blog post of Akshata Shanbhag

ROSE- A Story of Love and Hate

Chapter-1

THE MESSAGE

 

” Mom, Mom ….” 

” What is it, Rose? You look nervous. 

Why are you cracking your knuckles so hard ? What is the matter ?” 

” Mom, Paul is here. I saw him in the parking lot.

I hope he does not ruin this day. It is my day. “

 

” How do you know he is in  the parking lot?”

” Mom, please. You can see the parking lot from here. Over there. That window.” 

Rose had pointed her fingers towards the window.

” When did you see him, Rose ?” 

“A few minutes ago Mom.” 

” I am anxious Mom. I don’t understand why he is here. ” 

” Who invited him, Rose ?”

“It’s not me Mom. Don’t ask me questions like this. The point is why is he here ?” 

Tom is taking forever to get ready.

Being the bride, I am already ready. “

 

Catherine (Rose’s step-sister) entered the room – 

” What’s going on ?” 

” Oh, Good Cathy you are here .”

” What’s the matter, dear sister? 

What happened? You all look worried? 

” I saw Paul here Cathy. What is he doing here ?”

” What Paul ?? You saw  Paul here? Are you sure it’s Paul?  ” Catherine asked hastily.

 

“Just calm down sissy. It’s your wedding today.

Don’t ruin it for yourself. Please.” 

“Fine.  Fine. Please go check on Tom for me Cathy and just tell him that the ceremony is going to begin. “

Rose looked at her Mom anxiously and said –

Mom, where is Dad? Tell him to be ready. I am walking down the aisle in the next ten minutes.” 

 

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. All of them had looked puzzled. 

” Relax ladies. Why are you behaving like there is a ghost outside? I shall get it. Chill. ” saying this Catherine had walked towards the door.

” No, wait … Cathy. What if it is Paul ?” Rose fumbled.

Knocking continued…

” What’s going on inside? I am ready. Open the door.” 

” Jesus…it’s Tom. Coming Tom. ” Rose breathed freely.

 

Catherine had opened the door for Tom.

” What took you so long to open the door?

What is the matter? All good? ” 

” What are you doing here Tom? You should not be here. ” Rose’s Mom -Jennifer said sternly.

Rose had reacted quickly even before her  Mom could say something more. She had stepped forward – 

” Yes, honey. All good. Shall we? ” 

” Yes …Yes.Let’s do it .” Tom smiled.

 

As Rose had walked down the aisle along with her dad, she had feared that Paul might do some damage. She wanted to take the vows quickly. 

” Dad, can you walk a little faster? ” 

” Sweetheart, what is the matter with you? 

This is not how we rehearsed? Let’s walk along with the music.” 

Rose looked around if she could spot Paul. She could not find him anywhere. She had looked at the crowd who had gathered for the wedding and smirked. Her eyes looked for Paul.

” Sweetheart, don’t be nervous. Everything is going to be alright. ” 

” Yes, Dad. ” 

 

On the flip side, Tom was disturbed too. He had tried his best not to present himself in that manner. He did not want to ruin it for Rose. So he had decided that he would wait until the rituals are completed. Yet the very thought that there was a message sewn into the lining of his coat which he was wearing at the moment, had disturbed him. So far he was getting calls and text messages and after a while, it had stopped. He had pondered over to himself that who and why would somebody do something like that to him on the wedding day. Tom was sure that someone wanted to ruin it for him and Rose. Various thoughts had been running in his mind parallelly.

 

Between this contemplation, 

” Tom, what are you thinking? Ready? “

Tom turned around and had seen Rose who had stood beside him. 

” Are you ready? Shall we begin? ” 

” Oh yes..yes of course. I have been waiting for this day. Let’s start .”

Both of them smiled at each other. Though their smiles were fake, neither of them had projected themselves in that fashion. 

They looked at the Priest and nodded their head. The priest then had begun the ceremony. Rose and Tom had written their vows. Everything was going on smoothly. The priest was about to give consent to their marriage and pronounce them as husband and wife –

” Rose Diana Parker 

‘ Do you take Tom Joseph Hunt as your lawful husband, 

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or worse, for richer or poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you apart? ‘ ” 

” Yes, I do ” -Rose looked at Tom and smiled. 

 

The priest then looked at Tom and repeated the same – 

“Tom Joseph Hunt-

Do you take Rose Daina Parker as your lawful wife, 

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or worse, for richer or poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you apart? ‘ ” 

Tom was silent…

The Priest repeated –

” Tom do you take Rose to be your wife “- 

Tom had remained silent. 

” Tom, what’s going on? Say something.” 

Rose looked at her dad and then back at Tom. Tom did not say anything but had stood still. 

 

 

Chapter-2

WE ARE FAMILY 

Rose was born into a middle-class family. Her parents – David and Ruby both were into a small-time occupation by which they would earn their livelihood. David had engaged himself into many jobs – gardening, delivery boy, sometimes he would even run errands for people. Ruby worked at a grocery store as a cashier. She had to work in shifts. David would take care of Rose in Ruby’s absence. He was good at juggling between his jobs so that it doesn’t overlap and exhaust him and in the meantime spend time with his daughter -Rose. They scrimped and saved to give Rose a good education.

 

One day when Rose had got home from school, David was silently sitting with his head bent down. Rose had never seen her dad in pain like this earlier. 

” What is the matter dad? 

Why are you sitting like this? “

David lifted his head and looked at Rose. His eyes were filled with tears. 

Rose had removed her bag from her shoulders and kept it aside and went closer to her dad. Rose had placed her hands on his shoulders –

” Dad, what is wrong? What happened?”

” Rose your mom has cancer.

She is in her last stage. “

Rose was a kid. She did not know what cancer meant. But what she knew was people who have cancer die. Rose was shocked to hear. She was speechless. 

 

” Where is mom now?”

” She is in the hospital. 

I have come to pick up few things from the house and take you along with me. ” 

David and Rose had rushed to the hospital. Upon seeing her mom, Rose ran towards her. She was crying. 

” Mom, nothing is going to happen to you. Nothing.”

” Sweetheart, it’s okay. I will always be there with you. Love you.” 

Ruby looked at David-

” David please come here.”

David had then walked towards Ruby and sat beside her. 

” Promise me you will take good care of Rose and yourself.

” Don’t stay alone. Find someone else and please marry again. “

” Ruby, please.”

” Promise me, David.” 

Ruby’s health was deteriorating. After a couple of weeks, she had passed away.

 

After a few months, things were slowly falling back into the track. David had got back to his routine. Rose was missing her mom. Rose had felt lucky to have such parents who had loved and cared for her. She took interest in her studies so that her parent’s efforts were not wasted. Rose wanted to see her dad happy. She had realised that they had tried hard to cover her education and do everything for her. She had promised herself that their efforts would not go in vain. 

 

Ruby had gone from their lives leaving a void no one else could fill. A year had gone by. David had planned a small vacation for the two of them. It had been long since they had taken a break from their mundane lives. 

” Dad where are we going? “

” We are going camping in the woods.” 

” Wow, that sounds exciting.” 

” Yes, I know Rose. I am excited too. ” 

 

Father and daughter took off camping. They enjoyed their time together. Rose was happy. David was happy to see his daughter this way. She had gone through a lot lately. While exploring the woods on their morning walk, David had met Jennifer.

 

Jennifer had come along with her friends. They had lost their way. David helped them with the route. David and Jennifer had a good conversation in the process and had exchanged their contact numbers. Soon the two had become good friends. Jennifer was an orphan. She was living with her aunt. Jennifer held a degree in psychology but she loved teaching small kids and hence she had taken up teaching as her profession and was working as a kindergarten teacher. 

 

David and Jennifer had developed feelings for each other. But David wasn’t sure if his daughter Rose would give a nod for their relationship. One day he had made up his mind and told Rose about it. He had assured her that only if she was okay with their relationship, he would marry Jennifer. 

 

Rose had recollected her mom’s words when she was at the hospital that she had asked him to remarry. Rose also wanted to see her dad happy. She had agreed and very soon David and Jennifer got married. 

 

Jennifer treated Rose very well. By her behaviour, it did not seem like she was a stepmother to Rose. She loved Rose like her own daughter. Jennifer gave birth to a daughter- Catherine and the four of them lived happily together.

 

 

Chapter-3

PAULI-MORPHISM

Rose wanted to study medicine. She knew the pain of losing a dear one. She wanted to help people. This craving had helped her to be a doctor. Catherine too was academically fair. But she was envious of Rose. She had felt that her father loved and cared for her more than her.

 

Jennifer has given up her teaching job. David too gave up his odd jobs and both of them together had started a small venture – fast food joint. Jennifer was a good cook and David knew the business tactics. They were making a reasonable profit. Rose had started her practice in the hospital, Catherine’s studies were going great and it all seemed perfect. 

 

When Rose was studying, she had met Paul. Paul had liked Rose. After college, he had proposed to Rose. Rose had accepted his proposal but had decided that she would marry him only after she had started working. Paul had agreed to it.  

 

On a Sunday morning, Paul had dropped by at Rose’s house. He had come to talk to David about his marriage to Rose. 

” Paul, we want it simple. I know you come from an affluent family but we will not be able to afford a lavish wedding.” 

” Sir, all I want is your daughter. I love her. 

I have been waiting for this moment. 

Rose wanted to complete her studies and take up a job.

You don’t have to worry about the marriage expenses. 

I will look into it. We will decide on a date and let you know. ” 

” Okay, Paul. Keep my daughter happy. She is my world.” 

” I promise Sir. ” 

After discussing Paul had left the house. 

 

Catherine who had heard the conversation from her room, was angry when she had heard her dad say that Rose had meant the world to him.

” So Rose you are getting married in few days. ” 

” Yes, Catherine. I am. Aren’t you happy for me ?”

” Happy? I am extremely happy.

Finally, you will be gone from this house. 

Dad will have no option but to love me more. 

I will make sure you are erased from his thoughts. ” 

” Catherine please don’t say that way.  

Dad loves both of us equally.

I don’t know why you feel that way. 

We all love you .” 

” Oh please keep that sympathy to yourself. I don’t need it.  

Going forward you will need it, dear sister.” 

Catherine had walked away in a rage. Rose did not feel bad about her behaviour because she had gotten used to it.  

 

The wedding day had arrived. It was a private ceremony at Paul’s farmhouse followed by a grand reception party. 

 

David was missing Rose. Catherine was happy. She had thought that after a few days her dad will get used to it. 

 

Rose on the other hand missed her family too. Paul would take good care of her. Everything was going on smoothly. Paul loved her way too much that his love had turned him into a possessive person.  Rose was disturbed by his behaviour. 

