by Priyanka Bhowmick
Last night was heavy. She felt the weight. He too.
Her room's light was on the whole night. He noticed that.
The fireplace never stopped burning. She knew that.
Priyasha was cooking oatmeal and egg before leaving for office.
"It smells delicious."
She looked up at the voice. He was standing at the kitchen door smiling like sunshine after destructive storms, however, he was scrupling and stepped hesitantly towards her.
She felt the heaviness of the situation.
"Hey... Good morning." She tried to lighten the circumstance.
"Good morning." he smiled softly, "Cooking eggs?" he was dressed in khaki pants and a white t-shirt.
She offered politely, "Have some."
"Thanks." He took a spoonful and ate. "It's delicious."
"Thank you." She ate too.
They ate in silence for some time before he asked, "When will you return today?" staring at her intensely.
She was not sure what made him ask about her whereabouts, she wasn't certain how much she should give in. "I'm not sure. I'll go to stores."
"Alone?" He asked quietly.
She again considered what should she tell him, "No, One of my friends will come."
"May I come along?"
Now, it was troublesome for her to respond. Why would he want to come with her? Even after knowing she would have company. He never talked with her in anyone's presence. What changed?
"Umm, sure." She said, still doubtful. She never knew when would his decision change and he would dismiss his illation.
He nodded and looked away.
An awkward silence ensued.
"Are you sure?" Vinita whispered to Priyasha, rolling her eyes.
Priyasha whispered back,"I know it's weird but he insisted coming along." They glanced back at Abhiraj and awkwardly smiled.
Vinita pulled out a red book by Jojo Moyes. "I'm not sure why would he do that!?" Then eyed around the bookstore,"Which book have you chosen? Let me see."
Priyasha held out a book and exclaimed,"This one!"
"The Last Poem by Rabindranath Tagore?" Vinita's eyes glittered with amusement.
"A classic for a classic lady." They both giggled at her words.
She noticed Abhiraj, searching the racks of the classic novels, across them. He was lost in the book world, absolutely engrossed in them.
She smiled again. A genuine happy smile.
Until a hand dragged her around and slapped across her face.
Priyasha stumbled back and hit the behind book shelves.
"Hey, bitch?" It was a stranger. A female.
"Hey!" Vinita yelled at her and ran to Priyasha. Her face stinging from the slap, tears dared rolling down, her vision was blurry. She heard Abhiraj's voice behind her.
"What are you doing here Zinnia? I told you the previous day we are not meeting anymore. Why are you making HER pay for she doesn't know what?"
"You know what Roy? I didn't believe in your words. She's the culprit. She is! And I'm gonna kill her for that."
Silent tears were already falling from Priyasha's eyes. People were looking at them oddly. Someone even made fun of her impuissance. She felt humiliated.
Why was it always her? She was slowly falling. Drowning.
And he came to her rescue.
Without giving her much time to react, he entered into her personal space. He touched her jawline making her look at him with teary eyes and kissed her.
In front of everyone, he kissed her.
Priyasha was flabbergasted by the incident. As soon as she regained her senses she pushed him back. He stepped back and searched the depths of her eyes. She was trembling.
Her eyes stung by the heat. He turned to Zinnia and spat. "Get the hell out of here, now."
People around them were stunned as well, none uttered a single word.
Zinnia glanced at Priyasha then back at Abhiraj. "It does not end here," she muttered before she was gone.
Priyasha felt extremely disgraced and insulted in front of public. She experienced warmth flushed through her face and tears rolled down free. Covering her face she sobbed hard.
"How could you?" Vinita snapped at Abhiraj while approaching her friend and patted her back. "Are you okay? Priyasha, are you okay?"
How dared he kiss her in front of everyone? She was sobbing hard. She didn't know how to react anymore. Neither of the kisses in her life arrived with her consent.
She thought, she would never know how a real kiss tasted. How did it feel? How it imprinted?
"I can explain." Abhiraj approached her.
"Don't." she stepped back. She was afraid of him. She didn't know how much damage he would still cause. She was scared.
He stepped closer and caught her. She fought him back. But his grip was firm, she was unable to release herself from his strong grasp.
He shook her, "Priyasha, listen to me!"
"NOOOOO! I don't want to speak. Go away." she hit him on his chest. But she was too fragile to him. He didn't seem to feel any pain at all.
"I had to kiss you to get rid of her."
A thunderbolt hit her. He used her to get rid of her.
He'd used her, nothing else.
She froze there and fell against his hard chest.
Was she a puppet? A possession to everyone? Everyone used her for their own benefits. Was she nothing but a lifeless object?
