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She pouted, “and you are not going to keep your words once again!”
The voices faded into a sudden darkness, with no beginning and with no end. She called out for him and again and again until she felt choked by some overwhelming emotion that drowned her deep and then it had started to kill her, slowly and painfully.
Her eyes snapped open and she struggled to breathe. It took her a few minutes to realize she was still in bed! it had only been a dream. She closed her eyes and took a relaxing breath in. Even breathing the air to live reminds her of him! What has he done to her by all means? She hoped and turned to his side, only to see the white span of the bed unadulterated.Realization sunk in. He hadn’t come back home last night. He hadn’t been with her last night. No warmth and not his embrace reached her. and probably that was her undoing.
Might have been the dream or the emptiness but she sat up and sibbed. Three years..precisely, three years and four months to their marriage and her rational side felt or say, knew she was being childish for she knew he had been keeping busy for the last three months on an important project, based in Dublin and he had been making round trips from London to Dublin and back. But her other side fought back”he had been breaking his promises ever since. He always promised he’d be back early or he’d atleast spend his Sunday with her (as Saturday had become a far fetched dream for her now) but none of them held ground. Te last time she had actually held him in her arms was probably someday a week back! Usually, he came very late when she had slept off, waiting for him and left early, without having breakfast.
Red streaks of light had opened their eyes n the London sky but the darkness still loomed over. Her alarm hadn’t gone off and she couldn’t sleep. Maan’s absence was something that started eating her up now,god knows why. dadima was back in India and Annie had started helping her in Business. She freshened up lost in her thoughts and went about doing nothing and everything. it was too early in the morning..the whole world seemed to enjoy the warmth of their comforters but not her.
She walked around the hall and then just loitered into his studies, not having anything else to do. At least she could convince her heart of his presence there. she ran her fingers through his shelves, trying to feel his presence”how he always stood by those inanimate shelves, touched them while searching his files, books and what not and she felt jealous of them.
At one shelf her steps froze and a faint smile adored her lips. Memories flashed in front of her eyes seeing those books and her notes from college. Its been five months since her college was over and she had been placed in a very reputed firm now but just she realized today how far had she come in her life. From a shy 22 year girl who was rejected by her husband on the night of her marriage just because she couldn’t speak English to a 25 year strong and independent woman who was born because of the same man who shaped her up like she was fragile clay doll. Not that she minded being the clay that he could mould into anything he liked! A shudder ran down her spine and that emptiness settled back into her. half-heartedly she freshened up and got ready to leave for office. Being alone most of the days had killed her appetite. She just had a toast and a mug of coffee and checked the time. 30 more minutes before she would rush to office.
She sighed sadly. It was so ironic. Time didn’t seem to move when he wasn’t around and time still didn’t seem to move when he was with her! the phone rang, much to her relief and she was glad, realizing it was dadima on the line. They talked like they hadn’t spoken for ages now!
“..and where is Maan beta? We need to speak to him about something.”
And that sigh of dejection filled dadima with the much needed information.
“he isn’t home, is he?’, dadima’s voice was stern now for she knew geet had been feeling lonely for quite some time now.
“ahh.. no dadima, aisi koi baat nahi. He is keeping too busy these days…”
But she was convincing. Dadima knew geet very well. She wouldn’t speak ill of Maan even if Maan behaved as a jerk.“and?”
Geet hung her head down, knowing she wouldn’t be able to hide anything from her, “and I miss him dadima…”
“then tell him the same geet…he would listen to you.”
“i know but he is keeping so busy. Its important for him so i just don’t want him to worry about me when he is already so stressed.”
Dadima thought for a while but then let it go, “fine. But speak to him geet. You know him better now beta..!”
And they talked for a while and geet was happy to know Annie will be joining her in a few days. They still were very best of friends. Three years of college and then going their own ways hadn’t changed anything at all about them. She looked at the empty house one more time and then walked out, locking it. Office seemed to be a temporary refuge these days.
