Next part is now up – Thanks Azure
Sanskar turned to look at the person who had interrupted them.
“You told me it was just a prank!” the person exclaimed
“Stay out of this Lucky” Aditya warned “I don’t need you breaking my head now”
Sanskar looked at Laksh, who seemed alert for the supposed beating that he had taken. It was obvious, at least now, that it has all been as fake just as he had first suspected it to be.
“You used me!” Laksh spat at Aditya, feeling aggravated and pulling at the rope that was binding his hands to the arms of the chair he was sitting in “You told me that Swara Bhabhi” he paused “No! Not Bhabhi! Just Swara!” he uttered angrily “You told me that Swara wanted to play a harmless prank on Bhai. You told me that since I was good at pranks and had been around LA quite a bit when I visited Bhai, that I should help with the prank. I thought it was all fun”
“Don’t blame me for your dumbness!” Aditya shot at him
“You lied to me! When my contact called me and informed me that Swara had fought with the wrong person and gotten shot for real, I panicked. I came to you. I was worried about what would happen when Bhai found out! When my family found out! When Swara’s family found out! But you assured me! You! You covered up for me. I couldn’t believe that I had such a wonderful friend who chose his best friend over his sister. I trusted you! And you! You betrayed me! You made a fool out of me!” Laksh screamed
“I didn’t need to make a fool out of you” Aditya said sarcastically, with a sneer “You did it all by yourself. If you were so stupid to believe that I would favor you over family, you were an idiot”
“You did do it for the family!” Laksh screamed at him “No! Now I know that! No! You did it for yourself. Bhai was right. I was talking to Swara about the plan and she was messaging me till the end. You were worried it would come back to you, didn’t you?” Laksh asked him “Didn’t you?”
Sanskar looked at them and smiled. His thoughts went back to the chat he had with Ranveer two days back. He had gone to drop Ragini at the firm that she was interning with. As had become his practice, he had been waiting in the car outside the firm, till it would be time to pick her up and drive her back home. Having so much time at leisure without much to do, meant that he had been focusing part of it on trying to investigate leads in LA as he had promised Ranveer, and the rest on trying to work on the puzzle of what was going on. That day he had called Ranveer to meet him there, because he wanted to run some of his thoughts and ideas by Ranveer.
There was a knock on the rear car door, before the bodyguards stationed, outside the bulletproof BMW, opened the door and Ranveer entered the car.
“You are crazy; do you know that?” Ranveer commented
Sanskar gave him a confused look
“You have been waiting the entire day outside Laddo’s office for her work to get over!” Ranveer said looking amused. Sanskar had the grace to blush a bit, feeling embarrassed at the comment “I didn’t think I would see the day. You are really love sick! And I am saying this! The one who wanted you to keep my sister happy. That is something!”
Sanskar cleared his throat “Are you done?” he asked, referring to the teasing
“Not really!” Ranveer told him with a bright smile “But go on. Tell me what you want to talk about”
“I have been talking to my friend in LA. He knows Swara’s friends really well. He had been investigating this for me, at least in terms of seeing it any of her friend was involved in that plan or asked to role play at that pub” Sanskar told him, getting serious. Ranveer nodded, indicating Sanskar to proceed “It has turned out completely blank. Not even a single of her friends or when anyone at her theater company was involved in this”
“They might be scared to admit it” Ranveer reasoned
“I know that, but my pal is really in the good terms with them. If there was anything to be said, he would have known about it. There is a lot of crap that does go down there, it seems. Nothing that what we are talking about, but enough so that if you have the right contacts, you get the dirt” Ranveer explained
“So that is a dead end then!” Ranveer said
“Not necessarily” Sanskar explained. Ranveer looked at him a bit confused “What it means is that she didn’t use anyone that she knows. It is likely that she didn’t make the arrangements either. So who arranged for that show which was going to be put up? Why such elaborate preparation if it was a prank” Sanskar asked “You see where I am going with this? It means that there could have only been one reason for that show, and one reason only. And it had to do with what happened to Ragini”
“How do you answer my question on the need for the cover up in that case? Why did she need to do it instead of staying away? Especially when the linkage would have broken apart the moment the hired man was found any way” Ranveer asked him
“Do you have any leads on the hired assassin? Is there any way to locate him?” Sanskar asked, avoiding answering his question
Ranveer shook his head “It is not easy to locate him. These assassins done exactly advertise their work openly or are available to hire publically. They operate in secret. While their hit record might be well-known, the targets aren’t always obvious. This is not a film where they will leave their calling card. Most operate incognito and don’t have a style that stands out. They cannot be contacted directly”
“So how are you trying to locate him?” Sanskar asked
“Through the agents. Not all assassins have an agent or a dealer, but many do. Assassin is well aware of imminent death; you cannot torture the truth out of him. Dealers are a different matter. They want their cut without necessarily being ready to die for it” Ranveer told him “But the problem is that there are a lot of dealers out there. Weeding out the one that we need, isn’t always easy”
“What if this one doesn’t have an agent?” Sanskar asked
“Those kinds won’t take this contract. It will not be challenging enough for them” Ranveer explained “Trust me. I am sure it cannot be one of those”
“Anything else you want to talk about?” Ranveer asked after they had been silent for a while
Sanskar snapped out of his thoughts “Lots actually”
“You have been thinking about this a lot” Ranveer commented
“I had a lot of time on hand and not much to do” Sanskar said shrugging his shoulders “Besides I do want to find out who is trying to hurt Ragini”
Ranveer nodded, in understanding. He too was, after all, trying to divert a lot of his time into the search.
