Deion & Aarav

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Aarav

This morning Aarav told his father and Chandra that he agreed to the marriage. Not because he wanted the marriage, no, he just felt it was the right thing to do. Deion seemed a bit jealous but supported him nonetheless.

Speaking of Deion, after the kiss it did get a bit awkward. They cuddled the night after, then stared at each other awkwardly the next day. Deion did wink at him a couple of times, which made Aarav blush like a tomato.

This morning he went to his father's room to hear him talking to someone on the phone. "I know amma." He says.

"This is all your fault. If you hadn't married that Padma instead of Riya I wouldn't be having to tell you to get Ramachandra married, now would I?" He hears his nannamma say.

"I told you I was sorry I-"

"What?!" Aarav shouts, "This is all because you didn't wanna marry a girl you didn't know either?! You're such a fucking hypocrite!"

"Language, Ramachandra!" His father shouts.

"Fuck you! I'm not marrying her anymore, you can go on living with disappointment. I'm not doing a damn thing for you!" Aarav shouts.

"What's going on?" His mother asks.

"Did you know Dad is going to is making me marry Chandra because he didn't marry the woman grandma wanted him to?!" Aarav shouts. His mother looks at him guiltily.

"I'm... Sorry." His mother says.

"Sorry won't help!" He shouts, pushing the door open so hard it almost came off its hinges.

"You get back here, now!" His father shouts.

Aarav turns around, sticks up his middle finger, and stomps to his room where he sees Deion looking at him with a concerned look.

"I'm leaving. Wanna come with?" Aarav asks Deion.

"No, you aren't!" His father shouts at him.

"Get the fuck out of my way." Aarav says, getting right up in his own father's face.

"You don't talk to me like that." His father threatens him with his eyes.

"Watch me," Aarav threatens back, bumping his father out of the way with his shoulder.

Deion stared in shock. Both Aarav and his father stood their ground, staring at each other intensely.

"I have never once hit a child of mine-"

"Anirudh, don't!" Aarav's mother shouted.

"Why not?! He wants to fight I'll give him a fight!" Aarav's father shouted.

"Aarav, let's just go," Deion suggested.

"You aren't taking my son anywhere." Aarav's father warned.

"Look, we all just need time-" Deion began.

"You're not in this damn family, boy." Aarav's father said.

"We're leaving." Aarav stated, walking away and grabbing his backpack.

Aah bag ekkadiki testunnav! Pettu akkada!" His father shouts in Telugu.

Aarav stops and his mouth hangs open. He's definitely in trouble now. "Sit down!" His father demands and Aarav does so, sitting right beside Deion. "Now you listen to me. You will go to the wedding and you will marry Candramukhi no matter what you say! This is your nannamma we're talking about! Deion, you better leave right now you are no longer welcome here."

"Why?! What did he do?!" Aarav protests.

"Don't think I didn't notice. That disgusting mess is not allowed in this house, you hear me?!" Aarav's father shouts.

Aarav's heart sinks and his breath hitches. He can't seem to get rid of the lump in his throat.

"Sir, I didn't mean to-" Deion is cut off.

"Get out! You disgust me! How dare you pollute my boy like that?! He was normal before you!" Aarav's father shouts.

"Anirudh, please." Aarav's mother pleads.

"Is this ok with you?!" Aarav's father shouts, "Is it ok for our boy to go around kissing other boys like a girl?! Is it?!"

"Well-" Aarav's mother starts.

"Deion... Leave, now!" With that, Deion quickly walks away with his bags in hand.

"He has nowhere to go!" Aarav shouts.

"Whose fault is that?"

"Not his!" Aarav shouts at his father.

"I heard his disrespected his stepmother! He was bad enough for you and now he's made you a..." He shudders, "Homosexual?! I am disappointed in you!"

"Anir-"

"Shut up!" Aarav's father yells at his mother. His mother flinches and tears show up in her eyes.

"Amma?" Aarav asks.

"Padma, I'm-" His father starts.

"It's fine. I'll leave you two alone." His mother says, walking out of the room trying to hide her face.

"Look what you've done!" His father shouts.

