Hello everyone 🙂 did anyone miss me? 😉 Anyways, here is the new part of ‘Lucky’ and I really hope to read your comments on this. Also, frankly speaking, I will continue the story only if I get a decent response from all my readers including the silent ones. Guys, I know I haven’t been uploading regularly for these past few episodes, but now I’m back to my routine and I can safely say that I’ll be able to read, comment and write more from tomorrow.
Since this could be my second last episode, or not, based on your response, I can tell you that this episode ends in a cliffhanger. I had obviously planned for a lot of twists, drama, romance, fun and a lot more with this new development in my story. But only if you wanna read, I’ll be happy to write.
Moreover, I’d like to dedicate this episode to all the amazing friends I made here and those who have been a constant source of support and inspiration for me through this journey of ‘Precious’ and ‘Lucky’. Some of them are probably not reading this one now, but I’ll mention them anyway. Priyanka, Shama, Mukta, Yaashi, Shivika, Shivika Kapoor, Diyaa, Nans, Jazz, Jara, Akshaya, Renima, Jayashree, Ankita, Yashu, Anah, Fama, Priyali, Samaira, Liara, Kashi, Samsun, Pri, Tany, Pooja, Ishqkum, Mounica, Shivu, Fanficoholic, Tulasi, Radhika, SSO, Hrishi, Hajira, Sat and Priya. I guess there are more people who have supported me, and I’m sorry for not mentioning you guys. Please forgive me for this. It’s the first time I’ve done something like this. 😐 😉
Enough with my maybe-kinda-hoping-not farewell speech. Let’s begin with the episode now. Wait; firstly, I don’t know how many of you know this. But yesterday, it was one whole month since I started writing ‘Lucky’. So, here’s to the first month anniversary of ‘Precious’’ sequel! 😀 )
EPISODE 9: LUCKY
To say that I was out of words would be an understatement. The sight in front of me made my jaw drop to the floor while Ishu looked like it was the most ordinary thing in the world. Empty wrappers of snacks and instant food were strewn all over the small table and books and loose sheets of printed paper covered the majority of the couch. A silver laptop also sat on the edge of the sofa appearing in danger of falling. The only other furniture was a desk and a chair on the farther end of the living room and it housed a jacket and a pillow in addition to the usual mess of stationery. She must have left in a hurry, I surmised. The place was well lit and well ventilated, but it wasn’t too big. It looked like the typical small flat from the movies, except for the mess, of course.
“What on Earth is this?” I finally managed to ask. I didn’t even care what my expression was like then, but judging from Ishu’s face, I probably appeared more than horrified at this clutter. Her face fell appropriately and she said, “I know, it’s a mess. Give me two minutes.” She swiftly cleared everything, dumping the wrappers in the dustbin and the books on the desk. Hopping back to my side, she asked, “So, what do you want to do?”
It was good to hear her soprano voice again. Frankly, her hoarse voice back at Ishana’s place made me sadder than anything. For a minute I was lost in the childlike innocence of her eyes which well concealed her pain. Colors started solidifying in my head as I discovered our strange connection. The feeling of being abandoned and betrayed by one’s family was nothing new to me. I wanted to comfort her and say that it was okay, that I was here for her, that she wasn’t alone.
She shook me a little by the arm to bring me back to the present before I was sucked back into my bleak past. “Whatever you want”, I answered her question at length. I doubted if she even thought about it before replying, “Let’s get drunk!”
I was left speechless by her unpredictable behavior again. She gave me a sideways look to check my reaction guessing my disapproval already. “Why don’t we do something less reckless and more prudent?” I asked offhandedly. That got her really thinking. For the next half minute! In another fluid motion, she skipped to the kitchen and out of sheer curiosity I followed. I saw her ravage the fridge as she threw out more packets of frozen chicken nuggets, fries and ketchup on the counter. I moved closer to look over her shoulder and wasn’t too surprised to see that the fridge was low on stock of instant food. Moreover, there was absolutely no sign of vegetables or any proper food for that matter!
I wasn’t aware of our proximity until Ishu turned around. Our breaths mingled in the little space between us as I saw her wide onyx eyes explore mine. “Your eyes are the color of dark chocolate”, her low voice sounded too loud in the little bubble that had formed around us. However, it did help to break that bubble and I joked, “Do you ever think of actual food besides all this junk?”
As I had hoped, the tension dissolved in the air and we talked about everything under the sun over home delivered pizza. Since I was used to Shivaay’s pizza, the Domino’s didn’t appeal to me as much. And I told her the same.
“That reminds me; when are you planning on heading back home?” she asked. It might be my imagination, but it sounded like she didn’t want me to go. But I had another question for her. “Aren’t you going back to the Oberoi Mansion? I’m supposed to bring you back safely”, I told her in a matter-of-fact way.
She became silent for so long that I had to bend and look into her lowered eyes to make sure she hadn’t slept while thinking. At length she spoke, “Om, I don’t want to go back today. Can we stay here for tonight? Do you mind? You can go back home, if you want to.” Her words had an undercurrent of longing that made me gravitate towards her unconsciously. So, I decided to take her shopping later that evening. And that gave way to another entertaining and surprising tantrum!
“I have a lot of clothes right now. I don’t need to go shopping now”, she pouted as soon as I mentioned it. “We’re gonna shop for food”, I corrected her. The change in her expression was instantaneous. I kinda liked the way the corner of her lips pulled up at the mention of food. What I enjoyed more was the grimace that replaced her smile when she saw me walk straight towards the vegetables section in the supermarket.