“Swara’s mother and Mrs. Raheja gave me the impression that they were dying to talk to my family about a possible match with Swara” Sanskar told him “My family would have, of course, not agreed to it because of her mother’s background. And I am not all that convinced that Swara really wanted to marry me. But do you think Shekhar Gadodia could have missed knowing my family’s view about the relation to encourage this thinking?”
“Even if he had known your family’s views, Kaka would have been very confident about being able to change their mind” Ranveer told him “In the worst case, he must have expected you to marry her without their permission. He would have anyway bestowed you with all the wealth to help you keep her happy” he said before asking “They were talking to you about the marriage?”
Sanskar nodded “Though it was more about letting me know how she had many suitors and yet she had chosen me. Or to tell me how Ragini wouldn’t compare to Swara. They thought it would make me feel better” he said sarcastically rolling his eyes
Ranveer sighed “It might have just been to make sure you remember her and keep Laddo away”
“I don’t know how putting us down was going to achieve that. It’s crazy” Sanskar said “All it did was make me feel awkward and angry”
“Don’t break your head over them. They aren’t worth it” Ranveer told him “Besides, we might already have another problem in hand”
Sanskar looked at him concerned, raising his eyebrow.
“You know that Aditya is not going to sit still after your threat” Ranveer reminded him
“I don’t know why you cannot sort him for good” Sanksar asked him annoyed
“I did tell you that he is Kaka’s favorite nephew, didn’t I?” Ranveer commented “Kaka will shield him if I try to do anything to him. He will hit back at me instead. That would have been fine. But the issue is that I cannot guarantee that he won’t take his anger out on the rest of the family”
“But that is his family too!” Sanskar exclaimed, throwing his hands “I get that he doesn’t particular care about Ragini or Janki Maa, but what about the rest of you”
“We may be family but he sees the other family as his family first and then this one” Ranveer said
Sanskar sighed, but didn’t fight him on this “What are you doing in this business? Really?” He asked Ranveer
Ranveer just looked at him confused
“Ragini told me how both of you wanted to get away from this business and earn your own living. She said that you didn’t want the tainted money. But then all of a sudden you joined the business. She could never get the reason out of you. What happened?” Sanskar asked him sincerely “You don’t seem all that comfortable with the business either”
Ranveer sighed “It is a long story”
“I have a lot of time at hand” Sanskar told him
“Some other day” Ranveer told him “Let’s focus on keeping Laddo safe first”
Sanskar nodded “Why do you think Swara agreed to get involved in this plot?” He asked Ranveer “There had to be something in it for her. Something beyond creating the linkage” Sanskar said. Ranveer tried to cut in, but Sanskar continued before he could “I know you don’t agree with the linkage and cover up theory. But let’s leave it as gray area before we discard it” he reasoned “After all, didn’t you tell me, we couldn’t discard any theory too soon”
Ranveer sighed “Fine” he said “What is your theory on this? What was in it for her?”
“Shekhar Gadodia had given her everything she wanted, sometimes I am sure even before she realized that she wanted it. There wasn’t anything that he wasn’t willing to do for her. He was confident about getting her married to me, if needed against my family’s wishes, which wouldn’t have been risky. In short, I don’t think there was anything he said no to her for. Even if she wanted him to protect the person who hurt Ragini, he would have, wouldn’t he?” Sanskar asked Ranveer, breaking through his blabber of thoughts
Ranveer nodded “Are you trying to disprove your own theory of cover up with this one?” he asked shaking his head
Sanskar was lost in his trail of thoughts though. He didn’t stop to comment on this “They knew about Swara being with me, even when I never introduced myself to her as Sanskar Maheshwari. It makes me think, if there was someone in LA or one of the rivals here, who had been involved in this plot and been in touch with her, wouldn’t Shekhar Gadodia have known? He would have never let her risk herself, correct? And we know that Swara’s show of getting hurt, would have impacted him a lot, temporarily albeit, but still” he said almost as though he was thinking out loud, instead of talking to Ranveer.
