A lone droplet dripped stealthily off a strand of her wet hair, etching its presence in her mind as it dipped down the length of her spine. Re-surfacing from shallow thoughts to the banks of reality, she angled her neck to the left sizing his image in her pupils. She watched his nails scratch lightly through the freshly formed creases in his wrinkled forehead. The pads of his fingers stroked the phone rather roughly as if his digits were at war with the gorilla glass screen. After enduring a must accustomed assault the phone was lodged into his pant pocket. Ram smiled meekly at Priya noticing her distraught with the awareness of the cause not failing his knowledge. She told him that their siblings rivalry would not create a border between them. But from the looks of it, she had doubts about her own promise, the worst in its kind. Attempting a clean cut through the tension in the steel encased atmosphere of the elevator, Ram finally spoke up...
"It's...umm..." He swallowed uneasily. "It's okay Priya... We will get...through this...together..." The uneven delivery of his words came out like a jagged slice of a temptatious delicacy that seemed to suspicious to bite into. Unearthed by his so called motivational pep talk Priya searched his eyes for an answer to a question that spiraled in her mind, "how can something end before it even begins?" Slithering his fingers through the slits between hers, until their palms finally kissed, Ram held her hand firmly and authenticated his prior statement, "I mean it Priya! Don't worry about a thing..." Moistening her lips with her natural chap stick Priya cracked the seal of her mouth and readied herself to speak when the elevator stopped abruptly, opening up to the underground parking lot. "Let's go!" Ram gently tugged her hand and guided her out of the elevator. The journey to their car was a silent one much like every second that passed after she came out from the shower all dressed to leave. Chivalrously Ram opened the door to the car for her to sit before he went to the other side and got in. Glancing occasionally at Priya Ram drove helplessly through the silent Mumbai street. He was extremely limited in the amount of information he could convey to her. "Not to worry" was at the top of the list of things he could say but that card was already in play with minimal effects like a seemingly trump that needed to be further trumped for better results.
"Ram..." Overcoming the unpleasant taste of fear and uncertainty that exuded from her heart Priya finally spoke while staring out the window of the car.
"Yeah.? haan Priya.?" Gripping the steering wheel a tad tighter Ram replied with a sure tone of eagerness and waited anxiously for her to continue.
"I am scared..." The shiver in Priya's voice gave off the hint that her emotional disturbance had progressed for the worse; a fact that would have otherwise gone unnoticed inside the dimly lit luxury on wheels. Immediately swerving off to the side of the road Ram rotated the gear to park and tapped a switch on the dashboard, flooding the car instantly with light bearing witness to his wife's anguish.
"Priya what the hell... Why are you crying dammit." Ram unbuckled his seatbelt and than pulled the latch on his door opening it to get out and over to her side. By the time he pulled open the passengers side door Priya had covered her face with one palm, resting the pads of her index and thumb finger on the ends of her eyebrows. "Stop this right now!" He scolded as he grabbed both her hands and in one go he tugged her out of her seat and devoured her in his warm embrace. Sandwiched between his broad chest and strong arms Priya cried her heart out spilling her insecurities unlike ever before. "Why does this always happen to us? Whenever we get close to each other and feel some sense of happiness in our togetherness there are always misunderstandings that tear us apart." She sobbed through each word feeling him squeeze her tighter as he exhaled deeply. "Priya trust me this time we won't be torn apart. Please try and relax."
"Relax??" She snapped leaving him taken aback by her unpredictable strength as evidenced by her ability to push out of his hold without much effort. "How can you be so sure? Ram I have not known you to be so careless. But I know your family comes first. What if the fault is Ayesha's, will it not create quarrels between us? Huh?! You're just taking everything so lightly. Ever since we left your office you have been nonchalant about this whole incident. Why Ram?" Priya moved her arms frantically in every which way to exemplify her argument. She was clearly worried and the concern was flattering for Ram but one thing she said in her verbal diarrhea pushed him off the edge of his annoyance.
