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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Chapter 10



CHAPTER – 10


The house haunted her. at times it felt the silence was closing up on her, choking her slowly and painfully. The silence had turned eerie despite the nurse trying her best to play her favourite music or instruct her a few exercises to follow owing to her health but nothing pleased her. her heart craved for that one thing which seemed unreachable now. She didn’t know the day or date or anything about the world now. She felt like a distant star that the night hid with its overwhelming darkness, visible yet not visible.

“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.

“yes Dev…”

“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?”
————————————————————————————————

Jasmine…

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.

“Lizzy… stop.”

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.

“No…I will..”

“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.

“No…please!”

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.

“Maan??”

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.

“ummm.”

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!

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phew…longest update of this ss. I do deserve a good amount of likes and comments, don’t I??Wink
now please don’t be lazy and drop in your views
 
 

Chapter 9

 

 
 
 
CHAPTER – 9
 
 
“Maan.”, she broke that beautiful silence they shared under the tree.
“Yes Jasmine.”, he spoke softly, playing with her long locks, as he lay on her lap under the bakula tree. It was cloudy and it seemed it might rain anytime soon. He had come home for the weekend. He had been down with fever the previous week. But those moments with him were like dream for her. she had come back that evening itself but the fun they had, playing video games and talking like crazy were too good to forget. Even after a week, she still revelled in those memories. 
 
“tell me a story.”, she demanded.
“Story?”, he asked surprised.
“yes, and tell me now. Am bored.”
The entire Khurana and Handa clan had gone for some party. Geet had stayed back for she was overloaded with work. Maan had gone with the family but then how could he have enjoyed when his jasmine was back home, all alone. He made some lame excuse of a headache and got back home. None stopped him, knowing how much workload he handled and that he needed rest. He was back but to the handa Haveli and despite the storm brewing up, he had dragged her out and laid down on her lap. She protested first but then her heart sang the same tune as his. 
“I don’t know any story.” he shrugged.
“No I want to hear a story. Like you used to tell me when we were kids.”
“ohh the ghost ones?”, he chuckled. She knew as a kid she hated, in fact was dead scared of ghosts and anything remotely horror. He used to deliberately tell her scary stories whenever she asked him to tell her one.
 
“shut up Maan.”, she twisted her lips, slapping his hand that played with her locks.
“Shut up jasmine.”, he mimicked her.
“why do you keep calling me jasmine? Its not my name.” she spat, irritated.
I have been calling you jasmine since ages and you are asking about it today!”
“han. Now answer me.”
“well, thats something I’d rather keep a secret.”, he moved her hair away to watch her expression.
“I want to know the secret.”
Then it wont remain a secret, will it now jasmine!”
“You are a mean man.”
“very correctly deduced jasmine.”, he teased.
She knew he wouldn’t say. He was damn good at keeping secrets. And it was futile to even try to get words out of his mouth. She rolled her eyes and looked away. He sighed and sat up.
“come on Geet, now don’t be mad.”
She turned to him with a smirk, “who said I am mad! I demand a story. Period.”
He sighed, “You wouldn’t give up now, would you Woman?!!”
She grinned and shook her head. He breathed out. Could he deny the demand of his little woman here? She had always been the centre around which his life revolved. The weather turned stormy and a gust of wind flew by, making the flowers shower themselves on the two souls beneath their home. 
He picked up a fallen flower and took in its mild sweet fragrance. She watched him think, looking at the flower, as if searching something in them. He rested against the tree trunk and looked up at the dark sky. She watched him, unblinking.
 
“With my song 
I will charm Demeter’s daughter, 
I will charm the Lord of the Dead, 
Moving their hearts with my melody. 
I will bear her away from Hades.”
Those first lines from his lips set goose bumps on her skin. She looked at him half surprised, half anxious but he still seemed lost in his thoughts.
 
“These were the lines Orpheus spoke when he decided that he would go to Hades, the king of the underworld and bring his wife back. His wife, Eurydice was bitten by a snake on their wedding night and she died.”
Geet gasped, “and then?”
He watched her interest piqued and her eyes shone like stars in the dark night.
 
“He was the son of Apollo, blessed with musical excellence. So, he held his lyre and marched on to the gates of Hades of the Underworld to bring his wife back.”
The clouds rumbled but she was far from realizing anything. just as she was when she was a kid, he thought. Start a story and she will forget the world.
 
