She saw his furious back and forth walk on the lawn and embraced herself to fight his anger. The men in her life didn’t hear a word in the anger and always acted irrationally be it her baba or now her husband, not everyone was like Nikhil or Kaku or Farhad who were always so chilled and calm.
She looked here and there but there was no one, perhaps Farhad went somewhere or didn’t come home and the driver was about to get a good dose of the medicine named RR.
She was thinking about how to broach this topic in a controlled manner so they don’t end up fighting again just before his birthday.
“achha, aa gaya tum, aao aao… tumhara hi wait kar raha tha main.” Raghav’s voice boomed in the lawn and she shivered with the amount of fury in his voice directed towards the man making his way towards him.
She walked hurriedly towards him and just when he was about to grab the young man’s collar she came between them and pushed the man aside.
“kya hai ye sab?” she eyed him after the question.
“maine tumhe puchha tum kahan gaya tha, kyu gaya tha?” he asked her eyeing the man behind her.
“But I asked him to take me despite his pleas to not go out.” she challenged him but she was calm.
He thumped his feet in frustration and irritation but suddenly it jolted his whole back and he winced with the pain in his still-healing injury.
“ye akhiri galti hai tera.” he gritted his teeth partially due to pain and partially to subside his anger.
She saw him going pale for a second and then trying to control himself but her conscience told him to keep quiet before the man who was trying to subdue his anger rather than venting out on someone so she waited for him.
He turned away and opened the buttons of his white shirt, he needed dressing and he was aware of the now wet patch under his jacket on his back.
“Pallavi, why don’t you understand… my life is not easy and since you are also tied to me you are under threat every now and then, and to be honest…” he stopped for a moment and turned.
Closing the few meters between them he held her arms and looked into her eyes.
“you are the one who is under threat… they kidnapped you to make me restless and…
“and…” suddenly she was under some spell and the word fallen from her lips on its own.
“and they did make me restless… get this straight for once and for always you are as much precious as Amma and Keerti are.” his grip weakened and slowly he stepped away.
“But you won’t comply to me, now isn’t it true Pallavi?” his words pricked her, he knew she didn’t believe him, why could not she hear one thing he told her to.
Perhaps it was not as simple as it sounded, she was kidnapped and she had to be grateful for her stars for she was safe.
It took him a moment to recollect her memory of the time in that scary place she was kept, she was afraid but the thought that she was not alone and Harish too was there kept her terrified soul at bay.
A person seeking vengeance would go to any limit he wanted and this time it was a father, She had to believe Raghav’s words and not someone else’s, no matter how painful it was at times to think about what that family went through, she could not make her husband suffer without any thing solid.
She made her mind and ran to Raghav who has now entered the house and was stepping up the stairs.
She stopped at the threshold when she noticed a big dark patch on his back ruining the off-white shirt she had helped him into this very morning.
She gaped seeing the blood and before she could say anything he turned to the corridor leading to their bedroom.
Stretching her palms in front of her she closed her eyes and promised herself to not say a word to him till he was fine, whatever he did was to protect his family, and every man needed to protect what was theirs.
He leaned on the wall and let the water wash away his pain and stained wound, The water drops cascaded down his back and reddish color disappeared into the drain under his feet, how he wished it had some way to wash away the past as well.
The day his father and brother were killed brutally never left his thoughts and when Pallavi got kidnapped he often got one such chilling imagination of her lying in front of him… he punched the wall on the gruesome picture his brain was making.
He needed to know what happened to Bushra because it was unclear to him where she was, his information said the family was in no contact with her for years than where she was.
His thoughts shifted back to the present when he heard the specific knock followed by the sweet chime of her bangles on the door.
Turning off the shower knob he grabbed the towel and proceeded to come out.
“mujhe laga bahut time lag raha tha tumhe.” she spoke without looking at him but arranging the antiseptic , cotton and medical tape among other things on the center table.
“hmmm.” he acknowledged her words and walked to the mirror.
Grabbing another towel he preceded to dry his hairs and body.
She looked at him and cringed inside; his hairs were wet, again and the skin around his wound had swollen due to inflammation and water.
She nearly taunted him but stopped herself and took a deep breathe to not say anything that would break her promise to herself and initiate a fight.
“i am sorry,” she said to his back without looking up.
“about?” he crossed her still busy in drying his hairs.
“It was not a wise decision to go out and see people who could possibly be a threat…” she said and looked up.
He turned to her and eyed her for a long moment.
“i know you are concerned about Aiza but we cant trust everyone and that you have to learn cause sometimes it is too late to learn,” he said and walked to her.
