Joined: 09 April 2010
Mission 48: HouseFull
The chimes of a ringing bell went off at a quarter to seven awaking a groggy boy eight years of age. He rubbed his eyes with his hands and then threw his covers to the side as he slipped out of bed. He opened his bedroom door and stepped out into the hallway letting in the strong aroma of eggs and hash browns being cooked in the kitchen. Mama is making breakfast today he thought happily to himself. He knew this was a special treat as she rarely cooked a hot breakfast during the school week. He quickly made his way down the hallway to the next bedroom and opened the door in a dramatic fashion. "It's time to get up! Hurry, Mama is cooking breakfast!" he shouted. Two black haired and brown eyed heads rose from their beds and looked at each other. "Mama's cooking breakfast!" they both exclaimed and then hurriedly ran out of the room.
The door from the room right across the hallway popped opened and out toddled a sleepy girl of two accompanied by a Labrador Retriever. "Arun, Bhai-ya?" she called out.
He grinned at seeing her and offered her his hand. "Let's go Bhavika, Mama is cooking eggs and hash browns," he glanced downward and added, "Come on Waffles it's time for breakfast."
Waffles wagged his tail happily while Bhavika squealed out a "Yaay!"
The trio quickly made their way down the stairs and into the kitchen where they knew the rest of the family was. They saw their two brothers seated at the breakfast table receiving their cups of orange juice from their grandfather. "Good Morning Arun, Good Morning Bhavi," Kiran greeted with a warm smile.
"Good Morning Grandpa!" the two replied and took their seats.
Kiran filled their cups with orange juice and then returned the bottle into the fridge. He turned with a fatherly grin when he heard the presence of his son entering the kitchen. There was a chorus of good mornings that echoed before Prem reached the coffee machine. "Morning, coffee Dad?" he inquired as he opened the cabinet to take out a mug.
"Good Morning son. No thank you. I've got a cup already."
Prem nodded and poured himself a cup and took a sip. "Mmm...this is really good. Italian roast, Heer?"
"Yes," she replied as she shuffled crispy shredded potatoes into a serving dish. "Hash browns are done."
Prem smiled and walked forward to pick up the plate. He handed his coffee over to his wife who took a thankful sip. "All right, who wants hash browns?" Prem inquired as he turned towards the table. A chorus of I do's rang through the kitchen as his children voiced their preferences.
"Do we have ketchup Papa?" the youngest son inquired.
"I think we should still have some Ayaan."
"No, Arun Bhaiya used it all," replied the second eldest. "For the water ba---"
"Arhan, can you pass me the butter for the toast?" Arun loudly asked making sure to cut his brother's sentence off. He gave him a hard stare reminding him that this was not something to be shared with parents.
"There is another bottle here in the pantry," Heer answered as she carried it to the table. Prem motioned with his eyes that she should take a seat and he would handle the rest for her. Heer smiled and sat down next to her daughter.
Heer turned to see what she wanted and was surprised to see her little arm out stretched with a spoon in her hand. It was filled with some pieces of potato. "Bhavi?"
Heer smiled warmly and then felt her eyes suddenly brim with tears. "For me?"
Bhavika nodded her head jerkily up and down. "Mama..."
"Why thank you Bhavi," Heer replied. She steadied her daughter's hand as she bent down and placed the spoon into her mouth.
Heer grinned as she chewed. "Yes. Now, you eat."
Bhavi gently stuck her tongue out to the side as she concentrated on using her spooning skills to feed herself some food. She wanted to eat like everyone else in the family. She thought it was so much fun using this plastic curvy thing to shovel food into her mouth. She was getting better at it and was rarely dropping things now. She looked across the table and saw her brother Arhan frantically eating like he had never seen food before. His whole sitting area was a mess.
"Mama, I'm done. Is there any more? I'm still hungry," Arhan asked as he wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
"Arhan, how many times do I have to say this? Use a napkin."
"Sorry Mama," he replied and picked up the napkin at the side of his plate. He frowned when he saw all the ketchup stains on it. "It's dirty."
"Here," Kiran chuckled as he handled his grandson a fresh napkin.
"Thanks Grandpa." He roughly rubbed the soft tissue like fibers up and down his mouth and then haphazardly placed the napkin to the side. "Mama, I'm hungry."
"I think you missed a spot," Kiran chuckled as he picked the napkin back up and motioned for him to lean forward a bit. Kiran carefully wiped the corners of his grandson's mouth making sure to catch every inch of the red tomato condiment.
"Arhan honey, you just finished eating," Heer sighed. "I just don't know where you get your appetite from."
"He's a growing boy," Prem answered as he took a bite out of his buttered toast. "Arhan, you want some of Papa's toast?"
He shook his head and then hesitantly asked, "Potatoes?"
