Door bell rings.
"What took you so long to open?" asked Vikram as he entered the house.
There was no reply from Neha as she followed him into the living room.
"I am so tired today; we finally got that client from Bahrain," said Vikram as he sat on the sofa.
"That's good news!" Neha exclaimed.
"I know right, we should go out and celebrate. Where is Pihu?" he asked, looking inside as he takes off his shoes.
"Are you alright?" Neha asked.
"Yes, absolutely. Pihu! Where are you?" he called for her, still looking inside.
"She is doing her homework," Neha replied.
"There you are," said Vikram, as he stood up from his seat and gave Pihu a big hug.
"What homework were you doing?"
"Mathematics," she replied silently.
"Do it later; we are all going out tonight," he said in an excited tone.
"No Vikram, Pihu would have to go to school tomorrow. She has to wake up early."
"That's alright, she can bunk off school tomorrow."
"No, she can't!” Neha protested. “Anyway, I have already prepared dinner."
"Okay. Can we at least call for some ice cream?” He asked, “What flavour would you prefer, Pihu – Mango?”
Pihu looked at Neha and said nothing.
"Why are you standing there? Come and sit here with me," said Vikram, tapping on his phone.
Neha walks in and sits next to Vikram on the sofa.
"How is everything going on in school, baccha?" Vikram asked after a moment of silence.
Pihu remained quiet and kept her gaze on Neha.
"Is something wrong?” Vikram asked, “You seem lost in concentration."
"She is just tired," Neha chipped in with a reply.
"OK. Let me wash my hands quickly so that we can have dinner,” said Vikram as he got up from his seat.
"Since when did you start buying me aftershave? Vikra asked, looking at the aftershave in the cabin. “You know I never shave."
There was no reply from Neha. After a brief spell of inactivity, Vikram returned to his seat.
He extends his hand towards her but she remained sitted in her position.
Neha whispered into her ears. Pihu walked slowly in his direction.
As they approached the dining table, the doorbell rang again.
"That must be your ice-cream; good, they are quick," said Vikram.
Neha went for the door as Vikram and Pihu walked towards the dining table.
"Who is it?" Vikram asked.
"What are you doing here?" Ajay asked as he barged in. Neha tried to stop him at the door.
"What!?" Vikram replied.
"Can’t you leave us alone?" asked Ajay.
"Are you drunk?"
"What do you want? We are really tired of you," said Ajay.
“Ajay let it go,” Neha pleaded.
"Stay in your limits, Ajay. I will kick you out in front of this little one!" Vikram screamed as he stood up from his chair.
Pihu ran towards Ajay and hugged him shakingly. Neha walked towards Vikram, but he was too furious to listen.
"It's alright, Pihu. Papa is not going to fight," Ajay tried to console Pihu.
"How dare you call yourself her dad? Come here Pihu!" Vikram screamed again as he walked towards Ajay.
"Come here!" said Vikram as he held Pihu's hand.
Pihu held on to Ajay tightly and refused to let go.
"Leave her hand, Vikram," said Ajay as Pihu began to cry.
"Let her hand go, Vikram!" Neha yelled.
"Leave her I said!"
Few seconds later, Ajay landed a hot slap on Vikram’s cheeks.
Ajay carried Pihu in his arms and took her to the bedroom. Neha followed, Vikram stood there unmoved.
"There was no need to raise your hand, Ajay. You already know what he is going through," said Neha in a bitter tone.
“It has been 2 years since you left him, I can’t let this affect us anymore,” said Ajay.
“His Alzheimer is at its worst, Ajay.”
"I am done with his shit, Neha. Did he start with the Bahrain story again?"
"Yes, he did. Do you want to know why?" Neha asked furiously.
"Yes, please tell me why."
"Because that was the last memory we shared together before his blackouts started."
The doorbell rang again.
Neha walked out of the bedroom but could not find Vikram by the dining table. She opened the door;
"Mango Ice-cream, Ma'am," said the delivery guy.
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Suspense filled! I simply enjoyed it!
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