As I rushed into my room, I heard my phone buzz from my bag on the floor. I lifted it up to see the Caller Id show Ri. The only place Annie had still been saved as my baby sister.
I picked the phone. “Is that you?” I said. with my voice down by a notch.
“Of course it’s me.” Annie said in a cheerful tone. “How soon can you send me the money? I need it urgently.”
So much for congratulating me on my wedding. I thought as I clenched my teeth.
“What about your boyfriend? Isn’t he turning out to be the dream ticket you thought he’d be?”
“Cut it with the sarcasm, Anika. We had an agreement, remember? If you don’t follow through I will come and collect Shivani and begin the adoption process and you will never see her again. It’s your choice. You can transfer it online to me right now or you know what will happen. Don’t forget, I only have to make one little phone call to that new husband of yours and your secret will be out.”
I knew I was caught in an impossible situation. It was too late to explain to Shivaay about who I was. How would he deal with the news of my deception so soon after tying himself to me, only gave me nightmares.
“How did the wedding go, by the way?” Annie asked with a hint of excitement. I felt a pinch of happiness. My Ri was still hidden somewhere behind her facade of Annie. “Was it everything you dreamed of?” There was a hint of mockery. It drained any joy, I felt moments before.
“You know it wasn’t.” I scowled. ”I felt like a complete fraud the whole time.”
Annie laughed. “You should be thankful to me otherwise no one would’ve ever married a behenji like you. What a pity your husband doesn’t fancy you. I bet If the tables were reversed Shivaay and I would have been celebrating our honeymoon at some exotic location right now.”
Something in her tone irked me enough to respond. “Actually, he does fancy me.”
Annie’s mocking chuckle were getting on my nerves. “Only because he thinks you’re me. If you were acting in your own personality he wouldn’t take a second look. You’re too simple and boring.”
Rage was chilling my veins. “I don’t think it’s such a good idea for you to call me. If someone other than me picks up my phone.”
“I’m going to keep calling you until the money is in my account.” She threatened. “And if I don’t get you on this phone I’ll try the land line.”
My heart chilled. “All right, I’ll do it. I will transfer the money right away. Stay away from Shivani and me as soon as you get your money.” I hissed.
“Good girl.” Annie cooed. “I knew you’d see sense in the end. Bye Deary!”
I waited till my fingers had stopped shaking before pressing in the necessary digits to process the transaction. Once it was done, I did my best to settle for the night but I found it impossible to relax enough to get to sleep. But, strangely enough, it wasn’t the money and what I had just done with it that was keeping her awake. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the feel of Shivaay’s kiss out of my mind.
It was becoming impossible to ignore my feelings for him and the way he made me feel when he was around. I had tried slapping the love out of my stupid mind. I had fallen in love with a man who had nothing but hatred for me. Even if he found out the truth about who I really was, I knew he would never forgive me for deceiving him. How could he? I wasn’t Shivani’s mother. I could not give him what he wanted because what he wanted wasn’t mine to give.
I threw my pillow down to the floor before flopping back onto the bed. This was hopeless. I needed some fresh air. It always helped me think. I glanced at the bedside clock and grimaced when it showed 1:00. Too late for a walk around the area. Maybe I could walk around the house. Spend some time at the pool. My legs were on the ground, when I felt an inkling of hesitation.
What if Shivaay or Om heard me? Nah…..It is a huge house and besides they were probably fast asleep.
I picked the baby monster from the bed side table and walked to the pool. I was splashing water when I looked up to see a pair of eyes stare at me from the water.
He slowly came out of the water. “What’s wrong, Zoya?” he asked. “Are you finding it difficult to get to sleep alone?”
I stiffened. How did he know? “No, are you?”
When he didn’t reply, I turned my gaze away from him. I quickly got up. I could feel the air thicken and knew I had to leave. But the momentum disrupted my balance and I fell. I could feel Shivaay grab my waist and stabilise me.
I tried desperately to breathe but somehow I could not despite standing in the pool.
“I need to go.” I said, hoping he wouldn’t notice how nervous I sounded.
“Why?’ he asked, his eyes burning into hers.
“I…I don’t think you want to double the allowance…” I stammered, as I reminded him about our agreement.
His hands slid upwards from my waist to hold my shoulders as my heart hitched. “Do you think I give a damn about the money?”
