Two days had passed ever since he argued with Kajal, and she hadn’t spoken a word with him. He missed having her around, her banter. She worked late, and whenever she arrived, she went straight into her room. She saw to it that there was food for him and always kept it ready in the microwave. He only had to heat it up before having. He was touched that despite their differences, she went about her duties.
How he wished he could talk to her, share his day with her, his turmoil with her. Mr. Mehta warned him he might be in danger because of his father’s history with the criminal syndicate. His bodyguards were vigilant, and so far, there was nothing suspicious around him. He was to leave in three days to Mahabaleshwar for a week-long shoot and hence had taken a break. He still had to recover completely after the accident.
He still felt weak and lost his balance occasionally. Last evening, he had a bout of giddiness and grasped the table in time, and Kajal emerged out of her room. He thought she hadn’t seen, but this morning when he came out for breakfast, he found her special ‘kaadha’ placed strategically near his plate. Kajal was observant, and she knew what was on his mind without him telling her. He wished for their old camaraderie but knew it would only complicate matters.
Her driver gave him regular updates whenever she reached her workplace and just before they left. He was glad the driver kept an eye on her outside the house, just in case.
This morning, Kajal had kept vegetable parathas with a salad bowl ready for him when he was up from restless sleep filled with nightmares. Her concern for him touched him, and he wished he could make her happy. But again, he knew it would be difficult for him to control himself, and she would give in too. That could not happen….
Later in the morning, he walked into the special room… the entire shooting required him to be covered fully, and he knew the right places he could use now.
He had received a new package some days ago that he had ordered months before. He tore open the package, and it revealed a straped suit. He wasted no time in binding himself by it on his bare body. It mainly covered his arms and thighs, so it was safer given his accident repercussions.
He walked towards the corner platform where he had installed a tilted candle stand which now held a candle. He lay below on the rexin mattress but lit the candle before that. He hooked the strap ends to the corners of the rexin mattress, that he had got customized last month in anticipation for this. He pressed the remote button, which caused the matress to bend, and his limbs got stretched, sending a bout of pain as the leather straps bit into his skin. Simultaneously the melted wax fell on his bare back, causing the skin to redden. The candle stand moved sideways, and the hot wax drops kept falling on him, along with the straps tightening with every passing movement.
As the pain crossed his thresholds, springing up tears, he remembered his beautiful brown-eyed angel and instantly hardened. The strap around his member now tightened in the area dug into his soft skin right there.
Suddenly there was a loud sound of the door being shut outside, and he immediately shut the controls using the remote. The rexin matress came back to its original state, and the candle stand straightened. He quickly unstrapped the belts and threw them on the bed. He looked into the mirror to see a few reddened welts form on his arms and thighs and immediately threw a robe he had ready. Knotting the robe, he walked out of the special room even as his skin throbbed, and he wanted nothing but to go into his room and give in to sleep that eluded him.
He came to a sudden halt on the stairs as Kajal emerged from her room.
“When… when did you get back?” he asked.
“I just came … got work home since Ashwin sir is on leave today and many other senior writers are busy with their projects…. So I … I have somethings to work on… so…” Kajal spoke, looking all over the place and fidgeted with her fingers.
A strange, awkward silence stretched between them.
He decided to go to his room and began his descent. But suddenly, the weakness he had been experiencing shot up right then, and he lost his balance. There were only three steps, and he sat on the last one with a thud.
Kajal rushed towards him.
“What happened, KB? Are you OK? I know something hasn’t been fine with you…” She sounded frantic, and he wanted to just escape from there, but his body didn’t support him.
Kajal rushed to the dining and quickly prepared glucon D for him. She helped him with a couple of sips, and he began to feel better. But he knew it had to do with her more than anything else… She was his elixir.
She helped him stand and they walked to his bedroom. She helped him lie on the bed and covered him.
“Rest up a bit. I shall prepare lunch and come for you. You haven’t been eating well these days… you have lost weight too KB…” She said softly. “…And you shouldn’t drink so much…”
Now, where did that come from? Was she still annoyed with the other night…? Did she think he drank alcohol?
“I… don’t drink Kajal.”
“What? Really?” Kajal’s tone was sarcastic.
