Married To A Stranger 7

Sreesha POV: 
I couldn’t help but glance at him every now and then. He was stirring the gravy with ease. I can tell this is not the first time in kitchen. He knew the exact places of the ingredients. I couldn’t stop admiring the way he sauntered around the kitchen, to each cabinet, picking the ingredients, vessels. I am a big fan of men, who knew their way around kitchen and can make some drool worthy dishes. 
The tantalizing aroma of chole paneer masala assaulted my nostrils. My hunger for food doubled by just looking at it. 
Don’t judge me, I love food. 
I’m not someone to calculate carbos in everything I eat. I just love food. Period. 
He was almost done with whatever he was doing while I’m still slicing the vegetables for salad. It’s not my fault to be distracted by his cooking skills. 
Cooking skills? Or to drool over the way his flexing muscles while he was working?
I did not look at his flexing muscles. I was just admiring his skills in kitchen. 
Or the way his chest rises and falls with every deep breath he takes? 
I did not look at his perfectly shaped body! 
How do you know it is perfectly shaped when you did not get a chance to get a glimpse of it? And you have the ‘decency’ to say you’re not drooling over him. 
I’m not drooling over him! And you did not need to get a glimpse of his skin to know he has a perfect body. Can’t you see they way his shirt hugged him like a second skin? He is perfect. Can’t you see the outline of those 6 abs? Actually I need to google to search for the strongest synonym for the word ‘perfect’ to compare him. 
And she says, she wasn’t looking at him and the wetness at the corner of her lips is not drool at all. 
Being the stupid I am, I touched at the corner of my lips only to realize I was tricked. 
I was tricked by my own conscience. 
I need help! 
“Sreesha!” Startled, I looked around for any potential threat. The knife in my hand was yanked away by Karthik, who has a troubled look on his face. The next second his eyes darkened with anger. 
What did I do now? 
How can he change his emotions in just a flick of a second? It is so unfair! 
“Do you have any idea what you were going to do?” He yelled, I shivered at the intensity of his voice. It reminded me of something. My mind started playing the glimpses of my past where my father yells at me every time I make a mistake. 
“It was my fault to ask you to help me. You almost cut your finger. Why are you zoning out every freaking minute of your life? Can’t you do one thing properly? You’re not allowed to kitchen anymore” I wasn’t listening to him anymore. Slowly his voice fade away replacing it with my father’s. 
Can’t you do one work properly? 
You’re the biggest mistake of our lives. 
Why didn’t I get rid of you the minute you’re born? 
You’re just a pathetic excuse of a life. 
You’re nothing but a failure. 
No one will love a loser like you. You deserve to rot in hell. 
A girl is supposed to be in kitchen and learn to cook but what were you doing? Studying? I’ll not allow you to job, not when I’m still alive. 
Who will marry you now? You’re just a pathetic excuse of a woman! You dare allow a guy in my home when no one is here? You disgust me. 
You’re going to marry the man of my choice no matter what. 
Karthik Shekhar. You’re going to marry him in two weeks. I can assure you he will show you where you belong. 
“Sreesha” I can hear the faint, familiar voice. I can feel someone was shaking me, I can hear him calling my name desperately. I didn’t notice that my eyes were closed until I open them. The first thing I realised, I wasn’t in my parent’s house. I’m here in Karthik’s and he was looking at me, with worried eyes. 
“Sreesha, are you okay? ” his voice cracked at the end. 
“What happened to you? Why are you looking so pale?” I couldn’t answer his questions right now. My throat was dry like a Sahara desert. 
I don’t have a clue, how I ended up in a couch with him kneeling in front of me looking concerned with my face between his palms. I glued to my place like a leech. I did not have any clue that I was crying until he wipes my tears away. 
“Are you okay now?” he asked, desperation was clear in his eyes. I know he wants to know what happened to me awhile ago but I am not ready to share my past with him. For all I know, he might be just like my father. I nodded as an answer. 
“W-water” my voice rasped. 
He quickly brought me a cup of water and placed it near my lips, which I drank eagerly. 
“Sreesha, what happened to you? Please tell me.” He literally begged. 
“It’s n-nothing. Y-you were y-yelling an -gulping- and I thought you’re going to… ”
“Hurt you” he completed my sentence. I nodded ‘yes’. 
He took a deep breath and extended his hand. I placed my trembling hand in his hesitantly and the next thing I know, I was in his embrace. 
He hugged me tightly yet gently. His one hand is around my shoulder while the other is resting on my bare waist. He tightened his grip, taking my breath away. I stilled. 
Taking a deep breath, I relaxed in his arms. Having their own brain, my hands embraced him back. 
