Well over an hour into Zaid's jet lag and Asad remained taut with unslaked desire. At first he marveled at Zoya's infinite patience as she played with Zaid, baby-talked with him, read to him his favorite Poky Little Puppy story. She even unpacked his dump truck--this was his latest joy. Sitting on his haunches Zaid drove the truck all over his Ammi Abbu's bed making engine sounds with great concentration.
"Drrrooo-drrr... " he hummed loudly to himself.
Dobby made up the rest of the cavalcade as he marched behind--he had important side-lick duties to fulfill after all. But Asad's patience began to snap--for the past half hour he'd been eyeing Zoya hungrily. Initially she had giggled but now she blushed each time she caught his gaze.
His eyes ate her up.
He never understood how she could look that se*xy in his shirt. She had been about to roll up the sleeves but he wouldn't have it. "Leave it!" "But they get in the way," she whined. "Deal with it," he'd growled. He loved to see the cuffs swallow her hands as she did both her husband's and son's bidding. Now, for over an hour he'd been watching that shirt ride over her creamy thighs ... He wanted to walk his fingers on those thighs ... lick their insides ... leave a firetrail of bite marks that wouldn't fade for days. ... Now the shirt exposed her cleavage as she bent over to play with their son. He could see the shadowy outline of her nipples ... He wished he could take the weight of her [email protected] in both his palms ... bend his head to take a pert nipple in his mouth ...
Asad groaned with each impatient push-back of the sleeves ... and hissed each time her legs parted hoping to catch a mouth-watering glimpse of waiting treasures and pleasures. Damned shirt! It teased him more by hiding her body parts than revealing them.
"Unbutton the shirt," he said, tone low, gravelly with barely restrained desire.
"Do it." His eyes slitted as he saw her nipples peak under the shirt. He had already sucked on them but they begged another laving--not so tender this time around.
"But the kids--"
Zoya undid one button.
"All of them."
She bit off a moan at that roughened tone--it promised musky delights, slowed-down and long-drawn-out foreplay.
"Drruuu rrruuuhhh," Zaid chanted.
Zoya undid the second button and heard Asad suck his breath.
"No," she smiled when she saw his face. "Come and undo them for me," she teased arching her back just enough to drive him crazier still.
"I would but I don't want my son to see his dad in such a state of arousal. It might scar him for life."
Zoya's smile evaporated. She didn't dare look in her husband's lap even though he'd been covered up with the sheet. She undid the rest of the buttons and heard Asad exhale.
Dobby lay down on the bed to wash himself. All this exercise had tired him out. Parades were fun but exhausting.
Zoya was sitting diagonally opposite Asad as he leaned against the headboard, coiled, hard. To stop Zaid from going too close to the bed's edge, she leaned to her side. The shirtfront gaped open exposing her [email protected] She rushed to cover up.
"You are so beautiful ... I could watch you all night."
"Won't Zaid be scarred by this nudity?"
"No, because this is natural for him. He's seen you like this a million times. And for me ... this sight is magic. Open the other side too."
She did and Asad groaned out loud. He would insist that she sleep only in his shirts from now on. ... And leave them unbuttoned. He'd fu*ck her hard in it and then wear it to work the next day ...
He cleared his throat. "Later ... I want you to ride me." Her eyes widened. "And then when I'm fully inside you I want you to dip your nipple into my waiting mouth."
"Oh god Asad, you're killing me."
"Good. Because you already slayed me ages ago. When I'm with you I can think of only one thing. When I'm away I think of nothing else. Zoya ... you've ruined me!"
She couldn't wait for Zaid to call it a day. She was just as impatient as her husband and wanted nothing else but to make sweet, rough love ... right now. And as if Zaid read his mother's mind he crawled over to her and settled into her lap for his bedtime feed. Zoya wrapped him in her arms and looked at Asad.
"Good boy," he said softly. He patted Dobby and nudged him off the bed. The cat was quite content to assume that he was being called a good boy.