“When denied what he sought after, he played his lyre and sang. A song so sad and pitiful that Hades wept and allowed him to take his wife away, only on the condition that he must not look back until they reach out of the gates of the Underworld, else Eurydice would vanish forever.
 
 
“Victorious and Happy, he walked out and Eurydice walked behind him. it was the sound of her footsteps that kept his company throughout. And it was for her that he held his extreme urge to turn back, hold her hands and walk ahead.”
“Please don’t tell me he turned back!”, she asked, scared that her words might come true. He smiled at her innocent curiosity. She was still a baby.
“the moment he stepped out of the gates, he turned back, unable to hold his happiness, forgetting that Eurydice still hadn’t stepped out.”
She held her breath, “and then?”
He looked up at the sky, sparkling with the soft lightening, “and then she was gone…forever. she went back to the underworld and Orpheus was left to live alone, forever and all he was left with was his music and the faint farewell’ from Eurydice before she vanished.”
He looked at her forlorn face, as if she were living that story and pulled her cheeks, making her wince.
“ahhh…what are you doing?”she was ready to pounce on him.
“Don’t cry on me jasmine. Its just a story.”
I was not crying. But that was so sad. From where did you hear that one?”
“I had heard it long time back from a friend of mine in the University, a literature student.”
She was about to say something when a drizzle interrupted her. the wind picked up speed and the clouds rumbled. She stood up and pulled him up too.
“come on. Lets get inside.”
And in no time, the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour, making her squeal as she ran inside the house. She wiped her face and hair and looked around for Maan only to see him stand in the rain, smiling.
“What are you doing Maan? Get inside.”
 
“no jasmine, come out. Its wonderful.”
The cold water pricked his skin, filling him with a sweet sensation.
“Maan..get inside please. You just recovered from a fever.”
“NO Geet..just come out here.”
She rolled her eyes. Stubborn man. She was in no way getting him all sick once again. she dashed out, held his hand and tried to drag him inside. But then he stood firm and stiff. She turned back, “Maan… please come back.”
He held both her hands and smirked, “No. I am staying here and you are staying back with me.”
 
“No ways.” she tried to wriggle out of his grip.
 
“Yes ways…”
He mentally laughed at his condition. He had a meeting the next day but this woman here makes him feel and do crazy things. The more she tried to run away, the tighter he held her.
“Let me go.”
“You are staying here with me. And you are wet already. So there is point in getting in now.”
She sighed in defeat, “why don’t you ever listen to me?” and jerked her hands off his and turned to leave when he lifted her off the ground by her waist, making her scream.
 
“Ohh God what the hell are you doing Maan?”
He laughed and whispered in her ears, “having fun!”
And he twirled her around, in the rain, making her laugh. She clutched his hand that banded round her waist and laughed in glee. He laughed with her too. He put her down when she turned around, looking at him naughtily and tickled him. he was damn ticklish and this caught him off guard. He jerked away from her but she was not letting him go. she got around him and tickled him, making him run around. She ran behind him, screaming at him to stop. It was when her leg slipped on the wet grass and in a desperate big to save herself, she held his arm, making him slip too.
The skies found the two souls laying on the grass, in the downpour, laughing their heads off. she turned to him and raised herself on her elbow, “now, can we get inside?”
He wiped the water from his face and looked at his sweet sweet jasmine. Her hair stuck to her face, her eyes twinkling and her lips curved into a smile. Oh how much he loved to see her like this! He gently pushed away that stubborn wet lock away from her face with his finger. Their eyes met and she shivered with the intensity of the moment. Never had she felt the need so urgent to wrap her arms around him and keep her head on his chest and listen to his heartbeats. She licked away the water from her lips, making his eyes flick to those red petals and she caught that. His gaze intensifying, just like the weather. She gulped hard, watching him and did what she had always wanted to do and what she felt was her right. She placed her head on his chest and wrapped her arm around him. 
The wind was cold but she felt so warm against him. he held her close to him and knew she belonged there. it was not today or yesterday, it had been forever, he realized, that she belonged to him and only him. 
He went to see her the next day and stood by the door, smiling. She was on her bed, skipping office.
“Aacchi..!” she wiped her nose and sighed sadly. So much for having fun. She shook her head when she saw him stand by the door of her room, hands crossed over his chest and smiling away at her plight.
She twisted her lips, “thank you Maan for the gift you gave me.”
He strode in lazily and sat beside her, checking her temperature. He leaned closer and whispered in her ears, startling her, “so, what do you suggest? Shall I stay back tonight and nurse you back to health like you did the last time?”
She felt her cheeks heat up with his husky voice, reminding her of the previous night when they had spent a beautiful time in each others’ embrace. He suppressed his laughter seeing her so stiff and got up to leave.
 