I can feel his hot breath tickle my neck. His posture was calm and relaxed but I can feel his heart accelerates its speed when my breath hitched feeling his hot breath near my ear lobe. 
My heart skipped a beat when I heard him say “I’m sorry Sree. I really am. I was so afraid, thinking that you were going hurt yourself and yelled at you. I didn’t mean to, trust me. My mind went blank when the knife you’re holding was nearing your fingers. So I panicked. I’m sorry. I can’t believe, I make you cry. I was such an idiot, wasn’t I?” 
I was going to cut my fingers? How can I be so reckless? 
“I’m sorry” I mumbled, resting my head on his chest. He didn’t let go of me. And He apologized…. Again. 
He apologized for the things, he wasn’t at fault. I know guys will never apologize if they are not at fault. Even Tej has the same trait. He would never apologize to anyone, well other than me of course. He says that it hurts men’s ego. 
Men and their stupid ego! 
“Stop crying so much, sree. I can’t see you cry. I didn’t mean what I said earlier. Sorry” he started consoling me gently rubbing my back. 
I looked at his worried face and gave him a teary smile which he returned with a sigh of relief. 
I must look like a dying raccoon right now! 
Why are you insulting a raccoon? What if they file a case against you for hurting its feelings? 
You know what, I can’t deal with you right now! Let me enjoy my husband’s hug. Do you have any idea how comfortable it is? 
I really pity him for looking at your face right now. He must be thinking why he married a raccoon instead of human. NO OFFENCE FOR RACCOONS! 
Ughh I hate you! 
The feeling are mutual babe! 
Where is my heart when I need it’s support? 
Busy melting for every word your husband was saying? I still can’t believe it is possible to have a guy like him. And not to forget this is an arranged marriage. Don’t you think something is fishy? 
I can’t blame my heart for melting. He has the aura that comforts me. No one has ever had that effect on me not even Tej or someone I used to love. What is there to feel fishy? He is a nice guy. Didn’t you hear his mother say I quote ‘I raised my son better than you think’? I think his parents raised him well and taught him to respect women. Or did you already forgot what he said to my father? 
Yeah, I do remember. You don’t have to repeat them too.  
Much to my disappointment he released my waist, but didn’t let go me. He gave me a heart melting smile and started wiping my tears. 
How can someone be this perfect in every department? 
“Now, how about you check our backyard while I go cook for us? I still have one dish to finish” He said gently kissing the side of my head. 
How dare he try to kill me with his every kiss? If a kiss on forehead can make me tremble like a helpless leaf, I wonder what it would be like if he actually kiss me. 
The one thought is enough to wake up my melting heart alive. 
If he can melt my heart, then I’m sure he can very well turn The Sahara desert to actual cultivation land. 
“I will help you” I mumbled, making sure my eyes not meeting his. I’m sure he can read all my weird thoughts just by looking at them. I’m just that predictable. 
“No. I forbid you from kitchen from this very second. I’ll hire someone to do all the chores including cooking ” he said sternly. 
“I_ I like to cook. Please don’t hire anyone. I’ll feel bored if I don’t have work to do. Please let me help you” I pleaded him looking at the floor. 
Sighing he mumbled something under his breath and nodded. 
“Only if you promise me not to zone out while you’re working” to which I nodded eagerly “but not today. You go and relax in the backyard while I take care of our dinner” added sternly. 
I nodded like a obedient puppy. 
Clearing his throat he stepped away from me. The warmth that I feel seconds ago was gone replacing it with coldness. 
Peace. It is the exact feeling what I was experiencing right now. There are a lot of plants in the backyard but which got all my attention were Roses. 
I love roses. 
I love all the flowers but Roses have a very special place in my heart. A rose reminds me of my life. The life with full of thorns. 
Now-a-days, the Rose is quite attracted towards a particular honey bee. It can only pray to god, to not to let the bee hurt her at least not more than it can bare. 
What if he really do hurt me?  
I approached the rose plants and gently touched the soft petals. I can tell they are newly planted. Karthik must have the same taste as mine. 
Why is he being so sweet? 
I should have let Tej explain why he insisted me to marry Karthik. I really need some answers. 
Should I talk to Karthik? One day or the other he would know that I was not a virgin and leave me. I should not feel anything towards him. The more I resist him, the less I get hurt when he leave me. 
What I did was utter betrayal. I should have told him everything before our marriage but I didn’t find the courage to defy my father again. 
I have no one but Tej to blame. If only he helped me to escape my marriage or at least let me talk to Karthik, I wouldn’t be in this situation. 
Whatever happened, happened. You can’t neglect your wifely duties. You already failed to be a good wife by letting him cook for you, at least try to be less worst wife. 
