Characters: Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) Western Novelty representative sent to India to train employees and bring down the MPI (minutes per incident) down to 6.
Asha Bhatawdekar (Ayesha Dharker) Gharapuri Call Center Fulfillment employee.
Purohit N. Virajnarianan ("Puro" Asif Basra) Gharapuri Call Center supervisor
Dave (Matt Smith) Western Novelty supervisor in Seattle
A/N: This story is a continuation of the 2006 movie "Outsourced" Directed By: John Jeffcoat. Another continuation of this story is posted by fan-author Iloveromance, based on what I forwarded to her some time ago.
Todd had just arrived back in Seattle after a three week mission to Gharapuri India where he trained the staff at a new call center for Western Novelty.
'Finally,' he thought. 'American food! I was getting used to the Indian cuisine, but I missed McDonald's hamburgers. And Thai food,' he reminder himself.
Unfortunately, his stomach had adjusted to Indian food and the addition of meat did not sit well. It was days later that everything settled back to normal. He still seemed to prefer Indian food now though and frequently went out of his way to visit Indian and Asian restaurants.
A week later he'd phoned his mother in Yakima, promising to visit and was settling back into his flat. He'd have to find a new job, but perhaps his old boss Dave could recommend something. He had managed to save a bit that would last a couple of years if he was careful.
He really missed the one person he'd become more than friends with in India. Her name was Asha and she was enchanting. A beautiful full figured Indian that spoke with the slight Indian British accent typical of those born in India. She had flawless light cinnamon skin, long chestnut brown hair with light highlights, perfect white teeth and a wide smile. Asha was shorter than Todd by a head, but there seemed to be an instant attraction between the pair. Todd had made her Puro's assistant; able to take over in case either he or Puro were unavailable. "Asha can do anything," was Todd's reply when Puro raised an eyebrow in question. Asha's broad smile was all the encouragement they needed.
Asha guided him to receive a delivery that had been delivered in error to the other Gharapuri that happened to be on an island. They had retrieved the case of Western Novelty items that Todd had promised as incentives for his staff. Without incentives, he could not hope to achieve the goals set by his boss Dave. The ferry ride was the first time Todd had actually seen someone that was wearing a Western Novelty product.
Asha had introduced him to mango fruit and he'd managed to smear it all over his face. Asha laughed as she showed him the proper way to eat the juicy fruit.
They had been stranded for the day when the ferry broke down and had to take a hotel overnight. There was only one room available at the only hotel; The Kama Sutra Hotel and, of course, the room was the opulent Kama Sutra Suite. After an awkward glance at the large heart shaped bed, Asha scolded him for the choice of room and as they argued, Asha told Todd that she couldn't even talk to him properly with mango juice smeared all over his face. After helping him clean his face she moved closer and they had kissed. One kiss turned into more as the kiss had been tentative at first but had quickly turned heated as they moved to the bed. The conversation had turned serious when she warned him that they must not mention that they had shared a room and bed. After that they had looked at an erotic picture book that showed various animal couplings that gave them ideas.
They had continued kissing and finally made love tenderly that night, trying various Kama Sutra positions as their passion increased.
Blushing a deep red, they had awoken naked later in the morning and after a quick shower and breakfast, returned by the now repaired ferry to the mainland and their driver, still waiting for them, who drove them home to Gharapuri and work.
Asha had thought that their affair was over, but Todd was falling in love with the gorgeous, smart Indian girl. Finally, she told him that she was engaged to be married and had been since she was four years old. Ashok was an old family friend and their parents had arranged a marriage between them. Todd was aghast when she told him and couldn't understand why she would agree to the marriage. Asha explained about arranged marriages, but Todd was unconvinced. Asha and Todd continued to see each other after work, albeit secretly, but most of the staff knew the pair were falling in love.
Then it all ended when Dave, from the head office in Seattle, told him that they were moving the call center to Shanghai China. He had fulfilled his job brilliantly in India and they wanted him to transfer to Shanghai.
Todd refused and when he told his staff that they'd been outsourced to China, most took it calmly and were in good spirits. After all, they had good training and could easily get another job; plus, they would get a full month's severance pay.
Asha told Todd that she wanted to save a story she had been writing in her spare time before Dave wiped all the hard drives.
"What was the name of the story?" Todd asked, curious.
"Holliday in Goa?" Asha answered with a smile.
This was a key phrase that Asha had told Todd; about two lovers that had gone to Goa for a brief vacation before she had to marry someone else. Todd had asked at the time if their time together was just a Holliday in Goa. Asha had replied with tears in her eyes, that it was not just a Holliday in Goa for her, but her only Holliday in Goa.
