That dance was a mistake. Kairan realized it as soon he put his hands on her but by that time it was too late and he was already lost. When the music stopped he was jerked back to the reality and got away from her as fast as he could. But damn it, he still couldn't get rid of the feelings of how she fitted so perfectly in his arms or how she smelled. He has to be more careful.
Kairan was lost in his thoughts sitting at the leaving room of Evana's family home. After the reception party, he came back with Evana and her family to officially take her away from her home. Currently, Evana was preparing her stuff and saying goodbyes while he waits.
"So Mr. Kairan James, how are you planning to take care of my friend?" Evana's best friend's voice brought Kairan out of his thoughts. He really found the girl a bit annoying at first but once he saw how Evana cared about her, he gradually adjusted to her loud behaviors too.
"I think Evana doesn't need me to take care of her. She prefers to take care of herself. But I am planning to support her however I can along the way."
"Wow, you are a smooth talker. I can see why Evana decided to get married to you of all people."
Kairan just smiled at her in reply.
Soon Evana and Mrs. Sethi came out. Mrs. Sethi walked over to Kairan and hold his hand gently.
"I'm trusting with you the most precious person of my life. I hope you understand how important she is to me."
"I'm honored Mrs. Sethi," Kairan replied humbly.
"Pfft, no more Mrs. Sethi. I'm your grandmother now too. So call me that."
"Okay, Mrs...., I mean okay grandma."
"I'm so glad that Evana decided to get married to you. I always had a good feeling about you two. So don't disappoint me."
"I'll try my best," Kairan replied sincerely to the old women. Although he can't help but feel sorry to see the look of hopefulness in her face. He was quite sure that Evana's grandmother thought them as a young couple who fell in love at first sight but only he and Evana knew how false that image was.
Evana pretended to be happy and excited but when her grandma came to hug her goodbye she was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. She is leaving the place she basically grew up with. Although it was not very far from Kairan's family house and she can still come here anytime she wants to but Evana can't help but fill a sense of isolation.
She was silent the entire car ride and was thankful when Kairan just let her be. It took about thirty minutes for them to reach Kairan's home. Kairan's parents and his younger sister was already waiting at the front door for them.
When she got off the car Kairan's mother came and hugged her.
"Welcome to our home Evana. Now it's yours too my dear."
"Thank you," Evana said feeling a bit overwhelmed by the love.
"I'm sure you are tired, my child. Tintin will take you to yours and Kairan's room. Kairan, your father and I have something to talk to you so please join us," Kairan's mothers said to Evana and Kairan.
Evana followed Tintin inside the home leaving Kairan with his parents.
"So why did you marry him?" Kairan's sister asked her suddenly.
"Why did you marry him knowing how awful his reputation is in the society?"
"Well, the society reputation isn't always right. Your brother also married me despite my reputation."
"So you don't believe the rumors?"
"It's not a matter of belief for me, more like I don't care about the rumors. They are called rumors for a reason."
"Hmm, you are right," Tintin said to Evana finally giving her a bright smile, "I hope you don't mind me asking you like this all of a sudden. When it comes to women, he has the worst luck in this world so I can't help but worry about him."
"I understand. I didn't mind so don't worry," Evana replied to her with a smile. She could see how much Tintin care for her brother and suddenly she felt a little envious that she never had a sibling.
"So here is your room. Your luggage is already brought in I think. If you need any help unpacking you can always call me."
"Oh, thank you so much."
"Have a good night then."
Evana looked around the room. It's a very simple room with a big bed in the middle and a study table on another side. There is also a dressing table near the bathroom door and Evana suspected this is a new edition to the room comparing to the other furniture. She took out her sleepwear from the luggage and went to the bathroom to take a shower to freshen up.
She was brushing her hair sitting in front of the dressing table when Kairan entered the room and closed the door softly. All of a sudden she got tensed and it dawned on her that she is now alone in a room with a man who is officially her husband. She knows that they agreed on the marriage of convenience part but they didn't actually discuss the physical aspect of this marriage. She can't blame him for wanting something sexual because after all it is quite normal she guess and he is a man. But she doesn't think she is ready for this yet. But at the same time, she doesn't know how to say no to him too.
So when Kairan began to walk towards her Evana was suddenly at a loss. She got tenser and tenser with every step he took. He stopped just behind her and when he began to lean down, Evana closed her eyes and stopped breathing.
Kairan returned back to his room after his talk with his parents. They give him the family heirloom, a necklace that has been handed down to the bride of the eldest son of the family for many generations now. He is supposed to give it to his wife as a wedding night gift.
Evana was sitting in front of the dressing table which his mother bought recently. It looks like she had already freshened up. Kairan began to walk towards her to give her the gift. But he was surprised how tense she got when he got nearer and nearer. Suddenly it dawned upon him what she might be thinking. It is their wedding night and she might have thought he is approaching her for something more physical.
Of course, the matter crossed his mind several times. But given how far their marriage is from a conventional one he was not even thinking about the sexual part of the marriage until now. If she wanted it then he would've been fine with it, he is a red-blooded male after all. But it is clear from her rigid posture that she was not ready for this at all and he was totally okay with it too. But she doesn't know that cause they never got a chance to talk about it. So he found the situation really amusing and decided to tease her a little at first.
He closed in on her without a single word and leaned in slowly to put the necklace on her. He almost laughed when he saw she actually froze and closed her eyes when he leaned in. So when the cold necklace touched her skin, Evana's eyes flew open and an involuntary gasp left her.
"Oh, it's a necklace," she said with surprise touching the necklace.
"Yes, it is. Were you expecting something else?" Kairan asked amusingly.
"No," Evana denied a little too quickly.
"Oh, really?" Kairan said raising an eyebrow.
"Then why did you freeze like that when I approached you?"
"I...," Evana was at a loss for words.
"It's okay Evana. This is a marriage of convenience so every part of this marriage should be convenient to both of us including the sexual part."
"And what do you mean by that?" Evana inquired.
"I meant that we can skip the sexual part if you don't want it."
"Oh, thank you for saying that," Evana said then after a pause she added hesitantly, "But I don't want my husband to cheat on me either even if it is a marriage of convenience."
"What made you think that I will cheat on you?" Kairan asked being puzzled by her response.
