First of all, loved reading all the amazing comments on Fateful Love. Whether you were in a lecture, daydreaming or just thinking about this story, your feedback really made my day. Thanks for that!
Secret Passion readers, here's the next installment EPISODE 43: Hell is Here. Please mind all the warnings, this is dark stuff, but that's what this story has been heading to right from the start. I wish it was more fluff, but there's always Baby Hold On/Mind Games for that ;)
With this update, Secret Passion crosses 800 pages on Microsoft Word.
To put that into perspective, that's like three normal sized novels :O
And it's still going lol
With this update, Secret Passion crosses 800 pages on Microsoft Word.
To put that into perspective, that's like three normal sized novels :O
And it's still going lol
Also, I'm happy to say that I'll be posting a release date for Heartless as well as more about the novellas for those interested this weekend--if life hopefully cooperates. *fingers crossed*
Happy Friday to each one of you!
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Disclaimer: the characters of Arnav and Khushi etc are trademarks of Star Plus India. No copyright infringement intended. The fanfictions posted on this site are solely for fan enjoyment.
Secret Passion Episode 44: Devil's Lair Revisited
Horatio hummed under his breath as he pushed open the oak doors, not bothering to knock. His long-time attorney looked up from the file he was reading, his beady eyes glinting as he spotted him.
"My dear friend," he said, rising to shake his hand. "It's been so long."
"That it has."
His friend waved him over to the leather sofas. "Usually I have to deal with your minions."
"The matter was too important for me to send anyone else. I trust no one but myself to see this through."
The lawyer arched a brow. "I'm intrigued, old friend. What is so urgent?"
His friend choked. "I had no idea you had married."
"I would never marry," Horatio said with finality, his hands clenching at his sides.
"Never met anyone interesting enough? I don't blame you. I regret my marriage every damn day."
Oh, but he had met someone. Long ago.
The most interesting, captivating creature. A woman who had set his heart afire from the moment he'd glimpsed her quiet beauty, leaving him thunderstruck. She had shaken his world. Uprooted his mind.
The calendar might say it had been over three decades since that night, but sometimes, it felt as if it was only yesterday that he'd stood before Samaira, his heart in his throat, his blasted best friend at his side.
"There was a girl once..." The confession slipped from his tongue.
His friend's eyes shone. "Did you make the mistake of loving her?"
Loving her, his muse, his everything, had never been a mistake. But his slimy friend would never understand that, thought Horatio uncharitably.
"Ahh, I can tell from your expression that you did. How did it end? Not well, I guess... Did she marry some other bastard?"
She had. She had married the biggest bastard of them all. She'd given him two kids, her love, her body... Everything had belonged to Arav. DAMN HIM!
"She died." His voice was so quiet, it hid the festering rage he felt within. He forced himself to smile. "Let's get to the matter at hand. I need these divorce papers drawn up as soon as possible."
"And who are the lucky soon-to-be divorcees?"
His eye twitched. "My godson, Arnav Singh Raizada, and his witch of a wife, Khushi."
"I've seen some of the media coverage on them. Can't say I'm surprised they're calling it quits after that sex tape was released."
"His wife didn't even try to understand him. She has too few brain cells to realize he was a boy back then, completely immature and over his head. Whoever recorded him in those tapes took advantage."
"The side effects of being rich and successful... I'll have the documents prepared right away, but your godson will have to be present once that happens."
"He'll be here to sign everything in person in ten days," Horatio declared. "Have everything ready by then."
In ten days, it would all end.
"Ten days?" Arnav raked a hand through his hair, patting Angeli's back as she nestled into his chest. "It's going to be impossible to have everything set by then."
NK's mouth was thin. "Everything I've been able to find out, confirms it, Naanav. The Devil's Lair will have some kind of gathering in ten days. They have it every month apparently and the top Masters always attend. If there is a Master H, he'll be there."
Aman bit back a curse. "That's not enough time. We should call it off. I don't think it's right anyway for Lia to--"
"I can speak for myself, Aman," came her voice from the doorway.
He gave her a hard look and then turned his head aside. She tried not to let it show how much it bothered her. The slight soreness between her legs though wouldn't allow her to forget it.
