Shah Rukh and The American

Discussion in 'Fanfiction' started by Jamaicalady, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    *Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction meant for entertainment purposes only.

    Chapter One

    It was her first full day in Mumbai and she decided to walk around after checking into her hotel. She carried her money, camera, her cigarettes and snacks in a backpack. She was standing at a crowded intersection waiting for the light to change.

    I was riding in the back seat with my eyes closed as my driver, Ajay, took me to a meeting at the studio. Rani and I had another fight last night and we did not see each other this morning before I left. I was so tired of these arguments but felt trapped in the situation. I loved my kids and didn't want to ruin their lives. Also, I had my career to think about.

    I was jolted out of this moment by the squeal of the brakes and Ajay swearing in Hindi. As I looked through the windshield, I could see the crowd in front of the car looking down at the ground. Ajay jumped out of the car and ran in front. I didn't get out as that would most certainly cause a riot. Ajay got back in the car and started dialing for emergency personnel.

    I asked, "What's going on?"

    Ajay told me he had hit someone and they seemed badly hurt. At that, I jumped out of the car and looked down on a woman laying sprawled in front. She appeared to be around 30 years old. She was bleeding and was unconscious. As I bent down to her, she opened her eyes. She grabbed my hand and held on for dear life. I could tell she was scared, so I spoke to her and tried to comfort her.

    Just then, EMT's arrived and tried to assess the situation. They said they needed to transport her to the hospital, but she wouldn't release my hand. Her eyes pleaded with me to stay with her and I couldn't say no.

    As we got into the ambulance, Ajay and several bystanders were being questioned by the police.

    During the short ride to the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest and they were furiously working to bring her back. Arriving at the hospital, they rushed her into the emergency room and the doctors started working on her. They shocked her three times before they were able to get a pulse. I stood against the wall and watched everything. I was totally devastated that my car had hit her. When they had her stable, one of the doctors, Dr. Patel, asked to speak to me. We went outside and I lit up a cigarette. I was surprised to see that my hand was shaking badly. The doctor said they would have to take her into surgery immediately as she was bleeding internally. They had not found any I.D. on her, so they were listing her as a Jane Doe. They wheeled her past me just as Ajay showed up at the hospital.

    I was deeply shaken, but asked Ajay if he was alright. He was also shaken, but had given a statement to the police. He said he was driving normally and had a green light when, all of a sudden, she appeared in front of the car. He could not avoid hitting her. Several people who were standing nearby testified that some young teenage boys had grabbed at her backpack and when she fought back, they had shoved her into the roadway. They got away with her belongings and left the scene. No one could identify them.

    I contacted the studio and said I wouldn't be able to make it since something had come up. The press started arriving at the hospital and it was necessary for the police to come. I was taken to a private waiting room and I called Rani to tell her what happened. She was not impressed. It irritated me that all she thought about was herself and how things affected her. I told her I wouldn't leave the hospital until the woman was out of danger.

    I must have dozed off and awoke with a start when someone touched my shoulder. I was surprised to see it was fully dark outside. It was Dr. Patel, the surgeon who operated on her, and I tried to focus on what he was saying. One of the nurses brought me a cup of coffee and I smiled at her with gratitude as I took the cup. It wasn't very good coffee, but it was hot and filled with enough caffeine to jolt a horse. Now I listened to what Dr. Patel had to say.

    "Mr. Khan, we have done all we could and it's now in God's hands. She was badly injured internally and we almost lost her a couple of times, but she hung on. You look exhausted, why don't you go home and get some rest?"

    I shook my head and said I would stay. I didn't want her to wake up in a strange place and be all alone

    I inquired and was told there were VIP rooms available on the top floor. I said I wanted her to be in one of those and I would bear all the expenses. I went out for a smoke and sat down on a chair in a gated area. Thank God the press didn't know where I was and could not get to me. I felt so surreal about this whole thing and started to pray. I prayed that God would bring her though this and I started to cry. I even prayed to my mother to send her back in case she started to leave this world. Between the coffee and the adrenaline, I didn't feel I could sleep, but knew I needed to rest.

    The room I booked was large and spacious with a comfortable sofa and chairs. It looked more like a hotel suite than a hospital room. It also had all the equipment it needed, although very cleverly hidden. I laid down on the sofa and closed my eyes. I don't know how much time elapsed, but opened my eyes when I heard them bring her into the room. The staff transferred her to the bed and hooked her up to various IV's and monitors. They asked me if I needed anything.

    "Just a blanket and pillow. I'm not leaving her until she's out of danger."

    They brought me the blanket and pillow and also toiletries and pajamas. After they left, I went up to the bed and looked at the woman.

    Even unconscious, she was very beautiful. She had long, dark brown hair with caramel highlights. She had really long, dark eyelashes that touched her cheeks with her eyes closed. She had a full generous mouth and high cheekbones. She was very pale and looked quite small in that big hospital bed. I saw her at the accident, but didn't register what she looked like then. I went to the end of the bed and looked at her chart. She was listed as "Jane Doe" and that hurt me that we didn't even know who she was.

    Even though I didn't feel I could sleep, I changed and laid down on the sofa, which was very comfortable. Next thing I knew, it was morning and light was streaming in the window. I went to the bathroom and changed just as the doctor came into the room.

    "Good morning, Mr. Khan. So you decided to spend the night? Let me just take a look at her chart."

    As he went over the nightshift chart, he seemed to think she was doing well. But the next 24 hours would be crucial. They were keeping her in an induced coma to help her recover from the surgery.

    "You may as well go home, Mr. Khan. She won't wake up for at least another 24 hours. We'll call you at home if you like should anything come up."

    I was reluctant to leave, but decided that I could use a shower and shave and see the children.

    I called Ajay and had him pick me up at a private exit so the press wouldn't see me. I truly was exhausted now that I was going home. There were press at Mannat, but the police and security personnel kept them away as we pulled behind the gate. When I went in, Kavin, Maya and little Malik came to me and gave me a hug. It was good to be home. Was it only yesterday when I had left them?

    Rani was nowhere in sight, so I asked Maya where she was.

    "She's upstairs taking a bath, I think."

    I went up and knocked on her bathroom door. No answer. I knocked louder and I could tell she was upset when she said, "Come in!"

    She was out of the tub and putting on her makeup at her vanity. She said she had a meeting for her interior design company later and would need to get ready.

    I looked at her and said, "Don't you even want to know how she is?"

    Without looking at me she said, "I'm assuming she's fine since you decided to come home."

    "No, she's not fine. And the reason I came home was to shower, eat and see the kids, and then I'm going back. How can you be so insensitive and not care whether this woman lives or dies?"

    Rani just looked at me and went to her closet to pick out her clothes. I left, disgusted that she didn't even ask how I was doing.

    She must have left for her meeting while I was in the shower and I went to the kitchen for something to eat. Kavin and Maya were leaving but asked me how the woman was and if I was alright. Thank God, at least the kids cared. Little Malik always made me feel better and today was no different.

    "Papa hurt?"

    That brought tears to my eyes. "No, Malik, Papa's okay, but has to visit someone who is hurt."

    After playing with him for awhile, I kissed him and left the house to return to the hospital. I was able to leave the house unnoticed by riding in one of the work trucks that dropped me at the private exit/entrance. I had packed a small bag with some necessities and brought along a book I'd been meaning to read.


    Chapter Two

    When I entered the room, I noticed the staff had replaced the sofa with a much more comfortable one. Also, they had replaced one of the club chairs with a recliner. A reading light had been put next to it. I'd only been gone about six or seven hours, but as I looked at the woman in bed, I thought she had more color. I sat down next to the bed and studied the face of the woman in it. She really was very striking and I wondered if she had people who were looking for her right now. I felt sure she must and felt awful that there wasn't more I could do. I walked down to the nurses station and asked to speak with the nurse caring for her.

    "Yes, Mr. Khan, what can I do for you?"

    I asked her if they had found out who she was yet. "No, but then we've been pretty busy just keeping her alive."

    She had come in with no identification papers or anything personal for that matter. The gang of thugs had made off with her backpack and that's all she was carrying with her.

    I went back to her room and sat in the recliner looking out at the Mumbai skyline as the sun started to set. She was obviously not Indian, so she must be staying somewhere in Mumbai. I called Ajay, knowing I could trust him to be discreet as he had been with me for 15 years, and asked him to start checking some of the hotels in the vicinity of where the accident happened.

    Dr. Patel came in that evening to check on her condition and said if there were no complications, they would start to bring her out of the induced coma tomorrow. I thanked him and sat down to read my book just as Ajay appeared at the door. I walked outside to the private patio with him and asked him what he had found out.

    "She's staying at the Taj Lands End in Bandra, sir. She just checked in the morning of the accident. I asked to talk to the manager and told him what had happened and that she was in critical condition in the hospital. They gave me her personal belongings to bring to her. Sir, her name is Alexandra Walker, she's an American, and according to her passport, she's 42 years old."

    I was surprised, as I wouldn't have thought her to be in her 40's. "Sir, along with her luggage and personal items, there appears to be a diary or journal of some sort." I asked him if he had looked at it and he replied he had not. He handed me the notebook and said he would be on call if I needed him.

    After Ajay left, I sat down in the recliner, turned the light on and laid the notebook on my lap. It was brown leather with her name "Lexi Walker" embossed in gold on the front. I debated whether I should open and read it. All I wanted to do was help her, so I opened it to the first page which started with the words:

    Today, I have decided to return to the land of the living. As I read the next sentence, I caught my breath and tears welled up in my eyes. It's been over a year since my husband, Mike, and my children Cody and Nicole were killed by a drunk driver.

    I closed the notebook and went outside for a cigarette. Reading her words had shaken me badly and I wasn't sure what to do with the information.

    I went back inside with the intention of not reading further as I felt I was invading her privacy. I picked up the book I had brought with me and tried to read, but I couldn't get her words out of my mind, so I picked up the notebook again. As I read further, she detailed the awful day of the accident, why she wasn't with them, and how she received the news. She felt such guilt that she hadn't died with them. Her babies without her! Cody was only 15 and Nicole 13. They hadn't even started life yet and it was over. She prayed that her mother and father who were already deceased would take care of them for her.

    I couldn't even imagine the pain this woman had gone through and now she was all alone in the world. I vowed that when she pulled through, and she would if I had anything to say about it, I would make sure she didn't want for anything. Small compensation for having lost your entire family.

    I went on to read that she had resumed her career as a photojournalist, a profession she had when she married but gave up to raise her children. Seems she was doing mostly freelance stuff right now. Travelogues and such. That's why she had come to India, to photograph and report back to the readers in America why they should vacation in India. What a way to start! She hadn't even been in Mumbai for 24 hours before she was mugged and mowed down by King Khan's car. If it wasn't so awful, it would be sort of funny. Welcome to India, Ms. Walker!

    I spent the rest of the evening reading about her past, which was pleasant, if not remarkable. She met her husband Mike in college and they married right after graduation. Once she had children, they became the focus of her life. Mike was busy with his career as an investment analyst, so she was more or less mother and father to the kids. Seems Cody was very athletic and she attended all his matches. Nicole was very artistic and creative and she went to all her school plays and concerts. They were her life. Somewhere along the way, she didn't mention Mike as often but always mentioned the children.

    After the accident, she was in a daze for months. The apathy of grief just about did her in, but her natural aptitude and her will to survive started to return. That's when she decided to make some drastic changes. Mike had left her without the need to work again, but she couldn't abide that. So she brushed off her degree and took advanced classes in photojournalism and looked for work. She took small, not very well paid jobs at first, but as she became more known, she accepted bigger and better jobs. Several agencies wanted to hire her full time, but she wanted the freedom of not being tied down. She became a gypsy.

    It was almost morning when I finished reading and closed the notebook. I felt I knew this woman better than I knew my own wife of over 20 years. It felt funny knowing all this about her when she didn't even know I existed.

    As I went out for coffee and a smoke, I decided to give Rani a call and apologize for being rude earlier. I was feeling lonely, the kind of lonely I would get when thinking of my mother and father. The phone rang several times before she picked up. She had been asleep and said I could have waited until later to call her. I apologized for waking her up but told her I just wanted to hear her voice. She asked if I was coming home and I said I would wait to talk to the doctor when he came in later today.

    Silence, then she said, "Fine, I just wanted to know for the children's sake as they are missing you."

