Seconds ticked to minutes and each 60 was fitted niftily in the hours that past waiting for Ram. It had been long since dawn, the sun began to dip as it yawned nearing the end of a hectic shift. Priya remained seated stiffly in her office with the note from Ram clutched in her hand nestled into her palm. There was no doubt in her mind that she was wrong and the constant guilt that washed her conscience refused to let her forget it.
“Where the hell is Ram?” She recited to herself while glancing at her watch as if in it was lodged some clue to the puzzle of his whereabouts. Averting her gaze to the clock that hung on her wall Priya confirmed that her two sources for time were in line. “Three hours and there is still no sign of him…” She complained, trying foolishly to hide the anxious tone of concern in her voice, fearing it herself. The note slipped from her hands gliding gracefully down the tips of her fingers while she gripped and lifted the phone receiver and stretched to punch in Jenny’s extension for the fifth time in that hour alone. However, the door was thrust open in that moment and Ram quite conveniently intruded on her loosely knitted plan to determine his location. There he stood in front of her and she looked at him dumbfounded. The door continued to creep until it clicked behind his sturdy figure. This confrontation was what she had been waiting for, atleast for the better half of the day and now that it was going exactly the way that she had wanted it to, her words failed to convey, playing in the field of her lost mind beyond the reach of her thoughts. “Umm.” she stuttered plastering a few letters together and mustering the courage to slowly ease up on her feet. It was quite clear to any overseer that Priya was flustered from the inside out or was it from the outside in. Whatever the order, this situation was sort of like writing a story knowing exactly where to end but no clue as to how to begin.
Stepping out from behind her desk she took fragile steps towards Ram as if she were walking on a bed of eggshells. This was the moment for which she had conjured up several scenarios in her mind as to how it would play out. She was eye to eye with the man whom she had erred only to realize after the fact that there was no actual sweetness in bittersweet revenge.
“Mr Kapoor…” She spoke up hesitantly, unsure of her words as if she had just learned to speak. Had that been the case than Ram’s next statement was without a doubt the fatal blow to her already flaky confidence. “Priya I don’t want to hear a damn thing…” The look of sheer shock on her face was the ignition to her realization that this was not going to be as simple as simply saying I am sorry. Judging by the size of his already inflated ego Priya knew that she would have to hike up Mount Everest insulted and belittled while carrying his pride on her brittle shoulders. And when she reached the tip at the top she would have to scream at the top of her lungs, “Mr. Kapoor I am sorry.”
“Priya why haven’t you been answering your phone?” Priya smirked slightly amused that he had just asked her that question so seriously because it was the same one that was at the top of her list of things to ask him.
“I was just about to ask that exact same question…” She confessed, her amusement clearly slipping through to her tone.
“Priya I am not bloody joking…”
“There we go, now that’s more like it…” Priya thought to herself momentarily before proceeding on a more serious note, taking a stab at an apology for the second of god knows how many times to come. “Mr. Kapoor, I have been meaning to talk to you about…” Ram grabbed a hold of her arms and jerked her gentler than she had anticipated from the moment his fingers had curled around her flesh.
“Priya…” Ram had a scary determined presentation in his voice, one that seemed shaky yet sure at the same time… He continued carrying his tone in a consistent pattern… “Kush is missing Priya…” Sploosh… her heart sank into her stomach, she could feel her insides sloop and swirl in an attempt to digest it along with the side of his words. “Leave me Mr. Kapoor… That’s not funny…” Apology? What’s that? The rage that was conceived by his news engulfed any remorse that she had for her behaviour earlier towards him. “I hate you Mr. Kapoor … You think that this is funny… Is this your sick, twisted way of getting back at me? I am not having any of this… Screw you…” Priya spoke hardly and screamed more, squirming and snaking in his relentless hold. “Listen to me dammit!” Ram demanded in his usual manner… “Everyone has been trying to get a hold of you for about an hour… Your cell is turned off and your work number keeps coming up as busy… Sid called me about half an hour ago and I came to the office as fast as I could…” If this were a joke, a revolt of some sort, Priya would have Ram’s throat in her bare clutches. But Ram was serious; his concern filled gaze was undeterred from the moment he had stepped into her private cabin. “What? How?” She asked, exasperated. Priya forfeited the struggle using his hold as leverage to prevent herself from slipping to rock bottom.
