Story 119



Extended version of the series (Story 108 to Story 118)
In continuation of Story 118.
The Series begin here


They did not have sex that evening; they lay semi-naked in bed facing each other. It had been a long time since he had been so close to a woman, and the first time he was close without having sex. She ran her fingers over his cheek and kissed him on the mouth. He closed his eyes, he wanted to cherish every moment.


He told her how he had fallen in love with her when he had seen her for the first time. And, he knew it was not the addiction – what he felt for her was different. He told her how he had convinced himself that she was out of his league and he had never imagined that a day would come when he would be so close to her.

She said nothing. She moved closer to him and he put an arm around her, his hand resting on her waist. She closed her eyes.


He had hoped she would say something. Tell him that she felt the same way about him. Yes, things had changed between them, but it all had happened as a result of the changes that took place in her life. And, those changes had happened because they had kissed on her birthday. Whatever they shared, whatever she felt for him was complicated. It was not as simple as it was for him. He knew from day one that he had wanted her. 

She was a wife, though of an abusive husband; most importantly she was a mother. The decisions she took about her life would have an effect on her daughter’s life as well. He knew she had to choose carefully. He did not know whether she was going to talk to her daughter about them, he hoped she would. He wanted to share his life with her. 


He had a solution ready for that, but he was not sure whether she would like it. He pushed the thought at the back of his mind and tried to enjoy the moment. What if it did not last? What if she changed her mind about getting intimate with him? He moved his hand from his waist to her upper back, reaching for the hooks of her bra. He had just slipped the strap from her shoulder before, now he wanted to unhook it and take it off. He wanted to undress her and take her before she changed her mind. His hand lingered over the hooks of her bra, but then he took a deep breath and let go. 


She felt his hand on her back. She realized she was holding her breath, wondering whether he would unhook the bra. When he had started undressing her earlier, she had the intention of having sex with him, she needed intimacy. But, when she had felt his tears drop on her thigh, she’d sat up straight and the moment had ended there. She’d held him close, his face buried in her bosom. When she had let go, he had taken off his t-shirt and jeans, leaving his briefs on and had climbed in bed next to her. She admired him for the self-control he showed. She had learned, from what he had told her and also from some of her own research; it was difficult to resist the temptation. 


When she felt him moving his hand from her waist to the hooks of her bra, she thought he was letting himself go. That very moment she was not sure whether she wanted it anymore. Yes, she had been through a lot in her life, true he had been there for her during the bad phase; but was she ready to have a relationship with him? She was not as ready as she thought she was, earlier. 

She was not even sure now whether she was going to tell her daughter about what had happened between her and the man. She was not sure whether she wanted to spend her life with this man. Perhaps not. She had to think about her daughter; the one who was growing up. She did not want to read too much into it but it kept bothering her. She observed how her daughter behaved around him, she saw the way her daughter looked at him. It was the pre-teen attraction at the most, but to have the man around the house when her daughter was growing up – was that a good idea? She did not know. It bothered her that all these sensible thoughts broke her heart. 


She took a deep breath and shifted as closer to him as possible, sinking into him. Her arm still resting in between them. She could feel the faint beating of his heart against her arm. She knew he had assumed that she had fallen asleep. She wanted it to stay that way. She had so much to consider. The intimacy felt good, no doubt; she never had this kind of intimacy with her husband, not even when they were a happy couple. For some reason, her husband did not believe in cudling or spooning. She felt ashamed that she was using this man for the intimacy she desired without being completely and honestly prepared to offer him what he wanted. What if she gave in this moment and regretted it later? 


What if this was not meant to be? What if she was not truly supposed to be happy? Because she knew, the man in whose arms she was right now was the one who would do anything to make her happy and keep her happy. Why, then did she fear taking the jump? 


***

The doorbell rang and she jumped out of his arms. He sat up straight, too. They had not realized how long they had been in each other’s arms. She straightened the strap of her bra, picked up her clothes from the floor, put on her shirt and pulled on her jeans and stepped out hurriedly to open the door. He got dressed and straightened the bedsheet. 


She ran her hand through her hair, tidying it before opening the door to her daughter. That’s what she had assumed – that her daughter had returned from school. However, she stepped back in surprise when she saw who it was at the door. Her husband stood at the door, a smug smile on his face. “Hope I did not disturb you” her husband said and looked past her. She turned around to see him standing at the bedroom door. He, too, had assumed that the girl had returned from the school. But, when he saw who it was, he came and stood next to her, putting a protective arm around her. This action of his took her by surprise and she froze. Her husband looked disapprovingly at them and showed them what he had really come for. He pushed a brown envelope in her hand and walked away. 


He closed the door even before the man was at the gate of his house. She walked in to sit on the couch. Both of them knew what it was that he had just handed to her.
The doorbell rang again. This time it was her daughter.


“What was he doing here?” the girl asked.
“He came to give her the papers.” He told the girl.
She looked up towards her daughter who rushed towards her and pulled the envelope out of her hand. She opened the envelope and saw the divorce papers. She cursed when she read the papers; “what the …” she could not complete her sentence, not in front of her mother.
She pulled the papers out of her daughter’s hand and read them.


Her husband had accused her of having an extra-marital affair. Had called her characterless and had stated that she was a bad influence on his daughter and hence he should be allowed the custody of the daughter. She could not breathe. He placed a hand over her shoulder, and she shrugged it off and glared at him. How could he touch her in front of her daughter? He was hurt by her reaction, but he said nothing. He looked at the girl and he knew she felt sorry for him. He gave an awkward smile. 


