STREAK OF DESTINY

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Apr 17, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 21 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-71

PRESENT, WELLINGTON, OOTY.

"Tarun...wait!"Preeti called out. Tarun turned impatiently. "Let us call Sami and ask for his help. At least now if they are caught red handed there will be enough reasons to put them in jail."

"There is no time doc....her life is in danger...I have to go. "

"You are not listening."

"I don't believe in the system. For all you know the old woman might come out and say...nothing ever happened..."

"But..."

"Poorani is in trouble....I have to save that child.. Those ****s...I shouldn't have left them then with their hearts ticking....I'll take care of it now...." He muttered between his clenched teeth.

"No..." She said emphatically, "you are not doing anything of that sort...how did she go there? What did she say?"

"They want me there in an hour...otherwise she will be in trouble... I'm wasting time here.... Doc I have to go..."he said turning towards the door.

"Okay....let's go."she said bending to wear her sneakers.

Tarun turned to look at her, "No! You stay put...you are not moving anywhere."he said with finality, stopping her on her tracks. He wondered what she would say if he had told her what Poorani had said on the phone.

"But..."she began to protest, then looking at him she gave in. She said, "Tarun... Promise me you'll be careful and won't do anything that you'll regret for life."

"Trust me doc..."then seeing her standing defiantly with her hands crossed across her chest, "Okay....I promise..."

She threw herself on to him, locking her hands around his neck and kissed him hard on his lips. "I'll be waiting for you...."she said softly after catching her breath.

He smiled making her legs go weak, "Hmmmm... Are you planning to seduce me to make me stay? If so I want to tell you that you are nearly succeeding...."

"I wish....I only wish...but Poorani needs you....Tarun...I'm so scared..."

"Don't be....just let me take care of those scoundrels and I'll rush back to you....I promise...I'll leave the jeep here....my Harley is just few blocks away...you lock the door and stay safe.."he said and walked out without turning to look back at her.

"You too...Tarun ..please..come back safe."she said to his retreating back. 

She turned locked the door and looked around her. The silence in the room was deafening. She then took the phone and plugged in the charger. And wondered what Poorani had got herself into? How did those two get her? She thought they were still in the hospital. Hope the police would catch them and put them away for good, she thought. Thinking of police her thoughts went to Raghu. What will happen to him now? Would he be arrested today itself? She was so disappointed in him. All that he had pretended to be when they were dating seemed to be a lie. He was never the guy she thought him to be, that she realised soon after their marriage. And Leela? Would she ever be able to face her again? She looked at her dead phone willing it to ring. Then she realised her mistake and pressed the power button and brought it to life. She waited for it to get activated and checked the battery. Just three percent. She sighed and closed it and decided to wait till someone called her and gave her some news.

Raghu opened the door and saw her in tight black jeans and greyish t-shirt and a black leather jacket, standing in front of him. She looked dull and depressed. The cheerful woman he had known was missing. But still the familiar need within him arose.

"Hi..Raghu...I just came to see how you are doing?"she tried to smile. Her eyes piercing his for any reaction after seeing her. He felt sorry for her.

He nodded, "Come in!" He said moving out of the way. She tentatively walked in.

"How are you Raghu?" Leela asked coming near him.

"I'm fine as one would be in these circumstances...."he moved away from her and went and sat on the sofa.

"I missed you." she said.

"And I told you not to come here to meet me."he scowled.

"Why Raghu? What did I do? I only want to help you."she said seating herself on another one.

"A lot of help you would do if those officers walk in now and find you here....you would be as much a suspect as I am now...."

Leela kept quiet. So the officers have not contacted him. He doesn't know yet that I've spoken to them. She thought.

"Looks like you are planning to go somewhere?"she asked.

"And when did I have to tell you about my travel plans?"he chided.

Leela got up and came  and sat on the arm of the sofa he was sitting and leaned against him, and said softly, "You are all so strung up and so jumpy and in a fowl mood....let me relax you baby..."she began to massage his shoulders.

He felt so wonderful and his eyes closed automatically and began to enjoy the sensation. His head slowly leaned on her chest. 

"I missed you Raghu....and I just can't take it anymore when you keep avoiding me....you don't answer my calls either...you have completely shut me off from your life.. "she said.

"I missed you too..."he whispered.

"Then why are you like this? Remember, The days when you try to sneak every available second to be with me?"

He smiled. Then his lips went into a thin line and he frowned. "Its all because of her....that bi..tch... But I'll set all things right today..."he said  broodingly, "it is just a matter of few hours...." His mind wandered to what was likely to happen in the next few hours and how he was going to win his wife's heart, get her confidence and trust  on him back. He was smiling to himself, when he felt Leela's soft hands on his skin inside his shirt. "What are you doing?"he shouted as he swiped off her roaming hands on him. This was the last thing he wanted. Distraction! His mind was focussed on what he was going to do to set his future on the right path. For that he needed Preeti and Leela was not...definitely not in his scheme of things. "Just get away from me....I told you...its all over...between us..just... Just..leave."he said irritatingly, getting up and checking his watch as if he was waiting for someone or something to happen.

"What's wrong with you Raghu? Don't do this to me...please!"she said sniffling and in a choking voice.

Raghu turned and looked at the woman who had been his friend and mistress for so many years. He cannot deny that she had been there for him whenever he  needed her. And he knew he was being selfish to the core. His eyes softened.

"Look ...Leela..." He came and sat next to her, "it has been really tough...the past few weeks....and you very well know what I've been going through....and how important she is to my success..."

"I know..darling....can't we find some way to work this out?"she asked, with tearful eyes and voice so husky that it struck right at his core and his need arose.

"F... Why should I deny myself any pleasure ....when it is here for me to take..."he thought to himself and went to her with an animal like desire. She was ready for him and they went for each other with desire so carnal that each was thinking only of satisfying their own need. Few minutes later they lay on the sofa panting and out of breath when his phone rang. He jumped away from her and pulling his pants up he grabbed the phone off the table. "Tell me..."he said excited.

"She finally picks up the phone.....he will be here in couple of hours."came Muthu's voice. "What do you want us to do with him?"

"Do whatever you want. But remember... Keep him alive... I'll be there as soon as I can."he cut the call, rubbing his hands licking his lips, "Here I come....HERE...I...COME!"he said smilingly.

Apr 22, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 30 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-72

PRESENT, WELLINGTON, OOTY.

Raghu cut the call and went to the washroom and came out few minutes later and turned to see Leela staring at him. "Good news? You seem to be happy...Who was it?"she asked straitening her clothes.

He smiled , "The time has come for me to take matters into my hands. I have to go."he said walking towards his home office.

"What is it Raghu? Whose phone call was that?"she asked curious to know what he was planning to do.

Raghu was in a good mood. The day had started well, hell...more than good, he mused. A well made plan working out the way he wanted, and as added bonus a good s.ex. All he needed to do now was to hammer his fist into this guy for putting his future in jeopardy. He was looking forward to it. He ran his fingers through his hair, with a satisfied grin. He began to open his mind. "I've made arrangements on my own for that guy to be taken care of."