Ranveer let him talk, listening to him, but not really disturbing his chain of thoughts for now
“So it had to be someone, who would not stand out even if the person was in touch with her. Someone she was used to meeting regularly” Sanskar reasoned “I cannot think of anyone in LA who would have any benefit in pretend hurting Swara and hurting Ragini fatally. They would not even know Ragini in the first place. Plus they are far removed from this other side of this business. So it would have to be a rival” Sanskar said now looking at Ranveer “A rival who wouldn’t stand out. Who she meets regularly. Who she would help, even at the cost of hurting her father. Who would that be?”
“I can think of a name” Ranveer said “Though I am not sure I can define them as rivals, since they do get support from Gadodias”
“I can think of a name as well” Sanskar said “But since I don’t know all the rivals, I am not sure if I have it right” he admitted
“I don’t know what they could gain from this though” Ranveer said “Why attack your own ally?”
“Swara wouldn’t have agreed if it was about attacking Gadodias, herself as well” Sanskar admitted “So there has to be more to it”
“What if the cover up was to show that they weren’t attacking their own ally?” Sanskar asked after a while, looking very unsure as he voiced this
“I still don’t get what they would gain from this. If they were discovered, they would face the wrath of both Kaka and I. They would be utterly destroyed” Ranveer reasoned “Besides, wouldn’t they have been better served by going after the Maheshwaris instead of their own ally? They had at least some potential for gain there and Kaka would have protected them”
“What if they could hurt both at the same time?” Sanskar asked “What if you and Shekhar Gadodia thought it was Maheshwaris who were behind this? You wouldn’t have spared any of us, would you? The moment those incidents happened, I was dragged back because of that same worry”
“But we didn’t doubt you for long” Ranveer explained “The moment Doug was identified, it was all clear and it would have been the same when we found the real actor involved. If this was arranged by this rival, there would have be no reason to doubt Maheshwaris. And even if Kaka would have tried to protect them, Dadaji would not have spared anyone trying to kill Ragini. Talking shit is one thing, sending an assassin is quite different”
Sanskar nodded “And I still don’t know why Swara would gain from this. She had everything, lots of money, her inheritance, all the wishes being fulfilled before they were asked”
Ranveer was silent for a moment before he spoke solemnly “There could be a reason” Sanskar looked at him startled “It wouldn’t be about gaining something. It would be because of worry of losing something”
“What are you talking about?” Sanskar asked
“Kaka had been pondering about retiring from the business. Handing the reigns over to me. He wanted to relax and enjoy with his family” Ranveer told him seriously
“But you wouldn’t have done anything to them” Sanskar reasoned “or cut them off”
“I wouldn’t have, but they couldn’t be sure, could they?” Ranveer asked “Even if not now, what if something happened to Kaka, then what. She might have been worried about that”
“Swara being at risk would certainly stop Shekhar Gadodia from stepping away, wont it?” Sanskar asked, though he knew the answer
Ranveer nodded “So if Swara helped him because of her fear, why would he still go through all these lengths just for her. He isn’t the type to do something out of the goodness of his heart”
Sanskar snorted “What goodness! He is a slimy snake” Sanskar commented
“So why was Aditya involved then?” Ranveer asked
Sanskar’s mind travelled back to his conversation with Adarsh almost a month back. Adarsh’s words kept coming back to him, as did the recent incident when he held Aditya by the neck “What if your trace on the actor involved in that Swara show led back to Maheshwaris?” Sanskar asked him “You don’t have any information on the assassin, let alone who hired him. What if Swara’s attack led you back to Maheshwaris? Would you believe they had attacked Ragini then?” Sanskar asked him
“Why would it led back to your family?” Ranveer asked confused
“I can think of a way” Sanskar told him somberly “I don’t think he knew the entire plot though”
“Who are you talking about?” Ranveer asked
“Laksh” Sanskar said
The atmosphere in the car felt heavy as soon as he said the word. Ranveer let out a gasp as he sunk into his seat. Sanskar was feeling miserable as well
“Aditya would be right in the middle of them, won’t he?” Ranveer commented
Sanskar nodded “Though I don’t think he could have thought this up” he said
Ranveer agreed “He is not the brains of this. If this is really what has happened, then he is the executor. The brains is elsewhere” Ranveer said looking at Sanskar “His mother”
Sanskar nodded “What now? We should take care of them” he said seriously
“Remember all this is just a theory. We don’t have anything but theories right now. And we cannot take care of them on the back of this. If we do, Kaka will stand in front of them as their shield and Gadodia’s and Maheshwaris will end up all fighting within the family”
“But Swara lot her life because of this. Isn’t it enough to turn him around?” Sanskar asked
“Without proof, it is their word vs ours and you know whose word he will trust” Ranveer said
“So we find proof then” Sanskar said determined
Ranveer nodded “Let me start with their call records. I will get someone to hack into their emails as well”
“Shut the f**k up!” Aditya screamed snapping Sanskar back from his memories
“Shut his mouth’ Aditya ordered his men, before he pulled out his phone and made a call “Is she there yet?” he asked
Sanskar’s heartbeats started rising again. He knew he hadn’t gotten everything that he needed, but he was getting there. He needed his Ragini safe. If she was already with Aditya’s guards, she would be far from it.
