Monday, April 30, 2012

Jane's Corner: The Jewel of the Maharajah's Eye (Chapter 8)

Chapter Eight

Raghav smiled and flirted gently with Perse escorting her back towards the palace. Delighting her with small anecdotes about the place, pointing out the outstanding architecture, giving her some of the history, showing her several areas of detailed inlay work, waiting patently whilst she took pictures. He was the perfect host.

“I will just go and tell one of the servants that you are with me, and make arrangements for our lemonade” he said pleasantly as they walked up to the doors, when his phone rang.

“Please excuse me,” he said smiling, pulling out his mobile and answering. It was his uncle demanding to see him straight away.

Raghav made a face. Why Now!! he scowled when he had the perfect opportunity with  the woman but even as he looked up he saw Bahadhur Singh walking towards them in the distance and then he saw Samir run up to Bahadhur Singh from the direction of the annex. Damn! Where had these two suddenly appeared from? His whole plan was rapidly going down the drain, his face clouded over with annoyance, it was such a shame, he thought looking at her, almost salivating. Looked like he would have to wait for a better opportunity he decided, she was definitely worth waiting for.

“Err Dr Gupta” he ventured.

“Call me Perse please!” she interjected with a smile.

He raised his eyebrows, “Err Perse something terribly urgent has come up.” he said quickly walking backwards as he spied Samir and Bahadhur Singh getting closer, “I have to go, I hope you don’t mind?” he said retreating fast, not waiting for her answer, “maybe next time.”

“Umm No! Fine see you, bye!” Perse stared, frowning at the empty spot he had been standing in, from where he had vanished like a genie.

“Persephone!” Samir's deep concerned voice washed over her. She turned to see him walking fast towards her, Bahadhur Singh some steps behind.

“Are you OK?” He stood in front of her his eyes running over her to make sure she was not hurt. She looked utterly adorable in her white kurti and skirt, his eyes focused on her soft lush pink lips as he recalled the sensational kiss of last night.

“I am fine Samir,” she said softly a blush bloomed in her cheek as she too remembered the kiss from last night, she was hoping to see him today but was not counting on it as he had said he was busy. He looked cool and breathtakingly handsome in a pale blue linen shirt which showed of his wide shoulders and casual well worn jeans, which fitted him to perfection.

“Madam!” Bahadhur Singh came up to them, a little out of breath. “Where have you been, I was most concerned.” He looked quite flustered, looking as if he needed to sit down. Worrying Perse that she had made him do too much.

“Bahadhur Singh please, you should not worry about me I can take care of myself.” and then as she saw him wipe his flustered face with a pristine handkerchief she said, “I don’t know about you, but I need a cool drink, someone did promise me lemonade but then vanished.” she smiled at him, her blue eyes sparkling.

“Of-course,” Bahadhur Singh obliged immediately, glad to be going into the cool palace and having found her unharmed.

As soon as he went, Perse said to Samir “I think I have worn him out! I feel terrible!” she frowned, “but the palace is just so fantastic, I could not wait to see everything, I wish I could fly over it and get a birds eye view.”

Samir's eyes softened on her face as he saw her worried frown. He just loved the way she had just manoeuvred Bahadhur Singh into getting a cool drink and resting, he could clearly see that she cared about him. Then an idea came to him. “Lets go and have your cool drink first and refresh ourselves and then maybe you can fly.”

Perse screwed up her nose at him adorably and grinned, “Now you are just teasing me!”

Those exquisite blue eyes filled with mirth stared into his and Samir became completely lost in them.

“Uhhm!” Bahadhur Singh called out with a smile “Come out of the heat!” he said grinning from ear to ear.

“Err Yes.” Samir said snapping out of his daze and escorting Perse inside towards the reception rooms.

As they sipped their fresh lemonade Samir told her that he would be happy to take her up in his Aztec Piper. That would give her an opportunity to see the whole place from the air. He lounged in a chair his long legs stretched out in front of him looking every inch the Maharajah Perse thought.

“Really? Wow! That would be fantastic!” Perse enthused, delighted, “Are you sure that would be no trouble?”

He sat watching her as she sipped her lemonade wondering if she realised how lovely she looked, all thoughts about keeping away from her banished from his mind for the moment.

“Samir Sir, I wish you would not go up in that old plane of your father's, I am not sure if its safe.” Bahadhur Singh grumbled.

“It flies beautifully, I flew it this morning and I am going to take you up in it one day too, Bahadhur Singh.” Samir said smiling at him fondly.

Bahadhur Singh looked at him in horror and replied “Over my dead body!”

Raghav entered his uncles office with a scowl on his face. What did the old man want now! He walked in and threw himself on a chair in a surly fashion.

“Raghav! Your friends are causing chaos all over the Palace!” Amar Singh moaned at him. “Either you control their behaviour or send them packing, the party is over! And where were you earlier? I sent people looking for you everywhere but you were no where to be found by the servants? ”

He was is no mood to be gentle today. Choti Raani had also vanished somewhere, without saying a word, he did not know where.

“I had things to do.” Raghav said avoiding a straight answer “And don't worry I will tell them to behave.” Raghav said, just to keep his uncle quiet, his face giving away the fact that he had no intention of telling anyone anything. He had more interesting things to think about. His mind was already working on how he could get Perse on her own.

“Ah, there you are! Where did you go? I have been seeing the guests off this afternoon and you were nowhere to be seen.” Amar Singh said as he saw Choti Raani Saheeba. She walked in a little flustered, her eyes furtive and wary. At his question she glared at him and sharply said “I had something to sort out.”