Prem smiled and was about to pick up the serving spoon to the plate of hash browns when Heer placed her hand on his arm to stop him. "No. Let his stomach settle for a few minutes. He ate his breakfast so fast his stomach hasn't had time to register how full he is."
"But what if he's hungry later?"
Heer gently wiped the side of her husband's mouth brushing the crumbs of toast away and simply replied, "Then he can have some fruit. But no more potatoes." Arhan lowered his eyes and formed a sad expression on his face. His mother had said the final word and that was it. He would have to wait. Prem set his plate down and gave an apologetic look to his son.
"Arhan eats like his father. That's where his appetite comes from," Kiran laughed. "He's got a little tummy now. His Nani has been keeping an eye on what he eats...rationing..."
"There's nothing wrong with a little tummy. He's a healthy boy," Prem defended.
"I don't mind giving him fruits and nuts for snacks," Heer replied. "It's the junk food I'm worried about. He needs to eat that in moderation," slowly eyeing her husband, "Someone needs to remember that." Prem gave a sheepish grin and returned his attention to his breakfast.
"Anyone want some more coffee?" Kiran inquired as he rose from his seat.
"Dad let me get that for you," Heer said extending her hand out.
Waving his hand at his daughter, "Sit down. I can manage myself. You cooked breakfast this morning. Just relax."
"I'm good Dad," Prem said answering his father's question.
As Kiran walked towards the counter he paused at the doorway between the kitchen and the living room and smiled. "Good Morning Teji."
"Good Morning," she replied and entered the kitchen where she was warmly greeted by the rest of the family.
"Mom, here...sit," Prem said as picked his plate up and offered his mother-in-law a place to sit. "Juice or coffee? I can make you some eggs...we still have some hash browns."
"Thank you Prem."
"Mama you're early," Heer said.
"I thought I take Ayaan and Bhavi to the park today. There is a market or festival that is going on there. It starts around 9:00am so I thought I come early today."
"I want to go to the market too Nani," Arun whined. "Why do I have to go to school?"
Teji laughed at her grandson, "Arun, you learn lots of things at school. And get to be involved in many act ivies. And you get to play with your friends. The park is but small thing. Ayaan and Bhavi wish they could go to school and do the things you and Arhan get to do." Arun gave a half nod in understanding what his grandmother was trying to tell him.
"Speaking of school you boys need to get ready," Kiran said checking his watch. "You two are still in your pajamas."
"May I be excused from the table?" Arun asked.
"Me too?" Arhan also inquired. He then looked at his mother and added, "I'm still hungry Mama."
"Yes you may be excused. Go brush your teeth and wash your faces and get dressed. Arhan, when you come back down Mama will give you an apple."
"Okay," Arhan replied with a happy face and then scurried away with his older brother.
"I'll go and make sure they wear what you laid out for them," Kiran said with a chuckle. "I still remember when Arun came down wearing his yellow swim trunks and a green tank top."
"Don't remind me," Heer sighed shaking her head. "It was winter but he wanted to wear his summer clothes and go swimming."
"He thought most pools were heated and indoors like the one at that hotel we stayed at when went to your cousin's wedding in Canada," Prem said.
"Mama, will you help Bhavi with the rest of her breakfast? I'm going to go slice up an apple for Arhan."
Teji nodded her head and sat down in Prem's vacated chair and scooted closer to her granddaughter. "Bhaa-vi how are we today?"
"Good Na-ni," Bhavaki replied with a smile. She picked up a piece of egg with her hand and put it into her mouth with a satisfied grin.
"Nani, can I have more juice?" Ayaan asked. His round brown eyes pleaded warmly as he looked at his grandmother. Teji nodded thinking how incredibly cute her grandson looked. His eyes were very expressive much like his father's eyes.
"Of course you can." Teji turned to her granddaughter to make sure she was all right before she got up and refilled Ayaan's juice cup.
Ayaan gently swung his legs while he waited patiently for his cup to get filled. "Thank you Nani," he replied as she placed the plastic cup in front of him.
"You're very welcome Ayaan."
He took a sip from his cup and then licked his lips trying to catch all the tangy yet sweet flavor of the orange juice into his mouth. "Mama?"
"Yes Ayaan?" Heer answered as she finished placing the sliced apples into a plastic Ziploc bag for Arhan.
"Can we go bike riding again?"
"That's a great idea," Heer replied and then glanced over at her husband wondering what his thoughts were on their son's idea.
"This weekend Champ," Prem agreed.
"Yaay!" Ayaan exclaimed.
"What are we doing?" Arun asked as he entered the kitchen. "Are we going bike riding again?
"Yes! Awesome!" Arhan squealed hopping up and down.
"Yes, now you boys need to go to school. If you don't leave now you will get stuck in morning traffic," Heer said.
