Ashok chitthappa disconnected the call… that was very typical of him whenever he called which was rare. Ria kept staring at the screen saver which had a funny click of Gaurav and her in one of their moments and she smiled seeing his face that had lightened up. She hoped it remained like that. She sighed thinking of her uncle.
Chitthappa her father’s younger brother was a CBI special agent and worked on highly classified cases. In fact, only her father and she knew he was with the CBI and for everyone else in their family, he was worked for an MNC. A confirmed bachelor, he had devoted his life to law enforcement. He had lived in the US for years where he had gone for higher studies in forensics but somehow had a slight change of career when he returned to India. She didn’t know the details as he had never shared them with anyone but she had only known that he was with the CBI for the last ten years or so. His absence from family events was chalked out as working abroad on classified projects for his company. So, no one doubted him. He had always adored Ria lovingly calling her ‘baby’ and had wholeheartedly supported her. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in town when she had needed him the most. He could never be reached unless he wanted to stay in contact and that was probably one of the reasons, he never had a family of his own… he was married to the CBI. Nonetheless, she was longing to meet him and….her parents. She wondered what he wanted to discuss that was so important. But for today she was focused on her impending dinner date with her husband.
That evening Ria was dressed in blue jeans and her favourite pink silk blouse… she had got it when Gaurav had taken her shopping last week and he didn’t know she had sneaked in this one among the others! She rarely used makeup but that day she used a light pink shade on her lips. She left her hair open which flew in the breeze as she waited at the gate with Keith for Gaurav to arrive. Gaurav came in a different vehicle that looked like a …OMG… a limo… the driver got out and Keith took over. But not before opening the passenger door for her at the back and shutting it after she got in. Gaurav was already there on the back seat and as soon as her door closed, he dragged her towards him and holding the back of her head, crushed his mouth on hers. She gasped and looked away feeling aghast that Keith may have seen and heard them. But she was relieved to see the shutter separating them from the front of the car was up. Gaurav however was unconcerned and chuckled as he continued ravishing her lips. His hands moved beneath her blouse and pinched her tits just the way she loved it and she moaned into his mouth. She touched him through his jeans tentatively…but this time he didn’t push her hand away,
Ria dared a little more as she pulled away and went on her knees before him. She had to struggle to fit herself between his legs, giggling to relieve her anxiety considering what she was about to do. She kept looking into his eyes, and in the dark car interior, his face was shadowed with various patterns from the passing lights… She slowly freed him from the pant and the boxers. He sucked in a breath as she rubbed his length and kissed the tip. He wheezed in air as he looked at her with his beautifully shining eyes… and then…she took him into her mouth. He held her hair as she continued to suck him and lick him along the hard length… just as she had once read about. As she sucked him thoroughly, licked his salty pre-cum and lapped at his tip, she felt him grow further hard and knew it was time… He tried to pull her away but she didn’t budge and in the next moment he shot his load into her throat grunting in a strained voice as she swallowed him almost gagging in the process. She licked her swollen lips rubbing her mouth to her sleeve on the side and like a satiated kitten came up and sat next to him. He held her close as she snuggled into him. It was then she realized…. she couldn’t imagine a life without him… she was addicted to this man!
Gaurav informed Ria over Thai dinner in a magnificent restaurant, that he was leaving for their Kolkata office early morning next day for the audit and appraisal work and he was to be gone for a day or two max. Ria was crestfallen but informed Gaurav about visiting her parents. He was a little apprehensive but relented since she was very chirpy and positive. Ria felt guilty not telling him about her uncle but decided she would talk to him after he got back. They barely slept that night as they were on a video call with Manek who was in Delhi to be with Megha. She had gone into an early labour and was taken for an emergency C-section. Manek was frantic and wanted them to be on call all the time Megha was in. Ria put all her professional skills into use to try and calm him down as Gaurav held her close which in-turn brought down her anxiety. She liked Megha a lot and was praying for a safe delivery while counselling an hysterical Manek. It was strange to see a huge wild beastly Manek reduced to a mushy emotional mess with the thought of his wife and child being in danger. Finally, baby Mehek Manek Chaturvedi made her grand entry in the wee hours of the morning bringing great joy and relief to the entire family. Manek cried like a baby seeing the tiny bundle so did Ria as Gaurav held her and though she didn’t see tears in his eyes, she knew Gaurav was shaken too.
Gaurav left early morning by 5AM as she slept out her exhaustion in her bedroom and she did feel his peck on her forehead before he left. Keith was home early that morning and he was to drive her to her parents’. Ria was missing Gaurav already and she decided she would confess her feelings to him after he got back. If he said it back to her it would be for the best but if he didn’t…. well she didn’t want to think right now. She knew he felt deeply for her as well and for now that was enough. She was in a great mood today after she had a video call with the exhausted new parents Manek and Megha and their little bundle of joy Mehak. She didn’t want to dampen it….
