Chapter 16 – Proof Of Innocence

|| 16. PAIZE 1 ♥ ||

Inhaling that thought Mohana paused from staring at the grandioseness to remind herself: designer toothbrushes would never be her reality. Closing the drawer on a slight shiver, she frowned deeply, gaining the knowledge of yet another woman in his life.

“Like I can even care. I have my own toothbrush. And am not the crazy woman he thinks I am, I might be saving my salary but I won’t stoop so low as to steal his belongings” she nearly choked on her words, her conscious threatening the ironic claim, reminding her of his leather jacket she had snared from the airplane

Acknowledging the rightful owner of the black tshirt skimming her thighs, she adamantly lifted the woven fabric to glance at the black lace panties, her cheeks perfusing with color “But these are mine”

Having heard women in the university talk about pain of first times after pursuing their passionate acts, Mohana was unable to equate them to her feelings of being cold and exceptionally dizzy.

Touching her freezing thighs, the buzzing recollection of the detailed contractual agreement, his hesitation for leaving her alone in the washroom, all came together to finally resonate: a man as handsome as Omar Shaan, superiorly smart, world renowned achiever, the most magnificent man dreams were made out of, wouldn’t ever choose to want her on his bed

On a swallow she clutched hard at her tshirt, frowning at the question rattling through her head: Why would Omar Shaan ever consider spending a night with her?

Staring at her reflection in the mirror, her eyes landed on her flat abdomen. Fear which had been bottled up flowed through, tearing her heart apart “..getting knocked up was your mother’s trick to the riches and your father lived through the guilt of that mistake which lasted him these many years. You are colorless just like these hollow eyes your mother gave you, a cold and sad gold digger that nobody wants, including your own parents. The world would be a better place without a hideous witch like you, who’s life should have been finished right at the start..

Raking a wavered breath, Mohana rapidly blinked her glassy eyes, not wanting to shed a tear in self pity for the atrocity she had committed by taking advantage of the designer celebrity. Drenched in shame, ignoring her shudders, she rehearsed to herself “I can’t want him for real. He’s just a fabrication of my mind. His attention is sorted. He’ll only ever want his.. I don’t care whoever it is..”

Distressed at her irresponsible behavior, she tearlessly broke down “..he will get married one day, stay in those honeymoon suites, have tons of babies but none of that can matter to me and this baby inside of me. Because he is not mine, he was never mine. Nothing matters. Nothing matters at all. Because nothing belongs to me, except my own hard work..” covering her face in her palms Mohana fell on the marble floor “..only my dreams are mine. only my dreams”

Scrambling from the floor, trying to put the pieces of her broken heart together like it was an everyday occurrence, Mohana readied herself, repeating her stand over and over again: Sophista was the only thing that would ever exist between them, her misdeeds and the conceived baby were only her responsibility, Omar Shaan was a celebrity who could have his pick of any number of women he wanted, who much better deserved his luxurious toothbrushes

Through years of attempting to override her incessant desire of Omar Shaan, adamant to evade his existence, Mohana had painstakingly blocked all knowledge about the designer celebrity, restraining herself from garnering anymore than was necessary for her role as the editor-in-chief of Sophista.

Despite her every effort to maintain indifference, the chockfull of feeds on Omar Shaan from the networks, media outlets and at times her own journal covering various community engagements, socialite events, led to ample hints on his latest affairs and famed playboy lifestyle. The constant refresh of women parading for his attention always found their way to leave a tumultuous ruckus within her.

“Keep it simple. We can’t talk, we can’t meet, we can’t see each other” mumbling the conviction for the umpteenth time, leaving her hair to air dry, Mohana reached for her robe almost habitually. Slipping on the pink silken garment, she tightened the sash around her waist, determined to mend whatever she could of the cruel reality she had created for her dream man.

Wanting to leave at the earliest, she made a hurried dash from the washroom, only for her heartache to escalate at banging into the wall of steel, except on this occasion it was still shirtless. Beyond sulking on his experienced reflexes to catch her and the extreme rattling he induced, Mohana was yet again left to wonder about her own lack of directional intelligence every time she was around him.

