Link for Episode-16: Episode 16
Finding Solace In You-
Once you unveil someone’s true colours, it’s best to accept the reality of them and not try to repaint them with colors of your own liking because that won’t change who they are. Twinkle was far from repainting Kunj Fateen’s reality.
Susan and Marcus seemed beyond shocked over the relevance. At once he understood why Kunj married her. He understood his reasons. He understood the bitter reality that he used her. He understood that marriage with Twinkle wasn’t a genuine commitment but a business deal. He married her only for his own reasons. And for the first time he felt disgusted with him.
Recollecting herself, tears of defeat started streaming down her face. She raised her head and looked at him with a look that spoke nothing but betrayal. “You knew it didn’t you?” She accused him with a broken heart. Marcus seemed defenceless, yes, he knew Kunj was playing at something but he didn’t know Kunj was exploiting her beyond disgrace. Somewhere he felt being part of his vile schemes. He felt guilty for hoping and believing Kunj would move on and fall in love again.
Instantly her defeat ingnited her and she stood up in pure fury, “You knew it all. You knew he was playing with me, he was using me. This marriage was nothing more than a business deal to him, he gets what he wants, he gets under my skin, see me bare and when he has done, he hands me a bundle of money and trash me. That’s what he was doing all along. I was stupid to believe he was different, YOU were different. You all are the same. You’re all the same selfish and self obsessed with your own desires and nothing beyond that matters to you. Neither someone’s dignity or modesty or respect nor emotions, nothing…” She shook her head in tears and pain.
Susan tried to calm her down but she pushed away her hand, “What did you get from this? Tell me?” She asked with a voice laced with defeat misery.
“I didn’t know he was playing with you. I didn’t know this marriage was a proposition. I thought he was trying to move on.” Marcus spoke of his innocence, leaving out the fact that he knew Kunj was planning on leaving her.
“But you knew he loves someone else. You knew he is with someone else yet you didn’t tell me. Is that fair? Is it fair to me or even to her? Does she know even?” With that question Twinkle understood why Kunj didn’t want their marriage to come out in the open.
“No!” Was his curt and hurting reply. “She can never know.”
“Then I’ll tell her.” Twinkle almost snarled.
Shaking his head he looked at Susan and then her, “If he was with her Twinkle, he wouldn’t have been with you and that’s what stopped me from telling you.”
“What kind of a person are you? How can he do this to her, to me?”
Marcus cared about her but atop of that he cared about Kunj. No matter what he had done or how disgusted Marcus felt with him, he was still that one person who stood by him in time of need. Marcus had seen him suffer too, he had seen him break and he acknowledged his doings unfair but he couldn’t hear Twinkle accuse him of something out of nature. “He couldn’t do it to her that’s why he couldn’t love you…” His voice rose. Susan took his hand to calm him down. Twinkle stared at him with wide eyes. Marcus muttered something to Susan and she close her eyes in pain. She turned towards Twinkle and tried to settle her down.
“I know what Kunj has done to you is wrong in every sense but neither of us know his purposes do we? To understand the nature of his doings you’ve to understand him first. To question his feelings and love, you’ve to acknowledge the fact that he’s a complicated person Twinkle.” Twinkle turned her head away from her clenching her teeth in agitation since nothing she said explained Kunj’s cruelty.
“I’ve known Kunj for years.” Marcus spoke. “We’ve been friends for a long time and I do see how inhuman he has turned but I also know the reasons for what he is today and that’s what makes me have hope. When I met you Twinkle, I saw hope for him to let go of past, let go of her. I don’t know how he feels about you but I know he has started caring. Even you told me that. And that’s an almost progress.” Twinkle almost let out a humorless chuckle in pure anguish hearing ‘care’.
“You deserve to know this and I’m sorry for not telling you before for it wasn’t my story to tell but times have changed…
Yes, he was in love. During college Elif and Kunj were like this ideal couple, he loved her unconditionally. Like a man who madly loves and nothing matters more or less, Kunj was that kind of madly in love. After an age spent in a foster home, the slightest crescent of love he got, made him willingly ready to give much more in return and he did. Long story short, her father was an alcoholic and abusive. Kunj knew about it but Elif kept him from speaking out and maybe that was fate. Things went too far with her father and Kunj found her in a pool of blood in her backyard. She was mercilessly beaten and went into coma. I saw him stay by her bedside for three months, crying, begging, praying but nothing help saved her. He lost her, forever.”
He took a long breath, “Even after years, he doesn’t seem to have grown out of it, he didn’t let her go. When I heard he’s marrying you, when I saw you Twinkle, I saw hope because that night he didn’t just lose her but with her he also lost his faith in love, in life, in Lord. He stopped believing.” He looked at her genuinely.