 

Since both of them were practising in the same hospital, if he had seen Rose talking to anyone apart from work, he would not like it. He had even mentioned to her that her friendly nature had bothered him and if she had not rectified it she would have to face the consequences. 

 

Rose was tight-lipped about her situation. She knew that if her dad would know about it, he would be hurt. If she had discussed it with her step-mom Jennifer, she might spill it accidentally to her father. She wanted to share it with Cathy but she knew that Catherine would rather be happy about the situation. Paul had cut her off from her friends too. 

 

Paul’s behaviour was so erratic that Rose found it difficult to work in the same hospital. When she had decided that she would shift to a different hospital, he had harassed her. Rose had decided that she would still go ahead and move to a new hospital. It had not gone well with Paul. 

 

At regular intervals, he would visit the hospital to check on Rose. In one instance, Paul had abused Rose because she was friendly with one of the patients. Because of this incident, Rose was asked to quit her job. Any place she would work, Paul would interfere. It had become hard for Rose. It was destroying her career and reputation. 

 

As time had gone by, Paul had become violent too. He would even beat her up. Rose felt that she had enough of all this and had decided to end the relationship. When Rose had expressed it to Paul, he was further infuriated. He had locked her up so that she could not connect with anyone. 

 

Rose somehow found a way to escape from the house and flee. She knew that Paul would visit her dad immediately if he had found her missing. Rose did not know where to take shelter. She was running and running far away. It was raining hard that night. As she was running, she kept looking behind to see if Paul had followed her. 

 

Rose did not stop but had kept running. She had reached the highway. Rose wanted to cross the road where the deviation in the road would lead to the next town. While doing so, she came in front of a car that was moving at high speed. Rose did not know what to do. She had stood there still like she wanted to end her life.

 

 

 Chapter -4

ELOPE

” Where am I ? ” 

Rose woke up and had looked around. 

Tom was sitting next to Rose. When Rose saw him, she sprang from the bed in surprise. 

” Who are you? Did Paul send you here? ” 

Rose was restless. 

” Calm down ma’am. You had almost got yourself killed today in front of my car. 

If I had not applied for breaks on time, I don’t know what would have happened? 

What is the matter with you? ” 

“Are you a friend of Paul’s? 

Did he send you here?

Who are you ?” 

 

” Will you please calm down?

I don’t know anybody by name of Paul. 

My name is Tom. 

You were on the highway last night. Do you remember that? “

” Yes, I remember that. I was running and a car ..” 

” Yes, you are right. That was my car. 

When I applied the breaks and got off the car and came towards you, you stood still for few seconds and later you were unconscious. 

I got you here to my place. 

How are you feeling now? ” 

 

” I don’t trust you. 

How can I believe you that Paul has not sent you.” 

” Who is this Paul? Why are you scared of him?” 

” Why don’t you know that? You must be knowing your boss Paul.” 

” Fine Ma’am if you think that Paul has sent me here, then you are free to leave. 

Tell me where do I drop you. I will drop you right away. ” 

Rose was silent for some time. She did not know if she could trust Tom. Tom had a hard time convincing Rose. Finally, she had agreed. 

” So Rose, can I call you that? “

Rose had nodded. 

” Paul was following you last night?” 

” No, no. Paul was not following. 

Or maybe he was. I am not sure. 

I don’t know. I don’t know. ” 

Rose had started crying. 

 

Tom left the room as he wanted to give some time so that Rose could feel composed. After a while, Rose came outside the room. Tom was watching television. When he had seen Rose, he had turned off the television. 

” Can I stay here for a few days?” 

” What here? You want to stay here in this house?” 

” Is there a problem Tom?” 

” No, I don’t have a problem but are you sure? They might be looking out for you.” 

” I know. That is the reason I want to stay here. I hope it’s safe.” 

” Yes. It is safe. I stay here alone. 

I take a break from work once in a while and spend some time here.

After three days I am going back downtown. You can live here if you want to.” 

” Oh. Okay, When are you back?”

” Well, I am not sure of that. Depends on my work.” 

” What do you do Tom?”

” I am an architect. I have my firm. It’s a start-up.” 

” Oh, that is nice. I am a doctor Tom.” 

“Dr Rose.Nice to meet you.”

Rose smiled and sat on the sofa opposite where Tom was seated.

 

“Rose, if you want to stay here as I said, I don’t have a problem. 

But I need to know what is going on. 

I felt it was my responsibility and hence I got you here.

But what is it with Paul? You say he is following you?

I need to know what is the matter.

I hope you understand. 

Since I don’t live here, I don’t want any trouble for both of us.

I hope the cops are not involved. “

 

Rose had explained everything to Tom. He had agreed to help her.

” I know a good lawyer Rose. 

He is my friend. I am sure he will help you out. 

If you agree, then I shall talk to him. 

Think it over and let me know.”

” Thank you, Tom. I will let you know.” 

 

Three days had gone by. It was time for Tom to leave. 

” Rose your parents might be worried. I think you should talk to them. ” 

” Yes, you are right Tom. I am sure my dad must be worried. 

I don’t know what Paul might have told them.” 

” You can use the phone, Rose. Feel free.” 

” I have decided Tom. I will take the help of the lawyer.

I want a divorce as early as possible.

I want a normal life again. ” 

” Okay, I will talk to him. 

” Bye Rose. Take care. I have arranged for help. 

She will be there with you. 

Teresa. Anything you want you can ask her.”

Teresa had just arrived as there were talking.

” There she is. I was just telling Rose about you.” 

 

“When are you visiting next Tom?” 

” I am not sure Rose. But I will talk to Peter and fix an appointment at the earliest.” 

“Peter? Who is Peter?”

” My friend.Lawyer. Don’t worry Rose. Everything is going to be alright.” 

Tom left the house. Rose sat down and thought about her father, her family and above all Paul whom she had loved the most. Rose and Tom used to have conversations over the phone at least twice a day. Tom would call to check up on her. From Teresa, she had learnt that Tom was kind-hearted and a gem of a person.

 

Rose had gathered strength and called her father. David was unaware that Rose was not staying with Paul. Paul had not visited them nor had he made any contacts with them. David was shocked to hear from his daughter what she had gone through.

” Dad, please keep this to yourself. Don’t tell mom about it. Not even Cathy. Please, dad.” 

” But Rose how do I hide it from Jennifer. 

She was asking about you yesterday since you had not spoken to us in days. “

” Dad not now. I will tell you when to disclose the matter.

Okay dad I got to go. Tom is here with the lawyer.

Bye. I love you.” 

Saying this, Rose had ended the conversation with her father.

 

” Rose, meet Peter.

Peter this is Rose. You can trust him.

I will let the two of them talk  and I will take leave from here.” 

Rose looked at Tom. It was like she wanted to thank him. She smiled and waved at him.

After Tom had left, Rose came and sat on the couch facing Peter.

” Rose, Tom has told me about you. But I would like to know more in-depth.” 

Rose had explained everything to Peter.

” Rose, the first thing – I would suggest you move out from here.

Go to your parents. You would not like the case to get more complicated.” 

” Complicated? What do you mean by that?”

” Rose, what if they accuse you that all this was a set-up.Tom and you.

You both have an affair. You know how things can change in the courtroom. ” 

Rose had understood what Peter was trying to tell her. The next day, Peter had dropped Rose at her parent’s house.

 

When Rose had seen her dad, she ran and hugged him. Peter had explained everything to David and Jennifer. David was upset with the entire thing.

” Sir, don’t worry. It’s going to be alright. 

I will file the case as soon as possible and will come up with a court date soon for the first hearing.” 

After Peter had left, Catherine walked towards Rose – 

” Rose, Paul loves you. 

I agree he would have made a mistake. But divorce? 

Why don’t you give him a chance? ” 

” Catharine, hear yourself out. ” 

” Dad, what is wrong? You should be telling her this.” 

Jennifer had pulled Catherine holding her arms and took her aside into another room.

” What are you doing? ” 

” Mom, I don’t want Rose back here in this house.

Now with all this, Rose will get more attention.” 

” Cathy, I know you dislike her. But right now you need to support her.

Pretend to support her.

If you behave this way, you will lose what you have earned. 

Be good to Rose.” 

Catherine had agreed with her mother. She hugged her and said –

“Yes, you are right mom. I hate Rose. I don’t want her back here. 

But to win dad and be in his good books, I will play along. ” 

” That is like my good girl. 

Come let’s go outside. ” 

Jennifer and Catherine both had come outside and joined the conversation.

 

 

Chapter -5

ROSE-YOU ARE MINE!!

 

After a couple of days, Paul had received notice from Peter. He was surprised and raged to learn that Rose wanted a divorce from him. 

 

” So you want a divorce huh? ” 

Paul had barged into the house and threatened Rose.  

” You step into my property again Paul I will have to call the cops.

You have hurt my daughter enough. 

I trusted you when you came to me asking for her hand in marriage. 

We all trusted you.  

This is what you have done. 

We have nothing to talk about. We shall see you in court. ” 

David had directed Paul to step out of his house.  After Paul had left, David looked at Rose and had comforted her. Catherine also had joined. David was happy to see his daughters together. Catherine had glimpsed at her mom and winked. 

 

After a few days, the court proceedings had commenced. A lot of accusations and allegations were made by both parties. The trial went on for a couple of months. Rose did not want to reconcile with Paul. She had made it very clear after all the trauma she had been through mentally and physically that she wanted a separation. Finally, the court had dissolved their marriage. It was a great sign of relief for Rose. Her dad was happy too. They had thanked Tom and Peter.

 

This decision had not gone well with Paul. He wanted Rose in her life. More than love it was like he was obsessed with her. Paul had made multiple attempts to win her back. The approach he had taken was wrong. He had followed her to her work, church. Paul was stalking Rose. He had made her life miserable. Catherine had enjoyed all of this. She had decided that she would meet Paul secretly. 

” Hello Paul ” 

” It’s you? Why are you dressed like this?” 

Catherine had worn a hijab.

” What do you mean why? If anyone notices that I am meeting you, you have no idea the consequences that I will have to face.” 

” What do you want Catherine? ” 

” Well, why are you harassing my sister?” 

” Your sister? From when have you considered Rose as your sister?” 

” I am not harassing her. I love her.” 

” Then show it. Show it like a gentleman. Not this way.

If you behave well, I am sure she will come back to you. 

Rose still feels for you.” 

 

” Really? Does Rose still have feelings for me? ” 

” I am sure she does.

