Wednesday, 5 October 2016

part 5: A gypsy's fantacy



She stared at him, mouth agape. Armaan Malik was a man in his own entity. He was, in forever, the only man who could hex her and vex her, intimidate her, and exhilarate her, entice her, and frustrate her, mesmerize her bones, and bewitch her senses. She, not in years, had known a power as such existed, but for what was worth, he made her alive"she breathed, the first and last.
Shilpa soaked in his enigmatic presence. His sleeves were folded back, and his raw, callous hands stretched long and hard. The silver band in his right hand's smallest finger glittered, the glitter, as hot as the molten blue fire in his eyes. Armaan had eyes that destroyed. She'd never in her life, before, seen eyes as haunting as his. For all his masculine discipline and coldness, his eyes burned with roaring flames. He looked at her, with naked hunger and determination"one to burn, one to strip, and one to gulp. Her nostrils filled with his heady musk and her body responded with an urgency she didn't know she'd ever possessed.
He made her discover her own self, and she was yet to decide if it made her powerful, or rendered her powerless.
"Look Armaan," her words came out scratchy, like she'd been running under the hot gaze of sun for hours. She shrugged then, her shoulders tensed as she looked at him again.
"Let's discuss," she ended firmly.

"Your second marriage probability?" he mocked her amusedly.
"This is not funny," Shilpa gritted her teeth, counting back to ten. Oh she could do it, she told herself. Just keep calm! Ten, nine, eight...
"Oh? The last time I checked, you didn't know the s of serious Mrs. Malik," he finished with a long, lazy drawl to her name; his eyes glinting dangerously.
"Don't call me Mrs. Malik! I am not your wife. What we need is some rational thinking and our lawyers!"
"I don't think so Shilpa, because, you and I do not agree on the same point here. You see, I have absolutely no intention of giving you a divorce, and just so you know, I am a Malik. My influence, only begins where your thinking capacity ends. If I don't want a divorce, no f**king attorney in hell, will win you one"none."
"Oh you f**king arrogant, ruthless, son of a bitch!" she cried, "Who do you think you are? Your over confidence knows no bounds, does it? Well you need a reality check Mr Malik. I am not," she emphasized, "ever, ever, living with you or accepting you as my husband! Go to hell." She thundered, her blood boiling.
Armaan just raised an aristocratic brow. He appeared nonchalant and Shilpa wanted to scream and rip his hair off.
"Armaan Malik I am telling you"
He cut her, "My hearing capability has yet not deceived me. I can very well hear what you've to say in ten octaves less."
"I am leaving," she fumed, narrowing her eyes and huffing like an enraged bear.
"Oh are you?" he unlocked his arms and dropped them at his sides; "the next big question is, how? I see no, well, way you can go back because, you, sweetheart, are clueless about the way back and there's not one single mode of transport available for the next twenty miles or so. And my car doesn't like strangers so I remain helpless." He gave her his malicious smile.
"What is your modus Operandi Malik? What the hell do you want?" she craned her head and shot him the wrath of hell.
"I need answers. You give them, we don't have a problem. I escort you to my car and leave you back, and if you don't, well here's the best part, you stay here forever."
"Forever? Oh snap out of your thick delusional garden! One more day and police's going to come searching like sniffing dogs here for me. And you by then will be in the jails of Africa or Australia, or whichever of them, are the worst ones."
"Not likely. Kidnapping one's own wife is not a crime.Is it? Your sister knows you are with me, the mysterious husband, and I don't know if she's scared of you, but trust me sweetheart, she fears me more than she'll ever fear you, and will keep her mouth shut for good."
"She wouldn't!"
"Oh try her."
"You f**king, arrogant, covetous bas***d!"
"You forgot aristocratic."
"Saaley, haraami, kuttey, maaa ki aankh! Tera poora khaandaan  tooteyphootey, GO BURN IN HELL!"