    "I know, I miss them too", I said. "And, do you miss me, Rani?"

    "Shah, what do you want me to say? What possible good can you do by staying at the hospital with a stranger?"

    "Rani, I just don't want her to be alone. You have no idea just how alone this woman is."

    "Well, apparently, you do. I'll just tell the kids that Papa will be home sometime, okay!" She hung up.

    I was so tired of this bickering and fighting. Doesn't she realize how fortunate we are to have each other and the kids? No, she doesn't because she only sees things as they concern her. Fine, I would only go home to spend time with the kids.

    I came back into the room just as the doctor was checking her.

    "Looks like we're going to start bringing her out of the coma. It will take about a day or so for her system to catch up and she'll be fully awake. Why don't you take a break today. She won't know whether you're here or not until sometime tomorrow."

    I called Ajay to pick me up and we went to the studio first so I could clear my schedule for several days. The police report on the accident indicated that neither Ajay or I had any liability in the accident and that the case was focusing on the street thugs, but still no leads.

    After getting home and showering and grabbing a bite to eat, I was playing with Malik when Rani approached me.

    "So, you finally decided to come home."

    I was still miffed about our earlier encounter so I didn't answer her, but continued to play with Malik. She said she had errands to run and would be back later. Strange, I had never stopped working long enough to realize we didn't have anything to say to each other anymore. They say life and death encounters make one's perspectives change. I always thought it would be my life or death encounter, not some other person's. But reading about and seeing this woman had brought into sharp focus just how far Rani and I had drifted apart. We never really talked about anything except the children. I had accepted that and felt it was okay until yesterday when all this happened. How quickly life can change on you.

    Chapter Three

    Kavin was getting ready to go back to school in London and Maya was busy with her friends. Only little Malik seemed to have time for "Papa". Malik was so cute when I suggested we pray for the nice lady who was hurt and in the hospital. How fortunate I am to have my children. I felt a deep stab of pain for "Lexi", all alone and in the hospital. I wanted to go back to be with her, but decided I should get a good nights rest. I took care of some business on the computer then watched some TV with Malik. We both fell asleep in the chair and woke up when Rani came home. After putting Malik to bed, I slept in my study.

    Since Kavin had to be at the airport very early the next morning, I said I would drop him on my way to the hospital. Rani just rolled her eyes at me, but didn't say anything. It was always difficult to say goodbye to my children, especially when they left the country. After hugging and kissing Kavin goodbye, I told Ajay to drop me at the hospital. I felt a tingle of nerves as we drove anticipating the moment she opened her eyes and saw me. Would she blame me? Well, it was my car that hit her. As I walked into her room, the doctor and nurse were checking her vitals and the doctor felt the immediate danger was over. They had taken her off the meds to keep her in a coma and were just waiting for her to come around. Dr. Patel said that sometimes talking to or reading to a person could awaken them. He said he would check on her periodically during the day.

    After everyone left, I pulled up a chair next to the bed and picked out a book that I especially liked. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran always gave me comfort. I started to read and would look up once in awhile to see if there was any response. I took some cigarette breaks and the nurse brought me something to eat, although I wasn't very hungry. The doctor popped in a few times and towards evening felt that she was starting to respond to some stimuli. At one point, he ran an instrument up the sole of her foot and she flinched.

    "That's a positive sign, Mr Khan. It could be a few hours yet, but I think she'll be fully awake by tomorrow morning."

    As I got comfortable for the night, I looked at the face of this woman in the dim hospital light. I felt an enormous protectiveness towards her. "I promise you, I'll make the rest of your life alot easier than it's been."

    I woke with a start. I had heard a moan from the bed and was up in a flash, pressing the call button for the nurse. Lexi was starting to move and made low moaning sounds as if she was in pain. When the nurse appeared, she said it was normal for a patient to exhibit discomfort when they regained consciousness. She assured me that Lexi was not in undue pain. She would contact Dr. Patel to update him.

    I stood at the side of her bed and took ahold of her hand. When I did, she gave me a slight squeeze and I smiled. Thank you, God, for not taking her just yet. I pulled up a chair and sat, but never let go of her hand. It seemed like hours went by and she became more animated but still had not opened her eyes yet. All thought of going back to sleep had fled as I watched her intently. When the doctor came in, I hurriedly dressed in the bathroom, brushed my teeth and combed my hair.

    The nurse very graciously brought me a large cup of coffee. Smiling with gratitude, I went out to have a smoke while the doctor examined her. When I returned, the doctor said he was very pleased with her progress and expected her to fully awaken any moment. He also said he would be on the floor doing rounds and would only be moments away if there was any change.

    I sat down again and took her hand just as she opened her eyes. I looked into the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen and was mesmerized. Her eyes were light green with darker green encircling the iris. She looked at me with confusion and I felt I should say something.

    "Hello, I'm Shah Rukh."

    I felt sort of dumb saying that, but didn't know what else to say. With my free hand, I pushed the nurse's call button.

    The doctor and nurse came in at the same time and I stepped back while they examined her.

    Dr. Patel asked her if she knew where she was. "No." He explained that there had been an accident and she was in the hospital. He asked her if she remembered the accident. "No." He asked her if she knew her name and a puzzled look came into her eyes, like she was trying to remember. "No."

    The confusion in her eyes was replaced by a scared look and she started to get agitated. I felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. The nurse gave her a shot which immediately calmed her down. Dr. Patel motioned for me to step out into the hall with him.

    "It's not unusual for a patent to suffer temporary amnesia after a traumatic accident and surgery, so don't be unduly upset about it." He ordered that she be given sedatives, although in a decreasing dosage until she regained her memory.

    "What should I do to help her, Doctor?"

    "You said you've read her diary and know alot about her past life, haan? Well, feed her little bits of information but don't tell her about her family's deaths yet." He felt that might be too much of a shock. "As she recovers her memory, she'll remember those events on her own."

    When I went in to see her, she was calm, drowsy even, as if she'd had a few drinks. I hated that they were keeping her doped up but had to trust the doctor on this. She gave me a heartbreaking smile as I walked up to her bed.

    She took my hand and looked into my eyes. "I know you. I recognize your voice." I had a queer feeling deep in my heart that she did know me. How I wanted to make things alright for her!

    As I sat down, she started to ask me questions that I wasn't sure about answering.

    "Did I know you before this accident?" "No", I replied.

    "How did we meet?" I took a deep breath, "I was riding in the car that accidentally hit you. I rode with you to the hospital and have been with you ever since."

    She asked me the name of the hospital and when I told her, she looked puzzled and asked what city we were in.

    "Mumbai."

    She had a surprised look on her face and her eyes seemed to become a darker green. I realized she didn't even know she was in India. I said that among her personal belongings we had discovered that she was a photojournalist who had just arrived the morning of the accident. She wrinkled up her forehead and said how strange this was not to know who or what you are. She didn't ask anymore questions so I didn't volunteer anymore information.

    She turned on the TV and watched CNN as I sat and pretended to read my book. Seeing the expressions cross over her face, I could sense the total confusion she must be feeling. When the nurse came in to give her a sedative, she said she didn't want it. I saw a flash of anger flare up in her eyes. So there was a "junglee billi" (wildcat) inside her! This amused me and I told the nurse to call Dr. Patel and rescind the order. The nurse was not happy, but she went to make the call. Lexi looked at me and her eyes softened as she said, "Thanks, I don't like the feeling I get on them."

    I asked her if she had been on sedatives before and you could tell she was trying to remember. "I think so."

    They brought a tray with some soup and crackers on it and she tried to eat some, without much success. She dozed off for a couple of hours while I made some business calls. I had just stepped out for a smoke when the nurse came to get me. Lexi had awakened and not seeing me there, she panicked. I threw my cigarette down and hurried into her room. The relief on her face when she saw me went straight through me. Somehow, she only felt safe if I was with her. Maybe I had done her no favors by being at her bedside so much, but now it was too late to alter it. I wouldn't let her be alone.

    I did tell her I would have to leave for awhile to take care of something but would be back later. She was fine with that as long as I told her I was leaving. As Ajay drove me back home, I thought about what would happen to her. As much as I wanted her to recover and go on with her life, the thought of never seeing her again disturbed me greatly. I had already made arrangements to send her monthly checks to take care of her expenses, but that seemed such a small thing. Where would she go, back to whom would she go? The thought of her wandering all alone made me anxious. I know I've always been overprotective with my loved ones, but I'd only known Lexi for about 3 days. Somehow, under stress, it seemed like I'd known her all my life. What would she do now?

    Chapter Four

    The days started to run together as she continued to improve physically, but she had still not regained her memory. I was able to leave her to take care of business and go home to see the kids as long as I told her I was leaving. She grew to trust that I would come back.

    When I overheard a nurse ask her if she knew who I was, she replied "Yes, he's my friend, Shah Rukh." The nurse was about to tell her more, but as I entered the room, she looked at me and stopped.

    After saying hello to Lexi, I went out to the nurses station and said that under no circumstance did I want them to volunteer information to her. It was better that she just thought of me as "her friend Shah Rukh".

    Thankfully, the press had gotten tired of the story and mercifully stopped stalking the hospital. Dr. Patel talked to me about where Lexi would go when she was released. He felt she was getting close to healing physically, but was concerned that she still could not remember anything before the accident.

    I started to think about her release too and did not want her to leave Mumbai without getting her memory back. According to her diary, she did not have a permanent address back in America, but just stayed in short term rentals during assignments. It was also apparent that she did not have any relatives or close friends to take care of her. Seems like she had avoided getting close to people since the death of her family. I understood the feeling, that if you allow yourself to get too close, people can leave you or up and die on you. Who needs that hurt?

    Rani and I were at a stalemate. She didn't bring up the subject of me being at the hospital and I didn't ask her questions about where she went. Right now, the only joy I was able to have was with my kids. Kavin and I would Skype every day and I would spend time with Maya and Malik daily. Other than that, I had delegated most of my work to other people so as to be available at the hospital.

    I had made some inquiries very discreetly about an apartment near Mannat that was fully furnished for Lexi. I had my accoutant put the apartment title in Lexi's name so that I was not connected to it in any way. Even the purchase check and monthly living expenses were drawn on a private account that I had set up. Not even Rani knew it existed. I hated being so secretive, but I knew how the film community and the press would spin this. Also, Rani would most definitely not understand. Even though we were drifting further apart, I didn't want the stress or hassle of a showdown. I also arranged for a live in maid/cook/housekeeper. I didn't want Lexi to know she would also be reporting to Dr. Patel and me about Lexi's mental health.

    Finally, the day came when Dr. Patel said they were going to release Lexi and I explained to him that arrangements had been made for her care. He didn't ask me any questions except that if she was still in the country in three months, he would like to see her for a followup exam.

    Since Lexi had still not recovered her memory, she didn't argue when I told her Ajay would be taking her to her new apartment. She seemed to know that I cared about her and therefore she trusted me. I told her I would come over after she was settled in and check on her. As she left the hospital with Ajay, she gave me a hug and smiled. It took all my will not to go with her.

    When Ajay returned he reported that she seemed to love the apartment which overlooked the ocean. She also approved of the live in help, Mrs. Kapoor. Mrs. Kapoor was a college educated widow with no children of her own and was thrilled to have someone who needed her. She was also very discreet and wouldn't talk to the press or anyone else about my connection to Lexi.

    Leaving the hospital for good felt strange, as my life had centered around it and Lexi for over a month. I felt I needed to get my life back on track, at least as far as my career was concerned. My problems with Rani weren't so easily handled. As far as Rani, or anyone else knew, Lexi had recovered and gone back to where she came from. It felt strange to know that Lexi was less than a mile away from Mannat and me.

    I promised Lexi I would drop in and see her, so without telling Rani where I was going, I left. Mrs. Kapoor answered the doorbell, smiled and said Lexi was on the balcony. I had not seen the apartment before and as I walked towards the balcony, I noticed how beautiful it was. Well, she deserved to have a nice place to live. As I stepped onto the balcony, she had her back to me. We were on the sixth floor and it had a fantastic view of the ocean. The sun had just set and there was a mild breeze blowing in. She seemed lost in thought and was unaware of my presence. As I stood there and looked at her, I thought again of how small she was, only about 5'3" and about a 100 pounds. The thought of my big car ramming into her small body made me groan. At that sound, she turned and locked her eyes on mine. Without speaking, she walked to me and wrapped her body to mine. I was stunned at her embrace, but found my arms around her hugging her close to me. It felt so natural that it scared me. I finally pulled away and looked down at her. The temptation to kiss her was so strong, but I couldn't take advantage of her.

