Ruhi giggled uncontrollably as Randeep whispered into her neck, ‘If I knew dessert was so good, I would have skipped dinner’.
‘Hmm.. So I am a dessert?’, she mumbled
He left what he was doing and looked at her.
‘Actually no. You are life Ru.’ He whispered.
She gazed at him soaking in his words. He loved her so much. What had she done to get this gift, she wondered.
‘You don’t know how happy I am at this moment. Not in my entire lifetime have I felt what I am feeling now.’, he confessed.
Ruhi held his face in his arms and kissed him on his forehead.
‘You are so good to me Randeep. I sometimes think all of this is a dream. If I open my eyes, poof! It will all go away’, she said softly.
‘No it wont. I wont let it, I promise.’ He held both her hands which were circling his face.
She smiled. She lowered her hand and laid it on his arm.
‘How is this now?’ Ruhi asked him with concern.
‘Its better Ru. I have found a new doctor. She is a magician.’ He teased her.
She smiled. ‘You know Randeep all our physical pains are manifestations of what we lack in our lives’.
‘I agree. In fact tell me. And I want to know. You were hit by that bloody bastard everyday. How did you handle it Ru? I mean, the physical pain.. the emotional one…I mean didn’t anyone, your frinds notice?’ Randeep asked her gently.
‘You know Randeep. He never hit me on my face. So no one ever saw any marks. Plus I was in a different city from where I grew up. So I barely had any friends and since what was happening to me was nothing to be proud about, I kept myself away from making any new friends.’ She said looking down.
He pulled her close then and closed his eyes. It must have been terrible for her. How he wished he could go into that phase and erase all of it.
Ruhi continued. ‘I am good at hiding my pain. The physical ones I took care of by myself. But you know the worst part?’ she questioned moving away to look at him.
He stared at her quizzically. She smiled then and said, ‘You will find it funny but whenever I tried applying some ointment, my hands just wouldn’t reach my back.’ She laughed trying to make it light but the tears brimmed in her eyes and escaped over her cheeks.
He couldn’t hold back his tears either then.
He hugged her tightly hoping his touch would erase all that pain. He wished he could heal her pain the way she did for his hand.
He then gently turned her around and while she wondered what he had in mind, he unzipped her dress to reveal the marks.
His fingers moved on each scar and as he caressed them, she twitched. He bent down to kiss each one of them hoping his kiss would take away the pain.
She turned around unable to take such gentleness and hugged him burying her head in his chest.
She knew he was deeply affected. She had to change the mood. She didn’t want him losing sleep over her past.
She said, ‘You know boss, you seem to take your employees for a ride’.
He wondered what she meant. ‘How?’ He asked.
‘You promised you would allow me to apply nail paint?’ she reminded him.
He smiled to himself. He knew she was doing it to distract him.
‘Ah yes. Where is that damn thing?’ he looked around.
She reached out to her purse and as she stretched, he placed a kiss on her back. She gave him a warning look. He laughed.
As she started to open the bottle, he took it from her and before she knew it, he dipped the brush in it and lowering his head near her feet, started applying nail paint to her toes.
She giggled, ‘No Randeep. I can do it.’
‘I am the boss. I can do it better. Now stop giggling. You are spoiling my artwork’ he cribbed.
As she stopped laughing, she noticed that he was really concentrating on painting her nails in the best way possible. She ruffled his hair gently.
He looked up. ‘You have such beautiful feet Ru’
‘You are biased, you know that right?’ Ruhi said smilingly.
‘Just a bit. But I like women who have pretty feet. I think I have a foot fetish. If I wasn’t a media person, I would give pedicures to women’ Randeep confessed laughingly.
Ruhi laughed. ‘And you would be the best at it, I know’.
As he finished his artwork, she wiggled her toes while he blew over them to dry the paint.
She looked at him with a lot of love then. And he caught her gaze.
‘I love it when you look at me like that Ru but its dangerous.’, he warned her mockingly.
‘Hmm… Bad wolf trying to scare the deer, is it?’ She challenged him.
‘Oh no. This wolf is scared of the deer. Not the other way round’
‘Ha ha..’ Ruhi laughed.
