Two dark bodies moved on the bed in sensuous rhythm; hot skin over hot blood. Their silhouettes flickered and stretched along the red, streak painted walls, cast there by small lamps and rows of candles. Arms and legs clenched and slid up and down around one another but hardly ever apart, skin always in contact.
The man rolled his hips, following the muted beat of heavy dance music emanating through the walls from the downstairs club. The woman, curled up, her legs wrapped around his waist and digging the heels of her feet into the small of his back, loosed soft, breathy gasps with each of his steady, gliding thrusts. His hands were constantly feeling their way around her dark olive-brown skin.
Their eyes were fixed on another, linked by some invisible string, interrupted only with a dreamy blink or upward roll of the pupil. When they kissed, their lips barely dragged against one another, preferring to dart their tongues out to touch and to taste.
The woman arched her head back over the pillow, her long dark reddish-brunette hair splayed out like the rays of the sun, and groaned. She licked her lips and cooed his name, "Rev..."
Revish looked at her and smiled, never ceasing his motions. He never said her name though. Even as his rugged frame melded into her soft, voluptuous curves, his thoughts drifted. He was looking past her beautiful emerald eyes, the sharp angled features of her face, her flowing locks of silken hair.
Revish was seeing another face even as he brought the expression on the one under him to the brink of ecstasy. He saw the face of someone very distinctly different of the woman he was making love to, distinctly different of all the women he had ever brought to his bed.
For the last two weeks he couldn't shake the image from his mind. Starting just as barely a passing thought, it had grown and breathed life into his increasingly jaded soul. He saw her face even when he was making love to another woman. Maybe even more so.
"Ahh! Rev," the woman he moved inside of now moaned.
He could only think of her.
* * * * *
"So when is your man going to make his grand entrance tonight?" Nara asked her friend as the two women entered the club, arms linked together.
Rekha spun her small purse in her hand whimsically. "Oh he'll be here! He's always here," she said, then clutching at Nara's arm she added, "God I hope he's here!"
Nara laughed. She chided her friend, "You're so pathetic! When are you going to make a move on him already so I don't have to keep coming to this place with you?"
The two had been coming to the Earthly Delights nightclub almost every evening for the past two weeks since they had arrived in Kolkata. They had come to the city for a month on holiday from Canada keeping a promise to do so during the year after they had finished their undergraduate studies. They were staying at Rekha's uncle's one bedroom apartment while he was away on business until the day before they had to leave.
On the first day of their arrival, instead of trying to fight off jet lag, they sought out a nearby club, just a harrowing ten minute cab ride away through the winding, crowded streets. On that very first night, Rekha spotted "him" and from then on, she pleaded her case to her friend to go to the club each night and basically ogle him from across the bar or dance floor.
Nara only ever protested in jest. Truth was, she really liked the place. It wasn't a large or a well known club; not found in the guide books and definitely for the locals. Yet, there was a sort of frenetic atmosphere that reminded her of the Bollywood movies her friend forced her to watch. She enjoyed the looping, heavy electro-beat, Hindi dance music, the smell of spice or floral scent in the air, and some really entrancing, rhythmic, body-bending moves happening on the dance floor. The club goers were not only scandalously attractive men and women but they had energy to spare and flaunt and they did so with a vigour she could only envy.
She also never felt as self-conscious in the dark environment and that type of social gathering.
Out on the streets during the day, the young Korean-Canadian woman stood out. Her pale skin was all the more noticeable when she was surrounded on the street by the myriad of brown hues of the locals. The whites of their eyes were bright while hers were less evident through their narrower, more slender crescent shape. Even after her skin had tanned to a honey maple colour after two weeks and Rekha had introduced her to the people in the neighbourhood, she was still openly referred to as "the pale girl". However that was infinitely better than the "yellow girl".
Nara and Rekha settled into a lounge booth together and ordered a couple of drinks. Nara watched her friend with a knowing smile as Rekha anxiously scanned the club. Unable to locate her man, she pouted her lower lip. Nara rolled her eyes and grabbed her by the wrist.
"Come on, you," she said loudly over the noise of the club, "We're gonna go burn off some of that nervous energy!"
She pulled her friend off of the chair and led her to the dance floor. Soon the pair of them was caught up in the rave, waving their hands and swaying their bodies in tempo and rhythm with the masses.
