He tried to concentrate on his work but he couldn’t. Her words kept playing over and over in his mind. He couldn’t ignore the flavor of truth which was in them. She was right. He acted as if he were ashamed of their relationship. How could he say that he loved her but at the same time not introduce her to his family? He never invited her to family weddings, dinners, barbecues or parties. She met most of his friends and several co-workers and they all liked her so why was he hesitant for her to meet his family?
Sighing heavily, he dragged his fingers through his hair.
“Suneel, a group of us are going for lunch. Would you like to come?” Jasma asked from the doorway.
He looked around. “I’ll pass, thanks.”
“What’s wrong, Suneel?” Jasma asked him. She walked into the office and sat down in the chair in front of his desk.
He told her. “I don’t know what to do.”
“Do you love Dharma?”
“Of course I do. I love her very much.”
“If that’s the case then, introduce her to your family. And if they accept her, fine but if not, that’s not your problem. Don’t throw away your happiness and hers on their account. True love is hard to come by and when it does, don’t let it go. Hold on to it. Don’t deny it, hide it or be ashamed of it. Wear it proudly.”
“Thanks, Jasma. I needed that.”
“So, are you going to take my advice and introduce Dharma to your family?”
“Good. Let me know how it turned out. Remember you have me and a lot of other people on your side.”
He smiled. “I know.”
“All right. I’ll let you get back to your work.” She got up and left.
He picked up the phone and called Dharma. “Hi. I’m sorry about last night. Can I come over later? All right. I’ll see you then. I love you. ‘Bye.” She sounded a bit subdued which wasn’t surprising but tonight he was going to sort things out between them.
Dharma was standing at the window looking out at the lights in the distance when the doorbell rang. She quickly went to answer it. Her heart raced when she opened it and was staring up into Suneel’s face. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he replied quietly.
She stepped aside for him to go inside and then she closed the door. After locking it, she turned to face him. Her fingers itched to bury themselves in his hair. “We said a lot of things last night.”
“I know and that’s why I came tonight. I wanted to say that I’m sorry. I would be a fool to throw away what we have because of my family.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Next week Saturday is my cousin’s wedding. I’m going to take you to it.”
She stared at him. “Are you sure?”
“I’ll probably be the only Angolan there.”
“What really made you decide to do this?”
“Jasma. She gave me some really good advice. I would be a fool not to take it.”
“Jasma is a wise woman. You know when I first met her, I was jealous because I thought that there might have been something between you.”
“There never was. She’s just a co-worker and friend.”
“Your family would definitely approve of her because she’s Indian.”
“It doesn’t matter if they do because it isn’t her I’m in love with.”
She smiled as he pulled her against him. “Really?”
“Yes,” he muttered thickly. “I love you, Dharma. I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Suneel,” she managed to say before he lowered his head and kissed her. She put her arms around his waist and kissed him back.
Several minutes later, they were in her room, under the sheets, making love. He spent the night. The next day, he bought her an engagement ring and over a romantic candle-light home dinner which he himself prepared, he proposed. At the sangeet, he was pleased to introduce her as his fiancee to his family. Everyone was thrilled at the news and welcomed Dharma with open arms, except his mother who couldn’t hide her disapproval.
“Maybe, she’ll come around,” Dharma said.
“It doesn’t matter to me if she does or not. All that matters is that I found my true love and I will never let you go.”
She smiled and gently squeezed his hand, not trusting herself to speak at that moment.
“Let’s dance,” he suggested and pulled her behind him onto the open floor to dance to the funkiest and loudest Bollywood music.