Swara woke up and it took her a while to take in the surroundings. The place looked different. The curtains were drawn together, but it wasn’t as dark as it were last night either. It all felt very real now.She was there. She couldn’t call it home, for it had been Don’s place away from their home all this time.
It was his territory,one she was yet to explore. Looking back at the curtains, she smiled realizing he’d remembered how she hated waking up to sunlight. Although, given the fact that they were now in London, it was probably not a problem, especially that they were in the actual heart of the city now, where it was always so much gloomier.
She stood in bed for a while longer. She was utterly ravished. Last night had been… intense. They couldn’t get enough of eachother now that they were back where they belonged, namely in eachother’s arms. But last night had been particularly special, as though he’d welcomed her back where she belonged.
She felt spent, was actually contemplating whether she could walk straight, but also felt incredibly light and slightly dizzy. She slipped out of bed, immediately regretting it. She’d forgotten how it felt to sleep in the nude, and London wasn’t exactly as hot as Delhi, not by a far cry.
She hurried inside the en suite, and turned on the showers rapidly. When she finished showering, she slipped into a black robe, enjoying the scent of it. It smelled just like him.
When she stepped back into the master bedroom, she tried for the walk in closet. But instead of being disappointed she was happy there were absolutely no women’s clothes. She did notice, however, that he still kept all his attire at the left hand side, the right was utterly vacant. That used to be her side. She intended to fill up the space as soon as possible. She didn’t pack anything to bring back from Delhi.
Don dismissed all her clothing, telling her she was lucky he wasn’t burning it all down, and that she’d better not be caught trying to slip into such atrocities ever again. She laughed at it, but he’d seemed dead serious.She wanted to keep looking around, taking in the new surroundings, but she was sure she’d slept in and hurried downstairs, already missing him.
Ever since he’d come to Delhi, they hadn’t been apart for a moment. She knew she shouldn’t get used to that, after all, Don was back to business, and that meant he’d be away most of the time. She wasn’t naïve to think otherwise. So she intended on making most of their time together.
As she approached the open-space kitchen, she could already smell the coffee that only Don knew how to make, Turkish was his speciality. As soon as Don came into her view, she felt her chest swell immediately and she stopped in her track to take it all in.
He was sitting at the table,at his laptop, his spectacles on his nose, and it was the most familiar, heart warming view she’d ever seen. Her coffee was placed in front of her seat, as usual, waiting for her, along with breakfast, as always, he’d never let her start the day without eating something.
She felt like crying but she knew he didn’t like it when she cried, even if they were tears of happiness, so she tried her hardest to pull herself together, and went ahead to say goodmorning to the man she loved.
No sooner did she start walking again that his gaze shifted right at her, looking over his glasses, as though he’d known she was there all along. Of course he did. Nothing ever escapes this man,she thought to herself, smiling. He smiled back, a knowing smile –in the corner of his lips.
She went right at him, as he made room for her to sit on his lap. She kissed him right after he took his glasses off. She felt like telling him how much she’d missed all this, but she really didn’t want to keep dwelling on the past, but focus instead on the present.
‘Indeed it is’ she smiled ‘You certainly look the part’
He chuckled ‘I try. Gotta keep up with my scandalously younger wife’ he said, giving her a swift slap across her bottom as she’s at up and walked to her chair across the table
She gasped ‘Such lies’
He shrugged ‘They’re just jealous’
‘No, I meant the part about you trying. I’m pretty sure you’d still look as handsomely put together even if you got run over by a truck’
He laughed, throwing his head back slightly. Only he could laugh at that. Even she felt it was a bit weird to put it that way, but she wanted to be dramatic. Don rarely laughed, like, really laugh
‘I certainly hope so. At least you’d be able to identify the body’
She froze hearing him say that. He realized he’d pushed it just a bit too far and chuckled, leaning over, taking her hand and kissing the back of it
‘Come on now, have your breakfast’
Suddenly she wasn’t really hungry, but she knew better than to argue.
‘So uhm… what’s the plan for today?’
He inhaled, putting his reading glasses back on, turning his head slightly towards the laptop ‘I’ve arranged for you to go shopping, clearly you can’t keep roaming around in that robe of mine for much longer’
‘I happen to like it’ she said, nuzzling into the collar of it,inhaling his scent
He stared at her for a while, and she noticed his gaze drop to her chest as her action made her expose quite a lot of her cleavage. He moved in his seat and returned to his laptop.