Ram’s answer was true and to the point, “ I don’t know Priya but we have to find him… Let’s go…” He grabbed her by the hand and she didn't protest, instead she just went along with his steady nudges trying to digest that her precious Kush was kidnapped and she couldn’t protect him.
Ram tiptoed on edge to his bedroom, an anxious grin plastered on his innocent face merely pondering the idea of a surprise like a child on Christmas Eve. "What could it be?" He thought gripping the side of the open door and peeping his head in for a quick glance at any clues. There was nothing or no one in the room sparing his white dress shirt that lay lathered on the floor, which he didn't think too much of until he stepped in and saw a trail of discarded clothing leading up to the walk in closet. Picking his dress shirt up off the floor he walked over to his red tie that he had on the night before. “What the hell?” Ram mouthed audibly, his eyebrows knotting in display of his obvious dismay. By now he had gathered that this arrangement was purposeful it was too perfect of a trail to be considered a coincident. Priya must have done this as part of her surprise but the aching question remained why?
“Ram is that you?” He followed her voice to the bathroom where she stood struggling with the hook on her blouse, her hands scrambled behind her back. The sight was envious, pleasurable and playful all jumbled into one messy ball of a certain uncertainty. Bringing his arms to a fold snuggly around his exposed chest, Ram leaned against the doorframe, completely sold on the sight. "Let me guess." He started his sentence meeting her annoyed gaze in the mirror. "You got dressed up so I can undress you and we could play into a sexy fantasy." Priya raised her right eyebrow, amused but adamant she refused to let out her true emotion. But somehow, judging by his next remark Ram felt like he knew exactly what she was up to. " Aha! I was right." With uncoordinated haste, Ram paced until he was standing right behind her in the bathroom. The composure that usually resided on his face had been hijacked by a surge of excitement. Priya could see the glee quite clearly in her husbands’ expression as he wrongly inferred her silence. But the fault was not entirely hers, she hadn’t said a word to confirm his allegation, of course she hadn’t denied it either.
Time flew at its own arrogant pace unearthed by the disappearance of Kush, the heir to the Kapoor throne. However, 6 hours later it seemed that even if the hands of time had halted for their sake, it would have made no difference. By now the sunrays had been splattered and smudged across the fluffed tainted clouds. There was a blanket of civilians trickling out and about on the streets but none were the least bit resourceful when it came to finding Kush. At this point hope had slowly gained its new name, desperation and with its conception the blaming game was bound to take place.
“Priya…” Ram steered his gaze off the road momentarily staring helplessly at Priya who sat next to him in the caramel beige leather seat in his dark blue Benz. “I think we should go back to your apartment and re group. We have been at this all day and we’ve come up empty. Everyone, including the police commissioner is at your place. Perhaps they have some new leads.” Staring outside the tinted car window, which thawed a fog circle from the heat off her breath, Priya sat quietly, her mood unaffected by his suggestion. “Priya?” Any other time, Ram would have given her a piece of his mind for her sheer neglect. But as cold hearted as he appeared to the world, Ram understood the hopeless pain that came along with losing someone you loved. So when Ram called Priya’s name again and she reacted in the same emotionlessly mute manner he simply remained levelheaded and drove in the direction toward her home. However, untold to Ram somewhere beneath the trenches of her silence there was a storm stirring mayhem in her already uneasy soul. “Stop the car Mr. Kapoor.” She imposed suddenly. Closing her eyes Priya donned an expression of disgust leaving Ram startled by her unexpected statement and confused at the same time with her request.
“What? Why?” He continued driving, glancing at her periodically, anticipating her response.
“Just pull the damn car over Mr. Kapoor.” There was much more force in her voice this time around. Priya clicked open her seatbelt and leaned forward in the seat, there was a flicker of adamancy in her eyes, which in the night could only be seen when passing by a row of glowing streetlights. Not given much of an option by her insistence Ram pulled over to the side of the road and almost immediately as the brakes kicked in Priya stepped out of the car, slamming the door in his face as he looked on.
