Chapter 22: Love Is Indeed a Crazy Business
Ishaani looked at Ranveer stunned for a minute before she finally found her voice.
"What?" Ishaani looked at him in surprise while Ranveer gave her a confused look.
"What happened?" Ishaani looked at him incredulously.
"I thought that whole thing about Vegas was a joke." Ranveer rolled his eyes at her while she cocked up an eyebrow in question.
"Sunny, you downed half a bottle of scotch just because you lost the bet on Vegas, and our conversation took another turn that I was least expecting. But just to clarify things, I was pretty serious about Vegas." Ishaani shut her eyes at the mention of the incident.
"Ugh, don't remind me about it. That's still pretty embarrassing." Ranveer shook his head, clearly disappointed at the way the surprise was being received.
"Alright, but Vegas is pretty much on."
"What about your work?" Ranveer gave her an irritated look.
"I've been working continuously like an ass for the past 5 years. I think it's about time I treated myself to a luxurious 10-day off. Any more questions?" Ishaani could sense Ranveer's irritation and placed her next question cautiously.
"What about my work?" Ranveer gave her an exasperated look now.
"I spoke to Martha about this. She was more than happy to give you a 10-day leave. She says you have more than earned it after your outstanding contribution in the Aubergine Fair." Ishaani nodded her head solemnly.
"What about Martin and Claudine?" Ranveer looked at her and smiled in spite of himself.
"They'll be fine. All the helpers are here to help them out."
"When is our flight?" Ranveer shrugged his shoulders and muttered blankly.
"It's tomorrow night." Ranveer gave her a hesitant look. "But hey, listen, if you don't want to go, I'll cancel the tickets and reservations. It's alright."
Ishaani got up and gave him a hug. Ranveer held her close to him, the faint fragrance of lemon verbena sachet from her hair soothing his heart. Ishaani looked up at him and gave him a hypnotizing look before she spoke lovingly.
"I want you to have the best birthday of your life. Whatever it takes to give you that. All our lives, I've seen you celebrate your birthday doing household chores despite Papa giving you the day off. You never liked accepting any gift from me except for talking you out and having samosas, tea and some ice-cream, even though I forced you to keep my gifts just the same. You haven't celebrated your birthday even once in these 5 years. I think it's about time I made sure you got the best day of your life."
Ranveer smiled and kissed her on her head.
"Get your bags packed up then."
Ranveer and Ishaani boarded the plane and took their respective seats in the aircraft. Ishaani had given about more than a dozen instructions each to Martin, Claudine and Martha, asking them to contact in case of the slightest trouble or issue. Claudine and Martha rolled their eyes at the mention of this while Martin reassured her that he would take care of everything and everyone. Ranveer, on the other hand bid them all goodbye in smiles, Martha and Claudine giving his smirks and crooked glances alike over his enthusiasm. Martin assured Ranveer that he would take over all of his affairs till he could return.
Ranveer and Ishaani forbade all of them to see them to the airport because of the wee hours of their flight and Martin and Claudine agreed reluctantly. Ranveer had already reserved their seats well in advance in the business class and Ishaani looked fairly happy because the seats were much more comfortable. She felt her aching back relax and the tiredness kick in after her strenuous work for the fair and the unexpected preparations for the journey. Ranveer stared wide eyed towards the pitch black sky, happiness pounding within the confines of his heart in a giddy recurrence.
He looked by his side once the flight took off to see Ishaani asleep over his shoulder and smiled at her sleeping form. Calling over one of the air hostesses, he managed to separate Ishaani from himself and gently pull her seat over a horizontal line, so that her seat now served as a bed. He covered her form with a shawl and switched off the lights overhead, so that her sleep would remain uninterrupted. He looked outside through the window once again, the sky now an indigo color. He knew that dawn was away from a couple of hours. He smiled to himself, a silent prayer escaping his heart that the two of them could spend ten full days of quality time with each other.
After nearly seventeen hours of travel, Ranveer and Ishaani finally left the McCarran International Airport hand in hand, both of them letting out a yawn in rapid succession. Getting into the car that the hotel had sent for them, Ranveer and Ishaani made themselves comfortable before the latter put her head over his shoulder once again.
"Sunny, I, uh, kind of forgot to ask you something." Ishaani gave him a non-committal sigh and he continued. "What would you prefer better - a one-bedroom suite or a two-bedroom suite?" Ishaani looked at him curiously and laughed at him.
"Don't you think it's kind of too late for that? Besides, I'm fine with both."
"But just say so theoretically. What would you prefer better?" Ishaani tapped her finger over her cheek, deep in thought.
"Okay. Given our current scenario, I would say a two-bedroom one. As per our new story, we have only just begun courting each other right now." Ranveer gave a sigh of relief.
"It's good that I booked us a two-bedroom suite then." Ishaani shook her head as the scene of their drive to Panchmeshmar crossed her mind, along with Ranveer's fake memory loss. She smiled to herself, wondering how and why they had lost their innocence between them so soon before she felt Ranveer's gaze over her.
"Thinking about our disastrous honeymoon?" Ishaani perked her head up and gave him a sheepish look.