Okay, I got to go Paul. Good luck. Be sensible. “

Catherine walked away and smirked to herself and thought that her job was done. She knew that Rose had no feelings for Paul but she wanted her out of the house. She also knew that Paul would do anything to win her back. Taking this opportunity, Catherine had decided to strike the iron when it was hot. 

 

One day, Paul had shown up at the hospital. He had apologised for his behaviour. Paul had begged Rose for her forgiveness. Rose did not trust Paul but he had persuaded her for forgiveness. She had finally given up and forgave him. He would sometimes pick her up from the hospital, call her,  text her. David was unaware of this growth. They had even started to meet outdoors. Paul had won Rose’s heart again. 

 

They were regularly meeting. Their friendship had blossomed again. Paul had thanked Catherine for her help. 

” Rose you seem happy of late. What is the matter? 

I am happy for you. But I thought you could share it with me.” 

” Nothing like that Cathy. It’s just that Paul and I are friends again.” 

” Seriously? Wow, that is nice.” 

” I don’t know if I should put my trust in Paul again. 

But his behaviour is sort of okay. ” 

“You are overthinking Rose. 

I have been telling you to give him a second chance.

But you and dad were adamant. 

You could have saved your marriage.” 

 

” I am not sure Cathy. 

It was a phase. I want to take things slowly. 

I don’t want to hurt myself again or upset dad. He has gone through a lot too.

I am in a good phase in my career now.

I don’t want to spoil that.

Don’t know if I will be able to get back to Paul. 

We might just end up being good friends. ” 

“Only friends? ” 

Catherine thought that she should not push Rose hard else she would doubt her. But instead, talk to Paul as that would be worthy.

” Okay take it slow. If you need anything, I am there for you. 

You can count on me.” 

Rose nodded her head and thanked Catherine. She hugged her. Catherine thought to herself -count on me my foot. I hate you, Rose. Just get the hell out of our lives. I will make sure you do and rot in hell for all that I have gone through due to you.

 

 

Chapter-6

WE LOVE TOM

Rose had invited Tom over for dinner. After her divorce, she had got so busy putting her life back to orbit that she felt she had not thanked Tom suitably. As a gesture for all the help he had provided, she thought that it would be best to invite him home. That way Tom could also get to meet her family well.

 

” It was great of you Tom to help my daughter.” 

” Sir, I have done nothing. Rose deserved a better life .” 

” Better life? So you mean a life without her husband?”  Catherine looked at Tom – straight into his eyes. 

” Excuse me. I am sorry. I did not understand.” 

Jennifer had kicked Catherine from underneath the table indicating that she could not talk and behave in that manner.

” Oh, it’s nothing. Yeah, she is happy now .” 

Tom looked at Rose – ” Yes, I am sure. You all must be.”

 

” So Tom, Rose tells me you are an architect.” 

” Yes sir. I am. I have my firm. We are doing pretty well. ” 

” So how about your family? ” 

Jennifer interrupted- 

” David, let him have his dinner first. Then you can talk .” 

Jennifer looked at Tom – 

” Don’t mind Tom. David can go on and on. 

You would finish having your dinner at breakfast tomorrow morning.” 

All of them had started laughing. 

 

After dinner, David and Tom were sitting in the garden and talking. 

” Dad, it’s been 30 minutes. What’s going on? ” 

” Nothing Rose. Come join us.  I was just talking to Tom casually. ” 

” It’s late dad. Take your medicines and sleep. We shall have Tom over another time. ” 

Rose looked at Tom and smiled – 

” I am sure you are going to come?”

Tom whispered- ” Yes I will. ” 

Rose went to drop Tom at the gate where he had parked his car.

 

” Your family ” 

” What about my family Tom?”

” I like them. Your dad…he loves you a lot. “

” Yes, he does. My stepmother loves me too. She has never been unfair to me.”

” What about Catherine?”

” What about her Tom?”

” Doesn’t seem to me like she loves you much?” 

” What makes you say that?” 

” I am no fool. I could see it.” 

Rose looked at Tom and smiled. She did not know what to say.

” It is okay Rose. You don’t have to say anything. I get it.” 

” Good night Tom. ” 

” Good night Rose.” 

Both were looking at each other like they wanted to say something. The next moment both had simultaneously said -“When…”  Then both of them paused and laughed.

” You go first, Rose” 

” No Tom you say it…” 

” Okay fine. When are we meeting next?” 

Rose smiled. 

” I was going to ask you the same Tom. I will call you. 

I am busy for the next few days. I will call you soon.” 

” Okay. I will wait for your call. Bye.” 

Tom had started his car and drove away. David was watching all of this from the window. He saw how happy his daughter was after a long time.

 

” Jennifer, I like this boy .” 

” Oh yeah sure David. You do .” 

” Why are you being sarcastic Jenn?” 

” I am not. That is what you said for Paul. ” 

” I never liked Paul. It was for Rose that I accepted him. 

But this man is not like that. I can feel it. ” 

Catherine was sitting right there during the conversation watching television. But she had pretended that she had not heard anything. Rose was at the door eavesdropping. After Paul, it was hard for Rose to believe anyone. 

 

The next morning at the breakfast table, Jennifer and Catherine were eating.  Rose had gone to the hospital early as it was an emergency and David had been to the market. 

” Mom, what is it about Tom ?” 

” What about Tom ?”

” I heard you both talking about Tom yesterday? 

Dad said he liked Tom? ” 

” So what Cathy? How does it matter? ” 

” It matters Mom. You don’t understand. 

I am setting up Rose with Paul again. ” 

” What? Are you crazy?

If David knows you are involved, you have no idea what is going to happen. 

You have only seen the soft side of David .” 

 

” Mom, relax  Nothing will happen. Dad will never find out  ” 

” How sure are you  about that ?” 

” I know mom. Do you think Paul will tell that Catherine helped me patch up with Rose  

He would be a fool to do something stupid like that.

As far as I know that chauvinist guy, would like to take all the credit.

You relax mom. Just watch the show. I am sure you are going to love it .” 

” I say don’t involve. But I know you are not going to hear me out  

Whatever you are doing, be careful.

Don’t burn your hands .” 

Catherine smirked and said to herself- Rose and Paul you are made for each other. 

 

 

Chapter -7

THIS HAS TO END PAUL

 

The next few days, Rose was busy with seminars and meetings. The hospital management had decided that they would expand and bring in some new treatments and methods which would be conducted at the hospital. Some renowned doctors across the city were going to attend the same. Rose had thought that it would be a great opportunity for her career growth. She had actively involved and participated.

 

Paul was aware of it and had decided that he would not disturb Rose and hence he had not met her for a week. On the last day of the seminar, after her duty for the day was over – he had shown up at the hospital waiting for Rose at the gate.

” What are you doing here Paul?”

” I was waiting for you.” 

” I get that. But we did not plan on meeting today. It has been tiring. This entire week.” 

” I am sorry. I wanted to see you.” 

” Okay. Fine. I think you should go. I want to go home and rest.” 

Paul was a little angry. He had thought that he had been waiting for this day for the past week and it was two hours that he had been waiting outside the hospital and this was how she was treating him. But he had swallowed his anger.

” Paul, What are you doing? You are such a good doctor. 

You should invest your time in your career but not wait outside like this. ” 

” I know what I should be doing Rose. I don’t want to hear that from you.” 

Rose was surprised to hear that from Paul. It was not his usual tone – the one that he had not used from the time their friendship was rekindled.

” Look I am sorry Rose. I did not mean to…” 

Rose stopped Paul from talking further. 

” I am exhausted, Paul. My colleague is on her way. I am going with her. 

There she is. Bye. Take care.” 

” Bye Rose. I will call you.” 

Rose looked back as she was walking and waved at Paul and sat inside the car. As the car moved away from Paul, he had kept staring at the car until he could not see it any further.

 

Paul hit his feet hard to the ground and kicked a stone. 

Damn it. I should have controlled myself. 

Why do you do this Rose? Don’t you see how much I love you? 

I am going to win you soon. ” Paul had uttered to himself.

Paul called Catherine –

” Hi, Paul what is going on?”

” Catherine, I almost lost my cool today. 

It’s all  Rose’s fault. I had been waiting for her…” 

” Whoa Whoa Whoa…slow down you lover boy. I told you to take it slow. 

She has been busy this entire week.

We have spoken umpteen times earlier and discussed this over and over again. 

If you don’t go by that, you will never be able to win her again. 

Okay bye. I got to go. She is home. 

Don’t ruin it this time you moron. ” 

Catherine hung the phone and looked at Rose who had just entered the house. 

” You look tired Rose.” 

” Yes, Catherine I am. Very tired. 

I will take a nap. Please wake me up when the dinner is ready.” 

” Yes sure. Go get some rest.” 

Wake you up…How I wish you never wake up…rest in peace- Catherine had these thoughts running in her head.

 

In the meanwhile, Paul was frustrated. Both with Rose and Catherine. He had failed to understand why Rose had behaved like that. He had felt that she should have at least acknowledged that he had come to visit her but instead she was angry at him and on the other hand, he did not like the way Catherine spoke to him. He thought that Catherine was using him to get rid of Rose on the pretext of helping him. Paul had decided that going forward he would do what he wishes to and not listen to Catherine. 

 

The next day, Rose had called Paul and apologised. 

” I am sorry Paul. I was very tired yesterday. I had a lot of things on my head. ” 

“That is okay Rose. I hope you are doing better today.” 

” Yes. Yes. I am fine. Thank you.” 

” So tell me how did it go? Your seminars, meetings?” 

” Paul, you know I think you should start your practice again. After our divorce, you haven’t been..” 

” Rose, please not again. I know what to do.” 

” No Paul you don’t. If you did, you would not be doing this. ” 

” Rose if you want to continue on this matter I am going to hang up. ” 

” Fine Paul do as you please.” 

” Okay, Rose why don’t we meet for lunch today and discuss this. ” 

” Discuss what? This…me starting practice again.” 

” You want to have lunch with me or do you want to discuss?” 

Paul started laughing.

” Well, both.” 

” Fine. See you at 1 pm outside the hospital.” 

Paul was happy that Rose had called. Rose had decided that after this she should stop meeting Paul. She had no interest in starting a life with him all over again. She was clear about that. If she had kept meeting him, Paul would get the wrong signal because she knew that he still loved her and she did not want to encourage that.

 

Paul was waiting for Rose at sharp 1 pm outside the hospital. Rose had finished her shift for the day. She had made up her mind that she would talk to Paul.

” So where do you want to go for lunch Rose?” 

Rose thought for a while. 

” Anywhere. Any place where we can talk.” 

” Okay. Fine. Let’s go.” 