"Okay, bye!" Arun said. He gave his mother a kiss on the check, "Love you Mama," and then gave a quick hug to his father, "Love you Papa," before he bolted out the garage door.
Arhan hugged his mother and buried his head in her stomach with a bright grin, "Bye Mama. I love you."
"I love you too," Heer replied with a chuckle as she brushed her fingers through his hair. "Here," bending down and handing him his little Ziploc baggie, "Sliced apples."
"Thanks Mama! Bye Papa," Arhan waved as he started walking towards the garage.
"Where's my hug and my I love you?" Prem inquired.
"You didn't give him an apple," Kiran teased. Arhan didn't respond to their comments as his attention was diverted elsewhere. He was busy picking a sliced apple out of the bag to eat.
"Have a safe drive Dad," Heer said with a tiny grin.
"Bye." Kiran waved and closed the garage door.
"Can you believe that he loves food more than his own father," Prem muttered to himself.
"Papa don't get upset I love you!" Ayaan replied as he ran to him. He crashed into his legs and hugged them tightly.
"I love Papa!" Bhavika said joining in her brother's cheer.
Heer chortled at her children's antics and said, "Well, three out of four isn't bad." Prem gave a slight frown at the teasing remark and the soft laughter coming from his mother-in-law.
"Papa are you still mad?" Ayaan inquired.
"No-no, I love you too," Prem replied patting his son's head.
Prem walked down the long corridor of the office complex. He was carrying a red lunch bag with him. The rubber sole of his shoes thud carefully along the floor as he made a left turn around a corner. He curiously opened his lunch bag and found an apple sitting on top of a plastic container making him chuckle in amusement. He took it out and rubbed it against the left shoulder of his shirt before he took a hungry bite into it. His steps eventually paused at a classroom door on the right side of the hallway with the numbers 307 marked on the black placard. He grinned and gently knocked even though he could see from the window that there was no one in the room except for his wife. She was busy clearing the marker board. Prem opened the door and greeted, "Excuse me is this Art History? I'm looking for Professor Heer Juneja."
Heer turned around and smiled, "I'm sorry. Who are you? This isn't Art History and if you're looking for a professor then you are looking in the wrong place. This is not a school."
"So this classroom?" Prem inquired as he took another bite of his apple.
"It's a cultural class. At the moment we're focusing on French," Heer replied. "Some of our young agents needed to brush up on their basics."
"I'm going to have to escort you off the premises. You should not be wandering around a federal facility.
"Escort?" Prem smirked. "I'd love to get escorted out by someone like you." Heer snatched the apple from his hands and gave him a look. "Tu as de tres beaux yeux. [You have beautiful eyes.]," Prem said as he took her hand into his and placed a gentlemen's kiss on her hand.
"Where did you learn to speak French?"
"I had a very good teacher," Prem replied with a wink as he continued to hold her hand. He delicately caressed her knuckles with his thumb. "Soin de dejeuner avec moi? [Care to have lunch with me?]"
Heer pulled her hand away and lifted her hand up displaying her wedding ring, "Je suis marie. [I'm married.]"
"Il est tout simplement dejeuner, je ne pense pas que votre mari sera l'esprit. [It is just lunch; I don't think your husband will mind.]"
"Vous ne savez pas mon mari. [You do not know my husband]," Heer replied.
"Possessive?" Prem asked arching his eyebrows.
"If he knew about this he would shoot you. He has excellent aim."
"Possessiveness can become dangerous," Prem replied as he stepped closer to her; their faces now centimeters apart. He could feel her warm breath blowing against him as he continued to stare into her eyes. Prem took her left hand and placed it over his heart, "Let me show you what real love is."
Heer blinked slowly and said, "I know what real love is."
"So you think," he murmured as he leaned inward attempting to close the distance between them. Prem's eyes popped back open with surprise. He was expecting to be kissing his wife but instead his lips where planted on the apple he had been eating. His eyes frowned when he heard his wife's laughter.
"Didn't think I would do that now did you?" Heer chortled.
Prem took the apple back and replied, "You're mean. And you had to pack me an apple?"
"We bought them so we need to eat them," Heer answered feigning innocence over what had happened earlier during breakfast.
"So where do you want to eat lunch?" Prem inquired. "Here or outside?"
"Let's have lunch here. It's a bit hot outside."
Prem grinned at her response. "What I was thinking too." His eyes flexed in wonder when he heard his wife's laughter. "Why are you laughing?"
"I had a feeling you would after your antics just a few minutes ago," Heer replied patting his cheek. Prem continued to look at her with confusion and remained silent. "Outside you can't shamelessly flirt with me but inside here in my office you can." The corner of Prem's lips slightly curled upwards in guilt. Heer grinned and then walked into her office. Prem followed behind and closed the door making sure to lock it. Heer turned around and sighed shaking her head.
