"What???" Shravan gaped at his grandfather in horror.
Had he finally lost it?
Is old age catching up with him at this most unfortunate time?
"You heard me."
"You must be crazy if you think I'm going to go through with this." Shravan muttered in disbelief.
"Bauji. You are not thinking this through clearly. Marriage is not a decision to be taken hastily. It's their life," Pratap Maheswari said, trying to appeal to his father.
But Tej Maheswari was having none of it.
"Kiara is a very nice girl," Tej said.
"Who is Kiara?" Shravan asked
"The girl you are going to marry," Tej said
"The girl you want me to marry?" I'm not marrying anyone, dadu." Shravan said in exasperation:
"So you will stand by and watch your dad bow down his head in shame?" You wouldn't do anything to safeguard his honour?" Tej asked, looking straight into his eyes.
"That's emotional blackmailing, dadu. You know it very well."
"Are you willing to protect and safeguard the Maheswari honour of Shravan?" Tej asked, and Shravan knew when he was facing an accomplice.
"Do I have a choice?" Shravan asked coldly.
"You do. You could always turn your back on your family's values and honour. "It's up to you," Tej said, knowing very well that his grandson wouldn't back down.
If one more time his grandfather uttered the wordhonour," ,he might explode.
"Don't expect me to be happy and make her happy, dadu," he said in a tone of finality.
"You will like her son." I have known Kiara for a long time. She is a sweet-natured girl. Always calm and mature. She would make a perfect wife and an even perfect daughter-in-law" Tej said.
"Then why didn't you fix her marriage with me earlier?" Shravan shot back, and that shut his grandfather up.
Tej Maheswari and his son left to talk to the orphanage authorities, and his mother turned to him.
"Are you sure about this, Shravu?" You don't have to, you know. Your life is more important than any honour for me." Anuradha said she did not want her son to sacrifice his life.
"You always wanted me to get married, Mom. I guess your prayers have finally been answered. If Kiara is written in my destiny, can anyone change that?"
"I just want you to be happy."
"I will be Mom." Didn't Dadu say that she is a calm, sweet, and mature girl? Life would be easy with her, I hope." Shravan said he was forcing a smile for his mother's benefit.
"You told your dadu not to expect you to be happy and make her happy," Anuradha said unhappily.
"Well, I couldn't simply agree to his manoeuvring without retailing. I will give this a chance, Mom. What do they say? When life gives you lemons, you make lemonades?" Shravan said.
Marriage is an important turning point in one's life. He had so far dodged it, but destiny has its own ways.
The girl might have had so many dreams about marriage and the future, but one man destroyed them by running away at the last moment.
And he won't do that to her.
It might take time for them to work things out and adjust to each other.
But he will give 100 percent to this.
Who knows, he might even grow to love this Kiara someday in the future.
Drishti was playing Farmville on her phone while she waited for the people to come and make their necessary apologies so that she could get the hell out of here.
She just hoped the Agnihotri jet would be up in the air by the time people realised that the bride was swapped in the early hours of the morning.
Whoever introduced the custom of covering the face of the bride with a veil might have seen these dramas happening in the future.
She kept her phone aside when she heard the giggle of a few girls and looked up to see two young girls coming to her room.
"He is so handsome. You are so lucky," one girl said, making Drishti frown.
"Who is handsome?" Drishti asked, bewildered.
He came back? OMG
And from which angle did he look handsome to these girls?
Drishti shot up from where she was seated and was about to ask the same when a few other people entered the room.
She recognised one person as the head of this
orphanage. Along with him were two other men. One is an elderly man, probably in his seventies, and the other is in his fifties.
"Kiara beta," the older man called, and Drishti braced herself.
She didn't want this grandfather to apologise to her.
It's all Abhi Bhaiyya's fault. If he had tried harder before, they wouldn't have had to kidnap Kiara's bhabhi and face all these problems.
"We need to tell you something. I want you to listen calmly," he said, and then he started telling her things that she didn't even imagine would happen as a consequence of her stupid idea of kidnapping Kiara bhabhi.
Why would they stop the other marriages for this reason?
God!! The girls here are Kiara Bhabhi's friends. If they came to know Kiara Bhabhi ran off with someone without thinking about them, they would hate her.
No one would believe she was kidnapped when they see her happy with Abhi bhaiyya.
And who in their right mind would ask their own grandson to be a sacrifice?
Is she dreaming?
A horrible nightmare
Anytime now, she would wake up to her annoying sister annoying the hell out of her.
She would be cuddled against her mother, and Damini would be jealous of it and would be trying to push her off her mother.
Yes, that's going to happen.
The old man kept talking.
"It's a matter of my family's honour too, Kiara. If this marriage doesn't happen, you can imagine," the old man said, and Drishti blinked rapidly behind her veil.
One of the young girls tried to lift her veil, but Drishti held on to it like her life depended on it.
"I hope you would agree to this for everyone's sake," the old man continued.
What option does she have now?
Maybe she could run away?
As soon as these people get out of here, she will make her escape.
"You two girls, be with Kiara. She might be upset. Don't leave her alone," the old man instructed the young girl, throwing water on her escape plan.
Maybe she could get married now to saveeveryone's face and later get an annulment.
It sounds like a Wattpad story, but who cares?
She is not going to spoil her life by staying in a marriage of convenience.
Ever since she was thirteen, she had been waiting for her one great love.
A love and need that would span time and distance. A call from soul to soul.
Like her parents.