* * * * *
Revish pushed through the drapes covering the door that opened into the club's office. He held them aside as a striking woman followed him through primping her hair and wearing a subtly lurid smile on her face. She waved to him as she passed by and he offered a slight nod in return. Vishnu opened up the door on the other side of the office to the stairway that led down to the club. Both men watched as the woman proceeded out the door with a dainty tug at the bottom of her miniskirt.
Revish did up the bottom two buttons of his shirt, leaving his chest exposed between the folds. A quick run of his fingers through his neck length, slicked-back hair and he looked like he had just stepped outside to begin the day.
His friend Vishnu, shook his head and chuckled, "Too cool."
"That's the way to be, my friend," Revish replied, snapping his fingers and pointing at his friend. “But a man is only as solid as his partner. Remember that.”
Vishnu looked down the empty staircase, the indelible image of the woman who had just passed as fresh as her perfume that lingered in the air. “You are a rock then,” he said with an admiring grin.
Revish strolled around behind the desk and sat down. He looked at a few ledgers, tapped something into the computer and then said, "How are we doing tonight?"
"Good," Vishnu nodded, sitting down in front of him, "Good crowd. Doing good business. Good women. Ha! But you know that first hand already."
Revish leaned back in his chair, rubbing his finger under his lip as he stared at the computer monitor. He tapped a few more keys and instantly the club's security camera windows appeared on the screen.
"Already on the prowl again," Vishnu commented. He always was in awe of his friend's voraciousness. Lately, he seemed even more intent than usual.
Revish winked at his compatriot then refocused his attention on the monitor. He rolled through the cameras, scanning the people in the club, his eyelids narrowing over grey-green pupils. After a moment, he paused and leaned forward spotting something, someone, in the picture. He tapped the screen then quickly stood up.
Vishnu looked at the screen. He couldn't see what or who had caught the man's attention. He just shook his head and then stood up, walked to the door and opened it.
As Revish walked past him and descended the stairs towards the beckoning crowd, music, and heat.
Vishnu grinned and remarked, "And the Prince descends from his Heaven for the evening."
* * * * *
"Okay it's been twenty minutes. Go already," Nara insisted.
She and Rekha were back in their booth. She had poured two glasses of "courage" into her increasingly nervous friend since they saw the manager of the nightclub make his customary appearance for the night. Now he was seated in a booth almost directly across from them.
"He's looking right at you!" Nara said.
"No he isn't!" Rekha said with a giddy smile. She blushed as she looked away.
"There're no women around him. Now's your chance," Nara said.
All Rekha could do was offer Nara an over-anxious smile, like a puppy unsure if she should go for the ball or not.
Nara rolled her eyes. This was not her friend, not the one she had known all through university. Rekha was a beautiful girl, tall and curvaceous, with a mane of rouge-licked brunette hair that flowed like water to her butt, and a lovely face highlighted by sparkling chestnut eyes. Like Nara, she had confidence and sass -- usually. Rekha often had the honour of using a cool gaze to turn down at least a couple of guys whenever they were at the clubs back home.
Now however, Nara could practically smell Rekha soaking her panties whenever she laid eyes on this guy.
guy, Revish, was a hot commodity. At least it confirmed to Nara that it took a prime stud to knock her friend off her game. "Tall, dark, and handsome" was a cliché that he settled quite nicely into with his high sturdy frame, wavy dark hair, and swarthy mocha-brown skin. He sported that characteristic Indian facial stubble that added a shadow of mystery to his handsome features. A fusion of pretty-boy and rugged-man, the manager of the club seemed to have it all in the looks department. He obviously had been peeled off the cover of GQ magazine and damn if he wasn't completely aware of that. For Nara, the obvious cockiness he exuded in his swagger and his too cool smile was a bit off-putting. The way women fawned around him and the way he so enjoyed it was also another mark against him as far as she was concerned.
And the women couldn't keep his reputation to themselves. He was a notorious player but that just seemed to excite his “fans”. She saw it first hand in Rekha. But then again, maybe it was his supposed "skills" that kept them coming. The descriptions were vague and she only wondered once or twice what a guy had to do to earn such a reputation yet still remain desired by the women.
Whatever. Nara had never for a moment before going on the trip entertained the thought that she was looking to get laid in India. Witnessing Mr.Hotpants over there hadn't shaken that resolve either. Although, in the back of her head, she always sort of admired her stunning friend's sometimes reckless abandon. There were those who sneered at Rekha saying she "slept around". It was obvious to Nara, however, that Rekha chose carefully and she always got the man that she wanted.
After a few more minutes, with the atmosphere of the club swelling by the moment, she realized Rekha was not going to peel her butt from her chair. Nara tossed another shot into her own mouth, swallowed hard on the liquid fire and stood up.
