Read the earlier chapters by clicking the links. CHAPTER I CHAPTER II CHAPTER III CHAPTER IV CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHAPTER VII CHAPTER VIII CHAPTER IX
Tara sat on the living room sofa, flipping through a magazine. She was not reading a single line as her eyes were fixed on the closed study room door. She liked Jennifer, but her possessive heart was stirring up the green monster of jealousy. An hour had passed since Jennifer and Shekhar had gone into the study. Roohi had slept after a merry story time with Cyrus. Cyrus too had retired to his room. Tara eyed the door again and let out an involuntary sigh.
What was it that they had to discuss under closed doors?
Just for a minute, she thought about eavesdropping at the door. But she loathed treachery. She took a deep breath and tried to calm down her wandering thoughts. Jennifer was still unmarried, but she had never felt anything romantic between them. Jennifer had been distracted at the dining table and she was staring at Shekhar a lot. The moment she had left them in the garden to check on Roohi, they had escaped to the study. Whatever existed between them must be purely platonic. Her Shekhar was a devoted and faithful lover. Wasn’t he?
“Tara, Can I speak to you for a moment?”
Tara turned hearing the question and found Cyrus standing near the door of the guest bedroom.
“Of course, come here Cyrus, take a seat,” said Tara, relieved that she got a reason to distract her devious thoughts.
Cyrus sat on a chair next to the sofa and sat staring at the floor. It was as though he was lost in thoughts or as though not able to decide where to begin.
“Cyrus…What is it? What do you want to tell me?” asked Tara with a smile, after minutes ticked by and Cyrus failed to utter a word.
Cyrus looked at her then and the pain reflected on his face surprised her.
“What happened Cyrus? What is it? Tell me,” asked Tara, her eyes wide with concern.
“You don’t remember anything? You don’t remember me?” asked Cyrus and Tara sat stunned.
Until the moment, their family friend Aditya had requested her to allow his student to stay for a few days at her house, she hadn’t even known about Cyrus. But she had to admit, he seemed familiar. Yet she was clueless as to how or where she had met him. She had stirred her cauldron of memories, but had been unable to remember anything. There was a strong pull she felt whenever she looked at Cyrus. As though, there existed an invisible thread that bound them. As though that thread might break any moment because she was striving hard to get away.
As if her silence disturbed him, Cyrus shook his head and then hunkered down onto the carpet near her.
“Tara, Remember… Try to remember. You have forgotten all your promises, all your vows. How can you do this to me… to us?” asked Cyrus, grabbing both of Tara’s hands.
Tara stood up freeing her hands and glared at Cyrus.
“Get up this moment. What is this nonsense? And what do you mean I have forgotten my promises? I don’t even know you?” hissed Tara.
“Tara..Tara… Relax. Let me help you remember,” said Cyrus and took hold of her hands again.
“Try now Tara. Look into my eyes. Don’t you remember anything?” asked Cyrus, removing his glasses.
Tara looked into Cyrus’s eyes and in the depths of his gray-green eyes; a million memories began to wake up. Caught in the web of those memories she didn’t notice that she had moved nearer to Cyrus and that he had taken her in his arms.
“What the hell is happening here? What is the meaning of all this?” screamed Shekhar, who had just come out of the study along with Jennifer. Tara and Cyrus flew apart. Tara had a dazed look and Cyrus looked impassive.
“Shekhar, cool down. You are over reacting. Tara will explain,” said Jennifer, holding onto Shekhar’s arm. Jennifer feared that he might launch himself at Cyrus.
“What do you mean she will explain? This bastard, we gave him a place under our roof, considered him like a brother and this is what he gifts us back. You scoundrel, I’ll kill you,” hollered Shekhar. Tara’s silence and Cyrus’s wooden looks was infuriating him further.
“Mr. Shekhar, you are misunderstanding me. I didn’t do anything wrong. Your wife and I have a few old scores to settle. You can ask her. And I don’t wish to stay here anymore. The purpose of my visit is fulfilled. Tara… Remember!” said Cyrus and stormed out of the room, leaving Shekhar and Jennifer staring at Tara with their eyes wide open and mouths open in the shape of an O.
Within moments, Cyrus came out from the guest bedroom carrying his suitcase and laptop bag. He gave one last look at Tara who had become as pale like a ghost.
The door closed behind Cyrus with a loud thud and startled Shekhar and Jennifer out of their trance. Unable to digest what had happened, Shekhar floundered towards Tara.
Tara’s eyes flitted between the closed door and Shekhar frantically. Then she swooned and fell in a heap onto the floor.
Read: Chapter XI here