Arjun sighed, gulping down the last sip of water left in the plastic bottle as he began narrating his tale to sam. Sitting on a footpath, on some random dark lane, he could swear he had never drove on before. This suddenly struck him.
“Why here sam?” he asked.
Sam cocked up her eyebrows unable to process the meaning of his question.
“I get the point, you wish to know my story. But why here….why not at some restaurant or my apartment…or else where….why this dark lane?” he quizzed.
Sam smiled a little, “no specific reason….this just feels right. Chatting on footpath of a random road is a sort of thing we used to do in college. I know what you’ll say….i know….we have grown up and all this needs to stop….start being mature and everything….even though radhika isn’t here with us….its atleast two of us…moreover, I hadn’t planned it…its all by chance…leave it….You wont understand. Lets just go to some café or something, there we’ll chat” saying so she stood up.
“well, I most certainly do.” He replied with a smile, pulling her down by her wrists again.
Sam made herself comfortable, crossing her legs.
“sam, you remember the day, I had decided to confess my feelings to radhika, in the college lawns…..that day, when I reached there…I saw her in the arms of another man. He was hugging her. He picked her up in his arms, twirling her around in the air, in front of my own eyes…”
Arjun shut his eyes tight, trying to get rid of all the flashes of the past. But it was no use.
Sam rubbed his arm, trying to comfort him. But at the same time, she cursed the stupidity of the situation, of arjun.
“and why didn’t you walk over to ask her about it? He could have very well been some brother…some cousin…..ever thought about that, eh….sherlock?” she mocked.
“sam, you cant ever understand what I went through just because of that one scene. It felt as if somebody had stuck pins in my eyes. I didn’t even consider it…I was hurt….dejected….true, it was stupid of me not to think of doing that…..but I didn’t. and when I thought of this possibility, it was too late. I was already in jail.”
“it was neil.” She muttered softly.
Arjun’s head shook in disbelief, “the same neil as now? How come? Didn’t know that he and radhika go that long back…”
“we go way longer than that….me and neil and radhika are childhood friends. Always together since we were little. We went to the same school. But then in college, we pursued psychology while he pursued business management. We were in the same university, though.” She clarified.
“I don’t like his constant presence around my radhika. Don’t know what is he up to.” He muttered all annoyed.
Sam’s conscience snapped. She couldn’t clarify or comfort arjun on this. She was still in shock of neil’s confession. She couldn’t tell him that neil was just a friend, because he clearly wanted to be more. But at the same time she couldn’t tell that he was more because radhika loved arjun, it was just that the feelings buried deep in her heart needed a little push. The layer of dust, she had allowed to settle on her heart needed to be removed. Sam was sure, that radhika still had feelings for arjun. God, this situation was way too complicated. Why did neil have to enter in to make more of a mess? What was she to do in such a scenario….tell radhika and back stab neil? No…she couldn’t, he was dear friend. But on the same page, so was she. And arjun…what was she to tell him? Geez, why in the first place, neil had to tell her. For the first time in her life, she realized the true meaning of ignorance is bliss.
Arjun’s waving arms brought her back to the reality.
“continue with the story.” Was all she could manage to say.
