CHAPTER – 10
“here… 1, 2, 3,4…and 5. Five steps straight from your bed and you are right in front of your window.”
The nurse held her shoulder to support and guide her, telling her things that were around the room and how should she reach them. But she knew everything by heart. she didn’t need to be taught! There was a huge wardrobe of hers and Maan’s right beside the window and her queen size dressing table opposite to the wardrobe. Then there was Maan’s favourite ottoman right in front of their bed and a beautiful oak wood table right in front of the ottoman, that she had pestered Maan to buy. She didn’t need to be taught about her house like a child!
“you are not supposed to look directly into the light ma’am. Could wait here, i will just get your glasses!”
Ohh the pathetic dark glasses that she had been instructed to wear! It made her feel worse than she already was. She wanted to scream out at the nurse that she was alright and she didn’t need baby sitting. She wanted to cry out to Maan for leaving her alone, making her feel so helpless. She wanted to throw everything around her just to be heard.
“No Lizzy. That isn’t necessary. Just open the window for me please.”
“but ma’am you mustn’t…”
“Please Lizzy..just open it. I feel suffocated.”
The nurse sighed but then she could very well relate to Geet’s state of mind. She opened the window and a warm breeze greeted her. how long had it been that she felt a fresh breeze? But along with the freshness it brought her something else… a sweet fragrance! She blinked a couple of times, her eyes hurting and memories swiveled in her mind. She felt her throat choke with that lump as her eyes welled up. She raised her hands to hold the wind but aye, she was trying in vain. How did she become so empty? She moved her hands in front of the open window, wishing miserably to hold something that could not be held. The fragrance became stronger as she waved her hands desperately and tears rolled down the eyes that held no light.
Another breeze and more fragrance and another drop of tear…the scent that reminded her of herself…Jasmine!
She took a deep breath in, inhaling that sweet fragrance. She was dreaming perhaps. But it was so soothing. She had left her balcony door open and the night breeze brought her the scent… of jasmine? She snuggled into her duvet, still wondering from did the scent of the jasmine come from! Jasmine…she smiled. her valiant knight was away in London for some work and since he wasn’t here, she was perhaps hallucinating of the jasmine flowers. She felt like whacking herself for behaving like a silly stupid woman.
But then the fragrance brought something else…a warm breath lingering on her face, so familiar to her. she was indeed dreaming.
“happy birthday Jasmine.”
She wasn’t sure if she was dreaming or if it was real but all she was sure of was the sweet fragrance of the jasmine flowers.
The next morning she woke up pondering over the fact that why did she dream of jasmine flowers when her most memorable time was spent under the sweet bakula tree. She sat up still reeling under the fragrance of the sweet jasmine, confusing her. she turned towards the her bedside table to get her phone when her eyes widened at the bunch of jasmine flowers kept there. she took them in her hands and smelled them…exactly what she had smelled last night. And the memories came back. She gasped…he was back? And he was here? And he had wished her a happy birthday! She looked at those dried flowers now and held them close, smiling. He never fails to amuse her.
She took a quick bath and rushed down only to be hugged by her parents. It was a rule in both the Handa and Khurana households that any birthday would see taking holiday from their respective works and celebrate the day together.
Then came dadima and badi ma and bade papa and blessed her. Rano was about to get into the kitchen and prepare breakfast when Geet asked her to sit and relax and she’d prepare the food.
“accha Geet beta, those Malhotras who came to visit you the other day, they loved you. They want you to meet Rishi too.!”
Ohh dear! Not again! she had completely forgotten about the alliance!
“but mom, i don’t want to get married now!”
“Beta, at least meet Rishi. Then you can decide na!”, her badi ma intervened and she couldn’t deny her. she sighed sadly and went into the kitchen. Maan was back but he wasn’t here and then talks of marriage were a bad start to her birthday. She took the flour and started kneading it for puris.
She cursed her luck for whatever was happening when she heard Naina scream.
“Maan Bhai… I missed you.”
“Missed you too kiddo.”
She twisted her lips hearing him…first he doesn’t say when he is going and when he is coming back and secondly he does all that secret stuff, making her head spin.
