Chapter – 12
Where is the Woman I Seek?
He pressed a kiss on her forehead, “catch up with Naina. I will be back in a while!”
“where are you going?”
“I will be here in the study Geet. Something just came up. Need to look into it.”
She didn’t complain in a long time. She couldn’t because Naina took away all her attention, telling her stories of things back in India, her final year in college and her current relationship. Geet felt normal. They ordered pizzas for lunch and they laughed recalling fun times of their childhood. Maan kept an eye on them and relaxed when he heard Geet talk about their parents. He felt a familiar ache rise within him at the mention of home and family. What has he gone and done? he silently walked back to his study and slumped on the chaise lounge, holding his file. It was perhaps his fault that they were like this today. and the guilt that she had helped him overcome resurfaced like a sleeping volcano awakened.
He never realized when he had slept off thinking of so many things. But when he woke up, it was already dark. He checked the time and rushed to Geet only to find her lying down beside naina. And that little brat had slept off, exhausting all her energy is brainless talks. But then he’d forgive her for that because his wife seemed happy.
She was just dozing off when she felt his warm breath on her neck and then felt herself being raised up in his arms.
“Maan? What are you doing?“. She gasped.
“Just being with my wife.”, he pressed a kiss on her cheek.
“but Naina…”, she felt embarrassed. What if Naina saw them like that?
“Shh. That brat is sleeping. You needn’t worry about her.”
She could hear his footsteps. Her hands knew on their own how and where to hold him and where to place her head. She wondered if she had ever noticed the details of his body when she could see. His shoulders were a bunch of muscles, contracting and relaxing with the movement of his arms. She could hear his heavy footsteps, that had never sounded so rhythmical. She could feel his chest rise up and fall with the breath he was taking… up and down… up and down.. she could hear him sigh when they reached down the stairs, her ears picking up the faintest of the faint sound of the wind that smashed on to her windows…her senses came alive with just the loss of one.
He placed her down on the soft grass of their lawn, confusing her.
“Maan… are we outside?”
“yes Jasmine, we are in our lawn.”
She held his arms and smiled. it had been so long that she had come out of the house. She has always felt the wind on her face as she had only the window to interact with nature. The cool breeze now touched her entire body her the soft grass tickled her bare feet. She felt her senses come alive. The sweet smell of the evening air carrying the fragrance of various kinds of flowers she had planted. And along with it was that distinct smell of the jasmine flowers that she knew covered the fence.
She seemed scared to venture out of her own. he sighed and hugged her from behind.
“Don’t be afraid Love, embrace what comes your way!”
Before she could understand what he meant, he caught hold of both her hands and spread them wide, letting the coolness of the air surround her. she felt as though the wind had picked up speed for she felt it touch every part of her body. She felt nice. Her fingers laced with his and they stood like that, arms opened wide, embracing what came their way.
“Maan..” she called out after a while.
“Can we walk around?”
He felt glad seeing her taking the initiative. He took a few steps ahead of her and held one of her hands gently and pulled her ahead as he walked. But she hesitated. She recoiled and refused to move ahead. He stopped and turned back, “Geet?”
She had a certain uncertainty on her face.
“hold me please.”
He gently squeezed her hand that he held, “am holding you Love.”
But she seemed sceptical, “No. Stand close tome. Let me hold you, let me feel your body.”
He looked at the distance between their joined hands, a good two hands distance!
He walked closer to her and pressed a kiss at the back of her hand.
“There is nothing to be scared of Geet. Just walk.”
“N..No. I.. just hold me.”
He let his finger trail a soft imaginary line across her cheek, “I am holding you Geet. You need to trust yourself. Take a step ahead and learn to trust your instincts.”
She held his hand in both her hands.
“but… but you are not close. What if I fall?”
“are you scared of falling Geet? Despite knowing that i still hold your hand at one end?”
