Aneesa was barely aware of where she’d run, she was only aware that she wouldn’t have long to capitalize on the shock of the wedding crowd, or before her father sent people to find her. She couldn’t bear to think of their confusion and dismay either, or else she’d falter altogether. And she couldn’t turn back now.
She stopped for a moment, her heart hammering in her chest. She’d come up several flights of service stairs and now saw what looked like a staff elevator. All Aneesa hoped for was that it would take her somewhere far away from that courtyard and somewhere quiet, where she could assess the situation. She longed for fresh air, her clothes more constrictive than ever.
It slid silently upwards, and came to a smooth halt. The doors opened with a muted whoosh and she found herself facing into what looked like a utility room. Albeit a very plush utility room.
She approached the one door and opened it with her heart in her mouth. Peering out she could see that she was in a suite of rooms that went on and on. All was quiet and still. No – one was here. She automatically assumed that she’d found one of the suites and that it must be empty. Heaving a huge sigh of relief, she emerged more fully and walked into a darkened kitchen. She could see a huge formal dining room and through that, wall to wall sliding glass doors which led to an open terrace and balcony outside. She could see the skyline of Mumbai laid out like a glittering carpet. She’d made it to the top floor; the penthouse.
When she thought of her own honeymoon suite with its kingsize bed covered in rose petals she felt clammy and sweaty all over again. Almost tripping in her long sari she made for the glass doors, struggling to open them and get out to the air.
Finally they slid back and Aneesa stumbled out, gasping now. She ripped the heavy garland of flowers from around her neck as she did so and and let it fall to the ground. She was vaguely aware of a dim light coming from nearby but barely registered it. When she reached the wall she tipped her head back and breathed deep, the chaotic sounds of the crazy Mumbai traffic drifting up from far far below. Her heart finally started to slow down. So when she heard a deep drawling voice say, ‘Please don’t tell me you’re thinking of jumping…’ Aneesa screamed.