Temporarily in Love by Lou Kennedy

Temporarily in Love: a romantic comedy novellaTemporarily in Love: a romantic comedy novella by Lou Kennedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Temporarily in Love is a chick-lit romance novella with loads of humor and indeed falls in the genre of romantic comedy. I loved the way it started. Jovie, a young woman, no job, no home, no money, and a recent breakup with her boyfriend ends up vacationing in Vegas with her best friend and brother. Tempted by a prize winning contest for couples, she ends up marrying Alex, a handsome fellow traveler.
Things begin from here and sparks fly as their fake relationship transforms into a caring and loving bond over the course of their 4 week stay at a plush hotel in Vegas.
It was a cozy, lighthearted, fun read though I was expecting a bit more romance between the lead pair. A little more steamy sequences and passionate kisses could have acted as a cherry on top for this delightful read.
I really enjoyed the character of Jovie and her interactions with her pseudo husband Alex. I did love the sequences when Jo was making fun of other lovebirds and her own brother Wills and his wife Jen looking from afar dancing and giggling in each other’s arms at various locations while their stay at the hotel where the prize winning contest was going on.
The story is well written, and Kennedy succeeded in keeping the readers’ attention intact till the end. The humor, the comedy, and the romance everything was just awesome. I really loved reading it.

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Book Review – French Restoration by Sara Claridge

French restoration is a story of wealthy kids and family secrets blended into a tonic of love and steamy romance. Chantal, an interior designer by profession, weaves a fragile world around her to keep herself away from her bleak past. She takes up the charge of remodeling the antique French country house to restore its antiquity and keep it safe from the wealthy desires of American Hotelier Alex Kirkwood. But during the course of restoring the ancient Chateau in the outskirts of Paris, she unknowingly succumbs to Alex’s manly charms. Alex also couldn’t resist himself falling for a 27-year-old French beauty who makes him weak in his knees every time he sees or thinks of her. What started as a mere physical attraction to simmer down the boiling desires between the two individuals, transforms into an undying feeling of love, and Chantal struggles hard to keep her past destroy, Alex’s social repute.

Written in third person limited point of view, the story is well plotted with rich prose and ornamented vocabulary usage. Intermittent twists and turns kept me intrigued and at the same time passionate sexual encounters between the lead characters made me re-read those steamy sequences just to feel the heat developing between the two. I loved the characters, especially, Alessandro’s alpha male image of a dominating boss and at the same time of a caring lover who wants Chantal back in his life at any cost.

I really liked the fascinating cover of the book and the well structured story line; however, there were times when I felt disconnected. I think it is because the usage of some of the French words and sentences that aren’t translated into English. Had the author put up a glossary or simply added the English translation within brackets, it would have been an easier read for me

My Rating of French Restoration would be no less than 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Finished by Anne Holster

I love reading romance novels and this book is yet another addition in the list of my all time favorite romance books. Finished kept me hooked till its end. Young couples, beaches, parties, and just sheer fun, a colorful book that deals with the feelings of millennial generation to which Jess, Jill, and many of other young characters of the story belong to. The book does have a bit of thrill that kept me intrigued and its romance element kept me entertained. I really liked the writing style of the author and the flow of the book from one chapter to another.

The characters are pretty entertaining and at the same time each one has its own set of problems to deal with. The book beautifully captures the emotions and feelings of each of its characters. I really like the female protagonist and her best friend Jill. The conversation between the two was quite interesting and often left me laughing silently as I flip through the pages.

Finn, the male protagonist however at times gave me a bad taste but as the novel progresses his transformation from a reckless and spoiled youngster to a caring lover exploring and understanding the universal emotion of love was something that made his character appealing and vividly clear in my mind. The only thing that bothered me was the title of the book – Finished. Though derived from the name of male protagonist, Finished sounds something like a book dealing with action, gore, or destruction rather than a fun-filled colorful romantic story that has a sweet and happy ending. All in all, Finished is a cozy fun read for a lazy weekend.

I would give Finished a 4 out of 5 stars.