He was tired and more than that he was upset for letting his pumpkin down. But the clients were demanding and he was in the middle of some huge takeover which took all his time. Past one month had been hectic like hell. He unlocked their penthouse and knew she would be in office. He sighed sadly, took off his coat, tie and shirt and fell on the bed without bothering to change his pants. All he wanted was to just sleep but he missed pumpkin. He ran his hand over her empty side and buried his face into the pillow and cribbed, “yar pumpkin why do you have to go to office?”
But then he himself knew the answer. He would have hated geet for wasting her degree after working so hard to complete her studies despite his “marginal utility” demands and what not. Thinking of her reaction to see him back, he just slept off, giving into the tiredness. It was bright afternoon and she’d be back only in the evening. That was sad enough to make him rest.
Geet had never felt this left out ever. She was in office, everyone were friends and yet with Maan not being around had gotten into her head. And suddenly she was angry at him… so damned angry. He always got away with his shamelessness but not this time. She’d give him an earful…or even better, she wasn’t going to talk to him. making up her mind, she took the subway back home.
The house still seemed lifeless but then something was there. she felt queasy and just decided to take a shower. She just barged into their bedroom and froze on her steps.
There lay her half naked husband, sprawled on the bed like a king, sleeping peacefully. She was so so so glad to see him back that she ran to him and touched his bare back to make sure it was no dream.
He didn’t even flinch at her touch and his soft snores almost made her smile.
As much as his bare body hitched her breath, it made her all the more angry that this man had literally abandoned her for the past one week… well technically the past one month! She had scores to settle.
Her fragrance reached his nostrils making him lean towards the warmth that he felt beside him. still deep in sleep, he turned towards the same which seemed to revert now. His forehead became marred with wrinkle but then wifey darling was so angry. She didn’t offer him what he sought. She got up with a humph and walked straight into the washroom to freshen up and carry on with her work.
He felt some movements around him and then faint noises..he was too deep in sleep to even open his eyes and see. All he saw was a hazy iimage of a beautiful woman working her way round the room and then just walk out, giving him a cold shoulder. He wanted to wake up and see her face but his tiredness got the better off him.
May be sometime later but when he opened his eyes, he felt really relaxed, wondering if his pumpkin was back on not. He checked the time and it was 7 in the evening. He sat up at once and realized she was back already. Gosh…he had missed her like hell. He quickly freshened up, changed into his trousers and vest and just rushed out to meet her. she usually got back by 5 then why didn’t she wake him up? He found her in the kitchen, working her way round, preparing dinner, totally oblivious to his presence.
She reached out for the spice box on the shelf and he just hugged her tight from the back, making her shriek in surprise. his hands snaked her waist tightly while his face dipped into her hair and kissed her neck longingly.
“Maan…”, she gasped more out of surprise. she was glad that he was back but she was upset.
“oh i missed you so much pumpkin…”, he mumbled into her hair, taking in her fragrance. His hands went tighter around her waist, making her sigh. She had missed him, yes, but she was angry for not keeping his words.
He turned her around and cupped her face to kiss her. his eyes closed and his lips descended down to hers, in an enthusiasm of a passionate lover. But he fell hard when something cold and hard touched his lips instead of her warm soft supple lips! His eyes snapped open and realized she had placed the wooden spatula between their lips and right now, she seemed really angry.
“what the f…”
“NO SWEARING!!!”, she cut him off immediately and angrily, “not in my house!”
Embarrassed and frustrated at being let down, he glared at her whilst she pushed him away and got back to her work, giving him a cold shoulder.
He stood there for a while waiting for her to say something but only silence followed, occasionally interrupted by the whistle of the cooker. Unable to hold that anxiety, he turned her around in a jerk and made her look at him, “what is wrong with you?”
She twisted her lips and looked away. She was really mad at her hubby right now and she wasn’t going to let him off the hook this easily now.
“geet… what is wrong with you…tell me!”, he tried to keep his voice calm.
She knew it.. she knew he was trying to be patient because he only called her “geet” when he was upset about something. she knew he was eager to talk to her but hell no..she wasn’t going to give in.
