Romantic Short Stories, Week #5, It’s Never Too Late

A big Hi to all romance lovers out there. It’s Monday again folks but keep the blues away. Feel romantic, feel inspired with yet another flash from a pool of short romantic stories.

Today’s flash is all about love, loss, and hope.

Week #5

Title: It’s Never Too Late

She would sit on the bench at the bus stop. The same stop from where I used to catch my bus to my workplace, a computer hardware repair shop.

Gracefully dressed in a flowery dress, with her burgundy-dyed hair tied in a neat bun, an umbrella in one hand and a book in other, was she waiting for the bus?

No. I could say that because I had observed her one whole day.

It was Sunday evening. I visited the bus stop out of curiosity, to see if she was there or not. And she was there.

People came and went, but she didn’t go anywhere, just kept on sitting there.

The sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds, and a few moments later it started raining heavily. I couldn’t see her umbrella. Perhaps she forgot to bring it that day, but luckily, I had mine.

Crossing the road, I reached the bench. She smiled at me.

“Hello, miss.” I sat next to her, covering both of us under my umbrella.

“Radha. You can call me by my name.”

I hesitated to call her by name.

“Oh. Don’t mind. This is the problem with this young generation. I have a niece of your age, and she calls me by my name.”

“Oh, okay, Radha. So, how are you?”

“I’m fine, young boy. Can’t you see—healthy like a horse.” A toothless grin wrinkled the corners of her eyes.

“Where do you live?” short romantic stories, www.mariyamhasnain.comI asked, looking at her while she drifted her stare from my face to the rain-swept road. Water droplets played pitter-patter on the flimsy tin roofing of the bus stop as the evening crowd thinned and people ran to shelters.

“Just a couple of blocks away, down the road.” She gestured towards the left side.

“Great. I see you here every day. You aren’t planning to go somewhere, are you? I probably can help you. I have a bus timetable handy, on my mobile phone. Do you mind sharing with me where you want to go, and I can tell you which number bus goes to which place.”

“Oh, son, I’m waiting for someone.”

“Waiting for someone? Who, and how long are you going to wait?” I asked, looking at the almost deserted road.

“Till the sun goes down. He promised me he’ll come with the moon.”

“Come with the moon?” I couldn’t understand, and shot another question. “Do you wait here every day?”

“Yeah.”

The comforting tone of her voice piqued my curiosity.

“How long have you been waiting?”

“For the past forty years.” She cleared her throat.

I couldn’t ask anything else. We sat there for a while in silence, gazing at the wet road.

The rain subsided. I requested for the old woman to keep my umbrella, and promised her that I would take it back the next day.

On my way home, inconspicuous thoughts about the old woman and the person she was waiting for clustered my mind.

“Excuse me.”

I heard a male voice, footsteps approaching. I turned around and noticed an old man walking in my direction. He stopped at a hand’s distance from me.

Head covered in a leather flat cap, wearing a raincoat, he smiled, looking at me.

“Hello! Young man. Can I walk with you a couple of steps?”

“Oh yeah. Sure, of course.”

For a moment, I hesitated, but then started walking along with him.

After talking about inconsequential things like where I live, and what I do, he asked, “So, what did Radha tell you?”

“You know her?” A thousand volts of electric current hit me like a thunderbolt.

“Yeah. I used to love her. In fact, I still love her.”

“Oh, so she was waiting for you?”

“No.”

“Then?”

“She was waiting for my brother, whom she loved, but he cheated on her, and married another woman, rich and spoiled, who later cheated on him. They divorced after a few years of their marriage. He regretted cheating on Radha, and couldn’t muster the courage to face her. He couldn’t face the reality of life, and killed himself by overdosing on his antidepressants a couple of years after his divorce. The coward.”

“And you?” I smirked.

He inhaled a deep breath and blew out slowly. “A coward too. I could never express my feelings to her, just kept on seeing her from afar.”

“Cowards never confess their weaknesses to others. Perhaps you waited for the right time. Perhaps now is the time.”

“Yes, you’re right. It’s never too late.”

And with that, he turned back and left the street. I stood there, smiling, hearing his thumping steps of triumph.

~End~

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Romantic Short Stories Week #3: Ex-flames

Here come’s Monday, and the time is 11:30 IST. And now as we march to a new month, here’s another short romantic story. This week’s flash is about rekindling the lost love. Hope you like it.

Week #3

Title: Ex-flames

I sit on the sofa and gaze out the window. Thick Gulmohar trees laden with the new foliage sway under the golden sun.

Today is going to be my last day in Vivek’s house. I’m going to embrace a new life. He did not react much when I mentioned him that we need to separate our ways. Anyways, he does not want kids yet, and I wonder if he just wants to remain in the second stage all his life.