Asad watched Zoya rise and pad over to the crib when Zaid fell asleep at her [email protected] As she gently lowered the baby in Asad watched his shirt ride up her butt. Oh god, he bit off another groan, that ass was so fine. He flung the sheet aside and rose to hold Zoya by her waist. Together they watched Zaid's half-moon lashes quiver and feather shut. Their hands joined over the tiny chest that rose and fell with each angel breath.
"Goodnight baby, sleep tight," Zoya whispered.
"Sleep long," Asad added.
And then he could wait no more. As she turned to face him and nudged his erection Asad grabbed her ass with both hands to lift her up in his arms. He carried her to the closet and pressed her against the full-length mirror.
Zoya gripped his hair as she rested her elbows on his shoulders. "Oh god yes Asad, take me, take me now, please!"
"Not so fast," he teased. He plunged in; she was so wet for him. He pumped a couple of times and pulled out.
Anticipating a delicious orga*sm Zoya had tried to fling her head back but she was trapped against the glass.
"Asad!" she squeaked in protest now as he withdrew.
But he was in the mood for tormenting her just as she had done him for the last hour and a half. "What?" he asked innocently. He loved hearing her say it.
"Fu*ck me, hard!"
"You're a mind reader," Asad pressed hard against her swollen bud, rigid and barely in control himself. "Like this?"
"Ohmygod yes, yes, like this," she moaned in surrender. "Do it again," she begged.
Asad twisted his hips to spear and rub her cli*toris. She clenched her thighs in anticipation of an ecstatic release. As she grew used to the rhythmic friction, he stopped again. She dug her nails into his shoulders. "Mr Khan, you're killing me on purpose."
"That's what you get for killing me, Mrs. Khan. For playing with your son for an eternity and not caring about your husband's needs!"
She squeezed his hips between her thighs trying to suction him in. But no, Asad was not going to play this game. He had other games planned. She swooped to lick his neck tasting the remnants of his cologne and nipped at the hollow of his throat. He jerked and groaned but remained undeterred. Asad carried her back and laid her down at the foot of the bed. Her knees bent and feet arched at the edge of the bed. The shirtfront flopped open revealing her to his hot gaze once again. Unable to help himself, Asad dipped his head to suck her nipple long and hard. Zoya jerked and gasped as that trademark tug zinged south. She reached out waiting for him to take her but he stepped back and ordered, "not so fast. Touch yourself."
She hissed in frustration. "Asad!"
"Do it! You promised you'd do it for me when you were in New York."
She did remember her promise. On the plane ride over she'd even vowed to do anything ... everything to please him. Even this. But right now she felt shy. Horny and shy. Asad took her hand in his, sucked her index and middle fingers and ordered, "now."
And as she widened her knees and stroked her wet and swollen flesh Asad's eyes followed her fingers as if hypnotized. He watched her press her nub and swirl her fingertips over it. Her ring flashed for a second catching the light. Up and down and round and round, she went. Clockwise. Then anti-clockwise. He must've died a thousand deaths. She had begun to sigh and moan as she watched his face. Her pulse raced when he stilled her hand. This time he did reward her waiting. Asad bent his head between her legs to swirl his tongue over her heated skin. Gripping her thighs with both hands he ran his tongue over the inside of one. She flailed. And slowly he started to retrace the wet trail. He stopped midway and sucked hard. So hard that she bucked. Her fingers spasmed in his hair. "Asad ... Asad, please ... Don't torment me."
Her breathlessness inflamed him ... Her beseeching skin, dewy, invited a million balmy caresses. He ran his tongue up and down her entrance. As her moans grew louder he inserted two fingers to feather her g-spot and tilted his head to lick her into a frenzied release. He felt the rushing tremors and knew she was ready. As she was about to climax he withdrew his fingers and rammed inside her to pump furiously, finally home.
Shock and pleasure mingled.
Hands braced on each side of her face Asad bent over her to stare into her eyes.
"Milk me, babe," he said through gritted teeth. She did and he nearly went cross-eyed. Her fingernails dug into his slick shoulders as she crested.
She careened. And crashed.
"Are you safe?"
"Yes, come inside me."
"Yes, Asad please!" She felt him shudder and his satisfied grunt warmed her from the inside out.
"I love you."
His harsh breaths fanned the damp hair at her temple.
