@All: Thank You so much everyone for all your lovely comments. I wanted to reply to each one of you but something or the other just kept me away.
Thank you for the patience… its surprising that you people stuck to the end.
God save you people.
A/N before you kill me with your questions, I will answer beforehand- there is no epilogue.
Finally, we are at the last chapter.
Last Chapter 24
The Tree of Heaven
“Maan…more…please” she moaned breathlessly and arched her back to feel him more.
His head rose like the sun, from between her mounds with his signature smirk, “you tire me out these days Jasmine.”
She took in a sharp breath and clutched his hairs tight in her fists making him wince, “you, of all people, must not complain. I am taking my revenge for all the previous times.”
“oww… the revenge is hot” he licked his lips naughtily.
She raised herself and bit his lips, “it was supposed to be cold.”
“With you around, I should only expect fireworks, Love.” he leaned in and kissed her hard before walking away towards the washroom, wrapping the towel around his waist. She watched him vanish into the washroom and wrapped the sheet around herself. Her vision had cleared to a great extent but she was still not allowed to go out in bright daylight or look into very bright lights. she collected their clothes and dumped them into the laundry basket, humming a tune. Her eyes fell on her reflection in the mirror and she stopped. She walked closer and dropped her sheet and examined her naked self.
He walked out only to find his jasmine stand by the mirror and run her hands on her scars.
“what are you looking at?”
She saw him from the mirror and then looked back at that ugly mark on her abdomen, running a finger on it.
“Has it started fading?” she asked thoughtfully.
He shook his head, picked up the sheet and stood behind her. he gently wrapped it around her and turned her to face him.
“Give it time Geet. Wounds take time to heal.”
She looked up and back into his eyes. Those words reminded her of something from the past… something very familiar. She raised her hand and caressed his cheek, “the patience wears off at times.”
He opened his mouth to say something but then let it go. he just patted her head with a weak smile and went to get ready for work. She noticed that and wondered if he remembered something that made him upset. She decided to ask him when he got back home but he surprised her with the tickets to fly back home. Her mother was there too and it excited Geet that she would finally get home.
The long journey home didn’t tire her out even a bit. If at all, she could even run around the entire mansion and still not feel exhausted. He smiled at her excitement as her hold around his arm tightened.
“You shouldn’t go overboard with all this excitement. You still haven’t recovered completely.” He warned her and she, very conveniently, ignored him. she put on her sun glasses and waited with her mother for the car. Dadima and Naina were there to pick them up and Geet couldn’t help screaming in joy, like a little child. All through the drive back home, dadima kept asking about how she was and if she was still on medication and she gave every detail she could possibly have.
The first question she asked when she entered the mansion was about Priya and the baby.
“She has taken Garv for his vaccine shot. She will be back soon. Till then just go and freshen up.” Dadima kissed her forehead and let her go.
Maan saw her jumping up the stairs, like a little kid and hugged dadima.
“is she well now?”
“Yes Dadima. Its after such a long time that am seeing her so happy.”
Dadima caressed his cheeks, “Now, go and take rest. And knowing her, she’d be running around the mansion in a while. Just keep an eye on her. I don’t want our surprise to get spoiled.”
She winked at him and left. He rolled his eyes and wondered what surprise they were planning. He knew something was up but even he had no idea what it was.
She had just lied down to relax her back and never knew when sleep took over. A lazy long bath after a long journey had indeed tired her out.
“Jasmine… wake up.”
She rolled over to the other side.
“Geet…Geet..” his soft voice disturbed her sleep and she didn’t want to wake up.
“Open your eyes. Garv and Priya are here to see you.”
That did the magic. She fluttered her eyes open and found him smiling down at her.
“how long have I slept?” she yawned and ate half of her words.
“umm… quite a while. Now, get ready. dadima has called us downstairs.”
She rubbed her eyes, “and Priya?”
“she is waiting for you too!”
She went to freshen up when she looked out, towards the balcony and her eyes widened in shock.
“Its evening already? Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?” she frowned at him.
“You needed rest.” He answered in his most innocent voice.
“Arrghh… you…” she wanted to curse him but then she knew there was no point. So, she went ahead and freshen up in a light green chudidaar. He was ready too.
“are you going somewhere?”
“Nope. Dadima has called us to see her in the backyard. Everyone is there. come on.”
She stood numb and watched the faces of everyone gleam in the fairy lights. dadima, Priya, Dev, naina, badi maa, her parents…everyone was there, with wide smiles, welcoming her home.
Priya rushed and hugged her tightly, “Welcome back home Geet. You have no idea how much I have missed you.”
She broke the hug and looked at Maan, “and Happy Anniversary to both of you.”
Geet smiled and cried at the same time as everyone hugged her and told her how happy they were to see her and filled her with everything that she had missed. But her eyes looked around for one little life that had made her days restless.
“Where is Garv?” she asked Priya, finally.
