In the early morning, NK woke up alone in bed. He looked around the room with a frown. Where did Lavanya go? All her clothes had disappeared with her as if she had never been in his room that night.
NK threw on his pants and left his room when he couldn't find his shirt. He made his way to Lavanya's room and found her in her death sleep with his shirt on. NK chuckled. Some things never changed.
He sat down on the bed next to her and caressed her cheek. She could probably sense him but wouldn't wake up until later that afternoon. He kissed her temple.
"See you soon" he murmured.
Getting up, NK grabbed another shirt and made his way to the kitchen where he found Khushi making breakfast.
"Hey" she greeted.
"Hey yourself" NK replied, taking a seat at the table "You feeling better?"
"I can't even remember what happened" Khushi said. She flipped the last pancake onto the plate and handed it to him "My head hurts and I still feel a bit tired"
When Khushi took her seat across from him with her own plate, NK responded "Yesterday, you were being mind controlled. That's why you feel tired and your head hurts. Your brain and body were forcing themselves against the power of the potion. They could only relax when they regained control"
"How could this happen?" Khushi asked.
"I suspect it may have something to do with that perfume you and Lavanya were sprayed with" NK explained "That scent had seemed very familiar to me. If Lavanya hadn't surprised me by barging into the study room, I wouldn't have dropped the Bullhorn Acacia among other herbs and perhaps not even realized what was going on"
Khushi bit her bottom lip "Who would do this?"
"Rohit most likely" NK answered "He's had it out for you and Arnav for quite a while. Speaking of him, I wanted to talk to you about something" he wiped his mouth with a napkin "Arnav should be released very soon just as we had expected. There's not that many days left. I think it would be best if you don't step outside of this castle, at least until this matter is resolved"
"So I'm grounded?" Khushi joked.
He chuckled "I suppose. The second you put one foot outside of this house, you are at risk of being in danger. I'm not sure if the protection charm I put on you can help"
Khushi narrowed her eyes at him "And when did you do that?"
NK grinned sheepishly "Deep sleep is great help"
She chuckled "You seem to be in a really good mood this morning. Anything special going on?"
"Oh it's very special" NK smiled "I think me and Lavanya might still have a chance"
"Oh thank God" Khushi groaned "I swear the suppressed hormones were suffocating me" she sat up "So wait, what about Monica?"
"Well, you see-" NK's phone interrupted him "Give me a second" he said. He answered the call with a frown on his face "Hello...hey...you sent me a text last night? I didn't get the chance to see..." he suddenly stood up, pushing his chair back with a screech "What!" he screeched "But how...of course I know! Wait what do you want to do then?....It's your choice Monica. After all it is your body...I know...I'll be right over" he hung up the call and grabbed his coat.
"What's going on?" Khushi asked, confused.
"That was Monica" NK said quickly "She's pregnant" With that, he rushed out the doors leaving a stunned and worried Khushi.
It was 3 PM when Lavanya awoke. She sat up and was surprised when she saw Khushi sitting on a chair next to her bed.
"Khushi?" Lavanya called out.
Khushi broke from her reverie and gave her a uneasy smile "H-Hey Lav. I see you're awake now"
Lavanya frowned "Yeah. What are you doing here? Where's NK?"
Khushi played with her hands, not wanting to break the news to her best friend. She would be devastated. It would not only bring back the memory of her lost child and motherhood, but also affect her love story.
"Khushi? Where's NK?" Lavanya persisted.
Khushi sighed, knowing she had to break the news to her "NK...He...He got a call from Monica...S-She's..." she closed her eyes "She's pregnant"
Lavanya swallowed and looked down at her lap "I know" she whispered.
Khushi's head shot up "What?"
"I know" Lavanya repeated "I-NK...We spent last night together. Monica texted him last night. He didn't see it but I did" she pressed her lips together "He deserves it and so much more" she sobbed "He's finally going to have the family I couldn't give him"
Khushi quickly wrapped her arms around Lavanya "Don't cry Lav! You're still a part of his life. He still chooses you"
"He shouldn't" Lavanya said through her muffled cries "Monica would probably make a better lover for him. S-She-"
Khushi tightened her grip around her "Oh Lav...I wish I could say everything is going to be okay but I can't..."
Arnav breathed heavily. What day was it? What time was it? He glanced at her sleeping body and licked his dry lips. It didn't matter if she took drugs or smoked and drank. He wasn't feeling picky anymore. Her blood would be magnificent.
A speaker went off causing him to growl and the female to awaken. Who dared to disturb his den?
"Mr Raizada" a familiar voice spoke "Due to your amazing self control, we are going to reduce your time from 14 days to 11. I must say, nobody has made it this far as you have. You must really love your wife"
"Just hold on for another 24 hours and you'll be on your merry way home. Ms Alisha, despite the days being reduced, you will still be paid the original amount agreed on. Take care"
The speaker sounded again, signalling the end of his speech.