Leela looked confused. "But the police are still searching for him...how come you are  so sure that...."

"Sure of what?"he asked.

"Sure of finding him."she said.

"I've already found him. I'll hand him over ...more dead than alive to the authorities and I'll be the talk of the town....the hero who risked his life to save his wife. They made me look like a fool....now it is their turn..." He said with an egoistic smirk.

"Really? Wow! Preeti will come back safe ...won't she?"she asked.

"Of course she will... She is too important for my plan of things ...for my future...probably we'll reach a compromise and will decide to try to make things work for us..."he said. "And then I'll send a petition to FSSAI  to relieve her from her position as she is mentally not stable to handle such a responsible post after all that has happened to her..."he said with such arrogance.

"Then what about us...Raghu...you promised..."

"There is no us...Leela...there never was....and I never promised you anything. Her money, the power she carries with her name is too important for me" He said condescendingly  as he pocketed the gun after checking if it was properly loaded.

Leela's eyes narrowed into slits in anger but before he could see her change of mood she gasped. "What is that thing in your hand?"

"Even a child will know what this is.."he chided.

"I mean why are you having that?"she asked her voice showing traces of fear. "Oh my God!"she thought. 

"I'm not going to shoot you or my pretty wife ...though that thought did cross my mind many a times..this is for my protection. My men would have done the job neatly in Doddapetta... All I have to do is go there and pretend before the press that I rescued my wife from a fugitive..."he said.

"Raghu could I use the upstairs washroom I need to straighten myself before I leave here?"she asked. Raghu nodded. "Make it quick."he said.

She ran upstairs, closed the door, took out her phone and dialled.

Preeti's phone rang. She quickly checked the caller ID. She was disappointed. It was Leela. She sat there looking at the bright neon light on her screen, contemplating whether to answer it. She didn't want to talk to her. What will she say? Was she even going to believe her friend? What if there was any news about Raghu? Is this why she is calling her? She pressed the answer button and said, "Hello!"

Leela a bit surprised by the sternness in her voice , asked confused, "Preeti? Is that you?"

"I know Leela, I know everything...." She said angrily. There was silence on the other end.

Then " Did Raghu tell you?" Why was Leela whispering Preeti thought. Preeti did not answer. "Preeti, Raghu did not love you."

"I know that....though I found out much later. But of course you would have known about that all along wouldn't you?"she asked sarcastically.

Leela sighed, "I deserve that....look I'm sorry..."

"I have nothing to tell you...except just get out of my life."

"But what about the clinic?"

"I can manage it very well thank you without the additional worry that my best friend is having an affair with my husband.

"Preeti...There is something I have to tell you."

Preeti sat up hearing the urgency in her voice, but remained quiet.

"Preeti are you there? Say something... Are you okay?" Leela asked concerned.

"You said you have something for me...what is it Leela?"she asked 

"When the police enquired I lied to them. Actually that Sunday I did get up early in the morningto use the washroom and found that Raghu was not there by my side. I was surprised, but half an hour later I went back to sleep and when I woke up later he was there serving lunch.  I actually wanted to protect him and you.... You see I don't actually know ...what exactly happened...."she hesitated, "but now he has made plans to capture that guy himself and hand him over to the police..."

"Which guy and why are you whispering?"she asked irritated.

"That mountain guy who saved you....I don't have time...listen to me...Raghu has asked some men to catch him and Preeti.....I think that man is in in trouble.... Raghu... he has got a gun..."she was still talking very softly. "That's why I think I made a mistake of protecting him....I should have told the police the truth.."

Preeti froze. Tarun in trouble? "How would you know about that?"she asked then bit her tongue. What a silly question! 

"I think they are going to hurt him, Raghu is on his way to Doddapetta..."

Hello..hello..Leela...how do you know? Hello! The phone was dead.

Raghu who was pacing up and down the hall talking on his phone to Muthu getting information update and giving instructions to what to do, was losing his patience waiting for her. He cut the call and moved up the stairs when he heard her whispering. He quickly went to the door and opened it quietly.

He stood still listening to the last part of her conversation before she could cut the call. 

Leela cut the call and stared at him.

"Who was that on the phone?"he walked towards her menacingly. "Where you informing the police?"

Leela gave an embarrassing laugh, "No...no..of course not...Raghu don't you trust me?"

"Trust you? Who were you talking to?"

"Raghu ...I...just...called..it is nothing important..I..."she walked towards him.

Next second a muffled gun shot was heard and the walls vibrated with the sudden force of a bullet piercing its walls.

May 1, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 27 times)



STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-73

PRESENT, WELLINGTON, OOTY.



"Do not panic....do not panic..stay calm...think...think..." Preeti was talking to herself. But her mind went blank. Her body began to shiver in fear. How will she contact Tarun? He needs help. He needs to be warned. She took her phone and began to dial Sami's number. It was engaged. She tried Joseph he didn't answer. She called Leela again. The phone kept ringing. She wanted to get more details. Why the hell was she whispering? Where was she? She recollected all that she told her. What did she say? That she had lied to the police. So now the mere allegations were going to be proved true. Raghu did try to kill her. And he is trying to harm Tarun as well. 

She was losing it. She just can't sit there knowing Tarun was in danger. She quickly got up to leave to follow Tarun to Doddapetta. Then she remembered Mohan's warning. "Do not leave the room!"

"Sh...it..." She began to pace the room. The thought of Tarun in the hands of those thugs and being shot by Raghu, jerked her up on her feet. "No...not happening! I just can't sit here..."she began to wear her sneakers. Then she ran back and took out the ankle guards from her backpack and slipped it around her ankles and then wore her sneakers. Then she paused for a second. Again she dug into her backpack and brought out the card. Colonel Mohan's number. She sighed. She called him. No answer. Frustrated she dialled Jana's number that was written at the back of the card. It kept ringing. She pulled the charging chord out from her phone and saw that only 5% battery was left. She rushed outside. She ran to the jeep got her bearings right, closed her eyes, "Amma thaaye....please keep everybody safe...please...help me to reach there on time." She slowly pulled the jeep out of the parking lot and drove towards Doddapetta. When she left Wellington and was on the highway the traffic was minimum. She slowed down and dialled the police officer's numbers. No answer. She tried Jana's number the call went through but he didn't pick up the call. Frustrated she threw the phone by her side. When her call went to his voice mail. She stopped the jeep, quickly picked it up again and dialled his number. His familiar voice came on the line asking them to leave the message and that he would call later. "Jana....Tarun is in trouble...he is on his way to Doddapetta. Muthu and Maari called him in the morning. They have got the girl. They are planning to kill Tarun. I think Raghu is also involved.  Leela called  and said she had lied to the police. Raghu was missing that morning. Please send help. I'm going to warn Tarun."satisfied she looked at her phone to cut the call. She paled when she saw the black screen on her phone. Her phone was dead. "Did he get the message? Oh God! She had no other option now than to go to Doddapetta!"she drove as fast as she could.