"Well you are a man and I know how man has needs and all," Evana tried to explain to Kairan a bit embarrassedly.
"For your information, I know very well how to control my needs without cheating," Kairan said air-quoting the word needs and continued with an amused voice, "I don't need a woman to take care of my needs nor a man if you are wondering I'm that way."
"No, I'm not wondering that."
"Thank god. Now that we have established this I think you can relax and I'll go freshen up," Kairan said with a smile and then went to the bathroom.
When he returned Evana was already settled in the bed but she was yet to asleep. He could tell cause when he sat down on his side of the bed he could see how she tensed up yet again.
"I thought we cleared up about the intimacy thing?" he asked.
"Yeah we did," Evana replied to him her voice sounding a little strained.
"Then why are you so tensed again?"
"It's just a new situation for me. I'm not used to sleeping with anybody let alone with a man."
"Hmm. I don't know if it will help but just to assure you that I'm not going turn in to some kind of sexual animal and jump on you while you sleep," Kairan said jokingly.
"Ha ha very funny," Evana replied.
"Seriously though, I give you my word that I will not lay a finger on you that way."
Kairan words made Evana feel strangely safe and she began to relax until she heard what he added next, "Unless of course, you want me to."
"Huh, in your dreams Kairan," Evana replied in an irritated voice.
Kairan could see he got under her skin with that so he can't help but to tease her a little more.
"Oh trust me it will be a very pleasant dream Evana."
Evana turned her back towards him with a huff and turned off the light without a word. But Kairan could swear he heard her muttering "Jerk" under her breath before she finally went to sleep.
To be continued...
So Kairan and Evana finally started their marriage of convenience journey. Let's see what awaits them in the future in the next chapter. Until next time.
It's been two weeks since they were married and everything was going as perfectly as they can. He was a bit worried at first that if he made this marriage of convenience decision a bit too hastily and was afraid that once they were married Evana might change her mind and want a real marriage after all. But after two weeks he could quite clearly see that she is as determined as he about this marriage. Nothing much in their lifestyles changed except that they only gained a person to share the room. It's more like a roommate situation than a married couple one. And Kairan was perfectly happy with it and he could sense that Evana was too.
But as much as they both were content with their situation, his parents were not at the same level of mindset as them. Kairan got aware of it when he accidentally eavesdropped on one of his parent's conversation. They were worried that marrying them this quickly might not give them a chance to get familiar with each other and was talking about it. It did make Kairan feel a little guilty cause even if they have not married fast the situation would be the same but his parents can't know that. So he was not very surprised when his father brought the topic up during dinner.
"So Kairan and Evana, have you guys thought about where you will go for your honeymoon?"
"No," Kairan replied to his dad.
"We would like to buy you the plane tickets as a gift. So just tell me the location when you decide okay."
"Actually dad, we are not going on a honeymoon."
"What? What do you mean by you are not going on a honeymoon? All newlyweds need to go for a honeymoon, it's what strengthen the bonds as a couple."
"Well, we disagree. Both me and Evana have important projects going on in work and we decided that honeymoon is just a waste of our time. We are already very familiar with each other so no need for a honeymoon really," Kairan explained to his dad while looking at Evana who smiled at him and nodded in agreement.
"But, but...," Kairan's dad began to sputter when Kairan's mom spoke up.
"I think if the kids have decided like that then we should respect their decision."
After that, the dinner went on silently without much talking.
The journey was long and equally rough. Apparently, Mr. Tetsua decided to live in the remotest place up in the mountains for some reason. By the time the car reached the destination, it was already late afternoon. The car stopped in front of a nice cozy house.
The main door was open so Kairan went inside. But strangely it seemed like nobody was in the house. Kairan went looking for Mr. Tetsua from room to room but there were no people inside any of the rooms.
"Hello, Mr. Tetsua? This is Kairan James." Kairan spoke out loudly in the hope that he will come out from wherever he is hiding. Just then he heard another car arriving outside. So he thought Mr. Tetsua might have gone outside and arrived just now. So he went towards the main door to greet him. But the person that entered through the door was not Mr. Tetsua.
In fact, the person is so far off from being Mr. Tetsua that Kairan had to consider if he was dreaming the whole situation for a second. Of all the people in the world, this person was the least expected to walk through that door. Kairan stared speechlessly at the very familiar face of Evana who seemed to be just as dumbstruck to see him.
When her grandmother told her about this sudden work trip she didn't suspect anything cause they actually had some of this type of trips in the past too. The only exception was this time her grandmother sent her alone instead of accompanying her.
So imagine her surprise when she walked into the house situated high up in the mountains and came face to face with none other than her husband whom she married for convenience. And judging by the look on Kairan's face she could guess that the surprise is mutual. Still, she can't resist asking him,
"What are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing," Kairan replied to her.
"I'm here to meet one of my business clients."
"I'm here for the same reason."
They both remained silent for a second then realization dawned upon them both.
"We are tricked, aren't we?" Evana asked Kairan.
"It seems like it. Wait, my father told me to give something to the client."
Kairan reached in his pocket and pulled out the envelope. He opened it to found a letter inside. Evana went over to Kairan to see what is it about and she could read that the letter was addressed to both of them.
Dear Kairan & Evana
We are very sorry to trick you guys this way but we really had no other choice. You both are so stubborn that we knew you wouldn't have agreed to this if we asked nicely. So enjoy your honeymoon and don't worry about the business. We can take care of it in your absence for some days pretty well. After all, we were running it before you.
Don't waste your time trying to find a way to get out of this early. As you have noticed the mobile signal is next to nothing in the place we left you. The house is stocked with enough food and water so you don't need to worry about that. The car will pick you up both after three days. Enjoy your time and relax.
Lots of love
Dad, Mom and Grandmother
"I should've expected that they won't let go of this easily," Kairan muttered under his breath.
"Even my grandmother is in this," Evana said to him incredulously.
They both ran out of the door to check on the cars and sure enough, both cars were now nowhere to be seen. Only two suitcases with their clothes were in front of the house.
"This is so ridiculous. I can't believe our guardians would stoop to this level," Evana sighed with frustration.
"Well, let's find a way to get out of here. I think I saw a small village a little downhill. I'm sure there will be some kind of transport there to take us back to the city," Kairan suggested.
