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Chapter 10 link : Here
(Nandini’s POV) Spending weekend with Manik proved to be very different. I never expected him to open up about his family. He seemed kind of sweet. Not a cynical a*s that he shows himself to be. He looked happy; not all irritated and ice cold. If he were like that even a bit social as he was with his family, I would have fallen for him long back. My mind wavered. He is attractive. He was completely in formals for dinner but very casual when he came to take Navya for shopping. A T-shirt and Jeans has never suited anyone better compared to people I have seen and been with. He carried himself so well, there was something raw and sensual about him. On top of that, spoiling Navya was indeed a sight to see. I don’t think even Cabir would do that. He treats his loved ones completely opposite to how he treats others.
As much as I am attracted to him, I cannot afford to fall in love with him. He will only hurt me and make me cry. Besides, I don’t think I can ever have a normal relationship, not with him, not with anybody. Everytime I thought of that, I became depressed. I resolved that I would never feel why me at any point of time I life but being with Manik brings out my fear, my insecurities, my inferiority complex. I don’t know how many times I felt helpless when I am with him. Why do I have to deny myself from falling in love with him? Why am I such a coward? Why do I hide myself among the glitters of this society? Everytime I think about this I feel like crying. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I just hope that I will split away from Manik as soon as possible. I shouldn’t get too close to him.
After we got back, work got the better of us. We ate our food together and stayed formal to each other. That ease and comfort we felt when travelling and in the city was nowhere discovered after which maybe for the better. Not maybe, it is for the best.
Few days later, he suddenly started to talk during lunch that we had together as usual.
(Manik) “So, Nandini, what are your hobbies?”
(Nandini) “Why?” Why so suddenly?
(Manik) “Nothing really. Actually, I have a request to make.” As if it would have been his genuine interest!
(Nandini) “And that would be?”
(Manik) “Can you be my partner for the Company’s annual party?”
(Nandini) “Get an escort.” Oh my! I shouldn’t have said that. His face grew rigid and eyes looked distant and cold.
(Manik) “I would, if I had not been engaged for sometime. So what is your answer again?” I could only bite my lips. His attitude sent shivers in me. All because of my reply.
(Nandini) “I will come. I will stay at Cabir’s place.”
(Manik) “The event spreads over three days. You cannot leave until the party is over. Hence, room has been booked for you.”
(Nandini) “Fine.” He didn’t talk after that. It felt like he didn’t want anything to do with. All I could do is stay grumbly and dejected. All because of dad! No, I cannot blame him. He
asked me whether I wanted to get away from this project. Like a fool, I said no. Really, why me!
(Manik’s POV) About a month after visiting my home, Nandini and I started travelling together again. I can say that the relationship has not worsened. What do I want from this, I don’t know clearly now. But feelings as muddled still grow. Three day stay and parties and get-togethers, an irritant but a necessity. It is hosted in our family hotel and rooms were booked for our family.
First day was for present and future business associates.
While waiting in the hall, talking with people, Nandini came down rather quietly, dressed absolutely stunning, went straight to Cabir. Even if he is her cousin, I am her fiancé. Isn’t it natural to come to me first? I went to get her. She didn’t resist joining me but she definitely showed her reluctance. She was introduced to many people. I don’t know what I am doing! Why am I introducing her when I have no intention of committing to the engagement?
(Froster) “Mr. Manik, how nice to see you again.”
(Manik) “Mr. Froster! Nice to see you. Hope you are enjoying yourself.”
(Froster) “Immensely. Malhotra Group never fails to amaze me at the grandeur that you celebrate in.”
(Manik) “Thank you. Have you met my fiancée? Nandini!” I called her to my side. She came smiling.
(Manik) “Nandini, this is Mr. Froster, Chairman of the F Bio. This is Nandini Murthy, my fiancée.” I pulled her up closer to me with my arm around her.
(Nandini) “Nice to meet you, Mr. Froster. I have read so many of your research papers, published and unpublished. It was simply just wonderful.” Mr. Froster looked surprised.
(Froster) “Oh my! Thank you. I never expected someone who appreciated Medical work in business meet.”
