CHAPTER 14

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Shravan closed the door to his apartment after bidding his friends goodbye. His friends and colleagues had thrown him and Pushkar a small welcome party.

He headed back inside to find Pushkar already sleeping in the guestroom. A small smile etched on his face seeing his cousin sleep so peacefully like a baby. Covering him with a blanket he gently closed the door before heading to his own room.

After assuring his mother that both of them were perfectly well and alive he called it a night.

The next morning Shravan made his way through the familiar routes towards his firm only this time he had Pushkar accompanying him.

"So how's it going?" Shravan asked Eric entering his cabin.

"We have a date with the court in three weeks. I'll have the papers sent to your cabin. Go through them once and see if there are some changes you would like to have made."

With a sharp nod, Shravan headed to his own cabin where Pushkar was already waiting for him. A small wave of nostalgia hit him as he entered his cabin. It was exactly as he had left it. Not even a single thing was out of place. These past ten years, work was his escape. He had spent more time here than at his own apartment where the dread of loneliness always haunted him; the spear of longing piercing his heart slowly and painfully. The empty appartment was a proof that his yearnings were futile.

A displeased grunt brought him out of his reverie and he turned to see his cousin frowning at one of the pictures he kept on his desk to reassure himself of some semblance of a family.

"What?" He asked confused.

"Why did you select a picture in which I'm crying a river? Couldn't you choose a picture in which I was smiling showing off my dimples, looking like the cute baby I was?"

Shravan chuckled looking at the picture of him and Varun carrying a crying baby Pushkar between them. Pushkar was barely a toddler then and Varun was no older than five.

"Admit it Pushkar. You were a cranky baby. You used to cry all the time."

"Nah. You are just jealous I was more cute as a baby." Pushkar waved his hand dismissively.

Shravan shook his hopelessly.

*******

"This is so not fair." Pushkar's voice rang out in the apartment causing Shravan to come out from his room from where he had holed up since afternoon.

"What's not fair Pushkar?" Shravan asked frustrated seeping through his voice.

"This." Pushkar pouted pointing at the laptop screen infront of him.

Shravan looked to see he was on a video call with Preeti.

"Sumo made cheesecake and I'm not there to eat it. And this meanie has been teasing me relentlessly. Dekho, dekho kaise chidha chidha ke kha rahe hai." He whined pointing to a smug Preeti who was thoroughly relishing her delicacy.

"Oye. Who did you call a meanie?"

"You. Who......"

"Stop it you two." Shravan heard her voice before her face appeared on the screen. "Pushy, stop whinning like a baby. I'll make you one when you return."

"But Sumo." He whined. "Whenever you try a new recipe I'm the first one to taste it." He pointed a finger towards himself.

"Well now you aren't." Shravan responded dryly and retreated back to his room banging the door in the process.

Minutes later his phone rang. Seeing the caller id he debated whether to answer or not but then the person on the other end was stubborn as a mule and wouldn't give up till he answered the call.

"What's wrong?" A soft voice questioned as soon as he answered.

"Nothing. I'm just......"

"Shravan" He could hear the reprimanding tone in her voice. He felt like a child being scolded for lying. "You had a court date today na?"

Shravan exhaled roughly. "It didn't go as planned Sumo. Some documents were not proper." He responded his jaw ticking in irritation. The fact that despite both him and Eric being competent lawyers there was a glitch in the papers had been bugging him ever since he returned from court.

"Ab?"

"The court has given us another date two weeks from now." He sighed.

"This is taking longer than I had expected." He grumbled running a hand through his hair.

"You're eager to come home." She responded picking up on the actual reason of his frustration.

"So?" He could hear the smile in her voice but he had no clue why.

"The guy who was ready to run away from home and permanently settle in London some time back is actually eager to come home."

A small smile made its way on his lips realizing the meaning if her words.

"That's some progress Malhotra."

*******

"Bua, bua. Can I get some chocolate please?" Abhay asked giving his best puppy eyes to Suman.

"Dinner first Abhay." Suman responded trying once again to feed Aaliya who turned her head to the side for the nth time.

Suman sighed exasperated.

"I see your on babysitting duty today." Startled Suman turned to find an amused Aditya standing by the door.

As if on cue a light bulb went off in her head. Anuj and Aisha had gone to attend a function on Aisha's side of the family and she was left in charge of the two troublemakers. Amidst all the mayhem she had forgotten that Aditya and Anita were supposed to visit that day because her mother and grandfather couldn't wait any longer to pamper the two month old Avinash.

"Uncle." Abhay happily squirmed over to him. "Where's the baby?" He asked looking around.

"Upstairs with his mother."

Abhay nodded in understanding. "Did you bringing me any chocolates? He asked with a goofy smile.

Smiling Aditya handed him two chocolates and the boy happily accepted them running up the stairs.

"You're spoiling him." Suman narrowed her eyes at him.

"That's what I'm here for." He shrugged.

"So where is your sister?" He asked.

"Sulking in some corner over her absentee fiancé." Suman scowled. "He's only gone for a month now and she's acting as if she hasn't seen him for ages."

"When you fall in love Sumo then you will understand how torturous a month's separation can be."

As if. Suman scoffed turning her head to the side.

But she did. And it didn't end too well....

The shrill ringing of a phone broke her out of her reverie.

"Preeti your phone's ringing." She shouted. "It's Pushy."

As soon as the words left her mouth Preeti had snatched up her and left at the same speed oblivious to any and everything present around her.

"Arrgh. Yeh ladki! Agar mera bas chale to I'll ship her off to London this instant."

"And what exactly makes you think you can't?"

______________

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Until next time.....

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