His plane was due to take off in four hours, and he had checked out of the hotel and said goodbye to the cute receptionist.
“Till next time Mr John and I am again very sorry you had this unfortunate experience while with us.”
“Don’t mention it.” he attempted a smile while he signed his expenses sheet and hit the numbers for his credit card.
His plan to drive to see Riya before departing had seemed so straightforward in the early hours, yet now he sat staring out through the windscreen, the engine idling patiently while he made his decision.
Her situation had nothing to do with him but he also felt a need to utilise the knowledge he had gained from the letters. They were now in a clean envelope and while he wanted to return them to Riya, something told him she would be safer if their whereabouts were unknown.
Aditya had got on well with his new team and progress was being made. He had signed orders for new pipework to be routed to two local stations and John felt pleasure at long last that his investment in this project had paid off.
Ramesh had kept a low profile John noticed throughout the previous two days. There was little talk of Riya returning to work, in fact her name had been mentioned only once, by the government official arriving to check on safety procedures, finally.
“I’ll be over again next month Adi. Anything you need, call me.” And John left the container after shaking the hand of a man he was no longer sure he liked.
He remembered the route as soon as he faced the car in the direction of Harsha’s home. Ten minutes later he pulled up outside of the house, his heart thumped hard and split his emotions in two. Half of him wanted to grab Riya and take her back with him, to protect her from a life of misled loyalties while the other half wanted to face up to the author of the letters to show him precisely what he thought.
His index finger reached for the bell but before he had touched it, the door opened and Riya stood there, her eyes wide and her hair tousled.
“No more will I live a lie.” She stepped past him, a large bag on her arm. “You are too late. I have done it.” She walked down the steps, across the drive and past his car.
He looked back inside the hall, pushing the door fully open. A man’s legs were clearly visible from a room to the side. Someone was lying on the floor. Cursing under his breath, humanity encouraged him to take a step inside. Was this a crime scene? If so, he’d do better to stay where he was, but what about Harsha?
“Riya?” John turned and called after her but she was a woman on a mission and now some way off with her back to him.
“Hello?” He called into the house and waited but no noise came back to greet him. His decision was made. He walked back to his car, started the engine and faced the way he wanted to go; to face aspects of life he knew were within his control and people with whom he wanted to spend his time. He slowed the car to match her pace.
“Jump in. I’ll take you wherever you want to go. Whatever has happened, we can sort it.”
Riya smiled as he looked up at her through the passenger window. She didn’t hesitate to reach for the door and his stomach flipped.
(read part 1 here)