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Jennifer leaned against the railing of her balcony and blinked back her tears.
Shekhar had just whispered one sentence to her before he left her apartment.”Don’t keep waiting for Darius again”. The stern look in his eyes had said it all. Darius was no more. She had lost him for ever.
Of course, deep in her heart she had always known it. Had he been alive, he would have come for her. He would never have left her alone in this fog of loneliness. But she had to keep hoping that some mighty miracle would bring him back to her arms. That was the only way she could tolerate the unfortunate life she was living. But now, she had been yanked out from the comfort of her lies. The truth mercilessly jeered at her.
She closed her eyes and tried to recollect his face- his playful smile, those annoying creases that would suddenly appear on his forehead, the way he raised his eyebrows in mockery…oh God, why did life have to be so unfair! Did she not deserve a chance at happiness, was that too much to ask?
The little happy memories that she usually ruminated on in her darkest realms of hopelessness did not come to her rescue today. There was nothing strong enough to revive her today. A single drop of tear broke free from her deep brown eyes and caressed her cheek.
She had always ended up losing the people who had meant the most to her all her life. Mama, daddy, Philip, Grandpa, Grandma, Darius…was she cursed? Is this gut wrenching feeling of loss and loneliness her only destiny?
Jennifer looked through the half open french doors and saw that Roohie was finally asleep. That unfortunate kid had been hunched over on the couch ever since Shekhar had left her here,her face a mask of pure terror. Jennifer couldn’t believe it was the same chatterbox who had followed her around every time she had visited Tara’s house. Poor thing, only God knows what that tender mind has gone through! What drove that innocent child to seek refuge in the shelter of a stranger? Only if she could wipe all those terrible memories off her mind and make her that old bubbly child.
Jennifer knew too well that these imprints from the past stayed for ever, No amount of love, no volumes of happiness would ever erase them off. Roohie would have to weave her life around them and she,Jennifer, would make sure that the kid was not alone in re building her joy!
She couldn’t quit thinking about Tara. In the last few months, Tara was her ‘person’. She had become something more than a colleague. Jennifer sighed as she recalled Tara’s pale panicky face.’What have you done ,Tara’, Jennifer whispered under her breath. The initial hurt and anger that she had felt against Tara had eventually waned. Jennifer could now even empathize with her.She had herself seen how indifferent Shekhar was in the past few months. And who would understand the hollowness that one feels when the person you love choose to ignore you better than herself? Jennifer was ready to forgive Tara, but the question was whether Shekhar would. The hatred that she had seen in Shekhar’s eyes perhaps gave her the answer.
Cyrus watched Jenny from a distance. Though he longed to stand by her side and whisper a word of comfort ,he decided against it.She needed her space and he had things to do.
Cyrus had called up the City Police commissioner and IB chief as per Shekhar’s instructions a few minutes earlier.He was supposed to meet them in an hour at the police headquarters.It was a half an hour drive from Jennifer’s apartment. “Be there just on time. Not a second early, not a second late. We still don’t know the reach of our enemies”, Shekhar had warned before he handed over the documents to him. That man had risked his life for this mission and now he,Cyrus, was going to make sure that finally the nail is driven home.
Meanwhile, he had to make copies of the documents and string them together in his blog, just as a cautionary step. No one can trust anyone these days. Sometimes even the highest ranks of bureaucrats had their hands tied. They had to have a plan B.
“Cyrus…?”, Cyrus looked up to see Jennifer by his side.
“Jenny…are you fine?”
“After a while it stops mattering how you feel, everything goes numb. I am as fine as I can ever be!”, she replied.
“This phase will pass Jenny. You are going to be happy again. This is not the end”, Cyrus got up and rubbed Jennifer’s shoulders.
“I wish this was the end Cyrus, I really do. What do I have to look forward to? One can face anything in life if there is a tiny ray of hope and that’s what i have lost today, my last straw.”
“Come on Jenny. You have known the truth all these years. You were prepared, Jenny! You just have to accept it now.And don’t sound so shaky,you are not one of those millions who have a programmed machine instead of a mind. You are creative, you see the world through the eyes of your camera in the most beautiful way possible. Live for your passion Jenny and see how life weaves the most beautiful days in your name!”
Jennifer looked at Cyrus and smiled “I had a brother..”
“Wh..What??” Cyrus looked confused at this out of context remark
“His name was Philip,three years younger to me.”
Cyrus looked at Jennifer inquisitively
“He was very dear to me. But you know how elder sisters are, I used to irritate him a lot. He was always the scapegoat of all my pranks.”, Jennifer let out a throaty laugh
“That day when my Daddy’s car ran off the bridge, he was also in there with them. My little brother.He was barely four”
“I am so sorry Jenny…” Cyrus began, but Jennifer cut him off.
“His body was never found. So I kept believing he was alive somewhere.That some miraculous force had saved him and that he would one day arrive at my doorstep announcing that he was back.”
She walked closer to Cyrus and ran her fingers on the scar in his forehead. Cyrus flinched when her cold fingers caressed his forehead.
“When I saw you the first time, you reminded me of him. This scar, he had one like this.I had pushed him off the cycle ad etched it on his forehead. And now when you try to breath back hope into my stranded life, I wish you were him, Cyrus.I wish that you were my Philip.Tell me that you are him. I know it all sounds insane, but just convince me somehow and then I will have one reason to live” , Jennifer broke down, sobbing hysterically.
Cyrus took her in her arms and stroke her hair.”Jenny, if me being your brother would make you feel better then be it. I am your brother, I promise that I will always be there fore you”
The shrill ring of the telephone alerted the duo and Cyrus sprang to take the call. As he spoke, Jennifer dried her eyes and sat down.
“Tina is waiting downstairs. She is going to drive me to the police headquarters…”, Cyrus told Jennifer.
He stacked the documents into the laptop bag and pocketed the USB drive. As he walked to the door he looked back at Jennifer and said ” Be strong Jenny.Take care of yourself and Roohie. This madness has to end tonight, I will be back soon”
Jennifer nodded her head and whispered .”Promise me that you will be safe. If something happens to you too, may be I will never get over it”
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