Amar Singh sighed looking at her, her face was quite pale, now what had she been up to he wondered, nothing good he thought by the look on her face.

Perse had never been in a plane so small. They were practically sitting on each others lap's as the cabin was tiny, in the close confinement of the cabin she breathed his fresh tangy fragrance, listening with delight as he talked through and showed her the basics of the plane and the controls.

Samir flew the plane with skill. It was obvious that he was a thoroughly competent pilot. Perse looked at the fabulous views of the palace and then the sand dunes and beyond as they flew over some small mountains and desert. Talking through the head phones, he pointed out various places and Perse clicked away with her camera.

Beaming with happiness she thanked him for such a fantastic experience. Now she could truly understand the whole layout of the Peacock palace and the Summer palace and see for herself what a vast and difficult undertaking it would have been to build such places without the aid of any modern machinery.

They had flown out quite a way over the desert when something started going wrong with one of the engines. It spluttered and spat, the blades stopping and it began spinning  alarmingly.

Samir fiddled with a few things to try and make the engine spark to life but it gave a deathly groan and died. Frowning at the situation he wondered what the hell had happened to the engine. He had checked the plane himself just this morning as he had flown earlier, everything had been fine.

Perse looked at him with eyes full of fright, they were over the desert, no life for miles in any direction.

Samir struggled with the controls telling Perse not to worry, they would manage with just the one engine he reassured and then the thing that he was dreading happened and that too started to die. They both groaned in unison glancing at each other in shock.

Perse looked at his handsome face as he struggled to bring the plane under control, she had wanted to get to know him a bit better before she died. But hey! One could not choose your time to die, she joked to herself, her fingers digging into her seat in sheer terror.

She watched him fight with the controls and he told her to assume crash position as they rapidly descended. He somehow managed to crash land the plane, bumping and bouncing, finally ending nose up, buried in the sand.

Breathing hard, they both looked at each other hanging awkwardly in their seats. “Are you OK?” Samir questioned his face set in worried lines.

“Fine!” Perse replied smiling at him, glad to be alive, “Not much more then a few bruises. Are you OK?”

Samir grinned back. “Yes I am fine, now lets try and get out of here.” he muttered as he unclipped his belt. He tried to push the door open but it was partially wedged in the sand. After a little effort he managed to push it open so he could climb out, the plane lurched in the sand as his weight shifted. Perse who had unclipped her belt, thinking she would follow him out, slid with a thump and landed on top of the controls with a  yelp of pain.

“Persephone!” He reached in and took hold of her, pulling her out with easy strength into his arms. “You should have waited for me to help you!” He scowled down at her as he saw a small cut on her forehead which started bleeding, walking away from the plane he set her down on the sand.

He pulled out a hanky from his jeans and gently pressed the cut to stop it from bleeding. “Hold this and keep it pressed.” he said as he skidded back to the plane in the sand to get the medical kit. It was going to get pretty dark soon, he worried and they had landed miles away from any village or town.

Climbing back into the plane he managed to get the medical kit, a blanket, a torch and a couple of bottles of water. As he jumped off the plane, it sank a little deeper into the sand.

Going back to Persephone, he put some antiseptic on the cut and a small band aid. “Are you hurt anywhere else?” he asked running his eyes over her.

“No I am fine, Samir please do not worry.” She did not want to tell him that she had bumped her ribs quite badly too.

Even though he knew it was useless he still pulled out his phone and tried. Perse looked around, she knew there was nothing for miles and miles. She had seen that from the air.

“I am sure Bahadhur Singh will soon realise when we have not returned and send a search party for us.” Samir said his face grim that he had managed to get Perse into such a situation. “We should stay with the plane till the morning, it will get dark in minutes as soon as the sun sets, it would be foolish to set out into the desert at night. If a search party has not found us by the morning, we will set out walking, it's a long walk but we will get to the road.

“Samir please do not worry, I am sure we will be fine.” Perse replied watching him shake out the blanket and indicate for her to sit on it but as Perse tried to move onto it, a hiss escaped her as pain shot through her ribs.

Immediately he cottoned on, “Persephone where else are you hurt?” he questioned with a growl his eyes demanding an answer.

“Its just my ribs, I must have banged them.” she replied weakly feeling incredibly silly that she had been so easily caught out.

His hands reached for her. “I am fine Samir!” she said embarrassed as she realised what he was about to do.

His lips pursed and he glared at her, completely at odds with the way he gently settled her down so she lay on the blanket, he rolled up her top to have a look. It was obvious that she had landed quite painfully on her left side, her ribs looked red and sore. He gently let his fingers feel them, watching her face closely, he saw she bit down her lip in pain in a few spots.

“I cant feel if anything is broken, though it will be best if we get it checked properly by a doctor when we get back.” he said “Why did you hide this from me?” he scowled at her, pulling down her top, covering her carefully.

“What could you do about it anyway at the moment?” she muttered, lying back and looking up at the incredible vast open sky above them “No point worrying you.”

His expression unfathomable, “You let me be the judge of that!” he said, settling down next to her on the blanket.

Perse glared at him, he really did have an attitude problem, why was he scowling now she wondered, it must be in his genes she thought. She ignored him for the moment as the colours of the sands mesmerised her.

His mind was on why the engines had failed. This morning when he had done his usual flight checks he had been most thorough, he also had a local maintenance engineer check it, who had also agreed that Piper was in top shape. So what had gone wrong he wondered.