    I sat her down and took a seat across from her where I could recover my senses. I finally found my voice and tried to sound normal. "So, do you like the apartment?"

    Tears filled her eyes. "It's beautiful Shah Rukh, but how can I afford this?"

    I lied and told her it was being paid for by my insurance. I also said she would be getting monthly expense checks, also from my insurance company. She seemed alittle confused, but she accepted anything I told her. I hated to lie to her, especially when she looked at me with those beautiful trusting eyes. I couldn't tell her the truth, at least not yet.

    I had Ajay check with immigration regarding her passport and had her stay extended. They granted her a work visa that was good for six months and renewable. I listed her as an employee of mine, but didn't put her on the rolls of my productions company because Rani had access to all the workings there.

    I wanted her to be happy, but I didn't think sitting in the apartment all day would satisfy her. So I bought her a beautiful camera and suggested she start taking some photos around Mumbai. Ajay drove her around and she seemed instinctively to know how to use forgotten skills. Without knowing how, she set up a darkroom in the apartment to develop her photos, which were stunning. Her skill as a photographer must have been retained in a separate part of her brain. She was looking healthy and regaining a passion for life that was contagious. I felt better just being around her. She had a sharp sense of humor and a keen intelligence. She was an avid reader and liked to discuss various things.

    By now, she had also discovered that I was not only her friend, Shah Rukh, but also "King Khan, the Baadshah, King of Romance", and the biggest movie star in India. Didn't seem to make any difference to her. I was still just her friend, Shah Rukh.

    Rani and I were only speaking to each other when it concerned the kids or business. She knew something had changed, but thankfully didn't know what. I think we had both given up trying to have a loving relationship and were settling for a peaceful existence. It wasn't ideal, but I didn't know what else to do. We had never considered splitting up because it would hurt the children. Life is not always fair and I'd had my share of good breaks with my career, reaching heights that even my mother could never have imagined for me. I was very grateful for, and satisfied with, the life I had. That is, until Lexi came into the picture.

    Rani had known me since I was 19 and she was 15, and been there through all the highs and lows. But Lexi knew me as a mature man, someone who cared deeply about her welfare. She also, by now, knew I was married with children. She never asked me any personal questions about them, but I could see the questions in her eyes.

    Outside of the first night on the balcony, we had maintained a physical distance so as not to cross a line with each other. If it was our destiny to be only friends, I would respect that. I knew I had feelings for her that I wouldn't even express to myself.

    It had been about two and a half months, when I told her Dr. Patel had contacted me about her. She set up an appointment and went to see him. He gave her a clean bill of health, but was not very optimistic about her amnesia. He referred her to Dr. Chopra, a psychiatrist who dealt with memory loss, and made an appointment to see her. When Lexi told me this, I actually became scared. It worried me that she would recover her memory and I would lose her. How stupid that was! She was not mine to lose. But she had become such a big part of my life, I wasn't sure how I would react if she left India for good.

    Rani and I still put up a good front for the film community and the press. I still remembered the huge flap there had been over my "alleged" affair with my former costar, Devi. We truly were only close friends, but I shuddered at what the press would do with this situation.

    I had given Mrs. Kapoor my private cell number in case of an emergency, but she had never used it. It was about 10:00 pm when I got a call from her. She was frantic and I had trouble understanding what she was saying. I finally got her calmed down enough to hear her say, "Oh, Mr. Khan, Lexi is gone!"

    "Gone! What do you mean gone?"

    Chapter Five

    "Well, after dinner, she said she wanted to get some fresh air so I assumed she meant the balcony. I went to my room and about an hour later, I came out to check on her and she was nowhere to be found. I'm worried sick about her. I tried calling her cell number, but it just rang in the apartment, so she's out somewhere in Mumbai at 10:00 at night without any way to reach her. Oh, sir, what should I do?"

    I was also worried sick, but tried to make my voice sound calm for Mrs. Kapoor.

    "She's probably just in the vicinity of the apartment building sitting somewhere enjoying the night air. Don't panic, I'll go look for her. Keep your phone on and if she comes back, call me again, haan?"

    "Haan, sir."

    As I hung up the phone, I felt panic start to rise in my chest. How could she just walk out this late at night in Mumbai. What in heavens name was she thinking? I felt anger rise up to join the fear I was feeling. I wondered how to explain to Rani that I was going out. We were no longer sleeping in the same room, so I poked my head in her room and said goodnight. She gave me a surprised look but said, "Goodnight." I quickly changed and called Ajay and said I needed him. I asked him to bring his car as I didn't want anyone to recognize my distinctive license plate that ended in '555'. Everyone in Mumbai, and probably in India, knew that all my vehicles ended with '555'.

    As I got into the front seat of his car, I explained to him that Lexi was missing and we needed to find her. I assumed she was on foot and had not taken a taxi anywhere, so we concentrated our search around her apartment building. Wild thoughts kept popping into my head and I prayed she wasn't in any danger. If I was unsure about my feelings for her, this crystallized everything. I truly felt like crying.

    Ajay circled the area in ever widening circles, but with no success. By now, it was way past midnight, not a good time for a woman to be out alone in Mumbai. I prayed harder. Bandra is an affluent, upscale area but anyone could have grabbed her. Damn it Lexi, where the hell are you? I wanted to throttle her, I wanted to hold her and never let her go. My feelings were so extreme. Ajay asked me if I was alright. I tried to calm down and said, "I'll be fine as soon as we find her."

    We searched for over three hours and I told him if we didn't find her soon, I would call the police. Screw the press!

    As we headed back towards the apartment, I happened to look out at the beach. There was a full moon and I seemed to see someone there. I told Ajay to stop and I got out. As I walked towards a small figure sitting on the beach, I realized it was her. Thank you, God! She didn't appear to see me walking towards her and I was getting ready to berate her for taking off, but then I stopped dead in my tracks.

    I have never seen such a look of anguish on a person's face as I did now. Oh no! I knew her memory had returned and she was dealing with the awful loss of her family all over again. I sat down next to her and gently put my hand on her shoulder. She turned and looked into my eyes with so much pain in hers that it took my breath away.

    "Oh Lexi." I wanted to hold her and comfort her, but the words wouldn't come.

    Her eyes were dry, but there was an emptiness behind them. She shivered and I wrapped my arms around her to warm her up.

    "My sweet Lexi." I barely noticed that Ajay had put a blanket around both our shoulders and left again.

    As we sat huddled together on that beach, it was as if we became one person. The pain I still felt at the loss of my parents merged with her pain and became one. I knew in my heart that I had never felt this close to another human being, not even Rani.

    The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon as I stood, picked her up and carried her to the car. We drove back to the apartment in silence. She had not spoken a word. I carried her in and Mrs. Kapoor undressed her and put her in bed.

    As I sat on the sofa, the night's events had totally drained me. I don't think I'd ever been this tired. I don't know when Mrs. Kapoor put a blanket over me and I only woke when I smelled coffee brewing.

    Mrs. Kapoor handed me a cup and as I sipped it, I asked her if she had looked in on Lexi. "Yes, poor little thing. She looks so small and frail laying in that big bed. Her eyes were open so I tried to talk to her, but she didn't seem to notice I was there. Should we call the doctor?"

    "No, let's wait a bit." I told Mrs. Kapoor that I believed her memory had returned and she was reliving the loss of her family again.

    I said I would go home, shower and shave (as I looked like a homeless bum), and then I would return. If anything happened while I was gone, she was to call me immediately.

    As I walked out of the building, I saw that Ajay had slept in his car. Bless him. I need to give him a raise. I got into the passenger seat and he drove me back to Mannat.

    Rani was in the kitchen when I came in. "Where have you been? I looked in the study but it didn't look like you had slept there. Shah, what's going on?"

    I wasn't up to telling her the truth, so I lied and told her I couldn't sleep and had taken a walk. I don't know if she believed me, but by then, I didn't care.

    I recalled an interview I had given several years ago where I very glibly said 'No woman has ever made me go weak in the knees'. Well, you know what they say about karma!

    As I returned to her apartment, Mrs. Kapoor met me with a worried look on her face. She said Lexi was quiet, too quiet. I went into the bedroom and my heart seized with pain. She looked like a small child who's just been told there is no Santa Clause.

    I sat down on the bed and took her hand. It was ice cold and I rubbed it between both of mine. She didn't look at me, but seemed to be staring at a place that didn't exist anymore. I felt I needed to reach her somehow before she was lost to me forever.

    I went out onto the balcony and called Dr. Chopra and told her the situation. She said she would come right over. As we waited, Mrs. Kapoor tearfully told me how much she cared for Lexi and how kind Lexi was to her. We both sat there deep in our thoughts, startled when the intercom buzzed and we let Dr. Chopra in. She asked Mrs. Kapoor if anything unusual had happened before Lexi went missing. Mrs. Kapoor shook her head no, but then recalled that there had been an accident down on the street. After the police and ambulances left, Lexi told her she wanted to get some fresh air. Dr. Chopra asked if Lexi seemed upset by the accident, but Mrs. Kapoor said she didn't think so.

    Dr. Chopra then looked at me. "Mr. Khan, I believe the car accident yesterday triggered her memory. I don't think she recalled everything at once, but gradually over the course of the night, she must have remembered the accident that killed her family. Thank God you found her safe. I feel the memory of that accident is as painful to her now as when the actual event occurred."

    I walked Dr. Chopra outside. As we stood by her car she said, "Mr. Khan, I know this puts you in a delicate position and I respect that. Lexi has repeatedly said how safe she feels when you are with her. Without your help, we may never get her back. Would you be willing to help bring her through this? If this is something you feel you can't do, let me know and I'll make arrangements to have her admitted to a clinic."

    I didn't know what was going to happen, but I did know I couldn't bear to see Lexi put into a mental clinic and be all alone again. I had promised her when she laid in a coma at the hospital, that I would make this right for her. I would follow my heart and let the chips fall where they may.

    I looked at Dr. Chopra and said, "I will always stand by Lexi."

    She smiled and said, "Good, we'll begin the work of bringing Lexi back to us tomorrow. I'll see you in the morning." She told Mrs. Kapoor to check on her every few hours and she would be back by 9:00 in the morning.

    Chapter Six

    On the way home, I tried to figure out how I would tell Rani about this. I'm not a liar or deceitful person by nature, but it seemed as if I was backed into a corner. With all that was happening with Lexi, the last thing I needed was the stress of telling Rani. By the time I reached the back entrance of Mannat, I had decided to tell Rani that I needed to take care of some business dealings in the U.S. I would have to be very vague about details so she wouldn't check up on me. Now I realized why I didn't like lying, it was too easy to foul up.

    I came into the house and could hear Malik laughing and playing upstairs. I knew that if Rani and I separated, she would have custody of the kids. Kavin and Maya were almost grown, but it was little three year old Malik that broke my heart. I love all my children so much!

    As I came upstairs, Malik ran to me yelling, "Papa, Papa." I scooped him up in my arms and buried my face in his neck.

    For a split second I considered calling Dr. Chopra and telling her I couldn't help her with Lexi, but I couldn't forget the look I had seen in Lexi's eyes on the beach. Even if Rani and I did separate, I knew I wouldn't lose my children. But if I abandoned Lexi, she would have no one else.

    Putting Malik down and walking towards the bedroom, I made up my mind to go through with the lie.

    Rani was in her big walk-in closet rearranging her shoes when I came in. She looked at me but didn't say anything. I sat down on one of her dressing room chairs.

    "Rani, I'm going to have to be away for alittle while on business."

    She looked at me and said, "Where are you going?"

    I was prepared for this and told her I would be in New York first, then I had several meetings in L. A. I wasn't sure how long this business would take, but I knew I would be gone over a week. She accepted what I told her and didn't seem too upset. I told her I would Skype with the children everyday and keep all of them updated about my return.

    She asked when I had to leave. "Tomorrow morning, so I need to start packing." She just said okay and asked if I needed anything special I wanted to take. I said no, I could handle it.

