Chapter-12 ( Cold )
Radhika stirred and abruptly her eyes flew open as the morning light spread sharp through the windows and fell over her face. It woke her up from the deep slumber she was in. She jerked up suddenly and sat up bleary eyed. The clawing feel of the night’s sleep didn’t leave still. It was there in the back of her mind, but only a little. She gulped hard and with eyes quite expecting, her sleepy gaze slid to the left side of the bed.
Deep furrow marred her forehead as she found it empty.
She sighed not really still comfortable yet also feeling deeply safe. The contradiction in her own mind just unsettled her every thought. She just shook her head and brushed off the rising anxiety all at once.
She drew back the covers and slid her legs down on the floor. She padded her bare feet on the cold surface and treaded her way to the bathroom. She still was distracted all the while into the shower. She hurriedly put on a blue long skirt and a white tank top. The deep winks of sleep lifted away as she felt refreshed after it. She combed her fingers into her wet hair and pushed her lazy limbs into a fast walk, but her eyes caught her reflection in the mirror. She was surprised to see how tensed she looked. The lines deeply marring her forehead said so. Her face looked really pale. The mark on her cheek wasn’t there anymore but she looked quite haunted and worried. It wasn’t her, she was looking back at. She willed her mind to calm and forced her lips to spread into a smile. She grimaced after a second later of trying to be cheerful. Now she looked affectively creepy with a twisted forced smile colouring her features. She sighed heavily, gave herself a once over again, satisfied feeling that she didn’t mess with the top wearing inside out that she usually did while if she was stuck in her thoughts. Radhika moved back from the dresser and walked out of her room.
The tight feeling in her chest rose up. It annoyed and irritated her already glowery mood. Heavens! What the hell is this feeling? She vigorously shook her head. Tame it, damn you, she told herself. The silence which befell around the walls and the ghostly mansion which always seemed to be a silent gloom, didn’t much help making her feel happy, instead it surronded her mind in a dark shroud of sadness. How can he live in such loneliness? She thought about it over and over again, but except raking a loud growl hanger pang in her stomach it did not much help help her figure out his mind and heart.
Well, she had ample of time, didn’t she. Feeling pacified with that thought a little, Radhika made her way to the kitchen. She had an anticipatory feeling of finding him bent over the oven, or near the burner cooking something really like an experienced chef. It quirked her lips in the corners thinking of only yesterday, of how she found him in the kitchen. All thorougly domestic and laid back.
She entered into the kitchen and found a completely different scenario. He was all dressed up, sharp and suited, his demeanor was as if he was ready for work. Her frowning eyes slid to the wall clock over the kitchen wall on the right side of the wood fired oven. It was 7AM. Well….
He wasn’t facing her, he was turned towards the double door refridgerator, his grey suited one hard, toned, rippling right arm was taking out a cool water bottle.
Radhika cleared her throat loudly.
His back straightened and he froze for a second but he went about his way, ignoring her again. She sighed, well, this isn’t any new. Fine then, she could be silent too. Hopefully. Her glance fell on the counter as she slid onto the bar stool. Both of her elbows rested on the cool black surface as she put her chin over her palms. There was a plate full of scrambled eggs, fresh orange and apple fruit cuts, two toasted bread pieces and a cup of hot steaming coffee. Both of her eyebrows drew up surprised. There was another plate too, which had a few crumbs. He had his breakfast? Without her? Her mouth pouted in a sulk a little. But he made a plate for her?
Hmm, her eyes narrowed as he turned around just then. His hair gleamed and was a perfect set of dark unruly locks that were shooting out in different directions on his head as untamed as he was. Radhika retreated with the words that were bursting on her tongue, when she caught the look on his face. The lines around his eyes were tight and his lips thinned and settled grimly. He gulped down the remaining water from the bottle and flicked a narrowed shuttered glance at her. Radhika froze at the harsh glint of coppery brown eyes passing a once over at her form.
What in the world is wrong now, she wondered looking at the jaw bones that moved in a grind which he set in sharp shards. He looked quite different than the previous day. The white bottoned up shirt and the matching grey checkered tie made him look completely a cold hearted businessman.
Radhika gulped hard. The kitchen circulated with his profound silence, yet it was a soundless scream that penetrated and vibrated across the walls. The scream was the state of her mind, it told her to leave the ship and run in search for safer grounds. It was ridiculous. She shook it off and tried to lighten the disturbing thick silence.
“You made breakfast for me.” She chirped, smiling a little.
The thick sharp left eyebrow drew up at that, kind of like it was an ridiculous question she flung his way and also his features pinched into a seeming of little lift of a mocking.
“I didn’t.” He said shortly, and prowled around the counter.
The little smile that spread her lips just vanished at that, instead it pursed into a scowl. Very well.
She raised a left eyebrow and drew her gaze down to the ample of breakfast.
“Then why is there an extra plate of food on the counter? I see that you already had your breakfast. I don’t see anyone else that you just cooked for except me….”Radhika frowned suddenly and her eyes widened, he just stared back at her flatly….”Or if you made it for any of the ghosts here in the mansion?” She asked with sudden curiosity and eager shine of her brown eyes…..”I knew that this place was haunted while first I arrived here…that’s the reason you’re not so lonely…”She went on and on in her excitement and completely failed to observe how his form froze suddenly and the sudden black displeased look colour his face…”I bet you sit with them and eat at the large dinning area that you have here next to the kitchen and…” Before she could utter another word, he threw the bottle away, pushed past the counter, his muscles hard and strong walked around in a circle and reached her.
Words just froze on her tongue and her mouth comically half hung open as his hands caught her arms and drew her body up on her tip toes. His face fierce and all the same coloured in wry pique came down into her face.
“Are you done?” He gritted through clenched teeth.
