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Chapter – 17
Tears That No One Saw
“Dev… what you are doing is wrong!”
“But then what can I do Geet? Don’t you see dadima? Don’t you see mom? She doesn’t even respond to our voices. A nurse has to be there 24/7 and most importantly don’t you see Maan?”
Geet looked down at the printed carpet and thought of the man who was so broken now. Maan hardly came home. He talked to no one over the phone. She just kept calling him, asking him of his well being. He talked to her but very less. And after talking to dadima and her parents, she had come to convince Dev to get married to Priya.
“its not about Maan or anyone else Dev, its all about You and Priya. Its about your love”
Dev sighed dejectedly, “Love can wait. I need my family together. Rano ma came to spoke to me…”
“…and you sent her off!”
“And now you have come to convince me, right Geet? I am not in a state of mind to get married. Understand that Geet.”
“But why? You do love Priya right? Think about her!”
“I have talked to her. And if I agree to this, wont I be selfish? Thinking about my happiness when everyone is broken! Did you even realize that its already 8 months and Maan came home just thrice!”
Who else could understand that pain better than Geet! He was running away from her. He was running away from everyone and everything.
“Its not about being selfish Dev. In no way you can be selfish.”
She leaned closer, cupped his cheek and made him look at her.
“Listen to me dev and listen to me well. Maan is running away I know. You are running away too. Running away from your love, running away from Priya and you Mr. Dev Khurana are running away from your responsibility towards her.!”
Dev held her hands and sighed, “My family needs me Geet, please understand.”
His voice broke. Days and Nights tormented his soul. And seeing dadima so forlorn and Maan so distant just killed everything within.
“Your family needs Priya too Dev. Don’t you think its time to bring her home and bring life back to this mansion? Priya would be here… to support you. You deserve that. Don’t punish her for some thing she didn’t do. Please think on this!”
She walked away, letting dev think. She was perhaps right? Priya was heartbroken, he knew but she understood his pain and stepped back. His heart broke into pieces thinking of her feelings and his eyes fell on the woman, slowly walking away from him.
She stopped and turned back. He had stood up and looked straight into her eyes.
“I will get married. But I want you here too.”
She knew what that look meant. But how could she have told that how defeated she was? She had tried to reach Maan but he had shut himself so tight that she had failed miserably. She walked home, to her room and cried. Not for herself but for him. She knew Priya would bring stability to the house and it was time dev chose what was best for him and the family.
The preparations began again…slowly this time and with less happiness. It was decided that only close family would be present and the wedding be simple. Geet helped dadima in the preparations that evening but her heart was not with her. she had called him, informing him about dev’s marriage and asked if he would come home. He had just sighed and disconnected the call. He was in pain but it was her who was hurting. She had been so lonely all this time, holding both the families together and trying to hold him. but it caught up to her. she wanted him to at least speak out what was bothering him but he didn’t.
Dev walked in, with his phone and instinctively her head turned to meet his eyes. Anticipation, anxiety and worry written all over her face, she waited with her heart in her mouth, as if her very life depended on the words he’d speak out.
Knowing her dilemma well, Dev lowered in head apologetically and shook his head in denial. And for the first time, everyone saw those unshed tears. She had been so brave all this time, holding everyone and so, no one had seen those tears. Maan had denied again and she was more than miserable today. she felt hopeless. Dev held her while dadima called up Maan and blasted at him. Geet quickly wiped her tears and held back dadima.
“I will handle this dadima. He cannot run away forever. Just give me a chance and allow me to bring him back.”
The wedding was in five days but it didn’t bother her. she packed her bags and caught a flight to the US, where he stayed…actually hid himself. She had assured dev that his brother would be home on his wedding but more than that, she had vowed to herself to bring him back. Getting all the details from Dev, she had booked her tickets and had flown to the US, leaving behind a note for everyone to not worry about her.
He woke up panting and sweating, yet again. The months passed in glee but his nightmares did not stop. He had changed places, he had changed people…heck he had changed the air around him but nothing haunted him as much as memories did. And with memories, came the pain! how he had wanted the earth to swallow him up…how he had wished for the stupid heart to stop beating but he had failed. And he knew well that a certain someone’s prayers had kept him alive all these days. Days and nights seemed long and even work wasn’t doing its best to keep him distracted. Though he had made himself too busy to even speak to anyone back home but still that feeling persisted.
He chugged down the entire bottle of water in one go and went back to sleep, taking the pills. They were his constant companions now. His brother was getting married in a few days and he was glad about it. but why were they dragging him into it? couldn’t they see how much it would hurt him.. to not see his parents smiling down at his brother? He had snatched away that happiness from his sibling…how could he have shown his face to anyone?