“What the F…” Ram, whom all this time had pain strikingly kept his cool was now beginning to run on fumes nearing the end of his much tested patience. He kept reminding himself that Priya was not in her right state of the mind and with that mantra he followed her to the edge of the sidewalk where she stood staring at the long narrow road in front of them.
“Priya?” She remained silent. “We will find Kush, don’t worry.”
“How can you be so sure Mr. Kapoor?” She piped up with her back to him.
“I have a feeling. I can’t explain it, but I just know.” He answered the best he could with the limited knowledge he had about Kush’s whereabouts. Whatever he said must have worked to calm her because when she turned to face him, Ram felt as if he had remedied her breakdown. “Rajat was right…” However, the thought of having settled her was short lived. “You took Kush didn’t you?” Priya clutched his collar, feeling tough in her blind frenzy she screamed… “This is payback for yelling at you isn’t it?”
“Have you lost your mind?” Ram shouted back at her staring achingly in her blazing eyes.
“Where were you for three hours this morning Mr. Kapoor?” Letting go of his collar she nudged him in the process but given his build he didn’t even budge. Instead, Ram gripped her arms tightly in a fit of rage and tugged her towards him until they were face to face.
“I don’t have to give you any explanation. This is your mother’s fault for leaving Kush unattended in the Park. So don’t you dare turn this one on me.” Priya scowled and scrimmaged trying to break free. “Let go of me… I said leave me…” He opposed her demand and instead he held her tighter and tugged her closer. She hissed and screamed, “Mr. Kapoor you are hurting me!” For a second it seemed as if Ram wasn’t bothered it was like he wanted her to feel the same pain that she had caused him with her suspicious remark. Despite knowing the most intimate details of his life, which he hadn’t shared with anyone besides Vikram, Priya had chosen to tear his identity apart with her baseless doubt. “Just leave me Ram…” She reiterated fiercely not expecting the immediate surrender that followed. Priya heaved a sigh of relief feeling the clamp of his fingers loosen enough for her to wriggle free. It was a mystery to say the least as to what had caused him to oblige so quickly. But opportunities seldom repeat and Priya was not about let this chance slip like quick sand through the slits between her fingers. Wisely, she tamed her overly keen curiosity; her conscience gave rise to caution while she stood on guard watching a parade of emotions as they were displayed on his face. The backdrop in his eyes was like a battlefield after a war because aside from pain and misery there was nothing more in his gaze.
“Get in the car… I am going to drop you home.” There was disappointment in his voice, a shrilling dissatisfaction that only she could have evoked. Without uttering a word Priya walked obediently to the car feigning compliance to avoid another confrontation that may not end as peacefully as the first. Reaching the car at exactly the same time, Ram and Priya exchanged quick enraged glares before pulling open the car door. Seating himself first Ram stared straight ahead waiting for the passenger’s side door to shut so he could drive off. However, Priya had another plan in mind, there was no way that she was about to climb into a car with Ram. “Go to hell Mr. Kapoor.” Priya cursed, reeling in his focus as she slammed the door. With her purse dangling off her left shoulder and a picture of Kush stuck to her phone in the clutch of her right hand, Priya began walking off on her own tangent. She heard the roar of his engine behind her followed by the screech of his tires as it bit into the ground and immediately she prepared herself for the gust of dirt that she was sure would stir when he blew past her. The best-case scenario would be for him to get off her back and so she waited patiently to feel the aftermath of his speedy take off. But alas, some plans have no shot at reality crafted only to crash while destiny sits back and laughs at your pathetic attempt to do its job. The powerful purr of his engine hummed against her eardrums at a distance as she began walking further away from his car. It’s soft echo was so subtle yet potent that his exit from the vehicle had eluded her awareness. It wasn’t until she felt a familiar set of large lanky fingers clamp tightly around her arm that she realized her escape and his defeat was nothing but a fable that her subconscious had stuffed into the wailing mouth of her ego. Priya had no chance to process the situation otherwise she would have surely screamed sometime along the line as she was dragged and roughly shoved into his vehicle with the door slamming shut on her perplexed ridden face. Ram took three long strides and he was in his car with not so much as a glance in her direction he impaled his foot on the gas pedal enjoying the fear in Priya’s demeanor. “Mr. Kapoor, have you lost your damn mind?” She screeched gripping the leather on either side of her seat. “Slow down.” Priya bit back tears