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Joined: 22 May 2006
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its a nice preview
i just hope u will update soon
u write fabulous ffz
actually i have read so many ffz of u people but i dnt know the writers names but can u tell me da names of ffz u wrote so dat i can read dem if i missd any 1 of dem
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Joined: 28 July 2006
Here is the next chapter. Hopefully it is good. If not, I apologize.
11:15 AM, Sunday
Miami International Airport
Miami, FL, United States
He had made a mistake, he concludes, by coming here. It was a futile attempt on his part which he should not have enacted upon in the first place. He didn't know why he expected her to help him. Taking her great love for Mausi into consideration, he assumed she'd concede to his request. Well, it turns out he thought wrong. He shouldn't have assumed anything. Coming here and seeing his ex-wife himself after four years, he has seen that she has certainly changed quite a lot from what she once was. Gone was the mousy little girl who barely had the courage to meet him in the eye replaced by a determined, independent woman who stood her ground. To say he was surprised was an understatement. Not only had she changed personality wise but her appearance did not stay the same the least. He wouldn't have recognized her if not for the pictures Vivek had sent him beforehand. She is a different person altogether.
Last he remembers, Bani had been a lanky, petite girl who seemed to be awkward in her own body. She wore her hair short, meeting just the tips of her shoulders, and dressed only in simple salwaar kameezs. By appearance one could tell she was a bore. Not that there wasn't more to her than that—in fact, everyone raved on about her, paying her compliments and remarking how lovely of a girl she was. Even he believed she was a genuinely kind girl that he took a liking to as a friend. That is up until she joined their fathers' conspiracy and entrapped him in their scheme. Any pleasant feelings he treasured for her were gone in a flash—long forgotten. And she became one of the deceivers who turned his life upside down.
Yesterday he saw someone else. She was not the Bani Dixit he knew. These past four years have altered her greatly to such an extreme he did not think possible. Her once skinny, taut frame now showed indications of feminine curves on her developed, slender body. She gained weight, but all in the right places. Her features have become more defined and mature---proving the fact that she is indeed an attractive young female. Her once tomboyish cut hair now nearly reaches her waist and sleeks with a shine that had not been there before. And to finish it all off, he had noted an air of confidence in her body language, as if nothing could take her down, as if nothing could intimidate her in anyway. And she had shown him just that, hadn't she? When she did not concede defeat to his aggressive behavior… instead she had chosen to display equal aggression back, which is unlikely for her, or at least for the girl she had been back then.
He releases a dreary sigh and rubs at his forehead. He doesn't understand what he should do now. If he could, he'd drag Bani along with him, blackmail her in anyway. But that would only add up to all the hostility left between them. Besides, it's clear that she will not allow herself to be forced into anything against her will. She's far too determined and prideful now. She has developed a backbone.
The ringing of his cellular phone draws his attention and he reaches for the device within his pocket.
"Hello?" he curtly answers--frustration and irritation evident in his voice.
"Hello, Jai? Any news as of yet? Did you see her? Did you tell her? Is she willing to agree? Is she coming with you?" his best friend cum brother-in-law barks right away, not caring to exchange any pleasantries first.
"She refused, Aditya. She said point blank that she did not want to come back and deal with us all, particularly me. Even if it is Mausi's health at stake….So there you have it, your precious Bani isn't as generous and kind like you praise her to be," he bites sourly.
"What? … Are you sure? This doesn't sound like Bani…. I'm sure you did something to her or else she'd never refuse…. Mausi means a lot to her," Aditya counteracts, defending the girl he loves just like a sister.
"Why do you automatically assume I did something? I'm not the foul beast you like to think that I am… nor is that chit of a woman as mahan as you think she is… If she was, then she'd be here by now… She's made her decision perfectly clear…. There's less than five minutes left to board the flight and she---…"
"… and she what, Jai?" Aditya repeats, wanting him to finish his unfinished sentence. Jai's steely gaze fixates onto the entranceway of the gate, neglecting to hear his friend who tries to attain his lost attention.
"I'll see you once I get home, Aditya," he gruffly dismisses him and cuts the call, placing his cell phone back into his pocket. He rises from his seat and a set grim settles onto his face, his lips forming into a thin line.
He watches as her figure emerges into sight, gripping his rapt attention right away. She rolls a suitcase in one hand and balances a handbag on the arm of her other. She slides her dark shades onto the top of her head, pushing back the silky tresses that flailed against her face. Her honey brown eyes meet his from across the distance in a fierce lock. She's dressed casually in a pair of dark skinny jeans with a fitting cotton white shirt underneath her black sweater. She wears silver flats that clack against the marble floor of the airport until they come to a slow once she reaches him, halting a foot away.
