“Bhaiya, I want to tell you something.” Binoy bit his lower lip contemplating if to spill the truth or fabricate a new lie. The facts might let Aru Di believe him, but Arnab Bhaiya would surely go back to being dubious and apathetic towards him and that too when they had just bonded. He couldn’t risk it. If he had to leave this place, then he would not be thrown out like a thief but go quietly letting them believe he was just a good-for-nothing boy.
He must have looked silly standing there thinking because Arnab stood up and came to Binoy placing a hand on his shoulder and shaking him hard.
“Binoy! You wanted to me something?” Asked Arnab and Binoy gulped, nodding.
“Three….I…I saw…..” Binoy was sweating now “I saw three rats creating racquet in the kitchen!!!” He lied.
Arunima got up at once, “NO! Not the rats again, last time they spoiled all the sweets and the food in the kitchen.” She hurried out of the door to the kitchens but Arnab stayed back a moment longer to give Binoy a once over, and Binoy tried to look impassive, which settled Arnab, and he left after Arunima.
As soon as the couple was out of earshot, Binoy pulled the curtains back and held all three boys by their arms, dragging and urging them back into his room. The trio didn’t want to get caught either and do juvenile jail time and complied. After them ushering into his bedroom, Binoy told them to keep quiet till he was back and he ran to the kitchen.
Arunima was crouching on her toes and checking each shelf under the kitchen counter while Arnab was checking over the racks on the wall. They both looked at Binoy and gave a look that told him their search wasn’t fruitful.
“Di, I guess they are into hiding. Let me set some rat traps, you two have looked enough. You are tired; you sleep, I will take care of the rest.” Binoy said with a helpful smile, and Arunima nodded with her hands on her hips, something made her smile, and Arnab too laughed, which in turn made Binoy chuckle as well. In that one moment, the doubt that they will mistreat him vanished from his heart, and he was glad he didn’t let his friends steal anything from the house.
All of them went back to their respective rooms. Binoy got his friends out from under his bed and gave them an annoyed look.
“Friends, please, never try to do this again. These are good people. If I do this to them, then they will never have mercy on any orphaned, poor kid ever again.” Binoy told sitting on his bed.
“Next time you feel like visiting me, come in the daytime, from the front door.” He told with a smile and a finality to his tone, forwarding his hand to Bablu in a handshake. Bablu knew it was goodbye.
“You think you are high and mighty to live in this palace while we, ‘The Rats’ go back to living in that hell-hole?” Bablu asked in a caustic tone. Binoy blinked.
“No!!! This won’t happen. You want us not to steal from these fine people? Okay, Fine! We won’t! But you, you have to come back with us, only then do we leave or we take you down with us, let them think you’re a thief and a lecher. We don’t care.” Bablu spat at Binoy, and his two friends stepped forward ominously as they rolled their sleeved up.
Binoy’s eyes widened, he understood what Bablu meant to say, he wouldn’t let him stay here in any case. He considered everything and decided his fate was to leave this place, with their money as a thief or without it as a bitter memory. He chose the latter one, and his head bowed. Bablu smiled and sneaked back out of the same window from which he came; his two alleys stood on either side of Binoy as he too climbed out of the window taking nothing with him except the clothes on his person.
In the master bedroom, Arunima was fast asleep while Arnab was standing by the curtain at his window watching the four boys retreating backs. His phone in his hand, his thumb hovering over the Police’s number but he closed his phone and sighed as he went back to bed.