There was another envelope inside the brown one. This one was white and smaller. She took it out and opened it; she gasped and put her hand on her mouth when she saw the contents.
“What is it?” her daughter asked but she put the contents back in the envelope and stood up.
“Leave me alone” she said and went to the bedroom, leaving her daughter alone with the stranger. She was not thinking clearly that moment, she was not thinking at all. She was in shock.
She closed the bedroom door and opened the envelope again. She took out square pieces of photo paper from the envelope; they were photographs clicked with an instant camera. Her husband owned one, she knew. But she did not know he would use it for this purpose. 


She spread the photos on the bed. She stared at the semi-nude body of hers and his’, there were instant photos of them kissing, of him undressing her. These photos were clicked through a half-open window. She remembered; he had closed the bedroom door as well as the window. 

Her husband had spied on her, he had come to the house with the camera, partially opened the window and clicked photos. Neither of them had heard the sound of the instant camera. She collapsed on the floor and thought about the smug smile on her husband’s face. He had known what she had been up to. He had ruined her, raped her yet again. This time it was going to be worse, it was going to be public. 


“I do not want to stay with him” she heard her daughter shouting from outside the door and then the banging on the door. She collected the photos and put them back in the envelope. She wiped her tears and opened the door. She looked at him and then handed him the envelope. He had known that the contents of the white square envelope had bothered her more than the papers in the brown envelope, but he did not know what exactly the contents were. 

He opened the envelope and saw glimpses of their semi-nude bodies. He noticed that the photo paper was not the original one used in the instant camera; the man had made photocopies. Her husband still had the originals with him. The photos were date and time stamped. 


“There’s something I have to tell you.” She told her daughter. He heard the words and looked up at her. She was going to tell her daughter about them. He wanted the girl to know about them but not like this, not because of the photographs.
But he was not going to interfere in the conversation she was about to have with her daughter. He decided to give them the space. Anyways, he had another business to take care of.

“I will be right back” he said and walked back to the bedroom. He opened the locker in his wardrobe and took out a big white envelope and smiled. He was glad he had done what he had done.
There was a time when he had been frustrated enough to have revenge sex with the woman who had ruined the life of the woman he loved. Instead, he had done something worse; he had been feeling guilty about it, but now he was glad he had done it. He took out the blown-up photos of two naked bodies engaged in sex on a couch. There were photos of the man, his lips around the woman’s breast, photos of the woman lying supine on bed, her hands around the man’s waist; photos of the woman on her fours and the bastard about to enter like a dog. These photos were date and time stamped, too. 


He walked out of the bedroom and saw that the women were seated on the couch facing each other. She had or was about to tell her daughter about them.
“You won’t have to stay with that man, I promise” he said looking at the girl.
And then, he walked out of the house.
He walked past the dried Tulsi, climbed the steps of the house and took the photos out from the envelope and slid them inside through the gap in the door. He took out a pen and wrote “Leave the girl alone” on the envelope and slid it through, as well. Then, he rang the doorbell and walked away. 


***

She did not want to, and thankfully, did not have to show the photos to her daughter. She told her daughter about her attraction for the man, about her confusion whether she wanted to spend her future with him. But before she could tell her daughter in detail about the time that she had spent with the man earlier in the evening, her daughter had hugged her and said “I am happy for you. You deserve to be happy, mom”
He entered the house and saw the women hugging. He knew her daughter would understand. He walked towards them and knelt down near the couch.
He asked the question to the girl, “I wish to marry your mother and legally adopt you. What you do think about it?”
The girl looked at her mother and said, “If that makes her happy.”
He looked at her and waited for her reply.
“Yes, it would make me happy” she said. 



***

She drafted new divorce papers on her terms and couriered them to the man across the street, who signed them and sent them back. When he had told her about the photographs he had clicked of her husband and the woman, she had been furious as first, he had violated the privacy of that woman. No woman deserved that, not even the who ruined people’s marriages even though they were worse than the prostitutes who had sex for money. Later, she admitted that she was thankful to him for clicking those photographs; they had helped her to get rid of an abusive husband while being able to keep custody of her daughter. 

***



He filed papers in court for marriage and then legal adoption of her daughter. Their daughter. They got married in court and consummated their marriage while their daughter spent time with her friend. He sold the house and bought a new one far away from the one that had changed his life. He built a ‘Tulsi Vridavan’ for her with his own hands and she planted the Tulsi. 


***



The alarm buzzed and she switched it off and moved closer to her husband and rested her head on his chest. They had just made love and were exhausted to begin their day. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer, her warm naked body pressed against his.
“I love you” he said to his wife.
“I love you, too” she said and kissed her husband.
“I have to get up.” She said and tried to free herself from his embrace, but he won’t let her go.
“She’ll be late for school” she said, and he sighed and let her go.
She sat up straight in bed and stretched. There was a dull pain down below, but it was nothing as compared to the happiness she felt.

She tied her hair in a loose bun, he ran his hand over her bare back; she turned around to look at him.
“Five minutes” she told him and went back into his arms. He untied the bun and kissed her. She rested her head on his chest. She fell asleep. She woke up and realized she had slept for half an hour.
“Shit” she whispered as she hurriedly tied her hair again and pulled out her Mangalsutra from under the pillow and put it around her neck. She folded her hands in a prayer and before climbing out of the bed she kissed him on the lips; he was fast asleep. She climbed out of bed and picked up her night-gown from the floor. She got dressed and walked out of the bedroom.


The girl was already awake and was in the kitchen boiling the milk.
“Good morning” the girl said with a smile when she saw her mother.
“I am sorry, I woke up late” she apologized.
“It’s okay” the girl replied.
“Go, get ready; I will take it from here” she said walking towards the kitchen platform. Her daughter kissed her on the cheek on her way to her room.  


Three of them had breakfast together and then she picked up the plates and put them in the sink, while her daughter went to her room to get her backpack. He walked to the door and picked up the car keys from the key-holder. He kissed his wife on the lips on his way out with his daughter.