“take care. I will be going now Jasmine.”
Her face fell and she looked at him sadly, “What? Now?”
He shrugged, “its Monday. I have to work jasmine.”
She blew her nose and fell back on the bed, feeling sick and upset that he was going away. She felt his breath on her cheeks and closed her eyes. 
 
“get well soon okay.”
He pressed a kiss on her cheeks and rushed off. she sat up immediately to look for him but then he was gone. She caressed her cheek where he had kissed and fell back on the bed, sighing in sweet agony of cold and this separation.
————————————————————————————————
She got up panting and immediately looked for him, moving her hands on his side.
“Maan… are you there?”
Silence.
She didn’t like the silence now. There was time when she loved the solitude of the silence but she was scared now. 
“Maan…”, her lips trembled. She moved her hands frantically to look for something to hold on to so that she could get off the bed. Holding the bed post, she managed to stand up. The birds chirruped outside her window telling her that it was morning already. But nothing pleased her like before. Days and nights were same for her. she tried to picturize their room in her mind and walk to him.
 
“Maan where are you?”
She took a few steps ahead and tripped over something when two soft hands grabbed her, preventing her fall. She quickly clutched those hands, feeling glad.
“Maan…where were you? I was looking for you..”
“its me Ma’am. Sir has gone out for some work and asked me to be here.
It was the nurse and it hurt. 
“ohh.“, she spoke sadly. The little happiness she felt seemed to die down. What has happened to their beautiful world now? She felt like crying.
The nurse talked of how well she was healing and what the next step was but she was far from anything. she just sat where the nurse had made her sit, numb to everything. why wasn’t Maan with her? she came to realize that he had been avoiding her for the past few days. But why? It hurt her so bad, the distance could be felt. He came to her only when it was something to do with her health, or when the nurse called hi. He came when she was sleep and he was gone when she woke up.
 
“…and the doctor says we can remove the bandages round your eyes tomorrow. It will take some time but please have patience ma’am.”
Did it make her happy? What difference did it make in her life now? Her nights wouldn’t turn into days and her days wouldn’t turn into nights. It will always be the same for her. time passed in waiting but she didn’t know what she was waiting for. Her mother had called, asking her if she was okay. She wanted to ask them so many things but she couldn’t. She couldn’t ask about dadima or about Dev or Priya and her pregnancy or her badi ma or anyone else for that matter. She was far from them, across the seven seas and 5 continents away. Seemed as if she was far from Maan too. 
It was much later at night when she felt him pull her close to him. he was back. She felt like crying but held back the urge and pretended to remain asleep. He was in his vest and tracks, she could very well deduce. But he seemed restless, his muscles tensed and his breathing erratic.  She wrapped her hand around him and kissed his chest. He stilled.
“you are awake?”
She gently moved her fingers up on his torso, trying to feel him… re-learn his body just with her touch. She gulped down when she felt that warm pulse on the base of his neck, pulsating in an arrhythmic fashion. He sighed in with the touch. Her fingers treaded further to his firm jaw line and lingered a bit there before resting on his cheeks.
“Geet..”, he whispered, feeling the heaviness of her emotions on his skin.
 
“Don’t go far from me Maan.”
It was a desperate plead, that squeezed his heart painfully. He kissed her palm that rested on his lips now.
 
“I am right here, With You jasmine.”
She felt nice, feeling his lips move against her palm. It gave her a warm feeling. He was with her.
But she felt the cold surround her when she sat still as the doctor removed her bandages, asking her not to open her eyes yet. He was not with her today. she felt her heart prick. He lied! The nurse had informed her that he was gone for some work. Why couldn’t he tell her that he was leaving? She was perhaps wrong to assume that the distance had been just her imagination. It was very much there. so profound now! It was all her fault that Maan has gone away form her. she sat in their room, pondering over the facts. She was nothing but perhaps a burden to him now. The clouds rumbled outside and she cried, sitting all alone. Those moments of them in the rain, embraced in each other’s arms flashed in her mind. What had become of them?