Link to the 1st chapter : https://www.tellyupdates.com/bound-to-you-book-two-chapter-1/
After her meetup with Ahana was done, Riddhima returned to VR Mansion and was in for a pleasant surprise. She saw an excited Reyansh chattering away on the phone.
“Papa, you know what, I won the first prize in extempore speech competition. All my teachers praised me and all the people clapped for me.”
Rhea happily hopped towards her mother.
“Mumma, I spoke to Papa and he said he’ll come back soon! And he also said that he’ll bring my favourite toys along.”
“Wow, that’s great,” said Riddhima trying her best to feign interest. “Did Dadi and Bua get a chance to speak to him?”
“Yes, they did. But don’t know why, Dadi started crying in between,” wondered Rhea.
Riddhima gave her daughter a broken smile. She was too young to understand what a mother when through when her son goes away from her. And in the last one year, Anupriya had lost not one, but two of her sons – first Aryan who had been jailed, and next Vansh.
“Mumma, won’t you speak to Papa? You also miss him, right?” Rhea’s sudden question broke her from her reverie.
“I’ll talk to him later,” said Riddhima. With that excuse, she went upstairs to her bedroom.
After ensuring that the door was tightly locked from inside, she fell upon the bed and started crying.
Every month, Angre would use a voice changer app and make a phone call on their residence’s landline using a different number. Anupriya, Sia and the twins would happily chat and pour out their feelings on the phone assuming it to be Vansh on the other side.
But of course, Riddhima knew of this. And every month she’d have to fake her happiness and bury her sorrows deep within.
Her eyes ran all around the room. In Vansh’s absence, Riddhima had made sure that each and every wall of the room be covered with his photos. She gently caressed her favourite picture, the one where Vansh was sitting on top of a horse. He looked so elegant, so regal in it that she could just spend hours admiring it.
She remembered jow Vansh had taken her and the children to his personal stable. He insisted that horse riding was an important skill and took it upon himself to teach the children.
Even though, they had spent very few moments together as a couple and as a family, but still Riddhima could vouch that those were the best moments of her life.
Wiping away the little droplets emerging from her eyes, she stepped out of the bedroom into the verandah to find solace in the gentle evening breeze. She saw Angre sitting there, quietly sniffing.
“Whose talks made you emotional today? Was it Mummyji, Sia or the kids?” she joked.
He looked up at her and slightly smiled. “It was all of them. Everyone misses Boss and want him to come back. They feel that they are speaking to him and have no idea that it’s actually me trying to converse with them in Boss’s voice. Sometimes, it just gets too much for me…” His words trailed off as he started getting too emotional.
Riddhima patted his arm. “You are doing all this because Vansh had instructed you to do so before leaving for his mission. And if a fake ten-minute phone call can bring so much happiness on everybody’s faces, so be it.”
Angre slowly turned towards her. “And what about your happiness?”
With a faraway look in her eyes, she spoke, “I’ll get my happiness back only when I see my Vansh absoutely safe and sound in front of me.”
Blinking back tears, she continued, “It has been 9 months, 9 freaking months, and yet he hasn’t returned. Where is he? Is he even alive or…”
Angre eyed her sympathetically. The Riddhima that the business world knew was a strong, rigid and strict woman. But no one knew of the pain that she hid inside her. Not even her own family.
“Riddhima, please calm down. Everything’s going to be okay.”
“I am fine, Angre. You don’t need to worry about me.” Even though she assured him, but her face had a broken look. “I know he’s working on an important and confidential mission. I don’t want to know about his whereabouts and anything remotely related to the mission. I just want to know if he’s fine or not. Even if he’s not alive….” She paused to stifle a sob. “I still ought to know about it. Nothing can break me down and I’m mentally prepared for even the worst news. But I NEED TO KNOW. I can’t be living in this constant dread.”
“I understand your feelings. But even I know nothing about the mission this time. I’m assuming it has got to be something really sensitive and that’s why such strict confidentiality is being maintained,” said Angre.
“But Goel Sir, the Chief of RAW, must be having information about him, right?” Her eyes glowed up. “Angre, why don’t you ask him about Vansh? He was the one who appointed you as Vansh’s assistant, so obviously he can trust you. Goel Sir needn’t tell where Vansh is, he can just tell us if he’s doing fine or not, that’s all I ask for.”
He explained, “But this isn’t as easy as you are expecting it to be. First of all, I don’t even know if Goel Sir will tell me anything. And even if I request him, I need to take a prior appointment with him, which in itself is such a huge task.”
Riddhima pleaded to him, “Yeah, but you can give it a try, can’t you? Please Angre, for the sake of my mental peace at least. Just find out if Vansh is fine or not wherever he is, and then I promise you that I won’t bug you again.”
