Chapter - 9
There they are; standing in all glory, my & Alex’s maternal grandparents. Snow & Sharma’s were waiting for us in the garden.
They were sitting on chairs surrounding a coffee table in a small garden in front of the home.
Ma is the adopted daughter of Sharma. Her parents died when she was a kid. Sharma never approved Ma’s choice to move in with Pa but they accepted him more out of helplessness than love.
It was my father who promised them that he will take care of Ma like his own sister. That promise made them accept my Pa as a son-in-law.
Well, no one in their right mind will approve of an alcoholic person as a life partner for their child. My Pa was alcoholic when he was dating Ma but not now.
“What a pleasant surprise Uncle & aunt! Welcome home mom & dad” Papa said looking at them.
I walk out straight to the door to unlock it because I am sure they all will sit there chatting and forget to invite everyone inside the home.
My father sometimes really forgets everything when he starts talking. I unlock the door and keep it wide open for everyone to walk in.
“OK! All of you will get into the house with all those shopping bags. Mumma & papa get those cars parked in the garage. At least invite people inside, what type of host kept them at the door waiting and talking?” I asked him.
My conversation tone gets everyone's attention to me.
Alex calls Sharma’s Dadaji & Dadiji (grandpa & grandma) because they treat my father as their son not because they are his grandparents.
They are originally from India. You should taste Indian food made by Mrs. Sharma, you will forget all the other dishes.
Though Mr. Sharma never approved of my Pa as a son-in-law, he always admired the relationship between me and my Pa.
Mrs. Sharma and I had never been on good terms but we surely covered it perfectly.
She saved Mamma when she was expecting Rishi. That's why I tolerate this woman.
I duct down and touch their feet to get their blessings, it's Indian style to respect elders.
Yes! Ma had taught all of us those Indian values, customs, and ethics that she got from her parents. We even celebrate some Indian festivals.
“Got in another trouble honey! Why am I not surprised?” Mrs. Sharma taunted me. She always hated it that I would inherit my Pa's property, not Alex and Bella. I still don't know how she found out that?
“Rhea Beta! What happened? Are you alright sweetie? Let me see your injuries.” Mr. Sharma said and got me a warm hug.
This is the man who helped me when I was on sleeping pills when I was 8. He is the reason I can cope with my shit better.
In the past, there were times when I couldn't sleep, eat or even speak properly. He helped me to rebuild myself and can’t be thankful enough to him. He always loved me like his own daughter.
Mrs. Sharma loves everyone in our family except me. These diamond studded earrings are her and she gifted them when I got my first period. Frankly speaking, I hadn't expected that from her.
“She got injured while saving me and Bella,” Alex answered them.
Alex is not unaware of the cold war between us. But I made sure that it won't affect their relationship.
“Hey princess! Miss me?” Snow grandpa asked with a smile while Snow grandma kissed my cheek.
“Yes! I missed you grandma but who is this old man? Aren't you dating someone? Well while you are on it at least get some handsome guy, you know those like Italian men models. Why do you choose this oldie? ” I asked grandma with an innocent smile and royally ignoring grandpa.
“I have one Italian boyfriend but I thought this one will do for today’s dinner, you know…” Grandma answered with a shrug.
“You both are shameless, do you know that?” Grandpa grumbled at us and went to Bella.
Others were snickering at our greetings. I like to tease my grandpa like this as he is so possessive of grandma. Grandma and I often behave like he isn't even there and talk about other men. You should see his face when we do that.
After all the greetings and India special masala tea, we were seated in the living room surrounded by all the shopping bags.
“I have some good news for you,” Papa said and he got everybody's attention.
“Rhea agreed to move in here with kids. Isn’t it amazing?” He yelled in happiness and both grandfathers stiffen in their seats.
Nonetheless, a smile was playing on their lips.
I sense their uneasiness.
"Congratulations dear… I know what it meant to you. Isn't it amazing Nico. '' my grandma asked grandpa. But he was in his world.
“What happened Alex?” I asked to change the subject before my parents noticed grandpa's reaction.
“I am just uncomfortable,” He said while waving his hands to all the shopping bags. I rolled my eyes.
I should have known that Alex is getting irritated with those things not placed in their position.
