Monday, October 1, 2012

Walk the Line - Chapter 33

They rode for a while in silence. Once in while, he pointed out something to her. The horse was going a little faster now, as he took it through a mango orchard. They climbed a slight slope  and then reached the top of the ridge. Below they could see the farmhouse. A little stream flowed along one side and he headed the horse towards it. The floor was all grass and the horse bent down to start grazing it. He swung off the saddle and hobbled it. Then he turned and held out his arms to her. She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling the muscles clench in them as he put his arms around her, smoothly swinging her down to the ground, but not before she slid down his body first.

She kept her gaze down, and then looked out over the hills, aware that he was looking at her face with a small frown on it. But he didn’t say anything about it. Instead, he gestured towards a tree at the edge of the stream. ‘Let’s go there.’

She looked around in delight, the tree, the stream, the grassy knoll, it was all perfect.

She looked at him and said, ‘All this,’ waving her arms around, ‘it’s yours?’

He nodded shortly. ‘We use this place every once in a while, but mostly it stays empty,’ he said.

She felt a little like Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice when she saw Pemberly Place - not that she felt the regret of not accepting her Mr.Darcy...because let’s face it... he hadn’t yet asked her, had he?

‘I come out here when I need to clear my head. Clients love it, too.’

‘And did you need to?’ she asked.

‘Did I need to what?’ he looked puzzled.

‘Clear your head.’

He didn’t say anything for a while. He looked at the stream, a far away look in his eyes. Then he nodded. ‘Yes,’ he admitted. ‘Yes, I did.’

The imp slapped his forehead and said, yep, you surely do. Just don’t do what I think you’re gonna do, okay? Dude? You listening?

She couldn’t see his face, now that he had turned fully away from her. She laid a hand on his shoulder, feeling the slight flinch he gave at her touch. She took her hand away. He swung around at that. Lifting her left hand in both of his, he turned it over and opened it, looking at her palm, almost willing to be able to read her future in it... and perhaps his too? Then he bent and kissed it, a long, slow kiss, his eyes closed as if trying to tell her something. She raised her right hand to his face, loving the feel of his stubble on her softness. He opened his eyes and looked at her. They were blazing with an emotion she couldn’t define. Her heart was picking up its pace as she looked into his eyes.

He took a deep breath and held on to her hand, pulling her close with his other arm, holding her tight against his chest.

‘Khushi, I don’t even know how to begin.’

‘At the beginning?’ she attempted a little levity.

‘Be serious, Khushi,’ he gave her a little shake.

It made her a little nervous. She didn’t know what to make of him and his strange mood. He tucked her head under his chin and stood silently for a minute.

‘Khushi. I’ve been giving a lot of thought,’ she drew back and he let her. ‘To us,’ he swallowed and then went on. ‘Never in my life did I think I would let myself get so emotionally bound to someone that I am affected by it. What you, me, have.. I don’t know what to call it. I just don’t I have the time in my life for it, not right now.’

She stepped back as if she’d been shot, her face growing a little paler. Then she turned around, but not before he’d glimpsed the tears starting to form in her eyes. He closed his eyes in pain. His chest hurt. Really, physically hurt. He’d hurt her. But better this way than later, when ...?

She took deep breaths, trying to stop the tears from spilling over. So okay, its not like they had.. said anything to each other. So why was it hurting her so much? The beauty of the day faded, the colors taking on harsher tones, hurting her eyes. She blinked and one tear rolled down a cheek, which she quickly wiped away. She turned around. He was looking away, only a small slice of his profile visible to her. She breathed in again, and said, ‘It’s okay, Arnav. These things happen.’

He jerked at her words, turning around to stare at her.

‘Perhaps we should be going back,’ she said in a very flat tone. He looked into her eyes, and for once couldn’t read a thing in them. They were as flat as her tone.

‘No,’ he said.

‘No? I want to go home, Arnav,’ she said.

‘We’re not going home now,’ he gritted out, his hand reaching out to grab her arm. ‘We’re having lunch before going.’

