A grunt woke her up instantly, though, and seeing Sam collapse to the floor made her knees turn weak at the same time. She dropped her gun, and as Don returned from the balcony she quickly picked it up, clumsily
‘Where?’ was all Don asked from a distance, still aiming the gun in the opposite direction as he closed the door tothe balcony behind him.
‘Shoulder. I’m alright’ Sam uttered between his teeth.Swara’s hand was shaking as she was also aiming her gun, slowly approaching Sam.Don immediately went for the bathroom door
‘It’s alright. Whoever was here left just before I entered the bedroom’ Sam struggled
‘I saw him jump from the balcony while I was downstairs’
‘How do we know he was solo?’ Don asked as he approached Sam, but only after clearing the bathroom area as well.
‘The security footage would’ve caught it on tape. It was only one person, argh!!!’ he grunted as Don grabbed Sam’s shoulder to check for the bullet
‘Sam…’ was all she could utter
‘Don’t worry’ Sam tried to smile, but that only made Swara shed the tears she’d been holding back all along
‘It’s alright. It’s very minor. But weneed to get the bullet out’ Don quickly assessed the damage. He ripped Sam’s shirt and then used the fabric to tie a knot just above the wound
‘Can you walk? We’re not safe here’she couldn’t stop sobbing and Don couldn’t hide his desperation
‘F*ck it, Swara, focus so that we can get out of here. Alright!?’It had immediate effect on het. Her tears dried instantly and she headed towards the door
‘Where the hell are you going?!’ Don snapped
‘I’m fetching a car’
‘You stay here with Sam,I’ll fetch the car’ he said gravely She knew better than to argue with him right then.
Don was not happy to go to the pent house apartment downtown London, but he had no faster, better alternative. Sam needed immediate medical attention, and since Don was the one providing it, the location needed to make do.
‘Don’t call Yana’ Sam was repeating. Swaa half smiled. Sam was so thoughtful,even in that situation. Truthfully, he was high on sedatives,as Don had to prep him for the extraction. But still, she found it sweet.
‘Arre, what happened, yaaaaar?’ Sam giggled as Don busied himself around him, getting everything he needed ready to extract the bullet Swara inhaled sharply. How could she reply to that when even she didn’t know the answer
‘Hold still’ Don warned Sam gestured lazily for him to proceed, as though he didn’t worry at all about the possible pain that may occur
‘Arre batao yaaaaar’
‘Chup kar, bhai’ Don said, imitating Sam to get his attention
‘Maaf karo na bhai, I’m just curious na?’Don exhaled. He was beginning to lose his patience. But he proceeded anyway Surprisingly (or not), Sam didn’t make a sound as Don proceeded to extract the bullet from his shoulder.He was obviously more than sufficiently sedated.
‘Ok now hold still while I bandage you’Sam gestured once again for him to not mind about such trivial stuff, but Don insisted and managed to disinfect the wound properly and then even do some stitches before getting ready to bandage him tightly.
‘Roma, he’s falling asleep, you might want to answer Sam’ Don suddenly said, in a calm tone. But she knew better than to think he was indeed calm
‘Haaaan yaaar’ Sam said from underneath heavy eyelids
‘Batao na’Swara sighed
‘Something… something happened’
‘I could tell as much’ Don said as he continued to ends a the Sam’s upper arm and shoulder
‘I… recognized his scent’Don paused for a mere second, then proceeded, waiting for her to do so as well
‘That’s when I froze. My mind raced trying to figure out who it was, but I couldn’t,and I lost my focus. That’s when… Sam came in, and I acted on instinct. It never happened to me before’ she said in a small voice She waited for a reaction from Don,who was busying himself now around Sam, putting everything he had used into place
‘You do know that perfumes or colognes are sold worldwide in chain stores, right?’Swara frowned. She didn’t know whether to defend her reaction or admit she’d been stupid enough to overlook that aspect.
‘Don… it wasn’t like that’
‘Then what was it like, Swara?’ he stopped whatever he was doing and blinked at her slowly. It made her feel as though she were the littlest, most stupid creature on the face of the Earth.She bit her tongue and looked away. As Don put Sam to sleep, she also went for the guest bedroom, locking the door behind her.
