“Shivaay, I have to tell you something….” I said after I passed Shivani to Mina who was taking her to her bedroom.
Shivaay smiled and looked into my eyes. “Yes, Anika. What is it?”
But the sight in front of me stopped me for a second.
“Hello, Shivaay Baby, look what I found when I was shopping in Corona.” Tia said with a smirk. She dragged a half-dressed and half-slumped girl. Her hair was covering her face. She was slumped onto Tia. I gripped Shivaay’s interlocked hand tighter.
“What the hell? You witch!” The figure snapped. She wobbled slightly on her heels. Then she pushed her hair out of her face.
“Oh my Mata.” Mom stood up.
My heart stopped. I had not seen her in months.
Shivaay turned to face. His eyes looked so cold and his mouth was a rigid line of disbelief, shock and immense anger.
He pulled his hand out of mine. “Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on or am I supposed to guess?” His voice was razor-sharp.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I was going to tell you.” I stammered.
Tia left her grip on my sister. She just slumped to the floor.
“Annie!” Left my mouth before I could stop it.
“Isn’t she a wicked little thing, Shivaay? Pretending to be Shivani’s mother so she could get her hands on Shivani’s inheritance. Just imagine when I found her shopping in Corona. I was so shocked.” Tia crooned.
I felt my heart sink. My little sister was slumped on the floor.
“Anika, my bacha……your Aarya needs you. Always take of her. Remember that you are a sister first and then only anything else.” Ma had said weakly as she took her last breathe.
Aarya was too scared to enter the hospital and was sitting outside. I had tried to bring her in but her eyes had pooled with tears.
I pulled my hand out of Shivaay’s hand and ran to her side.
“Aarya, are you okay?” She groaned.
“Anika, I told you not to call me that. It is Annie.”
Tia scoffed and pushed me. “Hmph….see Shivaay, she was lying to you from day 1. Probably a plan by both sisters. I mean Shivani would be the heir of the property right? That would mean the sisters could have a hand of it as well.”
How dare she? I gasped and got up and rushed to his side. “Shivaay, I promise that’s not true.”
He looked down at my hand on his sleeve, his expression one of distaste as he peeled it off, finger by finger. I felt my heart break into splinters.
“Oh my mata! Shivaay……see I told you not to trust her. You only will believe her.” Shivaay’s mother strode towards us.
Suddenly I felt his grip on my elbow. It was an iron hold. He dragged me towards our room, his face tight and his usually full mouth thin-lipped.
I didn’t speak as he escorted me. I knew he was not going to listen now.
Shivaay pushed open the door of his room and ushered me in, snapping it shut behind them.
His eyes were stone-like. I had never seen anything like them.
“You had better have a very good explanation for your behaviour or I swear to God you will wish you had never been born.” He scowled.
“I was going to tell you.” I stammered.
“When?” he barked. “When were you going to tell me you had deceived me in such a despicable way?”
“I was going to today before Tia….” I began.
“Do not lie to me!” he shouted. “You played me for a fool from the start.” He shoved a hand through his hair and stepped away from me, shaking his head in disbelief. “I cannot believe you would stoop so low.” He turned back to glare at her. “Was it worth it? Did you both have a good laugh behind my back at how you had tricked me?”
“Damn you, Anika.” he growled out darkly as he came towards her, his hands clenched by his sides. “You made a fool out of me and that I will never forgive.”
“Shivaay…please let me explain.” I twisted my hands in agitation. “I didn’t mean it to go this far. When you arrived at my flat that day I was so concerned you were going to take Shivani away. I had to do something! I didn’t know it would lead to this, I swear I didn’t.”
“Why did you not come clean when you had the chance?” he asked. “You have strung me along with a web of lies the whole time. You have had numerous opportunities to tell me and yet you did not. We even spoke yesterday. You did not feel the need to mention your twin when you told me about your dead sister.”
“I know! I’m sorry…I was frightened. I thought you wouldn’t let me see Shivani any more. You kept threatening to take her away. I had no choice.”
He gave a disgusted sound at the back of his throat and turned away from her. “You must think me the biggest fool, but don’t forget I know that as soon as that money was put in your account you spent it.”
“I didn’t spend it! I gave it to Annie as she insist” I argued.
“You cooked this up together, did you not?” His eyes grew dark and dangerous.
“What?” I looked at him in bewilderment.
He gave a cynical snort. “I can see what you have been up to. The twin routine is an old one but effective if played well. And you certainly played it very well, very well indeed. You switched personalities with the blink of an eye.”
“I’m not proud of what I did but I……”
His venomous look cut her off. “Was it fun, Anika? Was it fun making a fool out of me? Did you enjoy yourself? Did you get off on the fact that I could not help myself, that I fell for you in spite of my determination not to?”
“I never intended this to go so far. You have to believe that…..”
“I believe nothing of what you say!” he spat. “How can I, after all you have done? For god’s sake, you even slept with me.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“Hurt me?” He gave me an arrogant look. “You would have to try much harder, Anika, if you wanted to hurt me. I am well used to the treacherous nature of women like you and know how to protect myself.” He swung away to open the door, indicating he was finished with her. “You will live in the guesthouse with Mina till the child is born. I will send the divorce papers and custody papers after that and I expect it to be filled. Mina will bring the child to the mansion and you must leave the guest house.”
I stared at him, shock rendering her immobile, my legs refusing to take even one step forward.
“Did you not hear me?” he asked.
“I want to see Shivani and our child regularly.” I said, trying to keep the tears back.
A tiny nerve pulsed at the corner of his head. “I do not want you in the my child or niece’s life.”
“They are my niece and child too.” I shouted back as I felt my heart beat harder.
“Please.” I pleaded.
“You proved your priorities in life. I don’t want my children to even think of you.”
He was walking out of the room.
“You do not have the right to take decisions regarding Shivani or my child.” I hissed.
He gave me a mocking smile. “Your sister and I will no doubt come to some mutually satisfying arrangement. And as far as my child is concerned, I am the father.”
“You may make any arrangements with her but please let me see them. Please trust me.” I said tears dropping from her eye .
“You think you have the market cornered on trust?” he sneered. “You, who lied to me every time you could? Why should I believe a single word you say?You should be ashamed to call your self a mother.”
“I wanted what was best for Shivani. That was my only motivation. It doesn’t matter anymore if you believe me or not. And I can’t believe that after so many weeks you can accuse me of not being a good mother.”
He gave me a shattered look. “I will arrange for your things to be taken to the guesthouse but as far as I am concerned I never want to see your face again. You can go meet Shivani for the last time.”
I knew I had lost the battle. No matter what I say Shivaay will never believe me. I saw it in the hard glitter of his eyes and in the tight set of his mouth. Hatred seeped from every pore of his body towards me, stinging me in its intensity.
I slowly walked past him with a blank expression.
I made it to Shivani’s room just in time, the tears flowing from so deep inside me I couldn’t stop them. I sat down on the floor with my face in my hands and sobbed until my throat was raw and my eyes red. After a few minutes I dragged myself up and walked over to the cradle where my baby girl lay asleep.
I touched her petal-like cheek. “Goodbye, sweetheart, I will never forget you as long as I live. I’d do anything to keep you, but Shivaay…” I bit my lip. “Shivaay doesn’t want me.” I choked back a sob and continued. “He loves you, sweetie. He loves you a lot. I know he will be a wonderful father to you. I know that with every beat of my heart. And if Rudra wakes up, I am sure, he will be a great uncle. He was just not ready to be a father. And Om will be a great uncle.”
Author’s Note: As promised, here is the Birthday treat. Hope you all liked it. Next chapter will be ready in a week’s time