Click here for a closer look of Finished

Stories of Life – Rukhsat, The Departure

I recently read a beautiful book named Rukhsat – The Departure by Sujit Banerjee. I really loved the book and here is my take on the book

fiction stories
Front Cover

Rukhsat- The Depatures is a collection of 26 short stories, each story depicting a particular character and portraying some of the untouched aspects of human psyche. Each story touches a subject that is sensitive yet least discussed and considered to be taboo or better to be kept hidden under the closets of human mind. The book explores some of the hidden truths of homosexuality and child sex abuse, besides offering readers a trip to those solitary roads of lives that many of us have just heard about but never visited. The darkness of the stories sometimes left me pondering how difficult it is to keep my feet into the shoes of any of those 26 characters that are beautifully expressed in the book.

It’s one of the best books that I’ve read so far. Beautifully written and immaculately expressed, author has done full justice to each of the story. Each story is not more than 3 to 4 pages in length, offers a quick read yet carves a great impression on its reader’s mind and soul. The tales are short and crisp, and it’s really an art to express and convey so much in so less words. Some are interconnected and some standalone, the stories are intriguing and kept me glued till the end of each of them, yet at the end of each of it, I wanted more and flipped pages to read the next, next, and so on.

fiction stories
My Copy of the Book

The only thing that bothered me at some places was the unfair ending of some of the stories. It left me wandering what would happen next, for instance, in the story named Qamar – The Letterbox, I couldn’t understand the ending. Had the length been extended to some more pages explaining a bit of detail, it would have been better to grasp what the tale was all about?

Ornamented words, rich vocabulary usage in the prose, and immaculate expression of thoughts make this book an awesome literary read for any short story lover like me. Looking forward to reading more great books like this by the author.

My overall rating for the book is 4 out of 5. Do have a look of the book by clicking the link below:

Rukhsat – The Departure by Sujit Banerjee

 

 

Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 22

“Good Night Jay…Take care…” I said. He waved with his back at me and was gone.

I felt terrible as I rested on my comforter…I thought about Jay and what Shikha told me about him that he was a wonderful person. I did agree with her that Jay was a great man yet I didn’t find myself attracted towards him as was he. Then, I thought about Rajeev and felt goose bumps all over my body as my eyes played a film of our last passionate encounter.

Inconspicuous images of 2 handsome men kept on flashing in my eyes as sleep took over me, and I slumbered.

I didn’t hear from Rajeev on the weekend or over the next week. Waiting for the next Friday when Rajeev and I had a date, I completely devoted myself to books and assignments. Things were going good as I got good grades in the class tests.

It was Friday and I was happy that I was going to see Rajeev in the evening after a long and tiring week. My housemates were away, so I had the whole house for me. I leisurely spend the afternoon watching T.V., cooking my favorite lunch, and then taking a hot shower. Wind was blowing hard; I stood next to the window of my bedroom admiring the scenery of the rainy city. I loved rains, and in Bangalore it rained almost every day.

Watching the lush green landscapes of the residential layout, I realized that it was almost evening. I got myself dressed with a little makeup on and started waiting for Rajeev. The clock pins almost touched 8 o’clock, and I assumed that Rajeev might’ve forgotten the date or as usual got busy in something.

“How could he do this to me…he kept me waiting the entire evening without even bothering to call me over the entire week. I really don’t understand him. What type of guy is he?” I felt irritated. Loneliness sliced me within. Changing to my nightwear, I picked up the novel I was reading. I tried to lose myself into the imaginary world of the book, but my thoughts had gone astray since I’d not seen Rajeev and started to miss him badly.

At around 12 midnight, my cell phone chimed. Half somnolent, I picked up the mobile and checked the text. There was a message from Rajeev.
“Sorry Baby…I couldn’t make it for today evening…got busy in something…”

Annoyed I was so upon his irresponsible attitude that I didn’t bother replying and put the mobile on silent.

The next day, I had a lot of pending work to finish that lined up during the week. I was out since morning and when I reached home with grocery bags in my hands, I found a post-it note on the main door of my house.

“Hey Ruchi…My apologies for letting you down last night, but I want to cheer you up by taking you out tonight. I’ll be at your place at 6. If you’re still mad at me and don’t want to hang out with me, you don’t need to answer your door – Rajeev.”