It took them quite a while to reach the village by foot. By the time they arrived the sun has already set and both of them were quite hungry. They found a small shop and inquired the owner about transportation.
It turned out that a bus for the city comes to the village once a week and the bus came yesterday so there won't be another one until 5 more days. They asked for any other ways and the shop owner informed that the village head has a car but currently he is also outside of the village with the said car.
"They really did their homework when they decided to leave us here, didn't day?" Kairan said to Evana.
"Yup they really did," Evana nodded frustratingly. At that time her stomach growled loudly out of hunger.
"Let's eat something first. We are stuck here anyway, no need to starve ourselves to death," said Kairan.
"Yes let's eat but do you have any cash? I only have my card with me and I don't think we can use cards here", Evana said thoughtfully.
"Shit, I also have my card only."
The shop owner seemed to overheard their conversation and he chimed in,
"Hey, you guys are in luck. We have a lantern festival going on in our village and every couple who sign up for a lantern will get free food. All you have to do is make a lantern and fly it together to make a wish. Our village does this every year to bless all the couples and for good luck. I could take you guys to the festival location."
Evana looked at Kairan. At that point, she could do anything for food so making a lantern as a couple didn't seem so bad. They were technically a married couple. So they both followed the guy into a big field at the other end of the village. There were couples from all ages making lanterns all around.
They signed themselves up and was given food to eat and materials to build the lantern. They both ate first. It was a very simple village food but it tasted like the most delicious food in the world to them at that moment. Then they tried to make the lantern and at first, was failing miserably but an elderly couple took mercy on them and showed them how to do it. After that, they finally managed to build a decent enough lantern.
Soon it was time to fly the lanterns and it was a magical sight when all the lanterns were lit and slowly floating away in the sky. Evana looked around her and saw everywhere around them the couples are happily celebrating and making a wish with each other. She and Kairan were just standing there awkwardly unsure of what to do.
"So I guess we should make a wish too or something," Kairan finally said to her clearing his throat.
"Yes let's do that," Evana replied and quickly closed her eyes to make a wish. Several moments passed but nothing came to her mind that she could actually wish for so she opened her eyes to take a peek at Kairan. Kairan was standing near her closing his eyes and it seemed like he was wishing for something earnestly. He looked so at peace at that moment, the light from the flying lanterns casting an ethereal glow on his beautiful face. Looking at him suddenly a strange feeling took over Evana and she silently wished that whatever Kairan was wishing for may it come true.
But what she couldn't have known is that just moments before Kairan had made the same wish looking at her while she was trying to think what to wish for closing her eyes.
So the final lantern festival scene is inspired by the "Loi Krathong" festival of Thailand. I wanted to write this scene since NY spent the Loi Krathong together in November. What will Evana and Kairan do next now that they are stuck on this unexpected honeymoon? Find out in the next chapter next week. Please let me know what you think of the story so far. I'm always thankful for your comments. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. May it be a year of happiness and success for all of you.
Happy New Year! Thank you for the updates. Can't wait to read the rest of the chapters. Your story is going really smooth and sweet so far. I love how you provide your readers two perspectives in each chapter.
When Kairan opened his eyes first and saw a very unfamiliar looking ceiling, it took some time for him to register in his mind where he actually is. Then he finally remembered how he got to this place. The plan his parent's and Evana's grandmother devised to force them together to spend some type of honeymoon. They did that out of goodwill Kairan was sure but all that has managed is to get him and Evana in an uncomfortable and awkward vacation.
Kairan looked away to his side where Evana was sleeping. She looked so peaceful in her sleep. She looked the same during last night at the lantern festival where they made their wish. Kairan was at awe looking at her then. She looked so beautiful with her eyes closed under the bright lantern lights that for a second Kairan almost forgot how to breathe. Whatever she was wishing, it looked so sincere that Kairan can't help but wish that whatever she wished for may it come true. He was staring at her with open admiration and almost got caught when she suddenly opened her eyes. Kairan immediately closed his and pretended to wish for something too.
Now looking at her sleeping form those memories came back to him and he wondered what she had wished for. Whatever it is, he has no business in knowing. This is a marriage of convenience Kairan reminded himself. He slowly got up from the bed without disturbing Evana and freshened up. Then he went towards the kitchen to see what they could eat. They can't be going back to the village for food all the time.
A quick inventory to the fridge revealed that they have plenty of food but nothing that can be instantly eaten. They have to cook in order to eat something decent.
"Good Morning," Evana called out to him from the entry of the kitchen. She already freshened up it seems from her looks.
"Good morning. Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, I did. Thanks for asking. But why are you looking so lost standing there in front of the fridge? Is there no food?"
"No, there is plenty of food."
"That's good. Let's eat something then," Evana said cheerfully.
"So here's the thing. There is plenty of food but we have to cook them if we want to eat."
"Okay let's cook then."
"So you know how to cook?" Kairan asked her hopefully.
"Well, I don't know either so we are at an impasse here."
"Let's try. I'm sure it's not that hard to cook something to eat," Evana said.
"Okay, if you say so," Kairan replied to her doubtfully.
A couple of hours and numerous failed attempts later they managed to come up with some half burned toast and some rubbery scrambled eggs. They both sat down and grimaced while eating their joint creations.
"Remind me to increase the salary of the cook when we go back," Kairan said to Evana while eating.
"Yeah, I need to do that too with my grandma's cook. I didn't know it would be this hard," Evana replied.
After eating they were both cleaning up together when Evana suddenly said,
"Let's go explore the surroundings a little bit."
"You seem very cheery for a person who is stuck in these isolated mountains."
"Well being grumpy will not get us out of here so what's the point."
"Yes, you are right," Kairan said feeling kind of resigned.
"So let's go wonder around a bit instead of being all gloomy. We have to spend 2 more days here anyway."
"Ok, let's go."
Kairan agreed to Evana and soon they went outside to explore the place they are in. The house is situated a bit high up in the mountains and isolated from the village below. It is meant to be some sort of healing and relaxation place Kairan guessed by its location. They walked to the back of the house and came face to face with a beautiful green field overlooking more mountains in the background. It really is a beautiful place. He looked over and saw Evana already walking into the middle of the field, her face lit up with awe. Kairan slowly followed her and then he just stopped and lied down on the grass.