Mohan Kumar and Jana walked out of the Conference Hall in the Army Staff Training Camp with a satisfactory smile on their faces. They had just concluded a meeting with the UNO disaster management and recovery team. As they were walking out Jana checked his phone and muttered to himself. "What is it?"asked Mohan.

"It's Preeti....she had tried to call...oh sh.it.."he  exclaimed while listening to the voice mail.."

Mohan stopped in his stride, waiting for an answer from Jana.

"Preeti says those guys have got the kid and threatening to kill her if Tarun didn't go there. They are planning to kill him..."

Mohan nodded knowing that it was unlikely to happen. "And?"

"Leela had called her to say she had lied to the police and that Raghu was planning to kill Tarun." Jana tried calling her. It didn't go through. 

"Call Sami....ask if they have heard from her..."

Jana called Sami then Joseph. After several attempts Joseph answered.

"Joseph where are you? Did you hear from Preeti?"

"No...we are in the district court waiting for the judge to sign the arrest warrant for Raghu... Why? What happened?"

Mohan intervened. "Why don't you drop me at the hotel and then you go meet them. Mean while I'll talk to Preeti and find out what  exactly had happened. 

Ten minutes later Jana dropped him on the front gates of the hotel and before he could reach the court Mohan's call came telling him that Preeti was also not there in the room. 

Joseph met Jana at the gates of the district court and Jana explained the voice mail to him. He waited, for him to convey the news to Sami. Sami came rushing back. He listened to the voice mail.

"Let's go! I've left Sebastian  with the prosecutor to meet the judge." Said Sami, "We have to talk to Tarun. How do we contact him?""he asks Jana.

"Now I have his number."Jana said and called him. After much deliberation Tarun had given his number to Jana to keep him updated about the progress in the case.   Tarun stopped his vehicle and answered his phone. "Tarun...Jana here...Sami wants to talk to you."

"Make it quick...I don't have time."said Tarun. 

Sami explained everything to him. "Now we have solid proof, we'll arrest him as soon as we get the arrest warrant. We want you to comeback it is an ambush laid by those thugs....they are not going to hurt the girl."

"That much I have deduced. I am going there to save the girl."

"No Tarun listen to me....Preeti is not in her room."

"Where is she?"he yelled. 

"Don't know ... probably on her way there to warn you......"

"What the...? Okay I'll look out for her. But I'm going after those guys."he cut the call.

Sami gave back the phone to Jana, "He just wouldn't listen."

"If he has set his mind nothing would make him change it."Jana said knowingly.

They got inside the police van and with it's red and blue lights blinking and sirens blaring it zoomed towards Doddapetta. Once they were on their way, Sami called his men who were keeping track of Raghu's movements. "What's news?"he asked.

"We are outside  sir. Nothing so far." said the constable. Sami began to feel that something was wrong. It had been quite sometime  since the call from Preeti and his instinct told him that all was not well. "What about the other gate? Ask him and report to me."he ordered before cutting the call.

Sami called the DSP to dispatch some men to the hill where the goons' house was located. 

His phone buzzed. It was the constable from Raghu's house. "Sir....he has not seen the man leave the house sir...but..."

"What about his car?"

"It is still in front of his house."

"Go inside and check if he is in there..."Sami interrupted.

"Yes sir!"

"Venu...." Sami said, "you were about to say something..."

"I was about to say the man is still inside, and the woman is still with him."

"Okay just call him and ask him to come quietly with you to the police station for enquiry."

Jana called Tarun again. "Raghu is still here. They are going to bring him to the police station. They are sure going to arrest him. Why don't you come back?"

"I'll come back with the girl. Keep a piece of that scumbag Raghu alive for me, I need to shove his ***** up his throat."

Jana laughed. "Will do. You come back safe."



Venu and the other constable walked to the front gate of Raghu's house and rang the bell. No answer. "Sir......Sir..."he called. No answer. "Mr. Raghuram?"Venue called again. He then tried the lock. The door was open. "Mr. Raghuram?" Absolute silence. He checked the kitchen then the room calling out for him. He called Sami and told him about the situation. Alarmed, Sami asked them to check the room upstairs and asked Venu not to cut the phone. They climbed upstairs and entered the first room. Empty. Then they opened the door to the second room and entered it. At first they didn't see the body on the floor. The constable saw it and shouted ...terrified. Venu followed his gaze and his face distorted in disgust. "What is it?" They heard Sami's voice but couldn't answer for no sound came out of their throat. Then  Venu heard a loud retching noise and he turned to see the his friend run to the bathroom to throw up all that he had consumed from the morning. "Venu? What is it?"

"Ugggg....bad sir....very bad....very bad..."came Venu's  weak voice.



May 6, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 26 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-74

PRESENT, DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

Tarun parked his bike near the bushes a kilometer away from their house and slowly began to walk up the narrow path that lead towards the lonely house that stood at the hill top. He knew they were waiting for him. He had asked them for two hours but he was there in an hour. The element of surprise always works in one's favour. As he neared their house he began to take cover behind the trees and bushes. What if they were scanning the area with binoculars? He didn't credit them with that much intelligence but still one can never tell...it is always better to be careful. He was now two hundred meters away from the old house. He was clearly able to see the top roof and the terrace. He hid himself behind the trees and slowly advanced,

? careful enough not to make any noise. The recent rains and wet leaves were to his favour. He saw them. Two guys. Not familiar, but looked like their men. One guarding the front entrance the other the right side of the house. The left side overlooked the valley so it was obvious no one could approach from that end. Probably no manning required from that side. There was no approach through the rear end so probably no men there.   So two men had to be tackled first Tarun mused. He took cover and slowly moved towards the right of the house. He couldn't see the house nor the men. Good! He thought. If he can't see them then they can't see him either. He moved further ahead before moving towards the house. The stocky man was looking out mainly towards the entrance. Tarun approached him from behind. He was unarmed but Tarun did not take any chance. One can never know what these guys will hide behind under their shirt. He was just one foot away, and he stretched his hand and tapped the guy on his back. The man turned his eyes wide in surprise and even before he could utter a word his breath came out in a whoosh as a strong hard punch landed on his stomach. He doubled up and slowly lifted himself to ready himself for a counter attack, when another hard blow landed on the side of his head almost breaking his skull. The man slumped down in a heap. Less than thirty seconds. Tarun waited if the other guy had heard any thing. Nothing. Tarun dragged the slumped body to the back of the house and came to the right again and looked out for the second guy. The man had a cricket bat in his hand. Tarun gave a small whistle. The guy turned and walked cautiously towards the corner. Tarun was ready. When he was just a couple of feet away Tarun emerged from the corner, caught hold of the bat and  pulled it with such force that the guy came stumbling towards him. Tarun gave a hard punch in his jaw and blood spewed out of his mouth, another landed on his side that would have damaged his kidney for quite sometime. Before he could recover another blow landed on his chest, the guy felt the air get sucked out from his lungs, his eyes rolled up and he collapsed on the ground. Another thirty seconds. 