‘Let me go,’ she was struggling to free herself, almost seconds before a sound registered in her ears. She stopped struggling and looked up. Uttam was driving up in an open jeep. HIs grip tightened on her arm. They stood there while Uttam drew up.

He opened the back of the jeep and pulled out blankets and a basket. Arnav went forward to help him. She stood on one side watching the scene. They spread the blanket under the tree and placed plates and glasses and a basket from which Uttam pulled out a small box of naans, and covered casseroles. He went back to the jeep and took out a small bottle holder in which was a bottle of red wine.

Her eyes widened as she saw the arrangements, her mouth open in her typical ‘O’.

Uttam handed Arnav the keys of the jeep and headed over to the horse. He would be taking it back. He bowed to her, mounted the horse and galloped away.

She was still standing there, when Arnav turned to her and gestured towards the blanket, ‘Lunch,’ he said. ‘Uttam went to a great deal of trouble to prepare this. So we might as well eat.’

She nodded and sat down. He opened the containers. There was naan, and tandoori chicken, and salad, and stuffed okra. It was a simple meal elevated by the bottle of 2000 Vietti Barolo Rocche that he opened. He poured two glasses handing one to her. She held our her hand and he stopped, looking at it with something like horror on his face. The marks of his fingers were imprinted clearly on her forearm, the angry red showing up against the cream of her skin. She withdrew her hand quickly, but he caught it.

There was pain in his eyes, as he met hers. ‘Did I do that?’ he whispered. Carefully he put the glass of wine down, running his fingers lightly over her skin. Her breath caught in her throat as he raised her hand and kissed the marks. ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispered. ‘I’m sorry.’

She couldn’t help herself. Her other hand went out and pushed the hair back from his forehead. ‘It’s okay,’ she whispered.

‘No, It’s not. I don’t have the right to do anything like that. How can you say it’s okay?’

She looked at him, no more were her eyes flat. They held the pain she saw in his. ‘It’s okay. I don’t hurt,’ she said.

He looked at her, marveling how quickly she had forgiven him. He’d never hurt a woman before, how could he even have thought of hurting her?

She pushed his hair back again, allowing her fingers to linger in his hair, before smiling softly and saying, ‘Lunch? and what about some wine?’

He looked at her, then leaned forward to break off a piece of naan, picking up a piece of chicken and holding it out to her. She leaned forward to take it, but he held it to her mouth, his eyes on her lips as she opened her mouth so he could feed her. Her soft lips closed over his fingers, sending a shiver down his spine. She picked up some naan as well, feeding him like he fed her. The next time, she took a bite, he brought his hand back to his mouth and licked off his fingers. Her eyes stayed on his mouth and he could feel the heat rising in him. He held up the wine glass to her lips watching as she took a sip and then took a sip himself from the same glass. They ate like that, lost in each other, barely tasting the food, that poor Uttam had taken so much care to cook. Finally done, he made her sit, while he packed up everything and set it aside.

Uttam had provided some cushions, so the two of them took the blanket and moved over to the tree, under the shade, placing the cushions just so they could lean back and sat there quietly, enjoying this time together, finishing off the bottle of wine. He put his arm around her, his fingers rubbing up and down her arm as she nestled in the crook of his shoulder, her arm around her waist.

She was beginning to feel drowsy when he said, ‘Khushi?’

‘Mmmmm?’ she said sleepily.

‘Do you want to go back now?’ She shook her head. He buried his head in her hair and she could hear the soft chuckles in his chest. ‘We do need to get back.’

‘I don’t want to,’ she looked up at him with sleepy eyes, a pout on her face.

He couldn’t help himself. He bent down and kissed her. His lips feathering lightly over hers. ‘You’re drunk,’ he whispered.

‘No.’ She sat up straight. ‘No, ‘I’m not.’ Then she promptly reached over for the bottle of wine, which was empty at this point. She looked at him accusingly. ‘You finished the wine,’ she said with narrowed eyes.

‘No, I didn’t. You helped me.’ He pulled her back into his arms. ‘Listen, precious, I’ve got to get you home. But you need time to sober up.’

