DEVIANT

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Chapter 4

They consummated their marriage a year and a half after it took place.

That wasn’t by love but with the influence of alcohol. It happened when Gautham’s friend insisted him to bring his wife to the party. He hesitated but couldn’t refuse his friend either.

So, she was there with him in the party draped in a pretty pink saree with her hair flowing freely. As much as she looked beautiful and captivating, Gautham didn’t want himself to be drawn in her beauty.

Afraid, he would have to stick to his current job to fulfill his responsibilities as a husband and that he will end up saying good bye to his dreams. However, the eyes that laid on Poornima and the compliment given to her wasn’t making him any happier.

A kind of anger boiled in him, as he watched his friends eyed her like a toy while Poornima enjoyed the party with the ladies.

At the end of the party, her husband went on with extra pegs. He couldn’t handle the fact that everyone was complimenting her while he, said nothing to her.

They got home and it was time for Gautham to release all of his frustration.

“Did you enjoyed all the compliments you received today?” he muttered, moving closer to her.

“What do you mean?” she asked backing away from him.

“The guys back there, were complimenting you. In front of me. You must have enjoyed, didn’t you?”

He was clearly drunk and she needed to shut him up. Poornima tried to push him to the bedroom and on to the bed but nope, he pushed her away.

“Tell me” he hissed, grabbing her arm.

“Tell me, Poorni!” his grip got tighter.

“Yes! Because you never once did. So, yes. I enjoyed their compliment” Poornima managed to wiggled out of his grip and headed to her room.

“If you ever want a compliment, you ask me. Got it?” he pulled her back and pinned her against the wall.

“Leave me, Gautham” she yelled.

“No. I don’t believe you, Poorni. What if you go after any of them?” he whispered.

“What the hell are you blabbering? You are drunk and you need to sleep, Gautham” she tried to push him away but he was pressing himself to her.

“No, I want you, now”

“Stop it, Gautham. You will regret it once you are sober. Leave me!”

“No, I won’t I promise.” he dipped his head and gave feathery kisses on the crook of her head.

“Stop, Gau-” before she could finish, he had claimed her soft lips in his.

“You are beautiful” he told in between the kiss. The very first compliment he ever gave her and she knew it only meant for that moment.

That night, Poornima knew it was wrong and she wanted to stop but he was stronger than her. He had taken control of her entirely.

She knew he would regret when he comes to know what happened.

The sun had rise, illuminating the apartment with it’s glow.Gautham woke up early with a hangover. And just as she feared, he woke up before her. A turmoil of emotion ran through him as he found himself spooning over Poornima.

He looked around, their clothes were scattered everywhere and then he turned to the peacefully sleeping lady.

She was indeed beautiful, he knew and at the moment he felt happy about having her next to him but he remembered nothing. How did they end up together?

As he tried harder to recalled, flashes of faded images appeared. They have consummated their marriage. A sudden fear crept his mind. His dreams seemed like shattering before him.

After that morning, Gautham never made it to home. And even if he did, it will be once the lights in his apartment were off.

To him, having a family isn’t suitable for a police man and to put an end to his fear of losing his dream job, he decided to give her a divorce.

Divorcing Poornima was his worst decision ever. If only, Poornima told him earlier about her pregnancy.

Had his parents not threaten him to get married, he wouldn’t have spoilt a woman’s life.

“If you don’t do as what we say... Remember you will have to loose us forever” Gautham’s mother’s words ringed in his ears.

or

Had the notion of ‘burden’ never made it to his ears by his favourite lectures, he would have lived a happy married life. Netra would have a perfect parents.

----

Without much of a hassle, Gautham reached the GreenLush Apartment. Despite six years being away from Chennai, route to his home will never be forgotten.

He reached the twentieth floor and rush towards house number fourteen. Gautham stood numb in front of his once apartment.

His heartbeat raced.

Why is he feeling weird? He wasn’t sure.