Everything made sense to Twinkle, everything Liyannah had said, Marcus had told her, each fact defined who Kunj Fateen was. But what didn’t get explained was the reality of her in his life. Nothing explained what he had done to her. Nothing explained his heartless vile doings. Nothing explained the betrayal.
“Men are enslaved to their desires.”
Faris’s words repeated in her head. She was Kunj Fateen’s desire, his inspiration and he played a nasty game to get what he wanted. That explained it.
“I can’t stay here anymore.” She announced in a broken voice. Both Marcus and Susan knew her decision was stern and none of them could change it. He looked at his wife nervously. At the moment keeping Twinkle safe from attempting anything reckless seemed more important than to think how Kunj will react if he doesn’t find his wife anymore.
“Come with us.” Susan offered her with genuine generosity. Twinkle just shook her head in despair. “I can’t stay around him anymore, it’ll kill me.” She was near crying her heart out again.
“You won’t be around him. We’ll organise your stay with us in England till things settle down with you and you’re in a much good state to take better decision.” Twinkle wanted more assurance than mere words. Now that her trust got punctured all over again, she was in damaged pieces and trusting someone again was the last thing she wanted to do. “He won’t get to you without your consent, I promise.” With that Susan sealed close yet another proposition. It seemed like that was all what was left of Twinkle’s life.
Kunj turned the magazine from page to page and read out all the critics under his name, mentioned on the first tabloid. A smile of satisfaction played on his lips. There was a glint in his eyes, a glimmer of success, of triumph, of achievement. Within one week his exhibition peeked the charts. His art was talk of the town literally and empirically but winning doesn’t come out of fate, it comes out of hardworking. Kunj Fateen believed that any dream could be chased as long as one stayed determined. He chased his inspiration, he gave in much of his efforts and many other things that weren’t good in words but in the end, he did get what he wanted.
He hasn’t called her for two weeks. Not because the thought of her didn’t cross his mind but because the thought of her didn’t leave his mind. It infuriated him, made him guilty. Everytime he neared her, he felt as if he was betraying Elif’s memories. Everytime he saw her smile, watched her laugh, watched her love him, it scared him. He was scared of forgetting Elif, he didn’t want to forget her, he didn’t want to lost the last that was left of her, their memories. He didn’t want to replace her with Twinkle.
“Mr. Fateen, everything is ready, they’re waiting for you.” His secretary interrupted the line of his ambushed thoughts. With a nod he got up and walked out of the cubicle towards the front. The bright camera flashes blinded his vision for a minute or two but soon he adjusted his eyes to the light and the crowd of too many media reporters. He seated himself and folded his hands neatly over the table. With a greeting he prepared himself to be bombarded with questions that were meant to root up his soul existence, after all that’s what the media does.
The train of questions started and he calmly answered each one of them.
“Your painting seems to catch an eye as your recent exhibition is topping all charts. Mr. Fateen tell us about the mystery woman in your paintings, who is she?” A female reporter asked charmingly.
“An inspiration.” He curtly answered which wasn’t exactly a lie.
“Is she real?” Another reporter asked.
“She’s very much real.” He smiled.
The questions about the mystery woman continued and Kunj skillfully dodged each one of them, letting out little to least information about her. He may have shared his paintings, his imaginations, his inspiration with the world but he certainly didn’t seem to ready to share her with them.
“Is the woman in your paintings your love interest? Mr. Fateen you’ve been spotted with many models on different occasions but we know nothing of your love life. If you’re already off the bachelor’s list, the media deserves to know about it because after all you’re one of the most eligible man in town and all the ladies admire you.” A young girl with glasses asked, she didn’t seem to catch much on how Kunj Fateen never let any media reporter cross the invisible line and get at his personal life.
“This is something for me to know only. The media might keep tabs on my business affairs and art but I do not give them the permission to interfere with my personal life. I might be a celebrity to you but I’m also very much human and like any human I do prefer my privacy.” He eyed her sternly.
The young and inexperienced girl didn’t cease at it, “Rumor has it, you’re secretly married. Is it true Mr. Fateen?” The question took him off guard. He had been very careful with Twinkle and didn’t know how media got that kind of information about him.
“It’s a rumour, what do you expect?” Kunj wasn’t used of lying so he used diplomacy. The girl seemed to have understood by now that he wasn’t going to let out much and so she took back her seat.