Armaan stared at her with fascination; her eyes turned into big, goblets of fire and wrath, shimmering with heat and flames. Her cheeks turned crimson, and her breathing heightened; her whole face transforming enchantingly. And his body answered, his breathes went heavy, lids drooped, and he felt the tightening in his pants. God this woman was astonishing! His attraction to her, unparalleled and intense, was a mystery to him. How could she boil his blood, and drive him mad with rage and lust and emotions altogether? He knew not.
Weeks from now if someone would have told him, he'd ever feel something for ShilpaMalhotra, the enigma, apart from ridiculing anger and disgust; he would've laughed at them, driven his fists into their faces. And he wouldn't have been wrong then, for she was one exasperating minx! And he wanted her as fiercely as he wanted to spank her into sense. With her, it was a clash of wills, a battle of strength. One of these days, he was sure, he'd lose, and she'd drive him senseless, mad, and frustrated. Fighting with this woman was more exciting than having sex, wrapped in silk sheets. She drove him to the edge, and he plunged into the heat of maddening lust, and maddening anger"every, single, time!
"Armaan!Armaan? Are you even listening to me?" her eyes narrowed and she puffed.
"Not really," he answered shifting uncomfortably. He had to move. Either that or he'd take her in his arms and do something the spitfire wouldn't particularly like.
"Well I'll sum it up. Your affluence will not stop me from marrying Modhi, so don't you dare tell you fill me in with your erroneous, nefarious ploys."
"Marry Modhi? Go ahead, and do it, just know it'll only happen over my dead body." He snorted.
"Oh? When are you dying? Can't we make it quick?"
"I don't plan on doing it so soon Shilpa. I plan on making your life miserable for a long, long time."
"Haa! You wish Malik."
"My wishes have a successful rate of turning true. 99.9%."
"Such arrogance; you brainless chimpanzee."
"I am told it makes me irresistible."
"Irresistible? f**king unbelievable!"
"Don't be so jealous wifey,"
"Jealous? Your unbelievably atrocious arrogance exceeds The Amazon'!"
"And your never ending blabbering exceedsThe Herring'."
"Oh don't you see? Together we are the concoction of disaster!
"No, you are the disaster, and I the amender. I think we are a perfect fit!"
Shilpa counted back to twenty this time! Twe-nt-y. When she was small, she grew up deeming murder as the cruelest of all acts, and at times wondered, why would people even commit them? What would cause people to do such a heinous crime? And now she knew! What would she not give, right now, to kill this beast of a man? Who did he think he was? Lord of land of the Leal; the father of regulations and judgments?

"How long have you known?" he reiterated now.
Was there any reason to beat about the bush? With a shrug, and defeated sigh she crossed the room and seated herself on the coffe-colored bean bag.
"Well, I only came to know the day you rescued me in the jungle. I am not lying okay! The day it happened, well I had absolutely no memories of it. I met you in your office for the first time because I don't even remember the last. Then that day in the woods, I-I..." she hesitated.
"You what?"Armaan probed.
Oh well darn it! She thought and looked at him, "you kissed me," she whispered huskily then shook herself, looking at her toe nails, "you kissed me," she began again, more audibly, "it was the way you kissed me, I ehh, well I just knew, I knew it. Then you said those words. Well you said I was beautiful and, erm you know and it was like a piece fitting right in its place. The memory had hit me hard. I knew, without a fiber of doubt, it was you. I just knew. I remembered your face too." She finished uncomfortably.
"Then why didn't you tell me?" he spoke softly now.
"What would've I said? Oh hey Malik! Remember three years ago? That drunken night? When you'd been so intoxicated you married a stranger! Oh no no, that ain't the best part, the best part is the stranger was as drunk, and now she happens to be me! Me, Miss trouble extraordinaire, me who  you despise so much, who's the epitome of practically everything you hate and me who's Muskaan's sister! Wow Malik, what clever suggestion." Shilpa snorted.
"Shilpa you know I don't hate you. I know I-I didn't like your manners in particular at first, but I don't despise you." He crooned.
She turned her head to stare at him. Her eyes welled with stinging tears. Did he pity her now? He hated her and she knew it! And heck why won't he? He thought she was some peculiar, unmannered, unsophisticated brat. All of them thought it, then why shy away from acknowledging? She was used to it by now. And she could delude herself by saying Armaan's reiteration of the fact wouldn't hurt.
