(1937-10-19) First Night in India
Details for First Night in India
Summary: Ranjali and Audrey start off their vacation with a traditional Indian meal, and an uncomfortable conversation.
Date: October 19, 1937
Location: India
Related: First and Last

India, a land of mystery and enchantment, especially for one who has never visited before. One such person is Audrey Taylor, who has been overwhelmed from the moment she and Ranjali appeared via the Portkey…and she hasn't even gotten out of the house yet! It being night already upon their arrival, it was decided that they would head down the mountain to New Delhi tomorrow, and spend the evening settling in to what would be their home for the next few weeks.

When dinner is announced, Audrey appears, garbed in the styles that Ranjali has introduced her to. The light blue fabrics of her top and skirt shimmer in the candlelight as she swishes into the dining room. Her hands run down her bared midriff, and she giggles softly, clearly enjoying the scandalous feeling of the clothing.

Ranjali steps out a moment later, and pauses for a moment to admire the beauty that is Audrey. She is similarly dressed in her own skirt and small top, though in shades of deep purple, and has this time wound a saree around the skirt and over her shoulder. She pushes her hair, worn loose and allowed to hang in waves rather than in the straight style she tends to prefer, off her shoulder as she steps up behind the singer, reaching out to trace her fingertips up her spine. "You look perfect, like the lake goddess of the muggle myth of Arthur and his knights. Like you stepped out of a fantasy."

Audrey shivers at the touch to her spine. She spins around, draping her arms over Ranjali's shoulders to draw her in for a kiss. "You are the goddess, remember? My goddess…and you look good enough to eat." She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively, clearly in a giddy mood. But, she resists the urge to drag Ranjali upstairs, and takes her by the hand to lead her to the table where their dinner awaits them.

Ranjali looks quite ready to forget dinner entirely, especially after that kiss. But she follows with only mild resistance, laughing as she steps to the table and pulls two chairs closely together. Now she won't have to stop touching Audrey when they sit down. And speaking of eating… "Have you ever eaten food in the Indian style before? Its quite different, if you have not."

Audrey shakes her head, "No, but I've been looking forward to it. I love trying new foods. I think one of the best way to understand a culture is to taste it." She grins excitedly. "So, what's for dinner?"

Chuckling, and blushing now after the singer's most recent comments about eating and tasting, Ranjali pulls Audrey down into the seat beside her. "Paranthas." She replies, "With curry, and rice and vegetables. Something simple, and something classic."

Audrey settles in, clinging to Ranjali's hand. "I have no idea what that is, but it sounds delicious." She looks on with keen interest as a house servant serves up the first course. When she finally gets a taste of the curry, her eyes widen a bit. "Oh my…that's spicy!" She quickly reaches for her water to cool her mouth.

Ranjali just watches at first, her eyes dancing with merriment as Audrey tastes curry for the first time. "I thought my mouth was on fire, when I first tasted it. I couldn't get enough water for days. "She gestures for the servant to bring them a water pitcher, and gestures again with her thanks when it is brought. "Much of Indian food is spicy. You must tell me if it is too much." She glances worriedly at Audrey, in-between examining the many dishes. "I doubt it will be difficult to arrange for something else. Also, I can show you how my Ayah taught me to eat it. It helps, some."

Audrey blinks as her eyes water. Though she stifles giggles, obviously finding the situation funny. "Tips would be appreciated!" She glugs down her water, holding out her cup for more, which she quickly downs as well. "It's good…just…wow." She dabs at her eyes with a napkin.

Ranjali quickly refills the water, and pushes her own cup to Audrey should she need more. "She taught me to use the Paranthas." She picks up a round piece of flat bread, somewhat similar to a hotcake, then starts placing things from various dishes in it. "We put the vegetables in it, then spread just a little curry inside. Then you roll it up," She demonstrates, "And eat it like so." Before taking a bite, she offers the rolled flatbread to Audrey.

Audrey takes the rolled bread, and dares another bite. She chews cautiously at first, then smiles and seems to get a little more bold. "Oh, that is delicious. That's it. I'm moving to India," she chuckles. Now that she can see how to properly eat without breathing fire after every bite, she dives in with gusto, savouring the new experience. It is only after they've gotten about halfway through their plates that she finally gathers the courage to ask what has been on her mind. "So, Ranji, I've been meaning to ask…how did things go with Genevieve?"

