The Vixen - Chapter 6
The Vixen - Chapter 610 mins 1.0K 10 mins 1.0K
“Well, Tanya Andrews’s Facebook profile was created just two years back. Before that, she did not exist”.
“What? What do you mean she didn’t exist?” Nandini asked, shocked.
“The meaning is clear, Nandini. She is not who she claims to be. We have to find out who she really is and what her intentions are before she can do any more damage to Anupam and my family,” Gargi said, a sense of urgency in her tone.
Nandini couldn’t fathom what she was hearing. Why would anyone lie about their identity?
“Maybe she really joined Facebook two years back? And not before?” Nandini suggested, trying to make some sense of the information.
“I don’t think so. There is no way a girl like Tanya has never been on social media till two years back. Nandini, that girl is bad news. And we have to find out about her. I can’t see my brother wasting his life after someone like her,” Gargi said.
Nandini began pacing the small corridor, thinking.
“Maybe she is after the money? Your family money? A gold digger? She must definitely be knowing about the Puri family’s fortune,” Nandini pondered.
“If that was the case, think Nandini, she would have been very pleasant to my parents. She would have tried to get her name in their will. Why would she try and break up the family? If my family disowns Anupam, he doesn’t get much, except whatever he earns back in the US,” Gargi said.
That also made sense.
“But then why would she do this?” Nandini asked the question, as much to herself as to Gargi.
“It is not something as simple as we think Nandini,” Gargi said.
A group of people passed them in the corridor of the lobby, and both stayed silent till they were out of earshot.
“I think it is bigger than what we are seeing at face value,” Gargi said, her voice more of a whisper now.
Nandini was still pacing slowly.
“Right. If she has created that Facebook profile two years back with the sole purpose of trapping Anupam, then whatever she is planning, has been going on with thought, since the past two years. Do you have any idea how and where Anupam met her?” Nandini asked.
“No. absolutely no idea,” Gargi said.
“Then I guess we have to do some sleuthing on our own. If we can find out some more details about Tanya, anything at all, we can try to find out who she really is and what it is that she actually wants,” Nandini said.
“Nandini, Gargi, what are you two doing here?”
It was Mandira, Nandini’s mom.
“Everyone out there is looking for you,” she said, puzzled at the way the duo stood huddled in the corner of the corridor off the lobby.
“Aunty, we…err, we went to the washroom and lost our way back,” Gargi stammered. Nandini nodded vigorously.
Mandira eyed them suspiciously but didn’t persist. She escorted them back to the lawn where everyone was now seated around the tables, having dinner.
Nandini and Gargi silently filled their plates from the buffet table, any appetite whatsoever gone by now, and began walking towards one of the farther tables.
“Nandini, here,” Shalini aunty called.
She stood next to a table, gesturing to an empty chair next to where Mohit sat.
Shalini aunty would have probably married her off to Mohit tonight itself if she had her way, Nandini wondered, looking over at Gargi with a look that only Gargi understood. Gargi nodded at her, encouraging her to go.
“I have Rishabh for company,” she said, indicating the table where Rishabh sat with Puri uncle, Ahuja uncle, and Nandini’s father.
Nandini walked towards the table around which Mohit and his family sat, bracing herself to face some more matrimonial questions. Shalini aunty also got seated at the same table. She looked hell-bent on achieving her matchmaking goal.
As she got seated, Mohit began telling some story which he was already narrating, and Nandini concentrated on her food.
She glanced around to see where Anupam had disappeared. Two tables down, she saw a drunk Tanya laughing heartily at something Rishi, Rishabh’s brother was saying. And Anupam sat at the table, his posture stiff, face a mask of no expressions. He looked completely zoned out of what was happening at his table, and he wasn’t eating anything either. His eyes just seemed to be fixed at Mohit.
The rest of the evening passed by breezily, Rishabh’s mom playing the perfect host and Shalini aunty playing cupid. Mohit seemed like a nice guy to be around. He was nothing like the sleazy kid Nandini remembered from their childhood and had it not been for the revelations about Tanya and the venomous glare that Anupam was fixing them with, Nandini would have actually enjoyed the dinner.
As she slept that night, Nandini wondered what had come over Anupam. Why was he behaving so obviously weird? What did he have against Mohit? Was it jealousy? Was it possessiveness? But why? It wasn’t as if Nandini was rejecting him and opting for Mohit! He was the one who had chosen another girl for himself. So Nandini was free to choose whoever she wanted to spend her life with. Then why had Anupam behaved so rudely with Mohit?