"I am not like the others," a steely resolution entered his voice as if he read her.
"Oh no you are not! You are even greater. Armaan Malik: The snob extraordinaire!" she huffed.
"Shilpa I am clueless about why you have such pessimistic views about yourself, but you need to know everyone does not have such abject theories about you; especially, not me."
"You don't?" she scoffed, "You top that list okay. You make me feel a lesser, unworthy piece of trash every time Armaan Malik. Of course I am all that. I ain't nobody's dream queen and I don't want to be."
"You, girl, suffer from some ugly girly syndrome. What was it?"
"Ugly duckling syndrome you mean?"
"No, not that. I doubt you were ever anything less than what you are now."
"Which would be?"
"Come now wife, I'd rather not boost your already sky-high ego."
Shilpa pulled an apricot colored cushion and threw it at his face, "this thing between us is not going to work."
"You wouldn't know if you won't give it a chance."
"To give you a chance would mean to let open a window of my heart. No Malik. I maybe all up for chances but I'm not up for the hurt you'd cause me, and unfortunately for both of us, it works both ways."
"So why the hell are you marrying Modhi of all? You don't love him, and before you argue, I'm not blind and, definitely, not a fool. You don't feel even a pea sized shit for that guy. Am I missing something here?"
Shilpa sunk lower in the couch and closed her eyes, fighting back tears. "I wish it were that easy. I wish life was, too. I wish I was f**king snow-white or Cinderella who at least would know there would be a sentence called happily ever after at the end of her book. You want answers, and I wish to hell, I could've given them to you. I can't Malik."
Armaan sensed the turmoil she was suffering from. It made him uneasy. Armaan had never been the one to give comfort. He'd been the man in his house, required to be strong and emotionless. He wasn't allowed weakness, and he didn't know how to treat others when engulfed in the arms of one. What he knew, though, was a strong need that pulled at him, that steely, protective resolve that locked in his veins that beckoned him to her. He bent low on his knees and looked down at her. She was in pain. Why wouldn't she tell him though?
"This thing between you and me," she whispered, "this strange kind of chemistry. I feel it, too. I cannot afford it Malik. I'm not allowed the liberty to."
"What's holding you back?" he cupped the side of her face; green eyes, clear as day and bright green looked up at him with so much hope and pain entwined he felt it all tug at his heart.
"Something that's not in my control."
"Shilpa, you'll have to do better than that and tell me. You can't feed me bits and pieces and think I'd be satisfied."
"Armaan, I cannot. Why don't you understand? I cannot. I cannot!" her aching frustration penetrated his anger and he sighed, standing up.
"I'm not divorcing you." There was steel in his voice. Finality.
"You don't have a choice," she stood up, too, glaring at him now.
"That is where you are wrong. If you aren't going to let me inside and if you aren't going to tell me what's bothering you, I'll be the insensitive asshole you think me to be. I'm asking you what's wrong is all. Shilpa, I'm not a f**king brain reader. You're my wife and I'm not letting you go."
"You despot!"
Armaan grinned, "Back to the drawing board?"
"Armaan Malik, I hate you!"
He pulled her closer, trapping her wrists in his hands, "Yeah? Show me. I like it when you do that." And he kissed her.
There were kisses. And there were kisses. Shilpa thought as his mouth took hers like he was drowning and she was life, his harbor.
There were kisses. And there were kisses.
This was not one of them.
His mouth didn't kiss hers.
It made love.
She felt him and his heat and the way their tongues entwined. She couldn't really help it. Her fingers found the smooth planes of his face, her thumb stroking his chiseled and slightly rough jaw. The smell of whatever citrus induced drink he had filled her mouth and the smell of his expensive cologne infiltrated her senses. His scent was superior and curios. It was all Armaan Malik.
