To my fellow writers – how sweetly you indulge, enthrall, and inspire. Often all at once. 😉
Arnav Singh Raizada stood before his bedroom, back ramrod straight, hands clenched over the mirrored jewelry box his sister had just forced on him, a litany of curses at the tip of his tongue.
He contemplated smashing it against the panel doors. Perhaps the shattering of glass, the splintering of wood, would help him break free from the foolish sentiment that had infiltrated in an unguarded moment.
He thought he was immune, the throbbing ache threatening to choke the breath from his lungs since that night taught him otherwise.
He wanted his life—or lack of one—back dammit.
For that he needed to deal with the woman currently housed in his home, his room, his head, and the betraying organ that beat insistently for her.
On a sharp inhale he entered, freezing in place as he realized his error. Her scent hung in the air, as if waiting for just this moment to attack. Transparent coils of silk filled his nose with the custom blend of temple, amber and woman. He was well versed with this particular fragrance, familiarization imparted in those moments when his arms had automatically formed a safety net for her feminine form.
The rustle of the patio curtains drew his gaze. He didn’t require visual confirmation; a homing beacon sat at his center, uncomfortably reliable in its self-appointed task. His feet took him closer, a sweep of fabric revealed the woman who was doing a fine job of gnawing at his sanity.
His eyes swept over her. Unbelievable. Any other woman would look ridiculous in the too colorful skirt and the male dress shirt that hung loose over her shoulders, swallowing her petite frame. His gaze involuntarily dropped to the exposed skin of her chest where the upper button hung precariously.
She should look out of place, at the very least have the decency to appear unattractive. It was his stroke of misfortune that Khushi Kumari Gupta and should rarely go together. She liked to defy expectations, particularly his. Thus, she of course looked fuckable in his shirt.
He was close enough to catch the small flinch as the door slammed behind him. He welcomed the anger that flooded his body, drowning lust. It reminded him of everything that wasn’t, of everything she wasn’t.
The ever dutiful handmaiden of memory flipped on the stark photograph of her in another man’s arms, pairing it cruelly with piercing audio of her words. Damnable words of betrayal.
Had she deceived this family in flesh as well as thought?
Had they then laughed at his expense?
The incendiary thoughts struck him viciously, enough so that his hand was cruel as it curled around her upper arm. He dragged her unceremoniously to the lounge chair. The widening of doe eyes riled him further. For it was while peering into those glimmering pools that his ribcage first began to rattle in raucous defiance, persisting until his chest had cracked open and she’d slipped effortlessly inside, filling the dark crevices with the promise of her.
The faux-innocence needed to end, if nothing else then for the sake of his sanity.
Taking a knee he flipped open the lid, closing tense fingers over his mother’s gold, twin circles that held her blessings for her daughter-in-law. His fake heartless bride.
For a moment he held the kangans in a white knuckled grip.
In his focus he failed to see how her face softened as she took in the storminess of his eyes. He missed the worried light in the eyes that traced the rigidness of his facial muscles. Overlooked the pliancy of the hands he took into his own as he roughly thrust them through the eternal rings.
For long moments they sat in silence, heads bent.
The first splash of liquid onto the band didn’t register, until others followed the same trail, leaving him with a suspended river of gold.
Arnav’s head jerked upward, but he was distracted on the path to her eyes.
Khushi had bit down on her unadorned lower lip, drawing his attention to their trembling. He was acquainted with that tremble yet their language remains foreign. What did it mean? And why did it matter?
When an unknown girl had fallen into his arms he’d been transfixed by those lips. That first glimpse of trembling red peaks had ransacked his world. The compulsion to steady them by pressing his lips over the lushness had never left him. It had birthed a hunger to learn every line, swell, and dip.
An evening of fielding reporters and watching the same set of models prance up and down the catwalk on the grounds of old nightmares had set his teeth on edge. Her unexpected appearance had added to the turmoil.
The purity she wore, real or contrived? He hadn’t been able to tell and had torn it off her as cleanly as the tug on a rope of pearls. He’d been wrong that day.
Yet, there was no denying what he saw on that terrace. If he could not trust his own eyes, what was there?
His lids clamped shut as another memory flashed through him. Arnav knew that as long as his mind was intact, the image of the woman in the carmine saree, surrounded by the soft glow of circling diyas, would haunt his night dreams and waking hours. To the end of his dying days he would be able to vividly recall the stolen moment against a shadowed corner of his garden. Of how those lips had trembled for him when he’d cupped her face.