‘You drank as much as I did,’ she protested.

‘I know, but I can stand the alcohol much better than you obviously,’ he was smiling.

She went still for a moment and then said ,’am I?’

‘Am I what?’

‘Precious. You called me precious.’

He looked at her, her eyes, the slightly unfocused eyes, wide and innocent, looking right into his soul. Had he called her precious?

‘You are,’ he sais as honestly as his heart would allow. He didn’t know when and he didn’t know why, but she was very precious to him. She leaned over and kissed him. He wasn’t expecting it, he wasn’t even prepared for it, but when it came, he didn’t avoid it either.

For a few seconds, her soft lips moved over his, taking initiative, nipping at his lips, her soft tongue running across his closed lips. She pulled his lower lip between hers and he parted his mouth allowing her full access. He had no more defenses left. They came crashing down in front of her innocent plundering. He lay back, taking her with him. She was half on him, her hair falling like a curtain over them. A small world in which they were there alone. He raked his fingers through her hair, the subtle perfume powering through his senses. Eyes closed he let himself go.

She kissed his closed eyes, lingering over each one. Her fingers ran over his face, her fingertips learning the contours, memorizing them. She paused at the small scar under his left eyebrow. He opened his eyes. She was looking at the scar, as if she could feel the pain inside of her. His thumb rubbed across her lower lip, feeling the softness. She looked in his eyes, before leaning forward to kiss the scar.

He flipped her over, leaning over her now, his attention focused on her neck, he pushed back her hair, and bent down. Breathing deeply in the fragrance of her skin, before lightly licking the pulse hammering at her throat. His fingers trailed across her shoulders taking the spaghetti straps with them. He move back and looked at her face. There was a languidness in her eyes, Her hands reached down to the edges of his tee, He sat up, pulling her up with him. Her hands went of their own accord to the bottom of his tee, helping him out of it.

She ran her fingers along his abs, up towards his smooth chest, stopping for a moment at the hard planes of his ribs. Up to his Adam’s apple. She leaned across and placed her lips there, her tongue coming out to taste him, feeling him swallow. She moved lower, pushing him back, he lay like a feast in front of her. She feasted on him. Her lips and tongue kissing him across his chest, nipping on his nipples, smiling as she felt him gasp. Her power over him was intoxicating to her, and to him.

He felt helpless, being swept away on a sensuous tide over which he had no control.

‘Not fair,’ he gasped.

‘What?’ she sat up.

He tugged at the top she wore. ‘Not fair,’

She smiled at him, the age old smile of a woman who knows the power she holds in her tiny hands.

‘Make me,’ she dared him.

He sat up swiftly and in one motion stood up. Swooping down, he picked her up walking towards the stream.

‘Arnav. What are you doing? Put me down,’ she was kicking her legs. He grinned wickedly at her.

‘If you’re not playing fair, neither am I,’ he grinned.

‘What do you mean, not playing fair?’

He put her down on the hood of the jeep, his hands coming down on either side, effectively blocking her. They traveled over her face, moving lower as he focused on her chest, right in front of his eyes. He leaned in, kissing her between her breasts, the faint taste of her skin hitting his taste buds and rousing them. His hands moved up of their own accord, taking her top and lifting it off her head. There was no one to see them up here, as they hugged there, her bra a tiny barrier between them. He moved in closer till he stood between her legs. His arms wrapped around her back, her hands holding his head, cradling him. The bra was undone and dropped, and he finally, finally got to taste her. She arched her back as his lips closed over her breast. He worshipped it, every lave of his tongue leaving a trail of fire, his stubble rough on the smoothness of her sensitive skin, heightening her pleasure. She moaned softly. He smiled against her breast. His little kitten was finally making a sound, he thought. Her hands roamed restlessly on his back as he moved lower. She lay back, giving him access to her stomach. His tongue dipping and swirling into her navel, his hands never letting go of her softness.