He raises a brow at her that she ignores, not appreciating any snide remark she figures he is about to say. Before he can utter whatever he wished to speak, she beats him to it.
"I hope I'm not late… I got stuck in traffic," she offers the reason briskly, not caring to explain herself but saying so to fill up the awkward silence that constantly makes itself present amongst them since their encounter the night before.
"They'll be calling first class any moment now….," he informs with as much civility he has, biting back the remark he intended on stating. He didn't care for what miracle changed her made up mind, he is thankful that it had been done. It seems that a stubborn woman as herself can be persuaded after all….
"First class passengers flying on United Airlines from Miami to Vienna, please board onto the flight. I repeat, first class passengers, prepare to board."
"That's us?" Bani questions him cautiously, eying the already forming line at the front desk.
"You didn't think that I'd actually fly coach, did you?" he chides, as if expecting her to know this. Bani rolls her eyes at him, detesting the arrogance he chooses to display whenever given the chance. He has gotten more pompous and pigheaded than ever before. She follows his lead toward the line and watches mutely as he hands over his ticket to be inspected once it is his turn. Just as he adjusts the strap to his duffel bag hanging on his shoulder, preparing to head in the direction of the plane, he casts a backward glance in her direction.
"By the way, I'm expecting you to fully reimburse the expenses of the flight… just so you know," he murmurs before stalking off. Bani stares at his fleeting back with disbelief and glares fumingly, hating him with an even deeper degree. The nerve of him…
The airport employee checking the tickets had to tap her in order to grab her attention….
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bani locates her seat number, passing through the aisle, and to her grave dismay finds Jai Walia situated comfortably on the aisle seat, which was to be hers. She frowns menacingly at this. He sits with his long legs stretched out and his seat pushed back in a relaxing position. He carries a sports magazine in his hands that he reads intently, neglecting everything else around him, particularly her. She clears her throat….
Jai Walia lowers the magazine and peers at her from the edges of it. "Yes?"
"You're sitting in my seat…," she points out bitingly, tapping her foot against the floor impatiently. She sees a wave of indifference wash over his face just before he returns his attention back onto the article he was previously reading.
"I didn't think it mattered…. window or aisle… it's in the same general place… And now that I am comfortably settled, I don't intend on switching seats…" he replies jadedly, not caring much for the issue she is ensuing. Bani inwardly fumes at his ungentlemanly behavior, but then again, did she really expect him to behave in such a way with her? She shuts her eyes, taking in a deep breath, and calms herself. So what if she can't have the aisle seat… She'll just be careful not to drink too much to avoid having to make a trip to the restroom… The least bodily contact she makes with Jai Walia, the better.
"Do you intend on sitting down anytime soon or do you plan on remaining on your feet throughout the flight? I'm not sure the flight attendants would be so pleased if you are…," he drawls lazily, flipping through a page. Ignoring his comment, she slips in between him and the seat in front of her, stepping over his lounged legs, and sitting down next the window, perched on the side---sitting as far from him as she can.
"Last time I remember, I don't bite….," he jibes, staring in her direction. This time it's her turn to raise a brow at him. "Are you certain of that?"
"You know, I'm quite enjoying this… Seems like whatever I have to say, you have a readily response in return… How have you changed, Bani…," he drawls purposely, his gray eyes turning a shade darker and remaining steadily onto her.
"I'm not here to amuse you…," she retorts icily.
"Precisely… then why is it that you are here?" he inquires, bringing the real situation at present to light. Bani finds herself stumped and unable to answer him right away. She turns her face, allowing her hair to curtain her profile, and mumbles, "That isn't any of your concern… all you need to know is that I'm going along with this charade… I believe that should be enough for you."
Jai nods his head in agreement after a thoughtful moment. "Fair enough…," he responds seconds before he redirects his gaze onto the magazine sprawled in his hands.
While Jai Walia seems comfortably at ease without a trickle of discomfort, Bani is the complete opposite. She cannot find it within herself to relax without remaining guarded by the presence of him. After what she has gone through with this man, she learns that she can never fully put her defenses down. It's an acquired trait she may never let go of….
"No one gets away with deceiving Jai Walia… not even you Bani Dixit… I'm going to teach you a valuable lesson you will never forget…"
Bani shivers from the mere memory and glances down at her arm, pulling up the sleeve to her sweater, to see goose bumps forming on her fair skin. She casts a discreet glance at Jai, whose main focus remains on the reading article in front of him. She can hardly believe the man she loathed and swore she'd never see again is sitting barely inches away from her. What has she done by coming here? She slumps her head against the headrest of her seat and tilts her face in the direction of the oval window beside her.
