3 days & 3 nights in Rathambor – Chap 5
Three hours later the Spa ladies finished their work. Stunned, Kalpi stared back at herself in the mirror. Obviously it was her, but she looked so different.
She had been bathed in a fragrant rose filled bath, oiled, massaged, bathed again, manicured, pedicured, waxed, buffed and scrubbed till she gleamed. If that wasn’t enough, they had given her hair a hair pack treatment, it now gleamed and shone like a dark ebony curtain. Some of which they had artfully arranged as pinned curls at the back of her head leaving the rest to cascaded down her back. Then they had applied subtle make-up and dressed her in the dark red lace sari that Raghav had gifted her.
No, she didn’t look like herself at all. Transformed was the girl of earlier, the reflection that gazed back at her was a woman. A woman who would be confident enough to go anywhere, do anything, even let Raghav…
“Kalpi! Are you ready?” Raghav’s impatient voice filtered through the door. “We are going to be late!”
A sudden rush of shyness mixed with nerves enveloped her. What would Raghav think? Was she overdressed? What if someone who knew her and her family saw her like this? What if Kamla maa saw her like this!
“Kalpi!I cant wait!” Raghav muttered in a frustrated tone as he opened the door that separated them, and stopped dead in his tracks.
She stood in front of the mirror, slowly his eyes travelled over her beautifully feminine form, up her perfect curves up her straight back, bare except for a scrap of lace that tied two ends of a minuscule blouse. Had that come with the sari! Insane jealousy ripped through him. He should have asked them to make a long sleeve full length thing that hid her from all but his eyes. Getting a grip on himself, he advanced into the room. She looked so utterly lovely, his breath caught as he looked in the mirror that she was staring at and met her eyes.
“Raghav…” She was about to turn.
“No! Don’t turn yet.” With shaking hands he took something out of his pocket and advanced towards her.
“What?” He was staring at her so intensely a quiver of nervousness trailed down her spine.
“Shhh..”He couldn’t take his eyes of her reflection in the mirror. “Close your eyes.”
Closing her eyes she stood nervously as he came to stand behind her. His spicy aftershave surrounded her, she breathed it in, it had rapidly become an addiction. Kalpi heard him fiddle with something and then a cold object slid into her cleavage. Startled she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror. There resting against her dark gleaming skin was a perfect ruby pendant in a tear shape, whilst she was gazing at its perfection he was sliding two matching ruby stone earrings into her ears.
“Bas…now you are perfect.” He gazed at her, his hands holding the tops of her arms he pulled her back into him. “Nahi…you are beyond perfect. His head bent and his lips scorched the soft skin at her nape with a kiss.
A moan broke from her as his lips touched a sensitive nerve, but she just couldn’t take these exquisite jewels. “I cant wear these. They must be so expens……..”
He turned her then and his lips closed over hers. With gentle persuasion he coaxed hers apart and explored her sweetness.
“I don’t want to argue today, about anything. Just wear them for me. You look stunning, and you taste even sweeter, Kalpi..” He sank his teeth into her lower lip and a gasp of pleasure escaped her.
Kalpi was thrown into a different sphere altogether. Her pulse raced as his fingers sank into the soft skin of her waist whilst his lips tasted and explored her mouth. Her arms crept up to his shoulders in an effort to maintain some sort of balance as her knees were just about to give way.
Breathing in disarray, Raghav slowly pulled away, his eyes taking in her flushed state. She looked adorable, her confused passion clouded eyes gazed back at him unblinking.
“You see how it will be between us? Kalpi you have no idea…..”
A small crooked smile lit his face, cupping her face he gazed at her for a few more seconds. “Come on my innocent, we had better go before I lose myself in you completely.”
He took her hand and led her out of their villa towards the main area where the Mehfil party was being held. Glancing at him from under her lashes she gazed at his perfection. He looked incredible in a black suit teamed with a silk black open neck shirt. She could barely take her eyes off him.
“Raghav was that….that” She wanted to know if that was the kiss he had bargained with her for. It had been totally sweet, beyond her imagination, and yet she could feel he was holding back. She so desperately wanted to know but was too shy to ask.
“Was that what?” he questioned leading her through the small courtyards carefully. Left right and centre he saw people were staring at her.
Raghav suppressed a smile, and kept his face totally straight. “No…what was what?”
“Nothing!” Kalpi looked anywhere but him, how could something that had shaken her world not have effected him at all, had he forgotten all about it already?
They went through reception, Kalpi still oblivious to all glances as her mind was still occupied thinking about that kiss and Raghav glaring at any man who dared to even look at her for a second.
Manisha and Monty greeted them at the door, within minutes they were surrounded by their respective families like heros as they saved Manisha’s night. Raghav was dragged away by the men and Kalpi was cornered by Manisha’s mum and aunties.
“Oo what a lovely couple you are!”
“Where did you meet?”
“How long have you been married?”
“Kitne bacche hai?” Kalpi nearly choked on the drink that had been placed in her hand. “Bacche! She had just received her first kiss!”
All the while she could feel Raghav’s eyes following her everywhere. She sat with Manisha’s mum fielding questions until the dancing started. A astonished Kalpi watched Manisha lead Monty to the dance floor.
“This is how it is in our family. First the bride must show the groom that she wants to marry him and only him. But you wait, soon there will be others who will try and steal her, then Monty has to win her back.” And just as her mum had explained as soon as the wedding couple had finished one round the best man came along and shoved Monty out the way playfully and twirled Manisha around the floor. It was two whole rounds of the floor before Monty got her back. And then the girls started and pulling Monty towards them and dancing with him making Manisha cut in to take him back.