"Get up," she said, wincing from the alcohol burning her throat.
"What?" Rekha looked up at her, lost.
"I said get your ass up out of that chair," she snapped. She had enough of the sad-girl Rekha. She wanted her fiery friend back. The liquor moving quickly through her blood now, she grabbed Rekha by the forearm and yanked her to her feet.
"Wait! Wait Nara! Stop!" The taller woman slapped at her hand and tried to squat back down.
Nara was already trudging over to the other booth, her protesting friend in tow. Rekha's spiked heels slid along the floor.
"Time to say hello to Mr.Hotpants," Nara growled, grinning.
* * * * *
"So what'll it be? What'll it be for the evening?" Vishnu asked aloud, patting his hands together and scanning the club. He wasn't referring to his own possibilities.
Leaning back into the cushions of his booth, Revish took a long sip from his glass. From the moment he came down guys came over to shake his hand and pat him on the back. When he sat down in his seat the parade of women began strutting before him like models on his own private catwalk. They were looking for him to level the gaze of his cool green eyes on them and toss them a tight-lipped smile, his silent request to join him by his side.
But tonight he offered none of them his attention. It was squarely on one particular person who never walked by his table, who never offered more than a polite hello when he sidled up to her around the club. It wouldn't be his style, but after two weeks and eight visits to his club now, he was through with waiting.
He was just about to stand up when two women in pretty little dresses stepped in front of the lounge table holding hands, or it looked more like gripping their hands together. They both were flushed red in the face.
"Hi! How's it going tonight?" the first woman chimed. She had long, satin-black hair and wore a burgundy satin party dress which smoothed nicely over the honey-milk skin of her slender body. Another unmistakable characteristic about her: she wasn't Indian.
Revish simply looked up at her.
"Um, this is my friend, Rekha," the woman continued, presenting another woman with a wave of her free hand. Her friend, who even through her beaming smile couldn't hide her anxiousness, was a fine example of Indian beauty. The forest green silky dress she wore looked lovely on her impeccably smooth brown skin and tall, curvy frame.
"Oh, I'm Nara by the way. But like I said, this is my best friend Rekha." The woman kept on going, "And she's really great and beautiful. Don't you think she's beautiful?"
Revish's eyes shifted from Rekha then back to Nara.
"Like the setting sun itself," he said.
Nara gave her friend a subtle nudge. Rekha immediately began to relax a bit, though the blush on her face was still there.
"Like the sun! What a coincidence! That's great because she thinks you're pretty hot too, like some...uh...other star!" Nara was talking faster than she was thinking. Without missing a beat and before Rekha could club her over her head she added, "So how about we sit down here and you two celestial bodies get better acquainted?"
There was a long pause. Revish remained unmoving, save a barely noticeable crooked grin, in his seat as he stared at them. Nara could feel Rekha begin to squeeze her hand tighter and tighter as each half-second passed. She squeezed back.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
The man turned his twinkling eyes onto Rekha. He stood up and took her soft hand gently in his. "By all means," he said and led her around the table. He shook hands with Nara and said, "My name is Revish."
Nara nodded, grinning. "Erm, yeah. Way ahead of you. No business card needed, trust me."
He introduced them to his friend and business partner Vishnu, then all of them settled into the booth. Revish draped his arm casually around Rekha. He smiled at her and said, "Your friend is quite the sales woman. And we know good sales people in India."
They all laughed. Revish never took his gaze off of Rekha. She was locked onto him as well.
"But it always helps when the sales person has such enchanting wares to sell and understands the needs of the customer," he spoke with a sweet tone.
Rekha dropped her eyes down, smiled and blushed.
They nestled in closer to one another.
Wow. That had gone easier than Nara had thought it would. Her friend had quickly settled back into her comfort zone. Watching them, she again took a moment to assess Revish. His lines were just on the safe side of cheese-ball, probably because he said them so smoothly. The gold necklace and rings were a bit excessive for her tastes, but somehow it all worked together for this guy. He certainly had Rekha under his spell. Somehow knowing his attentions were focused on her friend, Nara felt comfortable to take her time and thoroughly check this guy out up close.
Alright, he was a stud. Maybe under different circumstances...
“No. No. NO!”
Nara caught herself, shaking the unnecessary, and unexpected, thought from her head.
Still looking at them, she leaned over to Vishnu who was also observing the show. "I think I could use a drink," she said.