Grabbing hold of her upper arms, his eyes roved through her completely whitewashed face, growl vibrating through her “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. We can’t talk, we can’t meet, we can’t see each other” she delivered her planned stance, quickly easing from his hold to step beyond, frantically turning the tail end of the robe sash

The barrier of his arm across her waist not only halted her fidgeting, but also ascertained the end of their discussion contrary to her hope, was not accepted. Doubtfully glancing at her, reducing the distance between them, Omar lightly ran his fingers on the wet ends of her hair “For how long?”

His enquiry took her by surprise, she blinked in confusion, finding herself getting blanketed in his warmth “However long there is?”

Shy eyes hesitantly looked up to see his orbs only to find them still strikingly black with no sparkle of her desired glitter “You went through a phase of endless freezing shudders and you are shivering again. I won’t have you fall into the same cycle. You will tell me right now what’s bothering you and I get that out of our way”

The undertones of threat in his demand made her consciously shift but holding herself back from giving in to his luring touch and the tempting power of his words she ascertained “There’s nothing. You don’t have to do anything. I mean.. I.. I am responsible. uh we can talk to my attorney? but this. it won’t happen again. not with you. not at all. If I can get my clothes? I’ll figure the way from here. I have to go home”

“Says who?” Omar grumbled, his grip on her arms hardening

Finding herself at a disadvantage to the strange feelings his touch ignited, Mohana clenched harder on her robe, attempting to ignore the rush of warmth spreading through her “Me?”

“Sure, then you can try explaining again. And this time skip the attorney part” despite his brisk tone, no measure of self control was able to curb her butterflies from causing a merry havoc of their own

“But my attorney..” Mohana gulped, looking at the hard eyes boring into hers, her voice quivered running a correction “ but I. no. I won’t ruin things. publicly. because I understand your whole celebrity aspect and how legal involvement can make it appear. I didn’t mean it like that, I was only considering it for the power of justice. for you. if we wanted that. But I understand, if you could trust me? my dad and mom. they. I. I was a mistake and I know how sensitive these things can get”

“Kyber and Dahlia Sood made a mistake by having you? Anyone would have a field day on this make belief their daughter is running around with. Since how long have you been thinking about this stupidity?” disbelief trickled through his words, yet his face was stoic, eyes busy trying to read her face

Her heart bounced wanting to believe the contradiction Omar had voiced for it ran in complete sync to her own hope. Every time she met her parents, read about their social interactions or picked on the countless mentions from the media praising their partnership, it made it all the more difficult to accept their ways had parted.

“It’s not information that’s sold to tabloids for everyone to read. My dad won’t ever allow that..” Mohana rattled before coming to realize he had spoken aloud the names of her parents “ do you know my mom, dad?”

“If anyone sensibly eats their food, which I am sure nearly most do, likely leaving you as one of the rare few exceptions, how feasible would it be for them to not know about Rauchos? Only last weekend your parents were on the Choice interview as a couple, very much together” Omar smugly provided, appearing much closer

Keeping work as the center of her universe, Mohana had learnt to effectively overlook the privileged attachment to her dad’s business empire, although expecting others to ignore her familial ties to the giant business which ruled the entire food market did not seem as justified.

Staring at his shirtless chest, extremely conscious of her own wrongful behavior for having taken his advantage, Mohana corrected her stance, trying to increase distance between their torsos “Exactly my point. You are a celebrity superstar, you know the difference between showbiz and reality. I’ll eat when am at my place after.. uhm the clothes?”

“If you are certain..” scooping her in his arms, contrary to the storm brewing inside of her, Omar just as casually checked “..what do you feel like wearing?”

Shyly moving in his arms, cheeks burning at his proximity, she rushed “Whatever? I was wearing? If you want, I can walk? myself?”