“How about you and papa will place groceries, Rishi and Dadi will get to dinner, Mumma & granny will get my clothes and I will get Bella and your clothes in your closet with grandpa?” I asked and assigned everyone a task.
It will ease some of his nerves. All groaned in unison and that sound made Bella giggled.
“Why did you agree to move in here? Do they know about your situation?” Mr. Sharma asked as soon as we entered Alex's room. I was startled by the sudden change in his conversational tone.
“We have already locked the door, now answer our questions,” Grandpa said while placing Bella at Alex’s bed.
"No, they don't. But I have to come here. There was an incident that happened back at Berkeley." I answered.
"What happened now?" grandpa Snow asked in an irritated tone.
Does he also think that I got myself in trouble deliberately?
“I think he found me… Again.” I answered him. “What?” Both of them whisper yelled in unison.
I told them there were thieves at our house in Berkeley and they tried to harm Bella and Alex. That's why I came with them here.
“I am not sure that those guys were his gang members but I don't want to take any chances with Alex and Bella. So I decided to come here. Besides, I was injured so Alex would not have left me alone there. Do you know how he is? " I answered.
Grandpa quickly took out the phone and went out to talk while Mr. Sharma went quiet for a moment.
"You are here for 3 days now... Didn't any of your parents find out about it?" he asked me tentatively. He was talking about my nightmare thing which I kept hidden from my parents for so long.
“Well, I just cried the first night but they thought it’s just because of pain and medicines are knocking me off perfectly,” I told him while arranging clothes we had purchased for Alex.
“We cannot hide about your nightmare thing from them now; you do consider this thing, right? I mean it was your decision not to tell them about that thing.” Dada said to me.
“Alex will sleep with me after the medicine course. He can wake me up or silence me. I still will hide it from them till I can. You don’t worry about it.” I tried to reason with him.
Grandpa walked into the room with a tense expression. Mr. Sharma raised his eyebrow in question.
"He got released from jail 1 week ago," Grandpa said and Mr. Sharma stood up in shock. They were talking about a man who kidnapped me. "When? How?" Mr. Sharma asked.
"I don't know about it but I will find out soon enough. Till then keep your eyes open. Make sure you won’t leave the house without protection. Keep yourself well hidden.” Grandpa said to me.
“I have already been grounded for a month. Dad is not even allowing me to sit in the garden. We at least have a month to find out about him. Can you hire someone to track him?” I asked my grandpa.
“I already did that after I got to know. You know how good he is at hiding.” He said exhaustedly.
“Just don't think about him for the time being. He first has to find financial support for any plan execution. So many things have changed in 12 years. She is not a child anymore and he doesn’t know all other things also.” Mr. Sharma tried to calm down grandpa.
The look they shared means there is some secret between them. Well Mr. Sharma is a lawyer and grandpa is a businessman so you can understand how these people can be secretive.
“Is there anything I should know? I mean I still didn’t get a single call from Ma & Pa. It is so unusual of them to leave us behind. Please tell me what is going on?” I stared at both of them.
“I think they were tracing her. They will not call you but they are in my contact. You don’t have to worry about it. It is for your safety.” Mr. Sharma said to me.
Her? They are trying to find her? My kidnapper?? What are they?? Fools? They don't know what she is capable of… God! Why didn't they tell me about their plan? All I asked everyone to do is keep themselves away from my past. But No… Now I have to track them down before they track her.
“Were you all planning to send me here?” I inquired further.
“We were planning since you were in middle school but Mili got pregnant and you somehow got settled. Most importantly Victor and Mili did not want you away from them. Not when you have no one to return. "
“Sorry... What did you just say?” I was horrified.
And there was a knock on the door.
“You have disowned your parents, so you have nowhere to go. You don't have to hide it from us. We have known about it for ages.” Grandpa said to me and turned to unlock the door. I barely get a chance to cope with what I have just heard.
“Why was the door closed?” Mumma asked.
“Shoosh! Bella is asleep. You and your mother were yelling at each other rather than talking.” Grandpa whispered to her.
“Oops!! Sorry! Rhea, do you have any color preferences about an outfit? Your granny is sending you more clothes.”
“No red and bright yellow please” I answered with my back facing her. Even though she has not spent much time with me, she is still my mother. She definitely can guess something is wrong with me. 'Get a grip, Rhea!' I yelled at myself mentally.
