Guys,ik u r all confused tat i first said tat the pairs r SWASAN and RAGLAK…..but here i am…..giving u a episode mostly full of SWALAK romance…….but guys this is and out SWASAN and RAGLAK……….this a story were destiny plays its cards to bring true love together………sry for disappointing all the SWALAK and RAGSAN fans……..but ya u’ll get to see their scenes as well……..sry 4 the long update guys……and pls do comment……….it means a lot to me…..pls bear my grammatical errors and silly typo mistakes……….pls….pls…..pls….comment guys……and bashers r all so welcome……..and once again sry 4 the long update…….and Sanskar and Ragini’s entry will be cmng in the nxt or the nxt 2 nxt epi’s……..
” Mer….do it for me.pls enter the selection…please??” he breathed into my ear. The feeling sent chills down my body.
“Fine,” I whispered. “I’ll do it. But know now that I don’t want to be some princess. All I want is to be your wife.”
He stroked my hair.
“You will be.”
It must have been the light. Or the lack thereof. Because I swore his eyes welled up when he said that. Laksh had been through a lot, but I had seen him cry only once, when they whipped his brother in the square. Little ritik had stolen some fruit off a cart in the market. An adult would have had a brief trial and then, depending on the value of what was stolen, either been thrown in jail or sentenced to death. Ritik was only nine, so he was beaten.laksh’s mom didn’t have the money to take him to a proper doctor, so Ritik had scars all up and down his back from the incident.
That night I waited by my window to see if lucky would climb up into the tree house. When he did, I snuck out to him. He cried in my arms for an hour about how if he’d only worked harder, if he’d only done better, Ritik wouldn’t have had to steal. How it was so unfair that ritik had to hurt because laksh had failed.
It was agonizing, because it wasn’t true. But I couldn’t tell him that; he wouldn’t hear me.laksh carried the needs of everyone he loved on his back. Somehow, miraculously, I became one of those people. So I made my load as light as I could.
“Would you sing for me? Give me something good to fall asleep to?”
I smiled. I loved giving him songs. So I settled in close and sang a quiet lullaby.
He let me sing for a few minutes before his fingers started moving absently below my ear. He pulled my hair back and brushed his rough lips against my soft ones. Almost every time I sang, he did this. I think he enjoyed the sound of my raspy breathing more than the singing itself.
Before long we were embracing eachother on the dirty, thin rug. Laksh pulled me on top of him, and I brushed his scraggly hair with my fingers, hypnotized by the feel. He kissed me feverishly and hard. I felt his fingers dig into my waist, my back, my hips, my thighs. I was always surprised that he didn’t leave little finger-shaped bruises all over me.
We were cautious, always stopping shy of the things we really wanted. As if breaking curfew wasn’t bad enough. Still, whatever our limitations were, I couldn’t imagine anyone in Illéa had more passion than we did.
“I love you,Swara gadodia. As long as I live, I’ll love you.” There was some deep emotion in his voice, and it caught me off guard.
“I love you,laksh singhania. You’ll always be the one who has my heart and not any prince.”
And we sat there hugging each other and finding solace in our miserable lyf until the candle burned itself out.
It had to have been hours, and my eyes were heavy. Laksh never worried about his sleep, but he was always concerned about mine. So I wearily climbed down the ladder, taking my plate and my penny.
When I sang, lucky ate it up, loved it. From time to time, when he had anything at all, he’d give me a penny to pay for my song. If he managed to scrounge up a penny, I wanted him to give it to his family. There was no doubt they needed every last one. But then, having these pennies—since I couldn’t bear to spend them—was like having a reminder of everything laksh was willing to do for me, of everything I meant to him.
Back in my room, I pulled my tiny jar of pennies out from its hiding spot and listened to the happy sound of the newest one hitting its neighbors. I waited for ten minutes, watching out the window, until I saw laksh’s shadow climb down and run down the back road.
I stayed awake a little while longer, thinking of lucky and how much I loved him, and how it felt to be loved by him. I felt special, priceless, irreplaceable. No queen on any throne could possibly feel more important than I did.
I fell asleep with that thought securely etched in my heart.
LUCKY WAS DRESSED IN WHITE. He looked angelic. We were in Carolina still, but there was no one else around. We were alone, but we didn’t miss anyone. He wove twigs to make me a crown, and we were together.
