Monday, May 18, 2015

Read Chapter 3 of 'Only Wheat Not White (Love Beyond Borders)' by Varsha Dixit


What if the one you completely love is the one you simply can't!

Twenty-six-year-old Eila Sood moves to America to mend fences with her estranged older sister, Sheela. Eila and the rest of the family in India had cut off ties with Sheela after she married Steve Jacobs, 'out of caste, and out of color'.

Elia soon realizes that Sheela's marriage is on the rocks. To help pay Sheela's household bills, Eila takes a second job at an afternoon strip club. When she crosses paths with the owner, the handsome Brett Wright or 'blue-eyed ogre' as Elia calls him, he both infuriates and fascinates her. Brett turns out to be her reluctant and unquestionably sarcastic knight in shining armor.

As Eila and Brett spend more time together their desire for each other builds. However, when Brett discovers the true reason for Eila's refusal he storms out of her life, accusing her of being a prejudiced coward.

Will Eila find the courage to break stereotypes and embrace her love? Will Brett find solace in the arms of his ex-girlfriend Cate?

Will Sheela and Steve divorce? All of these questions and more are answered in best selling author Varsha Dixit's latest, steamy love story.

Read Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Family Reunion

It was the blue-eyed ogre walking tall, with an attitude outmatching the astronauts walking to a shuttle. Going old-school-mafia, Eila slunk into the collar of her hoodie.
Eila retrieved her bags from the conveyer belt. They truly did not weigh as much as the carry-on. Taking deep breaths and drawing on all her confidence, she walked to the exit door that was spotted with people holding signs, balloons, flowers and banners.
“Eila! Eila!” Hearing her name Eila halted and looked to her right. She immediately saw her sister, Sheela, who was frantically waving her arms in the air, much like someone drowning. That should be me! Eila thought even as her feet refused to move. Her breath jarred as she stared at Sheela with dilated eyes. Sheela’s hair was much longer, her figure fuller. Seeing Eila’s expression, Sheela’s arms fell to her sides and her smile faltered. The uncertainty she saw in her sister’s face caused Eila to resume walking, and breathing.
“Di!” the Hindi appellation for older sister was a whisper on Eila’s hesitant breath. Oblivious to the crowds, Sheela flew to her. She pulled Eila deep into her embrace. Unprepared for the forceful pull, Eila fell on Sheela. It had a chain effect; Sheela toppled over, still holding on to Eila. And right outside the JFK Airport both sisters tumbled to the cobbled walkway in an emotional heap.
Eila was the first to sit up, awkward and laughing, still holding onto Sheela’s hands. “Di, you are mad as ever!”
Sheela burst out in a familiar series of convulsing soft giggles, completely unaware of the feet making their way around them.
Disentangling from Sheela, Eila made a move to stand up. “Crap, my luggage!”
“I’ve got it!” spoke a voice that Eila had heard only once over the phone. Even though the sun in her eyes caused Eila to squint, her eyes took in the beige corduroy trousers and light cream T-shirt. Eila gave the tall man standing next to them a good look. Steve Jacobs, a Terence Howard look-alike, was the reason her family stood broken. Her sister had been alienated from the family she was born into when she married Steve. Their parents—especially their father—could not forgive Sheela for marrying out of their choice, out of the country, out of their caste and mostly out of color.
Ignoring Steve’s offered hand, Eila somberly got up. A frosty expression entered her eyes. Sheela stood up, brushing off her clothes. She easily linked her arm with Eila’s. “Let’s go to the car. Not much of a walk. We found a good spot!”
Eila forced herself to relax. “Sure!”
The three of them—Steve walking quietly ahead maneuvering the luggage trolley, followed by Eila and Sheela—made their way to the parking lot.
“How was your flight?” Sheela asked.
“Good, for the most part,” Eila replied, trying hard to sound casual. “How’s everybody back home?” Sheela asked next. Now it was her
turn to feign casualness.
“Good,” Eila replied. Awkwardness floated between the sisters.
Seven years apart was too long a time to be overlooked. The trio entered the shaded parking structure. They weaved through a few lanes of parked cars. Steve stopped in front of a maroon SUV. Steve and Eila managed to hoist her bags into the trunk without looking at each other or making any conversation, except for a few grunts from Steve, especially when he tackled Eila’s red carry on. Sheela kept smiling, a peculiar vacant expression on her face.
A sudden thought occurred to Eila. “Where are your children?” She immediately bit her lip. Sheela and Steve noticed how Eila had distanced herself from their sons—her nephews.
Sheela briskly responded, “Aryan and Adam are with Steve’s mom. She’s watching them for us.” She opened the SUV’s back door, motioning to Eila to get in.
“How old are they now?” Eila asked hesitantly, getting into the backseat as the other two sat in the front.
“Aryan turned five in April and Adam turned three last October,” replied Sheela, inserting her seatbelt with a click.
“Don’t you regularly email them Arya and Adam’s pictures?” Steve asked Sheela.
“Maybe Eila didn’t see them.” Sheela flew to Eila’s defense, her voice sharp. “So Mom and Dad are computer savvy?” she quizzed, turning around.
“One finger wonders,” Eila said, her expression wry. “But Mom is hooked to social media sites. It allows her to cyber stalk her favorite Bollywood stars.
Sheela nodded and said, “I too am on those sites.”