"I'm meeting an investor tonight." Asad called her from work a week later. " I want you you to meet her."
"Her?" Zoya asked, surprised. She managed to cover up her irritation quite well, she thought.
"Un-hunh. I've known her for a few years now, we've become good friends ... she insists that she wants to meet my wife."
Zoya was not liking a single word coming out of his mouth. A her? So soon after the Nilima episode! How was she ever going to stop feeling jealous of all the hers in Asad's life?
"What's her name?" she asked.
"You'll find out soon enough. Tonight. 7:30. Ask the driver to drop you and take the car back. We'll come back together."
We'll come back together only if I'm feeling charitable, Mr. Khan, Zoya fumed as she ended the call. Dang, and he'd refused to tell her the woman's name so now Zoya couldn't even google this "her" person.
She tried to worm the information out of Prasad. "Who is the guest Mr. Khan is meeting tonight? I want to buy a gift for her so I need to know some things about her." Like her name, age, weight, pedigree, skin tone, nail color, shoe size, hairstyle etc.
"Sorry Ma'am, I don't know. Sir hasn't given me any details."
Damn you, Asad. It's like he was taunting her on purpose.
He refused to answer any of her texts as she fished for information tidbits.
Fine, she thought. You asked for war, you'll get one. Get your engines ready, Mr. Khan.
Asad hid another grin behind his hand as the meeting ended. He'd just read yet another of his rattled wife's sabre-rattling texts. Since his cryptic phone call to her this morning, he'd been inundated with questions, moody ramblings and grave rumblings. A few of them had made him laugh out loud enough for Prasad to peek in and ask if Sir was okay.
You bet he was. Little did Prasad know that Sir was enjoying tormenting his wife.
"Remember Mr. Khan," she said in one of her initial texts, "you weren't meant to fall in love with dignified. You were meant to fall in love with a badtameez ladki, a musibat mohtarma!"
"And that's me!!!" she added with a line of huffing and snorting emojis--and the cutest pouty-face selfie.
When he didn't respond he got another dose of Zoya dramarama: "I remember someone distinctly telling me a few days ago: I fell in love with you at first sight, not with any other woman. I said Qubool Hai to you, and no other woman. You're the mother of my son, my soulmate.' "
Asad still didn't respond even though he was helpless with longing.
"And that no one's better at being Mrs. Asad Ahmed Khan!"
Wow, his wife had quite a memory, Asad thought. He wondered what else she'd throw at him from her memory bank. He didn't have to wait long. At this rate her thumbs must be getting a serious work out.
She was now writing mini novellas:
"Once on a stormy night, Mr. Khan, high on bhaang told Ms. Farooqui: Agar aap itni badtameez hain toh mujhe aap itni achchi kyun lagti hain? Aap mein itni kashish kyun? Mere khwabon par aapke saaye kyun hain? Kyun meri tanhayiyon mein khalal dalti hain aap? Kyun mere andheron mein roshni ban ke aati hain?' "
Asad smiled. Fully, deeply. The fog from that night had cleared a bit over the years. He didn't remember his exact words from bhaang raat. But he did remember the tightness in his chest and the passionate roller-coasterness of that night sprinkled with stardust ... and rain, pakoras and distant music; there'd been a deep pink saree ... the flash of an impish dimple (of that he was dead sure) ... and hadn't there also been a glimpse of the barest back that he'd wanted to touch ... to kiss and suck?
Did she know that one reminder would trigger a hundred other memories for him?
"Jab main smile karti hoon, toh dimple padta hai, yahan."
How did he remember that so clearly?
"... aur iss dimple se main kisi ka bhi katl kar sakti hoon."
"Iss dimple se dilwalon ka katl hota hoga. Patthar dil walon par iska koi assar nahin hota hai!" he'd lied that day taunting her for always calling him patthar dil.
Crazy woman! She'd tried to recreate the bhaang raat another time to remind him of his reluctant confession ... She'd made pakoras for him. And then worn her Ammi's saree to dance at his window.
"Mr. Khan, you better not be toying with me," she yelled through yet another text a half hour later. Violent emojis of knives, guns and bombs followed. He was dying to call her but didn't. Let her roast a little more.
