*After a week*
“Hey,” I greeted Manik as he walked in through his door like I own the place. I threw my huge shopping bags on the floor and plopped down on the sofa to give my poor legs some rest.
“Woah, what is this?” Manik exclaimed on seeing the mess I’d created seconds ago.
“I went shopping with the girls today!” I grinned. He shook his head dramatically and gave me a you-would-never-change look, walking over to sit down next to me.
“Hey, be careful…Don’t step on the bags!” I cried out as I saw him carelessly step on a bag.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, sitting down. “So what’s with this surprise visit?”
“What, I had called you before coming!” I pointed out that it was not a surprise visit after all.
“Haan whatever. Is there anything for me in these bags of yours?” He asked with puppy eyes.
I was about to shake my head when I remembered about something I’d got for him so I said instead—
“Yep! Hold on, lemme show you!” and I hopped down on the floor, rummaging through the bags, frantically looking for that one thing.
There! I got it and stood up. I held it out for display, showing it to him.
“I’m NOT wearing this!” He shouted, just as I’d predicted.
“Yes you are! I took so much pain in finding this!” I pouted, pointing towards the thing in my hand. It a simple tee, pitch black, with the words ‘ I am in LOVE’ written in bold white letters.
“I don’t care. I can’t wear it. You know that!”
“Why can’t you? It only states what is true—You are in love, after all!” I gave him an innocent smile.
“No. I’m not. I’m over her,” he said in a matter-of-fact manner.
“As if I’m going to buy that!”
“I’m serious, Soha. I’m over her. Totally and completely. I don’t want to talk about her now, please,” He said firmly. I knew he wasn’t kidding when he said he was serious. I knew him too well to distinguish when he’s kidding and when he’s not. And I could clearly see the graveness in his voice.
“What happened?! Tell me!” I said, obviously concerned for him.
“What happened? When did I say anything happened at all?” came his nonchalant reply.
“Dude… You were like truly madly deeply in love with her… What’s with this sudden change in feelings?”
“Nothing re… It was just an infatuation I guess… It automatically went away… I realized we could be nothing more than best friends. And plus, I need to focus on my career.”
Just an infatuation? How could he say that? It was so unfair of him. I knew very well he loved Nandini. He was definitely hiding something from me. The reason was something else for sure. I had never heard such bullshit reasons from him before.
“Yaar… Spit it out! I know something’s troubling you!” I urged.
“It’s nothing Soha…”
“Seriously? Now you’re gonna say the ‘it’s nothing’ phrase to me too? C’mon, I know you better!”
“Fine. It is something. But I don’t know if I should tell you or not.”
“Wow so now my best friend has to think twice before confiding something in me?”
“You don’t understand Soha, it’s nothing like what you’re thinking…I just—“
“Yeah, yeah, I get it. You just can’t trust me enough to tell me about your thoughts. It’s fine. I see that old friends don’t have any place in your life now…”
“SOHA! Don’t you dare say that ever again!” He almost yelled at me. “You have no idea how much you mean to me!” He cried out and engulfed me in a bone crushing hug.
“Hey, I’m sorry…” I said slowly, feeling guilty to have put such an accusation on him.
“No, I’m sorry,” He said, letting go of me. “I should’ve told you… But you should know this, I was being reluctant to tell you only because this isn’t about me. It’s about someone else.”
“Someone else?” Now I was confused. What had he got on his mind?
“Dude, stop beating round the bush and get to the point!”
“I think Dhruv likes Nandini.”
“WHAT! What makes you think so?”
“I dunno… I just got this feeling that’s it.”
“Now only because of a ‘feeling’ you’re gonna sacrifice your love? It’s absurd!”
“Dhruv’s my best buddy yaar… I’ve known him all my life! If he loves the same girl as I do, I’m ready to sacrifice my love for him… He deserves to have the girl he likes…”
“He deserves? And what, you don’t? This is totally ridiculous! I haven’t heard such utter nonsense ever! I’m gonna ask him myself, wait,” I said, reaching into my jeans pocket to get out my phone.
“No, please don’t!” Manik’s pleaded, but I was already dialling Dhruv’s number, ignoring him.
“Okay fine but don’t ask him directly okay? And don’t let him know about what I think…” Manik said.
“Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll handle it…” I said, when Dhruv answered the call.
“Hey Soha!” He greeted me.
“Hey dude, what’s up!” I said enthusiastically, and put him on the loudspeaker so that Manik could hear our conversation.
“Nothing much… Just watching an old soccer match. You say?”
