Joined: 21 May 2013
After dinner Mahir and Bela retreated to the kitchen, cleaning up while Meera and Dhruv played in the family room. Mahir grinned as Bela gazed at the kids whenever an unfamiliar clatter was heard. He was thankful that, from the moment she met the kids, she remained the concerned parentthe mother in her still obvious. Mahir couldn't imagine having to assume that responsibility overnighthe had months to prepare. But, regardless of her current condition, Mahir knew that's who Bela would always be.
"I think we're done here," he said, drying his hand on his pants.
"It looks that way," she smiled, taking one last look around the kitchen. "What do we do now?"
"Well, this is when the fun begins...It's bath time." Mahir said, a smug smile tugging the corners of his lips.
Bela raised one eyebrow, looking suspiciously at him. One thing about Mahir was his very expressive face, which was an indicator of his intentions. From his current guise, Bela knew she was in for a ride, and bath time didn't disappoint. Bela got to see Dhruv's terrified act, leaving Mahir and the bathroom soaking wet. She was dumbfounded by his inexplicable fear of the tub. Even if Mahir had mentioned it to her, it wouldn't have prepared her for what she saw.
"Has he always been like this?" Bela said, rubbing Dhruv's back worriedly as he clutched tightly to Mahir's neck. She hated seeing Dhruv so distressed.
"Pretty much. Ever since we made the transition from the baby tub. We've tried everything. I just hope he'll eventually grow out of it."
"He's really scared of whatever he thinks is in that tub!"
"Yes he is!" Mahir said, enveloping a whimpering Dhruv in a towel.
Bela followed Mahir to Dhruv's room, where he proceeded to diaper and clothe Dhruv. Bela was relieved when Dhruv's hiccupping sobs reverted to soft moans. She never wanted to see her baby like that ever again. When Dhruv was ready and in his jammies, Mahir signaled Bela to sit on the rocking chair so he could lower him to her arms.
"Rock him for a little bit and he should go to sleep. I'll get Meera ready." Mahir said softly, handing her his blanket.
Bela embraced Dhruv, watching him rub his eyes shut as he snuggled on her chest. His breathing calmed, but every now and again he would inhaled and exhale audiblyslowly recovering from his crying episode. Bela began rocking him, running her hand over the boy's hair, amazed at how much Dhruv was like Mahirfrom the curve of this lips, to the way he walked. Even Dhruv's tiny fingers and toes were miniatures of Mahir's. Bela wondered what part of herself she contributed to him.
Dhruv was already asleep when Mahir returned to the bedroom, wearing a different shirt. The one he had worn before was wet from Dhruv's bath time nightmare.
"He's asleep, huh?"
"Yeah. I think he was exhausted from bath time."
Mahir chuckled, "Yeah... that's one theory!"
"Hey..." Bela's eyes darted between Mahir and Dhruv, peacefully spilled over her arms. "Are you sure he's mine too?
"What do you mean?"
"I mean... I know he is mine," Bela said matter-of-factly. "It's just...He is so much like you that I can't see any part of me in him."
"Here," Mahir said, carefully lifting Dhruv from her arms. He raised his pajama shirt just above his bellybutton, exposing a small mark on his left side. "See?" Mahir asked, and Bela nodded. Mahir pointed towards the same spot on her, eliciting her to lift her own shirt. She sheepishly peaked under her blouse, finding the same distinct mark there.
"Yeah, we don't know what exactly that is, but we know he got it from you." Mahir said repositioning Dhruv is his arms. "A genetic anomaly!"
"He is definitely yours," Mahir said grinning.
Mahir walked over to Dhruv's bed, tucked him in, and kissed him goodnight. He then extended his hand to Bela, who was still obviously in awe from the recent realization. "C'mon," Mahir said, pulling her gently to her feet. "We have another one to tuck in." Bela placed the crutches under her arms and slowly made her way to kiss Dhruv goodnight before following Mahir to Meera's room.
Upon arriving in Meera's room, they found her sitting on the floor, struggling to get her pajamas on. It was amazing how Bela could clearly see the obvious resemblance between her and the little girl. The curly hair, the eyes, and nose were a miniature of hers, and according to Mahir, Meera's timid personality was also a gift from her.
