Joined: 25 October 2007
She pulled the wrap closer to herself as they both waited for someone to open the door, to what should be Aaisha's house. She was excited to see her. Finally, she was going to see someone from her family. As far as Aaisha having cancer was concerned, Kripa had enough money to take her to the best hospital and the best doctors, anywhere in the world. She could be saved if they tried, Kripa thought more determined than she had been before in her life, about anything.
"What are you thinking?" he asked placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Nothing much. You have about two weeks left here, and meeting with four fashion houses over the next few days. Then you're free until you want to leave here." She leaned over and rang the bell again. "Tell me when you want to fly back, so I can book the tickets." Almost depressed about the thought, she rubbed a hand over an arm. "If you want to stay, I would like to leave. Mom really needs to know about Aaisha. And, I need to meet her, and dad." She whispered.
"We'll go back together." He wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and kissed her temple. "I'm going back to Mom's place from here, Kripa, for a week or two. I promised her I would be there for thanks giving. Besides there's no point in going to New York, a few week before thanks giving."
He wanted to take her home with him, so she could meet his family, feel a part of a family. He knew, she wanted to go to her house, but he wanted to be with her whenever she met them.
When the door opened finally, Angad took his arm back and they both saw Aaisha, carrying Suraj. Angad looked at her, almost as if he was used to, he embraced her, careful of Suraj, tears in his eyes.
Kripa had tears in her eyes, while some of them were of happiness, some of them were only of sadness. She wiped them and embraced Aaisha once Angad left her, taking Suraj away from her.
"Kripa." She said laughing with tears in her eyes. "I can't believe it's you."
"Nor can I." She stepped back and kissed both her cheeks. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Come inside." She said with a smile and took them both inside, holding Kripa's hand. "Sit down, I just made tea." Kripa noticed that her eyes stopped on Angad, before she left.
Kripa sat down beside Angad and looked at the little boy who was sleeping in his lap. "His mouth is like you, Angad."
He let out a breath. "Like Adi's."
"Yours." She said placing a hand on his shoulder. "We can't tell her. Not when she's going through so much."
He turned his face and looked at him, covered her hand with his. "Anyone who knows you is lucky, Kripa."
Only if you knew how I was before I met you, she thought and took her hand away. "I'll help her." She looked down at Suraj and then left.
"How do you know, Angad?" Aaisha asked while the tea continued to brew.
"I'm working for him. We were in Italy for an assignment."
"It is everything you dreamed of?"
Kripa smiled at her, "it's everything I stopped imagining. It's more than I ever wanted."
"You love him a lot, don't you, Kripa?" she asked turning away from her, to the tea.
Her spine stiffened. "He doesn't love me."
She turned the lower to let the tea brew more and turned around to face her. "You didn't answer my question, Kripa."
"He doesn't like his tea to strong." She said turning away from her.
She got her answer then and with a smile across her face, she wrapped her arms around Kripa, and rested her cheek on her shoulder. "You deserve it, Kripa."
Yes I do, she thought, he doesn't deserve me.
"I didn't come here to cry, Aaisha. Come on, I'll take this outside."
"Kripa." He called her when they both heard Suraj, cry.
"You should go Aaisha. I don't know how to take care of kids."
"It's like you, Kripa."
"Very much like me."
While Aaisha was fussing over Suraj, Kripa came back with the tea and saw Angad just staring off into space, totally disinterested in the entire scene. She set the tray in front of Angad, on the table, and kneeled down, giving her knee a pat to regain his attention.
Aaisha picked up Suraj in her arms when he extended his, still crying. "Ssshhh." She rocked him in her arms and patted his back until he was quite. She turned her attention back to Kripa once she knew he was beginning to dose-off.
"I'm sorry I'm making you do this, Kripa." She said as Kripa poured a cup of tea
"It's okay. I'm used to doing my own work. Lived alone for too long. Sugar?"
"One cube," she replied and watched her drop it in. She laid Suraj down on the sofa in front of her and secured his blanket around him, picked up her steaming cup of tea. "Did you study at NYU for all of your college career?"
Kripa smiled, as she poured Angad's tea for him. "I did. I'm glad Dad let you go to school."
"Hmmm." She sipped her tea, reading her expression as she mentioned their father, over the brim of her cup.
"I don't-" Angad began before she could drop any sugar cubes in the cup, but I was to late.
"I know." She said and handed Angad. "You'll like it better with sugar. It's brewed more than you like it."
She only smiled, made her own cup and sat down on her butt, looking at Aaisha. "You should have told me, Aaisha, instead of lying to me."
"I couldn't." She lowered her eyes, glanced at Suraj. "I need to tell you something, Angad."
"Huh?" His attention snapped back once he heard his name. He looked at Kripa then at Aaisha. "I'm sorry, I…" he trailed of, not waiting to lie. He was thinking about Kripa and what she felt at the moment.
"It's okay." She leaned over and covered his hand with hers, squeezed it, and left it. "I've been in touch with Adi, in the past few weeks."
He held the handle of the cup tighter then, to make sure it wouldn't slip. "Well." Insecure, he just placed it down on the table and gave her his full attention. "What did he say?"
"He told me everything. I'm sorry, Angad, I hated you all these years."
"Do you hate him now, instead of me?"
"Oh." She let out a watery laugh. "No. I couldn't. Wanted to, but couldn't." She sipped her own tea, and then put the cup down. "I wasn't expecting a response from you Angad. And, my only other bet was your family. Adi, being the best candidate. I knew, he knew everything. I was able to find his information from the alumni address book of Pepperdine. When I told him everything, he said he wanted to meet me. He's staying at a hotel right now in fact, I thought it was him when you guys rung the bell. I thought I was still in love with you, Angad, when I wrote to you a month back. But, the more time I spent with Adi I realized I had forgotten you, but couldn't accept it. Now I have."
Kripa felt like she was lying to Angad, just for her, but kept quite.
"I was really surprised when he said he wanted to take Suraj's responsibility. I was shocked to see how sorry he was." She let out another shaky, nervous breathe. "He came into my life and ruined everything, then. Now, he came back to save me from everything. I have bone marrow cancer." She said and watched his and then Kripa's face turn pale. "Yeah, that's what I looked like when the doctor told me too. I'm still in early stages, thank god. But I'd given up hope, until Adi forced me to send my reports to different doctors and medical schools around the world. Almost everyone said it was curable. We looked into a medical center in New York, and they said it was still very possible, before things get out of hand."
Kripa didn't know what to say, and nor did Angad.
"I'll be fine." She said and for the first time since they'd been there, she smiled a smile that lighted her eyes bright. "You guys tell me, what's up?"
Kripa shook her head, and brushed a tear away. "It's always been so easy for you to take everything so lightly. And, I'm a fool for barely wondering why you hadn't called or mom hadn't said anything about you."
"I'm glad you finally figured it out. That you're a fool." She said and made Angad and her laugh. "Just a minute," she said and left when the phone rang.
Angad kneeled down beside her and placed a hand on her shoulder. "We won't drown?" he teased as she continued brushed her tears away.
She shook her head, and then let her head fall on his chest, clung to him, and cried for just a second. "I was so sacred Angad. So, so scared."
"You know," he said rubbing her arms, "I was right there with you. Scared the hell out of me, when she said she reminded me she had cancer."
"Likewise," she said and pulled away. "You're always there." She said and patted his cheek. "I don't know how I should thank you."
"We'll figure it out later." He brushed his lips over her cheek and then took his place back on the sofa, pulling her beside him. "Come on now, smile."
As she did, Aaisha came back, stopped to see Angad's arm around Kripa's shoulder, and smiled. They looked cute together, she decided and walked back to the sofa. Satisfied to see that his arm stayed around Kripa's shoulder even then.
"Will you guys have dinner here?"
"No." Kripa said and sighed. "It's suppose to snow and I don't want us to be driving in the snow."
"Makes sense. You'll come back and visit me again?"
"Everyday till I'm here." She stood up then and sat down beside her, wrapping both her arms around her shoulder. "And, I'm going to call you everyday when I leave."
"That's good to hear. I want to talk to Angad." She said. "Alone."
"I'll go put Suraj in his crib, then." She said and picked Suraj up.
"Yup." She kissed her cheek.
"Down the hall." Aaisha said behind her.
Meanwhile, Aaisha walked Angad to the door and smiled once they were there. "You guys look made for each other."
"What?" He looked at her. When she smiled, he did the same. "It's nothing-"
"Oh no, you don't." She said and punched his arm lightly. "Just they way you understand each other, in what I've seen so far, anyone can tell you guys are so much in love. She's a good girl, Angad."
"Yes." He said and smiled. "Yes, she is." Subconsciously, he placed a hand on his heart.
When she laughed he dropped his hand and looked back at her.
"Answer my question, honestly." At that moment Kripa walked back into the room, looked at them and heard Angad ask her: "are you in love with Adi?"
Aaisha bit her lip, nodded her head.
"Is he? In love with you? Rather, he has been for a few years now. The real question is, has he told you yet?"
She shook her head this time. Twisted her lips, "I don't know."
"Hmmm." He laughed at her face and took her hand, rubbed it with both of his. "He'll tell you the moment he figures it out."
"I know. I just hope my transplant goes well after Thanksgiving. I'm scared."
"We'll be there." He said as Kripa stepped in beside him. "You can live with us when you're in New York. In fact, just so you aren't alone, why don't you go home with Adi for thanksgiving?"
"I couldn't." She shook her head. "It would all be awkward for me and for your family. It's not very…" she waived her hands in the air for a word, "traditional, I guess, for me to be living in your house, with Suraj. While everyone knows Adi…" she trailed off, sighed.
"We'll figure it out. Give Adi and anyone else who needs it, a pull to their ears."
"Of course I will." He slapped her hand down. "But I'm sure Adi will take care of it. I'll ring him up."
She opened her mouth, closed it when he spoke again.
"I won't tell him anything."
"I'll make sure he doesn't." Kripa said patting Angad's arm.
"Thank you. You guys get going now." She hugged them both and let them go. And, sighed standing at the door, as she watched Angad take Kripa's hand, as he talked. She had everything, Kripa did, Aaliya thought, as they walked away, hands linked tightly, towards there car. Only if she could have the person she loved this time around.
"She's going to be happy." Kripa said as she leaned against Angad in the car. "If your brother makes her unhappy, I'm going to chew him up and then spit him out without a regret."
"Hmmm." As they approached a red light, he looked at her. "Make sure it's Adi, not Angad, who you chew-up and spit-out, without a regret."
"Uh-huh. What do you want for dinner?"
"That's fine, you can sleep hungry."
"No." He turned into the highway as it began to sprinkle. "I meant, you'll cook for me?"
"I'll cook for myself, Angad, you can join me if you like my taste. I cook well, but it depends on you if you like what I cook."
"Sure. You're going to come home with me?"
Oh, how she wanted to say, yes. "I… I'll stay back."
He frowned, but she didn't notice. "Who do you normally spend thanksgiving with?"
"Alone. Most of my friends go back to their families for the week." And, I've never felt the need to be with someone before, she thought.
"That's sad. Makes me sad just thinking about it. You should be able to spend the time with a family." With me, in fact.
"It's fine, really."
"Fine. What are you going to do the entire weekend, alone? A week, actually. Two maybe." He said calculating his plans.
"I don't know. Pig out, like everyone else. Empty your kitchen out." Miss you horribly. Even thinking about nothing seeing for an entire day made her stomach tighten.
"You sisters are so alike," he mumbled under his breathe.
"I heard that." She said and gave his arm a light swat. "I would love to go, Angad. But wouldn't your family feel awkward? I mean, you bringing me along?"
"No. They wouldn't." They were already home, he thought, pulling into the driveway. Time flew quickly with her. "You're coming," he ordered finally.
"I was just about to say yes," she said and got out of the car after he was a few steps ahead of her. "I love you, Angad" she whispered, watching him walk closer and closer to the door, the rain falling on them both every so lightly.
He stopped, swore he heard her say the words, and turned. Her heart leaped in the way he looked at her. It was everything she could have ever wanted to see in his eyes for her.
I'm mistaken, she thought, and walked towards the house, towards him. As she walked past him, he took her wrist and pulled her back. Before she could look at him, say anything, do anything, his mouth was on hers. Just as patient and sweet and loving it had been last time. The kiss defined him as a person, she thought closing her eyes to
The rain fell a little faster, yet more blissful that it had ever before over Kripa as she ran her hands up his chest and framed his face. She felt everything she knew she'd never felt in her life before. Love. Passion. Compassion. She could think and think only of him as he gave her shoulder a rub, her lips the heat in the cold rain.
Last time he'd kissed her it was her comparing his kiss with the ones Ethan gave him, this time she didn't dare do that. She loved the man who was standing holding her face, caressing her back, her lips against his own. And, she would savor and keep with her for the rest of her life.
She felt like she was floating without any gear. She'd kissed and had been kissed, so many times before in her life. But none of those had ever, absolutely ever, turned her inside out, body and soul. This was special.
When she couldn't take her own heart melting through her body, going right through her to him, she clamped her hands on his shoulder for balance. She felt like she was melting in a hot puddle of love and lust, in the cold night, melting from his arms.
"Go away." He told her, shocking her. Ruining the perfect moment by harshly pulling he out of heaven.
"Huh?" He'd shocked her so much by pushing her away so abruptly, he saw it.
