New Endearments and Old Relationships

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Aniket and I converse with the woman, trying to get more information about the Preesha she mentioned.

I am about ask the last name of this Preesha, when a black Audi stops beside us, blaring its horns. Aniket turns to look at the car, waving to the driver. "C'mon, let's go." He says, motioning to the car.

I shake my head, signaling him with my eyes that I should probably meet Preesha.

My stomach has other ideas though. "I'm hungry." I tell him, biting my lips in embarrassment as my stomach chooses that exact moment to growl.

"We'll get you food, c'mon." He says, smiling and putting the slightest of pressures on my wrist.

The woman—who's apparently named Rosemary, but prefers to be called Rosie— observes us interact with a quizzical look on her round face. "I thought you wanted to meet Preesha." She says, pointing at me.

I smile sheepishly, deciding to be honest with this innocent woman. "Listen, I think I know your friend Preesha. I have a cousin named Preesha, and she wasn't pregnant when I last met her. She's only starting her modeling career and she's not even married. I don't know— I'm just worried for her."

"Is your cousins' last name Menon?" The woman asks, making me jump in shock.

Aniket grips my hand, comforting me as I confirm my dear cousins' pregnancy.

I nod in yes, making Rosie's eyes go wide. "I'm sorry. It was supposed to be a secret and I shouldn't have told you." She takes a step to go along her way, but I block her.

"Please, I won't tell anyone. I just—I want to help her. Please." I beg the woman, who sighs and stops from walking away.

We wait for a few minutes in the car, Aniket comforting me as I lean on his shoulder. After what seems like hours, Preesha finally shows up, walking along the platform as if her life isn't ruined.

Rosemary notices her and climbs out of the car, and I follow her out the door. Preesha greets Rosie and gives her a hug, while I close the car door shut. Preesha's expression changes the moment she sees me, from joyful to downright fearful.

"K-Krithi! What are you doing here?" She stutters, walking back from me slowly.

"I warned you! I warned you about engaging in intimacy before marriage. And here you are, pregnant! What am I supposed to tell your family?!" I shriek, flailing my arms around in anger.

"It just happened! I—

I don't let her make excuse, starting my angry rant once more. "I don't care, Preesha! Why are you going to the hospital?" I interrogate, crossing my arms and waiting for a valid answer.

"N-nothing. Just a normal checkup." She lies, her whole body quivering in fear and nervousness.

"Is that it? Are you sure you're not having an abortion?!" I exclaim, while Preesha starts bawling at my crude words.

"I have no choice. I can't tell our family. They will kill me!" She reasons, wiping her tears.

I pity her; she will definitely get no support from our family. They will murder her before they get a black mark in the society.

I rush to her, embracing her in a hug. No woman should have to go through killing her own child. There is no morality in murdering a innocent life.

"Did you tell the father of the child?" She nods, her hands tightening around my body as I hug her.

"Chinna didn't want it."

Wait a minute! Chinna? "How the hell did you get tied up with Chinna of all people?!" I yell at her, breaking the hug, and embracing the anger reborn.

"We met at the club a few months back. I- He said he loved me! I only ever slept with him. He wooed me, got me into his bed, and a few weeks after I was with him, I figured out that I was pregnant. I told him, thinking foolishly that we could start a life together. I thought I changed the playboy billionaire. Except, he texted me that we can't be together anymore. He left me!" She screams in agony, wiping tear after tear as she recalls her relationship with Chinna.

That bastard!

Aniket comes out of the car, standing beside me and wrapping his arms around my waist gently. "It's getting dark. We should get to the beach." He says, kissing my cheek as he stands behind me.

"One moment, Aniket. I'll be right there. Okay, baby?" I say, as Aniket's eyes widen at the endearment.

"Alright, baby." He says, embracing me tightly.

I ignore the shiver his touch sends along my spine and focus on the situation at hand. "Your best friend got my cousin pregnant!" I whisper to Aniket, sneering at the way it came out of my mouth.

"He's not my best friend, anymore, Krithi. Don't hold his actions against me." He replies calmly, tangling his hands in my hair as he smooths over my ponytail.

I huff, getting back to Preesha. "I have a friend who's a gynecologist. She will help you. Stay away from our family until I give your the clear. I'll talk to them. It's useless trying to talk to heartless playboys like Chinna. Stay with Rosie. Don't depress yourself by thinking of chinna and don't you dare get an abortion. I promise, I will try to align things for you." I turn to Her friend. "Rosie, if you take her to another hospital or help her get an abortion, I will personally hunt you down. Do you understand?" Rosemary nods feverishly, clenching her jaw in fear. I turn my head, facing Preesha. "Give birth to the baby, and we'll see if anyone wants to take the child for adoption."

Preesha nods, another tear leaving her eyes. "My career. I would lose it completely if I have this baby."

"Get over yourself. You could always get back to modeling after giving birth. I know loads of women who have a nice structure even after going through pregnancy. You just have work hard to maintain your body after giving birth." Hearing the words come out of my mouth, I gasp, my own insecurities vanishing into the air.

Aniket kisses the back of my head, as he spoons me. "You're perfect, you know that?" He whispers hoarsely, raising goosebumps on every inch on my flesh.

I purse my lips, waiting for the feeling to disappear and for Preesha to answer.

"I will do it. Only because you are my sister, and I trust you. But if you get me into trouble, I swear, I won't hesitate to take my life." She warns, crying a river by the time she completes the sentence.

"Don't blackmail me Preesha, you know I will never do anything that will bring you harm." I promise her, hugging her once again before instructing Rosie to take care of my cousin.

"By the way, where are you staying? At Rosie's?" I ask Preesha. She nods.

"Rosie has the same problem. Her boyfriend of five years left her after she revealed that she got pregnant. Men. They don't want any commitments. Only content. God, I feel so stupid and— and used." Another round of tears start, and I suddenly wonder how the hell Aniket deals with me.

Maybe I should try to make it easy for him once in a while. But damn, if I was a man, and I was acting like I did earlier today— making Aniket carry me and all— I would probably try to find some solitude and switch off my phone for a month.

I pat Preesha awkwardly as Aniket scoots to continue spooning me. Us ladies talk for a few minutes, trying to make Preesha smile with stupid jokes. I finally wave them goodbye after what seems like a decade later, skipping to the car after I manage to shrug Aniket off of me.

We get seated inside the car, finally content to be alone again. The driver rolls up the screen in the middle, giving us unneeded privacy. I look at Aniket for explanation, but he just winks, making me laugh at his silliness.

"You told him to do that, didn't you?" I ask him, swatting his arm.

"I wanted you alone. Who could blame me?" He says, taking off his seatbelt.

This was going to be one hell of a ride, I think, as I merge my lips with his.


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