Hi all, sorry I had been a bit busy and couldnt finish typing this chapter before, as some of you had requested. I hope I have made up for it in someway with this chapter. I was overwhelmed by the love you have showered me with in the last update. I cannot thank you enough for it. Lots of love. Please forgive the typos – Azure
Sanskar had been trying to knot a black tie around his neck, his face clearly depicting his displeasure. He had been dressed, in a black suit with a white shirt, getting ready for a party that he would have much rather avoided. It was a party thrown by one of the politicians that was part of his family’s business nexus and the entire family had been ordered, by Durgaprasad, to be present for it. The reason for his displeasure have been two-fold, first that it was part of the world that he had no interest or intention in being part of and the other was because it was one more thing that was preventing him from spending some time alone with Ragini.
While he had been apprehensively about admitting his new found feelings with her two nights back, since yesterday, that was all that was on his mind. He wasn’t sure how she would react to it and wanted some good bit of time alone with her to really put his thoughts and feelings forward, in a way that wouldn’t distance her from him. But private time with her had been a luxury all of yesterday and today. If it wasn’t the Pooja, it was someone or the other trying to pull her in for some household work, Uttara and her nonsensical gossip, even Ashu has been particularly active on the phone and kept him away from Ragini. She had been so tired at the end of it that she had literally crashed and fallen asleep last night. Today was no different with Maa, Mom and Pari Bhabhi trying to pull her in different plans. If that wasn’t enough, his Bade Papa had thrown this party on this face now! He couldn’t even get her alone in their room for 5 minutes of peaceful talk.
Ragini walked out of the washroom, dressed in an elegant black saree with a light pink edge and full sleeves blouse with some work in pink. His eyes followed her as she entered the room and walked towards the dresser while still focused on fixing the saree. She brushed her hair and was about to tie it when he walked behind her and held her hand gently.
“Leave it open. You look beautiful with your hair letdown” he told her softly, looking at her in the mirror.
She gave him a shy smile before nodding. As he looked at her, a though struck him and he moved towards the wardrobe even as Ragini got on with getting ready. She had just worn some diamond and pink tourmaline earnings when he walked over and stood beside her.
“This looks much better, doesn’t it?” he asked her pointing to his tie before pointing to the two of them in the mirror “We look good together, now” he told her with a twinkle in his eye. She nodded with a shy but warm smile.
She was about to pick up the box with sindoor in it, when he took it from her hand “Let me” he said as he filled it in her forehead.
“Ragini, I” he started to say “I wanted to …” he said. But even before he could finish the sentence, Uttara barged in and dragged Ragini out to help her get ready. Ragini gave him a helpless look as she went with Uttara.
Sanskar shook his head “I think the only way anyone is going to let me have some alone time with Ragini is if lock, bolt and seal this door with the two of us in it!” he said annoyed.
Ragini and Uttara had been standing by one of the tables chatting with each other at the party as the others had been dragged into different groups. Sanskar had just gone to grab some soft drinks for them since the waiters seemed to have exhausted them by the time they got around where they were standing.
“You should have better company at a party like this, than Uttara” Laksh said, coming and standing next to her “Better yet, you shouldn’t be standing, you should be dancing” he said, extending his hand
“Laksh Bhai! How can you call me bad company?” Uttara asked him annoyed
“Laksh bhaiya, you should take Uttara dancing. She shouldn’t have to stand her with her Bhabhi instead of enjoying the party” Ragini told him with a warm smile
“Not this bhaiyaa thing again!” He said annoyed “How many times do I have to tell you? And this party is not for dancing with sisters.” He told her
“Laksh bhaiyaa, you are forgetting that I am you sister as well. It won’t look good if you are dancing with me as well, in that case” Ragini said maintaining her smile, though she always felt a bit uncomfortable around Laksh “Besides, I need to go look for your bhai and my dear husband” she said with a smile as she walked away from their quickly, before Laksh could say anything.
