Faithless


Aman stood at the sea-facing window of his posh office. He was looking at his wife, and for a change the sight made him smile. It had been over a year since he had found joy in the sight or sound of his wife. And yet, the photographs he now held in his hand brought the elusive grin to his face.

Who would have thought Maya would be careless enough to be caught like this. Cocktails with Sid, when she had clearly told him she was at her mother's. And wearing her expensive ruby set with the explosive little black dress, too. There was another one of her and Sid in Goa. "Spa day" she'd said then. The piece de resistance was a special report confirming the presence of semen on a particularly racy pair of undergarments. Aman and Maya hadn't slept in the same room in a year.

"Well, good for her, and better for me", thought Aman.  He could finally get rid of her without losing half his bank account and most of his property. He couldn't have played the divorce card till he had enough dirt on her to prove she was at fault. Kiran would be thrilled at the news.

Aman pressed a button on the desk. A discreet buzz, and a mellow, pleasant voice said "Yes, sir?". Oh how he loved it when Kiran called him Sir. It immediately aroused him. "Could you come in for a sec?" he asked. "Right away.... Sir".

A polite knock on the door a minute later, and Kiran entered. As usual, dressed to kill. Tall and fair, with a toned, athletic body that was a delight to the eyes, and dynamite between the sheets. Aman smiled. "I've got her now. I can finally dump the bloodsucking leech from my life... our life".

Kiran took a sharp breath, "You're serious? Are you sure about this, about us?".

Aman rolled his eyes, "I've told you a thousand times. Yes, yes and, in case you didn't get it the first thousand and two times, yes... again and always."

Kiran frowned, "But she isn't just your wife, she is an influential partner in the company and she won't take kindly to me being promoted, especially after this".

Aman smiled and rubbed his hands in glee. He clearly had something up his sleeve and was dying to share it. "That is exactly why I want to bring you in as a partner right away. Maya loves your work and considers you an asset to the company. You've played a major role in our growth these last couple of years. The best part is, she herself suggested you be promoted. We haven't agreed on anything in the last year except this. Naturally, I couldn't rush the promotion. The board needed to review your performance, although it was just a formality, given my suitably impressive recommendation. I just received the confirmation letter. You're now a partner in this company, and in my life".

Kiran gasped and moving swiftly to Aman, hugged him. A partner at thirty years of age. The youngest the company had ever had. Aman quickly checked that the door was locked and closed his eyes in ecstasy as Kiran moved down his body, unzipping his pants. Appreciation was due.

Aman knew it wouldn't be an amicable separation. Maya wouldn't let him off easy. He would have to lay low about Kiran, especially after a divorce on the grounds of infidelity. But at least things were moving. He reached home in a pleasant mood. He threw his coat on the sofa, grabbed a can of beer from the fridge and sat down to enjoy a toast to new beginnings.

As he put his feet up on the table, he spotted a thick file on it with a sticky-note in Maya's handwriting. He opened the file to find divorce papers, a bunch of photographs and a sealed envelope. The note simply said "Read the letter first". Aman slit the envelope open. He read through the letter with increasing consternation.

Maya was leaving him. She had proof he had been cheating on her. She was suing him for every paisa he had.

The photos were of him and his secretary, Sheetal. There was one of them stepping into Sheetal's flat, sharing an umbrella. That was from the day he had dropped her home since it was raining hard. She had invited him to tea and he had stepped in for just long enough to call Maya and let her know he was stuck in a meeting and wouldn't come home before 2am. He had rushed off to meet Kiran right after that.

There was another photo of him and Sheetal hugging. Sheetal's dog had died that day and he had comforted her in a strictly avuncular fashion. There was a receipt from a hotel in Bali when he was supposed to have been attending a conference in Singapore with Sheetal. He had of course been with Kiran, but how was anyone to know that.

The divorce papers were thorough, and thoroughly nasty. Aman let out a hollow groan and buried his head in his hands.

An hour went by while Aman pondered his misfortune. If only he had been the first to file for divorce. Be that as it may, he wasn't going to let up without a fight. Maya was apparently not coming home today or any other day. She had probably cleared out her room, but he needed to make sure.

He made his way to her room, one that he hadn't set foot in in a long time. It was neat and orderly, just like its mistress. He opened her cupboard. Most of her clothes and all of her jewellery were gone. The safe was empty.

He made a quick examination of her bedside drawers. They all looked empty. As he pushed the last drawer back, it stuck midway. Aman knew Maya would have a field day if there was any evidence that he had searched her room. Probably add mental harassment or something to the charges.

He pulled the drawer completely out and felt around the edges for any obstructions. His fingers closed upon a photograph that seemed to have slipped behind the drawer shelf, causing the holdup. He pulled the picture out and sat staring at it for a long, long time.

It was Maya and her lover. He was holding her from behind, his bare chest made more visible by her black dress pushed off the shoulders. She was laughing as he whispered in her ear. Her patented ruby set added colour to the picture. Clearly, it was the day when she had gone for drinks with Sid. Behind the photo, Maya had written in her precise way "One year with Kiran". And Kiran smiled flirtatiously at Aman from the picture.

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