i will be needing my asya dose soon
i will be needing my asya dose soon
i will be needing my asya dose soon
i will be needing my asya dose soon
So how soon would it be that Zaid got a mashed-up bite of cheesy, tomatoey gloop that his mom loved so much and his dad made faces at?
Not too long.
Hmm, though come to think of it, he'd seen his dad sneak a bite from mom once or twice when Dadi wasn't looking.
Ammi had smothered a gasp and a giggle and Abbu had winked at her.
May be Abbu liked it too; he just didn't want anyone to know.
But Zaid knew. And he'd keep Abbu's secret. All safe.
Because Zaid was a master secret-keeper. Like when he saw Khala kissing Santa Claus.
Haw, did Ayaan Chachu know?
But he wasn't going to rat Santa out. Santa Miyan had got him lots of presents--he even had his own red guitar now. It played better songs than Abbu's.
Zaid flapped his arms and beat the tray table with his tiny hands but Ammi and Abbu seemed to be locked in some alternate bubble of their own where time stilled and music swelled.
They locked themselves in their zone shutting the door on everyone's faces.
They got that way sometimes.
Me too! Me too! And on those days little Zaid did experience annoyed moments of FOMO. He had to remind them that he existed too! That he was the center of their universe. And no, not even Dobby could claw through that bubble; he would only roll his eyes and shake his head when they got like that.
But thank god for Dadi who made that noise in her throat because only then would Ammi and Abbu spring apart like guilty bunnies. Ammi would turn red and Abbu would hightail it out of the room at a fast clip.
So did Zaid like his first bite of pizza served in a pudding-like consistency? Sure thing! It was a new taste, but was it, really? Hadn't his taste buds already feasted upon this even in their inception? His dad did tease his mom after all: "If they ever do DNA sequencing on you, half of you will be pizza."
Zaid still hadn't figured out who this, "Mr. Khan!" was. Only Ammi called out that name and Abbu laughed whenever she did.
Was he Abbu's friend? Why hadn't he met him?
Little Zaid rapped his spoon on the highchair tabletop; it was already showing signs of fresh dents laced with Zaid-DNA.
He hummed in happy approval of his first bite of pizza.
"The best I can tell, it's some shadow group that calls itself Indians For Progress and Prosperity.' They seem to be feeding false reports and propaganda pieces to these news rags."
As promised, Zoya was delivering on her hacking and detecting results from the smear campaign she'd uncovered. But she'd also hit a wall. This was no amateur. These people had covered their tracks too well. Which was all the more suspicious, wasn't it? What were they hiding? Their site was a dead end--a bunch of twaddle about innovation and progress while dil hai Hindustani. They advocated for unfettered business enterprise, cutting through red tape, and demanding open access to public lands protected by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
"No idea of the proxy that's funding them? It's got to be a well-known group, right? Someone prominent enough to want to cover their tracks?" Asad asked as he loosened his tie and bent over Zaid's crib to kiss his head.
It had to be someone who wanted to wound by stealth because they didn't want to risk exposure nor a direct confrontation.
Zaid reached out his arms and Asad dashed into the bathroom to wash his hands first.
"And someone with enough money to invest in this shadow war," Zoya too was thinking aloud. But who? Why?
Idly she popped another potato chip into her mouth. She wiped her hands on her jeans and hid the crinkling bag behind a cushion on the rocking chair. If Mr. Khan saw her, he'd growl as usual about filling her stomach with junk food instead of eating a proper dinner.
Chik-chik and choon-choon he would do. Like always when he saw her with her chips or cookies. Or crackers.
She watched Asad return and pick up Zaid to lift him high over his head--the baby was ready for bed, in his yellow footie pajamas painted with spaceships and rockets. Asad would lower Zaid to brush noses with him and then return him high in the air. Then he'd lower him again to rub his nose against Zaid's belly or blow raspberries.
Rinse and repeat.
Her son's delighted squeals made her smile.
But a second later her eyes widened in horror and then squeezed shut. No, no, no, no.
Asad sat down in the rocking chair with Zaid in his arms and leaned back. Crunching sounds behind him made him sigh and look up at her.
"How many times have I told you to stop hiding half-eaten junk food behind pillows? Serves you right. It's all mushed up now!" Though knowing her she would probably still scarf down the crumbs or sprinkle them across pizza or pasta.