Angre sighed. “Alright. I’ll see what can be done. But for that, I’ll have to go to Delhi.”
She said, “Just complete all the official work tomorrow and leave for Delhi the day after that. What say?”
“Done,” came his immediate reply.
His blood-curdling shrieks echoed all around. His hands were held in shackles above his head, and he was being continuously whipped with a belt. Blood and sweat dripped from his face, his arms and rest of the body. His already tattered clothes were on the brink of being reduced to literally nothing.
“Tell us the name of your partner-in-crime. Or else you won’t be able to watch the next sunrise!”
“No, I won’t tell. Do whatever you want with me,” he said weakly.
One of the captors grabbed his chin roughly and warned him. “You better open that damned mouth of your’s. Or you have no idea what we can do with you.”
“Okay. Bring you ear close to me. I’ll tell you everything,” he whispered.
The captor did as he was told to. He immediately felt an excruciating pain in his ear and screamed at the top of his voice.
The leader of the gang barged inside to see what all the commotion was about.
“This bastard bit my ear!”
The leader beckoned his other minions to take care of his injured assistant.
When the gang leader saw the chained man smirking at him, he understood that he’d have to use his own way to find out about the other impostor who was perhaps living right amidst them.
Once outside the room, the gang leader ushered his other men.
“Tomorrow night, the work must be done.”
The next day as expected, Riddhima found Sharma waiting for her at her office. He was desperate to get the deal back with her. But she knew better. She didn’t want to give in to him so easily, and instead wanted him to plead some more.
Riddhima also made sure to check up on Ahana, and thankfully she was doing much better. She finally had a new maid who seemed to be doing a good job at taking care of the household as well as baby Payal.
Also, Ahana appeared quite cheerful than yesterday. Perhaps it was the supposed ‘letter’ that she received from Kabir this morning which was the reason behind her good mood.
It seemed quite impossible that Kabir was in a position to send letters to Ahana in spite of being busy in his mission. Riddhima was sure that just like how Vansh had appointed Angre to make fake phone calls to his family, similarly Kabir might have appointed his own assistant, Mishra, to send fake letters in his name to Ahana.
Riddhima’s work did not end with office. When she returned home, she made sure to constantly keep a tab on Anupriya and Sia, and take care of her children. She had promised Vansh that she’d manage everything nicely in his absence. And she wanted to stick to it at any cost.
After putting off Rhea and Reyansh to sleep, Riddhima stood beside the window peeping outside. The soft pitter-patter of the rain and the earthy smell of the monsoon, drove her mind back to those times….
She had been looking for Rhea and Reyansh everywhere, but when she couldn’t find them she headed into the garden.
She was shocked to see both the children dancing in the rain like crazy along with the mischief-maker himself, Vansh.
“What are you both doing there? Come inside right now or else you’ll catch a cold. And Vansh, you also became a child along with them? Do you even have any sense or not?” she started scolding them.
A completely drenched Vansh turned towards her and was quite amused.
“Don’t be such a bore Riddhima! We’ve only few days left to live and we must enjoy them to the fullest. Even if they do catch a cold, what’s the big deal? I’m sure there’s not a single person in this worl who hasn’t suffered from a viral flu in his life!”
Riddhima gave him a defeated look. Winning against Vansh in an argument, was an impossible feat for her.
“Mumma, you also come and join us. It’s so much fun!” chirped the equally drenched twins.
“No, I’m fine here,” she huffed crossing her arms.
Vansh took long strides towards her and pulled her away from the shelter. She squealed when she felt the cold drops fall over her head.
“You know that I suffer from hypothyroidism and cannot tolerate coldness…”
Vansh didn’t even let her complete her sentence. He gave her a sharp tug causing her to fall in his arms with a jerk.
“My steaming hotness will be enough to keep you warm, sweetheart,” he winked.
“That was such a cheap joke,” she said making a face. But from inside, she was actually gushing over him.
When he spinned her around in circles, it felt like the entire universe was celebrating their dance, their love. When he moved the hair away from her face, it felt like the time had come to a complete halt.
He tightened his grip around his waist and leaned in closer. While she on the other hand, closed her eyes in anticipation completely forgetting her surroundings…
“I’m not so shameless to to kiss you in front of the kids. But if you want, we can continue this in our bedroom,” he shot his beautiful, signature smirk that made her even weaker in her knees…
A loud clap of thunder brought Riddhima back to the present with a jolt. Sometimes, living in memories seemed much easier than living in the real world…
Riddhima was in deep sleep when her phone began to buzz. Stretching her arms, she looked at the clock. It was 1AM. Who was calling her at such odd time?
