When they arrived at home. Christian poked her in the arms to wake her up, but Mishka was in deep slumber. Christian heaved, stepping out of the chauffeur’s seat, and opened the door of the passenger seat. “It seems I have to pick you up,” Christian murmured and raised her up in his arms, striding inside the mansion.
Opening the door of her room with his back, Christian carefully tucked her into the bed and was about to leave when he noticed a strand of her hair entangled in his wristwatch. He carefully tried to open the knot without interrupting her sleep, but Mishka woke up and was startled to find Christian close to her face.
“Ow!! Ouch!” She struggled to sit on her bed in her panic state.
“Just a second!” Christian pulled out her hair from his wristwatch.
“How did I come to the room?” Mishka asked.
“You fell asleep in the car. I tried hard to get you up, but you didn’t respond, so I had to pick you up and bring in you to your room.” Christian said and rose up from the bed.
“Oh, I am so sorry for troubling you,” Mishka said while rubbing her eyes.
“It’s alright and thank you for tonight. I really appreciate it!” Christian smiled and Mishka nodded, stepping out of her bed to close the door.
“Don’t bother, I’ll close the door. Goodnight.” Christian said and walked out, shutting off the lights, and Mishka smiled in the darkroom. He was actually not as cocky as she judged him.
~ MISHKA ~
The endless ringing of my alarm forced me to flutter my eyes open. I groaned, shifting to the other side of the bed to reach the alarm clock on the side table and turned it off. I sat on the bed brushing my long messy hair, and for a moment, I was startled watching around myself but then slowly, Everything started to settle in and I recalled the conversation with Dadu.
I stepped down from the bed barefoot and walked to the window, removing the curtains only to be welcomed with the beautiful sun rays.
“WHAT? I.. I… thi… guess I have heard s… some.. something wrong.” I stammered as astonishment overwhelmed me.
“No, my dear. You have heard right. I want you to marry my Grandson Christian.” He grinned.
“You are joking, right?” I laughed.
“No, I am very serious. I want you as my granddaughter in law. The day I heard your opinions about the family values at the Ganga Ghat, I was impressed!! And then when we met again, I realised I want someone like you for my Christian. You are beautiful, witty, smart, educated, and most importantly, you know how to keep a family together.” Dadu said, offering me a cup of coffee.
I took the cup from his hand. “My opinions about family values? I remember our first encounter when I saved you from drowning.” I stared at him, puzzled.
“No, dear. I saw you the day before the drowning incident. I heard your conversation with one of your friends about how she should try to adjust with her in-laws and not try to separate their son from them. You were sitting on the stairs of Ganga Ghat and I was sitting right behind you, leaving a gap of a stair.” Leo smiled and Mishka recalled the day.
“You were explaining things to her in Hindi, but abruptly you stood up and shrieked. Come on, I am trying to explain to you the importance of family, and still, you are intransigent about living with your husband in a separate house. Think about his parents, he is their only child!!” Leo exactly quoted her word.
“I glanced at you surprised, and then you sighed sitting down next to her, explaining something again in Hindi. I requested my tour guide to translate whatever you are speaking and he started translating everything in a whisper. And I was beyond impressed!! Such thoughts can only be of the young woman whose parents have raised her well.” Dadu said, crossing his legs.
I bowed my head. “But, why me? I mean, I came from an entirely different place. I don’t see, I and Christian have anything in common. Moreover, this is not my place, not my people, not my country. I will never be able to mingle myself with people here.” I argued.
“Mishka, my dear. I do not want you to mingle yourself with people here and become one like them. I want you to mix them in your colour. The colour of love, warmth, compassion, and sacrifice. My family has forgotten the love between them.” Dadu sighed, taking a long pause as disappointment evident on his face, and I pressed my lips in a straight line.
“And now, I only have you, who can remind them of their forgotten bond. Please do not disappoint me!” Dadu pleaded, holding my hands. “Please, give it a thought!”
“Does Christian know about this?” I asked, biting my lips.
“Yes, he knows, and he is ready for this marriage,” Dadu answered, and I nodded my head, a little surprised.
“Okay, I will think about it and let you have my decision tomorrow,” I answered and left his study. Cold sweat appeared on my forehead and my throat suddenly went dry.