"That is a memory worth every penny of it. Or atleast, the first half was. The second half of it pretty much the linchpin for the destruction I brought upon our relationship." Ranveer looked at her solemnly, his eyes reflecting the guilt that his heart felt. He knew that now was the least appropriate time to let her know about her father's death, but an instinct rose within him that kept urging him to take the initiative.
"Ishaani, I've told you this plenty of times. There's no point playing the blame game here for what happened between us. We were both as bad as each other in our own ways."
"But still. Blaming you over Papa's death was the biggest stupidity that I could do." Ishaani turned to stare at Ranveer and noticed his pale pallor. She realized that the conversation was now treading dangerous waters and she didn't want to spoil this moment of happiness that she was giving him up until now. She cleared her throat gently and he snapped out of his thoughts. Ranveer cleared his throat nervously and spoke.
"Listen, if you want, I don't mind-"
"Shhh. It's alright. I don't need to know. Not now atleast. When the time comes for it, I'll ask you about this. Today isn't the day and neither are we prepared to open those books and boxes of the past. So let them be for now. We'll save this conversation for another day."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. Trust me. And cheer up, this is your party. I won't be pretty pleased if I have to bear a surly and annoying Ranveer for ten whole days."
Ranveer smiled and kissed her gently on her head while Ishaani interlocked her hand within his. She smiled as she saw the titanium band on his finger. She couldn't believe that she was sitting this calm beside him, trusting his judgement and not prying about her father's death or demanding him for answers, but simply trusting him, knowing that he would tell her the truth when the time would come.
Love was indeed a crazy business.
Ranveer and Ishaani walked up to the reception of the Palms Casino and Resort while the chaperones freed them of their luggage. The couple made their way to the reception, where the manager was sitting, going through the register.
"Welcome, sir and madam. How may we help you?" Ranveer smiled and continued.
"I have a reservation under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Vaghela."
"Wait sir, let me check." The receptionist checked his register and a warm smile crossed his features. "Ah! Here we have you. Mr. and Mrs. Vaghela, the two-bedroom penthouse and presidential suite. Exquisite choice of room, I must commend you, sir."
Ranveer gave him a customary smile and a polite look while Ishaani bent her head in order to stifle her laughter. The manager signaled the bellboys to show them to their room, which was on the 35th floor. Opening the suite for them, the bellboy handed the key card over to them while Ranveer tipped the boy handsomely. Ishaani and Ranveer entered the suite and a gasp escaped Ishaani's lips.
"Is this a room or a house?" Ranveer could make out the awe in Ishaani's voice and replied happily.
"Given that I want to celebrate my birthday with you in the best way possible, I thought that a bit of splurging would do no harm."
"The room is pretty impressive." Ishaani gave him an appreciative look and Ranveer pulled off a mock bow.
"Ah well, you might want to check up on your room also. See which you like better. Not that it makes much of a difference, since I'm taking this room anyway." Ishaani scowled at him while Ranveer gave her a triumphant look.
"That's not fair! You only get to call dibs once we've seen both the rooms!"
Ranveer stuck out his tongue at her and Ishaani fumed, as she walked up to the connecting door and swung it open. A bigger gasp left her lips at the sight of this room and a mischievous smirk appeared across her features.
"On second thoughts, you're right. I think that I'll take this room. You can have the other one, seeing that you like it so much." Ranveer looked puzzled and came up behind her to give the other room a look. He narrowed his eyes at Ishaani while the latter feigned an innocent look.
"Sunny, you're right. We should make the decision only once we've seen both the rooms. I was just pulling your leg. And you can have the other room if you like it that much. I'll be fine with this one. Take the other one with pleasure."
"Nopes, I think I'm pretty happy with this one. Besides, the birthday boy is happy with the other room, so your wish is my command."
"Oh no, honey. That room is all yours. Your happiness is above everything else for me."
"Darling, my happiness is in this room itself. You can take the other one with pleasure." Ishaani shot him a sugary look and the argument died down on his lips. Reconsidering options, she smiled at him again.
"Want to toss?"
"Be my guest." Ranveer smiled and pulled out a pence from his pocket. "Heads or tails?"
"Tails, I win. Heads, you lose." Ranveer looked confused for a moment before he gave her a deadpan look.
"Yeah right because I have stupid written on my head now, haven't I?" Ishaani blushed under his gaze while Ranveer slapped his head.
"Oh alright, alright. Tails it is." Ranveer shook his head and tossed the coin in the air. The moment it made contact with the ground, Ranveer and Ishaani both leapt over the coin to get a better look at it.
"Yes! Tails it is! Ha! This room is mine!"
"Okay, fine! Have the room. I'll be happy with this one."
Ishaani looked at him and slowly threw her arms over his neck and pulled him close. Ranveer looked stunned for a moment before he curled his arms securely around her waist. Ishaani gave him a kiss on his cheek and whispered.
"The other room isn't that bad also, you know."
Separating herself from the hug, she gave Ranveer a playful look before picking up her suitcase and taking it into the room. Ranveer ran his hand up his hair in an embarrassed look before smiling to himself.
Love was indeed a crazy business.