Could someone have tampered with it? But who and why? Coming back here, he had caused many waves he knew, but would anyone go to these lengths to make him go away? Throwing such absurd thoughts out of his mind, he decided that he was going to get it checked top to bottom when he got it back to its hanger, maybe he had missed something. Out of all the things his father had left to him this was the only thing that he would thank him for.

He turned his head and looked down at Persephone, she was smiling up at the sky lost in some thought, her face soft and wistful.

“Persephone I am so sorry that I got you into this situation.” he said looking out onto the sand dunes his face grim. She could have been very badly hurt or worse, the thought did not rest well in his gut.

“Samir, please don't beat yourself up about it, as you said you only flew it this morning and it had been fine, we are both uninjured and...... I can tick one more thing off  my list of things to do before I die, which I never thought I would manage but you have managed it for me.”

“Which is?” he asked, his voice like melted chocolate looking down at her.

“I have always wanted to spend a night in the desert with a Maharajah.” she joked teasing him, her eyes deep blue pools of laughter.

Something in his heart softened at her words, she was exceptionally beautiful inside and out.

“The desert is so beautiful!” Perse sighed , the darkness was engulfing them rapidly,  but there was still a clear strip in the distance where the light glimmered, the setting sun cast incredibly fantastic colours over the sand dunes making them into a wondrous site. 

“Yes.” Samir agreed, laying back on the blanket next to her, cradling his head with his arms behind his head. “ Beautiful and dangerous.”

Perse laughed softly, looking sideways at him “You make her sound like a character from Greek mythology.”

“Hmm.. I was wondering why Persephone? I remember you saying your father is Indian.” He quizzed curiously.

Perse grinned. “Yes, he is a Professor of Classics at Oxford and my mother too was a Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, I was born on the first day of spring and thus they decided on Persephone, although I did question their choice much later when I learned that Persephone was kidnapped by Hades the god of the underworld.”

Samir turned, balancing his head on his arm and looked down at her, “Hmm they chose well, you are the bringer of spring, you bring sunshine where there is darkness” he said softly, unable to help himself from tracing a gentle finger down her cheek.

A long ragged sigh escaped her, as she saw the look in his eyes, his tangy spicy scent washed over her.

“It would be most tempting to kidnap you and hide you away.” he replied smiling that devastating smile of his down at her, “Most tempting.”

He noticed her eyes had turned almost violet at his words, as she looked up at him, he wondered if they would turn even darker in the throes of passion in his arms. Softly he brushed aside a stray wisp of hair from her face, he felt a tremor run through her.

“Are you cold?” he whispered, looking down at her, the darkness was engulfing them gradually casting long shadows across them.

“No.” she sighed back, her voice soft as a breeze, in fact she was just feeling quite the opposite Perse thought, she was near meltdown.

Once again they had been thrown together in a situation which had become intimate  and highly charged, under a night sky which sparkled with stars. She became lost in his dark eyes as he continued to just look down at her, his eyes dark and unfathomable.

Somewhere in the Palace..........

By now Samir would no longer be a problem, heaving a sigh of relief they smiled and carried on chatting with their guests.

© Jane Meme Copyright 27.02.2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Attractions

MTV Roadies

The Roadies receive their passports and visas for America.Excited at finally getting what they had been waiting for since their journey began,they land in San Francisco,where they are welcomed and eventually proceed to their hotel.Being instructed to don their sportswear, they arrive at a dance studio where Rannvijay briefs them on the fitness Pole Dance.

The Historical Micheal Jackson Concert
BIG CBS Prime,

Its been 3 years since the King of Pop ,Micheal Jackson said goodbye to the world and his millions of fans.But who can forget the patented moonwalk,the sparkly black jacket and white socks,the honed pre-break dancing moves ?The concert ,a tribute to MJ,is a two hour special in honour of Micheal Jackson's thirtieth year as a solo entertainer.

Live it loud
UTV Bindass,

A one and half love story that was almost over is revived as the Bindass Dance Squad now plays cupid to Mumbai's Nikhil and Kavita.Lovers for a long time Nikhil was left heartbroken and shocked when Kavita broke up with him claiming to be engaged to a boy of her father's choice.But destiny brings them together once again.

Sony Tv,

Dinkar Bhau from Daman kidnaps Sarwar Khan's nephew Mazahar from Mumbai,as he is involved in a murder case.KD is in a dilemma but finally decides to go Daman and help Mazahar.

Star World,

Emily Thorne  returns to Southhampton and rents the seaside home she shared with her father,David Clarke 17 years ago.With the help of her only friend Ashley she sets her sights on her first target and puts her carefully organised plan in motion.

Enjoy your weekend !

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jane's Corner: The Jewel of the Maharajah's Eye (Chapter 7)

Chapter Seven

As he approached the corridor for Raghav's rooms Samir knew Bahadhur Singh had been right in calling him. He could clearly hear a girl's screams of protest from behind the closed doors of Raghav's rooms. Two of his friends were stationed outside the doors laughing, smoking and cracking crude jokes about what was going on inside.

Samir's furious dark eyes rested upon them, his face like thunder. Both of them took one look at his angry face and clenched fists as he strode towards them and decided to make a run for it.