‘But that wasn’t what I meant. What are your plans for today?’
He looked back at her ‘Let’s leave that discussion for another time, shall we?’
‘Uh. I don’t know if I like the sound of that’
’‘Don’t get worked up, it’s nothing you haven’t already consented to’ he smirked, not removing his eye’s from the laptop
‘God knows what I’ve consented to. I might as well have sold my soul to the devil and not know it’
He chuckled ‘Nah, you’ve done that long ago’
She raised an eyebrow ‘Oh?’
‘Yes. The day you married me’ she gave her a satisfactory grin as he sat back in his chair, removing his glasses once again
‘Oh well. Then I guess since there’s nothing worse than that, I needn’t worry’
He chuckled again‘Whatever floats your boat’
She sighed, resuming her eating. He kept watching her, his gaze growing more intense by the minute
She blushed ‘It’ hard to swallow with you looking at me like that’
He groaned ‘Now you’re just doing it on purpose. Careful what words you use, sweetheart’
His tone was deep and primal, and she immediately felt her skin on fire. She almost smiled before she said it, but tried to keep on the innocent act
‘So… so should I wait for you or are you going to be eating out?’
Swara felt slightly guilty about having broken Don’s laptop as it felt on the kitchen floor. She’d pushed it over the edge, and they hadn’t even noticed until after he’d finished pleasuring her … spread across the dining table.
Oh well, she shrugged, it was totally forth it, especially that they hadn’t stopped until much later, when he’d really had to get going. She was ready to head out the door herself when she glanced at the remnants of his laptop scattered all over the beautiful tile, but Don had made her promise she wouldn’t clean it up herself.
The car was already waiting out for her, and thankfully, her clothes she’d worn on the plane ride were decent enough for her to wear on her little shopping spree. She wasn’t kidding herself though, she knew she was going to indulge big time. She needed so much stuff, it was ridiculous.
She took her time shopping. She tried not to think too much about what Don must’ve been doing in the meanwhile. But it worried her a bit that the driver turned bodyguard the moment they reached the shops, as he followed her everywhere she went.
Why did she need all that security, all of a sudden? She tried to shrug it off, and figured it was probably just Don being overly paranoid about it, now that she was back into his life.
After hours and hours of shopping, she finally headed back home, thankful she had a driver now, for she’d have been far too exhausted to drive the Bentley herself. She realized she didn’t even know the address to the downtown duplex anyway.
It was crazy. The idea of going back to the mansion, just to have a look around and maybe yet a few stuff from her old closet stroke her mind more than once. But she knew Don wouldn’t have liked that. That’s why he’d arranged for her to go shopping, anyway.
She didn’t really want to go there, either. It was just something inside her that was pushing her to go, nagging her to go.She tried to ignore it and resolved she’d just go another day. She didn’t want to do anything that might upset him, especially since there was no way to hide it, what with being escorted around and all.
Again, as she stepped foot inside the new apartment, she felt like it was different. But she liked that kind of different. She decided she was going to take a hot long bath before placing all her new clothes in the walk-in.
As she ran the water in the jacuzzi, she decided to go around the house a bit till it filled up.She hadn’t had the chance to explore.
Soon, she stumbled upon a room that was locked. She furrowed her brows, but immediately she realized why Don had locked it. It was Maya’s room. She stepped back away from it. She was happy he’d locked it. She wasn’t ready to see it, not yet, anyway. She didn’t quite take the time to think about all that had happened while they’ve been apart, and now as she sat in the jacuzzi, she began worrying about things they haven’t had the change to discuss thoroughly.
She still couldn’t quite believe that Don had actually taken Maya away from her parents. That little girl had stayed in this very apartment for nearly 2 years. He’d taken care of her, and been like a father to Maya for close to 2 years. Surely that must’ve been … really difficult for him to let go of. Which he did, realizing surely what a huge mistake he’d done. But she was certain that he wasn’t taking it lightly.
She always knew how fond Don had been of Maya. But this… this was something else. She needed to get him to talk about it.She wondered how Sam felt, finally having Maya back home again, after not being allowed to see her for so long. She felt so guilty for having been the cause behind it all.She thought about Yana, being stuck in the middle, only seeing her daughter on weekends.
But she also thought about Don, finally having the daughter he’d hoped to have, and how that must’ve been for him.Maya had been the only one that had kept him afloat all this time.The only one that kept him from doing God knows what he could’ve been capable of.
