Chapter 10: When the Lord Almighty Cried
"The hell we are!" He pulled her wrist into a back lock fiercely while her back was now pressed against his chest. His anger flared back, this time accompanied by unrestrained passion, as he pressed his thumb against her wrist harshly, the only thing that would work when he needed her to listen to him.
"Get this point into your thick skull as soon as you can. The sole reason to my happiness is you. You. Do you get it? The key to our happiness is with each other, not apart. I made the mistake once by letting you go and I've learnt my lesson the hard way. I won't let you leave me now. Ever."
"Ranveer, my wrist-"
"And one more thing. We may have been living separately for the last three years, but we are still married. Yes-", he smiled as Ishaani turned a shocked face towards him, "-we are still married. I never filed the divorce papers."
Ishaani turned around and stared at him wide-eyed, as his vice-like grip on her wrist slackened. But before he could say anything else, she slapped his hand away from her wrist and massaged her wrist, his thumb print burning raw red on her skin.
"Ouch! Look what you've done to my wrist!" Ranveer gave her an exasperated look before replying irritably.
"Stop fretting like a five-year old. Besides, you wouldn't listen to sense."
"Oh yeah! This is what you always do. Either manhandle me, or, or burn finger marks or bruises over my wrist!" Ranveer glared at her while she glared back at him. They glared daggers at each other for several moments before Ishaani took a deep breath, indignation getting replaced by weary resignation while she now looked at him beseechingly.
"Enough." He did not speak in a rude voice nor in an unkind tone, but his tone had a finality to it. He rubbed his temple before speaking. "I don't think this conversation is going anywhere now." Ishaani was taken aback at the sudden change in the direction of their argument.
"But we didn't-" She fumbled and Ranveer cut her through.
"Go home. You're too worked up to think straight anymore. I, myself, can't think straight anymore." Ishaani was surprised at this curt dismissal, but she didn't argue anymore. Instead, she only nodded her head and left the room abruptly, slamming the door hard behind her.
Ranveer stared at the place where Ishaani stood moments ago, the rush of emotions and adrenaline fading away quickly, as he sat on one of the chairs at the coffee table, his face in his palms. Barely five minutes later, there were swift rapping on his door and Ranveer muttered a bored 'Come in'. Martin entered the room, a frightened expression on his face.
"Monsieur! What happened over here? I just saw Madame leaving all upset and-"
"She wouldn't listen to sense."
"She looked frightfully hysterical. I met her in the hallway and she told me to take care of you and to give you your medicines on time and-."
Martin stopped speaking abruptly as Ranveer smiled at him sadly while the latter now looked actually afraid.
"Oh, come now, Martin. Don't stare at me like I've gone insane. I'm completely alright."
"She'll come around."
"But Monsieur, what if she leaves Greece and goes away forever?" Martin looked at Ranveer in panic, afraid why Ranveer couldn't grasp the simple fact of the statement and was instead simply sitting and smiling at him like he had gone mad.
"Calm down, Martin. Take deep breaths." Martin looked like he was going to explode in a bout of frantic pleading, but Ranveer held up his hand. "Martin, she is not going anywhere. I know her that much atleast. Her one sacrifice of staying away from me tore her apart into shreds." He smiled distantly, his mind lost in some other memory while he continued.
"She was never one who could suppress her love and live. She never knew the painful dam that one had to build around one's heart, with love like that. And I saw that dam break today, through her eyes." He sighed, looking at Martin wearily. "I just hope I made my point pretty clear enough to enter her head once and for all."
Martin looked confused and still didn't look convinced. Ranveer buried his face in his palms and spoke through it.
"Martin, we've both lost enough in these years. Friendship, family, love, companionship... everything. Neither of us now have the will to start life all over again nor separately. Both of us have lost too much."
"But why was Madame in such a fit of hysteria?"
