01 | rain, come again another day.

SHAYLA'S P.O.V

The water droplets slid over the glass lazily, as if they couldn't be less bothered to submit to the will of gravity.

Perhaps it would be fun to sit inside those droplets and make a gravity propelled ride straight to the earth soil, slow slow slow. I laughed quietly to myself at the thought as I opened the window by an inch and stuck my hand out. I tilted my fingers up, watching the remnants of the drops run down my fingers like tiny rivers.

I retreated back, leaving the window a bit open so that I could hum quietly to the steady drumming of the raindrops while reading my book.

It was how the rainy days were here but I still wasn't quite used to it. Quite a bit of change from the ruthless rhapsody of rain in Mumbai, I had to admit. 

Ah Mumbai, a place with some of my dearest memories. One of them was me talking about cricket and having steaming cups of tea with Farhan on Mumbai's rainy days, when the rain played orchestra on the cedar roof.

But my little bubble of peace and calmness was pricked and burst as soon as Bryan rushed into my room, yanking the door hard.

"Oh, look." I said, showing him my empty hand. "Here are your manners: non-existent."

He shook his head, adjusting his glasses. "Hah, so funny. I forgot to laugh."

"Don't worry, I ordered it for you, will be delivered in two to three working days."

He let out a throaty chuckle as I grinned and closed my book, scooting over to him.

"Jesus everloving Christ, you & your humour. But anyways, I have a very important news to tell you."

"Oh, what happened? Did Zeke finally die?"

He gave me an incredulous stare.

"What? It was a joke."

"It is hard to differentiate jokes and statements when it comes to you. But anyways, like I was saying, the Taylor family is coming over for dinner tomorrow!"

"Wow." I mumbled, uninterested as I smoothed out the creases on my silk top. "Fun."

"Taylor family as in Cameron Taylor & his family!"

"Uh-huh."

"Good Lord." He groaned, falling back on the bed. "Do you not find it exciting?"

"Why is it even supposed to excite me, Bryan?"

"He is so hot! And he has the voice of an angel! His father and our father are childhood buddies, isn't that exciting?"

"No, it isn't. But hey, be careful. Your gay part is peeking out." I gasped in a dramatic voice as he laughed.

"Yeah, probably gonna end up with a knife in my stomach if father comes to know that I am gay." He joked as I flicked his forehead.

"I will take the knife for you, don't worry. Does that make sense?" I said, tossing my obsidian curls over my shoulder. "It sounded better in my head but you know."

"Oh, the mighty, cold-hearted Shayla is willing to take a knife for me? I am so honoured." He drawled out mockingly as I flipped him off.

The rest of the beautiful evening bled rapidly into the nightfall in fits of laughter and inappropriate jokes. 

"I am gonna grab some juice and perhaps commit felony on the way if i see Zeke, do you want anything?" I asked him as I slipped into my flip flops.

"Yes, chocolate chip mint ice cream, please."

"Ugly choice, but okay. Will be right back." I threw a peace sign as I slipped out of the door and started walking towards the kitchen.

And that's when I saw the door to Farhan's room creaked open.

I almost ran towards his room as I threw the door open to find the maid cleaning the room and she had even dared to misplace his things.

"What the hell? Did I not tell you to you not touch his room? I remember instructing everyone to not touch his room! Only I can touch his room, he only let me enter his room! What are you even doing here?" My voice grew louder steadily as the maid lowered his head.

"I am sorry Miss Sengupta but I had strict instructions from Mr. Sengupta to clear this room."

"The fuck, no. I will talk with him. Get out, now."

"Shayla." A curt voice chimed in from behind me and I whirled around at once, ready to shout.

"Baba, what is this-"

"Shayla, don't you dare raise your voice at me."

I bit on my tongue and lowered my head, trying hard to control my raising temper. Don't be like Baba. Don't be like Baba.

"My instructions are final, Shayla. My word is the final in this house."

