I stood under the dark sky, trying to count the stars. They were infinite in number. Counting them, was next to impossible. But yet, I did it. I did it every night. It made me feel like he was there with me. I couldn’t forget those sleepless nights, when he used to take me to the terrace of his house. We used to cuddle in the cold, and count the stars in the sky. Reliving those moments, gave me peace.
But it was all in the past. It had been two years, since I had seen him last. Two years, since I had heard his voice. It was really hard to get over him, but eventually, I had to. He was never meant to be mine.
“Nandini!” I heard someone call my name. I could recognize the voice from anywhere. It was Madhyam. I smiled, and turned around, only to spot someone who was not at all expected to be there.
It was him.
I couldn’t help but wonder about his presence. My smile faded away, as his eyes met mine. My heart skipped a beat, and I was cold and numb physically. Maddy slid his arm around my waist, snapping me out. For the first time, I flinched under his touch.
“Nandinu, this is Manik. I assume, you must be knowing him. He’s a best mate.” Maddy said, introducing me to my very own… ex.
“Manik, that’s -” And before he could complete, he was interrupted.
“Nandini.” Manik blurted out. His voice sent shivers down my spine. It felt good, when he said my name. It always made me feel special. I never got that feeling with Madhyam.
“You know her?” Maddy questioned. That, was when I was real tensed. I did not want Maddy to know about my relationship with Manik. I immediately knew, that he was never going to be able to handle it well.
Manik eyed me for a couple of seconds, probably trying to figure me out. I had lied to him to leave Delhi, two years ago. Now, I was in an official relationship with his best friend. He was bound to feel cheated.
“Yeah! We were uh, classmates. Right, Nandini?” He quickly covered up for me. I tried to smile, but failed miserably.
“That’s cool! I’m glad, there’s at least one person in here, whom she knows. Otherwise, she’s not really a party animal, ya know?” Maddy laughed.
“I wonder how that happened. You know Maddy, Nandini never needed a reason to party. Right, Nandini?” Manik asked, looking at me. I was practically freaking out from the inside. With a lot of effort, I had managed to kill the old Nandini, and give birth to the new one. I didn’t want Madhyam, or anyone for that matter, to know about my past.
“Hey, you never told me that?” Maddy said.
“Slipped out of my mind! Doesn’t matter. I hate parties now.” I stated, folding my arms across my chest. I just wanted to get out of the place.
Maddy laughed, earning a death glare from me, which caused him to shut up. All this while, Manik didn’t tear away his gaze from me, which made me more uncomfortable.
“Alright. I’m gonna head in, attend other guests. You guys can chill, give each other company, or anything. I’ll catch you later. ” Maddy announced, walking back into the house.
He had stepped out, leaving me all alone with Manik. It was awkward, as none of us knew what to say. I don’t know about him, but I on the other hand, just wanted to leave as soon as possible. Much to my surprise, Manik chose to stay back.
I looked far away into the distance, staring at the sky above. I had gone back to my good old game of counting the stars.
“You still do that? Count the stars?” He asked, standing beside me. I looked at him. His features were pretty sharp, he had changed a lot. He had started to grow a beard too. He was fitter than before. He seemed to be very different in appearance. But one thing, that remained the same, were his eyes. His hazel eyes, that still managed to take my breath away.
“Yeah, I do.” I nodded, referring to his question. He beckoned.
“So, since when did you and Maddy…” He trailed off, expecting me to understand the rest.
“One year, almost. He’s a nice guy. ” I said. Here, I clearly attempted to praise Maddy in front of Manik. But I couldn’t do so. I failed miserably; for I knew, that Manik was always better than Maddy.
He chuckled. “Yes, he is, I guess.”
I nodded, and decided to walk back inside. Getting bored in a party full of strangers was definitely a better option than getting embarrassed in front of Manik. As I was about to go in, his voice stopped me midway.
“Nandini?” He called out. I turned around, to see him leaning back on the fencing. It looked like he wanted to say something so bad, but couldn’t. I only waited for him to proceed.
“I missed you,” He said, after a few moments of silence. I didn’t know what to say. I had missed him like the moon missed the sun during the night.
“I missed you too,” I said. I couldn’t hide this from him. He sighed, and took a step closer to me. Without hesitating even once, he took my hand in his. His warm touch, made me go weak again. I was as cold as ice.
“If you did, then why did you leave?” He asked.
“I can’t tell you.” I said quickly. He sighed.
“I’m tired of listening to the same thing, Nandini. I know, there’s a big reason behind this. Its not too late, okay. Just tell me, speak up. Is it me? Did I do something?” He asked desperately.
I shook my head. Oh how I wish, I could tell him the actual reason. “Its not you, Manik. Please, why can’t you just let that go?” I asked, obviously troubled by his behavior.
“Let that go? What do you mean by that? Its not some game, Nandini. Its my heart, that you’ve played with! Every single day after you left, I’ve spent cursing myself; thinking, of what I might have done to make you leave like that. But you, on the other hand, moved on like we had nothing! Was it so easy for you?” He asked angrily. His grip around my wrist tightened, which hurt me.
“Manik, let me go, please,” I flinched.
“No. I won’t; not this time, unless you give me the answers I deserve to know. Why did you do this to me? Why did you ruin a life long friendship and a three year old relationship just like that?” He demanded.
“I said, I can’t tell you. Just let me go, Manik, you’re hurting me…” I said, trying to set myself free.
“No, you’re hurting me! Just stop with this nonsense, Nandini. I don’t care whether you date anyone or not. I just want to know the truth. Tell me now, why did you leave? Are you so heartless?” He asked.
“Yes, I am! I am, heartless, okay? I don’t have any feelings for anyone. I’m selfish, and I can only think of my own good. Are you happy now?” I yelled. Thank God for the loud, ear bursting music in the background, that no one heard us.
I pulled out myself out of his grip and walked back inside.
At last, when everything in my life had started to go back to normal, he had to come again. I didn’t know, what the fate held for me now. But whatever I saw coming, wasn’t good. . .
Thanks for the wonderful response. Keep supporting. I hope you liked the chapter. And I’m not going to show any of the crap between Maddy and Nandini. Cause we all love Manan ❤❤
Love you all! ??
Credit to: Nisha Malhotra