"Aman has a point though, Lia," said Khushi, glancing down at Ahaan in her lap. "Please think about it again. There's no need for you to put yourself in danger like this."
"I know that! I promise you all that if it gets to be too much, I'll get out. I won't go through anything I find too crazy. Please, trust me."
"We do," said Arnav. "We all trust you, but we are all worried for good reason. The Devil's Lair is exactly that. It's a hellhole."
"I can do it. I know I can."
Khushi studied the determination shining her eyes and slowly nodded. "We know that too. But please know that you even considering taking this step for our children's sake is more than enough. I don't know how to thank--"
Lia squeezed her free hand. "Please, don't. We're friends, aren't we?"
Khushi smiled. "Of course, we are."
NK's head swiveled between them and then to the clock. "If you are going through with this madness, you need to leave. The induction for new trainees begins soon."
"Any idea what might be awaiting us there?" Aman asked, his eyes narrowed on the other man. "Your sources mention anything?"
"Not a word. They were all tight-lipped about the whole thing. But there's something about that event in ten days... it's very important."
She glanced at Aman and quickly looked away. "We'll be there."
The man she'd slept with looked angrier than ever at her words.
From the upstairs window, Khushi watched the SUV lurch forward and disappear from the main gate. Her hold on Angeli tightened and she brought the baby closer to her chest, nuzzling her downy-soft hair.
Her eyes stung with tears as she thought of Lia. What would she face in that hell? She was on her way to confront the devil himself and Khushi hated that she could not do more to help her.
"Aman is with her," came her husband's voice from the doorway. "He won't let anything happen to her."
She turned to find him standing there, Ahaan in his arms. "What if they separate them? What if her old employer recognizes her?"
"I doubt the owner of that mansion would remember her. People like that often overlook those working for them. They think they control everything."
"I hope you're right."
"I am. And I am right too about Aman. He'll take care of her."
"I know he will," agreed Khushi. "He's a really great guy."
"And he has feelings for her."
"What?" Khushi glanced up, surprised. Her hand swept over Angeli's back as she rocked her in her arms. "Aman and Lia?"
Arnav gave her a small smile, mirroring her pose with Ahaan. "God, you are so oblivious when it comes to love. It took you forever to realize you were in love with me so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised."
Her face warmed. "I did not take forever." To her, it felt like she'd always been crazily in love with him.
"Sure, baby. You first pretended to hate my guts and then when you decided you could stand me a little bit, you fought yourself every day. Every time I had you in my arms."
"You overwhelmed me!" she retorted in explanation. "I'd never felt that way before and it confused me so much."
"Confused you to the point that you almost got engaged to that fucking Karan---while being married to me."
"I did not! Take that back, Arnav Singh Raizada. That was all my aunt's idea and it never came to fruition. I put a stop to it."
"I know you did." He leaned over and grazed her forehead with his lips. "I was kidding."
"Well, it's not funny. And what do you mean that I was married to you then? If I recall, you were convinced then that the sindoor meant nothing. That you would never marry--me or any woman on this planet. We almost separated because of your stubbornness!"
He smiled at her, not a bit fazed by her temper. He appeared more amused than anything, and so handsome that Khushi felt her heart pound all over again. "Thank you for the reminder of my stupidity, wifey. Anyway, I have something to ask you. Well, both of you."
He nodded very seriously. "Me and Ahaan here were wondering if you girls would like to join us on a picnic outside."
Khushi looked out the window again. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but the warmth didn't seem to seep into her skin. "I... I don't think I can. Not with Lia--"
Her husband took hold of her hand and Khushi jolted at the slight touch. It had been a week since he'd touched her. A week since they'd slept in separate rooms. She ached for him. So much...
"Baby, Lia wouldn't want you to stand here for hours, pale and worried. There's nothing more we can do. Please, let's take the kids out back. It'll get all of our minds off of things."
She slowly nodded. "Fine..."
Arnav grinned down at his wide-eyed son. "See, your mom agrees eventually, but you have to work at it. Really work at it."
"And Angeli," said Khushi, kissing the baby's soft cheek. "Your dad talks too much sometimes, but we still love him, don't we?"