“Done. Completely. I pinky swear you, I don’t talk like this usually. Except I’m afraid if you keep on making me nervous, I can’t possibly stop with it. Like right now, but I want to think something else except looking at your blazing brown eyes, I wish to think of the colour blue, which usually calms me, except again it’s not really working right now….” She blurted out in a zap and clamped her mouth tight in a set feeling utterly humliated and embarrassed.
Goodness gracious, somebody glue her mouth with something. His face cleared with the black glower and a bemused look passed over his face looking down into her smarting red cheeks.
Just plain awesome. Now he was laughing at her.
“I make you nervous?” He quizzed her in an amused lazy drawl of a voice.
Radhika tried to move away from his hold but he held her there.
“er..ah..well yes.” She blustered, struggling still to loosen his hold on her arms.
His lips quirked up a little.
“Why?” He asked again in slow deliberation of a short word and with a deep timbre of his voice.
His eyes focussed intently on her lips and Radhika licked her lower lio uncomfortably again.
His eyes flared up as his gaze slid into hers in a locked stare.
Radhika finally managed to push away. She was annoyed as hell now. She turned her burning crimson face away from his teasing eyes.
“You don’t talk to me like the way you should…and you’re rude..no.. more like downright harsh…it’s not the way you should speak to your wife, in such audacious brutish manner..” She concluded in a bout again, and the instant she blubbered, Radhika felt like beating her right palm over her forehead.
The morning couldn’t start any better than her being dorky awkward mess. This was epic win on her part in communicating so outstandingly.
He froze, his wry eyes snapped back to hers sharply. His shoulders seem to bunch up. He stared at her for quite a heated moment. His eyes sharp and hawk like tried to penetrate into the specks of her brown eyes. She could cleary see her wide eyed reflection in his stare. It was disturbing and Radhika stirred standing there very awkwardly. He seem to be assessing her in that gaze.
“Are you?” He asked her sudden quiet voice.
Radhika stared back confused.
“What?” She asked in equally low voice.
He tilted his head to the right side and narrowed his eyes coolly.
“My wife?” He asked sharply with a tinge of steel in his voice.
Radhika straightened feeling an abrupt change in the air around. It became tensed and strained. Why was he asking her that again? Something in his eyes told her he wasn’t just asking her a casual cool question as he presented it to be. Why was he asking her now that when he married her without really her consent?
Before she could open her mouth to snap out a sarcastic reply to his dubious questioning he moved into a walk and stood closer to her now.
“I have to talk to you about something. Eat your breakfast and meet me in the living room.” He clipped into her face, moved back and pushed past her.
Radhika turned around as he walked out of the kitchen.
What was he talking about? It sounded like serious stuff. Now what happened? She worried anew.
Heaven only help her today, she looked up and shook her head. Her eyes slid down to the breakfast plate which had turned cold now. The growling in her stomach turned nauseous with anticipation and the appetite for the food left her immediately.
She brushed it off and took hold of the coffee. She needed the caffaine now with an urgency to bring down to calm her frayed nerves.
Radhika put down the empty cup, feeling kind of rejuvinated she treaded her way towards the living room.
She walked slowly and reached the hall. He was sitting there near the fireplace on the large cushioned sofa chair. His eyes were over the crate of coal of the unlit area. His shoe covered feet were resting on the hearth. left hand over the arm of the chair and the other sliding over his chin he coloured a painting of intently thoughtful. His face was ruggely handsome. From this angle he cut out featuring as if of a GQ model gracing the popular cover page. He looked nothing less than a royalty but even more higher. A king in his arena. In his palace. His kingdom. And Radhika felt like she just entered into a den of a dangerous lion. He also looked like some ghost from centuries old. He really potrayed a look of a prince from the Victorian era and the mansion surronded and circled in hover making him give life to it. The walls gloved to his demeanor. Fawning over his every move. A royalty in extreme. It was very much daunting an image and she shook her head to clear it off the mist covering her eyes.
Her imagination was running wild now looking at his ever silent posture sitting there in such austerity of a situation.
Radhika hastily stepped back and almost turned around to retreat the heck away from there, but she cringed as his deep voice boomed across the walls and travelled into her ears.
“Come here.” He ordered, it travelled and settled into her ears as a command.
Her cheeks bloomed pink at the sudden irritation she felt at his words. What is she here now, a servant?
She turned around just as immediately to rant over it but as her eyes drew down to the glass teapoy, a furrow was instant to appear over her forehead.
There were some papers. Seeming more like documents and a pen lay over the left side on the clear glass surface.
Radhika drew forward and reached across. She stood hovering near the fireplace. Her eyes sliding from the papers and to his face. She tried to understant his shuttered closed off poker expression but found not a flare gleamed of light in his eyes.
He still was in that previous posture except his head and his eyes focussed intently in a direct look completely on her face.
“Sit.” He odered her again.
Radhika meekly complied. Now seemed not the time to protest against his rude behaviour.
She sat across the chair identical to the one he was settled in.
What was this now?
He drew forward and slid a paper closer to her hand.
“Sign this.” He said again shortly, as his eyes caught her second.
Radhika felt her heart stutter as she held his gaze and slid it down to the paper.
She lifted it up and narrowed her eyes. It seemed like a legal document.
Property transfer from the current owner to the new one….her eyes focussed on the words. Her gaze jumped down to the lines at the bottom of the page…
I hereby declare the land in acquiring to….
Her eyes suddenly snapped to his intent gaze.
“What is this?” She asked abruptly, as a slow trickle of suspicion already pump into her veins.
His lips thinned out and his face became taut.
“Do you recognise it?” He asked her instead.
Radhika frowned. In fact, she did. Way long back her father had each given the sisters a small amount of secure property accounts to each of them. Gayathri got a company. Shaina got a estate in Simla and Radhika got a land.
The question is, why was she holding a legal document which says that she is about to tranfer the land to…..
Understanding seem to dawn into her mind.
“You just have to sign it to…” He started in a cool sharp voice, but Radhika concluded it with her own slow words.