“who are you planning to murder?”, his voice broke her string of curses while he stood by the kitchen door, munching an apple.
“Just go away Maan.”
“why? Didn’t you like the flowers?”
Naina joined them and Maan put his arm round her.
“Maan bhai, don’t tell her anything. she must be thinking about her Rishi!“, naina stressed on the name, making Maan chuckle.
“Ohh Rishi Malhotra… right Geet?”, he teased.
She shot him a glare, “Stop irritating me.”
“Come on Geet, you will be getting married. As such his parents loved you, it wont take him long to say yes,”
Naina giggled, “yeah and learn to cook something more than puris di, you have to please your in-laws!”
“and hubby too.”, Maan intervened, “and she will become fat with two..no 5 kids running around her, not that she is thin now…”
Maan and naina hi-fived but that was really putting her off. she didn’t to marry any Rishi whatever!
“Maan…you are dead!”
She left her dough, and ran after him with the wet dough sticking to her fingers. He teased her some more and ran out.
“get back here you devil. I am going to kill you!”, she ran screaming at him.
He hid behind rano ma, who wasn’t even surprised to see them fight.
“Rano ma..tell her to get married and get off our backs. She is been home for too long.”
Dadima and rest enjoyed the show while they bickered.
“Mom, tell him to get out of my house.”
“Geet,aise nahi bolte beta…”, rano chided.
Maan laughed and showed her tongue. She picked up the cushion beside her and threw at him, “Maan.. get out of my house right now!”
“han han swear as much as you want. After all you will be going away in a few days! So, it really doesn’t matter.”
He knew she was mad and he loved teasing her. he dashed out of the house towards the garden and she dashed after him only to collide with someone she had least expected to see.
There he was, impeccably dressed, though in casuals but properly combed and gelled hairs, holding her from falling.
“Geet, careful now. You wouldn’t want to hurt yourself on your birthday!”
She had that wide smile teasing her lips and Maan seemed to have been forgotten.
“Devvv…”,she beamed and hugged him tightly, “Oh my god!! When did you come back?”
Dev hugged her back, almost lifting her off the ground, “happy birthday Angel…”
Maan watched them hugging and stood there, watching them. He didn’t like dev calling her angel at all. he had never liked that from the very beginning.
They broke the hug and Dev pulled her cheeks, “I came back last night with this Brat.”, he pointed towards Maan, “how could we have missed our angel’s birthday!”
Geet beamed in his arms and Maan fumed. Angel again? he knew he was the one to trigger that. They were quite young and Geet wanted to be called an angel. Typical girlish behaviour. He had made her cry calling her an ugly witch. And so it turned out that Dev stuck to angel’ only to make her smile.
“Dev bhaii…”, naina beamed and jumped into his arms. The baby she was of the house, “what gift did you get for me?”
Geet smiled at the two and looked at Maan who seemed quite upset about something. his expressions now turned into a frown and denial about something written all over his face.. but she could care less. She twisted her lips and walked in to prepare breakfast.
Breakfast was quite a busy affair with dadima gifting Geet a beautiful pair of bangles and Avantika gifting her a designer suit. They sat on the couches lazily gossiping about anything and everything when Dev excused himself for a phone call. Geet served everyone tea when dev barged in.
“Geet..come here for a minute.”
Maan was chatting with Naina when he noticed that silent exchange between dev and Geet. And something twisted in him. Geet turned to leave when he called out.
“Geet… come here.”
Geet stopped and looked at him, raising a brow.
Dev sighed, “Geet… its urgent!”
Maan wouldn’t step back, “Geet..this is important as well.”
“Geet yaar You know how important this is.”, dev called.
“yeah… I am…”
But Maan intervened, “Geet, listen to me first.”
She looked at Maan, “yeah but…”
“Geeettt… come here I say.”, dev shouted.
“Bro… wait. She has work with me.”
Geet glared at him, knowing well this was one of his tricks to annoy her.
“Shut up Maan. Geet, come with me.”