Tarun pulled the guy to the back of the house to join his friend. He knew both will be out for couple of hours. He went to the other side of the house, climbed the pipe and jumped on the small balcony on the first floor and entered the room. He crossed the room and cautiously opened the door leading to the steps and opened it. He stepped out and climbed the few steps and dunked down to take a look at what was happening below. He saw Maari with his badly fixed jaw standing with a gun in his hand standing near Poorani who was huddling in a corner with her knees drawn up and face buried between them. Next to her the old lady was tied to a chair. Muthu was pacing up and down, every few seconds parting the screen and looking out through the dirty glass on the windows. Tarun 2 walked up the stairs, picked up a couple of empty beer bottles and went to the narrow balcony. He looked down and threw the bottles. They crashed right in front of the doorway. He walked back into the room. @àHe heard sudden activity downstairs. 

He cautiously once again walked few steps down the stairs and waited. The two brothers were so occupied looking towards the main door that they didn't see any movement on the stairs. Maari pulled Poorani, made her stand in the middle of the hall a few feet away from the main door and he pointed the gun towards her. Tarun could sense even at a distance that Poorani was shaking with fear. Muthu was standing near the closed door his ears plastered to the door. 

"Guna? Guna?"shouted Muthu. "Paandi.....Paandi??"he shouted in a raised voice. "Why are they not answering? Guna...... Paandi....what is happening? Where are you?" He looked back at Muthu, "Shall I open the door?"he asked Maari. Maari nodded. 

"Be ready." He picked up a long sickle and waited for few seconds as if praying, then he threw open the door, raising his hand holding the sickle as if to ward off an attack and stood still. Nothing. No attack came. 

He looked back at Maari, puzzled. Maari gestured asking him to step outside and look. "Guna???? Paandi??????"he shouted moving out. 

Tarun slowly climbed down the stairs. So softly that even the dogs if they had been there wouldn't have heard him. The old lady saw him first her eyes widened in shock. Tarun put his finger on his lips cautioning her to remain quiet. He slowly walked and stood behind Maari and tapped his shoulder, Maari turned, "Looking for me?" Tarun asked smiling and Maari had hardly any time to answer, not that he could with half bitten tongue and hastily fixed up jaws. He winked at a smiling Poorani assuring her with his smile that he would take care of things.

May 10, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 19 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-75

PRESENT, DODDAPETTA, OOTY.



When Maari turned , next second he felt a hard bone - cracking smash on his forehead, his eyes lost focus, his head began to swim and pain ripped through his skull as Tarun smashed his forehead on his and Maari flew a couple of feet away and staggered and fell down limp. Muthu hearing the noise turned and with a growl ran towards him wielding his sickle high above his head. Tarun was ready for him, he ducked under Muthu's swaying arm, and like a pro basketball player pivoted on his heel and dodged Muthu and was behind him in a second, his arm on a vice like grip around his neck. 

Tarun began to squeeze his neck. Muthu tried fighting back. He tried to kick him with his legs, dropped the sickle and  tried get a hold on Tarun but Tarun evaded.

Poorani ran to her mother and untied the knots on the rope around her. The two stood huddled together plastered to the wall watching in horror at what was happening in front of their eyes. A sob broke out from the old woman. Poorani let out a gasp as her hands flew to her mouth. "Go inside!"Tarun ordered, not wanting the to see more violence. They followed his order.

Muthu was fighting for his breath,to get some air into his lungs. His hands were flaying and to prevent his neck getting snapped, he stood on his toes trying to stretch his neck as much as he can. Tarun waited.  That was a human reaction when one was being choked. They tend to stretch their neck hoping to loosen the hold and get some air inside. But usually the opposite happened. The bone became so taut it was easy to snap. The best way is to lay slack. But usually humans panicked. When Muthu could stretch no more, "Wrong move....you scumbag..." Tarun said,  and did not think for a second before snapping his neck. Muthu went limp in his arms, Tarun let go and he fell in a heap around his legs.

By this time Maari tried to get up, shaking his head as if trying to clear it and get focus.  He walked towards Tarun, growling , still unsteady on his legs. Tarun didn't waste time waiting for him to come to him. He rushed to him, caught hold of his neck, waited for minute before snapping it. He then went inside and assured the mother and daughter that they were now safe. He felt sorry for the old woman who sat there unable to control her sobs. Poorani was in a shock still. Getting beaten up was something but being killed right in front of them was something both had not anticipated. She stood their confused and scared, not knowing whether to be relieved or mourn the death of her half brothers. Tarun just patted her back and said, "Everything will be okay...I'll take care of things here....just take your things and get out of here quick."he said. She nodded still unable to open her mouth and say anything. Once they were ready, he took out his wallet and gave them some money and asked them to leave the place immediately. Without a word they left carrying two bags in their hands. Tarun waited till they were out of sight then walked inside the house.



Preeti drove fast but cautiously. She reached Doddapetta in an hour, took the short route and reached the bunk where Tarun had dropped her the first time. She slowed down, looking at the two narrow paths wondering which road to take. Was it just few weeks back that Tarun had left her here? She still couldn't believe how her life had taken an one eighty degrees turn in a short span of time. Just a near escape from death and a streak of destiny to have brought Tarun there at the exact place at the exact time. She smiled thinking of the irony that she was going to that very same place to save his life. She turned to look at the petrol bunk then looked around and got an idea of which road to take. She drove carefully her eyes never wavering for a second from the narrow road. She knew that one wrong turn and she'll roll down the hill. In fifteen minutes she reached Tarun's cabin then drove straight ahead towards the house up the hill where the goons had taken Poorani. The road was getting narrower still, with just the four tyres on the gravel pathway. She was almost leaning on the wheel looking ahead and was ready to take a left turn when suddenly from behind the bushes on the rocks above two or three goats jumped on the road bleating loudly when they saw the vehicle so close. Preeti startled by the loud noise, yelled loudly and steered the wheel to the right as to not to hit the goats and tried quickly to steer to the left again to avoid rolling down, but too late she lost control. But with a great presence of mind she kept steering to the left. The jeep kept moving towards the left side and hit the rocks and then it rattled, "Amma thaaye.....Amma...thaaye...."she was screaming but didn't let go of the wheel. The jeep hit another boulder projecting out. The momentum made the  jeep turn almost perpendicular to the road and when she tried to maneuver to bring it parallel to the road the tyres screeched in protest. Desperate she let go of the wheel praying to all Gods and Tarun's face came and went before her before closing her eyes. The jeep went and crashed onto a tree and tumbled  on the road and lay still.