“Why?” his query made her lips part then get pursed nervously. Short of covering her legs, the silk robe offered no barrier to his forearm brushing under her thighs, while his hand sprawled on her waist had the entire army of butterflies aligning for his attention

She attempted a sound reasoning “Because uh. there’s a possibility that I can be very heavy”

On a low hum of consideration, Omar lightly bounced the petite woman in his arms making her instinctively hide her face on his chest, fists tightening on the thin robe. Heaving a dramatic sigh he murmured “Right. Very. But it is required”

|| 16. PAIZE 2 ♥ ||

Stepping inside a large room, he walked them past luxurious columns brimming with clothes and various peripheral accessories glowing under golden hued lights. Halting ahead a series of mirrors aligned at one end, Omar slipped Mohana against his frame, letting her bare feet land on a plush rug.

She pulled at her silken robe hoping for it to become a thick parka, when picking a protective garment bag from the chaise lounger, Omar extended it to her “Here you go”

Glad for the shield, Mohana hugged the black zipped bag ahead, only for her breathing to become more wayward seeing him recline on the tufted leather chaise, stretching his feet ahead, tossing another small bag in his hand.

“Am considering we should get one of these on your office walls as well” the drawl diverted her attention from his magnificent lounging self, to the larger than life framed display adorning the wall besides. Reflecting on the closet mirrors, the bright capture of their beach photo shoot, displayed a Mohana nearly melded into Omar Shaan’s torso, her fingers along his v muscles, wrapped around the jeans button.

Color on her cheeks deepened, fingers burning at the memory, looking away from the attractive man whose torso she had been intending to vertically expand in their pose, she instead focussed on the black package in her hands “There’s no reason why I would ever want to see that on my office wall”

“I could build a list of as many reasons as you want for your power of justice, but mainly this pic amply clearly yields proof to my innocence” Omar thoughtfully offered looking at their large image

Fisting on to her shield, she heatedly argued “Innocence?! I wasn’t the one wanting to display my muscles to the world for a journal cover. You couldn’t even let that sports jacket remain on you. It’s because of me that there’s not a shirtless picture of you, for all your ridiculous Peggys to drool on!”

“Which is exactly why I need this proof of innocence. I am not the one who undid all the buttons, as you can see am only holding you in this one and nearly all other pictures in our collection” establishing his point he bounced the packet in his hands spinning to catch it again

Fuming at his superiority, she mimicked an overtly smug smile in return “She was going to open your buttons in that room, wanting to give you anything! You were stuck to her throughout that photo shoot, so if anyone is innocent between the both us it would be me..” flustered at her own deceitful claim, having exploited the man, Mohana issued a nervous correction “..uhm in this case of the beach cover shoot at least. because you don’t even wear stuff when you own this palace of clothes”

Easing further in the lounger, Omar gestured to his stretched legs “If you’d have cared to spare me a glance, you would have noticed I am wearing jeans”

“Of course! Jeans that she likes opening buttons for..” Mohana seethed “..but why would it bother me. it doesn’t even matter. it is what you and your fans want. I will wear my clothes because I have to leave. Whatever else is needed can be discussed through my attorney” she twisted the zipper of the garment bag, utterly upset remembering his closeness with the server

Bouncing the smaller package in his hands, Omar nonchalantly offered “Go ahead, I am only innocently waiting on standby”

Her face flushed with embarrassment of her own misdeeds which had warranted such scrutiny from him, her voice quivered a plea “If am fast? And you can check on me? I’ll hurry up”

Straightening from the couch Omar held the velvet package ahead “Without the essentials?”

