"From my view, I think we should give out more of the funds to Chandrilasia's schools. So many children from the poorer villages are not able to send their children to school." Abhimanyu Malhotra advised as he showed the Earl, the breakdown of school's and how much money were deposited.
The Earl nodded, thinking hard. "You're right. These days, education is the most important aspect of a person's life. Without education then it is harder to have a good life."
The Secretary walked towards the table, with a file in her hand. "Sir," She said, looking at the Earl. "Here are the budgets for the Hospital funds." He took the file. "To improve the conditions, I think we should look over the hospitals and the way that they are kept." Vijay Singh Vadhera looked intently at the data, processing the information. He turned to look at Vanshika.
"Beta, what do you think about this matter?" Vanshika took the files from him and looked at the information, she contemplated for a few moments.
"Bauji, I think what Radhaji and Abhimanyuji are saying is right. After all, we need to concentrate on both the Education and Health sectors." The Earl nodded at her words.
"Yes, Bauji. I too feel this is right." Swamini said, looking over Vanshika. She faced Viren who was standing apart from them, carefully considering every offer. "Viren, what are your views? After all, as the future King, pretty soon you will have to be the one to pass all these decisions and changes." Vanshika nodded at the Lady Vadhera's words.
Viren looked over the statistics. "Whatever I think you all have said." He smiled. "I think we should upgrade the Health sectors, make sure that the service is running perfectly. And as for Education, then I think we should give free schooling." Everyone murmured an agreement. "That way less able parents have no choice but to send their children to school."
"But Viren, as good this idea is, would we be able to do this? There are many poorer villages in the districts that are refusing to send their children to school for money issues. But not only that, the traditions, the thought of children, girls especially getting an education would people accept it? Not everyone will agree, especially those with strict conservative views." Swamini stated.
"But Swamini beta, this is the day and age for things to start changing. I know what you are saying is right, after all back when I was younger, my elders had minimal education. Till now, the thoughts have been improved a huge amount but I'm sure that even those people of Chandrilasia will agree to this change." The Earl said.
"Whatever the reason, this will still be pretty hard to achieve." Swamini sighed and sat down. Vanshika placed her arm on Swamini's shoulder, comforting her.
"I have complete trust in my son and all of us. I know that the future of Chandrilasia will be in secure hands and that people's lives will start to flourish." She smiled, instantly warming up everyone's heart. The Queen gave the files back to the Secretary and the Executive, thanking them for their time. She bid them goodbye whilst everyone else looked over some reports.
Vanshika looked at her son, carefully reading a few notes on their country. She smiled. She had the ultimate belief that her son would be a much better leader than she had ever been, and she was glad that her son will have his luck charm with him: Jeevika. Her heart sunk, remembering how she too dreamt of living a life with Vikram and how she wanted to relieve herself out of this lonely life when he had died. But, she held on and brought herself up to be stronger. Not only for herself but for everyone else. She knew that if she left, then the country would be in a fix, and her son would not grow up to be the man she sees today. She thought about Virat, a slight guilt emerging. He was always her laadla, no matter whether he believes it or not. He was the apple of his grandfather's eyes: the happy, bubbly boy he had been. Times had changed, he had changed, but in this mother's soul, she still hoped for that trust, for that love to come back into him, for her.
"Ma?" Viren noticed his mother looking at him intently. "Is everything okay?"
She nodded and gave him a smile. "Actually -" She said turning around to face him. "I was thinking about whether you spoke to Jeevika or not? Maanvi and Virat were at home with her, and I wasn't sure whether she went to the Orphanage or not.."
He smiled. "Don't worry, Ma. I'll call her okay?" She nodded, thanking him.
As soon as Viren was away from everyone else, he got his phone out of his pockets and dialled Jeevika's number. It had been a few hours since he had last spoken to her and he missed her like crazy. He was glad that his mother asked him to ring Jeevika, after all it did give him an excuse to listen to her sweet voice. The mobile rang and Jeevika picked up, breathing heavily.
"Why are you out of breath? Is everything alright?" He asked.
"And Hello to you too!" She laughed whilst he rolled his eyes. "Everything is okay, my darling husband, actually the children and I were just playing."
"Ohhh," He smiled. "So, instead of teaching you play like little children? Shame on you, Jeevika!"
"Aur aap? Don't you have an important meeting to be in rather than calling me?"
"I'd rather listen to you all day." He whispered.
"Virenji!" Jeevika blushed bright red.
Viren laughed and for a second they didn't say anything. Both listened to each other's breathing. Behind Jeevika, children ran around trying to catch each other. He listened, smiling. He always loved children, and hoped that one day he would have a whole army of them.