    Maya didn't have a problem with my being away because she was used to it, but little Malik started to cry, "Papa no go, Papa no go." I hugged and kissed him and told him I would call him every night before bedtime. Rani, at least did say, "Have a nice trip." Man, I felt like a piece of shit!

    Ajay picked me up in his car, again so as not to attract attention, but I needn't have worried. There were hardly any people out as it was pouring rain. He dropped me at the back entrance of the building and I took the elevator up to Lexi's apartment. I had my own key, so I knocked and unlocked the door.

    Mrs. Kapoor was happy to see me but said Dr. Chopra hadn't arrived yet. She got me a cup of coffee and we sat at the dining room table. She said Lexi had been quiet all night, only getting up once to use the bathroom. I asked Mrs. Kapoor if Lexi had said anything yet, but she shook her head no while looking like she could cry. Mrs. Kapoor said she would unpack my belongings and put me in a spare bedroom.

    Lexi was lying on her back with her head turned towards the windows as if watching the rain come down. I walked into her line of vision but she never once changed the look in her eyes. What are you seeing, Lexi? Where are you? I wanted to shake her and bring her back to me, but just then Mrs. Kapoor ushered Dr. Chopra into the apartment.

    Dr. Chopra seemed pleased that I had honored my word to be there for Lexi. She told me that she had contacted two prominent psychiatrists, one in Germany, one in the U.S. who had worked extensively with traumatic cases such as Lexi's. Without letting them know the patient's name, she had explained the situation and they said they would fax her some suggestions. They said they would also be available for consultation if needed.

    Dr. Chopra went in to check Lexi's vitals and observe her reactions. Basically, there weren't any. Sometimes, if you spoke her name, she would look at you. Well, not actually at you, more like through you. It was almost like her life spirit was gone. After examining her, she came in the living room and sat down across from me.

    Mrs. Kapoor poured more coffee for me and offered Dr. Chopra chai. I had so many questions, most of which she couldn't answer just yet. She said it would be an uphill battle and that Lexi would have to want to come back to the living. Funny, but that's the phrase Lexi herself had used in the first line of her diary. Now she was going to have to fight that battle all over again. How much could she take?

    Only Ajay, Mrs. Kapoor, Dr. Patel and Dr. Chopra knew where I was and I wanted to keep it that way. I called Karishma, my secretary at my production studio, and told her to handle things until further notice as I was away on other business. I had to be very careful because Rani was an officer of the company. She knew more than I did about what was going on at the office. Karishma asked how they could get ahold of me in case they needed me. I gave her Ajay's number and said they could reach me through him. Boy, this deceit was harder than any film I had ever done.

    Dr. Chopra felt we needed to get Lexi up and out of bed, so the three of us swung her legs over the edge and pulled her into a sitting position. She made a small animal mewling noise, almost like a kitten, but didn't make any eye contact or speak to us. I left the room while Mrs. Kapoor and the doctor changed her into a comfortable kurta and leggings. Mrs. Kapoor brushed her hair and washed her face.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  3. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    They finally walked her into the living room and sat her on the sofa next to me. Dr. Chopra started talking to her, not asking her to respond, She said she was fascinated that Lexi had traveled the world taking photographs, but after seeing her photos, she was puzzled that none of the pictures had children in them. Lexi moved her right hand from her lap to grip my left one which was beside her. I froze, not knowing what I should do but Dr. Chopra just nodded at me.

    Dr. Chopra did not mention children again, but switched the subject to traveling in India. Lexi relaxed her grip but did not let go of my hand. She was still not focusing on other people and did not make any eye contact, but rather looked at a spot somewhere on the floor.

    Dr. Chopra suggested I read something to Lexi and I had Mrs. Kapoor bring me my rather handworn copy of The Prophet. It was alittle difficult to turn the pages with only one hand, but Lexi showed no interest in releasing the other one and I was afraid to move it. As I read, Dr. Chopra walked to the kitchen to talk to Mrs. Kapoor and I felt Lexi relax even more.

    At one point, Dr. Chopra leaned in to ask if I would come into the kitchen, but as soon as I started to remove my hand, Lexi put a death grip on it. Dr. Chopra observed this and shook her head to say never mind.

    Chapter Seven

    Mrs. Kapoor had fixed a delicious soup for us and tried to get Lexi to eat some, but Lexi wouldn't open her mouth. Dr. Chopra asked me if I would try. I took the spoon with my free hand, dipped it in the soup and raised it to her lips. She hesitated, then opened her lips enough so that I got some soup into her. I felt elated, as if I had just scored the winning run. I gave her three or four more spoonfuls of soup, then she'd had enough. Lips clamped tight! There was my stubborn 'junglee billi' again!

    After Mrs. Kapoor walked her back to the bedroom, Dr. Chopra said, "Shah Rukh, it's just as I thought. She has developed a fierce dependence on you. You're the one she responds to, the one she feels safe with. It may be because of the bond that was formed in the hospital, I don't know. But you are going to be crucial to her getting well. Are you up to it?"

    Before answering Dr. Chopra, I walked out onto the balcony. I took a deep breath of the rain freshened air, lit a cigarette and thought - this is one of those life changing moments, when you are presented with two different roads to take. What should I do?

    On one hand, I knew that if I chose Lexi, I could potentially lose my career, my children would be hurt and, since I didn't know Lexi's feelings for me, I could lose her as well. Did she care for me or was I just a lifeline she was holding onto to keep from drowning? I knew I cared for her deeply, but was I just feeling so much guilt about what had happened to her that I wanted to fix it. Realistically, I knew if I walked out on her today, Dr. Chopra would make sure she got excellent care and I could get on with my life.

    As I thought of all these things, I considered how far Rani and I had come from our beginnings in Delhi. Yes, we were in a bad way as far as our relationship went, but it wasn't all Rani's fault. I had put all my energies into making it big, and I had, but at what cost. I had everything I wanted, money, super stardom, the love of my fans. Then why did it feel so empty? I've always felt that I don't show people the real me, that I've carried my acting into my real life. But with Lexi, it felt different. Maybe when you have such deep pain inside, and you recognize it in someone else, it cuts through all the bullshit.

    As I went back inside, I told Dr. Chopra that I would help her, but I also knew I would have to make a decision regarding Lexi.

    I've never gone to a shrink and don't think I need one, but Dr. Chopra looked at me and said, "Shah Rukh, anything we talk about will be kept between you and I. I know you are in a hard position, but it's also evident to me that you have very deep feelings for Lexi. I can see it in your eyes that you are torn about what to do. Down deep, you are a classic caretaker. You've always tried to make everyone happy, but what about you? What do you want?"

    I looked at her, sat down on the sofa, and put my head in my hands. "I don't know. I only know that whatever decision I make will affect other people and it will hurt someone, whichever way I go. What should I do, Doctor?"

    "Shah Rukh, I can't make that decision for you, but take some time to sort out your feelings before trying to decide what's best for you. Just please don't forget your own needs in the equation, haan?" Dr. Chopra said she had to make her rounds but would be back later in the day.

    I looked in on Lexi and she seemed to be sleeping. I told Mrs. Kapoor that I needed to get out for awhile, called Ajay and he picked me up in his car. I told him I just wanted to get out of the city center and take a walk. I couldn't risk being seen in Mumbai because Rani thought I was in America. We drove in silence into the country until we came to a bluff overlooking the ocean. I asked Ajay to stop, got out of the car, walked to the edge of the bluff and sat down. I turned to look at Ajay, motioned for him to come. As he walked towards me, I realized that although we had know each other for 15 years, we had never really talked. I don't think I ever really talked to anyone, but I had told Lexi things about my life that even Rani didn't know about. Before she got her memory back, we had talked alot about me, since she couldn't remember her past. I had told her about losing my mother and father. I was 15 when I lost my dad and it had hurt alot. But when I lost my mom a few years later, I was devastated. My older sister, Mumtaz, had completely fallen apart and I've taken care of her ever since. She was so fragile and never fully recovered. Maybe that's why I felt so deeply for Lexi, she is so fragile right now and maybe Dr. Chopra is right, I want to take care of her.

    I knew when Ajay sat down that anything I said to him would not be repeated, but it was still hard to open up to anyone. I asked Ajay if he had ever been in love and he said yes. I asked him what had happened.

    "Mr. Khan sir, before I came to Mumbai to work for you, I fell in love with a girl in our village. She also loved me. Her family arranged for a marriage with another boy and when she told her father that she loved me, he killed her for dishonoring the family. I left and came to Mumbai and since then I have never met anyone else."

    I was stunned that I had never known the pain this good man had suffered. He looked at me and asked if he could speak freely. I nodded yes. "Mr. Khan sir, working with you basically saved my life, and I would gladly give my life to protect you, but I've seen you struggling with what happened to Ms. Lexi. Your're such a decent man who doesn't want to hurt anyone. But sir, I've seen how you look at Ms. Lexi and the concern, and yes, love for her is evident. True love is rare, sir, and shouldn't be thrown away. I would give anything to have my Anjali with me today, so please sir, do what you need to do to keep that love alive." He apologized if he had stepped over the line by saying this, but I just put my hand on his shoulder and thanked him. We drove back to the apartment in silence.

    Lexi was awake and sitting up in bed when I came into her room, so I decided to get her up and walked her out onto the balcony. There was a fresh breeze coming in from the ocean and as she stood holding the railing with her long beautiful hair blowing in the wind, my heart actually skipped a beat and my knees felt weak. I guess I was wrong all those years ago when I told an interviewer that no woman made me go weak in the knees. I moaned as a tear fell from my eye and at the sound, Lexi turned and looked at me. Really looked at me. She came to me and wrapped herself into my arms. We stood that way for a long time, me holding her and stroking her hair. At last, she looked up at me and what I saw in those beautiful green eyes was love. Love for me! I took her face in my hands and gently kissed her lips. As we drew apart, she leaned in and gave me another kiss, this one held more passion and more promise. As she looked into my eyes, she finally broke her silence, "I love you, Shah Rukh."

    Those words were going to change my life forever.

    Chapter Eight

    I called Dr. Chopra and told her what had happened. She came over immediately. She was surprised to see Lexi dressed, made up, hair fixed, and sitting next to me on the sofa.

    Dr. Chopra sat down and said, "Lexi, tell me how you're feeling."

    "I feel as if I've been on a long journey and have now come home."

    She looked lovingly at Shah Rukh and touched his hand. He enveloped her delicate hand in his and kissed it.

    "Don't look so concerned, Doctor, I remember everything. Or at least almost everything. When my memory returned it came back in flashes. The accident that happened on the street below brought back a suffocating terror. I saw flashes of Mike, Cody and Nicole but couldn't put it all together. I just knew I was scared. I needed to get out and told Mrs. Kapoor I needed some fresh air. I'm sorry to have worried all of you, but I needed to focus my mind. I walked and walked. Later, as I walked on the beach, the full story of my life came back to me. I just couldn't accept it all at once. I lost track of time and then Shah Rukh was sitting on the beach next to me. I couldn't share my pain with him yet. I felt as if I was drowning and trying to reach the surface. I know now that my mind was trying to adjust to all of it."

    Dr. Chopra nodded and said, "It's common when traumatic memories return, our systems tend to shut down to protect us."

    "I still do not remember my accident. Will that return too?"

    "Probably not Lexi, in cases where there has been a serious injury, the moment of the accident seems to be erased. What's your first memory since your accident?"

    "I think it was hearing Shah Rukh's voice reading something, although I didn't know who he was at the time. But there was something so safe and comforting in his voice. I struggled to open my eyes, but I couldn't."

    Lexi looked at Shah Rukh with such love that Dr. Chopra asked Lexi if she could speak to Shah Rukh alone.

    "Of course, Doctor, I'll just go see if Mrs. Kapoor needs any help."

    "Shah Rukh, I know this improvement is a good thing, but I'm worried that if your support and care is taken away from her, she could be in real danger. She's still very fragile emotionally and she's clinging to your strength right now. She will get stronger as time goes by, of course, but you must be aware that Lexi is in love with you."

    I looked at Dr. Chopra and said, "I don't intend to hurt her, Doctor. I'm in love with her too. I know I must face reality and tell Rani, but it's going to be very hard. My biggest fear is hurting the children. I need some time, but I promise you, I won't let Lexi down." She nodded and went into the kitchen to say goodbye to Lexi, telling her she would see her in the morning.