‘Ok now come here. Enough of all this. We have to finish so much of work’. Randeep ordered.
Ruhi got serious and said, ‘Oh ya the presentation right, Come lets finish it.’
He pulled her into his arms then and said, ‘Not the presentation dumbo.. Come here’.
She then understood what he meant and as she went towards him. But the hotel room phone rang just then and she stopped.
'Oh no…', he said but then went and picked it up.
The hotel receptionist said sweetly. 'Sir Mrs. Kapadia is here to see you.'
It took Randeep a few seconds to comprehend that Mrs Kapadia was none other than Nimmi. But what the hell was she doing here at this hour?
….to be continued.
The sun shone, its rays hitting its light on Ruhi’s face. She opened her eyes to see the light coming through the sheer curtains. Randeep had bought those sheer ones with floral print, just for her.
She looked at the man lying next to her, his arm on her protectively. Even in his sleep, he couldn’t let go of her, it seemed. She kissed him and he stirred and smiled in his sleep and settled down again.
She looked around the house lying there in his arms. Randeep had bought it for her shortly after the divorce.
So much had happened since that day when she thought she had lost him in the crash.
She remembered his exit from the company he had heralded for more than a decade. The company he had built, nurtured, taken to its peak and then quit for her. The company where they had met.
The chairman had organised the best farewell for his best man and had even outsourced some of their content creation to Randeep’s new firm. It was a great start for him and even before the first month was over, Randeep’s plate was full with a number of projects, thanks to his excellent track record as a kickass media professional.
Her divorce had come through parallely, her ex husband finally out of her life for good.
Randeep and Nimmi had held a press meet soon after and though she was nervous as hell, it went thru peacefully. There were no ugly stories except for a mention here and there about Randeep having already found a soulmate. But nothing ugly.
Ruhi remembered how Randeep had been extra protective about her around that time. He used to scan all newspapers, all news online to see if anything nasty had been written so that he could take care of it. In fact he didn’t allow her to touch any newspaper till he had seen it first.
She had argued with him that she wasn’t a small child and he had argued back that he didn’t want her to get upset. He was very firm about it and finally she had to give in. After all it was his love for her that he was being so stubborn. Secretly she thanked God for him, each moment, every day.
She looked at him now. Her hand reached his face and caressed his cheek. She leaned over and kissed him. He kissed her back in his sleep. She kissed him on his forehead as she sat up in bed.
She looked around the house. He had found it as soon as her divorce had come thru.
‘Ru… once Nimmi shifts to Dubai, we both have decided to sell the existing home. I want to start my new life with you in a new place. I want go make new memories with you, not take you to a house which already has memories of the past.’ He had said over coffee to her.
‘I can live anywhere Dee, as long as it carries your breath and your smell. The house is not important.’, she said softly clasping his hand.
‘I know. The new home may not be as big as my old one but it still will be nice and warm and full of love’, it can be our meeting place for some time, I can come after office here to meet you everyday and once all the curiosity around us dies, we can shift in together,’ he had promised her.
But when she had stepped into it a month later, it was not at all small as Randeep had described.
She remembered the morning he had reached her home and told her to get ready quickly as he had a surprise for her. She hadn’t argued as she knew Randeep very well now.
He drove quickly and there was an unusual excitement in his eyes. He had even shut her eyes with his hands as he opened the door with his keys.
When he removed his hand to let her see, she couldn’t but exclaim. On the nameplate was written Ru & Dee and she felt so happy just looking at it.
And just as she was ready to step in, he had stopped her and picked her into his arms. She laughingly asked him to put her down, she could walk and he had said, I promise to take you inside the house like everyday of my life.
Tears had renedered her eyes misty and he had to kiss her to distract her from getting too emotional.
As he showed her around, he noticed the floral prints he had chosen for the curtains and the cushions. He had remembered that she loved them.
There were flowers everywhere. The kitchen an open kitchen, So I can see you always, he said. And there was a coffee maker with organic coconut oil next to it. And as he settled her on the kitchen counter, he had made her the most wonderful cup of coffee. Between sips of coffee and slurpy kisses, the kitchen was inaugarated. And then he asked her to open the refrigerator and there was Honey Melt Icecream, her favourite. God! He had thought of everything.
