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Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
Geet stepped out of the car as Mohan held open the door for her, looking every inch the wife of Delhi's richest billionaire. She waited in front of The Grand's magnificent front entrance for David's caregiver, Roma, Gopal's wife, to bring him out of the car as well. After informing the driver that she would call when she was ready to be picked up, the two women and baby made their way inside the hotel. Stopping at the front desk, Geet introduced herself and requested the room number of Pinky Manchanda. David was squirming in Roma's arms, so Geet took him while the desk clerk checked the computer records.
"Is there some sort of children's play area where my son's Nanny can take him while I visit with Ms. Manchanda?" Geet asked, jiggling the infant, much to his delight.
"Yes, Mrs. Khurana. I can have one of our staff show her the way. We have various toys and activities for children of all ages. Would you like to be escorted to the Manchandas' suite?"
"Thank you, no. I'm sure I can find my own way." Handing David back to Roma, Geet gave him a kiss before the mother and son parted ways.
Walking towards the elevator with confidence oozing from her every step, no one who saw Geet would have guessed that her stomach was a bundle of nerves. She really hoped that once everything was explained to her friend, Pinky would understand and forgive her for hiding the truth for so long. Pinky was her best friend, really her only friend since Meera's passing, so Geet didn't want to loose her. She had agonized over what was the best way to explain, but everything she could think of seemed woefully inadequate. Finally, she decided to present herself in her avatar of Mrs. Geet Maan Singh Khurana, complete with sindoor and mangalsutra. If Pinky didn't throw her out upon discovering her secret, Geet would then tell her the entire story from the beginning.
"Namaste, Auntyji," said Geet, reaching down to take Mrs. Manchanda's blessing.
"Namaste, Geet Beti. Tum kaise ho?" (Hello, Geet. How are you?)
"Main theek hoon, Auntyji. Pinky kahan hai?" (I'm fine, Aunty. Where is Pinky?)
Mrs. Manchanda called for her daughter to come and meet her friend. Pinky's mother must have been too concerned with wedding preparations to care about Geet's unexpected marital status, for she made no comment on the same. Her daughter was a different matter. No amount of excitement for her own wedding could blind her to her friend's altered style of dress, as well as the traditional wifely adornments that graced her person. When Pinky demanded to know when her friend had gotten married and why she wasn't informed, Geet requested that she be allowed to tell the entire story without interruption, and in private.
Pinky tried to comply, but when she heard Geet explain how Dev left her on the wedding day, she couldn't help but call the man some very bad names. She couldn't believe that someone would treat her friend in such a disgusting manner. She also wanted to know if the groom left, how did she end up getting married. Geet promised she would explain if only her friend would listen quietly. Pinky's promise to do so lasted only as long as it took for Geet to tell who is was she ended up marrying.
"You married Maan Singh Khurana! Maan Singh Khurana married you! You were married to him before we even met!" Pinky walked around the room in a daze, barely able to take the shock.
Turning to Geet with friendly anger, she claimed, "I asked you if you were related to him and you lied to me. I can't believe you lied to me."
"I didn't really lie to you, Pinky," Geet tried to pacify her friend. "I just never acknowledged the relationship. I wasn't comfortable letting anyone know about the marriage."
"But why? I can't understand why you would keep it a secret that you are married to one of the richest men in the world."
Geet made a face at that comment, but proceeded to answer Pinky's question. She didn't like to, but she had to explain the truth about how Maan had basically left her alone with his grandmothers, without trying to have any kind of interaction or relationship with her. She also explained how going to college had let her feel somewhat normal, and she hadn't wanted to bring her awkward marriage troubles with her. As a psychology major, she realized that she had been trying to cope with all the drastic changes that occurred at that time by pretending that her life was different when she was with her friend.
"So how are things between you two now?" asked Pinky, who had since calmed down and was busy munching on some chips. "I mean, you've been living in Delhi together for almost two years. Something must have happened in all this time."
When Geet just grimaced, not knowing what to say, Pinky got angry on behalf of her friend. She started cursing Maan for his terrible behavior. She wondered how such a horrible man could be such a respected business owner. She was appalled that her Adi considered him to be his best friend, when her own best friend was treated in such a way. She didn't want such a cheap guy coming to her wedding, and she had ever intention of warning Adi to keep him away.
"No, Pinky, you are misunderstanding him. This is not his fault, I mean..."
"Geet! How can you, of all people, defend such behavior? You've been telling me for over a year that you want to help counsel woman who face domestic abuse, yet you are putting up with the same treatment from your own husband? Unbelievable!"
Geet was shocked at the wrong impression Pinky had gotten about Maan from what she had told. She quickly broke into her friend's rant, explaining that Maan had not mistreated her in any way. Geet admitted that he had left her alone without any explanations, but also explained how she had finally discovered why, once she had come to Delhi. Within minutes she acquainted Pinky of what happened with Meera, and how she had come to learn of Maan's speech disorder. Geet tried not to go into too much detail, but she explained that Maan was actually a good person and that they had kind of become friends after everything that had happened.
