If Only – The Replacement Sister(BBCB2)
She felt trapped in the elevator, her breathing turned heavy, anxiety seem to bristle her every nerve, She felt the lift float above and a little high, itwas going to the fifth floor. For seven years she had escaped coming here, with random excuses, now that she got here there wasn’t anythingleft to say. She just have to deal with her overbearing parents and her dead step sister’s husband. The obnoxious, rude, rich condescending bastard. Liyahated him with vengeance. Her parents mooned over him because he was rich. He was not so accomplished years ago according to rumours. He had been only a mere artist. A painter. A very talented one, but through sheer hard work he climbed the high ladder of the creative world, of arts and conventions. He had many all across India the workshop studios.Her sister got married because he was rich. Shedidn’tthink ever that Miya, would have married him, if he wasn’t so rich and the most eligible bachelorof the country. Her sister was cranked in the head, she was a partier, wild, and very much impulsive. Shewas an action kind before a thinking one.
And she acted on that stubborn impulse, theconsequence was, she being paid heavily for it.Miyawas found dead all alone in her big apartment. Shedied of drug overdose. She got addicted to drugs when she was thirteen. Liyatried really hard to protect her in Highschool, but shefailed as shewasn’t her real sister. Shewas the foster kid in the family. They neverconsidered heras family. It was only for appearance sake. They were thenew town rich people and there should be areason to adopt her. She was their market value. Even though it was for theoutside, Shewas happy that shegot a family. Shewas happy that shegot shelter and food to starve off hunger. She shivered remembering the place where she was cooped up with other foster kids. Cold, hungry, alone and helpless, waiting for some rescue.
Miya’s parents weren’t mean, rude or physically violent, no they weren’t as Miyahas neverseen them in the big house. They were never there for themor forMiya. They were always travelling. It was the only reason Miyaturned so wild and bratty. She always partied, filling the big house with people. The eightyears she lived with Miya, Liyaobserved her sister was just sad. The empty rooms and hallways ate up at her loneliness and the answer to those resounding questionswas to rebel against it, to fill the house with so much loud music that nothing could penetrate the walls of her eardrums, drink so much that she couldn’t think or hurt inside about mom and dad’s uncaring attitude towards her.
Miyawas long gone before Liyacould reach her. Later Liyaleft the house altogether to create her own identity. At twenty fournow she was very much settled in her career. She worked as a human resource manager in a trending marketing firm in Mumbai. Shehad her own flat and earned enough to live leisurely.
Staring at the lift wall,Liya’s mind revertedto the past, to theChristmas she spent in Philadephia three years back. She just completed her post grad and when she came home happyfor spending time with her family, everything seemed different. Miyawas getting married. She was twenty seven then. Liyawas surprised at the hustle and bustle at the usually empty house. The shocking thing was, mom and dad were going crazy over the wedding.
Liyawondered what had happened that changed their plans of forever globe trekking ways of life.
Shedidn’t get a warm welcome or loving hugs, which wasn’t usual. She only got nods and chaste smiles from three of them from across the hallway. Liyajust left and went upstairs to her room. She put her luggage and dropped down on the bed exhausted from the flight journey and car ride to the Villa. She slept for a very long while. Liyanever felt so secure and content. Home was after all home, however it maybe.
She reluctantly had to leave the warm cozy bed to downstairs for breakfast. Liyaknew there wouldn’t be anyone at the breakfast table as everyone were here late risers. Liyawas awfully an early riser. It’s like the clock in her body was tuned to wake atfivein the morning and she couldnever goback to sleep. It was impossible as her stomach would grumble angrily for something to eat.
She was sorting for a sandwich, putting it in the sandwich presser she put the coffee powder and startedpouring hot water in the kettle for boiling. She liked the light hue brown rather than a dark strong one. She put four cubes of sugar and twirled the spoon mixing it well. The warm gush of sweet smell filled hernostrils when she took a sip. Ah, Nirvana in the morning. She closed her eyes savouring the feel and taste of coffee on her tongue. It blasted flavours all around lighting her eyes to the same light browncolour of itsessance. Itstavedoff the blinks of sleep from the lethargy filled fog of her mind.
Out from the window of the kitchen she saw snow drizzling down in flakes from the darkened sky. The sun hadn’t emerged and it wouldn’t rise above to show itself through the heavy snow until the afternoon, but it didn’t matter. Cold didn’t bother Liya.Darkness too didn’t bother, as a matter of fact she liked evenings and nightsrather than the light. She didn’t like curtains to part, she hated light and its force of stark it broughtfrom the brightness.