By 11AM she was at her parents’ home. She was merrily chatting away all the way with Keith who personally dropped her at the door and went back to the car. Pooja answered the door with a tentative smile. Ria hugged her and was almost in tears with the familiar fragrance of her shampoo. Pooja too seemed pleased and tightened the hug… she looked radiant, the glow of the life growing inside her bringing out her beauty even more.
“BABY…” her uncle roared. Ria rushed into his arms and he lifted her hugging her. He kissed her forehead and releasing her held her at an arms distance. He had aged a lot since she had last seen him over two years ago… his salt and pepper hair was now totally white! But he was fitter than all of them put together. “…. Oh my God….my baby is so beautiful. Are you… are you happy there? Does…he takes good care of you dear…?” He asked frowning.
“Of course, he does Chitthappa. He is a wonderful husband.” Ria said with a glazed look.
Her parents came in and there was a little hesitation but she hugged them. Her appa didn’t want to speak to her but Chitthappa was in a complete state of reconciliation. He openly reprimanded her father for choosing Vikram who was absolutely a bad match for her and after some little tears and small talk, they sat for lunch. Ria was happy to be back in familiar surroundings and realized how much she missed her family… however they were. After lunch, they all sat together and discussed Pooja’s Seemantham (traditional baby shower) plans. Her mom wasn’t feeling too well and went for a nap. Pooja went to her room to rest and to chat with her husband and it was just Ria alone with her father and uncle in the living room. She longed to hear from Gaurav… whether he had reached safely and how the work was… she knew he hated admin work. But before she reached her phone in her clutch, chitthappa spoke, “Ria…?” He called her by her given name only when he was very serious. “…I have some things I need to discuss…about… about your husband…”
“What…? Gaurav…? How do you know him chitthappa?” Ria asked
“Well…when your father emailed me about your marriage to Gaurav and the court case fiasco before that, I decided to do a background check on him…” He gave her a look which told her he could do it easily since he was with the CBI. Of course… She nodded pensively.
He continued, “… I had to dig-in very deep and call in for favours from friends and got some… disturbing information. I had to get back here… ASAP…” He got up, went towards his backpack and took out a file. He gave it to her and indicated her to read it. Ria felt her heart pounding. She remembered Swara’s talk and that anonymous SMS series she had received early in her marriage. She couldn’t get herself to open the file and sat still.
Her father who was quiet so far spoke up. “Why don’t you tell us Ashok, what is this all about? Her brains don’t function when it comes to that man. So, you tell us. I want to know… “.
Her uncle stood up with hands in his pockets. “…Ria,…Gaurav was in prison… almost six years ago for murdering his… pregnant wife. He was in jail for about six months as an under trial before he got acquitted for lack of proof…. The man had burnt her alive, Ria…. This was in Dubai….There were also instances of domestic violence and a case had filed against him as well…before he did the deed…” Ria was stunned to silence as her uncle continued, “…He then returned to India and headed the admin of the group of hospitals here in Pune, where he still chairs the operations. He had it easy because of his influential family….” Her uncle fumed as he continued. “…He… this Gaurav… is a womanizer of the highest order…. He had this flamboyant life style back in Dubai…into some deviant sexual crap too…I have heard…” She sucked in a trembling breath remembering the bungalow. “… Do you know why he married you Ria…? because you were an unsuspecting easy target…. He had to repair his image after that court case…”.
Ria had enough… she stood up and held out the file to him. “I…I… don’t believe all this chitthappa …”
Her uncle took the file but held up his hand and gestured her to sit.
“…I am not done here…Ria. His dead wife’s sister is fighting even today to get justice for her departed sister and unborn nephew or niece who were killed by the bastard…” Her uncle raised his voice. “…Very soon maybe in the next six months… the case may be reopened in Dubai. The lady has apparently managed to find new proof… So… this marriage to you was an image correction…to prevent subsequent deportation if need be… Since officially he is an Indian citizen and now a family man. The case may drag on and he won’t lose anything… He has married a simple girl who wouldn’t ask questions…”
Hot tears streamed down her face; her chest clenching with pain. “No… No don’t say that…” she pleaded.
Her uncle kneeled in front of her. He held her hands and gently asked, “…Baby, what do you know about him? Has he ever disclosed anything about his past, his family…? Do you know…. his family has kind of disowned him…? no one in his extended family too talks about him or is in touch with him except for matters related to administration. He is only involved in running the business….He doesn’t even practice surgery anymore…” He uncle sighed. “… He was acquitted then, but everyone present during those months of trial in Dubai, vouched for the fact that he had arranged to pay-off witnesses or destroy them. As for this recent trial…. he didn’t have to do anything. You saved his hide and he just had to marry you….”