“Noh!” realizing the contents of the bag he had been bouncing, she snatched it from his fingers, then awkwardly stepped back

Closing their gap, Omar dipped his head to whisper “Be back in a few” leaving a tormented Mohana all by herself in the dressing room

Hearing the low click of the door closing, she stole a glance at the large print in which she stood affixed to the designer celebrity, her face glowing under the crisp morning sun. Seeing his strong arm wrapped under the curve of her butt made Mohana shy at the memory, yet an ache arose within to desperately belong in his embrace

Chastising her wayward thoughts, she unwrapped her lingerie from the smaller velvet bag without giving any thought to the freshly laundered clothes, her head fighting a loosing battle to forget the feeling of his touch

Slipping into her pink-red lace lingerie, her thoughts far away to the magnificent phenomena of Omar Shaan, she hastily undid the clothing bag to reach for the coordinated ensemble and slipped on the top. The cropped garment beautifully moulded her heaving breasts, but her rampant shallow breathing gave resistance to the fabric, preventing the ends from meeting their closure.

Looking at the top in the mirror, holding onto her breath she attempted to make the zip fastening ease into place, but the small clasp refused to budge. After a few failed tries Mohana grumbled “How am I going to change diapers if I can’t do a zip by myself”

Another non yielding frantic tug made her scowl, turning to look at their picture she demanded, speaking to the digital portrait of her dream man “You are the designer! Use your power” another tug and the zip rolled down smoothly this time like it had never been a reason for botheration

Securing the saree underskirt on her waist, a fuzzy recollection of the same words ‘..You are the designer!..’ tumbled along a faint glimpse of Omar Shaan, making Mohana frown at the blurry thoughts ‘..We didn’t close them when you were changing and it was hot!..’

“I have so lost it. My head, my heart, my soul! My dreams and reality are two different aspects. How could I have taken advantage of him. Stealing his jacket was one thing, stealing him is a crime! Mo’ana you’re a brainless and irresponsible dolt” haphazardly grumbling to herself she stared at the endless pool of fabric on her feet

Scrunching her eyes shut, Mohana hid her face in palms realizing the dilemma: she wouldn’t be fast, she wouldn’t be able to hurry at all, because out of all the ensembles she could have worn for this day, she had chosen one which she didn’t know how to wear.

“I removed this thing to do all of that to him, so I would know something about it. My memory should help me” dwindling on hope, she nonetheless set herself to tackle the outfit. She ran a hand through her wet golden waves ignoring a shudder as she tried remembering how the pink-red fabric had been tied along her waist the first time around.

Straightening the saree she attempted to follow the coaching Indigo had provided Jojo but the result made her tumble every time, either the fabric would get too tightly wound or there would be yards of it left on the floor.

Disappointed at her attempts, pouting at the beautiful fabric she stumbled over to their large framed picture, leaning on the tall and handsome figure of Omar Shaan. Resting her face on the glass surface, she placed a shy hand on his chest “We both said we believed in writing our own destinies but I wrote mine to ruin yours. I’ll never be able to forgive myself for my actions. Never. because you are..” she swallowed a sob, blinking her glassy eyes “ doesn’t matter. Nothing matters”

Inhaling an exhausted breath, paying no heed to the shivers, Mohana gathered the pink-red fabric, making her way to the dressing room door when she heard Omar through the speakers “Hey, you’re alright?”

Having been yearning for him, her eyes watered with longing but she determinedly blinked them, cluelessly looking around wanting to understand the speaker system “Noh. I.. Can you hear me? where are you?”

“Right here. I’ll come in?” listening to his voice she croaked “Yah” and the door to the closet instantly swung open. Walking inside the dressing room, holding a fruit bowl on his palm Omar checked “What happened?”

Shuffling the saree fabric to hide behind it, Mohana tried forming words but her voice failed getting conscious of him, when forking a bite of mango cubes Omar took the opportunity to slip them through her parted lips. Trailing behind him, trekking back to the expansive dressing area, shyly bunching a thick tassel in her palm Mohana requested “Nothing. this. uh this. Can you call your Indigo?”

