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The Prince's Desire
Udayveer sipped calmly on his cocktail, pityingly surveying the drunk, wasted teenagers wandering around him. Udayveer often wondered why people didn't realize it wasn't the choice in alcohol that made you cool, it was the way you drank it. He'd often spotted beggars on the roadside, useless and poverty-stricken as they were, guzzling down a bottle of beer as if it was their royal right to have it. Udayveer used this very excuse to justify his arrogance: if people on the street like those drunkards, or that chawl-girl Monia, could be so proud of their origins, as a Rajkumar, didn't he deserve to behave like he truly owned the world?
Uday knew his history. Princes no longer commanded India anymore. But their pride, elegance, status-and wealth-oh yes, those notes with Gandhi's faces plastered on them that had replaced the era of golden coins-still remained, having bore the brunt of time for thousands of years.
Udayveer, the conniver that he was, knew everyone's darkest ambitions in full detail. For example, as he noticed that brat Jai Nandini, lustily swaying to Darling aankhon se aankhen chaar karne do and batting her eyelashes at him, he knew very well that she was not seducing him, but marking him as part of her territory. Jai Nandini was perfect in all respects for someone like Udayveer-a spoilt princess who wore the latest fashions and knew her slang from her 'Ji DS' and yet at the end of the day, she was that typical, frustrating, possessive girlfriend. If there was anything that Uday had made clear about himself to the world, it was that he was his own master, and no one could dare hope to own him or control him. Running in his veins was not only the blood of a royal dynasty, but that special line of kings who had played puppeteers to both India's rise as well as her downfall, all for their own benefit.
Uday set down his glass on a nearby table and joined Jai Nandini on the dance floor. Let me humor the poor child for tonight at least, he thought. He smiled at her, that coy smile that often gave his poor female companions the opinion that he was completely lost in their charms. Jai Nandini felt for the bait hook line and sinker. She wrapped her arms around Uday and drew him close, making sure that his hands were securely wrapped around her size zero waist.
Uday closed his eyes, burrowing his neck in Jai's neck, fully aware of Vijay narrowing his eyes at them. That will teach that fellow not to tell too many tales about me. 'Jai...you're just so irresistible,' he whispered huskily. Jai smiled and drunkenly threw her arms around his neck. Uday rolled his eyes. The girl really doesn't know the P of princess.
As he moved his lips over Jai's cocoa-butter slathered skin, he couldn't help but think of the feel of Maanyata's rough, leathern hands in his when he had dragged her out of that godforsaken chawl. He'd thought he knew how to deal with lower middle class mentality-either show them big bucks, or even bigger romantic fantasies. Neither had worked with her. The palace repelled her instead of making her gasp in awe. And that night in the disco, when he had run his hands over that childhood mark, the girl's bloodstream had boiled not because she wanted to jump his bones, but because she most probably wanted to murder him.
She's just like me, he mused, She doesn't want to be marked. And yet, with that Pawan or Akash, whoever he was, she had been as sweet as honey, refusing to be parted from him. That was the one thing that prevented Uday from completely claiming Maanyata he is. Just one smirk, or a kiss, and she would be undertaken by the thrill of being near him, and yet her loyalty to her chawl friends would always prevent her from accepting what was her birthright and the fantasy of other girls trapped in her position.
As the raunchy hip-hop song changed to a soft waltz, Uday tried to separate himself from Jai. However, like most of the other club-goers, she was in a state of semi-consciousness. Only God can sneak her inside the palace tonight, he thought with a sigh. Then he smiled. Well, who needed God? It was time he put some of his tricks to use on the younger sister. The elder one would follow later.
As Uday tightly clung on to Jai, it was not the younger sister he was thinking about though. He had a sudden, comic vision of Maanyata dressed in a stately, flowing ball gown, lovingly placing her head on his chest as he whispered sweet nothings into her ear. That tame, lovely princess Maanyata, with two cockroaches perched atop her tiara and wearing rags underneath her designer heaven. Perfect blend of Jungli Billi and Jai's slightly more sensible elder sister.
You're not just my fiancee anymore. You're my ambition Maanyata. I will not change you. You will change yourself for me. Together we'll create fireworks. Haan Nai To...
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