“So no loyalties here” muttered Samir as he watched them run off leaving the door unguarded. The girls screams seemed to be getting louder, he was just about to kick at the door, then he thought that Raghav in all his misplaced arrogance probably had not even locked it, knowing that nobody would dare interrupt whatever he was doing normally. Samir tried the handles and sure enough it was not locked. Throwing both the doors wide open, he strode in to see Raghav trying to force the girl onto the bed, even as she fought him tooth and nail.

She looked in quite a state, her dress torn, her face red as if it had been slapped, mascara stained tears streaked her cheeks, her eyes wide and petrified.

Disgusted with his half-brother Samir furiously yanked him away from the girl thrusting him across the room. Thankful for the intervention, she immediately put as much distance between herself and Raghav running towards Samir.

Extremely surprised to be pulled away so violently, Raghav's face was a picture of shock and then as he saw who had interrupted his sport, his face became ugly.

“This is none of your business!” he shouted at Samir. “Get lost!” He dismissed him walking towards the terrified girl then as he saw Samir's face he stopped at a safe distance.

Samir looked around the room finding Raghav's discarded jacket on a nearby chair he picked it up and placed it around her shoulders covering up her torn dress, she was shaking like a leaf he noted.

“She was throwing herself at me! She wanted this,” Raghav shouted, then as he saw her shaking her head, he became really angry, “You bitch! You wanted this, why did you come with me to my room otherwise?”

Samir's dark eyes looked at Raghav furiously as he said, “is that why she was screaming for you to leave her alone? You disgust me, you cannot seem to get a woman without forcing her, I have had complaints about you from all over the district!”

With an infuriated scream Raghav launched himself at Samir, but the drink and coke he had earlier snorted did not help his balance. Samir calmly moved out of the way and Raghav crashed to the ground in an undignified heap.

“I wwwant to go home!” The girl next to him pleaded to Samir.

“What's going on here?” Choti Raani Saheeba interrupted Raghav's furious tirade as he got up unsteadily from the floor.

Samir watched her enter and wondered how she had got here so quickly. The last he had seen her was deep in the midst of the party, but seeing that she was here she could help with the girl.

“Please take this young woman and make sure she gets home safely Choti Raani Saheeba.” Samir commanded, getting hold of Raghav's arm, he pushed him into a chair.

 Choti Raani Saheeba clapped her hands and a woman appeared, “Go with Farida” she said to the young woman. “She will take you to my rooms, I will come there in a moment to see that you get home safely.” Farida came in and took the young woman with her.

“I should really call the police and let them deal with you,” Samir said to Raghav “but I know that you make regular payments to the local ones so they don’t interfere with your activities, you are not fit to be called a Rathor!” Samir finished in disgust.

Raghav looked at Samir with such hatred even Choti Raani Saheeba baulked. It pained him to remember that his mother had not been of royal blood but little more than a conniving mistress and everybody knew that fact. However hard he tried to make himself out to be a real royal prince, the truth always came back to haunt him.

“Samir leave him with me, I will sort it out.” Choti Rani Saheeba said in a pleading voice seeing the situation rapidly getting out of control.

“I am a Prince! You think you are better than me but the same blood of our father flows in your veins too!” Raghav declared vehemently.

“Yes that's what disgusts me!” Samir replied. Hating that very fact, his mothers face suddenly came into his mind and he saw her crumpling in front of his eyes so many   years ago as his father beat her mercilessly with a whip for trying to stop him from raping a maid.

Choti Raani Saheeba told Raghav to shut up, her eyes warning him that he was cutting it very close with Samir.

“Dont worry Samir he has just had a little too much to drink, beta Raghav haven’t you, it will not happen again.” she said in her girly pleading voice, her eyes full of tears.

Samir looked at her and felt terrible that she had to put up with all this.

“I am nothing like him or you Raghav, I do not force myself on women. Get this into your head, I am back and I am here to stay, you better get used to it and if I get to hear one more complaint about you I will take you myself to the police and send you to jail for a very long time!” Samir told him in no uncertain terms. With that he turned on his heel sharply and strode out of the room angry and disgusted.

“Raghav what is wrong with you, have you no sense?” Choti Raani Saheeba said her voice changing from the pleading tone she had used in Samir's presence to her usual sharp high-pitched tone, the fake tears vanishing as fast as they had been summoned.

“Could you not wait for a more suitable time, if any of this gets out to the other guests it will not look good.” She stared at him with hard eyes, “you nearly ruined it all. Now I will have to go and deal with that politician's daughter and make sure she goes home suitably happy otherwise we will have trouble on our hands. What a mess! It was going so well, even Samir was being kept busy and out of the way by that Dr Gupta woman, now go and sober up and get back to the party, help your Uncle make some money!” She finished angrily walking out of his room in a cloud of Chanel.

Raghav wondered which woman had kept his pure blooded brother busy, it would be useful to know.

Samir strode towards his annex, now in no mood to go back to the party. Damn Raghav and all of them and he really wished that he had never come back at all. But then he would have never met Persephone.

He should have never kissed her, but she had been so tempting, those extraordinary eyes of hers, he had lost himself in them. Her  whole manner so deliciously different from any other woman he had ever known, intelligent, delightful, feisty and pure.

The cool night air helped to calm him down, he stood looking at the distant desert dunes, at the cloudless night sky, taking in the extraordinary amount of stars visible in this beautiful place not affected by light pollution.

Pure, the word stuck in his chest. His mother had been like that and look how she had ended up, maybe he should stay away from Persephone, maybe some of his father's blood did flow through his veins, and he would end up hurting her he knew.  She did not deserve that, there was so much darkness in him it was not fair to Persephone to  take things further. He stood for a long time in the dark as the black memories of his childhood came back to him. He would try and keep away from her. He decided it was for the best for both of them.