“If you want, we can play fair. Someone helps you with this saree and in return you eat breakfast. Tova has a nice menu planned, there’s also a variety of other fruits, such as pineapples if you’d like I can bring them here” offering he fed her a forkful of raspberries this time

Another woman’s name made her heart bounce frantically “Noh. Mangos are my favorite.. and then raspberries”

“A few hours ago you seemed to care for pineapples too, I nearly got the impression that you liked them more than mangos and raspberries” feeding her another bite, Omar kept the bowl aside

|| 16. PAIZE 3 ♥ ||

“Oh. I.. it must be because..” reference of ‘The Bold List’ made color perfuse her cheeks “..because of.. all of you and I..” she moved her hands, maintaining a hold on to the saree, yielding a colorful wave in the air “..I didn’t mean to say that. But pineapples are a nice fruit because they are tough from outside and all mushy and sweet from inside”

Pulled into his arms, the whisper touch along the curve of her waist had the blush spread through her like fire. In a swift move her underskirt got nudged higher, covering the belly button, reducing the expanse of her exposed midriff.

“Do I take it that you like pineapples then?” Omar checked managing yards of the intricately woven cloth. Carefully wrapping one end of the lush fabric around her waist, he tucked it along the skirt making her chest heave breathlessly.

“Noh. No. I can’t. but overall. yah. because. uh. Soren! because I only dream about Soren Rick. He is my kind of pineapple!” nervous of building another lie but her heart courageously spilled more to add to her conviction “He and I are close to each other. very close. and I am missing him. Have you done this before?..” she craggily inhaled “..You said you were going to call someone. Indigo? She was going to help me”

Halting the wrap, Omar turned Mohana in his embrace, making their eyes meet. Lightly smoothing the curve of her creamy waist he offered “I am your someone. On our journey you informed me that I am the designer. Which makes tying this my first time, but when you have me untie these yards of silk again, it would classify as second”

“Why would I want you to.. no! I won’t ever. It can’t happen. You are the designer. it’s a fact. everyone knows that. but Indigo is a designer too and I wanted her to help me because uh.. this can’t be your first time. because you are.. uhm I want her?” her eager butterflies fluttered along his caresses, making her breathing run in short sparks

Contrary to her dismay, he calmly dealt their negotiation “There’s only one way to play fair. If you want this wrapped, you’ll have to elaborate for me what is your kind of pineapple or we can enjoy some mangos and raspberries and forget about this altogether”

“You are the designer! You can’t do that” she instinctively reached out to halt him from leaving, but her fingers curled in the air for they had nothing to grab on his thread-less chest

Swirling her around, towering from behind, Omar collected the saree fabric “I don’t want to. So pineapples?”

Caged in the circle of his arms, she informed her memorized principle from ‘The Bold List’ discussion “Ya. It’s not rocket science. everyone knows about it. because everyone wants a pineapple. Jojo and Leya and I, we all want pineapples. so I learnt about it. recently? uh because a pineapple is strong and sweet and has ample vitamin c and they come with a tough exterior and they are the ones that can withstand”

“What?” he murmured tucking the set of pleated fabric along the inner skirt, the back of his thumb brushing her abdomen, creating manifold versions of the already fanatical butterflies

Lured to his touch, her core trembling, she barely breathed “”

“What can a pineapple withstand?” his deep voice whispered close to her ear

The immense warmth radiating through his touch had Mohana gulp, unsure whether she wanted this saree trial to continue or end, she clenched her fists harder rattling nervously “I don’t know. you would know. you’re a pineapple”

Draping the rich fabric from across her midriff, Omar set the edge of the saree along her cropped top, his touch withdrawing “Sure. But am not your kind of pineapple because of that scripted jerk?”

Catching hold of the tasseled end that swayed along her curvaceous contour she took a step back “Yah. we can’t. because we can’t do this and I’ll go. I have to follow up on all the things there are and my work..”

“You’ll have to keep your part of the bargain..” pulling her back in his embrace Omar wrapped his hand from under the saree fabric, holding onto her bare waist “..because I am hungry. and you have to tell me what happens when I do this?”

Her butterflies rejoiced welcoming his touch, wreaking utter havoc to her breathing, letting only a defiant croak escape “”

The back of his hand brushed along her midriff, making her breasts heave frantically, spirited butterflies running amok following the trail of his touch “And this?”