Geet looked at Maan and then at dev and then Back at Maan, not knowing what to do. the elders watched the trio argue like kids. Well, they were still kids.
“Bro…can’t you wait? Actually I have something important to tell Geet.”
“Get lost Maan. I have got gift for her as well. Plus am the eldest here. You better listen to me.”
“You can’t always get away with the elder’ tag on you bro. Geet, just come here okay.”
Geet sighed with the brothers fighting. She looked at Dev who seemed a bit worried and then at Maan who had no plans with her. it was only to satisfy his ego, she knew. And she was going to pay him back for teasing.
“Maan, whatever it is, can wait. Geet is coming with me. You have no work you lazy moron.”
“but bro… she is coming with me.”
“and pray what work do you have with her?”, dev retorted.
“erm..uhh…well..”, he tried to make up some excuse and then added, “she promised me to make me my favourite Turkish coffee.”
“and when did I promise that, You Liar!”
There! caught and Busted! He glared at her while she gave him that you-deserve-it look and walked away to Dev , whose smile seemed to mock him.
To add to his woes, dev turned back, smirking, “now go home and do what you were supposed to.”
Dadima smiled and whispered to avantika, “don’t you think we should start looking for a girl for dev?”
And she found herself slowly breaking apart as tears oozed out of the cracks of her heart, engulfed in self loathe. The darkness around her did nothing but trigger her outburst as she frantically moved her hands to hold something… anything. her nurse tried to hold her and pacify her but she couldn’t be pacified today. days and nights of self torment found a way to escape despite her painful attempts to hold herself.
“Ma’am please calm down..”
“Go Away…”, she screamed. She wriggled and stumbled against a chair that was on her way. The nurse tried to hold her but she pushed her away. Her knees hit the bedpost, she held on and threw away whatever came on her way. The nurse went closer but she was far from everyone today. fond memories and faint fragrances locked her in their cage and she couldn’t break free. The nurse tried to make her drink some water but she even threw her away.
“Leave me alone…go away Lizzy. Just Go…”, she screamed like a mad woman, hitting herself everywhere, falling and failing in everything miserably.
He entered the house to hear his jasmine, crying. He rushed to their room and found Lizzy trying hard to hold her. her condition scared him as he watched her cry and fight with everything that came her way. Her elbow had a bad bruise and a few cuts here and there. it felt like thousands of daggers piercing his chest and he couldn’t cry.
He watched her crawl towards the wall and stick to it…dishevelled hair, red eyes, blood and tear stricken face made him cry but he held back.
His voice reverberated in the whole room, making her cringe. What was he doing here now? Why was he here when he doesn’t need her?
“Am sorry sir, I..I just…”, Lizzy tried to explain.
“No its okay. You can leave now. I will take it from here.“, he tried to keep his voice as calm as possible.
“Its okay Lizzy. Just take the day off okay.”
Lizzy quickly took her stuffs and walked away. He still stood by the door, watching her so distant and so much in pain. he slowly stepped inside only to see the mess she had created. It hurt him so much…to see her like this, loosing herself! There were shattered pieces of glass on the floor and the duvet lying somewhere, the vase knocked down and she herself was a bitter mess. He slowly walked towards her and kneeled in front of her.
“Jasmine…”, he called out lovingly.
She had hidden her face between her hands, sobbing. His voice was like a balm to all her wounds but not today. she flinched and hid herself more into the wall.
“Geet…”, he softly placed his hand on her palm. She seemed to still with his gesture.
“Come on, let me take care of you.”
Take care of her!!! she didn’t know if she felt like laughing or crying. But she jerked his hand away, surprising him.
“Go away.”, she sobbed.
“no Love… Come to me.”, he reached out to her again.
“NO… No…”, she shook her head, “leave me alone.”
“I can’t leave you alone jasmine…”
“I am a burden, ain’t I?”, she sobbed bitterly at that.
He felt a lump rise on his throat seeing her so broken. He sat on the floor, in front of her.
“its not like that love. you can never be a burden to me! Not ever!”
He held her hand and pulled her into his embrace, holding her tightly. She struggled a bit but she was tired. she rested her head on his chest and cried.