Jeevika caressed her husband's head as he slept in her lap. It was a few weeks after their wedding and had just managed to travel to Paris for their honeymoon. Jeevika blushed red, as a newly wedded bride and smiled as she listened to her husband speak.
"So, how many children do you want?" She coughed, surprised at his blatant remark.
"What?" She managed to speak out.
He looked up at her, "Children?" He looked straight at the wall. "I want a whole army of them. Who cares about the Chandrilasian army? We'll have our own Junior Vadhera army."
She blushed at his fantasy and nudged his shoulder. "That much children?" She shook her head. "No, no." She looked away, trying to hide a smile. "I won't be able to."
"Why?" He sat up and looked at her. "Is there a problem?"
She looked at him, smiling. "No, not such a problem. But my darling husband, when you're the King of Chandrilasia, will you have time to look after our Vadhera army?"
"Why wouldn't I?" He smiled back and placed his arm around her shoulder. "After all, my Queen will be there with me."
She pushed him away, giggling. "Virenji!"
"Virenji! What happened?" Jeevika's voice pulled him out of his daydream. He shook his head and looked around. His mother was still talking to his grandfather and Swamini Bua.
"N-nothing." He stuttered. "Actually, Ma asked me to call you to see whether you were at the Orphanage or not. Maanvi and Virat are at home alone right? That's why."
"Oh. I told Maanvi that I was going, and she said she'll be fine."
"It's okay, I'll call them." He replied. "I'll see you soon okay?" He gave her a short goodbye before biting his lip. "Maanvi and Virat are alone in the Palace? I hope everything is okay. Should I call Virat?" He pondered moving the phone around in his hand. Viren shook his head. "No, no. Those two might be...busy." He smirked whilst he thought. "I'll use the land line." Viren waited as the phone rang.
"Hello?" Tarun asked.
"Viren Sir? Aap? Did you need anything?"
"No, no. I called to see where Maanvi and Virat where. Are they around?"
Tarun looked around the hallway but did not see the couple. He asked a few other maids and servants but got no answer. "No, Sir. I saw them an hour ago in the garden but apart from that, no. They must be in the Palace somewhere as the Guard didn't see them go out."
Viren nodded, hiding his obvious smirk. "So, those two are hiding in the Palace somewhere? Interesting. But what can they do? Newly married aren't they?" He thought. "Thanks Tarun. I'll call you if I need you."
The Prince grinned before glancing back at the elders. "Here's hoping that they're...well presented when we arrive." He thought, masking his inner laughter before walking back towards his family.
Virat opened the door, leading up to the dark attic. It was cold, a slight draught came through a small hole from the window. A weak, damp smell came from the matted carpets, the crusty wallpaper falling off. Maanvi shivered, rubbing her bare arms intently. Virat flicked the light switch, the room straight away glowing of the dimming light. The attic was quite huge, the room filled with boxes and hidden treasures. On the walls, were portraits, the frames covered in plastic wrapping. She walked over and inspected it. Behind the dust, she could make out a painting of an elderly woman, resembling Swamini. Her fingers brushed past the golden swirls on the frame.
"This is my great grandmother," He spoke from behind her. "She had it painted when she married my great grandfather and became Queen."
"It's beautiful," She whispered, still looking at the picture.
He smiled, nodding. "It's cool." He shrugged before moving away.
Maanvi brushed her fingers past some old books, before coming across a photo album. She wondered what is was of before picking it out and blowing the dust off. The album was a dark blue colour, with a golden emblem with the Vadhera crest on top. She turned the first page and smiled as a young boy smiled into the camera, showing his pearly white teeth. She looked into his eyes and giggled. "Virat, is this you?"
Virat frowned, wondering what she was talking about before moving back to see the album in her hand. He was surprised, he hadn't seen that album in a long time. He remembered the days when every special moment would be pictured and treasured into that album. They hadn't been able to do that since the country's duty took over their personal lives. He felt like ripping the album away from her, tearing out that part of his life but somehow he couldn't. He couldn't help but admire Maanvi as she stood underneath the glowing light, as if the only thing that was shining in the room was her. He towered over her and looked at his younger self before nodding. "Yeah, that's me." For a split second, his stomach was filled with butterflies as she smiled.
"Not bad." She laughed out. "When were you this cute?" He rolled her eyes at her supposed compliment before turning the page for her. There, was a picture of two younger boys: Viren and Virat. It was the day when they had won a running race at their school. They both had to run against a group of other children, tied together by a rope near their ankles. Virat had almost given up but it was his older brother's advice that made him pull himself up and run for their lives. They had won. And Virat couldn't have been any more happier. Maanvi looked at the photo, the two boys in their sporting uniform, tired and sweating but with a grin as big as the moon.