Zoya scrambled for damage control. She better distract him before the lecture came. "I don't get who could be going through all this trouble to blackball you," she said in a super somber tone. "We know the motive is to stall your project, but why?"
Rakesh was trying to peel back the layers from this enigma too. And of course Zoya was working closely with his IT team--who could've dared say no?
In her research she'd found that the more established media wasn't running these stories of sly malice and coy innuendo--as yet. As best as she could tell, it was some of the second tier, obscure special interest publications that were beating the drums of alarm. They were crying foul about how environmentalists had hijacked the progress agenda, how this was forcing jobs cuts and raising the unemployment rate.
But what was the real motive?
Who were the movers and shakers behind these dummy corporations? Why was Asad's company's work being spun as too radical when the city's government was actively backing green projects that were in-line with Bhopal's Smart City Mission? Why were there hints and murmurs about kickbacks or shady backroom deals of astroturfing--projects not really being green but masquerading as eco-friendly.
It made no sense. They'd tried things this way and that. Follow the money was the old journalistic adage. But this group had managed to effectively hide their trail. So now what? Work backwards? But who was hoping to benefit from this game of charades? Competitors, seemed the obvious answer. But there was nothing pinnable, or pointable, or provable.
In the meanwhile Zoya's terror-bingeing was mounting.
She had to slap her hand away to not call Asad every 15 minutes to check up on him. Till he got home--safe, in one Jahanpanah-six-packs piece, she'd be a twitchy, nervous wreck on many days. She'd begun lobbying for him to work from home--at least on one day of the week.
That wasn't too much to ask for was it?
To make it an offer he couldn't refuse she'd had the storeroom tricked out and souped up into a kind of home office--an office away from office--as she put it. She had used it during her pregnancy on and off, and whenever she could get away from being a new mom--for non-mom interests and duties.
It would now be perfect for Asad and his non-dad business.
"Promise, we won't disturb you. You can lock yourself behind closed doors and put all the ghar-sansar noises and smells and calls behind you. Please, please, please!" Zoya had continued to hound him for at least a week, if not two, before he caved in.
Despite humself he liked what she'd done with the place. It was probably the one place in the house that showed her stamp--it was quirky and kooky.
It was all her.
She hadn't really done much redecorating to their room or the rest of the house--even when he'd told her to have a go at it.
"I love it the way it is, why would I want to change anything," she'd said long ago.
"Make it your own, in your image," he'd persisted.
"I don't need to," she'd sassed back, dimple deep and sure. "It's yours and you're mine. It's already in my image!"
But this space truly was Jhansi ki Rani's kingdom--if Jhansi ki Rani had grown up in 21st century New York that is. The big farmhouse-style table she used as a desk was all warm brown and nicked up with god knows how many marks made by god knows who--wait, were those bite--? Of course, Zaid had already been here marking and eating his territory.
It wasn't glass--his tabletop of choice. But then glass wouldn't have preserved--Asad traced Zaid's dental calligraphy lovingly. There were nutty woods all over--a carved walnut screen hid the storeroom clutter draped under a mirrorwork spread. A cloth doll hung from it too--suspended by a noose.
So Raaburt had been here too, then.
Asad knew that Ayaan used to do this to torment his kid sisters--it was a young boy's signature revenge against sissy sisters who complained against him and got him into trouble.
Asad wondered what Zoya was being avenged for. There had to be a story behind that doomed doll. Some how Mona Darling must've upstaged Raaburt. Again.
He looked around the room some more--reluctant to sit his butt down and get to work. Even he didn't want to admit to having fun exploring the recesses of his wife's dcor. Bright splashes of color splattered every surface. Even the leather chair had been draped in a Kantha stitch quilt--an ikat-printed lumbar pillow was squished into its back. Doll prototypes lay scattered about--sitting up on shelves or propping up books and stenciled-mugs crammed with pens and pencils. Pictures from the factory launch--the mayor cutting the ribbon, the shyly smiling workers--crowded the corkboard which spilled over with campy quotes and kitschy paraphernalia.
"Dobby has no master," proclaimed a bumper sticker next to a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. "Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere."
These bumped elbows with more photos from trips and family get-togethers. Asad couldn't resist straightening a photo of his holding a new-born Zaid in the hospital.