Reading the note, my eyes instantaneously moved towards the wall clock. It was 5 o’clock, I still have time to get ready. I murmured to myself, but the next moment my mind traversed in a different direction. “Why should I believe him? Why should I let him make me fool again? I’m not going with him anywhere even if he comes on time, something that I least expected from him.” The anger and disappointment of the previous night took over me, and I ran to the kitchen stomping my feet to unpack the groceries.

I was arranging the eatables in the refrigerator with failed attempts of keeping him away of my thoughts but his images were just not ready to leave me alone. His thick dark hair, deep brown huge eyes, his tanned skin and his chiseled chest accentuated by his broad shoulders couldn’t avow me to think anything but him. I looked at my wristwatch.

I still had half an hour. Battling with ambivalent emotions of love and anger, I finally won over the situation, and decided that I would go with him.
I rushed to the washroom, and touched my makeup, a bit of mascara, thin eyeliner, a coat of lip gloss, and I was all set for my date with Rajeev.

Expecting him to be a no show again, I was sitting on the couch turning the pages of the Vogue that Tina bought a day before just when the door bell rang. It was sharp 6 o’clock. My heart thumped as I was judged wrong on my assumptions about him, none other than but by myself.

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Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 21

I was getting ready for the evening out just when I heard Tina complaining about something on the top of her voice…
“Why nobody calls me out…Why I’ve to suffer this trauma…” She yelled while dusting the furniture pieces of the living room.
“It’s okay sweetie…every girl has her own share of happiness…I really felt bad for you when Aryaman dumped you for Shanaya,” Dia tried to console her while getting ready for her own date.
“Correct yourself…it’s I who dumped him…I really hate when boys expect too much out of a relationship, and after all it’s been 3 long months with him. It was kind of freaking me out sticking with the same boy for such a long time…”
As their discussion about boyfriends and ex-boyfriends continued, I kept quiet not bothering much as both were out almost every weekend throughout the last month with one or the other boy. But, for me, this was my second outing since I came to the city, and I was in no mood of spoiling my evening.
I was busy in stuffing my necessary things in the clutch and getting ready for the evening just when I heard a knocking on the main door. Tina got the door.
“Ruchi…it’s for you”
All set, I snapped my golden clutch and descended down the stairs to reach the door.
“Rajeev…How come you are here…I sent you an SMS about cancelling our date tonight?” My pupils widened as I found Rajeev standing at the doorway with a bunch of roses.
He handed me the flowers and smiled. “Chill girl…I thought you’re kidding and didn’t really mean that, especially after yesterday’s incident…” He stepped ahead and whispered against my right ear.
I felt heat dissipating around me as he came close, but I really didn’t like the way he turned up against my wish as I planned on going out with Jay because I’ve promised him earlier.
“You look stunning. Come let’s go.” He smiled at me.
“I’m sorry Rajeev. I forgot to tell you that I already had a date tonight with one of my friends.
“Oh…I see…and you can’t cancel it. Can you?” he asked.
“No.” My reply was firm, and I realized that he sensed my intentions.
“Okay then Ruchi…As tomorrow I am kind of busy, we can go the next Friday…” he said stepping back.
“Sure Rajeev.” I said.
He was gone. Closing the door, I went back to the kitchen to arrange the flowers in the vase.“Keep it up Ruchi…you’ve two guys fighting for you now…” Tina smirked at me.
“He he…whatever Tina…” said I.
Soon the door knocked, and this time I got it.
“Hello Ruchi…Hope you didn’t forget our date.” Jay was standing at the door.
“Not at all Jay…In fact I was waiting for you…” I said.
“That’s great.”
He took me for a movie and then we had a dinner in a restaurant named Bay Leaf.
“I really had a wonderful time today Jay,” I told Jay as we walked up to the gate of my commune.
“Me too Ruchika…Let’s plan something for the next Friday,” he said as we stood at the front gate.
“Of course but not this Friday…” as I remembered I’d date with Rajeev the coming Friday, and I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake.
“Maybe we can plan something for the Saturday. It would be more fun if we have some more of our friends to accompany us.”
His eyebrows arched as if he didn’t like my suggestion of going out with a group…
“Oh…so you wanna go with a group…” he questioned.
“Yes…why not…it would be nicer if Shikha and others can come for a group outing,” I said.
“Ruchi…please tell me do you really want to spend time with me like I do…I mean do you like me or not,” he came to the point and hit me with his direct question.
“Of course I like you Jay but not the way you’re thinking of. I love to be your friend.”
“Oh…it’s sounds typical. I understand Ruchi…anyways it was a nice outing…will catch up later….good night.” He turned back and started to walk down the pebbled walkway.

