chapter 22 - Lakshmi

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Phillips point of view

A knock on my office door pulled my attention of out of my reports and I looked up as my secretary let in one of my clerks in.

' sir , you wanted to see me about the Moana Hotel account?"

' yes ...Priya right? There has been some trouble with the staff there and I want to the long term viability of the hotel."

' The information is all here.' She said setting down a thick file on my table. ' I know its not my place to say but the hotel is doing very well financially and the investors are receiving very lucrative dividends.'

Then she quietly put a small box of Indian sweets on my table.

' by the way sir, Happy Diwali. Your wife must be excited about her first Diwali as a married woman, I remember my first Diwali after marriage was so exciting."

' Diwali?' I was confused, Victoria hadn't said anything , but then again, she had been acting weird all week.

She had been sullen and withdrawn, and didn't smile. In fact I hadn't heard her laugh all week. I had wondered if she was sick, but she said she was fine.

We had been married for almost two months now and things had fallen into an easy routine. It was very easy to be around her and as soon as she left I always felt as if something was missing.

It had been a month since the garden and I still hadn't figured out a way to break past that wall she had built around her.

I had tried to wear it down slowly, sending her flowers and chocolates at university, talking her to even more exclusive restaurants, she smiled and thanked me but most evening she spent in front of my computer, reading and studying and she would get to bed worn and exhausted.

I couldn't figure out why she spent so much time on it, I didn't remember needing to study this hard in my final semester.

But this week something had defiantly been bothering her.

' Yes sir, the festival of lights, its the last day tonight, most people celebrate by wearing new clothes, a Pooja in the evening, and then then share dinner to end their salt fasts.

Its time for family and even though I am with my husbands family, I miss my parents terribly this time of year.'

I didn't say anything, and instead sat with her for the next hour discussing the ins and outs of the hotel, but as she was about to go back to her office something made me stop her.

"Where would you go to buy Indian clothes?" I asked her.

"Sir, today? Its inauspicious to spend any money today."

' that's not what I asked."

'St Lukes has a huge range of high end Indian clothing stores, its about 20 mins from here.'

'"good, clear your afternoon, We are going shopping."

I got home early at about 4pm, excited about the outfit I carried in my hands.

' Victoria! Victoria!" I called out.

She didn't answer, which was strange as I new she didn't have classes this afternoon and should have been home.

I checked the kitchen and then the study and she wasn't there, then the bedroom, nothing was out of place although her bag was on her couch.

Maybe she was out for a run. She liked running, she said it kept her fit as well as helped her clear her mind.

I needed to relieve myself so I walked into the bathroom and there she was, immersed in the tub and back to me and knees pulled to her chest, bubbles right to the very edge, her hair tied by into a high messy exposing the smooth skin in her nape and her shoulders.

She was crying, not loud sobs but fat thick tears that slid down her face slowly.

I couldn't see her face directly but I caught a glimpse of her in the mirror.

When she saw me she quickly washed her face and put on a fake smile.

"Phillip, your home early! I didn't hear you come in. Can you give me a minute and I will finish up here."

This was strange for her, in the past if I had walked in on her in the shower I would be met with screaming and yelling and the occasional thrown bottle of shampoo and I would retreat.

There was no lock on our bathroom door. Before her there was never any need for one.

She came out wearing a thick bathrobe and I pushed the bag I had brought home into her arms.

' Wear this and get ready.' I instructed her.

' oh Phillip i really don't feel like going out anywhere tonight...' she started to protest.

' I wasn't asking.' I cut her off and walked out of the room to let her change.

I walked back in 20 minutes later and she was just about done.

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