Dobby had been here too? Asad turned to the window hearing a familiar sound: the cat sunbathing on the sill. He yawned.
Asad never knew whether Dobby hung around him because he liked him or whether he was just keeping an eye on him as an arch frenemy.
The opposite wall held a Captain America's shield--there was some mythic lore about it that Zoya had tried to tell him about many times. But he never remembered. Something about it being indestructible because it was made out of vibranium, or unobtanium, or some other weirdanium.
On a shelf next to it sat her light sabre that Omar had sent over long ago. Her American Girl doll--who now wore the onesie that Zaid had outgrown with "The Force is Strong with This One" still embossed on it. And next to these nested all of Asad's trophies and medals from school: a 3D collage of his academic and athletic pursuits.
He loved this. She'd raided his childhood once again and given it a place of pride; she'd dusted off the terrible memories and returned his troubled adolescence--crisp and angst-free from the cleaners.
Another wall held giant maps of India and the US. She'd placed colorful pushpins on the cities and places she'd visited in both countries. A selfie of theirs at the Taj Majal from their honeymoon ...
The photo he'd taken of her under the Hawa Mahal chhatris ...
There was a whiteboard next to the maps--jammed with bucketlists and to-do lists.
He peered at the to-do list--oh boy, there was much here that she hadn't done! Only 2 of the 11 items had been checked off. Some of those things were from before Zaid had been born!
But it was what he saw in the corner of the room that had him gagging first and then laughing out loud. Asad's shoulders shook.
Big Bear too had returned from the dry cleaners. And Zoya had given in to Asad's demand that his guitar stand be replaced in their room. The monstoristy was now serving as a beanbag chair--mostly used by Dobby when Zoya worked at the table or Ayaan when he popped in for a visit. There was a beloved photo on everyone's phone somewhere--of Ayaan passed out on top of Big Bear, with Zaid too fast asleep on his favorite Chachu's chest.
Next to a demoted Big Bear was a side table--stacked high with his old comic books--well-thumbed Tin-Tins, Asterixes, superheroes and Amar Chitra Kathas. The one on top caught his eye. It was the brand new Amar Chitra Katha he'd got for her on her last birthday: Rani of Jhansi: The Flame of Freedom.
Smiling, he flipped through it to read the inscription he'd written more than a year ago: "To my very own dimpled crusader and Shayara Bano. Goddess of the pepper spray and my Telpur ki Shehzaadi--may you win all battles against injustice, always slay mangalpur demons and raise an army of Jhansi ki ranis and rajas!"
Asad grinned as he replaced the comic. He looked around one last time.
Zoya'd cleaned up the room to make the place habitable for him but a potato chip piece was still smushed between the pillow and the chairback. He carefully collected the crumbs and dusted them into the trashcan. Finally he settled down at the table and clicked his laptop open.
High time he got to work. But he got lost in the 15-inch digital frame that played a slideshow of hundreds of photos.
How did she get any work done with so many distractions? So many mellow inspirations ...
The frame was a replica of the one she'd given him for his office--she'd set it up so that she could change the pictures by adding or deleting them remotely from home. He didn't even bother to ask how she did this.
His laptop whirred and reluctant icons lit up on the desktop. Asad clicked the browser open to check his emails. And his eyes snagged at yet another Zoyaism. He had to chuckle when he saw a post-it note stuck to the lamp shade: "I would if I could, but I can't, so I won't," it announced unapologetically.
Oh yes, he was in the Zoya zone all right.
God help him if he got any work done today.
At 11:30 she came in with a steaming cup of coffee and a small bowl of almonds and pistachios for him. And with Zaid in tow. It was time for a break and Abbu probably needed some koochie koo therapy. Zoya plopped the baby in the middle of the table and he clacked away at the laptop like he'd seen his parents do.
Zoya slipped her arms around Asad's neck from the back and kissed his cheek.
"I love having you work from home," she murmured in his ear, inhaling his after-shave.
Asad rolled the chair back to pull her into his lap. "With these perks I love working from home even more," he nuzzled her neck and she snickered. "I love what you did with the room," Asad lifted her hand to kiss it.
"Really? Tell me more about everything you love!"
He did. Between tiny kisses at her temple and ear. His hands were traveling down and her breath was hitching up--
Zaid burbled and cooed.
