SHIVIKA – TEMPTING MR OBEROI
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Annika, Gauri and Swara go out
Shivaay knocked on Swara’s door and entered upon her answer.
Swara (surprised) : Shivaay!
Shivaay : Swara, I brought you something.
Swara : You did? For me?
Shivaay sat down on the sofa and handed out a gift wrapped box to her. She took it silently, sat down and opened it. Her eyes widened when she saw the delicate diamond and ruby necklace inside the box.
Swara : This..
Shivaay : I got this for you.
Swara : But it must be terribly expensive. I can’t accept this. It.. It wouldn’t be right.
Mahi : Ofcourse it would be.
Shivaay and Swara swung around to see Mahi stand at the entrance, a smile on his lips.
Swara : But…
Shivaay : Whether we knew it or not, whether we understand it or not, we are siblings, Are we not?
Mahi : And as your brother, Shivaay and I can give you presents. As for you thinking it being too expensive, Remember we have twenty years of birthday gifts that we owe you.
Shivaay : That’s right. I thought this would be perfect for your entrance into the Elite.
Mahi : Not that these jewels can compare to your beauty, but they are exquisite.
Swara chuckled and smiled.
Swara : Thank you. They are lovely and I love them.
Shivaay nodded gently and walked out of the room. Mahi shook his head exasperated.
Mahi (thinking) : When will he learn that distance is not always the answer?
Swara : Did you tell him to buy this for me?
Mahi looked at his sister, an enigmatic smile on his lips.
Mahi : Shivaay bought these for you himself. He, He’s just being Shivaay. The great wall of SSO as everyone calls him. Everyone thinks that he doesn’t love anyone but himself. That he thinks about no one but himself. But that is not true. He loves me, He loved our father. Even you have managed to create a place for you in his heart. But… He chooses to hide it because he thinks he won’t be hurt then.
Swara : Funny how our mother’s sins have reaped on us, Isn’t it?
Mahi : Our mother’s sins are hers and hers alone. We may be influenced by the memories, but I refuse it to rule my heart and mind.
He came forward and placed a soft yet firm hand on Swara’s cheek.
Mahi : Both you and Shivaay have to let go of her.
Before Swara could say anything, Mahi walked out to find Shivaay waiting for him in the staircase.
Mahi : Shivaay!
Shivaay : That woman doesn’t control my heart.
Mahi : Perhaps not. But she does control your mind. You compare everyone to her. You compare everyone to our father. You ran from your sister’s room as though you were afraid she would bite. You choose to keep your distance from Swara even though I know you will do anything to keep her safe and happy.
Shivaay : Who are you, My therapist?
Mahi : If only. But you forget, We are twins. I may not believe in love and its romantic notions, but I do believe in happiness. I believe in optimism. You are too jaded.
Shivaay gave one last scowl then turned and walked upstairs to his room. As he closed the door, He remembered Annika clinging to the wall even as she desired his kiss.
The thought made him smile. He remembered her hands around his shoulders as they had kissed. They had been so soft, so gentle, yet filled with strength.
He thought of her and her opinion on love, then thought of Swara and Mahi.
Shivaay : They are all wrong. Affection and desire is the most a person should feel for another.
He looked at his piano ignoring the second jewellery bag on the desk.
Shivaay (thinking) : I should go and return that before anyone else finds out.
Then he began tapping the keys on his piano and was soon lost in his musical world.
FEW DAYS LATER
Annika stood besides the door at the Rabindranath Tagore Concert Hall waiting for the Oberois and Swara. Omkara’s family, Gauri, Akshat and her mother were already seated in their respective seats at the front of the room, A position of great honour anywhere.
Tonight was to be Swara’s official entry in the Elite world. Annika didn’t want Swara to be seen first in a party or dance as she would be more subject to gossip and scrutiny.
By asking Swara and Oberois to sit with them during tonight’s performance, Everyone would realise that Swara had three members of the Elite’s support and approval of her, making her less of a scandal in their world.
Annika noticed Swara entering along with her brothers and smiled, satisfied. She could see many of the Under-Elite and Elite look at her curiously and intently.
If the attention were any indication, Italian or no, daughter of a disreputable woman or no, Swara would make a remarkable debut.
Swara (happily) : Annika!
She came forward for a hug and Annika obliged.
Annika : You look very pretty, Swara.
Swara : As do you, and you too Gauri.
Annika noticed Swara wearing the diamond and ruby set and her heart skipped a beat. Had Shivaay given this to her? Shivaay didn’t have anyone else to give the jewellery set anyways. He had told her himself that he would not do anything to jeopardise Swara’s entrance into the Elite.
Annika (thinking) : It’s alright. It’s alright.
She watched as Swara behaved in an excellent manner with Om’s family, then with Annika’s. She noticed Omkara’s father looking at Swara, a kind smile on his face and knew that they liked Swara.
