Hi all, thank u for ur amazing support, here is the second chapter hope u will like it. Do give ur precious views and suggestions please. Enjoy……..
A mixture of tears in the laughter, a tang of sadness in the joyful moment, a dash of complaints with the complements, it was a cocktail of emotions that was served to her. Her heart was warmed, her eyes were moist, every muscle in her body was made aware of the pleasant welcome, she felt nostalgic. Ridhima’s absence told her she was still not in her sister’s good books, Sam’s presence showed repentance and efforts to mend their estranged relationship, oh!how she would have love to get back with her giraffe and Kabir’s smile was like a ‘be careful’ sign warning her that he was still the same shameless guy.
Her mum’s tears, tears of happiness, her dad’s reassuring smile and pat on her head, Neil’s teasing and Ankush’s scoldings reminded her the reason of her arrival. She was still loved, she was missed, she was the reason of their smiles today and that filled her lungs with gratitude. Mala brought her to the dining area where a feast was spread on the table, a feast of her favourite foods “mum, u make me feel like I came back from an exile” she joked.
Mala: “I missed doing this for u and u are eating everything” she said lovingly like any mother would when they had missed their child that much and they all joined them on the table for a 4 in the morning buffet. Mala fed her with her own hands and Radhika felt her eyes welling up with all the affection they were showering on her.
After the heavy early morning meal drowsiness hit them and so the guests started to take leave, Radhika turned to Neil who was the last one to leave “can u drop me at the hotel first, please”
Dilip: “why would u stay in a hotel when u have a home, u have a perfectly good room here”
Ankush: “now why are u doing this Radhu?”
Radhika: “am here for a few days and I want my stay here be as drama free as possible” turning her gaze to her parents “I don’t want to put u on the spot… I don’t want u to have to choose which daughter to support if a fight breaks out… which am sure will happen if I stay here”
Mala was hurt but she knew Radhika was not wrong either, Ridhima was as stubborn as a mule, once something stuck in her head it was no less than a military operation to change her mind and this time Ridhima was adamant that her sister had ill intentions towards her and her marriage so a fight btwn the sisters was inevitable. She neither wanted to hear Radhika being badmouthed by her sister nor did she want to be away from her “u can stay at dad’s… at milagro… why hotel?
Radhika: “mum, u know nanaji and I don’t quite get along”
Neil: “u can stay at my home, no need to stay in a hotel” Radhika opened her mouth to protest but he beat her to it “no arguments… u either stay here or at my place that’s it” Radhika rolled her eyes at his command, Mala, Dilip and Ankush also found Neil’s idea appropriate, Mala and Prena were friends and Prena loved Radhika as her own so she won’t lack the feel of home. It was decided Radhika will stay with the Malhotras.
Ajay Mehra was having a calm breakfast while watching business news, it was his daily routine, his day wouldn’t be complete if he didn’t know what was happening in the business world. He couldn’t care less if an asteroid fell upon his house or his children were abducted by aliens or an earthquake stroke, no harm should come near the business. To Ajay Mehra business was his utmost, foremost and the most important priority and now to become the new Taste Farm president was his goal.
It was his this business minded attitude that killed his wife, when Arjun was 8yrs and Priya 11yrs old the Mehras were vacationing at a farm house in the outskirts of Hampshire. It was one of the best memories the family shared for it was the time when Ajay’s wife Meher was still alive. It was all going great until Ajay got a call about some business delegates who were visiting the company earlier than expected and their vacation was cut short. It was heavily raining and was advised that it was dangerous to travel at that time but Ajay Mehra couldn’t let the business suffer so he paid a deaf ear to his wife’s worries and took the family on the road only to end up in a tragic accident that led to his wife’s death.
A tiresome, a bit sleepy and dishevelled Arjun walking like a zombie went to the kitchen and made himself a cup of strong black coffee and sat on the couch lazily watching much to his disinterest business news. “aren’t u working today?” asked Ajay while buttering his toast.