So they watched him waiting for their heartbeats to return to normal. The little mister grabbed a pen and sucked on it.
"OK, that's enough," Asad intervened, gently dislodging his son's grip. They pulled him into everyone's favorite lap sandwich. Zaid bounced and knocked his knees against them wanting to hustle and clutch forbidden things. These days he preferred to be unrestrained by adoring parental arms--he tolerated being held only if he was being transported from one fun place to another. But wait, Abbu's collar looked incredibly edible. Mmmhhhmmm.
The sun streamed in, bedazzling their little world. Asad kissed Zaid's downy head.
"Gaahhhmmmbbbaaa," his son chirped. Both his parents reached out to wipe his chin.
"Why does he drool so much these days?" Asad asked, putting his handkerchief away.
"I don't know. May be he wants to speak up a storm but his mouth and tongue just won't keep up! Or may be it's all those bubbles and constant humming," Zoya offered up a mother's unbiased analysis.
"I can't wait to hear his first word," Asad mused.
"Me neither," Zoya breathed.
The girls had a pool going--everyone had bet a Rs. 1000 on what the baby's first word would be. It was a toss up between Ammi, Abbu, and Dadi. Ayaan predicted that it would be Dobby or Chachu.
"What if he doesn't speak for a long time?" Zoya worried. The moms had made her rub honey and salt on his lip to ensure that wouldn't happen but you never know. Every kid crossed their milestone at their own pace. You couldn't hurry nature along.
"He's talkative enough," Asad reassured her. "He'll be fine. He's got the syllables and the sounds already. It's just a matter of stringing them into words."
A timer pinged from her jeans pocket. Asad looked around wondering about the source.
"C'mon baby," Zoya picked up Zaid. "Time for Abbu to get back to work. Coffee break's over!"
It was hard to tell who was more bummed: Zaid, or his Abbu.
Asad frowned. Did she have to be such a drill sergeant? Would five more minutes have killed her? But his phone rang. Prasad.
Coffee break was really over.
Her obsession had possibly started the day Najma Phuphi had couriered a pair of shiny-red baby boxing gloves and baby boxing shorts for the world's best nephew.
But, truth be told, it had all really started as a joke even before Little Mukka, AKA Zaid, had blessed them with his birth. In Zoya's third trimester, Najma couldn't stop talking about her first gift to the baby being boxing gloves. To match Bhaijaan's of course.
She'd followed through on that promise with a mock crochet set for the newborn--complete with tiny lace-ups to tighten the cricket-ball sized mittens.
They came with matching boxing booties.
Then when Zaid had outgrown those (already immortalized wearing them in a million pinned and tagged pictures), Phuphi had phollowed up with the real deal.
Real leather. Real badass.
Then Zoya saw the film "Mary Kom."
She raved about it for days. As an inside joke, Asad made the mistake of presenting her with a brand new charm for her bracelet. Because a 21st century Jhansi Ki Rani needs boxing gloves instead of a sword and shield. Besides her trusty pepper spray of course.
The rest is history.
"You have to teach me," she declared to Asad one fine day.
"Teach you? What?" he asked, distracted, still tapping away at his laptop. They were in the new home office that he was still falling in love with.
But he really should've learned to pay more attention by now. She probably meant, you'll have to touch me. Now, that he could fall behind and drop all work for.
"No, really! I mean it. It'd be so cool. And I think I'd be really good at it too. Don't you remember how good I am at Karate? Remember, I showed you my moves when I first moved in here?"
Oh boy. Did he remember.
Then too the woman had been hellbent on distracting him.
She was fully convinced of her fighting skills.
But she never did manage to tell him what that show had been about. Why was she practicing her non-existent Karate by his window in the middle of the night? He'd forgotten to ask because he'd made the mistake of looking into her eyes.
Besides, who was he to burst her bubble?
Asad bit off a chuckle. "Umm, do you really need me to teach you? Why don't you learn boxing the same way you've learned everything else in your arsenal: from movies and video games that you love so much?"
"Besides, how many times have you watched Mary Kom'?" He didn't wait for her to answer. He already knew because she kept announcing it loud and clear everyday, broadcasting it even on her social media sites telling friends and family members to girl power it up and kick patriarchal butt.
"I'm sure you know everything there is to know about boxing and more!" Asad continued, tongue firmly in cheek. "In fact, I'm sure you could teach me a few things."