She stood there deaf to the world,contemplating on the weather, So busy floating in thoughts that she didn’t hear footstepsounds coming closer to the kitchen.
She started when the sandwich presser dinged, getting out of the trance she took out thehot savoury aroma filledsandwich,wincing asit burned her fingers, but she didn’t care for a plate. She took out two paper napkins and foldedthe sandwich, taking a huge bite just immediately she groaned as the cheese and the bread melted in her mouth.
“Care to share?”A heavydeep drawl of a voice spikedup her heart rate in the silence.
She squeaked and spun around with the kitchen knife, ready to attack the intruder. It was the move she learned while living in foster care.
Seeing who it was she sighed heavily in relief. It was only Dev Rishan Thakur, the fiance of her sister. Liyahad seen glimpses of him last year. At rare family parties hosted by the Mathur’s. She saw Liyahanging by his arm, looking at him with doe eyed gaze. Actually, every woman present at the party were staring in awe and curiosity.
He was a successful businessman,a twenty nineold millionaire, with twentytwo leadingartstudiosand industries across the country. He was very handsome. He was more like rough and fierce. His eyes brows were razor sharp justlike those of his blue articorbs and long judgemental nose. He was 5’11with broad shoulders and hulking body. Face lined with hard edges and sharp angled cheek bones deeply intensified by the square angry jaw, Devlooked intimidatingto Liya.
He towered and loomed over her a good five inches. Jen was clutching the knife to her chest, staring still as though an idiot.
His eyes narrowed, slowly his gaze slid down to her chest then to her eyes. He moved real closer to her, she stiffened and tensed up like a bow string. His hand covered hers, carefully he slid his finger soothingly on the rapid beating of her pulse. Her hand slackened the dead grip hold on the knife. He took the knife with theother hand and put it on the counter behind her. This bought him more closer, her chest rose and fell, touching lightly onto his body. A tremor went through her. All the while his intense blue eyes never strayed from hers.
“Careful. You will cut yourself with it.”He whispered gravelly.
His rumbly voice travelled from his body to hers raising goosebumps on her skin. His breath hot on her forehead. Every cell in her body went hyper aware and sensitive to his presence, it made her flustered and breathless which in turn annoyed her to no end.
“No, I won’t.”She whispered back defiantly, but her tone came out soft and breathy.
She cursed herself for the stutter in voice.
His stare moved finally from her eyes.
Her legs turned rubbery and she held her hands behind on the counter. Wrong move. Very wrong move. She thought he would either wring her neck or have a showdown, throw her out, maybe. His body stiffened and his green eyes settled and narrowed. His body rippled in the V neck sweater he was wearing. His hair gleamed dark, The locks were all over his forehead.
But he didn’t seem to leave, in fact he looked comfortable, and his stare got intense and strange.
Suddenly she felt nauseous and she ran so fast that even a athlete would be shamed by her speed. In what seemed only a minute she was inside her room. Her head reeled with the force of exertion she did while taking the stairs.
She paced about in the room for over two hours. Exhaustion took over her body and she finally slid into a deep sleep. Which was surprising as she never went back to sleep after an early morning. The decide of her fate would be when shetreadeddownstairs.
And the time came too early,with rapid beating of her heart she went downstairs. It was six in the evening. Well, she surely was a scared mouse, but her fear was unnecessary. The man ignored her just like her sister and parents and Liyawondered if the moment in the kitchen earlier that day wasonly a fantasy of her dream that she glared at sister’s fiancé and behaved rudely running off like that, she thought he would complain about her behaviour to everyone in the family thinking that she was some kind of servant in the house, but it did not happen. The suspicion became strong and dismissed her silly thought because they were behaving idiotic.
A year or two laterof their marriage, Miyawas insistent in calling time and again. Liyahad already found a job in New York, and shewas busy moving in an apartment. Everything was going good and she had become busy with work. It has been eight months and more and Liyahas been going on at it without a break. If it wasn’t for Miyacalling and telling her to take a break and ask her to come visit her, Liyawouldn’t even have thought about it. Miyawas pregnant and Liyawas going to become an aunt. Something really very tender spread in her heart that made a decision in mind, she was going to see Miya.
She arrived at Devand Miya’s grand mansion in the evening. Miyaseem to be ecstatic to have her, it was weird as she never encouraged any affection towards Liya. She was glowing,though she didn’t look that pregnant. Three months would hardly show a baby bump. As to the house,It was a big bronzed mansionand also very loneone, there weren’t many houses beside but only trees surrounding it.It was designed as ifan eighteenth century castle, the inside of the mansion hadthree big halls, with antique sitting,plush red cushion chairs, carpeted by various expensive soft cloth. The walls had paintings, sceneries, portraits and so on. The third hall had a expanded stair case leading to suites, it was five storeyed. The mansion aslo had four lifts, private elevators for each suite and Jen felt it was less of a home and much of a hotel. Servants were moving left and right with Miyaleading them to appointworks. She looked bafflingly domestic , if she wasn’t wearingsuch beautiful blue dress then Liyawould have thought so.