Suddenly her gaze met Shivaay’s who was standing in the side after greeting everyone. She inhaled sharply as their gazes collided, trapped by his glittering cat eyes, intent and unreadable. He tipped his head, almost imperceptibly. She understood the meaning implicitly.
She mirrored the action and then urged everyone to sit. They sat and Annika realised that Shivaay was going to sit next to her.
Annika (shocked) : You’re sitting here? Why not with our brothers?
Shivaay (smiling wryly) : Wow, I feel welcome. If you notice, Miss Mishra, There is no space there and I don’t feel like standing all evening, so yes, I am going to sit next to you.
Annika nodded, unable to meet his face, then looked on proudly as her sister introduced Swara to Mr and Mrs Saigal, Elite number 9. By their pleased look, she knew Swara was a hit there as well.
Shivaay : You look proud of yourself.
A flutter of excitement coursed through her at the rich, amused voice so close to her ear. With shining eyes, Annika turned and beamed at Shivaay.
Annika : Ofcourse I am. Swara is doing really well. She’s behaving perfectly, Don’t you think?
Shivaay nodded and looked at his sister.
Shivaay : She is becoming a true Elite. Thanks to you.
Annika nodded her head once more in silent gratitude. She stared foreward at the empty stage where the drama would soon begin.
Annika : Do you enjoy watching plays?
Shivaay : Not really, no.
Annika : I was told that this play is an excellent one. The main female protagonist is said to be the best actor ever. I forgot her name, Do you remember, by any chance?
Shivaay : Natasha Sen.
The words washed over her. Natasha. Understanding dawned.
Natasha! I can’t believe you actually decided to come here. Have you no sense? I meant what I said and I said that we are done.
Annika remembered those words and realised that Natasha Sen was no one other than Shivaay Singh Oberoi’s ex lover. His ex-girlfriend.
She looked up at him, meeting his calm, unreadable gaze.
Annika : Oh!
He did not reply, but she knew that he knew that she knew who Natasha was. Cheeks crimson, she looked anywhere else but at him, trying to see how she could escape. Failing to find any other seat, she sighed and turned to Shivaay’s ever amused eyes.
Shivaay : No place to escape?
He was infuriating.
Luckily, she was saved from having to respond by the rising curtain. She turned her attention resolutely to the stage, willing herself to stop thinking of Shivaay.
Of course, that was impossible, particularly when the play began in earnest, and Natasha Sen appeared. She was absolutely gorgeous with her silky hair and huge expressive eyes. She played her part of a struggling woman in love with ease. But all Annika could see was the glamorous woman in Shivaay’s arms. She could not shake the vision of his hands on her pale, flawless skin and could not staunch the vicious envy that burned deep within as she cataloged the actress’s remarkable attributes against her own.
She looked covertly at Shivaay. He didn’t seem to be concentrating only on Natasha but all that could be an act. After all, He had to be discreet now.
Annika caught Natasha trying to gain attention from Shivaay, even though she was on stage. All her dialogues and expression seemed to be for him. Annika blinked to see if she was hallucinating, but then her suspicion changed into confirmation. Natasha was trying to get Shivaay’s attention.
Annika’s hands clenched into fists. She officially hated all plays now. As the curtain fell for a short interval, She wondered how she could return home without arousing anyone’es suspicions. Swara’s laugh reminded her that she had successfully performed her duty that night and now, in all probability, she could leave.
She got up to whisper her excuse of a headache to her mother, when a young man came up to Shivaay and handed him a note. Shivaay opened the note and Annika could make out the words :
LET’S MEET NOW, DARLING – N
Shivaay and Natasha were still dating.
Annika let out a choked gasp in horror, before masking it as a cough. Her mind reeled. She shouldn’t be surprised, of course. She should not be thinking of the other evening—of the betrothal party, of their encounter in the night. She should not be wondering why, if he was involved with Natasha, he had thought to kiss her.
But, of course, she did wonder.
And what of his sister? Surely he wouldn’t accept the invitation. Not tonight, of all nights. It was Swara’s first night in society!
Sadness and outrage warred within her for quite a while but when Shivaay abruptly left muttering an inaudible excuse, outrage won.
Annika got up and told her brother that she would be back in a while. His sharp eyes noticing Shivaay’s absence, he came forward and whispered.
Akshat : Be careful, Leah.
Annika : I will.
She would not allow him to ruin his sister’s first night out. Not after all that Swara had done to ensure its success. Not after all that Annika herself had done to ensure its success. Not to mention the others, who had also cast their support for his sister.
How dare he risk it all? And for what?
Her anger rose. She squared her shoulders. Someone had to think of Swara.
She left the room, her mind whirling. Could Shivaay be so bold to go and meet his girlfriend when all the Elite were in the next room?