That night Jai stormed out of her apartment she could not sleep the entire night. His arrival, his news, and the words he said did not leave her mind in peace. She told herself over and over to not let him affect her in this way, not when she hasn't seen him for years, breaking off ties with him and his family for good. Over the years she taught herself to never look back but to instead look forward and to all the possibilities the future held for her. She'd create a better life for herself, one where she was in control and not in a vulnerable state where others could walk over her, dictate her life, and hurt her with ease. She would find no pain in her new life and that had come true. She was content with who she became and what she made for herself. She was doing just fine until the dark, gloomy past decided to knock upon her door, making a reappearance in her life.
And she remembered what she had forced herself to forget for so many years…. She remembered her childhood filled with endless love and pampering from the Walia family, especially from Uday and Mausi who treated her like their own. Bani looked to them as additional parents coupled with her own father and respected them just the same. Though she loved her father and Uday uncle with all her heart, it was Mausi whom she felt the closest. To her she shared all her secrets, her desires, her woes, her fears and could count on her to always help her up whenever she fell down. It was Mausi after all who would cradle her to sleep, tend to all her wounds, cried when she cried, and smiled when she did. She stuck with her through thick and thin without having to, but she did. She was the mother she never asked for, but was given nonetheless.
And Bani felt ashamed….ashamed that she could disregard her so quickly as if she wasn't worthy of her time. Ashamed that she shunned her as well with all the other people she turned her back on. Ashamed that she has gotten so cold and indifferent that she'd refuse to take care of the one woman who has been everything to her. Has she really grown so stonehearted these past few years? Had she really allowed Jai's actions to pent up so much resentment in her to turn her back on her own loved ones? She couldn't believe the fact, no matter how hard she tried. Basking in her own guilt and misery for deserting the one woman who means the world to her, Bani packed her bags and raced to the airport without a second thought. All she knew was that her Mausi needed her and that she needed her as well. And she didn't care if she had to put up with the likes of Jai Walia again; she just wants to meet her mother whom she has been aching to see….
"Champagne?" Bani is startled out of her daze on hearing a female voice intruding in on her thoughts. She turns to see a stewardess presenting a flute filled drink to Jai Walia, who smiles politely while accepting it graciously---setting aside the magazine in his hands.
"Champagne, miss?" Bani feigns a small smile whilst shaking her head in refusal. "No thank you, I'm fine."
"I suggest you have one… It's going to be one hell of a flight…," he says just as the woman walks away behind the curtains separating the first and economic classes…
"No thanks, I don't drink…," she murmurs degradingly, sending a swift judgmental glare in his way. "Suit yourself then," he mutters, swooshing down the drink smoothly and resuming to slip back into the tranquility that seems to surround him.
Bani shifts uncomfortably in her seat and wrings her hands, biting down on her bottom lip. Again she casts a look in his direction, watching him take sips from his drink, his Adam's apple moving along with each.
"….How long do the doctors say it'll take for Mausi to recover her memory?" she puts across, fishing for an idea of how long she'd be staying. She'd planned for only a few days stay with much pleading from her boss, who was reluctant with the ongoing project she has been entrusted with handling but finally agreed if she'd continue the job while being away. She couldn't possibly stay for any longer…nor did she want to.
Jai lowers his glass and meets her questioning gaze. "Possibly a few weeks…months… years…. It's not certain. Her memory may never even return…," he shrugs. Bani's eyes widen on hearing this. "Are you serious?"
"No, I just enjoy cracking jokes about my aunt's health….," he comments dryly with a roll of his eyes. She ignores this. "Well, you are planning on telling Mausi about us, right? I mean, how we're not married anymore… Aren't you?" A small spark flickers in his eyes briefly before he raises his flute to his lips, averting his gaze.
"Aren't you?" she repeats, staring at him intently and noting his body posture, especially his refusal to answer her. "Jai…," she demands, turning her body fully in his direction to stare at him squarely. He flashes an irritated look. "Look, I'm not planning on telling her anything anytime soon, okay?" he grudgingly replies.
"And what's your definition of 'soon'?" she questions cautiously, dreading the answer he'd give her. "Till she recovers her memory," he utters casually, as if it were very obvious.
"What?!" she squeaks, bringing attention to herself from the other fellow passengers surrounding them. The flight attendant that previously catered to them returns to their side with concern written on her face. She glances back and forth from Jai and Bani warily, taking notice to the tension presiding between them.
"Is everything alright?"
While Bani is too dumbfound to reply, Jai Walia steps in easily taking care of the situation.