"Because she had been keeping a lot to herself for a lot of time. Her fears, her insecurities... I'm sure she must have confided some of it to Martha, but not the major part of it. She needs time to come to terms with everything that just happened in these two days. And moreover, in these three years." A flicker of understanding reflected through Martin's eyes as he finally understood a part of the scenario that just happened.
"But Monsieur, what are you going to do now?"
"I don't know, Martin. I really don't know. But all I do know is that I'm never, ever letting her out of my sight again. I'm done having to wait around all my life for her like a pathetic loser. It's about time I took to writing this story with my own hands." Martin looked at Ranveer, whose eyes were afire and gave him a teary smile before exclaiming happily.
"Monsieur, I've never, ever seen you this alive in these three years."
"I've never felt so myself in these three years." Ranveer smiled at Martin before a thought struck his mind. "Martin, will you do me a favor?"
"Just make sure that Ishaani reaches home safely tonight. I never quite trust her when she's this upset." Martin nodded his head, knowing what was to be done next. He left the room immediately while Ranveer simply shut the door of his room swiftly before his eyes fell on a book on the table. Looking at it curiously, he walked up to the table and saw the cover page. Hamlet.
His curiosity awakened, he opened the book to see who it belonged to for he had never read or laid eyes on any copy of Hamlet in his life. He saw the letters I.P. written on the top right hand corner of the book. He smiled while picking up the copy and kept it in his drawer, where a picture of hers already sat perched inside, her smile stronger and more powerful than the sunlight streaming into the room.
She had indeed given him a new life the previous night. A new life, where the mistakes of the past that were to be carried forward as experiences and a tattered book, where their story would be re-written once again.
It was 7 in the evening. Ishaani was preparing coffee when the doorbell rang. Surprised at the hour of the call and slightly suspicious, she opened the door, a rolling pin in her hand only to find Martin standing at the doorstep, completely drenched while sneezing continuously, his face a pale green.
"Mr. Martin!" She looked at him surprised before her eyes narrowed in suspicion, her tone slightly accusatory. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, Madame! What are you- *achoo* -doing here?"
"Why I live here, ofcourse!" She looked at him shivering before she exclaimed apologetically. "Do come in, you are completely soaked to the skin!"
"It is my bad fortune, Madame! The car I came in got spoilt and I got completely wet! I told Monsieur to send me another car, but it is going to take three quarters of an hour. The traffic is insane! I tried to repair the car but I got a shock!" Martin looked pale as he showed Ishaani his fingers that looked slightly burnt while he was now shivering profusely. Ishaani quickly got him a towel to dry himself in.
"Martin do you have an attaché kit with you? Good, use my washroom and do get out from those wet clothes. There are high chances of getting pneumonia in that." Martin gave her a frightened look and rushed to the washroom while Ishaani smiled once again at the uncanny use of her sentence. She quickly poured out two cups of coffee and kept them on the dining table.
Martin came out after 5 minutes, his face a mixed blotch of red and white. He quickly replaced his clothes and kept them in the attaché kit, and happily accepted the cup of coffee with shivering hands.
"Merci beaucoup, Madame! I would have certainly fallen ill had I not gotten off those clothes sooner. I'm allergic to rains, you know. And the odds of a shower in June, it's astronomical!"
"Speaking of astronomical, how did you end up here in Drosini Street?"
"Monsieur is planning to construct a building over in this locality and he needed some papers from the land owners living in the next street. Since he still isn't well, Claudine strictly instructed him complete bed rest. So Monsieur sent me to collect his papers. His secretary is on leave for a week, you see. And when I reached here, it started raining like crazy and my car got spoilt. Quelle horreur!"
"Looks like even God must be sad today." Martin looked at her puzzled before illumination struck him.
"Madame, are you talking about Monsieur's idea of how an unexpected shower means that even the Lord Almighty is crying?" Ishaani nodded at him and smiled.
"So, you've heard about it." Ishaani's expression changed into one of bewilderment before speaking once again, concern laded in her voice. "Why isn't Ranveer still well? He looked alright to me in the afternoon."