His warm brown eyes shone at her, drifting to her parted lips. "Talks too much? I can think of a way you could shut me up, wifey."
She laughed in spite of herself and the family of four exited the bedroom, hand in hand.
Lia felt her stomach drop as the car came to a stop. Aman's hands flexed on the steering wheel as he turned to survey her pale face.
"It's not too late. Stop this now, Lia."
"You can't change my mind." No one and nothing could.
He swore. "Fine then. It's a five minute walk from here to the Devil's Lair. To keep suspicions low, it's best if you take a taxi or wa--"
"I'll walk, thank you."
She started to leave, but he grabbed her hand, the innocent touch branding her skin. Memories of the night before, of silken flesh and tumbled sheets, flashed in her head. It took everything in her to pull away, to move out his reach when all she ached to do was dive into his arms and never let go.
Not that he could ever know that.
"Take this," he told her.
The mask he handed her was icy blue, lacy and delicate. It would cover the top half of her face.
"I'll be wearing this one." He held up a black mask that would leave only his mouth and chin exposed. "Remember, once you enter DL, you do not know me and I don't know you. If things get out of hand, use your signal and--"
"--itch the bridge of my nose three times. We've been over this enough, Aman. I've got it. It'll be fine. But please, don't rush forward to rescue me. Once inside, you cannot show any reactions."
His eyes bored into hers. "Neither can you."
She held out her hand. "Wish me luck?"
He growled an oath and shoved his hand into her hair, pressing his mouth to hers firmly. It was over all too fast.
"Good luck, Lia. I'm with you. Remember that."
Swallowing, she pushed open the door and stepped into the sunshine.
Her footsteps slowed as she approached the building that would change everything. The doorway to hell.
But if Angeli and Ahaan's well-being was threatened by a monster that lived and breathed in this darkness... well, she would find him. Find him and destroy him.
He'd be sorry he ever messed with the Raizadas, that he ever overlooked a girl named Lia Stumpost.
Chin set, she tied the mask into place and walked into DL as if she owned it. A masked man stood just inside the main gate. He took her offered card and with a thorough sweep of her body, gestured her inside.
"Ballroom two is for newbies."
Lia wasn't sure what she'd been expecting, but this, whatever it was, fit. It was dark like a vampire's crypt inside and almost too clean. The sterilized scent in the air reminded her of the mansion she'd worked at, the cold, too perfect veneers here extending to every masked face she glimpsed. She kept an eye out for a black mask, but didn't see one.
Ballroom two was already quite full, men and women gathered before a slightly raised podium. It was silent, no one moving, no one seeming to even breathe.
And then a woman stepped out of the shadows and onto the stage. She was beautiful, the gold mask accentuating her skin--all her naked skin.
If the fact that she stood undressed before them all rattled her, she didn't let it show, looking confident as she smacked a thin leather whip to her palm.
"Welcome, inductees. I am Mrs. X. Only a select few get to enter our club every month so congratulations on making it even this far. But please do not assume you will remain long. Out of the thirty of you, only three will advance to induction and only one will attain this..."
A collective gasp sounded as a ruby red mask was revealed behind a curtain--the very same Payal Raizada had once worn with great glee.
"The one chosen to wear this will be the luckiest of you all. For her or him, there awaits a night unlike any other... a world from which there is no return... one you can't even imagine..."
Lia looked out of the corner of her eye for a black mask. Where was he? Aman had said he would present himself as a millionaire, more interested in watching than participating. They were hoping his bank balance would be enough to keep speculation low and allow him to come and go undetected.
But what if that hadn't worked out? Had he been discovered?
"We begin," said the naked woman, "With perfecting you. Each of you will find a submissive waiting to prepare you. Follow them where they lead. I will see you soon."
There was silence as they were led away, one by one. Two young women caught hold of Lia's arms.
She tried to give them a friendly smile. "Where are we going?"
The one to her right frowned. "No questions. Head down."
Lia was quick to obey, her neck starting to hurt as they led her down a long corridor and then into a lavish suite.
She tried not to fidget as she slipped out of her clothes. The women pulled her to a long table and began waxing her--every inch of her body.