I felt my lips go dry as I moistened her lips. I regretted my action as his gaze dipped and linger there.
“It’s a l-lot of money…and if it was doubled…” I stared at the line of his mouth, wondering if he was going to allow himself to kiss me again. Just one kiss. That wouldn’t be breaking his vow to keep the marriage unconsummated, would it?
Anika…..what are you doing? He hates you and you want a relation with him.
His head came down slowly, his mouth stopping a mere breath away from the tingling surface of mine. My eyelids fluttered closed as I felt myself rock towards him, my body seeking the hard warmth of his like a small iron filing did a too-powerful magnet.
At the first touch of his lips on mine heat licked like a hot tongue of flame, igniting my senses into a blazing roaring fire of need.
He slowly lifted his mouth off mine and bent his head to kiss my neck. I felt my grip on him tighten and a soft cry come through my mouth.
I felt like pulling him back when he lifted his mouth from my neck. But he came back to my mouth, taking it with renewed pressure. I felt pleasure rush through my body.
He groaned into my mouth as I held him, and again, even more deeply, as I caressed him.
Suddenly, I felt a shock run through me. What was I doing? I was going to break the Obro code. I was romancing a woman that my brother had slept with.
As I pulled my mouth away from hers and tried but was failing badly to calm my breathe. I saw her look up at me. Her eyes looked nothing like a doe-eyed beauty, it looked like that of a siren.
“This is exactly what you planned, isn’t it?” I said through gritted teeth. I knew what she wanted. She was trying to trick me. “You wanted to make me eat my words, every one of them.”
“No!” Her hands fell away from his body with a little splash. “No, of course not.”
I felt like pulling my heart out and throwing it to the far edge of my plot as it protested against my brain about the loss of her vile hands off my body.
“It’s another of your tricks. You like to play the innocent now and again to put me off the scent of your real motives.” I dropped my hands and took a step back. My eyes I knew where throwing daggers at her.
“Shivaay…I” She stammered.
“Just SHUT UP! I know what you are up to.” I said as I climbed out of the pool and turned to glare down at her.”You will not rest until you have me begging. That is what you want, isn’t it, Anika? Your final triumph in the face of Rudra’s rejection would be to have his older brother on his knees, offering you anything you want in exchange for your body. That is why you did not ask for payment, isn’t it? To make me think you were not after money when in fact you are after so much more.”
“But I’m not after…” I did not want to hear another lie from her mouth.
“Get out of my sight.” I shouted at her. “Take your lies and your deceptive little games out of my damn sight!”
She quickly got out of the pool. Great…she was going. I watched her from the corner of my eye. Then suddenly she stopped.
“You can’t treat me like that……” she hissed, standing in front of him. “I won’t allow you to…..”
I felt a chill run through me. How dare she won’t allow me to do something. “You will not allow me to?” I asked with a smug smile.
Shivaay….no….go to your room. Leave her. You are drunk. You are still tipsy. Go….leave her.
“No. I won’t allow you to speak to me in such a way.” She looked at me straight into the eye.
I drew myself up to my full height, my mouth tightening as I looked down at her. “Tell me, Anika, how are you going to stop me?” I felt a trill of arrogance rush through me.
“I’ll think of something.” She answered back.
Shivaay……leave her…..behave yourself. The angel in me spoke but the devil and the drinks were pushing the angel out.
I threw my head back and laughed. A girl like her.
She pursed her lips and frowned. “You are so arrogant. I suppose it comes from having so much money. You think you can get people to do what you want by writing a cheque or issuing autocratic demands.” She shouted.
I felt anger starting to blind me. Had I forgotten to take my medicines today?
“Well, well, well…..” I smirked. “Look at the earthen pot telling off the china teapot for being black.”
Her eyes went dark. No….Anika…..run….go……please. I wanted to scream. “You know what your trouble is, Shivaay?” Her eyes going wild. “You don’t like yourself. You keep blaming me for your brother’s accident but I get this distinct impression that you actually blame yourself. I might be a convenient scapegoat but I will not have you harass me to appease your own sense of insufficiency.”
I felt my ego, anger and devil throw the Angel out. I felt a hint of cruelty seep into my soul.
I tried to think about her and bring back the calm Shivaay. But no…it was too late….the Shivaay Singh Oberoi had been unleashed.