“I don’t drink …. Not done since last decade.” He shut his eyes, the pain taking over everything else.
“KB, go to sleep. I shall call for you in a couple of hours… OK?”
He only nodded and she left the room.
What the hell was happening? Kajal wondered as she emerged out of his room. She was no longer angry with KB. She didn’t know why that night happened, but something told her it wasn’t the real KB at all.
There was something upstairs where she was forbidden to go. But curiosity got the better of her… what was there? KB had just come downstairs, and he wasn’t looking good at all… it was not sickness for sure. KB was in physical discomfort. But why?
As she prepared lunch, she couldn’t help but think about different possibilities; She couldn’t be so wrong in judging people. She knew in her heart KB wasn’t a bad guy… probably, the carefree moments they shared during his recovery were the real him. She wished she could go back to those days… She wanted to feel that kiss… NO, she wouldn’t go there.
As she prepared the next chapati, she vowed to find out what ailed him.
The following three days passed uneventfully, and though they weren’t back to their old camaraderie, at least they were talking. She saw to it that KB had regular food and checked by texting him. To her delight, he also replied with tiny emojis. She found herself smiling more…. He had told her he was leaving for Mahabaleshwar for a week tomorrow.
She wondered how she would spend time alone at home… she would miss him for sure. His commentary on the ongoing IPL for instance. She didn’t follow the cricket, but his worldly knowledge on players, along with the sarcasm on their performances, cracked her up. She loved the last two nights she spent before the TV with her laptop and he sitting on the adjacent couch surfing channels. They did that till she retired to bed. She hoped in vain that he would want to come to her room sometime… she could feel some of the vibes between them… some kind of a current…
Tonight, as she laid a special spread for him consisting of his favorite fish curry and Jowar Bhakri, she looked forwards to another funfilled evening before the idiot box.
“This is amazing, Kajal… you are a fantastic cook… I have to watch how much I eat though, I cant gain more weight.
“No, you won’t KB… don’t worry…”
“So Kajal… hows it is going at work…?” He asked suddenly.
“It’s good… I am enjoying writing, and Ashwin ji is a great mentor. Rugved sir also has been very supportive and forgives the mistakes I make…” She smiled, thinking of a few blatant errors in her script, which Rugved sir forgave and smiled them away to the utmost annoyance of Ashwin ji.
KB also shared some details of his upcoming shoots and how he had a couple of song sequences. He was supposed to play the role of a drunk lover walking towards the cliff searching for his lost love… KB cracked jokes on the role and mimicked the director…. Leaving Kajal in splits.
Later since there was no match that night, they decided to catch up on KB’s old TV serial re-run. Kajal remembered her maami and Poonam would wait for the soap every day, and for months the plot was a hot topic of discussion in her neighborhood. She was never interested though… but today, she loved watching as KB regaled her with anecdotes during the shoot.
The scene before them involved lifting the heroine after she had slipped and fallen on the wet floor. The woman was heavy, and Kajal wondered how he lifted her to which he demonstrated how they used a table and only had to touch the woman and walk while they wheeled the table ahead. The table was covered in green and the light tricks were later used to eliminate its presence.
“Do you know Kajal… why we needed retakes for this simple scene…?”
“Because before the heroine, I fell on that floor…”
Kajal couldn’t stop laughing and he joined her as well, and she didn’t realize when they came close to each other on the couch. Suddenly she stopped laughing and straightened up. KB lay slanted on the couch watching her with hooded eyes and a strange expression on his face…
She smiled and looked away. “Um… I think we should retire to bed… you have to travel tomorrow night… so rest up…”
“Wha… what KB?”
“Will you… uh… can I … I… forget it. Good night…” he abruptly stood to leave, but she held his hand.
“What is it KB… you know you can tell me. I won’t judge you…whatever it is…”
He rubbed his face and looked away, trying to weasel out of her hold. But she moved closer to him. Finally, she held his hand between her palms.
“KB… Krish… what is it you wanted?” she asked softly.
The lock of hair had fallen on his forehead, and at the moment, he seemed so endearing…
“Kajal…” he whispered. “…can I… can I kiss you?” the last words were barely audible, but she loved them nonetheless.