“Om, where do you think you’re going?” she hissed in fake anger and disbelief.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m buying food”, I replied nonchalantly. That earned me a swift jab between my ribs. “Ow!” I complained and she threatened me with a punch. Standing up as tall as I could get next to her, I strictly stated, “Ishu, you should eat proper food. I’m buying these vegetables and you will have it. No arguments.” If I had any illusions that she was like other people, my thoughts were set straight when she stamped my foot with all the strength she had.
“What is wrong with you?” I asked annoyed.
“I don’t know how to cook. What will I do with these?” she did that famous ‘logic sign’ and started walking away.
Ignoring the crowd of people shopping around us, I held her hand firmly and towed her behind me. Little did I know that she had managed to add bags of chips, boxes of biscuits, bread, instant noodles and pasta to the cart behind my back. On seeing the junk food at last, I acted angry. And she held my arm with both hands while smiling cutely and fluttering her eyelids at me.
The girl at the counter smiled at her antics and took the liberty of commenting, “You guys are so cute together!”
I was about to correct her but Ishu interjected in her trilling voice, “Really? You think so? Thank you!” I looked at her like she was crazy and she shrugged at me as if saying, “No big deal. Just play along!”
On our way out, I saw a really pretty red anarkali churidar in the adjacent store and I felt a sudden urge to gift it to Ishu. The black and golden embroidered detail along the neck and the sleeves and the bright red of a blooming rose looked truly attractive. Excusing myself for a minute, I went in and bought it; though I was questioning my actions the moment I set foot outside.
On the drive back to her apartment, she asked about my girlfriends and I told her about Riddhima. “Whoa! Huge mistake. What a silly girl! Why would anyone break up with a great guy like you?” she thought aloud.
“Thanks. Anyways, that’s all in the past. Really, I don’t even think about her now. I wonder where she is now. The thing is I simply can’t tolerate lies and betrayal. It’s said that you should be careful with people close to you, for they can hurt more than your enemies thousands of miles away. I guess I learnt that lesson the hard way”, I finally finished my monologue as I pulled into the parking. She was so quiet that for a second I was worried if she was even there.
She slept like a baby; carefree and beautiful. Her mouth was open a little forming a small ‘O’ and she breathed deeply and evenly. I guessed the emotional burdens of the day had taken a toll on her after all, but it didn’t show on her face now.
I shook her slightly, but she slept like a log. I tried calling her and making a lot of noise to wake her up, but I had forgotten; she was Ishu! She never did stuff that I expected her to!
I looked at the large bags of food and clothes and then at her sleeping figure. “This is going to be tricky”, I told myself. It wasn’t too late and there were other people walking in and out. I even considered leaving her in the car while sleeping upstairs myself. But I obviously couldn’t do that.
So, I asked for a little help from a boy and barely succeeded in piggybacking her to the apartment with my hands full of the heavy bags. Making her lie down on her bed, I tried moving away to call Shivaay, only to realize that my shirt wasn’t free. The hem of my shirt was clutched firmly in her fist and my movement only caused her to pull me closer and snuggle into my arm.
After a lot of internal struggle, I decided to stay there. In any case, it didn’t look like any amount of noise is gonna wake her up now!
MEANWHILE AT THE OBEROI MANSION
My phone vibrated loudly breaking my train of thought. I looked at the number and took a deep breath to calm myself so that my sensitive little brother doesn’t guess my turmoil.
“Om, where are you?” I asked before he got a chance to say anything. He went on to explain about Ishu’s situation. “You know Shivaay, I was just thinking how sensitive I am about people and relationships. And she is so different from me. Even after all this shocking information, she never once let that pain show. It’s so brave of her to let go of her blood relations and move on. It makes me feel lucky for at least having our parents near us, no matter how they are at times. Right?”
His words suggested a kind of admiration, the beginning of hero worship. I could only understand his sentiments to a degree. Although I had been careful to never show any sign of disappointment in our dysfunctional family’s dynamic in front of my younger brothers, Om had always been the most affected one. The two of us had protected Rudra almost fiercely and that had reflected on Prinku’s loving upbringing. But the scar Om and I bore couldn’t ever be erased.
The fact that a rivalry-of-sorts began in our family with our ascending age didn’t help matters at all. The result was Om grew up to be a sensitive and kind person who valued relationships more than the people in it and truth more than the reasons to say it. And now, here was a girl who didn’t feel the need to acknowledge a relationship simply for the name sake.
“Om, I think she did right. Blood means nothing without the caring that comes with it. And sometimes your own blood can betray you but even an ounce of love and care would never back stab you”, I said. By the end my voice had started breaking up and Om might have heard it.
“Shivaay, what happened?” he asked. Not wanting him to worry about it, I lied. “Nothing happened. It’s just that without you, I need to be the target of Rudra’s terrible jokes and poetry!” As expected, the joke distracted him and we talked for a little while more before hanging up.
As soon as I put down the phone, I sensed Anika at the door. Without even turning, I could tell she knew that I knew. I made sure my face revealed nothing and turned to see her. But she was Anika! She knew me better than I knew myself. Her eyes showed something more than sympathy; they reflected her empathy. Her words from before echoed in my ears, “I don’t care for anyone else but Shivaay. So, I’m sorry but I can’t let you hurt my family.”
I embraced her closely, as if the warmth between us could melt my agony and quandaries away; as if our heartbeats in perfect rhythm could drown out any bitter truth in the world; as if we could fight any problem together.
“Anika, let’s go somewhere far away”, I said and looked into her eyes with resolve, knowing that she wouldn’t say no. Not right now.
Waiting for your comments guys 🙂 Don’t dishearten me this time 🙂