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The Unmatchable Bachelor

The Unmatchable Bachelor

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The Unmatchable Bachelor

Bewertungen:
4.5/5 (7 Bewertungen)
Länge:
118 Seiten
1 Stunde
Freigegeben:
Dec 15, 2020
ISBN:
9781094415567
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Aarti makes a good living as Toronto's leading Indian matchmaker, despite her own bad luck in love. She's so good that people in the Desi community believe she can find the perfect soulmate for even the toughest, pickiest singles out there. That's why Mrs. Singh comes to her office, offering Aarti the biggest paycheck of her life if she can find the perfect match for her son, a man so determined not to marry that he’s gone viral as the unmatchable bachelor.

Aarti is sure she can match anyone, but Vijay Singh might have some secrets of his own that make his marriage impossible. Plus, there’s the small issue of his brother Amit, who doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that she’s older and divorced. Could Amit be Aarti’s own second chance at love?

Freigegeben:
Dec 15, 2020
ISBN:
9781094415567
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Kelly Papyrus is a writer whose stories feature diverse characters and people of color. She loves learning about new cultures and writing about them. She lives in Florida and loves dogs.


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The Unmatchable Bachelor - Kelly Papyrus

Chapter One

I drew myself up to my full five feet two inches, put both hands on my hips, and set my face into my most repulsed look: eyes sharply focused on my target, eyebrows high and haughty, and my mouth pulled down in a disdainful frown.

I was dressed completely in coordinating shades of hot and deep pink: a sari wrapped around a flared lehenga and a choli that showed the smooth skin above my navel. This, I waved a hand to indicate my appearance, "is an ensemble." I gave the word its French pronunciation as I gently stroked the pleats of my dupatta; embellished with tiny shooting stars hand-embroidered with silver thread, one end was tucked at my waist and the other artfully draped over my left shoulder. I put one foot slightly forward to show my pointed toe pumps.

"‘No shoes’ means no shoes," the old lady repeated, chubby arms crossed in front of her like a statue of Ganesh. She was clearly unimpressed. I took off my Louboutins — selected to match my skin tone perfectly — slid them into the dust bag that Raj was already holding out, and placed them nicely in one corner. As I got up, Raj scattered some random shoes around and on top to make mine less obvious.

We’ll just be in and out, he said quietly as he caught up to me. Show our faces and we’re out in time for lunch and a quick nap.

Don’t even say the word nap around me right now, I said. You know it’s not going to happen. Don’t tease.

Guests who’d arrived earlier could be seen here and there in the mandap, a pavilion decorated for the occasion with gold curtains along the far wall which had been pulled back to reveal a pair of ornate gilded chairs with purple velvet seats. A giant purple and gold monogram was projected against a side wall, with a slideshow of engagement photos on a large screen opposite. Beside this screen, a large ice sculpture of the legendary lovers, Sita and Rama, stood, their perfectly carved faces staring regally over the crowd.

Gold and purple, how original, Raj said, waving at a few people he knew around the edge of the crowd. I nodded at Mrs. Gupta, who pointed enthusiastically at her daughter’s swollen belly and shot me a thumbs up.

"Stop; you’re the worst. Every color combination has been done to death, what do you expect?" I asked as I eyed a few new faces in the crowd, checking the women’s foreheads for bindis and their wrists for gold. It was part of my job to know every unmarried girl with good prospects: rich parents and good reputations. The men too, I thought as I shifted my gaze to a tall man with short, slicked back hair in a deep plum colored kurta that came down to his thighs, his face turned away from me. Something told me I knew him, but I couldn’t instantly place him the way I could with most bachelors who showed up to these events. I couldn’t quite tell if he was familiar without setting my eyes on his.

Priya’s modern, well-educated, born here. I was hoping for something a little less traditional from this bride, you know? Remember when she first came in? Raj asked, grinning at the memory. I thought back to the first time Priya had come to my office, wearing ripped jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a Blue Jays T-shirt. She’d talked about her career and how important it was to find a man who could appreciate her hustle, how she’d never accept staying at home.

I know, but I’ve told you a million times, the horoscope never lies, I said. "Pandit said she needs a traditional man, and that’s who she chose." I always consulted at least one of those scholarly folk to see how the horoscopes of potential matches lined up. This was the traditional component of my job, the part every good matchmaker did, whether they were here in Canada or back in India.

