Thanks so much for all your caring and loving. Before any of you get mad at me for writing this, I am much better and will be taking it slow in the next few days. I wrote this very cautiously without taking any extra strain so please don’t worry. I am much better and it is just muscle pain, it will heal with time. I am not straining it. Thanks dears – Azure
Sanskar looked at Aditya for a minute before firmly saying “She loves me and that is the precise reason why she will not come”
“You are really funny” Aditya told him with a vicious laugh
“Think what you want” Sanskar told him
Sanskar’s mind travelled back to a few hours before, when he was with Ragini in their own private heaven – their room. Ragini was sewing a button on his shirt. Her hands were visibly shaking and she tried to sew it on.
“You are not going to prick me with that, are you?” He said trying to lighten the mood, though he knew it wouldn’t work.
She sniffed a bit but didn’t look up at him or answer him. He knew why. She didn’t want to worry him more, so she was trying to avoid showing her fear and her reaction to him. But then again, didn’t they know each other as well as they knew themselves. How could she then have hidden it from him successfully?
Sanskar moved closer to her and wrapped his arms around her waist, letting one arm rest casually on the other. He leaned in and touched his forehead against hers.
“Ragini, you know I have to do this” he told her softly “I have to deal with him”
“No, you don’t” Ragini said in a broken voice “I can never be okay with you being at risk”
Sanskar sighed, a small smile forming on his lips, despite the situation, seeing her almost childlike reaction “How can I be okay with you being at risk then?” he asked
Ragini looked up at him, her eyes were red still, from crying a while back “We are not at risk here at the house”
Sanskar kissed her forehead gently “Yes we are. Just like today” he told her softly.
She sniffed and focused on her sewing but didn’t answer him for a long time, before softly saying “He will hurt you”
“I know he won’t let me go easily” Sanskar admitted “I could be hurt as well”
Ragini looked up at him, her breath leaving her in gasps as she felt choked with emotions.
“You know he will” Sanskar said looking her in the eyes. There was no point hiding anything from her, she would know. She nodded quietly before going back to her work “I would die to protect you” he said softly after a while
“Sanskar!” Ragini exclaimed “If something happens to you, I” she started saying
But Sanskar cut her “I know. I know you won’t be able to go on if something happens to me. I know I am your life. That is precisely the reason why I know I will come back to you. If it was just me getting hurt, I would have done it to protect you. But I cannot put you through that pain or risk you.” he told her softly
“Then why are you going in the first place?” Ragini asked him, tears brimming her eyes.
Sanskar pulled her chin up, so that she was looking at him “For us” he said softly, before leaning in and kissing her deeply. It was an emotional kiss. One that felt as though it was a dying man’s last breath. They clung to each other, unwilling to let the other one leave their embrace.
When they pulled back, it was a miracle that the needle hanging from his shirt hadn’t pricked either of them. Ragini finished sewing the button and cut the thread with her teeth before buttoning the shirt up.
“Ragini” Sanskar said softly. She looked up at him, but didn’t say anything “He will try to get to you through me” he told her “Promise me that you won’t give into his demand and come there”
“Sanskar” Ragini said softly, unsure because of the question
“Promise me, Ragini. Please” Sanskar pleaded with her “You are not going to come there or let Uttara come there”
Ragini looked at him for a while before nodding. Sanskar caressed her cheek “I love you so much” he told her, just as the alarm on his watch beeped telling him he was time to make his way to meet Aditya.
Sanskar intertwined his fingers with Ragini’s, tiling his head to signal her “Walk with me. See me out” he told her gently.
“Sanskar Maheswari, the long time missing son of Maheshwaris. The one who doesn’t want to be part of the business” Aditya said in a mocking way, pulling Sanskar out of his thoughts “You should have run back to LA the first chance you got. It would have saved you so much trouble”
“What can I say? I seem to be drawn to trouble” Sanskar told him sarcastically “Look at your sister, for example”
Aditya laughed a bit “That is the first time I have heard anyone refer to her as that” he said before smirked “You like to poke your nose where it doesn’t belong.” As if making to give Sanskar some advice, he leaned forward a bit adding “If you really wanted to save yourself some trouble, you should have left Ra-Gi-Ni to me”
Sanskar clenched his jaw, his eyes burned with anger “Ragini is not a thing to be passed on to someone” he told Aditya
“So much love” Aditya said with a chuckle “It is going to take you down with it and you are not going to be able to protect her”
“Keep her out of this” Sanskar warned him
“Oh! She is already in the middle of this. She has been for a long time. You are the one who came in much later, and uninvited” Aditya told him
“Uninvited or not, I am here” Sanskar told him “And I will always be there, in front of her, blocking you”
“Strong words from someone who cannot even defend himself” Aditya threw at him
Sanskar took a deep breath. He needed to control his emotions if he had to keep Ragini safe “Why Uttara? Why did you target her? Why risk your friendship over this?” Sanskar asked, trying to dig into his plans.