Swara didn’t exit the bedroom the whole night. Don didn’t try to come and talk to her either. Suddenly, the gap between them was even bigger and deeper than before. She felt horrible for putting Sam through that, though. She needed to tell him how sorry she was, as she never did get the change to apologize properly. She needed to see how he was, and also to ask him whether she could finally tell Yana about the incident.
She surely must’ve been worried sick.As she approached the master bedroom, where Don had placed Sam, she carefully tiptoed across the hall, passing Don’s study. His lamp was on. She could smell the smoke all the way from the guest bedroom. But the penthouse was silent, apart from the sound of the ice cubes dancing around in Don’s glass of whiskey. Nevertheless, she needed to get to Sam and check on him.
She slowly entered the master bedroom, and closed the door behind her. She approached Sam. He appeared to be sleeping. She debated whether to wake him up for a bit or let him sleep, but he had obviously sensed her presence since he grunted, moving slightly.
‘Don’t move your shoulder’ she whispered dearly, caressing his arm
‘Sam, I’m so sorry’
‘Not your fault, Swara…’ he was semiconscious
‘Please forgive me’ she could feel tears building up again
‘Don’t worry… we’ll catch him’She sighed. Sam, always putting others ahead of himself. She half smiled, squeezing his hand
‘I warned Don it’s dangerous’She silently wiped her tears away
‘We were careful. Thank God nothing worse happened…’
‘They want to kill him’ Sam sighed she frowned
‘Who wants to kill whom?’Sam sighed again,he was drifting in between sleep and consciousness
‘The big guys…’
‘Sam… what are you talking about?’ she got closer to Sam, her heart pounding
‘The underworld, aur kaun?..’
‘Swara’ Don suddenly interrupted the two, standing in the doorframe. She flinched, having not heard when he’d gotten there, and also her blood turned cold upon hearing Sam refer to the life Don had left a long time ago.
‘Sam needs to rest. Come’
Swara slowly turned, but not before squeezing Sam’s hand once in lack of
Don stood in the doorframe, waiting for Swara to exit the bedroom. He didn’t move, but let her pass by him. She struggled to fit in the small space he’d left available, and so was forced to touch him. She hesitated, but eventually looked up into his eyes.Neither spoke, but Don eventually stepped aside, letting her pass by more easily. Their glances weighed more than words.Back in the guest bedroom, Swara tossed and turned in bed thinking about what Sam had said.
Obviously, she thought, he was incoherent due to the heavy dose of sedatives. But what if…?Swara flinched. The light in the living area had gone off, as she could see from the threshold. Don was finally going to sleep on the couch. She couldn’t help but smile a bit. It had been a while since Don had had to sleep on the sofa. She suddenly remembered where they’d left off before Don had gotten that text from Sam announcing him that someone was inside the house. She immediately felt her pulse pick up.She suddenly felt the urge to sit up and go to him. She felt vulnerable and scared. She needed her husband. But it wasn’t that easy. If only things were…different, she thought.
“To hell with this, Swara. He’s your husband, for God’s sake. Whatever happened today was… scary, to say the least. Go up to him and let him know you need him…” she pep talked herself into doing it.She slowly opened the door and before her eyes could accommodate to the darkness she heard him say
‘Kya hua meri jungli billi ko?… Did she turn into a frightened little kitten?’ he chuckled sweetly, his voice deep and playful though.She approached him shyly, and he looked up at her, then before she knew it he pulled her down on top of him, startling her
‘Hm?’She was so relieved to see him in a more joyous mood but she knew better than to simply take advantage of that
‘I’m sorry… I screwed up today…’ she started He scooched over making room for her next to him on the sofa, and he leaned over her slightly as he sat her on top of his pillow. He placed his index finger gently on top of her lips silencing her. Swara was reminded once more of just how complex Don was.One could never read him. One moment he was furious, the next he was caring.