To Be Continued. Please share if you like :).

Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 20

He stood up and sheepishly walked up to the front door as I anticipated. A tear drop touched the floor of the living room, and I just couldn’t see him going.

The front door squeaked and shut closed. I lifted my stare. The blurriness of my eyes couldn’t allow me to vision him properly. He was still standing at the door with his back facing me. I wiped my eyes and looked at him; a strange fear overtook me as I realized the soul-trembling silence of the living room. I was all alone with a man who was trying to have sex with me a couple of minutes ago.

“Oh! God! What is he going to do now….what should I do? Should I call someone for help? What if he tries to force me into something?”

I was struggling with my thoughts relentlessly just when I noticed he started walking around the room, messaging his forehead as if trying to get the hold of the situation.

After circling the living room twice, he came to the couch and sat next to me. Placing his hand on my shoulder, he looked in my eyes.

“I don’t understand what you just said Ruchi, but I really respect your decision. I’m sorry that I forced you in a situation like this…I really don’t know what to do now…I don’t want to lose you…Please Ruchi forgive me for what I’ve done to you…please…” The earnestness of his voice won over the jumble of restlessness that was covering me within, and I felt overwhelmed upon his humble request. My eyes couldn’t take the load of emotions and I cried my heart out burying my head in his broad chest. He kept on stroking my hair until I calmed down and pushed myself to a sitting position. He again looked into my eyes.

“So, you’ve forgiven me…?” he asked peeking in my heart.

“Hey…please don’t feel sorry,” said I, my eyes again filled with tears of joy that I still had him by my side.
He wiped my tears before taking my hands in his. “Fine Ruchi…So, let’s forget what happened. I want to make that up by taking you out tomorrow. Can I have the pleasure of having dinner with a beautiful lady whose eyes are darker than the night yet somber as early morning, whose lips are tiny petals of rose yet full of juicy nectar that I want to taste each morning, whose thick long brown hair invite me to come in and lost yet the fragrance of hers always compels me to find my way.” He kissed my hand, looking in my eyes.

“I would love to come with you Raj…” I said, though embarrassed a bit calling him Raj for the first time.

“What…what did you just say…” He looked at me with surprise.

“Raj…” I repeated his name, my voice suddenly transformed into a slow whisper.

“My mom only calls me by this name, but it’s her motherly affection I understand. How come you call me by my nick name though nobody in the college knows about it,” he asked.

“I don’t know…It just came out of my mouth…” I said. “How could I tell you Raj how much I love you, and it’s this love that I unknowingly addressed you by the name that nobody knows?” I talked in my heart.

And my love for him increased hundred folds after that rainy afternoon when I was all alone with him but felt the safest soul on earth when he took me in his arms. He took away all the pain and agony of my life when he stroked my head and pulled me to his chest. We kept on sitting there, my head on his chest and his hands in my hair, gently caressing my head as if saying “Don’t worry baby…I’m here and will always be there.”

“Aren’t you getting late?” Suddenly I realized that it’d been quite a long while sitting there. The sun was about to go down, yet its shimmering brightness was penetrating the gloom of the living room. I lifted up my head and looked at him.
“It’s okay if you want me to be with you,” said he.

“I’m fine now…I think you should leave now,” I said.

“Cool.” He said rising up from the couch.

“I’ll pick you up, tomorrow at 6 p.m. Will that be fine with you,” he asked at the door.

“Yeah…sure…” I said.

“Great…Take Care Ruchi…Bye.”

I saw him off to the main door. Coming back to my bedroom, I put a reminder on my cell phone for Friday evening 6 p.m. just when I realized I already had a date that day. I’ve promised Jay to go out with him Friday evening.