* * * * *
The night went really well for all concerned. Rekha and Revish couldn't keep their eyes off of one another and that contact soon included their hands. The fact that she had made the move so successfully for her friend gave Nara enough satisfaction to accept that she had become a third wheel. Vishnu certainly was accepting of that role.
Actually, Revish surprisingly took the time to include Nara in the conversations and offer her drinks. The trio even made it to the dance floor a couple of times. Even though she was sharing her dance with her friend, it was obvious that Rekha enjoyed being in the spotlight with the prince of the club.
After a while Revish excused himself from the dance floor saying that he'd wait for them at the booth. Nara and Rekha continued to dance. The heat of the club and the quick-beat music kept their hearts pounding.
Nara leaned up to Rekha's ear and said, "So what do you think?"
Rekha smiled and answered, "I want him. Oh my God, I want him so bad!" She continued to lock a seductive gaze towards the man seated in the booth.
Nara leaned back. Her brows arched upward and her she pursed her red lips. She blinked then said, "Wow. Really?"
"I've never wanted to fuck a guy so much in my life, Nara," Rekha replied. She was smiling but there was a hard-edge in her eyes which were burning holes through the masses on the dance floor and locking on to Revish in the booth.
Nara stopped dancing. Of course, she always knew Rekha was wet for the guy but she had never seen such sexual hunger in her friend before; definitely not this quickly and definitely not for what would likely amount to a one night stand. Rekha seemed always in control of her sexual impulses when it came to choosing her men.
Before she could say anything though, Rekha was already walking back towards the booth.
Another hour passed and there were no signs of let up between Revish and Rekha and in the rest of the club for that matter. With the bolts of electricity practically shooting off from the two of them, Nara finally did feel like the kid on the outside of the club house.
Rekha only half-heartedly asked if Nara wanted her to go back to the apartment with her. Revish seemed more sincere when he asked her to stay. Nara excused herself anyway and insisted Rekha stay.
"Call her a taxi, Vishnu," Revish said to his friend. He stood up and took both of Nara's hands in his. She smiled when he gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
"It was lovely meeting you and I look forward to seeing you again," he said. Then he added, "I am certain I would enjoy getting to know you more before you leave our country."
For a moment as she looked up at him, she thought she glimpsed a twinkle in his eyes as they ever so slightly narrowed upon her.
Rekha came around the table and walked with Nara to the exit.
"So will you be okay on your own tonight?" she asked her.
"Um, I think I'm supposed to ask you
that!" Nara replied.
Rekha laughed and hugged her friend. She turned and strode back to Revish as a princess would towards her prince.
"Have fun tonight," Nara said for no particular reason then went out to the taxi.
* * * * *
Nara woke up in bed feeling the heat begin to lick a thin film of perspiration on her body. She raised her head from the pillow and frowned in the dark then she groaned and flopped back down onto the mattress. As it had done so a couple of times before since they arrived, the power in the building was out. She knew this because the air-conditioner had gone silent and it didn't take long for the heat of the city to creep its way into the apartment. She threw off the blankets and kicked off her pajama leggings. Yet even in just a halter top and panties the warm uncomfortable air seeped into her pores.
Adding to the problem, with the hum of the air conditioner gone, the sounds of the sleepless streets outside filled her tired brain even though she was fifteen stories above them.
Nara sighed, draping her forearm over her face. She'd just have to wait it out in the dark.
Suddenly, in the darkness and silence, she heard a soft, barely audible voice. She lifted her arm from her eyes and said, "Rekha?"
There were more unintelligible noises. Nara looked over to the fold-out cot beside the bed. Empty. Rekha hadn't come home from the club yet.
More noises and voices came from the living room beyond the bedroom door. Nara's pulse added a few beats.
"Rekha?" she repeated, whispering.
She sat up on the side of the bed and after a moment she stood and tip-toed over to the door. It was definitely voices she was hearing but she couldn't make out what they were saying. She peeked through a small crack in the doorway. Her small eyes instantly widened at the sight.
Even though the power in the building was out, the lights from the buildings across the street filled the small dark living room. The shimmering white light cast two figures on the floor in a glimmering silhouette. Their creamy brown nude bodies were aglow, bluish-white highlights etching the curves and edges along their skin.
Nara backed up, blinking.
"Ahh," a soft female gasp trilled through the crack in the door. It sent a flutter through Nara's heart.
Crouching down, she leaned up close to the door and peered through the crack. She tried to convince herself that she was doing so just to be sure of what she was seeing.