She sighed and looked away, feeling even more guilty, but he titled her chin so she would look up to him
‘It was not your fault. I should’ve insiste don a better surveillance system, if anything you should be sorry for arguing with me when I wanted to hire watchmen’She half smiled
‘I still think that’s outrageous. It was an isolated incident, I’m sure…it’s not like we’re Bollywood celebrities or something’Don smirked
‘Baby, Bollywood nahin, Hollywood thrillers should get inspired from where I come from’her smile faded, remembering Sam’s words
‘So you think it was someone from your past?’Don shrugged
‘Most probably. I’ve failed lots of students but I doubt any would go to the extent of wanting to kill me’ he chuckled But Swara didn’t find it funny. It had just now hit her. Whoever had been in their house certainly didn’t come with friendly intentions.One wrong step and Don could’ve gotten killed. That too, right before her eyes.Don pulled her rapidly into an embrace seeing her terrified look
‘Chalo, I was only kidding. Darling, nothing could ever happen. I won’t allow it’
‘I wasn’t thinking about myself’ she muttered, holding on to him tighter‘I know. I would never allow anyone to take me away from you. And leave you here, all alone?’She smiled shyly but his glare was mischievous
‘I’m too selfish for that, sweetheart. You’re mine, and mine alone. And I won’t lose sight of you for one moment. It’s just not going to happen’she blushed and slowly smiled,only Don could think such thoughts
‘You’re mad!’ He locked his gaze on her eyes
‘Mad about you’ he said in a serious tone. Her blush deepened, and she knew he could tell even if it was pitch dark
‘I really hate Sam now for sleeping in the master bedroom’ he added, playful yet aware of what he was implying Swara was about to suggest they went into the guest bedroom, together, but Don lay down next to her and spooned her, holding her tightly into his arms
‘Sleep now. I promise I’ll make up for lost time later’ he said, kissing her shoulder Swara struggled not to tremble with excitement as she bit her lower lip.
Swara woke up to the smell of coffeeand home cooked breakfast. Or so she thought, until she heard what seemed to have been pots and dishes in the kitchen.Suddenly she was distracted by a delicious sight. Don was exiting the master bedroom angrily, a singular, rather small towel hanging from his waist, his whole body sparkling with fresh water buds, accentuating every taught muscle.
He halted,seeing that she had woken up, and after gazing ather for a few moments he resumed his original intention of walking to the kitchen
‘Just what the hell is going on in here?’ Swara could hear an angry Dondemand be explained
‘Breakfast!’ a jolly Sam replied. She giggled. This was not about to turn out for the best
‘Is your making breakfast some kind of master plan to wake up my wife?’
“Oh, boy” Swara sighed, and quickly got up before things got too ugly, hurrying to get between them the sooner, the better
‘Mmmm, something smells delicious!’ she entered the open space kitchen, all smiles Sam grinned but Don snapped
‘Oye! What are you staring at? Did your brain get injured or your shoulder!?’she giggled
‘Arre come on, I’m more dressed than you are’On that queue, they both burst out laughing, apart from Don who was fuming by now. She could swear she saw steam come out of his pores Sam was the first to stop laughing, seeing that his boss was not indulging in their matutinal humour
‘Sorry if I woke you up, Swara… it’sa bit tricky to cook with only one hand’ he halfsmiled
‘You shouldn’t have’ she said sweetly, going up to him and giving him a friendly peck on his cheek,to Don’s despair
‘You go rest, I’ll finish here’Don gestured for Sam to exit the kitchen as well, and then after shaking his head in disapproval, as Swara was grimacing at him playfully, he returned to get dressed.
As Swara was finishing up in the kitchen, she heard the door and soon realized Yana had arrived. Along with Maya. She froze, but tried to hide away her a version.She kept telling herself that it was alright, Maya was a sweet child and she loved her. She needed to stop associating her to what had happened…
she stepped out of the kitchen area and into the hall way where she saw Yana hug Sam really tight. She was careful not to touch his injury, but the way they were clinging on to each other was very touching. She realized Yana hadn’t had a clue about the whole thing until this morning. Sam had not wanted to disturb them all, calling her over late in the evening.Her attention was quickly drawn to Don and Maya. She was imitating her mother by hugging Don’s neck really tightly. Swara giggled to herself.Don quickly said, looking straight at Swara
‘Yana, careful not to hug him too tight, the doctor said the shoulder could dislocate again quite easily’Swara nodded subtly, letting Don know she understood what he’d tried to communicate to her. Sam’s shoulder had been just dislocated, and in no which way gunshot. Apparently, he’d seen a doctor as well.Maya was glued to Don for the next hour and a half. Swara could only sit back and watch the two of them together.