Aditya looked at him critically “Why this question?” he asked
“Why not? You were targeting my sister” Sanskar told him firmly “You were targeting your best friend’s sister. Surely that friendship should have meant something, even if you hated me”
“You don’t need to break your head over the whys” Aditya told him seriously “It made you get out of your security zone. That is all that matters. You don’t need to worry about what friendship is risked and what not”
“You are telling me that your friendship with Laksh is not worth maintaining?” Sanskar asked him
“I am telling you it is none of your business” Aditya told him annoyed
“You are targeting people who are close to me and making it my business” Sanskar told him
“I didn’t know Lucky was close to you” Aditya said with a sneer
“You are right, he is not” Sanskar told him calmly “I am just surprised you would have thrown that friendship aside when he was fighting against his family and brothers for you”
“You are trying to dig into matters again. Not happy enough the trouble you have landed yourself in?” Aditya asked him sarcastically “You would do well conserving your energy. I have a lot of things planned for you”
“Like what?” Sanskar asked firmly. He was feeling pain spreading across his chest making breathing a bit more difficult for him.
“You will know when the time comes” Aditya told him with a smile that didn’t make Sanskar feel comfortable “First, I need to check where Ra-Gi-Ni is”
Aditya picked up the phone and made a call “Has she reached?” he asked. Sanskar guessed he must be talking to one of his men.
“Wait for 5 more minutes and then call me” Aditya instructed him, while throwing a look at Sanskar
Sanskar smiled “What happened?” he asked sarcastically
“Don’t smile just yet” Aditya told him with a vicious smile of his own
Aditya’s phone rang 5 minutes later. The person on the other end told him something. Aditya looked angry and annoyed. “Fine. Stay there until I tell you what to do next” he instructed the person.
“She didn’t come, did she?” Sanskar asked him
“We will see about that” Aditya told him before making another call.
Ragini had been sitting in the same corner seat, watching Bade Papa and Papa scramble to find ways to rescue Sanskar and Laksh. The rest of the family was sitting quieting in different chairs and sofas along the living room. Annapurna was beyond herself still, though the sedative had helped a bit. Bade Papa and Papa went to their study to talk. She guessed they didn’t want to worry anyone in the family. She felt numb almost as if she was looking at all of this as a mere observer from somewhere beyond. She felt disconnected from everything and everyone.
Just then her phone rang. She saw the number. It was the same one as had called her before. It was Aditya. Her heart beats quickened. She moved away from the rest of the family a bit, and picked up the call.
“Hello” she said softly
“I thought you loved your husband, but I guess not enough” Aditya told her mockingly
“I tried to come but I couldn’t without raising suspicion” She said trying to sound as calm as she could “I need more time to get away from here. You told me that you didn’t want anyone in the family to know about it. I need time for that”
“You had all the time in the world. If you cared about your husband, you would have figured out a way” Aditya told her firmly “You think I am kidding around here. Do you think I won’t act on it?”
“I know you are serious about it. I am really trying” Ragini said trying to sound sincere “Just give me more time”
“I think you need some motivation to make things happen and understand the seriousness of all of this” Aditya told her
Ragini heard some sounds on the other end, including Sanskar’s muffled voice. She wasn’t sure what was happening, but knew that Sanskar was in trouble. Her fears came true when she heard a yelp from him
“Sanskar!” she called into the phone involuntarily, her fear taking over her for a minute
“There is a lot worse that can happen to him” Aditya told her “This is just the beginning”
“Please don’t hurt him” Ragini pleaded
“You should have thought about that before deciding not to turn up” Aditya told her
“I will come. Please just give me some time” Ragini requested him
“Are you trying to buy some time? Trying to get some support to save him?” Aditya asked her seriously
“No! You told me not to tell anyone. I haven’t” Ragini told him
“No more time” Aditya told her “This is your last opportunity. If you are not there at the farmhouse in half an hour, be ready to collect his dead body” he warned
“Please don’t do anything” Ragini begged “I will be there”
“Let see” Aditya said firmly before cutting the phone
Ragini was feeling dread filling her. Her stomach was churning at the possibilities facing her and Sanskar. She touched her stomach as if to calm down the churning, but in vain. She looked back at the women in the living room. Pari and Uttara were sitting by Badi Maa. She couldn’t see Mom anywhere.
Slowly she made her way out of the house. Each step felt heavy almost as if her feet had turned lead. The only thing propelling her forward was the thought of Sanskar and saving him. She walked towards the car, asking the guards to leave her alone and not follow her, leaving on the driver with her.