Rose did not talk about anything on their way to the restaurant. She was thinking about what and how she could convey the message to Paul without causing much damage.

” Here we are. This is a new restaurant. 

Come let’s check it out. 

We can sit in the garden and do the talking.” 

 

Rose smiled and got off the car. She chose a seat in the corner so that they would not be distributed. 

” Nice huh? Did you like the place, Rose? I am starving. Let’s order ” 

The waiter had arrived with the menu. Both had placed their orders. 

” Paul….” 

” Rose, let us eat first. No hurry right? 

You have finished your shift. I have ample time. 

Let us take it slow. ” 

Rose smiled and nodded. The food had arrived. 

” Hmmm…smells good. Let’s pounce and eat.” 

Paul looked at Rose and smiled. As they both were eating, Rose could feel that someone was approaching her. She looked up – 

” Tom what are you doing here? ” 

” Well, Rose I have come here to have lunch as well.” 

Rose and Tom both had started laughing. 

” I did not mean that Tom. ” 

” Got it, Rose. I have come here with my clients. We were around here. 

How are doing? ” 

” I am fine. How about you? ” 

” Good. Good. ” 

Tom wanted to talk more but since he had noticed that she was along with someone, he had decided not to talk. Rose introduced the two of them –

” Paul meet Tom. 

Tom this is Paul.” 

Tom looked at Rose in surprise. He was shocked to see that she was having lunch with Paul. 

” Paul? This is Paul?” 

Rose had understood from his tone that he did not like it. Rose stood up and placed her hand on Tom’s arm and in a low key voice, she said- 

” Tom I shall call you later. Please not now. ” 

 

Paul was observing all of it. He had not liked it. What had further enraged him was when he had seen Rose had placed her hand on Tom’s arm. He had thought that something might be going on between Rose Tom and hence Rose was not getting closer to him. Paul had many thoughts running in his mind. Paul noticed a planted flower pot next to him on the floor. It was huge and heavy. He took that pot and within a spur of the moment smashed it on Tom’s head. It had hit Tom so hard that he immediately fell unconscious.

 

 

Chapter -8

IS TOM ALRIGHT? 

 

” Tom, Tom, please open your eyes. Tom ” 

Rose had stared at Paul in rage.

” What have you done Paul? Are you out of your mind?” 

People had gathered at the scene. Some of them had even witnessed it.

” Somebody please call the doctor” a person from the crowd had shouted. 

” We are doctors ourselves. Don’t worry we will check,” said Paul. Then he looked at Rose and smiled. 

Rose was further angry.

“Paul, We are doctors? Seriously?  Don’t you dare touch, Tom.

Please leave from here right now. 

I will have to call the police.

I said leave. ” Rose yelled at Paul.

 

Rose had panicked as Tom was bleeding. The first thing Rose did was checked Tom’s pulse. She was relieved that he was still alive. She had further examined the wound and realised that Tom needed stitches. An ambulance was called and Tom was rushed to the hospital. Paul had left the restaurant. He did not know what to do. He was worried if Rose would call the cops. But Paul knew from within that Rose would not do such a thing. 

 

Two things had bothered Paul. One- if Tom had reached out to the police then he would be in trouble and second what had bothered him the most was the concern that Rose had shown towards Tom. Then Paul had recollected that how Rose was compassionate towards all her patients which had made him insecure and slowly he had turned obsessive. But deep down Paul knew that this was something different. Not the usual type of compassion. Paul did not know about Tom. He had wondered as to who Tom was. Neither Rose nor Catherine had ever brought up his name. Paul had then decided that he would call Catherine and tell her what had happened. He wasn’t sure it would be right thing to do- to call Catherine but then he finally made up his mind and dialled-

 

” Hello, Catherine.” 

” Hi, lover boy. What’s up? How are you doing?” 

There was a brief pause. 

” Hello, Paul. Are you there?” 

” Catherine..” 

” Paul, what is the matter? You don’t sound well. 

Are you okay? Is Rose okay? 

What happened? 

Tell me something damn it, Paul. ” 

” Please shut up, will you? Let me speak Catherine.” 

Catherine was angry. 

” Then speak up fast. I don’t have all day to listen to you.” 

” One more word Catherine then I will hang up. Let me finish first. ” 

” I am not Rose. You want to talk, be polite. 

Else you can hang up. 

You are the one who called. ” 

Catherine was getting on Paul’s nerves. She was adding fuel to his anger and frustration. He had disconnected the call and banged the phone. 

 

You slut. If it wasn’t for Rose, I would have never called you. I know you are treating me like a pawn to get rid of Rose. But I want Rose back in my life. Shit, what the hell have I done. I have complicated the matter further. Calm down, Paul. Calm down. Take a deep breath- Paul spoke to himself. He then picked up the phone and called Catherine again. 

(Phone ringing…)

Catherine saw his number on her phone but did not answer the call. 

There you go. You idiot. You think you are some…God knows what. Let it ring. I am not going to answer. I know you will call me again. I don’t know what did Rose see in you…

The phone had stopped ringing. Paul knew that Catherine was doing it on purpose. He thought that he would try for the one last time and if Catherine did not answer the call, he would never call her again. 

 

(Phone line ringing…)

” Hello Paul, I am busy. What is it?

Why have you been calling?” 

Paul took a deep breath. He thought to himself- Control yourself, Paul. Keep it calm.  

” Catherine…” 

” I am listening Paul.” 

Paul had narrated the entire episode that happened at the restaurant. 

” What have you done Paul?

Where is Tom now?” 

” I don’t know.” 

” What do you mean you don’t know.” 

“As I said, Rose had asked me to leave.

By the by, who is this Tom? You have not told me about him. 

Neither has Rose mentioned about him. 

Suddenly from where did he shoot up?”

Catherine was silent for a while. She thought that if she told him about Tom, Paul might do more harm.

” Hello, Catherine are you there? Hello ” 

” Don’t scream Paul. I can hear you. ” 

” Then answer my question. Who is this Tom?” 

” Tom is just an acquaintance.” 

” Acquaintance? I am surprised. Did not seem to me like one.” 

” You are overthinking Paul. What is important at the moment now? 

I will talk to Rose and see to it that there are no charges pressed against you. 

Next time, don’t you do something stupid and crazy like this. 

Did you hear me, Paul? ” 

Paul had disconnected the line. He was sure that Catherine was hiding something about Tom. He wanted to find out but before that, he wanted to make sure he would be safe. 

 

Paul had called up his lawyer and had explained to him. In case of arrest, he wanted to make sure that bail would be arranged for him at the earliest. Tom’s health was his primary concern. If anything had happened to him, he would land in deep trouble. He knew that Rose would have taken him to the hospital where she was working. Paul had gathered the courage and drove to the hospital. 

 

When Paul had reached the hospital, he had enquired about Tom at the reception. Since Rose had given clear instructions that no information about Tom should be divulged to anyone, the hospital personnel had refused to speak about him. 

” Sir any information about Tom, you should check with Dr Rose. 

We have been instructed not to leak out any information. 

We are extremely sorry about this Sir.” 

Paul was losing his patience. He had even tried to bribe the staff. Since they had not paid any heed to his requests, he had become violent.

 

“Dr Rose please come to the reception area immediately. 

Someone by named Paul is here. 

He says he is a doctor too. He wants information about Tom. 

He is becoming violent and abusing the staff. 

Please come immediately, Doctor.” 

One of the staff members called Rose and informed her about the ruckus Paul had been creating at the reception. When Rose had heard about this, she ran towards the reception. 

 

” Paul, what are you doing here? 

Why are you creating a scene? ” 

Rose had requested the staff and the other people who had gathered to clear the area. Rose had pulled Paul holding his hands and dragged him outside the hospital. 

” So are you here to check if Tom is alive or dead? 

Is he going to press charges against you? 

What do you want Paul?

Please stay away from my life.

I wanted to tell you this at the restaurant today but then all this happened. 

I don’t want you in my life anymore. Not even as a friend. Nothing. 

Please I request you to stay away from me. 

You have done enough damage. Please go away. ” 

Rose was crying. Paul wanted to console her. But before he could say anything, Rose had turned her back and had run inside the hospital.

 

Chapter -9

 DO I KNOW YOU, ROSE?

 

Paul wasn’t sure what to do. He had felt that he had lost Rose once again. Paul sat in his car and drove away to his house. He did not want to talk to anyone. He wanted to stay alone. Paul had just prayed and hoped that nothing should happen to Tom and he should not press any charges against him. 

 

Rose had finished her shift at the hospital. She did not want to go home until Tom had gained consciousness. She sat beside him and waited. While she had waited, she had fallen asleep. The nurse had come to check on Tom. On seeing some movement, the nurse had woken up Rose and had informed her about it. When Rose had learnt about it, she had jumped up from her chair and looked at Tom. Tom was slowly trying to open his eyes. His vision was a little hazy. Tom knew that he was at the hospital. He was trying hard to recollect what had happened to him. 

 

” Hello Tom, it’s me, Rose. How are you feeling? 

Can you hear me? Can you see me?

Nurse, please call Dr Hook.” 

Tom was gazing at Rose. He wanted to talk but his head was hurting. The anaesthesia was wearing off. 

” It’s okay Tom. Don’t push yourself. 

Dr Hook will be here. He was the one who had operated you. 

You have some stitches on your head. You will be fine don’t worry. ” 

 

Dr Hook had arrived. He had examined Tom.

” How is he doctor?

I know I am a doctor myself, but then you see when it comes to your near ones..” 

” There is nothing to worry about. He is fine. 

In two days, we shall discharge him. 

Rose, I feel you should leave. You have been here since morning. 

I suppose you have an early shift tomorrow. 

No doctor. It’s my weekly off tomorrow. 

I will leave in some time. Thank you. ” 

Dr Hook had smiled and walked away. He had explained to the nurse the medicines that Tom should be given. 

 

“Tom, you rest now. I shall see you in the morning. 

The nurses here are helpful. You can call them anytime.

I will talk to them. They will take good care of you. 

Bye. Good night.” 

On her way out, Rose had looked at the summary sheet which was hung by this bed. When Rose had reached the door, she paused and looked around at Tom. Tom had closed his eyes. Tears had filled her eyes. She wanted to walk back to Tom and hug him tight but then had controlled herself. Rose then thought that she would hold herself until Tom gets well.

 

On her way back home, Rose had recollected the entire day – all the events that had occurred. Starting from the morning when she had spoken to Paul over the phone, Paul coming and picking her up at the hospital, lunch, the accident, the scene Paul had created at the reception, her conversation with Paul and finally about Tom. The scenes had played like a movie in front of her eyes. 

