“How is your grandmother doing now, Anna?”
Anna jerked at the deep voice of Vikram Raawal addressing her from across the table.
The chatter at the table quieted a little and she felt everyone’s attention turn to her. She also sensed the intensity of her husband’s gaze, as it seemed to drill little holes into her face from where he was seated on her right.
Anna turned her attention to Vikram and smiled. “She’s fine now, Mr. Raawal. Thank you for asking.”
“You will drive us nuts with your ‘Mr. Raawal,’ Anna. At least save it for the man who keeps the name proud and shiny. You will call me Virat, please.”
Anna nodded without even realizing she was doing so. While Vikram Raawal was the more classically handsome one, there was something intensely magnetic about Virat.
“I know you were worried about losing her for a while there,” Vikram said, surprising her again. “A heart attack, wasn’t it?”
The clatter of AJ’s wineglass against a gleaming gold bottle was so loud that Anna almost jumped in her seat. Not knowing what to expect, but pulled toward him like a magnet, she turned to find his eyes filled with shock.
His mouth was flat in anger, but his eyes… They said so much that Anna didn’t understand.
Why was he pretending as if he didn’t know? Why play games with her like this?
She took a sip of her water and then addressed Mr. Raawal. “Yes, it was a heart attack. They had to operate immediately. A triple-bypass surgery.”
“Who’s looking after her now?” AJ asked.
Anna couldn’t manage to look at him. Not this time. If she did, she had no doubt she would burst into tears right there. “I hired a live-in nurse from a reputed agency. In fact, that’s the reason I couldn’t make the other dates work. I wanted to make sure the nurse would personally work out for us. And she did.”
“Your agent did communicate that,” Virat Raawal added. “Glad you were able to find help, Anna.”
Anna thanked him, but wished the one man she had desperately needed in her moment of crisis would say something now. Why was he being silent? Had he written off her granny along with her?
The silence from him grated on Anna.
“How do you know?” she asked Vikram, just to have something to say. Her fingers shook when she reached for her fork. She pushed away her plate instead.
“Zara mentioned it.”
“Oh, of course,” Anna added.
Zara Khan was the reigning actress of Bollywood and yet the most genuine, down-to-earth woman Anna had ever met. She had been one of the very few who’d made Anna feel like she could carve a place in the industry. Zara was always ready with a kind word and unassuming advice.
“The moment she could make time, Zara visited us. Granny got such a kick out of meeting her. I thought she would be here this weekend,” Anna added with curiousity.
Vikram glared at his younger brother. “Virat refused to take her on without a screen test even though we both know that she’s the only actress who will do the role of the prostitute spy justice.”
Virat’s answer got lost in the deafening shuffle in her ears when AJ pushed out of his chair and reached for her before she could blink. “If you gentlemen will excuse us, I should like to have a quick chat with my lovely wife.”
He didn’t wait for anyone’s answer. His fingers on her arm managed to be both firm and gentle at the same time. “Come, sweetheart.”
Sensing the fury building in his dark smile, Anna gave in. But instead of anger or frustration at his highhandedness, all she felt was a fizz of excitement. God save her, but her heart was nowhere near over the only man she’d ever loved.
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