She deepened the kiss. Maybe, seconds after she was done drowning into him, too, she'd realize she was the one to intensify things between them, but, that moment was one of urgency and need and love and pain. Pain, because it was fleeting, and love, because it resonated through unspoken moans and words. Love filled the silence, the words not needing to be spoken. They were felt.
 In the strong beating of his heart.
 In the frantic fingers that searched his face.
"Shilpa," he half groaned, half whispered, pulling back and letting go of her. He was shaking slightly and his eyes locked with hers, silently conveying to her what power she had over him. He was incapable of saying the words aloud, but, he told her them without a single syllable, nonetheless.
The loss of his mouth spread through her whole body and she felt the strong sting of disappointment and loss. If he could just kiss her into senselessness, she wouldn't feel guilty for wanting what she wanted.
"You undo me." He looked at her earnestly.
"Armaan, take me back home."
Armaan begin to respond to her but the shrilling noise of his ringtone broke the moment. He quickly pulled his cellphone out and froze at the name flashing on the screen. It took him a minute to unwind his locked fingers, and accept. He took three long steps to the other end of the room and said hello with a stiff neck.
"Armaan Malik." It was his cousin at the other end. Armaan had this terrible feeling stinging the back of his neck. Something was so terribly wrong. Chills went down his back.
"Did you?" bile rose in his throat. He gulped it down, slowly. He couldn't even say the words outloud.
"Armaan, be here in an hour max." the call disconnected. Armaan had an urge to smile sardonically. His cousin, Yuvraaj wasn't one to talk long. The most he did in a conversation was grunt, and he was always eager to cut phone calls. Whoever invented this shitty piece of more radiation? And he would've smiled not for the feeling that made him sweat. Something was so wrong.
He turned around to stare at Shilpa who was studying his back avidly and blushed when he caught her.
He smiled then, finally. He pushed a brown strand back from her face and smiled again, "looks like your wish has been granted. We need to leave, Shilpa. I'll drop you back for now, but don't for a minute think, we aren't continuing this discussion again."
Shilpa rolled her eyes at him and quickly marched to the door waiting for him to unlock it. Armaan grinned and followed her, unlocking it, then motioning for her to move forward. He simply stood at the door, and watched her brows wrinkle in confusion as she wondered which way to go. He laughed then trotted to her, taking her arm and showing her the way.
The car ride was silent. Both of them were lost in their own reveries. Armaan couldn't shake the feeling. Something was going to go wrong. It burned the back of his neck and his heart was twining inside his chest. He looked at Shilpa and stared. She was looking out of the window, fixated. She looked peaceful; she looked haunted.
He had to know what was haunting her so badly. She was always this chirpy, stupid, crazy girl. He never knew so much melancholy resided behind that faade. Or maybe, it was just that; a faade. To hide whatever secrets she carried inside. He wanted to break in. And he would. Slowly.
He stopped the car at the Modhis, and stiffed his jaw. The thought of her with that guy did funny things to him. Scary, funny things. His fists itched to be pummeled in his face.
Shilpa stared at the house with unease. She pulled off her seatbelt, slowly, as if in a trance, and then stared at him. She bit her lower lip and fidgeted in the seat.
"Armaan, I." she began but Armaan shook his head.
"Don't say something you wouldn't mean, Shilpa."
She nodded and slipped out of the car, waving at him, slightly embarrassed then rushed inside the house.
Escaping from him.
For now.
Armaan reversed his silver Mercedes and zoned out on the road.
He'd to be somewhere really quick.
Nine years ago,
9:10 P.M
I have to say this. My mother scares me. I look ahead at the road and stifle my anger. The stench of liquor that has homed inside her breath, her senselessness, and the way she treats me. That should hurt, but now I'm habitual. But not Muskaan. I look at my sister from the passenger seat and gulp the urge to snatch her in my arms and cry along her. My mother and father hate each other, which is not much of a surprise. My mother isn't particularly likeable. How both of them coordinated enough to pop me and Muskaan out is a mystery, and even mysterious is the fact that she totally hates me.
