“I told Kris. He knows now.” Seema slowly read the message. Beads of perspiration dripped from her forehead. She wiped it off with her light blue dupatta and sat down on the sofa. She re-read the message again and sat staring at her veil, which had now turned dark blue and was soaking wet.
She had received the first message a few weeks ago while she was at her first anniversary celebration dinner with Kris. Krishna, her husband was a corporate lawyer with a big firm. He was a very busy man and Seema found it adorable when he managed to take out some time from his schedule just for her. Somehow over the past year, she had begun to love him dearly. An arranged marriage was not what she had wanted, but when Naveen left her pregnant, she had to bow down to her parents wishes. Within a fortnight, her wedding was confirmed with the son of her dad's best friend and within a month they were married. Seema had known Krishna for a long time and she was glad to have him as her husband even if she did not love him then. She knew that he was a nice man. As much as she wanted to tell him the truth about her pregnancy, her mother did not let her. Bound by her promise, two weeks after the wedding, Seema announced to Krishna that she was carrying his child. Though a little shocked, Kris and his family were thrilled. They helped her cope up with it and pampered her through her journey. During her fourth month of pregnancy, Seema slipped in the bathroom and lost her baby. Kris was heartbroken, but Seema was glad. Atleast now she did not have to live with a reminder of Naveen for the rest of her life. She now felt that her past was buried and she could finally start a new life with Kris. And that's how she had begun to love him.
On their first wedding anniversary, Seema had found out that she was pregnant again and wanted to surprise Kris with the news. They were out for dinner when her phone beeped. She had decided to ignore it, but Kris insisted that she read it.
The message read, “You killed Naveen's child. You are a murderer.” Seema froze in her seat.
Kris was busy looking at the menu to notice her reaction. Seema felt her gut churning. Excusing herself, she rushed to the washroom. After relieving herself she checked the message again. Unknown number. She couldn't even call back. She could hear her own heart beat in the empty washroom. It was thumping heard. She was sweating profusely and breathing hard. Then she felt a warm sensation between her legs. She looked down to see her favorite Satya Paul saree dripping wet. Quickly, she put the phone back in her bag and tried to clean herself. One step forward and she was hit by a bout of nausea. Her legs felt weak and she could no longer balance herself. She sat down on the floor and puked all over herself. Unable to sustain any longer, she passed out.
When she woke up, she was back in her bedroom. She looked around, the room smelt fresh and clear. The curtains were drawn apart and she could hear the faint chirping of birds. The crystal vase on the night stand was now holding a bunch of purple orchids, her favorite. The flowers gleamed as the morning sun rays fell on them. She smiled and looked at herself. Kris had somehow managed to bathe her and change her into a black silk night gown. She tried to get up and sit but was feeling week. Presuming it to be under her pillow she tried to reach for her phone, but couldn't find it. Just then the door opened and Kris came in carrying a tray of freshly brewed hot coffee in two mugs. He seemed relieved to see her and gave her his widest smile. Seema started at her husband. He was the most goodlooking man she had ever seen, with strong arms and a blessed physique. He came closer, laid the tray on the coffee table, next to the newspapers and sat on the bed by her side.
“Good morning!” He said chirpily as he kissed her forehead. Seema smiled and tried to sit up. Kris helped her by propping her carefully against two pillows.
“Don't worry my love, its all fine. Doctor says you are pregnant, so you better take care of yourself now.” He smiled as he pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. Seema felt emotional and leaned forward to hug her husband. He held her tight kissing her head every now and then. Kris then helped her back to rest and fumbled for something in his robe pocket. Seema looked in anticipation as he pulled out a small velvet box and placed it in her hand.
“I couldn't give this last night. This is for all the happiness you have given me over the past year.” He looked away to hide his tear.
Seema opened to box to find a huge diamond ring in it. She was used to extravagant gifts from her husband, but this was something more special. Apart from the ring, there was a tiny card too in the box. She opened it. It read, “Nothing can change the love I feel for you. Love, Kris.”