Arjun: “am taking a break” he then yawned stretching his body, he has slept for 10hrs straight but he still felt tired, he really needed a break. “but this gives me time to go over mum’s case” he added.
Ajay closed his eyes and took a deep breath calming himself, he didn’t know if he should be angry or just pity at his son “when are going to let go?… It was an accident, get over it already”
Arjun: “the car that crashed into us had a fake registration number… Its driver was a known contract killer… the call that got u rushing was a false alarm… and u still tell me it was an accident?”
Ajay: “u have been singing that song for years but I haven’t seen any outcome of that… forget all this… now that u are taking a break why don’t u come to the office… maybe u will like it there and who knows u may even want to join the business”
Now it was Arjun who had his eyes closed wondering if he should be angry or sorry at his father, no matter what topic they talked about it every time came to the part where his father will highly express how wrong Arjun was for not following after his father’s shoes “have a nice day at work dad” was all he said to him and went back to his bedroom.
Neil had planned a night out for the four of them just like they did in the old times, they were going to a nightclub and Neil’s house was their meeting point. Neil’s parents had already retired for the night, Neil and Radhika were waiting for Sam and Arjun when her phone rang and she excused herself to go answer the phone. When she came back after finishing talking on the phone Neil looked suspiciously at her “what… why are u looking at me like that…?” she asked confused by his looks.
Neil: “who was on the phone?… u and I never had secrets, then why didn’t u answer the phone here?… I think its weird that u went all the way to your room just for a phone call… and u have talked for at least 10mins”
Radhika: “what are u insinuating, Neil?”
Neil: “am not insinuating anything… who were u talking to?… Is it your boyfriend?” he asked teasingly but she just laughed in return and that raised his curiosity. “who is it chashni, come on u can tell me”
Radhika: “there is nothing like that, stop imagining things” Neil then asked to see her phone “what!?… no way… that’s breach of privacy” she explained but Neil was adamant to see her phone, he tried to reach for her phone and she moved back increasing Neil’s suspicions, he wanted to pry more on the matter but the doorbell rang.
Arjun entered along with Sam, he was nervous all the way but the second he saw Radhika he was lost. Her hair in an up do, her big hazel eyes, her sweet smile and perfect curves accentuated by her body hugging dress that fit her like a second skin sent his heart into an overdrive. If he thought he was in love with her all this time at that moment he knew he was a goner. “OMG Arjun Mehra in the flesh… Oh! sorry, sorry… Inspector Arjun Mehra” exclaimed Radhika. Arjun like a statue looked on, he didn’t hear a word, the sound of his heartbeat deafened his hearing, he just saw her lips move and she smiling at him that automatically brought a smile on his face too. “why are u standing like a dummy… give me a hug”
An electric like shiver passed through his entire body as she made a band around his neck and her soft body touched his and he wondered how blissful would it be to spend his entire life like that. She broke the hug and her furrowing brows made him realise that he had been staring at her like a fool he composed himself “u look amazing… u look… umh…” not wanting to embarass himself more bcoz he was sure he would if he tried to speak more he changed the topic “lets go party people” he announced and left the apartment quickly leaving his friends confused.
It was the usual club scene, music and dance, booze and drunkards, boys and girls, people having fun and those spoiling other’s fun. Neil and Arjun left the girls at the bar for the washroom but it was Neil’s plan to get them talking, he didn’t know the actual reason but knew Sam and Radhika weren’t talking to each other and there was no use asking bcoz they would just lie.
They ordered drinks and Sam was searching for the right words to initiate conversation “so how have u been?”
Radhika: “am good, and you?”
“good” she answered and it was quiet again, they both wanted to speak but didn’t know what to say, amidst this confusion they were interrupted by an unfamiliar male voice “hey sweet chicks” A tall muscular British guy probably hammered giving them a lustful eye came to their sight “so are u both single… am single too” he said and they just ignored him but that didn’t stop the man, he opened his shirt’s buttons flaunting perfectly toned abs “u girls are hot… u know I have never tasted Indian before… can I get u girls something” and that was his undoing.
