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Chapter 45: The Awakening
[Not proofed yet]
She kept her eyes closed and tried to keep her breathing even as she tried to listen.
He inhaled and exhaled slowly, still under the shield of slumber.
Her eyelids flickered just once in hesitation before she opened them tentatively.
When she raised them to his face, she saw that his gaze was trained on hers.
She wasn't surprised that he had learned to fake sleep just as cleverly as she had…
What they had just passed through – and she assumed that he had passed through it along with her, but just had a view from the opposite side – seemed as far removed from sleep as anything she had ever known…
She held his gaze for several long moments, an awareness there that told her the answer to what she did not want to ask him. They would not discuss it… whatever it was that they had just seen and heard, they would not discuss it… right now, at least…
She sat up and tried to move out of the bed, but felt the tail of her half-sari catch and turned to see that his hand lay on top of it.
She pulled on it and he lifted his hand.
Just as the cloth slid out, he spoke.
She closed her eyes and sighed. If she had had any doubts about their shared dreams, he had just removed them.
"Kaveri." She answered.
When he gave no verbal response, she was forced to open her eyes and look at him.
He gave her a half-smile then, catching her by surprise.
"Gandharva?" she asked on impulse.
"Arnav." He answered, making her smile.
"You don't believe in reincarnation?" she asked him.
He took a moment to prop himself up on the pillows behind him before he answered.
"I have always thought that the phrase 'we weaved dreams together' were figurative, not to mention cheesy, but certainly not literal."
She scooted back against the footboard of the bed and waited for him to finish his thought.
"I don't know what I believe anymore, but I know that I am not him. Don't ask me how I know. I would have no explanation, just like I have none for half the things that happen to me in this house."
She leaned on folded arms that she held around raised knees as she thought of what he said.
"Do you?" he asked.
She gave that question thought too before she answered.
"Theoretically, yes, I guess. There is so much of the cosmos to take in all in one lifetime. But practically, I have never thought of it. There are some people you meet in your life that give you a senes of dj vu and then there are some people that just strike you as old souls. But it's all very abstract and never quite real…"
He said no more after she stopped and she knew that he was waiting for her to fully finish what she was saying.
"No, I am not her." She said finally. "She is too intense, too foreign, too…" She petered out in search of the right way to put it.
"Too larger than life." He completed her thought and she looked back at him and nodded.
"Is she real?" he asked.
She wondered why she didn't think of that before. He knew nothing of Devaki, of course. This must be the first time that he has heard of her. And what an introduction it must have been…
It was his turn to sigh now.
"It was her child that I dreamed of before then."
The thought struck her only when he said it. Of course… the same woman… the same child…
There was so much of Devaki's history that was not talked about… or maybe even lost in history… she wondered how much her father knew.
"I didn't know about that before." She told him.
She felt a sort of pensiveness steal over them and grew quiet, the aftermath of the dreams still strong all around.
"How did she die?" he asked after a while.
"I don't know." She answered, lost in thought.
"I wonder if her child was ever returned to her."
She knew of no sons of Devaki's from her family's history. She knew of no child with questionable birth either in her family's history.
"There is no evidence of such a child in our family history." She answered.
"Hmm… then they likely killed him off…" he said in thought.
It struck her then that they were speaking of her ancestors…. Her family… her family that had done such a terrible thing to a woman… her family that had killed an infant in cold-blood…
"This is so incredibly strange…" she finally whispered.
He raised his eyebrows in question.
"Everything. Everything has turned odd and bizarre since you came here, Arnav. Don't you see?" She sat up.
"Everything was peachy perfect before I came?" he asked in annoyance when she got off the bed and walked to the window. It was already late afternoon. She couldn't believe that they had slept for so long.
"Yes." She answered as she grabbed onto the window bars and put her face against the cool iron.
"How convenient. I only wanted to buy the damn house, not dream of strange women or see ghosts and mad men."
He was irrationally angry now…
"Come back on Sunday to buy the house. My father has no option now but to sell it to you. It really wouldn't matter if you broke this peculiar condition of purchase now."
She heard him walk up behind her and held her breath.
"I will leave." He whispered just by her ear and she felt a rush of relief so great as she turned around to face him.
"Truly?" she asked, her eyes widening.
"Yes." He nodded.
She didn't bother to question his sudden change of heart in her relief. All she wanted really was to push him out the door before his mind changed again.
She grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the door. "I will help you pack."
He didn't budge and she was forced to stop and look back at him.
He looked down at her grip on his forearm and put his other hand over hers.
"I have a condition though."
When he looked up at her face, he was smiling, and she called herself a fool for her moment of stupidity.
She let go of his hand, but his hand holding onto her jerked her towards him so suddenly that she slammed into his chest.
"I will leave this house if you come with me." He said finally.
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How are you doing, D? I sure hope you were not virtually forced to get out of bed to write for us, I am glad you did. Do take good care of yourself.
Kashi, the bizarre turning of events is the cosmic forces bringing the two of you together. It may be difficult to accept, but that is the truth dear.
Ever the shrewd businessman I concur with his condition, he is the kind who would have the cake and eat it too.
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