“Great!” Aditya said with a smirk as he looked at Sanskar “Give the phone to her”
“So you finally turned up” Aditya said still looking at Sanskar with his slimy smile “You do love your husband”
“You can talk to him when you get here” Aditya told her firmly on the phone
“Fine! Just for a minute and you will be on the speaker” Aditya said
“Talk to him” he told her putting the speaker on
“Sanskar” came Ragini’s broken voice from the phone
“Ragini” Sanskar uttered feeling guilt, pain, anxiety for her. His voice laden with emotions
“Are you okay?” she asked him softly
“You shouldn’t have come” was all he managed to say to her
“Enough of this lovers’ plight drama” Aditya ordered them “You can do the rest of it here”
“No wait! Just a second!” Ragini called out
“What it is?” Aditya asked annoyed
“Sanskar, I haven’t broken my promise” Ragini said
“What?” Aditya asked angrily “Enough of this. Hand the phone to the guard” he ordered, putting off the speaker
Sanskar breathed a sigh of relief as Aditya looked away. He finally let go of a breath he hadn’t realized it was holding. She was safe! She was safe! She wasn’t going to come here! His mind telling him again and again. “Thanks!” he said softly almost to himself
He took a deep breath. He knew his work wasn’t done and he had barely twenty odd minutes before Aditya would realize that Ragini wasn’t going to come. It wasn’t going to be pretty and Aditya wouldn’t spare him for sure.
“Does your mother know what you are doing?” Sanskar asked him as he ended the call
“You don’t need to concern much with what my mother knows and doesn’t know” Aditya warned him “It would do you well to worry more about what I am going to do with Ragini when she gets here” he added with a smirk
“Your mother doesn’t trust you much, does she?” Sanskar commented
Aditya’s face became serious “You will soon be begging for death”
“Those attacks must have taken a long time to plan” Sanskar said, almost pretending to muse over it “Or maybe not, your mother is quite resourceful. She can come up with the plan pretty quickly. Sad though that she couldn’t depend on son for a simple thing as execution”
Aditya’s phone rang just then. He looked at it annoyed
“Oh! Is that mummy checking on the baby? She really doesn’t trust you!” Sanskar said with a laugh “When she finds out what you have done, she will surely blow up”
“Shut up!” Aditya order Sanskar before cutting the call
“She doesn’t know does she?” Sanskar said continuing to prod him “Of course she cannot be blamed after your colossal failure last time”
Aditya’s phone rang again
“I guess she had intuition that you are going to mess this up and wants to stop you before you make things worse” Sanskar said sarcastically
Aditya picked up the call when it came the third time around. Before the person on the otherside could say anything he spoke “I am busy right now. Don’t bother me” before cutting the phone.
But unfortunately for him, it rang again. He threw the phone to one of his guards. “Take care of it” he ordered the person “Don’t answer it though!” he warned
“You would do well to listen to your mummy and drop this plan” Sanskar told him “This is going to be a bigger mess than last one”
“I don’t need advice from you” Aditya told him “And this time it won’t be a mess. Because this time, I am planning it and executing it. No one else! And she too will know that I can be trusted with the entire plan”
“It won’t change the end result” Sanskar told him
“Ra-Gi-Ni will be here any minute” Aditya told him “I will see your expression when she does. Let’s see if you can talk as well then” Aditya warned before ordered one of his guards to make him another drink.