Aarav stares at the floor. Of course, his father would see him the same way all the other kids did. Was it really that bad what he felt? It must've been. But Deion, he's so amazing. There's no way he can just let go. Or maybe he can.

"Nanna?" Aarav asks.

"What?!" His father snaps.

"I'll marry Chandra and ignore Deion. I promise." He said.

His father smiles, "That's a good boy. Now, get some rest. You're getting married tomorrow."

"On my birthday?!" His father gives him a look and he looks at the floor, "Ok, great." He says with a fake smile.

His father walks away, closing the door behind him and Aarav lets a tear fall from his eyes.

***

Today was the day Aarav got married, to a woman he didn't know anything about on his birthday no doubt. Many people flew in from India to see it all go down.

Aarav walks into the forest to take a hit off his cigarette. He doesn't smoke too much, but he does whenever he needs it, which is right now.

As he's walking to find a place he hears talking and giggles. He looks around to find no one other than Candramukhi and some random girl he hasn't seen.

They look into each other's eyes, smile, and then lean in for a kiss. Aarav's mouth dropped. "Chandra!" He shouts on impulse and covers his mouth. They both look at him in shock and begin running away.

"No! I need to talk to you!" He shouts running after them.

Chandra tells the girl to go along ahead of her and she stops and looks at Aarav in fear. He stops and stands in front of her.

"You can't take me away from her..." Chandra says.

"No! That's not it... Chandra, I didn't know." Aarav says with a smile.

"You're... Happy?" She asks with an eyebrow raised.

"Yes! I mean, no... Uh." Aarav says.

"Tell me what's up, asshole." She says and Aarav gives her a look of anger, "What? You are one. Now tell me."

"Well..."

"Come on!" Chandra sings.

"There's this boy..." Aarav trails off.

"Oh, I see! We're both mega gays." Chandra jokes.

"I guess so..." Aarav applies awkwardly. "But, I agreed to ignore him and marry you because my father kept yelling at me about kissing him..." Aarav says, looking at his shoes.

"Oh... I'm sorry, dude." Chandra says sympathetically. "Look, don't give up love. Listen, we will get married, but we will date who we want. Deal? We don't have to sleep in the same bed or live together or even talk to each other. Is that good?"

"Yeah... It is." Aarav smiles softly.

"Good. Let me go find my girl." Chandra says with a smile before running off deeper into the forest.

***

An hour later, the ceremony began. Before he was called to the center of all the attention, he made sure to pray to the tiny Shiva statue he had gotten as a wedding gift from his uncle.

"I know it will happen, but I don't want it to. I just wish I could leave here, maybe go see Deion. I don't want to do this, Shiva. Please..." Aarav said. He still felt awkward, but he felt more connected to Shiva than ever before. The stare of the statue was no longer one of disappointment but rather one of forgiveness. At least that's how he saw it.

"Ramachandra!" His mother called. He sighed, got up, and walked with much reluctance out of the canopy he was in, his small statue in his pocket.

His mother stopped him. "Come here, Aarav. I need to talk to you." She says, grabbing his hand and pulling him towards a far away canopy. "Listen, I'm trying to change your father's mind, which is hard enough to do, but I'm trying. I want you to know that I fully support you and Deion."

Aarav gave her a look of suspicion. She just smiled and continued on. "He's here, you know, but I've hidden him well." His mother says with a smile, "It's gonna be like a movie! He'll come up and scream he objects and-"

"Amma, no, please. That'll be really embarrassing." Aarav says.

His mother giggles, "But it'll be grand! Look, I'll go talk to your father about this a bit more and try to get him go see it through. Maybe mentioning moksha will help a bit. God knows he is always passionate about that." His mother smiles. "By the way, darling, I'm very proud of you reconnecting with God."

He gives her an eyebrow raise, "How do you-"

"I heard you in there." She smiles, "We need to teach you to pray better, though." She jokes.

"There are no rules to prayers." Aarav says.

"Ah, you've talked to a very wise man, haven't you?" She smiles, "You're growing up to be a fine man, Ramachandra. I'll try to fix this for you, I promise. I'll try my very best." She kisses his forehead. "Everything will be fine, my boy." She says giving him a hug. She leaves the canopy with a smile on her face and tells him to be out there in five minutes.

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