As Ragini walked towards the bar, she saw Sanskar standing with a middle aged lady. She was dressed elegantly. As she walked closer, she heard the lady talk
“It must have been so difficult for you” she said as she ran her hand along Sanskar’s arm as if to console him. He clearly looked awkward to be there. “She was so beautiful. An angel really. To lose it so violently, seeing her die and then being forced to marry someone else” she sighed before continuing “No one can come close to Swara angel. I cannot believe what you must be going through being forced to stay married to someone who doesn’t not even come close to being even Swara’s shadow” she added emotionally.
Ragini felt a catch at her throat as her eyes teared up. She took a few steps back from there.
Sanskar felt his anger rise at the way Sheila Raheja was talking about his Ragini. He had been listening to her for a while now, as matter of courtesy. He had felt extremely awkward about the discussion that was going on, and a part of him wanted to blast her for it, but he didn’t want to make a scene or be rude to her. After all, she was almost the age of his mother and he didn’t want to disrespect her. But hearing the last few words, he lost his cool.
“My wife has a name. A beautiful name, Ragini. And she is quite amazing” he told her firmly “I do wish Swara was alive. I do understand what you must be going through, as well as her parents. It can never be easy to lose someone close to you, but Ragini isn’t responsible for this and she doesn’t deserve to be dragged into such comparisons” he added as politely as he could, while still sending a clear message
“Of course! That is not what I meant” Sheila said quickly “It just that” she added emotionally, running his hand on his arm again “Swara meant the world to me. It is not easy to see someone, anyone in a place that was meant only for her”
“Mrs Raheja” Sanskar began to say, but before he could say anything more, Ragini walked over with a bright smile on her face
“There you are” she said holding his hand “I have been looking everywhere for you”
Sheila Raheja looked a bit unhappy but schooled her look promptly as Sanskar looked at her with a proud smile on his face “This is my wife Ragini” he said introducing Ragini. Ragini nodded at her with a smile “Ragini this is Mrs Sheila Raheja”
Ragini nodded before speaking “Sanskar, Bade Papa is looking for you. We should go”
They excused themselves quickly and Ragini dragged him to the furthest end of the party and stood by the lone table there. She looked angry and annoyed.
“What happened? Where is Bade Papa?” Sanskar asked her
“Bade Papa didn’t call you. I made an excuse to get you away from that horrible lady” Ragini said making a face
Sanskar chuckled “You were fantastic! Thank you for saving me” he told her
“I had to” she said sincerely “How could she say something like that? Does she not have any sense. How could she bring back all the sad memories for you and burrow on your pain of losing Swara” he said angrily
Sanskar quietened hearing her. He held her shoulders and turned her around “You heard that?” he asked her
She looked away from him, but he held a finger under her jaw and made her look towards him. She nodded. He sighed hearing that. He caressed her cheek with his thumb before speaking.
“Look don’t take anything she said seriously” he told her honestly, looking in her eye “She was just talking about things she has no clue about and all that did was make me feel awkward. There was not even a single grain of truth in it”
“But” Ragini made to say softly
“No buts” Sanskar said “Just hear me out” he told her. He knew she must have been hurt and he needed to clear this thing immediately “You are amazing! Fantastic! You are absolutely gorgeous. Swara may have been beautiful, but the truth is that she doesn’t compare to you. I am not saying this just to make you feel better. It is the truth. You are incomparable”
Ragini heard him intently but didn’t say anything
Sanskar sighed “The truth is that I never loved Swara” seeing her trying to cut in, he added “I just thought I did and I was delusion to think that. I was blind to the reality and blind to my own feelings. I fought those who wanted to make me see the truth and hung on to illusion for too long” he told her, taking her hands in his as he spoke next “The truth is that I was in love with the chase. I was in love with the adrenaline rush of pursuing the, well I guess, forbidden fruit so to speak. And one I thought I had her, it was about loving this feeling of accomplishment” he said shaking his head at the silliness of it all “The truth is that she was only one in that relationship. She along with her demands, wants, desires. The only role I played there was to fulfil them. If in that picture, I was replaced by someone else, you wouldn’t have noticed the difference, because I was never there in that relationship – if it can be called that”
Ragini looked at him at the end of it “So you don’t love Swara?” she asked again gently
Sanskar gave her a gentle smile “No. Not even close. Trust me the only reason I was bothered there was because it was one hell of an awkward conversation and I was stuck in it” he said squeezing her hand a bit “Actually, there is something I wanted to talk to you about” he said
“Sanskar! There you are” Adarsh bhaiyaa called out rushing towards them
Great! Sanskar thought. Not even a moment of privacy!
