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The clock struck 7:30. Khanak sighed as she stared at the clock. She would have to make a decision soon. She had to keep her side of the bargain. She pondered what would happen when she returned to Mumbai alone. They would all ask her about Shantanu and she would have no answer. The Khandlewals would consider her bad luck and her family would be upset to see her alone rather than with her in-laws and husband.
Khanak shook her head. She had to trust and maintain faith that things would turn out just fine.
Just as she was ready to give up her resolve she turned to meet the intense brown eyes of her husband. She stood there staring at him head to toe. It sank in that he was alive and she rushed towards him and embraced him with all her might.
He slowly wrapped his arms around her. They stood for a few minutes just holding on for dear life. He finally pulled back and asked," It is almost 9am now. Were you planning to break your promise?," he inquired.
She frowned as she glanced at the clock now reading 8:40 am.
"Last time I checked it was 7:30," she stammered.
"Is everything all right? I mean are you all right?," she asked.
" There was a close call last night but I am fine. I am going to freshen up then we shall plan for what is next," he admitted.
She watched him take off his blazer. He then grabbed a towel and entered the bathroom. She sank down and sat down on the bed. She was relieved not to be a widow or to be left wondering if he was alive and just waiting for her to find him.
Shantanu emerged some time later. She placed a coffee cup for him on the bedside table. He drank a sip before setting it down. He turned to look at her firmly.
"Next time I tell you to run I want to you to go. Luckily this time nothing happened," he muttered.
"I didn't do it on purpose. Besides you better be leaving the CID after this mission is over," she stated.
" Don't worry I will be. So did you talk to your friend Gopi when is the wedding?," h inquired.
"You do have quite sharp ears my darling. It's three weeks from now. Law school term starts in two months right?," she inquired.
"Wow you are quite on top of things ! Yes it does. Are you starting your term then too?," he asked.
" Yes I am. I have to keep busy while you are busy learning the ways of the court. Now my dear husband please oblige me and tell me what the plan is," she insisted.
He took a deep breath.
" For now we lay low. We can go to the market quickly if you want anything. Tonight we will bait them at the location that has been confirmed. Once I am able to take them out, we can enjoy the rest of our trip," he stated.
She looked at him astonished.
"You mean I get to go on an actual stakeout?," she exclaimed.
Shantanu was surprised at her excitement.
"Khanak it will be dangerous, do you understand that?," he asked.
" Of course I understand that. I am not stupid. Also I come from a family of cops!," she huffed.
He rolled his eyes.
" Can you even shoot?," he asked.
She smiled at him.
" Yeah you want me to show you a practice shot or two? Dad never wanted me to have a gun," she added.
Shantanu swallowed hard.
"Khanak let me get some sleep first. Then I can focus and see how well you can shoot," he stated.
"Theek hai. You rest up. Let me know when you are ready to eat and then shooting practice!," she said with glee.
Khanak fiddled around in the kitchen for a bit before she ended up coming back to check on Shantanu. She peeked in the room and smiled at her sleeping husband. This was the first time she had the chance to really gaze at him.
" I cannot believe he is mine," she said to herself in glee.
She felt like sleeping as he seemed so comfortable. She felt tuckered out herself. She crawled into bed beside him. She caressed his face before she finally snuggled in to a calm peaceful sleep.
A few hours later, Shantanu awakened and was surprised to see long silky hair on his shoulder. He turned to see Khanak laying beside him. He smiled as he moved towards her . He kissed on her the forehead before making a move to get up. However he felt her arms on his shoulders. He gently moved her arms back and got to a sitting position.
He covered her up with the blanket and decided to put on some coffee.
He was used to often eating and drinking alone. Now he had a life partner that would either be with him or be waiting at home for him. He smiled brightly as he made coffee for two instead of one.
The brewing fresh coffee scent awakened Khanak. She sighed and then started to get out of bed.
Shantanu emerged with the coffee. They exchanged smiles.
" Drink up my lovely wife. We have some target practice to get done!," he exclaimed.
She smiled as she took the coffee from him and started to drink.
Khanak made a few shots in the trees in the secluded area behind the cottage. Shantanu was amazed at how well she did despite not owing her own gun. After a few shots, Khanak locked the gun and secured it in safe place.
"So do you think I can own a gun?," she asked as they got ready to leave for the market and see a nearby church.
" I don't think you'll need one after next week," Shantanu replied.
" Don't tell me like the other men in my family you don't think women should have guns," she hissed.
"Khanak it's not because of that. I am hoping you never need to use one. Trust me Khanak I know you are quite capable but I don't want you to go through what I did when I first shot someone," he insisted.
Khanak remained in deep thought until later on when she made Shantanu her coolie. She kept adding things to the pile of things he was already holding. He was on his second trip to the car when he realized for tonight to go as planned he needed to tell Khanak to stop shopping now. They needed to go to the church and then head back. He was hoping that tonight the mission would end.
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