“To make it yours.” She looked up into his eyes while saying it.
His eyes flared in surprise at that, but he remained ever impassive at her questioning look.
A sudden feverish rush spread all over her body and it brought down a deep insulting humiliation. She stared down at the document. She had always thought about it. Why would he preposition her father to marry her? What would be the reason behind it? Why had he been constantly persistant. Why he reluctantly that too forcefully married her. He could have any girl ever ready at his doorsteps to get married to but there was a reason right, she thought ruefully. And the reason was this.
“You don’t have to look so sad…” He gritted out, Radhika looked up into his eyes swirling brown eyes….”This is still another document. It will certainly flare your interest…” He flung the words at her in a sneer.
Radhika’s shoulders squared. Her chin lifted up in determination. She bit the inside of her cheek.
Whatever he would bring up now, nothing could compensate the embarrassment and immense pain that started to circulate into a complete gloom around her body.
Each time she thought he was different, and not the type of how her father was, he was making it all prove wrong. With all these business proposition he was reminding constantly that what they had or what she thought it was between which was something new and delicate, is not exactly true. And it was just a too dreamy a fantasy of her mind.
He slid the other document beside to the previous one. Radhika clutched and bunched her left hand into the folds of her skirt. She was afraid to lift up the paper and look through it, but she had none the choice.
She calmed her scrambled mind into a gather and caught hold of the document.
Her reluctant eyes caught the words sliding in her vision. She kept staring at it for a long while. Her ears rang as though the lines were said out loud.
“Two year contract?” She whispered the words, feeling drained out and giddy suddenly.
Her disbelieving eyes drew to his curious focussed gaze on her face.
He nodded his head a little. His jaw set in a stone.
“Yes. You wouldn’t have a problem understanding what comes with the contract….there is another for your benefit. You would have a place to practice the art and sketches or whatever that is here.. in a work shop. It’s assigned to you…..”He slid away his gaze from hers…..” After that you are free to travel out of the country. Pursue what you dreamed of about…”He concluded the last line in a hard cutting voice.
Radhika could only stare at his averted profile. She was feeling claustrophobic with all the information swirling around in her mind in a slow raising storm. What about their marraige in all this? Travel out of the country? Why would she need that now? She had already dissolved that dream, but even then of what he was offering her in a cold blooded contract, she didn’t have to leave the country. Radhika could easily have plenty of lucrative offers here amongst best art connosouirs. Her stomach turned into a poisonous hurting knot as a sudden thought struck her mind.
He was deliberatingly pushing her away, wasn’t he. Oh god, he didn’t want to be chained with her. She was nothing but a pest in his life. How did she think otherwise that he would want anything to do with a wallflower like her. He was rich. He was fascinating. He was everything that a gorgeous socialite woman can dream of. He was in his own twisted way a kind hearted person, that she had observed being in his company all this while, though he shielded it well, and of course he would have any woman. Any woman who is Beautiful. Elegant. Smart. And everything that she was not and compared to such a high standards, she was a clumsy case of blubbering, blathering, and way way far suited to his personality. He was very much not in her league. Let alone he being anything else to her than that.
Looking at her, he drew his eyebrows together, as if understanding something from her face.
“You don’t have to worry about your father, if that’s the reason you don’t want to sign the papers….”His eyes became narrowed and the lines and angles around his mouth became tight and grave….”He isn’t going to be a problem to you. I wouldn’t let it happen. Even if…” He strained and his voice became a low husky whisper….”if you decide to leave that is…you’ll have my promise. He is never going to even catch your shadow…” He concluded in a dark tone, his left hand forefinger slid onto his cheek as his other fingers held the bottom of his chin.
Radhika blinked once and then twice. She wasn’t thinking about her father at all right now. She was thinking about how easy he was making her life and future. Of how he was frantic to wash his hands off her. Forever. As so that, she wouldn’t have be a problem in his life. Of how, he wanted neat and clean break up. Of how, there shouldn’t be an ex wife knocking at his doorsteps in the future. She blinked again looking down at the documents.
As actually, she wouldn’t even be an ex wife. In two years the marraige would be null and void. It was an annulment. A complete wash off of any relation of his from her.
She heard him sigh, as she was busy taking in the things he slid across at her face in a harsh brutal whiplash.
“Maybe, you need time for this. I will come back in the evening. I hope you will make a decision by then. Except, you wouldn’t have a choice but to sign the papers…”He bit out, and slid out of the chair.
Radhika drew her eyes to his face. He straightened his suit and was about to turn around. Her almost watering red eyes drew back to the papers once again. If he wanted this, then, she couldn’t deny him it at all. It was a sneer and a complete humiliation on her self respect if she persisted to live with the person who was very much reluctant and had went out so much to expel her out of his life in carefully intelligent thought out plan.
“You don’t have to wait that long.” She whispered suddenly, her fingers bit into the soft flesh of her hands.
Arjun drew up tight suddenly. He had been relieved a little just a second ago, sliding his gaze all over at her disdainful crimson face. But just now as she uttered in such low soft tones of a sweet voice, but yet with a determined glint of a tone, that he just got arrested with the movement of his limbs in a lock down. It was an involuntary reaction.
He slid his head to the left side, and he turned around slowly, his burning gaze caught her eyes at the same time when she lifted her watery stare. It hit straight at his chest and gut looking at the hurt written all over face. She was sat there all delicate, and vulnerable white as a lilly. With a pink blooming blush covered fully around the apple of her cheeks. With flashing brown eyes like his and a light of accusation playing over her face, she stared back in determination and she didn’t look anything less than an enterprenuer herself. A blossoming pristine pure princess with the red cushioned sofa chair surrounding her, she sat there all poise, regal and reigning. There was a challenge there in her eyes and his gaze narrowed taking it in, but the words coming out of her red luscious mouth was a straight out punch to his heart.
“I’m ready to sign the papers right away.” She mumbled in a reply, and yet very sharply.