“Aw…Shucks…Now what should I do…I need to sort this out…” A part of me wanted to go with Jay because I’d promised him earlier but at the core of my heart I didn’t want to miss the chance of experiencing yet another exhilarating evening with Rajeev. Struggling with my dilemmas, I tried to palpate my inner self.

I made a decision and dialed in a number, and when nobody picked up the phone, I left an SMS – “I’m really sorry, I can’t go out with you tomorrow evening…Hope you won’t mind…Please, let’s plan some other time.”

To Be Continued…

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Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 19

I stepped aside, and he came in.

“What were you doing?” he asked staring at the opened notebook and uncapped ball pen on my study desk.

“I’ve got stuck in this statistical problem…trying to solve it for the past half an hour I believe.” Looking at the wall clock, I slid down in my chair.

“Let me have a look, I am pretty good at statistics…”

A subtle waft of his cologne made it hard for me to concentrate on the problem as he stood behind and leaned over me to look down, into my notebook.

“Hey…I think the problem is here…You’ve miscalculated in this step.” He quickly figured out the error.

“Oh…thanks…” A shaky voice escaped my throat as I tried to strike out the wrongly done step and made a correction.

He was still leaning over me. “God…what he is up to? Why is he not standing upright?” It was hard for me to breathe normally as his warm breath was constantly stroking my neck.

Seemingly, he was in no hurry of leaving me. I sat still trying to anticipate what would be his next move.

“I really like you Ruchi.” More to my breathlessness, he came even closer and whispered against my ear as his lips brushed my right earlobe.

A thousands volts of electric current ran through my blood hearing something that I longed for. The husk of his voice brought a surge of adrenaline, and I lost control on my body.

His lips roamed over my cheek planting a kiss there, and I turned my face to look at him.

“Rajeev,” I called his name, but it came out as a slow whisper as I enjoyed every bit of his touch.

His brown eyes looked straight into mine, and I felt like succumbing to his masculine wealth. He came nearer and pressed his lips against mine. Even though it was a lingering kiss, it couldn’t satiate my intense desires to sup more and more of him.

We pulled back after an electrifying smooch. I dropped my eyelids to face my lap. He knelt down and lifted up my chin. His hand slipped to the nape of my neck, and he pulled me close to possess my lips. His tongue explored my mouth, and I threw my arms around him to caress the fades at the back of his neck. Swinging in pool of desires, I couldn’t stop myself kissing him back.

We stood up, kissing each other passionately, and when we pulled back, a brief smile played on our lips. He took my hand and led me to the bed. Our fingers intertwined as we sat at the edge of the bed looking deep into each other’s eyes.

As he caressed my cheeks, tucking back those lose strands of hair behind my ears, panic pooled inside my gut. I realized he wanted more from me. Within a friction of second, something hit me inside, and I withdrew my hands. I stood up at once to reach the window. He came from behind and snaked his arms around my waist, resting his head on my shoulder. As he nestled his face into my hair, trying to pull me back into his arms, I abruptly pushed him away.

Freeing myself from his strong grip, I ran down the living room. I was standing in the center of the room when I felt his touch on my waist. He led me to the couch and entangled his hands in mine. I avoided his stare and preferred to look at my lap.

“What happened Ruchi?” he asked.

“I am sorry Rajeev.”

“Sorry for what? You haven’t done anything wrong baby.”

“I mean I can’t do this.”

He didn’t say anything and just stared at me for a few moments.

“It’s okay baby…You don’t need to push yourself for anything that you don’t want…We can wait until you’re ready. Happy now.” He tried to peek into my eyes.

I knew what I had to say…I pursed my lips as it was hard for me to see Rajeev going out of my life.

“I don’t think I would be ready any time in the near future.”

Confusion crawled over his face as he tried to explore my mental state.

“What’s the problem sweetie…Don’t you like me the way I do.”

“I do like you Rajeev. In fact, you’re the one who I always wanted to be with.”

“Then…what’s stopping you baby?” He looked concerned.

