Note from the Author
My journey as an author started ten years ago at a very emotional point in my life. A journey that is on going! A big thanks to each and every one of you who has read my books and has been a part of this journey.
To celebrate a decade of writing, I have decided to share with you all a brand new unpublished book of mine. Do not tell my agent or publisher. . . ssshhh! 😃
‘Danika’ is an idea that took shape in my mind last year. I toyed with it for several months and then decided to pen it. However, the end evades me. The book is three fourth complete. I’m hoping you all will motivate me to finish it.
I would like to thank, Dola Basu Singh, a very able editor who has helped me make this book better.
All mistakes in this book are mine. Please remember this is not a finished product that has gone through several rounds of edits by various professionals but truly a WORK-IN-PROGRESS. By sharing this unpublished book, I’m making you a part of this book from the very beginning. See it as I write it ✍🏽
Please do subscribe on my website www.varshadixit.com for the newsletter as soon I will be sending the book to those who have subscribed.
Please do leave your comments here or on my Facebook author page, or Twitter. All links have been provided after the free chapters.
Go with love wherever life takes you. Thank you for being a part of my journey and good luck in all that you do. Happy Readings! 😃
P.S – If you know anyone else who might be interested in reading this, please spread the word.
“Love will find its way through all languages on its own.” ~Rumi
Copyright © Varsha Dixit 2017
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.
(new unpublished work by the author)
Author: Varsha Dixit
October 10, 2014
'The Grove' Apartments
Los Angeles, USA
Twenty five year old Danika Dheer clutched the orange tulips wrapped in the plastic tighter as she walked past the liquor store with its usual crowd of teenage boys on skateboard and homeless people snacking on one-dollar hotdogs. Taking the next right on Fairfax Avenue, she walked past the large wrought iron gates and into her apartment complex with several red and green buildings.
There was a spring to her step, a smile turned up the corners of the mouth as Danika walked a warm shade of hopeful, unlike the knitted brows, resignation and dread that usually assailed her when she headed to her moderate one bedroom apartment she shared with her techie husband of ten months - Piyush Saxena.
Piyush and Danika's arranged marriage was not made in heaven but in a bottomless barrel of differences and boredom. Only if I could be alone in the barrel! Danika exhaled sharply. Hush! Stop Dani. Be positive! Smell the freaking flowers girl! Danika shushed her thoughts discreetly pulling the red velvet thong pinching her bum. Before leaving her work feigning fever, she had slipped on new, provocative red lingerie that felt more uncomfortable than erotic. It was making her burn and sweat in very places it was meant make arousing. If it was up to me I would make big airy bloomers mandatory for all women! Danika flexed her chest trying to ease the discomfort caused by the restraining velvet rope that kept the two tiny triangles that barely covered her nipples in place.
“Thanks a bunch, Shazia!” Danika grumbled thinking of her friend, as she passed the Halloween decorations in the lobby – a howling, shaking witch and the heap of orange plastic pumpkins with green and purple light twinkling inside them. Shazia Leonard had moved in the apartment opposite Danika’s ten days after she and Piyush had moved here. Shazia was the girl Danika used to be before marriage – positive and brimming with life minus the 'free love' mumbo jumbo, which Danika personally thought was just a pseudo term for repetitive random acts of sex with strangers.
Danika and Shazia had instantly hit off when they had first bumped in the bleak gray laundry room in the building's basement that smelled like chemicals, damp clothes and more often than not weed. Go figure! For the first few minutes they had stood next to each other exchanging polite smiles waiting for their individual washing cycles to finish and then Shazia had begun the conversation. “Have you ever tried having sex on the top of a running dryer?”
Danika was struck speechless as her face had turned various shades of red and then something in Danika responded to the mischief in Shazia's green colored eyes. “Haven’t tried it and won't be able to. My husband isn't that tall.”
Shazia had snickered, seemingly impressed with Danika's candor and quip. That frank one-heck-of-an-icebreaker conversation had led to some more in the apartment corridors, building lobby, near the mailboxes, drycleaners and building parking lots and eventually ended in a long chat at the nearby coffee shop. A close friendship had been cemented between Danika and Shazia.
If God closes a door, he leaves the washing machine in the basement! Danika sighed as she rode the elevator to the seventh floor. Piyush had hated Shazia within five minutes of meeting her, for all the very reasons Danika liked her. Piyush immediately tagged Shazia, not on any Facebook post but in their life, as a 'bad influence.' Revise that, 'a very bad influence.'
Danika's breath quickened as she got off the elevator. Hope Piyush likes surprises! Can surprises kill someone? She choked the nervous giggle that flooded her. To others Danika always came across as someone calm and quiet, however, her wit and words were expansive. But Danika had realized at a very young age that people liked to talk rather than listen, especially in her family, to only men!
Danika could see hope in the tiniest of flowers growing from under a rock, a rhythm in blaring horns and a whiff of something pleasant in the smog, of first Mumbai and now Los Angeles. Thus, she wasn't willing to give up on herself and Piyush and their marriage, even though differences amongst the spouses were as wide and formidable as the Grand Canyon.
Danika treaded the faded, dark gray carpet of the long corridor, her gait slow. Blinking her almond shaped, onyx eyes a few times, Danika attempted a brighter and excited countenance. She came to a stop in front of the green apartment door, 7C, with the dull and scratched golden knob.
Danika’s lashes kept flickering at the door of the flat opposite to her. Danika had taken half the day off from her job at the advertising agency to surprise her husband. Something Shazia had been ordering Danika to do for several weeks. On her way to work in the morning, Danika had decided at the spur of the moment that today was the day she would execute her friend's advice.
