This is a little scene from Chapter Five, in which Avi Kumar and Trishna Chaudhury's formerly smooth sailing marriage hits some rocks — thanks to the waves caused by Avi's attraction to Michael Gill and Trishna's close proximity to her old crush, Harsh Mathur.
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In the days following the party, they were too busy blocking their lines and
hitting their marks in the brutal midday sun to do much besides collapse into
bed at night...sweaty, boneless heaps instead of pampered stars. Trishna had
embraced the role with vigor, becoming Nishta, the reckless but loyal young
maiden who was strangely drawn to a freedom fighter. Diva or no, Trishna was
never caught unprepared. Never...except when she was removing the last traces
of foundation from her skin after a long day of shooting and watching her
husband’s reflection in the vanity.
It had only been a few days, but already he looked a stranger. Angry,
hollow-eyed, like the revolutionary he was pretending to be for the cameras. But
what was his cause? Avi had told her after the muhurat that Michael rejected
him—what passed for pillow talk for them would no doubt stun other couples—
and his fury seemed twice that of a typical rejection. Not that there were many.
Her Avinash was irresistible. Look how easily he’d reeled her in. But Michael
Gill...whatever had happened between them...kuch alag tha. Something was
“Are you okay?” she wondered as she unpinned her hair.
“Fine.” He prowled across the bedroom like a tiger, shoulders rolling under
his tight T-shirt. “I am not the one who was making eyes at Harsh Mathur all day
“That is the part, bewakoof!” she hissed, slamming down her hairbrush and
rising to face him. “I am acting.”
“But you do it so well, darling,” he said, making the endearment mockingly
sweet. “One would almost think you’ve been in love with him your whole life.
Oh...wait...sai baat...you have.”
“Don’t pretend to be jealous. I know you are not. Anyway, you don’t have
the right.” Had she not given him everything these past seven years? Indulged
his every whim, made reality his every fantasy? Protected him? What was a pale
memory of a childhood crush in the face of that? Looking at Harsh, longing for
him, was nothing compared to sharing Avinash with strangers. “You haven’t
touched me since we began shooting,” she pointed out, the words coming out
hard and sharp, like bits of betel nut. “Is your need for Michael Gill so great? Do
I disgust you now? Tum mujhse nafrat karthe ho kya?”
Avi closed the short distance between them, and his fingers bit into her
shoulders through the thin satin of her nightgown. “What do you want from
me?” he rasped, voice as rough as the path of his bearded cheek against her
throat. He rubbed his jaw against hers, and the contact made her shiver. “This?”
Copyright 2012 Suleikha Snyder
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