Cupid's Workshop

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Prologue

The light dazzled through the chiffon curtains that hung from the intricate window panes. The creamy texture of the walls imprinted a sense of spaciousness and profound continuity. The room was plain – white marbled-floor, white walls containing a dozen photo frames, artificial light-illuminated ceiling, royal blue curtains, cushions and carpets with simple wooden furniture, set impeccably among other things.  
Rachel looked at the open window, intaking the exhilarating feeling of a warm, summer morning. She had gathered a bunch of cardboard boxes earlier today. Taking the first box, she peeped inside and carefully took out two papers strongly clipped together. In the box, many pairs of paper were arranged on a pile, clipped together just like the one Rachel held now. She put on her black, thin-rimmed glasses that mostly hid her big-brown eyes.  
She had a sumptuous, oval face with a small nose and thin lips which were now looking plump due to the application of a nude shade of lip gloss. Her arms were slender, coming down to her long fingers that gripped the documents tightly. Her thin waist looked appropriately sexy in a coral-red pencil skirt that seemed to slim her full hips. The tight material of her black shirt fitted her breasts almost perfectly.  


Batting her eyelids vividly, she rummaged through the pages that she had taken out, concentrating on each and every point and clause. 


“Perfect!” She exclaimed as colour rushed into her cheeks, enhancing her otherwise quaint countenance.  
Walking over to the window, with a phone in her hand, she dialled a number, “Estelle, I've found them. Make the arrangements as soon as possible.”  

 