”But I love red.” She practically yelled.
“Mum, you can wear anything you want so as I. Don’t yell anymore or Bella will wake up.” I snapped at her accidentally.
“If you think that you can get away with snapping at me then you are very wrong, Young Lady. I for one from now onwards not going to consider your choice while buying you clothes” She yelled at my back and walked away.
I took calming breaths. I can't think about this right now. I morphed my expression in annoyance and turned to them.
“You have spoiled your daughter, grandpa,” I said to him and he just shakes his head, chuckling at me while saying
“Tell me about it. But I never understand why your fashion knowledge is zero? I mean you are my granddaughter and look at what you wear!!!”
“Who in their right mind wears fashionable and expensive clothes while trying to bend normal people. You Snow’s have no idea how normal people live their life. Do you?” I collected another shopping bag and walked out of the room.
“Rishab Nicholas Black! Why the hell does your room look like a dunk yard? I want you to clean it right now.” I yelled at the top of my voice.
For a minute or two, I can hear pin drop silence in the whole house and the hurried footsteps in my direction. The whole room is messed up.
Clothes are scattered on the floor with empty packets of chips and other snacks, soda cans, candy wrappers, empty pizza boxes. I was taking deep breaths to calm myself.
I was hoping that Alex would not see all of this, otherwise, he would not touch his dinner before cleaning the whole room.
“Oh No! Since how many months has it not been cleaned?” Alex looked worriedly at all those things.
“No one is going to help him. He will clean his room and everyone will have dinner after he cleans this mess.” I dropped those bags at the door and walked away. I don’t think Alex could hold up. He is going to help him.
I am glad Rishi got to live with Alex; he will be a good influence on him. As I entered my room, whole things changed. Last night it only had a bed and now the whole thing has changed.
The bed had been pushed in front of one window and the study table was placed at the second window of the east wall. Both windows have curtains now. There is a French window at the North wall which opens to the balcony.
Westside has my walk-in closet and bathroom. The TV is mounted on the south wall and couch with comfy chairs placed in front of it.
Bella’s crib and mini-refrigerator are added at the west wall.
The North wall has some Book racks and a plush chair with an ottoman is added there for the reading. The whole room is decorated with Sea green and white themes. No wonder they waste two hours in a furniture shop.
“Rishi and Mumma, I love the way you decorated my room” I howled from the door.
“It would be perfect if you hadn’t yelled out of blue” Rishi grumbled at me.
“Don’t give me that look. I will wash clothes tomorrow and all trash is out for now. Alex is winning about cleaning up all now but that is not happening.
I have to finish all the things in your room before sleep time. Now move from here and don’t get in without my permission.” He instructed me and closed the door of the room on my face.
As expected, the Dinner was awesome. We had Indian special thali from Mrs. Sharma's kitchen. Even after Rishi’s instruction Alex dragged me into his room and set his closet. We all have one section in our closet where we put clothes on other siblings.
It is ‘Our thing’ in Rishi’s opinion. But those are backup clothes for emergencies.
Alex put half of his wardrobe in the laundry basket. Rishi is going to kill Alex tomorrow.
Even Papa was complaining about how Alex made him set the whole kitchen twice.
His OCD was giving them a headache and Alex was happy because everyone was listening and following him.
Normally Ma always got in arguments with him but here everyone was listening to him. He was on cloud 9.
After they left we were watching some movies on the TV. I wasn't paying attention to it, I just know it's about drugs or something.
"Papa, If I ever become a drug addict then would you disown me?" I asked him.
"There is not even 1% of chance that you would turn to drugs and all. But to answer your question then-No. Even if you planned my murder still I can't disown you." He said looking at me with a smile on his lips.
"And what if I took all your money and then disowned you?" I asked and my mother started to laugh.
What is wrong with that question? I looked at her and my father was trying not to laugh loudly at my question.
"What? Answer me.." I got annoyed.
"Rhea… money is something that you would never choose even if you are dying out of hunger or it's the only thing in the world that would solve your problem. " Papa said.
"And if I disowned you out of anger?" I asked him.
"Rhea… Don't always believe in what you hear. Your grandpa told you that today, didn't he? He misunderstood the situation and we didn't bother to resolve it." mamma snapped at me.