Kunj finished the conference with a sour mood. His mind went back to Twinkle. Marcus had told him, due to something urgent he had to fly back to England leaving Twinkle on her own. Kunj trusted his employees but thought of Twinkle being on her own bugged him. With that he realised the seriousness of his situation. How would he possibly be able to let her go? But if he didn’t let her go, he’d lose Elif and that’s something he couldn’t agree with. Closing his eyes to the inner battle, he let out a tired sigh.
Twinkle switched off the television in pure rage, she had watched Kunj Fateen’s entire interview and felt nothing but angered and infuriated. So skillfully he had dodged every question asked about her. This was the time when she literally hated his guts. How could someone just hide the reality of having a very living wife? Kunj Fateen was beyond her understanding. It seemed like the person she had spent months with was nothing but an imposter, a delusion that had ended.
She watched Ellena play with her toys silently. Twinkle felt sick with nausea. Susan had settled her in an apartment. Everyday she’d leave Ellena at hers because her nanny had quit the job and Twinkle seemed the best option for the time being. Twinkle felt vaguely content with the couple’s generosity and would willingly look after their baby. Though at the back of her head she was keen to get her emotions stable, settle down and fall into a normal routine. She had to tell Azeen as well and the thought scared her because all along her instincts had been right about Kunj. Twinkle also had to find a job, she couldn’t live off of Susan and Marcus’s generosity.
The doorbell interrupted her void. She opened the door to let in a gleamy Susan. She walked and picked Ellena in a big hug, “Gosh I missed you.” The charm of the moment made Twinkle envious much to Twinkle’s annoyance.
“I need a few things, would you mind accompanying me to shopping.” Susan asked her as she munched on the potato sticks Twinkle offered her.
“Sure.” She answered.
It took them a few hours to pick the groceries and other important equipments for their home. Everything seemed so out of order because they weren’t home for more than a week. Double checking all the items in the trolley, Twinkle took Ellena from Susan to let her pay for the things. They both patiently waited in the row.
“Woah!” She heard a boyish voice from beside her. “Ma’am can you turn around for a moment?” He asked her with excitement. Confusedly Twinkle turned to face him. On seeing her turn around, he raised the magazine he was holding and brought it to her face level. He flickered his eyes between the magazine’s front cover to her face. “Holly molly, is this you?” He retracted his hand and pointed at the magazine’s front page. Confounded, Twinkle followed where he was tapping his finger and saw three of Kunj Fateen’s paintings imprinted on the front page. She was displayed on the front page for the world to see. Twinkle stood there astounded with words going dry in her mouth.
“No, that’s not her.” Susan interjected after seeing the whole scenario.
“But the resemblance is pitch perfect.” The teenage boy didn’t seem to buy her lie.
“It’s resemblance after all.” Susan tried to emphasise.
“Well can I take a picture of you?” Leaking out her picture on social media would earm him so much. The mystery woman in famous artist Kunj Fateen’s paintings is very much in flesh and bones. The boy’s train of thoughts started but was curtly interrupted with Susan’s stern ‘No’.
She turned towards the cashier, payed for her stuff. She picked her things and pulled Twinkle by the arm, leaving behind a pleading teenager.
On reaching Twinkle’s apartment that was a block away from their home, she placed her things on her living area table before calling Marcus and informed him about the day’s happenings. Twinkle sat silently on the sofa and watched the tv news.
“Twinkle listen?” Susan tried to grab her attention.
“I know I can’t leave the house anymore, I’m recognisable now.” She spoke loud her unspoken words.
“I’m sorry, we’ll think of something soon.” Susan said sympathetically on which Twinkle merely nodded.
“I need a job but with his paintings out, everyone out there will probably recognise me and I’ll become talk of the media. I don’t know anymore Susan.”
“Why do you need a job? Don’t you feel comfortable here?” She asked with genuine concern lacing her voice.
“I can’t stay here for free. I need a job to pay for for my necessities. I can’t depend on someone.” Rare are people with dignity and self respect and it’s admirable but once you meet them you realise their verdict on liberty is too strong. They don’t let themselves depend on anyone and neither do they appreciate favours. They’ll give you a lot but ask for nothing in return. Susan knew Twinkle was one of those people.
“Well than work for me, I’ll pay you.” She offered.
“What kind of work?” She asked.
“As a nanny, baby sitting Ellena because I’m desperately in need of one and no one can be better than you. It’s not the kind where I leave Ellena at yours no, it’s a full time job, an actual job. Whenever I need you to baby sit her, you’ve to do it. So, basically you’re on a job 24/7.” Twinkle seemed to deeply think over it. “Okay.” She agreed a moment later.