"My family comes first? Do you even hear yourself when you speak? You are the biggest part of my family and you're acting as if I will choose sides as opposed to prioritizing the problem? And whatever happened to your earlier promise that our siblings quarrel will not divide us? Wasn't it you who reassured me?"
"I did... I know I did but Ram I don't why I have this strange fear manifesting in my heart. As if we will drift apart from each other and I can't take this anymore." Justly complaining, her claim lost strength in synch with her voice. Ram's heart ached in sight of her condition it urged him to tell her what he knew and was keeping away from her, albeit with the best intention. He curved his fingers around her palms clasping securely on to her hands.
"Priya please baby you don't have to worry..."
"How can i not worry? Ram i trust you but destiny has a hobby of screwing us over and it usually starts with something as minor as a fight between people we love." She protested softly unable to carry her voice with the same energy as a while earlier.
"This time no such thing will happen. I promise..." Drooping her head low was her way of conveying that she did not believe him and was more so frustrated with herself because of the fact that she couldn't. Easing her tension Ram tilted her head up on an angle and than swooped in sharply, placing a soft and succulent kiss on her warm lips. Immediately her eyes closed as did his and they blindly began exploring familiar territory. It might have seemed like these lovers were oblivious but even if there was a ray of awareness in their conscious state of mind of their surroundings, neither one could really give a damn who was watching. It was only when he backed her against the car, slamming the door shut that she sensed the kiss progressing into something more sensual, not suited for an open space. Nibbling his bottom lip she nudged him back slightly taking his hands in hers for the sole purpose of deterring it off the course up her abdomen. "Ram... What are you doing? Someone might see us..." She gasped for air, whispering against his lips that remained pursed hungrily mere inches away from hers.
"Sorry..." He stated in a drunk demeanor�
"For what? the kiss?" Placing a quick feathery kiss on his lips she continued. "Pleasure was all mine...so I am not complaining...but all of a sudden?" Moving his face away from hers he took a step back.
"I just wanted to kiss my wife. Do you have a problem with that?" He grinned shyly and than continued. "Besides I don't know when I will get a chance to kiss my wife again..."
As anticipated by Ram, Priya questioned nervously, "What do you mean by that?"
"I mean..." Ram gulped and wrapped his fingers around her rigid fists. "Our claim was rejected by the judge this morning. He said that there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove that our marriage will sustain successfully and so... In about 15 minutes (he glanced at his watch) the darkest hour of the night will bring with it possibly the darkest moment of our lives. We will no longer 'legally' be husband and wife..."
Ram predicted the volatile reaction of his wife perfectly and purposely had her hand clamped in his almost as if it was a safety measure, for both of them. "What?" Priya screeched and tried to move out of his reach unsuccessfully. She needed some space to breath and his hold was becoming increasingly claustrophobic. She exhaled deeply, squinting her eyes while her head tilted sideways. "This is why I didn't want to tell you? You are overreacting�"In Ram's attempt to sooth her, his grip loosened on her hand allowing a grasp at freedom, which she opportunistically seized. Pushing through the tethered situation in which she was deliberately framed Priya spoke angrily and in vain. "What do you mean? You would have had to tell me sooner or later. What I don't understand is why you chose later as opposed to sooner? And tonight, we� I don't have any regrets over what happened between us tonight but Ram I would have liked to have known where our relationship stood�And�and� You always say that I am 'The Ram Kapoor' I can change outcomes of any situation with the snap of my fingers. Than why the hell didn't you do anything? I knew it�I knew something was wrong. I could sense it. But everytime I asked you, you told me not to worry. I thought it was Ayesha and Sid's fight that was stirring this feeling inside me but now I realize that that's the least of my worries�How can I live without you? How come I am finding all this out now? Nobody tells me anything�Why didn't you tell me sooner Ram? What am I supposed to do now?" She paced back and forth and he watched with much concentration, giving her the liberty to vent her mixed emotions. The stance that she took in front of him signaled Ram that she had run out of gas and was now in a better mind-set to listen.
