It was around 8 am the next morning when Anya knocked on the master bedroom door.
Last night had been a memorable night for Anya; she had helped put away Anjali’s things in her dad’s room and they had all gone down to dinner together all the while laughing and chattering. Even Nanny had smiled, though she did hide her smile in her pallu. For some reason, Nanny just served them their dinner and then vanished for the night.
Dinner was a relaxed joyful affair with Anjie feeding her bits intermittently as was her habit, even though she knew Anya was perfectly capable of eating on her own. Suddenly Anya had a brainwave, she said, “Mamma, why don’t you feed Daddy too?”
Anjali instantly reddened while Khsitij looked on amusedly. He got into the spirit of things and put down his hands and said, “Yes Anjie, not fair why do you always only feed Anya and besides I am rather tired.”
Anjali scolded him with her eyes, but yielded to Anya’s coaxing and the warm challenge in Khsitij’s eyes. Anya clapped and laughed as Anjali shyly fed him his dessert (silently promising his ‘just desserts’ later [Khsitij couldn’t wait for it]).
After dinner Anya helped them clear up the table and then Anjali went off with Anya to her room. Anya chattered away merrily as she brushed and changed her clothes.
Tomorrow was Saturday and she wondered how to spend the holiday, an idea was taking shape, she looked speculatively Anjali who sat with a distracted look on her face, she shook her head and said, “Anjie don’t worry, everything will be fine, once you get to know Daddy, you will find he is a super guy!”
Anjali laughed and hugged her, “I already know that dear, but you, you are the best! Now come on get into bed, it is quite late you know.”
“So what? Tomorrow is a holiday!” She shot back, but obediently got into bed and pulled up the covers. She cuddled close to Anjali and demanded a story, her favorite, ‘Sleeping beauty’. Anya sighed happily when the prince kissed the sleeping princess and fell into a deep sleep.
Anjali too sighed as she kissed the little princess, wondering what to do, she bit her lip, she found it a bit embarrassing to just walk into his room, their room, she corrected herself, and what’s so embarrassing? It is after all your room too right? Ye…es but just that it was the first time and it was awkward; Anjali brushed off these thoughts, well she just couldn’t dither and sit here the whole night like a coy new bride! She got to her feet.
She turned to find Khsitij staring at her leaning against the door his arms folded. He straightened and came forward leisurely and leaned forward to kiss Anya and tuck her in more securely. He stood looking tenderly at Anya for a few moments then went to a cupboard and switched on the child monitor tucked away in a corner.
He then turned to look at Anjali and immediately the atmosphere became electric and charged. Their eyes locked and a crazy haunting melody ‘Ankha vey’ began playing softly at first, but reaching a crescendo quite swiftly; and just when the heat became unbearable, he swung her in his arms and strode off with his bride for their much delayed (and awaited) SR behind closed (electronically locked) wooden doors.
A door banged and Anjali woke up with a start. Where was she? This wasn’t Anya’s room yet she could have sworn she heard the Anya’s bathroom door bang familiarly. Oh the child monitor! She thought as yesterday came rushing to the fore.
Hey Bhagwan, she immediately stiffened; Anya had woken up and gone to the bathroom and no doubt she would come rushing here to check up. From her prone position, Anjali surveyed the bedroom in dismay, clothes scattered all over, and even Khsitij was sprawled all over her. She sat up with a jerk pushing away a still soundly asleep Khsitij and hurriedly pulled on his shirt lying near the foot of the bed; she swiftly gathered up all the clothes that were strewn around and rushed to the bathroom to freshen up and change into something more conventional.
Just then she heard Anya knock on the door, Anjali hurried back to their room and shook Khsitij and handed his kurta pajama. Sleepily he put them on but instead of going to open the door he lay back again with his eyes closed, “Khsitij!” Anjali whispered urgently as she leaned over him, he pulled her back along with him onto the bed.
Anjali squeaked in dismay as Anya again banged their door impatiently. She could hear Nanny scolding Anya but she was having none of it. Casually Khsitij pulled the covers over them as he leaned back on the headrest with Anjali in his arms and used a remote to unlock the bedroom door.
Anya charged in, thankfully Nanny did not, she had the sense to make herself scarce (clearly not of the HP gene pool) clearly worried, “Anjie! Are you ok, I have been knocking for so long?”
Khsitij yawned as he held out his other free arm to Anya, “And good morning to you Sunshine! Up so early? Sleep well dear?”
Anya ran to her dad for her hug reassured to see Anjali smiling, “Yes Daddy and you? And what’s this red stuff on your cheek?”
Anjali hurriedly rubbed away the sindoor, Khsitij grinned lazily and said, ‘I think it’s your mum’s sindoor, she is such a restless sleeper, must have rubbed it on me,” he frowned at Anjie.
“What!” Anjali sat up indignantly, “Me and restless, you are the one who thrashes around the whole night!”
“She is right Daddy!” Anya said, “And it never happened when she was sleeping with me,” Anya said innocently, she looked at Anjali and was again distracted, “Anjie, what’s that mark on your neck!”
Anjali blushed a tomato red, “Something bit me, I think,” she mumbled almost inaudibly and covered it up with her hair.
Khsitij leaned forward concerned and pushed away her curtain of hair, “Lemme see,” he caressed the hickey with his thumb and asked blandly, “Does it hurt?”
Anjali glared at him but shook her head, Khsitij hid his grin.
Bored, Anya again changed the topic, “Mom, dad, I have certain plans for the weekend, hope you won’t mind if I go to Choti bua’s house? I will take Nanny too.”
“What!” Anjali and Khsitij looked at each other, “To Bua’s house, but why, did she invite you?” Khsitij asked.
“She hasn’t yet, but somebody will,” Anya said confidently and walked out of their room.
Khsitij sighed and sank back on the bed taking Anjali along with him, “Oh well once Anya gets a bee in a bonnet, there is no stopping her, may as well toe the line and do what she expects us to be doing what say Anjie?”
Anjie silently gave her approval.
Anya quickly gobbled up her breakfast which was waiting on the table and hunted through her bag of precious things and dug out a business card triumphantly.
Click here for Chapter 71