"Go away." He repeated, his eyes drilling into hers. He nudged her back, away from him. He just turned around, and she understood exactly why he'd pushed her away. He was under the same luscious pressure she was suffering through. Anyone else would have taken advantage of having her so weak, so close to him, so lost in him. But he didn't. She lifted her head and looked into the sky when the lightning rolled and rumbled over her like music. She was to afraid, to self-doubting, to tell him she was so dearly in love with him. And, she decided, walking to him, taking his hand and pressing her lips to his palm, if he was in love with her, he would tell her after tonight.
They walked back into the house, silently. When he reached for the lights she simply placed a hand on his cheek, turned his face and laid her lips on his. If he wasn't going to, she was going to seduce him into seducing her.
"Kripa I don't…" he began but stopped when she kissed him again, a little more hurried this time, more possessive, more greedy.
When she knew she'd made him weak, she wrapped her arms around his neck, kept him only a breath away from her she rubbed her thumb against the back of neck. "Make love with me."
He lost his ability to think. And, he only felt as she kissed him, standing on her toes, around his face, with light, loving kisses.
He scooped her into his arms and carried her upstairs, as she continued kissed him against his jaw and down his neck. It was hard for him to decide, as he laid her down on the bed of his room, and walked away to light the fire, from where and how, he found the strength to carry her, when he'd felt so light and weak himself. He crouched down and adjusted the fire.
Then, he sat down beside her and leaned down to kiss her forehead, and then her cheeks. She was shivering, he realized as he drew her cold and wet cloths away from her body, not out of cold, but maybe, hopefully not, of fear.
He wanted to tell her that he loved her. That, he was a just in want of a physical relationship with her, but it was only love that had brought him here. He hoped and prayed as he found her mouth again, that he would be able to do that without saying the words. He feared, and his hands stopped for just a minute, before touching her again, that if he gave her words, she might think it was just to keep her here.
She knew it was so much more than just lust that was between them then as she peeled the heavy shirt away from his skin, damp from the rain. Before she could touch him, he took her hand and kissed it, linked with his, and pressed it against his heart.
"You still make my heartbeat go faster, Kripa." And, he leaned down to pressed his lips to her heart.
She wanted to blubber, and brought her free hand to his back and clung. His body was warm against hers, despite the cold rain that had touched him just moments ago. And, it was so strong, yet not at all heavy over hers.
His hands were slightly rough, and just as strong as they look as they stroked over her at various times, at various places, to arouse. Not a single part of her could believed that she was lying with a man who she loved with all her heart. The only she would leave everything for just to give. The only man she would give herself up to, to give.
He turned his face to hers and kissed her forehead, and felt her nails bite into his back, as he took her.
"You warm?" he mumbled against her ear, still holding her close and tight, almost fifteen minutes later.
"Hmmm." She felt like she was still floating and wished she could feel that way for the rest of her life.
In reply, she just rubbed her lips to his shoulder and stroked his back.
"Hungry?" he asked just to hear an actual response this time. He wanted to hear her lovely voice talk to him.
Her voice was heavy with sleep, and made him lift himself to look at her. Her eyes were closed, fluttering a little. He knew she was falling asleep. "Give me a second." He rolled over her and grabbed his robe, wrapped it around him and then walked to his closet, pulled out a shirt and then walked back to her. It surprised her a little when he tugged it over her head and then pulled the blanket closer to her. "Two minutes." He leaned down, kissed her lips, kept them there for just a few seconds and left.
Joined: 25 October 2007
When he came back he was carting in a cart with food with one hand and, something that looked like a book, in the other. He rested the book, which was actually a photo album, on the bed and uncorked the bottle of wine, poured it into two glasses, handed her one, and kept his on the cart. Then he placed the plate of salted crackers and cheese in front of her on the bed. Satisfied with her reaction, he sat down beside her, pulling the blanket over their legs and resting the album in their lap.
"You wanted to see those pictures."
"Oh. Yes." It surprised her he remembered such a silly little thing she'd wanted. At least, he had, she thought, and leaned against his arm. "Is that all we get for dinner, by the way?" she asked picking up a cracker.
"We can working something else out in a while." He opened the album, resting his glass on
the cart again. "Mom's silly," he said pointing at the first picture, that had been hand drawn.
"She only loves you." She replied, her voice soft as he turned the page and began flipping through the calendar he'd shot for, and surprised herself. She'd have thought it to be silly and stupid, even six weeks ago.
"Hmmm. Look at this one," he said pointing to a picture in which he was floating on the surface of the water, fully clothed. "We retook this one maybe a hundred times because I could float in the water for more than five seconds at a time."
"They should have used glass under you and then blended it in."
"You obviously didn't do to well in physics." He teased her and then kissed her cheek when she gave him a look. "It's okay, I didn't either."
"Yeah, yeah, Mr. Cornell."
"We're not going to fight about my qualifications. Just because I went to an Ivy League school and you didn't doesn't mean you are dumber than I. It's possible but-"
He broke off laughing when she began hitting his arm, groaning and calling him all sorts of names. When he was breathless of laughing, he wrapped both his arms around her, trapping her hands between them. He kissed her head when she pressed her face into his chest and wrapped her own arms around him. But, he pulled her away when he realized she was crying. Her hands with gripping his robe, pulling him closer to her until they were nearly molded as one.
"Kripa." He tossed the album away and pulled her closer and tighter, rocking her in his arms until she calmed down a little. Ones the tears were still there, just rolling silently, he asked her, "what's the matter?"
"I miss my family, Angad. I've put it off for years. I've denied that I miss them, that I need them. Now I realize how wrong I was. Aaisha would have had support if I hadn't just run off."
"Why don't you tell me why you ran off?"
"It was stupid and silly, like I was then. Like I am now."
"Tell me anyways."
"I had dreams Angad, so many of them since I was young. I wanted a big house, lots of money. I wanted that only so I could help my family, my father. And, my own family when I had one. I never wanted to see my family, whenever I was to have one, fight over money, small needs of life." She rubbed her cheeks and took a deep breath. "I'd seen my parents fight for years over money, before we finally settled. I didn't want that. I didn't want my children to ever have to be afraid to ask for anything because we didn't have money. So I just ran off and went to school. I took grants and loans, all that I could. I had little scholarship money, and I paid some of my tuition and personal expenses, which I limited so much at the time, by serving drinks at a bar, from the tips I got. And, I got my degree. And, now nearly ten years later, I gained what? Hardly anything."
She wiped her tears and rubbed her cheek against his robe. "My family doesn't want to talk to me. I don't have the family I dreamed of, because I've never let a man come close enough to be, emotionally, to allow me to feel the need on wanting one. In fact, both my siblings, younger to me, are happy and getting married. And, what do I have?" She asked herself again, hiccupping, swallowing back tears. "I have the money, I have a good job, that gives me all the luxuries I wanted. My hearts made of steel and I'm made of paper money and coins. And, my heart's made of all the diamonds I've bought so far. Fake pride and no love. I was rejected by the man I nearly fell in love with, even though he was a wrong man. I've pushed everything else out of my life. Everyone, who cared for me. Every relationship I've built over the last ten years has been to benefit myself. And, I've lied about everything. Everything I have is materialistic. "
"No, you don't." He said, tipping her face up to look at her. "And, you know I'm glad you ran away and came to New York and lost your job and then almost died because of me, because I wouldn't have found you otherwise. You have me, and what we share, the friendship and everything else. And, none of it is materialistic. Nor are you. Your family still loves you, you just have to make the effort to give them a chance to tell you."
"I'm sure they don't want to see me." She wiped away her tears and fell in his arms again. "I'm sure you hate me too right now too. I all but forced my self on you, forced you to have sex with me."
"Ssshhh." As much as he hated what she'd said, as much as he wanted to yell at her for the words, he patiently rubbed his hand on her back and rocked and cradled her in his arms as she kept on crying. "I'm not a little boy Kripa. You've done nothing of that sort. Come on now, stop crying. I'll draw you a hot bath and so you can relax. Until you're doing that, I'll make you a nice light soup and find some croutons in the house to go with them. And, anything else you want."
"I don't want you to go anywhere. Please."
"I'm right here, Kripa. I'll stay here for as long as you need me to."
"Thank you. Angad." She pressed her lips to his shoulder tightly.
"Can I go home?"
"Kripa." He pulled away, framed her face with his strong hands and pushed her hair back. Then, pulling her head up he made her look at him. "Look at me, Kripa." He gave her a brisk shake. The tears were still welling in her eyes, pooling out nonstop. "You can go anywhere you want, but you'll have to take me with you."
"No." She shook her head, which was still in his hands. "You have the meetings and Aaisha needs someone." She wiped her cheeks, calming.
"Aaisha has Adi, she's fine. I can miss these meeting with these fashion houses because they'll come back to me. I care for you," he said and pressed his lips to her forehead, her cheeks, her eyes. "And, I'm not going to be selfish and stupid and leave you, let you go across the world, alone. Specially when you need someone with you right now." He lowered his head and placed his nose on top of hers. "You're more important that you think yourself to be."
He lowered her on the bed, laid her down flat on the bed and lowered his mouth to her again, soft and slow like a few hours ago. But her body was tensed under his hands.
"Relax." He murmured. "And give yourself to me."
The following morning when her closed eyes met with the sun rays and rolled to her stomach, sinking her face in the pillow, and letting Angad's scent settle into her. She reached for him then and found the bed empty.
He'd made love with her twice the night before and it had been love. But why didn't he tell her so when she could see the love, that he'd named care, in his eyes so clearly.
She let the entire matter drain out of her head when she heard a door open, the bathroom's perhaps, and heard him whistling. She turned her head and watched him walk around the room wrapped in a towel. She grabbed the shirt that she'd lost the night before, the one Angad had given her, and tugged it down her head.
He was happy, she could see, as he whistled something she didn't know, and combed his nearly dripping hair with a brush. She pressed her face to his back and curled her arms to his shoulder.
"Good morning." He said and turned around, wrapping his arms around her tightly. "You're feeling better?"
"It's a good morning, indeed. And, I'm feeling great." She wanted to thank him for being there last night, but she didn't want to think about it. So she just let the thank you drain out of her mind and looked up at him, resting her chin on his chest. "I'm going to go take a shower and then I'll fix breakfast."
"I'll do that." He knew that meant he should have let her go and take a shower, but instead he laid his lips on her head. "Two minutes." He said and rubbed his cheek over her hair. "Just two minutes," he repeated and pressed her closer to him.
Nearly, thirty minutes later Kripa skipped downstairs, humming. She walked towards the kitchen. She threw the doors open and smelled hazelnut coffee brewing in a coffee pot and Angad flipping eggs, like a professional, in the pan.
She laughed and then cleared her throat, when he looked towards her. "Went to culinary school as well?"
"I'm sure you didn't." He said tossing the omelets on a plate. "You're omelets are burned at the ends, you're coffee is brewed to death."
"I like strong coffee." She said, raised a shoulder and let it fall. "And, burned omelets, well. They don't taste half-bad."
"Uh-huh, right. Now come back to reality and have breakfast." He placed the plates on the bar in the middle of the kitchen and sat down in a high chair. "And, you can pour the coffee." She wrinkled her nose behind him. For just a moment, she wanted to hit his head with the frying pan, and yell at him for not saying the words. But she smiled as she watched him eat, and walking behind him, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and placed a kiss on the back of his head.
"I was thinking about hitting you with a frying-pan a moment ago, but you're a good guy."
"You bet I am, darling." He placed his hand over hers. "But, that doesn't mean you don't have to make the coffee. I want it black, one cube of sugar."
"Coming right up, sir." Laughing, she kissed the top of his head again and turned to pour the coffee in two mugs. Such small intimacy, she thought pouring and smiling. It was perfect. She dropped a sugar cube in his and two in her cup with cream. "Here you go."
"Thank you." He watched her sit down across her, eat a bite, sip, the repeat the process a few times.
When she realized he'd been looking at her for sometime now, she placed her mug down and folded her hands in front of her plate, looking at him. She lifted an eyebrow at him. "Do you need to say something, Angad?"
"No- Yes." He sighed. "Yes, I do. Are you okay?" He asked reaching for her hands. "I mean if you still want to go home I can book us a ticket."
She linked her fingers with his and then brought his hand to her lips. "I'm fine. And, I'm not going to leave and allow you to suffer such a big lose because of me."
"Good." Their hands still linked, he scooped eggs from her plate, since his were done. "Aaisha called when you were in the shower."
He felt her hand stiffen in her slightly and looked up at her. "She wants us over for dinner, as does Adi."
"What did you say?"
"Of course, I said yes."
"Hmmm." Why couldn't he just say the words, she thought and went back to her breakfast.
Kripa took a deep breath while Angad reached over and rung the bell of his parents house in Boston.
"You look like you're going to give an exam."
She let out another breath, it was an exam. Kind of. "You're not going to pester me right now," she replied and ran her fingers through her thick hair. "I'm bound to be nervous when I have been around so many people, a family, for anything for so long."
"You'll be great!" He told her with pleasure. as they both heard noises and someone yelling, running even.
When the door opened, instantly a young girl with light, light brown hair, very much unlike Angad's, threw her arms around Angad nearly screaming.
"Angad!" She screamed in his ear while he spun her around. "I'm finally getting married!"
He stopped spinning her around and leaned back to look at her, grinned. "Well, finally, I agree." When she frowned, he laughed and kissed her forehead. "I'm happy for you, darling."