The morning seemed brighter than ever. He woke up feeling feverish and a dull headache thrummed in his head. He quickly checked the time and realized it was way past his office time. He had overslept! Strange it was because he hadn’t been able to sleep all these days. And last night had been dreamless and dull. He woke up and decided to just work from home. He freshened up, made a few calls and walked towards the kitchen to get something to eat.
A faint aroma of spice and herbs filled his nostrils and it felt nostalgic for some reasons. He was pretty sure the housekeeper didn’t know of such a thing. Curious, he jogged down the stairs only to find her working round her way in the kitchen, humming a tune.
Not her! his mind screamed! Not her out of all people! Was it a dream? He knew it wasn’t for she was too real to be one.
“Geet?” he gasped out.
She turned, carrying a smile on her lips, “Good morning Maan.”
She was indeed here! Shock was clearly written all over his face.
“How come…you here?”
“Oh I just wanted to see you. Thats it.” she answered, stirring her pasta, “I sent the housekeeper home. Do you mind?”
He was so happy to see her yet he didn’t want to see her. he wanted to hug her tightly and kiss her damn lips but then he didn’t want to. The paradox in him made him restless for answers. Why in the world was she here?
“Who gave you this address?”
“Dev. Now, can we have some food? I landed here just a while ago and am starving.” She added a smile to her words. but all she wanted to do was cry her heart out. He looked so weak and so tired. He looked sick! She wanted to hug him and soothe his aching heart. it was after months they were seeing each other and their hearts cried. Why had it suddenly become so difficult to face each other?
He sat by the counter as she served two bowls of pasta and sat beside him. They had their food silently. The aroma brought back so many memories of home’. And her mere presence had made him feel suddenly so nice… like a change in his otherwise cursed life. He savoured the flavour, lost in his memories when he felt her head rest on his bare arm.
He felt her soft cheek warm against his cold skin and it felt so loving. He was feeling her this close after so long.
“Am tired.” She whispered.
He knew what she was talking about. But he didn’t want to dig deep into it. she was here for him, he knew it well and he didn’t want her to go away either.
“then you should rest.”
“aren’t you tired too?” she yawned, letting the jet lag seep in. She had been up on her toes since she had reached home.
“I don’t know.” He spoke, staring at the strand of hair that teased her cheeks. She had finished her food and her eyes drooped. He let his finger trail her cheek, pushing away that curl. How long had it been that he had touched her like this? Suddenly, his heart seemed to forget the past and he basked in the warmth of her presence.
He picked her up in his arms and climbed up the stairs, looking at her face lovingly. She looked just the same…no, she looked so much prettier than the last time he had seen her. and like home’, she snuggled close to him, letting him know that she was always for him.
He lowered her on the bed and pulled the duvet. He turned to get her luggage from the living room when she held his hand, “Don’t go. its been o long that i felt so nice.”
His eyes softened at her words. He leaned closer and pressed a soft kiss on her forehead, “sleep Love, I will be right here.”
She sat on the swing, holding her coffee mug, in the lawn. The weather was pleasant with cool breeze calming her senses. She had slept most part of the day and had woken up just an hour earlier. He was busy with some call so she prepared coffee for both of them and came to sit in the lawn. She wanted him to hug her like he always did and forget everything. and she knew it was time. They had never beaten around the bush. Their feelings were transparent. And she hoped it still remained so.
She felt him sit beside her quietly and they just swayed in silence for some time. She finished with her coffee and kept it on the side.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
“yeah… much better.”
“I went to call you for lunch but you wouldn’t wake up. So I let it be.”
“Dev is getting married, finally.” She spoke, caressing her engagement ring lovingly. He noticed that and then looked at his own engagement ring. Fond memories made way in to both their minds.
“I know. I am happy for him.”
The dusk now slowly gave way to the dark.
“then come home.” She said and he stilled for a while.
Silence prevailed for some time until he composed himself and spoke again, “I am a little busy with work. I wont be able to make it.”
She turned to him and looked straight into his eyes, “Liar.”
His lashes dropped.
“Is this why you are here?”
“yes. Come back home Maan. Everyone is worried about you.”
“I… I can’t Geet.”
“Why? Why can’t you?”
He had a look that of desperation that she gathered. She cupped his face and pulled him closer, “Maan, whatever happened was not your fault. Please stop blaming yourself.”
“No…” he cried, “it is not as easy as you think.”
“it is Maan. It is easy. Forgive yourself, no one blames you. In fact, they miss you Maan.”
He pushed away her hand and walked into the house, not wanting to carry on with this conversation that was bringing back so many things.
