The grandeur of her new home dawns belatedly. By the time the last door closes, bolts turn over the point of no return Amrit is numb against the pounding of her heart. True to his word, Veer doesn't even glance at her. Instead he covers the distance across his room in a couple of strides and pushes open a door she hadn't noticed before.
"Sometimes," he says with a quirk of a bitter smile. "Old customs solve unexpected trouble. Your room." He indicates. "Parampara hai, that here spouses keep their separate rooms. We are separated but by a door, you may lock it if you wish." He waits until she had joined him at the threshold, until she grasps the handle. Gripping the door in a white knuckled grip, he turns to her - all traces of smile gone. "But, don't you dare leave. Don't you dare!"
She winces a little, when the door rattles and raw skin on her palm stings. Amrit notices the pain just then. Opening her palm she notices the burn left behind by that electric wire she had accidentally electrocuted herself with. The stinging red line along her palm sears in the cold air.
"You have mehendi on your hands," Veer observes as he moves away from the door leaving it open for her to remove herself to the other room if she wants to. "Kya hum pooch sakte hai kiyun?"
"I was supposed to marry today," she tells him, wondering if it was finally the time to face his ire, lift her pardha and be done with it once and for all.
He stops shuffling through one of his drawers.
"Chod diya usse? Bhaag aayi?"
The sharp edge to his tone makes her flinch.
"Nahi!" She protests. "Something happened. I - I got hurt and lost consciousness. Kher," she turns away. "Aap humara yakeen kyun kare. I have nowhere to go, hence I've agreed to this arrangement. Does it ease your heart to hear that? Don't blame people when you aren't aware of their side of the story Kuwar sahab. Kya patha your fiancee might be in a similar situation somewhere? Kya patha, she wanted to keep her word but circumstances were against her? Kya patha if she's alright or not? But no, aap ko toh goli maarni hai!"
She fumbles over her words in agitation and turns to find him closer than she had anticipated. During her rant Amrit did not notice him approaching. She tugs down her pardha self consciously, praying he could not see through the flimsy layer in these dim lights. Veer watches her curiously, if not suspiciously. She holds his gaze, knowing full well he couldn't see the defiance in her eyes. But it feels like a little victory to keep her head up and meet his gaze. Equals, for a change.
"Haat do," he says.
Amrit is startled.
"Give - me - your - hand," he repeats, each word paused with emphasis.
Confused and a little cautious Amrit unfolds her palm. Veer places a little container of yellowish paste on her upturned palm.
"For your burn. Put it on, before going to sleep. Now, there's a circus scheduled for tomorrow. So I advice an early night."
He stalks away, digging out a hip flask from his pocket and taking a deep swig from it. It is the last Amrit sees of her make believe husband before the door joining their rooms closes behind him. She remains on that spot for a moment longer, unsure, unsettled and disturbed, staring at the tiny container of medicine lying innocently on her palm.
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