And a selfie followed that had him beaming in pleasure at the caption below: "Here I am, [email protected] YOUR son! Remember, flesh and blood of your loins ... and MINE??!!"
Indeed. Asad was loving this angry recreation of their best moments. Trust his wife to fall for the oldest trick in the world. But her snit fit was filling up half his workday. He better get his ass in gear. He did. But only for about 45 minutes. He was barely able to answer some emails before she went off again: "On confession raat at the Thai restaurant, someone told me: Ab aap mujhe chhod kar kabhi nahin jayengi! No one will ever come between us again."
Pictures of his ring on her finger came too.
"I don't want to take the ring off," she whined in a new text. "But I love the Qubool Hai inscription you got made for me."
Exactly my point, babe. Today Mrs. Khan was on a blackmail rampage. She was going through the stages of anger, manipulation and now coaxing. Good, he had her exactly where he wanted. Asad was beginning to look forward to the evening. Even though it might take him away from Zaid for a few hours longer.
These days Asad had been returning home sooner than usual. The family was thrilled to hear that Zaid had been spotted standing by his parents. Everyone gathered to watch the live show waiting for the kid to stand up. But looks like Zaid didn't get the memo; he had apparently forgotten that he could stand.
"Come baby, stand," his Dadi encouraged first. He looked at her and gave her a toothy grin as if to say, hi, I'm good. What's up with you?
He went back to playing with his dump truck after a hearty breakfast of mashed bananas and his dad's cereal on Monday. He even stole a bite of Dadi's paratha and Ammi's pizza on Wednesday.
But he didn't stand.
The family gathered to watch Zaid on the first three days. Camera phones were ready in America too.
"Khada hoja, mera raja," Zeenat called out from New York.
"Mera cheetah, shabash! He'll stand any second now," Anwar boasted.
"Zaidu, up, up munna," Razia whispered in his ear.
But Zaid didn't stand.
By the fourth day Omar and Ayaan were starting to tease Zoya and Asad for imagining things.
"Mona darling, you should get your eyes checked," Ayaan sniggered on day five. "Tomorrow you'll tell us you saw him fly."
"Yeah, pretty soon Americans will start seeing a UFO," Omar guffawed. "And we'll have to tell them, don't panic, it's only our Zaid come to say hi!" Najma swatted him and Omar coughed.
"Guys, stoppp!" Zoya complained. "I swear, he's stood up every night in his crib since we've returned!"
"Hmm, you guys must be up to some magic tricks at that special time then," Omar said much to Asad's embarrassment.
"Omar!!!" Everyone rushed to shush him. Thank god the parents were out of earshot.
Zaid continued to enjoy himself at these Zaid show parties. He was still the center of everyone's universe. Who knows why they kept looking at him like that with their eyes shining? Indedly folliss. And what did they keep saying to him? Lla mya, who is Stan? Dint they know that his name was Zaaf, not Stan? Why didn't they clap for him when he crawled really long distances?
He picked and pulled at the kneecap that Chhoti Nani had knitted for him.
"He moves so fast and goes so far. Dard hota hoga. These will keep his knees from hurting," Razia had explained the first time she showed up with these inventions. Zoya and Humaira had snickered.
"He looks like such a dork," Zoya said.
"Shh Aapi, that's so mean. He's a total sweetheart!" Humaira scolded.
It had taken many pairs of hands to get the kneecaps on to the squirming bundle of limbs.
When on the sixth day too Zaid still didn't stand Rashid declared that it was all for the best. "His legs need more strength. When kids stand up too soon they get leg pain later in life."
"Yes," Shireen was quick to add. "Remember Rahil's son stood up when he was just eight months, right Ammi? Now he's knock-kneed. Or is it bow-legged?" She waved her arms in an arc to show how sad Rahil's son's legs looked.
"No, he's pigeon-toed," Badi Dadi corrected. "Tauba, tauba, Rashid is right. It's too soon. Stop encouraging him to stand."
Razia nodded. From tomorrow she would double the massage time for Zaid's knees.