Preeti lay still. The jeep did not move. She opened her eyes and looked sideways without turning her head and saw the road. She let out a sigh of relief, "Thank you Amma...."she prayed. She tried to move but couldn't. She realised the seat belt restricted her movements. She released the lock and took a deep breath. The adrenaline rush was fading and she began to  slowly feel the pain spread through her body. Her head had hit the steering wheel and her body was jammed between the wheel and the seat. Her knees had hit the dash board and once again pain was soaring in her ankle. She grimaced. She tried to move her hand. She was able to. She was happy. She unlocked the door and rolled out. She took stalk of the condition of her body. She wriggled her toes and moved her legs. Nothing broken. Good! She took deep breaths. No sharp pains. No broken ribs. Very good! She got up and took few stumbling steps and leaned on the rocks. "Thank you Amma thaaye!" She lifted her t shirt to check the bruises. There were scratches and blood was oozing out of them and the skin had turned black and blue  where the seat belt had been. She allowed her breathing to calm down and then took a couple of steps. Except for the slight pain in her ankle she was okay she realised. She looked back at the jeep. She wouldn't be able to do anything about it for now. She began to walk up the hill. Few minutes later she was able to see the house up the hill. She then saw a narrow path between the trees and bushes leading towards it. She remembered Tarun driving that path when they were escaping from them. She began to climb up that path. Her ankle began to throb in pain. After a few minutes  she stopped, taking deep breaths as she bend low and massaged her ankle. Then she heard it. The rustling of leaves and the foot steps coming from behind her. She smiled. Tarun? Then she felt something moving near her and then felt a hard whack on her head. She screamed as she fell to the floor. All the trees began to sway and swim before her eyes , jolts of pain ripped through her body and her ankle as she staggered and fell on the forest floor.

May 14, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 20 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-76

PRESENT, DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

Tarun entered the house and carried the bodies one by one and put them on the front seats of their vehicle. First he placed Muthu on the driver's seat put the seat belt on,  then came for Maari and placed the body on the passenger's seat. He stood next to the driver's window and started the car with the gear on neutral he slowly moved the car and took it to the edge of the hill to the point where the drop was sharp and let it go. The car moved and slowly rolled down with a loud crash. Tarun waited. The car rolled and finally came to a stop some fifty feet down. He dusted his hands and turned when he heard a shrill cry. He stood stunned for a second thinking something had happened to Poorani, then he realised they had gone for a while and it couldn't be her. He turned and took to his heels down the hill.



Preeti lay dazed for a minute not knowing what hit her. Then slowly her eyes began to focus. She rolled to her side , clutching her head as she tried to get up. But couldn't. Pain hammered inside her head. She was on her fours, head bent , eyes closed. Waiting for the pain to subside. She slowly opened her eyes and saw the black shoes. It was not a man's shoes, confused she lifted her eyes and rested on the face of the figure towering above her.

"LEELA!" Preeti called out once she got her breath. First relief, then  surprise, then confusion and finally fear coursed through her body when she saw her friend standing in front of her wearing all black and pointing a gun menacingly towards her. 

"What is that in your hand?"she asked her voice raspy , throat dry.

"This is what is generally called a pistol, Colt.35. "

"Why?"whispered Preeti, pain and shock still left her confused.

" I'm going to kill you....as simple as that..."she said menacingly.

"Why?"

"Why? You ask me why? You married a scum I agree but that scum was mine.....I loved him.... and I made the mistake of introducing you to him...."

"I am your friend Leela, you could have  told me...."she said.

"And what? Have that louse hate me and drool after you....how very generous of you....but no thanks....so I made my own plans."

"Why me....I never had any idea about you two?"she asked hurt, trying to get up on her feet.

"Don't out get it you fool? I planned to kill you and put the blame on him...."she laughed devilishly, "haven't you heard killing two birds with one stone..."

"I want to get up my knees are hurting."she asked.

Leela waited. Preeti staggered, her eyes swimming, hammering pain in her head spreading to the other parts of the body.

"So it was you..."

"Yes...Oh yes! I was waiting for my time and you inadvertently shared your running trail to me. So I made him drunk, drove early morning all the way up here and waited. I thought I had hit you hard.... I should have made sure you were dead...but I was scared to touch you or be near you...so I left leaving the rest to the nature to take care of you...." Her eyes narrowed with venom. "And don't you have all the luck in the world!"

"At this moment I don't feel all that lucky.."Preeti said mirthfully.

"I thought hypothermia will set in.....even if you gain consciousness you would not get your bearings straight.... You might have wandered off deep into the forest and some wild animal might attack you.... Or you might stagger unknowingly and loose foot and fall down the valley....but you came back alive few days later throwing off all my 

plans ....."

"It was you who dropped his chain and his jacket zipper logo ?"

"Yes.."she laughed. "I wondered why nobody got their hands on them even after an intensive search..."

Preeti  didn't say anything about that being in the police custody. "Raghu of course went crazy the first couple of days but the third day he began to see the profitable side of your death. He was actually preparing himself as a grieving widower in front of the media."she laughed. "And then you came back....hell even I had to accept for a while that my plans had failed....and I tried when I got my second chance...."

Preeti looked at her in horror, "That car....it was you?"she asked as she stepped closer.

"Yes....and you golden girl was saved again....Raghu went livid when you disappeared again...he was fed up of this cat and mouse game and I hoped he would give up on you...." there was anger in her tone "but no....your name ...your power...your money...was too important for him and he was not ready to let go of you... and come to me."

Preeti went pale, the hair behind her neck stood up, a chill ran up spine as fear cramped her stomach, "Why are you talking about him as if in the past?"

"Yeah...I took care of him...with the same pistol..."

"Oh my God!"cried Preeti tears welling up her eyes, "no...no..."she cried.



May 18, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 29 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-77

PRESENT, DODDAPETTA, OOTY.

"And now it is your turn to go..."she said menacingly. Preeti looked around desperately. "Amma....thaaye....didn't they get my message....Jana should have got my message....there must be someone up here to help me...Tarun? Tarun where are you?"

Her mind was reeling thousands of questions. She slowly touched her jacket pocket. "Damn! Damn! Where was it?"she chided herself for not checking her pocket earlier and made sure  if the gun was there. It must have fallen inside the car.

"Who are you looking for? Poor poor Preeti...there is no one here to help you."

"Please Leela...I'll do whatever you want me to do..."Preeti moved closer.

"Do not move..."screamed Leela.

Preeti didn't know what was the the right thing to do at that moment but her guts told her to do as Leela said. She remembered Tarun telling her, "just aim and shoot ....you'll incapacitate them for few minutes ..." Leela could do just that. She didn't want to be hurt. Her body and mind should be completely alert to confront this situation and come out alive. "Okay....I'll do as you say..."she stepped out from the pathway on to the bed of fallen leaves still wet from the rains weeks ago.

Leela was holding the gun straight at her just few feet away. 

Preeti's mind went blank with fear. Only one thought ran through her mind. "I didn't tell Tarun that I love him! I'm going to die! And nobody is going to know that I'm lying dead here. I haven't even told Tarun that I love him. Amma thaaye ! Just give me one more chance to live,  just so that I can say I love him....please! What a fool I've been! I should have stayed back at the hotel! But trust Leela... She played me exactly to her tune. Tarun where are you? Let me get a chance to tell you I love you before I die." "

"And don't you worry ...I'll take care of your new found mystery guy as well...if not for him this would have never come so far...that son of a bi..tch..."intruded Leela's voice into her thoughts.

That brought Preeti to the present with a jolt. "What! She was going to kill him as well? Not happening ! Not while I'm alive!"she thought to herself her mind wild with fury. 