Mishka closed the curtains and scurried to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She glanced in the mirror, splashing water on her face, and sighed, holding the washbasin. As much as she wanted to fulfil Leo’s demand, she was still not persuaded by the proposal he offered as marriage was the last thing on her mind.
She heard a knock on her door and hastily wiped her face with the towel, striding out of the bathroom to open the door, only to meet Leo standing dressed in a suit with a shopping bag in his hand.
“Hey, Dadu! Good Morning and a very Happy Birthday to you!!” She hugged him dearly.
“Thank you, sweetie. Can I come inside?” He asked, and Mishka smiled, opening the door wide enough for him to enter. Leo sat at the foot of the bed and handed her the shopping bags. “This is your dress for the evening party. I want you to wear this tonight. Shoes and jewellery are also in there.” He said and Mishka widened her eyes.
“Dadu, I have a dress to wear tonight. It’s your birthday and you are giving me gifts. It’s not fair,” Mishka said, sitting next to him on the bed.
“If you wish, you can also give a birthday present to me,” Leo answered, staring hopefully at her and Mishka furrowed her eyebrows. “Say yes to my proposal. I want nothing else from you.” Leo said.
Mishka took a deep breath. “Dadu, I am sorry. I am gonna upset you, but I cannot say yes to this proposal. I came here just to show up at your birthday and I was not prepared for this surprise.” Mishka sighed and Leo’s face dropped.
In his heart, he knew she’d turn down the proposal, and he’d be surprised more if she had agreed. But he still tried his luck in a desire of seeing his family together before closing his eyes.
“I love you, Dadu, and you know that. You are very special to me, but I am different from Christian. We are not suitable, and you know someone is waiting for me back in India. I have to go back to him.” Mishka said, and Leo sighed.
He composed himself and smiled. “It’s alright. You don’t need to be sorry. I respect your decision.”
Mishka looked down, not able to face him. “I am sorry. You asked me something for the first time, and I disappointed you,” She said and Leo lifted her chin with his index finger, looking into her eyes.
“Hey, I am not sad. I understand your situation. Now cheer up, it’s your Dadu’s 70th birthday,” Leo said with a wide smile on his face and hugged Mishka. “Okay, I have to go now. An important meeting is waiting for me and I’ll meet you straight at the party.” He stood up.
“Dadu, you are working on your birthday?” Mishka asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I am sorry. This meeting is very important, otherwise, I would’ve never left you alone,” Leo answered, ruffling Mishka’s hair.
“It’s okay, Dadu. I understand. See you at the party.” Mishka smiled and Leo nodded, exiting her room. Mishka sat back on the foot of the bed, thinking of making his birthday memorable. “I have already spoiled his mood enough for the day!!”
“Lia, I don’t think Miashka is a fraud. She seems to be a nice girl. I spent some time with her last night when we went to purchase a present for Grandpa.” I said, taking a sip of my favourite chicken soup.
“So she also trapped you like she trapped your grandpa?” Lia arched an eyebrow. “Wow, just great!! Her fan following is increasing every day.” She glared at me. “You called me here in the café to admire her in front of me?”
“It’s not like that. I am just stating what I observed.” I retorted.
“I am certain she is pretending to be nice. I have searched a lot last night about Indian girls and all I discovered is that they are a cunning and gold diggers.” Lia spoke, and I couldn’t hold my chuckle.
“Why the hell are you giggling?” She asked angrily.
“Actually, I am hearing this word gold digger quite a lot these days. Grandpa always calls you gold digger and now you are calling Miashka gold digger. Isn’t it weird? Every girl in my life is a gold digger?” I giggled.
“What the hell, Chris? You are calling me a gold digger?” Lia stood up, trudging her foot.
“No, of course not, baby. That’s what grandpa calls you. I was just stating to you.” I said and stood up as well. She took out some paper from her handbag and slammed them on the table.
“This is your contract marriage agreement. Whatever conditions you sent me, Danny has put everything in it. Since you have successfully ruined my mood, I am leaving as I have a photoshoot in half an hour. So enjoy your chicken soup alone. Bye!” She sneered, collecting her things. “And lastly, her name is Mishka, not Miashka.”
“Lia, come on, I am sorry. I didn’t mean that. You are taking it all wrong.” I tried to apologise, but she left, showing me the middle finger.