They had then walked hand in hand to the bedroom and she loved the poster bed which had sheer curtains on all sides like a princess bed and fairy lights all around. She had clapped her hands in glee and then he took her to a drawer and opened it and she was pleasantly surprised. It had over hundred of shades of nail paint and he said, So I can apply one colour everyday to your lovely feet before I make love to you every night. And she had rushed into his arms and they almost forgot there was more to explore in the new home.
But the sight of the lovely balcony caught her attention and she got drawn towards it as he followed her. He too wanted her to see it and se gasped when she saw what it led to.
As she entered the balcony, she saw that it had a full view of the beach and the sea. And it was the same beach and the same spot where they had first met and had dinner after their hug that night.
This is because you love the sea and so we never forget where our journey towards each other began, he said softly into her ear as he held her with his hands.
'You like it?' He asked and she nodded. She loved it so much that she had no words. She knew Randeep must have gone to great lengths to get this house for her. It was a three bedroom house and it was more than enough for both of them. But what made it special was the thought he had put into it while selecting it that made it even more special.
She walked dreamily around the house soaking everything in, looking at everything now for the second time and he loved the happiness on her face. And once she was done touring it on her own, she came to the balcony where he stood waiting for her.
'And now for the most special thing', He said.
'There is more?' She asked surprised. And he nodded and from his trousers pocket he got out a small case in which were diamond earrings in the shape of a flower. They were exquisite and shone like little drops of sunlight.
She asked him what these were for.
'Because it was with these that it all began, don’t you remember? You brought me on my knees the first day you walked into my office. Had these not fallen from your ear, I would have never fallen in love with my destiny Ru'.
She laughed as he urged her to put them on and as luck would have it, she dropped one on the floor. They had ended up laughing with Randeep having to search for the elusive thing as it slid under the sofa and then once he found it, it had ended into a passionate lovemaking, their first in the new house.
And that was how the new home was inaugarated.
Ruhi smiled at the memory. It had been almost four months since then and they had started living together a month back. She looked at the sleeping Randeep and her trail of thought was broken by her phone ringing.
It was Nimmi calling to check on them and Ruhi filled her in with everything. They had finally broken the ice between them and Ruhi found it easy and non stressful to talk to her now. Nimmi was doing well and getting married soon. The call was to remind them to book their tickets to Dubai. Randeep was going to give Nimmi away and Nimmi asked Ruhi to threaten him that if he didn’t turn up, she would come and pull him by the collar and drag him to Dubai. The visual made Ruhi laugh. They finally finished their chat and Ruhi returned to her bed.
And then she settled herself under Randeep,s arms and whispered, 'Shall we make love before I leave for office Dee? Or would you rather sleep?'
And he whispered back, 'You know the answer Ru. Now you are damned', as he opened his sleepy eyes and pounced on her.
And their home giggled with laughter and love.
…..not to be continued… The END
As he lay her on the bed, he stared at her for a long time. It still seemed surreal that she was in his arms. He caressed her hair, kissed her forehead as he clasped her fingers within his.
‘Oh how I have missed you Ru..I cannot even explain’. He said lying beside her, looking at her.
‘Dee I still cannot believe that you quit your job for me.’, she said softly caressing his hair.
He kissed her forehead gently, ‘I could eave the world for you Ru. You are my destiny. I cannot love without you, not for a bit.’ He said softly looking into her eyes.
A tear escaped her eye at his declaration and then another and then another. He wiped the first one, then the next and the next. ‘Shhhh…You don’t need to shed so many tears. I could drown in just one teardrop of yours Ru’. He said rubbing her nose with his.
She smiled then looking at him and hugged him tightly.
‘Dee.. I cannot believe this is not a dream. Are you here for real? Make me believe its for real.’, she urged him.
He bit her nose then gently. She complained it hurt. ‘See its real.. I told you.’, he laughed mischieviously.
She bit his cheek then and he cribbed. This time she laughed.
He then lay back on the pillow as she put her head on his chest and fiddled with his shirt.