Smiling, she led Todd to a room that her trusted friend Gaurav had made available for two hours. They had kissed again and made love one last time.
Todd had just entered his flat, depositing the groceries when his cell phone rang. At the distinctive Bollywood ringtone, Todd realised it was Asha on the other end. He smiled and his heart flip-flopped as he answered it.
"Todd," she answered. "Oh Todd, I fear I've made a terrible mistake!"
Todd could hear the tears in her voice, as she tried to remain calm. "Asha, what is it? Where are you?" The connection was clear, without the usual delay from a long distance call.
"I-I'm at the airport...SeaTac. I've just arrived and gone through customs. C-can you come?"
"SeaTac? What's happened Asha? Of course I'll come. It's a bit of a drive and it's rush hour, so it may take an hour to get there. I'll meet you by the baggage carousels."
"Todd? I'm scared. We have to talk."
"I'll be there soon Asha, wait for me."
Asha had barely made it through Customs & Immigration, telling the agents she worked for the American firm Western Novelty, located in Seattle. Her contact person was Todd Anderson. After many more questions, they passed her through and she had immediately phoned Todd.
'This is bizarre',Todd thought. 'Why would Asha fly to Seattle to see him? What was going on and what was the 'terrible mistake' she mentioned?' She sounded almost panicked. He'd longed to see her again, but this was much sooner than he'd hoped.
The snarl of Seattle downtown traffic frustrated his attempt to rush and once on Interstate Five, the drive to the airport was much slower than he'd predicted. There was a stall on the Interstate and cars had backed up when a collision had occurred near the SeaTac exit.
An hour and a half later he arrived and parked. He rushed to the International Baggage Claim and found her shivering in a beautiful bright blue sari with silver ornamental piping, surrounded by her luggage. She looked up and spotted him as he rushed to her side. Asha almost leapt into his arms, tears flowing freely as she hugged him.
"Oh Todd," she breathed raggedly into his chest. "I missed you so, I-I…" but she couldn't continue, holding him close, burying her head in his chest as if afraid he would vanish.
Todd kissed her forehead and brought her chin up so he could properly kiss her. The kiss was just as wonderful as they'd both remembered and Asha was reluctant to break it. She continued to hold him close, her arms around his neck and her head close to his.
"Relax, Asha, you can tell me all about it later. You look stunning in that sari. You're here now and safe. Have you eaten anything?"
"Just airline food," she replied. "I guess I am a bit hungry. Is there somewhere we can go that serves Indian food? You know I'm a vegetarian."
"I know a place not too far away. We can eat and you can tell me what happened."
Asha sighed and relinquished her hold on him, but stayed close, holding his hand. She'd made a snap decision and now she'd have to face the consequences. She hoped Todd would understand and be there for her. She did love him and felt he loved her too. Did she make a mistake by flying here without talking to Todd first, she wondered?
Todd was surprised at how much luggage Asha had managed to bring. 'Did she pack all her belongings?' He wondered. After they had managed to load Asha's bags into Todd's car, he drove them a few miles away from the airport. The traffic was still backed up, so he took an alternate route, stopping near South Center. Asha was strangely quiet when they left the airport and Todd wondered what had happened to the usually ebullient girl.
The Indian Curry Palace in Tukwilla was an eat-in and take-out restaurant that they both found acceptable. The curry was wonderful. As they ate, Asha haltingly told Todd what had happened.
"Ashok somehow found out about us and demanded that we marry at once. In the days that followed you leaving, our parents arranged for a quick wedding. That's when I knew I could never love him and had to get away. I snuck out one evening and took the first flight here. It was a long and tiring flight and I was too nervous to eat much. I was lucky that I'd had the foresight to secretly pack and hide my passport and luggage a week before I left. I know I should have called you before... Oh Todd, that's not all," she whispered. "I-I'm afraid I'm pregnant with our child! That night at the Kama Sutra Hotel in the other Gharapuri, I-I didn't think to take precautions. I just found out yesterday. Please forgive me?" she sobbed.
Todd was floored. She was pregnant? "I-I... Asha! Give me a minute to absorb this! You're pregnant? Who else knows?"
"N-no one, Todd, I didn't even tell my parents. I'd missed my monthly cycle so I purchased a pregnancy test kit from the chemist in Mumbai before my flight and tested myself before boarding. It showed positive. Todd, I'm scared."
He looked at Asha, stunned at the news, but knew he'd do anything for her. Shakily, he pulled her to him, taking her in his arms as she sobbed into his chest. "Sweetheart, it'll be fine, there's nothing to forgive. We'll work it out. I love you! Will you marry me?" He'd said that without really thinking, but it felt right. He smiled and kissed her as she trembled in his arms.