"This was when me and Bhai won the running competition." He said as he turned the page over, showing Maanvi the other pictures of them two.
Maanvi listened as he spoke. She smiled inwardly, listening to how happy he sounded, describing those moments. He turned the page over to show a family picture: Virat, Viren and their parents. Suddenly, Virat creased up and he looked away. Maanvi noticed this and turned him to face her. "What happened?" She whispered. He tried to look away, tried to ignore her but couldn't. There was just something in her, that innocence, that naivety that interested him. She was like an enigma, and he couldn't work out why he was so attracted to her.
"This was when I was six. Taken a few months before..." He gulped. "Before he died." He looked straight at her, as she nodded for him to go on. He cleared his throat. "He died. A heart attack or something, that's what they said. But in that moment, my whole life changed. Somehow my parents were no longer my parents. Ma, become everyone else's but mine. Papa had gone but I felt like Ma had left me to." He whispered the last line out, his skin suddenly going cold.
Virat sighed, regaining his composure. He cleared his throat, not wanting to think about the past any more. He looked away from Maanvi, as if trying to stop himself from talking to her, from opening up to her and walked around. He reached into his pockets and pulled out a single cigarette before digging down to find his lighter. He hissed not finding it in one pocket before reaching out to the other. Maanvi watched as he struggled to alight his stress reliever, searching frantically almost as if like a drug addict. He breathed a sigh of relief as he ignited his cigarette and took deep breaths, closing his eyes as he did. Maanvi shook her head, not being able to see this and walked over. Whilst his eyes was closed, she pulled it out of his lips and he opened his eyes widely and looked down at her.
"Stop it!" She spoke as he growled. Without thinking he pulled her towards him, trying to take the drug from her hand. She tried to pull away as he pushed her straight into the wall, pressing himself onto her whilst trying to snatch the cigarette from her hands. He struggled to get it as she clenched the ignited drug in her hand, covering it from his. It started to burn as she tried to remain strong. Slow tears watered her eyes as he stopped and looked in them. She gasped as he looked at her, and without thinking wiped the tears. She groaned as she looked at her hand, a slight burn mark in the middle. He looked at the cigarette in her hand, his body wanting to reach for it but he stopped as he saw her pain. He pulled her hand towards his lips and blew on it before noticing the burn mark had gone over the cut from before. He shook his head as she tried not to weep at the pain.
He blew softly, letting the soft chills of his breath touch her skin. She shivered as she closed her eyes, the pain subsiding. His body no longer wanted the drug but his heart still ached. The more he stood near her, closer and closer the more his heart felt unsteady. He couldn't think but of her. In these few days, she had taken up his life. He looked into those warming brown eyes and became lost in them. Not thinking, he reached forward getting overwhelmed in her as he moved closer. Maanvi looked at Virat as he locked her against the wall, moving his face towards her. She tried to move away but became frozen on the spot.
Was it fear? Or just shock?
She didn't know.
As he pulled closer, she quickly closed her eyes. He glanced over her succulent lips before parting his towards hers. He closed his eyes, as he kissed her passionately. He felt as if he was fire, as if he was exposed to a thousand suns. He had never felt like this, not even with the ex-girlfriends he had been with. Everything was just different. Sparks flew, as he felt more and more comfortable with her.
Maanvi tried to make herself feel comfortable as she felt his lips on hers. She didn't know what was supposed to be happening, how she was supposed to feel. It was just different. She gasped as he pulled away, to take a breather. He looked into her eyes and realised what he had done.
"I-I-I'm sorry." He stuttered as he pulled himself back, releasing her.
She couldn't look him in the eye. She was just more shocked at his actions than he was. Her heart skipped a beat, feeling like it was going to explode. She was angry but numb at the same time
She was just...frozen.
"It's okay." She whispered not looking at him. It was just a thing in the moment, she tried to reassure herself. She breathed deeply as she glanced over at him but not really looking into his eyes. "I'll go down." He nodded and looked at her whilst she walked.
His heart again became thumping rapidly. "Shit." He groaned to himself. "Why did I do this?" He clenched his fists tight together and bit his lips. Instantly, the sweet taste of Maanvi's strawberry lipstick touched his tongue and again he thought of her. The way he felt when he had touched her, it was something that he hadn't experience like before. It was like magic.
But it wasn't. Because magic just doesn't exist.