiscuous and all that was going for a toss with that guy Anshuman butting in. She never thought someone she had left behind four years ago… would come back like this. It wasn’t meant to be anything beyond general chat but she was carried away by the intriguing man with a trusting face and despondence reflecting in his eyes. It was only a one-night stand that happened by chance… but she hadn’t forgotten him. She could never be with any other man after him. He hadn’t looked at her like she was a piece of meat up for grabs like usually men did with her kind of get up that night. His eyes had shown with passion unfolding in their depths. She had seen honesty in those orbs. Something innately soulful had connected them… probably they shared similar grieves. For that night she had thrown caution to the wind and had decided to go with her heart which urged her to trust the man. It was her first and last one-night stand.
The last decade of her life had been spent in disparity and unfulfilled promises as she worked hard to achieve her goals, for the sake of her loved ones. She had lost so much a decade ago that she feared losing anymore… She only had her mom and Manpreet… the little boy, her life revolved around him.
Their life wasn’t ordinary. If only people knew about her, the façade called life that she had led so far… it would put Manpreet in danger. She was close to achieving her target for which she had given up the last 10 years of her life.
She wished to rush to Anshuman and tell him everything about her. She was thrilled to see him again but caution had reared its ugly head as she was reminded of what she was doing in Goa. She had built a conniving web of deceit around herself just to catch her prey and Anshuman was in danger of falling into it. No, she couldn’t let that happen. He was a wonderful guy; she had known it instantly that night years ago. She had gone with another purpose totally but hadn’t expected the fierce attraction to the man with chocolate boy looks. She had been burnt in love a decade ago…mercilessly that it had robbed her of her faith in men or to the extent the species could go to ruthlessly. Her abdomen still bore the scars from that night years ago… and she had sworn off men for good. But Anshuman had challenged her beliefs that night and she had gone with the flow. He had kissed those scars and she had been a goner. Even now as she touched her abdomen, she remembered the shower of passion that night in that dingy room. She just wished she had met Anshuman under different conditions…
She was a lone soldier fighting an important battle… a battle she couldn’t afford to lose. All that she had worked for in the last decade would go down the drain. And most of all it would endanger the most precious entity in her life, the innocent being who lay murmuring in his dream as he slept. Her Mannu was what made her face life perils and she would give up her life for him in a jiffy. She had managed to safeguard him in this clove for nine years. Only Inspector D’Lama knew about her.
Her mother had told her everything that had transpired after Manpreet was admonished to bed last evening. She had to be the ruthless mother everyone thought she was for Mannu’s sake. She knew he had a speech problem… but his therapist had said it was psychogenic in nature and he needed to express more. He had been diagnosed with dyslexia a little before the lockdown last year and she couldn’t take him to the learning center. It would expose him to different people around… she wanted him alive even if that meant he wouldn’t be able to read and write well. Her work kept her away from home most of the time and her mother took care of Manpreet. So far it had been just the three of them managing well. But off late Manpreet had started to revolt and after what happened yesterday, she was scared… really scared.
Morning arrived changing the hues and shadow patterns on the walls from the moving trees outside and she still didn’t have a wink of sleep. Standing up she stretched and walked towards the window.
As she looked up through the bedroom window, she saw him. Heart thudding, she went towards the window and drew the curtain peeping through the gap. Anshuman stood in his running shorts, probably waiting for Manpreet. She had seen the lust shine in his eyes yesterday and all she wanted to do in that mall was kiss him to oblivion and have her way with him. But that was not possible.
Any other man in his place she would have investigated him and even thought about the camaraderie they shared. She would have done anything to help Manpreet. However, Manpreet was getting swayed towards this particular man and Anshuman was synonymous with danger.
He was Meera’s brother.
©priyagole. No part of the story can be copied or shared anywhere without the consent of the writer.