Anna wanted to thump him. She settled for an outraged gasp and an unsteadily muttered “You always thought too much of yourself.” Which sounded lame to even her ears. “I have no interest in your…affairs,” she announced, continuing to dig the grave of her own embarrassment.
The truth was that she’d been fishing for information and the butterflies in her tummy had transformed into giant jealous green monsters as soon as she’d remembered the Instagram photos she’d seen of Ms. Shah and AJ on holiday together while she’d been grieving the destruction of her marriage.
Something the blasted man unerringly identified.
“You look…different,” he said softly, and Anna looked up in confusion.
Seeing the genuine sentiment in his eyes, she nodded. “Thank you. I wish I had looked this fresh this morning,” she said, forcing a cheer into her voice, too. “Playing the lovelorn, foolish wife of yours while I have an entire flight’s germs on me is not the look I want to impress the Raawals with.”
“And yet you held your own,” he added immediately, a curious note in his voice. He didn’t have to say “unlike before,” when she’d let all the stars and celebrities who were his childhood acquaintances overwhelm her. “Not that Virat cares how you look. What he wants is the magic you weaved in those first two movies with your voice.”
“When it’s your composition, my voice always shines,” she added automatically and flushed. To cover her embarrassment, she added, “I thought it was Vikram Raawal who’s the driving force of this biopic.”
AJ let her distract him. “Financially, yes. And it’s his one chance at silencing the critics forever. But the vision, the execution, the final say-so—everything will be Virat’s. Vikram knows it’s only Virat’s brilliance that will make the movie truly spectacular.”
Anna nodded, having seen every single one of Virat Raawal’s directorial efforts. The man weaved magic on the screen, whether it was a satirical comedy or a gut-wrenching thriller. And AJ had composed the soundtrack for each and every one of his movies.
“You were always beautiful,” he said, and she stared at him. “But something’s different about you now.” Shadows passed across his face. “Maybe our separation is the answer.”
I’ve been miserable without you.
The words rose to her lips, but Anna locked them away. “That’s…not true.”
“There’s a certain confidence in how you face me and the others. You cut your hair, too.”
She touched the ends that kissed her jawline. “I…decided to invest in myself.” She flushed at his arched eyebrow.
“Explain what you mean then.”
“I… Those first few weeks after we returned from the honeymoon, I felt as if the very ground under me was stolen. Parties and charity meets and audio release functions… Seema didi filled my calendar. The more she tried to mold me into something your family could be proud of, the more I resisted. I hated that she…was trying to change me.”
“Then why the change?”
“It wasn’t just your family’s expectations. Being a singer is not simply hiding in the studio anymore, is it? It’s independent shows, and releasing singles and going on tours…and I want that career.
“Granny made me see that it was okay to change my…packaging if it helped me gain some much-needed confidence. That where it truly mattered, I was still the same old me.”
“But that wasn’t what Seema didi intended, was it?”
Anna shrugged. “No. She stifled me. And you—”
“And I, in my arrogant pride, thought you were just whining for attention. I’m glad Granny helped you see the benefit in colorful feathers, Anna. There’s a reason I adore that woman,” AJ replied wistfully.
A stricken look entered Anna’s eyes. The sheen of tears was unmistakable. Before he could ask what he’d done wrong now, the entirety of their dinner party appeared on the terrace, in a cacophony of voices.
AJ sighed and switched on his charming host facade, when the only thing he wanted was to kidnap his wife and run far away.
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "Their Bollywood Reunion"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.