The staff was all over the place, busy at sweeping, dusting and rubbing the floor of the mansion. No one broke a sweat under the scrutinizing eyes of Rupali Gupta. The clutter of dishes could be heard from the kitchen as maid scrubbed them and rinse them under the clean water.
The party that Mr. Ramesh Gupta threw in the honor of his niece has come to an end and the guests have departed a long time ago. It was midnight now and cleaning was on peak. Rupali, the mistress of place supervised everyone and yelled at those who slacked at the job.
Though the maids were confused over the sudden fuss of cleansing but didn’t show it in front of the mistress. It’s not like her to order everyone out at the middle of the night to mop the area. Usually, such activities are accomplished at the early hours of the morning.
Rupali glanced at the grandfather clock ticking in the living room and sighed heavily. She was bored out of her mind and just wanted to lie on her bed. Exchanging pleasantries at the party had worn her out. A curse left her mind remembering how it’s Tara’s job but today her husband insisted her to do it.
In the morning, when she explained the little exchange between her so-called niece and her, the man got angry. He was upset over the fact that Tara has started thinking about her future and was willing to work at the company. He wasn’t ready to introduce her to the business world because for sure she will demand more and someday would even ask for her freedom. They weren’t ready to let her go yet. She was their golden bird after all. So, to deal with the problem, he has asked his cunning wife to ready the mansion before midnight and to assemble all the family members in the living room. He has planned a surprise for them.
As the clock strikes 12:30 am, Rupali claps her hands to catch the staff’s attention and ask them to retreat.
“You may leave now. But be here by early morning to get done with the rest of the stuff.”
The maids nodded and scurried away but not before throwing secretive glares in Rupali’s direction for ruining their rest hours. The moment they retreated towards servant quarters, the front door opened and her husband stepped inside along with her arrogant brother, Rahul Singhania.
Rahul Singhania is a brunette man in his early 30’s and works with Ramesh Gupta only. He has arrived at the mansion after Tara’s parents’ death and didn’t leave ever since. The one person that Tara has come to despise the most was him. She hated his guts. His intense stares filled with lust always creeps her out. If not that then she must hate him because he always finds a way to corner her. His heinous advances have left the girl to stay alert all the times.
Rupali descended down the stairs and hugged her brother before placing a kiss on her husband’s lips.
“What is this all about, Ramesh? I am tired and craving a good night sleep. What’s so important that can’t be done in the morning?” She asked gruffly and her brother smirked deviously.
“Relax, love. All will be answered soon.” Her husband assured and took a seat at the lavish couch.
A few minutes later, Pooja, Varun, and Tara also joined them, desperate to get over with this family meeting and then retire to bed.
“Let’s get over with it,” Varun muttered aloud and settled in front of his father. Pooja slid on his right and Ruplai settled on his left. Rahul sat on the single couch and Tara decided to stand behind her cousin brother. Her brown eyes were trained on Varun’s shoulder as she felt Rahul dark gaze pining on her flesh. She trembled beneath the thick cardigan and tried to calm the racing heart.
Her uncle cleared his throat catching everyone’s attention.
“You all must be eager to know that why have I called you here? Well, I wanted to congratulate my dear niece personally for accomplishing success and brightening our family’s name. I am proud of you, Tara and just realized that how long we’ve come along. You are a grown up and a mature person who is ready to carry the responsibilities. I think that you are ready for the next step. Since your father isn’t among us anymore, it’s my duty, as his younger brother to fulfill his wishes and unfinished businesses.
You are one of the many.
I remember how he used to talk about his only daughter with so much passion. The time has come where I disclose one of his biggest dreams in front of everyone. 20 years back, he started collecting a small fare for the best day of his daughter. After he passed away in the accident, I carried on with the procedure of throwing 5% of company’s profit every month in that account.
Actually, the sum was collected for the auspicious day of Tara’s wedding.”