Her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip and she fought not to cry out. When the torture was finally over, one began painting her nails while the other brought out a pair of gleaming scissors. The sight of them made Lia freeze.
But the woman only fingered her hair. "How short?"
"What will be best?"
"It depends... do you want to stand out or not?"
"I'm not sure... I'd be so very grateful for your knowledge and expertise. What would be best to attain the red mask?"
They laughed. "The red mask? We have been submissives for over three year and yet to receive that honor. You believe you can earn it?"
Lia kept her face impassive. "I have a chance to win that mask. If you would help me, I would be sure to recommend you both for the following month." She could tell how much her words affected them by how they grew still, their voices lowering in unison.
"You would do that?"
"Yes, of course."
They exchanged a glance, nodding to one another before turning to her. "Then our advice is to do nothing."
"The masters expect new inductees to do something drastic with their looks. They will be intrigued by you if you decide to remain as you are."
"Okay, thank you... By the way, you wouldn't know if Master H favors that type of look as well, would you?"
"Master H? You know of him?"
Lia felt her mouth go dry. So there was a Master H? "No, but I have heard great things."
"As have we," the girl answered in plural. "We have never encountered him yet sadly, but who knows, maybe through you, we will." They surveyed her body. "We have a feeling you will please the masters, Missus--"
Lia could have kicked herself the second the name popped out of her mouth. She should have known to pick a name ahead of time. And now she'd gone and picked--
"This way, Mrs. M."
Dutifully, she followed them out, glancing at the pile of clothes behind her longingly.
Aman Mehra was so on edge, he felt he might explode. Someone made the mistake of stumbling into him in the cover of darkness and he almost knocked them out. His hands fisted and unfisted at his sides.
Where the hell was she?
He was gathered in ballroom one with all the regulars. His cover of a rich millionaire from South Africa had given him the perfect excuse to go about undetected. No one much cared as long as he paid for top membership.
"Where are the fucking newbies?" complained the man who'd bumped into him.
"I heard there's a lot of them," said a woman behind him. "Wonder how they'll whittle them down this month."
"I could take each and judge them on how well they suck me off," offered another to loud laughs.
Aman almost--almost--turned and slammed the laughing man into the nearest wall. He wouldn't allow him or anyone else near Lia. He'd--
He forced himself to cool the hell down. He would blow their covers within seconds if he kept this up. He had to calm down. Immediately.
But it was not that easy. After the night they'd shared, he felt fiercely protective of Lia. She might well walk around as if nothing could ever harm her, but he'd seen her at her most vulnerable. That woman didn't deserve this hell. He should kidnap her. He should snatch her up and run out the nearest exit and--
"Ladies and gentlemen," announced some woman in a gold mask, "Join me in welcoming this month's recruits. In just ten days, one of these lucky inductees will gain the honor of the red mask."
What red mask?
He didn't have a chance to make sense of the words though. Because just then, around thirty small poles began ascending from the floor. People laughed and jumped away as they glimpsed the inductees, their hands bound above their heads, anchored to the strip pole, their naked flesh on display.
He saw her almost immediately and felt his breath catch. Unlike the others with overly flamboyant hairstyles and makeup, Lia had left her hair alone. He was grateful she hadn't cut it, mostly because it hid most of her delectable breasts from the crowd around them.
But even that wasn't enough to make her go unnoticed. With her makeup minimally done and her beautiful bare body, devoid of any hair, tied to the pole as if in offering, Lia took his breath away. She was getting a lot of attention from the crowd as well.
He hated it.
"Our first elimination begins now," said the woman in the gold mask. "I ask you all to stand before the inductee you'd like as yours. The top fifteen will continue forward. Everyone else, best of luck next time."
Aman made his way toward Lia, but he decided to stand before the woman next to her to keep from looking suspicious.
It wasn't like Lia needed his vote. She was easily in the top five by his estimate.
As he watched, the losers were untied and escorted out.
"Congratulations to those who survived the voting. Now, for something harder." The crowd laughed and clapped, masked faces glazed over with excitement.