He closed his eyes and she smiled. ‘You have got that look Dee.’
‘What look?’, he asked.
‘That look when you want to tell me something but you are trying to build suspense.’, she offered.
He laughed. ‘True that. You know me so well Ru’.
‘Say na then. I want to hear it.’ She moved closer towards his cheek and kissed him.
‘I will. But first let me have my fill.’ He suddenly found her lips and kissed her passionately, his hands roaming all over her back as he crushed her with his weight.
She didn’t want him to stop but he did stop.
‘You know Ru, next week is the final hearing of your divorce’, he proclaimed proudly.
‘Really?’ she exclaimed her eyes sparkling now.
‘Yes.. No more of that bastard, no more harassment, no more beatings, no more scars.’ As he said this he found a scar on the nape of her neck and kissed it.
She smiled through her tears at his tenderness. She was going to be free. That seemed like heaven.
‘And then…’ he stopped.
‘And then?’ she asked.
‘And then Nimmi and I are going to apply for divorce’.he said.
She turned towards him then. ‘I hope the press don’t have a field day at your expense, actually both your expense.’ She said concerned at the consequences.
‘No, Nimmi and I will address the press together. That way there will be no room for misquotes or for blaming you for our breakup’, He suggested.
She was touched at how much he protected her from everything.
‘Then Nimmi will wait for a month or so before shifting in with her Mr. handsome to Dubai.’he elaborated.
‘And then’? she said again.
‘Then you and I after about three months, when the euphoria dies down can shift in together.’ He said slowly.
She let that sink in…She took a deep breath. Was it going to come true? Would she be able to wake up beside him everyday?
He caressed her cheek as he tried to read her thoughts.
‘Would you like to live with me Ru?’ he asked her.
‘Depends.. if you make love to me as you had promised and if I am happy with it, I shall think about it’, she said feigning an attitude.
‘Oh I guess my life depends on it. I might as well put my best foot forward then’ he said laughingly as his lips found her neck to nibble on and his hands started exploring her.
‘Miss Manral. You will never forget this night for the rest of your life. I promise.’ He whispered seductively in her ear.
‘Amen’, she said naughtily.
And he reached out to put off the lights.
…..to be continued.
He took her in his arms then and she held him tightly, still not very sure that it wasn’t a dream.
Her tears started flowing again thinking how close she had come to losing him.
He caressed her, uttering soft words, trying to assure her but her sobs failed to recede.
Finally he sighed and said, ‘Now I know only one thing to make you stop crying Ru.’
She looked at him a bit surprised and without warning, his lips found hers crushing her against him as he embraced her closely to fill her with his warmth.
She was caught off guard but soon his kiss started having the desired effect on her.
She kissed him back and soon her troubled heart was pumping with desire for him. Oh how much she had wanted to kiss him, she remembered.
He could taste her tears through the kiss and he felt bad at how much he had made her cry. That hadn’t been his intention. He had intended to make her happy, very happy. Sadly it didn’t turn out that way.
A sound outside the door made him step away from Ruhi and they both sobered up. Randeep got up and in an instant he was near the door to take the tray from Raavee who had come with coffee.
‘Thank you Ravs… Just what I needed.’, he said to her.
Placing the tray down he hugged her, ‘I am sorry. I think I caused both mother and daughter a lot of trouble without knowing it’, he apologised honestly.
Raavee patted his cheek and said, ‘You are hale and hearty Randeep. That’s what matters. The world is good.’
Randeep kissed her forehead. ‘Yes with you and Ruhi by my side, my world is complete Ravs. The only thing missing was coffee and we have that too now’, he said handing her a mug and then one to Ruhi.
He then looked at Raavee and said, ‘If you don’t mind my inappropriateness, I am going to sit next to your daughter with my arms around her. I have missed being with her a lot.’
Raavee smiled and said, ‘Not at all Randeep. I know how much you two have missed each other. You make my daughter happy and that’s all really what I care about.’ She said smilingly.
He tightened his arm around Ruhi and she smiled looking at her mom who was looking at both of them lovingly.