Radhika clench her teeth not wail right there and then, but gulped down the anxious bout of talk that was ready in a blurt out over her tongue.
But before she could go through with it, she needed to understant what was it worth that land, so much so that, he went on a long procedure of propositioning her father with an advertisement deal and her with this? She was intelligent enough to get it because he had wanted this land. He did all this and also may have fooled her father by a much more offer of ample money than the worth of paltry property that she had. Her gaze curious and speculative moved over the flick of truimph and also something else like dark clouded surronding his eyes. Yes, it mattered. Too much. Maybe he had immense profit from it or it maybe of something else a reason. Whatever it was, he had laid out a careful plan of deceit before her cunning father. He caught her looking at his face intently and that is when he stared back with the so much of hateful glare that she drew her eyes back in retreat surprised suddenly at his anger.
“You sure?” He asked her huskily.
What else is there now to not be sure of. Everything was brutally crystal clear and honest. She was made fool in all this. A victim of constant betrayal. A helpless victim, she thought bitterly. A weakling that she didn’t want to be.
“Yes.” She replied warily, already drawing back into a shell.
He turned completely towards her and slid down on the chair again.
Radhika gulped hard and avoided his stare drilling holes into her forehead. She grabbed hold of the pen and moved forward and bent closer to the teapoy.
She shivered inside and her hand shook a little, but somehow she managed to slide tr broken pieces of her self esteem into a gather. She felt a tear slid down from her left eyes but she hurriedly bent her head to shield her face from his eyes. It was two of them she saw over the lonely meadows and moorlands in her dream and fantasy, now it seems like the dark shroud had clouded her mind again, and she felt the hand slip away from hers. How did she ever think the impossible. It was ridiculous. It was stupid. She was stupid, like how her father described her once in mocking, which had made her permanently lose the zeal to smile fully or think of herself capable of finding certain amount of happiness.
Arjun stared down at the thick black long glossy locks slid down in waves when she bent her head to sign the papers. His eyes narrowed as her slender hand shook and freeze over the paper.
He waited with bated breath and almost willed the documents to somehow magically tear into million pieces before she could even put her hand down on it.
But he couldn’t stop her from making the decision. He had made a mistake due to his fierce anger. Now, he had to set it right. No matter what it could cost him. He saw the only hope of her choice to an otherwise fade away as she abruptly yet firmly signed the papers carefully one after the other. Arjun closed his eyes in a tight shut. He clench his left hand in a hard fist. He opened his eyes and heard her take a shaken breath in. Her red large flowing eyes caught his and he hardened his will against her.
He kept his eyes trained on hers for quite a while.
“Is that all?” She asked in a low sweet voice again, but this time there was a tight stinging quality to the question.
He didn’t answer right away but just kept looking deep into her hazel brown eyes. She stared now warily trying to see through the shutters he just drew up more in shield against her. The more he stared the more his control corroded, because he couldn’t stop feasting his eyes on the delicately beautiful lines of her face.
He gritted his teeth at the poetic thought. blo*dy hell, the witch could spell a magic pull. Even when he hated her with disturbing intensity right now, he still felt a string of connection still there somewhere. It was there when she slid away her gaze feeling suddenly as if she was unsafe and unsure. The way she folded her hands around her narrow waist in a protective surround conveyed the uncertainity of her thoughts to his mind. The vulnerabilty of such a small movement raked an abrupt care for her. He cursed heavily in his mind for being a complete fool again.
Why was he staring at her like that? Radhika strained and squirmed on the chair. Unable to hold his intense gaze she slid away her eyes to the fireplace and her hands went around her waist unconsciously, but she wasn’t uncomfortable to feel his eyes on her as she was used to it by now. What was he trying to probe through the stare she didn’t know but she decided against protesting again.
She heard him move off the chair. Her eyes suddenly frantic caught his in a panic.
“That’s all.” He muttered in a hard voice and turned around before she could grab onto to his eyes a moment longer.
Radhika tried to find a reason fast to make him stay. The anxiety of the necessary to hold onto a conversation rose up her throat.
“Wait!” Her voice raised in a panic.
He stilled instantly and half turned towards her with a deep furrow marring his forhead.
“What is the land worth to you?” She blurted it out the question that clawed her since she went through the document.
She needed to know with a desperate urgency. It surprised her how it became so important suddenly to know about his life.
His eyes blazed at the question she directed at him so hastily.
His hands went into the pant pockets and he stood more taller than he generally did almost towering high and looming over her in a thunder. The light brown specks in his eyes changed dramtically into so much of a brewing stormy darker colour that they almost looked black flashing glints of sharp hard shards.
“None of your concern. As long as the contract stays, we don’t cross paths in this mansion. Except in the public, we are together. Other than such events, you’re at your free will. Same goes either side.” He clipped in a cutting voice again,
Radhika felt her face burn and she bit her tongue feeling the glare of his eyes hit a hurt.
He seem to wait for her to protest but she didn’t utter a word, and he almost turned around but not before he decided to complete the humliation he was directing at her since a while now.
“I hope you understand the consequence if you break any of the rules in the contract…so it’s better for you to stick to the wall remaining thoroughly unnoticed in these two years. It might not exactly be a problem, I guess?…”He asked her wryly glancing his gaze down all over at her body and face in complete and utter flick of disdain and uncaring.
Radhika bit her lower lip to not let out equal amount of harsh words. Did he just catagorise her into a wallflower?!? Well, even though if she was, it felt really hurtful that he could agree to her thought. It confirmed to her that he really wanted to get rid of how a boring and un attractive woman that she was.
She just sat there gazing up into his eyes in blistering silence. He didn’t move away but stared back at her in curious anticipation. As if waiting for the retort and verbal bout that she had continually been spouting all this while. Radhika none and remained impassive and wary still.