"But you can't just clear Farhan's room-" Baba cut me off with a wave of his hand as he gave me a cold glare.

"Shayla, don't you dare talk back to me. Go to your room."

"Baba, I-"

"Now."

"Okay, Baba." I mumbled as I lowered my head and begrudgingly walked back to my room, my juice and Bryan's ice cream long forgotten.

They couldn't just try to forget my brother like that. I would make sure of it.

━━━━━━ 

CAMERON'S P.O.V

"Dad, you actually did that! I still can't believe it." I spoke in between my fits of laughter.

"Oh son, but I did. I was quite an adventurer in my days, I mind you." Dad replied, laughing too.

"I bet my arse on it, Dad."

Dad shook his head, chuckling as he gave Mom's sleeping figure a very fond look. "And son, that's how I met your mother."

"A story that never ceases to amuse me." I mused, looking out at the raindrops slowly trailing down the window glass.

The car sped along and took a sharp turn and just at that very moment, Camille squealed in mock delight.

"Oh, my dear brother, won't you look at this.." Mille trailed on as she practically shoved her phone in my face.

I took hold of her phone and finally my eyes rested on the picture of Amber and Travis together, kissing.

I scoffed and tossed the phone back to her as Mille mumbled something along the lines of them being filthy bitches. She showed the picture to Dad as well as I saw Dad shoot me a sympathetic look from the corner of my eye.

"Camille, dear, totally out of context but do you happen to know where my shotgun is?" Dad mumbled and one corner of my lips quirked up.

"Yes Dad, and totally out of context but I would absolutely love to join you on your, uh, mission." Mille giggled as I smacked her head playfully.

"You guys." I sighed out as I ran a hand through my curls and smiled softly at them. "I am so happy to be back with my family."

"Oh yes. You needed this break very much anyways. And while you're here you could always get some new inspiration to make some new type of music or something." Mille rambled on, nudging me to pose for a selfie with her.

"Haven't been here in ages." Dad sighed as he looked out of the window, the rain almost disappeared by then. "We are very happy to be back here, with you I mean."

I rested my hand on the window rest as I looked out at the familiar streets of my hometown, a far different picture from LA - where we had been residing for the past ten years ; and I felt a sense of nostalgia wash over me.

I watched the wildflowers sprawling around recklessly on the street-corner and my mind flickered back to Amber, and her obsession with wildflowers. Amber and her soft strawberry blonde curls, her soft smile, her soft wildflower-ish perfume : slightly citric, slightly rosy, slightly minty.

I felt a wave of sadness & pain crash into me like a wave of tsunami and for a moment, I felt myself losing control over my emotions.

Thankfully, we reached our house before I could dive deeper into my pool of melancholia.

After a lot of grunts from Dad, a lot of complaints from Camille, a sleepy Mom questioning about the luggage, we entered the house.

I took in a deep breath as I looked around the house and mumbled,"Home sweet-"

"Good lord, what is that goddamn awful smell?"

"Oh my god, the damp patches on the walls are massive."

A scream pierced the air. Camille.

"Camille, are you okay?" I shouted as I instantly rushed to her room as she squealed and ran towards me.

"Termites. Lots of them." She screamed pointing towards the wall-mounted wardrobes.

"I think we should go to a hotel for now. Bad idea to come here directly without checking all of it." Dad mumbled as he took out his phone and stepped out to make calls.

"We had asked the maid to clean the whole house before we came here, but looks like she did not do her job." Mom exclaimed in disgust as she swiped over a table and clicked her tongue at the layer of dust.

"This wasn't supposed to happen! We were supposed to live a normal life, a normal life for some days! How hard is that even supposed to be?" I mumbled, running a hand through my curls in frustration.

"Well, abrupt decisions end up being troublesome!" Mille cooed as I shot her a look.

As if on cue, it started raining again and I could almost feel the rain whisper 'welcome back' against my skin. I let out a long sigh.

━━━━━━ 

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