"Yes, we're just fine. Thank you," he dismisses her immediately. The woman hesitantly walks away, throwing a backward glance in their way until shrugging her shoulders and letting the matter go.
"You can't be serious!" she persists, the disbelief now permanently etching itself onto her facial features. "You are joking, right? This you are definitely joking about…."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your pilot Jonathan Williams …. We're looking at about a twelve hour flight time today…. We've got clear skies and good visibility… The temperature in Vienna is near 77 degrees…. We are running right on schedule, so if you will seat yourselves in and please wear your seatbelts, we will be airborne shortly. Flight attendants please prepare for takeoff."
"You heard the pilot, buckle yourself in…," Jai repeats, taking a hold of his own seatbelt to buckle it across his lap. Her eyes nearly pop out its sockets as it settles into her what she had just done. She's just literally screwed herself. Horror spreads onto her face….
"Oh… my…. God…"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Di…. Di, please speak to me….. Please Didi, you haven't said a word since the past hour… Talk to me…. Just say anything…but please don't ignore me like this….," her sister pleads to her whilst rattling her to attain her diverted attention. Receiving no answer, she continues to hound a response from her, refusing to leave her alone for a second.
"Bani Di, please…," she persists, following after her sister's trailing figure wandering around the expanse of the pale yellow colored room. Rano Dixit halts briefly in her steps when she feels her older sister roughly snatch her arm from her hold, blatantly evading her. She stares into Bani's back that stands before her opened wardrobe that has been tackled viciously since the moment she stepped into the bedroom. Her own resolution to stay calm and in control breaks as she sees her sister's indifference towards her. Tears swim in her eyes as she becomes a silent spectator, watching Bani grab for her clothes, snatching them off the hangers and dumping them into the suitcase sprawled on her bed.
Rano had been heading off to bed when Bani had stormed into the house late into the night. Her and Nishikant's frantic questions were left unanswered as she wept uncontrollably, her eyes hazy red, and her body trembling. Their efforts to soothe her went to vain. She seemed to be possessed by something that gnawed at her from the inside. Without any indication, without any words, she headed straight to her room rummaging through her things and packing immediately. Rano followed after her sister quickly, terribly worried for her sister's current state, while Nishikant rushed to the telephone to ring Uday Walia, hoping to find some answers from his good friend.
Rano can hear her father's distant voice speaking still while no improvements have been made with her wild appearing sister, who proceeds on doing what she had come here for.
Rano sinks onto the bed, sitting besides the large suitcase, and stares into it with vacant seeming eyes. She traces the edges of it, her own fingers shaking by the mere thought of what possibly could have gone wrong with Bani and her now husband.
"Bani Di…. I don't know what's going on…. why suddenly you had to marry Jai Bhaiya….why Roshini went running off….why you are here instead there at Uday Uncle's….or what it is that you're planning on doing next…. But I want you to know that I am going to support you in whatever you decide, no matter what…," she voices softly, her gaze lifting back up at her….seeing her reach for more of her things…
"Because you are my sister…. And I am here for you because I love you…..," she states clearly, watching her every movements carefully…. She looks on as her sister stills in her place briefly to turn and look back at her…. Within the next moment, the clothes in her hands fall to the floor and she buries her face into her unsteady fingers ….heavy sobs escaping from her quivering lips…..
"Leave….I-I-I have to… l-leave…. Please, Rano…. He-He…tried to…..I-I….I have to go….. I have to go away from here… far-far…far away….. I can't ….stay here…. Please, help me…," she mutters in between each raking sob. Rano springs from up her seat and reaches toward her side immediately, enveloping her into her arms. Not knowing exactly what is going on, yet somehow having a slight idea, Rano nods her head understandingly, her own cheeks damp with tears.
"Wherever you want to go, Di… I promise you…You can leave from here….. I'll get you as far as you want to go….. as far away as you want to be… We won't stop you…."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
10:37 AM, Sunday
"Just think, in little less than a month we'll be graduating and going out into the real world…. How excitingly terrifying is that?!" her good friend questions her with an eager look spread on her face. She simply smiles in agreement, continuing to walk in the direction of the parking lot, headed toward her car.
"I can't believe our four years at Stanford went by in a flash… I'm starting to wonder where all that time went," she expresses herself, honestly giving some thought as to what she had done these past four years of her college experience.
"Studying, homework, exams, studying, studying, and more studying. You really were the over achiever, Rano," her friend chides, getting a playful punch in return.
"Yeah, well I'm hoping that it pays off real well….. Alright Sania, I've got to get a move on. I'm running late to the charity event I promised I'd help out in," Rano says rather hastily just as she approaches her car and opens the door.