The couple was kneeling on the rug. Rekha pressed her back against the bare chest of Revish, draping her long hair over his shoulder. Her head tilted to the back as their mouths folded over one another slowly, gently. The man's hands reached around, one enjoying the feel of the woman's supple breast the other sinking down between her thighs, staying there as he rolled his loins behind her. Rekha matched his rhythm, her smooth belly undulating, the curve in her back arching sharply. It was like they were still dancing the way they moved and flowed with one another.
Nara watched her friend from behind the door just a few feet away. She listened to her whispery gasps and silky moans and could hear both of them breathing deeply yet steadily. Rekha's body was glistening and every so often as they moved, Nara caught a glimpse of her face in the glow of light. Rekha was in ecstasy. Her face showed sheer delight, her mouth yawning open and her eyes showing no strain or anxiety. Her brow suddenly twinged and she inhaled with a sharp gasp, her body stiffening momentarily, before loosing a long breathy moan.
The sound alone rattled around like moths deep within Nara's gut.
However erotic her friend looked at this moment, it was the man moving behind her who demanded Nara's attentions. He was covered from the light from the window by Rekha's body, but his dark silhouette still revealed a sculpted body, with long, sinewy muscles. He moved with such precision, rolling and bucking gently against and into Rekha, as if Revish was following some unheard music or casually guiding a horse down a path. Even in the dark, Nara could see his abdomen contract and release as he relentlessly pleasured the woman before him. His movements were like his looks, handsome and confident.
Nara couldn't pull herself away from the doorway. She watched as their bodies shifted. Revish withdrew from Rekha to reposition her on the floor. It was barely a glimpse but as he slid between Rekha's thighs, Nara saw him handling his hardened shaft in the darkness. Once again she blinked and gasped, pulling her head away from the doorway.
She gathered her thoughts together, rattling the fluster from her head, then quickly peeked again. By that time, though, Revish was once again moving inside Rekha.
The top of Rekha's head faced towards Nara, as she was rolled up into a ball, hips raised off the floor, her long legs wrapping around Revish's back, locked at the ankles. He glided his hips, leaning over her on his hands and knees. He pressed his body over her, always keeping the same slow and steady beat of passion, sinking his dark cock deep within Rekha. Her gasps and sighs increased rapidly. Even in this heat and all the energy sizzling from the two of them, Nara couldn't help but note that Revish barely seemed to be breaking a sweat. His muscles tensed and tightened, his body was in constant motion, yet he showed no signs of fatigue.
there watching, Nara already felt hot and exhausted.
Nara's face was practically wedged into the crack of the doorway. She couldn't stop herself from watching Revish move so fluidly. She could only imagine what Rekha was feeling, though she told herself that she really didn't want to.
So caught up in his motions, she didn't know how long it was before she realized he had raised his head, no longer looking down at Rekha. His gaze was peering through the dark, right towards the gap in the doorway. He paused in his strokes for just a second, only a second. That's when Nara thought she saw a smile shift onto his lips as he looked towards her way, a diamond spark on his pupils as they caught the light through the window.
The young woman at the door slipped backwards in her seat, startled. She pushed away from the doorway, staring at the crack she had been peeking through. She had seen his eyes, his shimmering green eyes.
But he hadn't seen her, she thought. He couldn't
"Mmm!" Rekha's voice slipped into the bedroom.
The incessant cooing and gasping of her friend chased Nara back into bed. She buried her face under a pillow, despite the heat. But while the pillow dulled the sounds of building desire coming from the next room, her mind was able to fill in the blanks all too easily. Her body was slick with perspiration. She swallowed hard as she listened to the couple's intimate encounter flow towards a groaning and growling peak.
Rekha's breaths pitched sharply before she let out a deep sigh.
Nara was stunned to discover her hand had moved down between her clenched thighs, her palm cupping the crotch of her panties. They were moist. She barely could stop from caressing herself. Her own breathing was unsteady as she sucked in warm, stale air. She clutched at her damp top as her friend's moans slipped through the pillow and rattled her to her core.
"Ahh! AHH! Oh God!"
"Shit," Nara squeaked through gritted teeth, her eyes squeezed tight. Succumbing to the incessant urges within her, she slipped her fingers under the waistband of her panties. Perspiration rolled down her face as she swallowed and sighed. Her other hand made its way under her top. She cupped her tender, round breasts and caressed her taut nipples with her fingers. When Rekha cooed a sultry moan, she sank a finger into herself and croaked a quiet, quivering groan. “Uh-uhh...”