"To the hell with niceties and friendship....I would not allow her to touch him not while I'm alive..."her mind raged. Furious, with raging gutteral sound she rushed towards her trying to knock her pistol off and  to push her to the ground. But to her luck Leela was much much stronger than her. Leela stood her ground and pushed Preeti on the ground and both of them rolled down to the road below. They ended with Preeti falling with the thud on the road and Leela on top her. With the gun still in one hand and the other now began to squeeze her neck. "You bi.tch you are not even giving me a chance to consider sparing your life. You are making it easier to make my decision."

She was sucking the air out of her lungs and all Preeti could think of was, "If I die now she might harm or kill Tarun later. No...no..." But try as much as she could she was not able to focus, for pain was ripping through her body and she was finding it difficult to breathe. She closed her eyes and prayed for the last time and smiled as Tarun's smiling face came in front of her. She heard the shot. Next second she felt Leela's hand ease on her throat. "Drop the gun! Or I'll shoot you."came Tarun's authoritative voice. Leela rolled away from her cursing. Preeti clutched her throat and began to cough and wretch as she gulped in air to breathe. Leela quickly got up and pulled Preeti up still holding her gun. Preeti screamed in pain. 

"Let go of her..."

"No....move away...I'll kill her..."

Preeti was still choking and coughing. "Let go of her...Leela...I'll shoot....if you even harm her hair..."

"Oh! How chivalrous! But I know you wouldn't do that."she said laughing.

"Leela...please let go of me...please...don't make him shoot you..."Preeti pleaded in a choking voice.

"Wouldn't do what?"asked Tarun, pointing the gun on her.

Preeti lifted her head and saw him standing above on the rock looking down at them.

"You wouldn't shoot me...."

"I will shoot you if you harm her I'm warning you....and I won't say it again..."came Tarun's calm but stern voice.

"If you wanted to kill me you would have done it the first time..."said Leela.

"No...."shouted Preeti, "Leela listen to him...please...don't make him do it....Tarun no...don't do it...please..."

"For the last time...Leela...LET HER GO! "

"No...Leela...don't make him do it...NO...NO..."screamed Preeti when she saw Leela squeezing the trigger. The shot blasted past her, deafening her , "No...."she screamed as she saw Leela stagger a step and fall down on the road with blood oozing from her forehead. "No.....no...."Preeti clamped her mouth with her hands and cried.

Tarun jumped on the ground and was next to her in seconds, "Preeti....Preeti are you okay?"he caught her as she began to slump to the ground.

"Tarun...it was Leela... Not Raghu....she...she...."

"I know sweetheart... Everything will be alright..."

"She killed Raghu...she shot him....she told me..."

Tarun looked surprised. "Tarun I didn't want you to shoot her....I didn't... Tarun..why did you?"she was still holding on to him, her body shivering.

He was hugging her tight, rubbing her back, "We'll talk...about it..baby...first we have to get you to a hospital..."

"You shot her Tarun...why?"she was still mumbling between her tears.

"No...doc..."he said, "I did not shoot her..." And he moved sideways for her to see, where he was pointing his fingers. She lifted her head and saw Sami standing there still numbed by what he had done, with a pistol in his hand. Joseph was sitting on a stone further away with his head between his knees. Jana was standing next to him comforting him.

She smiled, "You didn't..."she saw him nod his head, before everything went black. 

May 24, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 27 times)

STREAK OF DESTINY, CHAPTER-78

PRESENT, DODDAPETTA, OOTY.



Tarun's cabin had been made into temporary quarters, with police personal moving around the area. 

When Preeti opened her eyes she realised she was lying on the wooden cot in Tarun's cabin, with him sitting right next to her holding her hand and Jana standing near her foot. She smiled at him. "How are you feeling?" He asked.

"Awful!"she grimaced. "How did I come here?"she asked Tarun.

"He carried you all the way down here. Help is on the way. They'll be here in few minutes."he left. Sami and Joseph came. Sami had lost his usual condescending look,  he was stiff with worry, Joseph still looked pale.

"Glad to know you came out alive Dr. Preeti..."

"Thanks to you..."she smiled. He nodded. "Are you fit enough to just tell us exactly what happened?"

"Leela called me to tell me that Raghu was planning to harm Tarun and that he had a gun with him. I tried calling you and others. When none answered I left to Doddapetta to warn him. I lost control of the jeep. Leela then accosted me midway to those guys house....she told me she tried to kill me and put the blame on Raghu, and that she placed that chain and locket near me. She said that she shot Raghu...is he?....is he.....?"tears flowed down her eyes. Tarun squeezed her hand.

"Yes...doctor sorry to say that your husband was killed this morning. We have taken the body for autopsy.."

"Oh God!"she closed her eyes shut for a minute then she looked at Sami and said, "she said that she drugged him that night and got up early in the morning reached here and waited for me and hit me hard with the stone and she tried to run me down that day in the market."

"Damn! We were so focussed on one guy that we totally forgot to see another angle to it. Damn! Damn!"he cursed himself. "Thank you doctor. I must say you were very brave and handled her well. You take care, we'll handle all this from here... Thank you Tarun..I guess this is it?" Tarun nodded and they shook hands and left.

Preeti looked at him questioningly, "Tarun?"he remained quiet. "You are leaving again?"she asked trying very hard to hide the pain in her voice. Tarun nodded.

"Why? Why ? After all that has happened....?"her voice was breaking.

"It is just the way I am doc....the ambulance and the doctors will be here soon....and then this place will be swarming with police...and media ...I can't be seen here...."

"Those brothers? Poorani?"

Tarun told her. She gasped. "I can't deny that I'm happy they got what they deserved, but will their deaths have a bearing on you...because..."

"Nothing..."he assured her, "sometimes the police are also happy to get rid of nuisances like them...they'll record it as drunken driving, broke their necks in the accident.."

"Then why? Don't you see...."

"No.doc...don't you see that I don't belong here..."

"But things have changed Tarun...can't you see? There are people who love you...they need you....I need you..."she said pleading  with the last amount of strength left within her, hoping desperately he will understand.

"Nothing has changed...doc...I killed those guys .... And it can  happen again...any time I might take law into my hands and it scares me...I don't want anybody to get into trouble...

"So....how are we doing?"came the booming voice from behind. She turned to see the Colonel walking inside. "I'm fine....but I have to get a brain scan...I was hit really hard..." she showed the place where she was hit. "Sorry Colonel I should have followed your orders...but how did she know I was on that trail?"

"Apology not accepted....but I'm glad it ended well...she must have seen your car..."

"My...jeep.."interrupted Tarun a little annoyed.

"She must have seen his jeep.."he corrected himself, "on the road and then must have followed you...the ambulance will arrive any moment...we must get you out of here before the media frenzy starts. We'll meet later."he generally said and walked out.

"Remember the day after you brought me here,  when I said there were options, you told me, there were none, in those circumstances..... It is one such circumstance Tarun, Would you have a moment of peace if you had left those guys alive? You would get sick with worry thinking what they would come back and do to that girl and many others like her...."

"Nothing has changed doc..."he said with agony in his voice.

Preeti waited for a minute, to see if anyone else was intruding their last moments together, then turned to him, pulled his head down and gently kissed him. 