Zoya was not liking this teasing. Not one bit. She knew a backhanded compliment when she saw one. Her husband seemed to be having way too much fun at her expense.
It must stop.
"Mr. Khan!" she hissed. "You're so mean! You're teaching me, and that's final! I already ordered my gloves online. They're hot pink! I even got them monogrammed and everything!" She took his hand and turned it over to stab the scar on his palm. "--just like this! So there!"
She clapped her hands, all aflutter.
"It'll be so fun!" And she scampered off to tell Dilshad.
Asad looked at Zaid. What had just happened?
His mom's inspiration, Zaid Miyan already had his gloves on this morning. He loved to gnaw on them. They even showed some champion-sized bite marks as he sat at Big Bear's feet. Those paws were large enough to be his training punch mitts. The boy would fast grow into the title his Chachu had given him: Champ.
Zaid looked at his dad: Where're your gloves? Let's rrrumble. He waved his arms and managed to whomp his sidekick.
Dobby Miya-oon did not approve of this. He hissed off to sulk near Asad's feet.
Asad sighed. He needed to have a talk with Najma. ASAP. No more boxing paraphernalia. But it was midnight in California.
Tonight then, for sure.
But for now, his Sunday was probably shot. He had personal trainer duties to perform. And this new client was high-maintenance--very set notions and firm opinions on just about everything. She probably wouldn't listen to a thing he said.
He needn't have worried though. Not when he saw her for their first training session. Oh she was ready to listen all right.
Zaid and Dobby were down for their afternoon naps and Dilshad away for a Quran Khwani at a relative's.
Asad had fitted out the punching bag in the recently converted storeroom. Suddenly this room had morphed into the heart of the home--neglected all these years as a dusty tomb of bad memories--it had now become a room that could become anything at will--much like the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. But Asad was one of those Muggles who would know nothing about Hogwarts. May be his father-in-law could enlighten him. Or Dobby. (This was after all the same place where Warrior-maiden Zoya had sneaked in a terrified Mariam to protect her from Mangalpur villains--and a certain Akdu Ahmed Khan.)
He was adjusting the height of the bag and giving it some test jabs when Zoya walked in.
Hair high up in a fountain ponytail that bobbed with each step. Short shorts. His vest. Bra peeking through. Long legs that ended in ankle socks and sneakers.
"Won't you be cold in that get up?" Asad asked, more than a little warm himself and already devising ways of warming her up.
"Not for long!"
She grinned up at him; dimples blinding at high-beam, eager to start.
He couldn't help himself.
Asad yanked her to him. "Do we have to waste this golden opportunity on boxing? Kids are asleep, Ammi's away for at least 4-5 hours (he'd already confirmed that she'd reached there safely). I have better ideas for what we could be doing right now."
"Asad!" she giggled and wiggled in his arms, dodging his kisses. She knew he meant Dobby as the other kid. "No, you promised!"
"It would be a good warm up--and you have to do that anyways." Asad tried to sweet-talk her as he ran his hands down her arms--one smooth and the other bumpy and puckered.
Zoya moaned. The offer was tempting.
His thumbs trailed up the inside of her arms and gooseflesh erupted all over.
Zoya slipped out of his arms slapping his amorous hands away.
"No funny business, Mr. Khan," she wagged a finger at him. "Training first, and then--"
Asad crossed his arms over his chest mulishly. "Only on one condition."
"What?" Zoya pouted.
"That bra needs to go."
Zoya exhaled. She reached in the back under the vest and unhooked the bra. Then she slipped one strap off a shoulder, wiggled her arm out of it and pulled the bra out from the other side. It landed on---
It landed somewhere. On something. Probably on Big Bear.
"Ready?" she arched an eyebrow.
His eyes snagged at the shadowy peaks under that white cotton.
" ... Hmm?"
"Eyes up here, baby."
Reluctantly Asad brought his eyes up to meet hers. He gulped. And cleared his throat.
"Right ... yeah. So let's start with some foot work and then some sparring."
"No gloves right now?" Zoya asked, extremely bummed out.
"Umm, no, not right now. Feet and legs first--they're your anchor and savior. We have to strengthen them first."