Asha was a wreck, but as she settled in his arms, she thought she heard him ask to marry her. "Todd? Did you j-just ask me to marry you?"
Getting down on one knee, he asked again: Asha Bhatawdekar, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
Tears of joy filled her soft dark eyes as she answered, "Oh, Todd! YES, I'd love to be your wife." They kissed as they heard cheers from the other restaurant patrons, and both blushed furiously. "Come on, let's get out of here," he urged. After paying the bill, they left. It was quite late by the time Todd and Asha made it back to Todd's apartment.
Todd had a bed that was just large enough for the two of them and after settling in for the night, they quickly fell asleep after the exhausting day.
Seattle in early spring, was much cooler than Gharapuri India and Asha cuddled up to Todd for warmth. Todd's arms encased the wonderful girl that was now so much a part of his life. Asha wound her legs around Todd and drew him close, needing to feel safe in his arms. They would have many problems in the days and weeks to come, but at the moment they were at peace with each other.
Meanwhile in Gharapuri, Ashok was livid. "That little tramp! She's disappeared. I'll bet she's gone to that bastard Todd what's-his-name. Well, she won't get away that easily." A few phone calls to Western Novelty headquarters and he had Todd Anderson's address in Seattle. He immediately booked a flight to Seattle and departed two days later, vengeance on his mind.
Asha awoke first the next morning, still adjusting to the time change. Todd felt warm and safe next to her and her body responded to his heat. When she awoke, her head was tucked into his neck, one of her ample breasts lying on his chest, with a leg draped over his hip.
Todd was momentarily disoriented when he awoke, hair splayed over his face and he felt a warm, soft weight on his chest, his lower body was trapped in a tangle of sheets and a slender leg. "Asha," he whispered.
She smiled and kissed him, snuggling closer. "Ooh, naughty boy, someone else is awake, I see."
Todd felt Asha's heat as she lay across him and his body responded. He nuzzled her neck and kissed her throat before working his way up to her lips. Breakfast was late that morning.
Todd and Asha made plans for the day; it would be a very busy day.
"Asha, we have to secure your stay in this country. You're still an Indian citizen and can be made to return. I asked you to marry me and I was serious. This will enable you to become a US citizen and gain a green card to allow you to work. We should also get you a US passport. Of course there will be lots of paperwork as well as interviews, but I'll be by your side all the way. Let's begin today. Do you want a civil marriage or a religious one? A civil one would take the least amount of time, but I know you might prefer a religious one. You choose."
Asha gasped at the suddenness of Todd's proposal. She knew he wanted to marry her, and she felt the same. "Todd?" she asked nervously. "This isn't just about the baby, is it?"
Todd smiled at her and pulled her into a tight hug. "Of course not, Asha my love. I would have married you in India if I'd had the foresight to realise how much I love you."
A greatly relieved Asha rained kisses on her betrothed.
"Now, first, we have to go shopping for a ring. Then we have to arrange for a marriage licence. Now, civil or religious?" he softly asked.
Asha had to think about that. As a Hindu, a religious ceremony would definitely be preferred, but she didn't know anyone here besides Todd. Hindu marriages were a big deal back in India, even and especially in small towns. "I-I don't know, Todd. I'd prefer a traditional Hindu wedding, but we don't know anyone of the Hindu faith here."
"What about a Catholic wedding? My folks are Catholic and we could have it in Yakima." Todd proposed.
"I don't know, Todd, I have pretty strong religious beliefs. Can we think about this for a day or so?"
"How about a compromise, a civil wedding here and a religious wedding later when we get to know some of the Hindu community?"
Asha smiled at the suggestion. "That could work, could we be married today?"
Todd readily agreed, but added, "We have to visit my folks in Yakima, they would be offended if we married without their blessing. So, tomorrow?" he asked.
Asha really wanted to marry Todd today, but she could wait one more day. "All right, tomorrow then. We'll fly there?" Asha was a bit nervous about meeting Todd's parents, hoping that they liked her.
Finding a ring for Asha was proving difficult and they'd spent most of the day before a beautiful silver one carat emerald with diamond chips was chosen for her engagement ring. They hadn't time to look for the wedding bands, but that could be done in Yakima.
By the time they made it to the county clerk's office, they had closed for the day, so they'd have to do that in Yakima as well.
Life was about to get a bit more complicated.
