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*ONE WEEK LATER*
Nine O’ Clock
I switched off the lights of my room as I was leaving for office. I stepped down the stairs and walked out the door.
“Naira, stop.” I heard someone call my name. I turned behind. It was Ranbir.
“What are you doing here? I asked you to stay away from me.”
“What other option did you leave at my disposal? I have been trying to talk to you for a week. You don’t answer my calls, don’t reply to my messages and even ignore me in the office.”
“Ranbir, after what you have done to me, what else do you expect from me?”
“Naira, sit inside the car.”
“Enough. Sit inside the car.” He looked into my eyes and said authoritatively.
I sat inside the car and we started off, apparently to the office. For the first couple of minutes, we stayed mum. Then I realized he took a different route, perhaps by mistake, I thought at once but he didn’t make a U-turn. If we continued on the same route, we weren’t going to reach office for sure.
“Where are we going?”
He turned towards me, looked into eyes but said nothing. Each time he looks at me, I feel the burgeoning of emotions that become difficult to subdue. I had fallen for his eyes, of which he plausibly had no idea.
“Ranbir, I am asking something.”
“Come on Naira, it’s the same route. Can’t you recognize it?”
“We are going to my apartment.”
“What is left to be told now?”
“Naira, can we please continue the discussion once we reach there?”
“Ranbir, I don’t want anything. Just tell me why have you got me here?”
“I’m making coffee.”
“Naira, do you trust me?”
” You know what; I am just not able to comprehend anything you are saying.”
“That’s not the answer.”
“What do you want to hear?”
“I don’t see answering the question as anything important.”
“Look Naira, I did try to tell you. I tried telling you the evening I asked you to stay with me. And then, when I mentioned there’s something I am hiding from you. Also, when I said I need you to back off. I tried telling you each time but you never cared to listen or even if you did you were adamant on your decision that I made you happy and that you always chase your happiness.”
“All I am trying to tell you is that I didn’t lie to you but yes I kept a secret, which I did try to disclose but the circumstances were such that I couldn’t.”
“Alright. Even if I believe you, is there anything that I can do about it? I mean you are married, Ranbir.”
“What if I tell you the truth and you don’t believe me?”
“At least you tried, I’d think.”
“Fine, you might find it entirely unreasonable and preposterous but I’ll speak the truth. I come from an orthodox family, to be precise, my grandparents. So, although it might sound like a movie, it’s the reality of my life that I’m sharing with you. Ananya and I got married in childhood because our grandparents wanted us to; you know the same old pratha and crap. We were raised up in the same city and hence, we were family friends. Even when we grew older, Ananya and I just stayed friends. Despite us being aware of the marriage that bound us in childhood, our parents never enforced it on us. And hence, we simply chose to stay friends and move on in life. There was nothing more between us, ever. But I wanted you to be aware of it. Naira, honestly, there’s nothing to bother about.”
“Ranbir, you really want me to believe on this child marriage saga of yours?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Well, whatever it is. It has nothing to do with me, whether you are married or not. I was just hurt because you lied to me.”
“So, you don’t care?”
“No, I don’t.”
He pulled me through the waist and held me strong. Looking deep into my eyes, he said,
“Naira, you really don’t care?”
And he pulled me even closer. I could feel his warm breath on my face. As he looked into my eyes, I could read the truth. He wasn’t lying to me but was afraid to tell the truth. Ranbir is a reserved guy who always liked to live in his personal zone until I came and he was ready to let me in. He was the guy I had been waiting for and for the first time in my life, I didn’t make a mistake. I made the right choice and I was proud of myself.
“No, I don’t.” I said with a smirk.
“Naira, I know you do. And there’s one more thing I want you to know.”
“Ranbir, another thing! Look, I have already had enou……”
Before I could complete, he locked his lips with mine, my eyes widened up in surprise and then slowly closed with his passion. I had never felt this way before. I could feel the butterflies not just in my stomach but everywhere, those vibes and his touch. He kissed me so passionately; I could feel his heart pounding and beating raised. His hold got firmer. In that moment, I knew he was madly in love with me.
“I love you” he whispered.
“I love you more.” I said.
We kissed again as he pushed me on the bed and…….
To be continued…..