[#17] An Unexpected Guest

A tale told by Apurva Chawla

Image Courtest: HumansAreFree

The story begins at The Haveli.

Amidst all the confusion she got a momentary relief seeing her father’s name flash on her mobile screen.

She picked up the call and said, “Dad! Dad I have been trying to call you! Are you alright?”

Shreyansh and Ramu stood there listening to her. She said, “Nothing, it’s just… I think I saw a bad dream and…” She stopped mid way to listen to her father. She looked at Shreyansh and Ramu as she heard her father with widened eyes. “Okay… Yes, I am listening Dad”, she said. She looked away to hide her expressions from both of them. She went to the spot where Ananya and Ryu were standing to find the candle. To her surprise, it was still there. She picked up the candle and kept talking on phone, “Yes, I understand.”

After a long pause, she said, “Okay. Just stay safe Daddy. I’ll be back soon. Take care.”

She cut the call and started moving towards the car.

“Hey, what happened?” Shreyansh asked.

“He’s safe for now. Let’s sit in the car. We need to drive to Delhi.”

“What about traveling to the future? We were going to kill Wes!” Ramu said, almost pleading.

“We’ll figure something out. For now let’s just go to Delhi. I need to see my father.” She said, keeping the candle close to herself.

They sat in the car and Saafiya put the candle in her hand bag. She couldn’t trust anyone with the candle now. They started their journey to Delhi. Saafiya had understood a lot of things from the phone call with her Dad. She knew she couldn’t trust Ramu anymore and didn’t say anything while he was around. She wanted to be with her father when Ryu finds him. She thought about Ananya and Ryu. Why did she do it? She really couldn’t trust anyone except herself as Momo had said.

Shreyansh sped down the road and reached Delhi in four hours of complete silence. It was already dark when they reached. He didn’t ask her any questions during the trip. He knew she was hiding something and wouldn’t tell in Ramu’s presence.

As soon as they reached Saafiya’s home, she got off the car to run to the door and rang the doorbell. Her father opened the door and she hugged him and started crying. She cried for all that had happened with her in last one day.

“Shh… everything is going to be alright, Saafi. I am with you now”, her father said.

Her father was a middle aged man, a few years younger than Ramu and looked as fit as a fiddle. Shreyansh greeted her father with an eye gesture and a smile while Saafiya hugged him. He returned the smile and looked at Ramu straight in the eye with a stone face. Ramu didn’t smile either. Shreyansh noticed this exchange of expressions and didn’t interrupt.

Saafiya pulled away from the hug to wipe off her tears and her father said, “Bring your guests inside dear. We have a little chat to do.”

Saafiya guided both of them to the living room. Her family belonged to the upper middle class and her living room justified their status. Shreyansh had been to her home a few times before that day but that was years ago. He looked around to see the fancy furniture and artifacts. He mentally appreciated the color of her living room and brushed the thought aside.

Her father said, “Have a seat. We are going to have a guest here in a few minutes.”

Ramu looked up at him in surprise. He didn’t understand what guest he was talking about. He asked, “Who’s coming?”

Saafiya tried to change the topic and asked, “Where is mom, Dad?”

Shreyansh noticed it and kept quiet. Her father replied with utmost calmness, “She is at your aunt’s home.”

The doorbell rang again. Her father exclaimed, “I think she’s here.” He gave a sly smile to Ramu and went to open the door.

“Come on in! They are all here.” He said and brought her into the living room.

A lady in her late 30s with a fair complexion and sharp features, wearing nerdy black glasses entered into the living room. She bore a confident and almost cunning smile and set her gaze straight at Ramu.

“LEAH!” Ramu gasped in horror.

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