Arnav stared at the woman who had begun stretching. 24 hours, huh?
NK hung his coat on the rack and paced in front of Monica who was sitting on the couch with her head in her hands.
"How could this happen? I thought you were on the pill" NK said.
"I was!" Monica sighed "I don't know how it's even possible"
"What do you plan to do now? Are you going to keep it?" NK asked.
Monica placed her hand on her stomach "I...I think I will" she murmured.
NK sat down across from her "You know what this means right?"
Monica raised her chin "I am not afraid to raise this child on my own. Just because I am a mother without wedlock doesn't mean I am not independent"
"Do you plan to tell him?"
Monica hung her head "I...I can't" she stood up and looked out the window "For years I hoped he'd come around but now..." she pursed her lips "I'm done. I was done the minute I left his house"
"So you're not going to tell him?"
"He doesn't deserve to know. Besides, he probably already got one of his mistresses pregnant. I wouldn't be surprised if he even married one of them before the ink on our divorce papers dried"
NK sighed and ran his hand through his hair "How do you even know you're divorced? You haven't heard anything back from him or from the court. There's a chance he may have not even signed the papers"
Monica scoffed "The only way he didn't sign them is if he didn't receive them"
"So you're going through with this then?" NK asked.
"Yes" Monica answered "I always had hopes for my marriage. Now I will have my hopes with my baby" she grinned at him "Maybe I'll even get him or her a sibling in the future"
NK shook his head "Hopefully with someone you plan to share him or her with. Babies are a lot of work"
"You think Lavanya would be willing to help?" she joked.
"I'm pretty sure she hates you right now" he replied.
"You did tell her we're not sleeping with each other right?"
NK scratched the back of his head "I may have missed that minor detail"
"Oh god" she said dramatically "You're making me sound like a home wrecker"
NK shook his head "I'll go tell her" he placed his hand on her shoulder "Are you going to be alright?"
She gave him a sad smile "Better than before" she placed her hand on her stomach "Finally I'll have someone to call my own and not worry about my trust being broken"
"I wish you nothing but the best. You have my number if you need anything"
Monica nodded "Now shoo" she said waving her hands "I need to figure things out"
NK smiled at her and closed her door behind him. He didn't want to say it to her face but he was surprised she had been pregnant this entire time. He had been worried about her and her mission in losing herself but now he was glad. That baby could change her life and give her the purpose she needs.
When NK entered the house, it was quiet. Then again, the castle only consisted of him and the ladies. He changed his clothes to more comfortable ones and went in search of Khushi and Lavanya. His search brought him to Lavanya's room where Khushi was...consoling Lavanya?
NK approached Lavanya with quick strides and cupped her teary cheeks "What's wrong love? Why are you crying?"
Lavanya pressed her lips together. With an unrelenting sob, she threw her face into the crook of his neck in an effort to hide her misery.
NK gave Khushi a confused look. She, however, shook her head and left the room. With no choice left, NK peeled Lavanya away from him and looked her in the eyes "What's wrong Lavanya?"
"I know!" she cried "I know the truth and I don't blame you. She's giving you what you rightfully deserve!"
"Lavanya damn it! What in the hell are you talking about?"
She wiped her tears "I-I know" she whimpered "I know Monica's pregnant with your baby"
NK looked at her appalled. His baby? Why would she even-
Of course that's when he remembered Lavanya always trying to confirm whether he was sleeping with Monica. With him never giving her proper responses, it made sense why she figured Monica was pregnant with his child.
NK sighed "So I'm guessing it was you who opened the text I never saw on my phone"
Lavanya nodded "I didn't delete it. It's still there"
"I know. I just didn't see the notification since you opened it" he sighed and sat next to her. He engulfed her hands within his "Listen to me Lav. Monica... she's pregnant but she's not pregnant with my child"
NK nodded "Her and I...We never slept with each other"
"B-but that night..at the club?"
"Well..." NK trailed off.
Monica closed the door and pushed NK against the wall. She peppered kisses down his neck and reached for the buttons on his shirt. NK, reluctantly, put his hands on her waist, trying to put some effort into it.
Monica pulled his shirt open and ran her hand down his bare chest "You are one fine piece" she whispered huskily against his lips "Now why don't you take me like you want to"
NK grabbed her hair and tilted her head back, grazing his nose against her throat. Monica pushed herself against him, rubbing herself on him like a cat. Why wasn't he being turned on? He groaned in frustration but she took it as a good sign. Monica pushed off his shirt and wrapped her leg around his waist.
She fingered his belt with a frown "You don't seem to be so into this"
NK sighed and backed away from her. He picked up his shirt and put it back on.
"I'm sorry for wasting your time but I can't do this" he said.
