Hello people… I am back with chapter 4. I hope you guys like my ff and thanks a ton for those lovely comments. Your encouragement is what keeps me going. Well, I would love to have your views about this chappy too and so please do comment. Suggestions and wishes are most welcome.
The morning sunrays peeped into Radhika’s bedroom through the open windows and hit her eyes hard. She twisted and turned in bed but finally gave up as the blaring sound of the alarm clock forced her to open her eyes. Radhika sat up and looked around the room. She felt lonely and lost. She had hated the mornings for about seven months now as it is the time of the day that brought her face to face with reality. The coldness of the morning reminded her of the emptiness in her life. She terribly missed her warm good morning kiss and the cuddling session with Arjun. She had always loved to open her eyes to the amazing scene of Arjun sleeping beside her. He used to have his hairs all ruffled and there would always be a fascinating smile on his lips. Radhika personally thought that, that was the time he looked his s*xiest. They would then enjoy the hot lemon tea and her favourite cookies on the front porch while talking about their life together.
Radhika’s chain of thoughts was disturbed when the doorbell rang. She looked at the wall clock. Great. It was nine thirty already. She had missed her morning jog and is also late for work. So Radhika decided to take a day off. She thus went to open the door. But to her utter happiness, it was a parcel from Rajesh.
Radhika freshened up and had her breakfast in a hurry. Now she was all business like and opened the parcel with much enthusiasm. There was quite a heavy file inside along with a small folder. She opened the folder first. It contained pictures of Aryan and his family. Radhika took out a picture of Aryan and looked at it keenly. It was the exact same face and those same dense eyes. Radhika had tears in her eyes but she wiped it off quickly and started studying the file.
The file had Stephan’s entire information. He was twenty seven years old and has a sister named Bonnie. Bonnie was twenty five and apparently was the owner of a small eatery. A cute smile adorned her lips when she read about Aryan being still unmarried. But, presently he was in a relationship with a girl. Radhika frowned at that but kept reading. It was all useless information. Radhika turned to the seventeenth page. It contained a medical report of Aryan. He was a victim of…
The file fell off from her hands and she started to cry profusely. Aryan had been suffering from cancer for about a year now. Radhika lost all hope. That man was Aryan after all, for Arjun was all healthy and happy till seven months before. He had no health problems as they had got his check up done a week before his disappearance and the reports had come all normal. So there was a void of five whole months.
Radhika looked at the picture again. “So you are actually Aryan. Aren’t you?” she asked the picture.
It had all become too taxing for her and so she decided to go and get some fresh air. She knew now that Arjun was dead and it was high time for her to come to terms with it.
Radhika walked along the sidewalk taking in the fresh air. It was about two in the afternoon but still there was a kind of peacefulness in the environment. Radhika turned the corner and saw a small eatery there. Her stomach growled encouraging her to go ahead. Thus, she entered the shop. It was small but well decorated and cosy. It had seven small tables for groups of four and a big couch at one end for a group of eight. Radhika walked to the service counter. There was a young girl standing there, her brown coloured hair was tied in a neat ponytail and she was in a black tee and black jeans. She smiled at Radhika as she approached her.
“Hi. What do you want to have today?” the girl asked smiling.
“Well, maybe a chicken burger and a can of coke.” Radhika replied.
And she went into the kitchen and came back with a tray after a minute or so.
“That will be 12$.”
Radhika paid the price and went to a window seat as most of the others were already occupied. She was only halfway through the meal when she heard a voice.
Radhika looked up and was shocked seeing the person in front. It was Aryan.
“Can I sit here?” he asked pointing towards the seat opposite Radhika.
Radhika was silent. She just didn’t know what to do. Aryan was standing there smiling, the smile that made her go numb. She looked around and saw that all the other seats were occupied. Thus without a choice she nodded.
“Well, thanks. I thought you would say no.”
Radhika smiled lightly and went on with her lunch.
“Do you come here often?” Aryan asked.
“No. It’s my first time here.”
“I think you should come here often. The place is good and the food is absolutely delightful.”
Radhika looked up confused.
“Sorry. Actually it is my sister’s eatery. So I am doing a little promotion that’s all. She is right there behind the counter. Her name’s Bonnie.” Aryan said pointing to the blonde girl who served her food.
“By the way, what’s your name?”
Well, Radhika knew that the most awaited questions were to come her way which she was dreading to answer. But she still did.
“I am Radhika” she replied never looking up from her plate.
“You have got a nice name.”
“And who’s Arjun?”
“He’s my husband.” Radhika replied trying to sound unaffected. She didn’t want Aryan to know her broken state.
“Do we look alike?” he asked again.
Radhika hated the whole conversation. It was dragging her back to her terrible past.
“Can we please not talk about this?” she pleaded.
That was the end of their conversation and silence took over. Even among the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, Radhika’s mind was unfeeling. She felt guilty somewhere deep down in her heart for yesterday’s incident. So after quite a few moments, she spoke again.
“My husband’s dead. You look exactly like him and so…” her voice faded.
She looked up and met the intense stare of Aryan. He seemed to dig deep into her heart and know all her hidden secrets. But Radhika was a strong girl. She kept still even under his powerful gaze. Suddenly Aryan’s eyes softened and he came closer to her.
“I am sorry star. I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Radhika was dazed, for Arjun was the only one who called her ‘star’. She couldn’t take it anymore. So she left the place in a rush leaving Aryan baffled.
She ran back home and went through the file again and again.
‘Just one clue’ she thought.
But she got none. Maybe luck was not in her favour or maybe she was not in her right state of mind. The surety Radhika had about the man being Aryan went right out of the window. She was perplexed. Confused at the recent turn of events. What is true and what isn’t? Arjun was totally fit but Aryan wasn’t. But being around Aryan made Radhika’s body react in the same way it reacted for Arjun. Everything was so messed up.
After a continuous search of about five hours, exhausted and sleepy, Radhika went to her balcony. She would always stand there for sometime remembering Arjun before going to sleep. This practice gave her the peace she craved for the entire day.
As Radhika was standing there, she saw Arjun behind a big peach tree located at the eastern end of her garden. She blinked twice and by the time she looked that way again, he was gone. Radhika stood motionless for a moment and at last disposed the matter as a hallucination.
Credit to: Desire