"Baas hogaya apki cheekna chilana?" He posed with much rhetoric, analyzing her face as it scrunched up in the cute scowling look, which he adored, "aaAh!" Halting round two of her madness that he knew too well would follow her pouting expression; Ram placed his index finger up against her plump lips and level-headed the uncoordinated word flow into a mold that did justice to being titled, conversation. Her perplexity was displayed neatly in her eyes and her vulnerable gaze laid on him a spotlight. Ever so slowly he withdrew his finger as if he was testing the durability of the sealing effect that he had just created. She passed Ram's silent test with flying colours giving Ram the chance to speak� "Just listen to me�I promise I will give you a chance to talk but right now you need to just, (he paused and than finished in a fearful tone) be-quiet." she flashed him an annoyed look while defensively crossing her arms on her chest. "Priya I got the email from Judge Patel this evening when I went up to my room. Honestly I was just as shocked as you were and because I was mad at you�" She glared at him irritably and he quickly clarified, "Than,,,Not now� I was mad at you than� I knew this divorce was going to go through because I met with Judge Patel yesterday and he told me that if you and I aren't living under the same roof than he couldn't possibly reinstate our marriage on appropriate legal terms." His voice softened to a more mild tone and he began looking down at the ground. "And that's why I wanted you to come home with me so badly last night..." Her index finger immediately summoned his head up craning his chin wisely. "Why didn't you tell me before Ram. If I had known than I would have came running home." Ram rewarded her hand by grazing his lips against it before sheltering it in the shell shaped confinement of his curled fingers."Priya I wanted you to come home on your own terms, not because the judge would be basing his judgement on our living arrangements, but because you truly wanted to."Palming one side of his face with her free hand Priya began uttering, "I know baby but the only reason I was staying away was to protect you from Ashwin."
"Yeah at that time I didn't know." Suddenly all his affection disappeared and she was left staring into his enraged passion filled pupils in which she found herself willingly drowning in. Ram's pulsating rage was palpable in his voice which blended in perfectly with the rhythm of the surrounding traffic. "It still pisses me off that you would take such a drastic step without informing me. If I had known that that was the reason you wanted to stay back at your parents house than I wouldn't have pinned you against the wall of the corridor. I would have carried you to our room, locked the door and than pinned you to the bed instead." The certainty with which he hurled his confession made the hair on her arms stand on end; She feared the threat in his voice but found her body shamelessly convulsing with pleasure. Sensing her loss of composure she simultaneously covered his lips with her palms and began speaking in shock while continually surveying her surrounding.
"Ram...What are you saying? I mean have some shame, someone might hear..."
"Who exactly will hear me?"Ram kissed her palm into wisely granting him a barrier- free access to speaking."Besides I meant every word I said so let that be a warning to you."
"Okay!" She surrendered hastily and smiled only breifly before being interupted by the beeping tone of his watch as it struck midnight. Destiny slammed its brakes on an incomplete fairy tale that was once told with promises of a happy ending. But destiny is meant to be played and tonight Ram was the main contender. He took his most powerful jab at destiny's freshly stacked wall of bricks, which swayed flimsily on a hopeless foundation in comparison to his will. She wholeheartedly accepted his open arm invitation, basking in the comfort of his embrace.As her head lay nestled on his chest, Ram asked...
"You Love Me Right?"
"More than myself"
"Do you trust me?"
"Than (he paused) will you marry me again?"
Priya backed off of Ram enough to look him in the eyes while still being able to feel the heat of his body.
His gaze awaited her answer staggering on a thin line between anxiety and excitement. There was a feelimg in his heart that she would say yes but her silence and shock was unpromising.
"Priya I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Please Pri--"
"Shhh!" Her lips curled outward stopping him mid-sentence. "So you want to marry me?"
He nodded and gulped nervously staring anxiously in her eyes with hopes to predict the unpredictable.