As I took steps towards her, I saw her face pale. She deserved it. She had hurt my brother. She should pay.
“Tell me something, Anika.” I said as I tipped her chin up to look into mine. “Tell me why you fell in love with my brother.”
I felt her body freeze next to me, her eyes flaring in panic, her heart ramming against mine as she did her best to look anywhere but me.
“You did love him, did you not?” I growled when I did not hear a reply.
She lowered her gaze and was looking down.
“No.” she said softly. “I didn’t love him.”
I felt my heart darken. I remembered Rudra running into the house the first time, he had met her. He was full of stories about her.
My eyes narrowed dangerously as her gaze came back to mine. “You callous witch. You little money-hungry sl***.”
She closed her eyes.
“Look at me!” I shouted as I held her neck and an arm.
Her eyes sprang open, her eyes looking at the hatred I knew was shining in mine.
“You destroyed his life!” I saw her flinch and knew my grip was hurting her but my grip did not loosen. “You hunted him down and destroyed him for what?For what?” I repeated bitterly.
“Shivaay, I need to tell you” she began.
“I do not want to hear anything you have to say.” I snapped, cutting her off.
“Shivaay, please…..” Her tone became pleading but I did not care. “You don’t understand”
What was there to understand? Because of her….my brother was in an ICU in a hospital.
“I understand all right. I understand that you were not happy that Rudra left you stranded without money. That is why you twisted the knife by threatening to have Shivani adopted, was it not?” I felt disgust for her shoot through me. “You never had any intention of giving her up. You were just playing a game to get as much money as you could.”
“I have never wanted money from” she stammered.
“Do not lie to me!” I shouted. “You have played this for all you are worth. Well, I will tell you something, Anika.” I lowered my voice but it was no less threatening. “You can have your money. All of it. I will double your allowance as of tomorrow.”
She blinked up at me in confusion. “But…”
“I have changed my mind about our marriage.” I said. “I’ve decided we will no longer adhere to the rules I set down.”
“You can’t mean that!” She squealed trying to pull herself away from me.
He smiled a chilling smile. It sent a chill through my spine. He was already scaring me but this was taking it to the next level. “Why so worried, sweetheart? You slept with my brother without loving him. Sleeping with me will not be beyond your capabilities, I’m sure.”
“I don’t want to consummate our marriage!” I tried to wrench myself out of his grip. His grip loosened and I pulled myself out of his. I hate him. How dare he insult me like that?
“I think we could more or less say I have paid dearly for the privilege.” he pointed out ruthlessly.
“I am not for sale..” I replied curtly. “I don’t care how much money you throw at my feet. I will not be bought.”
“You have been bought, Anika.” he said. “You have already took one instalment.”
“I don’t want your money, Shivaay.” I replied. “I never wanted it.”
I could tell from his expression that he didn’t believe me. His mouth was tight with cynicism and his eyes diamond-hard.
“If you did not want it then why is it no longer in your account?” he asked.
My eyes flared in anger. “You checked?”
He gave a single nod, his expression still unyielding.
“You had no right to do that!” I could feel the panic beating like a drum in my chest. If Shivaay was watching so closely it wouldn’t take him long to find out the truth. I had only transferred the money less than an hour or two ago. What if he orchestrated a paper trail of my account to see where the money had been deposited?
“You keep saying you do not want money but what is it you do want, Anika?” Shivaay glared, breaking the humming silence.
I couldn’t answer. How could I tell him what I really wanted? I wanted him. I wanted him to make me feel like I was precious to him. I wanted him to make me feel desirable and irresistible. I wanted to him to love me for me and not for who I was pretending to be.
“Anika…..” I held my breath as his hands ran down my body to encircle my waist.
“Is this what you really want, Anika?” he asked, tugging mw up against him. “Is this what you crave more than money?”
“Shivaay, just listen to me once.” I could hear the fear in my voice that I felt.
But my request was met with one swift motion as he pulled my nightgown off my shoulders.
“I don’t mind giving it you.” He whispered. As soon as he placed me down, I pushed him away and pulled my gown back on.
“I can’t believe that you can be so cheap, Mr. Oberoi.”
Author’s note: Poor Anika. Well….I finally decided on not making Annie a positive character however she will become a grey character. 🙂