Eila could have kicked herself. None of them had sent Sheela a friend request. What Eila didn’t share was that Tina, their youngest sister, and she obsessively checked Sheela’s posts and pictures. Eila could recognize her nephews in a crowded mall.
“Mom was super-kicked when Al Pacino and Amitabh Bachhan actually replied to one of her messages!” Eila tried distracting Sheela. “Wow! This SUV is really cool!” Eila desperately swung from one topic of conversation to another. If not a jackpot, she hoped to hit a consolation prize.
“It gives great mileage,” came Sheela’s quiet reply.
Within minutes their SUV pulled out of the parking lot and joined a swarm of other cars on the Van Wyck Expressway. Eila, the airport incident still fresh in her mind, made it a point to read all signs. A strange lethargy seeped through her. Eila blinked. Yawns one after the other, similar to the never-ending commercials on radio, came on. Sudden jet lag, compounded by not having a minute of sleep for over twenty-four hours, hit her. Sadly, like some people suffered from motion sickness, Eila suffered from motion insomnia. Even waterbeds would keep her awake.
“Still can’t sleep in anything that moves?” asked Sheela, catching Eila yawn as she glanced over her shoulder.
“Yup.” Eila was secretly pleased that her sister remembered.
“You can try and get some sleep now if you wish. It will take us over an hour to reach my mother’s place. Then there is another fifteen- minute drive to our house,” Steve advised.
“Didn’t you just hear? Eila can’t sleep in anything that moves,” snapped Sheela, quick to rebuke him. Her cold tone toward Steve warmed Eila’s heart. Eila met Steve’s eyes in the rear-view mirror. The look they exchanged was piercing, like the one opponents exchange inside a ring.
Eila quickly peered out the window. Is it my imagination or is Di rather short with Steve? Have they fought because of me?
In a little over an hour they pulled into a suburban street in what Eila guessed was New Jersey.
They came to a stop outside a two-story, white and brown pleasant- looking Tudor house with steep roofs on all sides. There were small sloping gardens on either side of the curving short driveway. Lavender Obedient flowers, white and pink Asters and white and red ruffled Godetia bloomed in flower beds that ran across the entire front of the house.
Steve opened the car door. The sound snapped Eila out of her flora gazing. Eila, who could not draw a straight line with a ruler, was ironically addicted to art and color. As he stepped out of the car, Steve seemed to recall his manners. “Why don’t you all come inside?” he said to Sheela.
Sheela waved a dismissive hand. “Not today. Just get the boys, and we’ll wait here.” Eila sighed in relief. Being around Steve is awkward enough! Wordlessly, Steve turned away and headed to the house, his shoulders taut and his stride long.
“Steve’s dad passed away two years ago. Now it’s only his mom who lives here,” Sheela shared.
Eila could not help the sudden spurt of jealousy. “Do you like her?”
Sheela, choosing her words, took a few seconds before she answered. “Well, she’s okay. She does help me out a lot with Aryan and Adam.”
“Hmm...” Not sure where to take this conversation, Eila stayed mum. Why am I so awkward around my sister with whom I’ve shared a room, a house, a life? “Time heals, no! Complicates? Yes!” Eila muttered quietly, shifting in her seat.
“What?” Sheela asked, turning around.
“Nothing!” Eila lied, “Just itching to see myself head to toe rather than head to knee.” She motioned at her bent legs.
Sheela grimaced in empathy. “Long flights can be tiring. We’re almost home.” Then after a pause she repeated. “So how is everyone back home?”
“Everybody’s really fine.” Eila’s answer was short and quick. Just then voices floated out from the now open door of the house. Framed in the doorway stood a short woman in her sixties with salt and pepper hair, black trousers and a cream and red blouse. Her glance and wave to Sheela spoke of fondness. Then with curiosity writ large all over her face she gave Eila a quick wave and a tentative smile. Eila merely nodded. Steve received a hug from his mom, as his young sons rushed outside past his legs, shouting, “Bye, Daadi, love you, Daadi.”
Daadi was the Hindi appellation for paternal grandmother. Eila swung her head towards Sheela. Her expression swayed between astonishment and amusement.

“What? They are half Indian and I told you Steve’s mom is really
Adam, the younger one, was first to reach the car - a blur of blue plaid and red shorts with curly hair. In a jiffy, Sheela was out to grab him. Laughing, she picked up the squirming toddler and gave him a tight hug. Observing Sheela for the first time as a mom, Eila felt a lump in her throat. As she put Adam down, the older boy, Aryan, joined them. Eila saw Sheela give him a hug on her way down and kiss on her way up.
Steve came around and opened the door opposite Eila. Sheela herded the children in. Adam climbed in with some help. Eila saw Sheela tap his shoulder. He instantly dived at Eila’s feet.

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Author Bio:

"Varsha, a best selling author of four highly successful books, thinks of herself as a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. A true 'feel good' junkie seeking quick fixes, Varsha loves a good laugh, good movie and a good book, in that order.A voracious reader of murder and grotesque mysteries, she did sit down to pen a book on serial killer but finding it impossible to maim or hurt anyone, even on paper, she penned a romantic story instead. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman.Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA."

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