    Time goes so fast when you don't want it to. I realized I'd been with Lexi for eight days and she seemed to be making good progress. Lexi and I talked about everything and she understood how hard it was for me because there were children involved. She also did not want to hurt them. When I would talk about Kavin and Maya, she would reminisce about Cody and Nicole. Instead of upsetting her, she seemed to take comfort in talking about them. She would laugh when I told her stories about Malik's antics. I showed her pictures of him and she said he looked like a 'mini me'. I loved that! I missed my babies terribly.

    It was time for me to go home and face the music. Lexi assured me that she would be fine. Dr. Chopra would continue her daily visits and Mrs. Kapoor couldn't love Lexi more if she were her own. I called Ajay to pick me up and left, knowing she was in good hands.

    I had called Rani yesterday to tell her I was coming back and as I walked into the house, it felt like I'd been away for years. I loved Mannat and it felt good to be home.

    Rani came to greet me and surprised me with a quick hug and smile. She asked me how my trip was and once again, I lied. "Good, where are Maya and Malik?"

    Just at that moment, Maya came downstairs and gave me a big hug and kiss. "I missed you, Papa."

    "I missed you too." She said Malik was just getting up from his nap.

    I took my suitcase upstairs and was going to put it in the study, but Rani grabbed it and took it into our bedroom. Just then, Malik came barreling into the bedroom and collided with me. "Papa, Papa." I picked him up and gave him hugs and kisses. He still had sleep in his eyes but he was overjoyed to see his Papa again.

    After eating a bite and playing with Malik, I told Rani I needed to catch up on some business on the computer. She looked disappointed, but said she would wait up. Oh brother! This was like a scene in one of my movies. What do I do now? Hey, director, I need the next page of the script!

    I went into my study, closed the door, sat down and tried to think of how I could avoid sleeping in our bed together. I could always pretend I fell asleep at the computer. Jet lag, you know. I just had to wait her out.

    I called Lexi and we talked for awhile until I heard a knock on the door. Hanging up, I called out, "Come in."

    Rani opened the door and said I'd been working for three hours. "Why don't you come to bed now, Shah? You need to get some rest."

    "I'm right in the middle of something, Rani, but I'll be finished soon. Give me another hour or so and I'll be in." She said she would try to stay awake, but if she fell asleep I should wake her. "Okay."

    As she closed the door, I felt like a piece of shit. I don't know how people have affairs. It's too nerve wracking.

    As I sat and thought about the situation, my mind kept drifting to Lexi. She was getting stronger every day and didn't panic when I would leave. Even if I could explain to Rani that our marriage had broken down and she agreed to a divorce, what kind of life would Lexi and I have?

    Luckily, the next morning, Rani didn't seem to be upset that I hadn't come to bed. As I sipped my coffee, she asked me what sort of plans I had for the day.

    "Well, I need to run over to the office and check with Karishma to see if I need to take care of anything. After that, I thought you and I could take a drive and have lunch somewhere."

    Surprised, she smiled. "Do you want the kids to come along?"

    "No, just the two of us." This seemed to please her.

    After returning from the office, I changed into jeans and a white tee and told Ajay to bring the convertible around to the side. Rani came out looking happy and ready for her 'date' with her man. This was getting harder by the minute.

    We drove out of the gates and of course, there are always fans and photogs, so I waved as they snapped away. Then, speeding off, I took a route that lead us out of the city. I turned on the radio because I didn't want to talk just yet.

    Rani looked about 17 with her hair blowing and sunglasses on. Did we still have a future together?

    We drove for about and hour and I pulled the car into a small clearing. Rani made a comment that it was like when we were secretly dating and we would sneak away to hug and kiss. She giggled. I didn't. I was so torn up inside and when she looked at me, her smile faded and she said, "Shah! What's wrong?"

    I got out of the car and walked several feet with my back to her. She followed and touched my shoulder to turn me around. "Shah, what's the matter?"

    I said, "Rani, we need to talk about our marriage." She looked at me and I could see she was getting upset.

    "What about our marriage?"

    Taking a deep breath, I went on. "We seem to be drifting further and further apart, year after year."

    "And you're blaming me?"

    "No, Rani, I'm not blaming either one of us. I know I've spent most of my energies on my career, but now it feels like we don't have anything in common but the children."

    "Well, Shah Rukh, you've spent your whole life trying to fill up that hole inside you since your parents died. I've tried to be what you needed, but it never seems to be enough for you." She was getting angry now. "I think that's why you're so obsessed with having everyone love you and yet you can't seem to see the people around you."

    I couldn't even argue with her as I was afraid she was right. I sat down on a stump and lowered my head.

    "I'm sorry, Rani. I know I've let you down and I never wanted to hurt you."

    She came and knelt down in front of me and with less anger said, "Just tell me what's bothering you now."

    I took a deep breath and looked at her. "I think we need some time apart." There. I'd said it!

    The concern in her eyes now flashed with anger. "Is this about Devi?"

    "What! No! Why would you say that? I haven't spoken to Devi in months and there was never anything other than friendship between us. That was in the gossip rags and in your mind."

    She stood up and so did I. "Well, then why do you want to separate?"

    "Rani, are you happy?" She looked at me but didn't answer. "Well, are you?"

    "Shah, what kind of question is that?"

    "Just a simple question, Rani. Either you are or you aren't."

    "I'm content. We've been together most of our lives. You can't expect a high level of passion after all this time."

    "I understand that, Rani. It just seems like we're two ships that once collided and now we're on separate courses. We share children and a living space. But, when was the last time we enjoyed being together, just the two of us?" She didn't answer me.

    We stood in silence for several minutes, each of us thinking our own thoughts.

    Finally, she said, "So, you think a separation is going to make things alright?"

    "No, but I think some time apart will give us both some space to make our own decisions about our lives."

    Rani was silent for a moment, then in a tight voice said, "I like being Mrs. Shah Rukh Khan. So if you want to end our marriage, YOU will take all the heat, from the children, from the press, from the film community, everyone! And don't think for a minute I won't keep everything, including the children! Take me home!"
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
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  4. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Nine

    We drove home in silence and once there, Rani jumped out of the car, slammed the door and went inside. I walked in and went upstairs. Our bedroom door was shut, so I turned the knob but it was locked. I knocked and said, "Rani, open the door." No response. "Rani, open the door!" I raised my voice and yelled, "Open the damn door!"

    Finally, she did and told me to keep my voice down so the children wouldn't hear.

    "Oh, don't you think they'll notice my absence when I leave?"

    "No Shah Rukh, you leave all the time!" I grabbed my suitcase and packed some clothes and toiletries.

    "Where will you be, in case of an emergency?"

    "I'll call you and let you know!"

    I called Ajay from outside and he quickly brought his car around and I got in. He could tell something was very wrong, but didn't ask any questions.

    "Sir, where do you want to go?"

    "Take me to Lexi's apartment." We drove the short distance in silence, but when I got out he asked me if he should wait.

    "No, Ajay, just go on home. I'll call you if I need you. And thanks for everything."

    "No problem, sir."

    I unlocked the door to Lexi's apartment and walked in. It was very quiet and for a moment, I wondered if anyone was home. As I walked into the bedroom, I could hear the shower running. It shut off and Lexi emerged with just a towel wrapped around her body. She squealed when she saw me.

    "Oh, my God, you scared the shit out of me!"

    I walked to her and pulled her close to me. She smelled of lavender and was so beautiful with no makeup on and all warm from the shower. She looked at me with questions in her eyes. I gently kissed her lips, then the need to be even closer to her overtook me and my lips pressed harder. She opened her mouth and kissed me back deeply. I felt as if my head was exploding as I took the towel from between us. God, she was so beautiful, even with the scars from her surgery. I think they made her even more beautiful.

    We were both caught up in our passion and need for each other as she helped me shed my clothes. We fell to the floor where we finally expressed what we felt. We were so hungry for each other that at times, it was almost brutal. Finally, as we laid there drained, I asked her where Mrs. Kapoor was and she started to laugh, a deep throaty laugh that caught me offguard.

    "You weren't too concerned where she was when we were ravishing each other just now." That started both of us laughing.

    "I gave her the day off since I didn't expect to see you" She got up and walked naked to the kitchen, so comfortable in her own body. Not like Rani, who had a great body too, but she was too inhibited to show it. Indian culture doesn't encourage freely displaying your body, not even with your spouse. Some Indian couples who have children have never seen their spouse fully naked. How stupid is that!

    I got up and followed her, She was drinking juice right from the bottle and asked me if I was thirsty. I took the bottle and took a long swallow. Coming close to her, my arms circled her and the passion and desire ignited again. We made love again. We lay entwined until it became dark in the apartment. Finally, she said she was going to take a shower and I could join her if I wanted to. Yes, I wanted to! We washed each other and made love again under the cascading water. We emerged and she put on a robe and I wrapped a towel around my waist. She asked me if I was hungry, that Mrs. Kapoor had put a dish in the fridge to heat up. I realized how famished I was as I hadn't eaten anything all day. While we sat and ate, she looked at me but didn't ask any questions. Finally, I spoke.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
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  5. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    "I told Rani I wanted a separation. I didn't tell her about you though. You're not the reason for my marriage breaking up. Rani and I have had problems for a very long time. Not many people know that she was the one who wanted another child. I love Malik so much, and I'm so glad to have him now, but I felt we were too old to have another baby. Back then, Rani was feeling very threatened because of a rumor about me and a costar. There was no truth in it, but that didn't keep Rani from being upset. I was against the idea but she kept at me until I agreed. We opted for surrogacy because Rani had problems with her previous pregnancies and almost died when Kavin was born. Like I said, I wouldn't change anything because I love Malik so much, but at the time, I wasn't too thrilled.

    Lexi listened to me without saying a word. Finally she said, "Shah Rukh, I don't want to be the reason for the breakup of your family. It's different when there are children involved. I know what not having your children feels like and Rani will probably have primary custody. Are you going to be satisfied with being a weekend father? I don't think so."

    I felt so tired from the events of the day that I told Lexi I just wanted to lay next to her and hold her close. We crawled into bed and I pulled her close to me as she rested her head on my chest.

    Next thing I heard was Mrs. Kapoor knocking on the door asking Lexi if she was alright. Lexi said, "Yes, Mrs. Kapoor, but I think I'll sleep in a bit more." We looked at each other and starting to giggle like two little kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Lexi started to get up but I pulled her back to me.

    "Shah Rukh, I need to get up, but you can sleep in some more if you want."

    "That's not what I want and you know it." She gave me a playful slap and put on her robe and went out of the bedroom.

    As I lay there, I thought of yesterday and all that had happened. I prayed that Rani wouldn't turn the children against me. No, even Rani couldn't be that heartless.

    I got up, splashed water on my face and dressed. When I entered the kitchen, there was no evidence that we had made love and I wondered if Mrs. Kapoor could tell there was a difference in our relationship. I walked to the balcony for a smoke and Lexi came out with two cups of coffee. We sat as we sipped our coffee, not making eye contact, but both thinking the same things. Then we looked at each other and burst into giggles.

    When Dr. Chopra came by later in the morning, she could tell something was different. Lexi and I, even though we tried to act as if nothing was going on, were doing a lousy job of it.

    Dr. Chopra sat with both of us and bluntly told us it was evident that we were in love. I realized that if she could see it and Ajay could see it, then everyone could see it. After examining Lexi, she said she would reduce her visits to once a week unless Lexi needed her more.

    After she left, Lexi went out on the balcony and I followed. As I put my arms around her from behind, she stiffened and started to pull away.

    "Lexi, what's the matter?" She turned and looked at me. "Shah Rukh, I think it's time for me to leave India."

    I was stunned. "What! What are you talking about?"

    "My staying here is only going to complicate things for you. I think it's better for me to leave, give you some space to decide what you want to do."

    "I want you with me. I can't lose you now."

    "You're not losing me. I'm with you always, but if I stay, we won't be able to hide our relationship and this will all blow up in your face. I can't bear to be the cause of any hurt to you." I was holding her arms so tight that she winced and I relaxed my grip. "I won't let you go. Did Dr. Chopra say something to you?"

    "Well, first she told me that I was well enough to travel and second, she said she could see the love we had for each other. Neither one of us is cut out to sneak around and have an affair right under your wife's nose. Sooner or later, this beautiful love we share will become a dirty, sordid joke in the tabloids. If they wrote horrible lies about you and Devi, just think what they would do with this situation. I'm not a very good actor and I don't think I can disguise what I feel for you."