Marcus came to pick up his wife and daughter and gives Twinkle some accompany of comfort. They ate dinner while in consistent conversations. He tried to take her mind off of Kunj and so far things were going well. Though he couldn’t keep things well for long as soon Kunj was going to find out. Marcus phone rang and the conversation died. “Excuse me-” He slid his finger across the green icon, not bothering to see who was calling.
“Where is she?” Kunj Fateen almost growled in a deadly pitch from the other side. Everyone on the table heard his voice and Twinkle attentively turned her head to Marcus.
“Who?” He calmly replied with question.
“Marcus don’t play games with me, tell me where Twinkle is?” His anger had taken over.
“I don’t know man, what are you talking about even? I told you I’m going back to England for an important conference over the release of my new books. It’s been days that I’m here. Twinkle will be at the Villa of course.” He calmly tried to talk to him through it.
“She’s not here Marc. I waited for a day thinking she might’ve gone somewhere and will return but it’s been two days and there’s no darn sign of her. Where the hell is she?” He spoke with clenched teeth.
“Look Kunj, I told you that I don’t know. If you don’t believe me, you can even ask Susan.” With that he heard him take a deep breath.
“I don’t know, I’m going crazy. I don’t know where to look for her.” He noticed the truth in his voice. Grasping a good opportunity he tried to ask him, “Kunj have you done anything to upset her?”
“I’d do nothing to accept her. I can’t see her being upset.” Emotions were taking hold of him but soon he realised otherwise to his doings, “I don’t know, have I?” He asked with uncertainty.
“Your paintings are all over the place. You did ask her permission on it right?” Marcus looked at Twinkle and she looked back without blinking.
“This is between her and me, and I’ll find her. She can’t just walk out on me, she’s my wife.” He got all brittle, “If you know anything about where she is Marcus, I need to know.” He almost warned him.
“I don’t know Kunj, anything about where she is. I’ll make a few calls for you. We’ll find her. Maybe she’s just out for a while and will come back.” He proposed to him.
“Yeah, okay.” With that he cut the phone. Marcus heard Twinkle let out a breath she was holding. His phone call with Kunj made her trust him completely.
In pure rage Kunj threw the phone over the bed and engulfed his face in a pillow. He let out a shriek of frustration. There was no way Marcus was lying to him. His house keeping told him they left a day before Twinkle did. Little did he know about the trick that they pulled out on him but he deserved it, he deserved all of it.
Kunj took a cold shower to soothe out his nerves of fuming frustration. He dressed himself in a comfortable t-shirt and trousers. He noticed her dresses still hanging in their wardrobe. Most of her things were present. It gave him hope of her returning. He touched her night gown and sniffed her fragrance. His heart made a few nervous twists.
What if she never comes back? What if he loses her forever like he lost Elif? He wasn’t planning on letting her stay but at least knowing she was secure and under his care indirectly, would have offered his heart peace. Now, he didn’t know where she was or if she was even safe. He had to inform the cops and fill in missing statement. With his power and status, he’d make sure the news doesn’t come out in open.
Laying down in bed, he stared at the bare ceiling. He had held her in this bed for months and now only the ghost of her memory was left. Turning and twisting in his bed, he concluded at the back of his head that he won’t lose her. No matter if he wants to be with her or not but he’ll find her. He missed her.
After an almost sleepless night, arrived the sunrise of an early morning. He silently ate his breakfast. The food wasn’t the caliber what she’d cook him. He had missed her meals for days now. Seeing his tablet vibrate with a call, he slid his finger across it and took the call. “Mr. Fateen, it’s a success so far.” His assistant informed to which he emotionlessly nodded. The success didn’t faze him anymore now that his head was all wrapped around Twinkle.
“-they want to buy piece number 13, they’re ready for any kind of auction.” He silently listened to him and turned to face him across the screen.
“It’s not for sale. No piece of this exhibition is for sale.” He wasn’t amused with idea of selling off his paintings and letting other men stare at his fantasies, at his woman. He wanted it to be a success but didn’t want anyone but him to have her as he has her. “But Mr. Fateen it’s a liable offer-”
Kunj cut him mid sentence, “I said it’s not for sale. I’m paying the gallery to keep my paintings on exhibition for as long as they can, but none of the pieces is for sale. We’ll earn a good profit from the exhibition alone anyways.” With that he shut off the screen and ended the call. His stomach was starting to feel uneasy with digesting the reality of Twinkle missing.
Silently he stared ahead. The plain road to his office didn’t let him get distracted from the void in his mind. He certainly didn’t want to form a void in his heart. Pressing the brakes in his car, he closed his eyes for a moment before reversing the car to a turn.