He held her gaze and the cynical look in his eyes dimmed and softened. She felt her eyes mist over suddenly in a sting. It stung her throat and also her nose. He froze looking at the tears forming in her eyes, but she willed them not to flow down her eyes. She was strong and she wish to remain intact her shattered determination in a gather.
Arjun felt like a complete jerk right away when he gritted out those insulting words.
“What hell are the tears are for now?” He glowered up irritation and scowl.
She slid away her gaze from his and lifted up that damn determined chin in the air. Swear to god, he was going to strangulate her if she ever shut him down. His hands fisted by the side. She had made his life since he married her and now she had the damn will to go against his wish and stop talking altogether. As silly as it sounded he had grown fond of that quality. It was adorable when she starts speaking which was mostly nonsense, he thought wryly.
He saw an apple red angry blush spread across her cheeks and neck and the urge to splay his hands over her porcelain skin heightened. His jaw hardened as he thought about it and brushed it off as it came.
“That’s none of your concern.” She shot back, squaring the slender shoulders bravely.
“Don’t f**k show them to my eyes then.” He countered in a dry low growl.
Her eyes blazing and fiery snapped to his completely annoyed and angry. He saw with a little satisfaction the scrunching up of her nose and lip curl in complete disgust and ample disdain whenever he cursed. The luscious berry red lips already opened up to retort or a scolding which seem to come naturally to her…but he cut her off with the jerk of his right hand in the air. Hell, he had already a very thin thread of control around her and if she brings out f**king cute he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions.
“Not now.” He warned her in a hard voice.
Her shoulders sagged immediately and he saw her jaw set in a grind. Her white tank top covered chest rose up and down. The blue scarf around her neck and pillowy skirt flowing down to the dainty ankles just teased his eyes constantly and sneered at his will of what he couldn’t have. She stirred uncomfortably with hands jerking nervously which seem to be a habit when not talking. Arjun was very much surprised of how much she was expressive even when remaining mute. He was wrong to say that she was a wallflower. He would have noticed her even in a room full of beautiful women. She would shine through any place.
He kept staring and she stared back, but he could see a wall that surronded in a circle in her large brown eyes. He couldn’t communicate his anger now. She seem to be angry herself for what the f**k he couldn’t know. Woman, he thought, even when they get everything they ever wanted there would still be something to moan about.
Radhika glared back. Whatever it maybe the contract, she surely was going to get through the manners across of the habit of his constant cursing before she leaves this mansion.
What was he still doing here? She glowered.
“Is there still another contract that you forgot about?” She questioned with a left eyebrow raise.
Her voice carried out the sting of tartness. His eyes narrowed at her tone, but he ignored that remark. He moved back already seeming to be lose interest in the banter.
He turned around and finally walked away after gathering the document in a clench of his left hand, leaving her in a mess of gloomy thoughts.
He looked displeased as hell. Why is that? She thought sadly. He got what he wanted, didn’t he. She winced as the front banged as he left the mansion.
The tears that swam into her eyes just travelled down on her cheeks in a trickle of a river. She took a sharp intake of breath as the cold permeated around her body. She shivered feeling a deep sad lonliness hit her like a punch to the gut.
Moorlands and meadows, what nonsense she had assumed. She shook her head and slid away the tears with the back of her hand.
Arjun walked out of the mansion still trying to gather the control not to rip apart the document and flung it on her face. A deep gash of pain plunged into chest. He shook it off, and put on the aviator glasses over his burning eyes. He got into his black Porsche and took to the road in a vengeance. A deep sadness engulfed his mind though he couldn’t care less for anything closer to feelings or her anymore….
Radhika twisted and turned in her bed trying hard not to let the sleep to set in, but her bleary eyes flew open and she shrieked when she saw a tall dark shadow loom over her near the bed.
The whole evening she had been busy in the kitchen trying out new recipes from learning stuff from the large library of the third floor. She didn’t have any idea when she dozed off reading an adventure novel, that she didn’t realize when she had come to the bed and had slept in.
He got into his room sliding off the strangulating tie off his neck. He removed the coat and flung it on the bed. He got into the shower and flinched when the cold water ran down his head. blo*dy hell, he cursed and moved back sliding his hands over the damp locks on his head. He fiddled with switches and let out a string of curses. The house wasn’t designed for gezers as it flowed only certain amount of hot water down the pipes and right now the shower was f**king frigid. There was one another bathroom in function.
Arjun let out an oath. Damn the woman had used up all the hot water. He circled a towel around his hips, took hold of a pair black t-shirt and track pants and made way to her room scowling fiercely. He was sure she had wasted away the water in her forgetfulness.
He flung open the door and directed his blazing gaze to the bed, but he blinked when he found it empty.
She might be roaming about in search of a ghost around the mansion. What a head case.
He grunted in displeasure and walked into the bathroom. He closed it shut. His eyes fell on the bath tub and he froze looking at the frothing and overflowing water. His shocked gaze swung to the tap.
“What the…” He trailed off with the curse looking at the mess on the floor and all around.
Very reluctantly he slid into the bubble bath and his face burned because of it. What could he do, he needed the bath badly after going through the mess of the machinery break down at the factory. A delicate sweet smell of lillies permeated his nostril and he groaned heavily. He would smell of a woman all through the week with the amount of bath oil she slid into the water.
He hurried with it and got out of the bathroom wearing the t-shirt and track pants.
He froze suddenly. Did she run away from the mansion again? Damn, he treaded out of the room but somehow he felt that she was inside somewhere.
He just needed to look around the floors. His feet took him to the library after fifteen minutes of search. Of course she would be here. Didn’t she tell about ‘the read before sleep kind of therapy’ she was in, he thought with a wry smile.
Arjun walked inside and his probing eyes fell on a thin figure curled on the sofa at the far end corner, opposite to the racks.
