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Jayanta and Sonali continued to pretend as the happily married couple. They had problems to coordinate and cooperate in the beginning but as time passed, their acting became more natural. They two kept coming closer to each other and neither of them opposed the affinity. The two families organized a grand reception and formally announced about their tie. Jayanta began feeling really happy from within. Sonali's presence had been a boon to him as Suhani always dominated him in their decisions. Days passed like minutes and both of them had settled in their work, Sonali joined a fashion boutique and Jayanta entered the family business. Several days had passed and Jayanta was still in the dilemma as he was already in a formal relation and wanted to talk to her. The hand of the past had been checking him. He was a bit irritated because he was unable to carry the mask and conceal his urges for cheerful Sonali. On one fine afternoon, hiding from everyone, Jayanta managed to call Suhani and narrate to her every single detail. Suhani had been listening to everything and replying "Hmm" as the incidents revealed. Jayanta was expecting her to shout and rebuke him but she was calm and cold. She patiently heard him and finally hit him with the arrow.

"So, you have married a girl over there. Fine, I have no problem with that. In fact, I wanted to talk to you about our marriage as I have been transferred to Punjab and I won't be able to be at Mumbai very often. I would meet you during the holidays. And yes, you can bring your wife to the house as well. We will share and live if you want."

"Have you gone mad? Suhani, we loved each other! How could you just say that? I know you are angry but don't tell me all these.", Jayanta replied.

"Joy, we are good friends. It was you who might have fallen in love with me. I didn't ever reciprocate that. You know, in Mumbai, when we live together, we share everything with each other. In fact, you often irritated me with those gifts. I just ignored them because you acted very well in front of my colleagues like a caring partner. I don't need that anymore. I am moving to Punjab. You have been a great friend, Joy. I am just tired of pretending. Now that you have settled, please forget me and try to give your wife all your love and affection. You do deserve better, Joy."

The world had partly collapsed in front of Jayanta. He felt dumped! All his love, care and concern had been wasted on a girl who had no feelings for him. She tore the knot like anything and was so easy with that! Jayanta was in a dilemma all these days thinking about how to face Suhani but it seemed that she had no heart! So commercial, so professional, so mean! Jayanta was burning like coal. He replied, "Listen, you are right! I deserve better and you don't deserve a caring guy like me at all. You... Nah! I won't waste my words on you anymore. I have already wasted nearly three years and my love on a doormat like you. Better be off. And listen, my assistant shall be there in a few minutes. You better give him everything that belongs to me. Got it!"

"Yes, I will. I was about to ask that. It was nice meeting you, Joy. Hope you can love your wife a lot more and it turns profitable.", Suhani ended the call.

"What did she just say? Profitable?! Seriously! She is completely heartless, no doubt in that. God! I have been fighting for this creep with Sonali every single day. She never treated me with love. She was just duffing me! What gave I just done!" Jayanta kept thinking. He didn't waste a second and called his assistant to be at Suhani's apartment and take all his belongings to his apartment. Jayanta had well furnished flat at Mumbai which he left and moved to Suhani's house two years ago. Jayanta was upset and equally furious because of Suhani. He went to his room where Sonali was sitting on their bed staring at the window.

"Sonali, I just spoke to Suhani. Do you know what did she just say? She...." Jayanta began narrating the entire incident to her. Since their marriage, Sonali was the person to whom he sought for advice. He became dependent on her in a few days and had started appreciating her presence. Until then, he was in a paradox if his inclination towards Sonali was right. Now that he was free, he could move on easily.

Sonali wasn't paying much heed. Her eyes were fixed at the window. After speaking for some time, Jayanta noticed Sonali. He understood that she was not listening. He came closer to her and sat beside her. For the first time in her life, Sonali rested her head on Jayanta's shoulder. She was still staring at the window. Jayanta was a bit confused but didn't bother to disturb her.

"Have you ever seen an orphan roaming in the street?", she asked.

Confused by the question, Jayanta replied, "No, but why?"

"Nah, emni. You know I have been waiting for a tree like the one you can see from the window. I always wanted somebody who would give me shade and fruits like that tree. Somebody who would care for me, who would treat me like a human and not as a thing. Somebody who would love me. I have received everything that was taken away from me years ago when I was a little girl."

"What do you mean Sonali?"

"This family, Baba, Maa, Dadu, your relatived and siblings, everybody love me so much! I feel happy to be with them, with you all. I feel so free when I am with your family. I am just scared if this is a dream that would break and I shall land on the harsh reality anytime..."

"What about me Sonali? What do you feel about me?", Jayanta irresistibly asked her.

"Have you ever been to any delta? You must know then how the tired river unites with the charming sea. You were and you are my only ray of hope, Mr. Mukherjee, the only light in my darkened life."

Sonali seemed to be upset. Jayanta embraced her in his arms like a gentleman. It came so naturally that he didn't notice it until he felt Sonali's face on his chest. He kissed on her head and replied, "Your dream is never going to break, Sonali. You will live this dream everyday, every minute from today onwards. I will be your light forever as you have been my way to me. Nobody can steal you from us, from me and my heart."

Sonali looked at her Man. He was smart, handsome and equally gentle. She had been falling for him since the day they began pretending husband and wife in front of the family. Neither of them knew what was to come. Nor did they know that their pretense would end up being their fate. Sonali's eyes had stopped staring at the window. She heard Jayanta's heartbeat and was at ease in his manly arms. She came closer and said, "For the record, my Maa used to call me Sona, I would love hearing it from you."

Sona, gold, yes she was gold, even more precious than that. Jayanta whispered in her ears, "I think I am falling for you, Sona. Do you feel the same way?"

"I have no idea! But I have slipped for sure!", Sonali replied with a naughty smile.

"Hey, do you know something? I am good at event management. Let's plan for a short trip!", Jayanta told with utter excitement.

"Hey, how about we go for a walk and spend some time along the banks of Ganges at the Vaishnavi temple, Remember? This is the place we had begun pretending! That place remains empty in the afternoons and evenings!"

"Sounds like a plan, you get ready and I will take out the car and leave when all are taking nap."

"Not the car please, your bike would be a better choice."

There they were, the two love birds, arranging for their short long ride to their most favourite place, the temple. Who knew that fate would play so low to unite two naive and confused young hearts under the pressure of the situations? Anyways, Jayanta and Sonali left for their ride when the family was napping after the lunch of the short family get-together. It was just a beginning to celebrate their marriage, their twist in tale.

©® Subhajit
commented by
Beautiful end of the story and happy beginning ....
commented by
The end is yet to come Mam. Thanks for reading. :)
commented by
you are such an amazing writer Subhajit.....wonderful
commented by
Thanks Dear :) :)

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