She gulped and nodded softly, letting her fears out. She was scared that she wasn’t herself like before. She was scared that she might let Maan down. That she would hurt herself which would become another burden on Maan. But she had underestimated him perhaps.
“where is that woman who had prevented me from falling, back then? Back in the time when I was so afraid to walk because I thought I’d stumble? Back in the time when I was too scared of the dark? Where is that woman who had told me to trust her? where is that woman who told me that no matter what she’d hold me at one end? I can’t find her Geet! Have you seen her? Have you seen that woman who had helped me walk when I was staggering just like this?”
She stood rooted, staring blankly into oblivion. Only his voice swirled in her head, taking her back to the times when she had been that woman to him. but she was not what she was in the past now. Things have changed!
“I… I can’t seem to find her Maan!”
He immediately left her hand and cupped her face, “then let me help you Love. Let me help you find her. trust me Geet because i will always hold you on the other end. Give me a chance. Give yourself a change. Find that woman in you.”
A drop of tear slid down her cheek and he fused his mouth with hers. She was his heaven, his safe haven! And he’d do anything to bring her back. He took in her sugar sweet mouth into his and let his passion unleash.
She closed her eyes, clutching his shirt as his lips coaxed open hers. She gave in for she was in no position to deny access to the bridge of confidence he was building within her. she felt his hand band around her waist and his other hand, gently massaging her scalp, soothing her and intoxicating her simultaneously. Her senses came alive with a vengeance now for she was so aware of his fingers… each finger touching which spot of her body, each finger massaging which spot on her scalp… each breath of his falling on which part of her face! she squirmed and held him tighter in her embrace.
He felt her so responsive today. more that she had ever been as her warm tongue searched his for a duel of passion. He smiled into the kiss and broke apart after one hell of a breathless moment! Her mouth slightly opened with their passion, her breathing shallow and her lips red and plump made him feel happy.
“Come on now Love, trust yourself. And I know you will not fall! And even if you do, I will be here, holding on.”
He created the distance between them again, a two hands distance and held her palm gently and walked ahead. She though couldn’t see, felt his heart race, instead of hers, she felt his anxiety, she felt his effort and she took a step ahead. She had no sense of direction. She just followed in whichever direction she felt that gentle tug of his hand on hers. He wasn’t holding her tight but then he held her. hand in hand, he walked and she walked behind, feeling the soft grass tickling her feet, the wind playing with her hairs and her heart dancing to the tune of his words. She would try to be the woman he seeks in her. she didn’t realized when her hands slipped away from his and she walked on her own, taking baby steps, lost in her world.
She tripped on something and then he was there, right beside her, holding her.
“See, i told you I’d be here.”
“Ohh Maan…why do you love me so much?”
She hugged him tightly and whimpered in his arms, overwhelmed with everything. he said nothing but just held her, close to him.
“Because when it comes to you Geet, there is nothing else I know.”
She kissed his chest and realized she had to try, not for herself but for him. she raised to look up, “can we walk more?”
“we will come back tomorrow Geet. Its getting colder.”
She felt herself being raised up in his arms again and smiled this time. Nothing was more beautiful than the time spent with him, though sad, though happy!
She sat by her study table, trying to work on some important document but then she couldn’t concentrate. It was midnight and she was supposed to finish the plan. But every time she tried to get her brain to work, it’d straightaway run towards her little valiant knight!
The evening had been too beautiful. It was two months since the party he tad taken her to and their relationship had progressed like a wave running towards the shore. The only difference was that they hadn’t reached their shore yet! He had never left a chance to surprise her, to make her feel special. And this evening too, he had whisked her away on a date, surprising her. he did those small small things that perhaps no one would think about. Instead of taking her to a fancy restaurant, he had actually taken her to the terrace of his mansion where he had arranged a mat. They both lied down for hours, looking at the moon and talked of the world. He had brought two cans of coke and two packs of her favourite aloo tikki chaat and both had reveled in the tangy spicy flavour of food.