“Wow!” Kalpi watched the goings on with interest, this looked fun. She had never been to anything so daring. Could she? dare she?
“What are you waiting for?” Manisha’s mum said to her. “GO and get your man on the floor but beware you may have to fight the girls off! If I was 20 years younger I might lead him on myself.” she giggled pulling Kalpi up and shoving her towards Raghav.
His eyes were gleaming with amusement as Kalpi advanced somewhat nervously towards him. Manisha’s dad had been telling him all about their tradition, but before she even got to him right before his eyes, the best man came and spun her away!
“I thought you said there were rules?” Raghav growled to Manisha’s dad. His eyes like lasers burning into the young man back.
“Son! When a beautiful woman like that appears in our midsts there are no rules!” Roaring with laughter, Uncle downed a double peg of whiskey and thumped Raghav on the back.
“If you want her back, you had better go and get her!”
Kalpi was having the time of her life. So many were spinning her around and never had she danced like this. She saw Raghav momentarily as she was spun again, his face like a thundercloud but she was enjoying all the attention.
She was laughing and grinning like she was having the time of her life with the others. With a determined gleam in his eyes he advanced to find that his way was blocked by many would be suitors for Kalpi. The best man relinquished her hand to his friend who spun her away again, and then to another, Until Raghav’s blood started boiling as they spun her in their arms, holding her touching her, and she was smiling at them all, such a sweet innocent smile, they were lapping it up. Jealousy burned hard and hot in his heart. Unable to stand it a minute longer he stepped straight in and took her by the waist, his fingers sinking into the soft indentation at her waist to stake his claim.
“MY partner I believe!” he growled at the young man who had her hand.
“Yes..yes!” the young man immediately released her hand at the fierce look on Raghav’s face.
Breathless and smiling Kalpi started into his dark scowling face.
“Did you have fun with those boys?” His tone was terse and angry.
Kalpi grinned and smiled at him, “Yes I did!”
His face darkened and he pulled her hard into his body. “ Well now you can forget them and dance with a MAN! You are mine Kalpi. Bas!”
Grinning at his jealous rage, she buried her face in his shoulder. Possessively, his arms came around her. She swayed to the music in his arms, Raghav’s one hand tight at her waist and the other tangled in her hair. If any man came within a meter and raised their eyes to take Kalpi, Raghav glared at them so fiercely they ran away. The girls who had thought about asking him just looked at the possesive glare on his face and didnt bother. Finally as the song started to wind down, he took her hand and practically dragged her out of there saying very hasty goodbyes to all.
“Raghav! Where are we going? Why did you want to leave so early. What will they think?” She had to practically run to keep up with his long strides.
“I don’t want to share you with anyone any more! I brought you here to be with you and that’s what I am going to do! I don’t care what anyone thinks. They are not important to me, YOU are!”
He marched her back to the villa holding her hand tightly in his, as soon as he had her inside he pushed her up against a wall and his mouth found hers.
The gentle kiss of earlier was replaced with a thorough tasting that left them both gasping for breath.
Lights seem to explode in Kalpi’s head and her world spun as she realised for the first time the intense nature of his passion, and to her surprise she felt equally as passionate. He tasted, he touched. She started to kiss him back with fervour making him growl deep in his throat. He relished her response, exulting in her excitement. Her hesitant touch. Yes, they were made for each other. But he couldn’t let her continue.
“Stop Kalpi!” A tortured growl came from him. “Stop now or I wont be able to.” He pushed away from her and went to the other side of the room to get some resemblance of control over himself.
Kalpi slumped against the wall as had he left her, her whole being was humming with excitement and she wanted more, much more. She couldn’t understand how he had managed to move away. So this was what he meant by thoroughly, this was what he meant by there was so much more.
“If you keep looking at me like that Kalpi…..!” His eyes warned, pleaded with hers trying to get her to understand why he had pulled away. “And don’t ever do that to me again!”
“What?” Her innocent eyes questioned. Unable to comprehend anything after that kiss.
“Dance with another man, or so many boys in front of me. I cant stand it!”
“I…” She didn’t know what to say. She had been blown away by it all, having such a fuss made over her, all those young men giving her so much attention. But much more than that being in his arms dancing, being kissed so thoroughly, feeling his body tremble against her with the force of his passion. She had never known it could be like this….she raised a slim hand and touched her lips in shock. Her eyes black orbs of feeling, she stared at him in wonder.
He saw her trembling like a leaf, striding back across the room he went back to her and gathered her close, raining soft gentle kisses on her face as her eyes filled with tears of joy.
“Shhh…I know……” He whispered resting his forehead against hers. His eyes were intense with feeling. He had been shocked by the depth of passion between them even when he had guessed how fantastic it would be. As he gazed at the shock and delight in her eyes he smiled, finally she too realised what was at stake between them. He wouldn’t let anyone keep them apart. He didn’t care who they were.
“I know Kalpi.” He peeled her off the wall and lifted her high in his arms taking her out to the back terrace. The air was still, the water from the plunge pool looked like a black onyx sheet. The distant sounds of the forest animals and the incessant love song of the crickets sounded loud in the still night. But they heard nothing of all that. In the dark still night, he sat down with her in his lap. Gazing into her dark love filled eyes.
Pulling her in close he let his hands caress the satin skin at her waist as she rested her head on his shoulder. Letting out a sigh of total peace, he immersed himself in her. A brilliant smile lit her features as she saw her love reflected in his face.
They never saw the fat yellow moon rise slowly in the black inky sky even though its rays touched and caressed them both. More was said between them in the silence than ever could have been with words.
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