“Shona……,” mumma crowed, jarring me from my dreams.
She flicked on the lights, burning my eyes, and I rubbed my hands into them, trying to adjust.
“Wake up, shona, I have a proposal for you.” I looked over at the alarm clock. Just past seven in the morning. So that was … five hours in bed.
“Is it more sleep?” I mumbled.
“No, honey, sit up. I have something serious to discuss.”
I worked myself into a sitting position, clothes rumpled and hair sticking out in strange directions. Mumma clapped her hands over and over, as if it would speed up the process.
“Come on, shona, I need you to wake up.”
I yawned. Twice.
“What do you want?” I asked in rather a very sleepy tone.
“For you to submit your name for the Selection. I think you’d make an excellent princess.”
It was way too early for this.
“Mumma, really, I just…” I sighed as I remembered what I’d promised Lucky last night: that I would at least try. But now, in the light of day, I wasn’t sure if I could make myself do it.
“I know you’re opposed, but I figured I’d make a deal with you to see if you would change your mind.”
My ears perked up. What could she possibly offer me?
“Your pappa and I spoke last night, and we decided that you’re old enough to go on your jobs alone. You play the piano as well as I do, and if you’d try a little more, you’d be nearly flawless on the violin. And your voice, well, there’s no one better in the province, if you ask me.”
I smiled groggily. “Thanks, Mumma. Really.” I didn’t particularly care to work alone, though. I didn’t see how that was supposed to entice me.
“Well, that’s not all. You can accept your own work now and go alone and … and you can keep half of whatever you make.” She sort of grimaced as she said it.
My eyes popped open.
“But only if you sign up for the Selection.” She was starting to smile now. She knew this would win me over, though I think she was expecting more of a fight. But how could I fight? I was already going to sign up, and now I could earn some money of my own!
“You know I can only agree to sign up, right? I can’t make them pick me.”
“Yes, I know. But it’s worth a shot.”
“Wow, Mumma.” I shook my head, still in shock. “Okay, I’ll fill out the form today. Are you serious about the money?”
“Of course. Sooner or later you’d go out on your own anyway. And being responsible for your own money will be good for you. Only, don’t forget your family, please. We still need you.”
“I won’t forget you, mumma. How could I, with all the nagging?” I winked, she laughed, and with that, the deal was done.
I took a shower as I processed everything that had happened in less than twenty-four hours. By simply filling out a form, I was winning the approval of my family, making lucky happy, and earning the money that would help lucky and me get married!
I wasn’t so concerned about the money, but laksh insisted we needed to have some savings of our own first. It cost a bit to do the legal stuff, and we wanted to have a very small party with our family after our wedding. I figured it wouldn’t take very long for us to save for that once we decided we were ready, but laksh wanted more. Maybe, finally, he’d trust that we wouldn’t always be strapped if I did some serious work.
After my shower, I did my hair and put on the tiniest bit of makeup to celebrate, then went to my closet and got dressed. There weren’t a whole lot of options. Most everything was beige, brown, or green. I had a few nicer dresses for when we worked, but they were hopelessly behind in the fashion department. It was like that, though. Sixes and Sevens were almost always in denim or something sturdy. Fives mostly wore bland clothes, as the artists covered everything with smocks and the singers and dancers only really needed to look special for performances. The upper castes would wear khaki and denim from time to time to change up their looks, but it was always in a way that took the material to a whole new level. As if it wasn’t enough that they could have pretty much whatever they wanted, they turned our necessities into luxuries.
I put on my khaki shorts and the green tunic top—by far the most exciting day clothes I owned—and looked myself over before going into the living room. I felt kind of pretty today. Maybe it was just the excitement behind my eyes.
Mumma was sitting at the kitchen table with papa, humming. They both looked up at me a couple of times, but even their stares couldn’t bother me.
When I picked up the letter, I was a little surprised. Such high-quality paper. I’d never felt anything like it. Thick and slightly textured. For a moment the weight of the paper hit me, reminding me of the magnitude of what I was doing. Two words jumped into my head: What if?
But I shook the thought away and put pen to paper.