"Please, Pinky, try to understand. Maan is really nice, actually, he just has a hard time opening up to people. He's had a lot of problems because of his disability, and so that is why he didn't really want to talk to me when we first got married. Please, don't say anything to him, and please don't say anything to Adi about him. I don't want him to have any trouble because of me. I don't want him to think that I didn't tell you about our marriage because I was ashamed of his speech disorder."
"Oh," said Pinky slowly, smirking at the way Geet defended her husband, "so that's how it is."
"How what is?" Geet repeated innocently.
"Leave it. Tell me, did you and Maan really adopt Meera's baby?"
Geet's face lit up at the question, and she enthusiastically replied, "Yes! He's such a cutie. I brought him with me, if you want to meet him. He's with his caretaker Roma, down in the hotel's children's area." Pinky agreed, and after telling her mother where the two young women were headed, she left with Geet.
Down in the children's play area, David was playing happily with some blocks, while Roma looked on protectively. When he saw his mother, the infant threw his blocks away, pushed himself up by leaning on Roma's legs, and tried to walk on his unsteady legs towards "Mama". Not having mastered the art of bipedal mobility, he promptly fell sideways, with a small thud. The look of shock on his face was utterly adorable to the three women, but his mother could tell that he was about three seconds away from crying due to his failure.
Moving to pick him up before he started his typical wails of frustration, Geet gave him a big hug and kiss, saying, "David, this is Pinky Massi. Won't you say hello?"
"David. That's kind of an unusual choice, isn't it?" asked Pinky, giving the little boy a smile and wave.
"Meera and I named him after her father," explained Geet with a chuckle due to David hiding his face in her neck at the strange woman's presence. "I wanted him to feel like he had a connection to both his families, especially when I knew that Meera might not get well. Also, David D'souza Khurana sounds quite nice, I think. It's unique, just like him."
Pinky couldn't help the grin that spread on her face hearing Geet's proud words. "How old is he?" she asked.
"He's thirteen months now, but he was born two months premature. He's been doing really great, though, and he's even walking with assistance. He just loves to hold on to Maan's and my hands and walk all around the house, like a little Raja inspecting his property."
"Really," responded Pinky, the look in her eyes saying that she found something interesting in what Geet had told her. "So you like walking around the house with your Mama and Papa, is that right, David?"
When David continued to act shy of Pinky, Geet assured her friend, "He's just at that stage where he's wary of strangers. I'm sure he will warm up to you soon."
Rather than be offended by the baby's behavior, Pinky sounded amused as she said, "So he's a little shy. Must take after his father in that way."
Geet did not find either the comment or the twinkle in Pinky's eye funny. She glared at the young woman until she apologized. Deciding that it might be a good idea not to make any more disparaging remarks about the elusive MSK, Pinky suggested that she and Geet should go shopping, bringing David with them, of course. She told Geet that she wanted some help picking choosing some remaining items for her wedding trousseau, as well as catch up on everything that they had yet to talk about. However, she also had another motive, which soon became apparent.
"We should get you some new outfits for the wedding, Geet," said Pinky after they entered their second store. "What's Maan's favorite color?"
"Favorite color. Your husband's. You must know what it is."
Geet looked at Pinky like she was speaking a foreign language, while she asked, "What does Maan's favorite color have to do with anything?"
Pinky rolled her eyes, and said, "Geet, even you can't be that innocent. I want to know his favorite color, so I can pick something sexy that you can impress him with for the wedding."
"S...sexy?" sputtered Geet, looking around nervously to see if anyone could hear them. Fortunately, no one was paying them attention, and Roma had taken David away for a diaper change, so Geet was spared the public humiliation.
However, she couldn't keep her cheeks from burning as she told her friend, "Pinky, don't say things like that. Maan and I don't have that kind of relationship."
"Oh, really? Then why does your face, especially your eyes, light up whenever you speak about him? Why do you get upset if anyone says anything against him? Why did you feel the need to explain away his negligent, though understandable, behavior towards you in the beginning of your marriage? Why are you blushing as I'm asking you these questions?"
"I'm not blushing," Geet denied, even as her cheeks turned red.
"Yes you are," confirmed Pinky. "You are blushing because you have fallen in love with your husband. This is why we have to find you something to wear that will attract his attention. That's what every married girl does, Geet, dress up for her husband. It's a natural thing."
Geet couldn't believe she was actually standing in a shop, hearing her friend say these things. "Pinky, please keep your voice down. This is so embarrassing!"
"What's to be embarrassed about? There is nothing wrong with a wife loving her husband, and husband loving his wife. I would think there is something wrong if you didn't love your husband after being with him for three years."