” Ma’am your destination has arrived.” The taxi driver had informed Rose. 

Rose was so lost in her thoughts that she had not realised that she had reached home. 

” Oh yes. Thank you. ” 

Rose got of the taxi and had walked towards her house. 

 

” Rose darling where had you been? 

I made several calls. 

You said you would be home by evening.” Worried David enquired.

” Dad it was a busy day. An emergency had come up and hence I got late.

Sorry I missed your calls.” 

” See David I told you there must have been an emergency. 

Else, Rose doesn’t behave irresponsibly.

Rose get fresh and come and have your dinner. 

Your dad is waiting for you.” Jennifer had sounded sarcastic.

” Dad? You did not have your dinner yet? Look what time it is.

You should take your medicines. 

I have told you umpteen times not to wait for me.

You know how this profession is. ” 

 

” I told your dad Rose. But then you know him. 

When it comes to you…” 

“Jenn, please. You go get some sleep. 

I will have dinner and join you later. 

Good night honey. ” 

” Mom, dad is right. Please go and sleep. 

Good night mom. 

Did Catherine have her dinner? 

Yes, Rose. She is sleeping.” 

Jennifer walked to her room. Rose had changed her dress and joined her dad and they both had their dinner. Rose wanted to tell her dad about what had happened today. But then she had thought that it wasn’t a good time. David was also unaware that Rose was in contact with Paul after her divorce from him. 

 

Catherine was unable to sleep. She was waiting for Rose to get back home but then she had no idea that it would get this late. When Rose had arrived, she had heard the conversation between her parents and Rose. When Rose had gone to change into fresh clothes, she thought she would talk to her and ask her why she was late and in that way if she could get some information about Tom. But since her dad was waiting for dinner she had decided that she would wait for Rose to finish her dinner. Catherine even tried to eavesdrop to check if Rose would discuss anything with dad but unfortunately Rose had not spoken anything about it. 

 

After dinner, David had gone to sleep. Rose was a little restless and hence she thought that she would take a stroll in her garden for a while and then sleep. Catherine had noticed Rose walking in the garden. She took this opportunity and walked up to Rose. 

” Aren’t you feeling sleepy Rose?” 

Rose wasn’t expecting Catherine at that time in the garden. 

” Cathy, oh my gosh!!!  You scared me.

Why aren’t you sleeping? ” 

” I was about to ask you the same Rose. Why aren’t you sleeping? 

You must be tired today. Long working hours. 

You should be resting. You don’t look well. 

What is this matter? ” 

” Nothing Cathy. It was indeed a tiring day. I was about to go and sleep.

Just then you showed up. 

Come let’s go inside. ” 

Rose had started walking towards the house. 

” Rose stop. I know something is bothering you. 

I need to know.” 

Rose stopped and looked back at Catherine.

” What makes you say so? I told you it was a tiring day.” 

“Oh yeah it was a tiring day and that is the reason you are taking a stroll at this time.” 

” Cathy please keep it low. Let us talk tomorrow okay. 

Come inside. ” 

 

Jennifer had heard their voices – 

” Girls it’s late. What are you two doing outside?

Get inside right now. C’mon. ” 

Rose and Catherine had walked inside and had gone to their respective rooms and slept. 

 

The next morning, while they were having their breakfast – 

” Rose, I was thinking that since it’s your day off today, why don’t we go shopping? ” 

Rose was sipping her coffee. When she had heard what Catherine had told her, for a second she could not believe her ears. She had quickly gulped the coffee and in the process burnt her tongue.

” Ouch…” 

” What happened Rose?” 

” Nothing dad. The coffee was hot and I sipped it quick. ” 

” Shopping? You want me to come along Cathy?” 

” Yes, Rose. We have hardly been out together. Let’s have some bonding time.” 

Rose looked at her parents. David nodded his head and smiled. Jennifer and Catherine looked at each other.

” Sure Rose. Let’s leave after breakfast.” 

” Okay cool. I will get dressed and come. ” 

” Catherine finish your breakfast.” 

” Later mom. Excuse me.” 

Catherine rushed to her room to get ready. 

 

After few minutes, Rose’s phone started ringing. Rose had answered the call. 

” Dr Rose, this is sister Anita calling from the hospital.” 

” Yes tell me, Anita. ” 

” Please come immediately. There is an emergency.” 

” Is everything alright? Is Tom okay?” 

” Please doctor. It’s regarding Tom. He is…Please come soon.” 

When she had heard this, 

” Dad, Mom I have to go. It’s an emergency.

Please tell Catherine. ” 

“Rose, I heard you said, Tom. What happened?” 

” Dad I shall explain later.

I am taking the car.” 

 

Rose had driven as quickly as possible and had rushed to the hospital.

” Anita, what happened? Where is Tom? 

Did you inform Dr Hook?” 

” Yes, I have informed. He will be here soon.”

Rose zoomed into the room where Tom was there.

Tom was sitting on the bed. Rose stood at the door and looked at Tom.

” Tom, Hi.

How are you feeling today ?” 

Tom was silent. Rose looked at Anita and she was puzzled as Tom had seemed fine.

Rose then slowly walked towards Tom. Tom was tight-lipped.

” Hi Tom, say something?” 

Tom’s lips were dry. He had slowly moved his lips and had looked straight into Rose’s eyes and said-

” Hello. Sorry, do I know you? Who are you?.”

 

Chapter -10

AMNESIA

Catherine was dressed and ready to go shopping. She had walked towards the dining area. She did not see Rose at the table. 

” Where is Rose? Is she getting ready?” 

David and Jennifer were silent.

” Rose I am waiting.”

Catherine screamed from the dining area looking in the direction of Rose’s room to make it clear to Rose that she was ready. 

” While Rose is getting ready, I shall have my breakfast.

What happened? Why are you both looking at me like that?” 

Jennifer looked at David. 

” What is it, mom?” 

” Rose got a call from the hospital. It was an emergency. 

So she had to leave. She told us to inform you.” 

” What? Emergency?” 

Catherine was angry. She banged the spoon which was in her hand hard on the table. 

“Catherine it’s okay. You can go when she gets back.

Why are you so angry? 

By the way, I heard her say Tom over the phone. 

Do you know anything about that? ” 

” Rose said, Tom? ” 

” Yes, she did. Emergency concerning Tom I suppose.” 

” No dad I don’t know anything about that.” 

 

Catherine had started thinking about what must have happened to Tom. Was he dead? All sorts of thoughts were running in her head. She did not know whom to contact. Catherine sat silently for a few minutes thinking. After some time,  she got up from the table and walked to her room.

” Catherine have your breakfast. ”  

Catherine paid a deaf ear to her mother and kept walking towards her room.

” Jenn, it’s okay. After she calms down she will have her breakfast. 

I will talk to her later. 

And, I will go shopping with her today. 

Father-daughter time.” 

Saying this, David started laughing. Jennifer had joined him too. 

 

At the hospital – 

” Tom, I am Rose. ” 

” I am sorry I don’t know you. 

Have we met before?” 

Rose looked at Anita.

” When I told him in the morning about you Doctor, he reacted in the same way.

He was telling me that he does not know anyone by name of Rose.

I tried to tell him but he would not listen. 

He told me that maybe if he sees you, he might recollect.

That is the reason I called you to come in at the earliest. ” 

 

Rose looked at Tom and did not know what to say. 

” Excuse me, Tom I will be right back.” 

Rose walked outside the room. The nurse had followed her.

“Oh my God! He is suffering from amnesia.” 

Dr Hook had arrived. He saw Rose standing outside the room.

When Rose had noticed Dr Hook – 

” Oh, Doctor good to see you. 

I met Tom. I think he is suffering from amnesia. 

He failed to recognise me.” 

” I was afraid something like that might happen. 

I will go and talk to him, Rose. 

Please wait here.”

” Yes, doctor. I will be right here.” 

 

Rose was feeling unsettled. It was past thirty minutes that she was waiting outside. Rose was walking back and forth. When she saw Dr Hook, she came walking quickly towards him – 

” What is the matter Doctor? 

What did he say? ” 

” Come to my cabin Rose. 

Let us discuss there.” 

Dr Hook walked towards his cabin and Rose followed him. After they had entered the room, both took their respective seats.

” Rose, listen to me carefully. 

I spoke to Tom. It seems to me that he has selective amnesia. 

Only certain parts of his memory are lost. 

He does not remember you. 

He spoke about Peter. ” 

” That is his lawyer friend. I know him.

My divorce lawyer. ” 

“Tom also spoke about Harry his manager.” 

” I haven’t met Harry doctor. ” 

 

From Rose’s facial expressions, Dr Hook could make out that she wasn’t happy. 

” Rose, you don’t have to worry. 

He will regain his memory. 

If we remind him about the events and the situations, I am sure he will recover soon. 

I have had such cases earlier. 

But what we need to be careful of is that we should not pressurise him. 

It might do more damage than good. 

I will leave it up to you as to how you would like to take it from here. 

Any medical help I am there.

Plus you are a doctor yourself. 

We shall shift him to the ward in the evening. 

He will be discharged in the next two days. ” 

” Thank you, doctor. ” 

After their conversation, Dr Hook went to check on other patients. Rose was seated in the cabin thinking about what she had to do. 

 

She walked into Tom’s room again. 

” Hello Tom, I am Rose. 

I work here. I am a doctor too.

We are friends. I know you don’t remember but don’t you worry everything is going to be alright. ” 

” Rose, please call my manager Henry and inform him about me. 

Call Peter too. ” 

Tom was trying hard to recollect their numbers. His head was hurting. 

” Tom, it’s okay. I have Peter’s number. I will inform him. ” 

” You know Peter? ” 

” Yes, Tom I know Peter.

Now please relax. You should get good rest. 

They will be shifting you to the ward in the evening. 

I will tell them to come and meet you there. 

Bye Tom. I shall see you soon. ” 

Rose had placed her hand on Tom’s hands and smiled. Tom looked straight into her eyes and for a moment he felt that he had known her. Suddenly his head began to throb. 

“Relax Tom. ” 

Rose tucked him to bed and left. 

 

Rose was sitting in the hospital lobby. She had decided that after talking to Peter and Henry, she would take their advice and take Tom along with her to her house. She thought that he would be safe there. Since Tom had partially lost his memory, she was afraid that if Paul would take advantage of the situation and manipulate and harm him. Rose had made quick calls to Peter and Henry and had explained the entire episode. 

 

As Rose had ended the conversation, she saw Catherine at the hospital entrance. Catherine was walking fast. She saw Rose and waved at her. Rose thought that as to why Catherine had visited her in the hospital. Was it because she had missed the shopping or was it something else. 