She noticed Kripa standing there, her face as pale as a ghost's. "Hi!" She said cheerfully, putting her hand out. "Since Angad doesn't have the manners to do so, I'll just introduce myself." Kripa tried a smile but felt sick in her stomach. Nervousness, she thought grimly. This was the family of the man she was in love with, after all.
"Hi." She finally managed and took her hand.
"I'm Nisha, Angad younger sister. You must be Kripa."
"Yes, I am. Congratulation on your wedding."
"Thank you! Come on inside." Nisha took both her hands and dragged her inside, yelling at Angad, "You can bring in the bags!"
Kripa looked back at Angad while Nisha dragged her into the house.
"In the kitchen, darling. Bring in that devil so I can pull his ears to the floor." The lady walked out of the kitchen while they walked there, wiping her hands on the apron that hung around her neck.
She was a might small lady, barely over five feet. She had long dark hair, like Angad's, which were pulled back in a tight braid. Her eyes were Angad's as well, and she had the prettiest little face a mother could have.
"Well, hello." She told Kripa, holding her hands out to her, as Kripa walked to her. "You must be, Kripa."
"Yes, Mrs. Khanna. It's nice to meet you."
"Hmm." She laughed at her nervous face and embraced her tightly. "You look like you've just got caught in trouble." When she pulled away, she looked behind Kripa. "Where's the devil?"
Kripa turned around and watched Angad all but run to his mother and wrap both his arms around her, nearly lifting her off her feet, as he spun her into a give hug-dance. Kripa simply smiled.
"Let me look at you," she said leaning back still in his arms. "Handsome like always."
"Well, of course." Angad said and kissed her cheek. "I'm your son."
She laughed wholeheartedly. "I'm glad you came this early."
"I had to." He said softly, thinking of Kripa. She needed a family and no work for a few weeks.
"We'll talk later." She said, "now if you would've told me you were bringing a friend, I would have gotten a room ready."
"No." Kripa spoke quickly. "I don't want to be any troubles for you, I'll check into a hotel."
"Don't be silly!" Her mother spoke strictly, with all authority she'd have used of her own children. I made Kripa's heart swell with happiness. "You can have Adi's room, he's not going to be back for another few days."
"Yes." Angad sighed. "He's having… complications in Milan."
"We need to talk about them. Later." His mother said and sealed the topic for the moment. Then, she took Kripa's hand and Angad's in the other and took them with her, giving Nisha orders of making tea for everyone.
Upstairs, Angad's mother opened Angad's room and led them both in. "This is Angad's room, untouched since you left last. Just the way you like it. And that," she said pointing at a wall door, "will be yours until you're here." She opened the window stained glass doors that separated Angad's and Adi's. "Now," she turned back to them, hands on her hips, "freshen-up and come down stairs." She walked out, and closed the door behind her.
"Your mother is a sweetheart." Kripa said looking at Angad.
"That she is." He said and fell on his bed, closing his eyes. She sat down beside him and ran her hand thought his hair.
"I've something to tell you." She said. Just I love you? She thought, and get over it?
"Later." He said and got up. "We better get down stairs of Mom's going to yell."
"Okay. Give me two minutes."
Joined: 25 October 2007
Later that day, Kripa dug through her suitcase, unable to decide what to wear before going down for dinner. Dressed in a bathrobe, she looked up when she heard a knock on the door from Angad's room.
"Come in." She said and continued looking for something.
"What's up?" he asked and leaned against the dresser to watch her. "Troubles?"
"I can't figure out what I'm going to wear."
Her wet hair were falling lazily over her cheeks and came in her eyes, as she impatiently pushed them back. The bathrobe she was wearing, was like a short dress that fell to her mid-thighs, full sleeved. She looked wonderful, he thought and crossed the room, towards her. He held her shoulders, and turned her around. Then, he laid his mouth on hers to kiss her. He hadn't kissed her like this for a few days now. And, God, she'd missed it so much. She made a sound and wrapped her own arms around him.
"I couldn't stop myself." He mumbled and kissed her again.
Her heart and stomach spun, stopped, and swelled. There was so much he could do to her with a kiss and his hands stroking. He just kept adding to the what-Angad-did-for-me list, and Kripa kept wondering how she was going to tell him what her reality was.
"Angad." She lifted one hand to his cheek and opened her eyes with his mouth moved just a heartbeat away to let her speak. But even then, he kissed her around her face, her jaw, her neck. "We really need to sit down and talk."
"Really soon, we will. I promise." He kissed the corner of her mouth and then brought his lips back to hers. "I can't seem to stop thinking about you."
She was having trouble breathing, she was having trouble thinking, and she had to be down stairs in a few minutes. She still had to meet his father.
"That's good." She looked at him and managed a smile. "But if you don't stop we're going to get in trouble."
"Your mother, of course." She rubbed her thumb on his cheek. "Come on, I need to get dressed."
"And, I want to get you undressed."
Color rushed to her cheeks and she pushed him away when she saw the naught grin on his face. "You're a shameless pig, Angad Khanna. Now let me get dressed." She turned back to her suitcase and he only wrapped his arms around her again.
"There's so much I've got to tell you myself, Kripa. And, I'm only waiting for the right moment." He pressed his lips to the side of her neck and felt her pulse throbbing there, and kept his lips there until it was calm.
Still turned to her suitcase, she placed a hand on his cheek. "We will, very soon. Now go."
He groaned and buried his face in his neck. She laughed. "Ok, you can stay if you pick out something to wear for me. I'm terrible confused."
"Okay." But he stayed there for just a moment long, kissed her cheek just once more and then helped her pick out her outfit.
Kripa walked into the kitchen nearly thirty minutes later, her hair still damp from the shower, right to Angad's mother.
"Do you need help?" she asked idly.
She turned and smiled at her. "No. I'm fine." She turned the stove off and turned to Kripa with her coffee. "Tell me something." Kripa smiled at her and waited. "Are you in love with Angad?"
She could have just denied it but knew better when she lifted an eyebrow looking at her. She groaned, as if she'd known her for years and nodded. "Completely in love with him."
Good, she thought. Finally someone! "And, he?"
She smiled. "Yes." Then she realized she shouldn't have said that. What if he wasn't in love with her? No, that couldn't be right. He'd made love with her twice. The first time it could have been an accident, an impulse. But, the second time, it couldn't have been an accident or impulse.
Excellent! That was his mothers thought at the moment. This had to be the best moment of her life. "It's so good to hear that. Where is he anyways?"
"I forced him for another shower before dinner. He looked like he was going to fall asleep eating dinner."
His mother laughed. "Seems like we have someone who can handle him. Tell me about your family."
She didn't know what to say and could have wept in joy when Angad walked in.
"Dinner?" he asked looking at Kripa's tensed face.
"Fifteen minutes. Your father will be late."
God, I love you, Angad! She thought and told him so without speaking when he looked at her again.
"Okay." He ran a hand through his damp hair, he needed to know what was wrong. "So, can Kripa and I go for a walk then?"
"You shouldn't have to ask me, Angad." His mother pointed out to him and then smiled. "But since you have, yes you can go. Make sure wear a warm jacket, both of you.
"We'll be back in ten." He kissed his mother and grabbed Kripa's hands and dragged her out of the kitchen.
"So." He said when they were outside, hand in hand. "What was the matter?"
"Your mother was just asking me something."
"My family. I just couldn't figure out what I should say."
"Now why would she be asking about that?"
"Just small talk, I guess."
"What were you doing in the kitchen?" he asked.
She rolled her eyes then, annoyed. "Why are you asking me so many questions."
"Oh, just to see when you'd get annoyed. We haven't really ever had a fight, so I'm trying to brew one up."
"I'm going to hit you, Angad."
"Sure you are. Ow!" He screamed when she gave his cheek a friendly swat. "That sure hurt."
"I'm sure it did." They turned back around to walk back to the house. "Is Adi planning to come back?"
"In a few days. Aaisha has a few tests she needs to get done in New York before her surgery next month. They should be here next week."
"This is all so wired," she said and sighed.
"No it's not. Mom knows everything about it." He told her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "Aaisha and Suraj need someone."
"I guess. But where will they stay? I fee bad enough taking Adi's room. The poor boy."
"You can move in with me." He said and she gave him a look. "Ok. Adi's worked it out. I'm going to clean the outhouse a little. Adi wants to get married to Aaisha and expand it soon."
"That's cool." But she frowned. What about us? She wanted to ask.
"So." He said again. "You are going to leave me, right?" Her head snapped up to look at him. He kept the grin to himself, just the reaction he wanted to see. "The job I mean."
"I hate you!" she said and stomped away, leaving Angad behind, all smiles.
Adi came back the night before Angad's birthday and four days before thanksgiving. He'd settled into the outhouse with Aaisha and Suraj, and they'd all talked Angad's parents about their marriage. The only thing left to tell them was, that Kripa and Aaisha were sisters.
Kripa had plans for the night to wish Angad before anyone else could. She wanted to make it special. But things had turned upside down the morning for a few reasons. So after dinner that night, Angad sat on his desk in his room, reviewing proposals that needed his attention right away.
"Can I get a cup of coffee?" he asked Kripa.
She looked up from her book and watched him rub a hand over the back of his neck. "I'll get it. Sugar and cream?"
"Both, please. Thanks."
Downstairs, Nisha and Angad's mother were doing some last minute things when she walked into the kitchen.
"Hey." Nisha said. "You guys still up?
"Yes. I need to make Angad a cup of coffee." She found a skillet and poured water into it, and placed it on the stove.
"That's a bad sign." His mother said. "Is he working?"
"Yes. A few things needed his urgent attention. He'll be up for at least a few more hours tonight. He works to hard." She said to herself frowning.
Nisha and her mother smiled as they exchanged looks.
"He'll be fine," Nisha assured her.
"I'm going to bed, then."
"Good night, Mom." Nisha kissed her and watched her leave the house. "He's going to like it really strong." She told Kripa.
"I know." While the coffee brewed, Kripa turned to Nisha.
"How did you guys meet?" she asked. This was the first time they were alone, without anyone else around.
Kripa smiled as she remembered. "He ran me over his car."
"No, no." Kripa shook her head all smiles, no regrets. "It was good fun having him all worried, not that I think about it."
"Hmmm. So, what are your plans to get married?"
"One day." She said simply. "It's your turn right now."
"And, I'm excited. He's lovely." Her phone rang then and she began to glow.
"Good night, Nisha." Kripa said as she ran out saying it back to her.
Kripa walked upstairs with his coffee and biscuits for him. She placed the small plate and cup on his desk. She placed her hands on his shoulders and gave them a rub. "Do you need to do this?"
"Hmmm." He finished that particular file and closed it. And then looked up at her.
She tugged his glasses off and kissed his forehead. Then while he rested his head back, his lips. "Can I help."
"No. You should go to bed. You've had a long day with Suraj and Aaisha."
She frowned and swirled his chair around. "That's not fair. I'm sure I can do something."
He pulled her into his lap and rested his head on her shoulder. "Stay here for a few minutes."
"For as long as you want, Angad." But then she pulled his head away and made him look at her. "I love you, Angad." She had tears in her eyes as she said it. "I love you so much, I can't keep it to myself. I was going to wait until tomorrow…" she wiped her tears away and stopped since he hadn't said anything. "I'm sorry-"
"No." He pressed his finger to her lips. "No, don't say you're sorry."
"Well say something back then!" she yelled at him, frustrated. "Because there's more I need to tell you."
"Why don't you tell me, first, baby."
She took a deep breath. "I was in love with you when you made love with me that night and even before that. I didn't want to fall in love with you-"
"I'm that bad?"
"You're perfect!" She cried. "But, I was scared to be rejected after…" she waived her hands in the hair then let them rest on his shoulders again. "I'd never known anyone who kissed my forehead after kissing me with so much passion. I never knew someone who didn't try to drag me into bed after kissing me. You were, you are, just to perfect for me. And, that's the problem." The tears in her eyes confused him, frightened him even.
"Why are you crying, sweetheart?"
"Because I'm pregnant!" she yelled. When she watched him go stiff and white. She hurried on. "I didn't plan it or anything. It's my fault that I am. But, I swear I didn't plan it."
"Get-up." He said again and she did. "Now stay here."
"I will not!" She said frustrated. "Just tell me if you don't love me. Just tell me if you don't want me, Angad. But…" She sat down on the big leather chair feeling miserable and rejected, weeping, when he just walked away from her.
She was still crying when he came back, a glass of water and a napkins in his hands. He set them both down on the floor as he crouched down.
"Drink it." He said softly, holding the glass. But, when she didn't he simply held the glass to her lips and forced her to.
"Angad, I swear I didn't…"
"Of course you didn't." He gave her a napkin and, when she didn't take it, he simply wiped his tears himself. "Now go back and tell me everything, without crying."
"Are you stupid or something?" she asked him furious.
"No. Of course not. But come on, tell me what you did again."
She blew an angry breath and set her jaw. "I love you, Angad, and I'm very pregnant."
"Nicely, like you said it last time."
She scowled at him now. Then, she smiled, fluttered her eyelashes and in the sweetest of voices said repeated the words. "Angad, I love you, and I'm pregnant."
"Better." He said. "Now I've news for you. I love you too."
She could have wept again, but didn't. "Oh, I feel so ashamed."
"No." He took her hand, kissed it. "I didn't know how to respond a minute ago." He placed a hand on her stomach. "When did you find out?"
