Saturday, 10 September 2016

Child of Destiny Series Outtake - Harpreet

Author Notes: Harpreet is an exchange student nurse at the Le Marais Clinic where everyone inevitably ends up. We meet her first at the beginning of Between Death and Heaven when some shit hits the fan. This is her story.

Harpreet slammed the door of the nurse's lounge then winced at the sound. She hadn't meant to be so loud but her hands were trembling and she was dizzy.
Her first brush with death...
And it had to be two dead bodies, who died ugly and painful on the hospital gurneys; as much from willful negligence as the poison coursing through their veins.
And what was with that old lady who appeared? Krishna preserve her from things she didn't understand!
She didn't know what to do with herself. She wanted her mummy now. She glanced at the wall phone, wondering what the hospital policy was on calling international numbers.
"Harpreet?" a voice called from the other side of the door.
She opened her mouth, trying to answer but nothing came out. The room was suddenly very cold.
"Harpreet?" the voice said again and she jumped, startled.
"Let me in. There is an old black lady here who says you might need some help."
Harpreet nodded her head vigorously, still not quite able to talk. It was her hostess on the other side of the door. The family she was staying with while she did her internship in America. Katpurtnick or something; she hadn't mastered their last name yet. She liked them though. The mother was a nurse like she wanted to be; and the father did something in real estate. The son, Miles, was still an unknown quantity. Very secretive. And obsessed with that friend of his...what was his name?
Leonardo or something. Veerrry handsome. Harpreet had felt her heart beat faster when he walked in the house. But he wasn't very nice; ignored her the whole time like she wasn't even there. It's not like she wanted him to shower her with kisses or anything. It would just have been nice if he had shown some interest in her.
"Harpreet?" Mrs. maybe Katpurtnick said again.
She stood quickly and went to open the door.
"Yes Memsahib. Sorry."

"It's alright...Harpreet are you alright?"
She opened her mouth to say yes but the words wouldn't come. Instead, she shook her head.
"Oh honey...I've called my son okay? He's coming to get you, take you home."
Harpreet shook her head frantically, holding back her tears. Memsahib's kindness was really making her miss her mama.
"Yes dear. You need it don't you?" Mrs. K said rubbing Harpreet's arms.
Harpreet found she was nodding her head unawares. Claire Katpurtnick stayed with her until Miles blew into the room, half irritated at having to pick up the exchange student and miss out on whatever he'd planned.
"Come on Harpreet", he said kindly enough though, "I'll take you to Freddie's, get you a nice meat platter."
"I am vegetarian", Harpreet said softly.
That stopped Miles for a second, "No worries. I'm sure there's a salad or something you can eat. They should at least have french fries."
"Okay..." Harpreet hesitated, "Will...your friend Leo be there?"
She just couldn't help herself.
Miles turned briefly, a smile of understanding on her face, "Yeah sure he will", he said.
Harpreet followed him as he led the way out, blushing slightly and thankful that her olive complexion mostly covered it up.

Harpreet was the first female in her family to travel alone for such a great distance. To be alone in a strange land, allowed to stay with just wasn't done. But here she was.
The homesickness was the worst.
The lack of familiar food.
The feeling sometimes she got that nobody understood her.
She was a lucky girl and she knew it. Opportunities like this didn't come around every day. And she intended to utilize her time here in the best way possible. It's just that today she'd seen her first two dead bodies. She needed an escape.
She was sitting next to Leo Devereux in the restaurant called Freddie's. Neither he nor Miles was paying much attention to her. Instead they were talking and laughing about things she couldn't understand. Sitting next to Leo was doing funny things to her heart rate but it wasn't enough. She stood up abruptly and they both stopped talking to look at her.
"I..I'm going for a walk."
"Alright", Miles said, "Don't go too far."
"I won't." she replied torn between disappointment that they didn't try to stop her and relief that she could get some fresh air. Freddie's had a permanent barbecue going and the smoke from the grill was making her feel ill with the overwhelming smell of meat.
Harpreet walked down a small side street, not really paying attention to her environment. Le Marais was a small town; there was zero likelihood that she would get lost. She bumped into a solid body in front of her and stumbled backwards before a hand clamped down on her arm and stopped her certain fall.
"Sorry man, didn't see you there", a raspy voice said. She looked up to see a fairly short yet powerfully built gentleman standing in front of her eyes concerned. He had a five o' clock shadow and a cigarette stuck between his teeth.She opened her mouth to say something...probably smoking kills, when he pulled her close, rubbing at her arms.
"You okay?" he asked.
She nodded her head, slightly nonplussed and he plucked the cigarette from his lips and offered it to her.
"Hey, have a hit. You look like you need it", he said.
She looked down at the cigarette and then back at him. It looked home made, not like a normal cigarette and it emitted a funny smell.
"Go on. You'll feel better. It's herb", he said.
Oh. Herbs.
If it was made of herbs then it couldn't be all bad. She reached out and took the rolled paper slowly, with the man nodding encouragement at her as she placed it in her mouth and inhaled slowly.
"Good huh?" he said holding out his hand, "I'm Jon by the way."
"H-Harpreet", she replied around the cigarette.
"Pleased to meetcha", he said and pointed at the building he was standing in front of, "this is my bar. Wanna come in?"
Harpeet nodded her head.

Child of Destiny is found here

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