You need to fulfill his wishes. 
From now, I will try to be a good enough wife for Karthik. 
When I returned from my stroll in the backyard, I was greeted by the epic scene which we usually see in daily soaps. 
My mother-in-law was having a very serious discussion with my husband which came to halt when they sensed my presence. 
I can only pray to not get in trouble for making my husband cook. 
I just gave my MIL a wonderful first impression, didn’t I? 


Married To A Stranger 6

Sreesha POV: 
Karthik mentioned that he would be here at around 5pm to take me back home. And the clock seems to be taking its precious time to move. I’ve been waiting for the clock to move its small and long hands to reach 5 and 12 respectively. 
Is it too much to ask? 
That stubborn thing, I tell you… 
I even checked the wall clock hanging in the middle of living room to check if the one in my room working properly. 
Sadly, it does! 
Couldn’t it move a bit faster so I can get to meet my husband whose smile can lift my sad mood? 
After Tej left my room, my mother graced me with her presence yet with another lecture about ‘how to be a perfect wife and daughter-in-law and to avoid the further embarrassing events in front of elders’. 
From when a kiss on forehead is a crime? 
I touched the place where he kissed and couldn’t get rid of the grin appeared on my face. I can still feel the tingles created by his warm, soft lips. 
Forehead kisses means a lot than the kiss on lips. It represents the person’s care and respect, while a kiss on lips represents passion, lust and may be love too. 
I’m sure he respects me and my wishes. 
But does he care for me? 
Can I, by any chance make him fall in love with me in the mean time? 
Love? As if! 
There is nothing called love, Sreesha. Wake up from the daydream you’re currently enjoying and look around, will you? Have you already forgot what that word did to you a few years ago? It destroyed you. You better wake up before its too late. Happily ever afters are only meant for books and movies. Haven’t you learn anything from your parents married life? Hoping for love from an arranged marriage is like searching for a Oasis in Sahara desert. Don’t let your hopes high as they only ruin lives. 
Stop giving her negative vibes you monster of a non beating thing! What is wrong in expecting a little care from her husband? It’s not a crime. Every living thing and non living thing deserves to be loved. Stop crushing her dreams and let me remind you failed in every freaking theory of yours. He passed your every freaking stupid test. He is a nice guy. There is no harm in having a crush on her own husband. 
Are you sure it’s just a crush? She is literally drooling a pool of saliva just looking at him awhile ago. You stupid pumping and beating thing! You should know better than that. She is liking him. Next thing we know our poor Sreesha would be trusting that guy, which is definitely a foolish thing to do in just one day. Do you forget that I, the great brain, should deal with feelings while your work is to pump and purify the blood. So stop intervening in my business, you’re services are not needed here. 
How rude! Did you hear what it just said, Sreesha? This is the reason I had to intervene in your business. You’re plain rude and gives stupid ideas to our precious Sreesha while I give her a hope to live and love. And hello it is my business to deal with feelings too, did you forget that I will be the one who would be hurt when she faces a heartbreak. See even people call it heartbreak not brain break. 
“And here I thought my wife would be waiting for me with a beautiful smile on her face instead her face is adorned with a frown” a voice rudely interrupted the debate of my two vital organs. 
Did he actually called my smile beautiful? 
My frown deepened, did I just thought his voice was melodic? 
Only girls has the right to have a melodic voice. I forbid it, to male gender. All rights should reserve under every girl’s name in the world. 
What about aliens? 
Then the female aliens can register their names too. Is that even a question? 
“Hello, have you seen my wife wandering anywhere in your imaginary world?” Karthik! I totally forgot about him… again.
I did not have an imaginary world! I live on mother Earth thank you very much. My sarcastic side yelled inwardly. 
When will you learn Sreesha? No, don’t answer! I’m not ready yet for another debate. 
I slowly raised my eyes. Our eyes met, I can easily recognize the amusement in his eyes. 
Isn’t it a crime to have such a beautiful eyes? 
Only eyes? 
God might took his time to create a specimen like him. He blessed him with perfection. Every freaking feature of his screams perfection. Will you believe me if I say even his eyebrows are perfect with no wrong tilt? 
You need some serious help, Sreesha! 
I snapped out of my dreamland and gave him a shy smile. 
“I’m sorry. I was just…. thinking” I said trying to cover my red cheeks. 
He walked up to me without saying a word and shocked me with a big bear hug. I stilled in my place. I couldn’t move a muscle. His hands were rested on my back while his head on top of mine. I can feel his heartbeat quicken, making mine increase its pace two times. If this is how it would be every time he was near me, my heart may give up at a very tender age. 
