She sat on the edge of the large mattress, her finger gently tracing the rose trellis pattern of the pale blue lace curtain that covered hung from the ceiling of the large four poster bed. The mild scent of agarbathi nauseated her. The sickly sweet smell of jasmines woven around her long braid made her feel dizzy. She took a deep breath. She looked around without seeing, and her mind dismissed the tray of fruits and milk with dispassion. The door creaked, and she jumped. He stood there in a white Kurta looking uncertain. She curled herself into a fetal position closing her eyes shut as memories of the past began to flood her mind.

Three years back:

She sat in the middle of the master bed, waiting for her husband. The wedding had been a quick one as the groom had just fifteen days before he had to leave to Canada. Her parents had cross verified the social status of the groom's family, micro-analyzed the horoscopes, cross consulted three astrologers, and everything said he was the perfect match. On her part, she was fascinated about living in a foreign country. One look at his unruly curly hair, straight nose and perfect white teeth, she fell for him like a piece of log. They didn't have much of conversations in the fifteen days, just occasional greetings and tentative smiles. She thought it didn't matter. Why would it matter? She had a lifetime to talk with him, didn't she?

"What would happen tonight?" she murmured

"We would be talking, of course!" she replied to herself "The...uh... thing cannot happen so soon right? We barely know each other!" she voiced out her reasons. Maybe a handshake or a small peck on the cheek she trailed off as the doors opened.

He walked in from the adjacent room wearing only his briefs, with a drink in his hand. She gaped at him in shock. He sauntered over to her, raking her from head to toe with his eyes and a carnal, unsmiling grin spread across his face.

"You are wearing too many clothes" he rasped and dragged her up from the bed; before she could recover from the shock, he had deprived her of her saree. He started unhooking the buttons of her blouse with practised efficiency. His fingers made contact with her skin, and she snapped back to her senses. She stepped back away from him desperately shaking her head in the negative.

"Can't this wait?" She pleaded as he stepped towards her with purpose.

"Why would I marry you, If all I wanted was to talk with you?" he replied in a mocking tone. Rishitha started stepping away from him, trying to run away. He caught her by the wrist and pulled her to him with brute force. She pushed her face up to his and grabbed her lower lip between his teeth in a vicious bite.

"You are my wife" he murmured in a cold tone as he bit her hard. "And you'll obey me!" he said, pressing her closer to his length. "Say it back!" he commanded.

"I... I am your wife" she stuttered between her tears "I'll obey you."

"Good..." he said with a wolfish grin and captured her mouth in a punishing kiss.

Her clothes flew to the ground in a haphazard manner, and he pushed her down to the bed. His mouth grabbed her nipple in a cruel bite, and she yelped in pain; before she could recover from the agony, he spread her legs and pushed his arousal to her dry, unyielding warmth. The sharp pain she experienced nearly pushed her to the brink of death.

"Oooh! A virgin" he echoed. He started a harsh and punishing rhythm and poured himself into her with a satisfying grunt. He rolled away from her and smirked.

"You are such a good wench in bed Rekha!" he said.

"My name is Rishitha", she murmured with affliction.

"Whatever" he murmured and slept.

The red dot on the white bedsheet was appreciated greatly by her grandmother. Her nights became a painful routine. When he flew to Canada, she wept with joy. Three months later came the shocking news that he was already happily married in Canada. Three years since all that happened. She had married again thinking she had moved on, but the subtle hint of the night that lay ahead had brought back all the memories with crushing force.

"Rishitha?" she heard Gautham's uncertain voice.

"Can I come in?" he asked

"It's your bedroom" she shrugged.

"Our bedroom" he replied as he came and sat near her on the bed.

"Anyways am just here to borrow my pillow," he said pointing to a fluffy blue pillow. "I can't sleep without it. Am a creature of habit."

She understood the opening he gave and grabbed it "What other habits do you have?" she asked.

"I always brush my teeth before having coffee in the morning" he grinned as his stance relaxed.

"Interesting" she smirked.

"And I always snore when I sleep" he said. She feigned a look of horror; he laughed. The night progressed peacefully expect for that one room that glowed brightly with her laughter.