"In my hands is a pouch." Mrs. X held up a small velvet bag. "Each inductee will withdraw one slip of paper from inside--while remaining tied as you are. The paper will either say pain, pleasure or piercing. If it's pleasure, Master B has graciously volunteered to give you his mouth between your legs for a duration of five minutes. If it's pain, Mistress S will wear this strap on and take you hard for ten minutes. If it's piercing... well, that's self-explanatory, but the site of the piercing will be decided by me. Let's get started."
Aman felt his stomach roll and he fought not to charge up to Lia and drag her out, then and there.
The words ran through her mind as the options were read out loud. Lia shook as Mrs. X stood before the first tied up inductee. He picked out a slip of paper from the pouch with his mouth and Mrs. X snatched it away, her voice rising with fervor.
"And it's my favorite, PAIN!"
The crowd clapped and Mistress S stepped forward. Lia saw but a second of it before she had to look away, feeling queasy. The inductee was whimpering pitifully, his hands white-knuckled on the pole.
Her eyes met and caught Aman's. He raised a hand to his nose. She understood the signal, but shook her head.
She wouldn't quit. Not so fast.
She could do it if she was lucky enough to pick piercing. She wasn't afraid of that.
Or so she thought.
But when the girl before her got a piercing in her left eyeball, Lia realized that hell was indeed here. In this darkness, where another's pain held no meaning. Where the crowd laughed and drank champagne in the face of such horror.
She began to turn to Aman, set on leaving, but Mrs. X stopped before her then, holding the pouch out.
She had no choice.
Bending her head, she caught a slip of paper with her teeth. The other woman plucked it away. "PIERCING AGAIN! How boring, but we will keep it interesting, I promise you."
Her contacts traced over Lia's naked body, gleaming with speculation. Lia held onto the pole as she awaited her fate, feeling as if she would vomit any second.
The Raizadas returned inside the house with their bellies full and the children yawning heavily.
"Aww," cooed NK, smiling down at them. "They're so sleepy."
"You share something in common with them then," Arnav muttered. "I saw you yawning too."
"You catch everything, Naanav!"
"Any news from Aman or Lia?" asked Khushi.
"Not yet, I'll go and check again."
Arnav swept his palm down Angeli's back, rocking her to him. "Call us the second you hear anything.
They went upstairs to the nursery with his promise, setting the twins down for their afternoon nap. Khushi could have happily remained there, staring at the two small faces that meant the world to her, but her husband had other ideas. He caught hold of her hand again, guiding her out.
"What is it?"
His jaw hardened. "It's us. How long is this going to go on for? How long will you keep punishing me?"
She glanced away. "It's not a punishment."
"Really?" he scoffed. "It's been over a week since we shared a bed."
"A week is hardly anything! I just need some time to--"
"I've given you enough time!" His voice rose, his hands clasping her shoulders. "I miss you, dammit! I miss seeing your face when I wake up every morning. I miss having you in my arms as I sleep. I miss being inside you."
Khushi's eyes fluttered close and her body clenched, needing him too. "I... just need some time. Please."
"Am I allowed to kiss you?"
Her head snapped up to his, their eyes locking. Slowly, she nodded. He cursed under his breath and then pushed her into the wall behind her. His hands cupped her face and then his mouth was on hers.
Khushi shivered as her husband's tongue boldly stroked hers, pistoning in her mouth like the act itself.
He called this kissing? It felt like he was consuming her. Branding her. Her eyes flew open as she felt his mouth close over breast, wet and hot.
"This counts as kissing still," he said, drawing his tongue across her nipple.
She shuddered and didn't have the strength to refuse him. He picked her up then, his mouth capturing hers as he led her away. The next second, Khushi felt the mattress beneath her, his body covering hers.
This was dangerous, she knew. She didn't have the strength to resist him. She never had.
He drew off of her, even though she had not meant for him to.
"What?" he said irritably, his mouth reddened. "You want me to stop? It doesn't feel like you do."
She took a deep breath, watching as his eyes slid lower. "We should go slow..."
"Slow? It's been a whole week, Khushi!"
"Stop saying that like it's been an eternity!"
"It feels like it has! How long will this go on, baby? Just tell me. Please."
"I... I don't know," she replied truthfully.
He shook his head, rising to his feet. His body was rigid with tension. And then his eyes returned to her, narrowed and speculative.