It was Ahana and she seemed to be speaking in a hushed voice.
“Hello Riddhima, it’s me.”
“What’s the matter? Don’t tell me that Payal is troubling you again…” yawned Riddhima.
“Some men broke into my house. I-I’m hiding inside the cupboard with Payal. I don’t know what to do!” Even though it was a whisper, the terror from her voice was discernible.
Riddhima sat up with a jerk. “But what about the security around your house?”
“I-I don’t know anything about that. What I know is that my and Payal’s lives are in danger,” cried Ahana.
Riddhima was panicking from inside like hell but she knew that she’d have to keep a cool demeanour in order to calm Ahana down.
“Don’t worry. I’m coming right away. I won’t let anything to happen to you and Payal. That’s a promise.”
Riddhima shut the phone down and jumped out of her bed. She ran towards Angre’s room and slammed upon his door.
“Ahana needs our help. Few goons broke into her house!”
Angre’s reflexes were very quick, unlike those of Riddhima. He took his his gun and knife and instructed Riddhima to do the same. He started racing the car at full speed. The roads were relatively empty at this time, but it was raining heavily and this was posing a problem to them. The windscreen wipers whipped to and fro but the road ahead still appeared hazy.
The entire drive Riddhima’s heart kept racing as all kinds of miserable thoughts ran through her mind. She avoided calling Ahana up for the fear that the ringing sound of the phone might alert the goons. She instead tried to message her, but got no reply back. This added to her worries.
Angre was a good driver and they reached the said destination within a short period of ten minutes. Had the storm not created an obstacle, they’d have reached earlier.
Riddhima hurriedly tried to get out of the car but Angre held her hand and handed her a muffler.
“We need to cover our faces,” he said grimly.
She obeyed his command and opened the large gate in front of the house. Usually there’d be a heavy security around, but right now there was none. Also all the lights were off and the house was relatively in darkness.
When they stepped a little closer they were shocked to see the scene. The security guards were all lying on the ground with froth near their mouths.
“Shit! They are dead!” Riddhima mumbled in terror.
Taking her revolver in her hand, she along with Angre tiptoed inside the house. Even as she did that, she silently prayed that Ahana and the baby were safe.
The main door was unlocked and a slight push opened it wide. Even though there wasn’t any electricity, some amount of light came through the windows. The living room looked like a mess. Chairs appeared overthrown, toys and clothes lay scattered on the floor.
Riddhima and Angre split up, both heading in different directions of the house.
“Ahana, are you there?” asked Riddhima in a loud and crisp voice.
All her senses were on high alert, weary of any unwanted intruder pouncing upon her. But she heard nothing.
“Ahana?” she called again.
A loud thud made her almost jump in startle. Clutching at the gun even more tightly, she walked towards the room. Her heart was beating so fast that she expected it to leap out of her chest any second.
With one swift blow, she pushed open the door. She heaved a sigh of relief when she saw Ahana crouched up uncomfortably on the bed.
Riddhima ran up to her and took her into a hug. “Ahana! Are you okay? I’m so happy to see you alright. Where is Payal…”
She broke in the middle of the sentence, when she saw blood on her hands.
“Ahanaaa!” Riddhima screamed when she saw a large gaping wound on her stomach.
“Nothing will happen to you! I’ll take you to a doctor…”
“I hid Payal… under…. the b-bed… so that they…do not find h-her…” stammered Ahana, her words barely audible. “P-promise me…that you’ll take c-care…of-f…her…”
“Noooo, don’t lose hope Ahana. Don’t…”
“T-tell K-kabir that I l-loved him…” With that, Ahana breathed her last while Riddhima gaped at her in horror.
“Noooo! No you cannot die! Wake up!” She tried to shake her violently. “You can’t do this. How will Payal live without you? What will I tell Kabir when he comes back?”
Hearing her shouting, Angre entered the scene. He shut his eyes tight when he saw Riddhima crying over Ahana’s dead body.
“Riddhima, please get a grip over yourself. I’ve informed the police but because of the storm, it might take some time for them to reach here. It’s not safe for us to stay here. There’s a high probability that the perpetrators might be lurking somewhere in this area only. And where is Payal?”
But Riddhima hadn’t even heard a single word of what he had said. She was completely paralysed from head to toe.
Angre grabbed her shoulders. “Riddhima! I asked where is Payal?”
“She said she hid her under the bed,” she replied with her eyes still fixed upon the dead Ahana in her lap.
Angre went on all his fours and peeped under the bed. He thanked God when he found the baby all swaddled up, sleeping peacefully and conpletely unaware of the havoc that took place in her life.