But what she couldn’t get off her mind was the way he had looked at her and uttered those words,
“…You are my home Geet. You are where I can hide myself and cry, and laugh and sulk all I want. Just be like this to me, forever!”
They had been talking about something and he had spoken those lines. She had tears in her eyes and he had, so very reverentially, kissed them away. She hugged him and he his her in his embrace.
The thought of that moment still made her heart stop for a moment, even after hours. Unable to do anything, she gave up on her work and went to sleep.
The next morning went in a daze. His words rang in her head on repeat mode, put on infinite loop. Ohh what has he done to her? what could she do for him? she messed up with her meeting and left home a bit early. But perhaps another surprise awaited her. it was Dev who caught her spacing out, right outside her gate, neither going in, nor going out.
“Come on angel, stop day dreaming. We have got something for you.”
She watched him quizzically. He was still in formals, perhaps just back from office.
“Surprise? and how come I didn’t have an inkling about it?”
“and thats exactly why it is a surprise, buddhu!”, Maan came around, slapping her head playfully. She frowned and he winked at her.
They walked into the Handa haveli and she was surprised to see the entire khurana clan there as well, everyone’s faces lit up like fireworks on a diwali night.
The brothers made her sit in the middle and dev cleared his throat to gain attention.
“alright ladies and gentlemen, we are finally here to announce something very important!”
Everyone’s attention went to the eldest khurana heir while the younger one stood behind his brother with a smirk!
“now that we all are there, we have planned for a small family vacation.”
The mention of a vacation made everyone squeal while Geet looked at the brothers wondering what had they actually planned. Maan caught that look on her face and smirked, continuing further.
“we haven’t been to a vacation for a long time. So next week, we are leaving.”
“But where Maan? At least let us know of our destination.!”, Yash asked curiously.
His eyes met hers and a small smile tugged on his lips, “its Yorkshire dad!”
While everyone clapped and laughed in joy, she gasped and kept staring at him. he raised his brows asking her if she wasn’t happy but she just couldn’t say anything. she revelled in the sweet memories of that moment when she had actually spoke to dadima of her wish to visit a historical county as such but never in her dreams she had imagined this! Her eyes burned with tears and she felt such an overwhelming a feeling to do something for him that all she could do was get up and rush to the backyard.
Dadima was all in splits realizing what the real thing was behind this trip. She watched their silent conversation and let them be. she was happy to witness a blossoming love story.
“What happened to Geet now?”, rano wondered.
“Its okay Rano ma, I will go check on her,” Maan promptly took the cue and
rushed to find his jasmine, knowing exactly where she could be.
She stood under the bakula tree, sobbing. Not that she was sad but he filled her with so many emotions that she couldn’t express but let out in terms of her tears.
She felt a warm hand on her shoulder, “jasmine… are you alright?”
She turned around abruptly and hugged him tight.
“What are you doing to me Maan? And why?”
His arms went around her waist, pulling her close, “shh, stop crying now.”
He pressed a kiss on her forehead, “do you really want an answer to this Geet?”
She wiped the tears with the back of her palms and looked up into his eye, nodding. Their gazes locked and both stood there motionless until he raised his hand and wiped her tears form her cheeks.
“tell me Maan, why?”
“Because I am selfish!”, he spoke lovingly.
She was confused, “but you are not Maan!”
He laughed, “yes I am Jasmine, I am selfish because I want all this for myself. I want you to smile for me. I want you to look at me like you own me… I want you to just be with me. Thats it!”
She felt like she had been pushed into an abyss with no end with nothing but his love! Love?? she wondered, if not Love, then what was it that she felt now?
She rested her forehead against him, “I am always with you Maan! I will always be.”
With this, she leaned closer and pressed a kiss at the corner of his lips, stilling him with her unfurling boldness. He wanted to hug her, and never let go of her but then they heard his mother calling and quickly parted. His mom called them both for dinner and she rushed inside, with a lilt in her steps.
heading for a twist now, are we??