“Nothing!..” she breathlessly countered “..Do you interrogate all your.. uh the next morning?!”

“Depends on who all you think I am with, on these next-mornings, but while we are interrogating..” sprawling his hand on her abdomen, he caressed her skin “..what about this?”

Ignoring the rapid rise and fall of her breasts, Mohana turned in his arms hiding her heated face on his chest, her saree sash slipping from the shoulder to pool between them “”

Gathering the silken fabric, Omar draped it across her curves covering the cropped top “Right before you became unconscious you hinted something was up with your tummy. The woman said you fainted because there’s an embryo involved in all of this and in the aircraft you could feel multiple things bothering..”

On an upset frown Mohana pulled back, dismissing her haphazard breathing, she launched the blame at him “There are so many things wrong with this. You took me to a doctor when I fainted! And then left me all alone despite of my telling you that my tummy was bothering me?!”

Tugging her back, he lightly twirled a moist golden tendril “I didn’t leave you. The woman and the others were at the depot in Sarrata, and when I took you to Zaniha, I didn’t leave you alone with her either”

“You were there? In front of Zaniha? With me? When she was checking me for uh all of that?!” she tentatively rushed, desperate at seeking confirmation

Stroking her temple, the back of his fingers skimmed above her high cheek bones “She wasn’t going to check on you for the babies. Jasper had confirmed the meds won’t get inhibited by an embryo, Zaniha had to mainly ensure how you were healing overall. We discussed the skews in your temperature and she confirmed you’d recover with.. uh. proper care”

“But you would have stayed? If she was going to do all of that check up?” despite his magnificent distraction causing a rumple within, Mohana pressed her ask, voice laced with a needy hope

Smoothing his thumb along the column of her neck Omar lightly shrugged “If there was an emergency and I couldn’t have you give confirmation, yes. But only because you were unwell and I had promised not to leave you”

Unabashedly throwing herself on him, hand on his heart only shielded by the saree sash covering her fist, she emphasized “No! You’re never ever going to leave me with a doctor, how does it matter if am unwell or not. If you even think of leaving me alone I’ll never talk to you..” the amplified fluttering of her butterflies made her pull back

Heart crushing with the hit of reality seeping through “But. um overall we can’t talk, we can’t meet, we can’t see each other. because we can’t do this. because Zaniha. there’s Zaniha”

Slipping under the pink-red fabric covering her hand, he stroked her palm “But Jasper’s on my side so we’ll have that sorted in sometime”

“Sorted? Her husband? Is in your favor?!” despite her robust attempts at deviation, Mohana blurted in complete shock, heart sinking at the possibility of his established connection with Zaniha

“Yeah, of course we’re friends” his fingers captured her wrist, thumb drawing patterns on her hand

Crumbling from within Mohana took a hesitant wobbly step, hand gliding from his hold as she increased the distance between them “You gave that same monogram toothbrush to Za..” a shiver ran down her spine as pieces to the puzzle finally fell into place “..but. I fainted in Sarrata? At their depot where someone told you am expecting? You spoke to your friend for my meds to confirm nothing would interfere..”

“Mo stór..” he interjected her train of thought “..I’ll explain everything, when you fainted..”

“Noh!..” she swallowed a sob “..when we did all of that you. you.. you thought.. I had already done it with someone else, right before you! and had a life breathing inside of me..” her lower lip quivered, innocent silver eyes brimming with rage as she glared into his dark depths

Moving closer, Omar growled “Listen to me”

“Attorney or not, you will listen to me!..” Mohana mirrored him, taking a step back, furiously bursting “..I would have held remorse all my life for taking advantage of you but not anymore! You are one arrogant, despicable, horrible, conceited person! All you think about is women hopping onto one bed after another and your celebrity status toothbrushes. Good riddance, I don’t remember anything happening between us or..”

Her words came to a silencing halt getting his palm clasped over her mouth. Having rid the distance between them Omar gruffly warned “Not another word before you hear me out”

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