“I know it’s not such a big deal these days to sleep with anybody, but I really can’t do this as I have certain values and principles in my life. I really don’t want to mess with them. I want this to happen only when I feel for it. I want to wait till my wedding night.” I opened my heart in front of him. Though it was hard for me to see him walking out of my life, but I had to express that I still believed in the institution of marriage and that I couldn’t go beyond certain limits of physical intimacy.

To Be Continued…

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Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 18

I met Shikha the next day at Forum. She greeted me with a big hug, and we straightaway headed to the elevator. As we devoured the spicy Andhra meal sitting in the food court of the shopping mall, Shikha grabbed my attention.

“Jay really likes you dear…”

“What…I can’t believe this…I’ve met him only once,” I said.

“I know…but he’s kind of shy to tell you that he wants to take you out, so he asked me to convey his message to you…”

“Oh…” my words trailed as I was stunned seeing Jay coming over and sitting just next to me. Shikha greeted him with a large smile.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I’ve called Jay also…” she said.

I gulped a mouthful of chilled buttermilk to wash down the tangy mixture of sambhar rice into my stomach.

“Hello Ruchika…How are you doing?” asked Jay.

“Yeah…I am doing fine…how about you?” I asked.
“Great…” he said.

“Well Ruchika…I was wondering if you want to go out with me…”

Delighted by the way he asked me, I said, “Sure Jay.”

“That’s pretty awesome…How about this Friday?”

“Cool…” I said.

“Ok then…I will pick you up from your place in the evening.”

“Sure…”

“Fine…so I think I should push off now leaving you in the company of a talking machine,” he said looking at Shikha. A mischievous smile played on his face as he teased Shikha and compared her to some kind of a talking robot.

“Hey…you…” Shikha stood up to slap his arm just when he slipped away from his chair and jumped to reach the exit. He waved at us exiting the food court and soon vanished in the crowd of shoppers.

After lunch as we walked through the interconnecting walkways of the shopping arcade, Shikha asked me something that instantly made me blush.

“So…what’s going on with this Rajeev guy?” she asked.

Hearing his name I just couldn’t stop myself smiling.

“I really like him Shikha. He has dropped in at my place a couple of times just to do homework and to finish the pending assignments.”

“So, nothing serious between you two…” she inquired again.
“Unfortunately not…I think he likes Ankita, the red head tequila beauty in our microeconomic class.” I replied wiping the smile off my face that was just not ready to go after Shikha initiated the topic of Rajeev.

“It looks like you’ve developed feelings for him, aren’t you thinking about him day and night…are you?” she tried to peek into my eyes.

“I don’t know what you are talking about…” I said dropping my eyelids to gaze at the frills of tiny light bulbs hanging down the artificial palm trees that were planted in giant pots just at the center of the ground floor where a musical event was going, and a guy was beautifully playing a ballad of old and new Hindi songs on his guitar.

As I stood next to the railing of the third floor of the shopping center to enjoy the musical evening, Shikha tapped my shoulder.

“Jay is a wonderful person dear, and you two make an awesome pair,” she said.

“Wait a minute…why do you advocate the idea of me and Jay becoming a couple. I know he is a good guy, and I admit that he would make a caring and loving boyfriend, but I can see him only as a friend….”

“And Rajeev….” She looked straight into my eyes…

I couldn’t utter a word. In fact, I didn’t want to discuss the subject who was better than whom and who was winning the race of becoming my boyfriend – Jay who according to Shikha really liked me or Rajeev who I liked but didn’t know whether he also had the same feelings for me or I was mere one of those several girls who drooled over him.

“I really care about you and I don’t want you to fall for someone who doesn’t deserve you. Jay is really a great guy because I know him for a pretty long time, but I can’t say the same for Rajeev.” She justified her statements.

“Rajeev is a great guy too, and I don’t hesitate admitting that I’ve feelings for him.” I felt slight annoyed upon Shikha’s unreasonable words for Rajeev.

“It’s okay sweetie…Let’s forget about the guys and have some fun…There’s a sale going on at Westside, and I wanna buy some crop tops…” she grabbed my arm and shuffled me down the elevator.

“Crop Tops?”

“Yeah…the ones that end just above your navel flaunting a little of your back and midriff,” she explained with a smirk on her face.