Danika reached in the pockets of her pants and making as little noise as possible, she extracted a key ring with several keys hanging on it. The door of the apartment next to her, 7E, opened partially. A head full of frizzy, auburn and gray hair popped out. Danika lobbed a smile at the wrinkled face that belonged to the hair- Ms. Petrova, the old lady with the cats. Ms. Petrova knew exactly what went on in all the ten apartments on the floor, even though she barely spoke a polite word to anyone. Her favorite form of greeting was a scowl.
Shazia had a theory about the old lady who knew about everyone's business. One word and one acronym: Retired KGB.
Ms. Petrova's face broke into a toothy grin. Not a kind one! She nodded at Shazia's apartment door and spoke in a raspy voice, “Only if you had key for that one!” She shut the door on Danika's puzzled face.
“What?” Danika pursed her mouth as she swung her gaze to Shazia's apartment door. Panic flooded her insides. Shit! Did something happen to Shazia? Ms. Petrova disliked Shazia because of the loud music Shazia loved to play whenever she was home. Danika glanced at the keys in her hand. The silver key at the very end belonged to Shazia's apartment. I should at least check! Piyush can wait few more minutes. I have to make sure Shazia is okay!
Danika slid the silver key in the keyhole and stepped inside.
The living room seemed empty. Shit, this is trespassing! Danika hesitated at the door. She turned to go but paused when she saw the pair of shoes discarded carelessly near the sofa. Aren't those Piyush's sneakers? The blue and white sports shoes had stained laces just like her husband's favorite pair. The ones he took off only when he went to bed.
My mind is playing tricks on me! She could even smell Piyush's overpowering musky cologne in here. Some sweat appeared on her upper lip as her insides knotted. She took slow steps toward the closed bedroom door. I just have to see! As she came closer to the bedroom door, she could hear the muffled sounds from behind it. Was that Piyush groaning? Why is he groaning? In one swift step, Danika killed all distance between her and the bedroom door with the bright red door sign, 'HOTTIE ALERT'. Danika pushed at the door. It was unlocked and swung open.
Danika felt her breath caught in her throat. The flowers slipped out of her hands and fell on the laminated floor with a soft thud.
Piyush was the first to see his wife. Caught between desire and fear, his expression, eyes popping out, mouth moving side-to-side and scrunched nostrils might appear comical to some. But to Danika it was an expression that was seared on her mind. Piyush's face alerted his lover. With a small yelp, Shazia jumped off a-very-naked-and-very-aroused Piyush. Piyush hurriedly pulled a sheet over his lower body, his face as red as the Hibiscus flowers painting above Shazia's bed.
Shazia did not bother covering her bare body as she gazed at Danika with shock and guilt.
Danika could not take the sight of her cheating husband and close friend anymore. Her eyes crowding with tears, she turned around sharply and tripped over the flowers she had dropped. Somehow straightening, she walked blindly to the front door.
“Dani, wait!” Shazia called out.
'It’s Danika for you!' Danika screamed back. Her insides heaved. She ran to the tiny, pink and white bathroom next to the living room and barely had the time to close the door behind her. In seconds Danika was bent over the pot throwing up her guts. Afterwards, she tumbled to the cold tile floor, dazed and hurting. Her body felt cold and her head kept playing the image of naked Shazia's butt sliding up and down on her husband's erection in loop. Danika lurched once more and threw up in the pot. I have to get out of here! Fighting the dizziness, she got up, flushed and wiped the seat with hands as unsteady as the ground during an earthquake. Her legs wobbled as she splashed water on her face and rinsed her mouth. The bitter taste refused to go away.
Still somewhat dazed, Danika came out of the bathroom, unsure what to do. She felt as alone and bereft as a deserted pup in a big parking lot.
The cheaters were clothed and waiting for her in the living room.
Piyush met her eyes and looked away. His long curling lashes were wet. Shazia stood at one side of the room, smoking and blowing out of the open window. She chugged at her cigarette hard. Ignoring them both, Danika picked up her purse where she had dropped it on the floor and went to the front door. Her purse felt like it weighed a hundred pounds.
“You don't even love him!” Shazia called out.
Danika paused and bit her lips to stop the humiliating tear burning her lids. Humiliation won and ran down to her chin. She turned around and glared at Piyush. “So that is her excuse for betraying me. What is yours? I thought you hated her!”
Piyush whimpered, tucking his head to his chest. “Sorry Danika. I told you she was a bad influence.” His voice wasn't the steadiest.
Danika could only stare at her cheating spouse, stumped. Shazia moved from the window and landed a tight slap across Piyush's face.
Danika did not wait to see how Piyush reacted. She had seen enough. She walked out of the apartment, her head held high. The door to Ms. Petrova's apartment swung open again. The old woman gave her a toothy, malicious smile that revealed yellow dentures.
“Thank you!” Danika said.
This time the old woman seemed surprised.
Something akin to decency and guilt rushed over her wrinkled face. “Be strong!” She advised and shut the door. Danika heard the click of the latch that sounded much like the lock Danika had clicked shut on her ripped heart.
She went in her apartment and began to pack in an organized and thorough manner. Will not take anything of Piyush's nor will I leave anything that belongs to me! In less than half an hour Danika walked out of the apartment, ignoring Piyush who sat on the floor near the front door, crying quietly. Danika ignored him, knowing that her tears would keep coming for a long time. She got in the elevator with her bags. She observed the miserable expressions of Piyush and Shazia who had followed her. Shakespeare's Julius Cesar had just come alive for Danika, with Marcus Brutus playing twin roles. Trust is an expensive commodity. I should not have given it so easily, she thought.
In a last spurt of defiance, Danika raised her middle finger at the duo, just as the elevators shut on that part of her life.
More to follow soon. . .
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