Weird Relatives

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I woke up before sunrise, as usual. Aniket was fast asleep, turned on his front and cuddling the pillow.

Like my mother said, my cycle started overnight. There was a red splotch of my blood on the bed. I left it there and quickly got ready and wore the same clothes from last night.

I left Aniket to sleep, as if he were tired from last nights presumed activities.

Outside, there was a suitcase which I think my Amma had left for me. I pulled it in, quickly changed into a rose-gold saree and arranged the rest of my clothes in Anikets closet. After I finished color-coding our clothes, I went downstairs. The kitchen, I presumed, was to the right.

I finished cooking in about an hour. It would probably feed both our families, if there was left overs, we could probably eat it tonight.

I set the table and arranged flowers. By the time everyone was waking up, I was dressed for work and made Aniket coffee, just in case he woke up. I made tea for everyone in the house, and left it in the stove to warm.

I personally hate coffee. It's a drug, and it's not good for you after long periods of time. Aniket still didn't wake up. I didn't know what else to do, and it was only six in the morning. I decided I might as well pray to god and water the thulasi outside.

When I was younger, I would rip the leaves of the Thulasi first thing in the morning and eat it. It was my breakfast. I smiled at the memory of my mother chastising me for not being able to eat afterwards.

My shift starts at seven at the hospital. It was Saturday, but one of my patients' surgeries were booked today, and it can't be prolonged any longer.

I sat at the dining table. I didn't want to wake anyone. When my mother came in a neatly pressed saree, and her immaculately done in a bun, I wondered how anyone could perfect anything that they do like my mother. Not a single strand of hair was out of place. She looked at the food on the dining table, and looked at me up and down. "You can't even wear your saree properly."

She yanked my arm and took me towards the kitchen where she pretended to fix my saree strands. "Did you get your period?"

"Yes, and I did what you told me to."

"Did he try anything with you?"

"No." I didn't want her to know about Anikets' certain 'situation.' She would scold me about teasing him and acting inappropriately. I remembered her words: 'a girl should never make the first move.'

She sighs in disappointment and tells me to adorn myself with the gold. I go upstairs, to the room I share with Aniket. Aniket is up and sipping the coffee on the bed, looking at my blood on the bedsheets.

I smirk at him and disappear into the closet. I can hear him follow me into the closet but I pretend not to notice him. He leans against the threshold, frowning.

"What's with the blood?"

"Oh you know, our relatives are going to check if we consummated the marriage." I say nonchalantly.

"What?!"

"I know, I reacted the same way."

"How did the blood get on the bed, then? Did we—

"No. I would remember if we did. That's just my period." His ears turn pink and he runs off without another word.

I shake my head at his shyness and go downstairs again to find every one of our relatives up and about, mingling and laughing, having a good time.

My stomach growls at the sight of the food, and I serve myself. Everyone's eyes turn to me. "I'm tasting the food I made," I lie.

I go on to eat the whole plate, and my cousins snicker at my appetite. Preesha walks toward me, unusually joyful. Oh no! Why is the devil coming here?

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