Radhika: “why don’t u go get a deodorant”
Sam: “and a mouth wash”
Radhika pointing at his abs “and a good plastic surgeon bcoz this boob job u did is terrible, I can see your implants all the way from here”
Sam: “and while u are at it why don’t u get some mind your business shots too”
The poor lad was stripped in a split second, he was bashed badly, the few eyes at the bar pitied him, he quietly picked his drink and left “that’s what I thought… and next time add some testosterone in your drink” flung Radhika to his retreating back. Sam and Radhika looked at each other for a second and burst into balls of laughter, Neil and Arjun who had seen everything also came laughing hard, it was a great start of a memorable night.
El Milagro Palace
It was a star studded night, millions of small twinkling lights illuminated the palace giving the illusion of fallen stars,the palace dazzled and bedazzled the notable people gracing the occasion. The party was held at the great hall in the west wing of the first floor, the great hall was designed particularly for these kinds of events. Carved dome high ceiling embellished with drawings, beautifully sculptured pillars, stained glass windows and decorative marble stone flooring were a treat to the eyes. Women in red and men in black gave contrast to the hall fully decorated in white roses.
Everything about the hall screamed wealth, few whispers could be heard amidst the light music, women were competing with each other on the number of big designers they carried on their bodies that day while men intimidated each other on the number of properties and cars they owned. Radhika along with the Malhotras entered the party and mingled with the guests soon after the Mehras also arrived and Arjun went looking for Radhika determined not to make a fool out of himself this time. Arjun found her with Dilip, he greeted them both and complement her on her outfit, Dilip then left them both and Arjun thanked God for the opportunity. “u really have changed Radhika, a good change of course”
Radhika: “how good?”
Arjun: “before u looked like a teenager but now u look like a woman, it will not be a mistake to say that u have become more beautiful”
Radhika looked on surprised at his observation “so u didn’t like the older version of me?” she said teasingly
Arjun moved closer to her “I did” titling his head almost letting his lips touch her right ear he whispered huskily “but I like s*xy version of u better”
Neil who was looking for Sam saw her as she was coming down the stairs, for a second he felt all air has been swooshed out of his lungs, unknowingly his eyes were unblinkingly glued at her at every step she took. A tap on his shoulder brought him back to his senses “that’s my sister u are staring at” said Jai with a serious expression on his face. Neil tried to replied but he wasn’t getting right words to say making Jai laugh “relax, am kidding… unless u have feelings for her”
Neil: “no, no, no, we are just friends” he defended but it sounded as if he was caught red handed. Sam joined them and asked what they were talking about and Jai immediately answered that Neil said she looked beautiful and left them both. Neil smiled at her “u look very beautiful Sam” and she thanked him for the complement.
The moment had arrived, man and woman of the hour standing on a small stage exchanged rings as their family, friends, business associates and media witnessed their love. Priya and Ankush were smiling throughout, their glowing faces reflected their happiness and Ankush couldn’t help himself sealing the moment with a peck on Priya’s cheek causing her to blush and the guests to laugh at his impatient attitude. Mala and Dilip were the first one to bless the couple then Ajay and others went and blessed and congratulated the couple. It was a happy moment for them all, media took their pictures and pictures of the entire family for tomorrow’s biggest news.
Dinner was then served and everyone seemed to enjoy the varieties of the five course meal, since all of taste farm board members were invited Ajay, Pranay and Samrat took advantage of the situation to campaign themselves for the president post. The three gentlemen found themselves on the same table trying to woo board members but there were shocked when one of the board member told them that Amrish Khanna had already chosen a successor and had convinced them to vote for whoever he will nominate and that didn’t sit well with the three.
Ajay’s POV: “is he going to nominate Samrat? I have to do something and fast”
Pranay’s POV: “what is the old man planning now? I have to find out”
Samrat’s POV: “is dad doing all these for me? But why didn’t he say anything?”