"Will you go out with me?"
It was the last thing she'd expected him to say. She'd been prepared for him to shout some more, not stare at her so. "What?"
"I'm asking you out. It's what I should have done when I first met you. What we never did. I am allowed to date my wife, aren't I?"
She slowly nodded and his face brightened as he grinned at her. He leaned down and kissed her forehead.
"Tomorrow night, 7 PM. Meet me at the front of the house."
"What are you planning?" she asked him as he began walking away.
"You'll see soon enough..." He turned at the door to study her. "And baby?"
"Wear something sexy."
"S-sexy?" The word came out all breathless. "You know I'm still wearing mostly my maternity clothes. I don't own anything sexy."
"AR Designs is just a call away," he reminded. "And Khushi... it doesn't matter what you wear, you are hands down the sexiest woman I've ever seen."
She didn't say anything, but her expression must have given away her doubts.
"You are, love. Now, excuse me, I need to take another cold shower."
Her eyes trailed after him and it took everything in her not to run after him and insist he shower with her.
Why was she punishing them both? Why couldn't she move on from the tapes?But it wasn't so easy... every time she closed her eyes, all she saw were those hideous images. Too many hands and mouths and her husband, in the midst of it all.
She needed time to forget. A week wasn't asking for much in the grand scheme of things. And besides, now she had their date to look forward to.
Suddenly, there was the sound of running footsteps. The door slammed open and Arnav stood before her, his face no longer smiling, but drawn and tense.
"Aman and Lia have returned."
Lia clutched the front of Aman's shirt as he lifted her out of the passenger seat. She clung to him, burying her face against him, hiding from the others. She didn't have the strength to face them. To answer their questions.
She loved her friends, but right now, she just wanted to sleep. And cry.
"Is she okay?" came Khushi's concerned voice.
"She will be," replied Aman.
"What happened there? What did they do to her?"
"We'll speak later, NK. Let me take her up to her bedroom. She needs to rest."
They both did. It had been a draining experience. Mentally and physically.
Lia held onto Aman as he took the stairs and then set her on the bed. He started to move away and she made a noise of protest at the back of her throat.
"I'm not going anywhere. Let me just lock the door."
Her fingers unclenched from his shirt and she watched as he returned to her, his face hard. He drew her dress off. Her underwear hadn't been returned and his eyes ignited as he found her bare before him again.
But it wasn't because of passion.
But those... the two piercings she'd endured while tied to a pole.
"Don't look at me," she whispered. "They're so ugly."
"They're not... We could pull them out."
She shook her head. "It feels too sore."
"Want me to get you some ice?"
She wasn't used to having anyone worry about her. It was a feeling that was heady. Beautiful. Dangerous.
"The hell you are!"
Lia stared down at herself, at the two metal barbells slicing through her poor nipples. It had hurt like hell, but it could have been worse.
"At least it's not my eyeballs."
Aman's jaw flexed. "You're not going back there. You got off lucky tonight. It won't be like that always. Anything can happen in the next nine days."
"I have to finish this, Aman."
A muscle ticked under his eye. "You won't stop, will you? Not even after this."
"Let's just take it one day at a time," she managed, her throat feeling sore. "I got through today in the top five. Just nine days separate us from that event which Master H will attend."
"Master H? Who knows if he's truly the one behind it all? If he even exists? You can't keep risking everything based on a guess."
"He's real," she told him, explaining what the women who'd readied her had divulged.
Aman laid back on the bed beside her, closing his eyes. Lia slowly snuggled against his side. Her sensitive skin burned at the contact and a pitiful sound escaped her lips.
Aman's eyes flew open and before she could draw away, he dragged her back to him. His eyes held hers as his mouth lowered between them, covering one nipple.
"How does it feel?"
"R-really good..." His mouth on her was the best thing she'd ever felt, the cool wetness easing the pain.
As she held him to her, her hands plunging into his hair, his tongue swept over the piercing, his mouth gently suckling. Lia closed her eyes and allowed herself this one moment of pleasure.
Tomorrow, she did not know what awaited her.
Pain... pleasure... or destruction.
To be continued...
Episode 45: Dates & Dangers