"It seems he overexerted himself, as per what Claudine had to say. So the fever came back along with the headache." Ishaani's expression softened, worry etched on her face now before she asked him slowly.
"What did Claudine say?"
"She was pretty cross at Monsieur for neglecting his health, so she has ordered him to three days of strict bed rest. Now not even the God Almighty can save him from her wrath."
"Serves him right." Ishaani rolled her eyes while Martin stared at her helplessly.
"Now, now, Madame, are you still upset with Monsieur?"
"Oh yeah. Your Monsieur has really messed up my head." Martin smiled at her meekly before a call came on his phone. He took Ishaani's hand in his own and kissed them with polite courtesy.
"Thank you so much for your hospitality, Madame. But I must be leaving now. The driver has come with the spare car." Ishaani nodded at him and saw him to the doorstep, as the driver came along the threshold with an umbrella for Martin.
"Do take care and reach home, Mr. Martin. It's pouring cats and dogs."
Martin knocked at the door and an irritated 'Come in' ensued from within the room. Martin shook his head and entered while Ranveer scowled at him.
"What took you so long?" Martin looked at Ranveer apologetically before speaking.
"I regret most sincerely, Monsieur, the traffic was formidable!" Ranveer jerked his head before he looked at Martin and spoke childishly.
"Martin, you've got to help me! You've got to speak to Claudine! She can't keep me confined to my room for 3 days! That's barbaric!"
"Come now, Monsieur, you know it's for your own good." Martin gave Ranveer a meaningful look before he continued. "Meanwhile you can work out a theory as to how you are going to calm Madame off. She didn't look any too pleased about the whole scene in the afternoon, though she did soften up when I told her you were ill again." Ranveer nodded his head absent-mindedly before Martin spoke again.
"I followed Madame about. She'd gone to the beach and then headed home."
"How did you know where she would be?" Ranveer asked him curiously while Martin smiled gleefully.
"Madame Brandt suggested me to go to the beach, when I called her up, asking for Madame's address." Ranveer nodded his head appreciatively before taking on an authoritative tone.
"Did you find out what I asked you about?"
"Mais oui, Monsieur. And I also did a bit of research about her whereabouts in the past three years."
"She has been staying on Drosini Street in Voula ever since she came to Greece. The house is a pleasant, one bedroom structure. She used to work as a financial advisor for two years at a multinational company before she quit and joined Mrs. Brandt's library. She has been doing quite fine."
"What about her financial credentials?"
"Pretty alright. Has reasonable savings in bank, honored all tax payments, no loans or defaults. She's clear." Ranveer heaved a sigh of relief before he continued.
"Did she suspect your appearance tonight?"
"I think I managed to pull off my appearance alright. She did suspect me at first, but I was shivering a lot so she beckoned me in quickly. But I managed to cook up a convincing story." Martin narrated the scenario to him while Ranveer looked surprised now.
"Did she buy it?"
"She didn't look quite convinced, but then I mentioned your ill-health and diverted the conversation." Ranveer shook his head in amusement before he calmly looked at Martin.
"You really astonish me with your loyalty, Martin. I can't believe you actually got yourself wet in the rains, knowing that you fall so ill in them. And if that was not enough, you actually shocked yourself! You're even more mental than I am!" Martin looked abashed for a moment before he smiled sheepishly.
"Stop smiling at me Martin and do have Claudine look you up as well." Martin smiled fondly at Ranveer while the latter shook his head in a disgruntled manner before speaking once again.
"Well, atleast I know now that she has been doing alright. One less thing to worry about." Martin nodded his head before he curiously asked Ranveer the same question once again, that had been troubling him for quite some time.
"But now what, Monsieur?"
"I've got the perfect solution for our... situation." Martin looked at Ranveer eagerly, his eagerness reflecting in his next question.
"What are you going to do?" Smiling at Martin, the first ever true smile that managed to reach his eyes in three years, he simply nodded his head while he spoke with passionate determination.
"Write our story all over again."