    I walked over and sat down. The thought of not being able to be with Lexi brought a sharp stab of pain to my chest.

    "Where would you go?"

    "Back to the States, try to pick up my career again."

    "But when would we get to be together?"

    "We could meet up sometimes when I'm on assignment or you're on location."

    I knew that if I let her go, our love might not survive. I also knew I loved her in a way I had never loved Rani. I needed to be with her. There must be another way.

    "Lexi, please don't make this decision yet. Let me try to work this out for us. Promise me you won't just up and leave. Promise?"

    "I promise you, Shah, I won't just disappear from your life. I love you too much for that."

    Lexi went in to help Mrs. Kapoor and I called Rani.

    "Hello."

    "Rani, we need to talk."

    "Didn't you talk enough yesterday, Shah?"

    "Things have to be decided, Rani."

    "Come home and we'll discuss it." I called Ajay and went to tell Lexi I needed to go out on business.

    When I came into the house, it was very quiet. Rani came downstairs and said Maya had taken Malik and gone to a friend's house. I asked, "Does she know there's a problem between us?"

    "Well, I didn't say anything, but I thinks she's aware we're having problems." We sat at the table but didn't talk for a few moments.

    Rani looked at me. "Do you love me at all, Shah?"

    "Of course I love you, Rani. But I'm not in love with you anymore and I don't think you're in love with me either. We've been together so long and alot has changed. Were not the same people we were back then. We didn't date anyone else or give ourselves a chance to experience what we might want. I think we met, fell in love, married, not realizing that over time, we might want something different in life. When the children came along, we couldn't bear the thought of hurting them. Neither one of us expected my career to take off like it did, and how it would change our lives. I do love you, Rani, and I always will. But that's not enough."

    "What would be enough for you, Shah?"

    "I don't know, I just know there are no surprises, no excitement, no sense of adventure anymore. We are basically two very different people. We don't share our feelings, hopes and dreams with each other. We've gotten to a place where we're running parallel to each other instead of really being together. I can promise you though, that if we separate, I will always be there for you and the children."

    Rani started to cry quietly and asked me if it was her fault. "No, Rani, it's neither of our fault. We just grew up and then we grew apart. I want to spend the rest of my life rediscovering the passion for life I used to have. And I want the same for you. I don't want you to settle for being content with me. I want you to be happy, don't you?"

    Rani nodded then asked, "Is there someone else? Have you fallen in love with someone else, Shah?"

    How much could I tell her? I didn't want to hurt or humiliate her. "I can't foresee the future Rani, but there is the hope that we could both meet someone with whom we can find those things we've lost."

    Rani wiped her eyes and said, "So, what do we do now?"

    "We have to find a way to tell Kavin, Maya and my sister. Malik is still so young he won't really understand. We'll want to tell your family before they hear about it from some tabloid. It doesn't have to be done today or tomorrow, but we do need to protect the family. I will move back in, stay in the study, until we make the necessary arrangements."

    "Shah Rukh, I hate that our family is breaking apart, because I love you too. I know how hard it is for you to lose people in your life. You must be pretty unhappy to want to do this."

    "You're right, I don't take loss very well, but hitting 50 has made me realize I have less time left to me and I want both of us to find happiness again. Please understand, this is nothing you did or didn't do. This is nothing I did or didn't do. It just sometimes happens in life."

    "Now, when we do put a statement out, I feel it's crucial that we're united that this is a mutual decision and no one is to blame. You know how the tabloids can be and I'm sure there will be speculation and they'll try to dig up some dirt. They'll probably even bring up Devi's name, but I promise you, Rani, there was never anything between us but friendship. I don't care what they say about me, but I'm sorry that other people will be dragged into this."

    "Let's give ourselves some time to talk and work out some sort of plan for this. Kavin will be done with school in London in a couple of weeks. We'll discuss this with the family then. Rani, please don't let the children hate me."

    Tears welled up in my eyes and Rani touched my hand and hugged me. "Shah, you are the best father I know, and we both love our children so much. I wouldn't keep them from you, I promise."

    I told Rani I would collect my things and return in the morning. I called Ajay to take me back to the apartment. As we drove, I told Ajay what was happening. He was visibly sad that Rani and I were breaking up, but he felt we had to follow our hearts. I knew Ajay would respect this and be discreet.

    Lexi greeted me and she could tell by my face that something had happened but didn't question me. We walked to the balcony and sat down.

    "Lexi, Rani and I have come to an understanding about our marriage." I could see Lexi holding her breath, dreading what was coming next. As I related all that had happened, she seemed to relax a bit.

    I told her it would be hard to be away from her until the news broke, but I thought it best. She assured me she would be fine and again asked if she should go back to America until it was over.

    "No, Lexi. I want to know you're close by, even if we can't be together right now. This won't last forever and then we can start our lives together."

    "Shah Rukh, I trust you more than anyone and I will wait for you till my last breath. You've brought so much joy and love back into my life and made it worth living." I kissed her tenderly.

    We spent our last night together like soldiers going into battle. We stayed up all night, making love, talking and laughing and crying.

    In the morning, Ajay came to pick me up and I went to say goodbye to Lexi. "I won't say goodbye to you, Shah Rukh, because we will never be apart. I carry you in my heart and you carry me in yours. It's just a matter of time. I love you."

    Now that Rani and I had talked, we actually got along better than we had in years. She admitted that she had not been happy for a long time. She was scared, but also a little excited by the prospect of finding a new purpose in life.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
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  6. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Ten

    I contacted my lawyer to work out all the arrangements regarding our separation. I spoke to Lexi everyday, but I missed her terribly. Two weeks flew by and Kavin returned home. This would be really tough to tell the family.

    I called a family meeting in the study. Kavin, Maya and my sister, Mumtaz all came in not knowing what to expect, except for Maya, who sensed this would be something awful. As they sat and looked at us, finally Rani decided to be brave and spoke.

    "Your dad and I have made a decision that we feel is best for us, but it affects you too. We've decided to end our marriage, but not end the family." Kavin looked shocked, Maya just looked sad and Mumtaz didn't react at all.

    Kavin shouted, "Why? Why are you doing this!"

    I got up and said, "I know this is a huge shock, but your mother and I have had issues for years but kept trying to make our marriage work. We were so young when we met and got married and we just aren't the same people anymore."

    I looked at my sister and she had tears running down her cheeks. For her, this was just another loss of something she thought she could rely on. I walked over and held her. "This doesn't have to change everything. I will still be around for all of you and we will always be family."

    Kavin looked so hurt and angry that as I tried to approach him he shouted, "Don't touch me!" He turned and ran upstairs. I wanted to go after him, but Rani touched my arm. "Shah, let him be. He needs to work through this on his own."

    Turning my attention to Maya, she came and gave her mom and I a hug. I asked her if she was alright. "No, but I've known that something was wrong for a long time." Her eyes teared up and she said, "I just don't want to lose either one of you." We took her into an embrace and we all cried as I motioned to my sister to join us. "I promise, you will never lose us."

    Kavin stayed in his room for hours, coming out only to storm out of the house. I was tempted to stop him, but Rani was right. He needed to work through this on his own. I would be here when he decided to talk.

    I called Lexi to let her know what was happening and she quietly cried when I told her about the children's reactions.

    "Oh, Shah Rukh, I'm so sorry your children are suffering because of us."

    "Lexi, they aren't suffering because of us, they're suffering because the family is being split up. And I told you, that's not your fault or mine."

    I waited up for Kavin and when he came in it was very late. I was sitting in the darkened living room and he didn't see me at first, but when I turned on the light, he jumped. I could see that he had been crying. He came and sat down across from me. I spoke,"So, do you hate me?"

    "I thought I did at first, but as I walked I started remembering the past few years, and yeah, I guess I knew something was wrong between you and mom. No Papa, I don't hate either one of you." I walked over and he stood up and we hugged.

    Rani and I, with the children sometimes included, discussed the best way to inform everyone. I restated my desire to make sure that no one was to blame. Rani and I would put up a united front. Rani wanted to tell her family by herself but I wanted to be there for her.

    "No Shah, let me tell them first and then later we'll all talk."

    I had not been able to see Lexi for over three weeks and I needed to. I called her and told her I was coming over. She asked if that was wise, but I said I'd be very careful. Ajay dropped me at her apartment and when she opened the door, we practically fell into one another's arms. Oh, she felt so good, and I didn't realize how much I really needed her till then. I spent three hours with her, not even making love, just being with her. Holding her, talking to her, looking at her.

    When I got back home, I asked Rani how her family had taken the news. She said they were understandably upset, but they would be supportive of both of us. Her father had asked if I would come around the next day so we could talk.

    Not trying to be flippant, I asked Rani, "Should I make sure all my affairs are in order before going to see him?" She looked at me and then we both started to laugh. We laughed and then hugged. I did love Rani, she was a good woman.

    Things were progressing fairly fast now that everyone was on board. The only thing left to do was make the announcement to the press, something we all dreaded. It was finally decided that there would be a press conference at Mannat and our lawyer would make the announcement.

    I was able to break away a few times to spend precious moments with Lexi and always left her knowing I was making the right decision.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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  7. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Unknown to me, Lexi had been having a few health problems. Dr. Chopra referred her back to Dr. Patel to make sure this wasn't connected to her accident.

    I hadn't seen Lexi for a few days and had not been able to get her on the phone all day. It just went to her voicemail. Finally, I called Ajay and I went to her apartment. I was shocked when Mrs. Kapoor opened the door and she was crying.

    "What's wrong?" She could barely talk and handed me a letter addressed to her. As I began to read, I felt as if I'd been punched in the stomach and had to sit down.

    Dear Mrs. Kapoor,

    I'm sorry to leave and not tell you in person, but I have had to return to the States suddenly. I want you to know that I will never forget all your love and kindness to me.

    I have left several items for you on my bed and would be touched if you would accept them as a small payment for your care of me. I honestly don't think I would have recovered if not for your care.

    I am also leaving with you a letter for Shah Rukh. Please let him read your letter first.

    I will always remember and treasure the time I spent with you.

    With love,

    Lexi


    I was in absolute shock. She had promised me she would never leave me! As tears welled up in my eyes, she handed me an unopened letter addressed to me.

    My dearest love,

    Please forgive me for leaving, but I truly think this is for the best. You were my hero when I needed one and I feel truly blessed that you gave me your love.

    I can't explain all the reasons why I'm going, just know that when I told you I would love you the rest of my life, I wasn't lying. I pray you will find happiness and I will always carry you in my heart.

    You are a good and decent man, Shah Rukh, and I know that you have been under tremendous stress during the time you've known me. Please believe me when I say that this is the best outcome for you.

    If you must hate me, I pray that someday there will be forgiveness.

    I enclose this CD which says it better than I can.

    I will always love you,

    Lexi


    I took the CD and put it into her player.
     
  8. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member



    I sat there with tears running down my face as I looked at Mrs. Kapoor.

    "When did she leave?"

    "I'm not sure, sir. She gave me two days off to visit a sick relative and when I returned today, she was gone. I'm so sorry that I couldn't stop her. She was crying harder and I stood up and hugged her.

    "It's not your fault, Mrs. Kapoor." I needed to call Ajay but just then the house phone rang and Mrs. Kapoor ran to answer it. "No, Ms. Lexi isn't here, who's calling please. Oh, Dr. Patel, Mr. Khan is here. Would you like to speak with him?" She handed me the phone.

    "Yes, Dr. Patel, what is it?"

    As I listened, I found out about the exam he had given her last week. He informed her that she was pregnant and had made an appointment for today which she missed. He was just calling to see if she was alright.

    I must have been in a state of shock, because Dr. Patel said, "Mr. Khan, are you still there? Is Ms. Walker alright?"

    I finally found my voice and said, "She's pregnant?"

    "Yes sir, about a month along I'd say. Is everything alright?"

    I explained to him that she had left India and now I knew why. He said he was sorry and that if I needed to speak with him again to please call.

    Mrs. Kapoor, who had heard my end of the conversation, said, "Lexi said her stomach was upset about two weeks ago and I heard her vomiting in the bathroom one morning. She said it was probably something she ate or nerves. Why didn't I see it?" I told her not to blame herself, I didn't see it either.

    Of course, I knew this was my child and now they were both gone, God knows where.