A deep sigh left his lips. He moved closer and slid his gaze over her form. She was wearing a blue power puff girl night dress. She looked like a little kid with the scrunched up nose and half opened mouth. She stirred and bunched up in a curl again on her front. The windows were wide open and a cold breeze entered in freezing the entire library.
He bent down and hefted her up in his arms. He slid his eyes heavenwards. It was like looking after a toddler. He wondered how she survived till now. She was shivering and her skin was cold as a hiss escaped his lips when she put her left hand over his over t-shirt and on his chest.
He walked out of the library and reached her room. He put down her sleeping form in the middle of the bed and drew up the covers and kept looking at her face. She stirred again and her eyes flew open suddenly.
Radhika let out a blood curdling scream looking at the dark figure bent over towards her. But it died away instantly as soon as she heard a grunt and a familiar cursing enter into her ears. The caught up breath in her throat released in a relieved sigh. It was only him, though she prefered a ghost than his presence. God in heaven, how the hell did he creep into the room. Of course, she didn’t lock the door. Then again, she had least idea about how she ended up in the bed herself.
She heard him switch on the light and just as immediately the room flooded in complete brightness. She hated light and the force of stark it brought everywhere around. Darkness was much better. It made her feel good and lulled her mind at peace but right now her nerves were very much scrambled. Her eyes flinched shut in a half close. A groan left her lips. Radhika sld down on the bed and drew up the covers over her eyes.
She decided to ignore his presence altogether. God knows what kind of contract he would whip out again to flung it on her face. It’s better to avoid his company for a while. Just as she was in the process of doing so and was almost falling asleep, The covers were rudely ripped off from over her eyes. What the hell…
Radhika shot up the bed sleepy eyed and irritated.
“What?” She bit out, glaring into his flat brown eyes.
He drew closer and Radhika stared at his profile. He didn’t look anything like in the morning. He seemed more laid back and tired. His shoulders and arms rippled in the black t-shirt he had on. His hands were inside the pockets of the track pants.
“Get up.” He muttered gravelly.
Radhika fumed at that. Always ordering her. Who does he think he was? What right he had to barge into her room. Jerk, she scowled.
“I’m up.” She countered acidly in a hiss.
He stayed ever impassive and flicked a glance her way in a patronising look. Great. Awesome and amazing. Now she was a kid in his eyes.
“Out of the bed.” He extended the order.
She drew up her knees and locked her hands around her legs.
“Why?” She asked still in a sulk.
His eyes a shade darker and sharp.
“Clean up the mess in the bathroom.”
Radhika frowned and her upper lip went up in confusion.
“Clean up what mess in the bathroom?” She asked feeling that heard him uncorrectly….but after a second of looking at his now turning annoyed face, her eyes widened…
“Oh, my god! My bubble bath..” She screeched a little and flung out of the bed.
She stood up unsteadily on her feet. She almost tripped over. Her face burned when his arms immediately reached out and steadied her on the floor. He narrowed his eyes down into hers.
“Careful.” He admonished her sharply.
Radhika moved back feeling her cheeks heat up but she froze suddenly when she got a strong whiff of her bath oil. Lillies? She sniffed again and his body locked up as she drew closer. The warmth from his body immediately started to surround her. It was very strong the scent.
“Why do you smell of lillies?” She asked abruptly.
She was used to the woodsy scent of his cologne, but this…He smelled so…bizzarely..so womanly…
She saw with widening of eyes his cheeks turn red and he avoided her aghast eyes.
“You used up all the hot water.” He grinded out roughly.
“So…?” She tried to understand his short words.
Geez, the guy talked in abrupt and cryptic circles. She barely could decipher it. She felt sad for his employees and the people in his work space.
He sighed and shook his head.
“Forget it. Just clean up your mess.” He clipped now looking thorougly harangued.
Her mess? Oh hell, she had let the tap run and had forgotten about it altogether. She had thought about taking a bubble bath in the night but it escaped her mind when she trailed her way into the library. And slowly she understood that…
“So you……” She whispered and his face turned completely red.
A snort escaped her lips. She tried hard but loud guffaws weren’t late in coming.
“You smell like a girl.” She burst out laughing again.
His face turned stone as he slid a very nasty look at her. His mouth twisted comically angry and Radhika couldn’t hold anymore.
“Oh my god, this is epic.” She snorted so unlady like laughter, but she couldn’t care less.
Before she could gather herself he caught her left bicep and pushed her into a drag.
She winced at his tight hold.
“Hey!” She protested, but he dragged and kept walking towards the bathroom.
He pushed it open and let go of her arm. Radhika rubbed the spot where it hurt and scowled up into his face.
“Clean it.” He thundered in a low voice, pointing at the wet soapy floor.
God his OCD problem is a mess. Clean this. Clean that. What the hell. He needed therapy.
“Where are the housekeepers in this mansion? How is it so clean?” She asked suddenly…and as he opened his mouth she cut him off right away with her own assumed answer….”Oh, right…you do the cleaning as I see you have a problem with it..” She scrunched up her nose…”I didn’t know that you did masters in house keeping…it’s very ….uh…surprising.” She slid her own all over at his frame in sad assessment.
Maybe he really was a servant earlier. He cooked. He cleaned. He might also know to how dry clean, iron and fold clothes. Radhika assumed him ironing shirts and trousers. She shook her head. Riduculous. Another bout of laughter seem to bubble in her throat but she it dissolved looking at his face.
His face which set in stone, now became granite. His nostrils flared. Uh oh. And she waited for the string of cursing to thunder against the walls. One. Two. Three….
“Woman, shut the f**k up and get to working.” He growled into her face and she flinched away at his tone.
“Geez, someone has period.” She muttered under her breath in a low tone.
He seem to freeze suddenly and Radhika feared he heard her. She gulped hard as his eyes caught hers.
Put a tick to sharp ears in the list under the OCD point. Obviously for future reference.
“What did you just say?” He whisper asked her slowly.
Run. Run. Run. Her subconscious mind whispered.
