Joined: 21 October 2010
Joined: 21 October 2010
Joined: 21 October 2010
The voice cut through the fog, rousing her from the grip of the protective sleep her body insisted on. She wanted to tell the voice to go away, that she was happier asleep and oblivious to the pain, but it insisted she wake up.
"Sameera, Arnav is here."
There was something nagging at her brain, a niggling sensation that made her frown with confusion every time someone said her name. It was like a butterfly that would sit on her shoulder for a moment, then flitter away before she could catch it.
"Maybe I should come by later. She needs her rest." The man's deep voice pulled her closer to consciousness, her body responding to him against its will. Since she'd first heard it, he'd had that power over her.
"No, she's just napping. They want her up and moving around, engaged in conversations."
"What's the point? She doesn't know who any of us are."
"They said her memory could come back at any time." The woman's voice sounded a touch distraught at his blunt observation. "Talking to her is the best thing we can do to help. I know it's difficult, but we all have to try. Sameera beta, please wake up."
Her eyes fluttered open as she reached the surface of consciousness. It took a moment for everything to come into focus. First there were the overhead hospital lights, then the face of the older woman that hovered above her. Who was she again? She dug through the murky recesses of her brain for the answer. They told her she was her mother, Vanshika Shroff. It was discouraging when even the woman that gave her life barely registered in her brain.
Amnesia was a strange companion.
"Arnav is here, beta."
The worry slipped from her mind as Vanshika pressed the button to raise the head of the hospital bed. They said he was her fiancee. Looking at the handsome, well-dressed man beside her, she found that very hard to believe. His black hair was short but long enough on the top for him to run his fingers through it. His features were aristocratic and angular, except for the luscious lips she found herself watching while he talked. His eyes were light brown, but she didn't know exactly what shade because she avoided looking him in the eye for long. It was uncomfortable, and she wasn't sure why. Maybe it was the lack of emotion in them. Or the way he scrutinized her with his gaze.
She knew absolutely nothing at all, didn't even know what she didn't know, but she had managed in the past few weeks to realize that her fiance didn't seem to like her at all. He always lingered in the background, watching her with a furrowed brow. When he didn't appear suspicious or confused by the things she said or did, he seemed indifferent to her and her condition. The thought was enough to make her want to cry, but she didn't dare. The moment she got agitated, nurses would run in and give her something to numb everything including her heart.
Instead she focused on his clothes. She found she enjoyed looking at everyone's different outfits and how they put them together. He was in his usual suit. Today it was a dark, charcoal gray with a blue dress shirt and diamond- patterned tie. He ran a newspaper and could only visit during lunch break or right after work, unless he had meetings. And he had a lot of meetings.
That or he just didn't care to visit her and it was a convenient excuse.
"Hello, Arnav," she managed, although it didn't come out quite the way she wanted. The multiple surgeries they'd done on her face went we, but there was more healing still to go
"I'll leave you two alone," Vanshika said. "Would you like some coffee from the cafeteria, Arnav?"
"No, I'm fine, thank you."
Her mother slipped out the door, leaving them in the large private hospital room reserved for VIP patients. Apparently she was a VIP, because her family had made a large donation to the hospital several years back. At least that's what she was told.
"How are you feeling today, Sameera?"
Realizing she wasn't sure, she stopped to take a personal inventory. Her face still ached and her arm throbbed, but overall she didn't feel too bad. Not nearly in as much pain as when she'd first woken up. She'd come a long way in the past few weeks.
"Pretty good today, thank you. How are you?"
Arnav frowned slightly at her but quickly wiped the expression away. "I'm well. Busy, as usual."
"You look tired." And he did. She didn't know what he looked like normally, but she'd noticed that the dark smudges and lines around his eyes had deepened each time she saw him. "Are you sleeping well?"
He paused for a moment, and then shrugged. "I guess not. It's been a stressful month."
"You need some of this," she said, tugging on the tube that led to her IV. "You'll sleep like a baby for sixteen hours, whether you want to or not."
Arnav smiled and it pleased her. She wasn't sure if she'd seen him smile since she came to, but it was enough of a tease that now she wanted to hear him laugh. She wondered if he had a deep, throaty laugh. The suited man looking at her oozed a confidence and sexuality that even a sterile hospital couldn't dampen. Certainly his laugh would be as sexy as he was.
"I bet." He glanced down, looking slightly uncomfortable. She never knew what to say to him. She was constantly being visited by friends and family, all of whom she'd swear she'd never seen in her whole life, but none of those chats were as awkward as talking to Arnav. She's hoped it would get easier, but it just didn't. The nicer she was to him, the more resistant he seemed, almost like he didn't expect her to be civil.