She kept on a smile but deep down it was tearing up her heart. Don was a genuine father figure for Maya. His way with her was so instinctive and to any outside viewer it would’ve surely looked like he washer father.
Swara busied herself in the kitchen as Sam and his family left,and Don came and hugged her from behind, circling her waist and placing his chin on her left shoulder
‘Ready to go?’
‘We need to make it in time for our appointment’She turned to face him, and suddenly it hit her
‘Oh, God. Is it Friday already?’
‘Is that a “no”, then? We could reschedule…’
‘No, no, we can’t. We have to go, Don. We promised we’d stick to her indications, na?’Don inhaled sharply
‘You really think you can turn a blind eye on what happened yesterday?’Swara shrugged, lowering her gaze, and he tilted her chin.
‘I’m not even comfortable with the idea of you leaving these four walls’She looked deep into his eyes
‘You really have no idea who it is, do you?’.Fear engulfed her. Someone was out to get him, and the scariest part was that Don, for the first time, maybe, had no clue who it was.
‘Don’t worry about this, sweetheart. I’ll get to the bottom of it. What matters most is that we don’t lose our progress, alright?’ he caressed her cheek
‘And for that, we’re going to see the therapist. Just like we said we would’
She smiled a bit and he kissed the corner of her lips, giving her the queue to go get ready for their appointment.
‘So’ Carol smiled
‘Let’s get right to it, shall we? Impressions on this week, Swara, you go first.’
Swara bit her lower lip slightly, trying to gather her thoughts. The fact that she did not get the time to prepare any “thoughts” to present to Carol for their couple therapy session was extremely unfortunate. She had to completely make abstraction of the fact that someone had broken into their house and potentially tried to kill them. Which implied that she had to make abstraction of the fact that Don was a former underworld tycoon. It began snowballing in her mind that she lost track of her thoughts quite rapidly
‘Hm? Oh. Sorry. I was trying to really sum it up…’
‘Oh, it’s been an eventful week I gather’
‘Quite’ Swara smiled awkwardly
‘You don’t need to summarize, feel free to go into detail’Swara stole a glance of Don and that’s when he interrupted
‘I could go first’Carol seemed to hesitate for a moment then nodded in approval
‘I think it’s been a great week’ Don smiled slightly
‘We haven’t connected like this in a long while. I’m really confident that we’re on the right track’ he said looking at Swara
‘Care to elaborate?’
‘We went back to where we sort of started off. It brought back lots of memories of happier times’ he said looking into space, his brows slightly furrowed
‘What would you say differentiates those days back then to the past few months?’Don looked at her as if he was about to ask her whether she was dumb or just faking it.Swara stepped in
‘I think we had other issues back then, that were entirely different from the ones we’re facing today. It used to be us against the world, now it’s us against… the world we’ve created involuntarily, I guess’Carol stood pensive for a few moments
‘I’m not against it. I’m against this gap’ Don gestured in between them
‘The way you make us sit at each end of the sofa? I feel it’s the same when we step out of here, except nobody’s telling us to sit apart. Everytime I get closer she steps back’ he said in a very calm manner, hinting that he was not blaming her for the distance
‘You close in as well’ she said, lowering her gaze to her hands
‘More so now than before. Remember when I woke you up that morning?’ she slowly raised her gaze to meet his and Carol stepped in
‘Please elaborate, Swara’
‘I went to wake him up… he’s always up earlier than I am…’
‘Pardon, that means to say that you do not sleep together?’
Carol looked at both of them, as they’d both replied at the same time, entirely different answers.
