Author’s Note: Thank You all so much for the love. I enjoy writing it just because of your reviews. Yes, Om gets to know before Shivaay as some of you begged. Rest I can’t answer now. Hope you all will like the chapter. Please don’t forget to review.
Anika POV Shivaay not being around was a huge boon. I could look around the house without anyone making comments. Om mostly stayed in his studio and when he did come out. It was only to take Shivani out to the garden. Mina and Asha just shot glares at me and made rude comments behind my back. Their treatment of Shivani, however, was an entirely different story. They cooed and smiled at the infant with great affection and looked for opportunities to spend time with her alone.
At first, I tried to avoid it but with time I realised that being over Shivani made my life easier with them. They genuinely cared for Rudra’s child. So I sometimes, left them with the two women and set about to unpack all our things into the bedroom and nursery Shivaay had shown me before he left.
I had been forcefully given 2 months of leave by Nia when I spoke to her and invited her to the marriage arrangement. Shivani seemed very happy and while I kept trying to deny it, I could not help but wonder whether Shivani was aware that she was living in her loving uncle’s house and under his protection. Having grown up without a father present in my life, I knew Shivani was blessed indeed to have someone as strong and dependable as Shivani to nurture her throughout her childhood. It made the sacrifice I was making a little more palatable; my baby girl would never know the aching sadness of not having a reliable parent to lean on. However, after I was done unpacking, boredom caught up with me.
On an impulse, the day before the ceremony I withdrew all my savings and bought myself a red lehenga and red bangles. Without a mother or father to help me prepare for the wedding I had dreamt about for most of my life, I decided that no one was going to stop me being a proper bride, even if the marriage itself was just a sham.
I stood in my room in the lehenga and twirled, Shivani giggled happily as she watched him from the bed.
“So what do you think, Shivi?” I asked as I lowered the dupatta over my face. “Do I look like a real bride?”
I felt a rush of love fill my heart and, leaning forward, pressed a soft kiss to Shivani’s soft head, my eyes misting over with sudden emotion.
“One day I hope you will marry a man for all the right reasons, Shivi, a man who will love you to the ends of the sky and back. The way every woman deserves to be loved.” I felt tears run down my face.
Shivani began to suck on one of her tiny fists, her deep black eyes bright with alertness as she stared at the door. I looked there to see Asha standing there. She did not look entirely happy.
“You are trapping Shivaay Sahab and dressing up for that?” She sneered. She took a step towards me. I took a step back.
Then her expression softened. She touched my shoulder. “Every girl dreams of this day. Sisters and Mothers dream this day for their little girls.” I felt overwhelmed with emotion. I reached forward and pulled her into a hug.
“I may hate you, Anika. But if you keep my Rudra’s child happy, you must be a great mother and no child deserves to see their mother alone on their wedding day. I will help you get ready tomorrow.”
With that she moved away from me and walked out of the door.
My mother may not be here, but she had still sent angels my way.
I was settling Shivani for the night when I heard the sound of Shivaay’s car returning, the low growl of the powerful engine as it pulled into the sweeping driveway made my stomach turn over in reaction.
In less than twenty-four hours I would be his wife. I would share his name and his life.
I heard him enter the house and Om and him having a heated discussion.
“Soumya called again. She begged to talk to Rudra. She said that she could probably talk Rudra out of the coma.” I felt my heart clench. Soumya was Rudra’s fiancé. I could hear some whispering and finally heard the door slowly open.
Shivaay met my eyes in the soft light. “Hello.” He whispered.
“Hi.” I whispered back.
I stepped away from the cot so he could check on his niece but in the small space I felt the brush of his body against mine and my pulse instantly quickened. I stood to one side and watched as he gazed down at Shivani, his features softening as he listened to the snuffling sound of her breathing.
He looked tired. His eyes were slightly bloodshot as if he hadn’t slept well for days and his jaw looked as if it hadn’t been near a razor for over twenty-four hours. I felt my fingers itching to run my fingers over his face to feel the rough raspy growth. I wanted to press my lips to the line of his mouth, to make it soften in desire. I wanted to feel him reach for me and…
Suddenly I jerked away from my thoughts as he turned his head to look at me, his dark gaze tethering mine.