"I have something for you."
She perked up in her bed, his sudden announcement unexpected. "Really?"
Her room had been flooded with gifts early on. It seemed like every flower and balloon in Manhattan had found its way to Sameera's hospital room. Since then, the occasional arrangement came in from family or even strangers who heard about her story on the news. Being one of three survivors on a plane crash was quite newsworthy.
Arnav reached into his pocket and pulled out a small velvety box. "The airline called earlier this week. They've been sifting through the wreckage, trying to identify what they can, and they found this. They traced the laser-etched serial number on the diamond back to me,"
He opened the box to reveal an enormous diamond ring. Part of her wanted to believe it was a well-made costume piece, but after what she'd seen of her family and their large, plentiful and authentic jewelry, she knew it was breathtakingly real.
Arnav frowned. Apparently that was the wrong response.
"It's your engagement ring."
She almost laughed, but then she noticed the serious look on his face. Owning a ring like that seemed preposterous. "Mine?" She watched as Arnav gently slipped the ring onto her left ring finger. It was a little snug, but with that arm broken and surgically pinned, her fingers were swollen. She looked down to admire the ring and was pleased to find there was a familiarity about it. "I do feel like I've seen this ring before," she said. The doctors had encouraged her to speak up anytime something resonated with her.
"That's good. It's one of a kind, so if it feels familiar, you've seen it before. I took it to be cleaned, had the setting checked to make sure nothing was loose, but I wanted to bring it back to you today. I'm not surprised you lost it in the accident. All that dieting for the wedding had made it too loose."
Now it was Sameera's turn to be surprised; as far as she could remember, she was a big foodie and dieting was not really her thing, but then again, is she really that acquainted to herself to answer that question?
"And now it's too small and I look like I'm the loser of a boxing match," she said with a pout that sent a dull pain across her cheek. It didn't hurt as much as her pride. She had no idea what her wedding dress looked like, but she was certain that if she'd thought she looked better in it thin, the swelling wouldn't help.
"Don't worry, there's still plenty of time. It's only October. May is a long way off, and you'll be fully recovered by then."
"May at the Plaza." She wasn't sure why, but she knew that much.
"It's slowly coming back," he said with a smile that didn't quite go to his eyes. Standing, he slipped the ring box back into his pocket. "I'm having dinner with NK tonight, so I'd better get going."
She remembered NK or rather NANDKISHORE from his visit the week before. He was Arnav's friend from school and quite the flirt. Even looking like she did, he told her she was beautiful and how he'd steal her away if she wasn't Arnav's fiance. It was crap, but she appreciated the effort. "You two have fun. I believe we're having some sour curry and rice tonight."
At that, Arnav chuckled. "I'll see you tomorrow." He reached out to pat her hand reassuringly.
The moment he touched her, she felt a familiar shiver run down her spine.
Every single overworked nerve ending in her body lit up with awareness. Her chest tightened; her hand involuntarily gripped his to maintain the connection it craved.
His touches, however brief and fleeting, were better than any morphine drip. Just the brush of his fingers against her skin made her feel alive and tingly in a way totally inappropriate for someone in her present condition. It had been that way since the first time he'd pressed a soft kiss against the back of her hand. She might not know him by sight, but her body certainly recognized her lover. The pleasurable current cut through everything- the pain, the medication, the confusion.
If only she reacted that way to a man who liked her. The thought was like a pin that popped the momentary bubble that protected her from everything else in her life that was going wrong.
Arnav looked at his hand, and then at her with a curiosity that made her wonder if he was feeling the same thing. She noticed then that his eyes were a light brown-grayish. They were soft and welcoming for a moment, an inner heat thawing his indifference, and then a beep from the phone at his hip distracted him and he pulled away. With every inch that grew between them, the ache of emptiness in her gut grew stronger,
"Good night, Sameera," he said, slipping through the door. With him gone, the suite once again became as cold and sterile as any other hospital room and she felt more alone than ever.
So here's part 2 for you people'
I can see that there are many views but none of you even press the like button, let alone, comment on the FF. If I don't have any feedbacks, how would I know if I should go on or just stop it right away!
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Joined: 21 October 2010
NK sat sipping his drink on the other side of the table. He's been quiet through the first two courses. Arnav always appreciated his friend's ability to enjoy silence and not force a conversation to fill space. He understood that Arnav had a lot on his mind, and letting him go through a glass of Scotch would make the discussion easier.