Liyawas urgently ushered to her room which was attached to Miya’s expanded suite, she again was called upon by Liyafor lunch. It was one in the afternoon and Liyanever was hungry beforethree, but the mansion seems to have itsown rules. Everything was moving so fast Liyahad barely time to recover from the expanse of the abundant wealth display,that again she encountered Miyagracingat the head of the larger than life lunch table seat, with her red floral long length dress and her deep ruby fiery hair smoothed into straight locks, she dispelled the aura of regal and posh royalty.
Liyafound herself wondering, if she was exported back in time, in a duke’s castle because everything here screamed the scene from a fairy tale book. Of course, was from England, his great grand fatherwas accounted to be descent from royalty, so obviously he would be one, but rumor has it that he shunned his family in England and stayed back here in Indiaseveral years ago. That’s the reason he stayed hidden and penniless for years. He seem to want to make his own name and money and that he did in just two years.Liyahad read so in tabloids and newspapers. As she was from the advertising world too, in countless business magazines, she has read about his family history and fromwhere he got such reigning power.
Liyafound herself sat beside Miya. The dinning table was lathered with food plates and expensive crockery. There were various assorted warm breads, hot steaming soups, curries,sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, apple pie and cakes.
“Miya, you look very beautiful.”She complimented her sister.
Miyaturned her head towards to the right side where Liyawas beside her,she only smiled in return.
Liyafelt awkward, compared to her, She resembled a homeless person insimple blue jeans and black T-shirt, her long dark hair pulled up in a messy ponytail.
She torea bit from a loaf of bread and popped thepiece in her mouth. It melted right away.
“I came to know that you’ve got a job?”
Liyaturned her dark brown eyes to that of Miya’slight blue ones. Her tone implied a bit of condescension.
“Well, yes, actually it’s just a…”
“I hope you do well.”Miyacut in, and Liyaclosed her mouth.
That’s that. She frowned, what made her think thatshe was a friend. It’s just the problem. Two nice words and a warm welcome and Liyahas drawn her guard down. Why would she believe there was no socialbarrier between them, even though they were sisters. Well, in name only.
Miyawent back to silence. Uncaring of her presence. Miyalooked about at the empty expanse of seats and wondered about theabsence of Dev. Maybe he was at work? But what does she care. She was here only for Miyaand her future niece or nephew.
She saw Miyathen lift a wine glass to her mouth. Just as an immediate reflex, Liya’s hand shot in the air and held her sister’s hand in a firm grip.
Miyagave her a frosty look. Her porcelaincheekbones set in harsh grinding and Liyafound her hand slacking.
“It’s not good for the baby.”She explained in a weak tone, feeling her cheeks flush hot.
She found herself surprised at the way a fierce possessive she felt over the baby. This was the first time she raised her voice at Miya.
“I know, it’s just few sips.”She got an irritated reply to her impulsive move.
It was not going to be few sips, it may turn into a whole bottle. She thought Miyawould quitalcohol and other stuff during pregnancy,but boy was she wrong.
Fourglasses of redwine. Three more on four. She has seen her like this and she is seeing her like this. Disappointment never felt good.
Later while she lay in bed after putting a tottering Miyato bed, Liyathought about the loneliness the mansion expelled. Hell, it was worse than their parents house. It was sad and gloomy.
Morning came and there was still no presence of Dev.
“Where is Dev?”She asked finally, unable to contain herself.
Miyafrowned while munching on her morning cereal.
“Why would he be here?”She countered nonchalantly.
“Why wouldn’t he behere?”Liyaasked confused.
She rolled her eyes and Liyafelt bewildered by her uncaring attitude towards everything and everyone.
“He is not here because he doesn’t live here?”She replied more dubiously.
Uh, what again?
“Devdoesn’t live here? Is he in England then?”She asked.
“Why would he be in England, when his business is here, LiyaSeriously, whogave you a job?”Miyamutterer irately.
Whoa!cranky much. Liyadecided against answering to that.
“He is at his penthouse.”Miyaanswered after a while of silence.
“Penthouse? But it’s just four miles from here. Why aren’t you with him. Miya, you’re pregnant and you can’t live all alone like this?”
She only sighed heavily, while Liyapolished off a third bowl of strawberry fruit cereal. It was that good. All fruity, sweet and tarty.