Ashok arrived at SeaTac a day after Todd and Asha left. They had taken an Alaska Airlines flight that left at 9:30AM, Ashok arrived by United at 10:30AM, but he had trouble at Customs and Immigration. They had detained him another two hours, not satisfied with his story of visiting relatives in Seattle. Finally they figured out that he was trying to retrieve his betrothed, but that appeared to raise more questions. After posting a substantial bond and promising to board the returning flight the next day, they allowed him to leave, but they tagged him as a person of interest. They knew about family betrothals and women avoiding forced marriage. As it turned out, one of the questioning INS officers was Hindu and was well familiar with runaway brides to be.
Ashok, now furious at the delay, promised reprisals on both Asha and Todd. He would show the pair not to mess with Indian tradition and a betrothal contract. Mr. Todd Anderson would not survive the encounter. Asha was his and would learn the consequences of running away.
Asha had dressed in a brilliant red sari with gold flower trimming and looked stunning. Todd had dressed as well in his best clothes, with a dark blue suit, white shirt and tie. There was some discussion of Asha wearing her blue sari to match Todd's suit, but Asha felt that the blue ensemble needed careful cleaning after the long flight. In any case, she had several more outfits, including western style dresses that she'd packed. Finally she had settled on the red and gold sari.
Unaware of Ashok's arrival in Seattle, Todd and Asha arrived at McAllister Field; the Yakima Air Terminal. Todd had phoned ahead and his parents were waiting for them. They were startled to see their son in the company of a beautiful Indian woman dressed in a bright red and gold sari.
Todd embraced his mother and shook hands with his father before introducing Asha. Mom, Dad, this is my fiancée Asha Bhatawdekar. I'm sorry to spring this on you without warning, but we've been a bit pressed for time and I know you'd want to attend our wedding."
"Wedding? Todd, you never mentioned a wedding when you phoned last night." The shock visible on his parent's faces quickly turned to smiles as they looked at the beautiful Asha. "Todd, is Asha the one you kept mentioning in your letters? She's beautiful, Son. A wedding at last; we thought you'd never get married. Oh, and what a beautiful engagement ring," Rita smiled as she immediately spotted the band on her finger.
Asha smiled widely as Todd's mother embraced her. "Mr & Mrs. Anderson, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. Todd has told me so much about you in the last few days."
"Asha, please call me Rita," Todd's mother welcomed her, "and my husband is Walter. You'll stay with us, of course. Todd, what arrangements have you made?"
"We haven't had much time to make proper wedding arrangements, so we'll have a civil wedding as soon as I can get the proper forms. We'll do a proper traditional Indian ceremony back in Seattle in a month or two. I still haven't got a wedding band for Asha or myself, so that'll be the first thing and then we'll have to register her for a green card and eventual citizenship."
All this took the better part of the day. The US immigration forms took almost as long as selecting a ring for Asha. By the end of the day, they were officially married as husband and wife and Asha had her green card. Rita and Walter stood as cosponsors and witnesses.
The smiles on Asha's and Todd's faces warmed the older Anderson's hearts.
They had not told his parents that Asha suspected she was pregnant, but they knew they couldn't hide it for long. Indeed, the application for citizenship needed a doctor's examination and certificate.
Knowing that they couldn't put this off, they made an appointment with the Anderson's family doctor for the next day.
Meanwhile, Ashok had located Todd's residence and prepared to confront the pair. When no answer came from his insistent ringing, he waited until a neighbor let herself in and followed behind before the door closed. He waited until the woman let herself into her own apartment and quietly made his way to Todd's apartment. Ashok was quite adept at finding ways around secure doors and soon defeated Todd's security system. He entered the apartment and looked around, noticing feminine articles of clothing and a messy bed that had not been made. There was a lingering odor of sex around the bed and Ashok swore. Reprisals would be taken. He's bought a knife at a local shop in preparation for the confrontation he was sure would happen today when they got back from whatever they had planned to do today. He thought about getting rid of Asha's western style clothes but didn't want to leave the apartment in case he was spotted.
He would be disappointed, but would wait in the apartment and surprise them. Mr. Todd Anderson would not survive! Asha would be taken back to India and learn the consequences of running away.
Waiting was his strong point, but as time dragged on and the pair did not return, he decided to stay, not caring that US customs & immigration were expecting him to take the next flight back to India.
Tagged as a person of interest, the local police had been notified and checked the residence. They rang the apartment and when no one answered, they checked the door and found it ajar. Suspicious, they rang another apartment on the same floor and after identifying themselves as Seattle Police, asked the woman who answered if she had seen anything suspicious.
The woman thought a moment and replied, "Nothing in here, but there was a man hanging around outside."