She flinched as she felt something suddenly grazing her neck, slipping and almost going under the water. She quickly realized it was Don, trying to kiss the crook of her neck, unsuccessfully.
He chuckled, helping her regain balance, holding her by her shoulders
‘Easy, sweetheart. I’m sorry I startled you. I did call out for you from the bedroom, I thought you’d heard me’
She was still panting ‘Jesus, Don. Don’t you ever knock?’ she shot him a look
‘You should’ve locked the door’
‘Yeah, like that has stopped you before’ she snorted
‘Care if I join you?’
She contemplated it and Don chuckled again ‘Relax, I’m too tired for any of that right now. Precisely why I need to take a long bath and gather up some more energy’
She shied away under the bubbles‘I really want to pull your leg about how old you are, but I’m really dreading what would happen if I did. I want to be able to walk tomorrow. Barely managed today’
He stripped while she’d said that, and sat in right behind her, cuddling her against his chest and pulling on her pony tail just as soon as she finished what she’d said
‘I don’t remember you being so naughty, my wildcat’
‘Again… must be some sort of beginning of Alzheimer’
Now he yanked on her ponytail hard enough for her head to sit over his left shoulder so he cool look her in the eye
‘Keep that up and we’ll flood this damn bathroom’
She swallowed hard, half in anticipation, half in realization that he might just keep his word for it. So she kept quiet as he untied her hair and slowly started shampooing her, caressing her scalp lightly with his fingertips. It felt like heaven.
‘So did you get all you needed?’
‘Didn’t look that way when I checked the balance on the credit card’
She rolled her eyes. If Don had his way, she’d only be wearing high end designer clothing
‘I just stuck to the basics today. No evening dresses and all that nonsense’
‘You used to love all that “nonsense”’
She shrugged ‘Yeah well, I don’t know. I kind of find it pointless now’
‘That would be a real pity, sweetheart. As beautiful as you look in anything you wear, it’s always a sight for sore eyes to see you all dressed up. And besides, you can’t exactly accompany me to where I’m going tobe taking you in jeans and a tank top’
He ignored her inquiry ‘I’m sure you’re just too used to wearing that for so long, you forgot the hang of it. It’ll come back to you.You’ve always been naturally elegant’She sighed.
He knew her so well. Maybe he was right, she was too caught up in her head for so long to bother about what she was wearing, that she lost all sense of fashion. But she used to love putting outfits together, for no reason at all but tomake herself smile.
She didn’t even dress up for him. She did it for her own satisfaction, because she had a natural inclination towards it. She’d lost track of anything she liked before, so now she was feeling like coming out of a coma, learning to do things again,small steps at a time.
‘You zoned out again. Are you sure you’re alright?’ he kissed her temple, worriedly
She nodded ‘I’m just tired, I guess. Too much to take in so rapidly’
‘Sweetheart you’re going to have to stop it with all that s*xual innuendo if you want to get some sleep tonight’
She giggled, although there was little to no humor in his tone ‘I’m trying to be a good girl, it’s just you’re too sick and twisted’ she elbowed him
‘Let’s get out of here before we turn into raisins’
‘Chicken’ he mumbled as she splashed him lightly, getting out of the tub.
As soon as Swara shimmied into her brand new nightgown, she was dead to the world, sound asleep, before Don could even make it to the bedroom.He stood for a long while just looking at her sleep.
Forget evening dresses,this was a sight for sore eyes. Having his wife finally back into his bed, their bed, where she rightfully belonged. Normally, around that time, he’d be putting Maya to sleep. He missed her. He was trying to not think about her, keeping himself busy, he didn’t even have to try to actually.
was always busy and back home he had Swara now, and she was definitely a handful. But he’s grown so used to coming back home to giggles and make-believe tea parties where he had to sip on imaginary tea and make it believable for the little girl, that he found himself walking slowly upto the room he’d locked.
He unlocked it, stepping in. He knew Swara would’ve been too taken aback to see it, she wasn’t ready yet. The room was every little girl’s fantasy, no less. He’d made sure she had anything she wanted, spoiled her rotten.But as he paced the room, he knew that what he’d done all along was even more make-believe than Maya’s tea parties.
He’d wanted her all to himself, as though she were his daughter. Just as Maya was old enough to know better concerning the authenticity of the tea in the plastic cups, he surely knew that she could never be his- she already had parents, she already had a father that she’d not seen for long, but as much as he tried, he could never really get Sam out of Maya’s head and heart.