Sanskar rested against the wall. The pain from the broken ribs and trashing was now taking a toll on him. He was sweating profusely from the pain. His body felt like lead. His motions had become sluggish. His eyes and sight, hazy.
His mind drifted again, this time to that very afternoon.
“Have I ever broken a promise that I have made to you?” Then trust me with this. I promise I am going to come back to you” he had told her, hugging her close to him, right after receiving the call from Aditya.
“Do you trust me?” Ragini has asked him after a while
Sanskar had looked up at her, confused
“Let’s call Ranveer bhai” she told him
“Ragini, you know that Aditya is tracking the call” Sanskar tried to reason
“I know. But he won’t know if it is not a regular call, will he?” she said
Sanskar looked at her confused, but she pulled out of the hug and rushed towards her iPad. Before Sanskar could stop her, she had made a video call to Ranveer via Facetime, using internet instead of the phone line.
Ranveer picked it up on the second attempt “Laddo?” he asked confused “Why are you Facetiming me?”
“Bhai, we need to talk to you” Ragini said as she and Sanskar explained the situation to Ranveer
“What are you thinking?” Ranveer asked Sanskar at the end of it
“I have to do” Sanskar said
“You know Laksh is with them. He was part of the attacks. You cannot really trust him not to lie in this” Ranveer said
“Attacks?” Ragini asked confused
A look passed between Ranveer and Sanskar, before Sanskar said “We think they were behind your attack in Cambridge”
“And you were still planning to go!” she exclaimed shocked
“I need to” Sanskar said “I don’t know if that theory is real. Laksh could really be in danger and I wont be able to face Badi Maa if I did nothing. Besides this is the ideal opportunity to get the proof we need”
“As much as I hate to admit it, Sanskar is right” Ranveer said
“Have you both lost your brains?” Ragini asked feeling really angry and worried now “You are going to go there just for the proofs! They are not worth risking your life! I am not letting you go!” she told him
“Ragini, I have to” Sanskar tried to reason “Please understand. We cannot live in his fear all our life”
“He cannot harm us here at the house. You don’t need to go. You are not going” she told him firmly
“Are we really not at risk?” Sanskar asked her softly
“He is not going to give up easily Laddo” Ranveer told her
“Then we add more security. We stay in the house our entire lives. That is better than my Sanskar being at risk” Ragini told him
“How long can we stay in this house arrest? We are going to get suffocated!” Sanskar said
“But you will be alive” Ragini countered
“What kind of life will we have?” he tried to reason again
“Better than what will happen if you do there” she said tearing up
“I will have security over around Raheja farmhouse” Ranveer suggested “We wont let anything happen to Sanskar”
“He won’t be there” Sanskar said quietly “He wouldn’t have given his address out if he was, right?”
Ranveer nodded, pondering for a minute before adding “I will send a button transmitter over to you. We can locate you and hear you through it to keep track. Just ensure that you have the button on you”
“Wont they get to know if you sent it over?” Sanskar asked
“Don’t worry, no one will know it is from me or what it contains” Ranveer assured him “Once Sanskar leaves, Laddo, give me a call to let me know. Call via internet again, okay?” he told her
“Why are you not listening to me!” Ragini told them angrily “He is not going anywhere”
Sanskar signaled Ranveer that he would talk to Ragini. “What will you do now?” Sanskar asked
“I will meet Kaka. If he can here the proof, Aditya will lose his shield and we can take care of him for good” Ranveer told him. Sanskar nodded and they disconnected.
Sanskar smiled thinking about it all now. He had what he needed.
Aditya looked at him and felt anger rising in him. “Why are you smiling?” he asked Sanskar
“Got you!” Sanskar said with a brighter smile, despite his dulling sense.
“What does that mean?” Aditya snapped angrily
But any answer that Sanskar could have given, was cut off by the sound of gun fire.
“What the hell is that?” Aditya asked his guards, even as some of them rushed out of the room to find out the cause for it.
Aditya looked at Sanskar angrily “What did you do?” he screamed, before walking over to the guard who was standing close to Laksh whose mouth had been bound.
Aditya took the gun from the guard and pointed it at Sanskar, aiming to shoot. But right then, Laksh surprised him with a kick that hit his arm and the gun flew from his hand, falling some distance away
“You bastard!” Aditya yelled at him, just as a barge of guards rushed into the room, followed by Ranveer and Shekhar Gadodia.
Ranveer ran towards Sanskar.
“Got your proof?” Sanskar softly muttered to him
“You silly bastard” was all Sanskar heard Ranveer say before he blacked out.
Precap – Sanskar?
Link to previous chapters
Credit to: Azure