So there, it was decided. This was the current theory embraced by the parents to excuse their grandson's belated efforts at standing. Asad and Zoya's claims and sightings were brushed aside. Let him crawl more, was the edict.
Because somehow Zaid only stood in his crib, and only put on his special show for his parents. But by the time Zoya got her phone camera working she could only capture him falling down on his butt. Hence, no photographic evidence of his standing. The one time she did get her camera to work on time Dobby had leapt in front of Zaid. There went that.
No record of a standing Zaid.
Had his parents really just imagined it?
She didn't want to be late. But she didn't want to arrive too early either. Zoya had decided on one of their Jhansi ki Rani Special Edition dolls as a fitting gift for this mystery guest. This one was in full armor with a sword and shield--removable replicas of the historical relics. A resplendent Laxmi Bai rode her steed, and was armed with her child on her back--the tiniest of hat tips to Zaid (Zoya loved the poetic justice of that!) If she liked the woman, the gift would be a genuine present, a tribute to powerful women in fact. If she didn't, then that woman would forever have a reminder of who she'd be dealing with: A real, 21st century Jhansi ki Rani who was not to be messed with--one who'd be armed and dangerous if any one made eyes at her Jahanpanah.
Asad braced for the impact. Ahh ... He should've known. She'd come ready to slay ... and take no prisoners. She must know that he wouldn't be able to look away. Her revenge was golden.
Zoya swanned in. He needn't have looked up. He knew she had entered the restaurant when eyes turned to the entrance. The driver followed in her glorious wake with a gaily-wrapped present which he carefully placed by Asad's elbow. He bowed and left.
"Umm, Hi!" Zoya said.
Asad cleared his throat, mentally thanking her for the reminder. She must've known he'd get tongue-tied at the vision. Vixen!
"Uhh ... Ms. Dutt, meet my wife, Zoya," Asad croaked out barely able to take his eyes off said wife.
Finally Zoya got to meet this "her" face to face and she giggled. A woman in her 50s, with glasses and a dusting of grey at her temples, rose to fold her in a bear hug.
"Oh I'm so pleased to meet the famous Mrs. Asad Ahmed Khan!"
Pulling back she cupped Zoya's face in her hands. "You're more beautiful than I imagined. Asad won't stop talking about you! Remind me to get a picture of you two before I leave. I've become so forgetful, yaar!"
Zoya loved this Ms. Dutt. First, because obviously she wasn't here to put doras on her Jahanpanah. But second because she seemed so real. And fun! And even better was Jahanpanah's expression. Got you good, Mr. Khan!
Asad reeled from the onslaught. He couldn't pay attention to the conversation as hard as he tried. It was a good thing that Zoya was doing most of the talking. She was already on a first name basis with their guest.
"Call me Sonika, I hate this Ma'am business."
"Yeah, aren't Indians too over-formal?" Zoya chimed in. In America they called their professors and peers and seniors by first names.
"We are. You're right. I prefer it casual too. Or may be I'm more informal with people I really click with."
And finally Zoya got her chance to ask all her questions. It was a good thing that Sonika was equally chatty.
How did Asad know her?
He interned in her office a long time ago.
Where had she been all these years?
Moved to Chandigarh when her husband passed away.
So, was she moving back to Bhopal?
"I don't know. May be. Still undecided. I happened to be here and thought I'd look up Asad to see what he was up to. I'm so proud of all he's done! He was telling me about the Lakeview project."
Asad's mind was drifting. She had worn that suit deliberately. He just knew it. She was wearing a gift from him yet again, that full-sleeved white kurta with straight sharara pants and a magenta dupatta. Of course it was her subtle reminder of their honeymoon on the Palace on Wheels! Those heady days ... And nights. While slow-dancing in each other's arms he had bent to whisper in her ear, "am I imagining it, or are you commando under there?"
She had fused her hips to his and rotated them reveling in his immediate response. Arms around his neck, she had c*ocked her head to the side to tease him, "that Mr. Khan, is for me to know and you to find out."
Jeez, if she was commando under there right now he would surely combust into a fine powder of horny frustration! She couldn't be, could she?
Zoya looked at him then and smiled a secret smile.
He raised an eyebrow; she blushed.