Asad shook his head to clear it. He wasn't lying, just tweaking things to his advantage. Was that so wrong? He was the trainer after all. He had rights. And needs.
He showed her how to to rock and bounce on the balls of her feet. To dance and dart, to always keep your feet under you. To always keep moving.
She was bored in ten minutes. "But when do we get to the gloves?" Zoya huffed--all that bouncing and dancing around was getting her winded. It was hard to remember to always keep moving from the core. So that was the secret to her Jahanpanah's six packs?
"Soon. A good warm up first is a must--we'll go slow to avoid injuries and umm ... build endurance." His eyes wandered and jaw dropped--he was just---well, he was distracted.
"But when do I get to try the punching bag out?" OK, this was not going according to plan at all. She hadn't even got a chance to inaugurate her brand new gloves. And the noticeable bulge in her husband's pants was getting to her. She was breathing hard, had worked up a fine sheen of sweat that made the vest cling, and what the hell, she was just a little bit horny herself.
"We'll have to tape up with hand wraps for that--you don't want to have a boxer's fracture on your first day of training, do you?"
"Duh, I won't if I wear my gloves!"
Oh god. Asad rolled his eyes. He didn't have the time to explain that it was a very real possibility. Obviously there wasn't enough blood in his head--his mind, that is, to argue with her. Or may be there was too much bloodflow to his head. "OK fine, put those bad boys on and let's take them for a spin."
She squealed and clapped. And bounced. Asad's eyes nearly rolled off to the back of his head, but valiantly, selflessly, he helped her put them on all the while giving her a bunch of strict instructions--after he'd shown her a few shadowboxing moves: Don't hit too hard. Throw from the elbow, not wrist. Remember the feet--keep moving. Blah. Blah. Blah. She'd stopped listening.
Did Mr. Khan really think that she hadn't researched her stuff? Please.
Zoya took a jab at the bag. It was harder than she thought it'd be. She ducked, dodged and blocked like he'd showed her. Asad held the bag for her, ocassionally offering tips and encouragement.
"Don't tense up, or clench your hands too tight. You'll be sore otherwise. Core--work through the core. Engage it, see? (he lifted his T-shirt to show her--really, Mr. Khan? Sneaking a peep-show in there to make her drool). Or you'll hurt your back," he continued. What? He was just telling her about muscle safety. He was being a diligent trainer.
"And watch the feet--not too wide." He demo-ed the foot placement again; he showed her his sculpted abs again. Trust him to turn training into foreplay.
"Good girl! Nice and easy--controlled. Knees slighty bent. Don't lock up." Huh? No, he just didn't want her to injure her knees, seriously, you guys. Those knees needed to be strong to--
Asad shook the red lustmist from his eyes. He made her go through another work up of lunges and shadowboxing. They'd do mitt training next weekend. "You're alternating upper and lower body workouts at the gym, right?"
Zoya gulped (not noticing her husband's groan); her eyes skittered away in shame. Ever since Naz aunty had left there was no one around to hound them into the gym and whip them into shape. So they'd slacked off. Just a tad.
Shireen made excuses. "Kitna sara kaam pada hai, Allah!"
Dadi and Nuzzhat had been the most enthusiastic converts but now that Nikhat was gone ... the lull and bad habits had returned. They went to the gym may be on one day in a week--mainly because Ayaan made fun of them. "I could've gone to the Formula 1 Finale in Dubai for all the money you guys wasted! Just imagine--the post-race concerts! The festivals and the food! Y'all are so useless!"
They'd gotten a workout that day. By pounding and thumping Ayaan. Even Dadi hadn't come to his rescue.
Zaid had been a bit alarmed though. He was learning quick: you never messed with the women in the house.
For two weeks after that though, they'd dragged their butts to the gym on an extra day--just to shut Ayaan up.
"Ow," Zoya yelped suddenly.
Asad was at her side in an instant. The bag swayed slightly--disoriented and unanchored.
"Are you OK?"
"Umm hmm. Just a slight twinge, is all."
He made her rotate her wrist and checked the bones.
"I'm OK, really," Zoya whispered.
Asad grabbed her wrists and peeled off the straps with his teeth. He tossed the gloves away.
"Asad! I wasn't done!"
"Oh yes, you're done! I am too. Time for a break." This once he would decide when it was time to take a break.
There was only so much a man could take after all.
