Neapolitan City

Chapter 47: The Glimpse of a New Beginning

Claudine was discharged from the hospital four days later, after a complete checkup of the kids as well as herself. She and Martin both entered the house with the kids in their arms, while Ranveer, Ishaani and Martha waited eagerly for them, banners and streamers put up all over the place as a welcome for the new arrivals.

The house had become a humdrum in the next few days with the babies constantly in the limelight, Ishaani and Martha caring for it once the library hours were done, while Ranveer made sure to spend sufficient time with them once he got back from work. Ranveer made sure that all the helpers were to the babies' assistance and helped Claudine out with some of the work while Martin went about his usual errands, both inside and outside the house. Martin and Claudine remained exhausted due to the newfound task of tending to the babies continuously, that ended up being more tiresome at times, yet they had a different glow on their faces altogether, the glow of being parents.

The presence of the children had created an atmosphere of liveliness and animation, something the house had steadily lacked since the past three years. Ranveer and Ishaani were both thrilled with the new experience they were having, while the importance of a child in a couple's life became more and more pronounced to them. Both of them had several inhibitions about what awaited them at the final step, but they were content with what they had between them for now, enjoying every day as it came.

Martin appeared for his second and third interviews respectively, the managers getting steadily impressed with Martin's knowledge on the economy and market shares. He was called for one final interview the next week that would be the decider. Claudine, Ranveer and Ishaani had made sure to prep him up properly before each of his interviews, making sure that they kept up his confidence level and gave him tips as to how to carry himself with confidence.

It was the 7th of February. Ranveer and Ishaani were hurrying over their breakfast, quickly shoving eggs and toast down along with a cup of coffee. Both of them were in for a quick discussion about the upcoming board committee meeting at the library that Ishaani was especially invited for, trying to figure out the reason behind it.

The two of them had hit a dead end when Martin and Claudine walked up on them, a smile on their faces. Ishaani turned to look at them and gave them a joyful smile, before it faltered slightly at the sight of their haggard state. Ishaani instead gave them a sympathetic look.

"Are the kids asleep?" Claudine sighed in exhaustion, while Martin yawned sleepily.

"Yeah, finally. Those two just love to keep us on our toes." Ishaani beamed at them and Claudine chuckled.

"But they're adorable," said Ishaani lovingly. Claudine and Martin smiled before the former nudged the latter. Ranveer and Ishaani looked at them curiously before the former cleared his throat and asked softly.

"What's going on?" Martin grinned and spoke softly.

"Claudine and I have given it good thought. We want you to be Fred and George's godparents."

A pin drop silence continued, during which Ranveer stared at them in shock while Ishaani nearly missed choking over her coffee. Both of them looked at a loss for words, too dazed to think what to say. Claudine smiled at their reaction and spoke affectionately.

"We knew that we wouldn't find anyone well-suited for being Freddie and George's godparents than the two of you. So, do you accept it?"

"Yes." Ranveer and Ishaani spoke in unison and hugged Martin and Claudine respectively, while the latter two gave loving looks at the new, overenthusiastic godparents.

Breaking apart from the hug, they heard the grandfather clock chime 7, both of them quickly finished their toast and hurriedly left the house, kissing each other goodbye, not forgetting to kiss the babies goodbye in their room without disturbing their sleep.

That evening, Ranveer sat in his study room, working over several files when Martin knocked over his door. Ranveer muttered a swift 'Come in' and Martin entered the room, a hesitant expression on his face.

"You called me, Monsieur?" Ranveer looked up from his file and nodded. He gestured Martin to take a seat.

"Oh yes. Sit." Martin nodded and sat down quickly. Ranveer smiled.

"Is there something... wrong, Monsieur?"

"Oh no. Everything's fine." Martin smiled and Ranveer spoke with gratitude. "Thank you for giving Ishaani and myself the chance of being your godparents. It means a lot to the two of us."

"Monsieur, you have been the reason why Claudine is in my life. It’s why we have two angels today. And Madame has been our greatest support right from the time she has entered our lives. If anyone deserved to be such a crucial part of their lives, it’s the two of you." Ranveer gave him an embarrassed look and Martin smiled lovingly. After a few moments, Ranveer spoke softly.

"I'm hosting a small party this weekend for the kids, along with another special announcement." Martin looked taken aback and made to protest, before Ranveer raised his hand up, stemming the former's flow of speech. "Martin, please." Martin pursed his lips and didn't argue further.

"Monsieur, must you do so much for us?" Ranveer smiled and spoke in a deep voice.

"That goes without saying." Martin gave Ranveer a twinkling look and the latter asked softly. "How are your preparations going?" Martin frowned.

"What about, Monsieur?"

"For the interview. It’s your big day tomorrow." Martin smiled and spoke happily.

"I feel prepared, Monsieur. It’s as though my children has given me a newfound strength to see life." Ranveer nodded approvingly.