Oh god Zoya, don't do this to me!
That night he'd lifted her in a fireman's throw over his shoulder and carried her to their room when she'd become too sassy for her own good. He'd let her down and pinned her against their cabin door. "Oh god, Zoya, I can't get enough of you. I want to eat you up."
Yes. He wanted to eat her up right now too. Asad gripped the fork in his hand with undue force.
"Are you OK, Mr. Khan?" she had the gall to ask with twinkling eyes.
"Umm ... yes."
He didn't know what he was eating. Or drinking. His eyes glazed over.
"Undress for me!" He'd ordered her to perform a strip-tease for him that night. She'd obeyed and burned him up raw. Asad shifted in his seat to peek at her feet. Of course. She was wearing the same heels that she'd stripped in.
"Breathe, Mr. Khan," she'd said softly that night.
She should have said it tonight too.
He'd taken her roughly that night. From behind. Still fully clothed. And she'd mewled--her scream outdone only by the train's shrill whistle. He could still hear it ringing in his ears.
Asad squeezed his eyes shut. This was a bad idea. He shouldn't have challenged the woman. Now he was paying dearly. He just hoped he wouldn't make a giant fool of himself in front of Ms. Dutt.
"Mr. Khan what do you think?" Zoya asked him.
"... What? Sorry I didn't catch the question."
"Sonika was talking about her son, Amit. Poor thing she's worried that his grandparents are spoiling him rotten."
"I'm sure he's a great kid," Asad added vaguely. "There's no need to worry."
"No," Sonika made a face. "That's why I'm here. I'm hoping he can stay with my aunt. I don't know what to do with him. He's been moody, acting up ..."
"So I said why doesn't he intern at your office!" Zoya beamed at Asad.
"Wouldn't that be great?"
"Really? Asad do you think that's possible?" Hope flashed on Sonika's face.
"Errm ... I ..."
"I'm sure Mr. Khan will be a great influence on Amit. He'll be a strong role model. We can surely try it out for a month, can't we?" Zoya's puppy-dog pout was getting plumper. And Asad nearly fell off his chair imagining biting into it.
" ... Sure ... why not. It's no problem."
The only problem now was to wrap up this dinner and get home. Home, where he could punish his wife appropriately for not just torturing him but also getting him to perform babysitting duties. Incredibly foolish.
"If that's so then I accept on his behalf. But please, it'll be an unpaid internship. I insist. I don't want you to go out of your way for me. As is it I'm worried he'll be a major pain in the ass."
Zoya gasped at her candidness and Sonika laughed. "I love him, but seriously sometimes kids can drive you nuts. Do you have any?"
Did she have to ask, Asad groaned inwardly. Because it gave his wife the perfect excuse to pull out her phone and show all twenty thousand photos of Zaid.
They'd be here forever.
He watched their heads bent over the phone screen and rolled his eyes.
"Zoya, I think Ms. Dutt gets the idea. Why don't we order dessert?" He stared at her hoping she'd get the message. His chin jerked just a fraction.
"Aww, and Zaid must be waiting for his mom and dad too," Sonika added. Thank god she understood, Asad sighed, even if his wife didn't.
Sonika decided to skip dessert--she was cutting down on sweets. Asad breathed a sigh of relief. But not Mrs. Khan. Zoya wanted kulfi and falooda. And Asad was this close to flaming out into falooda himself.
How he sat through her slurping and licking and moaning he didn't know. But finally she finished; he'd already signaled for the check. He'd leave the guy a hefty tip for being so swift. Or was the dumbsh*it just ogling his wife?
The goodbyes lasted forever as Asad gritted his teeth. And of course Zoya's great memory had to prove itself yet again.
"Oohh remember, Sonika wanted to take a picture of us!"
Damned woman. Mischief maker and executioner par excellence!
And it wasn't just one picture. Sonika wanted a whole bunch. Zoya made them pose this way and that. Could she not hear the rumbly growl coming from her husband?
Asad gripped Zoya's arm tight trying to signal his desperation.
"Ouch!" she squeaked and he nearly died of embarrassment. This woman would get him killed for sure.