“Oh…okay…” I said as we entered the giant showroom of the luxurious garment shop.

***

It was a sunny Thursday morning, and I was busy solving an equation in my statistics notebook just when I heard a knock on the door.

I ignored the gentle tap and kept myself focused on the problem. My reason for not bothering about to answer the door was that many a times in the past I’d answered the door for my roommates when they were away. It’s really irritating to greet the strangers and pass on the messages.

The knocking didn’t stop, but I was adamant of not becoming a messenger for my roommates, at least not at that moment when I wanted my entire concentration on solving the problem.

I felt relieved when the tapping stopped for a while but the next moment a jittery sensation shivered my whole body when a hard knock pounded my bedroom door.

Dia and Tina were away since morning, and there was no one home except me. Getting up from my chair, I walked up to the door with shaky steps. My legs were giving away because of sudden panic that whirled around me imagining the unexpected.

“What if it is a burglar or a rapist….what should I do? I tried to locate my cell phone to dial 100 just when a familiar voice brought me back to senses.

“Ruchi…Are you there? It’s me Rajeev?”

Relief, exhilaration, and annoyance rushed through me as I pressed down the door knob to unlock the door. The wooden door opened with a slight creek and I found him standing there, clad in khaki casual trousers and a polo neck navy blue T-shirt.

“You really scare me sometimes…How did you get in? Wasn’t the front door locked?” I asked so many questions in a single breath.

“Chill…babes…I came to visit you. The doorbell was not working, so I tapped the door but nobody answered. And, when I noticed that it was not locked, I came in hoping that you must be in your bedroom. Now, do I have a privilege to intrude into your privacy? Can you let me in?” He asked with a requesting glint in his brown eyes.

Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 17

The next day at school, I was hoping I would see him but he was nowhere around the campus, he didn’t call me either, and we didn’t have any classes together, so I just missed him whole day.

It was weekend, and except his enamoring thoughts in my brain, I couldn’t hear anything from him, neither had he showed up at school nor visited my apartment throughout the whole week. By now, my mind started convincing me that he was just a player, and I had better works to do rather than just thinking about him all the time, so I glued myself to my books and assignments and by Monday I was all set to delve back into my studies.

It was the day of our microeconomics lecture and when I entered the class I saw Rajeev sitting in one of the middle rows busy with his notebook when his glamorous girlfriend sunk into a chair next to his.

Though I knew he was not my boyfriend, I felt possessive and struggled hard to hide the jealousy that engulfed me upon seeing him with the girl.

Ignoring their presence, I located an empty spot in the back row and settled down there. My eyes roamed through the class to find Shikha, but she was not there. I needed her at this moment to confide the sudden turbulence that had disturbed the calmness of my mind.

When my eyes struck at the couple, I mean, Rajeev and his sexy female friend, I found him glancing at me and when our gaze met, he gave me a friendly smile.

His golden smile brought me back to senses, and I felt a bit better. Exchanging the gesture, I got myself busy in pulling out my notebook and listening to the lecture.

Ms. Thimmaih’s lecture sounded as if several bees were humming in the classroom. As she kept on droning, my mind started weaving threads of the story of Rajeev and his girlfriend. They must have spent the entire weekend together, in each other arms, kissing and laughing. When I pictured them together, my thoughts suddenly shifted from their love story to mine.

Rajeev didn’t call me once. How could he do this to me? Why did he kiss me that night? Was it just his usual gesture whenever he would drop any girl home after a date or did he mean anything by kissing me so passionately in the darkening night. He might have kissed several women and even slept with them. It’s not a big deal for him to kiss me and say good night. It’s me, a small-town middle class girl who didn’t know the etiquette of modern-age society.

“Why did I allow him to even touch me?” I struggled with a huge cluster of contradictory thoughts one after another just when the clamor of the crowd marked that the teacher had gone and the class was over. I instantly stuffed my things into the backpack and hurried out of the classroom without even facing him.

**
Shikha called me in the evening.

“Hey…How are you? I asked.