It was way too hot. As each seductive minute passed, the temperature in both the living room and the bedroom rose quickly.
"MMnnn!" Nara moaned hoping her voice would be lost amongst the sounds of ecstasy coming from the other room. She bit down on her lower lip and dragged the side of her perspiration covered head against the sheets. Her panties were pushed down to her thighs, her top gathered over the top of her breasts. Her bare skin found little relief from the heat against the bed sheets. She rubbed her clit rapidly and hooked a damp finger into herself and pulled and teased her aching nipples. Every muscle was clenching. Her body twisted and arched on the bed. Faster and faster her fingers swirled and teased, her body in electrified frenzy.
"Re-Rev!" Rekha called out followed by a long breathy groan.
"Rev," Nara sighed. She had no time to think about what she had just uttered, instead burying a languid groan into her pillow and yielding quickly to the dripping, warm release from within her body.
* * * * *
The electricity kicked in just as Nara heard the apartment door close. The air-conditioner mercifully heaved back to life. She listened as Rekha walked into the bedroom and then into the bathroom. She remained motionless in the bed as her friend climbed onto the cot beside her.
Thinking for a few seconds in the dark, Nara finally said, "Rekha?"
"Nara? Are you still..." Rekha paused, "How long have you been awake?"
Still without moving, Nara replied, "Not long. I just heard the front door close a few minutes ago. Did you just come home?"
There was another long pause then Rekha said, "Yeah. Actually Revish wanted to take me home so he walked me up to the apartment."
"Oh, okay," Nara said and feigned a yawn. She continued, "So did you have fun tonight?"
"Mm-hmm," Rekha replied barely containing a little laugh in her voice.
"Good," Nara said pulling a pillow close to her chest, "Tell me about it in the morning."
"'Night," Nara sighed, then added, "By the way..."
"I didn't know you were so flexible."
* * * * *
The crowds at the outdoor market began to build just after the first rays of sunlight found their way down onto the city streets. Nara enjoyed these early morning walkabouts amongst the mats and stalls, checking out the produce and soaking in the energy of the sellers and consumers. The narrow walkways were still cool at this time of day. The cacophony of smells of floral, perfumes, and spice, the brilliant colours of food and fine woven material, the sound of haggling...it was a great wake up call in the morning.
It was her alone time. She was already an early riser as compared to Rekha. After last night, however, she didn't even bother to wake her friend up and ask her if she wanted to join her on her stroll. The way she was spread out on the cot, Rekha looked like she needed to recover from the previous evening. Who wouldn't?
Actually, strolling around without a plan was a good way for Nara to recover her own thoughts from the previous night.
Shopping for breakfast, Nara handed her Rupees over to a man standing beside a cart of various nuts and fruit. He passed her a small bag of plump dates and she added it to the contents of her tote bag. She was about to thank him when she felt somebody press up against her back.
"You're paying too much," a male voice said from behind.
Nara leaned to the side and looked back. Through the lenses of her sunglasses she looked up at a smiling, dark handsome face.
"Huh? Revish!" she said. Her mind, along with her heart, instantly seized up.
Revish looked over her shoulder towards the stall-owner. "Is that the way we treat guests in our city?" he said to the man.
The older man just shrugged. Nara continued to stare up at Revish whose smile had disappeared as he glared at the stall-owner. Her mouth opened to say something but nothing came out.
After a long moment of silence, the man at the cart blinked and sighed. He filled another small bag with some nuts and dried apricots and held it out to Nara.
"What? No, that's alright," she said, startled by the sudden offer.
"Take it," Revish said, his smile returning. "The man is being generous."
Nara thanked the vendor profusely as she took the bag from him. She felt flushed in the cheeks, uncertain if it was because of the extra bag or something else. She turned and walked away, fully aware that Revish was following close behind.
"Getting some breakfast?" he asked.
"Yeah," she nodded. She struggled for something else to say then finally added, "I wasn't expecting to see you so soon again. You surprised me."
"Just good fortune to run into one another, I suppose," he replied.
"You're up early. I would have thought after last night..." her thoughts trailed off.
"Well, uh, Rekha got in late last night," Nara stammered slightly, "I couldn't wake her up this morning."
"I hope that means that she had an enjoyable evening," he said.
Nara chewed her lower lip, her eyes darting left and right behind her sunglasses. Images of what occurred in the apartment living room filled her mind. She was still hoping that Revish hadn't actually caught her watching them. She had already stressed herself enough trying to block out how busy her own hands and fingers had become at the same time.