He was “daddy” to her, and not him. He could never be. But he’d been stubborn. Sure, at first he’d taken her away to punish Sam, and also because he didn’t want little Maya to grow up with a low life as a father.He wanted much better for her. But as time went on, he realized he was in fact trying to make up for what had so unfairly happened to him when Swara had lost the baby.
He knew Maya wasn’t his daughter, but it felt right to treat her as though she were.But he knew that soon enough, he’d have to have all of the room packed up and shifted over to their house now. He had to stop pretending. Maya wasn’t his daughter, and not only that, but he’d never be the father he ached to be. He’d never even known it before Swara had gotten pregnant.
Actually, he hadn’t known it until she’d lost the baby. That’s when reality truly hit him. He was going to be a father, but then he wasn’t. And he was never going to be.
“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straight forwardly, without complexities or pride;so
I love you because I know no other way than this:where I does not exist, nor you,so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. ”
Swra had to struggle through her tears to read the poem he’d left for her again and again. She’d found it in the foyer, next to an elegant bouquet of roses.
After sighing and grinning like crazy,she shifted her attention back to the flowers, eyeing them peculiarly. They seemed awfully familiar, and she remembered having stumbled upon them on Pinterest recently, saving some of the pictures on her cellphone. Gasping, she turned on her phone, going through her pins. They were the exact same flowers, and she stared at the screen in utter shock as she read
“Making its debut in 2006 at the Chelsea Flower Show, the Juliet Rose took the world by storm by its elegance and beauty. It took David Austin 15 long years to create this beautiful flower. The Juliet Rose is also known as the £3 million rose, which is equivalent to approximately$15.8 million.”
Somehow the thought didn’t quite register. She blinked at her phone and even googled some more, and she kept looking back and forth from the roses to her phone. They were definitely Juliet roses, all 5 of them. She couldn’t believe it.
She looked for him around the house but she knew he was probably out by then, hence the surprise he’d left for her. But this was far too much! She wasn’t angry, but she wasn’t happy either.
Who did he think they were, royalty? Who even has that kind of money, anyway?
Of course she could feel butterflies all over, but she was almost upset with herself to be feeling so happy. She shouldn’t be. He needed to know there was absolutely no reason to blow off that kind of money on flowers. And again…
WHO THE HELL EVEN HAS THAT KIND OF MONEY?
Apparently, they did.
‘Good morning’ he answered the phone, and he seemed quite pleased with himself. She didn’t have it in her heart to reprimand him, at least not over the phone
She exhaled ‘Don…’
‘I love you too, sweetheart’ he chuckled ‘How about brunch, I’ve got some spare time in about an hour’
She sighed, trying to hold back a huge smile. When she headed back to the master bedroom, she felt like slapping herself for not putting away all the clothes the other day. She’d been so tired, meant to do it after that long hot bath, but instead she’d fallen asleep right afterwards. When she stepped in to the walk-in closet she gasped.
Don had put away all her new clothes, even color-coordinated them and separated them into casual, formal and semi-formal attire, the latter category slightly scarce as she’d told him already she didn’t go for evening wear just yet.
She couldn’t believe this man. She’d always known Don was a bit of a neat freak but she was certain he hadn’t done it just because it irked him to see shopping bags all around the closet.As she sat on a chaise longue that was placed in between their respective sides of the closet, she seriously contemplated her worth in their relationship. What did he even see in her?
She’d failed him so many times. She couldn’t at least give him the baby he so obviously desired. She kicked herself mentally for everything she’d done to upset him. Sure, he’d had his fair share of misdoings, but he’d always had his way of making it up to her. And she wasn’t even counting in all the material things he’d gifted her.
Reluctantly, she stood up and looked into the massive mirror. She was just a shadow of the woman he’d fallen in love with.
Her hair was a mess, her nails weren’t done, clothes hung on her loosely now that her curves were seemingly on a holiday. She resolved she needed to pull herself together. No more feeling sorry for herself, no more losing track of who she really was.
Don was right. She’d always been naturally elegant, so what if she’d lost sense of it a bit along the way? She was adamant to bring the old Swara back.
Having not worn high heels for a long while, Swara strode carefully out of the Bentley and into the luxurious restaurant Don had picked for their brunch date. She glanced over her shoulder, and only when she entered the restaurant did the bodyguard/chauffeur leave her on her own. She needed to discuss that with Don.