He reacted surprised at first, then her softness, her smell, her nearness was his undoing, "God! Woman! What am I going..."he didn't complete, he held her face tenderly and began to kiss her deeply, and came back for air a couple of minutes later.

"See everything has changed... I love you!!"

Oh God! He hugged her and placed soft tender kisses all over face murmuring something which she couldn't comprehend. The pain was increasing and she just wanted to curl and sleep blocking away the physical pain and bad memories that brought along with that. 

They heard sudden commotion outside along with roaring of vehicles coming to stop and doors opening and slamming shut and many voices talking loudly and at the same time. A lady nurse came running inside and Tarun moved away quickly. She was followed by two guys carrying a stretcher. 

The nurse asked her few questions then told her what she was going to inject her with. Preeti nodded. As the nurse was preparing the injection Preeti's eyes searched for Tarun. He was moving away. The nurse took her hand and turned it and began to tap her veins, then rubbed the spirit. Preeti stretched her other hand as if calling out for him. The men then shifted her carefully on to the stretcher and strapped her hands and legs. Then covered her with woolen blanket and  began to carry her to the ambulance. Preeti moved her head began to look for Tarun. The pictures of the tall trees, policemen, Jana and Mohan, Sami giving instructions and the crowd that began to gather, began to come before her eyes and moved away as she was carried to the van. Her eyes were loosing focus but were still looking for Tarun. He was nowhere to be seen. Tears rolled down the side of her face as she closed her eyes and fell into a blissful sleep.



May 30, 2017

STREAK OF DESTINY (By Raani82) (Thanked: 43 times)

EPILOGUE.

EIGHT MONTHS LATER.

The huge crowd gathered on The  Staine's Higher Secondary School grounds on Race Course Road,  clapped and cheered when the loud speakers boomed, "And here comes, Dr. Preeti Murugadas...entering the last  lap of the marathon....Please welcome her with loud applause."

The crowd went "Preeti...Preeti....Preeti...."

Preeti ran the last few hundred meters waving to the crowd and the cheer became louder as she crossed the finish line.

Finally she turned around and gave one last wave  and bent double, her palms resting on her knees drawing long breaths. She closed her eyes and stood for a minute when she heard her name being called. "Preeti...here..."Nikhil came towards her with water and glucose and a towel. 

"Thanks."she said smiling at him.

"Congrats! You did it!"he said hugging her.

"Yeah!" She laughed. She moved to the side as other runners began to cross the line.

Others who had finished earlier, some friends and known faces came and shook her hand. Then the three participants who had won the marathon, a Kenyan and two Ethiopians, came forward  and shook hands. She congratulated them and they left. 

Then the media which was already focusing on her, turned their cameras towards the sudden buzz around the corner. The crowd began cheering loudly as a band started up followed by a group of children with bouquets and balloons, some walking slowly guided by the nurses and some on wheel chairs.

She took the balloons and the bouquets, laughed, hugged, shook hands with the children. "Thank you...thank you...."

"Dr. Preeti" a reporter called, and sat on the ground, face to face with Preeti who was kneeling down and talking to the children. "The sense of satisfaction must be double isn't it? After the ordeal you've been through...the past months..."

Preeti turned, "Definitely.... Not just double...a hundred times more...and it was worth it. Nothing would stop me from living my father's dream to bring back hope and joy into these young lives. Look at them....they have so much to live for..."

"True Dr. Preeti, amazing....just amazing! I think the whole of India is with you....young and old, men , women , children...."

"Yes! Yes! Incredible! We have donations as small as ten rupees to twenty five lakhs. An international company has promised to donate medical equipments, a well known architect has promised free consultations, donations are still pouring in in cash and kind and I take this opportunity to thank every one of the kind souls out there who has helped us in this noble cause. I'm confident thousands of children are going to benefit from this...."she brought her palms together "thank you thank you....I couldn't have done this without all your help."

The reporters crowded in front of her and began to ask questions.

Her story had begun to catch the interest of people worldwide and help poured in from all quarters, especially after the news broke out that she single handedly stalled the production of formula for babies. The news on social media began to spread like wild fire. Protest began on the streets demanding strict punishments to pharma companies that deviated from the laws. A public interest litigation was filed and the government was forced to form a committee to look into the laws and suddenly there were raids on the premises of many companies.  Awareness campaigns began to spread about these safety standards rules and the media took the issue of mess and hotels as well that were openly flouting these rules putting lots of lives in danger.  Photos and videos of the pathetic conditions of where food is being prepared and served began to take rounds which forced the authorities to close down hotels and mess and many road side eateries. For a couple of months the talk of the state was about low quality medicines and utter disregard to rules by the pharmaceuticals marketing pediatric drugs and formulas. 

A week after she was from the hospital, she was busy running from police station to the court. It took three months for Sami to finally close the case. She did the last rites to her husband and his family had come and gone quietly not wanting to be involved in any controversy. Leela's family accepted her body and took it to their hometown for cremation. A young doctor couple shifted to Wellington, the woman replaced Leela while her husband was an ophthalmologist, who was planning to start his own clinic. Nikhil took over the running of the clinic as Preeti was busy. 

She rented an old building that was a part of a popular school and started a home for abused children. A web site was formed and a helpline was created and advertised all over the state . The sad state was that within months of its formation there were forty three inmates. As young as six year old to thirteen. Poorani and her mother moved to this building. The old lady  and couple of others like her were given a job in the home and Poorani and the kids were placed in the near by government school. Preeti sold one property in her name and bought a plot in Wellington for this purpose. The construction work was due to start in a month.

Sami and some of the other like minded cops extended their help, by spreading awareness through other police stations in other towns, cities and villages about the  helpline number. Two retired cops from Coimbatore personally met her and joined her administration to help investigate the background before accepting a child. Two prominent lawyers devoted their time to see to the legal aspects involving each and every child, for some kids refused to go back to their families even with their own parents. Those children were also there crowding around her. She distributed sweets to all of them. Nikhil finally succeeded in moving  her away from the media. 

"Thanks Nikhil..."she smiled. "Please see that all the kids are returned safely to the home and hospital." She felt a strange sensation and hair stood up at the back of her neck. "Nice run doc....."she heard his voice from behind.

She slowly turned and saw him, standing there removing his sun glasses, with a smile that had tortured her every night for the past eight months.

"Hi...."she said controlling her expression to a smile, whereas her insides were screaming in excitement.

"You made it! Congratulations!"

"Thank you!"she said with the same expression. He had cut his hair real close in an army crop. He was wearing a white shirt and army slacks and boots. She was looking closely at him. He seemed to have become leaner with his mean muscles more pronounced. "God!"she muttered, and turned away from him with difficulty, anger slowly seeping in.

"Let's go somewhere we can talk doc...."he said.

Nikhil looked confused as to how to react to him. The guy was not a reporter, nor seemed to be her friend. "Preeti come let's go! We have to ..."

"Nikhil could you take care of things here please....I have to talk to my ...."she hesitated then said, "friend here. This is Tarun...Nikhil....Tarun...this is Nikhil..."he introduced them. They shook hands greeting each other. "You want me to stay?"Nikhil asked her. 