“then why do you go away from me Maan? Why are you so far that i can’t reach you? Why?”
She couldn’t speak more for her hiccups choked her. he gently caressed her back, and let her cry, holding himself back. She needed him and he realized him being away had affected her so bad. He pressed a kiss on her forehead and remained like that for a while.
“am sorry… am so sorry Geet.”
His tears vanished into her hair, as she held him tighter to her. it took her sometime to calm down. He gently lifted her up and rested her on the bed. He was about to go when she held his hand.
Her words broke his heart. he kissed both her hands, “am here only.”
She could hear his heavy steps around the room as he called out the servants to clean the mess. She could hear the metals clinking, the sound of dusting…her other senses had become sharp perhaps. And then there was a sudden silence, like everything coming to a standstill. Her heart lurched in fear.
He was right beside her, cocooning her in his arms, “am right here jasmine, with you!”
He felt her sigh in relief but that fear was all over her face, he knew it. he gently lifted her elbow and dabbed a cotton. She hissed feeling that burning sensation of the antiseptic.
He raised her elbow and blew on it, trying to soothe her and continued dabbing her wound. She whimpered as he cleaned the cuts she got on herself.
“why do you do this Geet? See how it hurts now!”, he spoke lovingly.
She remained silent. He looked at her and saw her stare at a particular thing without blinking. His heart ached to see her like that, her eyes that held mischief once now held no light. He put the cotton down, cupped her cheeks and pressed his lips to hers. She gasped with the sudden move and then realized what he had done. her hands frantically moved to reach out to him, trying to adjust to the new habit of feeling him just with her fingers.
He pecked her lips softly first and then kissed her full, taking in her soft trembling lips. He had kissed her thinking she’d soothe his aching heart but then he realized she needed him way much more than he. Her lips held on to his, desperately like her life depended on it. her hands trying to learn this new act of learning everything new. Her breath shallow and erratic, she closed her eyes, feeling him move against her softly, trying to calm her restless soul.
He broke apart after realizing her breathlessness but she held tight on to his shoulders. A drop of tear slid down her eyes. He leaned closer and kissed her eyes softly in reverence.
“You will be alright soon okay.”, he assured himself more than her.
He brought a wet towel and softly wiped her face and hands, peeling off her clothes layer by layer. Her senses heightened at his touches, more of a reflex, a mechanism of the body that when one sense organ fails, the others become hyperactive. She shuddered realizing she had no clothes on her torso. a red hue settled on her cheeks as she tried to wrap her hands around herself.
He watched her amused now…how restless she had been sometime back and how conscious she was now. She had been carved by god’s own hand perhaps for she was one hell of beautiful woman he had ever come across… actually the only woman he had ever laid his eyes on!
He ran a finger down her throat making her sigh and chucked seeing her blush furiously. not that he hadn’t seen her naked ever. Countless number of times had he made love to this woman right on this very bed but she still felt conscious of his gaze.
“Maan..”, she whispered, feeling his gaze all over. Her lips parted as she called him out, making him press his lips again to her mouth. He left her after a good few seconds and pulled her night gown on her. she felt her heart beats race a marathon. He was just helping her change and he had seen her naked a thousand and one times but she still felt heat rise up to her cheeks. Once he pulled the gown, he gently pulled away her tracks, making her gulp down hard. He was one saint she presumed, recalling how he always had hard time controlling himself around her.
She bit her lips as he applied medicines on her bruises.
“I don’t want you crying Geet… I want you to be fine and good, for me! Do you understand that Jasmine?”
His voice was low and heavy, the tone he always used when he was damn serious and she found herself nodding to him.
“and I want you to stay beside me, all the time!”, she used the same tone as him.
“I can never leave you Geet because I cannot bear your absence around me for long! No matter where I go, I will always come back to you.”
She smiled with his honest confession and raised her hands to him. he understood her gestures and leaned forward and hugged her. her arms closed him in a cage, he felt…a cage from where he never wanted an escape!
phew…longest update of this ss. I do deserve a good amount of likes and comments, don’t I??
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