Chirps of sparrows play a soothing serenade. Thin white clouds shift in the sky as the cold morning breeze blows in through the front window of the living room. A pair of pigeon perches on the window sill, one holding a dry twig in his beak.

“Life has four stages – the first stage where a person is completely dependent on others. It is the childhood stage.

The second stage is where a person discovers himself. It’s a stage of trial and error. He tries, learns from his mistakes, and makes choices. He starts believing in himself but also believes in materialistic success to be happy – money, wealth, accolades.

The third stage is when an individual thinks about leaving a legacy. It could be anything – a breakthrough innovation, an extraordinary product, or a happy adorable family.

And finally, stage four which is all about holding on what a person has achieved.”

I still remember these lines of Mr. Mathews. He used to teach us Philosophy in college. He was a character. Long hair with streaks of silver. The overgrown beard that he rarely used to trim. Irrespective of the trends, he would always wear beige colored baggy pants and a loose T-shirt. He perhaps was in his late forties, but his attire and appearance made him look ten years older than his actual age.

short romantic stories,mariyamhasnain.comThe fragrant wind blowing into the room caresses my cheeks bringing back some more old memories. Memories – I try to forget, erase, burn but even after so many years, they are still fresh in my mind.

As soon as I close my eyes and rest my head against the back of the couch, a pair of deep dark eyes shines in the abyss. Teenage love is not easy to forget.

His name, image, touch everything remain so fresh in my mind.

It’s been more than ten years being married to Vivek, but there has been something always amiss.

I wonder if rekindling the lost love is a good idea. Anyways, I won’t be having Vivek with me tonight.

I trace Ray on Facebook. And, within a couple of minutes, he accepts my friend request asking my whereabouts.

He never married. I can’t deny I still love Ray and so he. Oh my God how we have so much craving for each other even when ten years have passed. The flames of unfulfilled love still burn our souls, and we don’t have to convince each other of anything or reason anything. We just want to be together.

********

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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 16

“Tell me something about yourself Ruchi…” He focused his attention back to me after asking the waiter to bring him some wine.

“There is nothing interesting about me…”
“Tell me that is uninteresting,” he again questioned me about my whereabouts.

“Well…I am from Raebareilly in UP…My mom died when I was too young and was raised up by my father, and after his death, I am all alone living in a city where everyone is friendly yet a stranger to me…”

“You don’t have any siblings or uncle or aunt…” he asked.

A gush of loneliness swept through me, and I had to struggle hard to swallow the sudden knot formed in my throat.

“No…as far as I remember I don’t have anyone…” I wiped the corners of my eyes to restrict the flow of tears.

“That’s really something I’ve never seen in a woman. You are all on your own. It’s really hard these days to get yourself educated keeping up with your expenses. How do you manage? I mean are you working somewhere, part time.”

A feeling of pride allured my senses when he praised me on my achievements. I felt more confident in front of him and didn’t mind opening up a bit more.

“My Dad left his life insurance policy for me…I’ve that money to get myself educated until I can stand on my own feet – get a job and become independent.”

“Oh…that’ pretty awesome…All the best Ruchi for your future endeavors.” He smiled pouring the wine down the pitcher into the glasses. He offered me a toast.

“No thanks…”

“Oh…don’t you drink?”

“No…”

“May I know the reason…,” he asked

“My mother was killed by a drunken driver. My Dad quit drinking after that, and I’ve inherited that habit from my Dad as a legacy.”

“My apologies…So Ruchi don’t you’ve bad vibes about people who drink…” he asked me with a concerned look in his eyes.

“Well…I’ve never thought about it, but I think it’s okay if someone drinks in moderation. I really get upset when someone consumes beyond limits and loses control.”

The waiter spread the steaming dinner on the white clothed table and served the food. We began indulging on the famous delicacies of Coconut Grove. He looked like a child, who was given his favorite food, as he devoured the meal, and I noticed he hardly touched his wine.

“So…what do you do…you said you work somewhere?” I hesitantly asked the question that was bothering me for quite a few days.

“I work in an old cars shop…I work there as an auto mechanic. It’s just a part-time job, and I don’t look it as a career option,” he said.

When we’re done with the dinner, Rajeev led me to the nearby ice cream joint, and we enjoyed a cone full of strawberries and pineapple slices mixed with dollops of frozen whipped cream.

“I really had a nice time today,” I said as we walked up to the parking area. The streets were getting empty as the wet monsoons started to sizzle the endearing night.

We ran to our parked car and hopped onto our seats. He pulled the car away from the parking area and it zoomed back on the wet roads of the city.

We hardly talked during the drive back home. The only thing that was constantly trying to break the silence of the night was the noise of the glass wipers moving up and down on the front window wiping the tiny drizzles of rain with the faint sound of Aashiqui 2 song track playing in the background.

The drive from Brigade Road to BTM was a quick ride, and I reached my apartment much before I expected.