“I have you now.”Miyareplied softly.
Miyafelt her heart flutter, warmth spread inside her, but only for a while.
“Yes, but what about Dev. He is the father of your child. He has to take the responsibility. He cannot possibly bethat busy.”Liya’s tone coloured to an anxious one.
How can he leave her alone all vulnerable like this. Sure he must know how Liya was. They must have been married what for four years.
“Why would he take the responsibility of the kid that’s not his?”
The words uttered so very casually froze Liya’s mind.
What the hell?
“What? But…”She fumbled.
Miyalooked and behaved as if Liyawas being ridiculous asking her such questions.
She sighedand grabbed an apple.
“Devand I are living separately.”
“Separately? He got to know that you cheated on him?”Liyadrilled her.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Liya.”Miyabit out. “Weseparated before I got pregnant with Kabeer’s baby.”
Her scrambled brain zoomed on the name. Kabeer? High school Kabeer?The brat. Shit. He had been a bad influence onMiyathen and now this. The amount of information about her sister piled up into a mess in her head. So much has happened in two years.
“Then, are you and Devdivorced?”
If such was the matter,then there wasn’t anything in the papers nor any hoopla in the media about them. Liyawould surely have got know about this?
“No, silly, we are just separated.”Miyashrugged.
Separated? There is the word again. What had the lingo becomebetween married couples nowshe did not understand.
“Separated.”She parroted the wordin anexasperated sigh. “Separated as in how?”
“Devand I are not together anymore. We live separately without divorce and I get fifteen million for it tostay connected to him onlypublicly.”
Liyablinked several times.
How could shesit there and look so calm while Liya’s mental stability wasderanging with the things that she was trying to understand.Miyawas a robot without feelings. How can she talk like this? Fifteen million for staying separated but not divorced, really? What is this, some kind of cold hearted business deal.While she took the wedding vows,didn’t it matter to her about the person she got into a promise of life long relationship? It was a grotesque view of life that Miyahad. Marriage is business to her? She couldn’t believe Miyawould sell it for money.
Liya did believed in till death do us apart, though the irony was, she never knew her parents but she has seen her step parents being together. However cold they were to her,but with each other they were thoroughly affectionate. Liya never saw them fight, that made her believe in marriage, that with other person you can create a beautiful life. Yes, she was rather romantic and wild in imagination and fantasy, but with the way her childhood was spent in rough place, she didn’t have the energy to feel resented and unhappy, as she was only relieved by the change of her fate.
Liyaput her hand on Miya’s. She needed to get through Miya’s head too. What she was doing was a mess with her life.
“Miya, you loved him, didn’t you? When you got married?”
She implored with her eyes to Miya, even to show apinch of certain emotion, but what stared back were empty pair of dark blue eyes.
She moved her hand away from Liya’s.
“Well, it didn’t work out between us.”She replied uncomfortably, shying her eyes away from Liya’s.
“Does he know that you’re pregnant, Miya?”
Miyapoured another cup of milk for the cereal. She put freshly cut strawberries, raspberries and blackberries into the cup.
“He does.”She said, after eating a spoonful.
Liyawas trying to understand the situation but she failed miserably.
“Do…uh..um mom and dad know about this?”She asked hesitantly.
Miyaslid her straight tresses off her shoulder. She was wearing a bluenight gown. Her porcelain skinglistened in the morning light. Pregnancy had really given her a glow.
The spoon froze mid way to her mouth. Her eyes snapped to Liya’s.
“No, they don’t and they will never know.”A hint of warning bit into her tone.
“Liya, I don’t like this discussion, alright.”Miyacountered woodenly.
“Does Kabeerknow that you’re pregnant?”
Liya’s lips set in a straight line, clearly annoyed.
“This is my child, Liya. I don’t want anyone involved. Not Dev, not Kabeerand not my parents.”Jen was gutted bythe fierce antagonism rippling in her tone.
Miya’s eyes flashed and her chest heaved up and down in anger.
“But..but..why don’t you want anyone to know?”
“I just don’t.”
“Miya, listen…”Liyatried to pacify her, but she she cut in again………
To be continued….
Dev’s story of DT series….yipieeeeeee ?????
Hope u liked it friends???? plsssssssssss do telllllllllllll?????
Hey Liya I took ur name dear. Hope u don’t mind he he 😀
Thanks a looooooot Roma, Tia, Manha, Vivi, Chandu, Chinmayi, Anu, Liya, all beautiful girls commenting on SS, and sab yaar for loving serene shadows too 😀 louv u loads 😀
Credit to: kfar