Assassins

Assassins by Mukul Deva

Book: Assassins by Mukul Deva Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mukul Deva
Jasmine mustered her most soothing tone. “Could we take a moment? Have a cup of tea … and calm down a bit.”
    â€œCalm down?” Jasmine saw Simran’s lips thin out and knew she was on the verge of going thermonuclear. “How can…”
    â€œ Mom! ” Jasmine realized that came out a lot sharper than she had intended. Both Ravinder and Simran looked startled. And Simran looked offended, too; no one spoke to her like that.
    Realizing she’d gone too far, Jasmine took a deep breath. Contrite. Softened. “Mom. Please. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to raise my voice, but getting worked up is not going to help anyone.” Her mind whirling, she rang for the maid and ordered tea.
    It came and was consumed in uncomfortable silence. But the stress in the room had abated, enough to permit a nearly civil conversation.
    Half an hour later, the facts lay bare before Jasmine. She felt strange; having to arbitrate between her parents was a new and quite nerve-racking experience. As a lawyer in training, she now got a sense of what it was like to be a judge; to make decisions with the pressure of getting it right, every time. It discomfited her.
    Glad that’s not going to happen to me any time soon.
    Realizing she was procrastinating, Jasmine focused. Ravinder’s decision to reenter the fray dismayed her. Jasmine was aware Ruby’s death had been a tremendous shock for him. That she’d died at his hands had all but killed Ravinder. She had seen how hard he’d struggled to hold it together, especially during the inquiry that followed. Though Ravinder never spoke about it, Jasmine sensed his self-esteem and confidence had both taken a massive beating.
    Yet … Jasmine could see the change; now his shoulders were level and, though he looked worried and stressed, that familiar, determined gleam was back in his eyes. Jasmine sensed Ravinder needed to do this. Badly. She decided to help. If he succeeded, the father she hero-worshiped and doted on would be back.
    If he fails … Jasmine pushed away that awful thought and turned to her mother.
    â€œMom, I understand where you are coming from.” Simran, sitting straight as a soldier, shimmered with righteous anger. “I know it’s only concern for Dad’s health, which is upsetting you. But let’s look at it from his point of view, too.”
    â€œ What. Point. Of. View.” Each word was delivered explosively. “Are you supporting him?” Jasmine saw her fighting for control, incredulous. “What do you know? You’re just a child.”
    â€œI am not a child, mom.” Jasmine kept a tight leash on her anger, but was firm. “And I worry for both of you.” Simran made to speak, but Jasmine headed her off. “No, Mom, please allow me to finish.” A shocked Simran subsided in her chair. “We’ve all gone through so much in the past few months. Especially Dad … we’ve both seen what he has been through. And yes, we are both worried about his health, but …”
    â€œNo buts, Jasmine,” Simran interrupted coldly. “I will not sit back and allow my husband to self-destruct. He has done enough and given enough for his precious uniform. And it has gotten him nothing … nothing but trouble and hurt.”
    â€œMom, do you remember when I was learning to ride and fell off the horse on the very first day?” Jasmine was not sure where the words came from. But she sensed that if she did not get the situation in check, it would spiral out of control. And without knowing why, she knew she had it in her to do so. “You remember how badly my leg had been hurt?”
    Simran nodded, puzzled. “So?”
    â€œI still remember what you did the next day. You told me to get back on the horse. Don’t let your fears stop you from doing what you need to. That’s what you told me, Mom. Likewise, today if Dad needs to do

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