It's a Very Small World After All...
#1
It had taken days before Akal had wanted to leave their home after the blizzard. His cough had finally disappeared and the weather was fine but he wanted to spend every chance he could at home with those he considered family. He knew Lawrence wouldn't mind sending out Mrs. Settles but he didn't want to make the woman work harder than necessary, it was his job too even if that had been just a front. 

Since he felt so well that day, he took the chance to go out for shopping for their dinner. He wanted to make something special. Getting good vegetables that time of year was difficult but he managed some of the more hardy cold weather crops. As he paid, he turned and bumped into someone, nearly spilling his load. 

"O-oh.. sorry, sir. I..' He looked up at the man and his eyes widened. He appeared to be from his homeland, and that wasn't good if the man knew of him. It didn't help this man was large and very intimidating. He looked down submissively to bow slightly and backed away. 

"Ah.. sorry.. sahib."
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#2
It was his last day in town. Tomorrow he would take a ship back to his home land and join up with his wife. He had accessed the local farmer's fields and would make sure the farmers were sent what they needed to keep the arrangement with his boss, his father in law. His wife being the daughter of one of the most powerful men in India; Aahir had a reason to keep his personal life secret.

His wife and him had their own arrangements and their lifestyle had worked for them. Back in India they didn't have lovers. They stayed to themselves kept appearances. It wasn't that hard to do, because she was his best friend and he did love her. But his sexual preferences was men and his wife preferred the ladies. They came here together for a few months out of the year to avoid the rainy weather in India and that was when they took lovers, making sure they agreed to keep things private before anything might happen.

He paid for a few fruits and then crossed the path to look at some vegetables. It was as he was getting near that someone already at that stand turned and bumped into him. " Apologize expected, but I don't believe you are one of my servants. Aahir Maharajah " He extended his hand.
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#3
Akal felt like a snare had come around his throat and he felt his breath leave him. "M-maharajah?" He refrained from touching his hand and stepped back a little, his slender hand barely touched the strong one and shook it quickly. "Ah.. I am called.. Akal." His voice was low, just barely loud enough to be heard. He wouldn't tell the man his whole name in case he recognized it.

His other arm hugged the bundle of vegetables closer to his chest as he nervously shuffled his feet. "I did not.. e-expect to see someone.. from.. back home.. here.' He said quietly.
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#4
"Ah, well it's not a secret I disappear for a week during the winter and my wife and I come here during the rainy season. I head back tomorrow." His eyelids lowered slightly as he was trying to figure out why the man was reacting in such a manner. Then again, Aahir wasn't the most approachable person and because he was married to someone with power didn't help the situation.

"Is there anyone you need to reach out to or send a parcel to. I'd be happy to deliver it." The tone in his voice was not a pleasant one, but that was also something that didn't make it easy to approach the man from India.
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#5
The offer was a kind one and he immediately thought of his mother, the only person back home he truly wished he could let know that he was well. For all she knew, he was long deceased.

"No. Thank you though." His voice sounded wilted but he knew better. It was dangerous for him and her if anyone remembered and still had it out for him. It was best they all.thought he was long gone and his family had completely disowned him. The thought lowered his spirits but he knew better. He was indeed happy with his current life and thanked the gods for all he had. His grip on the produce tightened and he wondered about telling his employer and love of his life about this unusual meeting, just in case though the man obviously did not know nor care who he was.

"I hope things are well there. I hear nothing out here..."
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#6
The young man was attractive, but he had to have been at least 9, maybe 10 years younger than himself. At this point in time, he couldn't tell if this man enjoyed the company of women or of men, but he could figure a way to pry. Then again, it might risky to have relations with someone from India, but it had been a very long time since his hands ran down the body of a man with such a beautiful skin color.

Aahir picked up a few produce and paid the man, before looking at the seller. "Your supplies will be in son enough, as discussed." He spoke to the man behind the table. "My employer looks forward to continuing business." He gave a nod and t hen turned to look at the man who had bumped into him, a potential new friend. "Why don't you join me for a walk. "
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#7
Akal.was surprised the man wanted to walk with him, but it was a relief he didn't seem to need to be scared. He nodded slightly and walked with him slowly. "I need to.. get these home soon. So I can start.. to cook dinner. But I have some time."