"Just this morning, I had my doubts when we got here a week ago."
"Why didn't you tell me then?"
"I tried a few times." His hand was still resting on her stomach. "But you put it off. And, then I got really scared because I had no idea if you even wanted to have children. Tell me you love me again, Angad."
"I love you."
"Again." She said and kissed his lips lightly.
"I love you, Kripa."
She was about to throw her arms around him when he stopped her.
"I was going to do this some other way, but I couldn't have found another way. You know I think I fell in love with you the moment I saw you lying in the hospital bed, all bandaged-up. How about you?"
"I don't know. But I realized the night you had fever and I was freaking out."
"I don't know if the words, 'I love you' even mean anything, Kripa. I've said them a countless number of times to so many people, I can't even remember."
"Well, you apparently forget the most important one."
"Not the point." He said and kissed her nose.
"Don't you have to get back to work? And, your coffee's cold by now."
"I don't care. Will you just listen to me?" He said nearly snapping in impatience.
"Fine." She replied just as stubborn.
"Okay. So. I love you." He saw the light in her eyes then and took both her hands again, getting on one knee. "First, you're not going to cry while I do this." She nodded. "Okay, then. I'm nervous, never proposed to anyone before. I don't know if I'm going to ever remember to tell you, that I love you, again and again. Nor am I very good with words, so I'm going to do this quickly. I can't live without you. Having you sleep beside me and wake-up beside me everyday is important to me. More important than breathing. So, will you marry me, Kripa?"
He waited for an answer but got nothing.
"Say something?" he demanded.
"You told me to shut-up."
He groaned, and she laughed. "Tell me, Kripa, will you marry me?"
"Only if you have a ring to go with this proposal."
"I do actually." He reached into his pocket and took out a velvet box, opened it. In it lay a small white gold ring, with a big, princess cut diamond in the center. He took her hand and spilled the ring into his finger. Looking at her, he brought her hand to his lips, to seal the deal.
Downstairs, the grandfather clock sounded at twelve and Kripa looked at Angad, smiled. "Happy birthday, soon to be daddy." She leaned over and kissed his lips.
"Thank-you." In an expert move, he swept her into his arms and carried her to their bed.
Joined: 25 October 2007
Kripa's eyes opened early the next morning and she found herself looking right at Angad's legs, on which his laptop was resting. She rolled towards him and hooked her arm through his.
"For how long have you been working?" She kissed his forearm in a way to tell him to stop typing.
"A few hours." He put the laptop away on the side table and pulled her up into his arms. "You should sleep more, it's only five-thirty."
"Same goes for you." She turned her face into his shirt and closed her eyes. It was to difficult for her to be able to accept that she was in love, engaged, and well, pregnant. Harder than that I was tough to accept that Angad loved her equally, if not more. She trembled once and then felt his cheek resting on her head. "Go to sleep, Angad." She struggled out of his arms and laid him down on the bed. "You'll get yourself sick." She pushed his hair back and kissed his lips. "I'll wake you up when I think you've rested enough."
"Stay here." He said pulling her into his arms. "Until I fall asleep." She fit into his arms so perfectly, he thought cuddling her. Wondering if she understood the way she fit into his arms, the way she fit into his life. Completing it. He wanted to give her everything, and he would begin in a few hours to give her that perfect life. "I love you," he mumbled drifting back into sleeping, unaware that she was already sleeping again.
She awoke again, after a few hours, in his arms this time. He was dead asleep she knew and carefully got out of bed, making sure the alarm was off. She showered under the warm mist, smiling the entire time. When she got out of the shower, she dressed watching him sleep through the mirror. She combed her hair, not realizing it was his brush, watching him sleep. Then, she looked back into the mirror and her eyes caught the diamond that sparkled in her finger. She shook her head, grinning. She turned around and walked to the bed, kissed him and walked out of the room.
It was only eight when she walked into the kitchen. The house seemed to be sleeping then, but she knew that Aaisha would be awake by now. Wanting to tell her everything, she walked across the garden that smelled roses and daises and jasmines. The snow under her feet was melting with the sun over her head. The slight breeze that was starting ruffled her slowly drying hair over her cheek. She thought about the night she'd spent with Angad and the love he'd shown her without words and just actions. He'd accepted her pregnancy when she'd cried for hours during her showers thinking he would hate her and leave her.
As she stood in front of the out house, she looked back at Angad's bedroom window. She'd been a fool to think about everything from such a negative angle.
Adi opened the door with Suraj crying in his arms. "Hi, Kripa."
"Hi. Happy birthday." She leaned over and kissed both Suraj and Adi. Then, she watched him struggle with Suraj.
"Thanks." She walked in and closed the door. Adi didn't look like Angad as much any more as he matured more. He was slightly shorter than Angad, his eyes were much, much darker. His voice wasn't as husky and deep as Angad's, either. He had a body that wasn't as lean as Angad's but attractive enough.
"Aaisha's in the shower. I was getting breakfast together, but this devil." Defeated with the screaming Suraj, Adi finally left him. Kripa was surprised when he scampered towards her and wrapped his arms around her legs.
"Yeah yeah." Adi said sticking his tongue out at his son. "Where's Angad?" he asked when Kripa picked Suraj up.
"He had to work late." She told him, surprise in her tone because of the way Suraj had wrapped his arms around her neck and rested his cheek on her shoulder. "He's really upset with you, Adi."
"Yeah, well. I can't do anything about it. He's been spoiled enough. Want breakfast?"
"No. I'll wait for Angad."
He grinned at her. "Okay. Then you can come in a and help me make breakfast. I don't want Aaisha running around."
"That I can do. Did her reports come in?" She asked walking into the kitchen with him, carrying Adi.
"I am going to call the hospital later today. You can put him in the high chair."
"Okay." She set him down thinking in less than a year she would have her own little baby. Setting him down, she decided she wanted a little girl first. Subconscious, she brought her hand to her stomach. No one could tell that she had a little life growing inside her. She couldn't really even feel anything right now herself. But within a few months it would be fairly obvious that she was expecting.
"Are you there, Kripa?" He said when he realized she wasn't listening to him.
"Huh?" She dropped her hand to her side. "Yeah. Sorry, what were you saying?"
"I was asking, is Angad giving us a party?"
"Well, I'm sure I could ask you the same thing. Are you giving us a party, Adi?"
He scrambled the eggs in the pan and laughed. "I'm sure Mom has something planned already. I haven't seen her yet."
"Nor have I." She looked back at Suraj, he was busy playing with a pair of plastic keys and a lock. "What can I do?"
"Give Suraj milk and cereal before he eats the plastic keys."
Kripa laughed and found a plastic bowl. "I can see what a delight he is for you."
Adi sighed and leaned over to kiss his son. "Wired, but he is. I couldn't do without him or Aaisha anymore."
"Couldn't do what?" Aaisha asked walking into the kitchen. "Hi Kripa." She air kissed both her cheeks. "Happy birthday, Adi." And, she kissed his lips quickly.
Her sister was happy, Kripa decided with a smile.
"So what couldn't you do?" She asked looking back at Kripa and Adi.
"Nothing." He replied handing her a plate.
"Thanks. Your phone was ringing, by the way. Sit with me, Kripa." Aaisha said taking her hand.
"Where's Angad?" She asked Kripa once they were sitting outside,
"I'm sure he's up by now."
"By now?" She asked, giving Kripa a naughty look.
"For God's sake, Aaisha. He had to review some files last night."
"When did I ask?" She said with a wink.
Kripa leaned over and pulled her ear, "I'm going to hit you."
"Ow!" She rubbed her ear after Kripa left it. "Testy, aren't we?"
"Sure." She passed a hand through her hair and then smiled. "But I still have to say something."
"Well. Angad-" Before she could continue Adi and Angad were walking into the room. She watched Angad kiss Aaisha's cheek and smiled. A few weeks ago there might have been envy, but now there was nothing. She had no reason to be insecure of what was hers. She smiled again when Angad sat down beside her and kissed her as well.
"Kripa was going to tell us something." Aaisha announced sitting back in Adi's arm, taking Suraj from him.
"Actually I was only going to tell you, Aaisha."
"Let's go Suraj we're not loved." Adi said on a sigh and laughed when Kripa threw a pillow at him. "Come on Kripa, break the ice."
She opened her mouth and closed it when Angad spoke. "Not a very hard-hitting truth, but," he laced Kripa's left hand with his and kissed it, showing off the ring. "I proposed to Kripa yesterday."
Excitement roared throughout the room as Aaisha moved beside Kripa to give her a big, long hug. "I'm sure he was working last night? with you." She whispered in her ear.
Kripa pinched her sisters arm, yet blushed, quickly, before drawing away.
"I'm happy for you guys." Aaisha said holding both Kripa and Angad's hand. "Really happy."
"Me too!" Adi said when Aaisha came back to sit beside him. "When's the lucky day?"
"Soon." Angad said. "We should get married together, Adi."
"No!" He said shaking his head. "It cuts down the amount of cake I get each year."
"Dear god!" Aaisha said poking his belly. "I'm sure in a few more years, Suraj will be able to see Santa right here in our house on Christmas Day."
"Santa!" Suraj said clapping his hands.
Kripa wrinkled her nose looking at him and absently leaned into Angad. When she felt his hand rest lightly on her stomach, her smile softened. While Adi and Aaisha got busy fussing with Suraj, she heard him whisper in her ear, "I want a daughter first."
"So do I." She whispered back, placing a hand on top of his and then giving it a light squeeze.
Angad took Kripa's hand once they left the outhouse and pulled her against him. "Why didn't you wake me up?"
"You needed rest."
"Well, the point was that I couldn't kiss you good-morning."
She grinned, "Well you're stuck with me forever, Angad. We have many morning yet to come." She patted his cheek.
"True. But still, how could I miss kissing you first thing in the morning?" So he brushed her hair away from her cheek and kissed her cheeks. "Did I mention how pretty you look this morning?"
"No." Her voice was breathless as he pressed his lips against her forehead.
"Did I tell you that I love you?" He pressed his lips gently to hers before she could speak. "I love you." He framed her face and kissed the corner of her mouth. "I love you," he repeated and brought her into his arms.
"I love you too." She said closing her eyes. "Angad."
"Someone is going to see us."
"So?" He kissed the top of her head. "You're my soon-to-be-wife."
Amused, she rested her chin on his chest and looked up. "When are you going to tell your family?"
"Tonight." He ran a hand through her hair to push them away from her eyes. "But before that I want to ask you something."
His face was so serious, her heart froze. Did he find out everything? She wondered looking at him.
"Do you want to tell anyone about your pregnancy?"
The blood began to circulate again and she merely blinked. "I- I don't know." Thinking she was going to faint for a second, she held his shirt tighter. "Do you?"
"I want Mom to know. If you don't want to tell anyone, I understand."
He cared about what she wanted even when it concerned his mother. The mother he loved more than anything else in this world. And, she felt like she was deceiving him by not telling him the truth. It was something he needed to know, and she was going to tell him very soon, she decided.
"If you want to tell her. They'll find out eventually." She lowered her eyes and closed them.
He framed her face and lifted it. "Are you ashamed?"
"No!" The response came automatically. "No, Angad. No." She shook her head and then looked back at him. "I wouldn't have told you to begin with if I was ashamed. I was scared, am scared." She left out a shaky laugh. "It just happened so suddenly that I was left shocked."
He walked her to a tree he had planted as a child and sat down under it with her. "Tell me what's wrong Kripa?"
"Nothing." She pressed her face into her shoulder, and held him. "I'm just nervous about everything. A few days ago I was a worried that I had nothing. Now, I'm astonished that I have everything. It's almost like a dream. Last night was like a dream, Angad. Every moment of it, right from when you told me you love me. I don't want to lose you because of my own mistakes."
"I wouldn't leave you even if you made mistakes, Kripa. It would be my own loss."
"And mine." She said and drew away from him. "We should go back now."
"In a minute." He pulled her into his lap when she began to get up and rested his chin on her shoulder. "There's something else."
"What?" She rested her cheek on his head.
"We need to meet your parents so I can formally ask them to marry you."
"Oh Angad!" With wet eyes, she lifted his face and kissed him. "And, if they say no?"
"Well then I'll marry you anyways." He wiped her eyes while she laughed. "But who can resist Angad Khanna, anyways?"
"I couldn't. You're the sweetest ever Angad." Overjoyed, she pressed her lips to his forehead and kept him close for just a few minutes before going back to the house. Maybe, she thought, just maybe, she would get everything she'd every wished for. Even if she didn't, if Angad was with her, she didn't need anything else.
Naina was in the kitchen fussing with a bottle of dressing when Angad came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. "Hi, Mom."
"Morning, sweetheart. Happy birthday." She turned and standing on her toes, kissed his forehead. "What do you want today?"
"Thank you. And, not much. I do need to tell you something." He took the dressing from her hand and put it aside. "I asked Kripa to marry me. Now I'm asking you: do you consent?"
She smiled with tears brimming in her eyes.
"Mom!" He took her to the sofa outside and made her sit down. "What's wrong? Do you not like her?"
"No, no." Tears and laughter, she waived her hand in the air. "I love her. It's just that it's overwhelming to hear it coming from my oldest child. I'm so happy for you, dear. What's the other news?"
"Well." He let out a long breath. "Kripa is pregnant."