You didn’t give her any non-traditional options, he reminded me, and I heard my phone start ringing. Raj started to fish around in my fancy purse for my Bluetooth as I checked my smart watch. Nadia, the wedding planner, flashed on my caller ID.

"I didn’t confuse her, so we could get paid, Raj. She’s happy, we’re happy; just be happy— let me take this," I said, popping my Bluetooth in.

Hello, it’s Aarti,

Aarti? It’s Nadia. I need you to come talk to Priya. She says she can’t go forward with the wedding. She’s going to ruin the whole damn day!

No, no, I said, shaking my head, though she was nowhere in sight. "Don’t call me. I just match them. My job’s all done. You get them to the altar."

Right, and if they don’t get married, what will people say about your matchmaking? she said, and I knew she had me. It really wasn’t good enough to match two people, have them hit it off, even start dating. They had to get married, preferably fast, or people would talk about my skills. With my reputation, I couldn’t afford even a whisper of an unhappy family or a couple that hadn’t worked out.

"Fine; I’m coming," I said, working my way around the people milling around as they waited for the ceremony to get started. Rounding the corner, I saw Priya, her red sari glittering under the fluorescent lights. Tiny gold jewels sewn into the veil caught the light as she moved, bringing the eye down to her face. Even under this terrible lighting, she looked radiant and flawless. Sarita did good work, softly contoured makeup that looked dewy in person and flawless on social media.

Pri, what’s going on? I asked, sweeping her into a quick hug. She looked at me, desperation all over her face.

I just need a minute, she said, the words falling out of her mouth in a rush. "To think, to breathe. I can’t breathe with all these people around me, making all this noise. These things are so heavy." She gestured at her ornate jewelry.

I nodded. Come with me, I grabbed one of her wrists just under where the row of bangles adorned it. I pulled her down the little hallway before anyone could shout for us to stop, through a door to the kitchens, and out the back into the open air. A teenager walking trash over to the dumpster stared at us for a moment until I waved my hand for him to go away.

Breathe, I said. "Not too deep, it smells like onions and curry powder back here." Priya bent over at the waist, the heavy coil of necklaces and pendants dangling as she inhaled gratefully. I snapped open my purse and reached into the bottom, to the little pouch where I kept tampons, and pushed them all to the side to dig out a pair of cigarettes and a lighter.

Want one? I passed one to her and lit it, waiting until she’d taken the first drag before lighting my own. Tell me what’s up, Pri.

Her face relaxed just an inch. I don’t know if I can do it, she said, the words coming out in a rush, like the stream of smoke she exhaled in the process. I’m so sorry, Aarti, I know you found me a great guy. Possibly the perfect guy. But it seems so crazy, doing things this way. I’m modern, you know I am. What if the right guy for me is a brown-eyed, blond-haired lacrosse player that I’m going to meet next week? I’m freaking out.

I took it all in as Priya smoked: the anxiety radiating off her body, the look of panic in her eyes, the way she gestured wildly as she talked. The mehndi on her hands was good too, for all her hand-waving made it hard to get a good look at the intricate designs; probably Sarita again. Between the outfit, jewelry, makeup, and mehndi— not to mention the decorations and the ice sculpture— the parents hadn’t skimped on this one. All the more reason to shove her down the aisle.

Tell me the truth, Aarti. Does love really come with time?

I waited a few seconds, took a final drag of my cigarette, and fixed my face into an open, trustworthy expression worthy of any Bollywood actress. Well, not Aishwarya Rai, I wasn’t that good. But it was at least Priyanka Chopra level. Open eyes, pursed mouth.

"Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, Priya. You know that, and I know that, because our ancestors knew it. Look how happy you’re making your whole family. What would your parents say when you bring home this white guy?"

She shook her head, laughing at the idea.

I could never; not really, she said. I’m not that brave, like other girls. Like you.

I ignored the comment and pushed forward.

"You like Kumar, right? He’s a lawyer, and almost six feet tall."

He’s everything I asked you for, she nodded. I’m just—

Nervous, I know. It’s overwhelming. But look, it’s your day, and you look amazing. It’s going to be great, I said, smiling so hard my face hurt. I’d been up so late the night before looking at profiles with Raj that simple tasks seemed to be taking all my energy. Priya nodded and stubbed out her cigarette; I breathed a silent sigh of relief as I put one arm around her and ushered her back inside.

Let’s get you married, I said, trying to force my voice to sound sincere.

Raj had grabbed

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