It was straightforward enough. I filled in my name, age, caste, and contact information. I had to put my height and weight, hair, eye, and skin color, too. I was pleased to write that I could speak three languages. Most could speak at least two, but my dear mother insisted we learn French and Spanish, since those languages were still used in parts of the country. It also helped with the singing. There were so many pretty songs in French. We had to list the highest grade level we’d completed, which could vary immensely, since only Sixes and Sevens went to the public schools and had actual grade levels. I was nearly done with my education. Under special skills, I listed singing and all my instruments.
“Do you think the ability to sleep in counts as a special skill?” I asked papa, trying to sound torn over the decision.
“Yes, list that. And don’t forget to write that you can eat an entire meal in under five minutes,” he replied. I laughed. It was true; I did tend to inhale my food.
“Oh, the both of you! Why don’t you just write down that you’re an absolute heathen!” My mumma went storming from the room. I couldn’t believe she was so frustrated—after all, she was getting exactly what she wanted.
I gave papa a questioning look.
“She just wants the best for you, that’s all.” He leaned back in his chair, relaxing a bit before he started on the commissioned piece that was due by the end of the month.
So do you, but you’re never so angry,” I noted.
“Yes. But your mother and I have different ideas of what’s best for you.” He flashed me a smile. I got my mouth from him—both the look and the tendency to say innocent things that got me into trouble. The temper was Mumma’s doing, but she was better at holding her tongue if it really mattered. Not me. Like right now…
“Papa, if I wanted to marry a Six or even a Seven, and he was someone I really loved, would you let me?”
Papa set his mug down, and his eyes focused on me. I tried not to give anything away with my expression. His sigh was heavy, full of grief.
“Swara, if you loved an Eight, I’d want you to marry him. But you should know that love can wear away under the stress of being married. Someone you think you love now, you might start to hate when he couldn’t provide for you. And if you couldn’t take care of your children, it’d be even worse. Love doesn’t always survive under those types of circumstances.”
He rested his hand on top of mine, drawing my eyes up to his. I tried to hide my worry.
“But no matter what, I want you to be loved. You deserve to be loved. And I hope you get to marry for love and not a number.”
He couldn’t say what I wanted to know—that I would get to marry for love and not a number—but it was the best I could hope for.
“Go easy on your mumma. She’s trying to do the right thing.” He kissed my head and went off to work.
I sighed and went back to filling out the application. The whole thing made me feel like my family didn’t think I had any right to want something of my own. It bothered me, but I knew I couldn’t hold it against them in the long run. We couldn’t afford the luxury of wants. We had needs.
I took my finished application and went to find Mumma in the backyard. She sat there, stitching up a hem as ladoo did her schoolwork in the shade of the tree house. Lucky used to complain about the strict teachers in the public schools. I seriously doubted any of them could keep up with Mumma. It was summer, for goodness’ sake.
“Did you really do it?”ladoo asked,bouncing on her knees.
“I sure did.”
“What made you change your mind?”
“Mumma can be very compelling,” I said pointedly, though mumma was obviously not ashamed at all of her bribery. “We can go to the Services Office as soon as you’re ready, Mumma.”
She smiled a little. “That’s my girl. Go get your things, and we’ll head out. I want to get yours in as soon as possible.”
I went to grab my shoes and bag as I’d been instructed, but I stopped short at aadhi’s room. He was staring at a blank canvas, looking frustrated. We kept rotating through options with aadhi, but none of them were sticking. One look at the battered soccer ball in the corner or the secondhand microscope we’d inherited as payment one Christmas, and it was obvious his heart just wasn’t in the arts.
“Not feeling inspired today, huh?” I asked, stepping into his room.
He looked up at me and shook his head.
“Maybe you could try sculpting, like abhi. You have great hands. I bet you’d be good at it.”
“I don’t want to sculpt things. Or paint or sing or play the piano. I want to play ball.” He kicked his foot into the aging carpet.
“I know. And you can for fun, but you need to find a craft you’re good at to make a living. You can do both.”
“But why?” he whined.
“You know why. It’s the law.”
“But that’s not fair!”aadhi pushed the canvas to the floor, where it stirred up dust in the light from his window. “It’s not our fault our great-grandfather or whoever was poor.”
“I know.” It really seemed unreasonable to limit everyone’s life choices based on your ancestors’ ability to help the government, but that was how it all worked out. And I suppose I should just be grateful we were safe. “I guess it was the only way to make things work at the time.”