"I'll be fine..."

"Sure?"

She nodded.

"Okay ....you go ahead...I'll wind up things here...you need your keys?" He handed her two bunches and her backpack. 

"We'll take my car..."said Tarun. Preeti handed Nikhil her car keys, "Can you..."

"I'll take care..."he took it from her and left.

She stood for a minute seeing him go then turned to him, "Where's your car? "She asked.

"North gate....come.."he lead the way and she followed.

They didn't talk till they got inside his closed army jeep .

She didn't look at him, but asked looking straight, "So why did you come now...just to disappear later?"

"Still pissed off about the way I left you that day?"

"Well that is to put it mildly how I feel..."she said her voice laced with anger as she opened her bag and took out towel to wipe the sweat off her. Then she took out her water bottle and drank some water. She preferred to keep herself busy than look at him. 

"Doc..." he said softly, "do you think things would have gone this smoothly had I been around you?"

She remained silent for few minutes.  Damn! Damn! He  was right. The media wouldn't have let them be. Every day they would have woven new stories about them and given a new meaning to all that had happened . "I had to go away for matters to clear on their own." He said.

She sighed. "I hate to admit it but you are right." They remained silent for a minute.

"The event is a great success I see."he said. She turned and looked at him for the first time. "Yeah! I never expected this response...."she said excitedly, "nearly one crore,  eighty two lakhs and few thousands and still coming,  as donations and many lakhs in kind...I'm overwhelmed.."

"You can say one crore eighty seven lakhs..."he said, and added when she looked surprised , "I just deposited five lakhs this morning."

"Wow! Thank you! So what have you been up to?"



He started the jeep and began to maneuver out of the parking lot, "Where to?"he asked. She gave him direction to her home. He began driving.

"I can't go back to the army, but the Colonel pulled some strings and now I'm part of the UNO disaster management team. Wherever in the world there is natural calamity, we have to go there rescue and rehabilitate. It involves building and repairing and helping people. I was in Dehra Dun ...six months training ...now I'm based in Wellington...at my request,"he looked at her as she looked at him quizzically, "and have to train and keep my own team ready for any eventuality."

She didn't say anything, though she knew she shouldn't get her hopes high but she couldn't control her heart which was betraying her. It was pounding so hard and her mind began to conjure up many scenarios in spite of one part telling her she was a fool to even expect anything from him. 

"That's good."she finally managed to say. Then wanting to change the subject she said, "Your sisters called me..."

"Twice.."

"Yes...looks like the Colonel has been visiting them frequently? What's his interest in them?"she asked.

Tarun smiled, "Why wouldn't he be? Tara was to be his daughter in law. His son was interested in her, but after all that had happened, she didn't want to leave Tamana ...so the wedding never took place."

"That's really really sad..."

" Vikrant that is the guy, and I have convinced her and the Colonel is adopting Tamana."

"That's wonderful Tarun... I never knew this side of the Colonel..."

"He's been trying for the past four years but she just wouldn't listen, but now that I've come back she finally relented."

"Good for her." They had reached her home. She got out and opened the gates for him. They went inside her home. "I'll go freshen myself...please make yourself comfortable."she said and quickly went up the stairs.

Half an hour later when she came down after a refreshing bath, a smell of coffee and toasted bread and omelette attacked her nostrils her stomach began to growl in hunger. She slowly walked to the kitchen and found him  quite comfortably going about preparing breakfast. 

"What are you doing?"

"I know you'll be hungry so I searched around and prepared with whatever was available. French toast and juice for you, coffee and sandwich for me."he said.

"I could have ordered.."

"Sit down doc.." He placed the plates and  they sat opposite each other. 

"You said earlier," she started hesitatingly, "That you have come back?"she asked after a long silence, "what did ....you mean?"her heart was thudding.

"I went to see Sami few weeks later to just find out what progress he was making... I was surprised... He was depressed and kept repeating he shouldn't have shot the woman..he should have warned her... And I  asked him, "Would you feel any better if she had killed Preeti? You didn't have any other option, sir.." I realised then those words just like that came out....the exact words you had told me. That made me realise that I was simply running away instead of stopping and facing reality. I then went to see Mohan Kumar and it took some months and as soon as things were set right I came to you...where I belong..." He reached out for her hand, "there is nowhere else on earth I want to rest my head than on your brea sts...and go to sleep hearing your heart beat...doc... please marry me.." She didn't answer immediately but walked away with their plates in hand to the kitchen. 

"Well...think about it doc..." He said stiffly.

She looked at him for one long moment. "Well .... I'm thinking about it and I have an answer...you saved my life twice..."she said loudly from the kitchen. 

He relaxed, "If that persuades you to marry me ...then I'm up for it."

"When we rolled down the hill that day, she had her hands around my neck, choking me....my life went past me....and I was thinking about you...all that I could have with you...then she said she would kill you too... I couldn't bear a world without you, to be without you...I almost gave up... Sadness gripped me when I realised I didn't even tell you I love you....what an idiot I had been... And then my knight in shining armour came crashing by...that gave me strength and I lashed at her....that really made my day..."she came near him with a washed plate in her hand.

"Stop talking about her...make the day mine...baby...say you'll marry me.."

"Do I have any other option?"

"Nope."

"But there are conditions.. I will not sit and watch cricket with you..."

He sighed "Oh man! "Really even when India is playing?"

"No....no...no...football is okay..."

"Thank god for small mercies...but I will not come shopping with you.. And definitely will not watch chic flicks...please spare me...I hate to see how other guys romance with their women."

"That bad?"she asked. 

"Absolutely allergic..."

"Okay ....I guess I can manage that... But I have some more conditions...

"Doc..."he groaned.

"I want to travel...I want to see places with you...I want a home...I think I could make a good one...I want to come back to you...to our children...I want a dog... I want a home, a dog , children and you....I want you so much...will you marry me.. With all these conditions..."

"Now...I have to think about it..."he said teasingly. She grabbed a steel plate and came rushing at him with it. He caught hold of her hand and pulled her hard against him, and kissed her hard on her lips and when she opened for him to delve deeper he began to kiss her softly bringing soft moans from her. Finally when he let her go, he said "I accept your terms absolutely."

"What were you murmuring to me on that day in your cabin, before they took me away?"

He was placing light kisses on her face and said, "I said, don't give up on me yet..don't give up on me..."

"I didn't."she said lovingly. "I love you and missed you every moment."

"Now first things first..."he bent and carried her in his arms towards the stairs, "show me just how much you missed me." And she was only too eager and happy to show him.

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Dear readers,

Hope you've all enjoyed my story as much as I took pleasure in writing it.

We have come to the end of yet another interesting journey and I thank all the brave hearts who travelled along with me till the end. Some took time to read, some pressed the thank you button some managed to write some comments, thanks a ton for all your efforts to encourage me.

As usual I have only one request. Please as many of you press the thank you button to show that you've enjoyed my story and the silent readers to type few words. Just so that I would know of your presence. 

Thank you once again.

God bless you all.

With love

Rani.

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