“Could you not talk so loudly?” Princess Baneeka whispered fiercely at her sister-in-law.
Queen Indira rolled her eyes and gave a delicate snort.
“Well, I thought you didn’t hear me when I asked you about your interesting appearance.”
“What interesting appearance, Indira?”, Baneeka stalled trying to find a way to shake off her not-usually nosy sister-in-law.
Indira sighed impatiently.
” You’re drenched, Banee. Since when did you start going for a swim and not prepare for the said swim?”
“Did someone hurt you? I’m telling my brother right away. I told him to take better care of you…..”
“NO!…..errr…no”, Baneeka nearly screeched.
Indira narrowed her eyes in suspicion.
” Are you going to tell me how you got drenched or not?”
“I….err….went towards the river. Then I saw your brother….”
When Indira arched her brows, Baneera quickly corrected,
“….. my husband swimming. I, hmm, got distracted and I fell into the river….”
Baneera stopped when she saw Indira struggling not to grin.
“Indira.” She whined, “Must you laugh at me?”
“I’m sorry, Banee”,
Indira coughed to cover her silent laughter.
“There’s nothing to continue.” Baneera blushed prettily.
“Really? So how did you get out of the river then?”
“Your brother helped me out. Happy now?”
“Yes, yes. Very happy”
“At this rate, I’m positive my niece or nephew will soon make appearance”, Indira smirked
Baneera gasped and blushed furiously.
” Indira! Just don’t tell my brother.”
“Don’t tell me what?” Indira’s husband the Emperor asked as he caught his wife and sister unawares.
Indira and Baneera exclaimed at the same time.
“Well, little sister. What is my queen not to tell me?” His highness asked in mild amusement at the caught-in-act look on their lovely faces.
“Or should I not ask?”
“It’s women matters, my lord”, Indira finally found her voice.
“In other words, I should mind my business, I see”, the emperor teased.
” Well, that’s not what I meant….”
“Brother, why don’t you take Indira for a swim?”, Baneera interrupted with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Indira’s jaw dropped as she gasped. Why the sneaky imp! Indira thought, as she glared at Baneera, who winked at her in merriment.
” Well that’s not a bad idea.”
He gazed at Indira as he asked, “My Lady?”
Indira who couldn’t bear to disappoint him, knowing he was trying so hard to please her, replied,
“Of course my lord”
“In an hour?”
“In an hour”
He pinched his sister’s chin in brotherly fondness.
Then raised Indira’s hand for a kiss as he gazed into her eyes with tenderness.
“See you soon, beautiful”, He whispered as he gently returned her hand to her side and walked away.
Indira watched her husband walk away.
She turned back, before she could open her mouth, Baneera said,
” I need to change clothes and warm up “, She turned and walked away hurriedly.
Coward, Indira thought as she too went to her rooms to get ready for a swimming with her husband.