He didn’t speak. I breathed a sigh and picked up the canvas, setting it back into place. This was his life, and he couldn’t just wipe it away.
“You don’t have to give up your hobbies, buddy. But you want to be able to help Mumma and papa and grow up and get married, right?” I poked his side.
He stuck his tongue out in playful disgust, and we both giggled.
“SHONA….!” Mumma called down the hall. “What’s taking you so long?”
“Coming,” I yelled back, and then turned to aadhi. “I know it’s hard. It’s just the way it is, okay?”
But I knew it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay at all.
Mumma and I walked all the way to the local office. Sometimes we took the public buses if we were going too far or if we were working. It looked bad to show up sweaty at the house of a Two. They already looked at us funny anyway. But it was a nice day out, and the trip was just shy of being too long.
We obviously weren’t the only ones trying to get our submission in right away. By the time we got there, the street in front of the Province of Carolina Services Office was packed with women.
Standing in line, I could see a number of girls from my neighborhood in front of me, waiting to go inside. The trail was nearly four people wide and wrapped halfway around the block. Every girl in the province was signing up. I didn’t know whether to feel terrified or relieved.
“Magda!” someone called. My mother and I both turned at the sound of her name.
Nisha and Radhika were walking up behind us with laksh’s mother. She must have taken the day off to do this. Her daughters were dressed up as neatly as they could afford, looking very tidy. It wasn’t much, but they looked good no matter what they wore, just like lucky. Radhika and Nisha had his same dark hair and beautiful smiles.
Lakshs’s mother smiled at me, and I returned her grin. I adored her. I only got to talk to her every once in a while, but she was always nice to me. And I knew it wasn’t because I was a step up from her; I’d seen her give clothes that didn’t fit her kids anymore to families who had next to nothing. She was just kind.
“Hello, Lena. Kamber, Celia, how are you?” Mother greeted them.
She used their official names cause we were in public and we cant risk calling out each others indiana name.
“Good!” they sang in unison.
“You guys look beautiful,” I said, placing one of nisha’s curls behind her shoulder.
“We wanted to look pretty for our picture,” Radhika announced.
“Picture?” I asked.
Yes.” laksh’s mom spoke in a hushed voice. “I was cleaning at one of the magistrates’ houses yesterday. This lottery isn’t much of a lottery at all. That’s why they’re taking pictures and getting lots of information. Why would it matter how many languages you spoke if it were random?”
That had struck me as funny, but I thought that was all information for after the fact.
“It appears to have leaked a little; look around. Lots of girls are way overdone.”
I scanned the line. Luky’s mother was right, and there was a clear line between those who knew and those who didn’t. Just behind us was a girl, obviously a Seven, still in her work clothes. Her muddy boots might not make the picture, but the dust on her overalls probably would. A few yards back another Seven was sporting a tool belt. The best I could say about her was that her face was clean.
On the other end of the spectrum, a girl in front of me had her hair up in a twist with little tendrils framing her face. The girl beside her, clearly a Two based on her clothes, looked like she was trying to drown the world in her cle**age. Several had on so much makeup, they looked kind of like clowns to me. But at least they were trying.
I looked decent, but I hadn’t gone to any such lengths. Like the Sevens, I hadn’t known to bother. I felt a sudden flutter of worry.
But why? I stopped myself and rearranged my thoughts.
I didn’t want this. If I wasn’t pretty enough, surely that was a good thing. I would at least be a notch below lucky’s sisters. They were naturally beautiful, and looked even lovelier with the little hints of makeup. If Radhika or Nisha won, laksh’s whole family would be elevated. Surely my mother couldn’t disapprove of me marrying a One just because he wasn’t the prince himself. My lack of information was a blessing.
“I think you’re right,” Mumma said. “That girl looks like she’s getting ready for a Christmas party.” She laughed, but I could tell she hated that I was at a disadvantage.
“I don’t know why some girls go so over the top. Look at America. She’s so pretty. I’m so glad you didn’t go that route,”laksh mom said,again carefull not to use my original name and to use my official name.
“I’m nothing special. Who could pick me next to kember or Celia?” I winked at them, and they smiled. Mumma did, too, but it was forced. She must have been debating staying in the line or forcing me to run home and change.
“Don’t be silly! Every time Aspen comes home from helping your brother, he always says the Singers inherited more than their fair share of talent and beauty,” laksh’s mother said.