After getting a general description of the man, they decided to wait. After all, the INS merely had a suspicion and the suspect still had the rest of the day to make his return flight. They would post a watch and see what happened. There was a small possibility that a crime had already been committed, but the neighbor woman had not heard anything next door and the timeframe was short enough to believe that nothing was amiss.
Their relief showed up at midnight and noticed that nothing had changed. As the night turned into day, the next watch also noted no change. As flight time came and went with no report of the suspect boarding the return flight, INS authorized an apprehend order for the suspect.
Meanwhile, Ashok was getting restless. He wondered, "Where were they? Why had they not returned?" Several possibilities came to mind, one of which was that they were visiting his parents. He'd done enough research into Todd Anderson to determine that he had parents living in Yakima. He was still unsure, however but was smart enough to check Todd's phone messages. There was one message that had remained unanswered; his mother had indeed phoned checking which flight he'd be on.
"Ah," he thought, "they did fly to Yakima. I'd better book a flight right away." He'd use Todd's name of course to befuddle any future investigation.
Now the police had a solid lead and could get a warrant to search Todd's apartment. They did not have to wait long, as the suspect was seen leaving the apartment after summoning a taxi. Photographs were taken of the suspect and forwarded to the INS SeaTac office, where they were quickly confirmed to be the person of interest.
Ashok was arrested and returned to the SeaTac airport for interrogation. A knife was found on his person and was noted and confiscated. Charges could be added to whatever the Immigration officers decided was appropriate. Ashok would be spending a long time in custody after the INS officers were through with him.
Ashok was furious as he was detained, but quickly broke when questioned at length. The knife was used as evidence of intent to commit a felony by a foreign national. Yes, Ashok was in deep trouble!
Todd and Asha, still unaware that Ashok had invaded Todd's apartment, were shocked when the Yakima police notified him of the break-in. Asha shivered at the news and sought comfort in the arms of her new husband.
The doctor's appointment had confirmed that Asha was indeed pregnant and was the best news that Todd and Asha had received all day. They had returned the doctor's form to the local immigration office in Yakima and were notified that all was in order. The fact that she was pregnant should speed up the acceptance of her immigration into the USA. In any case, the baby would be automatically registered as a US citizen.
Knowing that Asha would be worried about the attempt to seize her and return her to India, the SeaTac INS office notified her that they had a full confession from Ashok and he would not be bothering her anymore. He was also being charged with attempted impersonation, felony attempt at kidnapping, breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit murder.
Todd and Asha were shocked that Ashok would go that far.
They had stayed in Yakima at his parents place for the rest of the week. Rita and Walter were surprised but happy that Asha was pregnant and told them they expected frequent visits once the baby was born.
Now the only problem was finding a new job, but a week after arriving back in Seattle, Dave came through for them. He was surprised that Todd and Asha were expecting but not surprised that they had married. After meeting Dave at his downtown office, they shook hands and after offering congratulations, Dave spoke.
"So Todd, when did you marry?"
"Last week, Dave. You mentioned that you knew someone that was looking to hire a couple? What's the job?"
"Oh, much the same as you were doing here but in The Tri Cities. I know your parents live in Yakima, so I figured you'd like to work near there, The job entails order fulfillment, but at a military warehouse. Asha could be hired as a clerk… She does have a green card, doesn't she?"
"Yes, just last week, actually," Todd answered for Asha.
"Good, here's the name and address. I'll let them know you'll be coming. When can they expect you?"
Todd thought for a minute and consulted Asha. "We have to arrange a termination of my lease on the flat and I'd have to pack. Let's say a week from now. Asha, can you think of anything else?"
Asha thought and answered. "I just have what I brought with me, but I think I'll have to do a bit of shopping for western style clothes. Thank the heavens that Ashok didn't destroy what I'd brought."
Dave was intrigued at the mention of this "Ashok" and decided to ask. "Who's Ashok?"
Todd and Asha filled him in and Dave was stunned. "How was he able to find you in Seattle?"
"According to the police and INS, he'd contacted Western Novelty and they gave out my address," Todd answered.
"That's not right! Western should never have given out that personal information," Dave responded. "I'll have to see who did that and have a word with them."
"Yeah, we don't want another family member looking for us," Todd replied grimly, remembering stories on the news about Indian honor revenge and kidnappings.
Asha shivered at the prospect, she also knew what lengths family would go to avenge a jilted betrothed. Also, they would soon find out that Ashok was in jail. That wouldn't sit well with his family.
End of part 1.
A/N: a few corrections and small changes that will affect the next chapter.
(to be continued)