Her head snapped up to look at him the moment the words came out. "Angad!" But then there was excitement in her eyes, and joy.
"Are you angry with me?"
"No." Now weeping, however, she threw her arms around her oldest son. "I don't know if I should be happy or angry with you, Angad. I don't know if I should be ashamed or proud."
"I love her." He said unsure of his mothers words.
"I know." She pressed her cheek to his. "You have no idea how long I've waited for these two things from you."
"You're being biased." He said kissing her head.
"You're my first child, love, I have a right to be." Emotions under control now, she drew away, all smiles. "Where is she?"
"Ah. Upstairs, pacing the room right now, I think. She was scared. Be gentle mother."
She caught his ear and twisted it. "I'll behave however I want to with my daughter-in-law, sir." When she left it, he was grinning at her. "I'm so happy for you Angad." She placed her head on his shoulder. "Your father is going to be shocked. Let's go see how Kripa is right now. Have you seen the doctor yet?"
"No, she just told me last night."
"What careless children I've got." She said and walked upstairs holding her son's hand.
Upstairs, Kripa had decided she was going to sit down on the bed and wait until Angad came back. But tiredness overtook her. Not before long, she was laying on her back, the blanket pulled to her feet, and fell asleep.
She was sleeping like a blooming rose bud, with cheeks that were a peachy pink, when they walked in. "She's sleeping?" Angad asked himself disappointed.
"It's just pregnancy fatigue." His mother told her. "Don't worry , but you need to take her to the doctor as soon as you can. In fact, you should as soon as she wakes up."
"I'm going to go see Adi. Would you like to join?"
"Already saw him. I'm going to stay here for a few minutes."
"Okay." Giving his arm a pat, she left the room, closing the door behind her.
Sighing, Angad walked to the curtains and closed them so the sun rays that made her look so angelic were blocked. Then, he walked to her side and sat down. Reaching over her legs, he pulled up the blanket. He kept his desire of taking her hand in his in check, knowing she would wake-up the moment he touched her. Instead, he sat by her side and looked at her.
She turned to her side and her arm flung over his waist and he watched her eyes opened.
"Hi." He leaned over and kissed her nose. "I was just going to leave."
She made a noise and found his hand, and linked their fingers. "Stay."
He noticed that her eyes were heavy with tiredness and sleep. There was something about her that made him want to just sit with her and look at her, talk to her. He knew he was in love with her. Yet, he couldn't line up all the reasons that made her so different.
Her eyes were closed again, he noticed, but her hand, small and soft, was still holding his. He ran the back of a finger over her cheek. She had skin as soft as a baby's. Her eyes opened again, and he looked deep into them. She had eyes as blue as a cool, blue summer lake.
"You're awfully quite," she told him. "Lay down with me. Let me hold you close a few minutes Angad."
He slipped in beside her and she easily rested her head on his shoulder, her arm crossing his chest, her hand resting over his slowly beating heart.
"It's yours I own now," he whispered, taking her hand away from his heart and kissing it. "And I plan to keep it like that for every."
"I'm hoping so, myself. Are you really going to see my parents?"
"We're going to see them the day after Thanksgiving, before we fly back to New York."
"Hmmm. I don't know why I'm so tired."
"It's normal. Don't worry, we'll go to the doctor in the evening or tomorrow. I'll get an appointment."
"We can just wait till we're back in New York."
"Kripa." He tipped her head up. "I want to marry you this week, before we're back in New York. No." He pressed his finger to her lips gently before she could protest. "For you, Kripa. I don't want your name splashed all over newspapers and magazines. Media looks for gossip like this. I care for you, and I don't want you to face anything as nonsensical like this."
"I don't care." She pressed her face into his chest. "I just want to be with you, Angad. You mean more than anything else has in my life."
"That flatters me." He stroked her bare arm as he kissed her head. "I told Mom."
"Oh." She shifted slightly unsure of her reaction.
"She wanted to see you, but you were sleeping. She isn't angry, baby. She adores you."
She laughed, "That flatters me, Angad. But is she really happy?"
"She is. So am I. You haven't had breakfast, sweetheart."
"Hmmm." Her arms were tighter around him then. "Not hungry."
"Go back to sleep."
"Angad. I really want to go home."
"You are at home. Go to sleep." Then, she was sleeping again. Angad laid her on the pillow and kissed her forehead before leaving the room.
Joined: 25 October 2007
When Kripa woke up, her room was still dark from the curtains Angad had drew earlier that morning. Still half asleep, sat up in bed and reached for Angad's watch, which she knew he'd left there, like always. It was three in the afternoon and her stomach growled just thinking that she hadn't had anything. She closed her hand over her grumbling stomach and groaned. She felt guilty going downstairs and hunting the kitchen for lunch, when she hadn't even bothered to come down for the meal.
Obviously, God loved her, because he'd sent Angad's mother to her rescue. But at the same time, she wasn't sure what to do.
"Stay there." She told her when Kripa tried to walk to her.
"I-" Unexpected tears filled her eyes when Naina pressed her lips to Kripa's forehead. She'd missed this small gustier from her mother so much. "I'm sorry." She wiped her eyes shaking her head.
"For what?" She asked brushing her hair with her fingers. "I was unsure about what to say to Angad when he told me about you. As long as I can remember he's never brought any of his," she waived her hands in the air, "his girlfriends, to see me. When I saw you I knew why he'd brought you home. You're a sweet girl, Kripa."
"I- I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to tell me anything. You haven't eaten." She picked up the plate and handed it to her. "It's important for you to eat properly and take care of yourself."
Tears swelling back in her eyes she ate quietly while Angad's mother continued telling her what she should and shouldn't do. She wondered what her own mother would have told her if she was with her.
She called her house later that night, but when her mother picked up the phone, her hand all but forced her to place the phone back on its cradle. As she did, Angad walked in, closing the door behind him.
"Any success yet?" he asked draping his arm around her shoulder. When she merely shook her head, disappointment in her eyes, he kissed her temple. "Why not?"
"I don't know if I can talk to her. Do have any idea how many stupid things I told her last time we talked. I was so rude and so selfish." She pressed a finger between her eyes and took a deep breath. "I'll call her later, you have guests waiting downstairs. I'll be ready in ten minutes."
"No." He closed her hand over her knee to prevent her from standing up. "You're never going to find out unless you give it a try."
"And, I don't want to talk to her if she doesn't want to talk to me."
"And, how are you going to find out, sweetheart?"
"Oh for gods sake!" She threw her hands in the air. "She hasn't called me once, since we last talked."
"You don't live in the house you used to. You don't have your cell phone. How can she contact you?"She opened her mouth for an excuse, and snapped it shut again, when he lifted his brow at her. "Oh, you're so reasonable sometimes, it makes me sick." She wrapped
her arms around his waist and rested her cheek on his shoulder. "And, I love you so much for that." They were silent for a moment before she spoke again. "I never asked you want you wanted for your birthday, Angad." She leaned back, with his arms supporting her weight. "What do you want?"
"You'll know soon enough." He pressed his mouth to hers quickly. "For now, I want you down stairs in ten minutes."
"But you have to get ready as well."
"I do, and I will. In a while. Ten minutes," he said brushing his lips against her forehead. "I left something in your closet. Wear that." He told her before leaving the room.
When Kripa appeared at the top of the stairs, nearly thirty minutes later, the house was filled with guests. There was soft music that played in the background. She saw Aaisha and Adi fussing with Suraj. She glanced around the room and saw Angad's parents talking at someone. She scanned the room again and saw Nisha, a man standing in front of her, taller, lean. Her fianc? She wondered and continued to look around for Angad. She spotted him walking across the room, towards his parents. Lost in the moment, she just continued watching him. The easy way he possessed of slipping one hand in his pocket, the other around his mothers shoulder. They way he laughed throwing his head back. The way he did everything, she realized, made her fall in love with him more and more. Unconditionally. She felt a ripple of passion cross her heart when his eyes scanned the room and stopped on her, met hers. She watched him say something in his mother's ear and began walking her way.
The sari he had left for her complimented her so well. The light and pale pink matched her creamy peachy so well. She'd tied her hair back at the base of her neck, loosely. Her eyes were so blue with pink shadow around them. Her neck was long and slender. Her shoulders were strong and toned and left bare. She had a frame, a built, that was made perfectly for the sari. She had a face, that lit up, as did her eyes, when her lips merely lifted at the corners.
As he walked towards the stairs she started down, her eyes never leaving his.
It was odd to watch her come down stairs, so careful of the way she carried in the sari. He knew that she was nervous wearing a sari, as did she, but the grace she possessed. God would even have to think twice to be sure if she was or wasn't comfortable. He held his hand out to her as she reached the last stair, and he reached her. She took it, without having to think about anything. He was hers, and he told her that just in the way his fingers curled on his hands.
He knew she was surprised when he kissed both her cheeks and then her lips. "You look?" he trailed off just enough to have her brow lift, and anticipation cross her eyes, he wrapped his arms around her slender waist. "Beautiful." He told her. "Absolutely stunning."
"Thank you." Unexpectedly, she blushed, tucking a falling strand of her hair behind her ear.
"And me?" He said, teasing her now. He'd seen her angry, he'd seen her sad, he'd seen her love, but he hadn't seen her nervous around him.
"Oh." She flushed. She hadn't even noticed what he was wearing, she'd been so unsure of her own attire. But she focused on his face for the first time since he'd held her hand. "You look good Angad." To emphasize it, she leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Now tell me, how did you manage this?"
"I just did. Come on I want you to meet Nisha's fianc."
"Okay." She smiled to herself when he kept his arm possessively around her shoulder. It gave her a sense of pride, for some odd reason. It just felt so wonderful to know that she had someone now who would stay with her forever.
"Karan." Angad slapped his back so get his attention. "Behave yourself." He told her jokingly, upon seeing his arm around his sisters shoulder.
"I don't have to anymore, Angad. Who did you want me to meet?"
"Kripa?" he mused as he turned around to find her. "Where is she?"
"She.. One sec." He grabbed her hand and said sorry to whoever it was she was talking to.
"Angad, that was very rude."
"Not really. I said I was sorry."
"Very sweet!" She said laughing and holding his chin in her hands. "Who did you want me to meet."
"Karan!" Angad called and pulled Kripa closer. "Nisha's fianc." He felt her body go limp against him.
"Karan?" It confused Angad utterly when she left him and ran into his arms. It confused him more when he watched Karan wrap his arms so tightly around her and kiss her head. "Karan." She said again, crying now. "I can't believe it. You're so tall!" She kissed his cheeks. "And, so handsome."
"Where have you been?" He asked her framing her face, without a care that both Nisha and Angad were looking at them with a suspicious look. "Mom's been worried sick about you, Kripa. Your phone's disconnected. You cell is never reachable. God!" He kissed her forehead. "I couldn't believe you really wouldn't be there for my wedding."
"I'm sorry." She said shaking her head. "I should have called you. Congratulated you once even."
"That's old talk." He said smiling. "Ten years, and you look the same."
She laughed at him now. "Wish I could say the same about you, sweetheart. I missed all of you." She said and threw her arms around him again. Then she realized Angad and Nisha were looking at them. She turned and looked at Angad, held a hand out to him. "I love you." She told him as he took it. "I couldn't have had a better day in my life."
"Yeah?" He asked.
She nodded. "Karan's my younger brother."
"Oh? Oh!" He laughed and shook his head. "I would have broken his leg for sure if he wasn't."
"Very cute." She said. "I'm glad you dragged me with you here."
"There were selfish reasons." He assured her. "Now I know you won't bother my sister." He told Karan.
"Why?" He asked holding Nisha again.
"Because I can bother yours in turn."
"Hmm." He looked at Angad and then at his sister. "I'm stealing her for a few minutes." Without waiting for Angad's answer, he took her hand and took her away with him.
"What's going on between you and Angad?" He asked her straight and simple.
She looked at him raising her brow. "That's my business and his."
"I'm your brother, Kripa."
"Yes, and younger. Remember." He leaned forward and kissed her head. "I realized, after you left, how much I loved you. And, I'm not going to let anything happen that hurts you."
"You're going to make me cry, baby. I can't believe you've grown up so much."
"It's been ten years, Kripa. I've changed."
"Yes." She rested her head against his shoulder. Once, he came to her to complaint about what happened at school, when he was only her younger brother. Now he was a grown man, and she was depending on him. "How's dad?" She asked reluctantly.
"Why don't you find out yourself?"
"I couldn't. We never understood each other, we never will."
"Sure you will. But, for now: Angad?"
She smiled. She had always wished she had a older brother who cared for her, protected her, someone she could come lean on. Now she had him, he wasn't older really, but he was the brother she always wanted. The one she'd missed. "There's nothing to worry about."
"Left hand." He demanded.
"I'm not speaking French," he mumbled. He lifted her hand and looked at the ring. "I wouldn't have disapproved."
"Really? You acted like you weren't very fond of him."
"No." He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and walked with her. "He's a good guy. I was just unsure if it was one sided or anything. I'm happy for you."
"And I for you. How's mom?"
"She's good. Busy like always."
"She must be unhappy with me."
"Worried, is what she is. Come back home with me Kripa. We all need you. I knew Aaisha was here, I didn't you so were you."
"I'll come with Angad." She assured him.
"Okay. I'm sure Angad is missing you."
She giggled and walked back with him.