The other end of the line squealed with a loud and feminine ‘okay' before Rachel disconnected the call. She huffed, taking constant deep breaths as a sign of relief. The burden that had heaped over her shoulders years ago, came to reduce a little more. Not completely, though.  
The weight she had been carrying was way too much but the works she had done over the last ten years had somehow helped it to reduce more and more. A little ache still lingered on her shoulders and she thought that the work she was going to do now, would indeed help her to remove the burden completely and tangibly.  
••••  
Few hours later, Rachel suited herself with a glass of orange juice while standing at the balcony of her favourite house. It was a two-storey farmhouse with white walls. It had a big garden at the fronting with a small fountain on the left side. A narrow path was paved in the middle with different flowering plants on both the sides. The front porch was wide, accommodated with cushioned chairs. The extension of the porch narrowed down to a small cliff, beneath of which was a tranquil lake. The house was built slightly upwards from the ground, on a small mound-like structure that resembled a mini mountain. It was a dream house.  
Rachel inhaled the scent of the fresh mud. Darting her eyes around, she saw the atmosphere that surrounded her house. The rich sunlight that entered through every crack of the house, the whispering trees, the glass-like lake, the cool breeze blowing her hair and the green lustrous arena upon which her favourite house stood. It was her favourite, no doubt.  
Her parents lived here when she was born. Zachary and Eva Keller had been rich and successful entrepreneurs. They had stored in a lot of money, properties and lands for her. When they were alive, the three of them lived here and made it a home filled with love, laughter and joy. The memory of her parents' death in the plane crash brought tears to her eyes.  
She was only ten when they died. She had less memories of them but the memories she had were of profound love and fondness. She inherited tons of money, five houses in five different countries, properties and plots. Not sure what to do with them, she kept them untouched until she was twenty- years old and after that, she was legally entitled to all the riches of her wealthy parents.  
Their family lawyer, Mr. Henderson gave her the possession of her houses, lands and properties. She was given a ton of liquid money which was deposited safely in the Keller Family bank account. With them, she had also got an unexpected letter. Not a will but a letter. She had been shocked to read it, though. It was from Zachary and Eva. They had told her how much they loved her and guided her to use their ‘riches' judiciously. The last point of the letter, however had shaken her. She smiled as she remembered the point.  
Sipping the juice, she looked around some more to enjoy the memories the three of them had shared. The house was still sweltering with love and fun-filled memories worth cherishing. It was called the ‘Heart of Nashville’. The most beautiful house of the town. Due to her tiring work hours, she hardly used the house and instead she had to live in an apartment in New York City with her husband.  
But for her other works, she still managed to keep the house going and she didn’t vacant it altogether. Her special tasks took place in this house itself. She kept on looking around, wondering how much effort would she have to give to complete her last task. Just the last one.  
“Honey, you're here?” A strong, masculine voice skimmed through the curtains and drapes of the room, attached to the balcony.  
“Yeah, darling.” She turned around to see her handsome husband, Steve Collins standing in front of her with an exasperated expression.  
His cream-coloured trousers were rolled up to his knees and his transparent white t-shirt was soaking in sweat, wonderfully outlining his muscular chest. He was holding a small wooden tablet and a screw driver in his hands.  
“Woah, you look hot!” She approached him, gently wiping off the perspiration from his forehead.  
“What are you doing here? Weren’t you in Texas, doing an office assignment?” 
“Yes. Fortunately, it got completed early. So, I took off and came here.” She slid her hands on his waist. “I called your office and they said you didn’t attend your meeting. I thought you came here and searched the whole house and see, you were here. In the balcony, of all places.”  
“I heard from Estelle yesterday that you were planning to utilise the house for the summer vacation. I was just fixing some cracks and holes on the floor.”  
Steve gently pulled his loving wife to himself, inhaling her earthy scent mixed with sprinkles of sandalwood oil, “Is it your perfume or my love for you that smells like this?” 
“Definitely my perfume.” Her reply was curt and sharp. Loosening up her body, she revelled in his arms. “Aww, hon. You look like a kid who's been denied a piece of cake.”  
“You are absolutely a piece of cake. Red velvet cake, in fact.” He indicated her red pencil skirt.  
“Oh, am I?” She asked, pulling his cheeks. He dropped the tools on the floor and gripped her waist tightly.  
“I missed you.”  
“It’s only been two days, Steve.”  
Steve face palmed. Seriously, it had been two days since Rachel came to Tennessee but he missed her like mad. Both of them lived in New York. Rachel worked as an interior designer in a home furnishing company, Enigmatic Homes, whereas, Steve was a marketing professional. Rachel had travelled to Texas for a designing assignment while Steve had been selected for a presentation in Cookeville.  
Both of them had gone their own ways. Fatefully, Steve couldn’t attend the meeting due to a last minute change and Rachel completed her work before the stipulated period of time. To evacuate their stress, both of them had taken shelter in ‘Heartland', their place of peace. Their paradise.  
“I knew you would be here. Got a feeling, you know.” Rachel said as matter-of-factly.  
“That’s because I was stressed. We both come here when we are tired and exhausted. I knew you would be here too. Estelle informed me.”  
“Yeah, I reached in the early morning. How come I didn’t notice you?”  
“I came yesterday night. I was up here, fixing the things.”  
“You were up here all night?”  
Steve nodded his head after getting a blow on it by his wife. He rubbed the very place as it stung like the poisonous sting of a scorpion.  
“You shouldn’t have been in the balcony all night. I guess you didn’t sleep well. You work very hard, Steve. If you deprive yourself of sleep, you can develop—”  
“Some grave diseases, I know. I'm sorry, sweetness. I promise I won’t do it again! I was too engrossed in the carpentry.” He caressed her cheeks with his strong hands.  
Rachel melted in his arms. She loved him. And he loved her as much as she did. Both of their jobs were in New York due to which they couldn’t spend most of their time in ‘Heartland'. They loved the house and wanted to create their own memories there but then again, the house didn’t fall short of magical memories.  
“I miss this house.”  
“Yeah, me too. But don’t worry, the house will never be short of love as long as you keep your work going.”  
She smiled as she shoved her head into his warm collarbones. He kissed her hair and snuggled into her, pulling her against him. “I love you.” She murmured, her voice as soft as the murmurs of the serene lake.  
“Love you too, hon.”  












 



Mahasweta Chakraborty

Edited: 26.03.2020

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