Azeen entered the empty waiting room with pure annoyance. Someone had pealed her attention from the lecture and told her someone was here to meet her. With a scowl she entered the room and looked around for the intruder. At the side of the room Kunj Fateen elegantly sat with his legs crossed and both his hands clasped above his lap. On seeing his brooding stance, she rolled her eyes. Further walking into the room, she dragged a chair and sat across him. “Why are you here?” She asked him annoyed.
Kunj didn’t speak, searching her face for some clue and stayed silent. Azeen found it absurd raising a brow, “Well, I certainly don’t think you’re here just to watch me.” Hearing her statement, Kunj let out a humorless laugh.
“You really think I’m a fool huh?” He probed.
“Not really, I guess.” She replied with unsurety thinking where this conversation was heading.
“Let’s stop playing cat and mouse and get straight to the point. Where is your sister Azeen?” With his sudden question Azeen looked a bit startled.
“I think you’ve officially lost it. She’s at your house obviously.”
He rubbed the corner of his forehead, an act which tried to control his ignited temper. “She’s not at my house so better tell me where she is and not incline me on playing it nasty with you.” He said through gritted teeth.
“Excuse me. How dare you to talk to me like that. I’m not my sister so better behave, okay. And as far as my sister is concerned then you’re insane. The last time I saw my sister was at your house. So be clear on what are you talking about and what the heck have you done to her?” She snapped furiously.
Kunj’s rage rose a degree and he slammed his hand over the table. “I said no playing. Are you going to tell me nicely or do you want me to make you tell me?” Azeen glared him with equal intensity even Kunj’s deadly look and his body language didn’t make her panic simply because she wasn’t Twinkle Irfan; she was Azeen Irfan which Kunj Fateen was forgetting.
“I said I don’t know. I last talked to her a week ago, though I don’t want to prove myself to you but since you’re thickheaded so here, you can check my phone.” She pushed her phone to him which he deliberately took it and searched for any sign, anything but there was nothing he could find of Twinkle. According to her phone she was speaking the truth.
“Where is she Mr. Kunj Fateen? Now you better tell me.” It was now her who asked and the emotion in her voice told him she was sincere.
“I wish I knew.” He gave her phone back to her before palming his face suddenly feeling tired of his life. He had come to her in hopes that she’d know where Twinkle was after all Azeen was her sister and she was one reason why Twinkle married him.
“What do you mean by that? Why did she leave? What did you do to her?”
“I wish I knew answers to your questions but I don’t. She’s missing and that’s all I know.”
“You’re a monster Kunj Fateen. You made her leave without even telling me. Just know this Mr. Brooding if anything happens to her I won’t forgive you. You’ll pay and I’ll make sure of that, you must be ‘the very strong Kunj Fateen’ for the world but for me you’re nothing more than my sister’s husband who didn’t even know about her whereabouts, don’t even know the reason behind her leaving.” Azeen snapped at him in a deadly pitch and Kunj just stared at her blankly. Her voice was laced with unshed tears and fear. It punctured his heart. If anything happened to Twinkle because of him, he’ll never forgive himself.
“I’ll find her. I promise.” He stated in stern words. Azeen looked at him feeling the genuineness of his words and nodded with a straight face. She saw the fear in his eyes. She noticed how he nervously clenched and unclenched his fists. How he swallowed with a dry throat. “You care about her don’t you?” She asked looking at him intently and took a moment to calculate how his pupils dilated at her question.
“I do.” His simple confession spoke volumes. Azeen wanted to tell him that he was in love with her sister but refrained for voicing his feelings for him. He needed to acknowledge them on his own accord.
“If she contacts me, I’ll let you know.” She promised. Kunj nodded his head in gratitude and after saying a quiet ‘take care’ he left with a sore heat.
Thank you very much for reading.
Hey y’all! This is the most longest episode I’ve written in my entire life. Lol XD I didn’t even sleep before sehri just to complete it but it’s worth it for you all are so awesome Masha Allah:) The response on previous episode was epic, I can’t tell you what I might have felt while reading them. Thank you, thank you so so much for understanding, for appreciating in such marvellous words, for expressing your feelings regarding the episode. Thank you so much. You all are my true energy boosters who never let me fall in the ‘writer’s block’ dimension;) I can’t truly express my gratitude please keep telling your views because the story is officially heading to ending. Write your guesses about the ending, how you want this story to end? I’ll love to read them:)
Vibhu: you were right, I had planned something like the way you mentioned in your comment. Lol XD hope you all loved the episode. Stay awesome till next time;)
P.S: Personally I loved Azeen and Kunj’s scene the most^_^
Love you all<3