The moment Ramesh finished his speech; a stunned silence engulfed the audience. Rupali frowned at her husband’s words and Pooja stared as if he has gone mad. Varun held his silence and tried to peek in his father’s unconscious. By now, the boy got aware that he wasn’t going to like whatever rubbish escaped his father’s mouth. His fists tightened on thighs as he waited for the next words.
On the other hand, Tara was a different story. She failed to feel the gravity and her gut twisted in a sick manner. Shock clogged her brain like a Python and her lungs burned due to lack of oxygen. Her limbs shook behind the couch and if it hadn’t been her hold on the couch, she must have fallen.
“Tara, my girl, I think you are old enough to get married and settle down. I have decided that the groom should be Rahul so you don’t have to leave us after the wedding. That way you will be still under our roof and protected from the outside world. You may join the company after the wedding as his assistant. It will be a new experience for you.” Ramesh finished with a smile and the entire color left Tara’s face. She turns pale as a ghost and clutched her gut to stop the rising bile. Her body throbbed with disgust as her tear-filled eyes landed on Rahul. He had a pathetic smirk on his face screaming ‘Nowhere to run now’.
“I don’t support this.”
A strong voice rang in the nerve breaking lunacy that melted the haze of a bad decision.
Varun stood from his place, shielding Tara completely from every eye.
“I don’t support this arrangement and I am not sure that Tara is ready for the marriage. How can you even think that, father when your own daughter who is 4 years older than Tara is still fooling around? If someone needs to settle down here than it’s Pooja. She has nothing to do other than emptying her bank balance over a psychotic boyfriend.
Whereas, Tara has just topped her university and has numerous options open for her. If she wishes she could interfere in company’s matter or carry on with her studies. It’s her golden moment so don’t tie her from an ugly ass who has done nothing but steal from you time to time.” Varun advised looking in his father eyes. He has recognized a hint of cunningness in Ramesh. The old man’s intentions weren’t pure.
“Varun, you have no right to voice your thoughts in such matters. You must stay quiet and let us adults decide. Tara has to marry Rahul and start her marital life as per her father’s wish. And it’s not like we are forcing her in this arrangement. She could back off any moment if she wants. No pressure.” Ramesh cleared standing up and looked at his niece. His hand secretly crawled to his leather belt, trying to remind her of consequences and Tara’s eyes followed that action. A tear slipped down her cheek and she gulped the sobs. Her heart ached, recalling the previous incidents where she has suffered like a dying soul. She has no choice but to nod or else Ramesh will have her head, gladly. The girl, who has grown up with terror and has gone through so much abuse, was scared to scream a ‘NO’. Her voice was snatched from her a long time ago.
So, she slowly nodded her head and mumbled a quiet ‘YES’.
“What? You got to be kidding me, Tara. Do you want to marry this nutcase? This retarded jerk?” Varun shouted making her jump in fear and Rupali moved forward in defense of her brother.
“Varun, do not utter such words for my brother. Have you forgotten that he is your uncle, so many years ahead of you?” She chided and he laughed mockingly.
“Exactly mother, he is my uncle. U.N.C.L.E. That means he is Tara’s uncle too. Have you lost your mind for bringing up such arrangement?” he yelled and left the living room watching his cousin once again submitting in front of her tormentors. He could only fight for her if she is willing to be free. He is defenseless when she has decided to utter nothing.
Tara looked at Rahul with her tear-filled eyes and remembered the memories where he has tried to destroy her dignity multiple times.
I sighed in relief after cleaning the last room as per instructed by aunt Rupali. Now I can make some time for the studies. This is what she does whenever exam times are around the corner. She indulges me in the household works like cleaning and washing. An old trick to annoy and punish someone, but is still effective. These people just want a reason to stop my studies but I will never give them one. Pushing back the strands of hairs from my cheeks, I threw the mop in the storeroom and prepared a plate for dinner. The entire mansion was empty as everyone was out to attend some business party. Like always I begged my aunt to not take me and surprisingly she gave in my requests. I was never a fan of them anyway. The slow music and show off of wealth irritates me to the core. The women there never back away from flaunting their dresses and jewelry. Who wants to even know about them?