He'd asked NK to join him for dinner because he needed to talk to someone who would be honest. Most people just told him what he wanted to hear. NK was one of the few people he knew with less money than he had and who wasn't inclined to blow smoke up his ass. He was a notorious playboy and typically not the first person Arnav went to for romantic advice, but he knew NK wouldn't pull any punches when he asked for his opinion on what he should do about Sameera.
What a mess their relationship had become. To think that a few short weeks ago, he didn't believe it could get any worse. It was like daring God to strike him...
"So, how's Sameera faring?" NK finally asked once their entres arrived, forcing Arnav out of his own head.
"Better. She's healing up nicely but still doesn't remember anything."
"Including the fight?"
"Especially the fight." Arnav sighed.
Before Sameera had left for Chicago, Arnav had confronted her with evidence of an affair and broke off the engagement. She's insisted they could talk things through once she got back, but he wasn't interested. He was done with her. He's been on the phone with his real estate agent when the call came in that Sameera's plane had crashed. When she woke up with no memory, he wasn't sure what to do. Continuing with his plan to leave seemed cruel at that point. He needed to see through her recovery, but he would leave as planned when she was back on her feet.
At least that was the original idea. Since then... the situation had gotten confusing. This was why NK was here. He could help him sort things out before he made it worse.
"Have you told her yet? Or should I say again?"
"No, I haven't. I think once she's discharged, we'll talk. We're rarely alone at the hospital, and I don't want her parents getting involved."
"I take it she isn't back to being the frigid shrew we all know and love?"
Arnav shook his head. Part of him wished she was. Then he could walk away without a pang of guilt after her recovery. But she was an entirely different woman since the accident. He's had a hard time adjusting to the changes in her, always waiting for Sameera to start barking orders or criticize the hospital staff. But she never did. He made a point of visiting her everyday, but despite how hard he fought it, Arnav found he enjoyed the visits more and more. "It's like she's been abducted by aliens and replaced with a pod person."
"I have to admit she was quite pleasant when I came by the other day." NK sighed.
"Yeah, I know. Every time I visit her, I just sit back and watch in disbelief as she asks people how they are and thank everyone for visiting or bringing her things. She's sweet, thoughtful, funny... and absolutely nothing like the woman who left for Chicago."
NK leaned in, his brow furrowed. "You're smiling when you talk about her. Things really have changed. You like her," he accused.
"What is this, prep school again? Yes, she is a more pleasant person and I enjoy being around her in a way I never have before. But the doctors say her amnesia is probably temporary. In the blink of an eye, she could be back to normal. I refuse to get reinvested only to end up where I started,"
"Probably temporary can mean possibly permanent. Maybe she'll stay this way."
"Doesn't matter," Arnav said with a shake of his head. It was just like NK to encourage him to make a risky move. "She may not remember what she did, but I do. I can never trust her again, and that means we're through."
"Or this could be your second chance. If she really is a different person, treat her like one. Don't hold a past she doesn't even remember against her. You could miss out on something great."
His friend turned his attention back to his food, leaving Arnav alone with his thoughts. NK said the words he's been afraid to let himself even think. Being with Sameera was like meeting a woman for the first time. He found himself rushing from the office to visit her or thinking about how she was while he needed to concentrate on the front page for the AR Observer. And today... he'd felt an undeniable sizzle of awareness when they'd touched. He's never had that intense a reaction to her before. He didn't know if it was the fright of nearly losing her for good or her personality change, but there was a part of him that wanted to take NK's advice.
Of course, NK didn't keep a woman long enough for the relationship to sour. It might not seem like it now, but the old Sameera was still lurking inside her. That woman was miserable and unfaithful and stomped on his feelings with her expensive stiletto heels. Arnav had broken it off with her, and he had no doubt she'd be back before long. He wasn't going to lose his heart, freedom or any more years of his life to this relationship.
The doctors said she could probably go home soon. He was certain Vanshika and Raj would want her back at their estate, but Arnav was going to insist she return to their penthouse so he could care for her. Having her at home was the natural choice. It was closer to the doctor, and being around her own things would be good for her.
And if it jogged her memory and she went back to normal?
It would save him the trouble of breaking up with her a second time.
"Would you like to trade seats?"
The word floated in her brain, her dreams mixing reality and fantasy with a dash of pain medication to really confuse things.
"My name is Sameera Shroff."
The words made her frown even in her sleep. Sameera Shroff. She wished they would stop calling her that. But she also didn't know what she'd rather have people call her. If she wasn't Sameera Shroff, shouldn't she know who she really was?
And she did. The name was on the tip of her tongue. The boom of an engine bursting into flames dashed the name from her mind. Then there was only the horrible, sickening feeling of falling from the sky.
This one's not too long but i will be posting the next part soon!
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