Was it the excitement that he is going to meet his daughter for the first time or the guilty feeling hovering the former. What if she shuns him away thinking him as a stranger?

Mixed emotion engulfed him as he took the house key, he got from Poornima’s belongings in the station.

Everything was the same as he left six years ago.

There were wedding picture hung on the wall along with other pictures. He walked scanning the familiar wall of pictures. One of Poornima hobby during the early days of their married life, to have a wall full of photographs.

He noticed a particular photograph.

A pretty little girl laughing while her mother carried her high up. The picture looked so perfect.

He suddenly felt left out.

Those words Poornima uttered, felt as if it was meant for him.

I missed her important days. Her growing days.

He ran his hand over the photograph and without wasting time he pivoted to the bedroom.

Gautham knocked the door and waited, there was no sign of any movement in there. He knocked once again. No respond, he open the door slowly.

The room had the colour cantaloupe painted on all four walls, lot’s of toys arranged neatly at a corner, a single bed in the center and a small table and chair at another corner.

It was definitely Netra’s room but it was empty. Where is she?

He further proceeded to the second and only room left. It was his room, their room. Everything in the room never changed.

Feeling dejected, he begin searching the room for Netra.

“Netra?” he called but there were no respond.

He tried a few more time but no one answered.

His slender fingers pressed on his forehead, his head begin to throb.

“Where are you?”

He searched the entire apartment, there was no sign of Netra or any intruder. He couldn’t think anymore, Gautham took his phone and dialed the landline connected to his office.

A few rings later, one of the constable answered the phone, “Pass the phone to Poornima” he ordered.

A few minutes later she answered.

“Hello, Poorni. Where did you say, Netra is?” he tried to sound as calm as possible.

“In the house. Why? Is everything okay there?” she could sense tension in his calm voice.

“Yes. Yes, I’m about to reach the apartment. I’ll call you back” he hung up the call.

Where can he possibly find her when he knows nothing about Netra.

Think, think Gautham. Any other name did she mentioned apart from Kalidasan and Janaki? Think.

Janaki?

Janaki.

“Netra must be with her... But...” Gautham rushed out of the apartment and down ten flights of stairs.

Level fifteen.

The house door was locked. The funeral must have taken place in the hall below, Janaki could be there with her fellow neighbours, mourning for her husbands death.

Then he remembered the calls he received during the interrogation from his worried mother inquiring about Kalidasan. Which he had ignored.

Right now, he wasn’t bothered about his uncle’s death. He was desperate to find his daughter.

But again, why would Netra be with Janaki? No, she must be with someone else. Who?

Where could she be?

He took out his mobile once again, fingers tapped the previously dialed number.

Should I call Poorni? She is already in a mess, I can’t put her into another.

Maybe she is in one of the house in the twentieth floor. As he was about to move away from the Kalidasan’s door he heard a screeching sound.

Like a table being pushed.

He snapped his head to the direction of the house. He knocked once, twice, thrice.

No one answered.

“There must be someone in” he dropped down on his knees to see through the gap between the door and floor for any movements.

Gautham noticed movements, someone walking back and forth.

Without much thinking, Gautham took his revolver out from his back pocket and aimed for the lock.

Bang.

Barging into the house, a shocked Janaki stood in the middle of the house.

Gautham’s eyes immediately shifted down to the floor. A girl laid on the ground with a plastic bag, covering her head. She was struggling to breath.

“Netra!” he yelled as he dropped next to her and immediately worked on the plastic bag out of her head.

“Netra! Netra! Are you alright?” he asked, horrified looking at his daughter’s condition.

“Call the ambulance!” he yelled to the people who had now gathered outside the house, blocking Janaki from running away.

Meanwhile he call his department people to immediately reach the scene area and arrest the woman for attempt to murder.

The police had arrived five minutes after the call, evidence were being collected by the team.

“I’ll deal with you later, my dear aunt” he hissed as the paramedics rushed Netra out of the apartment in a stretcher.

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