Finishing the dinner in peace and without any bickering, I washed the dishes and headed to my room while stretching the muscles all the way. Damn, my back and shoulders were so sore. Deciding to take a shower, I locked the bedroom door at my back and went to the bathroom. After scrubbing my body clean until the last scrap of dirt got removed, I wrapped a towel around my body and slapped the forehead in realization.
Shit! I forgot to bring my clothes.
But later thanked my stars for making me lock the door.
Getting out of the bathroom while humming a melody which mom used to sing before tucking me under the covers as a kid, I made my way towards the closet. Everything was fine and at peace until a strong arm came from nowhere and wrapped around my waist. A shrill scream escaped my parted lips in horror. My body tensed and I crossed my arms on my chest while kicking in the air as he lifted me from the floor.
“God, you are so beautiful.” His gruff voice reached my ears making my eyes widen in shock and another scream to rip from my chest.
“HELP. LET GO OF ME. HELP…..” I screamed as my life depended on it while thrashing in his hold and begging for him to leave me alone. “Please Mr. Rahul, leave me alone. Get out.” I screamed like a maniac and felt a panic start building in my chest. Giving no mind to my screams, he threw me on the bed and hovered over me. With his one hand, he locked both my wrist above my head and with knees trapped my calves, making it difficult to even kick.
“You have no idea that how much I want you, Tara. The only thing which you need to do is say ‘yes’. I swear I will keep you like a queen all my life.” He said in my ear, nibbling it at the same time while his free hand roamed around my chest. Bile rose in my stomach due to disgust and I gagged loudly trying to push him back.
“NO, HELP. PLEASE, SOMEBODY, HELP …….” I screamed again but all my cries got muffled when his disgusting lips crashed on mine taking them into rough torture. He bit them harshly like an animal, drawing out blood. I cried and sobbed in agony as this monster forced himself over me. My 5.8 ft skinny frame was nothing in front of his 6.5 ft beastly body. He was so huge. I shrieked again as his free hand reached the knot of the towel and within a blink of an eye he removed it leaving me stark naked as the day I was born. My breath hitched in my throat and I froze under him, shattering in embarrassment and pain as his lustful and greedy eyes took in every single inch of my body. He was about to touch me again when got ripped away from me.
A scream resonated into the room making me jump in horror and back away in the hardboard of the bed, consoling my body in a small ball. My breaths were harsh by now and I was looking around shakily and horrified. What the hell just happened? I saw Varun, my cousin landing a punch on Rahul’s face, by the impact of which he fell flat on the floor clutching his nose. “Get out. GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE I KILL YOU.” Varun screamed making me flinch and letting out a sob.
My sob caught his attention.
As soon as his burning eyes landed on me, they widen in disbelief. He immediately slides next to me and with help of a duet covers my body, pulling me to his chest. Rahul crawled out of my room with a profusely bleeding nose and throwing some profanities at his back.
“Shh… You are alright, Tara. I came on time.” Varun mumbled rubbing my back and pushing my face in his chest. That mere posture of my cousin helped me to control my sobs and collect all the shattered pieces of dignity.
Rahul came here with the intentions of raping me. Oh my god!
“Shhh… Tara, you are fine.” This time Varun’s voice held an edge, an edge of sweetness. I nodded gulping back the lump of my throat and sighed.
“How did he get in?” He asked and I can detect the coldness of his words.
“I don’t know. I surely locked the door before going to the bathroom.” I sniffed and muttered in a small voice as tears shamelessly fell from my eyes and ruined his expensive suit. Seems like he came directly from a party.
“I heard your screams from the main doors only and immediately rushed to help. Now take rest while I make sure that bastard never bothers you in future ever again.” He said pulling away from me and walking towards the door.
“You punched him,” I stated to which he turned with a charming smirk.
“Oh yes, I did.” With that, he stepped out rolling his neck and shoulders while cracking his knuckles. Seem like Rahul is not going to the hospital with just a bloody nose.