She nodded her head trying to avoid his eyes.
“and by the way, Aiza…a threat? Are you kidding me?” Suddenly he smiled and then a laugh left his throat.
“what happened? She could also be a threat according to your theory.” mortified by his mocking she straightened and said confidently.
“oh God, I love how naive you are at times.” he grabbed her and hugged her.
“tumko sach me daure padte hain kya?” she was confused about the sudden change in the air but that is how he worked, he was angry a moment and the sweetest person in the next moment.
“nahi, par tum ye batao aaj tum jhagda nahi kar raha aur tum sorry bhi bol diya, I was so sure after the phone call that you were going to cut me in two as soon as we met,” he asked her and the teasings were back.
“aaj mera galti tha ..” she hesitated first . “ aur abhi tum beemar bhi ho..” she lied, this close proximity was not working well.
“na na…bat kuchh aur hai.” he turned her and leaned on her shoulders.
The damp beard touched her neck and cheeks and a shiver ran through her body.
“let me finish your dressing, you are always seeking ways to…romance” she stopped and the last word died in her throat, her brain was indeed not working.
“Dressing can wait but first tell me why are you not fighting and if I am guessing right you are avoiding a fight so well…aren’t you.” he rubbed his cheeks to her neck and she giggled when it pricked her with skin.
“then tell me…” he urged her stopping the assault.
“are you insane… there is nothing like that aur ab hato.” she tried to come out of his arms but he pulled her back and the force made her conscious about them.
Their bodies were so close she could feel him and it was not a good idea to stand like this when he needed to dress.
She blushed with the thoughts running in her mind and a shy smile adorned her lips.
“There is something and you have to tell me,” he warned her, and then his fingers touched her exposed skin of waist, the fingers came in motion, and in a moment she jolted.
“Raghav stop it, someone would come here…” she whispered.
“then tell me,” he asked.
“ok fine, I don’t want us to fight just before your birthday.” she blurted and in a moment his grip loosened around her.
“oh…” she heard him sigh and turned to him.
“What happened?” she searched his face for the answers.
“nothing, after Amma and Keerti left I stopped celebrating this day…” he walked to the cupboard and grabbed a comfortable t-shirt.
“but this year we can do a lot, even Amma bought your favorite sweets today cause tomorrow it is her fast…” she told him excitedly.
“and what kind of a fast it is, did you ask her… she is still angry with me. Every year I had to throw a party for the sake of my status and business needs but Amma won’t come even wish me” he was sad when he spoke the words and turned away pulling the shirt down.
“i could not meet her but I know now the situations are not the same and by the way, she has bought so many…
“what are you going to cook?” he asked her cutting her mid-way.
“i … what should I cook, Amma has already bought all your favorites.” She felt nervous suddenly.
“arey, shadi ke bad mera pahla Birthday hai, aren’t you going to do something special?” he had switched the talks again to save them from his sad past.
“what do you want me to cook?” she asked him sheepishly.
“arey bina cake ke birthday Kaisa?” he stated the fact.
“Cake…” she didn’t want her gasp to be heard but how to tell him if there was something she had her fears it was the cakes.
“Cake… for the party tomorrow, no no Raghav, how could I…” she tried to save herself.
“Pichai Ammai… poora Hyderabad ke liye kaun bol raha. Bake something for us… and let’s cut it when the clock rings 12.” he was dressed and he walked to her.
“what if Amma and Keerti are not there, I have one special person here and I want to celebrate it with her,” he whispered looking into her eyes.
“haan beta, khana Pallavi ke hath ka cake, fir sat janam tum cake ka nam nahi loge.” she smiled nervously at him, he had asked her something for his birthday and how could she deny him.
the whole time she dressed his wound he kept telling her what did he like and whatnot, how he despised the bites in butterscotch, how he loved when chocolate melted on his tongue.
she kept the pillow behind his head when she was done and thanked her gods for not biting him all this time as he made sure he gets his kind of cake and nothing else.
“i’ll come in a moment.” she took the tray of first aid stuff and used pieces of cotton and turned to leave.
“send something for me with Reddy, I am hungry and you don’t have to come, go bake the cake,” he said as he closed his eyes.
“as if she was not going to,” she rolled her eyes and faked a smile. “sure”.
Hey everyone, how are all of you? I was sick the last few days and could not collect the energy to type this chapter I wanted to type so badly.
But now I am back in shape so here is the next chapter.
I hope you liked it.
Stay safe and stay home dearies.
With love Morusya.