” Rose…” 

From Catherine’s expressions, Rose had guessed that she was angry.

” What is it, Catherine? What are you doing here? 

I will make it up to you for the shopping next time. 

Not today, please.” 

” It’s not about shopping Rose. 

What is wrong with Tom? ” 

Rose was shocked to hear when she had heard Tom’s name. 

” I am asking you something Rose. 

What are you staring at my face for? 

Answer my question.” 

 

Just when she was about to answer, Rose saw Paul at the hospital.  Catherine had realised that Rose was distracted. She turned around to see the cause of the distraction and Catherine was surprised to see Paul as well.

 

Chapter -11

GET WELL SOON 

“What is Paul doing here?”

“Rose you please go. I will talk to him. 

Rose, I said go.” 

Catherine walked up to Paul – 

” What are you doing here Paul?” 

” I came here to check on Tom.

You did not tell me anything about it and hence I came here to find out myself.” 

” I would have told you if I knew anything myself.

It was an emergency and hence Rose had to rush to the hospital.

The emergency is about Tom. 

That is the reason I am here. 

I shall gather the information and let you know. 

Now please Paul goes away.” 

” I want to find out for myself. 

I am not going until I know about Tom  .” 

Catherine and Paul had started arguing about this matter. Paul wasn’t ready to budge. When the matter had gone out of control, Rose had to intervene. Rose had also informed the police. Shortly the police had arrived at the hospital and Paul was arrested. Rose had also informed the police that Paul was responsible for Tom’s condition. She had explained in detail to the police. 

 

Paul and Catherine were surprised that Rose had taken this step. 

” Rose, why did you take this step?  This wasn’t necessary.” 

” It was Cathy. It was. You have no idea what Paul has done.” 

Catherine had pretended that she was unaware of anything. 

” What’s wrong Rose?” 

Rose explained the same to Catherine as well. 

” Tom has partially lost his memory. 

He doesn’t recognise me. 

Some memories from his life are erased. 

This is what Paul has done. I don’t know if Tom can recognise Paul. 

What if Paul takes advantage of this situation and harms him further. 

You go home, Cathy. I will see you later.

Please go.” 

 

Two days had gone by and it was time for Tom to be discharged from the hospital. Rose had discussed the matter with Peter and Henry. It was late in the evening. Rose had come home. When she had entered the house, her parents and Catherine were startled to see Tom along with Rose. David and Jennifer were also aware of his condition. 

” Rose, what is going on? 

Why is Tom here?” 

David looked at Tom. 

” Tom, how are you doing?”

Peter and Henry were also present. Rose had introduced Henry. 

” Dad, Mom, you both must be thinking as to why I have got Tom here. 

All of you must be aware of what has happened. 

In this condition, as a doctor and a friend to Tom, I have decided that Tom will be staying here with us in this house until he recovers.” 

David and Jennifer looked at each other in surprise. Catherine was shocked too to hear this. She had not expected that Rose would take this step. 

” I know you all are surprised and maybe you are not happy with my decision. 

But if this is going to bother anyone of you, please let me know. I will make some other arrangements.” 

 

Catherine stepped forward and asked Rose-

” What do you mean by other arrangements, Rose? ” 

” If there is a problem with Tom staying here, we will move to an apartment. ” 

” You can’t be serious?” 

” Catherine, wait let me do the talking.” 

David glanced at Tom. Tom had looked helpless. 

” Rose, we don’t have a problem. 

Tom can stay here until he recovers. 

If you need anything from us, please feel free to ask.” 

Jennifer and Catherine looked at each other. They did not know what to say. 

” Thank you, dad. Henry has arranged for security at the gates. 

In case Paul tries to barge in. I hope you all understand.

I know Paul is in jail right now but he could be released on bail. ” 

 

Rose had taken Tom to the guest room. She had made sure all the arrangements were done as per Tom’s taste. After Tom had settled in, Peter and Henry had left.

” David, you did not find it necessary to consult us about this?

That man is going to stay at our house and no one knows until when. 

What if he never recovers? ” 

” Yes dad, mom is right. What if Tom doesn’t recover? 

Is he our permanent guest? 

Rose cannot get her patients home to stay with us.” 

” Have you both forgotten how helpful Tom was when Rose was in trouble? 

I suppose Rose is trying to….” 

Rose had heard the conversation and she interrupted before David could complete his sentence – 

” I had mentioned earlier that if there is a problem we will move out.

We can still do it first thing tomorrow morning. ” 

There was silence for few seconds. 

” And I would like to clarify that Tom will recover soon. 

He will gain back his memory. 

By chance, if the process takes a little longer than expected, don’t you all worry he is not going to be a permanent guest. Depending on his recovery, I will take the necessary steps.

I would like the three of you to discuss this and let me know by tomorrow morning if we can stay or leave. 

Good night.” 

Saying this, Rose had walked into her room.

 

The next morning, they had decided that Tom would stay here for some time until his condition gets better. 

” Thank you. As soon as I find that he is fit to stay on his own, he will move to his house. 

Till then I would appreciate it if everyone is nice to him.” 

 

David would spend time with Tom whenever possible. In absence of Rose, either Jennifer or  Catherine would serve him food. Peter and Henry would periodically visit Tom. Weeks had gone by and Tom’s health was slowly improving. Rose and Tom had developed feelings for each other. They were happy spending time together. Rose was hopeful that very soon everything is going to be fine. 

 

Mom, there is something I need to tell you – 

“Yes, Catherine what is it? You seem happy. ” 

” Yes, mom I am happy. It feels like I am flying.” 

” Flying? Wow, then I have to hear it. Tell me quickly Catherine.” 

” Mom, I think I am in love.” 

” In love? Who is the lucky one Catherine?” 

” Tom Mom. I love Tom.” 

 

Chapter -12

NEW BEGINNINGS

 

After Paul was arrested shortly on medical grounds, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital for therapy. His treatment was going well and he was showing signs of improvement. Tom had requested Rose to drop charges against him. She was hesitant at first but later she had agreed. 

 

” Tom? Do you love Tom? ” 

” Yes mom, I think I love him. 

I feel kind of strange when I see him when I think of him. 

So I suppose that feeling must be love.” 

” But Catherine I feel something is cooking between Rose and Tom.” 

” C’mon mom. That can’t be.

Rose is a doctor. She treats all her patients this way.

That doesn’t mean that she is in love with everyone.” 

” Catherine, I feel Tom is not like the rest of the patients. ” 

” Don’t worry mom. I will look into it.” 

“Catherine, you had told the same thing when it had come to Paul.

See where he has landed. 

Even if he recovers and comes back to Rose, do you think Rose and Paul will ever get back together? Never.” 

” Close the chapter of Paul mom. 

Now I need to focus on myself. 

I have devoted enough time to Rose.

If you feel that she has feelings for Tom, then I better grab him before it gets too late.” 

Saying this Catherine had walked away towards the guest room. The door was ajar. She peeped through it. She could hear the shower running in the bathroom. Catherine had entered the room and was going through Tom’s things. She took his t-shirt which was lying on the bed. She held it close to her and smelt it. Hugged it. Suddenly, she had heard footsteps approaching the room. Catherine had quickly placed the t-shirt back on the bed. 

 

” What are you doing here Catherine?” 

” Dad nothing I was just checking on Tom.” 

” Tom is in the shower. Let him get dressed and come outside. Then you can meet him. ” 

” Yes, dad sure. ” 

” Come out Catherine.” 

” Dad what is wrong with you. I am coming. ” 

David had stood at the door until Catherine had walked out and later he had closed the door. 

 

Catherine had gone out with her friends. David and Jennifer were having their evening tea. 

“Rose, where are you both going?

Tom had packed his bags. 

Are you leaving Tom?” 

” Dad, yes Tom is leaving. He is much better than earlier. 

He can take care of himself. 

Concerning his memory, he will soon be able to remember everything. 

Two reasons that I had got him here was – one because he wasn’t in a position to look after himself and the second being Paul. 

Now that Paul is in the hospital seeking treatment I don’t have to worry about that. 

Tom is moving into an apartment close to the hospital. 

I will frequently be visiting. 

Teresa is there to help him. 

She is a good housekeeper and an excellent cook. 

I am glad that Tom was able to recollect Teresa. ” 

 

David had kept his teacup aside and came near Tom. 

” We are happy that your health has improved. 

We are sure that very soon you will remember everything.” 

” Thank you, Sir, for letting me stay in your house. 

I had a great time here. ” 

Tom looked at Jennifer and thanked her too. 

” Rose told me that Catherine is out with her friends. 

Jennifer, tell her I said goodbye.” 

” Sure Tom I will tell her that.” 

Jennifer knew that Catherine would be upset after learning that Tom had left the house in her absence. 

 

Catherine was back home-

” Mom, hi. Where is everyone? ” 

” Your dad has gone to the fast food joint to check the inventory. ” 

“What about Rose and Tom? 

Rose had a weekly off today right? ” 

“Rose went to drop off Tom at his apartment.” 

” What? Do you mean Tom left? ” 

” Yes, he did. Since there were improvements in his health and Paul was not around to bother anymore, they both thought it was best for Tom to shift.” 

” Do you know where he has shifted?” 

” I don’t know the exact location but Rose said that it was close to the hospital. ” 

” Close to the hospital. Okay. So that she could visit him regularly right mom?” 

Jennifer nodded her head. 

” Mom what do I do with this Rose? 

She always comes in between. ” 

Jennifer was upset about seeing her daughter sad. There wasn’t much that she could do. 

” Catherine dear, it has nothing to do with Rose. 

How long can Tom stay here? 

It has been close to two months.

Some day he had to leave from here. 

That day happened to be today.

If you have feelings for Tom, then go tell him.” 

Catherine thought about what her mom had told. 

” I will think about it, mom. Thank you. 

I shall go get some rest. I have had my dinner. 

Good night. ” 

 

Ten days had gone by since Tom had left the house. Everything was back to normal in the house. Catherine wanted a break from all of this and hence she had planned for a small vacation along with her friends.

” Rose, how is Tom doing? ” 

” He is fine dad. 

Dad, I have invited Tom tomorrow for dinner. 

He was asking about you both and hence I thought it would be nice if I would call him. 

I hope it’s okay? ” 

” Yeah, sure darling. No problem.” 

” Thanks, dad. I shall inform mom about it.” 

Tom had come home the following day. David had told him that how earlier he was invited to dinner at their house. 

” Rose told me about it, Sir. 