"There's so much to choose from here," she finally said, changing the subject. She focused on the aisles of produce lining the market.
"Allow me to do some bargaining for you," Revish said, stepping ahead of her and heading to a stall selling bread.
Nara stopped and watched the tall, suave man work the vendors. He was charming but undeniably aggressive as well. As he moved from stall to stall, the owners were literally thrusting food into his hands, his handsome gaze and confident smile supplementing the Rupees he paid them.
Revish finished negotiating for a small jar of honey. He turned to hand it Nara but the woman had moved away. After a minute, he found her conversing with more vendors. He watched her for a moment. Looking relaxed and natural as she spoke with the locals and admired their wares, her whole face brightened and opened like a rose when she smiled, despite her sunglasses.
She crouched down in front of a jewelry seller displaying his merchandise on a rug. Revish knelt down beside her and followed her line of sight to a large ornate necklace, a gold chain decorated with a complex arrangement of multi-coloured stones.
"Like it?" he asked.
Nara shook her head, "No. No. Way too showy for me." Still, he noticed her eyes lingering on the delicate piece for a few seconds more before she stood up.
As she checked her now full tote-bag, Revish asked, "Going back to the apartment?"
The woman cocked her head and thought for a moment then said, "Mmm, I'll let Rekha sleep in longer. Maybe I'll just find a place to sit outside and eat."
She was surprised to see the man offer her his hand. She stared at his outstretched palm uncertain of the gesture.
"Come," he said, pointing his thumb towards the main street, "It's too noisy around here. I know of a quiet place. Come on."
Looking up into his cool green eyes, like marbled malachite, his brown lips drawn to a calm smile, Nara hesitated.
"You're not going to eat all of that by yourself are you?" he asked with a wink.
"Okay," she nodded and walked ahead without taking his hand.
Revish continued to smile as he followed her close behind.
After giving the driver some quick directions, the two of them rode a taxi through the labyrinth of streets and maze of traffic. They drove for about ten minutes but they could very well have only gone maybe a couple of kilometers before Revish told the driver to stop and let them out.
Revish led the way through a few narrow alley ways and Nara followed quietly. The twisting paths seemed to go on forever. Just as she was starting to feel a little anxious, the two of them emerged in a small courtyard garden, buried amongst the buildings. There was a babbling stone fountain in the corner and in the middle was a large tulip tree, its reddish-orange flowers in full bloom. Despite the fast rising temperature of the city, this little haven felt surprisingly cool.
Nara looked all around, duly impressed by the small oasis.
Revish grabbed a woven mat leaning up against a wall and unrolled it under the tree.
"Shall we have breakfast?" he asked.
Sitting on the mat listening to the trickle of the fountain, the two ate the food they had bought earlier. The dates were plump and the nuts were crunchy and delicious. Nara savoured the refreshing taste of fresh yogurt mixed with honey. As her empty belly quickly filled, she found herself relaxing more and more as they chatted. He was definitely an engaging man. To her relief, Revish made no mention of the night before and he seemed to prefer asking about what Nara thought of India.
"I love it so far. It's so amazing here. It's like sensation overload," Nara said with a sigh.
"The land of spices," Revish said. "Just let it soak into your being."
She nodded thoughtfully. "We haven't actually seen much beyond the city, though. We were supposed to start traveling a bit tomorrow..."
"But?" Revish asked.
Nara shrugged and said, "Well, maybe Rekha has a reason why she wants to stay close to the city while she's here." She flashed him a knowing smile.
Revish leaned back and nodded. "Ah," he simply said.
Nara eyed him. "I think
she likes you," she said, pressing the man slightly.
He continued to nod and stare ahead thoughtfully. "I like her, too," he replied.
She paused, flashing him a sceptical look.
Taking a moment to look back at her, seeing his reflection in her sunglasses, Revish laughed warmly. "Okay! I know that look," he said, "I promise to you, I swear, I will be good to Rekha during your stay."
Nara cocked her brow towards him and said, "You'd better."
Revish couldn't help but laugh some more as he looked at her serious face, her jaw fixed and her small pink lips, pursed into a tight tulip shape.
"Take those off already, will you?" he chortled pointing to her large sunglasses, "You make me nervous staring at me through those!"
Nara chuckled and relaxed. She folded up her glasses, revealing her dark brown eyes, and put them in her bag.
"And how about you?" Revish said, "Shall I hook you up with one of my local friends?"