It was a sunny and warm day of a late November morning. Thanksgiving at Angad's parents house was different. She experienced loud dinners and plates clattering that she had never before. She experienced quick naught comments from Angad. Quick, smoldering kisses between walking to the kitchen from the dining room to get something. There was such small intimacy at the dining table when she served Angad or anyone in his family. She liked caring for Suraj while Adi sneaked away with Aaisha for a few moments.
She liked, at the end of the day, sitting in bed with Angad and discussing anything. Something that happened earlier that day. Or how that she'd had so much of something for the first time in her life. Or something that Suraj did, which was so unexpected. A conversation she shared with Nisha or his mother. Something she wanted changed in their house after getting married. What colors she wanted to paint her baby's room if it was a boy, or if it was a girl. What toys she wanted for her boy. What princesses would be painted on the walls if it was a girl.
She liked, waking up with Angad holding her in his arms. Making breakfast for him and his family every once in a while.
Life had been smooth, but now as she stood in front of her parent's house in California, hold Angad's hand, and she could do nothing more than tremble and get nervous.
He rang the bell for her and then turned her to face him. "They aren't going to hurt you, darling." He leaned over to kiss her forehead. "I wouldn't let them."
She heard the humor in his voice and could smile, feeling the tension drain away from her body she let herself lean on him for just one moment. "After all this is done-"
"I'm going to marry you," he finished for her. "Then, I'm going to sweep you off your feet to a nice, calm place. For an exotic and not-so-calm honeymoon."
"That would be very nice. Very, very nice." Right when she heard the click of the lock, she backed away from Angad turned back to the door. Her nerves worked up again, making her palms dampen slightly.
"Angad! Kripa!" It was Karan's loud voice that reached her ears in a sense of relief that pumped into her. When his arms came around her she relaxed completely.
"You'll handle everything?" she asked him tipping her head back.
"Of course I will. Mom's waiting for you." He looked at Angad to invite them inside when Kripa took his arm again.
"And, Dad?" She asked carefully. "What about him? Is he waiting for me?"
"He doesn't know." He told her softly. "Come on." Hooking his arm in hers, an old habit, he took her inside, with Angad following them.
He lead them both through the hallway, the hall way that was one so familiar. She could hear her own laughter as a young girl, running after her brothers and sister. Them running behind her once in a while. She remembered, as she walked into the living room, how quite the place used to get suddenly, when the door bell used to ring at night when her father used to return. And, as they turned into the dining room, reaching for Angad's hand, because Karan had long left hers, she remembered the argument she'd had with her father here before she'd left home.
Ten years, she thought trembling again. Ten years and the argument was still so vivid in her mind. She could hear herself and her father yelling. She could still sense her youngest sibling, Shiv, hiding behind her mothers legs, watching the scene. She could still feel the last time she had hugged her mother, a slight bitterness in her heart, that had only grew because she'd let it purposely. But the moment she saw her mothers back, Shiv standing in front of her, his arms on her shoulders. She smiled, he was persuading her about one thing or the other.
She opened her mouth to call him, not her mother, but her throat, it dried up. She looked at Angad then, and she saw the confidence she lacked herself, in his eyes. She saw the buoyancy in his eyes that made her smile and trust herself. She turned back to Shiv and her mother. She cleared her throat loudly and watched Shiv's dark blue eyes shift and settle on her face.
She smiled at him and opened her arms for him. On one side there was Karan who she could treat like her older brother. On the other there was the twenty year old Shiv, whom she could never vision from anything aside her younger brother, who used to slip into bed with her after having horrid dreams.
"Shiv." She said.
"Finally remembered me." He said pressing his lips to her forehead right away. "Finally." The moment he wrapped his arms around her the first tear slipped. Here was her little baby who she'd barely ever thought about in the last ten years. Her baby was a quickly growing man now. Once she'd felt his arms around her in a fearful moment. Now, as his arms came around her, she felt he had grown to be a protective brother. Something she could never have thought of at the young age of eighteen.
When he pulled away and smiled at her she saw how much he looked like her father now. She left his eyes and gazed over his shoulder to look at her mother. Shiv had come to her, she'd asked him to come to her because she wasn't sure if she could have taken the first steps. But to her mother, to whom she had been so wrong to, and her father, who she knew would forgive her, she had to take the first steps. She knew she had to because, she'd taken the first steps away from them.
"Mama." She said walking to her. "Mom." She said, her eyes filling now. Her feet didn't feel as heavy anymore. And standing in front of her mother, she took only a second the close the distance by embracing her. "I'm sorry." She said crying to her. "I'm so very sorry. I was rude to you every time you called and I was selfish the entire time. I was mean when I left home." Her mother's body was rigid against Kripa's. Her arms still hadn't come around her. Kripa still hadn't found the comfort in her mothers arms that she was longing for. "You're angry with me." She mumbled and began to draw away.
Then, her arms came around daughter. "I'm not angry at you. I never was. And, I'm glad to see you home."
"Oh Mom!" She clung to her and kissed her cheek. "I love you!"
"So do I." She lowered his voice then. "Isn't that Angad Khanna?"
"Hmmm? Oh." She turned away and smiled at Angad. "Yes he is." Then, held her hand out. Her mother caught the glimpse of the ring she was wearing in her left her before Angad's hand covered it. There wasn't, however, her mother noticed, a ring on his finger.
"Ah." Angad couldn't figure out what he wanted to say.
"You guys haven't eaten anything, I take it. Come sit down." She looked at Kripa. "You're father will be down in a few minutes."
"Mom." She took her arm. "Two things. I love Angad. I'm going to marry him." She hesitated for a moment. "With or without your permission."
"Kripa." Angad squeezed her shoulder.
She shook her head. And, she didn't realize her father had been in the room. She knew that both Shiv and Karan were watching her again. "I am sorry for doing what I did. But that brought me to Angad. And, I'm not ready to lose the one person who was with me when no one else was."
"It was your fault we weren't with you, Kripa." Her father's voice was just the way she'd last head it. Strong, proud. Angry.
"Dad." She ran to him, but before she could throw her arms around him, he held his hand up.
"Your mother might have forgiven you, as might have your brothers, but I won't."
"No, Kripa. I told you ten years ago, if you stepped out of this house then you were never welcome back. I meant it."
But even then, she slipped her arms around his waist and held him. He wasn't bulky like most men his age. "I know you meant it, Dad." She knew he didn't hate her because he'd felt his hand on her head, even if it was for a second, and light, before he'd taken it away from her. "I'm sorry for everything I did, but I wouldn't have respected so many things I do now." She left him after kissing his cheek. "I want you to forgive me, Dad. I want you to walk me down the aisle. But if you don't want to do either," she paused for a moment, "I will leave here happily because I know you're happier being stubborn and not accepting me. I always loved you, Daddy. And, I was stubborn because I'm your daughter." She saw it then, anger, sadness, forgiveness, happiness, irritation, and so many other emotions sweep his eyes. "I'm leaving tonight. I want to leave with your blessings. Tell me, Dad," she took his hand and brought it to her cheek, "will you forgive me?"
He took his hand back, and left her standing there. The first tear fell from her eyes when she heard the door slam shut seconds later. It wasn't hard, nor did she feel ashamed, to let the tears pour once Angad took her into his arms.
It felt awkward, Kripa's mother realized, to see her daughter turn into someone else's arms to seek comfort, instead of her arms. But, she could still comfort her. So Kiran moved to her daughter and placed a hand on her head.
"You're room's still where it used to be, Kripa." When she looked up at Angad, she saw he loved her daughter. The kind of love that would give her daughter everything she once wanted and had pressed beneath her to fulfill dreams that weren't hers until circumstances had forced her to vision her life in a different manner. She placed a hand on Angad's arm before leaving the room.
Angad, helplessly, first kissed to top of her head and then looked at her two brothers for a little help. While Karan was slightly stunned with his father's behavior, Shiv was able to compose himself and walk to them.
"Come on, Sis." He took her away from Angad. "Let's go see what your room has in store for you."
"I don't want to stay here, Shiv. I want to leave."
"You'll leave in a bit. Come now." While he dragged her away, knowing she was going to love what was ahead of her, Kripa dragged Angad with them.
She was still recovering from the flood of tears when Shiv and Karan opened the double doors of her room for her. She let out a surprised cry upon seeing her very decorated room.
Her wall behind her bed wasn't made of stone or cement, but it was a mirror. Once it had been just that, a mirror. Now it been transformed. In the center it said, "Welcome Home Kripa!" All around it, there were pictures she had collected and left in her closet. Clipping of articles she'd saved, pictures of her and her family. It was everything she'd left behind.
"Who?" She asked walking inside, letting Karan hold one hand and Shiv the other.
"We missed you." Shiv stand standing behind her, his arms around her shoulder. "I missed squabbling with you. I missed my older sister who used to let me sleep in her bed even, sit with me, even a night before a major test. Finals even. Every time, for years, when I used to hear lighting outside I would think of you. Wonder why you left me here like this."
"Shiv." Guilt swamped her body and made her stomach turn upside down. "I'm so sorry."
"I'm sorry to. I'm glad you're back, I'm not letting you leave."
She turned around and hugged him. "I can't stay forever."
"No," he thought thinking back to what just happened downstairs. "You can't."
She pulled away and smiled at him. "Don't you have to go to college?"
He grinned. "Not today, I don't. I want to take out for lunch to make up for every time you used to feed me. And, then I can give you all the gifts I've been saving for your birthday."
"And, all the Christmas gifts," Karan told her.
She frowned looking at them one by one, "You guys actually bought me stuff?"
"Of course we did. How could we forget? You're the sister who we hated. You're the sister who fed us when Mom wasn't there. You're the sister who we loved as much as we loved mom. You helped us with our homework. Studied with us for our tests. Read to us when we were much younger. Do you need more reasons?"
"No." She wrapped arm around both their waists and hugged them. "I've got all the reasons I needed and more." Then she looked at Angad who was patiently looking at them, leaning on the door frame. "And, now I've left my fianc alone." Oh it felt so good! She realized as he walked into the room, to be here. He father would forgive her soon enough, she thought.
"You need to eat if you're done with this soap opera." His voice was soothing and understanding, as was his touch when he skimmed a finger to her cheek. Yet there was the slightest hint of humor in his voice, in his eyes, in his touch, that made her want to laugh.
When Karan's phone rang, he excused himself. Shiv, stayed where he was, his arm still possessively around her sister. "How did he happen?"
"Shiv?!" Kripa voice was all surprise and she pulled away, giving his arm a tight smack. "Mind your mouth, please."
"No. I really want to know. I was expecting, well, someone worst for you."
"Oh!" She laughed then, instead of getting offended. "Shiv, you're a goofball."
"Sure. Whatever." He frowned looking at her. "I really don't want you to get married."
She laughed and hooked her arm thought his again. "Why?"
"Because then you'll be away from here again. From me more particularly. I was hoping that you'd do some of my chemistry and physics labs for me."
"Oh my poor, poor baby." She kissed his cheek.
"You failed physics, Kripa." Angad reminded her just to get a laugh out of the moment.
"Yeah. Yeah. You can help him then, Mr. Cornell."
"I can. After you eat. You haven't had anything all day. I'm going to steal her for a few minutes."
Shiv nodded and watched them leaving the room, with Angad's arm around her shoulder. She was happy, and that's all he wanted. He loved her, and that was all that mattered to her. And, her in happily in love was what made him happy.
Downstairs, breakfast was never made. Kiran was missing at the moment, and Angad couldn't keep Kripa hungry anymore. Her diet was very important for her for their child. So, he scrambled eggs for her, with toast, and gave her a poured milk in one glass and juice in the other. He carried the tray to the counter in the kitchen. "Eat," he demanded.
"You have a choice. No coffee."
"No!" When she frowned he leaned over and kissed her head. "Be nice to be."
"You'll eat with me?" She asked swirling the high chair and pulling him closer for a hug.
"No. I'll eat after you. You okay?"
"Dad will forgive me?" She asked, burying her face in his stomach.
"We'll work something out. Until then you eat." He sat on the chair behind her and scooped the eggs with the fork. "You're worst than a child," he told her as she ate. "Juice or milk?"
"Juice." She said, her hands still folded in her lap.
He laughed and shook his head. "Okay." He held the glass to her lips and tilted it. "Why don't you finish your eggs yourself. I'll fix your toast till then. Butter or cream cheese?"
"Butter. Very little. You're going to make me fat."
"I want you healthy as a cow, babe. Come on now, no fussing. After this I have to look at that nomination I got for face of the year."
Her eyes widened and she dropped her fork. With a scream she pressed her mouth to his and threw her arms around his neck. "I'm so proud of you!"
Shiv and her mother, who had been watching the entire time, left from the door, completely content.
"When did you find out?"
"Just this morning."
"I'm so happy for you." She settled her head on his shoulder with a smile.
"You should be. But this doesn't mean you don't have to finish this."
She pulled away and picked up her glass of juice. "Well, since I can't pop a bottle of champagne right now, cheers to Angad Khanna."
Laughing he drank out of her glass, just a small sip, and then made sure she finished the rest of her food.
After a quite dinner with her brothers and Angad, Kripa sat in the sitting room with her mother. Angad was out and about with Shiv and Karan getting something done. Her father wasn't back home yet.
They had been discussing Aaisha and her operation. Now her mother was quite again. Kripa laid her head in her lap. "Isn't it wired that Karan and Nisha are getting married and so are Adi and Aaisha."