with dual intent, she refused to appear weak in front of Ram and she was determined to deprive him of any pleasure his twisted mind would savour from seeing her cry. However, it seemed by the way that Ram was swerving between cars in light traffic he had his mind set on shattering her already dwindling emotional sanity. “Mr. Kapoor, I said slow down. Please, slow down…” Priya pleaded desperately, pushing the soles of her feet against the floor of the car. Ram played deaf to her sincere request; his blind rage was both selfish and paralytic, he had no feelings of remorse or fear of any consequence that may follow. Priya, out of fear, had accepted defeat. Without so much as a sign or warning her otherwise boisterous ego resigned, shattering the dam, which once housed the tears of a rightfully proud woman. “Mr. Kapoor, I am scared… Please slow down… I am begging you, please…” The crack in her voice was the whip that snapped his conscience back into action. Ripping the reigns forcefully out of the hands of his enraged pride, Ram slammed on the brakes, an act which hurled Priya forward in her seat and catapulting towards the dashboard. Rather calmly Ram stuck his arm out holding her back in her seat, interrupting the impact that would have otherwise occurred. With her eyes shut tightly she absorbed the fact that she hadn’t crashed into the imminent dashboard simultaneously with the thought that she was unharmed despite being deliberately spawned onto the path of destruction. “Get out of my car.” She felt him withdraw his arm from her midsection, finally piping up to break his vow of silence. “No way.” Priya thought to herself as she opened her eyes, a surge of sudden bravery overtaking her senses. “Have you lost your damn mind?” Resorting to rhetoric she glared at him with sheer focus as if she aimed to scorch a hole in his soul. And Ram was not denying her access; instead he coaxed her further into the realm of his mind daring her to hold true to her unspoken yet implied threat. Engulfed in the depth of her fiery Priya had failed to realize that Ram had abruptly halted in the driveway of her apartment. However, at this point even if she was aware that escape was but a mere step away from captivity she would not have cared enough to bail.
"I hate you so much Mr. Kapoor...How could you do this to me? You're a monster." Ram simply watched her lips move paying no mind to her revolting rant but instead conjuring up a verbal comeback of his own. "You know about how my parents..." she paused and shook her head in frustration before continuing. "Never mind..." Priya pulled at the lever on the door and stated as she stepped out. "You need a heart in order to understand and that’s something you’ll never have." And for Ram that was the wicked blow that crumbled his patience unleashing his inner demon. Following suit, Ram stepped out of his car too. She never saw it coming even though she should have. But she had just flipped the top off her bottled up rage intoxicating the better half of her brain. Before she knew it she was propped up against the side of his car encaged between it and his large frame. The tension in his eyes read like a book but it was like Priya’s sight was illiterate, she didn’t understand a single word.
“Who do you think you are talking to me like that?” Ram asked not at all interested in her response; he had already decided that she was an ungrateful piece of work. Nonetheless, she parted her lips trying to slip in a few words but he remained adamant and cold in his approach. “Shut up!” Ram commanded before she even spoke. “You think I took Kush despite everything that I told you about my past?” She stared at him in wonder, her curiosity blemished by a grimace, which was sparked by his grip. “Do you really think that I am capable of such a low act?” He questioned, not really asking though, just laying out the facts. “Fine! I’ll make a bet with you… If you can prove that my three hour whereabouts was directly linked to Kush’s kidnapping and Rajat in fact has correctly summed up my character than I will bow down to your every request.” Priya’s right eyebrow raised, saluting his almost too good to be true proposition while a more practical side of her listened up for a drawback to the same suggestion. “And if I find Kush first and I am able to account for the same three hours than you will have to marry me…” That was the dagger that she would have rather not heard but having heard it she had to choose between Ram’s innocence and Rajat’s almost certain words. “Your life is mine to ruin if I can prove that I am innocent. And if Rajat happens to be correct than of course I will be in jail on top of giving you whatever you want. Is that a deal?” Priya pupils swung from side to side, undecided in her approach. Ram shook her by her shoulders, “I am asking you a question Priya… Do you accept my deal?” Breathing at an abnormal rate, Priya’s chest heaved while her eyes searched his for some hint, which would suggest that he had truly lost his mind. “Marriage?” She thought. “Was this man really that sick to propose the idea of marriage simply to ruin me?”