"What are you doing?" a startled Evana asked him from where she was standing.
"Come here and lie down with me. I'll show you."
Evana looked a bit unsure for a second but curiosity got the better of her and she finally lied down beside him.
"Okay, can you tell me now what you are doing?" she asked him.
"Look up," Kairan said to her pointing to the sky.
The sky was a beautiful shade of blue with lots of white fluffy clouds floating around.
"I can see only the sky."
"Yes but try a little harder and you can see things in the clouds."
Kairan said to her. This was one of his favorite past times when he was a child. He would lie down in their garden and watched the clouds in the sky for hours. When he saw this green field that is the first things that came into his mind. He looked over at Evana and can see her trying to squint hard to look at the clouds. She looked so cute that he can't help but chuckle to himself.
"Just relax and look patiently and you could see. For example, there I see a hamburger and there I see a pizza," he said to her pointing to the sky.
"Oh really? But all I could see is a plane there and a car there," Evana said pointing to the sky too.
"Hmm, you want to get away from this place as fast as you can, I see."
"And you are too disappointed after that disastrous meal we cooked. That's why all you could see is food," Evana said jokingly.
"That could be true," Kairan replied and they both laughed out loud about their situation.
After several minutes of cloud watching and discovering various things among the clouds, they both fell silent.
"What are you thinking?" Kairan asked Evana absentmindedly.
"I was thinking what did you wish for last night at the festival," Evana asked and then immediately bit her lips as if she didn't mean to ask that to him. So Kairan decided to tease her a little.
"I can't tell you that. If I do then my wish won't come true."
"You can't seriously believe that."
"I do," Kairan replied to her pretending to be serious. He could see Evana shaking her head at his childishness and it brought a smile in his face.
"Okay then tell me what were you thinking just now?" Evana asked Kairan.
"I was thinking why someone like you has given the title of "Ice Princess". Everyone knows my story thanks to the media but I didn't find anything regarding your backstory."
Evana fell silent hearing his question and Kairan panicked a little thinking he might have gone too further. So he apologized immediately.
"I'm sorry. You don't have to answer that, just forget about it."
"No, it's okay. You don't have to be sorry. It's just that I haven't talked about it to anyone for a long time."
So then she told him all about her past regarding Daniel and the more he heard about it the more he wanted to protect that young Evana from that disaster. It was such a strange feeling that suddenly Kairan felt uncomfortable about it. So all he could manage to say at the end of her story was, "That bastard got off too easily."
"I agree but after that, I really didn't want to waste my time on him anymore and I learned the hard way not be carried away by feelings."
Evana sighed and Kairan could feel exactly what she was feeling cause he had a similar experience himself.
"Can I ask you something in return?" Evana suddenly said to him.
"Sure go ahead."
"I know all that 'murdering your ex' stuff is bullshit but what exactly happened?"
"We broke up because I caught her cheating and sometimes after that she got into that car accident and died. The media just inflated the situation to their advantage," Kairan explained to her in short.
"I'm sorry for the young Kairan who has to go through all that," Evana said to him softly.
"And I'm sorry for the young Evana," Kairan replied to her just as softly.
And they became silent again watching the clouds floats past them above the sky.
Their two days at that mountain house passed away quicker than she expected. They visited the village down once again. The village people were very nice to them and once they knew they were newly married and struggling with the cooking they offered to teach them. With their help, they learned to cook a decent meal to at least survive. She and Kairan roamed around the mountains surrounding the house and they talked about anything and everything. And almost unconsciously and unwillingly became more close to each other.
It was the last night of their stay at the mountains and Evana thought back how peaceful and magical these three days were. It started off very unexpectedly but turned out to be something very memorable indeed. She didn't want to admit to herself but she was almost sad when she was preparing to sleep that night cause they will go back to their regular life tomorrow.
It was the middle of the night when she woke up by the sound of thunder. A storm was raging on outside the house. Because they were high up in the mountains the sound of the air was stronger. Evana was always scared of storms from her childhood. Whenever there is a storm she will go to her grandmother. But now, here in this isolated mountain she felt frozen with fear. With every thunder stroke, she got more restless. She just lay there unable to sleep one bit. That's when she noticed that besides her Kairan was also lying deathly still. It was quite obvious from his stiff body position that he was awake too. It seemed like he was frozen with fear too. The notion was ridiculous but still, she couldn't help but whisper to him,
"Are you awake?"
"By chance are you afraid of the storm?"
"No," Kairan replied quickly.
The tremble in his voice gave him away despite his denial and it made Evana smile a little even in that situation.
"Okay, yes. I'm afraid of the storm," Kairan replied to Evana grumbly.
"It's okay. I'm afraid too."
Kairan tuned back to look at Evana and said, "I know it's silly but every time there is a storm I feel restless."
"I can understand cause I feel the same," Evana said in a shaky voice. Just then the loudest thunder clapped outside. Evana slowly reached out and held Kairan's hand.
"What are you doing?" Kairan asked her, surprised by the sudden gesture.
"Whenever there is a storm I usually go to my grandma's room and held her hand and it calmed me down. No one is here but you so I thought maybe holding yours will work too. Maybe it will work for you too."
"Okay," Kairan replied and squeezed back her hand to reassure her.
And strangely it worked and after some minutes both of them were able to calm down and finally fall asleep, hand in hand.
When Evana woke up in the morning her hand was still in Kairan's hold. She looked down at their joint hands and unconsciously a smile appeared on her face. But as soon as she realized it she sat up suddenly in horror.
What is she doing? Why is she acting like this? Like they were really a newlywed couple and not in a marriage of convenience. What is wrong with her? Evana shook her head to snap out it. Kairan stirred awake beside her at that time too and an awkward silence stretched between. They both got ready in silence to depart.
Soon the car came to pick them up. They both got outside with their bags. But before they can get into the car the driver came out and handed another letter to Kairan. Curious Evana went near to him to see what this is about.
Dear Kairan & Evana,
Hope you had a wonderful time these three days. You guys can return with the driver now as we have promised you or if you want, you can stay more. All you had to do is to tell the driver when he needs to come back to pick you guys up. He will give you the necessary cash if you decide to prolong your stay.