"Good. This is what I wanted to hear. Just remember - tomorrow, don't let anything handicap you. Remember that this is something that you have waited for a long time. It’s your time tomorrow - be sure you make it worthwhile. That CEO should know the talent you have in you, what you are truly capable of. Just go, and seize the day. Do it for yourself, and seek inspiration from your kids. Alright?" Martin gave Ranveer a warm look and nodded passionately.

"I promise, Monsieur." Ranveer quickly got up and filled the two of them a quarter glass brandy. Handing one over to Martin, he raised his glass in a toast.

"To a brighter future." Martin raised his glass up and repeated after Ranveer.

"To a brighter future." Both of them downed the glass in a single go, the brandy warming them up in the chills of February. After a few minutes, Ranveer spoke again.

"Martin, I have had one of the helpers keep a three-piece suit outfit in your room. Wear it and go for the interview tomorrow." Martin gave Ranveer a hesitant look and the latter sighed.

"Monsieur, you know I can't." Ranveer spoke patiently.

"Martin, the impression you make tomorrow will matter the most. I am not asking you to show yourself to be more than you feel you are for I know that's what you are thinking. Tomorrow, I want you to look like a man belonging in the corporate world, true to his word and capable of making his company look good in the market." Martin nodded his head vigorously before he spoke in a resigned tone.

"Monsieur, in these years, you have been my biggest support. You have been like an older brother to me. How will I ever make it up to you?"

"On normal occasions, I would have said that it’s the deal with family. You can never do that, even though we both know that you have pretty much been doing that till before Ishaani came along again. But today, I think you did it by giving myself and Ishaani the honor that you have." Martin shrugged his shoulders.

"I'll wear the suit tomorrow." Ranveer gave Martin an appreciative look while the latter relaxed.

"Now that it’s decided, it’s one thing less to worry about. Which reminds me - have you got everything ready that I asked for?" Martin nodded satisfactorily, a merry look over his face.

"Yes, Monsieur." Ranveer beamed and asked Martin in controlled excitement.

"Good. What time will your interview be done by?"

"At 2, perhaps."

"Good enough. Because I'll be needing your help on this." Martin puffed his chest like a happy cat, while Ranveer chuckled at the former's reaction.

"Mais oui, Monsieur." Both of them sat silently for a few minutes before Martin spoke softly. "Monsieur, can I ask you something?"

"Go ahead." Martin took a deep breath before asking cautiously.

"If Claudine and I were to move away from here someday, would you agree to our decision?" Ranveer gave Martin a scrutinizing look. Giving the question a good thought, he spoke softly.

"Depends upon why." Martin dropped the obscurity and spoke honestly.

"The company did speak of accommodation in yesterday's interview." Ranveer gave him a deep look before he asked slowly.

"Have they said where, exactly?" Martin shook his head, a tad bit of uncertainty filling up his eyes now.

"Somewhere in Vouliagmeni, for all I know."

"Wouldn't that be far?" Martin shrugged his shoulders, acknowledging the fact.

"Yes, it is." Ranveer gave Martin a tired look.

"We'll get to that when the time comes. For now, I think it is best that you concentrate on your interview." Not entirely satisfied with his reply, Martin understood the dismissal of the topic. He wished Ranveer goodnight and swung the door open when Ranveer spoke from behind.

"The house would certainly get much lonelier without the four of you. I wish I could say that I wouldn't agree, but we both know that it's time to let go." Martin turned back and gave Ranveer a teary look, before he shut the door behind him softly.

The eighth of February came with unexpectedly good weather and Ranveer couldn't have been happier. Sitting at the dining table as Martin served him and Ishaani breakfast, Ranveer noticed Ishaani look at him expectantly several times, but each time, Ranveer would only give her a cursory glance and she would bite her lip, trying hard enough not to burst out.

Quickly having his breakfast, Ranveer quickly wished Martin best of luck, giving him last minute tips, the latter listening to him attentively. The moment Ranveer finished, he almost got up and made his way to the front door, while Ishaani looked harried. She sprung up desperately, losing all pretense and called out his name loudly. Ranveer turned behind, puzzled, while she walked up to him so that she stood exactly in front of him. Ranveer looked confused while she gave him an expectant look.

"Don't you think that you are forgetting something?" Ranveer wrinkled his brows in thought, a deep look on his face before he brightened up. He slowly snaked his fingers over Ishaani's waist and pulled her in for a long kiss, at the end of which Ishaani looked dazed. He smiled and spoke happily.

"I forgot that today was your meeting with the board members. All the best, sweetheart." Ishaani's happy look changed into one of extreme disappointment, which she tried to quickly camouflage. Ranveer caught her look and smiled.

"Sweetheart, don't be so disheartened. They aren't even that painful as well." Ishaani bit her lip again as Ranveer quickly made his way out from the house, giving her one, final kiss on her forehead. The moment Ranveer left, Martin came behind Ishaani and tapped her shoulder. Ishaani turned around behind, her eyes dewy, as Martin gave her a broad smile.

"Happiest birthday to you, Madame!"

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