As she entered the car, she found Sujata sitting in the back seat
“Mom” she said quietly
“Where did you think you were going?” Sujata asked her
Ragini looked at her for a while before speaking “I have to go Mom. Aditya is hurting my Sanskar. This is all because of me”
“Have you thought about what will happen when you get there?” Sujata asked
Ragini nodded quietly “I don’t have any other choice. Aditya will kill him otherwise”
“And what will happen to Sanskar if they hurt you?” Sujata asked her
Ragini looked at her with tears in her eyes
“I had lost my Sanskar once. You brought him back to the family. Back to his old self. If something happens to you, I will lose my Sanskar forever. He will be gone forever. I cannot lose my Sanskar again.” Sujata told her, emotions flowing through her along with her words
Ragini hugged her “I will die if something happens to him, Mom” she said
Sujata held her close to her heart “He is strong. My Sanskar is strong. He will come out of this. You have to believe that”
Ragini nodded against her “I do. But I cannot risk his life. If I don’t reach the farmhouse in 30 minutes, Aditya will hurt him”
“Nothing will happen. Bhaisa and Sanskar’s Papa are working a way to get them out” Sujata told her
“But they don’t have any way yet. I need to go, at least to buy them some time” Ragini told her through tears, as she pulled back from the hug
“You are not going there alone. Sanskar will never forgive me, if I let you go there alone” Sujata told her “If you are going, then I am coming with you”
“Mom, if they find out” Ragini tried to counter
“We will figure something out” Sujata told her
Just then Ragini’s phone rang again. It was Aditya. She picked it up.
“So what are you going to do?” He asked her firmly
“We are coming there” Ragini told him, looking at Sujata, who nodded
“We” he asked firmly
Ragini looked at Sujata worried before answering “I don’t drive. I have to get the driver along” she said as quickly as she could
“There better not be anyone else there besides you and the driver” Aditya warned
“There won’t be” Ragini told him looking at Sujata.
Aditya turned back towards Sanskar. If Sanskar had been unsure about whether his ribs had been cracked by the previous battering, he was now sure he had at least one cracked rib now. He was crouching on the floor, trying to regain his breath. Each breath felt immensely painful now. He tried his best to find some support from the wall behind him and lean against it, trying to find a position that hurt the least.
“Looks like she is coming after all” Aditya told him with a mocking smile
Sanskar looked at him intently. This was all his fault. He made her promise him that she wouldn’t come. She had stuck to that as much as she could, but he should have realized that if it came to his life, she wouldn’t hold back.
He closed his eyes and softly said “Please don’t let Ragini get here. Please protect her” His voice sound broken even to himself. He was feeling emotionally wrought.
He had brought this upon himself and Ragini. He had been slow in pushing on with his plan. He had been the one trying to tread cautiously and that had pushed his Ragini in harm’s way. He needed to get on with his plan now. He didn’t have much time.
Back at Maheshwari Mansion, Adardh rushed into the house “I got here as soon as I could” he said looking around the living room.
Durgaprasad and Ramprasad entered the living room at the same time “You are here” they said, feeling a bit relieved seeing him there
Ramprasad looked towards where he had left Ragini. But she was missing “Where is Ragini?” he asked all the ladies around
They looked at each other, but failed to answer them. Just then Uttara realized her mother was missing as well “Where is Mom?” she asked
“Search for them. Find them!” Durgaprasad ordered the family, his expression extremely grave.
“I will try to get hold of Ranveer” Adarsh told them
Uttara came running back to them after a few minutes “Bade Papa, I cannot find Ragini Bhabhi or Mom anywhere” she told them
Just then Pari walked over “The guards outside just told me that Ragini left the house a few minutes back with the driver. They said that Chachi is also with Ragini”
“I warned her” Durgaprasad bellowed
“Bhaisa, we can think about that later” Ramprasad told him “Right now we need to worry about where they went”
“Raheja farmhouse was completely empty when our men when to check it” Adrash told them
“We need to find them” Ramprasad said
“I want my Laksh back” Annapurna said from where she was lying down on the sofa
“It would have been better if we never had a son called Laksh” Durgaprasad told her
“How can you say that about our son?” Annapurna asked him getting up
“3 members of our family are now in danger, all because of him. He is responsible for all of this. I warned you for years to control him. But you were too busy pampering him. He made friends with the wrong sort. It is because of his stupidity that we are seeing this day” Durgaprasad bellowed “I should have taken his case right in the beginning, instead of letting you talk me out of it each time. If anything happens to any of them, I will not spare him” Durgaprasad told her
“Papa” Adarsh said, touching his arm
“We need to find a way to get to them and save them” Ramprasad told him, trying to divert his attention and get him back to the problem at hand. Durgaprasad nodded going back to the study with Adarsh and Ramprasad
Annapurna watched as her husband walked away. She knew he wouldn’t forgive her or Laksh so easily, but she was a mother first. She could help but want her son back in front of her eyes and safe. Laksh was her weakness. He had always been.
Precap – Does Sanskar really have a plan that will work?
Links to previous chapters
Credit to: Azure