Mom, Dad & Grandma
"Sir?", the driver looked at Kairan waiting for their decision.
Evana looked at Kairan, who was looking at her too. Although she wanted to stay she also knew that their time in the mountains is just a mirage. It is not their real life. The reality is their marriage of convenience and if they stay it will not be convenient for either of them. So she finally said to Kairan,
"We should go back."
"Yes we should," Kairan nodded at her and then told the driver to put the bags in the car.
They both got into the car silently and prepared to return to the city where reality waits for them.
When they got back from their impromptu mountain trip aka the honeymoon forced on them by their guardians, at first Evana was more than happy to get back into the normal rhythm of life. She doesn't want to admit to herself but that trip to the mountain somehow was unsettling her in a way that she couldn't understand herself. Some long dormant feelings came to life within herself and she didn't like it at all. After all, those feelings never led her to anything good ever and she learned that in a hard way.
But even after that, Evana found her mind drifting back often to think back on the days she spent time in the mountains with Kairan. She was working late at night from the home office in Kairan's home and trying hard to not think back about those days.
The office was a pleasant surprise from Kairan himself. Apparently, he noticed that she worked from home quite a bit. So one day he just showed her the newly arranged office area in his home. It was originally used by Kairan's dad and after he retired, Kairan was using it.
The newly rearranged room now has separate working areas for two people so both she and Kairan can work in there without disturbing each other. Until then she was working from their bedroom. It was a bit uncomfortable as she was used to working from a proper home office back in her home but she was adjusting to the situation. It was a marriage of convenience after all. When Kairan first showed her, she was surprised beyond words. The gesture was totally unexpected but Evana was thankful anyway. Thinking all these things she kind of drifted off to sleep while working.
She later woke up abruptly trying to figure out where she was. Then remembered she was working and apparently fell asleep. A thin blanket was covering her back so she was quite comfortable given the chilly room temperature. Evana pulled the blanket and was staring at it a bit confusingly when a knock at the door made her look up. Tintin was standing at the doorway and smiling at her.
From her short time staying at Kairan's home, the development of her relationship with Kairan's sister was the most surprising to her. At first, Tintin seemed a little bit wary about her but as time passed she began to look up to her. Evana doesn't know the reason for the change of behavior but she welcomed it nonetheless. She always wanted a younger sibling for herself and having Tintin she considered it one kind of compensation for the lack of her real sibling.
"Wondering where that blanket came from?" Tintin said to her.
"Oh Tintin, did you put it?" Evana asked the young girl.
Tintin shook her head from side to side in denial.
"Then who?" Evana asked her confusedly.
"I know my brother might come off as an insensitive bore sometimes but he does have his moments," Tintin replied to Evana with a suggestive smile.
"You mean Kairan put the blanket on me?"
This time Tintin nodded her head.
Tintin laughed at the dumbfounded expression on Evana's face.
"Speechless now are you? I told you my brother is not that stone cold as everyone thought of him. Actually, he was the most caring person in the world before that incident," Tintin said with a sad sigh.
"But why are you awake so late young lady?" Evana asked Tintin trying to divert the topic.
"I have an exam so I was studying. I got hungry and came to eat and saw the light in the office is still on, so peaked inside."
"Oh so how is the preparation so far?"
"It's okay I think. I will go to sleep after I eat something."
"That's a good idea. Let's go find something for you to eat."
After that Evana followed Tintin into the dining room and they chitchat some more while Tintin ate. Finally, she wished Tintin good luck for her exam and returned to her room. Kairan was already fast asleep on his side of the bed.
She looked at his way for a long time and thought to herself. Why did she find him so hard to understand sometimes? Just when she thought she figured him out a little, he does something so completely unexpected it jumbles up all her assumptions of him. He made her feel things that she doesn't want to feel. It makes her wonder what it would be like to be really married to Kairan James instead of this marriage of convenience.
When Evana woke up the next morning Kairan was already up and was getting ready to go to work. Kairan was fixing his tie with his back towards her and looking at him Evana thought to herself.
Wow, he is hot.
Whoa! wait a minute, where did that thought come from?
Evana wondered. She shook her head as if by shaking she could get rid of the thought. Then she remembered that she had a corporate lunch party that afternoon. She wanted to ask Kairan if they could go together.
"Uhm Kairan," Evana called hesitantly.
"Yes," Kairan answered turning around towards her.
"I wanted to ask...," but before she could finish the sentence Kairan's phone began to ring.
Evana gestured towards Kairan to pick it up first.
"Hello....Troy Stevens is that really you?...You are back in the country? When?....Yeah long story man....Yes I'm going to the lunch....I could pick you up and we could go together...Yeah, cool. See you soon."
"Friend?" Evana asked Kairan after he hung up the phone.
"Yes, one of my closest friend in the business industry."
"Yeah, so what were you going to ask me earlier?"
"Oh, I wanted to know if you are going to the lunch party. Looks like you are."
"Yeah. You are also going to the party right?"
"Okay, see you at the party then," Kairan said to her before he left.
"Yeah, see you."
After he left Evana slowly walked towards the dressing table. She pulled out the drawer slowly and took out a box. Inside was the butterfly bracelet she found many years ago on the ocean in one of her darkest days of life.
What are you doing Evana? You have come so far, don't fall off the wagon now. You can't afford to catch feelings again. They never did you any good remember? Stay how you are now. Your marriage to Kairan is just a marriage of convenience. Don't try to make it something more.
Evana tried to convince herself looking at the fateful bracelet.
After finishing off the morning's work Kairan set off to meet Troy. Their friendship developed when he was managing the abroad office. In the first couple of months, he was very lonely. The rumors caught up with him even in the abroad and basically most of the people are very guarded when talking or meeting him.
Then Troy Stevens barged into his life. He didn't care what reputation or rumor he had in the past. Well maybe because he himself had a reputation. The society calls him the entrepreneur casanova. But unlike Kairan, in Troy's case, the reputation was justified. It is said that Troy Stevens can charm a dead woman from her coffin.
But those so-called reputations never became a barrier in their friendship. Sometimes they even joke about those titles that society gave them. When he arrived at Troy's apartment, he was already in front of the entrance waiting.
