Jungle of the Heart

Chapter One

I watched from the pool chair as Dhiren went from pacing, laying, and looking at his reflection in the pool water. He had yet changed from his tiger form since Kelsey left. So much for him 'learning to live without her.' I felt a pang as I remembered that Ren was never this obsessed over Yesubai. He never deserved her.

I sighed, getting up from my chair and walked over to the moping white tiger. I tapped his side with my foot. He gave a half-hearted growl at the gesture. I crouched down, and he turned his eyes away so he didn't have to look at me.

"You know," I started. "I'm sure that Kelsey wouldn't be happy if she came back this summer to see you looking pitiful." He ignored me. "Well, since you're going to act like this, I'm going to go call her. Maybe she'll see I'm the better choice over you."

I knew that would get him at least up and not so pitiful looking. I jumped back from his claws, and smiled as he rumbled with his roar that shook the floor. He closed his mouth, but his teeth were bared. I stood, shaking my head and rolling my eyes and ventured back into the house. I heard a thump as he laid back down.

Mr. Kadam was at the table, papers and pictures and books of India spread out around him. He seemed exhausted, and had taken few brakes to try and figure out what the next step would be.

I went over, grabbed a mango, and peeled the skin off before walking over to look over the older man's shoulder as I ate.

"Do you have anything?" I asked. He didn't jump, even though he had given no sign that he knew I was there.

"I have ideas," he replied, and shrugged, sitting back and running his hand over his hair. "And was that Ren who roared? I thought I asked you two to behave."

"Well, he's acting like a child," I replied, taking a bite from my mango.

"Kishan, you should understand how he's feeling," Mr. Kadam said, looking up at me. I growled at him, and turned and walked away. I threw the mango seed away before heading to my bedroom.

I grabbed my cell phone, something that was the most interesting thing to me, and went to my contacts. There was only three: Ren, Mr. Kadam, and Kelsey. I pressed on the latter and let it ring. If Ren wasn't even going to see if she made it back okay and if she was enjoying school, I was going to.

It rang three times before a slightly confused voice answered, "Hello?"

"Did Mr. Kadam not instal my number into that phone?" I said teasingly, trying to push back the somber mood that the older man had brought up about the past.

"Kishan?" Kelsey said happily, and I smiled triumphantly.

"The one and only, my fair lady," I said. "How is your school? Do you like your new home?"

"I think He did to much," she said, and I heard the frown in her voice. "It's so much money! My school, my house, that car... I think Mike loves the car more than I do."

"Mike?" I inquired, thinking the name sounded familiar but I couldn't place it.

"My step-father," she said, sighing. "But, I do love W-O-U. Tell Mr. Kadam that I love the classes he chose, by the way."

"Of course," I said, smiling.

"How is it back in India?" She asked, and I hinted a bit of worry in her tone. I smirked, shaking my head.

"Fine, awfully boring since you aren't here to have fun with," I said, smiling. She caught the underlying message and I heard her laugh. "Mr. Kadam is going over stories and whatnot, trying to figure out our puzzle."

"What about the Golden Fruit?"

"Safe," I assured. "How about your scaly friend?"

"She's fine, I guess," she replied, and I heard a thump as she laid down. "Do you think she has to eat? I don't have any mice around here."

"Well, if she eats you, I would advise to get her some food," I said, rolling my eyes. She giggled in return.

"Has anything happened while I'm gone?" She said, and I could almost pick up her hint.

I frowned. "Ren is being stubborn like usual, if that's what you're asking. He hasn't been a man since you left. It's irritating. He's out by the pool now looking like a lost kitten. Ridiculous."

"I'm sure once he watches some movies he'll want to get out and meet some super model," she said, and then grumbled quietly. "Prettier than me, of course."

"Miss Kelsey, I think you are a beautiful young lady," I said, smiling. "Just as beautiful as Yesubai."

"Yeah, right," she said, and I heard the sarcasm coming into her voice. "I'm no princess."

"That doesn't matter, Kelsey," I said, taking a deep breath, and let it out. "Even if you are or aren't a princess, that doesn't heighten your beauty or smother it. You're Kelsey!"

"Fine, Kishan," she sighed, and then grumbled. "Hey, I have to go. School starts soon and I'm not driving and talking on the phone."

"Alright," I said, moving my thumb to the end button. "Will you call me later, rajkumari?"

"If I don't have a load of homework," she promised. I had to be satisfied with that, and I bid her a good day. She did the same, and I hung up. I walked to my balcony and leaned over, spotting Ren leaning over the water.

"Dhiren!" I called, and his blue eyes angled up toward me. I grinned widely and called, "Kelsey invited me to go to America and stay with her!" He growled up at me, catching my joke. I laughed, waved it off, and went back into my room.

Actually, that wasn't a bad idea...