“Papa is looking for you. He wants you to meet Sharmaji” He said referring to the politician who had thrown the party.
“Do I have to be there?” Sanskar asked annoyed
“Yes” Adarsh said as he held one of Sanskar hand and started dragging him away.
“We need to talk” Sanskar said quickly, giving her a reassuring smile, as he was being dragged away.
Ragini looked at him from far. He was some distance away standing with the rest of the men in the family, listening to Sharmaji. She picked up a glass of cold drink from a waiter who walked by and sipped it as she looked at him, lost in thought.
The past month had been a whirlpool of thoughts and emotions. She had gotten married without much choice in the matter and then found herself in a situation where her husband had been in love with her half-sister. The same sister whose name held bitter memories for her. It was a reminder of how her father never did or could love her. But then things had changed. She wasn’t sure what had happened, but they had become friends, best of friends. Suddenly, she was going things for smallest of his happiness and he could see that he was doing the same for her.
It didn’t stop there. She hadn’t expected that she would get so close to him so quickly or even care about him so much that when he was sad, she felt sad as well. Seeing him happy brought a smile to her face. And then something changed in his eyes. There was an intensity about them when he looked at her. That intensity had her heart racing. It made her blush. Smallest of his touches sent her skin tinkling. She had never felt this before for anyone. It was all so new to it. She couldn’t make sense of it, beyond admitting that he had become so important to her that his happiness, his dreams, his smile matter to her a lot more than her own.
As she overheard the conversation sometime back, she felt shattered. It was just her sheer need to get him out of that awkward situation that made her gather strength and go and face them after what she had overheard. It was at that time that she had another revelation, that she loved him. She loved him more than anything or anyone. She suddenly found herself understanding preciously what her mother had said to her about love. In fact, she felt herself standing in the same place as her mother was.
She knew Sanskar wasn’t her father, nor could he ever be like him. She knew that Sanskar would never cheat on her or could have never left her and fallen in love with someone else after they got married. No, in that he was very very different. She trusted him more than she trusted herself. But she also realized one thing in that moment when she overheard the conversation. Something beyond the fact that she loved him. No, what she realized was that she also couldn’t stop loving him. She couldn’t stop loving him even if he didn’t love her. She couldn’t stop loving him even if he still loved Swara.
She had never been into analyzing her looks, but for the first time ever, she had felt unsure. It wasn’t because she was unsure of herself. It wasn’t even that he had made her feel anything but beautiful, no it was quite the contrary. When he complimented her, admired her, he made her feel as though she was the most beautiful girl in the world, but that comment from Sheila Raheja had made her wonder, just for those few minutes, it had been a compromise for him.
But Sanskar as always had been wonderful. He had realized the worry in her eyes, even before she had a chance of understanding it completely herself. His words had been like a soothing balm to her soul. She wasn’t sure if he loved her or could love her, but the look in his eyes was telling her something. She had always been apprehensive about translating it but now, she felt something akin to hope rise in her heart. May be what she was seeing was love. Just may be.
He turned to look at her, almost as if he heard her. She knew she was being silly but in that moment she had been too lost thinking about him and looking at him. Him turning to look at her, made her skip a beat. He threw a questioning look at her. She shook her head to let him know she was fine. There was nothing going on. He threw her a skeptically look. She gave him a smile, figures, he would catch her trying to hide something. He shook his head and went back to his conversation and she to looking at him as she gently sipped her drink.
She wasn’t sure how long she stood there. She vaguely remembered Uttara coming and trying to talk to her. But for the love of god, she couldn’t remember what was being said. Sanskar had been making funny faces at her from where he stood, signaling her that he was bored. She let out a giggle as she shrugged her shoulders helplessly. He rolled his eyes at her. Adarsh elbowed him and signaled him to focus on the discussion that was happening around them. He nodded sincerely and looked away. She smiled shaking her head at his antics.