Ranjali laughs, and enjoys her meal with similar enthusiasm. She points out and names as many dishes as she can, though some she doesn't recognise and has to try for the first time as well. By the time Audrey asks her question, she's on her second parantha, enjoying the flavors of one of the new dishes. she sets it down to frown, "With Miss… with Cooper? They… well enough, I suppose." And yet she's not smiling anymore. In fact, she looks rather glumly at her plate.

Audrey frowns, sliding a hand toward Ranjali's. "You suppose? I'm sorry…I'm reminding you of what you gave up to be with me. That was heartless of me." She dips her head to try to catch Ranjali's eyes. "Forgive me?"

Ranjali looks up, shaking her head at Audrey. "You are a very silly woman. I gave up nothing. It was only… difficult, to refuse a second date. And to… to tell her of what happened." She offers a small smile, trying to reassure her lover.

Audrey sighs with no small measure of relief, and for multiple reasons. "So, she knows…and she's safe." She offers Ranjali a meager smile. It's a touchy subject, but all is ending well.

This statement, despite its apparent intentions, actually takes the smile from Ranjali again. "Safe? Perhaps, but… I doubt it." She sighs, looking to her plate again. "Audrey, when I… when I told her… she already knew."

Any trace of a smile drops immediately from Audrey's face. "She…knew? So…she gave him a piece of her mind, right? Please tell me she kicked him right in the stones." She's holding a glimmer of hope, but something in Ranjali's tone tells her that this didn't happen.

Ranjali flinches, not expecting the bold question. "I-I don't know. She didn't say. I just… I couldn't get over it. She… she picked me up and took me to dinner and pretended she didn't know anything until I told her." She rubs her arm with one hand, as though cold. "And then I just… started crying. In a public restaurant."

Audrey squeezes Ranjali's hand, her nostrils flaring. "So…she knew, and pretended everything was fine. She didn't even come to you, or try to make sure you were alright." Her concern for Cooper seems to have faded, being replaced by a seething displeasure.

Ranjali shakes her head, "I don't understand it. Why would she do that? Was she trying to… to let me… save face? Did she need me to say it first?" She holds tightly to Audrey's hand, and looks up worriedly into the singer's eyes, "I didn' think she was like that."

Audrey swallows her anger, trying not to upset Ranjali more. "I don't know. I'm…I'm sorry I brought it up." She looks at the lovely dinner remaining, but her appetite is gone. She rises from her seat, tugging at Ranjali's hand with a soft smile. "Come on. There's a phonograph here, and I want to dance with you."

Ranjali too glances at the food, for a moment looking like she might protest. But the moment passes. "Alright, if you like. But please, do not worry. I'm certain she had a reason." She stands, dropping her napkin beside her plate (and the subject as well), and follows her lover to the phonograph. "Would you like to learn some of my dances, then?"

Oh, I'm sure she had a reason, and so will I when I get my hands on her. Audrey's acting skills are useful for these moments when she'd rather not upset her sweet Ranjali with what's really going through her head. But no more acting is needed at the offer. "Oh, would you teach me? Those beautiful dances?"

"I'll teach you everything I know." Ranjali smiles, the distraction topic working beautifully. "Perhaps later, when we are ready to go out, I can find us a henna artist, and show you what the dance looks like when one is properly attired." As she speaks, she finds the phonograph, and starts sorting through the records thoughtfully.

Audrey manages to forget all about Cooper and her anger. Her mind is now swimming with images of herself and Ranjali performing those graceful, lithe movements together. "Henna? What's that?"

Selecting a record, Ranjali starts up the phonograph. "It is a design that is dyed in the skin on the hands and feet. It lasts for about two weeks, so it should be fading when we are ready to head back. I've always liked it, it is applied on feast days and at weddings, for luck, beauty, and joy. Which I think are some of the reasons we have come here." Turning, she flashes Audrey a bright smile.

Audrey mirrors that smile, suddenly overwhelmed at everything that has happened. "I'm so happy to be here with you, Ranji. Thank you for sharing this part of you with me."

Ranjali stares at Audrey for a moment, offering that adoring smile she has been giving the woman since the moment she first saw her. "It is I who should be thanking you. You, who made this all possible. I would share everything with you. Now, come. I will show you a few of the basics before we sleep." Not that she plans on actually sleeping soon. But she does spend the next hour showing Audrey some of her favorite things about her dances, before pulling her up to the bedroom for the night. Breakfast will just have to be a hearty one.

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