The next few days were filled with the newly married bliss as she called it. Gaurav took her to Ooty for an official honeymoon as he called it. They spent four days in a private villa, enjoying the scenic beauty of the Nilgiri hills which was directly visible from their master bedroom. The caretaker arrived early morning and cooked for them and they never felt the need to venture out. Their union had been explosive without any emotional overlays or any kind of stress inhibiting them from merging into each other. The first two days and nights were spent in exploring each other and on the third day they went to explore the hillside!! Ria had lost count of the number of times she had climaxed and the number of locations in the villa they had newly christened with their insatiable rendezvous. She didn’t know she had so many erotic zones in her body… But the best moment of all for her was when he had entered her as they watched the sunset one evening. She had shattered along with the dusky rays bringing along the soft glow which filled her heart with joy and hope for a bright future.
Gaurav was opening up to her. He shared his childhood and college days, everything from his chronic alcoholism to how he had cleaned up. His dreams of practicing surgery along with his charity which was not as good as he wanted it to be… He spoke about his extended family, his cousins and old colleagues. He also spoke about his paintings and the gleam in his eyes as he spoke about his surgical days was something that brought tears to her eyes and she resolved to get him to practice surgery, come what may. For the first time since she had known him, Ria saw this youthful fun-loving side of his and she enjoyed it so much she wished he would be like that forever. She didn’t want the honeymoon to end; she knew the grim reality that awaited them back home.
On the last evening they had a candle lit dinner on the patio specially arranged by Gaurav and her eyes well up at his gesture. She knew he was a man of few words and this gesture was something huge from his end. He had got her a gift… really…? He had brought her a beautiful necklace… it was extremely thin and was barely visible on her neck but she loved something so intricate but she loved the pendant the most. It was a tiny ruby shaped into a rose on a thin gold leaf… He had kissed her head as soon as he had tightened the clutch around her neck. She hadn’t felt more cherished in her life.
That night, when they were just satiated, they actually spoke on the forbidden topic. Ria decided to voice her concerns and doubts as well. She had her head on his chest toying with his chest hair which he hadn’t shaved on her insistence. She had found it too alluring and hot when it touched her bare front. She looked up at him. He had his hand in her hair and with those dreamy eyes that gave her erotic dreams he smiled. “Gaurav…I have been thinking…” He had just recently told her about the letters in Arabic post the vandalism and the gift received at home… Her coital bliss was upturned whenever she thought of those.
“About…what…?” Gaurav asked her turning towards her.
“…Um… Guarav if someone has gone to such lengths to leave those letters, it has to be someone very powerful from Dubai…”
“…We are trying Ria… our tech guy Naren is trying his level best… even before my… trial had begun… But we haven’t been able to get the connection as yet…” he sighed.
“Look… Gaurav my gut feeling tells me there is something going on… there is a strong connection to what had happened six years ago and this recent case….” She said.
Gaurav stopped moving his hands in her hair and stared at the opposite wall. He had that shadow over his face after a long time and she hated putting it there… but she had to get information…if she had to convince Ashok chitthappa to help them. If someone had the contacts and resources, he did… But Gaurav was shutting again and she had to convince him before everyone else.
Ria took his face in her palm and looked into his eyes. “Gaurav, I have already told you… don’t care about your past. You love me… and that’s what matters most. But we can’t have a normal life with the sword hanging on your head…. You know it… I want to clear your name….” He wanted to object but before he could speak, she shook her head and continued. “…You were innocent then and you are innocent now…. In spite of the media trial You probably don’t know this but Sujata is after your blood…. She… she had met me with the intention of getting more dirt. Gaurav…I dint think she was lying. She was probably manipulated by Shilpi just like you were…from the looks of it. My suspicion is… there is someone else at the helm of things… the ringmaster, who is pulling the strings. Whatever it was, Sujata wasn’t telling the truth either. She didn’t even mention the recent court case so I don’t think she was involved in that… My uncle too has the same set of records that she does…There has to be something we are missing….”
“…. It’s Saquib…” Gaurav said softly. Ria sat up straight. She waited to help him gather his thoughts. He looked at her as he continued, “…. Saquib was in a relationship with Shilpi because he wanted something from her. Namely her money… my money. He was an addict and always wanting money for his next fix. Dubai laws are strict and drug peddlers are not easy to find. It costs a bomb. When Manek had researched him at that time, he had found Saquib was sleeping with other women as well but there was something different about his relationship with Shilpi… I think it had to do with property. It would have set him for a lifetime of fix… Manek had threatened him then with dire consequences if he didn’t speak the truth…. The loss of reputation amongst his clientele was an important factor too as also the laws in Dubai is unforgiving for such proved crimes and he was a Dubai citizen. I think we will have to widen our horizons of trace… but Ria…? ” He sat up suddenly. “…Ria I don’t want you getting involved… I can’t lose you… if they… I mean… they are dangerous… You have to be careful till I can get concrete information…”
“…Gaurav… I promise you I will be careful and Keith is with me all the time, isn’t he…? So, rest assured. But… I can help in finding out information… in my own way… without calling for attention… please… let me help Gaurav… I am involved whether you like it or not… I was involved right from the time I gave you my heart…” He held her tightly to him kissing her head as they saw the last sunset for this trip.
“…I need a list…” when he looked at her in confusion she chuckled and said. “…a list of all the names from Dubai that you can think off… look … let me look at it from a fresh perspective …Ok..? Maybe something that’s missed your eyes might have missed…?” she looked hopefully and Gaurav nodded.
Ria knew what she had to do after reaching back home tomorrow… She had to talk to her uncle.
The next day after they reached Pune, Gaurav went to the hospital to complete some pending administration work. Ria had vowed herself to help him get back to surgical practice. But first she had to clear him completely in the in the eyes of the world. She would see to it that there would be no further hurdles in his path. Gaurav had also promised to share Manek’s findings with her.