"Are you sure you can afford to make the same mistake again?" she put much effort into speaking with a straight face but failed miserably at his mercy.
His lips tightened into a smile as he ran his tongue along his bottom lip. "Maaza le rahi ho?"
"Sorry." She mouthed with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. Ram kneeled down on the concrete ground in front of her, not the least bit worried about his expensive suit. He reached in his inner jacket pocket, pulling out a familiar emerald studded ring with tiny diamonds encircling the gem. With Priya's left hand in his gentle hold Ram proposed,
"Priya you came into my life as a blessing that I never appreciated. You brought out the best in my most worst tendencies. Saw the beauty in my most ugliest of attitudes and habits. And after all that you performed a miracle; you resurrected the human being that was held captive by a ruthless buisnessman. No power in the world will ever seperate you from me. No paper will change my relationship with you. But I want to marry you again so I can do this right. So that I can pamper you like the queen that you are. Please please marry me...If you say yes, i will never ask you for anything again. Ms. Priya Sharma, marry me..." Ram asked with utmost sincerity in his plea. Tears collected at the base of her jaw dripping off of her face in a continuous drop. She nodded, tuggimg her bottom lip...Ram stood up and hugged her as tightly as the ring did her finger, refusing to ever let go. Remembering his arrangements for the remainder of the night, Ram kissed her forehead and broke the passionate seal between them! "Let's go...Priya I want to show you something."They got in the car & Ram drove into the night to a nearby exquisite beach. Throughout the journey Ram held on to Priya's hand with the other controlling the steering wheel. Intermittently he kissed it while they spoke, making her blush profusely. This man had a golden heart and she felt humbled that she was the reason why it shone so brightly. He told her to sit in the parked car, while he got out and made a phone call... She watched him speak, his expression screaming 'all business' making her mind itch with curiousity. "My love... Are you ready?" Ram swung open her door and asked with a beaming grin that was smothered in mischievous intent. Getting out of the car slowly Priya asked, "Ram...what are we doing here so late at night."
"Priya you should have been a lawyer...so many questions...I cant answer any of your questions, it's a surprise."
"Surprise..." she mocked with a giggle. "Ram we are at the beach...And for your information i know this place inside out, i always come here when i need to clear my mind..."
"Good! Than you shouldn't have a problem with having a blindfold on." To her first surprise he began loosening his tie until it wriggled off his neck.
"That's the blindfold..." she pointed at the red tie...
"Yes!! What is your problem?"
"Ram need i remind you that my dad is waiting for me. If you intend on kidnapping me someone will definetely know that i am missing. Atleast let me call him and tell him not to worry..." She joked and he replied with a grin.
"HaHa very funny! C'mon Priya you always told me to live a little but now you are coming up with so many excuses."
"Okay fine. You win. But is a blindfold really necessary i can just close my eyes."
"Nice try! But no way..." He blindfolded her with his tie making sure that the wider aspect of it blocked her view of the surprise that he had been planning from the moment that he had read about it in her diary. In the months he was without her, Ram had read through all her feelings, dreams and wishes. It became his holy scripture in which he worshiped each word dreaming of the day that he would have the opportunity of fulfilling each one of her fantasies alongside her.
"Ram i cant see a thing."
"That's the point genius."
"Please Ram, i won't peek." she whined and pouted her lips.
"Okay fine..." he teased in a believable tone
"Really?" she confirmed excitedly before celebrating.
"No! Do you think I am crazy?" He let out a breathy laugh�
"Ram you're so mean..." She sulked, "I am not going anywhere with you..."
"I am afraid you dont have a choice..." Anticipating the long list of questions that she would bombard him with; Ram wisely swooped her up in his arms and began walking. The crashing waves and his heartbeats calmed her nicely; a truth that her agitated ego was in no mood of owning up to. "Where are we going? Meanie!" She added innocently.
"Into your fantasy my Sherni!"