That was when she had an idea. The next day night, they were all having dinner at Gargi’s place, along with the Ahuja family. So Nandini had anyway planned to go over to Gargi’s place by noon itself, after her morning site visit. She could find Anupam alone, talk to him about Mohit, and then slowly broach the topic of Tanya’s past without arousing any suspicions. If she could just find one true link that connected Tanya to her real past, they could uncover whatever it was that the woman was up to.
Next day afternoon, Nandini sat on Gargi’s bed as Gargi furiously typed 'Tanya Andrews' on whichever social media site she could find, as well as on Google. Tanya was nowhere on any of them, either Instagram or Twitter or even Tinder. Google popped up many profiles but they were different girls.
“She is a ghost,” Gargi said, exasperated.
“I have an idea. If I can get some time alone with Anupam, I can prod him for some answers. But that leaves you with the job of getting rid of Tanya for me,” she said.
“That’s not a problem at all. Come,” Gargi smiled, taking Nandini by her hand and leading her out of the bedroom.
Nandini followed, wondering what exactly Gargi had in mind.
Gargi knocked on Anupam’s door.
Anupam opened the door and looked at both of them, confused.
“Did we break your siesta?” Gargi asked, smiling.
“No, we were just – what happened?” Anupam asked, eyeing them alternately.
“May we come in?” Gargi asked, raising her eyebrows.
“Y-yes, yes c-come in,” Anupam said, ushering them in.
As soon as they entered the room, Nandini realized why Anupam was hesitant in inviting them inside.
The room was a complete mess. Clothes lay strewn on every visible surface – table, floor, chairs, the small side table, even on top of the bedside lamp! Cosmetics lay strewn on the bed. And on one corner of the bed that was spared from the mess, Tanya slept in something hardly more than a bikini.
Nandini cringed at the sight.
“Tanya,” Anupam called out to her sheepishly.
“It's okay, let her sleep, we can come back later,” Gargi said, as flustered as Nandini.
“No, she’s getting up”, Anupam said, scratching his head and making expressions like a young boy caught stealing chocolates.
Tanya slowly sat up, rubbing her eyes, but making no attempt of either covering her body or uncovering any place for them to sit.
“Actually, I had come to see Tanya only. Since you guys arrived, so much has happened, that I haven’t had any chance to bond with her. If she is going to be my brother’s wife, I want to spend some time with her, knowing her you know…God knows whether I will get that chance once I get married…,” Gargi said.
Nandini marveled at Gargi’s brilliant plan. She was making it seem like she and Tanya were getting some bonding time together. That would leave Anupam alone to speak to Nandini.
“Of course. You both can chat right here…”
“Oh, no,” Gargi interrupted Anupam. “I want that time to be special. I have booked us a massage session at the Relicare Spa. For just the two of us,” Gargi said.
Tanya was watching them, and for a moment it seemed like she was about to retaliate. Nandini knew very well that Tanya had zero interest in getting a body massage over bonding time with Gargi. She almost laughed at the ironic situation.
“Oh, okay I guess. If you are making so many efforts, it means a lot to me and Tanya, right Tanya?” Anupam asked, turning around.
For the umpteenth time, Nandini saw how effortlessly Tanya’s expressions changed from the conniving and scornful look to a loving, puppy face in a matter of seconds.
“Yes, of course. I would love to,” she replied.
“Great. It’s in an hour, see you then,” Gargi said to her.
“What an idea that was,” Nandini said to Gargi as they returned to her bedroom.
“I know. That way I can do a bit of digging into Tanya herself. Not that she would reveal anything on purpose. But I will be on the lookout for any slips. Anything that can help us connect her to her past,” Gargi said.
"And what about the booking at the spa?" Nandini asked.
"I am doing it, as we speak," Gargi laughed mischievously.
An hour later, Gargi, Nandini, Anupam, and Tanya descended the staircase together.
As Tanya followed Gargi out of the main entrance, she realized Nandini was staying put at the house.
“Aren’t you joining us?” she asked suspiciously.
“It’s you two’s special bonding time. I have a site visit in half an hour anyway. So, have a nice time,” she said.
She didn’t want to alert Tanya about her plans to interrogate Anupam.
Tanya nodded curtly and closed the door behind.
“So, busy bee, busy with your site again? No time for your old friend?” Anupam asked Nandini.
Nandini mentally heaved a sigh of relief. Anupam had just made her job easier.
“If my old friend thinks so, then site canceled. Come, let's chat,” she said, and both proceeded towards the back garden.