“Is something wrong?”
“No.” I replied back immediately.
“I’m not.” I argued
“Have you settled in?” He asked.
I nodded. “Yes.”
“I would like to talk to you about our trip to India.” he said, moving across to hold the door of the nursery open for her. “I will meet you in my study in twenty minutes. I would like to shower and shave first.”
I moved past him and made my way downstairs.
He came in a short time later, his black hair glistening with dampness, his face cleanly shaven and his casual jeans and long-sleeved close-fitting black T-shirt making my pulse start to race again.
“How was your trip?” I asked as I focused myself on the coffee machine as I fixed a cup..
He took the cup I had handed it to him, his eyes met mine. “Am I to presume you are rehearsing your role as my wife by serving me coffee and asking me such solicitous questions?”
I turned my eyes away from the cold look I could see. “You can presume what you like. I don’t care how your stupid trip went. I was just being polite.”
It irritated me that Anika was acting like Tia. She is not my girlfriend…….but Shivaay tomorrow she will be your wife.
“Do not exert yourself trying to be polite to me, Anika. It does not suit you.” I took a sip of my coffee but when I met her slightly wounded expression I instantly regretted my nasty words. I put the cup down and came across to where she was standing and, lightly caressed her cheek with my fingertips.
Wow…Shivaay…..what are you doing? Red alert…move back.
But a fingers still lingered. She made me loose control of myself.
“W…what are you doing?” she asked in a whisper.
“I am not sure.” I answered somewhat gravely. “To tell you the truth, Anika, I sometimes feel when I am with you that I am dealing with two different people.” I was shocked, I had finally voiced my fears. “I wonder which one I will be marrying tomorrow.”
She looked up at me, her eyes felt like pools of a thousand emotions.
“I…I don’t know what you mean by that. You make it sound as if I have some sort of multiple personality disorder.” She snapped.
“My brother told me many things about you but I am at a loss for I do not see any evidence of those things that disturbed him the most.” I implored and I watched her take a few steps back.
“Perhaps I’ve changed.” She was not meeting my eyes. “People do, you know. Having a child is a very life-changing event.”
“Undoubtedly, but I cannot help thinking there must be more to it than that.” She was hiding something.
“W-what do you mean?” She was twisting her hands in knots in front of her.
I watched as I saw a wave of emotions on her face, a shadow of worry and the way she bit her bottom lip, made her even more attractive.
“I sometimes feel as if my brother was talking about someone else entirely. It just does not add up.”
“Don’t you have anything to say, Anika?” I asked when she did not say a word.
“You said you wanted to discuss our journey to India. When do we leave?”
“We will leave the day after the ceremony. I will get Mina to pack for you. Asha will accompany us to help with Shivani. Rudra is also being taken to India with us in an emergency hospital plane. I should warn you that my family will be much worse than Om and will not welcome you with open arms. His fiancé is there in the house and so is my now ex-fiancé, her elder sister.”
I saw her eyes get a sheen of fear.
“I understand.” She whispered toying with her hands. It was going to be tough for her as well as me.
“The ceremony will be conducted at ten a.m. tomorrow.” I reminded. “It will be a low key affair as befits the circumstance. Om will leave for Italy after the ceremony.”
She nodded and rushed out of the room. For a girl known to steal other people’s boyfriend, she did act very inexperienced.
I watched as she rushed towards the door as if she couldn’t wait to be rid of me. I considered calling her back but then thought it was a bad idea. It was asking for trouble to spend too much time alone with her. I was already treading a very fine line and it wasn’t going to take too much to push me over.
As the door closed softly behind her, I closed my eyes and wondered if I had ever been so entranced by Tia or even Mallika for that matter.
Author’s note: It is a slightly small chapter. Sorry about that. Please don’t forget to criticise or love. I would like to also remind anyone who feels Anika is a weakling. Remember that in my story, I took characters from the original serial and put a twist. Anika is not weak, she is just very loyal to family.