The Arrangement

By: P.G. Van

“What happened?”

“Nothing, Naani.”

The older woman smiled knowingly. “Mahen isn’t back for another two days. You can use his shower.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that. Can we please go back home?” Niha stepped out of the field toward Naani, making the older woman laugh at her excitement.

“Niha, you go take your heavenly shower. I need to go to the temple to offer prayers for the crop,” Naani said.

“Urmila and Deepa, you guys are in charge. Make sure Ram drives Naani home safely, and remind him to drive slowly,” Niha instructed and started dusting her clothes and gathered her slip-on shoes.

“Take the car and go, Niha. Ram can come back to take me to the temple.”

“No, Naani. I’m fine. I’m going to walk to the house so I can get a workout before I take a shower.” Niha was on the move, already excited about taking a shower that she missed very much.

A brisk fifteen-minute walk later, she pushed open the door on the side of the garage and entered the keycode. The house was at least eighty years old, but there was a modern side of it built while preserving the original charm of the house. She kicked off her dirty shoes and went straight to her room and grabbed two towels and her pajamas before heading upstairs.

Niha had never stepped into the side where Mahen had his bedroom and patio. She stepped cautiously into the partially dark bedroom and was startled when the lights turned on automatically.

“Interesting,” she murmured as she walked through the bedroom. She was surprised to see a completely modern set-up in Mahen’s room, but she stayed focused on her point of interest that seemed to be around the corner.

The light turned on automatically when she stepped into the foyer leading to the bathroom, and she let out a squeal of excitement when she saw the massive shower stall. She felt like a kid in a candy store, her eyes widening at the number of water jets on one of the shower walls.

“This is heaven.” She giggled, shutting the double doors of the bathroom before stepping on the thick, stone floor of the shower, her dirty clothes still on. She looked around the shower wall, unable to decide which setting she wanted to use first. She chose the settings she wanted, so all she needed to do was turn on the faucet, but when she moved to step out of the shower to take off her clothes, something clicked, and a water stream started to run, startling her.

“Unbelievable,” she said through the waterfall from the showerhead above her.

She stood in the middle of the shower stall, the water flowing down her body, easing every single muscle in her body, through her dirty clothes. She had missed the feel of the steady flow running down her. She sat down on the floor of the shower, enjoying the feeling.

She wasn’t sure how long she sat under the water as the automatic light in the bathroom had turned off, and when the light came back on, she was startled and looked toward the door.

“Naani, I’m still here,” she called out laughing, but her laughter died when she saw the person step into the bathroom.


She ran her palms over her hair and stood up under the water, fully clothed as he walked toward her, looking at her like she had lost it. She looked around for a way to turn off the automatic stream, but she couldn’t figure it out.

“What are you doing here?”

“Oh, I…” She looked around for a way to turn off the water, but she had no idea.

She stepped away from the shower door when he yanked it open looking pissed and annoyed, rolling up the sleeve of his dress shirt to do a wave in the middle of the shower. That stopped the water, and he stepped back, reaching for a towel to wipe his hand, his eyes searing her.

“Naani… She…”

“Weren’t you supposed to be with her at all times? Isn’t that what we agreed to?” he growled.

“I was with her. I just got home…”

“Just?” His eyes wandered to a display on the wall. “You’ve been in the shower for twenty-five minutes. Do you realize, anything more than a five-minute shower, you’re wasting water?”

Niha had enough. “Why do you have to be so mean?”

“Mean?” His brows furrowed.

She ran her hands over her hair, squeezing out the excess water and stepped closer to him. “I spent all day in the fields, and I badly wanted a shower. I have been using a bucket and mug for a month now, so I have earned the long shower.”

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