She didn’t reply but held his face in her palms and stood on her toes, placing a peck on his lips. He wasted no time in holding the back of her head as he bent down to claim her lips. With his other hand, he pulled her close, and she snaked her arms around his neck.
He devoured her lips, pulling her tightly towards him. Finally, she gave in too… it was like. His tongue had a mind of its own as it explored her mouth, She tasted the custard he had for dessert on his tongue, and that made her toes curl… the special sensation in her abdomen that she felt a couple of times before also began to surface and she wanted this to go on. He took her lower lip lightly between his teeth, and she gasped as she felt his member poke her stomach.
He broke the kiss and placed his forehead on hers, breathing heavily as she felt his warm breath on her face.
“Kajal… if we continue this a little more, then I won’t be able to control myself…” he whispered and placed a light kiss on her nose and began to move apart.
“… Then Krish… don’t control it…”She didn’t release her hands and pulled him closer.
He chuckled and held her hands as he got them to the front before him. He kissed her knuckles taking his own sweet time, and she thought she would die and go to heaven right then…
“Kajal… there are many things you don’t know about me… I.. can’t do this to you…Let’s go to sleep… I have to finish some work tomorrow morning, and you have to go to work as well.” He kissed her forehead once again and walked into his bedroom.
Kajal stood there touching her lips with her trembling hands… what just happened? Everything was so beautiful, and then suddenly KB withdrew yet again…
She shook her head. It was a matter of one week and after he returned, she would take the lead. KB had to take her into confidence and tell her what was ailing him… so much that he forced himself away from her?
The next day flew in a blur. She was at work when she got a text from KB that he was leaving for Mahabaleshwar and that the bodyguards were following him. Mr. Mehta was with him in his vehicle and he had taken the snacks she had packed as well… the emojis followed and the vision blurred as her eyes filled. She was missing him already.
That night she spent a restless one in bed. All alone in the house… but it didn’t scare her. She realized she was missing KB like hell. Though they slept apart, he was right across the door, and it meant a lot. It was early morning when she finally slept off.
She was late for work that morning and Ashwin ji raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything as she had been up to date with her work. Rugved sir was away for a couple of days and the in charge in his absence was assigning the work to the departments along with the deadlines.
Her mobile buzzed with an incoming text….it was Mr. Mehta. Surprising.
‘Kajal madam, please come to the reception… I am waiting.’
What? He didn’t go to Mahabaleshwar with KB? She didn’t wait to ask for permission but just rushed downstairs. A pensive-looking Mr. Mehta paced the reception between the crowd gathered. Then, he walked swiftly towards her.
“What is it Mr. Mehta? I thought you were with KB…”
“…I was, but my wife had a fall in the bathroom, and she is admitted to the hospital with a fractured leg. My little son is all alone, so KB sir asked me to alight when we reached Khopoli….”
“Oh Ok… then… do you need some help? In the hospital…?” Kajal couldn’t make out why the man was here. He was the most efficient person she knew.
“…Its KB, sir I am worried about. He isn’t answering his phone, and the bodyguards I had assigned were not the ones who followed us. They are still in Mumbai… I don’t know how the discrepancy happened… but it worries me, Kajal madam… the guys who went aren’t from the agency, and I can’t even contact the police without any evidence…But given what has happened…” Mr, Mehta looked worried, and Kajals heart pounded.
“… is KB fine…? Is he in danger?” The vision of the attacker in all black in the hospital room scared her. If they could cross the security barrier in the hospital, they could… Oh God.
“Mr. Mehta… I am leaving for Mahabaleshwar immediately. I will talk to Ganpat kaka… in the police and see what he can do… can I have the address?”
A relieved Mr. Mehta texted her and spoke to the driver to get the car ready even as she got into the elevator to get her things from the office. She knew Ashwinji would be crossed with her, but now all that mattered was KB and his safety.
Later as the car zoomed it’s way towards Mahabaleshwar, Kajal spoke to Ganpat kaka, who promised to update some of his friends in the police in Mahabaleshwar. He told her that there was a network outage due to heavy rains in Mahabaleshwar so she could relax.
But Kajal was far from relaxed… she hoped and prayed.
“KB…Krish… sweetheart… stay safe, please… I love you…” She whispered as tears streamed down her face.