1: Love Affair
“Phew!” Shaan threw his pencil down and leaned back in his chair. “Finally. No more of this dumb scutwork. I’m done. Now I can concentrate on what I really want to do.” He glanced at his cell-phone. He hadn’t had to charge it in 48 hrs. Yes! The goddamn thing is working! He pushed his chair back, and ambled up to the single window of his office cum lab. Not a single celestial body marred the inky black sky. Even if he screwed his eyes, it was tough to decipher the outline of the spruce grove that surrounded the cottage.
I wish Rich and Spacegenics had capitulated earlier, he thought. They should’ve realized long ago I wasn’t the one they were looking for. It was someone higher up. Someone with the ways and means to infiltrate the entire network and manipulate it to suit her ends. They compensated me pretty good though. I’m not complaining. But why the public apology. That must’ve cost Rich something. Humility doesn’t come easily to that bastard.
As Shaan wrestled with the puzzle just like he’d done an infinite number of times in the past, the powerful motion-sensing exterior lights snapped on suddenly, blinding him. Something or someone had triggered them. Shading his eyes, he scanned the perimeter. He couldn’t see anything beyond the white arch of the lights. He’d installed them this past Spring at the behest of his neighbor, Bob. For a man of few words he’d been very insistent. “To keep the bears away,” he’d said. Bob had also made Shaan install a heavy duty chain link enclosure in the back for the garbage cans. Shaan had thought it was going a little overboard yet he’d humored the older man. After all he had much experience living in the mountains just like Andy Sr. had with women. The thought evoked certain memories making Shaan smile.
He was rudely knocked out of his musings by a loud clatter. The office door had slammed open and standing there was the subject of his thoughts, his wife. Her lovely face looked unusually agitated.
It got him worried. “Darling are you okay?”
“No, I’m not.” She thrust something in his face, it was a sheet of notepaper, the one he’d hidden under her pillow just that afternoon.“What’s the meaning of this, Shaan? Sorry excuse? What are you trying to tell me?”
He smiled, gently removing the paper from her grasp. He led her to the comfortable well-worn recliner next to the fireplace and forced her to sit. Then, after tucking a gaily decorated woollen throw around her, he collapsed at her feet and wrapped his arms around her trembling frame.
A few moments later, when she appeared to relax slightly, he bowed his head and rested it gently on her swollen womb. Almost within an instant, his action was repercussed by a hefty kick. This caused both husband and wife to burst into laughter helping to scale down the tension considerably.
“I hope you’re joking Shaan.” Ruhi ran her fingers through his mop.
He stood up and snuggled into the recliner next to her and dragged her onto his lap. “No I’m not sweetheart. I want to tell you everything about me. Every dirty little detail.”
“But I haven’t told you anything about me.”
“You don’t have to. I know everything I need to know and you’re perfect.”
A long pause ensued. The flames crackled in the grate filling the air with a soothing, pleasant sound.
Ruhi’s fingers slipped inside his shirt. “Haven’t you done enough damage to my life already?”
Shaan sat up with a start. He searched his wife’s face but instead of bitterness and indignation he saw something else– a look that filled him with a heady cocktail of pleasure and pain. Something that had made him so utterly besotted with her. Wasting no further time he scooped her up in his arms and covered the distance to the door in a few long strides. Work could wait.
PS: If you want to read the background on this story check out Inconvenient Relations and its sequel Now and Forever here!