Restraining myself from looking at him with a pool of desires in my eyes, I asked, “What have you done so far?”
“Nothing,” he laughed, “I was thinking if you can help me out explaining the chapters first.”
“Have you even read the chapters or are you thinking I will do the questions for you,” I asked as we sat on the sagged leather couch of the living room, courtesy our landlord.
Though I behaved strongly in front of him but at some corner of my heart jealousy played stronger than the euphoria I felt upon seeing him at my door. I was a bit annoyed that he ignored me during the class and now seeking my help to finish the pending class work.
“What do you think about me?” he smiled, “I thought we can have a nice time together while studying.”
I felt on top of the world realizing that he wanted to spend time with me. Delighted by his unpredictable attention, I couldn’t figure out how to behave or what to say. I was new to the territory of flirting and didn’t want to behave like a naïve in front of him.
“I’ll just come.” Rising up from the couch, I rushed to my bedroom. I closed the door of my bedroom and almost jumped to look at myself in the mirror, skipping several step between the door and the in-built mirror of the wall closet.
Glancing at my reflection in the mirror, I took a deep breath as the comb ran through the waves of my brown-colored long hair.
“He’s interested in you Ruchika…Just try to be calm and relaxed.” I murmured to myself.
Looking at me one final time, I came out of my bedroom and walked downstairs.
“Is everything fine?” he asked. I could notice his opened notebook on the coffee table with a sheet of questions lying next to it, and he was ready with a pen in his right hand.
“Yeah…and I think you’re ready to study.”
He smiled smugly, “Yes Ms. Sharma, your student is all set to work.”
I actually liked the way he teased me but preferred to just smile instead of responding idiotically as I always would whenever he was around.
“So…what have you read…I mean have you started reading any of the chapters?” I asked as I opened up my Econ textbook.
“Actually…I haven’t started reading any of the chapters. I thought of finding the answers of the questions as I need them.” He read the first question on the question sheet and then looked at the textbook to find out the corresponding answer. “See it’s here.”
“Fine…” I said and watched him write down the answer in his notebook.
“So…what are you specializing in?” he lifted his eyes from his notebook and looked at me.
“Sales and Marketing…If everything goes right with respect to grades and assessments, I hope I would get my degree in the next 2 years.” I said.
“That’s great…How old are you?” he asked.
“Twenty four and half,” I said, “I’d been working for a while after my graduation so it took some time to join the course.”
“Well…hats off to you that you have the courage to resume your studies after a gap of…..” his words trailed as he bent down to look again in the question sheet.
“2 years…My Dad was ill, so I had to discontinue my studies and job to look after him. He passed last winter.” I completed his sentence.
A brief moment of pause seemed like a lingering silence and took me down the memory lane, my father’s image glimpsed in my eyes and a drop of tear hovering over my eyelid rolled down my cheek.
He took my hands into his. The warmth of his hands on mine soothed my wounded soul, and I felt like crying out my inner weakness in front of him, but the next moment his buzzing cell phone broke the stillness of the rainy afternoon.
He avoided the call and put the mobile on silent.
“I can understand what you’re going through. Loss of a loved one is unforgettable though the pain slowly subsides with time.” He said looking in my eyes, his hands still on mine.
“It’s okay…I’m fine now…coping up with my studies, trying to keep my pain and sufferings away.” I said, slowly sliding my right hand out to tuck a stray hair behind my ear.
He withdrew his other hand and straightened his back against the couch. “Aren’t you doing your homework?”
“I’ve already done it.” I said trying to force a smile. I realized he was trying to pilot the conversation away from my Dad’s demise to something that was lighthearted and funny.
“Oh…aren’t you the most organized one. I really admire that in a woman.”
His brown eyes bore into mine. The brightness of his eyes was sharp making my heart flutter. It started beating faster and faster. Happiness started to replace the sadness with each passing second, and slowly all grief was gone and what left was pure bliss. I helped him finish his assignments and didn’t even realize when an hour passed by. He closed his notebooks and stuffed his things in his backpack.
“Do you want to have something…its lunch time almost?” He looked at his broad-dialed silver bracelet wristwatch.
I thought about his offer. I’d really loved spending the afternoon with him, and the truth was that I’d never wanted him to leave but I’d other things to do, I’d some homework in other subjects and didn’t want to get distracted by his attention. Not only this, I also didn’t want to appear so eager to be with him that I would accept his spur of the moment invitation.
“Thanks for inviting me, but I’m a bit occupied today.” I said.
“Not a problem,” he said, “see you then…”
I saw him till the main gate of the commune and waved at him as he kick started his bike. Rain started to pour over his white shirt and I felt regretful of not asking him to stay longer. I wanted him to stay with me by my side but then my inner voice took charge and guided me to do what my mind felt was right at that moment.
A prick of regret lanced through me as I saw him taking the last turn and vanishing from my sight. Suddenly, I felt so lonely.
“Is this because of him that I am feeling so aloof and alone?” I questioned myself and found that I was deeply attracted to a man with penetrating brown eyes. His eyes were hiding a lot of secrets and I was eager to know all of them.
To Be Continued…
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