‘So tell us Randeep what made you take the flight and then miss it, Thank God for that but solve the mystery please.’Raavee asked him.
‘Oh yes, I do owe both of you an explanation. So my hand started giving up on me a few days back.’ He said. Ruhi looked at him with concern and her hand instantly went to his arm. Randeep held her fingers in his lovingly.
‘The pain just kept increasing. I don’t know why or how. I went to several doctors there, the best in the world but all they kept saying was that its stress. Nothing they did helped me. Not the physio, not the medicines. I realised I couldn’t go on like this. I mean, I would set up a channel but what good it was if I was going to be in so much pain.’ He took a sip of the coffee as Ruhi looked at him with concern as she caressed his arm that was causing the trouble.
‘I started thinking how I could come back to India. How I could be with Ruhi if she couldn’t come to be with me. I knew I couldn’t live without her. I had to figure out a way to be with her, if I had to live or breathe.’
Raavee listened intently at Randeep, the man who loved her daughter so much, he was ready to do whatever it takes.
‘Why didn’t you tell me it was that bad Dee.. I would have shown you how to press some points.’, Ruhi complained.
‘The pain in my arm was symbolic Ru… What would you have done about the pain in my heart? The pain of being away from you.’ He looked in her eyes and they filled with tears again.
‘Thankfully Nimmi saw it and she and I started discussing it. Talking with her helped me get clarity on what I could do. So I started working on something.’
‘What’? Ruhi asked.
‘Will tell you, rather show you. But first let me complete why I am here and how I defied death.’ He said to her.
‘As soon as the plan was concrete I called Bhasker to Dubai. He, me and Nimmi met in Dubai. So you see, I did take the flight from singapore but it had a stopover in Dubai. I got off at Dubai and it crashed after that.’he said softly realising himself how close he had come to death.
Ruhi instinctively squeezed his hand.
Raavee too nodded, for a few moments all of them were silent.
Ruhi broke the silence. ‘But why was your phone off?’
‘Bhasker had fixed a series of meetings. I didn’t want anyone to call me or disturb me. I wanted to finish it quickly and come and surprise you. But sadly something else happened.’ He said regretfully.
‘When I finished the meetings, I was so happy. I wanted you to tell you in person. I didn’t want you to know on phone.’ He said softly to her.
Raavee asked, ‘But what is it that you are going to do Randeep?’
Randeep now smiled. ‘Ravs I finish my stint in Singapore in a week from now. I have resigned from the post. The chairman was angry but gave in’.
Ruhi looked at him in disbelief. ‘And? What will you do now?’
‘I am starting my own enterprise Ru. We will be partners, you and I. Of course you can continue your job if you wish. But we will be expert consultants to media houses. We will produce and create our own quality content and sell them to all viewing platforms.’ He explained.
‘Wow Dee that sounds awesome.’ Ruhi explained.
‘Yes. In fact Bhasker and I ave had our first set of meetings with a couple of international agencies and they have already started promoting us and asking us for content.’ He explained proudly.
He sounded excited like a child. Ruhi was really happy to see his excitement. She hugged him and he hugged her back.
Raavee too congratulated him. Sensing that they needed to be with each other, she said that she was going to spend the night at a friends place as she was feeling lonely.
Randeep went out with her as she stepped out.
‘You don’t need to do this Ravs. You stay. I will go back home.’ He said to her holding her by the shoulders.
‘Randeep I have seen her cry like a baby since morning. She needs you. Nothing makes me happier than seeing you together. You stay.’ Raavee said.
‘Ok then let my driver drop you Ravs. And yes, you are the coolest mom one can have, you know.’ He winked at her.
She hugged him and after gathering her stuff left. Ruhi wished her goodbye.
As soon as she left, Randeep picked up Ruhi in his arms.
‘I didn’t want Raavee to go honestly but a part of me wanted to be with you all night Ru. I love you’ he barely finished his sentence as he kissed her hungrily and she reciprocated back.
‘So should we start with something?’ he said trying to catch his breath.
‘What?’ she asked curiously.
And as he put her down, he rushed to his bag and opened it to pull out atleast a dozen of bottles of nail polishes.