‘You’re asking us whether we’re having s*x?’ Don asked in a very straight forward manner, making Roma blush
‘Actually, I wasn’t, but I’d like an input on that front as well’
‘Then the answer is yes, we sleep together, and no, we don’t have s*x’Swara covered here yes slightly. She was mortified
‘How come you were not sleeping together, then?’Don looked at her again with his eyebrow raised and Swara thankfully replied before he could
‘We were trying to recreate the atmosphere from back when we started off… as per your advice’
‘Very well’ Carol said
‘Excuse me while I delay your original answer, but how do you feel about your s*x life, or lack there-of?’She blush deepened
‘Well. I mean. You know…’
‘How do I put it so that you understand?’ Don interrupted on a slightly irritated tone
‘It went from up here’ he stretched his arm above his head
‘Down to the reception desk in the lobby of this building. I believe this was the 38th floor we pressed on the elevator, right?’She covered here yes again, shooting him a deadly look right afterwards
‘How do you think I feel, lady?’ he was downright angry now
‘How does anyone feel when they don’t have s*x with their wife? Granted, if you asked your average Joe how he felt about it he’d probably not even know when the last time had happened. But our relationship has always been extremely s*xual. Very raw, very primal, uninhibited, loud, passionate, beautiful, earth shattering-‘
‘-Don!’ Swara shouted Don exhaled loudly and then said very gravely
‘I hate it.’Carol seemed to be at loss for words for a few moments ‘Point taken. Swara?’She shook her head slightly ‘I hate it too. I don’t like the fact that we’re not intimate.But it’s something I can’t seem to overcome’ she was silent for a long while ‘He’s been very understanding. He hasn’t pushed me at all in this sense.I know he tries to reason with me, but how can I explain it when even I don’t understand?’ her voice went very small and feint towards the end of her little speech
‘Would you like to go back to what you were originally saying?’
‘Hm? Oh…’ she gave it a thought ‘He just… my husband is a very complex personality, you see. He isn’t the most revealing, expressive, insightful character. I’ve sort of learnt his ways over time and even that is a major overstatement. He’s very mercurial, very dual. My point is… that I’ve seen him react in certain ways that he used to back when we were starting off… and I feel that maybe this is more of a drawback than a progress.
‘Thoughts on that?’ Carol was almost afraid to ask Don sighed and looked over at Swara
‘What can I say? I’ll always be me’That reply sent shivers down her spine. He’d always be Don, she knew that of course. But she was even more surprised that she didn’t resent him for that one bit.
No matter what the imprecations, that’s the man she fell in love with. She wouldn’t want him any other way. She loved that darkness in his eyes that she saw that morning, no matter how much it’d disturbed her. She didn’t know what it’d meant. But she knew it was part of him.
‘Let’s go back to your impressions on this week, shall we?’ Carol drifted the conversation
‘I agree with him, I see progress as well. I’m really happy we’re here’ she smiled genuinely
‘How did you feel not sleeping together?’She furrowed her brows slightly
‘I’m not sure… relieved,in a way…’
‘How so?’Swafa hated herself for admitting what she was about to say
‘Maybe…because I don’t have to lay next to him and feel him so tense…the way he’s always so careful not to touch me uncertain ways… careful not to give me the wrong idea…’
‘I thought you appreciated that about him, the fact that he’s not pushing you into doing anything outside your current comfort zone’Swara nodded and looked away
‘I told you… I don’t understand myself either. I hate disappointing him every night. Yet another day has passed and we’re still sharing a bed like total strangers. It’s very depressing. I really wish I could just … turn to him and…’ she suddenly broke down, crying
‘I’m sorry’Don immediately got next to her, taking her into his arms. She was struggling to compose herself while he was whispering how he was sorry to have made such a big deal out of it.Carol sat back watching the whole thing. She took notes and seemed really taken aback by the whole situation.
‘Let’s do this another time’ Don said to Carol but Swara interrupted
‘No, no, it’s alright.I’m sorry’
‘Actually I think we really should continue this next week. Do continue communicating more openly at home as well. Your assignment until next week is to go on taking things one step at a time and think about it individually and decide whether you’d want to give it another try at having a child. You don’t have to talk about it. Just each think of it for themselves and we’ll confront both views next Friday’ Carol smiled cordially and that was their cue to leave.