Initially, he'd thought that he'd have her under him in a few seconds and all boxing fantasies would be forgotten. But to watch her dart and hop and dance and bounce---to see her bre*asts jiggle, the white cotton cling and mold to her nipples had been slow and sweet, sweet torture--he could get used to this. And why hadn't he realized how erotic this could be? Wait till he got her sparring with him. He'd--
He would've cut the lesson short there and then (he needed a seventh-pack workout--bad), but that tiny frown of concentration on her forehead stopped him. Zoya was in the zone--she was doing what she wanted to do. She had the stance right--body braced, chin tucked, fists up, elbows by the side--there was real potential here. They could work on speed and reflexes next. And may be this was a good way to burn off that restless and fretful energy that seemed to pour off her these days.
And she was actually following instructions.
He didn't have the heart to interrupt. If she hadn't cried out in pain he'd have let her continue. For a few more minutes, that is.
But now that he was within kissing distance he couldn't stop himself. Asad's hands lifted her by her waist so that her bre*asts were at mouth level. He sucked through the thin cloth and she moaned in gratitude. Her legs found their sweet spot and her heat suctioned and blazed through him. Oh yes, she was ready too.
"Oh god, Zoya! You drive me crazy, you know that, right?"
"You're welcome," she breathed.
He already had her down on the rug, one hand already sliding down the inside of her shorts. Zoya cried out as his fingers homed in on her waiting nub and stroked her to a punishing frenzy--it was revenge for tempting him and keeping him at arm's length for so long.
His mouth teased and tasted the garnets at her bre*asts.
She was already swollen and god-help-him so wet--for him. All for him.
His fingers danced and darted now, sliding and gliding, scooping and sculpting that wet heat; next, his mouth lowered and his greedy tongue flicked and lashed, mining that glittery gem.
Her wild hips bucked, thrusting eagerly to greet his mouth.
She didn't know when she'd kicked her shoes away or when Asad had shucked her shorts and vest off.
He'd only left her pink-edged white ankle socks on.
There was something about them. Something that turned him on even more. And when he looked down to watch her face, that mouth ... when he grabbed that ponytail as she worked him ... on her knees--oh god, he nearly came then.
But he came later when she kneeled in front of him on all fours, hungry to take him in. That sweet ass wiggled and booty-called---
He watched himself move in and out from between those half-moons and ... and he caught a glimpse of the white socks from the side of his eye.
Her toes arched; the puma soared.
... elbows ... knees ... and toes ... She sang that song for Zaid when they played together ...
... on her elbows, knees and toes ...
He came then.
"Hmm?" They were still on the rug; he still massaged her wrist. He'd tape it up for her so that she wouldn't be sore. He'd grabbed some cushions and a throw from one of the armchairs to cover them up.
"You'll be sore tomorrow," he warned. "Do some stretches."
"My wrist you mean?"
He laughed. "All over, baby. You'll be sore all over. Have some haldi milk just in case."
She made a face--what was with these people and haldi milk. Gross. Zoya returned to the subject she wanted to talk about with him. She'd been thinking about it for some days now--when she took a break from her worrying that is. "We have to think about protection. I don't want to be pregnant again for some time."
"But you're nursing--that's safe."
"Not when he's on solids now. We'll have to be super careful. No Irish twins for me!"
"When the second baby comes within 11-12 months after the first."
"But we're way past that."
"But still! Not now. I want us to enjoy Zaid more. Be able to do more stuff with him. So not for another year or two."
"At least," he agreed.
He had read that a woman's body took a year to fully recover from childbirth. It made sense. He would've loved a little girl. But Zaid could wait to be bhaijaan. What was the rush. Besides the kid already thought of Dobby as his little brother--his own Ayaan.
Though if you asked Dobby he'd say that he was Zaid Miyan's Bhaijaan--he came first, didn't he? And like any self-respecting big brother he'd saved the munchkin's life, hadn't he?
So it was settled. No moot point about it--nothing to see here. Keep it moving, people.
Dobby blinked his eyes. He'd managed to get his paws on yet another bra as he swanned into the room after his eleventieth nap of the day. He perched himself on Big Bear's belly and watched his humans go another round. Not boxing. It was that age-old sparring game that they loved to play so much. Really?
Song in Title:
Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015): "Banno Tera Swagger Laage Sexy"
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