Persephone sat on the terrace of the hotel looking up at the star filled night sky, hugging her knees in the cool night air as she sat on the beautifully carved Indian swing and smiled wistfully as she recounted the night's events minute by minute.

Samir..... so Mr Scowl had turned out to be a Maharajah, her original thought about him had been true. The way he smiled at her had all but made her toes curl. The man was a puzzle though, there was such pain hidden behind that cool demeanour, she had felt it deep within her. She wondered what the cause of that pain was. It had to be something to do with his uncle and his past, she decided, as she remembered the way he had stood up and thanked them looking calm but wound up like a spring. She wondered if she should ask Sunitaji or Bahadhur Singh about it.

She had never been one to sit and weave romantic dreams about any man but that unexpected kiss had really blown her mind. Maybe it was just the night and the music she pondered, perhaps he had kissed her on the spur of the moment and nothing more than that, groaning at herself for thinking too much into the kiss she went down to her room to sleep, Bahadhur Singh was coming early to pick her up tomorrow, she was looking forward to that very much.

Amar Singh listened to his wife gravely, Raghav had nearly spoilt everything damn that boy he would never learn, but the night had proved fruitful. He had won a lot of money and also duped one or two people in some on going schemes.

“I will talk to him,” he said “what about the girl?”

“She is the daughter of a lowly local politician, I got it out of her that her father had wanted her to become 'friends' with Raghav, but at the last moment she had changed her mind. At least we have that as a saving grace, if she had really been totally innocent in this I don’t know how we would have kept it all covered up.”

“Also.....” she said pausing dramatically smiling a hard little smile “I have found a little chink in the armour of our whiter then white nephew, Samir it seems has fallen for Dr Gupta, I saw them kissing.”

“Dr Gupta?” Amar Singh enquired his interest piqued “yes that woman who I sat him next to, she is actually quite stunning, the one with the red hair.” replied Choti Raani Saheeba.

Raghav listened to their conversation from the door, Dr  interesting, so that stunning woman next to Samir had been her, now he wanted her even more, he would teach Samir a lesson that would teach him not to interfere in his matters Raghav decided. But for now he had better make peace with the old man, he thought walking in apologising to his uncle profusely.

Perse looked around the palace with excitement. She did not know where to start. Bahadhur Singh had arrived on time as she had predicted and drove her to the palace. They had started at the exquisite peacock doors Perse had entered from last night and continued from there, Perse taking pictures as they went along. She noted that although the heat was rising outside, inside the palace was cool. Bahadhur Singh explained that the architect had designed cooling vents where the hot air from outside was channelled through cool marble walls where water flowed cooling it down somewhat. Impressed with the engineering aspect of the design, Perse made it a point to put that in her book.

They spent most of the day going around from one point to another, the palace was huge. Bahadhur Singh made sure she had plenty of refreshments and also a wonderful lunch. Perse was overwhelmed by his hospitality. After lunch they went towards the stables and outer grounds, there were so many paddocks, some with horses. Perse clicked away at the beautiful scenery with the palace in the background. 

Bahadhur Singh's phone rang and he excused himself for a while whilst he dealt with a matter. Perse continued around the paddocks and went towards the stables clicking away. She heard a commotion in the stables and found four of the rowdy young men from last night causing chaos.

They were trying to get the grooms to hold a horse still, a horse that she recognised immediately. Toofan! There were four grooms trying to quieten him but he was too strong for all of them, stamping and moving around not letting anyone hold him, looking quite arrogant and annoyed with the lot of them, just like the owner Perse smiled.

One of the young men was becoming really angry, grabbing a whip from a nearby wall he started threatening Toofan with it, making the horse nervous and edgy, whining and snorting fiercely.

Perse shot into action even though she was petrified of the huge animal. There was no way she was going to let such a beautiful animal be whipped.

“Leave Toofan alone!” she said loudly, they all turned around and looked at her approach, then started laughing and whistling at her, then turned back to the horse dismissing her as no threat. She realised as she got closer that again they were drunk today as well.

Toofan snorted at her, his eyes watching as she walked towards him. He seemed to recognise her and started coming towards her pulling the grooms along with him. Perse froze with fright, becoming rooted to the spot.

One of the grooms shouted “Madam! Move!”

But Perse was too scared to move, remembering how Samir had softly chatted with him Perse decided that talking would be the best option, well she thought she would die doing what she did best, talking!

She started chatting away to him, her voice shaking a little as she sought to control her fright. Toofan shoved his nose right up to her face, his eyes almost talking back to her. With a shaking hand she gently stroked his face. Even the grooms and the rowdy young men all looked completely shocked.

“Why you are just a softy really” Perse cooed at him, finding a packet of polo mints from her pocket she offered it to him, remembering she had read somewhere that horses loved mints, he greedily chewed it nuzzling for more. Breathing a sigh of relief that he had calmed down she carried on talking to him softly, telling him what a beautiful animal he was. Toofan nodded and whined as if he understood her every word.

Coming around the corner Raghav saw her, his eyes catching on her red hair straight away. What was she doing here? Then he remembered what Choti Raani Saheeba had said about her taking pictures of the palace. What a perfect opportunity to get to introduce himself he thought walking towards her, but what was she doing with that horse of Samir's. That horse was a danger to all but she had him eating out of her hand.