"Hey, Troy. This is a pleasant surprise."
"Glad to know that. Unlike someone I know who call at the middle of the night to inform that he is getting married."
"Oops. It was kind of short notice. But what brings you here?"
"I had some work matters that need to be managed personally from here. Also, I'm very curious about the woman who made you get married in a hurry. Cause last time we talked marriage and you lived in two different poles of the earth."
"Yeah, well things change. You can meet her at the lunch. She is coming there too," Kairan informed Troy feeling a little guilty to hide the real fact of his marriage from his longtime friend.
When they got inside the hall where the lunch party was going on Kairan immediately spotted Evana at the far corner. She looked radiant in her white outfit. But it's the person she's talking to that got into Kairan's attention. The guy has the sleaziest reputation among their business circles. Both in professional and personal life. Kairan didn't like at all that guy singled out Evana to talk and judging from her expression she wasn't liking it either.
"So where is your lovely wife?" he heard Troy asking him and he nodded his head towards Evana's direction.
"Is that sleazeball Andrew talking with her?" Troy now asked him in a worried voice.
"Yeah, looks like it."
"Things are not looking good man. Maybe we should intervene?"
Kairan agreed with his friend and begin to move closer to Evana. But as they both got closer to her, he heard her saying,
"Thank you for the offer Andrew but neither my company or nor I have any plans to work with you ever. So you can go try your luck somewhere else."
Andrew grunted at that and begrudgingly moved away from her.
"Damn man. She just killed him with words. I could see why you were so in a hurry to marry her. She is a catch," Troy said to Kairan with awe in his voice.
Kairan himself was amazed by how Evana handled the situation. Just then Evana noticed him and smiled.
"Hi, Evana let me introduce you to my friend Troy," Kairan said to Evana.
"Hello, pleasure to meet you," Evana said to Troy with a polite smile.
"The pleasure is mine trust me. I've been wanting to meet you since I heard Kairan's getting married."
Kairan saw his friend turning on his most charming smile on his wife. Troy has always the ability to start up a nice conversation and make the other party feel at ease. That is one of his fatal charms. Kairan has seen many girls fall head over heels for his friend with just simple chitchat. And now standing there watching Troy speaking to Evana, Kairan suddenly felt like punching the hell out of his friend.
What the hell? Where did that thought come from? Suddenly realization dawned upon him what he was feeling.
"Kairan? Are you all right?" Troy's voice brought him back from his stupor.
"What?" He asked Troy feeling a bit out of himself.
"Are you all right? You look a bit lost there."
"I'm going to use the restroom. Excuse me for a bit," saying that Kairan hurried left towards the toilet. He looked at the reflection of himself in the mirror,
What is happening to him. Earlier when he saw her with that Andrews he felt protective of her. Later seeing her relaxed and enjoying conversion with Troy, he was jealous. Where are all these emotions coming from? He thought he let go of all these years ago. This is not good. This is not good at all. He couldn't allow this to happen again.
Several minutes and some deep breaths later, Kairan managed to calm himself down. He then exited the restroom and walked back to Evana and Troy.
"Is everything okay?" Evana asked him when he returned.
Kairan nodded slowly. Just then Evana's phone rang and she answered.
Whatever the other side said to Evana, suddenly her face lost all color and Kairan could tell something was very wrong.
"Evana, what happened?" Kairan asked his wife. Evana looked at him for a second and then replied in a shaky voice,
"Kairan, I need to go now. Grandma's being admitted into the hospital."
Hi Everyone! Sorry for the late update. I'm on vacation so updates might be a bit irregular until the middle of February. After that, I hope to update this on weekly basis as usual. I hope you all understand and thanks in advance.
Now, how did you like the chapter please do let me know. Both Kairan and Evana are so stubborn that it would take quite a bit hard work for them to realize their feelings for each other. Join me next time to read what happened to grandma and how Evana and Kairan deal with it.
From the moment she received the call, Evana felt like she went into a trance-like state. She vaguely remembered Kairan asking her what is wrong and her answering. After that everything that happened just was a blur to her. She remembered walking towards her car to drive to the hospital but Kairan took the keys from her and insisted that he will drive. When they reached the hospital she just ran towards the emergency. Her grandma's housekeeper was already there waiting for Evana.
"Eva, I just found her unconscious in her room. I don't know what happened," the housekeeper began crying while replying to Evana.
"It's okay, aunty. You did your best," Evana tried to console the distraught housekeeper who is almost the age of her mother and who has been with them since Evana can remember. "Where is she now?"
"They took her inside and the doctor said to wait here."
At that moment a doctor came out of the emergency room.
"Mrs. Sethi's relatives?"
"I'm her granddaughter, doctor. How is she?"
"Well currently her condition is very critical. She suffered a major heart attack. We are shifting her to the ICU for better treatment and monitoring."
"Will she be okay?"
"I can't ensure you that right now but the next 48 hours is crucial. So we need to keep her under careful monitoring."
"Please do whatever you can doctor," Evana pleaded to the doctor desperately.
Evana doesn't know how the next several hours past. All she knew was that she just sat there in front of the ICU and prayed and prayed to every God that has ever existed. Her grandma was all she got in this world. She had been her rock to all the tough times and now all of a sudden she is feeling as if all the shelter she had in this world is shaking and crumbling down around her.
She didn't know who was beside her there at the hospital. She vaguely remembered the housekeeper aunty insisting that she should take some rest. All of Kairan's family came to the hospital too. He must have informed them, she thought to herself. Kairan's mom hugged her and tried to tell her that all will be okay and all she could do was mechanically nod at her.
After what seemed like ages a doctor came out of the ICU and called Evana. She immediately stood up hoping for some good news. But what the doctor told her filled her with dread instead of relief.
"I'm afraid Mrs. Sethi's condition is going towards the worst. You should mentally prepare yourself."
"What do you mean?" Evana asked with a trembling voice.
"I'm sorry but please know that we have tried our best."
"Can I see her, doctor?"
The doctor nodded affirmatively and instructed the nurse to take Evana inside to see her grandmother.
When Evana entered the ICU room all she could hear was the sound of various machines beeping rhythmically. Among all that, her grandmother lied in the bed at the middle of the room. As she got closer Mrs. Sethi slowly opened her eyes and when she saw Evana a gentle smile appeared on her face.
