"Uncle!" He felt someone tug his lab coat. A wave of relief coursed through him as he looked down to see Tara. She had sustained a few injuries, but looked much better than he did.
"Tara, are you okay?" Raj asked.
"I want that ball." Raj looked at her with surprise. Before he could say anything, the ball was in her hands. It was like she had disappeared, just for a split second, and then reappeared by his side with the ball. He looked at her in disbelief. He forgot about his injuries. His mind started racing.
"Tara, what happened to you when the chamber went boom?"
"I don't know. There was a big light and I fell over. I'm okay, Uncle."
Raj looked up and saw that the room had filled with the company's security guards. Vivek was also there. His face was red with anger, his patience withered in an instant. All of their work, their chance of making billions had vanished with one explosion. But he had to control his anger. He had to stay calm in front of everyone.
"Don't just stand there; take care of their injuries!" Vivek commanded, noticing with surprise that Tara was not nearly as hurt as Raj.
Raj held Tara's hand firmly. "Stay with me until your father comes. Don't tell anyone what happened," he managed to say before his blood loss became too significant and he drifted into a dream-like state.
Rahul and Mala rushed to the hospital. Mala sobbed uncontrollably the whole way. Fifteen years with Raj was not enough time. He couldn't die. When they got there, Raj was already in surgery to remove all of the glass in his body. The largest piece had penetrated his liver. It took over four hours to complete the surgery.
When the doctors moved him to post-operative care, Mala was only allowed to see him from outside the main door, through a small window. She felt like Tara did watching the experiment. She just wanted to be inside the room. She just wanted Raj.
Tubes ran all around his body, trying to maintain his breathing and circulation. The doctors told Mala that next two days were critical for him. She refused to leave his side once, even though Rahul and Anita had pleaded with her a number of times. She couldn't eat food, let alone sleep. She could only stare into Raj's room.
Tara had only sustained minor injuries and was discharged from the hospital the same day. Rahul and Anita took care of her and Sneha and Ankur while Mala waited. Mala wondered if Ankur would be able to understand what happened.
After two days, Raj came out of his long sleep. Mala sent a silent prayer to God thanking him as she cried with happiness. The doctors let her sit beside him for a short-while, as long as she promised not to touch him.
Raj smiled when he saw her. He spoke softly, like it hurt him to talk, as he said "Where is Tara?"
"She's fine. They discharged her right away. She barely got a scratch," Mala said.
"I want to see her."
"I'll see what I can do."
That evening, Tara and Rahul came to visit him.
"I haven't told about our secret to anyone, Uncle!" she chuckled.
"Good," he smiled. "Now go find one of the nurses and tell them I said they have to give you a candy." She ran out of the room. All the pain lifted from Raj's body when he saw her so happy.
When the men were alone, Raj said "Rahul, take Tara away from here as soon as possible. She is a precious child. She is the answer to all my experiments. Make sure that she is hidden from the world. Do you understand?"