Did the finality of what he was proposing to do ever to occur to him? Didn't he realise that he was signing up for a lifetime with her? He hated her, didn't he? She made him feel suffocated in his own home. She forced him to interact with relatives he despised. Yet there were moments when it seemed he actually cared about her person. When Sumer was clicking pictures with his phone or when Kakisa tried to slap her? She laughed thinking how her Jallad would protect her from anyone but himself.
She sat down on the bed and thought of what else was admirable about him. If he was goin to be her husband for real, she needed to focus on the good in him. At least for her own sanity, if not for anything else. Bapusa would except that from her and she didn't want to disappoint the fatherly gentleman. She would take care of Rudra for his sake, she decided. That's when it hit her. His eyes seemed tired and cheeks hollowed. Maybe he hadn't taken proper care of himself while he was away. After all how many dry rotis can you eat with burn potatoes?
In the kitchen, she quickly heated some of the bhindi masala the rest of them had for dinner. She made three rotis which he usually ate and put the rest of the dough in the fridge. Then she stopped. He must be very hungry. An extra roti may not be a bad idea.
Her heart hammered in her chest as she stood in front of his door a few minutes later. She had knocked twice but he hadn't answered. Should she enter the lion's den without his permission? The plate rattled as a shiver ran through her remembering what had happened the last time she snuck in. He had her incapacitated her within seconds assuming her to be an enemy. Or did he know it was her and that's why he didn't reach for his gun. No, she shook her head. His eyes held bewilderment as he lay above her on his bed. He didn't realise who she was that night. If he had known, he would have been more thoughtful of her person. No matter what he spoke, his eyes never lied. He would roar like a beast and curse her presence but was always mindful of her dignity.
Gathering her courage, she slowly pushed the door when she heard a wince. She kept the food on the coffee table and raced to the bathroom. She hesitated. He wouldn't like it if barged in. Nobody would, she reasoned. She pushed the door slightly and whispered his name softly through the crack, "Rudra?" Her eyes met his on his mirror, when anger slowly simmered through pain. "What?" he shouted annoyed by her presence. He wanted to be left alone. She replied softly that she brought him some dinner. "Take it away and go back to Sunehri's room. I don't want it. And don't keep wandering about at night. There is already one ghost wandering the corridors at night," he yelled gritting his teeth.
She frowned. He must be really hungry which is why he was being extra snappy. She decided to move the plate to his desk just in case he changes her mind later. Worse comes to worst, he would toss it and make a mess for her to clean tomorrow.
He heard her retreating footsteps and sighed. He wondered if he should have been more polite. It was the first time in years someone had attended to his meal when he returned late. Ranavat usually just left his portion on the table before hitting the sack. He shook his head. No, she shouldn't have interrupted him in the bathroom. He wanted to be alone right now.
He took a wet towel and started to clean a ghastly cut on his torso. She shouldn't have to see him this way. She had to believe that he was the only person keeping her alive. She shouldn't see that he was vulnerable too. That he bled too. He hurt too. He suffered too. He could die too. Who will stand up for her if he wasn't around? Who will protect her innocence from the cruel world?
She saw some documents and stationary all over his desk. She neatly stacked the sheets of paper and placed it on one side. Don't touch my things, she heard the warning in her head. This clutter will just give him another reason to shout at her for no reason. Or was it her fault that the wind blew in through the shutters she opened earlier in the evening. She had assumed the smell of flowers outside would refresh him when he returned.
His stomach grumbled. It had been 3 days since his last good meal. And whatever Paro had brought smelt delicious. Should he have stopped her? Maybe not. She was a beautiful woman. He shouldn't depend on her for anything. They don't belong to anyone.
She grabbed the pens and placed them in the holder on the desk neatly. She noticed a blue streak across her palm. She noticed that the blue marker wasn't closed. She looked around for the cap. She spotted it on his bed among his clothes. She wondered if she should fold his clothes and arrange them in his wardrobe. I didn't give you the permission to touch my things, resounded his warning in her head. She picked up his kurta and started to smooth the creases. She was supposed to be his fianc this was part of the act. Just like following him wherever he dragged her by the wrist.
It wasn't easy for him. Maybe he should have gone to the doctor like Aman suggested. But he didn't want to be fussed over. Wounds were common in their profession. They weren't the end of the world. He looked at red slash again. It still looked bad. It would definitely leave a scar. He wondered if Paro's cut would scar. It was small but her skin was so delicate. She bruised if he just held her. Maybe she would have a small silver mark. No he shook his head. Even the slightest blemish on her perfect face meant he wasn't doing his job right.
She twirled around the room. It looked perfectly in order. She spotted the writing on the wall Rudra'. He must have written it and maybe someday their sons would add their name too she thought as she gently caressed his name. What was she thinking? She shook herself. Was she imagining they would have children together? Hey Bholenath! She was falling for their own con. They were two strangers who cooked up a story to co-exist without raising doubts. Within two days somehow this will all change. She knew this. Bholenath will deliver her.
It must be the room, she told herself. She must be getting too familiar with his quarters. She spent her free time here when he was away and Kakisa was in a catty mood. It had felt like home. The one place she felt safe and warm. As if, Rudra left a piece of himself back to watch over her while he worked. She smiled. She hadn't felt that way in years. Her mamisa had opened up her heart and home. She made her feel treasured and loved. But she had never felt safe until Rudra brought her here.
She heard the trickling of water stop and panicked. She had stayed here too long. She needed to leave before he saw her. "Paro?" his voice stopped her as she pulled the door's handle. She sighed and slowly turned around. Her eyes popped out at the sight of him standing by the bed.