“Does he really? What a nice boy!” my mother cooed.
“Yes. A mother couldn’t ask for a better son. He’s supportive, and he works so hard.”
“He’s going to make some girl very happy one day,” my mumma said. She was only half into the conversation as she continued to size up the competition.
Laksh’s mom took a quick look around. “Between you and me, I think he might already have someone in mind.”
I froze. I didn’t know if I should comment or not, unsure if either response would give me away.
“What’s she like?” my mumma asked. Even when she was planning my marriage to a complete stranger, she still had time for gossip.
“I’m not sure! I haven’t actually met her. And I’m only guessing that he’s seeing someone, but he seems happier lately,” she replied, beaming.
Lately? We’d been meeting for nearly two years. Why only lately?
“He hums,” Nisha offered.
“Yeah, he sings, too,”Radhika agreed.
“He sings?” I exclaimed.
“Oh, yeah,” they chorused.
“Then he’s definitely seeing someone!” my mom chimed in. “I wonder who she is.”
“You’ve got me. But I’m guessing she must be a wonderful girl. These last few months he’s been working hard—harder than usual. And he’s been putting money away. I think he must be trying to save up to get married.”
I couldn’t help the little gasp that escaped. Lucky me, they all attributed it to the general excitement of the news.
“And I couldn’t be more pleased,” she continued. “Even if he’s not ready to tell us who she is, I love her already. He’s smiling, and he just seems satisfied. It’s been hard since we lost Herrick, and Aspen’s taken so much on himself. Any girl who makes him this happy is already a daughter to me.”
“She’d be a lucky girl! Your Aspen is a wonderful boy,” Mumma replied.
I couldn’t believe it. Here his family was, trying to make ends meet, and he was putting away money for me! I didn’t know whether to scold him or kiss him. I just… I had no words.
He really was going to ask me to marry him!
It was all I could think about.laksh, laksh, laksh. I went through the line, signed at the window to confirm that everything on my form was true, and took my picture. I sat in the chair, flipped my hair once or twice to give it some life, and turned to face the photographer.
I don’t think any girl in all of Illéa could have been smiling more than me.
Precap:Heart break?????……..Ragini’s entry……
Destiny has played its card and swara has entered the selection……but less does she knows tat this day will change her lyf completely…………but the ques is swara finds solace and comfort in her lover’s arms but is this luv…….??????does laksh really luv her????????who will be her knight in shining armour?????……is the person……..The Prince or Her Lover??????????…….
I’m really sry 4 the late update…….i am not felling confident whether i should continue it or not as the number of comments has decreased visibly frm my prolouge to the last chappy i posted………it might sound lyk i’m saying all this 4 more comments…….but srsly guys……..sometimes i feel lyk watever i write is rubbish and tat i’m writing a story which no one lyk’s……….and i’m getting hell frustrated thinking abt it……….and my broken leg, the pain in my spinal cord and the fact tat my bro is angry wit me does no gud……….actually the reason for my late update is that i had a freak accident on may 1st…..while learning to drive bike…..i know to ride scotty…….so i pleaded my bro to teach me to ride bike………he taught me and left only for few mins to attend a call…..he warned me not to start to ride again until he comes……and me being me…..tried doing something heroic to show my bro tat even gals can be sporty but ended up getting a broken leg…….scratches in my hand…….pain in my back…….and many more bruises……….even as i type this my bro is giving me death glares as he has not yet forgiven for being foolish……..sry guys…i’m very talkative……..i get carried away wen i start talking tats exactly wat happend here……..sry again…….i’m in a very low mood after my accident…………kkk….enough of my baks baks……..pls…..pls…..pls……pls….comment…….ur comments can atleast lift my mood……..got to go guys….i’ll try to update the nxt part tomorrow only if the case is tat u want me 2 continue……pls comment and tell me if u want me to continue……….bye guys……cause if i keep on typing now my bro will most probably snatch my phone and kill me…………one more thing guys…..,pls show ur support for jisha,who was brutually rapped and murdered………u can know more by just typing justice for jisha in google search……….pls support guys………we already let down nirbhaya now r we gonna let down another women also???????…….#justice4jisha……Bye guys…….tc……luv ya????…..pls do comment????……
Credit to: ❤?Natasha?❤