“Are you ready to go home?” I heard him mumble inhaling the scent of my hair. My heart shut my brain completely. It knows my brain would only try to ruin the moment. 
“C-can we wait for Tej? Umm.. if it is okay with you” he sighed. 
He gently placed his palms on my cheeks. My breath hitched at the lack of place between us. 
He wouldn’t, would he? 
Taking a deep breath, he said “Sree, all you have do is, tell me that you need to talk with Tej before we leave. Just tell me what you want to do but never ever beg. You’re Sreesha Shekhar, my wife not my slave. The soon you accept it, the better”. 
How can I be so lucky? 
I heard a throat clear. My gazed shifted to the door and my eyes widened. I placed some space between Karthik and I, almost immediately. My mother stood there with a look of disappointment. 
That is what I was to them, A disappointment. 
Did I just say I was lucky? Scratch that. 
Karthik gave a small smile to my mom and greeted her. She gave him a forced smile and said Tej is waiting for me and left but not before giving me a stink eye. 
What did I do now? Can’t I hug my husband when we’re alone? She is the one who came entered without knocking. 
We took our parents blessings. Tej gave me a big hug again and I reciprocated his actions but didn’t said a word. I waved my hand at Tej as a good bye. 
Those were the luxuries he got for giving me my favourite chocolates. 
He needs to work more to get me to talk to him. 
Our ride back home was silent. After reaching home, Karthik slumped on the couch tiredly. He leaned back on the back rest and placed a hand on his eyes. I took a step towards him but stopped myself. 
What if he wants to be left alone? I don’t want to act like a clingy wife. 
I make a bee line to our room and selected a simple saree to wear as the new bride should always look good for the people who visits to see her. 
As if she was an alien from Mars! 
I snorted. 
Who am I kidding? They definitely look at the new bride like she was some new version of monkey turned into a human. 
I didn’t saw my in-laws downstairs. Where were they? Don’t they live here? I did not check the other room in this house, it must be their room. I better go, start cooking before my MIL thinks I’m incapable of doing household chores. 
I was stunned to see my husband in the kitchen, cooking. 
I’m a very bad wife, Ain’t I? 
I should’ve asked him, if he need something to eat before going upstairs. I should be the one, who takes care of him. 
I’m such a failure! 
My father was always right, wasn’t he? 
“Hey, why are you standing there? Come here” I thought he would yell at me for not doing my work but here he was smiling, melting my heart without him knowing. 
“I’m sorry. I should have asked you if you’re hungry. I thought -” 
“Sreesha, I’m not the one who is hungry” he said making my eyes wide. 
“Is it your mother? Oh my god! She might think I was a lazy girl who couldn’t cook or work. She might think I was a-” my voice muffled when I felt his finger on my lips. A shiver ran through my freaking spine making me stiff. 
“My parents won’t live with us, Sreesha. They own other house far away from here. So, no my mother will not think of you bad. She might just ask me to appoint a maid to take care of our home. My mother likes you, Sree. Stop worrying so much, will you?” His finger left my lips making me sigh in relief but a tiny part in me was disappointed. A very veryyy teeny weeny part. 
“If it is not you, then who is hungry? Do we have a guest over? ” I inquired, my eyes wide. 
“Yeah, I’ve someone over in our home. But she is not a guest. She is one of the owners of this house” 
A she? 
Who is she? 
Is this she a permanent guest? 
He said one of the owners, what if she is his ex or something? 
My thoughts were faster than a bullet train. Whoever said trains and flights are fast, just check with my thoughts and imaginations. 
It can go from one place to another with in a blink of eye. 
“And that my dear wife, is you. You’re the one who’s hungry. And don’t try to deny because I know you only ate chocolates since morning ” he gave me a stern look. 
“I- choc…. Tej insisted” I lied. Tej did insisted to have lunch with him but I ate chocolates instead. Technically I’m not lying. 
“Tej insisted you to eat chocolates? Then pray tell me why he asked me to feed that empty stomach of yours which by the way growling like a monster as soon as we reach home?” Tej said that? Did he have a death wish or what? 
My stomach growled, when I tried to deny his accusation. I did not notice my stomach was growling until now.
How embarrassing! 
“I’m sorry” I mumbled. 
“I don’t want your sorry but I do need a helping hand. Can you help me a little? ” he asked stirring something in a pan. 
“You take rest. I’ll cook for us” I mumbled and tried to take spatula from his hand but he nodded no. 
“Just cut these veggies for me. I want you to rank my cooking skills” he grinned. 
Holy freaking Himalayas! I know you are far away from where I live but listen to me and listen carefully, if you don’t melt now I’ll make sure to pay a visit to you soon.