My mother, also is addicted. She's addicted to sex and cocaine and alcohol. And did I mention, it's not my dad she's particularly interested in? She's been having an affair with a shithead named Anil Mathur for the last three months. The guy is a pervert. He has these big meaty hands and this stoutly figure and when he walks, he drums his feet on the ground, his thighs literally dribbling. I don't like him. He calls me and Muskaan baby dolls, which is totally disgusting.
I should've known this was coming. I should've. I should've protected Muskaan more closely, but I didn't.
Today he made a move on my sister.
He almost raped her.
Today I slammed a man on the head with a baseball bat.
Today, I most probably killed someone.
Today, I had three glasses of my mother's shit.
It was bitter and tasted like shit.
Whatever it was that my mother drank.
My mother was wasted like always and my father wasn't home, like always. Muskaan was shaking when I pulled her out of that f**king pedophile's reach and we both got a little drunk and ran out of the house taking my mother's car.
Muskaan wanted to drive so I let her. Both of us were drunk, but I was a little more drunk. Muskaan was crying and she wanted to drive more than anything else, so I gave her the keys.
I gave my sister the keys.
I should never have done that.
But as it was, both of us were out on the road, driving madly, knowing nothing, and with tears streaming down our eyes. Muskaan was shy and timid, unlike me. She didn't really have much of a backbone. She was my mother's favorite toy. But I'd vowed to protect my sister and today I'd almost failed.
Muskaan's fingers were jittery as we drove. I should've done something else, taken her somewhere else, acted more responsibly but at that moment shit wasn't working in my favor. I wasn't much older and I didn't know how to react. I was dealing it the same way.
Half hour on the road and I drifted into sleep.
Ten minutes later something jerked me out of my sleep.
Something violent.
There is a moment before your life slips from your hands.
There's so much silence and serenity and it plays out very slowly, the clock making a whole full circle, and dragging its feet. You are paralyzed in that moment. Afterwards, when it repeats again and again inside your head you think you could've done this differently or that differently. You think of all the things you could've done to avoid it, all the heroic acts of sacrifice you could've pulled, but in that moment you are frozen in place, watching it unfold like a horror movie in a cinema. And it does.
Unfold.
She lost the balance on the car. Tears blurred her vision, panic and trauma fogged her ability to think straight too. Headlights caught her unaware. There was a truck or maybe a bus, we couldn't see. It had started raining. Muskaan tried to steer the car left but too much pressure, too much steering. She lost control.
I heard my screams.
I heard hers.
She was screaming at me to do something.
I was telling her what to do but then it was all a blur.
We steered to left and in panic she speeded the car up.
We hit something and the car turned on its wheels eventually slowing down.
Both of us were relieved.
But what had we hit?
Slowly we stepped out of the cars. We were drenched; the rain was so hard we hardly could see a thing.
There was a bike, fallen flat a few steps away from us. It was splintered like stuck by lightning. The wheels were still running.
We moved forward propelled by a force and a whole lot of dread.
The first thing I saw through my dread was blood. Crimson red.
The second was an arm. It was away from the body lying there on the road.
Simply lying.
I wanted to scream so loudly but my mouth wouldn't make a sound. Muskaan was behind me, frozen.
Next we saw the body.
Blood. Blood. Flowing out of it. Blood, everywhere.
I kept moving closer and bent low by it. I checked his pulse knowing full well what the truth would be. The silence of his pulse was deafening.
He was dead.
He.
Was.
Dead.
We'd killed a man.
Muskaan broke down beside me. I was too shocked to help her.
"I didn't mean it! I didn't mean it Shilpa! I didn't. Oh my God, what did I do? Shilpa I didn't mean it. PLEASE! I didn't mean it." She began sobbing than blaring out her agony. But I stood and I watched.
I watched.
I kept watching until another car passed by and halted. It was Mr. Modhi. Abhimanyu's father. He was a friend of my dad's. he was shocked. He told us we had to leave. I didn't want to leave. I was simply staring. The face was covered in blood. I couldn't see it. He yelled at us to leave, at me to see Muskaan.
We were ushered inside his car and Muskaan was shaking. He called my father and promised to take care of this mess. I still didn't move. Muskaan shook me so hard but I wouldn't move. Wouldn't respond.
