Her weight across his thighs was holding his legs together. She straddled him and gazed at his face, yet avoided eye contact. He felt the promise of seeing into her soul was tantalisingly close. The silk negligee slid across her own smooth legs, riding ever higher as her fingers teased the hem closer to her torso. John looked from her face down to her hands and watched, his slightly open lips quickly becoming dry as his breathing rate increased.
A bang on the door woke him with a start and he cursed as he swung his legs off the bed and padded to the door to look through the spyhole. Thanks Ramesh.
“Five minutes?” John spoke through the gap, after Ramesh explained they needed to meet Aditya and the insurance men at the dam as soon as possible.
“OK, I’ll wait in reception.” Ramesh stalked back along the hotel corridor.
2-minute showers were a leftover skill from his days in the army. As he dressed, John prayed Riya had remained comfortable through the night. John had left the hospital after her parents arrived to take up vigil by her bed and he was unsure about how to create an excuse to go back there.
The road were surprisingly clear of debris as they neared the dam. “They’ve been working all through the night.” the locals had brought their diggers and had assisted in clearing rocks from the hillside. “These guys always come and help in this area; the government equipment is still in use 100 miles away following last month’s quake.”
“What did this one measure?” John swung the door to the truck closed and they walked together from the open space which had become a makeshift carpark, surrounded by no risk hills.
“Only 3.2 but we think the dam and this valley took the, what do you english say, brunt of it?” John smiled briefly and they walked past the taped off entrance and down the steps towards the power house entrance. John kept his mind on the job at hand as the next two hours was spent with the authorities and so called profressionals, although was shocked at the safety steps not being taken as they moved around damaged areas. A few men were taking wheelbarrow loads of bricks and timber out from within the office. The dam had been built well and while there were no serious breaches of the principal spillway, a persistent leak was escaping to one side where the abutment was weak at its join to the hillside.
Aditya’s angry voice could be heard long before they could see him. “I need the work to start today. You know this water is a lifeline to the whole state.”
“Sir, we do not have the man power free yet. The teams are still working on the bridges; the 48 and the 160 both took serious hits last month and we have to get supplies in and out of Mumbai.”
“For God’s sake!” Aditya ran his hands through his hair “My great grandfather built this and I am not going to sit around waiting for some half-wit team to turn up when they are ready. I have a handful of locals happy to work for me.” he pushed past the man with the clipboard, clanking his crutches against remaining door uprights.
“You cannot use these people. They are not covered by your policy. We have to wait Sir.” The insurance man tip-toed through the broken window panes on the old lino flooring, attempting to keep up but the tone of Aditya’s statements left no-one in any doubt as to the direction this would go.
“I will take that risk. Fuck the insurance! I will buy my own materials.”
Ramesh shook his head an followed the men, but John chose to stay and look around. Glass crunched below his boots, papers and desk paraphernalia littered the floor where Riya would have been sitting. Her chair was on its side, its wheeled feet looking not unlike an upturned ladybird and an old metal filing cabinet lay at an angle against the chair back. On closer scrutiny he noticed a brown smear on its edge and knew this was what had hit her. He struggled to push the cabinet upright and it see-sawed slightly before resting once again on its base, the top drawer slowing opening of its own accord, offering its contents for examination.
Flicking through the wallets within, John saw only invoices to contractors, letters and delivery notes. More of the same in the second drawer. The bottom drawer was stuck. He kicked it; nothing. The desk behind him had remained upright and its top drawer revealed a promising key and sure enough it allowed him entry. A wooden box was just visible towards the very back, inlaid with mother of pearl around the edges in an intricate pattern. From John’s squatting position, he opened the lid and inside were folded pieces of paper. A faint scent; the same perfume as when he had got into the Jaguar. He hesitated before unfolding the first piece; feeling like a traitor but desperate to help;
For years I have waited and you do not disappoint. Everything I have is yours and all you are will be mine. We will be one. No other man will come between us. You will work a little longer but I have a house awaiting your presence and you will not need to work my love.
You are young my darling, you are not to know these ways, but I will not tolerate the behaviour you displayed last night. You are committed to me now and your eyes will remain down in company. I am not angry with you my dear. You will soon learn. I will make sure of it my love.
“John? Come – we are leaving now.” Ramesh called from outside. There were many letters inside and John grabbed them, leaving the box, forcing them into an envelope he had spotted earlier. “Aditya wants to know if your men can come. I told him you will try, please?” the engineer seemed an enigma; uneducated in some respects yet qualified to build and design complicated structures. But it was Aditya who had flagged up in John’s mind. His permanent angry state; the disregard for his sister in the hospital.
“I have emailed UK already; they will come back to me soon and we have two teams who could be here in two days if the plans for work are viable”
“I want them yesterday.” Aditya squared up to John, his eyes blazing. “And I get what I want.”
If you would like to start at the beginning, catch part 1 here!
Fun with the daily word prompt – viable