He gulped, watching as the sleeping beauty closed her eyes, and rested in the car. He edged closer, taking a glimpse of her face. He watched left and right for any incoming people, before trespassing towards the door. He stood on the other side of her, gorging into the window. The snapping of a branch was heard. He instantly turned round to see if anyone was there. False alarm. He turned round and looked back at Maanvi, grinning darkly as he hovered over her. He had to be quiet, otherwise she'll wake up, he told himself. He looked at his reflection in the side mirror. Greying stubble and matted hair.
Amicitia, A New Beginning
This will be the last time living so rough. He smirked, admiring Maanvi. Poor girl.
He had been waiting for a few minutes, and until the brooding Prince had left the car it was then when the strange man noticed that it was none other than Prince Virat Singh Vadhera. The media prodigy. His eyes twinkled with the thought of a mere amount of money for a single photograph of the Prince, but as soon as he saw the sleeping beauty, the sindoor deep into her maang, he became greedy. After all, who else wouldn't want to see the picture of the Prince's suhaag?
The strange man took out his cheap camera phone, and positioned it to get a clear image. He waited for Maanvi to turn around in her sleep so that he could capture the essence of her angelic face. She started to stir, slightly moving as she rubbed her arms due to the cold. "Turn more." He thought, as if that would do any difference. Maanvi gradually turned, facing just under the moonlight. He looked eagerly at her face. "Vaah, how beautiful she is! The Prince has done good." He thought, with lust thoughts. He opened the camera app.
He took the picture and stared at it, smirking at the imaged Maanvi. He hurriedly went back before stopping. "I'll get money for this but this girl won't mean anything unless I prove she's the Prince's suhaag. How do I do that?" He thought. "Oh ho, of course. Take a picture with the prince...But where is he?"
Virat felt uneasy to leave Maanvi but he had to otherwise they would be stuck in the car, alone, all night. He opened the door and walked away but somehow stopped to look back. He watched through the rear mirror that Maanvi was snuggling into the seat and yawning as she started to doze off. He smiled before catching himself. He quickly brush the thought of and walked away, hoping that she would be safe. He looked at the moonlight and for some reason found that it was shining brighter than ever. He found himself smiling again, and admired the moon. He never noticed things like this, sure it was something he saw every day but he never really saw the essence of it, nor the difference. Until this night.
He began to feel uneasy thinking about those words. The ulterior meaning. The first night of marriage. Or the common word, suhaag raat. The night of two married people. He gulped, not knowing what to say. He didn't even know why he thought of that. He knew that he had no thoughts of that, nor the want of that. He shook the thought off, trying to think of something else, something else to change the topic. Maanvi. His thoughts reversed back to the Princess-like figure sleeping in the car. He remembered those eyes: warm chocolate brown. And that smile: brighter than gold. He groaned, "Virat, why are you thinking such useless things?" He scolded himself.
Stopping, he came across the small garage. He gave an inwardly cheer, happy to see this. He skipped inside to see that it was empty. He frowned. "Is anyone there?" He asked.
"Great, just great!" He growled.
He was about to go when a voice was heard. "Areh, puttar! Where are you going?" A small, tubby man appeared. He skipped down the stairs, wearing blue overalls matched with a blue turban. He seemed to be a jolly fellow with the trademark Punjabi beard. Virat turned back, glad for the gradual response.
"Uncle, my car is broken down. If you're not busy..."
"No worries son, we are here to do this after all!" He happily replied. "Areh, sonu, monu! Idhar aja!" He called out. Two young boys wearing the same overalls and turban came over.
"Ji Dadiji?" They said together.
"Sonu, Monu Chal. We have to help this man, his car has broken down."
They nodded. "We'll go and get the tools." One of the boys, Sonu replied.
The man grinned before looking back at Virat. "These are my sons, Sonu and Monu. Myself Mr Onu." The mechanic held out his hand. After contemplating for a bit, Virat shook his hand. "What a strong firm handshake." He complimented. "But, why do you look so familiar?" He asked, scratching his beard.
Virat's eyes widened. "What if he realises that I'm the Prince? This is not good, at least not today!" Virat shook his head, quickly. "No no. Uncle. Maybe you've seen me around. Or something."
The mechanic nodded. "Yes, yes. This may be true actually. Lo, don't worry. Everything is fit and fine." He stressed the vowels.
Virat gave him an uneasy smile and was glad when the mechanic's sons arrived. "Ah, there you two fools are. Why did you take so long?"
"Sorry, Dadiji." They said together.
"Tik hai tik hai. Now let's go, otherwise this man will be in even more of a problem." They nodded and followed Virat outside. They walked for a few minutes before reaching the place where the car was parked. He pointed towards the silver car, telling them that the fuel has gone and it needs re filling. He stopped. Looking intently at the car, he saw something move. Or rather, someone.
He thought it was Maanvi but the body language was all different. This figure seemed taller and more wider than Maanvi's petite figure. He watched the figure leap in, and a flash went off. Virat growled as he saw a phone in the hand of the figure. The night was dark and the shadows was emerging so he could not see the face behind the person but he knew that that person had crossed their territory. All he could think of was Maanvi. The disgusting person seemed to be taking pictures of Maanvi. Without a second thought, Virat sprinted off running towards the unsuspecting person. He was fuming!
The mechanic ran after him, wondering what was going on. "Sonu, Monu! Chal!" He ordered, as he started running. He was slower but tried to run as fast as he could.