"Here Meera," Mahir said walking over to her. "Let me help you." Mahir bent down removed the tangled shirt she had managed put on, untangled it, and slid it back on her. Then, Meera held onto Mahir's shoulder, balancing on one leg, while he helped her with the pants.
"Okay, you're ready, missy?"
Meera jumped on the bed and crawled under the covers, "Ready."
"Goodnight pretty girl," Mahir said, lowering down to kiss her forehead.
" 'Night daddy."
"Goodnight honey." Bela said, planting a kiss on her as well.
"Are you going to be sick again?"
"Oh..." The blood drained from Bela's face, and her muscles quickly tensed under her skin. Bela's eyes darted towards Mahir, but he stood motionless, gazing at the floor with his hands in his pockets. "I... don't think so...um... why?"
"I don't want you to leave again."
Meera's response tugged at Bela's heartstrings. Bela walked to Meera's bed and sat next to her. "I'd never leave you, okay?"
Meera sat up, landing a sloppy kiss on Bela's cheek. "Okay mamma. Love you!"
"Love you too." Bela walked out of the room with tears welling in the back of her eyes. She blinked several times in a futile attempt to dry them away.
"Are you ok?" Mahir asked, seeing how Meera's query had shaken her.
"Yeah, I'm okay."
Mahir walked her over to their bedroom, but stopped at the door.
"The room is all yours." Mahir said, leaning against the door frame.
"Oh... But where are you going to sleep?"
"We have a guest bedroom. I'll be there."
"I can sleep there, you know? This is your room..."
"It's yours too... I think you'll be more comfortable here."
Bela smiled genuinely, "Thank you."
"Um... If you need anything, I'm down the hall. And if the kids come during the night, just bring them back to bed or wake me upthey can be pretty persuasive."
"Let me just get a few things and I'll be right out." Mahir walked over to his dresser and fished out a few pieces of clothes and threw them over his shoulders. He also walked into their bathroom and retrieved his toothbrush. "Alright, I think I'm all set. Oh...um... Your pajamas are in the third drawer of the dresser."
Bela woke up to the beeping of the alarm clock resting on the nightstand. She intuitively reached her arm out, slamming her hand on the snooze button. She perched herself up, narrowing her eyes to the morning light peering through the curtains. She was slowly adjusting, when she heard the pitter-patter of small feet outside her bedroom door. And it didn't take long before the door squeaked open, revealing a smiling face peeking through the aperture.
"Mamma?" She heard Meera whisper.
"Where do you think you're going little lady?" Bela heard Mahir call from outside. Mahir's query went unnoticed as Meera continued to push the door open with both hands. She was almost through the door when Mahir caught her amid her stride.
"I'm wanna see mamma." Meera exclaimed, squirming in Mahir's arms.
"Mamma's still asleep, sweetie." Mahir whispered, turning on his heel to shut the bedroom door quietly behind him.
"No, it's ok... I'm up." Bela chimed in, running her hands through her sleep tousled hair. Mahir turned on his heel, reluctantly entering the room. He hesitated, but let the fidgeting child loose from his grip. Meera ran to the bed and launched into Bela's arms.
"Good morning there." Bela said, kissing her rosy cheeks.
"We're going to the park today!" Meera exclaimed, with a big smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Bela gazed down at her adoringly.
"We are?" Bela said, eyes darting towards Mahir.
"Pappa said when you woke up we could go," Meera continued.
"Yeah," Mahir chimed in, walking further into the bedroom. "Pappa also said to wait for mamma to wake up."
"I was up... really," Bela insisted.
Mahir walked closer to the bed, eyeing the mischief plastered on the child's face. "Now, little lady," Mahir said, scooping the child off the bed, "Let's let mamma get ready." He planted kisses on Meera's exposed belly, eliciting a fit of giggles from her. "C'mon," he said lowering her to the ground. "Let's go tell Dhruv we are going to the park..." Meera skipped out of the room, yelling for Dhruv.
