Martha new instantly that I was upset, she didn't say anything, she just took the tray from me and gave me a huge hug, holding me tight as the tears that had threatened to fall earlier finally broke free. I was glad to be away from them, especially my mother in law.
She just held me as I sobbed into her shoulder.
They had signed over the hotel, the hotel that was their lifeblood.
Why would they do that?
Even if I could run, find a way to escape, my parents would lose everything.
'shhh Hun, please don't be sad, my my you are the homeliest looking creature when you cry.'
I had to laugh, I am sure that my face was all red and puffy, and I wiped my face with the tissues she handed me.
' Didn't they like the tea?"
' I don't know, they didn't say anything, although Mr Malhotra nearly ate the whole plate of pakoras."
' Then why are you so upset?'
" Its just something to do with my family that I just found out. I'll be ok in a bit, " smiling and putting on my best fake happy face. Mathat wasnt convinced and her faced showed it, but she didnt say anything.
'ok, well guess I better get lunch out, wanna give me a hand?"
Lunch was an a painfully silent affair, we sat there eating, not a word said and I couldn't help but notice how painfully cold their family relationship was, all business.
A pang of pity for Phillip struck me as I remembered my own family, the warmth, the laughter, the banter, how Papa would tease Mumma just to get her annoyed, just so he could coax her into a better mood after.
This felt more like a wake than a family lunch.
True to her word, Martha was an excellent cook, the meal was balanced and tasty - but missing something. Excusing myself I rushed back to the kitchen and grabbed my bottle of chillie flakes, and added a decent sprinkle over my food, the taste lifted instantly.
' Bahuu, pass me some of that." Vimlesh asked as he eyed the bottle of chillie flakes, holding out his hand.
Ignoring his hand, I set the bottle right in front of him, watching as his eyes twinkled and he burst out laughing.
'I didn't think you would be the superstitions type!" he laughed out.
' oh how primitive" Leena exclaimed rolling her eyes.
Phillip looked at all of us with a puzzled look.
' Its considered bad luck to hand someone chilli directly, its supposed to cause the two to fight." I explained to him.
' Oh Phillip, don't forget that the Balaji's are hosting a banquet in two weeks time and since your father and I are not here,I have RSVP's you to go,' she sighed.
" I suppose I will have to add Victoria to that as well. We cannot have you attending a formal function without your wife from now on. What will people think? Please make a good impression on them. Also we have dinner reservations at Logan Browns' tonight."
' Mother, not that place again ! The servings are tiny and each course takes too long!"
'Its a degustation menu and the portions are supposed to be tiny. I've had these reservations booked for months and you promised you would take me!"
' Leena, I agree with Phillip, after all, its Victoria's first official day here and I think I would love to sample more of her cooking, you don't mind cooking do you Victoria? And anyway, isn't that reservation for three people only? I think it would be extremely rude to leave Victoria here by herself."
' Its no trouble at all, I am sure I will be fine." The words flowed out of my mouth easily enough, but inside I was furious.
It was obvious that Leena would not include me in their plans and I was getting very tired of her condescending attitude towards me.
" Vimlesh, this was supposed to be Phillips birthday present for me! You can't not come!"
" I got you that diamond necklace set for your birthday. I've just spent the morning walking around with you for more unnecessary shopping. I've had enough and I am not going anywhere. I resent being towed around like a purse dog while you do your meet and greet thing with the rich and famous. I am tired of all these fancy pants restaurants that you keep dragging me to, I want a home cooked meal! " His voice thundered across the courtyard and everyone sat in silence and shock.
Vimlesh Malhotra was not a man to normally raise his voice but when he did his word was final.
" Phillip, its ok, I don't mind, after all,' I said as sweetly as I possibly could, looking straight at my mother in law, ' my dearest Sasur ( father in law) has asked me so nicely to make him a meal, and isn't it traditional for the new Bahuu to cook something on her first day at her marital house ? It will be an honour to cook for your father, and an honour to our culture."
I couldn't help but feel self satisfied at the dirty look Leena shot me but at least for the now she had nothing more to say.
' Well that settles it then! Victoria will cook me dinner and you two can eat at that fancy pants restaurant." Vimlesh said.
We finished lunch in silence and for a moment I enjoyed my little win.
YOU ARE READING
An Arranged AffairRomance
To repay the debt owed by her parents, Victoria, a young Indian girl born to immigrant parents, is forced into an arranged marriage to the only son of the weathy Malholtra family. Unable to see past her familys betrayal she makes a plan to make her...