"I haven't 'been with him' for three years, as you put it," said Geet awkwardly. "Anyway, let's suppose that I do have...feelings for Maan, that doesn't mean that he feels anything for me, at least anything beyond friendship."
"Geet, what man could live so close to you everyday and not fall for you?" asked Pinky rhetorically, admiration for her friend clear in her tone. When Geet still looked unconvinced, Pinky rolled her eyes. "How could I forget that this is my innocent, studious Geet, who would never even talk about boys in college? Yes, yes, I know. It turns out that you were already married, but even married ladies will talk about men with less shyness than you. They even drool over Shahrukh Khan, unlike you."
"Pinky, you and your Shahrukh Khan fixation!" exclaimed Geet in exasperation.
"Leave my SRK alone, and don't change the subject. It is obvious that you are in need of some serious romantic counseling. After being in a relationship for over eight years, who better than your friend Pinky to help you out. Now, if you want to find out if Maan feels anything for you other than friendship, trust me. I have the perfect plan."
"'I have the perfect plan,'" Geet repeated a week later, looking at herself in the mirror with apprehension. "'Wear this saree, it will knock his socks off.' Nock his socks off, my foot! He's going to think I've gone crazy, that's what's going to happen."
Geet turned to the left and the right, trying to adjust the saree, but having no success. She couldn't believe that she had left her friend convince her to buy something so revealing as the item of clothing that she was currently wearing. Checking again to make sure that her pallu was pinned properly, she took hold of the end of it and wrapped it around her back in a vain attempt to cover herself up more. Hoping that she could keep from feeling too embarrassed and that Pinky really did know what she was doing, Geet gave herself one last look in the mirror before leaving to meet Maan downstairs.
"What d..do you think, David? What kind of girl is..s Adi marrying, who w..wants to have a...party, when there will al..ready be so many other marriage festivities? And sh..sh.she's your mother's best friend? Your mo..ther, who hardly ever attends any s..social function without Dadima doing heavy e..motional blackmail to get her to go? By the way, I never th..thought your Mama would turn out to..to be like other ladies, taking s..so much time to...to get ready for a party. Whatever, the longer sh..she takes, the less time we have to spend with...with people we don't know. Don't you think s..so, buddy?"
Geet forgot all about her self consciousness as she walked up behind Maan while he talked with their son. She couldn't help but smile at the way David babbled back to his father. The two of them looked so comfortable together, very different than that first day Maan had picked up a crying David from his crib. The scene was one she had seen many times since that day, but for some reason, she was having a hard time keeping her emotions in check. Her heart just wanted to melt seeing the father and son bonding together in such a simple manner.
"Mama! Mama, Baba ba da da da!" cried David when he noticed Geet's presence.
"Are you and Papa having fun talking?" Geet asked her little man, moving close to give him a kiss on the cheek.
David babbled back, while Geet looked at a staring Maan and said, "I'm ready. Shall we go?"
Maan swallowed hard, his eyes riveted by the sight of Geet in the revealing saree, his throat suddenly unable to produce sound. Finally he croaked out, "O...kay," and then guled again when Geet turned to leave and he saw how much of her back was exposed by the saree's blouse.
Maan was sure that saree would be the death of him, and he did his best to avoid looking at his gorgeous wife during he party. This was accomplished by talking with Adi as much as possible, as well as keeping David securely held in his arms. Maan wasn't sure why Geet had wanted to bring David along, instead of leaving him at home, but he wasn't going to give any kind of argument. Holding the chubby baby in his arms and listening to his babble helped distract him from the crush of strangers. It did little to distract him from the only woman wearing white, even though he tried not to keep glancing at her ever few minutes.
"My plan seems to be working," Pinky whispered in Geet's ear as she passed her a glass of fruit juice. "Maan hasn't been able to keep his eyes off you from the moment you arrived. And I'm impressed with how good he is with little David. I approve."
"Pinky, you're so ridiculous. Of course he's good with David. He spends time with him every day when he doesn't have to go out of town. And I don't see that Maan looking at me means anything. He looks at me all the time at home too."
Pinky just shook her head at her friend, and then thought for a bit. "Alright then, I have another idea."
Before Geet could ask Pinky what she meant, the young woman was calling for everyone's attention. Telling the crowd that she felt like playing a game, and as she was the bride and her wishes were paramount, she wanted to play "pass the pillow". Gathering up several of the willing guests, and dragging Geet with her, Pinky started the game, with Adi in charge of the music while the rest of the guests watched. Various friends of the bride and groom where asked to sing, recite poems, tell jokes, and much more. When Pinky's turn came, Geet suggested that she should sing "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", which was a big hit with everyone. Maan was actually having a good time watching the game while holding a sleeping David, until the pillow landed in a particular pair of small, delicate hands.
"Geet," Pinky was saying as Geet walked slowly into the middle of the circle, "you have to dance for us...with your husband."
Laxmi's Lafz:Really just pics.
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