"And so are you and Angad." She leaned down and kissed her head. "You're pregnant Kripa, aren't you?"
"Yes." She answered quietly and she didn't feel ashamed. She turned her head and wrapped her arms around her mothers waist. "How did you know?"
"I don't know. I watched Angad feed you. He loves you a lot."
"He does." She agreed. "I wish I could sleep with you, Ma. I want to be little again."
"You're still my little girl. I still remember when I held you for the first time Kripa. You were the tallest baby I'd ever seen. You eyes were so blue when you opened them first. You were my pride, always."
"And I'm not anymore." She told her.
"Yes you are." At her answer, Kripa shifted so she could looked up at her mother. "When you left home with whatever money you'd saved from your allowance and job, your father thought that you'd be back as soon as the money was over. But I knew you wouldn't. Especially if you failed. I'm proud who you are, Kripa. Your father is a stubborn man. He's not going to let you know how much he loves you or misses you. He spent hours in your room at night after you left Kripa. I never want you to think he doesn't love you, because he loves you more than any of his children. You're his oldest child, his first, and he adores you."
"When will he tell me that?"
"Soon enough. When is your flight?"
"Around twelve at night. Angad booked wired timings. I don't want to leave now. Not until tomorrow."
"I am." She admitted and turned into her stomach, closing her eyes again. "Angad's Mom, she made sure I slept for at least an hour in the afternoon everyday. I couldn't do that today knowing Shiv and Karan and you were around."
"Do that now." She told her as she combed her hair.
"You'll sit here?"
"Yes. I'll sit here."
When Dev came back home about thirty minutes later, he knew that his daughter was still inside. Hoping that just once he would treat her like her daughter. Just once he would embrace her and tell her he loved her. God knew he wanted to do just that. But he felt guilty for not calling her back. He felt guilty for even letting her go in the first place. He knew he should have given her permission to study further.
When he walked into the sitting room, after changing and wandering the entire house for his daughter, he saw her sleeping. Her head was still cushioned in her mothers lap. His heart swelled and he walked to them, sitting down his knees to look at her. She still slept like a baby, he thought looking at her face. So calm. He touch her cheek, to make sure she was still really there. Just the way he had when he'd held her for the first time. Her skin was still that soft. His little girl, he thought and kissed her head. His little girl had come back to him and he was making the same mistake he'd made ten years ago.
Kiran placed a hand in Dev's hair, while he laid his lips over Kripa's head. "She needs you." Kiran told her husband when he sat up.
"I know." He kissed her forehead once more. "I know."
"I'll lay your dinner."
"It's okay. I'll do it myself." He looked at Kripa again and then began to get up. Before he could her hand was on his shoulder.
"Can I?" She asked, it was nearly a whisper. Her hand still on his shoulder, she sat up. He didn't look at her. "Daddy."
"Kripa." It was Angad's happy voice, with Shiv and Karan's bickering over it.
But she continued looking at her father. Then the room was quite again. Because he never turned to replied to Kripa, she just stood up and walked to Angad.
"I'm sorry. Bad timing." He noticed she'd been sleeping before this. And, was glad there were no tears in her eyes. But they were unbearable dry.
"No. Were leaving."
"I don't care. We'll be there early. We're leaving. I'm going to go get something from my room."
She got her jacket and purse as she looked around the room. When she turned Shiv was standing there, his hands in his pockets.
"You're really leaving?"
"Yes. I have to."
He nodded. "You'll come back to visit?"
"Not until Dad calls me. But I'll call you whenever I can. You'll take care of Mom and Dad? Karan will be busy for a few months."
He shook his head. "I love you." He wrapped his arms around her and held her close and tight. "I'm going to miss you."
"You'll live." She said attempting humor. "You did then, you will now."
"I hate you."
"Make up your mind, darling. You can't do both." Her little boy was crying, she realized.
"I hate that I love you. Don't go."
"I have to."
"Stay another day. I've to bother you still. I miss you pancakes and your half burnt brownies."
"You're a sweetheart. Stop crying." She drew away and wiped his eyes. "You goose." Standing on her toes she kissed his forehead. "You should come to stay with us when Aaisha has her operation. It'll be like old times."
"You're not going to have time for me." He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they walked out of her room. "You'll be newly wed and you'll have a little baby to care for."
"You're my first little baby." She kissed his cheek on the last step. "And, I care for you more than anyone else."
"Good to know. I wanted you to open your gifts. There are twenty or so. Some years Karan and I brought one together." He wrinkled his nose.
"That's okay. Another time."
"Okay. But I still can't believe you're actually getting married."
"You'll get used to it soon. I can't believe you've managed to keep yourself fit." She pocked his belly and laughed with him as they reached the sitting room again. There Dev was standing, waiting for her alone.
"I'll wait for you outside."
Kripa walked to him and dropped her purse and jacket on its way. "I'm leaving." She told him.
"You're leaving." He said and brought his hands to her face. "Just like that? No demands? No complaints?"
"I would do all of those things if you considered me your daughter still. But you don't."
"I'm sorry." The words just came out without having to think about them.
"Dad." She pressed her face into his chest and held him tight. "No. Don't be sorry." She had never realized. All along she'd thought it wouldn't matter unless her mother forgave her. Now, she realized, she would have died if he hadn't forgiven her. "I'm sorry."
"I guess we both her." He said pressing a kiss on her head. "Fair deal?"
"Now lets try a bargain. You won't leave Kripa. Not until you're married."
"I wouldn't if it were just about me, Dad. I can't let Angad go back alone. He'd be a mess without me right now. The awards are coming up. He had last minute shoots. I promised I'd help him with Aaisha's surgery. I can't. I'm sorry."
"Can you stay for a few days?" He asked. He knew what her answer would have been. He had looked into Angad's eyes before leaving and he'd seen, and he saw understand beyond all there.
"Yes. I'm sure we can pull that off. Oh Dad!" She gave him a tight squeeze, "I'm so happy. I finally have everything I've wanted."
"I've one more thing I need to get back."
She looked at him. "What?"
"My other daughter." He kissed Kripa's forehead. "I'll do with one for now. You'll serve me?"
"You and Mom. I'll go call them." Taking his hand she dragged him away.
Joined: 25 October 2007
She'd fussed with her father and her mother about everything over dinner, now it was Angad's nightly routine of fussing over her and the glass of milk she should be drinking every night. And, because she hated milk, that to warm milk, she sat on her bed, her mouth covered with her hands. Her eye as big as saucers.
"Kripa, you know you're going to have to drink this glass."
She shook her head.
"Oh, yes, you do. Come on." He took her wrist and pulled her hand away. But she clapped her other hand over her mouth, giggling, enjoying the expressions that swept his face.
"Kripa please." He placed the glass on the table and took both her hand in his. "You enjoy this don't you?"
"Of course I do." She leaned over and gave him a loud, hard kiss on his mouth. "And I love you." She rested her head on his shoulder and embraced him. "If you wouldn't have met me, I would have been a mess."
"Well." A little taken back he kissed her hair and rubbed his cheek against it. "Now that I have met you, I'm a mess. But it's okay," he continued quickly and pulled her back against him when she tried to pull away. "I appreciate the silly ups and downs. And, I love you, too!" He reached over and pick up the glass. "Now, the only problem is that if you don't finish this glass of milk, I won't be able to continue loving you."
She groaned and looked back at him. "Half glass."
"Sure." He lifted the glass to her lips and watched her drink it. When she was about to stop, he pressed his finger on the bottom of the glass and smiled when she continued to drink reluctantly.
"See, that wasn't hard. But you have a mustache." He placed both his hands on her waist and kissed her, running his tongue over her upper lip. "I haven't kissed you in? two days." He said kissing her again.
"I'm surprised you're still alive." She said in a low, teasing voice. To savor the moment a little longer, she kissed him again and then the corner of his mouth. "You're going to have to bunk in with Shiv or downstairs in the den."
"Hmmm." He was still kissing her face. "That's fine. I'll leave in a moment."
"You're a romantic pig." She said burying her face in his chest. "Yet, I love you for everything you are."
"I told you," he tightened his arms around her and rocked them both, "I'm irresistible."
"You're lovable." She told him. "And yes, very, very irresistible. That's why I don't want you to stay here."
"Oh!" He tipped her head up so she could look at him, and him at her. Mischief gleamed in his eyes. "Why don't we see how irresistible I really am."
"Angad!" She covered his mouth when he tried to kiss her again. "You're leaving."
"Okay. But I want to see you sleeping before I go." He stood up and pulled the blanket over her legs. "Good night." He kissed her forehead and then took her hand to sit there just a moment longer. "I'm going to miss reaching for you first thing in the morning."
She knew it was silly, but she let the tears come into her eyes. She stretched her arms out like a baby so he could lean down to hug her. "You won't have to ever miss that out once we're married." She turned her face and kissed his neck.
"I know. Now promise me something," he laid his brow over hers, "you won't cry after this. Ever."
"Yeah. Well you've got to promise you won't make me cry."
"Never again." He promised and kissed her forehead. "Now tell me." He turned his head and laid his cheek over her forehead. "Where do I sleep?"
"I don't know."
"I can stay here."
"Nah!" She laughed.
"How about I sleep on the floor?" He nuzzled her neck and closed his eyes. "I don't think I have enough energy to walk down stairs. Plus, it's a new place for me, what if I get scared at night."
She laughed, half asleep. "Well," she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I guess you can stay here for a few more minutes."
"And if your parents come in. They'll not only kick me out of this room but even this house. Then what will you do?" He waited for her to reply but when all he heard was her breathing and all he felt was her hands limp on his back, he knew she was already sleeping. Lifting his face, he looked at her for a few seconds. Then he kissed her forehead and walked out of the room, with her empty glass of milk.
As he was closing the door behind him, he crashed into Kripa's mother. "Sorry." He tucked his hand into his pockets and smiled. "Kripa just fell asleep."
"She had her milk?" She asked glancing at the empty glass in his hand.
"It took some effort, but she drank it." He waited a moment. "Where do I sleep?"
"You could've stayed with Kripa. It's good that she has someone with her all the time right now." She placed a hand on his arm. "Thank you."
He looked at her, the sweetness in his voice that resembled Kripa's. "For?"
"Taking care of her." She lifted her hand to his cheek. "I never believed in her silly fantasy of price charming. But knowing that she found you, it must be true."
"She was scared." He said with a shrug. He glanced over at the closed door. "I've seen her cry."
"I know. I don't know if Shiv is already asleep. He has an early morning. Karan is just in could nine. You can either go back in there or down stairs."
He considered it for a moment. "I'll sleep on the floor in Kripa's room. Is that okay?"
"It's perfect." Impulsively she kissed his cheek. "I'll get you a sleeping bag." Taking the glass from him she walked away.
Kripa was dreaming again. But this time it was different. There were still roses, chocolates, and wine. This time as she walked towards Angad, he only got closer to her. But even as she walked towards her there was a burden on her shoulders. He'd given her everything? Yes. But, he was still unaware of the fact how she got to him. Why they fell in love. When she was standing in front of him he smiled and placed his hands on her shoulders.
"You've given me everything I've ever wanted."
"I've something to tell you, Angad."
"Then tell me." He pulled her into his arms and kept her close. But the moment he did, she forgot everything she'd wanted to tell him. She felt like she was in heaven. The circle of his arms was warm.
"I love you," Kripa said in her dream and tossed on the bed. Her eyes opened when she dreamt of Angad's lips touching her. She turned again and then her eyes opened. She looked at the closed door and then noticed Angad was sleeping on the floor. She sat up smiling at his image. When he didn't move a muscle, she sighed and got out of her bed and sat down on his sleeping bag.
"I'm going to miss reaching for you first thing in the morning."
She sighed again and laid down beside him, wrapping her arms around his waist. And, felt him tremble at the movement.
"Kripa? What are you doing here?"
"Sleeping." She pushed him so he rolled to his back and then placed her head on his chest. "You won't miss reaching for me first thing in the morning."
He laughed and hugged her back. "I guess not. Your mom's very sweet."
"She is my mom."
"Gee, I couldn't sleep for hours."
"You are your mom are so opposite! She's so sweet."
"You're a devil." She nipped gently at his ear. "What are you doing here anyways?"
"Your mom pushed me back in. Why are you here?"
"I was dreaming."
"This feels like a dream, Kripa. Everything is so perfect." He turned to his side and looked at her.
"Yeah." She pressed her mouth to his. "I still remember the first time you kissed me, Angad. It was so awkward when I though about it afterwards. Then, I longed for that moment again when I realized I'd fallen love with you. I still remember sitting in the bathtub and evaluating everything."
"When was this?" He asked rubbing his thumb over her cheek.
"Remember the night you told me about Aaisha. I'd just talked to your mom and then I came in to put the phone back and you were sleeping like a beast, your normal self." She laughed at his frown and kissed his nose. "I pulled the blanket over you and sat down looking at you. I thought how different you were and then kissed you. Then, I realized you had a fever. We had our little Advil argument and then I left after kissing you again. God, only I knew how hard it was to leave the room without turning back. I wanted to go back and just hold you. When I reached my room I realized I'd been holding my breath the entire time." She let one out then and rolled to her stomach. "That's when I realized I was in love with you."
"You kept it from me for such a long time?"
"I was scared. I just had, had a break-up," she frowned for just a second before continuing, "I didn't want to tell you that I was in love with you and lose your friendship. Then when you kissed me the night after?" she trailed off and just sighed. "Never though it would bring me here."