She thought that in this way I might be able to recollect things. ” 

After their dinner, 

” Sir there is something I need to talk about. ” 

” Go ahead, Tom. I am listening.” 

” I want to marry your daughter Rose. ” 

David was surprised. He looked at Rose. 

” Rose, did you know about this?” 

” Yes, dad I knew. That was one of the reasons that Tom is here.

Or rather the important reason.

Dinner was just a pretext.”

“Sir I know that you may not trust me now since my memory is compromised. 

But what I have heard from Peter and Henry is that I had feelings for Rose earlier and I had discussed it with them.

Since Rose was going through a divorce and she needed time to settle I had not expressed it. 

Over the last few weeks, I have developed feelings for her. 

I love her Sir. I promise you I am going to keep her happy.” 

 

David was lost for words. 

He had placed in hands on Tom’s shoulder and said – 

” The day I saw you, I knew you were the one for Rose. 

What I wasn’t sure was that if Rose had feelings for you after all that she had gone through and if she was ready again. 

You both have my approval. ” 

Rose was jumping with joy. She ran to David and hugged her. 

” I love you, dad.” 

” So when are you both planning to get married?” Jennifer asked Rose. 

” Mom, Tom said that when he remembers everything that is when he wants to get married. 

Not like this.” 

” Oh okay. But then you are not sure when. ” 

” Very soon mom. Everything is going to be alright.” 

 

Just then Catherine had arrived from her vacation. David looked at her-

“Catherine, did you hear the good news?” 

Catherine looked at Jennifer. Jennifer knew that Catherine must have been hurt. She had felt helpless. Catherine then looked at Rose. Rose had smiled at her but Catherine did not bother to reciprocate. She later looked at  David and replied-

” Yes, dad I did.” 

 

Chapter -13

LUNCH DATE 

 

Catherine had walked up to Tom and had enquired about his health. She later had congratulated both of them. 

” I am tired. I need to get some rest. 

Good night.” 

Saying this Catherine had gone to her room. Jennifer had an impression that maybe Catherine was upset about the whole thing. 

David, Rose and Tom were sitting in the garden with a glass of wine to celebrate. Jennifer made an excuse telling that she had a headache and hence she would not join them and she would like to get some rest. When Jennifer saw that the three of them were in the garden chatting, she went to meet Catherine. Jennifer knocked on the door. From inside she heard Catherine ask – 

” Who is it?” 

” Cathy it’s me. Mom. 

Please open the door darling. ” 

” Mom I am extremely tired. Let’s talk tomorrow.

Good night mom.” 

 

David had suggested to Rose and Tom that they should get married at the earliest and not wait for Tom to regain his partially lost memory as they are in love now. Since Tom already had feelings for Rose even before the accident. If they are together in this condition, it will be easier for Tom to recover sooner as Rose would be staying with him. 

“I know dad what you saying is right. But..” 

Tom interrupted – 

” Yes, sir you are right. I never thought about it this way. ” 

Tom looked at Rose and said – 

” Let’s marry at the earliest. We will fix a date soon. 

Even if I don’t get my memory back, I am fine as long as I have you by my side.” 

Rose was delighted and she had agreed. 

 

After a few days, Rose and Tom had come up with their wedding date. 

” Three months from now Rose? That is a long time.” 

” I know dad. But I don’t want to do it in a hurry. 

Tom has just resumed work and I too need to plan my holidays. 

Besides, I want to enjoy this phase. 

Meanwhile, I am thinking that in the next few days, I will take Tom to the accident scene and see if there is any breakthrough. ” 

” As long as you are happy, I am fine with anything. ” 

 

On the other hand, Jennifer was worried about Catherine. She had noticed behavioural changes in Catherine. Whenever Jennifer had tried to talk to Catherine about Tom, she would deviate from the topic. 

” Catherine, what is going on here? 

I have been trying to talk to you ever since you got back from your vacation with your girls and you have been avoiding me. 

I know you are hurt about Tom.” 

” Mom, please not again. 

I am not hurt about Tom okay. “

” But you said you had feelings for him. 

Aren’t you angry or upset or hurt that Rose is going to marry him soon?” 

” No mom I am not. 

I told you that maybe I have feelings for him. 

But then this trip made me realise that I don’t. 

I guess it was just an infatuation.” 

“Are you sure?” 

“Mom, I know my feelings.

So if you will excuse me I am getting late. 

And yes no more discussion on Tom.” 

Jennifer had assumed that Catherine was trying to hide her feelings because she did not want to hurt her mother. Jennifer was also afraid that in the process hope Catherine does not commit any blunder that would damage any relationship. 

 

Rose had taken Tom to the restaurant for lunch. The same restaurant where the incident had occurred. Rose had hoped that Tom might be able to remember something. The table where Rose and Paul had lunch that afternoon was occupied.  

” Ma’am we have other tables in the garden which are free. 

You can choose from them.” 

” No-no-no. You don’t understand. I need to be seated on that particular table itself. 

It’s a long story. 

Ma’am, it’s just been a while since they have started their lunch. 

It is going to take time. Maybe another 45 minutes.

No problem. We will wait. Let us know when they are done. 

By then I will have a good appetite too.

You see last time I was here I couldn’t eat well. 

 

Tom pulled Rose aside and said – 

” What are you doing Rose? ” 

” Tom, you are asking me this? 

I am helping you out. 

I know honey. I get it. But this is not you. 

You are talking like your sister. ” 

Rose stared at Tom.

” I am sorry. I did not mean to bring her in between.

Let us do one thing. We will come here tomorrow for lunch. 

Let us make the reservation now and we will be back tomorrow.

Besides, I am starving.” 

” No Tom I want this to be done today. 

I have been waiting for this.” 

” Rose, please. You have to stop it okay. Don’t push it. ” 

Rose was in tears. Tom knew that she was trying her best to help him. 

” Okay fine let’s do it today. 

Let us make a reservation and come in an hour. 

Till then instead of waiting here, let us go elsewhere and have some food. 

Maybe some starters? We can have the main course here.

Please? ” 

Rose smiled and agreed to what Tom had said. They had made a reservation and came back in an hour.

 

Rose had narrated to Tom what had happened that noon. How she was sitting here along with Paul and Tom had happened to see her and walked up to Rose to talk to her. While there were talking, Paul had smashed the flower pot on his head and Tom had immediately fallen unconscious. Rose also pointed out the pot from where Paul had picked it up. Rose had not only narrated but also had made Tom stand in the same position where he was standing that day and it was like a rewind episode. They were also dressed in the same attire. 

” Try to recollect Tom. Please try.

I am sure you can. 

Paul was here, I was standing here and you were here.

Move a little to your right. 

Yep, exactly at this position. 

Are you able to …?”

Rose had noticed that Tom was feeling dizzy. She had immediately held him and made him sit on the chair and gave him water to drink. 

“Tom, what happened? Are you fine? ” 

” Rose my head is hurting. I am trying hard .” 

” Tom that is okay. I am sorry.

I have been so pushy. 

We will do this drill some other time. 

Let’s have lunch for now. 

Oh, the main course is here. I don’t want to miss it this time. ” 

Tom glanced at Rose and smiled. Rose winked at him. They both had their lunch and discussed their wedding plans. 

 

Chapter -14

WEDDING BELLS ?

 

Finally, the day had arrived. It was their wedding. Rose was dressed in her mother Ruby’s wedding gown. She was looking elegant. When David had seen Rose, his eyes were damp. He had recollected his wedding day to Ruby. It was a father-daughter moment. 

“Dad, no. Please don’t cry. 

I don’t like to see you this way. You know that. ” 

” It felt like Ruby was standing in front of me. 

Not a single day has gone by where I haven’t thought about her. 

We had made such wonderful memories together  .” 

“Dad, please stop crying. I miss mom too. 

I wish she was here today. She would be so happy.” 

Just then Jennifer had entered the room – 

“David, what are you doing here? ” 

Jennifer had noticed that Rose and David were in the middle of a conversation.

” I am sorry. Have I interrupted something important? 

If so I will come back later.

If not, then David you have to be with the guests. “

 

” No Jenn, it’s nothing. 

Just a father-daughter moment.

Good luck honey. 

Love you .” 

David had kissed Rose on her forehead and then left. 

Jennifer looked at Rose. Rose had wiped her tears.

” Oh, Rose. No, not now. You are going to spoil your make-up. ” 

Both of them had started laughing. 

” The weather is so pleasant today Mom. ” 

Saying this, Rose had walked towards the window. She was shocked to see Paul. Rose could not believe what she had seen. She had pinched herself to check if she was dreaming. Rose had closed and opened her eyes. 

It is Paul. She said to herself. 

” Mom, Mom ….” 

” What is it, Rose? You look nervous. 

Why are you cracking your knuckles so hard ? What is the matter ?” 

” Mom, Paul is here. I saw him in the parking lot.

I hope he does not ruin this day. It is my day. “

 

Rose was baffled as she did not know who had invited Paul to the wedding. It was impossible that he could know about the wedding. Jennifer and Catherine had looked composed but Rose was worried. She had feared that Paul might ruin the day. Tom was taking longer to get ready. Rose was becoming restless. When Tom had arrived at the door, she was relieved.  

 

As Rose had walked down the aisle along with her dad, she had feared that Paul might do some damage. She wanted to take the vows quickly. 

” Dad, can you walk a little faster? ” 

” Sweetheart, what is the matter with you? 

This is not how we rehearsed? Let’s walk along with the music.” 

Rose had looked around to see if she could spot Paul. She could not find him anywhere. She had looked at the crowd who had gathered for the wedding and smirked. Her eyes searched for Paul.

” Sweetheart, don’t be nervous. Everything is going to be alright. ” 

” Yes, Dad. ” 

 

On the flip side, Tom was disturbed too. He had tried his best not to present himself in that manner. He did not want to ruin it for Rose. So he had decided that he would wait until the rituals were completed. Yet the very thought that there was a message sewn into the lining of his coat which he was wearing at the moment, had disturbed him. So far he was getting calls and text messages and after a while, it had stopped. He had pondered over to himself that who and why would somebody do something like that to him on the wedding day. Tom was sure that someone wanted to ruin it for him and Rose. Various thoughts had been running in his mind parallelly.

 

Between this contemplation, 

” Tom, what are you thinking? Ready? “

Tom turned around and had seen Rose who had stood beside him. 

” Are you ready? Shall we begin? ” 

” Oh yes..yes of course. I have been waiting for this day. Let’s start .”

Both of them smiled at each other. Though their smiles were fake, neither of them had projected themselves in that fashion. 