Raghav wanted her so much in that moment he could almost taste her, she was wearing a long white skirt with a little white Kurti top, casual and stunning she looked with her red hair tied back and those blue eyes of hers.

Hello! Dr Gupta isnt it? he said in his most charming voice, staying far away from Toofan as he could without making it obvious.

Toofan snorted loudly, rearing back slightly. Perse cooed softly to him giving him the last of her mints, two of the grooms gently led him away back to his stable.

Perse recognised the man who had called out, he had been sitting opposite her, the man with the not so nice smile. The four young men went towards him, moaning about not being able to ride Toofan.

Raghav told them off tersely mindful of Perse's presence, telling them all to go and sober up. Perse watched the men slink off thankful that they would not harass Toofan any longer.

“Why don’t we go and have something cool to drink?” he said walking towards the palace, “after all that excitement I think you need a long cool drink.” He smiled most charmingly at her.

She could do with a nice cold drink Perse thought definitely, but she was not quite sure about this man “Err I have to wait for Bahadhur Singh,” she said.

“Oh don’t worry about him, I will let one of the servants know and they will tell him when he comes back that you are with me. By the way I am Samir's brother,” he said introducing himself. “Some refreshing cool lemonade perhaps?” he smiled his brown eyes twinkling at her.

Perse smiled back thinking that was not such a bad idea in this heat. “That would be lovely.” she replied.

© Jane Meme Copyright 27.02.2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jane's Corner: The Jewel of the Maharajah's Eye (Chapter 6)

Chapter Six

Choti Raani Saheeba looked critically at the Grand Dining hall as everyone entered. It did look stunning even she had to admit. She could still pull out the stops and paste over the cracks when required, now she hoped that her husband could also do the same. She looked at him with the same critical eye, was he up to the job, there was a lot of money around this room and they could definitely do with it.

She spied Samir holding out the chair for Dr Gupta and the way his eyes looked at her. Excellent, she thought it looks like the distraction will work. As she looked at him she wondered what his mother had, that she did not, she had been just as beautiful, an accomplished hostess, a perfect royal princess but her husband had never even bothered to look. The way Amar Singh's cold eyes had looked at her in her wedding finery on their wedding day had killed that beautiful woman inside her. That day all her dreams had turned to ashes in the fire that they made their vows around. She had realised then he was not the man she had thought him to be, neither was he half the man that his brother had been. Whilst his brother had been a womaniser and a gambler to the core he was at least passionate about life. The only time Amar Singh had shown any kind of passion was around Raani Saheeba, never for his own wife.

Amar Singh diligently saw that his wife was seated and looked around the room whilst he waited for all his guests to filter in, at least she was good at being a hostess if nothing else, he watched her as she smiled at people here and there, that perfectly pasted smile that she always wore. It was the same smile she had worn from the day they had got married, it grated on his nerves. The silly girly laugh she tried to hide behind and yet the hard jealousy still showed in her eyes. He had seen her watch Raani Saheeba with those jealous eyes many a time. He thought back to the full tinkling laughter of Raani Saheeba and her warm eyes, swallowing his bitterness he smiled congenially at the French Ambassador and his wife as they took their seats next to them. It was time to put on the show.

“So we meet again,” Samir said matter-of-factly. Pulling out her chair for her, dismissing away a servant who was about to do the service for her.

He saw she was flustered to see him here, thoroughly enjoying having the advantage over her. Those extraordinary eyes flashed at him and he knew it would not be long before she came into her own again.

Persephone, how very unusual, someone in her family must have loved classics he thought. She really looked like a goddess tonight he thought, she pulled her shinning silky long hair to one side as she sat down and he had a delectable view of her long gorgeous back where the pretty tassels hung just waiting to be untied. It was going to be a long night he groaned to himself.

His eyes took in the sari which sparkled as she moved, matching her eyes so beautifully, there was something missing though he thought and then he realised she was not wearing any jewellery at all making her stand out from the women here who had draped themselves in gold practically from head to toe. She had just the right colouring for the kind of Sapphires his mother used to wear, they would look fantastic on her he thought, yes he would like to see her in sapphires.

Perse did not register her opulent surroundings. It was not as if the Grand dining room was anything less then impressive, the silver gleamed, the settings were all stamped with the Rathore Royal Crest, crystal sparkled, enormous chandeliers glittered with a million rainbows, exotic flower displays graced the table from one end to another, servants lined up behind the guests, ready for the slightest wave of the hand to receive instructions, but all she could think about was the man next to her, his lean length, he seemed to radiate so much energy.

Her mind went back to when they had met and she had asked him what he was doing there, he had lied to her by omission, not telling her who he was.

“Why did you not tell me who you were?” she asked turning slightly to look at him her eyes resting on his handsome face.

His stared back his dark eyes unreadable, so she was peeved that he had not come out and introduced himself, well two could play at that game.

“I do not recall you asking, or introducing yourself either.” he replied calmly as a waiter hovered next to her offering to pour wine into her glass. She declined accepting water instead.

She thought about that for a moment, true enough she had not introduced herself either, it just had not occurred to her.

Their attention was diverted momentarily as there was a commotion of sorts on the other side of the table as Raghav took his seat directly opposite her, his friends flanking him on either side. Samir frowned at his half-brother, whose flushed cheeks and glazed eyes gave away his drunken state.

Raghav's eyes were fixated on Perse as he took large gulps of wine, a waiter  watched Raghav with fright as he diligently poured more wine into his crystal glass, his hand shaking slightly.