I kept thinking back to that moment. To where had I gone wrong. I drank. I gave her the wheel. I murdered two people in one night.
The drive back to Mr. Modhi's house was silent. I don't remember much after it. My dad had us both immediately sedated because of the trauma. Next morning was another blur. So many calls were being made. The alcohol had left a bad hangover. Reality drowned me like a cold bucket of water. I began crying so hard, I was shaking. My father came inside the room and stared at me then patted my shoulder awkwardly. That meant a lot. My father had never shown me any kind of emotion. I knew how difficult it was for him. I wanted him to take me in his arms and let me cry.
But that wasn't why he was there and we both knew it. He wanted to know what happened, so I told him. Everything.
About mom's boyfriend trying to corner and rape Muskaan to the drinking and the accident and the tears didn't stop. I didn't tell him one thing though. I didn't tell him who was driving the car. It was all "we". I didn't think for a second to explain who was behind the wheel. Before he could say a word a doctor came in the room.
He looked at my father than at me and was shaking his head negatively.
"I don't know whether it's a good thing or not, Shashank. Muskaan doesn't remember anything that happened last night. Not the assault and not the drive. I think it's the trauma taking over." Everything else he said was blurred.
I heard bits and pieces. Muskaan didn't remember anything. Alcohol. Her mind erasing the memory she didn't want. Not there anymore.
I took a decision then. As soon as the doctor left I looked at my father.
"What happened to the man?"
He didn't hesitate, "it was taken care of."
I flinched. "What do you mean taken care of dad? What happened? Where's his family?"
"Shilpa, I paid the hospital authorities and the police a huge sum of money."
"You-you can't! I killed a person dad!"
He looked at me a beat, "it was you?"
I gulped and nodded, "it was me. I was driving."
He closed his eyes and told me he needed to tell that to the doctor. He was the one filing the case. He needed to know. I bit my lip and nodded.
"Dad, I deserve whatever's waiting for me."
He turned around and glared at me, "No, you don't! Whatever happened was an accident Shilpa. That guy, his family, they're informed. You and Muskaan, none of you is responsible. Muskaan doesn't remember a thing. It's good. The trauma has wiped it off her memory. Do you want her to question it all? If you do anything now, she'll be taken along with you. Do you want that for her? Knowing it wasn't her fault? Do you want to see her stuck up in all of this too? She'll have to know eventually, Shilpa. Mr. Modhi has taken a lot of pain to help us. We are indebted to his greatness. You will do no such thing. From today onwards, you'll do exactly what I tell you to. Do you understand me?"
I nodded.
I nodded.
And soon we realized it wasn't out of greatness that people help.
Nothing comes of free.
My freedom was traded.
So was my happiness.
I wish I could take that day back.
Or erase it from my memory like Muskaan did.
I see that arm and face everywhere.
And then I see it nomore.
He's in my nightmares.
And then he's not.
I live a dual life.
One where I'm not me.
And one where I look in the mirror and stare at the monster I am.
PRESENT.
MUMBAI.
"Armaan," Yuvraaj shut the door and nodded at Armaan who took a seat beside him. His gut feeling shouted at him for the umpteenth time. Something's wrong. Armaan's fingers shook as he took the coffee from Yuvraaj and watched him settle silently too.
"After all this time, I can't." his words were shaky.
Yuvraaj pulled out a white envelope from his back pocket.
"I wish I didn't have to do this Armaan. I wish to hell."
Armaan looked at him and wrinkled his brow, "What do you mean?"
"Shilpa Malhotra. This is about her."
Every muscle in his body locked with tension.
"How do you know about..." Armaan trailed off.
Yuvraaj sighed pushing his hands through his hair in a defeated posture.
"Armaan, I had to follow her. When I came to know you're getting married to her sister. Do you remember Dr. Shubhankar? He's a good friend of Abhimanyu Modhi's father and Shashank Gupta."
"You're not making sense!" his hands grew clammy.
"Armaan the envelope. Open it."
Armaan shook his head then reached for it. The pages flew on the table.
