Murderers in the House

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The slap resounds across the room, and no tears follow. Quietly, Aniket comes to my side, wrapping his arm around my waist protectively. I lean into his embrace, welcoming the warmth he offered.

Chinna faces Kanya at the threshold, the divide between them evident. Wide-eyed and clearly confused, my sister watches their interaction with disdain. She strides confidently up to her husband's side, glaring at Kanya challengingly.

"Is this your new pet?" Kanya sneers, throughly analyzing Preesha.

"Who are you calling a pet, bit—

Chinna clears his throat, and Pressha smiles at him sheepishly.

"I am married to him." She pulls out her manglasutra from her red saree. "It seems like your the home-wrecker here."

Kanya scowls, barging into my house. She pushes past Chinna and Preesha, surveying the house like she's touring a antique shop.

"Nice place, you've got here Krithi." She says, acknowledging me for the first time. "Really brings out the middle class vibe."

As if she has a home in the first place. Aniket pulls me in closer by my waist, trying to make me quiet. With Chinna, it was an obvious threat. But with Kanya, we both have no clue as to why exactly she is here.

Aniket and I exchange glances, trying to communicate through our eyes. He blinks once, narrowing his eyes as if he's suspicious that this is a dream. "Huh." I respond, trying to sound nonchalant.

I want to punch her face.

"How much does it cost, really? Your house and your hospital?" She enquires, her voice high pitched— as if she's genuinely curious even though the question itself is stirred with poison. Now, that is how you act.

"Oh, not much. But I'm happy with what I have." I reply.

"What you have, Krithi, is a billion dollar business now. So don't be so modest. And you seduced my brother into handing it over to you. That is not an accomplishment."

Prakash must've told her that I know about Aniket and Kanya's blood relationship as brother and sister.

Preesha, the dimwit, who gets confused between the percentages of milk at the supermarket, is delirious about this situation. Chinna tries to move as far away from her as possible and I can see the hurt in her eyes by that mere action.

I don't know why Chinna is still afraid of Kanya. He doesn't love her, by the looks of it. He wouldn't have enjoyed his night with Preesha otherwise. Even though Chinna switched girls like he switched shirts— one for each day— he doesn't seem to be the cheating type. He always broke up with a girl before courting another.

There is something going on between Kanya and Chinna.

"I did not seduce anyone, here Kanya. Aniket gave his company to me willingly. Now, if you are talking about how you seduced—

Pressha's eyes widen.

That's right. She doesn't know about Kanya and Chinna's potential wedding today. It would break her heart if I revealed that I forced Chinna to marry her.

Kanya's boiling in anger by now. I didn't even need to complete the sentence. "I didn't seduce anyone. I deserve that company. Just because of my gender, I've been suffering all my life. Why couldn't my uncle pick me to be the heir? Just because my brother has the genitals, does not mean that a woman can't do the same job. It doesn't mean that I can't do it. My own mother chose to write the company in his name instead of mine, even when she knew that she was carrying twins. How fair do you think that is?"

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