Ria interrupted, “… No chitthappa… I agree, I don’t know anything about his past but in this current circumstance… he was indeed with me the entire time that night. It was the truth. He…he saved my life. He wasn’t… wasn’t even agreeing for my involvement. I insisted… As for getting married…he has been very accommodating. He has never raised his voice let alone his hand… He has been nothing but a doting and a caring husband…” Her voice was quivering.
Ashok sighed. “Look Ria…” He said sternly. “…I am not going to sit still while you ruin your life with this bastard. I will try everything possible in my ability to get dirt on him. It’s personal for me. You are the victim now…”
Ria stood up, swaying a bit as her head reeled and she had to take support of the dining table. She couldn’t wait here anymore. “…I..I am going home. I will not tolerate anyone calling my husband names and accusing him of something he didn’t do.” She said defensively.
“Fine Ria …” Ashok continued. “…. Here, take this pen drive. Keep a cool head and go through the files on it. It’s all a compilation of whatever Gaurav has been accused of… Whether you like it or not… I will be watching him. And baby… If…. if you are in any kind of danger…. I mean even if you feel like it then just give me a call…. on this number…” He kept the pen drive in her clutch along with a chit where a number was written and handed it to her. Ria took it with trembling hands and started to leave. Her father was surprisingly quiet but her uncle finally said, “And baby…?” She turned around. “…Be careful ok?” Just like what Swara had told her…
Ria didn’t react and stepped out of her house. Keith was there quickly and she got into the car. The entire drive back home she was trying to control her tears. Keith kept looking at her in the rare view mirror but if he sensed anything amiss with her mood he didn’t comment. On reaching home she rushed to her room and locked herself in. She bawled into her pillow as she thought of everything her uncle had told her about Gaurav…. Her pent-up emotions having their way with her… Thinking about Gaurav made her miss him even more. She had to talk to him… she picked up her phone. It was on silent mode so she had missed calls from him. 11 missed calls.
She was clogged with emotions and knew he would recognize those in her voice in a jiffy. So, she decided to text instead. But she already had messages from him.
‘Hey….trying to call you…all ok at home?’
After half an hour there had been another message…
‘Ria, are you alright? Hope you aren’t upset… eat lunch on time…’
She was in tears again when she read the third and the last message which she had received an hour ago.
‘Ria, I am getting worried…. Keith doesn’t know anything either. …call me ASAP ok?’
Ria was crying now…how could a considerate human like Gaurav be a murderer…? As if he had received her telepathy her phone rang. It was him…
“H… hello?” she answered. She knew Keith must have informed him she was back and also that she was upset. She tried to keep a clear voice.
“Ria… are you alright?” he sounded frantic.
“I am fine… Just a little sore throat”, she tried to cover.
“Ria… I know… you are upset… hey… hey…” He said when he heard her sob, though she tried to control it. “… What happened sweetheart? Just…tell me…darling, don’t cry…”
“… I…. I’ll call back later… bye “. She disconnected, immediately switching off her phone and cried her heart out.
Ria must have dozed off for a while when she was awakened by a knock. Keith called out. “Ria…open the door please. Sir… is worried. He is on the line. Please talk to him once…”
Ria tried to stand but her crying bout had exhausted her. She dragged herself to the door Keith raised an eyebrow seeing her state but he didn’t say anything and handed over the cordless phone to her. He left her alone to speak.
“H… H… Hello” She spoke on the phone returning back to her bed.
“Ria…I am so worried. PLEASE talk to me. What is it? Did something happen there? Look… we will sort things out… ok…? I promise you… But… stop worrying dear. Don’t… don’t cry ok…?”
“Yeah…” she whispered.
“Look… I am catching the earliest flight available and will reach there ASAP. Keith will be there till I reach. …. Just take care till then…. alright…?”
After the call, Ria went to the washroom and freshened up. She wasn’t able to get the mental conflict out of her head… every time she calmed herself down, the memory of her Chitthappa’s words brought fresh tears. She had tea, hoping to clear her head when Keith informed her that Gaurav would be reaching only after midnight. It was 5PM now and she had time till night. She decided to clear things in her head and there was only one way to do it…
Her thatha always said, it was easy to ignore the problems… but one couldn’t change what one refused to confront… and today, she was going to confront this problem head-on…
Copyright Disclaimer: All content posted here is a work of fiction and original work based on the author’s imagination. There is no intention to disrespect any person or faith. Any resemblance to any person living or dead or any community is purely coincidental. No part of the content can be copied, reproduced or posted anywhere else either entirely or in parts, without the consent of the author.