فصل 13

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فصل 13

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter thirteen

Devanahalli, May 1990

After di@k had taken a hot bath, Lakshmi rubbed a sweet-smelling ointment into the deep scratches on his arm and along his back. She gave him one of her father’s white cotton kurta pyjama outfits to wear while she washed his shirt for him. He was beginning to feel less tense.

‘But why do you think they attacked you, di@k? Does it have anything to do with what you told me at lunchtime? Why would anyone try to kill you? Because I’m sure that’s what they were trying to do.’

‘And they might have succeeded if it hadn’t been for you, Lakshmi. I don’t know how to thank you. They must have been trailing us all day, just waiting for the right opportunity. It frightens me to think about it. Anvway, I’m sure you’re right - it must be connected to the inquiries I’ve been making. Someone obviously wants to stop me very badly.’

‘di@k, don’t you think you should give up this scheme of yours? What good can it do you? It is not good to become obsessed by revenge.’

‘I can’t stop now. I’ve got almost all the information I need. Why should they get away with all the terrible things they’ve been doing for so many years? Do you realise how much suffering they’ve caused other people, and I don’t just mean me - look at your own father… No. I can’t stop now. All I need to do is to decide how I’m going to use the information I’ve got so as to cause them the most trouble.’

There was a long pause. Lakshmi looked worried and upset. Eventually she broke the awkward silence.

‘I don’t think it is right to take revenge. People are punished for their actions by what they become. God arranges punishment. We should leave it to him.’

‘But that’s just fatalism,’ said di@k, ‘and it means that criminals all over the place get away with the most dreadful crimes against other people.’

‘Please think about what I have said,’ said Lakshmi, ‘if only because I believe you are now in great danger. And… and… I am afraid of what they might do to you.’

She left the room in tears and did not return for over an hour. di@k sat alone with his thoughts.

It was six by the time she came back. di@k had decided what he had to do. He rose to leave.

‘I must go back to Bangalore, Lakshmi. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Madras. I need to speak to the Visvanathans face-to-face. I should have done it before. Then at least they’ll know what they’re up against.’

‘But di@k, that’s walking into trouble. Please don’t do it.’

‘Don’t worry, Lakshmi. I’ve had an idea. It will be my life insurance policy. I’ll tell you about it in a minute.’

‘But you can’t leave now anyway. My father should be back any time. And it’s getting dark. It isn’t safe for you to travel in the dark. Supposing those men are waiting for you. Please don’t leave. I’m sorry if I upset you by what I said. I meant it but I can understand how you feel too. Just don’t leave me now. We’ve had such a lovely day together - well, most of it was lovely, I mean before they tried to kill you! Who knows when we may be able to see each other again? Please di@k.’

‘OK, I’ll wait until your father comes back, then I’ll decide whether to stay on till tomorrow or not,” di@k said.

Lakshmi began to prepare supper. di@k sat watching her. But somehow the easy familiarity they had felt earlier in the day had evaporated. They felt awkward and did not know quite what to say to each other. Perhaps it was their disagreement. Perhaps it was the thought that Nagarajan might walk in at any moment. Perhaps it was the realisation that they might never meet again. In the distance there was the sound of thunder. The air was hot and suffocating.

By seven thirty, Nagarajan had still not returned. They ate supper. Lakshmi looked nervous and worried.

‘Are you worried about your father?’

‘No. I’m sure he’s all right. If he isn’t back by eight, there’s not much point in waiting for him. It isn’t the first time he has stayed longer than expected. He probably found some old friends to drink with and talk about “the good old days”. He’ll come back when he’s ready.

Eight o’clock came and went. di@k did not know what to do. He knew he should leave but he did not want to. Lakshmi had become very important to him but somehow things had gone wrong between them. And now he felt unsure of what to do about it. Eventually he took his courage in both hands and spoke.

‘Lakshmi. I don’t want to lose you. I’m sorry about our disagreement. I don’t want to go back to Bangalore this evening but I don’t know if I should stay. Won’t it be bad for your reputation? What about your neighbours? Won’t they talk? Tell me what you want me to do.’

Lakshmi looked him full in the eyes, then walked across to where he was sitting. She took both his hands in hers and held them.

‘I don’t care about my reputation, or about what the neighbours might say. I’ve had enough of this life. It isn’t a real life at all. Please stay, di@k. Who knows, my father may turn up after all. Tell your driver to find a place to stay till the morning, then come back and we’ll talk.’

They went on talking till midnight. The electricity had gone off soon after nine, probably because of the storm which they could still hear in the distance. So they sat talking by candlelight. The sense of easy familiarity had returned between them.

di@k gave Lakshmi the sealed packet he had brought with him. In it was a copy of all the documents he had collected about the Visvanathans and Lennox. If anything happened to him, she was to send it by registered post to London, to the chairman of the board of directors of Trakton, and to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Eventually di@k got up and they made their way across the courtyard - di@k to his room, Lakshmi to hers. Her father’s room was between them. As they said goodnight, di@k took Lakshmi in his arms and began to kiss her gently, on her hair, her neck, her cheeks.

Just at that moment there was a sudden blinding flash of lightning. Thunder shook the the house and heavy rain began to pour down in torrents, soaking them both.

‘Come inside,’ Lakshmi said softly.

In her room she fell into his arms. He felt her body close to him. He lifted her face to him and kissed her. They kissed long and deep, their bodies close against each other. He felt her soft mouth opening for him, her full breasts pressing urgently against him, her hands caressing him. He remembered the temple statue he had seen earlier in the day, and the image melted into the reality of Lakshmi in his arms. As they lay down together, nothing existed except this moment of total surrender to each other. It was as if they had become one person, fused together in this white hot moment of pleasure.

‘I love you, Lakshmi.’

‘I love you too, di@k,’ she murmured. ‘Hold me, di@k please. I need to feel you again.’

The storm outside grew quieter but the rain continued to pour until morning. They slept little, and between sleeping and loving, they had long whispered conversations.

di@k stayed with Lakshmi until after lunch. They were both happy to be with each other. He had never felt closer to anyone in his life. They agreed that they would meet as soon as di@k’s business with Trakton was over. They made no definite plans but there was an unspoken understanding between them about a future life together.

Lakshmi again saw him off. The lane was full of pools of water from the night rain. She stood waving as the car turned out of the lane. Behind her, the Nandi Hills were sharply outlined against the rain-washed air.

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