Priya smiled and wiped her tears, “Ohh he is just having a bad day today Geet. Got his vaccine and he is cranky.”
“But where is he?”
“He is sleeping. Come on. Let us introduce him to his choti maa.”
“Chotti maa..” she mumbled to herself. A new name! A new relation she was going to begin with that little life.
She almost wept when she saw that tiny two month old stir in his sleep. His face was pink and he looked so beautiful. Priya stood back and watched her kneel down by his crib. She knew how excited Geet was about the baby. She had talked to her for hours describing how he kicked and what all things he made her eat when he was still inside his mother. Geet had literally felt everything that Priya had felt. So how could she not feel this emotional to see him breathing and moving and crying? And this was the reason why she and Dev had decided to wait for Geet and Maan before putting his name on the papers.
Geet looked at the baby in wonder and touched his soft pink hands, cautiously. The baby stirred and wrapped his tiny digits around her finger and stirred in his sleep.
“Hi baby”, she whispered, “how are you?”
The baby’s lips twitched and then he started wailing, looking for his mother. Priya rushed to him and picked him up carefully, rocking him back to sleep again. but Garv didn’t want to sleep anymore perhaps. The moment he found the familiar warmth of his mother, he cuddled more into her bosom and smiled triumphantly.
Priya smiled, “you are one naught boy; pretending to cry to get attention, aren’t you?”
The baby just kept looking through his tiny eyes at his mother as if he understood every bit of it.
“Now, you have someone to give you all your attention. Your choti maa is back home. Be good to her.”
She looked at Geet who seemed so dazed with everything around.
“Geet…hold him.” Priya urged and very carefully gave the baby to her.
She was scared at first but Priya instructed her on the hold and when she could, the emotions she felt were inexplicable. The tiny life in her hands looked at her as if he were trying to look for some clue of recognition.
“Your mother is an incredible woman. Don’t trouble her.” she teased. And then Garv cried again, taking offense. The duo laughed and Priya took Garv to feed while Geet walked to others who had brought a cake with a Anniversary message written on it.
Maan watched her glow as she fed him the cake and then to everyone. His Jasmine was finally in bloom.
On dinner table, everyone asked Geet about Garv’s name.
“But I like the name he already has. Garv Khurana… sounds so nice.”
“Bas. It is decided then. Tomorrow I am going to put his name on the papers.” Dev announced.
They sat in the hall playing cards but Maan stayed away. He was busy playing with his nephew, who seemed to have taken a liking to his uncle. He giggled when Maan ran a finger on his forehead and listened to him carefully when he spoke words of knowledge. At times, even Garv put forward his thoughts and opinions through his chuckles and spit bubbles. Geet watched Maan in awe and wondered if she’d be able to bring the same happiness to Maan that Garv brought.
“dii…its your turn now.” Naina’s voice brought her back to reality. She shook her head got back into the game. Of course she would. Right things happened at the right times.
That night, she dreamed of home. She dreamed of the time she was with Priya, Dev, Naina and little Garv. It was their last night in India and she was upset. She didn’t want to leave Garv who by now had known well who his choti maa was. She didn’t want to leave Priya and dadima and her family. Her badi maa was healing, albeit slowly. She could make a few gestures via her eyes and fingers. She understood things. And Geet didn’t want to go back even after one whole month. She wanted to be with her badi ma. She was in her house and Maan was back in KM. Though they were just neighbours, it still felt she had come a place very far from him. she had a flight to catch the next day but she couldn’t sleep. It was way past midnight when she just decided to take a walk in her backyard. The absence of the bakula tree left her with no place to seek peace. She pulled the robe over her night dress and walked towards her most favourite place which now held no fragrance and no life.
She stood where she always did and looked up at the sky. Things had changed with time and her tree of heaven had left her. Died. And hence, been uprooted. How long has it been that it was gone? Had it gone to its rightful master, Krishna? He played his flute under the bakula and enticed the milk maidens of vrindavan. So, has it gone back to heaven, she thought. He created his love story under the shade of the bakula and she created her story under the same too. It saddened her to no ends and wished if Krishna gave her back her Bakula. She left a deep breath and turned to leave. She’d be going far away from everyone the next day. She tripped on something, perhaps roots of some plant and held herself from falling. The moon shined enough above her head to let her see her present from the heaven and she almost cried in happiness. There stood, the tiny bakula, rising from the seed that his mother had left behind as a parting gift to her. she knelt in front of it and caressed its soft new leaves like she would caress Garv in her arms.
She dreamed of the happiness she had felt then and she dreamed of her journey back to the US. Only if it were a dream…but it wasn’t. She woke up with a smile on her face wondering how big the tree would have grown. She looked beside and saw her husband in deep sleep. It was a weekend and so she let him be. she pulled her hair in a messy bun and walked down to prepare breakfast after freshening up.
