chapter 24 - the knot of protection

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Victoria's POV

I sat the firework on the concrete paving stone and released the fuse from the clear tape that held it to the canister.

" You need to make sure its steady and facing the right way, if not someone could get hurt if it goes off the wrong way.' I explained to Anushka. " Then you look around to make sure everyone is at a safe distance before you light it."

I took an insane stick and lit the end, handing it to Phillip .

" I thought we were lighting the firework not incense!" he said confused.

" We are silly! " I laughed. " its much safer to light the fuse with this than with a lighter."

He bent down and touched the glowing ember of the incense stick to the fuse and it burst to life. Fizzing away as the flame ate through the string.

" What do we do now?" he asked.

" Now we run!" and we laughed and giggled as we sprinted to a safe distance away from the live firework. The flame ate away to the base of the fuse but nothing happened.

" It's a dud!" Phillip said sadly.

" wait for it...."

And sure enough an orb of light shot out of the firework and screamed into the night sky, followed by another and another, they exploded into an sphere of spectacular color, first red, then green then white. The crowd of people around us exclaimed with awe and wonder and the light show it put on.

"Again! Again!" Anushka cried out clapping her hands in glee. " please bhaiya, again please!"

He looked at me with a boyish grin and in that moment he looked so happy and carefree.

" well, I've shown you what to do - have fun!"

I stood as I watched them choose their next firework, Phillip was better with kids than he realized.

" So I take it you two are getting along then." My brother said standing beside me.

" He's not what I expected." I said quietly wondering how many people had noticed the almost kiss.

It had been almost too perfect. On a night like this, under the starry sky with fireworks in the background. I felt my cheeks flush as I remembered how warm I had felt in his arms, and just how much I had wanted him to kiss me. Little butterflies danced around my stomach, even though the almost kiss was on the lawn of my parents home.

" He hasn't hurt you or forced you has he..."

" No nothing like that, he's actually been very nice , generous and caring."

" good, because if he ever hurts you I will find him and beat the shit out of him."

" bhaiya!"

' Just be careful ok, his kind of people, they don't care about people like us, all they care about his money and power... I just don't want him to take advantage of you."

We stood there for a while watching the fireworks. I didn't know what to say, but my brothers words held a stinging truth.

" You're wearing the shirt I sent you! I was wondering if you got it. I was so sad when you said you weren't coming home for raksha bahndan this year." I said, noticing his shirt. ' Did you at least wear the rhaki I sent you?"

' I was so angry with Mumma and Papa for making you get married. And I was so ashamed of myself. I should have been stronger, so much less afraid. You know the pig was a stupid stunt by the fraternity pledges? I lashed out at Mumma and Papa by not coming home, I tried to hurt them and instead I ended up hurting you.' He fished around his pants pocket and pulled out a rhaki that was stlll wrapped up, the cellophane wrapper crinkled and creased.

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