Surely it wasn’t necessary to have someone follow her all day long as if she couldn’t very well take care of herself. But she shook her head soon afterward, resolving not to bring it up today.
Don immediately looked her way as she was being walked over to their table. His eyes narrowed, looking her over from head to toe, slowly and intently. She smiled to herself, noting that he was pleased to see her wearing something feminine for a change.
He stood up, as he walked over to her side, holding the chair for her and leaning in to kiss her cheek before he walked back to his seat. She couldn’t help blushing.
For a while he just looked at her, a smile playing along his lips
‘Don, you’re staring’ she said, opening her menu and holding it in between them so to block his view
She giggled. He always used to say that. Suddenly, her chest swell as she once again realized she’d almost lost him. But he was here now, they were together. And nothing could ever change that again
He reached across and snatched the menu away from her ‘I already ordered’
She wanted to protest, but she knew that he always knew exactly what she’d like out of any menu
‘See, darling? There’s nothing you can complain about today’
‘It’s overwhelming’she said in a low voice ‘I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve all this’
she was fighting really hard to keep her tears at bay
Don furrowed his eyebrows ‘What do you mean? Do I need a reason to spoil you?’
‘Spoil doesn’t even begin to cover it… this is… royal treatment’ she gushed
Then he smiled. A huge smile, plastered all across his beautiful face, his dimples deeper than ever. The kind of smile that reached his eyes and went way beyond. She swore she could’ve melted seeing him so happy.But it didn’t last long, seeing that she’d begun crying as if on queue
She dismissed hisconcern as she gestured, hiding her face away
‘I’m sorry. I’m just… it’s just…’
She noted he’d left his seat and crouched next to hers, leaning on one knee
‘What’s the matter, sweetheart?’ he cupped her face
‘I’m sorry, I don’t want to make a scene’ she whispered, already blushing feeling all eyes on them
He halfsmiled ‘You know I can’t stand to see you cry. Don’t mess around with an old man’s heart’
She laughed, wiping her tears away ‘You’re not old!’ she realized she’d said that a bit too loud
‘Sorry.I’m embarrassing you’
He chuckled ‘You’re not. And I don’t care about what people think,Swara. You should know that by now’ he said, caressing her cheek with his thumb, as he held her hand with his other
‘Hey, now… stop crying, mhm?’
She nodded but somehow tears kept flowing downher cheek as she smiled at him
‘You make me so happy, Don. I love you’
Just like that, the same radiant smile made his way back on Don’s face. She didn’t think she’d ever seen him so happy before
‘And I, you, Swara. There’s only one thing that could possibly make me happier’
She laughed silently, already imagining what sort of naughty thing he’d say next
She didn’t even register when he’d pulled out of his coat a small velvety box, opening it to reveal an exquisite diamond ring
‘Promise me you’ll be forever mine’
She just stared at the box, somehow she was suffering an emotional overdose. She just started, not knowing what to say
‘We’re still married, aren’t we?’ she finally got herself to say
He nodded ‘Yes, but somehow that didn’t work out exactly as we’d set out to. I think we deserve a fresh start. Let’s make things right…’
he paused and then squeezed her hand ‘I’m not letting go of you ever again, Swara. I mean it. I’m hoping may be you still want me. Even after all that—‘
She silenced him abruptly as she threw her hands around his shoulders and leaned in to kiss him feverishly
‘I do, Don, I do. Don’t ever doubt it’
They could hear people cheering around them, clapping tastefully at the display of affection. She didn’t shy away, even after breaking the kiss, hugging him with all her strength
‘I don’t need a new ring, I don’t need million pounds worth of flowers, I don’t need anything but you. You’re all I need’
He pulled away and arched an eyebrow ‘So are you declining my humble marriage proposal?’
She giggled through her tears. He didn’t even bother this time, he knew she was probably not even realizing she was crying.
‘We’re already married, silly!’
‘We’re renewing our vows tonight, if you accept this’
he raised his eyebrows suggestively, running the box across his fingers playfully
She bit her lower lip and held out her hand to him. Seeing that her wedding band and former engagement ring no longer fit her now thinner fingers, she wasn’t wearing them. But the one Don placed on her hand now fit perfectly
‘We’ll have it enlarged if needed’ he assured her
She just stared at it, not even caring what it looked like,instead cherishing what it represented. All she could think of what how much she loved him. Leaning in she gave him another kiss before he stood back up
‘Thank you’. And she’d meant it from the bottom of her heart.