They told him then that something mattered, but he was too afraid to believe in the innocence of the siren. He’d chosen to embrace the abrupt return to reality. He’d been wrong that day.
Suddenly, he sensed eyes on them. The gut instincts that had served him well over the course of amassing his current net worth kicked in. He was judging on a singular event when he knew better. The whole picture could only be delivered in connecting all the dots, something he’d been too afraid to do.
On that thought, Arnav shot up to his full height. He felt her curious gaze as he moved about the room, flicking his wrist to release the heavy drapes, shielding them from view. Spying the wall of switches, his hand slammed across them, plunging the room into semi opaque gray. If someone asked him the reason for his subsequent actions, he would be at a loss.
He turned to study her still figure. She’d jerked to her feet when he’d taken away the light. In that mad state of raging hurt that the heart he coveted had been handed to another, had he missed something?
With muffled steps he came back to her. Unclasping her hand, Arnav pulled Khushi flushed against him.
Just his name. But wrapped by her voice, it effectively fractured the wall of pretend indifference. Every interaction with her echoed of their prior encounters, until the sum of them culminated into an inescapable thread that knotted around his every cell.
His left arm curved around her shoulders, sealing the space between the fronts of their bodies. He welcomed her surprise gasp. It was a sound he wanted to drink to addiction.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
“You know what I’m doing,” he replied.
His head dipped, nuzzling against the silky strands he wanted to see fanned across his pillow.
“Kiss me,” he demanded.
Khushi blinked, shocked into being guilelessly truthful, “I…. I don’t’ know how.”
“Then I want you to mirror what I do.”
He released her shoulders and cupped the delicate jaw, deliberately sending them back to that interrupted moment. This time, he had no intention of allowing escape, for her or himself.
With a tender patience he had never given to another, he lined their lips. The uncontrollable quaking movements of hers ricocheted through him, lighting a carnal path in its wake. He paused, inhaling the staccato of warm breaths.
Be real. I need you to be real. And mine.
Feeling exposed he closed the gap, bending his head so that their lips lightly touched, a delicate lingering graze. It wasn’t enough. Not for them, not after so long.
Suddenly impatient, he deepened the kiss, marveling at the harmonizing fit, as if hers had been carved to meet the exact contours of his own. His tongue traced her Cupid’s bow, effectively setting a spark to carefully laid timber.
For the first time in their acquaintance, Khushi did exactly as told. She mirrored his every movement, kissing him as if she too was starved.
His reached for the edge of the shirt, yanking it over her head. His feet maneuvered them through the forward and backward steps that took them to the bed, urgent hands stripping unwanted fabrics from the heightened sensitivity of overheated skin along the way.
He took another kiss, this one bold and demanding, before he tumbled them onto the mattress. His fingers speared through her hair, tilting her head back until their eyes met.
Do you want this? Do you want me?
In answer her arms stole around his neck, raising herself up, she pressed kisses along his jawline, each one letting him know she was right there with him. No more running. No more denials.
Bracing on his arms, Arnav’s eyes locked on Khushi’s, watching them fill as he entered her, the lines of their bodies shifting and merging until they were no longer separate forms, but one.
He made no effort to muffle the twin sharp cry and throaty moan. They drummed a deafening declaration of uninhibited desire into his ears. She met him touch for touch. Enthralled, he set a gentle rhythm, one that quickly heated into an abandoned dance of passion as they gave themselves over to the intense shattering that bonded them to this moment and to each other.
Much later he shifted until she reclined against the solid wall of his chest, running his fingers through damp fragrant strands of inky black. As he held her, skin to skin, his mind finally caught up to what his heart had known all along.
Their story had always been a silent language of looks that told more than full sentences, accidental touches that revealed more than outpourings of speech. And this was the most honest conversation they’d ever had.
Reaching over, he flipped on the lamp on the nightstand. The burn in his chest had eased, but as he leaned back to survey her flushed nudeness, it took a different shape. A possessive one that, unlike the anger she’d soothed away, wouldn’t follow a similar fate.
He slowly took in the red streak of vermillion in her maang, the string of black beads that rested at the base of her throat, the circles of gold wrapped around slender wrists that belied their true strength.
His marks. Marks that should’ve been placed on a bride with gentle hands, instead he’d been true to form, marring their significance with brutality. Yet, despite everything, here she was, in his home, his room, his bed – his wife in full.
When her lashes swept up to reveal clear hazel Arnav knew his arms held nothing except the naked truth.
And to the dear readers of this blog – warm wishes for a cheerful holiday celebration. Bottoms up!