He held her securely, wrapping his arms around her.
"I'm sorry. Truly, I am," he whispered.
But she wasn't in the state to respond. She didn't care whether he apologised or not. She couldn't trust anyone! She was all alone. Her eyes went blur once again. Mum, I need you!
With all of the strength she had, she pushed him back and said quietly. "Don't talk to me. Ever."
And by saying that she left, Vinita following.
A week had passed.
Things were changing fast. She had visited some places and one of them was quite nice. She almost had it confirmed.
The owners told her to wait for some days until the place will be painted and ready.
He tried talking to her twice and every time she turned him down.
She trusted her fate. She knew things happen for good.
She would only hope, the good will come sooner.
Priyasha sat at one corner of her bed and hugged her knees.
She couldn't lose like that. She needed to be strong. But her traitorous tears never listened to her.
Her phone buzzed. A text message. From Mum.
CHINI, I'M SORRY. I COULDN'T COME LAST WEEKEND. I HAD A MEETING WITH CARDIOLOGIST. SOME ISSUES SHOWED UP. I HOPE THE REPORTS WILL BE NORMAL. I WILL CALL YOU, ONCE I GET MY REPORTS. LOVE. MOM.
She wanted to call her mum. But she wasn't sure how many lies she could tell her. She shoved that thought aside.
Her phone went off. Vinita.
"Where are you?"
"Shut up. Come out. I'm waiting for you outside."
"What? Why?" Priyasha asked dumbfounded herself.
"Get into anything and come out immediately."
She found a pair of jeans and a mauve plaid shirt. Putting them on quickly she came out. Vinita waved at her from inside her car.
"Where are we going?"
"Shopping." Vinita grinned.
"Okay." She smiled too, "I'm waiting for your GRAND wedding."
Vinita rolled her eyes at that while Priyasha climbed into the car.
Vinita glanced at her sideways, "Are you okay?"
She looked out the window. "Yes."
After a pause, Vinita said again, "I'm really sorry."
"It's alright." She looked at her and gave a half-hearted smile.
And then it was a silent drive to the shopping mall.
Find happiness in little to littlest things. You'll be fine. Trust me.
Once Vinita got her car parked, they entered into the mall, and it was really stunning. Priyasha was speechless by the decors only. Vinita wasn't a brand freak though, her fiancé was.
So, they visited Ayesha, Allen Solly, Emporio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Manyavar Couture and what not. They got tired as well as excited about all these brands.
"What's next?" She asked Vinita excited.
"The one and only Nakshatra."
Their eyes sparkled as they both sang together, "Mmm....Diamonds!!" then chuckled, looking at each other.
But fate had something else to chuckle on.
They were about to enter into the shop when they noticed Abhiraj coming out. He looked at them, then at her.
Priyasha looked away and motioned her friend to enter past him.
"Priyasha!" He called out, all of a sudden.
"Vinita, let's go. We're getting late." She said, disgust in her voice.
Vinita was watching them silently before suddenly she said, "Hi Abhiraj, what are you doing here?"
Priyasha glared at her best friend. Was she gone mad? What was she doing?
"Can you convince your friend that I truly am guilty."
So blunt! He stated that like nothing was wrong. She felt even more insulted.
"Are you really?" Vinita enquired.
"I can explain."
Priyasha groaned, frustrated. They were talking about her while she was present there, yet they were pretending she was invisible.
"I don't want an explanation." Priyasha whisper-yelled all of a sudden."Let's go, Vinita." Then she almost dragged her friends inside the shop.
She was not forgiving him, not yet.
"We need to talk."
She winced at the suddenness. She closed the door and ignored him.
"Priyasha, we need to talk."
"There's nothing we can talk on."
She tried to get past him but he suddenly caught her hand.
"Abhiraj, leave my hand."
"Listen to me."
Before she could object he dragged her swiftly towards the wall and blocked her way out by placing both of his hands on the wall around her.
"What are you doing?" She wiggled in between his arms. But he didn't even budge.
"Get off me, Abhiraj!" he instead held both of her hands and hung them up with his strong grip.
She cried out, "You beast, get off of me, now!"
"You left me no other way."
She glared into his night-sky-like-galaxy eyes and betraying her own, something inside her shifted. She looked away instantly.
"Listen, Priyasha, I'm sorry for what I've done to you. But I really had no intentions doing that. It was the only thing I could have done at that time, which I did.
Now, I'm guilty and I beg your pardon."
"Leave me first." She said, aggravated.
He released her and stepped back. She looked at him furiously. How dare he treat her so beastly?
To be continued...