Monica chuckled and sat down on the bed "Of course. It's that chick in blue you can't stop thinking about, right?"
"It's complicated" he said in a clipped tone.
"Isn't it always" she closed her eyes "She's lucky. At least she has a man who's willing to be faithful to her, even without marriage"
NK frowned. Over the many years, working as a lawyer had given him the special skill to read people. He could tell truths from lies and heartbreak on a happy face.
He sat down next to her after buttoning his shirt "You facing trouble in paradise?"
She scoffed "It was never paradise to begin with. Just a facade"
"You can tell me. After all, I'm just a stranger"
She smiled at him and looked away "I'm married" she said with a twist of her lips "It was an arrange marriage. Both are families well settled. Even though I didn't love him, I gave the marriage everything I had. I thought he did the same. I thought perhaps he'd fallen in love with me as I did with him. Five months later, I catch him with one of his mistresses in our bed"
"One of them?"
Monica gave a fake laugh "Yup. Turns out he had multiple. He had been cheating on me the whole time. Furious and heartbroken, I began doing the same. I would go to bars like these and give myself away to the first man that showed interest in me, all in the hopes that Dhruv would realize how it felt to see him with another woman"
"And did it work?"
"It seemed to at first but eventually he just turned a blind eye and continued on with his mistresses" she hid her face in her hands "Worse part was I was so weak. Any time he showed me the slightest bit of attention, I would lap it up like a dog and give in to whatever he wanted" she sobbed "But not anymore. I left him weeks ago. This is the first time since I left him that I even left my sanctuary. Wanna know the worst part? I still crave him. I want him to beg for me to come back but deep in my heart, I know he won't do that"
NK immediately hugged her as she broke down, her make-up running down her face "I know how it feels" he murmured "To love someone and not have them return your feelings"
"But why did he pretend?" Monica cried "Why did he give me hopes? Why did he have me build dreams when he was just going to crush them?"
"Hey listen to me" NK said pulling apart from her. He held her face and made her look at him "You're not going to let him break you. You are so strong and independent. You don't need him" he glanced at his watch "Look, it's late. You're going to spend the night here, okay?" he grabbed his briefcase and pulled out a piece of paper "This is my business card. It has my number and address on it. Call me or come see me if you need anything"
She took the card from him and gave him a small smile "Thank you NK. You are a good man. No doubt your lady will see that soon"
He didn't reply and left.
"So you and Monica never..."
NK shook his head "Never. I'll be honest, she tried to convince me before but it wasn't really because she was attracted to me. More so to help her forget her husband"
Lavanya gingerly placed a strand of her hair behind her ear "You mentioned that she began sleeping around with other men. I don't want to sound like a villain but how does she know it is her husband's?"
NK's pursed his lips "Apparently her husband had convinced her that he would stop cheating. She was faithful to him for that month before she found him again with one of his old flames. She claims she stopped having her period after that so it has to be his. Besides, after that month, she didn't sleep with any other guy. He was her last"
"I feel so terrible for her" Lavanya whispered "It's so unfair"
NK nodded "That day you had come to my office, you had seen her. She was there to ask me to help her file for divorce"
"She was on your lap" Lavanya replied with a frown.
NK scratched his neck "Like I said, she tried to convince me to sleep with her but she isn't doing that anymore. She's completely focused on her child"
Lavanya wrapped her arms around NK's neck and kissed him "Just like I am on you" she murmured.
The doorbell interrupted NK's response.
He smiled at her "I'll go see who it is"
Lavanya smiled "I'll come with you"
He scowled "Not like that you aren't. Apparently you've forgotten but you've been only in my shirt this whole day"
She blushed "I'll come down soon"
He nodded "Good"
NK stole a brief kiss and quickly made his way to the door when the ringing of the doorbell became more insistent. He opened it and was shocked to see the same SPAV officers that had come to serve Arnav the court papers and had taken him there.
Fear knocked into his system. Had Arnav failed? Had the officers come to take Khushi away? What was going on?
He cleared his throat "May I help you?"
The slightly taller one nodded "If I remember correctly, you are the lawyer that had represented Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada, right?"
"Yes" NK responded "That is correct"
The shorter one nodded "Mr. Raizada is passing the judge's test quite remarkably. The judge has decided to end the test tomorrow. You are requested to sign a few papers. We will escort you there and bring you back with Mr. Raizada tomorrow"
"That sounds wonderful" NK grinned.
"What sounds wonderful?" Lavanya interrupted, joining the men.
"Arnav is getting released tomorrow" NK informed "I have to go pick him up tomorrow"
"That's great news!" Lavanya smiled "Khushi is going to be so happy"
The tall officer nodded "If that's everything, we will see you tomorrow"
"Wait" Lavanya called out "I want to make a report"
NK frowned "A report?"
Lavanya nodded "One that is overdue against a Mr. Rohit Sharma"
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