    I called Ajay and told him I needed him right away. I asked Mrs. Kapoor to stay in the apartment until I could get all this sorted out.

    Ajay picked me up and I got into the passenger seat, something I don't normally do. I told him to drive us somewhere quiet. We stopped at a fairly deserted park and I told him what had happened. He sat quietly listening to me and when I finished, he said, "Well sir, what do you need me to do? I mean we're going to bring Ms. Lexi and the baby back, aren't we?"

    He said he had contacts that were very discreet who would make inquiries about her departure from India and her arrival in the U.S. without bringing my name into it. God Bless Ajay!

    I told him to go ahead and as we drove back to Mannat, my mind was on Lexi. Alone, pregnant, with no permanent home to call her own. No, Lexi, you aren't getting away from me that easy! I would find her and bring her back with me. How dare she think this was the best for me.! Yes, a pregnancy now was poor timing, but it didn't matter to me. Ajay dropped me at home and I went to talk to Rani.

    Rani and I discussed when would be the best time for the announcement of our separation and I felt, the sooner the better. I called our lawyer and had him set up a press conference in two days. He would stress that after much consideration, Rani and I had mutually agreed to separate. He would take no questions from the press and said the family would be making no further statements. He requested the media to respect our privacy during this stressful time.

    Rani and I hadn't said anything to Malik, because at three, he was too young to understand. We would just tell him that Papa was going to live in a different place but that I would see him everyday or at least speak to him daily, just like always.

    Mumtaz came into my study and sat down. I knew she wanted to say something, but didn't know how.

    Finally, she blurted out, "Shah Rukh, I don't want to leave the children. I don't want to leave you either. What am I supposed to do?" I felt so bad for my sister. She had lived with Rani and I since our parents died and dearly loved my children, and they adored their 'Aunty'.

    "I understand the position I've put you in, Mumtaz. You are more than welcome to come with me. No problem. But I think the children need you more." She looked at me and I could see the relief wash over her face.

    "I would never separate you from the kids, they love and adore you. Rani loves you too, so it's not a problem, haan?" She gave me a small smile, a hug and told me she loved me.

    Ajay came into the study and closed the door behind him. "Sir, Lexi left on a flight from Mumbai to New York four days ago. I have a contact that will handle it from there and keep me informed."

    "Thank you, Ajay."

    The press conference caused the expected stir and yes, there was speculation that there was a third party involved. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for others, there was a terrorist attack in Chennai and we became yesterday's news. Our domestic situation faded onto the back pages.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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  9. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Eleven

    It had been three weeks since Lexi left and there had been no word of where she went after arriving in New York. I was despondent, but most people thought it was because Rani and I separated. I decided to stay in Lexi's apartment and asked Mrs. Kapoor if she would stay on. She gladly agreed.

    Little Malik broke my heart again when I finally moved out. "Papa, no go. Papa, no go."

    Thank God, children recover fairly fast and Kavin and Maya went out of their way to help him adjust. They would stop by the apartment frequently and we would be like we always were. Rani and I talked on the phone daily, about business and the children.

    All in all, it was as smooth a transition as I could have hoped for. Now, if only I knew where Lexi was, I would be happy.

    Lexi had been gone almost two months now with no word. I got a phone call from Dr. Patel. Seems his office had been contacted by a Dr. Williams in Santa Fe, New Mexico about having Lexi's medical records faxed to them. He wanted me to know before sending them. He said he would call me as soon as he had any information.

    Every time my cell phone rang, my heart skipped a beat, hoping it would be Dr. Patel. Finally, he called and said he had spoken with Dr. Williams and agreed to fax her medical records regarding her accident in India. Dr. Patel also voiced his concerns about her pregnancy in light of the serious injuries she had sustained. Dr. Williams said that he would call him back after reading her records.

    "Mr. Khan, I'm very worried that Ms. Walker will have problems carrying this baby and the delivery could be very dangerous for her and the child. I'll call you as soon as I hear from Dr. Williams."

    After hanging up, I was determined to protect both Lexi and our unborn child. I called Ajay and had him try to find out where Lexi was in Santa Fe. He said he would make sure his contact was discreet.

    Days went by before Dr. Patel called me back. "Mr. Khan, Dr. Williams concurs with the worries I have regarding Ms. Walker. He also said there might be a possibility that this is a multiple pregnancy, meaning more than one fetus. This only adds more danger to her. I did not bring you into the conversation, but I thought you should know of the risk she's taking. I'll keep you informed if I hear anything further, Mr. Khan."

    "Thank you, Doctor."

    I have to get to Lexi, I thought. I called Ajay and asked him if he had any information from his contact yet. "Yes sir. I was just about to come see you when you called. I've located Ms. Lexi and I'll bring you the information right away."

    Ajay came to the apartment and handed me her address and phone number in Santa Fe. Calling her was not an option. I didn't want to spook her into leaving the area. I had to go to Santa Fe myself and face her.

    With that decision, I made arrangements with one of my powerful friends who owned his own jet. I didn't want the press knowing of my whereabouts.

    After packing a few things, I called Rani and told her I had to go out of town for a few days, but that I would call to talk to the children while I was away. Ajay picked me up and dropped me at a private hanger at the airport. My friend had asked no questions and told me to use his jet for as long as I needed to. I gave the pilot our destination and he went to file a flight plan. As I sat down for take off, I leaned back in my seat and thought of how much my life had changed since that fateful day when my car had hit Lexi. I sent silent prayers up to my mother to watch over Lexi and the baby, or babies. It tore me up that she was all alone, but I vowed she would not be alone anymore.

    The lyrics to the song 'I Will Always Love You' kept running through my mind. Oh Lexi, how could you think I would be better off without you?

    Ajay had arranged for his contact to meet me at the airport when I landed. He introduced himself as Raj Dalohkia. He had gotten me a room at the Holiday Inn under an assumed name. So much intrigue! But it was important that no one know where I was. He said he had been watching Lexi since locating her and she was working part time at a local photography studio in Santa Fe. Raj asked me how I wanted to handle this and I told him I would meet with Dr. Williams before I approached Lexi. After checking in, I called Dr. Williams' office and gave the secretary my phone number as he was presently with a patient.

    The phone rang about an hour later. "Mr. Khan, this is Dr. Williams returning your call."

    "Thank you, Doctor. I'm in Santa Fe and would like to speak to you about Lexi."

    "Certainly, Mr. Khan. Dr. Patel and Dr. Chopra have brought me up to date on Lexi's physical and mental health status. Could I meet you somewhere." I asked if he could come to my room and he said he would be there within the hour.

    As I waited for the doctor, it felt strange that I was just minutes away from Lexi and she didn't even know it. I had to find a way to convince her to return to India with me.

    When the doctor arrived, we sat and I asked, "Please be honest with me. How dangerous is this pregnancy for Lexi?"

    "Mr. Khan, considering all that I have read in the reports from Dr. Patel, this could be life threatening, not only for Ms. Walker, but for the baby as well. And, if in fact, there is more than one child, I can't truthfully say that any of them will survive. I'm sorry."

    I asked him when Lexi's next appointment was and he said, "I think she's scheduled to see me again next week."

    "Fine, don't tell her I'm here yet. I want to find a way to approach her and see if she'll return with me to India."

    Chapter Twelve

    The next day, Raj took me by her apartment house and then we drove to the photography studio where she worked. As we entered the parking lot, I saw Lexi come out of the studio and head towards her car. My heart skipped several beats and I told Raj to follow her. As she pulled out of the parking lot, we moved in behind her. She was heading to her apartment and I told Raj that I would approach her before she entered the building.

    After she parked, Raj pulled up behind her car as she got out. She didn't look at us but started to walk around her car just as I opened the door and got out.

    She had a stunned look on her face as she stood there. I walked to her and enveloped her in my arms and her body sagged into me. She didn't embrace me and I pulled her away and looked down at her. Silent tears ran down her cheeks.

    "Why? Why did you come here?" I tilted her chin up and looked into her eyes.

    "Because my body can't live without its heart, and my dear Lexi, you are my heart." As I kissed her lips gently, she raised her arms and embraced me.

    We walked inside her apartment and she said, "How did you find me?"

    I told her about talking to Dr. Patel, which lead me to Dr. Williams and I just followed the trail.

    "Now Lexi, let me ask you a question. Why did you leave me?"

    "What do you want me to say, Shah Rukh? That I don't want to ruin you, your family, your career that you've worked so hard for? I felt that if I left, you could pick up the pieces of your life and move on."

    "Don't you understand yet, Lexi, you are my life. Yes, I've worked hard to make my career successful and I love being a superstar, but without you in my life, it really doesn't mean that much. Plus, you left India with something of mine."

    She looked at me and lowered her eyes.

    "Were you ever going to tell me about the baby? Didn't you think I had a right to know? Or was I just something that happened to you on your trip to India!"

    I was getting angry and she sat down on the sofa and put her face in her hands.

    I looked down at her and couldn't help feeling her pain as well as my own. I knelt down in front of her and lifted her face to mine.

    "So much has happened to you, and I know you thought you were doing the right thing when you left, but now you're going to listen to me. I'm taking you back to India with me. We will make sure you get the very best medical care for you and the baby. I will get my divorce over with and we will be together always, do you understand?"

    Instead of pulling away from me, Lexi slumped into my arms as if she had finally given in to me. I was normally not this forceful in real life, but there was too much at stake here for our future. I told her I would handle all the details.

    I called Raj and he said he would handle all the details on this end including closing up her apartment. I called Dr. Williams and told him our plans, he wished us well and said he would fax Dr. Patel the medical records he had for Lexi. I called Ajay and told him to arrange our arrival in Mumbai and finally, called the pilot to file a flight plan back to India for the next day.

    With all this done, I went into her bedroom where she was curled up on the bed. She looked so vulnerable laying there and when I laid down beside her, she snuggled closer to me, right where she belonged. Alexandra Walker, you truly are my sanam (beloved).
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  10. don-roma

    don-roma Member

    Your view of this story is soooo good!
    keep writing can't wait to read more.
    her name 'lexi' reminds me of 'lexi' from greys anatomy.....
     
    Jamaicalady says thanks.
  11. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Thirteen

    The next morning, we left Santa Fe to return home to India. When we walked into the apartment in Mumbai, Mrs. Kapoor was overjoyed, crying and hugging Lexi. She immediately shooed me away and put Lexi to bed for a rest.

    When she came out, she said, "Oh sir, Ms. Lexi looks so tired and pale."

    I explained what Dr. Williams had said about the pregnancy and the possibility of a multiple birth. The risks were very high that something could go wrong. But Mrs. Kapoor had her chick back in the nest, and she would make sure she was alright.

    I was exhausted too, but wanted to see my children, so I called Rani and asked if the kids were home.

    I spent about two hours with them and as I got ready to leave, Rani said, "Shah, you look terrible. What I mean is, you look exhausted. Are you okay?"

    We had been doing so well with the separation up till now and I really wasn't up to telling her the rest of the story but she needed to know sometime.

    I took her by the hand, led her into the study, sat down and said, "I need to tell you everything, Rani."

    She looked at me and said, "There's more?"

    "Rani, do you remember the accident that Ajay and I had last year? Well, the woman who was injured is still in my life." Rani looked surprised, but she didn't look mad. I started the story at the beginning and finished by telling her of our trip back to India.

    Rani didn't speak right away, but as I looked at her, she touched my hand. "Shah, do you love this woman?"

    "Yes, with all my heart."

    "Then I'm happy for you."

    As I told her of the risks Lexi faced with the pregnancy, she frowned and said she would try to make the finalization of our divorce as quick and painless as possible.

    I stood up and hugged her. We had known each other too long to throw away the care and concern we felt for each other.

    I normally only sleep 4 to 5 hours a night, always had. But I slept for over 10 hours that night. Waking up, I reached over and touched empty space. I immediately sat up, put on my robe and hurried to the living room.

    Lexi and Mrs. Kapoor were on the balcony and I heard Lexi's laughter. It was a beautiful sound. Once again, I thanked God for returning her to me.

    Lexi and I spent the day just relaxing and talking. She was glad that I had finally told Rani the truth. Lexi didn't like sneaking around any more than I did.

    I called Dr. Patel's office and made an appointment for Lexi and I to go in to talk about her pregnancy. I don't know if Lexi was putting up a brave front for me or not when we talked about the risks to her and the baby.