“Is that a deal?” Ram reinforced, amused by the glaze of vulnerability in her gaze.
Kick started by his shrewd insistence on an answer Priya’s ego got the best of her judgment, without a guess as to what his bold suggestion implied Priya accepted his wager. Impressed Ram examined her expression just for the heck of it before backing off and walking brazenly to the right side of his car. The fact that Ram had confidentially got back into his car with the most arrogant smirk on his face as if he was destined to win his proposed bet edged Priya to the core of her rage once again. His demeanor made her question whether she was right to believe Rajat’s assumption, a doubt that had never crossed her mind until now. Had she acted out of impulse, taking on something for which she would have to pay a steep price? It was too early to say but with the way that Ram drove away in a rush it seemed that Priya was in for the ride of her life. Deep in the trenches of her mind, worrying about Kush’s whereabouts and fearing Ram’s challenge, Priya dragged her feet up the stairs to her apartment. She robotically stepped into the elevator completely numb to her surroundings when she was brought back into the swing of things by a voice with a convincing edge of urgency. “Hold the elevator please.” A man called out, and if she had paid any attention to the tone of the voice she would have known it was Vikram before he had gotten in to the elevator.
“Hey Priya, where’s Ram?” Vikram remarked immediately noticing that she was in the cavity between the three walls all by herself.
The snappiness within her wished to declare her disregard of his absence but she played it safe and simply stated in an audibly irritated tone, “I don’t know.”
“Wait?” Vikram scrunched his eyebrows in wonder straightening a pile of papers in his hands. “Weren’t you guys both looking for Kush?” Noting the distress in her eyes Vikram ceased his interrogation closing the door to the elevator as soon as it began beeping. Not to Priya’s knowledge, Vikram had assumed that Ram had eagerly made his way up to the Sharma house. So making small talk, Vikram stated harmlessly, “As soon as Ram found out that Kush went missing, he directed all his energy into finding him. And whatever Ram puts his mind to, he gets. So don’t worry Priya, Ram will make sure that Kush is found…We are all trying” There was a small spark that dangerously grew within Priya, hearing the praise of a man whom she despised for no valid reason other than what was speculated about him. Vikram continued to fuel the fire, giving credit where credit was due and in a sense hoping that his faith in Ram would grant Priya a certain level of confidence that Kush would inevitably be found. He ranted about the kind-heartedness of his buddy whose true identity seldom surfaces past his active ego. Vikram safely assumed that his strategy to soothe Priya’s quelling heart was working effectively albeit in silence. However, when she reached her floor and walked out of the elevator, she screeched “Enough Vikram!” And it was clear to Vikram that the effect he thought he had achieved was nothing more than a silently raging storm.
“Ek minute Priya.” Priya stopped walking towards her home out of respect for Vikram who had always stood by her like a big brother even in the limited time that they had known each other. So even though she had no interest in hearing about Ram’s so called heart, which she didn’t know he had until now, Priya turned to face Vikram figuring she owed him atleast that much. “What is your problem?” Priya sighed and replied more calmly. “Vikram you have always been nice to me. I respect you a lot. But I can’t stand here and listen to you talk about Mr. Kapoor as if he did me a huge favour.” Vikram listened keenly, his forehead rippled in confusion, not sure where the conversation was headed. Priya continued, reciting a clear blueprint of her thoughts. “ Mr. Kapoor was missing for three hours today. I called him numerous times and he wouldn’t answer his phone. And than suddenly he came back to the office and said that Kush was missing.”
“Uh… Wait a minute…” Vikram interrupted promptly, gaining a sense of what she was postulating with her words. “Priya you think that Ram did this?”
“I don’t know Vikram, Rajat suggested that as an idea and I think that he is right. We got into a huge argument before Ram disappeared and he knows that Kush is my weakness.”