Samrat went to his dad’s table, Amrish was sharing a table Ridhima who was going on and on about how he shouldn’t trust Radhika and Amrish was just pretending to listen to her jealousy filled speech. Samrat asked to speak with him alone and Ridhima excused herself, as soon as Ridhima’s back disappeared Samrat pulled his chair close to Amrish’s “I know what u are doing… u said it will be a fair chance then why are taking the board on your side”
Amrish took a sip of his red wine “everything is fair in love and war, am just rolling out the carpet for the new president”
Samrat “are u doing this for me?”
Amrish gave out a mock laugh “u are not worth the efforts” he said bluntly to him causing Samrat to bang his hand on the table angrily “this is not over” he warned his father before leaving the table but Amrish looked least affected by his words.
The dance floor was officially opened and busy feet got on the floor showing their dance skills, DJ then played some slow romantic songs and some partnered up while others just left the dance floor altogether. Priya and Ankush were lost in each other’s eyes slowing swaying to the music “are u happy?” asked Ankush
Priya smiled “very… but I will be happier when I finally become Mrs. Ankush Kapoor”
Ankush: “am more eager for that day sweetheart… thank u… thank u for coming into my life… am the luckiest man to have u… I love u”
Priya was happy to have found someone who loved her very much but she was sad at the same time bcoz she couldn’t get the same affection from her father. Since she was a child she has witnessed how her father differentiated btn her and Arjun, she has longed for her entire life just to receive a hug from her dad. She studied harder, worked harder even chose the same career as her dad wanted Arjun to choose but Ajay has never appreciated her efforts. In public he would act like an ideal father but out of people’s shadow he wouldn’t even give her a second look, it was at moments like these that she missed her mum so much. Trying to fight the tears that were threatening to come out she hugged Ankush tightly burying her face in his chest, Ankush understood and hugged her back letting her sadness soak into himself. Jai who was observing the couple left the party altogether feeling hurt, jealous and dejected with Tina going after him.
Many other couples were also on the dancefloor, Ridhima and her husband, Mala and Dilip, Neil was dancing with Sam and Arjun was with Radhika trying to impress her with his smooth moves. It was time for a partner change and Radhika got her brother Ankush but before they could start dancing Amrish came and took Radhika asking Ankush to find a new partner. Radhika stumped at his act but went along and danced with her nanaji, “so… how are u Mr. Khanna?”
Amrish: “so am no longer nanaji?” but she shrugged in return “then call me like u always do behind my back… Amrish Puri”
Radhika’s eyes widened almost to a size of a saucer in shock “you…you…you know?”
Amrish smiled and Radhika was shocked again bcoz he never smiled at her before, he always shouted at her or scold her unnecessarily, always taunted her that she had bad blood in her veins “of all my grandchildren am proud of u the most… u made your place in life without anyone’s help and that speaks highly of u” Radhika was now solid rock, Amrish just kept throwing shock after shock at her “I need to talk to u but in private… let’s go to my office” and they both left the party to his private home office that was on the same floor but far on the east wing.
More that half an hour later Arjun who was waiting for Radhika to return decided to go look for her since her phone was engaged, he walked towards the east wing for he last saw them going that way. He had just entered the wing when he was startled by a horrid female shrill and ran towards the voice, he found a terrified and shocked Magdalene standing outside Amrish office, the door was opened so went in “oh my God” he spoke softly in shock. He did the compulsory and when he was assured he took out his cell phone and dialled a number when the phone got connected he took a deep breath and spoke “send the team to El Milagro… there has been a murder”
The detective chief inspector Mr.Mark Clarkson was surprised, he knew the palace and to whom it belonged to, he was even invited to the engagement party but couldn’t attend bcoz of his duty, the Khanna family was a very well known family in London and especially Kensington. He asked Arjun if he recognized the victim and Arjun replied with a yes “who is it… who was murdered”
Arjun closed his eyes to calm himself, he himself was still in shock at his finding “Amrish Khanna” he replied and ended the call waiting for backup.
Precap:people’s reaction to the murder, crime scene bizarre findings, vultures feeding on the carcass.