With one hand carefully carrying the baby, he dragged a motionless Riddhima outside with the other.
The sun had risen and the clouds had disappeared. The storm was over from the city, but not from some people’s lives, where it had just begun to show it’s effect little by little.
Riddhima was trying hard to put the baby to sleep, but she kept crying incessantly. Riddhima herself had tears flowing down her cheeks as memories from the previous night were still rampant in her mind.
Anupriya and Sia entered the room and noticed the miserable state she was in.
“Here Bhabhi, give Payal to me. I’ll try to quieten her,” offered Sia.
As soon as Sia took the baby in her arms, she stopped crying.
“I think she already seems to like me a lot,” giggled Sia.
Anupriya said, “Babies are very smart. When the person holding them is tensed, they immediately sense that and become tensed themselves. And you Riddhima, are very stressed right now.”
Riddhima sadly remembered how these were the exact words she had said to Ahana a few days back. And now, she was no more.
Anupriya wondered, “What I don’t understand is why would anyone try to harm Ahana? She’s the sweetest girl I have ever met and as far as I know, she shouldn’t be having any enemies whatsoever.”
With the excuse of allowing Riddhima to take some rest, both Anupriya and Sia left.
Seeing that Riddhima was finally alone by herself, Angre came up to her.
He cleared his throat to gain her attention. “The forensic reports have come. According to them, all the six security guards died due to the poison that was cleverly mixed in their tea. They were already dead well in advance before the intruders broke into the house.”
Her eyebrows knitted together as she had a sudden epiphany.
“It’s the new maid.”
“What?” he couldn’t understand what she meant.
“Ahana had told me that due to some emergency, her old maid had to visit her village. She hired this new maid in place of her just yesterday. She must have been the mole. She could have easily poisoned the tea prepared for the guards and even could have let the intruders inside.”
“That’s why there was no maid at the scene yesterday,” Angre added.
“Yes. She obviously ran away.”
“That makes so much sense. Because there isn’t any CCTV footage too. The maid must be the one to tamper with it,” said Angre. “There’s also something else I found. Literally every drawer and every cupboard looks thoroughly scattered. Indicating that they were in search of something important.”
“But what could that be?” she asked.
“You are smart. You will know the answer,” he said softly.
Riddhima pondered for a while. “Wait….is it by any chance related to the mission Kabir has been sent on?”
Angre exhaled sharply. “Definitely looks like it. I don’t want to say this but I feel that some people might have gotten a hang about Kabir’s real identity. And that is why they came here to collect any further evidences.”
Riddhima turned absolutely shocked.
“Kabir’s real identity may have been out? What do you mean by that? Oh my God, does that mean that Kabir’s life is in danger?”
“Could be possible. Either he is already caught by his enemies, or is trying hard to hide from them,” stated Angre.
Riddhima started getting even more disturbed by this piece of information. Kabir was her close friend and was like family to her. She wouldn’t want anything to happen to him even in her worst dreams.
She thought about Payal. That baby had already lost her mother at such a tender age, would it be befitting for her to lose her father, too?
Suddenly, another thought struck Riddhima that made every inch of her body shudder.
“I’ve been wanting to discuss this with you since many days. It cannot be a mere coincidence that both Vansh and Kabir left for their mission on the same day. Both of them are supposedly stuck in networkless areas and both of them haven’t returned yet. I have a feeling that….” She paused to catch her breath. “That both Vansh and Kabir are working on the same mission.”
“Even I have the same feeling,” he said grimly.
Riddhima started to feel lightheaded with black spots appearing in front of her eyes and obscuring her vision.
Angre came to her rescue and helped her sit on the bed. Next, he gave her some water to drink.
“Relax, everything will be alright…”
“Kabir is seemingly caught by the enemies. Vansh is working on the same mission and there’s a high chance that his life is in danger too! Poor Ahana who had nothing to do with all this is dead! And you exlect me to relax?” Her voice had both anger and fear in it.
Angre tried to comfort her. “I’ll up the security around VR Mansion. Nothing will happen to anyone in our family.”
“And what about Kabir and Vansh? What if something happens to them?” Riddhima was getting frantic. “No, before something inominable happens, we must do something. The first thing you’ll do tomorrow morning is to go to Delhi and meet Goel Sir informing him about all this.”
Angre objected, “I would have gone but right now, I don’t find it safe enough to leave you and the family alone.”
However, Riddhima was firm. “No, Angre. My decision is final. You will be heading to Delhi tomorrow itself. In Vansh’s absence, I’m your Boss so it is but fair that you follow my command. And as far as our family is concerned, I won’t let any enemy to even prowl about in the vicinity.”
Hello everyone! That is it for today guys. Do comment.