“Please just stop it Priya…” Now it was Vikram’s chance to mum her, fully grasping the depth of her misunderstanding. “I can’t believe that you of all people could come up with such a cheap thought.”
“But vik-.” She tried to justify her stance but the friend in him trumped his brotherly affection.
“No Priya… Let me finish.” Teary eyed and distraught Priya observed without remorse as Vikram continued his strict lecture. “ You are the one person besides myself who Ram trusted enough to disclose his past to and despite that fact do you really think he has it in him to do this? Just because Rajat told you that it could be possible? I know that Rajat is your good friend, but perhaps you don’t know that Ram is my childhood friend. We grew up together… I have seen him at his worst along with the rest of the world, but I have also seen his remorse, his caring nature that he hides behind a mask so he doesn’t get hurt. And after what you did today, he was right to do so for all these years.”
Infuriated, Priya remarked, “If you have so much faith in him than can you explain where he was in the morning during the time when Kush went missing?”
“Yes I can… But you are so blinded by rage that you wouldn’t believe me if I simply told you. Evidence? You need proof right? Well here…” He handed her the file that he had in his possession, which she hadn’t noticed until just now. “What is this?” Priya questioned, looking at the file and than back up at Vikram. “See for yourself.” That was his obvious advice, which served as a fitting solution. She delved into the text contained in the file, her mind already miles ahead of her eyes. Skimming through the file, paper after dreaded paper, her soul headed face first into the emotionally charged spirals of guilt. Even she knew that there was no fair explanation for her overboard reaction. In fact, she was now able to rip through to her stitched up sense, which she had knit on the context of flimsy presumptions. The file that she had held in her hand was concrete evidence that Ram and Vikram were with company lawyers at the time of Kush’s abduction. She was back to square one; Now it was twice in 24hours that Ram had proven to be a man of honesty, a man of his words and a worthy combatant to her doubt. Without even so much as a speck of effort he had slain her ego. The red in her eyes was no longer telling tales of rage it was now the defeated display of shame, a plea for forgiveness.
Barely able to make any eye contact with Vikram Priya asked through a screen of guilt, “He transferred everything in my name? I don’t understand.” She knew that somewhere in that statement was a lie because although Ram’s action wasn’t clear as day she had now began to make sense of his earlier threat. The idea of a marriage to ruin her image was a sham, a cover up to a much larger plan, the same one that was outlined throughout the documents in her hand. Vikram could have played the situation in any, which way that he wanted. He could have belittled Priya until she was pushed by her guilt into the same ditch that she had dug for Ram. But being a man of morals, a gentleman at his best
he comforted Priya on the premise that her judgment was most likely depressed credited to the array of stress from the events of the day.
“Priya,” She refused to look up at him, not finding the courage in her to do so. “Ram respects you a lot, if he didn’t he would have never done this…” Gesturing to the file that remained clutched in the confines of her fingers. “If you two get married than he will transfer everything in your name… Remember, Sheena is still beating around the Kapoor Mansion bush because she needs Sid’s million dollar shares in the company. But Sheena didn’t expect Sid to name Ram as the beneficiary to his shares. She thought that the web of lies she had woven prior to Sid’s death was efficient in gaining his trust enough for him to list her name in the will but of course she was mistaken. Once you two are married, Ram will adopt Kush as his son. Essentially, you will become the guardian of the wealth until Kush is of age to take charge in financial matters. This will seriously screw with Sheena and her boyfriend because the years of work they put in to gain Ram’s trust will be a waste, Ram will have no say in the allocation of the wealth. You would play the bad guy to beat them at their own game. It will turn the tables on Sheena, she will have to consult with her boyfriend and maybe even meet him. Hopefully we will catch her in the act. You will be an immediate threat to Sheena so she will not be snooping around to find out whether Kush is Sid’s son, even though she has her doubts…But don’t worry Ram and I will make sure that you and Kush are safe…”
The plan was solid and Priya had no qualms about playing the role of Mother Theresa with a certain rough side to her character, of course. Besides, now that the cloud of doubt had cleared her mind about Ram, there was only one person who was capable of orchestrating the kidnapping of Kush… Suddenly, a chilling afterthought struck her, “Kush!” She stated in a panic feeling a shrilling trail of Goosebumps from her spine running up the back of her head… “Vikram…Kush!” She gripped his arm for support feeling the ground being drawn up from underneath her feet. It wasn’t that she had forgotten about him that would have been impossible. But in her moment of doubt and uncertainty she had wasted time and energy, which she could have put to better use finding Kush. Her subconscious taunted her and rightfully so, “If anything happens to Kush Priya, you are most responsible.”