She texted a number she was given to contact her uncle. Within two minutes she received a call from a private number. Gaurav was in a meeting and she had just got off the phone with him so this was definitely her uncle.
“Yes baby…Are you alright?“
“I am absolutely fine chitthappa and want you to be fine too…”
“What does that mean?” He sounded stern.
“Chitthappa, we have to meet… I don’t want to discuss this on phone. “
“Ok baby. How about tomorrow morning 10AM? Elinoa Mart at Tirang circle…? They have a lovely cafe. I will wait for you there.”
“Ok done, chitthappa. See you.”
She hung up. She hadn’t felt lighter in days. This was step one for today.
Now for step two. She checked the list of all the names Gaurav had given her…he was finding out information on Saquib. She however looked through the names and one name which caught her attention was Abdul Ansari. Wait she had heard… no… seen that name somewhere… She rushed to her room and unearthed the packet given by Sujata. She read through the paper cuttings and realised Abdul Ansari was the officiating personal from the law enforcement who was on Gaurav’s case and he had been extremely vocal about Gaurav’s involvement… had Gaurav checked him out…? She had to check…before she met her uncle. She had to try and everything reeked of a sinister plot… but why? Gaurav had warned her not to directly interfere as it was dangerous. She knew that too. But she wasn’t worried about herself; she was more concerned about him now, if Sujata’s threats were to be taken seriously and then there were those Arabic notes… She was thinking as to who would help her without calling for attention or revealing things to the media. Immediately she got her answer… KEITH!
She rushed to the Kitchen. Keith was on a call which he ended on seeing her. He smiled. “Yes, Ria…do you want something?”
“Um yes… I need your help.”
“OOKkaay…” he sighed. He folded his hands and looked at her, waiting.
Ria called him to the living room where she had laid her laptop and had spread the paper cuttings.
“I need your help about finding information on Abdul Ansari….” She held up her hands before he started to refuse or plead ignorance. “…. I am aware you know about the Dubai case involving Gaurav. Keith…he is in danger yet again. It’s my gut feeling… that the recent case was not a mere coincidence after so many years. Especially after you received those notes… I think you may have deduced it by now…” Keith nodded slightly and was frowning looking at the papers spread before her.
“…Ria… wait right here…” He went to the garden and brought back a suitcase with him. When he opened it, Ria saw some high-tech equipment in it. It looked like a recorder with headphones and cables…straight out of a Bond movie that she had seen! He connected some cables and soon she saw someone on the screen. The picture was distorted but she knew without asking that it was Abdul Ansari in his uniform. But in the picture, he looked very young and It was then she read the date. It was taken 20 years ago.
Then Keith called Manek and asked him to send information on Saquib, mainly his recent picture. He got it immediately. He enlarged Saquib’s picture on the screen of whatever hi-tech equipment he was using and used some software where he appeared aged and so very familiar…oh God he looked like Abdul Ansari. Ria was confused and looked at Keith who was frowning had not spoken to her till now. Finally, Keith cleared his throat and said, “I had this doubt when I went through these files two weeks ago…”.
Ria was surprised…”But… I didn’t have these files then… Wait…who exactly are you Keith…?”
Keith smiled and said, “…Ria I am not at liberty to reveal my identity… but … to you I am your friend and that won’t change… got it…?”. When she nodded, he continued “…. I have been working on this case for last few months. I wanted to do so earlier but Gaurav sir had forbidden me. He wanted his past to remain…. just that…. his past. But… I couldn’t rest and started investigating on the sly. Then that recent case happened… I knew something was wrong and his past was poking its head… especially after those notes. So, I started to investigate in coordination with Naren and Manek. I can’t reveal how I got the information earlier but this is it….” He pointed towards the screen. “There is something… some connection between the two. Saquib and Ansari…. I need to find out what it is and that will be the final nail in the coffin for this case….” He said confidently.
Ria was euphoric too. She said, “Keith, I am meeting my uncle tomorrow. He is …um…. he has the resources to help us find more…”
Keith interrupted, “…. I know who he is, Ria…. Just for your information, he is an old friend of Abdul Ansari…”
Of course. That’s how he dug out information. That means those guys maybe knowing about her as well. That’s why Gaurav had asked her to lay low. Ria sighed and continued, “Keith, I want to straighten up things with my uncle. Not just …um …because he is CBI but also because he hates Gaurav… That’s personal for me. Gaurav has been totally misunderstood for years and that has to end. He should be free to lead his life. If there is anyone who deserved happiness, its Gaurav. So please help me and let me dig more. Since my uncle knows Abdul Ansari personally…so maybe he can throw light on something we are missing…” She looked hopefully at Keith.
Keith nodded and smiled. He placed his hand on her head and said, “I always knew he made a great choice…”.
That evening Gaurav was tired but in an upbeat mood. Ria and Keith updated him on everything they had discussed earlier in the day. Naren was working hard to dig deep into Dubai systems without raising red flags in their security system. But Naren was a pro at his work and an asset at this juncture. After Keith left, Gaurav didn’t waste time in dragging her into his bedroom which he now referred to as their bedroom. He gently undressed her and they stood in front of the full-length mirror in his room. She had only worn the now permanent new necklace. He untied her hair and spread it across her shoulders. She blushed and looked at him through the mirror. He was staring at her intently. He got his hands forward and cupped her breasts as she threw her head back and moaned…heat pooling in her core instantly. That night his passion broke all barriers and she almost passed out with the magnitude of her orgasmic frenzy.
They were both tired to the bone and slept together with their limbs entangled and hugging each other…. Ria smiled as sleep claimed her in his arms… finally it was time…
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