When she chose silence again, he actually felt irritated. First, he was back after so long, second, he hardly got time for her and when he finally did, she was giving him a cold shoulder. Damn hell, she didn’t even let hm kiss her!
“what the f**k is wrong with you geet?”, he spat!
She glared at him for using swear words. She had much later found out that Maan was prone to swearing when he was upset or angry. And she had made a rule that none, especially him would swear in the house!
She glared back at him with equal intensity, “do you even care?”
She jerked his hands off and walked out, carrying the dishes to the table. He ran his fingers through his hairs, realizing she was angry but with what? She headed back to the kitchen to get the plates when he blocked her way, “pumpkin… tell me, are you mad at me?”, he tried to sound calmer now.
She averted her gaze, “why in the world you care Mr khurana? You are so much of a busy person!”
She twisted her lips and walked into the kitchen and he followed her like a cute puppy, “pumpkin bolo na… please!”
Damn this man! He always had his way with her and him saying please so cutely was her undoing. She had kept that anger within herself and decided to just keep shut.
“kuch nahi. You are tired. Lets eat. Am glad you got time to think of home!”
He knew that was her sublte taunt hidden beneath that simple sentence.
“yaar pumpkin… you know how busy it is…”, he rubbed his temples, but that didn’t falter her.
“yeah I know.”, she spoke coldly and sat down, serving him.
Much to Maan’s annoyance, the dinner went in silence. He had so much to tell her and so much he wanted to hold her, kiss her, make love to her in his own sweet way but damn pumpkin was being too hard! He tried to strike conversation at the least but she gave a royal ignore!
The moment they were done, she took the plates, cleaned the table and got to the room while he took some important calls, relaxing yet stealing glances at her.
“pumpkin is so angry today…”, he mumbled to himself.
He watched her turning off the lights of the hall and get to the bedroom. She was seriously angry. He turned off his lappy and rushed to speak to her but hell, she closed the door on his face!
“pumpkin… open the door please sweetheart…”
“geet…please yaar. At least bolo tho meri galti kya hain? Pumpkin…”
He knocked a couple of times and when she didn’t he banged the door, irritated,
\”pumpkin just open this damned door and talk to me!”
The door creaked open after a while and an angry geet stepped out, “what do you want?”
“what the hell is wrong with you today? i came back home almost after a week just because of you… and you just don’t give a damn!!! Do you realize how important this project is? “
She didn’t falter, rather she took a stand, feeling so bottled up, “aren’t your promises important? You promise me every day over phone that you are coming back but you never do. And if you do come back, which is a blessing for me these days, you are either busy on phone or you are just too tired to even talk to me. Tell me… tell me the last time we sat and had a casual chat? You remember? NO… its been months Maan…and you are just too busy…”
Maan had always been patient with his love but now when she was accusing him, he was hurt.
“i had told you earlier right before taking up this thing that it would keep me busy but i still try to make time right? And when i am trying to be with you, you are behaving as if i have committed a sin! Why do you think am doing all this? Its all for you geet…”
“but i don’t want this…”, she fumbled a bit but he cut her off.
“then what do you want? Just tell me.. what the hell do you want? Do you know how strenuous is this? You just can’t be thinking about yourself everytime..”
There he had said it! His patience had snapped and she was rendered speechless with his outburst. She felt her throat hurt with that stifled sob. She never wanted this.
“so you are saying all i do is think about myself? Fine then Maan… do whatever you wish to! Thanks for reminding me of my fault. It wont happen again!”
Maan looked away while she walked to the guest room, where she had been staying earlier. They were angry and they shut the door, fell on their respective beds and sanity took time to hit them
They fought! Yes, they had their numerous silly fights but this was the first time they had been this angry. Geet felt her hot tears roll down her eyes into the pillows while Maan just couldn’t sleep.
She expected him to at least be with her, give her time, how much ever less it was! she had been feeling so lonely in this penthouse for the past three months which got the better off her!
Maan was angry for he thought his pumpkin understood him. but she had hurt him by accusing him. they had fought and never had it happened that they took separate rooms. This was perhaps going to be a long night now.
next: how will maan manaofy his pumpkin?