“I said…geez..I should really clean the mess..” She replied hastily, and moved back to grab the cleaning mop.
He stared at her suspiciously for a second and shook his head exasperated.
“Brat..” He hissed under his breath.
Radhika heard it well. He did not just call her a brat. Her face flamed.
“Excuse me, did you just call me a brat?”
He folded his arms over his chest and stared down at her in silence.
“Vacous woman makes a mess. Doesn’t clean it. Definition of a brat.” He clipped a second later glancing all over at her.
Her lower jaw hung. Vacous? Vacous. How dare he say that and how much of name calling he was going to fling at her.
“Now, you did not just dare call me vacous..” She whispered back in disbelief and rising anger.
He just glanced away and flicked his hand in a cut at her mortification.
“Dumb. Vacous. Clumsy. Klutz. Synonyms.” He drawled in a bored lazy voice.
Radhika stared at his face and her mouth opened fully now at his words. It closed and hung open again like a fish in a gasp as no word as a comeback sizzled on her tongue.
“You…you…you..” She tried to grab a few curses to spout but she could only blather like an idiot.
She clutched onto the mop stick. Oh how she wanted to beat the it at his head.
“Yeah..” He half smile mockingly and turned to leave.
“Clean the mess and go to sleep.” He ordered her firmly and walked away.
She couldn’t believe at his confidence. She only thought, he was at times jerk. Now she confirmed it. He wasn’t a jerk. He was a twenty four seven certified jerk.
She slid the mop furiously on the floor still fuming and blistering in anger. She muttered quite a few curses under her breath which she had learned from his sailor mouth. All the while still sliding away the soapy mess off the floor, Radhika cursed along.
She washed her hands after a minute and walked into the room.
Her eyes drew up to the wall clock. It was 1AM and sleep wouldn’t come now. She dragged her feet to the door and turned the knob. It didn’t budge. Huh? She pushed at the door with the other hand. What the heck? She rattled the silver knob again.
It still did not budge. Her eyes brows cleared of the frown. Did he lock her up? She gasped.
She pushed at the door again. He locked her up! Her mind cried.
“Hey!” She shouted.
She suddenly heard movement on the other end. He was here.
“Why the heck did you lock me up!” She raised her voice to a pitch and rattled hard at the door.
“So that I could sleep peacefully.” Came the cynical reply.
Oh, he was going to pay for this.
“Are you going to lock me in every night?” She glowered.
“Yes.” Came the immediate answer.
Radhika scowled at the door.
“I will run away through the window.” She warned him.
She heard an instant chuckle.
“Good. The forest wolves are hungry. Didn’t get to feed them for a while.” He retorted and his voice came from far away now as he she heard his footsteps trailing.
Wolves? He fed the forest wolves? Radhika gulped hard looking at the open widows. The moonlight spread in and the thin white see through curtains were flowing in the night’s breeze.
“The forest doesn’t have wolves around. You’re only bluffing!” She raised her voice in a sharp snap.
“Feel to free to explore the area then.” He replied back in equal measure of contradictory calm dry tone compared to her panicked voice.
She indeed heard rustling and high moaning sounds when dead in the night coming in closer through the windows. She didn’t know that it was the cry of a wolf. She didn’t care much because he was with her then. Instant slow dread trickled her spine.
She gritted her teeth in anger.
“I hate you!” She shouted.
She heard a dark loud chuckle.
“Ditto, baby.” He shot back and that’s that.
No more footstep sounds travelled in. He went away, her mind cried out anxious.
Radhika scream low in fear and ran towards the windows. She closed the shutters tight and bolted the panes in a lock.
The devil. How can he leave her like this? All alone in the night that too. Radhika slid on top of the bed and sagged down on her back. She sighed heavily.
He was lying, there weren’t any wild animals around the mansion. He just said it to frighten her, but still she wouldn’t take any chances.
She twisted and turned yet sleep did not come. After a while later of singing in a high pitch tone, she fell into silence. Still ain’t sleepy. She counted the sheeps in her phone. It was a game. One sheep jumped across the white fence. Another sheep jumped. Third sheep jumped….Radhika rolled her eyes. What a bore.
A sudden idea struck her. She went into the contacts. He had the other day punched his number into her phone in speed dial. After the incident with her father, he just went berserk over securing the mansion locks and phone connections.
“Still not sleepy.” She sent the message.
It pinged with the delivery report after a second.
She was surprised when it vibrated immediately. Her heart fluttered in a ruffle.
“Close your eyes.” Was the reply.
Radhika pursed her lips. Awesome, he was ordering her in messages too.
“Can’t.” She sent in reply, and sprawled on her front.
A second later, the phone vibrated.
“Can’t or won’t?”
She blinked down at the message and hesitated, but she shook her head and typed a reply.
She waited for his reply but it did not come for more than a minute. Radhika pouted. Maybe he fell asleep.
She slid the phone in annoyance and turned away her face to the left side on the pillow. A second later of ruminating, the phone vibrated again. She jerked around and grabbed.
“What are you afraid of?” She read out loud the message.
It went and hit strongly at the right spot. Memories swam in a fast zoom infront of her eyes. Bitter memories of her childhood. Her father hitting her mother in the night. Her cries and moans. Radhika was afraid if she slept, something would happen to her mother. Uneasiness rose up thinking about home. Radhika had talked to her mother right then when he left her in tears in the morning, She didn’t tell of what happened but just wanted to hear her affectionate filled voice. How was her mother really? She didn’t really sound any sad or hurt, but her mother hid it well and everything.
Oh hell, and Sam. How was she doing? She didn’t have the guts to call and talk since the day they had a fight only a fortnight ago, and really what could she talk about now. Everything is just messed up. Sam had called her numerous times since yesterday when she switched on her phone. but Radhika dreaded to lift the call. She need to talk. She shook her head. No. Not talk. She need to meet her friend. Tomorrow. She nodded her head in decision and set aside the matter.