It was raining. They dashed to get into the car.
"You are so evil--"
Asad grabbed the back of her neck and silenced her with a harsh kiss after they buckled in. The kiss deepened then softened. He ran his tongue over her parted lips and sucked on her upper lip.
But he'd promised himself a bite of that pout so he helped himself to a nip and taste. "You were saying?" Asad asked as he tucked her hair behind her ear once they came up for air.
"I love you."
He kissed her again.
"I love you, Mr. Khan even if you pulled such a dirty, rotten trick on me."
"I did?" His hands were already busy inspecting under her kurta. Thank god she had a bra on. But when he undid the side zipper of her pants he encountered bare flesh. Asad groaned out loud.
"You are wicked, Mrs. Khan to drive a man to such insanity."
"Serves you right for trying to pull a fast one on me!"
"I'll serve you right," he drawled as his hand peeled her waistband away to part her thighs.
She squawked as she felt his finger spread and spear her. She'd been wet all evening hoping for exactly this. Zoya's head rolled back against the headrest. She climaxed hard and fast as he knew she would. She'd been ready for him all evening. He'd seen it in her dilating eyes.
"You'll be the end of me," she heard him whisper when her eyes refocused.
Zoya took his hand in hers and sucked his fingers. His head fell back.
"I could return the favor," she offered.
"No. At home."
They watched the rain patter on the windshield for a long time letting the silence cocoon them. Finally Asad started the car and reversed out of the parking space to head home.
"It's early yet. Ammi and Zaid will be up. And what if everyone else is there to to watch Zaid stand?"
Asad hung a U-turn.
"The office, then."
"Why did you do it? Why did you make me so miserable all day long?" Zoya asked much later when they were returning home.
"You were miserable? Jealous, Mrs. Khan?"
"You know damn right I was jealous! Weren't those texts proof enough?"
"They were indeed. Good," Asad said, smug as a full-bellied bug.
"Why?" Zoya snapped her head around to face him.
"Because whenever you're jealous next, I want you to be sassy, angry and spitting fire like you were today. I don't want you mousy and sad like that time with Nilima."
"Mousy! Me? Allah miyan, what's wrong with you, Mr. Khan! All this heart-burn and drama for this?"
"Yes. Because I love it when you're a jealous Jhansi ki Rani! I love to see you on a rampage tearing into me and trying to remind me of all the things we have together."
"You're so mental!"
"And whose fault is that?"
Zoya sighed happily and leaned back against the seat. What a day! She giggled suddenly.
"Do you remember once when I was pregnant I got mad at you ...?"
"Which time? There were so many."
She gave his shoulder a light punch. She felt so drugged. Mellow and high at the same time.
"You were teasing me ... about matching up Feroze and Nikhat. And then when I wouldn't talk to you ..."
"I asked: Who is your biggest fan?' "
"Yes, you do remember!"
"And what did you say?"
"That you are my biggest fan!' "
"See my point?"
She flashed her eyes at him and sassed, "no!"
"Who writes her name on my heart every night?"
"Who do I kiss goodnight?"
"Who's the mother of my son?"
"Who gets your pizza order just right?"
She had frowned then too.
"OK, on most days?" he teased.
"You do. But do you remember our deal that day, Mr. Khan?"
"Who's the one woman in the world I'd do a strip tease for?" he'd asked her then.
"Which dimple did I fall for?"
"So, Mr. Khan, strip tease pakka tonight, hai na?"
"In front of Zaid?"
"Hmmm ... you know Ammi's been saying that may be Zaid can sleep with her once a week. Should we start today?"
"Please, Asad! It's been ages. And after what you've put me through today, you owe me!"
To seal the deal she recited one of her former shers, slightly amended of course to suit the occasion:
Meter se lamba kilometer, kilometer se lamba meel,
Meter se lamba kilometer, kilometer se lamba meel,
Please don't break it Asad, you agreed on a deal.
He knew he was trapped. But Asad was more surprised that he was looking forward to this deal and his punishment.
Mrs. Khan really had ruined him.
Song in Title:
Lamhe (1991): "Meri Bindiya"
Topic started by dixeij
Last replied by -jass-