The guests were all being found their places and seated now. One of the men  from the French Ambassador's party came and settled down on her left smiling at her charmingly, they had met fleetingly just a few minutes ago.

Perse smiled back at him. Samir's eyes narrowed as the French man started talking to her in his native language, Perse replied back just as fluently. Samir scowled as the man tried one corny line after another, her laughter gently tinkled out at a really corny line the French man dished out to her.

Raghav stared at the woman in front of him, he wanted her, she stood out from all the others. Her red hair and that exquisite skin, she was definitely something worth pursuing he thought he would enjoy that delectable body willingly or unwillingly. He felt someone glaring at him and turned slightly to look to her side and found Samir's furious eyes on him. Smiling back Raghav raised his glass in a salute to his half brother. He wondered what his half-brother was scowling at, why was everyone so bent on being serious, Raghav sighed, he just wanted to party and he would, after all he was a royal prince!

There was a call from the head of the table as his uncle stood up and a servant requested silence from all gathered.

Maharajah Amar Singh stood and his eyes scanned the room. He smiled taking in the gathered guests. It was going to be a good night tonight in terms of takings he thought as he saw quite a few of his intended victims pleasantly drunk.

“Royal Guests, Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen thank you all for coming. This is a both a sad and happy moment for me, sad as I have lost my dear brother the late Maharajah, Pratap Singh Rathor so recently but this moment is also  happy as my nephew Maharajah Udayveer Samir Singh Rathor has finally come home to us, this party is in his honour. I hope that Udayveer enjoys his stay with us before he goes back to New York and his worldwide business interests.”

She felt him suck in a deep breath next to her and sit up stiffly at his uncle's words. His eyes cold and unreadable, she watched as he gazed at his uncle his face taut with tension, his uncle smiled back but there was no love she could see in his eyes for his nephew either.

“So please enjoy your dinner and then we will continue the party.” Amar Singh continued raising his hand for the servers to come forward, stopping them with a surprised look as he saw Samir stand up.

Samir stood up and all eyes turned on him, his expression was casual but Perse could feel the tension emanating from him. He smiled at his uncle and aunt, the smile not quite reaching his eyes and said “ Its good to be home at last, thank you for organising this wonderful party in my honour, Choti Raani Saheeba and Uncle, in fact I am enjoying being here so much now that I have decided to run my business interests from here. And please lets not stand on ceremony, do call me Samir. Thank you all for making me feel so welcome in my home.” He finished with the sarcastic barb.

If Amar Singh was surprised at what he said, he did not show it, the consummate card player that he was. He graciously raised his crystal glass in a toast to Samir's words.  Choti Raani Saheeba had turned awfully pale Samir thought, as he watched her closely. He turned to look at his half-brother and smiled but now Raghav was not smiling back, he had the distinct look of a little boy who had his lollipop taken away from him.

Samir sat down his body language calm and casual as the waiters resumed their serving of the first course. Lets see what they make of that he thought.

Perse heard the deeply expelled breath from him, she glanced at him from under her lashes, although he appeared calm she could see he was still wound up like a spring. There was definetly a lot of pained emotion hidden behind that cool handsome face maybe the permanent scowl on his face had something to do with this she pondered.

Amar Singh sat down and the waiters started serving the first course.

“Bahadhur Singh tells me you wish to take pictures of the Peacock palace any particular reason why?” he asked casually, interrupting her wandering thoughts.

She poised, soup spoon in hand, “I am writing a book on Indian Palaces, it would be wonderful to include the Peacock palace and the Summer palace.” Looking around the room she said “It is in exquisite condition and I hear the grounds and stables are beautiful too. My book is from the people's perspective, from families of the artisans who built it, to the people who live around this area. The kind of stories that are passed from generation to generation about the place.” she rattled on clearly showing her passion for the project.

“By the way thank you for returning my camera” she said smiling, “I cant think why I actually forgot to take it off you that night, normally I do not let it out of my sight.”

Samir smiled at her, it was such a devilish smile that Perse forgot to breathe. Soup and all around her forgotten, she stared at him mesmerised. His dark eyes said it all, he knew exactly why she had not remembered the camera or anything else that night.

He gestured with those sooty framed eyes towards her soup and she hastily resumed eating it trying to ignore the butterflies in her stomach which had nothing to do with hunger. What was it about him that made her catch her breath she wondered letting the waiter take away her half finished soup.

From across the table she felt a heavy stare and looked up to see the man opposite her gazing at her with a fixated look, he looked a little like Samir she thought, but with none of his charisma. His eyes were almost stripping her bare, she did not like the way he was looking at her at all, unconsciously she shivered with revulsion.

Samir noted her reaction. He was just about to warn her about Raghav when he remembered her flashing angry eyes and her comment about trying to rescue her when she did not need it. Keeping quiet he decided to just keep an eye on the movements of his half-brother instead.

“Madam vegetarian or Non?" the waiter asked.

 “Vegetarian please,” Perse said.

Perse looked at Raghav across the table with a glare, the way he was looking at her was quite unbearable, he smiled back at her. It was not a nice smile Perse thought.

“Persephone, why don’t you come tomorrow and I will get Bahadhur Singh to show you around so you can take pictures, it's a huge place it may take a few days though.” Samir said trying to distract her from Raghav.

Perse looked at him with excitement in her eyes, “Really?” she said “and do call me Perse everyone does.” Although she had to admit the way he said her name made her senses tingle.