    "I'm carrying our baby until he or she is ready to face the world, so don't think I would even consider terminating it!" I loved my 'junglee billi'!

    "I didn't suggest that you have an abortion, but you ARE going to follow all the doctor's orders, haan?"

    "Yes, master!"

    "Lexi, I'm not joking. If anything happens to you it will kill me. If the doctor orders complete bed rest, you're damn well going to lay in that bed! Right?"

    "Shah Rukh, I'll do everything I'm told. I want your child so much I'm willing to do anything. God already has my other babies, but he's given me a second chance at happiness and I won't screw it up. I promise."

    She was getting a nice rounded tummy and I thought she was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I found I no longer needed to run myself ragged like I did before. When I was building my career, I never stopped working and I know it wasn't fair to Rani or the kids.

    Rani eventually developed her own interests, like her home design company. She already had successful stores in Mumbai and Dubai, and was hoping to open one in London soon. I was very proud of her. Both of us had been so busy, we forgot to work on our marriage.

    Since I met Lexi, I'd changed. I still loved being a star and have no plans to retire just yet, but I have found something that is more important to me. I'm 50 years old, and here I'm going to be a father again.

    When Rani suggested we have another baby three years ago, I wasn't very optimistic. But now, the knowledge that Lexi is going to have my child has me acting like a first time dad. If she just didn't have these risks hanging over her, I would be the happiest man in the world.

    Dr. Patel had scheduled Lexi's appointment for the next day and he examined her while I waited outside. He called me in as she was getting dressed. We all sat down and he looked at me.

    "Mr. Khan, Lexi is doing alright for now and I'm prescribing some vitamins to supplement her diet. She could stand to gain a few pounds. It appears that in about four months, you'll be passing out cigars. I detected two heartbeats during the exam, so we'll be keeping a close eye on her. Now, do you have any questions or concerns?"

    I did, but I didn't want to voice them in front of Lexi. Dr. Patel saw the dilemma and beeped his nurse. He asked her to take Lexi out to set up future appointments.

    After they closed the door, Dr. Patel said, "Okay, tell me what's bothering you."

    "I'm worried about her, Doctor. I'm afraid she will see my fear and become more fearful herself. I need to be able to do something because I feel so helpless."

    "I understand, but we are going to monitor her closely and Mrs. Kapoor is trained in basic medical procedures. She will be a great help if the need arises. Just try to relax and let nature take it's course."

    Because of our culture, I found it hard to discuss sex with anyone, but he also sensed that too.

    "You may continue to be intimate as long as Lexi is comfortable. I'll let you know if that changes over time." I breathed a sigh of relief, stood and shook his hand.

    "Thank you, Doctor."

    "I'm just a phone call away, Mr. Khan."

    Chapter Fourteen

    The days went by like smoke through a keyhole. I caught up on all the happenings at my office and also did some networking on my computer. It's not that I wanted to be away from Lexi, but she couldn't stand my hovering. She also felt she needed to be productive and revived a passion for painting. She was very good and I was surprised and proud of her talent.

    Rani and I had come to an agreeable settlement and our divorce finally came through. She would live at Mannat for as long as she wanted to or until she remarried. I would retain ownership always. I had full access to the children and I had already introduced Kavin and Maya to Lexi. They were old enough to understand the situation and still loved me. Malik was a different matter. When I introduced Lexi to him, I introduced her as a very close friend. He was wary of her until she got on the floor with him and they were playing with his Legos. Mumtaz did not want to meet Lexi at first, but knowing how important it was to me, she finally consented.

    Once anyone met Lexi, it was hard not to love her. Rani, on the other hand did not want to meet her and I understood. After all, Rani now realized that Lexi and I had fallen in love while I was still with her.

    My life was just starting to be everything I had wanted when fate intervened. Lexi was about seven and a half months along when she developed complications.

    Dr. Patel ordered complete bed rest and this brought out the 'junglee billi' in Lexi. She was not used to being so inactive. I tried to entertain her, but she was still going crazy. Dr. Patel made house calls so she could stay in bed. Even the children were concerned for her and the babies.

    Dr. Patel felt that if Lexi could carry the twins until she was eight months along, they would have a better chance of surviving the delivery.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  12. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Fifteen

    It was past midnight when I heard a noise. I turned on the light and looked over at Lexi, who was moaning, and then I saw the blood. Horrified, I yelled for Mrs. Kapoor. She ran and phoned Dr. Patel's emergency number. He told her to call an ambulance and he would meet us at the hospital.

    Lexi seemed to be unaware of her surroundings as the EMT's carried her out. I looked at Mrs. Kapoor who was crying, and said, "I'll call you as soon as I can."

    As we rushed into the hospital, Dr. Patel met me with a team he had assembled for just this occasion. He asked me if I was up to going in with her and I said yes. They gave me a gown and mask and I quickly changed while they prepped Lexi. My heart was beating so hard, I thought I would have a heart attack.

    The nurse ushered me into the delivery room and told me to stay out of the way, and if I felt sick, to leave. Lexi lay on the operating table so pale and still, she looked almost dead. My mask became wet with tears.

    I started to pray, please God, don't take this woman away from me. She is everything to me and I don't know how I'll live without her. If you do take her, take me too. I want to be where she is.

    They were performing a C-section and since I'd been in when Rani had Kavin by C-section, I knew I could handle it. But this was worse, because I was so afraid I would lose all of them.

    As I watched Dr. Patel make the incision, he pulled a small baby boy from Lexi and handed him to a nurse who put him in an incubator. Next, he pulled out a beautiful small baby girl and she was placed next to my son. I was crying with joy, but when the monitors went crazy, I froze.

    Lexi was in cardiac arrest and the team of doctors were frantically working on her. One of the nurses started pushing me out the door. "No, no! I need to be with her!"

    "Mr. Khan, there is nothing you can do. The doctors are taking care of her and I need you to stay outside!"

    As I tore my mask off, I dropped to my knees. All I could say was, "Please, please, please...."

    Chapter Sixteen

    I rested my head on my arms as I sat on the floor. I had become numb and had no more tears to shed. When the door opened and the doctor came out, fear gripped me with an icy hand.

    "Mr. Khan, Lexi is doing better and she will be transferred to ICU shortly. You will be able to see her in alittle while. They have taken your babies to the Neonatal Unit next to ICU. You may see them now if you want."

    I felt so weak and shaky, I wasn't sure I could stand. As I got up, relief washed over me and I started to laugh. I sat on a chair for a few minutes then went to the restroom and splashed cold water on my face.

    I walked outside to have a cigarette, but my hand was shaking so badly I could barely get it lit. I sat in the sun and sent up a prayer of thanks to God and my mother and father, who I felt had a hand in this.

    After I calmed down, I went to meet my babies. They were in incubators, so I couldn't touch them, but they were so beautiful! The nurses all agreed they were special. I wanted to see Lexi and tell her about our babies. The nurse in ICU said she just came out of recovery and that I could go in.

    As I entered her room, I had a sense of deja vu. Oh Lexi, we've spent too much of our life together in hospital rooms. I'll make this up to you, I promise.

    Lexi turned her face and looked at me. I again felt a shock looking into her beautiful green eyes. She smiled and I embraced and kissed her. She asked if I'd seen the babies yet.

    "Yes, they are beautiful and perfect, just like their mother."

    She pulled her head back, really looked at me and started to laugh. She laughed while holding her stomach so as not to pull her stitches out.

    I didn't know what was so funny and she finally caught her breath and said, "Shah Rukh, go look at yourself in the mirror."

    I walked into the bathroom and what I saw started me laughing, which started Lexi laughing again. We were laughing so hard, the nurse came in and gave us a stern look, which only convulsed us further.

    Even on a good day, my hair has a mind of it's own. But this wasn't a good day. That combined with the stress and that I'd forgotten to change my pajama top, which was all wrinkled, made me look as if I'd escaped from the Psych Ward. Lexi and I, what a pair we were!
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  13. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Chapter Seventeen

    Dr. Patel came in later to check on Lexi and at that time also informed us that Lexi would never have anymore children. This news did not upset either Lexi or I, we had everything we wanted.

    I called Mrs. Kapoor as soon as Lexi was out of danger. Then I called Rani. She was very sweet on the phone and asked about Lexi and the babies.

    "They're doing as well as can be expected considering they're preemies. They'll stay in the Neonatal Unit just like Malik did until they're completely out of danger. Will you let the children know?"

    "I will, and how are you doing, Shah?"

    "I'm okay, but exhausted. Thanks for caring, Rani."

    "Get some rest, haan? I'll have the kids call you later today, okay?"

    I went back to Lexi's room and she was sleeping. I flopped into the chair next to the bed, closed my eyes, and was out like a light. When I opened my eyes later, Lexi was looking at me. I smiled and she blessed me with a beautiful smile back.

    "Shah Rukh, go home, get some sleep. Have Mrs. Kapoor feed you and you can come see me tomorrow. There's nothing more to do today and I'm really tired too."

    I kissed her and told her to call me before she went to sleep that night.

    "I love you, Lexi."

    "And I love you too, Mr. Khan."

    Ajay picked me up and as we drove back to the apartment, I thanked God for giving me such amazing women in my life. First my mother, my sister, Rani, my daughter, Lexi and now a new daughter. I was excited to see what life had in store for me once again.

    Chapter Eighteen

    Lexi came home after a week, but the babies would stay another month to make sure they were fine. Once the birth was made public, the press was on us again. Finally, I held a press conference and requested some privacy, more for Lexi than me. I was used to the crush of the press but she wasn't.

    I had been thinking about retiring from the screen and trying to have a normal life, but Lexi wouldn't hear of it. She knew how much being a star meant to me.

    "It doesn't matter like it used to, Lexi. I could try directing or something else."

    "Well, you'll have to do something, because you are not the type to lay on the beach all day."

    I had a couple of projects in the works and started to get back in the groove. The babies were just about ready to come home, so Lexi and I needed to find a bigger house.

    Actually, it was Rani who steered us to one. Not far from Mannat, it was spacious and Lexi loved it. We moved in, taking Mrs. Kapoor, who had agreed to stay with us.

    Lexi went to work decorating the nursery for the babies and Maya loved helping her. I was so proud of how my children were accepting Lexi. Even Malik was excited to meet his new brother and sister. We decided to name our son Amir and our daughter, Laila. I talked to Lexi about getting married, but she felt we should wait awhile out of respect for Rani and the children.

    Ajay had, of course, decided to come with Lexi and I. We had become very close during the last year and I found I could talk to him easily. He told me how happy he was for us. He said he felt that 'his Anjali' was smiling down on us.

    When the twins came home, Lexi and I couldn't get enough of looking at them and touching them. The children came by often and Malik was fascinated by the babies.

    I had heard from Maya that Rani was seeing someone, so I called her. She didn't seem to mind me asking about him.

    "He's not in the film industry, Shah. He's a neurosurgeon and a very nice man. He doesn't care that I'm Rani Khan, ex-wife of the King of Bollywood. He sees life and death every day, so he's not that impressed by the movie star life. Even the children like him.

    "I'm happy for you, Rani. You deserve every bit of happiness you can get. Can I ask you a question? Do you hate me for what I've done?"

    "I was angry at first, but then I realized you were right. Our marriage had run it's course and you're the one who had the courage to face the truth."

    We talked about Lexi, the twins, the children and our own lives. We agreed that we were blessed to have taken this journey together and end up as friends.

    As I sat in the study of our new house that we had christened 'Janna', which is an Arabic word for 'garden' and translated into English means paradise, a garden on high, a home that will last forever, I thought how far I had come from Delhi.

    All of life's twists and turns had brought me to this place. I sat back and smiled. I wouldn't change a thing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  14. Jamaicalady

    Jamaicalady Member

    Epilogue by Lexi

    My life has totally changed since meeting Shah Rukh on that fateful day. Please enjoy the many faces I saw through all the ups and downs of our ordeal together. He is the love of my life.



    This is the end of this story but not the end of our love story.

    *Please - if you've taken the time to read my story, won't you take a moment to rate it. I would like to know if it's any good or I should just forget writing. Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  15. Egyptian Fan 95

    Egyptian Fan 95 Dreamer ツ

    Who should forget writing? no it is really nice :clap2::clap2:
    I am still reading it but haven't finished yet:biggrin1:
     

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