Ruhi smiled, ‘With you, its never going to be one or two ever, true Dee? She said laughingly.
‘No Ru I will never kiss or make love to you only once or twice. It will always be much much more.’ He said as he again started kissing her all over.
‘Then I guess, we must start immediately Boss’, she smiled wickedly.
‘Yes as immediately as we can’ he whispered in her ear sending a tingle down her spine with his warm breath.
…..to be continued.
She opened the door and there he was. She couldnt believe if he was there for real or it was her eyes playing tricks.
She stood dumbfounded.
For a moment he too looked shocked to see her like that. She looked dishevelled, broken, as if she had been crying for several hours.
He said, ‘Ru.. what happened? Its me Randeep’.
He said moving towards her to take her into his arms.
‘Dee.. you.. you is it really you?’ she put her hands on his arms to stop him from taking her into his arms and first having a full look at him.
‘Of course its me Ru.. What happened? I thought I would surprise you but you look as uf you have seen a ghost.. what happened darling?’ He tried to pull her closer but she resisted still not believing him.
‘Wait Dee… you… you were… you… your…’, she tried to find the words.
He pulled her into his arms forcibly now. He wanted to calm her. Something wasn’t right. But what?
She again pulled herself back. ‘Where were you Dee… Your phone… it was off.. you know how many times I tried your phone.. You wanted to surprise me… I died trying your number.’ Her voice now started getting angry…
She hit him with both hands…He tried to stop her. He wasn’t sure why she was angry.
She sobbed as she hit him.. ‘You disappear and then suddenly turn up and think you can just walk in like that?’ She started hitting him with closed fists on his chest as she sobbed bitterly.
‘Ru.. Ru.. listen to me… Can I explain?’ He asked gently working thru her anger.
‘No you cant..’, she shot back..’You cant’, she roared with anger in between sobs and then she started crying, hiding her face in his chest as she let go.
‘Ru… listen.. listen to me.. just one minute..’ But before he could complete what he was saying, she collapsed in his arms. He held her and she had fainted.
‘Oh shit.. Ru…’ He held her and knelt down and patted her cheeks to revive her.
‘Raaaveeeeee….’ He shouted.
Raavee woke up with a start. Did she hear Randeep’s voice?
She rushed to the hall… And she was shocked to see both Randeep and then her daughter lying lifeless in his arms.
Raavee rushed to get some water as Randeep picked Ruhi in his arms and lay her on the bed. Raavee came rushing back and Randeep sprinkled some water in Ruhi.
Raavee patted her cheeks. ‘Ruhi get up darling..See who is here.. Ruhi..’
Randeep sprinkled some water again and patted her cheeks.
Raavee looked worried and went to call the doctor.
Randeep checked Ruhi’s pulse. It was quite weak. Her bp was really low, he guessed.
As he cursed to himself and tried to pick her again to take her to the hospital, Ruhi opened her eyes slowly. Randeep let out a sigh of relief.
‘Raavee get some sugar water quickly.’ He shouted.
‘Ru…just hold on… don’t say anything..Just relax… We will get thru this darling.’
Raavee rushed and was back in a few minutes.
Randeep made Ruhi have the water and she pulled herself up to sit.
She looked at Randeep and again her tears started to flow. Randeep looked at Raavee still confused and she gestured him with her eyes to console her.
Randeep moved from the side of the bed to hold Ruhi. Raavee excused herself to see where the doctor had reached.
Randeep took Ruhi in his arms, ‘What happened Ru? Is everything ok? Did that bastard call you again?’
Ruhi now wiped her tears off and said, ‘Obviously you don’t know Dee… but the plane you boarded or had supposedly boarded crashed today morning.’
Randeep was shocked to hear that…
‘What are you saying? Damn… Oh my God Ru… I am so so sorry… I just had no idea but I can imagine what you went through’. He squeezed her into his arms as she sobbed again holding him.
‘Its ok.. My darling.. I am safe.. And I will explain everything..But first I want you to calm down… I have something to tell you.’
And she looked at him with teary but hopeful eyes.
Nothing mattered right now..He was safe and with her. The news could wait..
….to be continued.