"On the floor?" He asked teasingly running a finger down her nose.
"Yeah, on the floor. With you."
"That's very sweet. How about we go back to sleep now?"
"We can try doing that." She tangled her legs with his and looked at him with a smile. "You'll always be with me, Angad?"
"I'll be with you even after forever." It might have sounded silly if he'd been in love with someone else. Knowing Kripa, he understood where she was coming from.
"That's good. You know I can feel my stomach begin to swell." She took his hand and laid it over her abdomen. "Can you feel it?"
"Barely," me mumbled. "I never asked you Kripa," he looked at her, "do you even want a child so early?"
"Angad?" A little taken back she took his face in her hands. "Of course I want a child. I want this child." She felt his hand increase slight pressure then.
"I'm sorry." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I know I'm rushing to get married. Maybe you wanted to stay with your family. I don't-"
"You are my family, Angad." She rested her head against his chest and listened to his heart beating for a moment. "You're the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. And, I want you to get that into your head, I won't leave you even if you begged me to go away."
"The feelings quite mutual. I'm sorry I made this so serious."
"You should be sorry." She lifted her head and kissed him again. "Go back to sleep." She turned and pressed her back into him and while on of his arm kept her close, she held his other hand. For a few moments she looked at their joint hands, thinking about Ethan. He would create trouble for her as soon as he found out she was marrying Angad Khanna. She had to tell him everything before someone else did that for her.
Life was perfect for Kripa. Aaisha's operation was scheduled for the middle of January. The good news was that the doctors were very sure the operation would be very successful. Kripa was happy for her sister. They had gotten married a week after Thanksgiving, it had been a quite court marriage with close family members. Kripa couldn't help but smile every time she thought about Aaisha's face when she had seen Dev walk in with Kiran and both her brothers. For the first time in years, Kripa had seen her entire family together. She felt foolish now for crying while Aaisha and Adi singed the papers. But, she felt better when Angad teased her about having major mood swings because of her pregnancy.
Speaking of which, she'd gained two pounds in a little less than two months. If things continued this way, and Angad confirmed this would happen just to make her feel better, she would gain at least ten pounds by the time of her delivery and transform into a buffalo. But between all the depression of gaining so much weight, she loved to feel her swelling belly. It just felt awkwardly wonderful to think about how much her life was changing as the months got closer and closer. More, as each day passed Angad pampered her more and more. Besides him, her parents and brother, along with Angad's entire family, someone called her once a day to tell her right from wrong. Things she needed to worry about, and things that were very normal.
Happiness? It was much beyond that. It was paradise that she was living in. For her Valentine's Day occurred ten times a day. When she had barely started getting used to wakening up in Angad's bed every morning, with a breakfast all ready. She realized it was time she got used to getting fresh roses everyday from Angad. As soon as that became normal, she would find Angad getting a quick message delivered to the door for her. Yes, it was beyond happiness. Perhaps, even beyond paradise.
Yet. Yet, there was Ethan she yet had to worry about. She had that position as Editor-in-Chief she had to worry about. She had to, above everything, worry about telling Angad what she really was when they met months ago. He wouldn't care, she'd convinced herself of that. Now, she had to persuade herself to tell him everything. Soon, she'd tell herself every time he came home.
By the second week of December, one thing was on everyone's mind. The two wedding in the family. Angad and Kripa. Karan and Nisha. Kripa felt guilty every once in a while that she was getting such a lavish and pompous wedding, while Aaisha had to get married so quietly. Every time she told Angad or Aaisha this, they both told her Adi and Aaisha both wanted a quite wedding. Eventually, Angad had talked him out of feeling guilty. Again, blaming it all on her pregnancy.
He was silly and madly in love with her and their child. He was constantly coming up with silly ideas of decorating the room. And, each time was smacked in the fact by being reminded that they didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. As much as they wanted to find out, they wanted it to be a surprise. But, even then, every once in a while, he would come home with a baby toy or a soft toy for their child. Kripa wanted to believe that he'd never been happier in his life every time he did something silly. But the next day, something else would happen, and she'd think the same thing again. In the end, she gave up, content that he was happy with her. Finally, once in her life, she'd made someone happy right from the beginning!
They never actually argued. It was so odd, to Kripa anyways, that despite everything they never argued. Even if they ever did disagree over something it was petty and Angad ended up leading the way the way she wanted it. For example, when they were picking the flowers they wanted to decorate their room with. They both wanted roses. Kripa wanted red and pink. Angad wanted, well, blue and white. "Blue?" she'd said staring at him. "You must be mad Angad. Where are you going to find real blue roses? Is there even such a thing as blue roses?"
"Of course there is!" He said cheerfully. "But if you want red and pink, it'll be red and pink."
As much as she loved that he listened to her, she wanted to experience little fights that would lead them pacifying each other. But when she told that to Aaisha, she laughed and told her, "Wait a few weeks after getting married, you'll get fights and more." Perhaps she was right.
Her wedding had been better than she'd ever expected any event in her life to be. She'd cried, and laughed, and gotten angry.
Angry? Angad had been called back to New York the same night due to some urgent matter that he had been putting off. When Kripa had asked him to forget about it, his reason had been entirely her. He told her, "if I were alone I wouldn't care, Kripa. But now that I have you, I don't want to mess up and be in a financial fix. If not for both of us, then for our baby." And, she'd melted. He cared, she had to do the same. They flew back the same night. While Kripa went home, at eight in the morning, Angad went to work.
It felt so odd to be at home alone, sleeping alone. Instead of waking up in Angad's arm on the first morning of her wedding. But oh well, she thought.
She spent the first day cleaning around the house alone, since none of the maids or cooks were at home. She prepared dinner, and forced herself for a small lunch. She waited, hoping, prying, Angad would call just once. For two seconds. But he never did. She found herself, more than once, thinking about what she might have been doing, had Angad been at home right now. She thought about the six million different things Angad would tell her. She thought how lunch had been if he had been with her. And, she thought about the million times he would have kissed her, had he been home with her today.
It was late December, Christmas was a few days away, and the snow outside was thick and beautiful. She rubbed a towel on her head after she'd stepped out of her shower wearing one of Angad's shirts that fell to her thighs. She'd been too lazy to unpack yet and all her night suits were still sitting in the launder that she hadn't touched yet. Life was a misery without Angad. The sight outside her bedroom window was beautiful. The fire that she'd forced herself to start before her shower was crackling. Everything that had to be done was done. And, she could only think of one thing. She set up a canvas near her window and poured the colors she needed on a pallet. She found it so easy to paint the picture that she saw in front of her window. The sun had begun to set behind the tall building, leaving the sky a wonderful red and orange. The trees and cars that hadn't been move, stood covered in blankets of snow.
She used her thumb, like she always had, to blend the colors of the sky. And, doing so, every once in a while, she found herself either looking at the clock or phone. She knew she should have eaten by now, but that seemed impossible. She wanted Angad here. Again and again, she thought about Ethan. Again and again, she imagined what if Angad found out everything.
She dropped the pallet and brush on the table and leaned against the window. She rubbed her hands over her face, forgetting about the paint that was on her thumb. Where could he have possibly been? Why was he so busy, that he hadn't even found a moment to call her?
Minutes passed, that seemed like hours to her, but even then when the door opened inaudible and he walked in, she knew he was there. Before she could turn around his arms came around her tightly.
"Hi." The word was a breeze against her cheek.
"Angad." She turned and clung to her. "I though you'd never come back." She closed her eyes and breathed him in. Stayed still until his arms actually felt real around her. She would never in her entire life forget how difficult these last few hours had been. She would never in her entire life forget the way he felt, right now, at this very moment, against her. She needed him, so desperately, to not ask her any question right now and just hold her close. She needed him to so badly let her know that he was really back and they were really married. That everything she'd imagined hadn't happened. That he still hadn't met Ethan.
"Kripa." Again, the word was that which let her heart beat normally again. "What's wrong?"
"I missed you." She whispered. God, she'd missed him. Never had she realized in her entire life that someone could miss anyone so desperately. She felt her heart had been ripped to pieces and was now being glued back together. "You're not going to leave again?"
"No." He pulled her away and framed her face. Her cheeks were wet, blending in with the red and orange paint that was smeared on her cheeks. He kissed the tears first and then both her eyes. Then he took her mouth with painful patience and glorious gentleness. She needed them both. Never in her life, had she needed, never in her entire life was she known for, patience. And, now she needed that more than anything else.
The kiss remained gentle. It went deeper, but it was never hot and hungry. Not once did he rush her. Not once did he ask her what was wrong, and why she was so scared. All he did was give her what she had been craving for. Love.
He drew her down, slowly, to the soft carpet that they had been standing on and laid beside her. She heard the fire cracking and his heart beats. She felt the warmth of his love and the fire in front of which he was giving it to her.
Time. His hands flowed over her like that's all he had in the world. Love. His lips feathered over her skin like that was the only element she'd find if she bothered opening her eyes. Words. They seemed to be the only thing she didn't need from him right now.
She felt something flutter in her stomach when he touched her where their baby lay. She felt her heart race when he pressed his lips there next. She felt lost in the world that was still unknown to her, when his mouth found hers again.
She left her hands on his hair to absorb the feeling of them curled all around her fingers. She allowed her fingers to traced every angle and curve of his face until it was printed in her mind.
Music that she'd never heard or anticipated played in her mind. And, she was certain Angad heard it as well. He made love with her before, but this was different.
Yes it was different. Even for Angad, it was different. She was the only woman who he'd every touched or wanted to bring where he was taking Kripa. Once she had been just a woman he'd fallen in love with. Now, she was his wife. And, from lover to wife, in one night, he'd realized how much it meant to know he would share his name with her. That she would be Mrs. Angad Khanna. How wonderful it felt to know that the ring that was on his left hand, would always have the name Kripa written on it.
Her skin felt softer and he knew he would never touch anything that felt the way she did. He knew that no one would fit into his arms, his life, the way his wife did.
Yes, this was different.
Mrs. Kripa Angad Khanna. She was that emotionally and physically now.
Hours later, her arms were tangled around him. The blanket was tangled around them. And they were tangled in each other.
They'd slept for maybe two hours before they began drifting into and out of sleep again and again.
"You must be hungry, Angad."
"No." He pressed her closer to him and pressed his lips on her shoulder. "Are you?"
"No. Are you comfortable?"
"I've never been more in my life. How about you?"
"Same here." He felt her stroke his calf with her feet and smiled. "I couldn't think of anything but holding you close all day. I wanted to call you so many times. Just leave the meetings and call you."
She didn't know what to say, or what he wanted to hear, so she kept quite. He was here now, and that was all that mattered.
"So," he kissed her forehead smiling still, "are you going to take that job as Editor-in-Chief at Secret?" Her body went still against his and her hands limp on his back. "Ethan asked me to congratulate you. He was in the same complex as I was and we, well, we met." When she began to tremble and her body chilled despite the heat of the fire, the blanket, and his body, he rubbed his hand on her back. "I love you, Kripa." Carefully, he tipped her head up and kissed her, playfully this time, to prove it. "I really meant it when I said I wouldn't leave you. Even if," he pressed a finger against her lips before she could continue. "Even if you made a mistake."
"You're not angry?"
"I was when he told me. But because I didn't have the choice of coming home and yelling at you, instead the chance to sit in a meeting and think about it I realized how glad I was that I had those meetings to still sit thought. You never harmed me Kripa. If anything, you protected my image. You loved me. God, I couldn't wait till I came home to hold you, make love with you first, and then tell you how glad I was you took that silly mission to ruin me."
"No." He brushed his mouth over hers. Rubbed his thumb over her lips. "I'll punish you still. By taking you on a long, long honeymoon where I can keep you in bed all day and just talk to you and love you and discuss how many more children I want. How many you can spoil. But then I think you should tell me if you want that. Do you want that, Kripa? No?" He said, before she could even open her mouth, grinning. "Well that's too bad in any case. I don't think I really wanted to give you a choice." He took her hand. "I enjoy your company, Kripa." He brushed his lips over her knuckles and linked their fingers together and rolled over her. "You make my heartbeat go faster." He trapped their joined hands between them. "I really don't see anyone or anything else when you're around me. Your voice is like music to my ears and-"
"I love you, Angad." She threw her free arm around him and then the other when he left her hand.
"Good." He said pressing his face against her neck. "Good. Knowing that saves me a lot of money with a divorce lawyer."
She laughed between a few happy tears. "When are we going to go on that honeymoon of ours?"
"When ever you want. You tell me how many children do I have to spoil over the years?"
"You pick a number and make it happen. You can spoil as many as you want."
"Good." He brought his lips to hers. "For now I'm going to make love with you again, kiss you until the sun comes up. And, then I'm going drag into the shower with me. Then, we'll have breakfast. We'll go tell Ethan that he's a jerk and can go to hell."
"Tell me, Angad, before all of that, that you love me?"
He looked into her eyes and smiled. "I love you. I loved you when you first came in front of me." He pushed her hair away from her shoulders so he could kiss it. "And, I love you now, more than ever."
"Hmmm." She purred when he kissed her neck. "I think showing me is better than telling me."
"Good. Because I'll show you that I love you even after our, 'after forever' contract is over. Fine with you?"
"More than fine with me." She told him and laughed when he traced his tongue over her ear. "Perfectly fine." She said and wrapped herself around him, body and soul.
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