Kris was now looking at her like an eager puppy. She leaned forward and kissed him on his lip. He looked into her eyes for a minute and was overwhelmed. He then handed her a cup of coffee and took his. Both sipped happily as they spoke about their future child to come. Seema decided to forget all about that message and concentrate on her baby now. The baby room was ready since her first pregnancy and she asked Kris to take her there.
He shook his head, “Later, not now. You need rest darling. Lie down for sometime, while I go and arrange breakfast.” He said, as he took the empty cup from her hand and placed it back in the tray.
Kissing her forehead, Kris left the room after having tucked Seema in a soft blanket.
Seema suffered from severe morning sickness the following days. A week later, she managed to muster up some strength and was able to walk around. She asked Kris for her phone.
“Oh, I switched it off that day and left it in your bag. Your mom kept calling and the doctor was here, so I had too… you know… switch off..” He said apologetically.
Seema stood staring at him.
Kris was confused. “Honey?” He came closer.
Seema hugged him. “I love you Kris, I love you so much.” She wept.
“I love you too my baby.” Kris embraced her more.
After Kris left to work, she took the phone out of her bag and switched it on. When it sprang to life there were continuous beeps. Sixteen unread messages. She sighed. Most of them from her friends congratulating her on the good news. Amidst these messages she saw an unknown number. Fear gripped her. With shivering hands she slowly pressed the ‘Open' button.
“Kris needs to know the truth. I shall tell him.” It read.
Slowly she laid down on her bed clutching her phone tight. Who could this be? No one knew about her and Naveen apart from her old college friends. And she was not in touch with any of them since the day Naveen left her. In fact no body even knew that she was married to someone else now. Then who could it be, she wondered. Could it be Naveen? But why would he blackmail her when he himself left her? Maybe she herself should tell Kris the truth and be free. But its been more than a year now, he would feel betrayed she thought. But something had to be done. Maybe she could offer this blackmailer some money. But she had no news about the person. No number to call, nothing. Should she tell her mother? She decided against it as the whole family was celebrating the arrival of her baby. Telling Kris now, would mean the end. He loved her so much that knowing that she had been with someone before, might be too much for him to take. Even if he might accept that fact, he would never accept the fact that Seema has hidden something this vital from him. He would leave her, she was sure.
Naveen. It has to be Naveen. Thinking about it, with heavy eyes, she slowly drifted off to sleep. This was two days ago.
Today, Seema stared at the message again. “I told Kris. He knows now.” A tear drop fell on the screen of her phone and almost immediately the phone began to ring. Kris. Reluctantly, Seema received the call.
“Kris?” She said slowly.
“I'm coming home now, we need to talk.” Kris said.
“Okay.” Seema nodded slowly and hung up.
She walked to the tastefully decorated balcony of her bedroom and looked out. The weather was beautiful and the view was serene. Light breeze just before sun set. Perfect she thought. Maybe she and Kris could have dinner up here tonight and then later make passionate love. She blushed at the thought. Bright orange sky stood before her and she stared at it blankly. She climbed up the railing and slowly let go off her feet. All that was on her mind as she waited to hit the ground from the ninth floor was, “Why didn't I tell Kris about Naveen before I got married to him?”
Meanwhile, Kris was smiling to himself as he drove. On the seat next to him lay a big box of chocolates and a bouquet of purple orchids. He stopped at a corner and took out an envelope from the back seat and stepped out. He walked to the nearby dustbin, tore the contents of the envelope and spoke to it, “Your past never bothered me Seema. I love you for what you are. Let it all end here.” He walked back to his car and continued to drive. He looked at the seat beside him. Underneath the box of chocolates lay a book titled ‘Baby Names'. He looked at her picture placed next to the Ganesha idol and said “We need to decide the name of our baby today, it might be too early but I want two names ready. One for a girl and one for a boy. I shall get a customised crib made then. Oh, I'm so excited. Seema honey, I just hope you like the names I've picked.” Adjusting the flowers for a last time, Kris turned right and entered the gate of his sururban apartment complex only to be welcomed by a crowd.