Queen of Hearts – Part I

Zarina was running late by 15 minutes to Rani’s office. The controversial head of a major luxury brand based out of Delhi, Rani was known for her extravagant parties and public love affairs. The most recent one, with a married man. Her divorce from the head of a corporate bank a few years back had been equally public and messy.

Rani was looking for an art and design services company to re-design her plush home in New Delhi and Zarina had come with excellent references. Besides, Zarina and Rani knew each other from Loreto Convent in Delhi. They had been in the same class but different sections. Zarina had always been very popular, eventually becoming a school prefect. In contrast, Rani had been a plain Jane; quiet and shy and she certainly gave no indication of the Page 3 celebrity she would become. Zarina hadn’t seen her in years, although Rani’s life was tabloid fodder.

Zarina had made the trip to Delhi to meet Rani and arrived promptly at Rani’s office in Defence Colony for the meeting. Zarina walked in about 20 minutes later. Curvaceous and sexy, Rani was drop dead gorgeous. She came in through the door to greet Zarina, she had an hourglass figure with a perfectly fitting Zebra patterned dress and open leather sandals on. She was utterly charming, with a sweet, melodic voice and fluttering eyelashes. Zarina was at once fixated. “Zarina, oh my God! It’s so lovely to see you! It’s been so long!” She kissed Zarina on the cheek. “My, you look lovely!” Flattery will get you everywhere, Zarina thought to herself.

Rani was clearly a woman who knew her charms and it hadn’t taken her long to figure out that Zarina was enchanted. Zarina told herself to shake out of it. But she couldn’t help being zonked out by Rani. Was this really the quiet and shy girl she once knew ? She was a dark and sensuous Bengali beauty with perfectly angled yet soft features. Her eyes were lined in thick kajal imparting her the fierceness of Kali. Usually a tough operator, negotiator and stubborn about her creative vision, Zarina found herself acquiescing to everything Rani suggested in that half hour meeting. Rani could convince anyone to walk through fire for her, Zarina mused.

Before Zarina left, Rani looked at her up and down and and sat back smiling. It was a curious smile.

“What are you doing tonight?” asked Rani. “Well, not much really. I am staying with some friends so I was going to get some dinner with them.”

“Well why don’t you join me and some of my friends for dinner? We are going to a new restaurant that my friend Jimmy just opened up. It’s fab food and the cocktails are to die for.” Zarina was sold.

The dinner was relatively dull. Delhi socialites and their lovers or gay companions. Zarina was used to it. She was a Delhi girl after all. Throughout dinner, Rani, who was wearing a sleeveless red cocktail dress made an extra effort to make Zarina feel comfortable. As the alcohol set in, Rani became overly flirtatious, laughing at everything Zarina said and she reached over and touched her arm a few times. Once she even took Zarina’s hand and held it in hers while she admired Zarina’s emerald ring. “Oh that’s divine!” Rani commented and she held onto Zarina’s hand a few moments more than she needed to. Zarina couldn’t help staring at Rani all evening. She was really a siren, and in that low-cut dress…

They all went over to Rani’s place afterwards for a night cap. A gay male pair were making out like mad in the car on the way. Zarina guessed they were both high on coke. They had both disappeared into the bathroom during the evening atleast twice. Sex and drugs. Sigh. Zarina was glad she wasn’t part of this scene. By now, Zarina was feeling uneasy. She was having dirty thoughts about Rani. She imagined tying her up, blindfolding her and fucking her. She was so fuckable.

At Rani’s place, Zarina excused herself to have a smoke out on Rani’s balcony. She was a bit drunk and needed some air. Rani joined her after five minutes, carrying two martinis. They clinked glasses, looked each other in the eye and took a gulp each. Rani took a puff off Zarina’s cigarette. She inhaled deeply and exhaled the smoke. “You know I was always in awe of you in school. I aspired to be you. To be just like you. Everyone loved you,” she said in her melodious voice. But she was dead serious now.

Zarina was taken back. “Well you had friends too.” It was a bit of a pathetic response. They both knew Rani had been a lame duck in school.

“Not like you darling,” Rani responded. “You were my hero. I always wished I was more like you. I guess I am now.” She took a sip of her martini and stared long and hard into Zarina’s eyes. Zarina was dumbfounded, almost embarrassed.

Rani dropped her voice, and continued. “Look, I don’t beat around the bush. I’ve never been with a woman but…I have always been enamored with you. And now…” She took a step towards Zarina. Her voice trailed off.

Zarina looked at her. Rani’s eyes were moist. “Come on. It’s not like everyone didn’t know you were a dyke in school. You were so fucking Lisa.” Lisa was a Malyali Christian who had been the top student in the class and Zarina’s deputy prefect. It was true. But how the hell did everyone know? “Yes, well….that was a long time ago….” Zarina was stumped for words.

Rani stepped forward. Her cleavage went all the way down. Zarina felt her desire get the better of her. “Make love to me, tonight, darling. Anywhere you like.  In the bathroom, on the floor, up against the wall. You choose. I will tell all these assholes to leave.” Rani was so close to Zarina she could smell the alcohol on her breath mixed in with her perfume. Zarina said nothing but her eyes said it all.

True to her word, Rani asked everyone including Rahul and Jai, the two amorous gay guys to leave. With the last guest gone, Rani turned to Zarina. They were standing at two opposite ends of the room. Rani bit her lip, and moved towards Zarina. Zarina was rooted to the spot. She could see the young, gawky girl in school underneath these alternating hot and cool layers of womanly intrigue. She wanted to tap into the deep well of Rani’s soul, and hold it close if even for just one night. She felt something for the woman walking towards her. Was it a sudden tenderness? Zarina felt an ache in the pit of her stomach. With every step Rani took, Zarina could feel the desire creeping closer, threatening to overtake her.

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Sasha Bings was born in England in 1980, but her family returned to India when she was 16. She escaped two years later to study psychology and creative writing in the United States, coming back to Bombay as a fully-fledged lesbian in her mid-twenties. Like most of us, she has a day job, but writes short stories on her blackberry when she’s stuck in traffic, or late at night before she falls asleep. She used to meditate, but she found writing stories to be much more cathartic. Sasha blesses all her ex-loves for teaching her that life goes on. These stories are dedicated to them. She lives with her two cats, Minks and Kinks, and parrot, Sing-Song.
Sasha Bings

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