She followed him to his room and stepped in even before he could shut the door.
“Don’t you dare close the door on me.” She commanded and pulled him to face her.
“just go away Geet. You don’t know anything.”
She now saw that thin film of tears in his eyes…tears that no one saw.
“listen Maan… let go. its in the past. Everyone has accepted it. Please don’t punish yourself.”
“It is Not Geet. You don’t know anything.”
“then enlighten me Maan. Tell me things that I don’t know.” She cried. When he looked away, she felt angry. She held him by his collar she pushed him on to the wall, her eyes red with fury and tears.
“it haunts Geet…it doesn’t let me live.“, he cried.
“Listen to me well Mr Maan Khurana… you think its you alone? Did you ever think of me? How dare you leave me alone back there…all these days! Where were you when I needed you the most? Doesn’t it haunt me? How dare you leave me all alone?”
He looked deep into those pained eyes and wiped those tears away. Her breath was warm and she was seething with emotions. His throat hurt but he spoke and he let his tears out.
“I am a broken man Jasmine. You might think of me as a selfish person but I cannot let anyone, especially you get caught in the storm that rages inside me.”
He gently caressed her cheeks and smiled through his tears, “I know I hurt you but I am scared and am scarred.”
He held one of her hands and placed it on his heart, “It cried for you Geet…every living moment but I can’t go back. I might just ruin anyone who comes close to me.”
That guilt sat heavy on him, his heart wounded and now laid bare in front of her. she closed her eyes and took a deep breath in, calming herself. And then she opened her eyes, looking deep into his.
“then Ruin me. Ruin me Maan to all your heart’s desire but never let go of me. I will die.”
She shook her head, unable to hold back.
“I cannot Maan. I cannot hold myself. I am not courageous enough. I am broken and I might destroy you with the storm that rages inside me.”
“Then destroy me! Destroy me all you want but please don’t give up on me Geet. Remember, you are my home’. Nothing in life would ever be able to make me give up on you.”
She rested her head on his heart and cried. Why was he so nice to her after all the ill she had spoken to him? she felt his warm hand gently rub her back, calming her down.
“You don’t have to worry about anything Geet. I had promised I would take care of you and trust me I will. We will go to your doctor again and get you checked. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with you. Yes, there are a few complications but they will be fine with regular medicines. Stop worrying. I would never ever let anything happen to you. Just give me a chance.”
She remained in his arms for a long time, playing his words again and again in her head and never realized when she slept off. she always thought this confrontation was a part of her dream but the days that followed slowly let her head wrap around his words. He was always there, with her, beside her all this time. Then how on earth, she wondered, did she feel so lonely?
They got back from the gynecologist just to clear Geet’s doubts but she did have to face certain complications. She felt helpless but he just held her hand and squeezed it gently, asking her not to worry. He made her sit on the couch and brought her a bowl of ice-cream. But she seemed spaced out. He cupped her face,
“Stop worrying and trust me.”
“Shhh. As long as I have you, I don’t need anything else to complete me or this relation. Trust me and trust your babaji Geet.”
She sobbed in his arms, overwhelmed with the emotions he set in her.
“Why do you love me so much Maan? I… I don’t deserve you. I had hurt you and… and I spoke such mean things to you but…”
He ate her words, pressing his mouth on to her sugar sweet ones. He took in her soft complaining lips and kissed her hard. She thought way too much. He took in her complaints and her tears into him, leading the dance of their lips, soft at placed and vigorous when needed.
She was caught off-guard and then she melted, like butter in the warmth of his lips. She had kissed him a million times but each time he managed to evoke a different sensation in her. she now knew her way up to his face and held him tight. His lips suckled her petals and she moaned into his mouth, forgetting the world. His one hand angled her head according to his comfort and the other sneaked into her t-shirt, spanning her waist.
Breathless, she called out to him only to find her voice muffled into his mouth. She had fallen back on the couch, taking him on her and pulled his face away from her, clutching his hair. But he wasn’t the one to give up so easily. He left her mouth and dipped his head in her bosom, inhaling that sweet musk of sweat and that feminine fragrance, fused together.
“Ahh… Maan..” she called out breathlessly, feeling herself liquefy at his sensual touch. Her hands holding his shoulder, trembled and so did her entire body. the weight of his head now lifted and she gasped, feeling his warm mouth cover her breast, still hidden under her clothing.
“Shh. Its alright Love, Just let me..”
His breathless tone ignited a fire deep down the pit of her stomach, building the heat in her. she felt her t-shirt slide away from her body and waited for his next move, anxiously and breathlessly.
oops, did I stop at the wrong point??