Police records.
Hospital records.
Hidden police records.
Hidden hospital records.
Armaan froze.
Yuvraaj saw what he did and continued.
"I've always doubted Shubhankar's involvement. He wasn't the doctor in charge when Atul was brought in. He was too eager to take the case though. I've been trying to trace dirt on him for nine years. All our detectives, everyone. It's just, we couldn't find shit. We all deadpanned everytime. It was such an intricately woven web. I saw Shubhankar with Modhi and Gupta last year. Shashank and Modhi were in some kind of fight about his daughter. Shilpa," Yuvraaj said the name difficulty and cleared his throat, "I think Modhi was blackmailing Gupta about some sort of accident. Shubhankar was acting like a fish caught on a rod. He was uncomfortable there and flinched at the thought of the accident. I had him followed since then. He's pretty clean. I couldn't find shit on any of them so I started sending death notes to Shubhankar telling him I knew what he did to Atul and that I'd expose him. The notes were untraceable. I cornered him until he spilled it all to Modhi on a phone call. Everything. He told him that he saved Shilpa for them and messed with the hospital records too for them and now he's being threatened. I had his phone tapped for an year."
Yuvraaj flinched, seeing Armaan's pale face.
"Armaan, I'm so f**king sorry. I wanted to tell you but I came to know you were going to marry Muskaan. Then, I just. I saw you and Shilpa at your house the day I came. You both were in the pool. I saw the way you looked at her. I had to leave. I'm so f**king sorry Armaan but I had to tell you this. Atul wasn't just your brother. He was mine too and I don't know what to say anymore."
Armaan stiffened pulling away from the seat.
"Armaan wait!" Yuvraaj went after him. He grabbed his arm but Armaan shrugged off violently shocking him. Armaan was never one for violence. Never.
Armaan turned around and there were tears everywhere. He never cried either.
"She can't," his voice broke, "You don't know her! She can't even kill a f**king insect Yuvi. She can't. She shelters all these weird animals. Rats, elephants, hummingbirds for God's sake! She can't see them in pain. She's incapable of doing anything like that. She's not. She's... his choking sounds and sobs were the sound of heartbreak. He held his head in his hands and cried pulling at his hair.
"It's been nine years since Atul went," Armaan whispered, "I still miss him. I miss him so much every day. Shilpa, she's just like him. So lively. She's obsessed with animals like he was with his plants. She's chirpy and stupid like he was. She reminds me so much of him. She can't!"
"She has." Yuvraaj simply states a bitter fact.
"I don't believe you!"
Yuvraaj closed his eyes then opened them, frustrated, "You were the most composed and collected man ever! The facts are right in front of you but you don't want to know! I'm sorry Armaan but I had her investigated. Weekly visits to a psychiatrist just after the accident for an year? Check. She married you, Armaan but now she's marrying Abhimanyu Modhi? Do you even know what kind of prick that guy is? She's being forced to marry him. Abhimanyu and his father wants all the business of Shashank Gupta that's named after Shilpa. It's a deal and she's doing all this even after nine years. Why? Because she killed Atul and doesn't want it to come out. She left him there to die and asked her million dollar daddy to hide it!"
Armaan pinched his eyes together and crumpled to the floor shaking his head.
"She's my wife." He rasped.
"She's a criminal."
"she's my wife."
"She killed Atul God damnit!"
Armaan fists his hands and looks at him with blood shot eyes, "I need her to say it." He wipes his face with the back of his sleeves and pushes off the ground.
"I'll come with you." Armaan shakes his head sternly.
"No. I need to do this alone."
He stormed out.

In your arms was still delight,
Quiet as a street at night;
And thoughts of you, I do remember,
Were green leaves in a darkened chamber,
Were dark clouds in a moonless sky.
Love, in you, went passing by,
Penetrative, remote, and rare,
Like a bird in the wide air,
And, as the bird, it left no trace
In the heaven of your face.
In your stupidity I found
The sweet hush after a sweet sound.
All about you was the light
That dims the greying end of night;
                          (Rupert Brooke)

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