"Uh, no thanks!" she quickly answered, smirking at him.
"Not interested in brown men?" he chided her.
"I didn't say that," Nara replied, "I've seen a lot of good-looking Indian men. I'm just not here for that, though."
She was trying her best here to sound convincing, to him and to herself. The thoughts she had last night...chalk it up to the heat in the air and coming from the living room.
In truth, in the few times Nara had been to the club she'd found herself attracted to at least a couple of guys. Actually, one evening she had even ended up alone in a booth with a man, cuddling up close together. That had ended abruptly when a couple of the bouncers inexplicably yanked the guy out of the booth and tossed him out of the club. From that point on, no guy came near her, but she never really thought much of it.
"Ah, don't you want the 'complete experience' of a different country?" he asked, a broad smile affixed on his face. He leaned in close and winked, "You know what they say: once you go brown, you never turn back around!"
Nara nearly spit up a mouthful of yogurt as she laughed. His brashness was to the point of ridiculous and she didn't take him seriously for a moment. She coughed then swallowed and said, "You nut! Just shut up about that already!"
They both laughed.
"Besides," Nara continued, "There's also once you go Asian, you don't go Caucasian. I can't be responsible for crushing one of your friend's hopes!"
Revish's laugh echoed throughout the courtyard.
After they finished up their breakfast, Nara did some impromptu yoga stretches on the mat while Revish stood back, his arms pressed up against a tree branch overhead. He watched in silence as the young woman stretch her slim body slowly, her eyes closed.
"Remember to breathe," he said to her.
Nara opened her eyes, "What?"
"Breathe," he repeated, "You're holding your breath. Breathing is the most important part of this."
He knelt down behind her. Nara immediately felt his closeness and tensed slightly.
"Hands up straight over your head," he said, "Palms side-by-side facing forward."
Nara hesitated, not turning her head to look back at him. Finally, she raised her arms up and stretched.
Ever so gently, Revish placed his hands on the side of her ribs from behind. He felt the slightest quiver through her shirt.
"Breathe," he said in almost a whisper.
Nara's chest rose and fell, feeling his warm hands on her body but not restraining her at all.
"Pull your leg back. That's it," he continued to guide her with a milky voice, "Stretch it out. Keep breathing. Arch your back gently. Belly forward. Breathe."
Every time he uttered the word “breathe”, it felt like a tickling whisper at her ear.
For whatever reason, Nara felt it was easy to follow his instruction. As he slowly adjusted and guided her into various positions she reminded herself of how close he was to her, how she knew his eyes were on her, yet the feeling of comfort became evident.. Even with his strong hands sliding around and gently touching her body, she continued to relax under his tutelage. The sounds of the city that had trickled into the courtyard slowly faded away.
At one point, Revish placed Nara's hand on the back of his and they raised them upward to the sky. Silhouetted by the light from above, her lighter skin blended into his darkness.
"Not so different," Revish said.
Nara concurred with a quick nod.
"You're very limber," he said after a few more stretched positions.
She simply smiled.
"Well," Revish said as he stood up, "I should go check things at the club."
"Yeah, I probably should bring some food back to Rekha, if she's awake."
As he helped her to her feet, he said, "Look, I don't want to stop you from seeing my beautiful country. So how about I take you two around? I have a car."
"You shouldn't have to do that, Revish," Nara replied, "You have work and you don't have to play tour-guide for me."
Revish waved his hand, "I can take time off from work and this way I can spend all my time with Rekha while she's here."
"Oh," Nara said then added with a grin, "And her little yellow friend, too."
Revish smiled and nodded.
* * * * *
Later in the day in the club's office, Revish told Vishnu about his plans to tour Nara and Rekha around for a few days.
"Woah! Woah! You're actually going to spend more than a night with one woman?" his friend chided him. He added, "You're actually committing yourself to this Rekha?"
"While she's here in Kolkata," Revish replied as he worked on the computer, "It would seem appropriate."
Vishnu leaned up against the desk, winked and smiled, "Well then, do you think you could work me in with her pretty foreign companion?"
Revish stopped typing and looked up at him. He fixed his cool eyes on his friend, held up his finger, and then shook his head slowly and deliberately. There was a sliver of a smile on his lips.
With that, Vishnu simply leaned back in his chair, folding his arms and grinning.
Revish turned back to the computer monitor. For several minutes, he just stared hard at the screen without typing anything.To be continued...
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<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/interracial/foreign-spices-part-1-of-3.aspx">Foreign Spices (Part 1 of 3)</a>