"So, we're going to the park?" Bela said, stifling a yawn.
"If you want...The kids don't do too well at home all day. Letting them run around makes naptime a breeze."
Bela chuckled, propping herself to a full sitting position. "Yeah, it should be fun."
"It will... A day with the Sehgals is always fun."
"Is that right?" Bela said, teasing.
"Wait and see Bela, today is going to kick your ass!"
Bela gazed suspiciously at the lanky form of a man leaving the bedroom. Even with his disheveled hair and stained plaid pajama pants, Mahir looked really good. Before this morning, Bela had only seen Mahir in his work attire 3 piece suit. Seeing him comfortably dressed, with his hair raining down over his eyes, caught her off guard. Not to mention his teethnot his smile or his beautiful black eyesno, his teeth. She blushed at her ridiculous observation.
Bela swiveled her feet off the bed, wincing as her toes touched the cold floor. She languidly reached for her crutches and made her way towards the bathroom. She gasped at the her image reflecting in the mirrorcurls jumbled everywhere, eyes swollen with sleep, and a trail of something dry leading from her mouth. She quickly bent over the faucet, washing herself awake.
She grabbed a hairbrush off the side of the sink and began running through her hairbad decision. The brush only encouraged her curls into disarray. She quickly opened the medicine cabinet, finding an elastic sitting among other hair stuff. She pulled her hair back and tied it in a ponytail. She went back to the bedroom and began opening every drawer, looking for something she thought was park appropriate. She pulled open a drawer, widening her eyes, as it revealed many of Mahir's underwear. She looked absorbedly at them, not noticing Mahir standing by the door.
"I don't think it's there." Bela was momentarily startled and rapidly shut the dresser draweron her finger.
"Owww!" She yelped and instinctively brought her finger to her mouth.
Mahir hurried towards her, tugging at her hand. "Let me see."
"It really hurts." She withdrew her hand, her eyes glistening with tears.
"I know. Let me see," Mahir insisted, gently prying her hand away from her mouth. Her finger showed no cut, but was red. "Can you bend it? Does it hurt?"
"No...Owww." Bela cried as Mahir compressed the tip of her finger.
"Sorry," Mahir said gently rubbing her finger between his palms. "It's not broken, it's just sore from the impact."
Bela turned her head away from Mahir, feeling embarrassed. "I feel stupid."
"Hey," Mahir said turning her face to him. "Don't."
"It still hurts."
"I know." he said, planting a kiss on her finger. He grinned when he saw her blush. "I think we should put some ice on it just to be safe."
Mahir pulled her into a hug, placing a few stray curls behind her ear. It felt so good to have her so close to him again. He really missed her touch. Bela, in turn, melted in his embrace. He was taller than her that his body enclosed snuggly around hers. Mahir pulled away just enough to see her face again.
"When I said it was going to kick your ass, I didn't mean it literally Bela."
She chuckled, burrowing her face in his chest. "I know it was all part of your evil plan," she said teasingly.
Mahir smiled, looking adoringly at her. "You know, you could take part in my secret evil plan."
"Really?" Bela asked feigning interest.
"The question is, do you accept?" Bela looked impishly at Mahir, twisting her mouth in thought. Mahir could see the wheels turning in her head as she devised her answer.
"If it will make you happy then yes." She responded appropriately.
Mahir's mouth hung open as his mind wrapped around what Bela had just uttered. "W-what did you just say?" He stared at her in disbelief, causing her to become uneasy.
"I-I...um... do accept."
"No... you said um..."
"I accept..." Bela searched Mahir's face, confused.
"You remembered," he whispered to himself, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
"You remembered," he had a contagious smile plastered on his face.
"A long time ago, I told you if you were ever in trouble or something like that then show it with our code language I will ask you, 'Are you happy.' And you will reply if it will make you happy then yes. "You remembered."
"It's just a phrase...I don't think..." Bela began, but was interrupted by Mahir pulling her off her feet and spinning her around. "Mahir..."
Mahir stopped, cupping her face in his hand, their foreheads touching, his hair raining over her eyes.
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