"Fine, I'll let you go. Thanks for Breakfast by the way. Next time it's on me!" Sania replies with a wave of her hand, walking in the other direction to her own car.
"I'm counting on it!" Rano yells in response after her before settling inside her car and turning the engine on. She glances at the time, relieved to see that she's on time and will not have to speed to make it to the event. She is just about to back out of the parking space, looking into her rearview mirror, when she feels her phone vibrating. Distractedly she pulls it out of her jean pocket and quickly glances at the screen of her phone, seeing that she has a text from her sister. Without any delay, she opens and reads it….
Hey Ran, going to Mumbai, last minute plan. Mausi was in an accident. She's fine now. Just going to check up on her. Not planning to be there for too long, but for the next few days I won't be in touch. Don't want to be charged long-distance. Take care. I'll see you soon. Love, Di.
Rano leans back into her seat after reading each line and slumps her head onto the headrest. She releases a dreary sigh. "Oh, Bani Di…."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
6:38 AM, Monday
Starbucks Coffee [Vienna International]
"Yeah, can I just get a Latte?" Jai Walia orders, digging into his pocket for his wallet. Once boarding off the plane, he had located the nearest coffee place for a refill of caffeine in his system. If he was going to deal with this brooding woman with him, he'd need a dose immediately. Since the flight she has been remaining quiet to herself with her lips pursed together, refusing to glance in his way once.
"And an iced tea as well," he adds on a second thought. He hands over a few bills and tucks his wallet back into his denim jeans pocket.
He casts a look to where she is sitting; folded arms, her one leg crossed over the other, and her foot tapping midair. He notes how she is still tightlipped ever since the beginning of the flight. She refuses to stare in his direction, pretending as if he isn't here… or better yet, if she isn't here with him.
"What makes you think that I want tea?" she fiercely questions him as he seats himself across her at the small table situated right outside the place. She forgets momentarily about her refusal to speak to him anytime soon. He nearly slams the tall sweet lemon tea on her side of the table and takes a grip of his own drink, enjoying the smell wafting from the slit of the lid.
"Because you hate coffee, Bani," he explains slowly as if speaking to a toddler who he is trying to make understand.
"And who told you that?"
"No one had to. Now can you quit sulking and drink it already? I know it's your favorite drink so don't act like I've offended you by getting it….," he says sternly, irritated by her hostile behavior. She sends hateful daggers in his way.
"How much am I going to have to reimburse you for it?" she sardonically questions, referencing to his earlier remark about having to pay for the travel expenses.
"This? This is for free, from my own generosity. So drink up," he commands while taking his own first sip and relishing the strong taste of his coffee. Bani grudgingly looks toward her own drink and takes hold of it.
"Generous…and you," she scoffs whilst twirling her straw around. Jai Walia flashes an annoyed look. "I'm sorry if it's so hard for you to digest that I am a civil being."
"Ha! Civil!" she snorts. He glowers darkly at her, his fingers clenching around his cup.
"Look, frankly I'm real tired of the attitude and this consistent display of hostility you keep putting on…. I'm putting my best efforts into being civil with you which so far is proving to be the most difficult thing I have ever had to do…. But if you don't want the damn tea, then go take it back….don't bite my head for at least trying to be considerate….," he growls, sipping his own drink grudgingly.
"And why should you be so considerate?" she prods, now having opened her mouth unable to close it back again. She is slightly amazed with herself for being so hostile. She didn't know she had this side to her until now.
"We were on a twelve hour flight in which you refused to have anything to eat or drink simply because you refused to have any bodily contact with me… Now, isn't that a little childish?"
Bani's cheeks turn pink on his comment, both infuriated and embarrassed by it.
"Don't call me childish. I'm a grown woman," she fiercely states.
"Just drink the damn drink Bani and quit being such a stubborn ass," he expresses with finality leaving her momentarily speechless by the thick aggression in his dark tone and also for calling her an "ass." She sees how triumph flickers in his gray eyes and how he eases back into his chair, satisfied by the authority he just displayed….irking her greatly. Suddenly she stands up, pushing back her chair, and glares at him from her standing position. He watches her carefully.
"And where do you think you're going?"
She takes the tea in her hand and turns her back on him, neglecting to answer him. She walks some feet away, knowing that his eyes are watching her every move. A smile lights up on her face as she locates what she's looking for. Standing close to it, she glances over her shoulder at him and throws the drink into the trash bin making sure he watches. She walks back over to the table meeting his steely gaze."Before we get to Mumbai, I want to clarify a few things Jai Walia…."
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