She brewed his coffee and hummed a tune of her own. the house was so silent and she loved it. her voice echoed in the kitchen and she swayed her hips to the music she was humming.
“Ohh god..” she jumped at his sudden hug and relaxed immediately realizing it was just her husband. He pushed away her hair to one side and kissed her exposed skin, mumbling a good morning. he was just in his tracks only but his skin was warm. They remained like that, just slowing time a little and enjoying the feel of each other. He rested his head on her shoulder, yawning while she made pancakes.
“why did you wake up? See, you are still sleepy.” She mumbled, trying to recall the last time they had been so normal, like this.
“I woke up because you were missing.”
She smiled and shook her head. He’d wake up if he didn’t find her beside him. she wondered if he got this habit in the past few months when she had been in such a terrible state. He’d hold her close in his sleep and he’d wake up if he didn’t find her close.
“do you want to eat now?”
She liked when they sat and ate together, talking and teasing.
“I dreamed about Garv today.” she chimed.
“Ohh man, I miss him so much.” He sighed. He was not at all happy, leaving Garv behind. they had been back in the US for the last three months but Garv had kept their hearts with him, back home.
Geet finished her food and went around, pulling out the curtains to put them in the laundry while he just watched her work, sipping his coffee lazily. She wore her knee length nighty and kept humming her favourite tune. The same Sound of Music that he so despised. The same song that he had forbidden her to sing long back, dressed as a witch.
“Say Geet, do you fancy going somewhere, like a small weekend trip?”
She bent down to sort out the coloured drapes from the light coloured ones and her dress did nothing to cover her dignity. He enjoyed the view she presented and held back the urge to take her back to bed and make love to her like crazy.
She stood straight and turned to look at him, with that weird look on his face and raised her brow at him, realizing well what he might be looking at.
“Trip? Where to?”
He shrugged his shoulder, “Anywhere you say.”
She dumped the stuffs on the floor and rested her hands on her waist, “really? Mr.Maan Singh Khurana, its going to be 2 years to our marriage soon and you still owe me a honeymoon.”
He cocked his head to a side, “but I thought we are on an extended honeymoon since the very first day we came here, Love.”
She didn’t know whether to smile or frown at his statement. So she just shook her head and went ahead to do all that she had planned for the day but not without a tart reply.
“You are so boring.” She twisted her lips.
He rushed to her and picked her up from the waist, making her squeal, “since you complain…”
He carried her up the stairs and she wriggled.
“…I must do something to shut that lovely mouth of yours.”
The moment they reached their room, he put her on her feet and tickled her, making her laugh.
“And yes, you must stop singing that stupid song.”
Her laughter ceased and she looked at him sternly realizing what song he was talking about.
“I hate it.”
“I won’t.” She spit out and walked to open the windows.
“Yes you will.”
“No No No.”
He lifted her up and carried her to the bed for she wasn’t coming to him of her
own free will.
“Yes yes yes.”
She hit his chest angrily, “Stop forcing your will on me, you brute.”
“You know what, I will burn that dvd you have in your collection. I never ever want my children to learn that.” He spoke pushing away the pillows and laying her down.
She frowned, “Not Yours. Our children.”
He looked at her for a second and smiled realizing his folly and slid his hands under her nighty, “yeah, ours. But not that song okay.”
“Impossible.” She clutched his hair and looked at him angrily.
“Grow up Geet. And I don’t understand why are we even having this conversation when we have better things to do?”
She opened her mouth to retaliate but he didn’t let her. he pressed his lips on hers and ate away her words.
“ummm…” she smiled into the kiss and closed her eyes. She saw her entire life pass behind her lids and then there was her bakula, slowly growing up. Right things happened at the right time.
She tore away her mouth from his, making him groan and pushed him away, sitting up. He watched her in amusement as she held the hem of her nighty and pulled it off her head. His eyes feasted on the nakedness of his beautiful wife and reached out to take her in his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and fell back on the bed, taking him along.
“Give me a baby, Khurana.” She demanded on his lips and watched his face reflect emotions that she very well related to. He remained still, looking at her with such intensity that she couldn’t help but kiss him.
It took him some time to swallow those overpowering emotions and kissed her gently, lovingly, with tenderness that swept her off her feet.
They broke apart for air and he smiled, looking deep into her eyes, “Are you sure?”
She nodded and then blushed.
“Alright then, but remember, I don’t like keeping things undone for long.”
That tease! She lifted her eyes to see his eyes twinkling in mirth. And she turned redder with the way he just looked at her.
“wh…what do you mean?”, she found no other way to answer him.
“I mean that we must not stop until we succeed Love.”
Her eyes widened in shock, “Nooo…”
He laughed, “Yesss..”
He dipped his head into her bosom, taking in those mounds into his attention. In no time, they were rolling on the bed, moaning and crying and writing in pleasure.
“Stay With Me Like This, Always.” He panted, falling on her, reaching his high.
“Forever With You.”