(Manik) “She is also a doctor, Sir. Please, excuse me for a minute.” I left them to talk while I exchanged formalities with others. By the time I returned, Navya and Cabir and another woman were with Nandini.
(Manik) “How is the party, Navya?”
(Navya) “Great. But I am feeling sick. So, Cabir and I were thinking of leaving.”
(Cabir) “What about you, Nandini?” Cabir asked her.
(Nandini) “I am staying here. He has got a room separately for me.”
(Cabir) “Very well then. See you later.” Both of them left.
(Manik asked) “And this charming woman is?” An average height woman in a conservative evening gown, with serene smile greeted me. Nandini hugged her instantly,
(Nandini) “She is my partner in crime, my best friend Shefali. Shefs, this is Manik Malhotra, my temporary fiancé.” I didn’t like the way she introduced me, even if they are the closest of friends.
(Manik)“Nice to meet you. As you can see, as temporary as I am, for now, I am her fiancé.” I made sure that Nandini was close to me, which made her squirm. She didn’t resist
before. Why now? Her friend looked at me unsure.
(Shefali)“I can see that. So, I will leave your darling to you while I go catch up with others.” She said lightly as she left. Nandini whispered angrily.
(Nandini) “What Was The Meaning Of That?” She broke out of my hold and walked out furiously. I went up behind her irritated. What does she think she is doing? I caught her and pulled her to the corridor where lesser people pass by.
(Manik) “What is your problem?”
(Nandini) “Why Are You So Clingy All Of A Sudden? And Why Did You Hug Me In Front Of Shefs!”
(Manik) “What is wrong with it?”
(Nandini) “I DON’T LIKE IT!”
(Manik’s POV) An uncontrollable anger came over me. I held her hands tight in mine and I kissed her soft lips forcefully and passionately. She writhed, twisted,resisted as much as she could but stopped after we parted. She dropped down unconscious as I caught her in my arms. What happened?
(Manik) “Nandini, Nandini!” I patted her face. “My God!” What happened? Does she hate me so much that she couldn’t accept it? I decided to carry her up to her room, her friend Shefali came out searching for her.
(Shefali) “Nandini!” She ran over. “Oh my god! Nandini! Wake up! Is there a room she can be settled in?” Worry reflected in her voice. Does she know why Nandini is like this? I nodded as a reply and up with her. I called up Manik and told him to cover up for me the rest of the party. Whatever this is, I have to know what happened. Settling her down in the bed, her friend pushed me out. After sometime, Shefali came out.
(Manik) “How is she?” The next thing I knew was that I was slapped.
(Shefali in all anger screamed at Manik) “What Did You Do To Her? It Has Been Years Since She Has Had Such A Strong Reaction To Touch! Years, I tell you and here I thought she was finally getting normal!” She shouted.
(Manik) “What the! I didn’t do anything. I just kissed her! Is it a sin?” She looked shocked and went quiet all of a sudden.
(Shefali) “Sigh. So, you don’t know” she almost whispered. She took a deep breath and talked out loud. “It is not a sin. It is just that you can’t pull that on Nandini. She was…. I mean…. She is scared of touch. She cannot bear to touch or be touched by people. When you force her, she shuts herself out.” I didn’t say anything. “She is still not used to normal skinship. She grits her teeth and smiles outside but more intimate moments are not for her. She can’t stand it. Even when she hugged me, she was forcing herself. In any case, she will wake up in sometime. If you want to ask anything, ask her. Are you staying here or going back?” She looked at me almost expecting me to go but,
(Manik) “I am staying here.” She nodded and left. Strangest thing I have heard. Scared of touch? She seemed fine. She doesn’t look like she has a problem. Now that I think about it, she never gets close to people. Always maintained her distance. It was no wonder the reason for the break ups of her numerous romances. But I don’t understand, why get into relationships if you know that you can’t keep it going. I got in, removed my tie and cuff, threw my coat on the chair and sat beside her, watching her. Thoughts flew in and out of my mind, not fixing on one. Questions filled my head for which I knew I wouldn’t get a proper answer. She tossed her head uncomfortably sleeping.
Precap : Not to Sure might be WORK