The Yellow Brick Road

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Silent treatment. It was something I have never seen the need to master. Aniket looks at me as I step into the cold water, raking his raven black hair with the tips of his long fingers. I bite my lip as I make my decision. Either he gives into my demands or he faces the consequences. Call me selfish, but I desperately wanted to give that little girl a good life. If I didn't take charge and do something about this atrocity, no one will. Even if I am tricking Arun and Aniket into this, I don't care. I need Aruvi to be safe.

I take another cautious step, my bare feet stepping into the rocks painfully. I wince, but put another foot forward, my head about to blow from the cyclone of thoughts flying in.

The peach dress sticks to me as I enter the shallow water, heading towards Aniket. Arun has an extraterrestrial expression as he passes me, nodding at me at he cuts through the water with his bony body.

I hope he convinced Aniket enough to let me adopt Aruvi, but I don't entirely know about his persuasion skills. They must have been good to some extent, seeing the smile on

The wind howls around me, giving the whole setting a calm, yet ghostly look. I'm not scared of the dark, but that doesn't mean I'm not cautious. Shivering, I hug myself, treading through the muddy floor of the sea.

"Nice scenery, isn't it?" I ask Aniket awkwardly. As the epitome of awkwardness, this was not my best work.

Aniket clears his throat, his voice hoarse as he tries to answer in a yes. He chokes on air, and gulps, nodding briefly before lowering his head to the black waters.

"What did Arun say?" I start, initiating another conversation. Clearing his throat once again, Aniket mumbles a indecipherable reply like a scolded dog. I approach closer to him, wrapping my arms loosely around his neck as I sway to a distant, undistinguishable song in my head. It always irks me when I don't remember song (or the lyrics).

Calming my nerves, I awaken enough courage to ask my question again. In response, Aniket sighs, inhaling a deep breath. "I want to live to see my child." He murmurs, a ghost of a smile crossing his lips.

I ignore his idiotic mumbling, pressing my question again. "What did Arun talk to you about?" I insist, leaning into his chiseled chest.

He ignores my demand, asking a question of his own in turn. "What do you think about adopting Aruvi?" Shocking me, Aniket raises his eyebrows at my frown.

I am supposed to ask that, and instead, Aniket had stolen my thoughts. "What am I supposed to think?" I ask curiously. He bellows in laughter at the stupid question I had put forward, kissing my temple gently.

"The truth. What do you really think?" I bite my lip, overcome with my brain exhausting itself with pondering the answer.

What answer should I give? Should I use reverse psychology, and investigate about his thoughts first? Or should I be honest and tell him outright that I wanted to adopt Aruvi and that he couldn't stop me?

"What do you think I think?" I ask him, trying to play it neutral. One small, tiny, micro sized problem: I was horrible at acting.

Aniket doesn't seem to be catching on, however. "I think that you don't want to adopt Aruvi because you know you would have too many responsibilities." A childish whine resonates in my brain. Not true! "The workaholic that you are, you wouldn't have time to take care of a five year old."

I scratch my nails, trying to seem like I didn't care, while my brain was screaming at me to start presenting our arguments. Right about now, I could picture a vivid image of my brain biting its nails instead.

Reverse psychology it is. "True. I don't want to adopt Aruvi. Honestly, it's too much work." I wave my hand dismissively, like the diva daughters do in the soap operas my mother watches everyday.

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