Turning right into the front hall, She noticed him walking fast towards the actors’ rooms and she cried out, asking him to stop. Shivaay froze, casting a disbelieving look at the empty hall, where she was hurrying to catch him. Once he registered her purpose, his obvious disbelief turned to fury, and he retraced his steps until he was face-to-face with her.
Before she had a chance to speak, he grabbed her arm and pulled her into a darkened corridor.
Shivaay : Have you completely lost your mind?
Annika looked at him, irritated at having been pushed into a uncomfortable place by him.
Annika : I should be asking you that. What’s wrong with you, Mr Oberoi? Don’t you know that you could be hurting Swara’s reputation by going and meeting your…
Shivaay (his voice laced with anger) : My?
Annika : Your girlfriend, lover. Whatever you want to call her.
Shivaay : My sister’s reputation? What about yours? You think no one saw you leave just after I did? Especially when we had been sitting together for the entire first half.
Annika (angrily) : I can take care of myself, Mr Oberoi. I have many excuses. Unfortunately you do not. If you go and meet Natasha, your lover, you will hurt Swara and her chances of being accepted by the Elite. You really don’t care about her, Do you? Do you care about anything other than yourself?
Shivaay shut his eyes and clenched his fists at his sides. He opened his eyes, forcing himself to keep an even face and took a step forward.
Shivaay : You should not meet my sister anymore. She will not learn anything useful from you. If you do not care about your own reputation, why would you care about hers? Stay away from her. You’re too much of a risk to her.
Annika’s eyes widened in shock. She walked forward and pointed a finger right at his nose.
Annika : I… I am a risk? What about you? Meeting with your paramour when the Elite is just outside the bedroom door. You are the flirt, the one who keeps consorting with the ladies. I refuse to listen to you. I shall continue to see your sister. I will not be told what to do by a playboy….
He lost his temper then, capturing her hand, wagging finger and all, in his own and using it to pull her against him.
Shivaay : If I am to be labeled as a playboy, I may as well prove you right.
And, with that, he kissed her. Annika tried to get loose. She fought him but he had her in a tight grip. All her jerky movements only made him grip her tightly each time. Shivaay caught her hands and placed an arm around her waist and lifted her off the floor.
Shivaay supported Annika by placing her against the wall, but he did not stop kissing her. He teased her tight lips, urging them to open. Finally Annika stopped resisting and with a triumphant grunt, Shivaay kissed her more deeply.
Unable to hold on to anything, her legs in mid-air, Annika tried to match Shivaay’s ruthless yet seductive kiss. She refused to surrender. At last, Shivaay’s lips gentled, caressing hers as his tongue stroked along the soft, sensitive skin of her lower lip, ending the kiss infinitely more gently than it had begun.
The caress wrung a little sigh from Annika, and Shivaay smiled at the sound, pressing a final, soft kiss at the corner of her mouth. He pulled back a fraction of an inch, and their gazes collided.
There was no sound in the corridor save their labored breathing—reminding them both of the intensity of the argument that had preceded the kiss.
Shivaay smiled arrogantly at Annika, feeling victorious.
Annika’s outrage grew anew. She pushed Shivaay away from her.
Annika : I am not like your Natasha or your Laila or any of the other women you might have known over the years. I will not accept this type of behaviour meekly. You had better remember that.
Shivaay raised his eyebrow in a mocking style and smirked.
Shivaay : Yet, you enjoyed it a lot. Maybe you are like one of ” My women”.
Of her own volition, Annika’s hand moved to land on Shivaay’s cheek. She knew she had no right, yet she was not able to stop her hand. When Shivaay caught her hand in a tight grip, Annika met Shivaay’s eyes and registered the anger in them.
She had exceeded her limits and she knew it. She struggled to free her hand, only to discover his hold was thoroughly unyielding.
He twisted her hand and she turned, her back colliding with his chest.
Shivaay : Miss Mishra?
Annika : I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…
Shivaay : Yet you did.
Annika tried to move away again, but she was trapped by her own desire and his hand holding hers.
Annika : I didn’t mean to.
Shivaay whispered in her ear, making her shiver.
Shivaay : You know you meant to strike me. Do not lie to me… Or to yourself. If you plan to make a habit of acting without care of the consequences, I would recommend taking ownership of those actions. Have that courage at least.
He paused, waiting for her to respond. When she didn’t, he shook his head and let her go. Annika backed up against the wall, trying to calm down.
Shivaay (softly) : I never thought you were a coward.
His words registered in her brain and a fresh wave of anger enveloped her.
Annika : STAY. AWAY. FROM. ME. Do you get it?
She ran from the corridor towards the hall while Shivaay watched her go, his face completely in a poker face expression.
I’m sorry. I’m not able to find the time to write a satisfactory chapter. I manage only about one paragraph every week. Until May, I can’t promise to post more chapters faster. I am doing my best though.
Please try to understand. Thank you all so much for the support and love you’ve shown.
And please be patient. I have no choice 🙁 🙁