Arnav was reading the message again and again. He must be the killer. How did he know what he is doing? Is he tracking me? He is calling from a private number. How did he get the number? Where is he calling from? Let’s Arun Prince Come, everything will be sorted out. Throwing his phone on the bed he went to the kitchen.
Aman was crossing the City hospital by bike. He pressed the brake, seeing Arnav going inside. What he is doing here? Is he here regarding the case? He took a “U” turn and followed him. He inquired in the reception about Arnav.
Aman: Ma’am, what Arnav sir, is doing here? Is he handling any case?
Recep: His sister is admitted here, sir.
Aman: His sister?
Recep: yes, she is in a coma.
Aman: What happened to her?
Recep: I don’t know, you should ask the doctor about it.
Aman: How long has she been here?
Recep: For three or four months, sir.
Aman: What is her condition?
Recep: No improvement…
Aman was about to ask her more but backed off seeing Arnav descending the stairs. He left the reception hurriedly and waited until Arnav came out. He reached him before Arnav got into the Jeep.
Aman: Good morning sir…
Arnav was stunned seeing Aman in the hospital.
Arnav: Good morning. What are you doing here?
Aman: I came to meet my relative, sir.
As av: What happened?
Aman: She delivered a baby and she is getting discharged in the evening. So, I came as I won’t get time to visit in the evening.
Aman saw a trace of relief on Arnav's face. But why?
Aman: Why did you come here, sir?
Arnav: I came to meet my friend but he got discharged already.
He lied which made Aman frown. Why he is lying?
Arnav: Come on. We are going to the “Aspire promoters”.
Aman: ohh we are going to inquire about the third case, Stella Mary?
Arnav nodded yes.
Aspire Promoters is one of the best builders in Delhi. Its elevation itself told its success and skills. Its manager welcomed them with cool drinks. He felt bad for Stella Mary.
Manager: She was a sincere worker in our company, sir. Her demise is a big loss for our company.
Arnav: How does she move with her co-workers?
Manager: So friendly. She teaches to everyone without any ego or envy.
Arnav: Anything particular about Stella?
Manager: She falls easily for the eulogy. (he chuckled) If you want her to complete a work, just a few praising words are enough to recharge her. At the same time, if anyone degraded her, she looks upset for the whole day. It was very hard to bring her out of the grief.
Arnav: Ohh… interesting… Who was her friend?
Manager: Not particular sir… she spoke with everyone.
Arnav: Can I get your phone number?
Manager (extending the company card): You can contact me through office number because I won’t attend any outside call at home.
Arnav: Ohh… family seek…
Arnav: Thank you for the information, sir.
He shook hands with the manager and left his cabin.
When they came out, the peon was distributing tea to the staff. Arnav gestured him to come out. He came hesitatingly.
Arnav: you know, I can take you to the station and make you spit everything if you don’t answer my questions.
Peon: Sir, why are you asking me, leaving everyone, sir?
Arnav: It's because peons know everything about the staff. As they roam in the office, in between everyone.
Peon: What do you want to know, sir?
Arnav: Tell me about Stella.
Peon: She was a nice woman sir…
Arnav: With whom she was so close?
Peon: She was not close to anyone, sir.
Arnav: But she liked the manager right?
Aman dropped his jaw…
Peon: Sir…. how do you know sir?
Arnav: He told me.
Aman(in mind): What a man he is….?
Peon: He told you?
Peon: Yes sir, he praises her a lot. She spends most of the time in his cabin.
Peon: Sir, please don’t tell him what I told you.
Arnav: not at all…
He left the office with Aman.
Aman: Sir, are you suspecting the manager?
Arnav: No. he is not a murderer.
Aman: I mean… are you suspecting a connection between him and Stella?
Aman: Why sir?
Arnav: Didn’t he say she easily falls for a eulogy? Who else other than the manager could praise her to get the work completed? She should have fallen for his words.
Aman: But he looks middle-aged…
Aman: And he has a reputation in the society…
Arnav(gulping down): Some dirty-minded fellows won’t think anything when it comes to LUST… they won’t care about breaking hearts and their beloved ones… all that they needed is LUST…
He said gritting his teeth. Aman looked at him awestruck. Why does he get emotional? Could this LUST issue be connected with his sister?
Arnav saw Khushi entering the supermarket with Pooja. He called Mohan.
Arnav: Stop the Jeep.
Aman: Why sir?
Arnav: Ohh… actually, I have to go to the IG office. You guys go to the office I will be there in an hour.
Aman: Ok sir…
Arnav got down from the jeep and Mohan started towards the commissioner office with Aman.
Arnav entered the Super Market and searched for Khushi. She was in the grocery section. Pooja was demanding her ice cream and Khushi was restricting her. Arnav went to the Toilet section which was the next section to the grocery section. He stood very much visible to Pooja, taking an “aftershave lotion” in his hand. As he expected, Pooja saw him.
She shouted excitedly. Khushi peeped towards the direction and raised her eyebrows. Arnav reacted like it was unexpected. He advanced them smilingly.
Khushi: Hello, sir…
Arnav: What Pooja is asking?
Pooja: Ice cream….
Arnav: Is she having a cold?
Khushi: no… she won’t stop with ONE.
Pooja (pouting): I like all the flavours…
Arnav: I have an idea… Let’s go.
Holding his finger, Pooja went with him, hopping, leaving jaw dropped Khushi. Arnav took her to the freezer and collected four small size ice creams. He handed it to her.
Arnav: It’s equal to one big size ice cream.
She became happy, seeing her favourite flavours. Khushi sighed nodding NO.
Arnav: You go and pick things. I will be with Pooja.
Khushi nodded yes and went to pick needed things. Arnav waited with Pooja until she finished the ice creams. Khushi came with a bag full of things. Almost it had readymade food items.
Arnav: Don’t you know cooking?
Pooja(giggling): She doesn’t know cooking.
Khushi(glaring at her): Actually, Bhabi never let me cook. She serves all my favourite food every day.
Arnav: You miss her a lot?
Khushi: Like hell…
She bit her lips to control the sob. But she couldn’t control her tears. It rolled down towards her chest, wetting her cheeks. Pooja’s eyes also pooled up.
Arnav: Hey… compose yourself. Pooja is getting emotional. Don’t make her confidence level low.
She wiped her cheek.
Khushi: We should go.
Arnav: I will drop you.
Khushi: It’s ok, sir. You just carry on.
Arnav: Are you sure? Will you carry this heavy bag?
Khushi: I should get used to it. I can’t expect someone to carry my burden. And it won’t happen all the time.
She chuckled painfully. Arnav was gazing at her sharply.
Khushi: Let’s go pooja.
Pooja: Are you angry?
Pooja: Then why did you call me Pooja? You always call me Pooju…
Kushi: I just… I’m sorry Pooju…
Arnav: Don’t forget that Pooja is watching you.
Khushi nodded YES and left. Arnav couldn’t resist thinking about his sister.
Khushi sat on the couch, leaning on its back. Pooja rushed inside and brought the water bottle. She extended it to Khushi. She took it smilingly and kissed her cheek.
Khushi: You have to go to school from Monday onwards. Ok?
Their attention got distracted as Khushi’s phone rang. Khushi’s body was drenched in sweat as it was from the PRIVATE NUMBER. Her hand shivered to attend it. But she has to… She swiped the green indication and heard.
“It seems, you got close to the police officer. Do you know he is the one who is handling YOUR case? Don’t you dare open your mouth to him? I warn you. Stay away from him. Don’t try to be smart. He won’t save you for your entire life.”
He disconnected the call.
To be continued…