"Yes, Dadiji!" Sonu and Monu replied quickly following their father.
The unknown man stood, turning behind not knowing that a certain Prince was running towards him. He was about to place his camera in his pockets when Virat leapt out and pushed him onto the floor, dropping the phone in the process. "Can't you see where you're going?" He stood up and rubbed the dirt off his clothes. He turned around and was startled by Virat standing close to him.
"A-A-Aap!" He stuttered.
Virat didn't reply. Instead he picked up the man by his collars and kicked him onto the floor. The man cowered down, begging him to stop.
Maanvi became startled and woke up to the voices of someone groaning. Virat. She instantly thought and stood up to see a couple of shadows in front of the car. She looked out, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
"Sir what are you doing to this poor man?" Mr Onu asked.
Virat did not even turn towards him, instead looking angrily at the man. "This man has been taking pictures of my wife." He spat out each and every word.
Maanvi opened the door and got out of the car, shocked to hear what Virat was saying. She looked at the man, looking guilty as charged. She saw the camera phone on the floor and made out the blurred image of her on the screen. Her eyes widened as she realised that she had been cheated. She felt disgusted to know that someone had been taking secret pictures of her.
"What?" Mr Onu said, shocked. He saw Maanvi coming out and assumed it to be true. He looked back at the cowardly man still laying on the floor. Virat was about to kick him again when Mr Onu stopped him. "Areh, Sir why are you taking the trouble?"
Virat gave him a look, the man gulped. "Sonu, Monu." The mechanic called to his sons, they edged forwards.
"Yes, Dadiji?" They said together.
"Chal! Let's treat this bathameez a lesson! Sonu, Monu and Mr Onu style!"
The sons grabbed the man before Mr Onu punched him in the stomach. He groaned as the mechanic laughed. Sonu and Monu took in turns to beat him until he was nearly black and blue.
Maanvi walked towards Virat, her hands accidently brushing past his. They both looked at each other. And for a moment, they stayed like that. Both fixed in position, not even listening as the man groaned in pain. He tried to say something but stopped. She tried to say something but stopped. They both didn't know how to address each other and what to say.
"Ji, woh..." They started to say before quickly turning away. They turned back to face each other and gave each other an uneasy smile.
They were about to say something when a hand gave between them with the man's phone. "Sir, the phone." Mr Onu said smiling. "Don't worry Sir, I deleted the picture. Now no idiot has a photo of your wife." Virat took the phone and checked it over. He thanked the kind man.
"Why are you thanking me? I just did the same thing any one would do for a girl who is like their daughter." Maanvi smiled. "I mean, I don't have a daughter but if I did she would probably be like this girl here. Beautiful. Warming. Kind. Don't you think?" He nudged Virat.
The prince found himself blushing before clearing his throat. "Er, yeah." Maanvi looked at him with an urge to laugh. Somehow she found this all situation pretty much hilarious. They watched as Sonu and Monu took the man away before coming back to fuel up the car.
"Don't worry, my sons have taken this fool somewhere far away. He won't ever do something like this again." Virat nodded, appreciating the help. He reached into his pockets to take out a few crisp notes.
Instantly, Mr Onu refused him. "Sir, why this much? We haven't done anything to be given this much." Virat didn't agree. He didn't think that saving a girl's honour, saving Maanvi's honour was a little thing. After all, he was a Prince and for him chivalry still existed, though it was deep down.
"Please. Take it."
Mr Onu shook his head before looking at Maanvi. "Sir, for me it may be a small thing but for you it's a pretty big thing isn't it? I mean, after all it's about your wife."
The Prince instantly looked at the beauty. He was right. Sort of.
Virat nodded, not knowing what else answers to give. "Er, yes."
Mr Onu laughed. "Very well." He accepted the money with kindness. "By the way," He asked as Maanvi and Virat were about to leave. "How long has it been since you've both been married?" He brushed his beard.
Maanvi gulped, wondering what to say. "Actually...today."
Mr Onu's eyes widened. "Today? Ohhh! So you're both on honeymoon?"
"NO!" They both replied at once. Mr Onu was taken aback whilst Maanvi groaned and Virat blushed. This was definitely awkward for them. Virat cleared his throat. "Actually, we were going home."
The mechanic looked at Virat and then at Maanvi. He looked at the sindoor and the non wedding like clothes. He instantly put two and two together. "Did you both elope?" He whispered.
They both sighed. This was really awkward. "Yes." Maanvi said. "Yes, we...we eloped." Well, it was better to lie before things got really awkward. Virat understood what she was doing and gestured her a sigh of relief. She smirked as his reply whilst the unsuspecting Mr Onu talked on.
"OH HO! Love birds these days! I remember the time when me and Mrs Onu were married. Those were the days." He reminisced.
Virat nodded. "Yep, those were the days. So, we'll just leave."
"Stop, stop, stop!" They turned back. Mr Onu took out the notes that Virat had given him just a few minutes ago and took at least half the amount. He took Maanvi's hand and placed the few notes in her palm. "Uncle this..." She looked down.
"Think of it as seeing the bride for the first time, this too is a shagun right?" He smiled.
Tears formed in Maanvi's eyes. She smiled back. Somehow this shamble of a wedding had truly seemed like a wedding. She nodded, thanking him. Virat and Maanvi walked into the car and sat down. They waved at Mr Onu and his sons before driving off into the disappearing night.