"What? It's lunch time. It's your break you shouldn't be disturbed, Pumpkin," Prem explained. He walked over to the far wall and sat himself down on a cot. He slipped his shoes off and lay down with a great sigh. "I'm so glad we set this cot up in your office. This is great for taking lunch naps or any naps when you can."
"You're sleeping today?" Heer asked as she started to take their food out of the lunch bags.
"What's for lunch?"
"Daal and rice. I packed you an apple and for myself an orange," Heer replied. "And for dessert homemade chocolate chip cookies."
"Sounds great," Prem mumbled as his eyes blinked sleepily.
Heer placed one of the plastic microwavable containers in the small microwave she had and started to heat up the lunch for them. She opened her mini fridge below the microwave and pulled out two bottles of water. She glanced over at the cot and saw to her dismay her husband softly sleeping. "Prem. Prem?" She paused a few seconds to see if he would wake up when he didn't she walked towards the cot and gently shook his arm, "Prem, wake up."
"Hmmm?" Heer frowned and sat on his thighs. Prem immediately woke and grimaced. "Pumpkin!"
"It's time for lunch," Heer simply replied.
"Let's take a nap instead," Prem suggested as he wrapped his hands around her waist. "I don't have anything until two o'clock...so I have a two hour lunch break. Do you have anything scheduled?"
"No, all my instructions this week have been in the mornings. But, I have some translations that need to be researched. It's for the State Department...they want me to look into some Sanskrit writings. I'll be working with Professor Raghav Chopda who happens to be one of Papa's old friends."
"So you're free too," Prem said happily as he pulled her down.
"Prem." He opened his eyes and smiled naughtily. "Not sleepy? What else do you have in mind?"
Heer pushed his face to the side and replied, "Not now. I'm hungry."
"Okay, then you eat now and I'll take a nap and eat later," Prem said.
"I want you to eat with me. Yesterday you went out with the guys and the day before that I had a conference. This is our time together. When we go home it's the kids and Dad and my parents..."
"Regretting your decision on having such a huge family?" Prem joked.
"No. I love my children," Heer defended. "But we don't get too much time to ourselves."
"That's true," Prem sighed in agreement. "Last time we went out on a dinner date we had to come back early because Bhavi got really sick and had that high fever. Our parents had to take her to the emergency room."
"I know. Thank goodness everything turned out okay. It was an ear infection and the antibiotics the doctor prescribed took care of that," Heer said. "Because we don't get much time to ourselves...that's why I enjoy our lunches together."
"Okay." Prem sat up and placed his arm around her shoulder. "We'll have lunch."
"You want to try for a date this Saturday night?"
Prem's eyes crinkled into a smile, "Yeah, I'd like that. You and me on a dinner date. We'll ask Dad if he can watch the kids."
"Mama can probably help too. She loves spending time with the kids," Heer replied. "This will be great. Where should we go?"
"How about Italian? Maggiano's?"
"Oh, we haven't eaten there in ages. That would be great. You want to dress up? Or maybe keep it casual? Or something in between...yeah, I think in between will be nice. Get a little dress up but not too much...you could wear a shirt, jeans, and a blazer. I'll wear that orange dress. Yes, I think that will work."
Prem grinned at how excited his wife had gotten over their dinner date. He was looking forward to it just as much as she was. It would be a nice break and a great way for them to reconnect as a couple.
Arun sat at the side of the sand box with a stick in his hand drawing a line on the soft ground. He looked up and glanced out towards the blacktop and sighed. "So how much longer do you think we have to wait?" Arun turned and looked at his red haired companion. "Don't know. Mrs. Roberts told Jimmy he would have to sit out for five minutes." His head lowered and he continued to run the stick up and down the same line deepening the groove.
"This stinks. I can't believe she believed Brian and thought Jimmy snatched the ball away from him. Brian is the one that took the ball away. He's always doing things to us and getting away with it. Teacher's Pet"
"Nothing we can do about," Arun replied.
"Yet. We'll have to wait for Jimmy to come back," Arun explained.
The two boys sat there for a few more minutes feeling extremely bored. Their faces soon grew bright when they saw their friend walking back towards them. "I swear that was so unfair. That Brain...everyone just listens to him...don't they know what a jerk he is?" Jimmy fumed and ruffled the top of his moppy brown hair.
"He's really good at hiding these things," Arun replied.
"So, what's the plan?" Jimmy inquired.
"Yes Ryan...what's the plan?" Jimmy repeated. "You guys have a plan right?"
"Of course we have a plan. We were just waiting for you," Arun smiled.
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|new ff dil ka rishta chpt 2||lub.harshiti||6||411||08 March 2010 at 12:55am