As she stood there looking at him, she heard a voice behind her, really close to her ear “Beautiful woman like you shouldn’t be standing alone at a party like this”
There was something decidedly slimy and uncomfortable about the voice. The closeness of the person infringing on her private space didn’t help. She turned around startled, moving a bit away from the man in front of her. He was a stranger to her.
“Excuse me!” she said a bit annoyed as she took a few steps back, away from him, only to trip on something that came in the way.
She was about to fall when the man wrapped his arms around her. She quickly tried to straighten as she pushed his hands away, but not before he slid a hand along her waist. She shoved him away “What are you doing?” she asked him angrily
“I am just trying to help you” he said with a sleezy smile in his place as he touched her shoulders.
Just then, he was pulled away from her. Sanskar walked over, standing in between her and the man, covering her from him “Stay away from my wife!” Sanskar screamed at him
“Look you are misunderstanding me” the man said “I was only trying to help” he said trying to look at Ragini, but she moved behind Sanskar away from his eyes. She didn’t like the way he was looking at her “your wife, is it? I didn’t mean any harm, Mr…..” he trailed off looking at Sanskar
Sanskar was fuming by then. Ragini could feel it even as she touched his back. Sanskar held the man by his throat, wrapping his fingers around his neck tightly, trying to squeeze the air from it. “I have a very good idea of what you know and what your intention was, Aditya Raheja” he said in a voice that was colder than steel.
By then a bit of crowd had accumulated around them. Ranveer, Adarsh and Laksh came running there. Laksh rushed towards Aditya “Ady!” he said before looking towards Sanskar “Bhai! What are you doing? Let go of him” he said trying to pull Sanskar’s hand off his throat. But Sanskar held Aditya in a vice grip. Aditya’s eyes widened.
Sheila Raheja rushed towards them, pulling at Sanskar’s hand as well “Let go of my son”
Sanskar was only focused on Aditya. His anger burning like coals through his eyes “Stay away from my wife” Sanskar warned him “Keep her out of your cheap intentions and games”
Ragini was worried looking at his anger. Worried not for Aditya but for her Sanskar. She didn’t want him to do something he would regret. She didn’t want him being touched by the world their families were part of. She tugged at his arm gently, to get his attention “Sanskar” she called out to him softly. He turned to look at her. He saw the concern and worry in her eyes. She shook her head, pleading him to let go. Sanskar took a deep breath and turned towards Aditya who was close to losing consciousness now. He let go of his neck and shoved him away “Stay away from her” Sanskar warned him again “Next time, I won’t let go of your throat” he told him before holding Ragini’s hand and striding out of there
“What is the meaning of this?” Sheila yelled from behind, but he didn’t stop or turn or respond.
“The meaning is simple” Adarsh told her firmly “Ask your son to stay in his limits and stay away from Ragini. That is, if you want him to stay alive”
“Next time if he tries anything, Sanskar won’t be the only one he has to deal with. I won’t think twice about killing someone who bothers my sister” Ranveer warned them even as Laksh and Sheila held on to Aditya.
“I am sorry, but I think it is best we leave now” Durgaprasad told Sharmaji, folding his hands in Namaste as most of Maheshwari and Gadodia family excused themselves from the party.
Sanskar was still fuming as he strode along the way out of the plan, holding Ragini’s hand securely in his.
“Oww!” Ragini yelped
Sanskar turned around concerned, seeing her holding her leg a bit.
“What happened?” he asked, anger leaving him and concern for her taking over
“It is nothing, I just twisted my ankle. I will be okay. Let’s go” she said softly, trying to standing up and walk, but ending up limping.
Sanskar let go of her hand and picked her up in his arms, walking towards the car. Ragini looked at him and held on to him, but didn’t bother him. She knew he would need some time to let his anger out, and she would wait for her to, patiently, standing with him all through it. She wrapped her arms around his neck. He looked at her once, as they reached the car.
Their bodyguards rushed over, opening the rear door, but Sanskar signaled them to open the front passenger door. He gently placed Ragini on the seat and fastened her seat belt, before turning towards the bodyguard.