Suddenly he stopped. She opened her eyes, looking straight up at the sky, before sitting up. ‘What’s wrong?’ she asked. Her jeans had come unbuttoned, she didn’t know when, and he was staring at her hip.

‘You have a tattoo?’ he growled. She nodded. He pulled the jeans a little further down to get a better look. A Butterfly. Right on her hip bone. He smiled, wondering how much more she was going to surprise him. For a minute, he felt a little pang of jealousy for the unnamed, unseen tattoo artist, who’d actually spent time looking at this...at HIS..hip bone. ‘Do you have more?’ She smile and nodded at him.. completely unaware how incredibly sexy she looked sitting there half-naked, unselfconsciously with the warm sun dappling her skin. ‘Where?’ he was smiling at her, leaning down to drop a quick kiss on her pert nipples.

‘I need to get off this jeep,’ she smiled. He helped her off it, keeping his arms around her loosely. She turned around and tugged her jeans a little lower. There just at the base of her spine was a mustang in full gallop - a chocolate mustang with a white blaze. A low chuckle came from his throat.

Before he knew it, he was kneeling behind her, his big hands gripping her hips as he kissed the mustang, moving up, kissing her along her spine, feeling her breath quicken. His hands came up to hold her breasts from behind, his arousal pressing into the base of her spine. She gasped as she felt him. He nuzzled her neck, near her collarbone.

‘We gotta get you home,’ his voice was almost hoarse. ‘Before I do something we’ll both regret.’ He sighed and looked around for her top and her bra, handing them to her, before picking up his tee from the blanket. By the time he turned around, she was struggling to hook her bra, He came over and gently hooked it, giving one more kiss on her scar. Then he helped her put on her top.

He turned her around, and cupped her face in his hands. Her eyes were clear and trusting. ‘ Khushi, this has been one of the best days of my life. I wanted to say so much.. but you know me.. I can’t...’

‘Hush!’ she said, laying a finger on his lips. ‘It’s okay.’ His eyes thanked her. They gathered up their impromptu picnic before he helped her into the jeep. They drove back in silence, but a much more peaceable silence.

It was quiet on the drive back home, too. He glanced over at her, she was curled up on the seat, facing him. When he didn’t have to shift gears, he put his hand on hers, loathe to let her go even for a moment. He still hadn't resolved what it was he felt for her. But whatever it was.. he was content to let it be for now.

****


7 comments:

  1. Absolutely Adored it !!!! OMG... I had a vision of Pemberly in front of my eyes while reading it and u just mentioned it !!! So... we have our very own Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennett !!!!

    Loved it....

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  2. just perfect and beautiful.... worth the wait...

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  3. hmmmmmm ( the longest sigh) .. lemme describe the ambience as i read it .. was curled up on my bed under my comforter ..soft lights aglow .. my fav beverage by my side ... need i say more about my mushy mood ...
    & then i get to read this sublime read ... i will just say a simple thank you for this .. u know why ... it was a really deeply romantic read .. poignancy on one side .. a bit of sadness on one side .. & a whole lot of hotness on one side ... tonite a simple i LOVED it .. adored it .. & RELISHED IT .. for the update .. really eagerly awaiting the next update ..

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  4. I read all the chapters in one go... This was so so so good... Couldn't put down. well continue.. when can I expect the next... Do it fast...

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  5. hip, hip, hurray! arnav is accepting it!!!
    (happy dance)
    i was so sad when he was pushing his feelings down.. now that he has bowed his head to destiny, i'm celebrating!

    loved the farmhouse. the horses, the caretaker, the jeep! ohh the jeep . you upped the HOT factor about twelve notches when he placed her atop the jeep bonnet.. i did not even know it was a fantasy of mine until i read this!

    i loved the way they were lost in each other all through the picnic lunch.. you described it so well.

    fantastic chapter!

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  6. Just beautiful, for a minute I wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him, then Uppam came and everything changed. He has realised one thing she is his, and frankly he should realise that she wouldn't do anything that she didnt feel right, its been him that always pulled back.... doesnt that say something to him?. The scene itself was so romantic, and lovely... ill say no more.:)

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