They looked at the Priest and nodded their head. The priest then had begun the ceremony …

 

Rose and Tom had written their vows. Rose had not seen Paul anywhere around and hence she was a little relieved. But yet she had thought that until she and Tom were pronounced as husband and wife the fear that he might ruin it had still existed. After the vows were exchanged, the priest was about to give consent to their marriage and pronounce them as husband and wife –

” Rose Diana Parker 

‘ Do you take Tom Joseph Hunt as your lawful husband, 

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or worse, for richer or poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you apart? ‘ ” 

” Yes, I do ” -Rose looked at Tom and smiled. 

 

The priest then looked at Tom and repeated the same – 

“Tom Joseph Hunt-

Do you take Rose Daina Parker as your lawful wife, 

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better or worse, for richer or poorer,

in sickness and in health, to love and cherish until death do you apart? ‘ ” 

Tom was silent…

 

The Priest repeated –

” Tom do you take Rose to be your wife “- 

Tom had remained silent. 

” Tom, what’s going on? Say something.” 

” My head is hurting Rose. 

I am losing my balance.

Everything looks hazy.” 

” Someone please bring some water,” Rose said anxiously.

Tom had some water. After few minutes, the Priest asked – 

” Shall we continue? ” 

Rose looked at the Priest and said yes. She then looked at Tom and asked him if he was ready. 

” I am sorry. I can’t do this. ” 

” Tom what are you saying? 

It’s our wedding day. You had been waiting for this day. 

Sometime back you said you were excited. 

Please don’t do this. I request you. ” 

” No sorry I can’t. Not now. Not today. ” 

The crowd had suddenly turned silent. They were wondering what was happening. 

 

David got up from his seat and walked towards the dais. 

” Tom, what is going on?” 

Tom had got off the dais and had started walking towards the door. David looked at Tom and hurriedly walked behind him. He was calling out for Tom but Tom did not turn back. He was walking continuously.

Rose was crying. She had failed to understand what was happening. Then Rose shouted from the dais-

” Dad, dad. Please stop. 

Please stop dad.” 

David had stopped and turned around and looked at Rose. Rose was crying hard. 

” Let him go, dad. “

Rose was wiping her tears.

“Please let him go. 

Please let him go.

Please, please …let…him…go…”

Saying this she had sat on the floor and continued weeping.

 

Chapter -15

EVERY SWEET HAS ITS SOUR

 

The atmosphere in the house was like the family was grieving over the death of a loved one. 

” Catherine, Catherine.

Where are you?”

” Why are you shouting dad?”

Catherine came running out of her room when she had heard her dad calling out for her loudly. Rose too had come out from her room.

” What is the matter, David? I haven’t seen you like this earlier.” 

Catherine stood in front of David. David was extremely angry. Upon seeing Catherine, he had slapped her hard. All of them were shocked. 

” David. What is the matter with you? Why did you slap Catherine?” 

” Dad, what have I done?” 

” What have you done? You don’t know what you have done? ” 

” What did she do David?” 

David looked at Rose who was standing quietly.

” She is the reason why Rose’s marriage broke.” 

Rose was surprised to hear. She walked ahead and came closer to Catherine.

” David, what are you saying?” 

” Dad, are you crazy? Why would I do such a thing?” 

 

“I had heard you talking the other day to Jennifer that you had feelings for Tom. ” 

David looked at Jennifer in anger. 

” Is that right Jennifer? ” 

Jennifer did not say anything. David reiterated and this time it was in a much louder tone. 

” Yes, she did say that.” 

” What are you asking mom, Dad? 

Look at me. I will tell you. 

Yes, you had heard it right. 

But I think you did not pay attention to what I had said.

I had said that maybe I had feelings for Tom.” 

” I saw you in his room, Catherine. You were checking on his stuff.

Holding his t-shirt, smelling it, hugging and kissing it.” 

Catherine was silent for few seconds.

” Yes. I did. 

But I did not do anything to break her marriage.” 

 

“I met Tom today. 

He told me that in the last few months, someone was calling him, texting and sending him letters. ” 

” About what dad?” Rose asked curiously. 

” Bad things about you were said. Requests were made not to marry you.

You were still in love with Paul and you were unable to forget him and many more things. 

And surprisingly Paul had shown up too. 

Suddenly those calls and messages had stopped after few days. 

Then on the wedding day, in the lining of his court, Catherine had left a message.

Wow, Catherine what a place to leave a message. 

Such that it doesn’t fall off or so that no one could take it from his pocket.

Something like this only you can think of.”

 

David had pulled out the paper in which the message was written and started reading it aloud – 

I have warned you several times in the past not to marry Rose. I thought you would consider it. But since you are going to take this extreme step of marrying Rose today, I could not stop myself from warning you again in a hope that you will stop it immediately from making this blunder and ruining your life. DO NOT MARRY ROSE. Spare yourself. I repeat DO NOT MARRY ROSE. She is not worth it. You will be thankful to me for the rest of your life.

 

All the eyes were on Catherine. David folded the paper and kept it back in his pocket.

You invited Paul right, Catherine? 

You were in touch with him even after Rose had divorced. 

Paul told me everything about it.” 

” Yes, I was in touch with Paul. I wanted Rose and Paul together.” 

” Yes, you wanted them together because you wanted to get rid of Rose.” 

” Dad I did not write those letters or make any calls. 

Believe me. ” 

Catherine had looked at Rose. 

” Rose trust me. I did not do it.” 

” Then it must be Paul who did it, David. I am sure it must be Paul.

How can you trust him?

Since Rose had turned him to the cops he wanted to take revenge and hence he did all of this.” 

 

” I did it. I have been doing this.” 

Rose was quick to respond. Everyone looked at Rose in surprise. There was complete silence for few seconds. Just then there was a knock at the door.

” It must be Tom. I had asked him to come. ” David had opened the door.

Tom was standing at the door. 

” Come, Tom,  come inside. ” 

“Did Paul arrive?” Tom was curious to know.

” David, you invited Paul as well?” Jennifer was anxious.

 

” Hello, sorry am I late. 

I had to park the car one block away.” Paul was panting as he had come running quickly.

” You are just in time Paul. Join us. 

Tom arrived just now.” 

” Oh okay. I hope I haven’t missed much.” 

” My daughter, Rose says that she has been writing those letters.” 

Paul had started laughing. He was uncontrollable.

” Rose, you have written those? For Christ’s sake. 

I would never believe.” 

David wasn’t surprised. He knew that Rose would never do anything like that. 

” I believe in you, Rose. ” Tom replied faintly.

 

” Cut the crap, Rose. What is going on? I don’t know if you wrote it or not. 

But everyone listen to me I am making it loud and clear I did not write it.” Catherine was stern. She further continued-

When I had been out on a vacation, I met Steven. 

Since it was early, I did not know what I felt for him.

I did not want it to be like how I had feelings for Tom. 

I did not want to share earlier because when I got back, the wedding discussion and preparation was on.

You all will think that I am trying to steal the spotlight from Rose and hence I waited. 

But then as time went by, those feelings grew stronger and thicker.

Steven and I are dating now. 

Later, the wedding was called off and so I had to wait again and I thought that at an appropriate time I would let you all know about it. 

So I am clear. I have nothing to do with it.” 

Saying this, Catherine looked at Paul.

 

“What, why are you looking at me like that? 

I haven’t done this shit.

I am a changed person now. 

I am sorry Rose for all that I have done in the past.

Please forgive me. 

Tom, I am extremely sorry. 

It’s not the same Paul who is standing here now in front of you people today. 

Trust me.

I was invited to the wedding. I don’t know who had sent the invitation. Hence I had shown up. ” 

Paul pulled out the invitation card and showed it.

 

” Yes, it’s not the same Paul but someone worst,” Catherine spoke in rage.

” Catherine stop it.” David was annoyed with the blame game.

” Dad, you don’t understand you believe in Paul but not in your daughter?” 

Rose interrupted –

” I am telling you all, I have written those letters. 

I knew Cathy had feelings for Tom and I thought in this way I might be helping her to find her love.

I had no idea about Steven.

I am sorry everyone for the trouble I have caused.” 

Jennifer looked at Catherine –

” Even I had no idea about Steven, Catherine. You did not tell your mother either.” 

” Mom, as I said, I wanted to share it later. ” 

Rose interrupted again –

” Okay, now the matter is clear. I have done this. I sincerely apologise. ” 

Rose looked at her dad – 

” Dad I did not mean to…” 

David stopped Rose from speaking further.

” Rose darling. Stop it. I know you will never do it. I don’t understand who are you trying to save.” 

David looked at Catherine.

 

Tom walked up to Rose and held her hands.

” Rose I am sorry. I really am.

It’s not that I had lost faith in you and that is the reason for the wedding being cancelled.

I don’t know what had happened to me that day.

The reason I did not tell you about those calls and letters is that I trust you.

I did not want to upset you. Plus after a while, they had stopped.

The next day, after our wedding, I had been to the restaurant.

” Our cancelled wedding Tom.” 

” Yes, Rose our cancelled wedding.

I had been to the restaurant.

I was able to recollect everything.

Every single thing. My memory is back.

I am fine now.” 

Rose was happy to hear that. 

Tom stood on his knees –

” Rose Diana Parker, will you marry me?” 

Rose looked at Tom. She was silent.

” Rose my knees are hurting. Say a yes soon.” 

” Please get up Tom. Please.

I respect you. I love you.

But over the past couple of years, a lot has happened in my life.

I need to settle down, swallow and digest.

I need to compose myself.

I am sorry I can’t accept your proposal right now.” 

 

Everyone was mute. 

“Sweetheart, we all are there for you.

We know you haven’t done anything.” 

” Dad it’s not about the letter. 

It’s about me. I need some time out for myself.

I have taken up a job in another hospital. Far from here. 

I will be shifting there. At least for a year.

Let us see how things shape up.

I will stay in touch with you all.” 

” Rose, what are you saying dear?” 

” Yes, dad. Please don’t stop me. I need this for myself. ” 

Having said this Rose had walked into her room and started packing her stuff. Tom and  Paul left the house. Sad David also had walked into his room. Only Jennifer and Catherine were standing in the living room.

” Mom, I know Rose would not have written the letter. I am very sure about it.

Paul says he hasn’t written too.

I think he is a changed person I can make out from his behaviour and so we can give him the benefit of doubt. 

I certainly did not write it. Then who did it?” 

 

Jennifer went closer to Catherine and whispered in her ears- 

” I DID IT.”

Catherine could not believe what she had just heard. She looked at her mom and raised her eyebrows. Jennifer grinned at Catherine and winked.

 

**********

 

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