It was quite dark as the street light next to the apartment might get damaged due to heavy spells of rain last night. He walked with me till the main gate of the commune.

I looked at him to say that I’d really enjoyed the evening and so on, but couldn’t utter a word and just stared at him standing there still.

“I really loved spending time with you Ruchi…I hope we’d make some more plans like this in the future.”

“Thank you…I also enjoyed.” I wasn’t sure what rule of dating should I follow, so I just waited for him to take the charge of the situation.

He stepped closer and stood just in front of me. His black creased linen shirt touched the fabric of my cotton kurta, and I felt his warm breath on my face. His eyes looked straight into mine and I leaned towards him. He burrowed his fingers in my hair and caged my face in his hands. My head tilted to one side, and I snaked my arms around his waist. As my hands roamed over his back, he softly pulled me to him. Sparks flew as our lips met. A whirlpool of feelings hit me deep inside; feelings that I’d never known that were strange yet beautiful.

Our lips played together and after too little time he pulled away, his hands still in my hair, and my gaze on him. He smiled before freeing me up. “I think I should leave now.”

I wanted him to stay with me the night.

“See you at school Ruchi…Take care…” he waved.

“Bye…Rajeev.”

Still fascinated by the brief sensual encounter I had with him, I saw him walk up to his car. He pulled the vehicle against the curb and took the last turn at the dark end of the solitary street.

Coming back to my flat, I slowly walked up to my bedroom and closed the door from inside. I touched my lips and relived the moments when he tangled his hands into my hair and pulled me close to suck my lips.

Even though I instinctively assumed that he was playing with me, I couldn’t stop myself falling for him.

To Be Continued…

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Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 15

I reached the campus on time. It was Monday, the day of our microeconomics lecture; and I was overexcited with hopes of seeing Rajeev.

As I entered the class, my eyes roamed through the entire class. Shikha waved at me sitting in one of the front rows. She gave a slight shake to her shoulders upon seeing me, as if trying to communicate that she was keeping a seat for me but someone came and sat there.

Sharing a friendly smile with her, I located a spot in one of the middle rows and tried to settle up myself. Taking out my notebook, I started turning the pages to go through the previous notes, but my mind was taking leaps and bounds somewhere else. It was lost in Rajeev’s thoughts wandering whether he would make up to the class today or not.

The lecturer came in and droned the lecture. I was least interested in hearing and taking down the notes as my heart was desperately waiting or better said missing him. Gathering myself together, I tried to listen to the teacher to at least make out what topic she was talking about just when I heard a student came in and pushed back a chair in the adjacent row.

And when I looked up, a fresh breeze of air tousled my hair and touched my heart. Happiness washed over me when I saw Rajeev sliding into the chair. I felt content that my day didn’t get wasted as I got a chance to see him at least. I kept on looking at him so that he could notice me, and when he looked at me directly and smiled at me, my heart pounded even harder.

He was looking extra handsome in denim blue casual shirt that gave a slight peek of his chiseled chest; his messy gelled hair complimented his cleanly shaven face, and he looked rebellious when he outstared me with his deep brown eyes.

Shivering with the growing affection I started to feel for him, I reciprocated the smile and then forced my eyes away from his extra charming face to stare at my notes, trying hard to wipe off the smile that was constantly trying to reveal my unsaid undisclosed feelings for him.

I stole glances every now and then and found Rajeev paying full attention to the lecture. He hardly looked at me, and all the time he was either looking at Ms. Thimmaih, our microeconomics lecturer, trying to grasp what she was explaining or taking down the notes of what she was dictating.

At the end of the lecture, I started gathering my things waiting for him to approach me, but when he didn’t come near me, I couldn’t resist myself to look in his direction once again.

“Oh…shucks….” I whispered, my lips pursed with irritation. His red-colored plastic girlfriend was leaning over his desk with an inch distance from him.

Disappointment whirled around me, and I backpacked my things to walk out of the classroom without looking at the duo. As I walked past them, I heard Rajeev saying, “Got to go Anks…will catch up later.”

Coming out of the classroom, I started walking in the corridor with tortoise steps waiting for him to come after me, and a moment later, I heard him calling my name. “Hey…Ruchi…just a sec…”

I turned around and looked at him as if it’s just a normal thing for me but the reality was far away from what I pretended, and the truth was that I was trying hard to calm down my trembling heartbeat when I heard him calling me from behind.

“Hey Rajeev…good to see…great that you make up to the class,” I said.

“Good to see you too Ruchi…yeah, I had to work over the weekend and it was really tough to get to the class on time but at last I made it…” he said.

“So…what’s up…” I asked.

“Well…Ruchi…I was thinking if you’re doing anything important this evening.”