“I was pretty much bored too. You got time to talk?”
“Yeah of course!”
“Cool…So… How’s life?”
“Everything is okay re… Work pressure is high as always and now that dad is out of station I have to manage everything myself.”
“Oh that must suck!”
“Hmm… It’s been so many days since we hung out together. Let’s go for a movie, what say?”
“Yeah sure… Which movie but?”
“Let’s see Captain America There are no other good movies now in the theatre anyways.”
“Uh Soha… Actually I’m going to see that movie tomorrow… I’ve already made plans with Nandini.”
“Oooh… Movie night, akele akele haan? What’s the deal?”
“We’re just going for a movie! What’s the big deal ‘bout it?”
“Yeah yeah it’s no big deal… You may not tell me but I know everything bro.”
“And now what is this everything’ that you know?”
“Well, for one thing I know that something’s going on between you and Nandini and you’re not telling me and I’m hurt.”
“Hey it’s nothing like that.. Okay fine I’ll tell you. I couldn’t possibly have hidden it from you anyway.”
At this point, I exchanged a look with Manik and Dhruv continued,
“Well I really like her… Her eyes, her lips, her smile… Just seeing her makes my day. Hell, I think I am in love!”
W-WH-AT?! No, this couldn’t be happening. Both of my best friends love the same girl? This is f**king crazy! Now when I thought of it, I realized why Dhruv’s proposal to Nandini the other day when we were playing truth and dare was so…natural. I gave Manik a panic stricken expression and he gestured me not to tell Dhruv anything about his feelings. I mouthed an ‘okay’ and got back to Dhruv on the phone.
“Woah dude, this is a new development! Dhruv Dixit is in love! Have you told her yet or not?”
“Not yet. I always wanted to tell her but I couldn’t I’m gonna try tomorrow…”
“No!” I cried out immediately and then quickly covered it up by saying, “I mean, proposing a girl at a movie—Not a good idea!” I don’t know why but Dhruv with Nandini… I didn’t like the idea much. I mean, both Manik and Dhruv are my best friends. But I think Manik and Nandini look better together. Just don’t ask me why.
“Yep, trust me.”
“Kay I’ll take a girl’s word from it…”
“Hmm.., Hey by the way, nobody know about this?”
“Umm only Manik knows.”
I at once shot a death glare at Manik. So he knew all along very nicely that Dhruv had feelings for Nandini and he was playing about in front of me. Wow. He’s dead.
“Wow! You told Manik but didn’t bother to tell me? I love you for that.”
“Hey sorry yaar… I actually wanted to tell you… But I never got the time to talk to you… I would’ve told , I swear.”
“Kay fine. You’re forgiven. Oops—I’m getting a call. It’s kinda urgent. I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“Yeah sure. Bye.”
“See you…” I said and hung up. I know I lied to him, but I really had some important talk to do with Manik. Placing my phone on the table, I gave Manik one of my fiercest looks.
“You thought Dhruv likes her huh? Out of nowhere?” I questioned him.
“Well… Dhruv had told me… But I wasn’t sure if I should tell you or not. Like I said, it wasn’t about me nah… I’m sorry!”
“You’ve got to make up for this…”
“Yeah, sure. Whatever you say ma’am!”
“Wear this!” I exclaimed, pointing towards the tee which I’d gotten him.
“Nooooo! What will people think if I get spotted wearing a tee that says ‘I am in LOVE’?”
“Dude, who’s asking you to get ‘spotted’ wearing it? Just wear it now na…For me?”
“Where’s the magic word?”
“Oh right. You’re making up to me and I have to follow your rules now?”
“Of course. Now say it or I won’t wear it…”
“Fine! Please.” I said weakly.
“I can’t hear you!”
“I said—PWEASEEEEE?” I repeated, in an extra sugary voice.
“Good!” He grinned and started taking off his shirt when the door bell rang.
“Must be the pizza boy.” He said, getting out of his shirt, revealing his bare torso.
“You ordered pizza for us?” I squealed like a five year old kid whose Mom had just got her her favourite toffee. I LOVE pizzas, did I forget to mention?
“Yes, now go and answer the door if you don’t want me to go in this state!”
“Yeah yeah I’m going!” I said and rushed to on the door. But it wasn’t the pizza boy.
“Soha, don’t you think…” Manik’s voice was heard seconds later. He stopped in his speech midway when he saw the person standing outside. It was someone completely unexpected. . .
Who’s the person outside? ?
And I know you all would he hating Dhruv at the moment, but at the end he’s gonna play the cupid between Manan.