“Yes, Really,” he repeated with mock exaggeration, his breath catching in his chest as her eyes had turned a vivid blue with excitement “And I am not everyone.” He said smiling at her in that devastating way.

“Thank you your Highness.” Perse said a slight blush rose on her cheeks at his sultry tone.

“Just call me Samir” he replied, “I would show you around myself but I have a couple of appointments tomorrow.”

“I will be fine with Bahadhur Singh, thank you, he is adorable.” Samir smiled at the thought of Bahadhur Singh being called that. “I am sure he could tell me plenty of tales about this place. The food is quite delicious.” she rattled on, smiling at him enjoying her main course of Rajasthani dishes.

Samir groaned to himself not really interested in the food any longer, her eyes, the fragrance of wild flowers so unique to her filled his senses, he could feel her every breath sitting this close to her.

Soon dinner was over and everyone flooded back into the main hall, where now the lights were turned low and candles burned everywhere making the whole place seem romantic, the flames on the candles reflected in the unique gold and glass inlay in the furniture. He escorted Persephone out, she was the target of a huge number of admiring male glances he noted, scowling at any man who looked at her for too long.

He noticed that a few of the dignitaries were missing and he gestured to Bahadhur Singh to find out where they had disappeared, Bahadhur Singh came and whispered to him that his uncle had retired into the back rooms to play poker taking them with him and Raghav was seen to be heading somewhere with the politicians daughter.

Soft music was playing and people started dancing. Choti Raani Saheeba appeared out of nowhere beside him and Persephone and said in her girly voice “Are you not going to ask this very beautiful young lady to dance?”

Samir frowned, he had wanted to go and see what his uncle and half-brother were up to but as he looked down at Choti Raani he noted her pale face. He had begun to feel quite sorry for her having to do his uncle's and Raghav's bidding. He smiled graciously at her and offered Persephone his hand inviting her to dance.

“You didn’t have to dance with me if you did not want to!” Perse said indignantly as he led her out to the dance floor.

Samir smiled down at her bristling face, sliding his hand across the bare silken skin at her waist he pulled her close to him.

“Oh, but I wanted to, very much Persephone, have you not learnt by now that I only do what I want to?” he whispered against her silky head.

Her laughter rang out softly against his shoulder, he pulled her even closer when another couple came too close.

The music was soft and slow, Perse all but melted into him as his spicy male scent invaded her nostrils. Her body fitting into his hard contours as if it remembered exactly how. They danced song after song, not wanting to stop, oblivious to others.

Choti Raani Saheeba made sure that all the songs were slow dance numbers so that Samir was kept busy whilst her husband fleeced his guests.

His other hand threaded itself into her silken hair of its own accord feeling the soft silkiness, tilting her face up to him, she was so exquisite.

“Persephone...” he whispered his voice as soft as silk, Perse's eyes focused on his lush lower lip. His eyes looked deeply into hers, she saw a fire burning in their deep dark depths. Her extraordinary eyes had turned a deep violet, he felt himself drowning in them. Never had a woman cast such a deep spell on him.

Suddenly he felt an urgent tap on his shoulder. Annoyed at the interruption he turned his eyes angry, face taut until he saw the grave face of Bahadhur Singh and he knew something was wrong.

Persephone too recovered from the sensual haze as she saw Bahadhur Singh's grave face and realised something was wrong. Without a word Samir threaded his fingers through her hand and followed Bahadhur Singh out of the room taking her with him.

“Sir, please you need to come, something needs your urgent attention.” he said his dark eyes grave as they came away from the music.

“Bahadhur Singh can you see Persephone home please” Samir commanded.

“But Sir you may need me!” Bahadhur Singh replied in Hindi.

“Nahin Bahadhur Singh I will handle it, just make sure she gets back safely” he replied in the same language.

“Kya hua that was so urgent?”

Bahadhur Singh was just about to tell him when Perse decided to intervene feeling that she may overhear something that Samir may not want her to.

“It would be a good time to tell you that I speak Hindi quite well. My father was Indian.” Perse declared.

Both men looked at her, Bahadhur Singh in astonishment and Samir with a raised eyebrow.

“Samir please do not worry I have the number of a reliable taxi driver I just have to call him and he will be here quickly. Arunji from the hotel had arranged this for me.”

Samir looked at Bahadhur Singh for a second and he melted away giving them privacy.

“Persephone, why am I not surprised that you speak Hindi?” he placed his forehead against hers and stood for a moment just breathing her in. “But you will go home with Bahadhur Singh.” her eyes flashed at him in annoyed frustration. He smiled his devastating smile at her knowing she was about to launch into a protest. “Forgive me!” he said “But I have been wanting to do this all night!”

With that he took her lips in a kiss that seared her senses, she clung to his wide shoulders  as he sought out the honeyed sweetness of her mouth, she had been kissed before but this......... this catapulted her already overloaded senses into the stratosphere.

Then with a reluctant sigh he pulled away from her, calling out to Bahadhur Singh who appeared like a genie.

“Bahadhur Singh please escort Persephone back to her hotel.” Then looking at him he questioned “Raghav?”

Bahadhur Singh nodded and Samir strode off, the anger evident in his step, without a backward glance at her.

Perse stood her fingertips touching her trembling, throbbing lips, staring at his retreating back with a frown on her face, the man was a total enigma.

Choti Raani Saheeba peered from behind a curtain, staying out of sight she stealthily followed Samir, who was heading in the direction of Raghav's rooms.


© Jane Meme Copyright 27.02.2012