"Eva, my child," Mrs. Sethi called out to her grand-daughter faintly extending her arm.
"Grandma, don't talk. Just rest. You'll be fine soon," Evana said to her grandmother taking her hand in her own, her voice shaking.
Mrs. Sethi slowly shook her head and then said to Evana calmly,
"I'm sorry my darling but it is time for me to go to your parents and grandfather."
"No, grandma you can't leave me here alone. I don't have anyone but you."
"That's not true my dear. You are not alone."
"Grandma, don't go. Please stay with me," Evana desperately begged towards her grandmother.
"Eva don't be like this. I brought you up to be strong my child."
"I can't be strong without you, grandmama."
"You can. But my child, remember that you can't always be strong alone. You need to let others in. I know it's very hard for you but please promise me that you'll remember this."
Evana nodded silently to assure her grandmother.
"And you have to promise me one thing Eva."
"You have to give yourself a chance to love again."
Evana stayed silent for a long time after hearing what her grandmother said and Mrs. Sethi tightened her grip on Evana's hand and repeated,
"Please promise me, Eva. I need you to promise me this before I go."
"Grandma..." Evana's voice broke trying to reply to her grandmother.
"Please my darling."
Then Evana slowly nodded her head and said, "I promise."
It's been several minutes since she went inside the ICU. Kairan was genuinely worried watching Evana all this time. He knew how much her grandmother meant to her. So her reaction to this was not surprising to him but it worried him nonetheless. The little time he spent with Evana after their marriage what he observed about her is that she doesn't show her emotions easily to anyone. And he could understand her perfectly cause he is also the same as her.
But when the doctor said that they have done everything they could and to prepare mentally for the worst he could see how pale her face became all of a sudden. He wanted to hold her, to support her but he also knew that she wouldn't have liked that so he reserved himself.
Suddenly all the alarms inside of the ICU room began to ring and several nurses and doctors rushed past him inside the ICU. Among all that chaos Kairan also slipped inside the ICU and saw Evana sat deathly still holding her grandmother's hands and all the monitors around them were beeping continuously. Kairan peaked at the heart rate machine and could see only a flat line showing in it. That's when he understood it was too late. Mrs. Sethi had already left them.
The nurses tried to move Evana in vain. She just sat there refusing to move an inch. Kairan slowly approached her and detached her hand gently from her grandmother's. Evana looked at him with a blank stare devoid of any emotions.
"Evana, we need to go outside," Kairan said to her calmly.
Evana just stared at him and then stood up slowly without a single word.
After the death declaration, Kairan thought she would break down any moment. But to his surprise, Evana didn't even shed a single tear. Instead, she began to handle all the funeral responsibilities and started to move as if she is on auto-pilot. He understood that she was actively suppressing all her grief to handle the situation around her. Watching her like that Kairan was at a loss of what to do.
"Kairan, you should talk to her, son. She is not acting normally," Kairan's mom said to him worriedly.
"I know mom. Just give her a little time."
"Everything happened so quickly. I think she is in some kind of shock. Talk to her. She needs you the most."
Kairan didn't know how much of that statement was true but he nodded to his mother and began to search for Evana. She arranged the funeral at her grandmother's home and was currently roaming around the house politely taking condolences from all who had come.
At that moment, he heard two women talking to themselves.
"She really is the ice princess. Mrs. Sethi practically brought her up from when she was a child. But look at her, not even a single tear even when her grandmother had died. I wonder what her heart is made of."
"I wonder if she even has a heart."
Hearing them Kairan suddenly became furiously angry. How dare they! They couldn't hold their tongue even on such a day. Instead of sympathizing they are spewing their venom of criticism. Kairan turned around to give them a piece of his mind. Enough is enough. But as he turned he saw Evana was standing just opposite him and it seemed like she had also heard what they just said. Both the women were still talking, oblivious of Kairan and Evana's presence.
Kairan looked at Evana and she just blankly stared at the women for a moment and then turned around to walk towards what seems like her bedroom in this house. Kairan wanted to go after her but at the same time, he couldn't let these insensitive women go on with their blabberings.
"Go. I'll handle it here," his mother appeared at his side. Giving a thankful look to his mom Kairan quickly followed after Evana.
He found her inside her bedroom sitting on the floor just beside her bed, her back towards the door. If anybody else looked at her at that moment, they would have thought she was in shock. But Kairan knew better. He knew that she was not in shock. She was just struggling to hold herself strong. Trying not to fall apart in front of everybody. He knew cause somehow he understood how similar both of them are.
He walked inside and closed the door silently. Then he slowly walked to sit beside her. He then gently pulled at Evana's arm to bring her closer to him in an embrace.
"What are you doing?" Evana asked him in a startled voice while resisting.
"I have closed the door. And even if someone walked in the first thing they will see is my back. You'll have several minutes to compose yourself."
"Why are you telling me all these?"
"I'm telling you all these cause I want to let you know that you don't always have to stay strong all by yourself. You can let your guard down if you want. Here right now you can do whatever you want to do. No one will know what is happening here except you and me. And you know that I can keep a secret very well," Kairan told Evana in a soothing voice.
Evana looked at him and something inside of her broke hearing his words. And this time when he pulled her into his arms, she didn't resist at all. She laid her head on his chest slowly and finally the tears came. Then she cried and cried.
To be continued...
So this was a tough chapter for me to write. I can feel the pain of both Evana and Kairan but didn't know how much I have expressed it by word. I hope I have done justice to both their feelings. Do let me know if you like this chapter or not. Until next time.
It's been a month since her grandmother passed away. Evana never felt so lost and alone in her life. But gradually she began to cope up with her grief and went back to her normal schedule. During this time Kairan's family supported her in a way that she couldn't even imagine. Kairan's dad and mom talked with her continuously to make sure she is okay. Tintin spent her time with her whenever she could. All these little gestures made her feel like she gained a new home, a new family. Her marriage with Kairan might be just out of convenience but the relationships that she gained from this marriage were not out of convenience. And with each passing day, Evana could feel how real and meaningful these relationships became to her.