“I will be driving the car today” Sanskar told him firmly “Give me the keys”
“But” the guard tried to say
“The key!” Sanskar told him firmly “You can follow us in the next car but no one is going to ride with us in this one”
Seeing the determined look in Sanskar’s eyes, the bodyguard gave in. Sanskar drove them back home, and carried her out of the car again, when they reached home.
“I am completely fine now, Sanskar” Ragini assured him “I can walk”
“Shhh! Let me decide if you are fine or not” Sanskar told her
“But!” Ragini tried to say
“Can you just let me do things my way this once?” Sanskar told her, carrying her back to their room and laying her down on the bed.
He was about to get up, when she held his hand and made him seat next to her. Sanskar looked at her questioningly.
“All Aditya’s are monkeys, ityadi’s with cuckoo’s nest on their head” she told him quietly
Sanskar looked at her “Well this Aditya is a slimy snake” he said annoyed
She nodded “So don’t waste time getting angry on slimy snakes then. You don’t look good angry”
Sanskar felt his anger calm down, despite his intention to not let go of it this soon “So how do I look good?” he asked her
“Smiling, Teasing” she said sincerely “even annoyed, just sometimes though” she added quickly
“I look good annoyed?” he asked raising an eyebrow “That is a first” he said “And teasing. But what am I going to tease you about now? You had admitted that that Adi is a monkey with cuckoo’s nest” he told her, a smile making its way on his lips
“I am sure you will find something” she told him rolling her eyes “you are very resourceful in these matters”
He chuckled, not being able to hold it in. This was why he loved her so much. She just sense his mood and tried to make him feel better, even though it should have been him trying to console her and make her feel good after what she had been through.
He moved closer to her and cupped her face with a hand “Are you okay?” he asked her gently “I should have never gone away for that stupid discussion. I should have been there with you. You should have never had to face it”
Ragini turned her face a bit and gently kissed her palm, before turning to look at him “I am okay. When you are around, I don’t have anything to worry about. He is a horrible person and I felt really angry and disgusted by him” she told him, her face cringing at the memory “but then you came and everything was okay. You always take care of me and make everything okay” she told him softly
“I wish you had never had to go through it, or need me to make it okay” Sanskar told her sincerely
“But I need you. I will always need you” Ragini told him softly, her emotions reflecting in her eyes
Sanskar gasped, feeling a tightening in his chest at the emotions that seemed to be flowing through him. He moved closer to her, leaning his head against her for a second before pulling back “You are wonderful, do you know that? I don’t know how I was this lucky to have you in my life, but I am thankful to whatever fate and destiny or whatever it was that brought you in my life” he told her looking intensely in her eyes “You make me smile, laugh. You make me happy. I miss you when you are not around, so much so that I feel lonely, empty without your presence. Seeing you smile, warms my heart. I cannot bear to see you upset or sad or worse crying. I don’t know when this happened, but you have become my world, my life, my happiness. I know that if you aren’t in my life, I would be as good as dead” he told her softly
“Sanskar!” she gasped, her eyes tearing up “Please don’t talk about death. I won’t survive without you”
Sanskar caressed her cheek gently, giving her a soft smile “Ragini, I don’t know when you became the voice for my thoughts, window to my soul, but you have. I wanted to tell you this for some time now. I wasn’t sure what you felt about me or even if you felt the same way, but I cannot hold it inside me anymore” he told her, looking at her deeply “I love you. I love you more than life itself” he said, his voice cracking a bit with emotions as he said that.
She rested her delicate hand against her cheek “What took you so long to say it?” she said softly, tears running down her cheek even as a smile broke along her lips
Sanskar wiped the tears away with his thumb “I didn’t have you tell me about my thoughts, like you always do” he said with a smile as he rested his forehead against here
“I love you Sanskar” she said softly, her voice laden with emotions just as his was “I love you so much”
Sanskar gently kissed her on her forehead, her cheeks before finally brushing his lips against hers. She gasped against his lips, parting them gently. He captured her lips in a deep emotional kiss that expressed the depth of their feelings. A depth that they couldn’t in express in words.
Precap – All is well??
Links to previous chapters
Credit to: Azure