He quickly snatched a towel hanging on a nail nearby. He didn't expect her to still be here. But there she was. As always. No matter how rude or arrogant he was to her, she stayed by his side. Even if their engagement wasn't real, she was the perfect fiance. They had their differences but it was them against the world. She never let him down.
He draped the terry cloth over his shoulders to quell her maidenly fears. But her eyes still held bewilderment. "What?" he asked gruffly. She wondered if she should say anything. "Paro, what's wrong?" he asked this time gently. She bit her lower lip to keep from smiling at his question when he was the one with a deep laceration on his chest. "How did you get hurt so badly?" she asked genuinely concerned. He observed her anxiety and replied that it was from a knife fight. She moved closer to him. What happened to his gun? Her hand reached out to push the towel away. It looked deep. As if, someone cut out his heart to torment him. Was it one of Thakursa's men? This was the only case he was working on the night he left as far as she knew. How could they be so brutal?
"Did you see a doctor?" she asked, her voice trembling with unease. He whispered that he couldn't run to the hospital everytime he got hurt. He was a soldier. Injuries like this were common for him. Her fingers moved to his bicep where she recognised a bullet scar. It must be from the day he saved her life in the desert. His blood never washed off from her choli. It was as if he had marked her forever. "Did you treat this yourself too?" she asked distressed that he had no one who cared for him. He turned away ignoring her question. He didn't need her sympathy. He just wanted a signature from her.
He opened his closet to take the first aid kit out. It looked a little different as if someone, no she had meddled. "I just put your clothes in," she muttered as she took the box from him. "What are you doing?" he questioned. She gently guided him to his bed. Then she dabbed some antiseptic on cotton. "Don't touch me," he reprimanded jumping to his feet. She groaned with irritation. He was always quick to bandage her person whenever she was injured. It was his turn to stay put while she dressed the wound.
"Look, this fiance act isn't necessary when we are alone. You stay out of my way and I will stay out of yours," he reprimanded. He could treat himself just fine. Besides, he wanted her to leave so that he could gobble up the meal on his table without her gloating. She was being to get annoyed by his attitude but didn't want to show it. The poor man was wounded and she couldn't leave him alone without helping. "You and I are living under the same roof sharing a life together. Even if our relationship isn't real, we share a bond. One that makes you protect me and forces me to take care of you," she said softly pushing him back to the bed.
Is this girl for real? His mind reeled in shock as he submitted to her ministrations. His mother had left his father without a backward glance. She didn't even try to reach him for years in spite of dotting on him throughout his childhood. And this woman seriously wanted to tend to him simply because they lived together? She was definitely one of a kind. Maybe a lifetime with her might not be as disastrous as he presumed. You don't have to marry her and ruin both your lives, Ranavat's plea echoed in his head. No, he couldn't walk away from her. She had become a part of him somehow. He couldn't understand how, why or what he expected of her but he knew, she belonged by his side.
Her hands shook as she tried to apply the ointment with the lightest of touch. He grabbed her wrist and plunged it against the gash. He hissed in pain. "That's why I was being so careful," she chided before blowing on the area. Her hair fell on the side like a think curtain hiding them from the world. He realised slowly that the air around them had changed somehow. It was more intimate as if it was really his loving wife healing him with her tenderness. His mind screamed for him to put an end to it. But his heart was unwilling. Her warm touch was melting away the ice around the organ. She was slowly breathing life into his body.
She looked up to see if he felt better but couldn't make out. There were so many foreign emotions written on his face. "Do you want me to stop?" she asked hoping he says no. Seeing him injured made her restless. Even if he was a Jallad to her most of the time, she needed him whole. He was her Jallad, the only person she could count on.
He shook his head. She continued to dab the unguent, "This is way Mamisa always applies haldi when I cut myself." He pushed her hair wanting a better view of her lovely face. "It doesn't sting as much as western medicine," she assured him. He smirked, "That's why you had to say madhumaki, madhumaki." Her face turned crimson as the reminder put her in a spot. Her skin was sensitive not that he would ever realise.
She started to cover the cut with some gauze and plastering it. And he proceeded to play with the fringe on her forehead. They added a touch of gaiety to her angelic face. Maybe she was the kind of girl who loved to laugh have fun as a child. His finger grazed the small cut on her forehead. She twitched her eye as it was still tender. "Didn't you apply anything?" he snapped at her. She shook her head. She had forgotten about it until now. "Paro," he snarled angry that she neglected the open wound. What if it gets inflected? She wasn't a child to be so careless about an open wound.
She realised he was back to his usual boorish temperament and was ready to bite her head off. So she stepped back swiftly. "You should be fine now. I left your dinner there in case you are hungry later. I'm going to bed now," she said ready to make her escape.
He frowned, hating that she was walking away from him. He grabbed her wrist and pulled. She landed smack on his chest. She held on to his shoulders for support. "Ahh!" she exclaimed as her forehead stung. He had applied that horrid ointment on her too with his free hand. Her doe-like eyes closed as he blew on the small cut. He liked it when he didn't have to see accusations in them. Her skin felt lie rose petals beneath his fingers as they glided down her cheeks. He could stand with her like this forever. He liked it when she let him hold her so close so trustingly.
She slowly opened her eyes when she realised he had stopped. Her glance softened as she noticed the concern in his eye. She wanted to smile but was too scared to break the moment and invoke the beast in him. She looked at his arm which was still around her waist. She slowly slipped out of his grasp. "You... you can go...now," he mumbled knowing she had to leave hoping she didn't have to.
As she shut his door, she wondered if the ointment she applied had somehow healed his heart as much as the slash above it. The man behind the Jallad persona was starting to shine through.Edited by -Suganthi- - 2015-09-11T06:16:14Z
Topic started by -Disenchanted-
Last replied by AlooMatar