“Nothing much….just homework and the revision for the class test next week.” His question was kind of abrupt, and it took a little time for me to reply…

“That’s cool….that means not much of a work on you…so you can take some time out to have some dinner with me…” he asked.

“Ummm….well…” My voice slurred. No words could escape from my mouth as my lips glued together because of the elation that unchained my emotions.

“Oh..it’s okay…if you don’t want to come with me…”He looked a little disappointed and was about to turn back just when I regained my lost control and cried like a child…“No…No…I want to…”

I immediately realized that I sounded like an inexperienced teenager and cursed myself upon my stupidity.

“Cool then…I’ll pick you up at 7.” He flashed a pearly smile.

“See you in the evening.” He winked at me this time and left the corridor. I stood still and saw him leave the hallway. A jumble of exhilaration, joy, and thrill ran through my blood and I felt my whole body heated up.

“Oh…so he has invited me on a real date.”

***

At sharp 7, I heard a car honking outside my commune…. Stepping out into the balcony, when I looked down, I found a blue Nissan Ultima standing outside the gate of the apartment building.

Standing there, I tried to comb my hair to get ready for the evening, when I saw the car door opening and there he was….

Yes it was Rajeev’s car. He came to pick me up.

“Oh…he’s so punctual….it’s just 7 and he is here…” I asked him to wait there. Tying my hair into a loose bun, I hurried to reach him as fast as I could.

“Hey….why you are in such a hurry?” Dia was sitting on the couch watching TV….She was surprised to see me all dressed up and going out as she was used to of seeing me in my loose pajamas and T-shirt, studying or cuddling up in my bed with my favorite novel in hands.

“Got to go now…Would talk to you later…someone is waiting for me…” I said making my way to the exit of our flat.

“It seems she is seeing someone….I saw a handsome hunk standing at the gateway while coming in…” Tina murmured but it was loud enough that I could make out what they were gossiping about…

I smiled and rushed down the elevator and soon the lift reached the ground floor. I saw Rajeev waiting for me leaning over his car. He grinned ear to ear and waved at me…

I was so excited upon seeing him that I missed a few steps of the entry staircase and couldn’t get the grab of the side rail….I stumbled upon and fell down…Trying hard to get up, I felt a sharp stabbing pain radiating down my right thigh. My right ankle was sprained, and I couldn’t get up.

“What have you done Ruchi? You should be careful while walking…” He came running to me. He bent down on his knee and tried to grab my shoulder to lift me up in his arms…

“Come… we will go upstairs…” he said scooping me up in his arms…

“No…no…its okay…I’m fine…please lower me down…I don’t want to go back home…” I said adamantly as I didn’t want to create a scene and became a subject of mockery in front of Tina and Dia…

“Are you sure?” He arched his eyebrows and looked down in my eyes. His brown eyes again left me mesmerized.

“Okay fine…then we’ll go with the plan…” he said. He carried me down to his car and made me comfortable on the front seat next to his…He then hopped onto his seat….

“Put on the seatbelts Ruchi….,” he said. Putting the ignition on, he geared up the vehicle and the car roared with a glorious sound. The vehicle ran through the passageway to the main street and finally we took the last turn to enter the main road.

We headed towards the hub of the city, the Brigade Road, only stopping at a medical store to get some pain relieving gel…He applied the topical muscle relaxant on my sprained ankle, and soon the pain soothed down. I was flying high in the clear sky of the night…walking over the clouds. I’d never expected that kind of care from a man except my Dad.

I never thought that Rajeev could be so caring. He was so concerned about me that he held my hand all the time as we walked through the crowded pedestrian pathways of the Brigade road and at some places; he encircled his arm around my waist as if trying to protect me from the crowd.

The night was charming and alluring, and it seemed like one of the romantic nights of the novel I read, full of passion, longing, and desire.

“This is my favorite place…calm and quiet…” he said as we seated in the Al-Fresco dining area of the restaurant named Coconut Grove on Church Street.

The place was pretty and was beautifully ornamented with several rows and circles of green plants and shrubs. A cascading water feature was adding more to the serenity of the environment. The entire ambience was enamoring yet tranquil and I wondered how this place could be so peaceful even located amidst the buzzing Church Street.

“So…what would you like to have?” he asked navigating through the menu…

“Anything that they are famous for…” I said.

“Cool then…”

He ordered an elaborate dinner including Chicken Chettinad, pepper prawn, Kerala-styled fish curry, and idiyappam.

“It seems you are a big sea-food lover…” I asked.

“You guessed it right….I really miss Goan prawn curry and fried fish from my mom’s kitchen…” he said.

We talked about inconsequential things during which I got to know that he was basically from Goa. He had a younger brother who was studying in Mumbai while his Mom and Dad were staying in their ancestral home in the ancient town of Varca in North Goa.

To Be Continued…

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Dont’ Break My Heart – Episode 14

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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