Did she hear our conversation?
"Besides even I know you can't disown him Rhea di. Everybody knows how much you love him. " Alex said, looking at me like I had grown two heads.
Was I so obvious?
But this was not the reason I was not paying attention to the movie. The whole evening I was thinking about ‘HIM’. Yes! I was thinking about my kidnapper who must have been released from jail now.
I never believed that he got caught by police but that's what I heard from Snow grandpa.
He kidnapped me twice. Both times I was beaten to death.
He & his so-called 'love of life' both were monsters. They never told me why they kidnapped me but it was their pleasure to torture me. She was crazier than him.
He was up to something and he very well knew that only I could give them that thing. I still don’t know what he wanted but he wants me again.
He had promised me that he would come soon if I survived. I am a hell of sure that he won’t break his promise.
Not that I am worried about myself but I am not alone now. I have Rishi, Alex & Bella with me.
That man has a crazy way to get to know someone. If Alex in any means attracts his attention, he will be in danger also.
He just loves to torture an intelligent person. Alex is in deep trouble now. All I want is one way that will keep Alex away from this shit.
He will find out if I do any unusual thing after all he knows me that well. Giving up on something is not like Alex and he loves that quality in his prey. He also possesses the same quality after all.
I am praying that Rishi won't catch his attention. Rishi is quite like my father. They both don't look intelligent but they are. Not to mention his good looks. Because if both of my kidnappers are still working together then she will ruin his good looks. She tried it with me also.
I am trying hard to think about what it will be that they want? Money?? Revenge?? Wasn't the last two times enough?? Do they want me dead?
He spent years planning to get what he wants. He might have so many backup plans.
I wish I knew what exactly he wants? What is that in this world that only I can give him?
Exactly who is that person he wants revenge on?
If only I can find out what he wants, I can at least protect that thing.
A week later:
It's been good to return to my parents. They are so happy. All they do is spoil us with their love.
"See Matt, I am telling you last time that Bella will sleep with me tonight… she slept with you last night…" Mamma was fighting with papa.
"So what?? We already decided that 2 nights with you and 2 nights with me. Why are you going back on your words? " Papa glared at Mamma.
They were fighting for half an hour and we three were enjoying the show. Bella was enjoying the show more than us. She is cheering them by waving her hand towards the one who is talking.
"Should we tell them they sleep in one bed? " Rishi whispered to us.
"No… I want to see where it is going…" I replied in a low voice.
"I seriously didn't expect that you would cheat on me. How could you do this to me? You are just breaking the vows we took while marrying each other." Papa accused mamma.
"And what are you doing now? Accusing me? Didn't you promise me that all that belongs to you also belongs to me? What happened now? All those were empty words." Mumma looked at him with teary eyes.
"I think we should intervene now. Otherwise, they would throw something at each other. " Alex said, glaring at Rishi and me.
"You know what? Let's get divorced." Mumma said
"Fine by me," Papa said with equal determination.
"OK… That's enough for now. Bella will sleep in her room from now onwards. As you both forgot the main thing that you both sleep in the same bed. So practically she slept with both of you." Alex screamed with eyes closed.
Both of them got quiet for a minute. Blinked at Alex then at each other than at Bella.
Rishi burst into laughter… Mumma and papa had embarrassed expressions on their faces.
" In my defense, she started it," Papa said
" No… You started it" Mumma said.
"Honestly I can't believe that you are our parents. I mean… You are just ready to get divorced for no reason. Wowww… so much for intelligent parents." Rishi said sarcastically.
"Wait a minute… did you just yell at us, Alex?" Mamma asked him and he quickly hid behind me.
"Come out… Right now… You have to get punished for that… "Mumma said sternly. And he stood in front of her.
" And you too Rishi… you also made fun of us. " Papa said to him and also stood up in front of him.
Both of my parents looked at each other with mischief expressions. I never really liked that expression on their face. They quickly tackled both of the kids on the floor and started to tickle them. House was filled with laughter. The four were tickling each other and Bella was hitting them with tiny fists and laughing at their antiques.
Seeing everyone happy made me cry. I got emotional seeing my family members this happy.
'For this happiness, I am ready to die a million times…' I thought…
Here is my new update… Let me know what you think about it.
Stay happy and healthy…
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