And her relationship with Kairan? Evana doesn't know how to define it anymore. Something changed between them since the day she broke down on his arms. She needed a shield at that most vulnerable moment of her life and Kairan somehow became just that. From the outside, it would seem like everything between them remained the same but deep down Evana could feel something has changed.
She doesn't exactly know what but whenever he is near, her treacherous heart runs a little too fast and she feels a strange fluttering sensation in her belly whenever he looks at her. She doesn't want to but those reactions happen within her anyway. Sometimes while looking at him or talking to him an impossible thought crosses her mind, what if this was not just a marriage of convenience? what would happen if she wants a real marriage with Kairan? But the second these thoughts came to her mind, other questions accompany them too.
Is Kairan feeling what she is feeling too? What would happen if her feelings are only one-sided? She would look like a fool to Kairan if she suddenly tells him that she wants a real marriage instead of this marriage of convenience one and he doesn't want that at all. She certainly doesn't want to put Kairan and herself in that awkward position. So Evana decided to let things as it is and not say anything to him.
It was another boring corporate business dinner party. Evana was sitting at one side of the room. She could see Kairan talking to some of his business associates across the room. At that moment a beautiful young woman walked towards Kairan.
Evana was introduced to this women just last week. Priya Anuwat is one of Kairan's university friends who moved to abroad during the middle of their bachelor's course for some unknown reason according to Kairan. She returned home last week and met up with all her old friends. She is also the heiress of one of the old business companies of the country.
When she showed up at Kairan's house unexpectedly last week Evana could see immediately how close she was with Kairan and his family. Everyone was very surprised to see her at first but warmed up to her pretty quickly. Priya is a very friendly person so somehow she managed to befriend Evana too.
But whenever Evana saw Priya interacting with Kairan, she experienced an uneasy feeling. She was surprised at her own reaction because she could see how relaxed and happy Kairan was whenever he talks to Priya. So there is no reason for her to feel uneasy and it took Evana quite a lot of time to realize that what she was feeling was actually plain old jealousy.
Even now sitting here and looking at Priya talking to Kairan and Kairan giving her one of his genuine smiles makes Evana wants to break something. She is not a violent person at all but right now if she doesn't distract herself then she is soon about to become one.
"Pretty boring party isn't it?"
Evana looked up and found that another of Kairan's friend Troy was talking to her.
"Yeah, these parties are always boring," Evana replied.
"Care to share a dance with me to get over this boredom?" Troy asked her with a charming smile.
Feeling thankful for the much-needed distraction she smiled towards him and nodded. Soon she was dancing with him playfully and laughing until someone rudely cut them off. Evana turned around and came face to face with a stone-faced Kairan.
The marriage of convenience was his idea and for a time being it was going so well that Kairan almost thought it was one of the best decisions he made in his life. But things changed and he didn't know how or when it changed. But when he realized it was already too late. He began to want more, need more and feel more of Evana by each passing day.
Now it's at a point that he didn't even know if he wants to continue with this marriage of convenience anymore. All he knew was that he wants more than just a marriage of convenience now. And after Evana's grandmother's death for some time it felt like she might want the same from him. But as days passed, she recovered from the grief and slipped into their old routine.
Kairan should be relieved about it but no matter what he couldn't feel that way. He hated that they were back on track with the marriage of convenience and he hated the fact that he was feeling this way too. He was feeling all sorts of things when it comes to Evana nowadays and he hated that too. But at the same time, he didn't want to control his feelings anymore.
Then all of a sudden Priya reappeared in his life. Priya was one of his closest friends during his university days. He was shocked when she announced to study abroad in the middle of their Bachelor's but back then he was so in love with Maya that he didn't even say goodbye properly to Priya when she left. His life was so uncomplicated back in those days.
So meeting with Priya after so many years brought back all those happy memories from his early university life and Kairan was honestly thankful for the distraction. Reminicising with Priya made him remember that life was not always so hard for him.
It was also a good way to deviate his mind from constantly thinking about Evana. Nowadays, it seems like she is the only thing his mind could think of 24/7. Even when he doesn't want to think of her, he begins to think of her and it's getting on his nerves these days. He had to constantly remind himself to not do anything stupid to mess their conditional lives.
But when he saw Evana dancing and laughing with Troy at the party, he doesn't know what happened. Something short-circuited in his brain. He forgot where he was, what he was doing and just walked towards them without even thinking anything and interrupted their dancing in the middle.
Evana turned around and she seemed a bit surprised to see him there. Kairan then just grabbed Evana's arm and kind of dragged her from the main hall room where the party was happening to a small side room.
"What are you doing Kairan?" Evana asked Kairan in a surprised voice when he let go of her arm.
"What are you doing Evana?" Kairan asked her back angrily, not knowing why he was this angry all of a sudden.
"What do you mean what am I doing Kairan?"
"Why were you dancing with Troy?" Kairan didn't know what made him ask her this.
"Really?" Evana replied in an irritated voice, "It's a party Kairan and people dance in parties all the time."
"Then what's your problem? I didn't interrupt you and Priya when you two were having a good time so why are you interrupting mine?"
"Where does Priya came in this conversation from?"
"Oh wow, so you can bring up Troy without any reason and I can not bring up Priya?" Evana asked now seemingly angry with Kairan.
Kairan closed his eyes and took several deep breaths to calm himself down. He felt ridiculous to start this scenario in the first place. He didn't know why but he felt territorial when he saw Evana with Troy and he acted spontaneously without thinking anything. And all this landed them in the current situation. Evana somehow seemed to understand too and he heard her asking to him softly,
"What are we doing Kairan?"
"I honestly don't know Evana," Kairan replied to her in a lost voice.
"Is something wrong?"
"I don't know that either."
"Our marriage..." Evana started to say but before she can finish the sentence he interrupted her and said,
"I know it's a marriage of convenience and I overreacted and I'm sorry for that."
"Kairan.." Evana began but again Kairan interrupted her,
"Look, can we just forget this ever happened and go back to the party please?"
Evana looked at him for a long silent moment and then replied with a deflated sigh, "Yes we can. I'll go back first."
And she left without another word. Kairan just stood there looking at Evana's retreating form, feeling more lost than ever and a sinking feeling in his gut that he might have said something he shouldn't have.
To be continued...