“I’m fine now…got some sore throat so couldn’t attend the morning lecture today.” She said and continued…

“Sweetie I was just wondering if we can meet up at Forum Mall tomorrow…will have some lunch, then some shopping, and then some girlie gossip…I need to tell you something that I can’t tell you on phone…and yes don’t forget to bring the Econ notes that I missed today…I would get them Xeroxed,” she giggled on the phone, and the carefree sound of her laughter eased up my anxiousness that was intermittently biting me since I’d made up my mind that I would give up on Rajeev and would push him out of my head.

I readily accepted Shikha’s proposal as it was always fun to be with her. Bursting with laughter, she was a bundle of positive energy. I really admired her for her laid back carefree attitude, not bothering much about things that were not under her control and accepting life as it came.

“Sure dear…I would love to…My morning classes get over by 12, would buzz you once I reach there.” I said.

“That’s great…see you then tomorrow,” she said, and disconnected the call.

Tina and Diya were out, so the house was comparatively quieter and seemed perfect for a long study session. Putting my cell phone on silent, I picked up my marketing textbook and started revising the chapters.

I was almost done with the first chapter when a subtle knock on the main door of the house broke the quietness of the evening.

I ignored it and gazed outside the window, sitting on my study chair. The sun was about to set and the fragrant drizzly breeze was straining in through the nylon nets of the window. I gazed at the golden lining in the sky and the widespread reflection of slowly constricting sun rays beaming on the high rises of the residential layout.

I felt happy that I’d got a chance to study in one of the most beautiful cities of India. City of Bangalore had so much to offer to its visitors, pleasant weather, overwhelming crowd, buzzing streets, and full of life city center. While the downtown best suited to social animals, the uptown was for people like me, who wished to enjoy their solitude exploring the beauties of nature.

Again, the tap on the door, this time pretty hard, compelled me to rise from the chair. Still fascinated by the beauties of the Southern uptown, I descended down the staircase and headed to the main door.

And when I opened the door, I was jolted upon seeing Rajeev at the doorway.

“Hey Ruchi…” he greeted me with the same killing smile, but this time I was just not ready to dissolve in his charms.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him with my mouth open and my eyes wide.

“I thought you’d be happy seeing me here….” His smile vanished observing a perplexed look on my face.

“I really don’t understand this…” I said.

“What Ruchi…” he asked, a coy look on his face

“Should I ask him how he got the courage to face me after kissing me that night and then flirting with Ankita, his mascara-eyed girlfriend or should I tell him what I feel for him and what happened within me when he pressed his lips against mine.” I asked to my inner self.

“I think I should let it go and treat him as a friend, after all we get to study in the same class, not all the time, but I have to face him at least twice a week during our microeconomics class on Mondays and Fridays.” My inner voice guided me and I somehow managed to plaster a faint smile on my face.

“Nothing…,” I said.

“Fine then…Have you finished your assignments?” he asked.

“Not yet…” I said.

“Great then…. Would you like to do it with me?”

“I think I can let him in, not as a boyfriend but as a friend and help him doing the assignments.” I felt apprehensive and listened to my inner voice.

“Yeah…sure…you can come in…” I said.

He landed on the couch and started taking out his notebooks from his backpack…

“I’ll just get my notebook.” I said and rushed to my bedroom.

When I was gathering my study material, Rajeev voice streamed up into my bedroom. He might have got a call. Thinking it could be Ankita, I again felt jealous but followed my brain’s directions of shrugging off any thoughts of possessiveness that lanced through me at that very moment.

Holding everything in my hands, I steadily walked down to the living room thinking that he might be busy talking on the phone.

Happiness spread across my face when he stepped up the stairs and took everything from my hands into his.

“So thoughtful of him…” I murmured under breath.

He then turned back and unloaded the study material on the coffee table. I followed him to the couch and sat beside him.

We started fixing up the problems after going through the chapters and the notes just when his cell phone blinked. He got an SMS.

Reading the message, his face turned pale and stiff…

“I need to go Ruchi…There’s something came up very urgent,” he looked at me.

“It’s okay…” Though disappointed, I tried to hide the sadness that loomed out of the euphoria that had engulfed me as I sat next to him.

Grabbing all of his things, he rushed to the main door. I hoped that he might try to kiss me but to my utter dismay, he didn’t look back, not even once, and hurried down.

To Be Continued…

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