How can she talk about all this to him. He wouldn’t care about it, she thought sadly.
“Nothing.” She replied back and pushed away the phone.
No answer came after that and she sighed heavily.
Radhika rolled her eyes. Oh what the hell, she thought and went on with the sheep counting. Minutes later, she was at the fortieth jump of the sheep, which seem to be reluctant to jump across the fence in her mind, Radhika had to hiss at its white fluffy back in coaxing but it mehed and remained stubbornly adamant to the ground. She thought of herself while thinking of it. What nonsense was she imagining. Maybe she was the one who needed the therapy.
She was abruptly propelled out from her thoughts when she heard the door knob turn in.
Radhika jerked straight on the bed and her heart thudded in fear. She looked around panicked for a weapon. She caught a small pen knife from onto the table and shielded her front.
The door creaked open and through the hovering low orange light from the table she saw a familiar figure fill in the space. He really loomed dangerously like a tower. His form was rough, all tall, dark and toned with large muscles in the dark. She couldn’t the rawness before. Now she did and it was fascinating. Her shoulders sagged in relief. Goodness, this was the second time in the night, he scared the day lights out of her. He must be crazy. Couldn’t he message that he was coming. Damn him.
His face was shadowed in the light and Radhika peered.
“Nothing what?” He asked her in a low husky voice.
What? Her brain still tried to understand why he barged into.her room again. He locks her in and he strolls around in her room in the middle of the night at his will. So, she only could respond in confusion.
He walked in, closed the door shut and made way to the left side of the bed.
What was he doing? She frowned.
He slid on his back and settled his head on the white pillow.
“Your message.” He cleared her confusion.
Her message? Her forehead cleared of the frown. Heavens! He scared the crap out of her only because he wanted to know what her message was about?
Tick the box of crazy under the sharp hearing one.
She still kept blinking at his figure laid out in a sprawl on her bed. He took ownership of it like a lion’s share and she was hovering to the side like a paltry ant. Well, a meat eating ant. Right….
“Why are you here?”
His eyes in the orange light gleamed over her face and form. Radhika suddenly became very aware of his stare on her.
“Put it away.” He said gravelly looking down at her hand.
Wide eyes slid to her hands which still held onto the penknife. She didn’t realize that she still had it in a tight clutch. Her face turned crimson and she put it back hastily on the bedside table.
She kept her eyes trained on his gaze next. His left arm was under his head. He didn’t close his eyes but still held her wide eyed stare.
“Come here.” He whispered huskily in the heavy silence.
Radhika felt her heart race at that and the pulse in her wrist quickened frantically. Her body burned hot and she stayed dumstruck in freeze.
Her forehead creased in confusion at his behaviour, but looking into his eyes she slid closer to his side.
“What?” She asked, and before she could move any further, he caught hold of her hand and pulled her to the side of his chest.
Radhika protested by flailing her arms but he closed his arm around her shoulders.
“What are you doing?” She gasped still struggling.
“Making you asleep.” He replied in a soft voice.
It was pointless moving her hands. It was like hitting a hard wall.
Radhika sighed frustratedly.
“You can’t force me to.” She snapped angrily.
He just took a deep breath in. His chest moved up and down with it.
He didn’t reply for a while.
“You aren’t going to extend of what is nothing?” He insisted again.
Radhika retorted instantly.
Why was he trying to penetrate into her thoughts when he himself was making her go away from his life. Everything else is pointless. The marriage. His manner towards her. He was being too husbandly. Didn’t he remember what he said about staying clear of their respective paths? What happened now? Really, does he suffer from amnesia?
He seem to tense up at her fierce reply. His hand tightened on her shoulder.
“Talk or sleep. You’ve got a choice.” He responded warily and locked his hands more tighter around her.
Radhika contemplated about it in fuming silence. Her mind growled out. Gah, whatever the hell are his manipulative business..y skills, she wasn’t going to cave in here. She really wasn’t going to talk and make him see the vulnerability inside of her heart. She was afraid he would mock and sneer later about it in disdain and she wasn’t up to take more humliation on her self respect.
“Sleep.” She gritted her teeth agreeing to the second choice.
The tense knot over his chest bunched up more at her reply.
The heat circled from his strong chest to her cold form and it warmed her blood in her veins instantly. What was he, a self warming machine?
“Good.” He replied shortly and deeply.
His voice coloured in deep gravelly sleep now. Maybe it was quite a day in his office, Radhika thought about it and gave up struggling.
What? That’s it? He wasn’t going to persist after her ‘nothing’. She yawned suddenly.
“Fine.” She whispered sleepily on his chest and closed her eyes.
She settled back into his warmth as there wasn’t a way out to let herself free from his iron band arms. His tense strong muscles softened as soon as she sagged down into his chest. She was happy though that now she didn’t have to worry about the creepy frightening sounds travelling in from the window. She didn’t have to worry about anything to break into the room. The steady rhythm of his heart beat under his chest gave her an assurance. A safety. She suddenly had nothing to fear. The immense calm she had in his arms. That was the uncomfortable feeling being crept into her mind, and it scared her more than any nightmare she had till now.
She didn’t get a reply to her retort as she heard his breath even out along with hers……..
To BE Continued……
Don’t feel good. Feel a fever coming. I look ghastly suddenly. Broke my tablet. Its glass is ruined and the touch is gone. Hurt my ankle. And I write not so cool and immaturish, if it’s a word. I have a discordinated brain function that does not support my clumsy limbs. Mostly the week had been fantastically amazing and credit goes my clumsiness( cue into my sarcasm. It wasn’t a fantastic week. It was basically a clear definition of worst) yet I’m eternally optimistic and hopeful that tomrw will be a good day.
Avoid my sulking, guys and also the many many many many typos, missed out words and what nots of this update….:(
Have a happpppppppy and an amazing weekend everyone dear friends:D
Credit to: kfar