He knew Lawrence was a bit busy and that was good for his business.. Having him happy made them all happy. His fingers touched the paper they were wrapped in and his eyes remained on the well trodden ground as he walked with... Aahir wasn't it? The man said he was leaving very soon. It wouldn't hurt to say hello with someone from India. He missed it honestly. Seeing no one paying them much attention he decided to relax and do what he hasn't done in years and speak in Hindi. "Has anything of big news happened in the last few years?"*
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#8
"Then I will walk you home" The scar under his eye seeming less intimidating with each step they took. He missed speaking Hindi and was glad to hear the man speak it. He replied back in Hindi "I don't follow the news unless it deals with my wife's family." He looked down at the ring on his finger and took in a deep breath that released with a slight sigh. "Though, now.." He looked straight ahead, but in his head he was picturing the man beside him. "I do recall something about a man hunt ending. Everyone's pretty sure the man died during one of the storms, swept out to sea with many others."
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#9
Also was nervous about walking with the man to his home, but it he had any interest in finding it, it would not have been difficult.

"There must be a lot of news for her family. " Royalty always seemed to be in the headlines from what he could recall. As he made his way towards his home, knowing it was a decent walk, he listened intently and the feelings of nostalgia ran through him like a welcoming warm breeze that settled somewhere deep in his chest. 

"Oh? I do hope so. Criminals can be so very dangerous. May I ask what he had done?"
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#10
"I am not sure. nor do I care as it had nothing to do with my family."   His eyelids lowered as he looked out the corner of his eyes toward him.  His adams apple moved as he swallowed saliva he had let build up.  Aahir turned his head away from the young man and tossed a couple of gold coins to a near by seller without picking up anything from the table. "Do you know who I am?" He needed to establish a base. Technically he was a prince by marriage, but he never considered himself such a thing. His father and grandfather had a hand in the East Indian training company. He came from wealth because of it, it wasn't something all people from India liked, but it also meant he was from a family who knew how to handle business.
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#11
"Oh..." Akal's demeanor withered at the cold reply. He walked but was quiet even after hearing the question it too him a moment to reply. He shook his head slightly. "Married to the princess?" It made sense, he mentioned his wife's family. Aahir looked the part for the royal family. He was big and strong looking. Being very handsome didn't hurt as well.
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#12
"Good, one less thing to explain." He continued to talk in Hindi. He walked ahead of Akal and to a table to their right. His hand picking up necklace he had been eyeing this entire trip. He handed the merchant more than enough to cover it and picked it up before starting to walk again. "My wife an I have an arrangement." Something told him he could trust this man. He would find out soon enough if he couldn't. But no one thought twice to cross Maharajah. "We come here during the rainy months to honor that arrangement. It's what makes our marriage work so well. I'd like you to be a part of that arrangement. But this particular arrangement requires discretion. "
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#13
Akal looked up at him confused as he walked along, the man beside him towered over him not in just physicality but also in presence. "Oh? What do you mean by arrangement? I do not know if I can have much free time to assist as I am very busy at home. But I would like to help if I can." 

He certainly couldn't have imagined anything strange with the request though it had come out curiously. Certainly it was just being strangely worded and he wanted someone to help perhaps someone who could not spread gossip at home and help with negotiations if they had any marital woes. He did like the idea of having a friend from his home country as he felt like such an outsider in the small town with his house being his only sanctuary.
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#14
"nothing terribly time consuming" then again, he has had previous arrangements that went on and off all night. A smile came to his face with that thought. The scars on his face, it made if seem not as endearing as if was meant to be. "But if word got out , I am pretty sure we would have flee too , Akalshukh." That was the biggest hint he could give him out in public. "I would most likely be killed and my wife, well I don't even want to think what her father would do in that regard. " He was being cryptic just in case anyone around them understood what they were saying., " Of course, you are welcome to turn down the offer, if you've 'settled' down since your arrival. " The way the Hindu word for settled came out of his lips was also another hint.
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#15
Akal rose a brow when he started to mention the 'arrangement' but then he made it very clear and said his name. His eyes became wide in fear and the food in his arms dropped spilling into the mud. Luckily they had left the busy marketplace so there was almost no one around to see the display.

He dropped to his knees, tears about to appear. No wonder the arrangement sounded so familiar. Was this man even who he said or was Akal finally found to be revenged. A hard lump appeared in his throat as he felt very afraid but running would be useless. He certainly couldn't let this man find Lawrence or the others of the household. He wanted to lie but he was terrible at such things. His hands tried to gather the spilled produce but he also feared any moment he took his eyes off the man a sword would appear in one of them to take care of him once and for all.

"Please... no. Please just leave me alone. I haven't gone back in so many years and I promised I never would. Please can't you pretend I have died? I do not want to cause anyone harm. I am happy here .."
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