Don held his arm around Swara’s shoulders all the way to the car. When they got in he didn’t start the engine right away.He turned to her and said
‘Swara… she pushed the wrong buttons, and I really shouldn’t have overreacted the way I did. I really don’t want you to think this is what I hate most about our situation. Because it isn’t’Swara looked at him attentively, very aware of her red, puffy eyes.He took her hand into his and sighed
‘I miss you.All of you. I hate what this has done to you. I don’t need a week to think it through.I already know that I don’t even want to think of ever trying for another baby again’she was about to protest but he went on ‘I’m never risking this again. Swara, get this into your head.You are the most important. A child together would’ve been… nice, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t care. I don’t want it. I hate myself for reversing my vasectomy and putting you through all this’
‘No, let me finish. I should’ve made this clearer a long time ago. I don’t care about fatherhood, I don’t care about offspring and legacy and whatnot. All I care about is you’ he caressed her check with his other hand ‘Please know that. And what nonsense is that of you not wanting to disappoint me every time we go to bed! You are my wife, Swara. I love you, damnit. I don’t care whether we screw our brains out or just lay silent next to eachother! Of course I miss you in that sense…’ He kissed the inside of her palm and placed it over his cheek, holding it there
‘But I miss this more. Just telling you I love you, without you thinking it’s in spite of what happened. I don’t care about what happened, swara. I care about what it’s done to you, to us. Let’s put it behind us. I’m not asking you to forget it happened. I know that’d be absurd. But let it bring us closer together, if anything’Swara was at loss for words. She couldn’t believe how carefully Don had picked his words to make it as clear as possible to her as to where he stood.
‘I love you’ was all Swara could say and before he could put the key into ignition she kissed him.
Later that day, Swara sat quietly in what would have been the nursery. She had only gotten the chance to paint the room in a light green shade, not knowing what gender the baby would’ve been. But she’d been eager to do some preparations nonetheless. She’d also bought a white wooden rocking chair. She’d always imagined herself feeding her baby on a rocking chair by the window. Now she sat on the chair all alone.Don didn’t want to try again.
He’d made it very clear. Whereas she had no idea what she wanted. It didn’t even really matter now that she knew his feelings towards the issue.Could she ever really move on, though, she wondered. Why had it been so hard for her to move on? Many women experience miscarriages. It’s quite common that such things happen. Some move on as if nothing had happened, and other, such as her,turn it into a tragedy.She knew that the fact that she had no family of her own was the main reason she had clung onto the idea of a baby so much. Don was her husband, but he wasn’t her blood relative. She had no one to call her own in that sense. This connection could only be created now with her own child. Losing yet another one of her kind had really taken a toll on her.She heard Don knock on the doorframe and looked in his direction
‘Do you want to be alone?’
‘No, it’s alright’ she halfsmiled Don stepped reluctantly into the room, standing by the window as well
‘This is the first time I come here ever since … ‘Swara sighed and he added out of nowhere
‘I think we should move’She placed her foot down on the floor to stop the chair from rocking
‘What? Why!’He shrugged
‘It just doesn’t feel right anymore. First the baby and now what happened yesterday… ‘
‘Where would we go?… I mean… this is home’
‘Is it, though?’ he looked over at her ‘I don’t think you ever thought of it as your home, sweetheart’ he said crunching in front of the chair She smiled ‘You know me better than I know myself, I feel’He began pushing the chair slowly so that it kept rocking back and forth
‘We’ll go live in the pent house apartment for a little while until we find something good enough. I want it to be everything you’ve ever imagined’She stared into space for a while and he asked while continuing to rock her chair
‘What is my kitten thinking about?’She sighed
‘In a perfect world, we’d go back to London. That would be home’He slowly stopped and pulled her closer to him
‘Do you really mean that?’She shook her head
‘I don’t know what I mean anymore. But we’ve got a life here. You got tenure at the university, I have my course as well…’
‘We’ve just talked about this’ he said quickly ‘What matters most is you, us. Who cares about the tenure. You could hold your classes wherever’
‘It’s not that simple, Don. Forget it. It was silly to begin with’
‘I don’t think so’ he said after thinking it through for a few moments
‘Don… ok, forget the tenure and my course. But what about Ram saab? London is not an option. Please forget I ever said anything. One can’t have everything they want in life, and that doesn’t make it an unhappy life’ she said caressing his check caringly
‘Stop trying to bring the moon to my feet. I’m a big girl. I don’t expect you to’
Done with this part hope u like it…I know it’s going too emotionally…I’ll try my best to make swara back to normal as soon as possible.
Thank a lot for your support…for encouragement…?