“ Vikram… Ram didn’t do this I know but doesn’t that mean…” Priya shuddered at the thought unable to catch her breath in a state of worry. “Priya… Please…” Vikram held her by her shoulders feeling her crumble under her own weight as she cried uncontrollably. “Try and relax Priya…”
“How can I relax?” She cried, her voice elevating involuntarily. “I have to find Kush right now…He is definitely in danger.”
“ Priya listen to me…” He shook her gently… “Ram has left no stone unturned in the search for Kush… We have eyes on every corner… Someone, somewhere will spot him…”
“So we just wait?” She stepped back; perplexed and frazzled. “It’s my fault Vikram… Mr. Kapoor was right… I wasted so much time pointing fingers and if anything happens to Kush, Vikram it will be my fault… Mr. Kapoor…” Her voice cracked abruptly as a light bulb was switched on in her head. “Mr. Kapoor.” Priya repeated roughly brushing her cheeks with her palm. She scrambled through her purse for her phone and pulled it out past a pile of junk. Turning her phone on she immediately saw a list of five missed calls all from one person, Ram. Before she could call him back, her phone vibrated in her palm prompting her to answer. “Hello, Mr. Kapoor… I am so sorry…” Priya stated all in one unsteady breath. Vikram observed preoccupied with the fact that Ram had called several times. “Perhaps he has some news on Kush…” His interest peaked on that hopeful note.
Priya continued apologetically, “Mr. Kapoor you were right…”
Ram interrupted squeezing in a couple words to break her anxious cycle, “ Priya, hold on… I have something important to tell you…”
“What happened?” She jabbed in two quick words and waited with baited breath for his response.
“I know where Kush is…”
“What? Where is he? Is he safe? Mr. Kapoor is he hurt? How is he?” Vikram gulped enticed by the news he stepped closer to Priya who put the call on speaker waiting for the answers to her slew of questions.
“Priya just shut up for one second and listen to me… I was at the bar near your apartment and there was this drunken guy buying several rounds of drinks for his friend. He claimed that he had been part of a deal where he was going to be a guaranteed millionaire.”
Vikram finally pitched in… “Ram? It’s Vikram… Where are you getting at with this? How is this related to Kush?”
“Vikram that’s the thing, I wouldn’t have thought much of it until he mentioned Sheena’s name… She is the one who he mentioned would be paying him for his deed.” Vikram and Priya shared a nervous glance. “Shit!” Ram cursed…
“What happened?” Priya asked, the news had her feeling as if she had swallowed her heart and it was lodged in her throat beating frantically.
Ignoring Priya perhaps intentionally Ram continued, “Vikram I am on my way there… I have seen this man before… He lives in the same building as the Sharma’s… Mr. Gupta? I think that’s the name that the security guard had used to address him...”
That was all that Priya needed to hear before she made a mad dash for the stairs handing her phone to Vikram. Mr. Gupta was a new tenant, he had moved in about a week ago and Priya had always sensed a bad vibe when she was around him.
“Priya wait!!” Vikram called out after her but it was too late, she had already started on her way up the stairs…
“Vikram? What’s going on?” Ram asked…
“Ram you are right… This must be the guy… Priya must know where he stays…”
“Well follow her then… Don’t let her go there by herself; this man most likely has a partner… Priya could get hurt… Inform the commissioner and follow her! I will be there in another two minutes…” Ram commanded Vikram who stuttered, “Uhh Ye-Yeah… Yes… I-I will do that now…”
“Oh and Vikram make sure Sid stays in the apartment, he can’t blow his cover…” Adding that last part Ram hung up and threw his phone on the passengers seat as he shifted gears and pounced on the gas pedal.