“yeah….i left radhika and neil alone. Gathering my belonging from the college hostel. I headed home. My dad was quite rich, we had this huge house and since I was a little kid, I wasn’t ever denied anything I wanted. We had all the luxuries at home I was always told that my dad is a businessman. My mom….well, she died when I was four. Yeah so….so that day, I went unannounced back home. i was walking towards his bedroom to inform him that I was home. when I heard voices coming out of his study. I pushed open the door, a little and found my dad talking to a man. he was ordering him to prepare the latest segment of drugs ready for shipment. My jaw hit the floor. I pushed open the entire door and my dad gasped to see me. I had a heated conversation with him shouting and everything. That day, my mirror broke, my parallel universe ended and I came crashing to reality. All the money and the luxuries we had were ill gotten. I spoke and I spoke. Tears rushed down my cheeks. I never even gave him a chance to speak. I rushed out of the house, vowing to never come back again. Never realized at that point, that I wouldn’t even get a chance to do so….i was broken. I was betrayed by my love and my own father the same day. I was frustrated. I had no idea what to do or where to go. I wanted to take my own life. I didn’t realize how far I had come from home. when I suddenly heard a girl screaming and pleading with a couple of guys to leave her alone. I rushed towards her. Gave her my jacket to cover up and I beat up those guys. All my frustration come out on them. And maybe due to that, I handed out a couple of extra punches than I had intended to. In the meanwhile, the police reached there. and when asked the girl faked the entire story. I was made the villain. She told the police that she and her friends were strolling out and suddenly I jumped on them and started beating them for no reason. I was taken away and booked for causing grievous injuries….for assault. Later on, I came to know that they were a gang whose modus operandi was to fake a molestation scene and rob the person who come forward to help the girl. But in my case, when the girl felt the situation getting out of hands, she contacted the police. Knowing, I had no proof against them and the girl’s statement was the only evidence which could save me. By the time, I knew this….i was so fed up with my life and had no will live…..so I decided to let it be. And you know the rest.”
Arjun sighed, “this is my story.”
Sam hugged him tight. he had faced so much more than most people will probably ever face. And yet, he had pieced himself enough to be strong enough to tell her all this.
Arjun felt his shirt getting wet. He broke the hug and wiped the tears.
“why are you crying?”
Sam just sobbed on, not knowing how or what to answer to him.
Arjun smiled and gently cooed her, “you are like a little sister, I never had. Okay…and I cant allow this newly found sister of mine to cry, can I? shhhh…”
This forced sam to smile. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. Her big eyes full of questions.
Arjun smiled, understanding her concerns, “don’t worry….i am okay now….as they say time heals all wounds. Jail healed mine. Time to get my life back on track.” He stood up, forwarded his hand to sam. “will you help me?”
Sam smiled and gave her hand in his, “you call me your sister and yet you are asking me. Just order naa.” Saying so she giggled.
Arjun lost himself in her laughter. Yes, she was the little sister he never had……and it was only and only for her smile he was pretending to be all strong. Otherwise, he was sure, that he didn’t have that kind of energy left in him anymore. Feeling betrayed by your father and your love on the same day wasn’t a small thing. He sighed getting behind the wheel in her car.
Radhika was smiling and giggling like a little innocent child when neil bought a chocolate ice cream for her, obviously unaware of neil’s feelings towards her. Neil looked at her. His heart pounding fast. His felt his insides warming up, what if she didn’t reciprocate his feelings. Obviously, yes was a little child inside her strong exterior. No….no…no….he couldn’t crush that. He would never.
Radhika suddenly became aware of his constant stare on her. She turn a little to his side and cocked up an eye brow, cleaning her lips with her wrist.
“whaaatt???” she asked…..feeling playful.
“you are a cute kid.” He smiled as he started the car.
Radhika pouted, “what yaar man, I know I am cute….but I am not a cute…”
“but I know, you are….”
Well, this continued for quite a long time, when finally, neil surrendered and radhika gave him a winning smirk.
Neil internally wished for this childishness of hers to never die. He couldn’t burden this equation of theirs with his feelings…..no he couldn’t. he needed a respite and that too urgently.
Yeah, so the 11th part comes to an end. Hope it was good……honestly, while writing I found it to be a bit dry and boring…..so please do let me know.
Please ignore my typos and grammatical errors, NO PROOF READING.
I am glad to find, so many silent readers commenting these days. Guys, that is really good. And moreover, you have no idea how much we appreciate it. Keep up the good work guys!!!
And second thing, I wish to take a sabbatical…..so much, is going on in my life right now. And I find myself unable to cope up with everything. So I guess, I need a break …..not just from writing but most things. Though, I try to read all your amazing ff…and will try my level best to comment, but I aint promising any thing.
But please tell me, whether I should go after completing both my ffs, or can I leave right now. I plan accordingly.
Man, that was one huge author’s note…..sorry guys!